I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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Archive for the ‘every trip is a honeymoon’ Category

September 22, 2014

A few days of summer in Mammoth

We spent a nice extra long weekend up in the Sierras before preschool started again and wow, I have missed it up there. Summer is such a perfect time to visit with small children. We’ll be putting Dash on skis for the first time this winter and that will be a whole different sort of adventure, but it was so nice to explore Mammoth without snow too.

There are big time perks to potty training with boys. The world is your toilet! Also big time perks to having an older brother show you the ropes. Mama is not sad to be (mostly) done with diapers.

As you can see we played in this creek quite a bit.

Puzzles with grandma and grandpa, watching woodpeckers from the deck.

Our first big hike as a family. Okay, maybe big isn’t the right word. But certainly our first real hike. Dash was such a trooper and Forrest was pretty happy snoozing in the backpack on our way past Devil’s Postpile and down to Rainbow Falls.

Lunch just tastes better outside after a long morning on the trail.

Mammoth is such a sweet town. It’s high up in the Eastern Sierras so the landscape is spectacular, especially if you’re able to take longer day hikes. But even if you stick close to town there’s beautiful scenery and exploring to be had. It just *smells* great in the mountains, you know? I’m trying to figure out how we can spend a month up here next summer.

This is a wildly incomplete list, but here are a few of our favorite spots.

Stay: Rent a house or condo, of course! Before my parents bought their house, we stayed at Snowcreek in the summers. It’s right on the meadow and includes access to community pools and a nice athletic club, with tennis, golf, and classes. There’s lots of camping options too, and a lodge and cabins near the lakes if that’s your thing.

Ride: Bikes! Rentals are available, including trailers, throughout town. We rented from Footloose because we’ve been renting stuff from them for forever. Also ride the town Trolley everywhere. It’s free and cute. The guys and I rode the entire loop just for fun a bunch of times. Boys and buses. You can’t go wrong.

Hike: Take the shuttle from the Main Lodge down to Red’s Meadow where you can access trails to all sorts of hiking and picnicking spots. Devil’s Postpile is neat and there are a few lakes to visit too. We hiked from Devil’s Postpile Campground to the bottom of Rainbow Falls and then took the shuttle back from the Red’s Meadow store. There are also a bunch of gorgeous, long day hikes from the valley up into the higher elevations. Minaret Lake and Thousand Island Lake in particular. Though these would be for those not dragging the children along.

Fish and Boat: Above town at the Twin Lakes. We rode bikes up the pass one afternoon which was awesome, but you can also take the trolley if that’s more your speed. Or take the trolley up and ride down. There’s lots of camping and cabin options up there too. And access to more beautiful day hikes as well: Mammoth Crest Trail and Duck Pass are favorites.

Eat: We mostly eat at home when we’re up here, but we had a delicious dinner at Campo in the Village and loved their patio with a Bocce court. Parents drink and eat, children throw things in a contained environment. Win! The Stove for the biggest, most popular breakfast in town. Mammoth Brewing Company pours delicious pints every day of the week. And there’s a sweet little natural foods market in town too. (There are loads of other options too, including some lovely higher end restaurants. But do we go there these days? Nope.)

Play: The meadow at SnowCreek. Mammoth Creek Park. The Adventure Center at the Main Lodge. The Mountain Bike park. Our cul-de-sac for high altitude scooting. Also golf and fly fishing and there are loads of summer “festivals” up there throughout the season. Plus the Village usually has games out for kids and hosts free movie nights too. And don’t forget the hot springs outside of town.

I suppose I could go on forever, but this is a good start, I think. We haven’t been up in the Summer for years and it was so awesome to see how fun and busy the town has become during the warmer months.

July 14, 2014

Our first camping trip

Our first camping trip with kids, that is. It was totally awesome, truly. Also a little challenging at times, as you might imagine. But really really a great trip. I grew up camping on the regular, to the desert and mountains and Mexico. All over the place. And I used to complain that I just wanted to go to Hawaii like normal people (LOL), but we always had a great time in the dirt once we got there. I hope this trip hooks our kiddos too. Dash wasn’t ready to leave and neither were we.

We laughed at how much of our gear arrived at camp with REI tags still in place. Apparently camping is a low key, low cost trip only after the 15th trip, when the initial gear investment begins to pay off.

The river right below our site was so super beautiful all day long. Particularly in the evening when it was cooler and the light was perfect. The big boys loved their first “fishing” experience. I brought them each a butterfly net, which quickly became a net for scooping sand out of the river.

His lovey was sooooooo dirty by the end. Had to run all the kids’ clothes through three wash cycles to get the dirt out.

Brock does not like to see a weekend pass without a Manhattan, so naturally he made them with a headlamp on top of the bear box whilst camping. We could not have fit one more item into our car, and he still made from for cocktail supplies. I like that in a man.

Little Bowie. The camper of all campers. I don’t think this little guy sat still for three days.

J and D watching a bear on the other side of the river. You can see the little black shape that kind of looks like a dog if you look closely.

Coffee just tastes better when you drink it outdoors in Falcon Enamelware.

Aren’t Jason and Laura the cutest? Good friends really make a vacation special.

I made the older guys each a collecting box that they could fill with treasures from around the campsite. And we brought a big box of art supplies for down time. They didn’t get nearly as into that as I thought they would, but next time maybe. A mom at our preschool gave me a great tip to just make a camping art box and leave it with the camping supplies. After seeing how incredibly dirty camping with kids can be, I’m glad I followed her advice. I stocked up at Target on Kid Made Modern supplies, and now we’re all set for our next trip!

Creating a space at camp that felt a little more “inside” with a shade and rug and chairs was nice for a little down time. The more gear the better, if you ask me. Quite a change from our backpacking days when we’d agonize over whether to bring one pen or two.

My big guy is so super into letters and forms and names right now. I love watching him devote such intense focus to creating things with his pens. Over a morning cup of hot cocoa. I think he might take after his mama in that regard.

Laura and I had a Google spreadsheet going to plan meals and gear between our two families. Works great when you’re trying to organize a trip that requires so much, well, organization. We also texted each other about 400 times in the week leading up to departure.

Forrest wasn’t too sure about a late evening walk over to the ranger campfire show, but he road along pretty happily in our Phil & Ted’s backpack. Staying up late is one of the joys of camping for little ones, don’t you think?

The only thing I wish is that we’d stayed longer! But alas this trip was really just to get our confidence up, and our gear in order. Plus we are at the end of escrow on a new house at the moment (fingers crossed!) and really couldn’t be away for that long anyway. There were plenty of people who were quite anxious that they couldn’t reach us for four days as it was. Did I mention we had no cell service? No phone! No internet! No instagram! It was awesome.

We managed to plan 4 new camping trips while we were gone so hopefully by next summer we really will be pros. We have a tent the size of a small apartment, which I think means we’re committed for a least a few years of outdoor adventuring.

If you’re curious, we camped at Sheep Creek campground in Cedar Grove at the bottom of King’s Canyon. We had a huge site above the river, number 12, I think. We drove through all four campgrounds there to find the best spot available (naturally), since they are all first come – first served. Would totally recommend this spot! There’s a nice swimming beach at the end of the road (literally called Road’s End) with rocks for jumping and a sweet little meadow walk that’s perfect for kids. You can also access the trail there for a really beautiful backpacking trip (Rae Lakes Loop) from there and some nice day hikes too.

My lingering sentiment about the trip: CAMP MORE!

April 20, 2012

this weekend…

We’ll be here. By ourselves. Without Dashie. For the first time ever.


Considering I blew through all three Hunger Games books last week, I’m in desperate need of a new read. Any suggestions (preferably slightly more adult) would be much appreciated this morning.

March 12, 2012

Family trip to Mexico

So behind on posts. Geez. How about a few photos from Mexico? I’m thinking I will catch up and then I will totally be back in the routine of regular posting. Yes, quite sure that’s how it will work.

Funny story about this trip… we were supposed to go with 12 other friends. We were the only people flying out of LA, since tickets were expensive and seats were scarce, so everyone else bought tickets to fly out of Tijuana. No problem! Until the airline canceled all flights to Loreto from TJ, and we were the only ones left with tickets. We decided to go anyway and just enjoy the time as a family before we’re on house arrest this summer after the new bebe comes. Super glad we did.

Highlights: Dashiell at the beach, Dashiell at the pool, the local farmer’s market, horchata, charred jalapeños with salsa and chips, a Cirque du Soleil style performance on a sailboat by a French family, making simple food with simple ingredients, warm tortillas, clear water, no plans.

Not quite as warm as we’d hoped for, but still a really nice time together as a family. We love going to Mexico.

January 25, 2012

To Austin, Texas

A very quick trip to Austin over the weekend for The Cream… It’s such an awesome city, you guys. I was feeling a little gutted that we didn’t have more time to wander the streets, eating and shopping, and taking it in. I cannot wait to go back for a family vacation. It seems like such a great family city.

I ended up with only photos of the Hotel San Jose (which was spectacularly perfect) and setting up at Mercury Hall (which is a super charming venue, btw). Here they are, because it’s what I did last weekend.

The city is so full of textures and colors and hand-painted signs. It’s such a genuine place, it seems. We loved it.

And the event was gorgeous, as always. Those poppies are from Liz of the Nouveau Romantics. They were insane, as were all of her flowers. And she’s such a nice person. Hi Liz! So fun chatting with you.

November 3, 2011

Palm Springs

A week late, but hey. That’s how things are going around these parts at the moment. We had a super time, as always. The Parker is such a great place to stay as a family, (even though it might not seem to be). The grounds are huge and they have a great pool, and we always stay in a big room with two bathrooms so Dashiell can sleep in one, and we can keep the lights on in our room after he goes to bed. It’s ideal.

A few photos from the weekend. Desert light is always so beautiful.

Somebody REALLY likes swimming. Can you tell? Also, we’ve found that a Fuzzi Bunz cover (without the liner) makes a great swim diaper/bathing suit. Just in case you were wondering.

Our one complaint about Palm Springs is that the food just kind of sucks. The “nice” places are all soooo expensive for meh food, which is a major pet peeve of mine. But there’s always Cheeky’s for breakfast or lunch, which is excellent. AND new to us, next door, a pizza and salad spot (by the same owners) called Birba. We went for dinner on Saturday night and it was pretty darn delicious. Hallelujah! Highly recommend it next time you’re out that way.

August 16, 2011

The big island

It’s one of those weeks again. You can tell because I completely drop off the face of the internet. So for those of you who have sent me nice emails, I’m totally reading them and I’ll totally get back to you! But I might be delayed a bit.

Now, how about a few photos of Hawaii before it’s been so long that no one cares anymore?

It was such a perfect spot to vacation with family. Tons of kids running around the resort, and parents drinking beer, and people swimming in the big bay. We’re planning to go back for sure. But I have to say, I do not love Hawaiian (vegetarian) food. It doesn’t really seem like a culinary destination, or did we miss something? Except for the fruit. That part was amazing.

Featured: the hubs, my parents, my brother, my cousin, my grandparents, and the cutest nearly 18-month-old ever. And for the curious, the red-eye home was horrendous, culminating when I tripped while walking off the airplane, up the ramp, carrying Dashiell in the Ergo after picking up our gate-checked carseat. It’s a miracle I didn’t entirely flatten him between myself, the carseat, and the ground. That was fun. Never again will I fly without each member of the family having his/her own seat. I say now.

Also while I was away I neglected to mention that I have a guest post up on new mama Bridget’s blog, and a Q&A on my friend Jamie’s blog, who I’ve known since way before blogs.

More soon!

July 29, 2011

Recs for the Big Island?

I’m calling on your expertise again, chickens. We’re leaving for Kona on Tuesday and while I don’t think we’ll be doing much more than playing in the sand and eating mangos, I do want to know what we absolutely shouldn’t miss. Restaurants? Hikes (possible with a baby on your back)? Best beaches?

I know we’ll be going over to Hilo one day for the epic farmer’s market and to visit my cousin’s new school. He starts at the University of Hawaii in a month.

We’re staying north of Kona at the Mauna Kea. Any tips?

I thank you as always for your super ideas!

May 16, 2011

Seaside and a wedding

Very tardy with these, I’m well aware. But here they are, finally. Seaside is, like all of you said, beautiful. It’s such a perfect family vacation town. Tiny, next to the beach, has a coffee shop, a farmer’s market, a fresh juice trailer, and bikes for rent. What more do you need, really?

I had no idea how pretty that part of Florida was. It’s really gorgeous, pine trees and white sand and everything. The only minor issue… I managed to get home with approximately zero photos of the cute town and gorgeous landscape. Not even one of the beach. OOOPS. But I have a few of the wedding festivities that I thought I’d share anyway. Most of the photos from the weekend ended up being of friends and babies. But here are a few of the celebration.

I assume you’ve seen the video of the little guy in action?

Isn’t Deja’s dress so cute?? Stripes!

Thank you all so much for your recommendations! We put them to good use and definitely wished we would have stayed an extra week. Perhaps we’ll be back for another visit.

April 26, 2011

What to do in Seaside, FL

Dearests, you always have such good ideas when I ask that I’m now unable to travel without first soliciting your opinions! Have any of you been to Seaside, Florida? (or Watercolor or Seagrove?) We’re headed there on Thursday morning for my friend Deja’s wedding. It looks so cute! But we know nothing about that part of Florida. Maybe some of you do?

I know that we’re planning to let Dashiell run around naked on the white sand beach, perhaps play tennis at the Watercolor Inn, and spend some time drinking beer with friends.

Any other must-dos? Hoping someone has been!