I wasn't going to let Robert's crazy work schedule keep me from having a little summer get-a-way, so I took the kids and some swimsuits down to Angela's house in Oakdale for a week of fun in the sun.
The one thing I can't quite get over is that I drove the 670 mile trip all by myself. Actually, that was 670 miles one way. So I guess I drove 1340 miles all by myself. I feel like I can do anything now.
We left last Thursday at 3:30 am. Crazy you say? It's not. Getting an early start was wonderful. I was perfectly awake (my sleepy time is always in the afternoon) and there were only truckers in the slow lane on the road. And by 7am, we'd already had 250 miles under our belts.
Making this trip by myself was a big deal for me. But we also did a lot of other things.
We went out for yummy sushi. All the kids like sushi except for Jonah, who was a good sport and tried some anyway. Isaac mostly likes California roll, so he didn't partake of the more exciting pieces. Which only left more for me. Yum!
The restaurant was new and while the food was excellent, there were several service issues. This bowl of chicken udon was one. I'd asked the waitress about food for my two boys who weren't going to eat a lot of sushi. "How big is the bowl of udon?" I asked. It was $9, so I assumed it would be a family-sized bowl. "Does it feed four?"
She looked confused so I said, "or does it feed two?"
"Yes, it feeds two," she said, and I asked for her to bring it out with an extra bowl so Jonah and Isaac could share.
As you can see from the picture above, the bowl was way more than enough for two little boys. The bowl was so large, the spoon kept falling into it and getting lost among the noodles and chicken. I was irritated since it was so inconvenient and unwieldily. Could the waitress not have made a more appropriate suggestion?
After sushi we went out for Thrifty ice cream, which is really now Rite Aid ice cream. Then we headed over to Uncle Andrew's fire station. The kids got to sit in the trucks and even work the lights (but not the siren) on one of them.
The next day we drove out to Columbia, about a 40 mile drive. Columbia is a preserved gold-rush town and was at one time, the second biggest city in California. It was really interesting and I could have easily spent more time there.
Angela bought all the kids bags of chicken feed and we went to feed the chickens--the same breed that was originally kept in Columbia. Eggs were a valuable commodity among the argonauts, sometimes selling for as much as $3 each.
We enjoyed listening to a street musician play authentic old west songs like "Ring of Fire," and "King of the Road." Although none of the kids would dance, I emptied out my change and let them drop coins into the musician's bucket. I'm sure he was thinking he'd rather hear the silence of dollars dropping than the plink of quarters, dimes and nickels. Oh well. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit.
We bought candy at Nelson's Candy Kitchen, and no, they don't give discounts to people who's last name is Nelson. We asked. Jonah was pretty excited about his milk chocolate California bear. I got rocky road fudge, Ethan got peanut brittle and Isaac got classic gummy penguins and frogs, just like the old miners used to enjoy after a hard day of panning for gold.
They offered stage coach rides for $6 each--$3 extra if you wanted to ride shotgun up on top. We passed on paying for the ride because we were going to get old fashioned photos done of the kids. However, when we went to inquire, there was a 2 hour wait. We will just have to do that another time.
Just past Columbia there is a trout fishing farm. They provide the rods, bait, net and that hook remover thingy and we pay by the inch after we catch the fish. We ended up with four lovely trout that Andrew prepared fabulously on the grill when we got home.
Jonah was so excited when he pulled out his fish. "My first fish! My first fish! Mom! Get a picture!" (I did, but it didn't turn out very well.)
We didn't do much else at Angela's house. Except bowling, playing video games, attending a ward diner and seeing Madagascar 3. Oh yeah--and swimming.
We swam in the afternoon and in the evening. And we would have swam in the morning too, but it was usually too cool.
There were lots of cannon balls and belly flops. We floated and dove and played sharks and minnows. (And when I saw "we," I mean "the kids." I just mostly floated.)
The kids, for the most part, got along just fine and the minute we walked in the door from our 11 hour drive, Jonah asked if he could Skype with Calvin. Later that night, before bed, he came into my room and said, "Mom, I miss Calvin." And then, first thing this morning: "Mom, is it too early to Skype with Calvin?"
I should also mention that the food was delicious and Angela and I stayed up late doing digital scrapbooking and watching movies and attempting to watch North and South (I don't think Angela is convinced parts 2, 3 and 4 will be worth her time.)
What we did, was have an amazingly great time.