Goodbye To Summer 2016

As we say goodbye to summer 2016 it makes me kind of sad that it went by so quickly.  Even though I complained about wanting summer to be over in my post about “the kids going back to school“…it still seems like just yesterday we were packing up for our fist glamping trip of the summer.

We made lots of memories and have probably lived in our camper more this summer than we have been home.  To say purchasing the new camper was a great idea would be an understatement.

Our last trip of the summer was spent in the beautiful south shore of Lake Tahoe (California side).  We spent 4 glorious nights there, but have decided that NEVER again will we venture there on a weekend.  NO. NO. JUST NO.

Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay ~ If I had a boat…this is where I would be ALL. THE. TIME.
Luckily we got there on a Wednesday so we got to enjoy a few days before the enormous group of weekenders showed up.  On Friday we spent the day at a beautiful beach called Camp Richardson.  The water was shallow enough that the kids could walk way out and it was only up to their waists.  There were kayaks, paddle boats, paddle boards and boats to rent.  The sand was soft and the hubby and I managed to land a great spot in the natural shade of the trees while still being able to keep an eye on the kids in the water.

lake tahoe camp richardson
Our breathtaking view for the day
We attempted to return to this same place on Saturday with no prevail.  The parking was full by noon and so were every other swimming beach areas for the next 20 miles up the lake.  Therefore, Saturday we spent most of the day driving along the lake at about 5 miles an hour due to traffic only to turn around and come back to the camper.  Luckily,where we stayed had a pool so the kids could burn off some of their energy while mommy and daddy enjoyed the refreshing liquid inside our Solo cups.

We got in some miniature golfing while we were there.  It’s been a long time since I had played miniature golf or even golf in general.  I used to go golfing at least once a week.  My 5 and 6 year old were really getting into it.  But my poor 4 year old just could not get the hang of how to hold the putter no matter how many 1,000 times daddy and I showed her.  We finally just gave up and let her do it her own way…making sure everyone was clear of getting their teeth knocked out from the swinging club.

miniature golf lake tahoe vacation

This same day we ate at a place called My Thai Cuisine.  Needless to say we were very disappointed.  We both had the Pad Thai lunch special.  The server asked us how spicy we wanted it based on 1 being the least and 5 being the most.  We both went for a 4 as my husband and I like spicy.  Sadly it was not only not spicy but pretty much tasteless.  So if you’re ever in the area I don’t recommend that place.

Another disappointing place we ate was called The Cantina Bar & Grill.  From the moment we walked in the door the service was mediocre.  We asked for patio seating and even though there was clearly plenty of places to seat us, the guy sat us inside at a table for 4 when there were 5 of us and then just stuck a chair at the end of the table.  The food was anything but authentic (as they claim) and the margaritas … I’m not too sure even had tequila in them.  Nothing like paying $8 for a margarita that didn’t even come in a margarita glass but a small beer glass instead.  I mean seriously one would expect that by ordering a margarita at a Mexican restaurant that it should come in a margarita glass???

The best places we ate were The Stateline Brewery which was in the heart of downtown by the Gondola, and I highly recommend ordering the artichoke dip on the appetizer menu.  It’s a meal in itself!  It’s served baked inside of an entire loaf of bread.  And rather than ordering the kids 3 orders of an $8 box of Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese we got them a 10 inch pizza to share for $14, and they still had some left over.  The atmosphere and service were great and afterwards, if you’re up for it, there’s a Cold Stone Ice Cream right in the same area.

I also highly recommend The Naked Fish sushi restaurant.  We went there on our last night, which was a Saturday, after attempting to go to a BBQ place we had been eyeing but upon arriving, we were informed it would be over an hour wait.  So after driving around we found the sushi place and were very pleased that it only took about 10 minutes to seat us and their rolls were delicious.  The special of the night was called “The Sea Monster” and it was plentiful and packed with flavor.  We ordered about 6 rolls total and between the hubby, myself, and the littles….there wasn’t a single piece left.

Now that I think of it I should have taken photos of the yumminess but I was too busy stuffing my face.


It’s been a great summer, packed full of memories.  And now in just 11 sleeps I will officially be sending off a junior in high school, a 1st grader, a kindergartener, and a preschooler and I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that.

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Mid-Summer Update

I can’t believe that we are already nearing the end of July.  It seems like just yesterday I was patiently waiting for the kids to get out of school and now I am anxiously patiently waiting for them to go back.  Here’s a little mid-summer update of what’s been going on.

We started off our summer with a two week vacation to northern California which you can read about here.

No sooner than we got back from there and it was off to southern Nevada to pick up our oldest son, monster B, who is now officially an adult (1 down…4 to go), to come visit before he ships off to boot camp next month.  It was a quick there and back trip, spending most of the time in the car.  But did get to spend some quality time at grandpa’s.

It was just a little hot there…

This video ^ still makes me laugh every time I watch it.  With a little help from Snapchat and my silly voice it came out quite comical.

summer grandpas house swim spa

This is a picture of all the kids in the swim spa which is like a small swimming pool.  Grandpa also has fun things like chickens, an orchard with a pond, and a game room equipped with an old school arcade game that had Pac-Man on it which kept mommy entertained for hours.  It’s also fully stocked with booze that we adults happily helped ourselves to.  I am quite certain the shenanigans lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

I had some fun times with my 16-year-old thinking that my jalapeños from the garden weren’t hot.  His older brother and I dared him to eat a whole one.  So of course he did it.  Because he pretty much does anything he’s dared to do.

Afterwards he was caught guzzling a half-gallon of milk and shoving a half a loaf of bread in his mouth.  He still claims “it wasn’t hot”.

We then headed off for our second family vacation to Idaho.  We visited a place called Brownlee Reservoir which to me looked more like a lake it was so huge.  We were off the grid for 5 whole days.  No internet and no cell service.  At first it was a little weird but then I actually liked the fact that everyone was either fishing, boating, riding their bikes, or playing board games.

This was our view for 5 days

Our friends, who have a boat, invited us.  My 6 and 4-year-old loved being pulled on the tube behind the boat.  The 5-year-old not so much.  Which amazes me as she loves speed.

The above video is her riding her bike down a hill, at the campground, as fast as she could go.  She did this at least a dozen times while we were there but unfortunately biffed it once while trying to race her brother.  Luckily she landed in the grassy part and not the pavement and managed to walk away with only a small scrape to the knee.  Mommy on the other hand almost suffered a small heart attack.

My 16 year old’s girlfriend flew off the raft and lost the entire top bracket of her braces.  And even the hubs and I got in on the action.  Needless to say it’s just as fun as when I was younger, only it’s now, days later, and I am still feeling the effects of holding on for dear life and hitting the water hard enough to obtain quite a few bruises on my legs.

We also took a drive across the dam to a place called Hell’s Canyon.  We took the scenic byway which ran along side the Snake River onto the Oregon side, and it’s literally one road in, turn around and come back.  But absolutely breathtaking scenery.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Oregon

Everyone did some fishing but the only ones who caught anything were the teenagers.

fishing brownlee reservoir idaho
Oldest son monster B holding some catch of the day.

Of course that’s pretty easy to do when you don’t have 3 little kid’s poles to keep having to attend to.  Seems like every time I looked, my husband was fixing a pole.  He did get to do some fishing the last night we were there but without any luck.

We stayed at a campground called Woodhead Park Campground which if you are ever in the area I highly recommend.  The bathrooms and showers were the cleanest campground facilities I have ever experienced.

Our friends stayed on the B side but we ventured up to the C side where we found the perfect shaded spot overlooking the reservoir.  Supposedly the camp host on the C side isn’t very nice but we never heard a word out of him.  And the 8 of us could be pretty loud…one night well after 1am.

It was a long ride home yesterday and I was happy to get here and shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed.

Now just a few days and my best friend will be visiting for a whole week!!!  We will be attending a baseball game in Reno while she’s here and I am sure plenty of other shenanigans to blog all about.

The busy summer isn’t ending anytime soon.  But is quickly flying by.

Chow For Now,

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Our First Summer Vacation

I am here to say that we all survived our first summer vacation.   *Glamping away in our brand new camper that slept all 6 of us comfortably but by the end of 2 weeks I did realize how much I appreciate the square footage of my house when placed in a tiny space with all of us.

*glamping. n. 1. a form of camping in which participants enjoy physical comforts associated with more luxurious types of holiday

We went to the northern coast of California again this year and stayed in a little bayside town called Trinidad. Trinidad California I believe the population to be around 600 people…Wikipedia has it listed under 400 back in 2014.  If you include the population of freeloaders it’s probably a lot more.

We had one who climbed over the fence from the freeway, made her way through thick brush, and stopped to ask my husband for a cigarette.  She had been collecting butts of cigarettes, smoked by other people, all morning, apparently.  *shrivels at the thought*  She was sneaking in to use the shower facilities although it looked as though she hadn’t showered or brushed her teeth for quite some time.

She was about 20 something and I am guessing a heroine addict.

The campground we took over occupied for the majority of our trip was called The Emerald Forest.  I will be writing a review about the place in the near future.

The best part about staying there were the people who we camped with at the beginning of our stay.  They were from Redding, CA and were vacationing for the Father’s Day weekend.  They had kids who were our kids ages and taught 2 of my 3 littles to ride bikes without training wheels in literally a day.  Not to mention by the time nightfall rolled around all I had to do was put the 3 littles in their beds and they were out within minutes.

Campfire, cocktail, and shenanigan time!!!

Shenanigans included:

  • Pouring water in chairs without each other knowing
  • Poking each other with hot sticks
  • Roasting each other with witty comments
  • Karate chopping sticks
  • Laughing hysterically
  • Staying up way too late and probably disturbing other campers by breaking the quiet after 10pm rule

The following is a video of my teenage monster M after I had poured water in his seat and he sat in it…he pouted and went to bed.

The best part about the northwest coast of the US is that you can hike in the forest in the mornings and lay on the beach in the afternoons.  The average temperature during our stay was around 65*F.  The ocean water was super cold but the kids didn’t seem to mind as they still went in it.  As for me and the hubby, we just enjoyed watching them from the shore.

Below was the cove that we spent the majority of our beach time in…

Trinidad California Northwest Coast Ocean ForestTrinidad2Trinidad3Trinidad4

The first days hike was an easy one.  Trail was good and it was a little over 3 miles round trip.  But the next day was a lot rougher terrain and about 7 miles round trip.  I don’t care what my husband wants to argue about that.  My fitbit said so…

FitBit hiking steps miles tracking

When we started I was at around 1,000 steps and just under a mile logged.  The scenery was breathtaking though.  Or maybe that was just me out of breath and realizing that I need to get myself back to the gym.  On the other hand, my 4, 5 , and 6 year old were champs!  No strollers or carrying packs needed.

I will be posting more about our fabulous vacation so make sure you stay tuned!

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Vacation

 Lake Las Vegas  vacation pool sunshine fun 
It’s hard to believe that our vacation is coming to a close.  The week has flown by and we didn’t do a fraction of the stuff we wanted to.

I have discovered that vacationing without kids leaves you wanting to do nothing but relax and catch up on sleep.  Oh…and eat at restaurants that you wouldn’t normally eat at because the bill, when you have 4 kids,  would give you a small heart attack.

We only visited with a couple friends which was disappointing as I was hoping to see more but apparently everyone has lives and don’t have the time to take out of their schedules to come visit.  Just in case that sounded bad let me explain myself.

We drove 5 hours to drop our kids off with my mother, then sat in an airport for 4 hours to wait and board a plane for an hour flight.  By the time we got to our destination it was 10pm and our day started at 8am.

I feel that if I spent all that time to get here then anyone wanting to see me could find the time to come where I am rather then me driving all over the place to visit everyone.  Especially since I already took 14 hours to get here.

But on a lighter note, I have enjoyed spending this time rebonding with my husband,  who I have discovered is truly my best friend and the person who I enjoy spending my time with the most.  Well, next to my kids who I have missed like crazy and can’t wait to hug and squeeze them.  

Apparently they have been asking grandma how many more sleeps until mommy and daddy come get them.  I’m quite certain grandma is now counting the sleeps as well.  

I’m not looking forward to getting up at 4am on Sat and starting our journey home again which is actually going to take longer than it did to get here but in the end seeing the friends and family that we did made the journey well worth it.

 vacation Las Vegas  trip relax sleep fun friends 
So for now I’m going to enjoy our last 36 hours here…I’m going to sit by the pool, consume a few cocktails, eat some more great food, and embrace this time that I have left before the chaos returns. 

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~What Home Means To Me~

I was tagged by the lovely Debbie at Random Musings to describe what home means to me. I am usually quite horrible at responding to being tagged but this one peaked my interest.

When I was younger, teenage years, I didn’t like home.  This was due to the asshole step-father who resided there and made everyday a wonder of what was going to set him off.  All I wanted was to go t0 my friends’ houses, my friends who had normal parents and where no one was walking on egg shells.  But for some reason my mother insisted that I needed to be “home“.  I’m sure it’s because my step-father wanted no part of me to experience happiness.

When I left there and moved to Las Vegas, NV…I moved in with my dad while I attended school.  And as much as my dad went out of his way to let me decorate and redecorate and paint and repaint that house, it was still his house.  I have to give the man kudos, he let me put teal carpet in my room and the living room and even teal and white linoleum throughout the kitchen, dining room, and hallway.  Yes the 90’s were all about teal and mauve…blech!

90s home decor mauve teal
The next place I lived was a condo in which my then husband and I shared with a roommate.  A roommate who’s boyfriend eventually resided there as well…rent free and enjoyed lounging around in his underwear and never cleaning up after himself.  He also loved leaving the condo with every light on, the washer and dryer running constantly, and one time I came home to find he had left the gas stove on.

Let’s fast forward to the present because if I were to go through every place I’ve lived or called home this post could become long, drawn out, and boring.

Home for me now is where the family, in which I have created with my husband, all live together.  It’s not the sticks or stucco that create the walls but the screaming laughter that rings throughout them.  It’s not the tile or wood that make up the floors but the tiny footsteps I hear throughout the day and sometimes late at night, slamming running across them.

Oh let’s cut the crap!

It’s the kitchen in which I slave away trying to cook good meals for my family to eat, only to hear my husband give me an opinion which I didn’t ask for.  **puts tongue in cheek**

It’s the piles of laundry, toys strung from one end of the house to the other, dust that always seems to land on a constantly moving fan, blankets never on the beds in which they belong, dog hair…dog fucking hair EVERYWHERE!

 

home memories mess
**BITCH SLAP**

 

The syrup and jam lurking in crevices of the kitchen that I inevitably stick my hand or more likely step my foot in.  It’s the never ending bundles of socks stuck in the cushions of the couch and shoved under beds and in drawers where clean clothes lie.  Like seriously could someone please explain to me how it takes less effort to shove a sock in a drawer than to just PUT IT IN THE HAMPER?!?!

home mess messy heart
It’s the collection of empty soda cans that my husband likes to accumulate on his nightstand and the toothpaste splattered across his entire mirror like he was trying to practice splatter painting while brushing his teeth.

It’s the bedroom in which my 15 year old son resides in…one must never go in there….EVER.

teenagers mess kids rooms
Even as I sit here writing this post and my eyes somehow wander over to our poor, pathetic, dry, dead tree that if so much as a spark from a candle landed on…it would light up like the Griswald family Christmas tree.  The kids have rearranged every ornament and I’m quite certain the tree had been pissed on in the wild…no fab pine smell this year.  But it’s our tree, in our home, and it only has a few more days to go.

My home is where my family is busy making messes and memories.  Where in the midst of all the chaos I am reminded that all the noisy insanity is better than being alone and going insane from the loneliness of silence. **imagines herself in a nice hot bubble bath, glass of wine in hand, silence**. “MOMMY?!?!”

Back to reality…the reality that this is my home and it’s the best place where I can be myself, lounge around in sweat pants with holes, have messy hair, cry, laugh, fart, be an absolute bitch, and my family will still love me.

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That’s A Wrap ~ November 28, 2015

That's A Wrap Week 2

Did everyone survive the Thanksgiving holiday?  I did by stuffing the turkey with Xanax and consuming large amounts of wine.

However…I forgot to take a single picture of the food that I slaved away in the kitchen all day making.  **wipes her nose with her sleeve**

bitmoji Thanksgiving2015 turkey feast

We woke up to a wonderful white Thanksgiving morning where the snow actually was stuck to the ground and the kids of course scurried around in search of any snow gear that fit.  Their daddy doesn’t like them going out in the cold without being bundled up like the poor boys from “Christmas Story”.  I say let them go out how they want…they will defrost.

Thanksgiving holidays snow kids

My father joined us for Thanksgiving this year and he even stayed at our house instead of a hotel or in his Winnebago.  I made sure I had plenty of Bacardi and coke on hand for him.  This pic was taken after he had a couple of them.

Thanksgiving2015 grandparents fun humor

Earlier in the week I volunteered to help with my mini monster B’s class feast. 23 kids, 8 parents, and a shit ton whole lot of food made for quite the chaotic event but watching my son light up as I walked through his classroom door and telling his teacher that “his mommy is awesome” was all worth it.  Mine would be the one in the red shirt consuming his “turkey figurine made from Oreos” while his plate of food sits untouched an arm length away.

kindergarden feast Thanksgiving2015 turkey food yummy

On Friday afternoon we took the entire Souzaville clan to pick out our 2015 Christmas tree.  We also got it home all in one piece and even decorated it and got the rest of the Christmas decorations up.

Christmas2015 tree decorations

Earlier in the week I had made little beaded tree decorations shaped like candy canes and wreaths with the kids.  (You can find the link on my Everything Christmas Pinterest board)  I guess I am kind of making this into a tradition so that when they are older they can see the ones they have made along the years.  Last year it was globes with their handprints but I don’t think one of them made it to see the light of this year so we may have to redo those.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and remembered all that there is to be thankful for.  I know I have tons to be thankful for each and everyday.

Have a fabulous week!

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Prehistoric Gardens ~ Gold Beach, OR

We discovered Prehistoric Gardens by accident while driving up the coast on our summer vacation this year.  It sits 17 miles north of Gold Beach, OR and is an absolute must stop if you have anyone in the car who loves dinosaurs!

All the dinosaurs are life size and the walking path leads you through a beautiful prehistoric/rainforest garden.  It’s been nestled along highway 101 since 1955.  The self guided tour, with a map, took us about an hour to complete and it’s easily stroller and wheelchair accessible.

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibitEvery exhibit has a little sign with information about that particular dinosaur.  It even sounds out the proper pronunciation which was a good thing because some of those names I couldn’t pronounce if I tried.

There are 23 dinosaur exhibits total.  You aren’t allowed behind the fenced area which kind of made it hard with the kids wanting to “pet” all the dinosaurs but I can understand why they do it that way.  The history of the place took a lot of time and dedication to make.

Admission was $12 for adults and $8 for kids 3-12.  Seniors get a discount at $10 and children 2 and under are free.  I did find this to be a little pricey considering there were 6 of us and it took less than an hour, but I am sure that it takes a lot of money to maintain and pay for such a precious piece of land nestled near the coast.  Dogs are also allowed as long as they are on a leash and of course be courteous and clean up after them.  I hate when I see dog owners who let their dogs poo wherever and then don’t clean it up.Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

I also have to comment on how clean the restrooms were here.  I have 2 girls and anytime I come across a clean restroom it is a plus!  There is also a little gift shop with souvenirs to purchase at the end of the tour.

It was a great time spent and of course great exercise after being cooped up in the car for a while.

If you would like to check out their website click here.

For their Facebook page click here.

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit

Prehistoric Gardens Gold Beach OR vacation travel dinosaur exhibit So if you ever find yourself traveling along highway 101 in southern Oregon, make sure you stop and check this place out!  Hopefully your children will cooperate more than mine did for taking a picture.

Safe Travels,

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