sycamore canyon camping

We went on our third annual camping trip with the Chos on the 4th of July weekend. (Third! Imagine that. Here's the second and the first.) This year, we went with another family, the Thompsons, so there was a total of seven children on this trip ranging in age from 7 to 11. This year's bunch of kids was older and therefore bolder and we were outnumbered. On our first night, they went off and started their own campfire, and also initiated their own hike up a nearby hill after dinner, which alarmed the heck out of us grownups when we realized those little mountaineers in the distance were our children. In retrospect, it was our alarm that caused Nacho to start hurrying downhill, which caused him to start tumbling down (it was a f***ing steep hill), and we could only watch in horror. My horror being the worst, as you can imagine. Anyway, he got cut pretty badly but he was okay. After I used up the big band-aids, I had to patch him up with panty liners and those worked pretty well. Haha. I can laugh about it now.

view from inside tent the kids' campfire kids dinner

We (I) managed to regain our (my) bearings later that first evening. We carried on with the marshmallow-roasting and s'mores-making, and it being the 4th of July, we even had our own little celebration with glow sticks and confetti poppers.

under a crescent moon glowing in the dark

The next morning after breakfast, we -- minus Nacho and Thomas T., who stayed behind -- went on a short hike. The trail ended at an overlook, from which we could see the ocean and Thornhill Broome beach. Serendipitously, there was cellphone service up there, and I was able to text Baloo, who was joining us later that day, to please bring bandages for Nacho. After going back to camp and having lunch, all of us headed for the beach, a short walk away. The waves were huge, but the kids (all of them, including my injured son) were daring. I really tried not to freak out. We saw dolphins and a seal.

end of trail sounding their barbaric yawps kids meet wave photo by nancy

We headed back at past 4 p.m. to clean up and take showers and to make dinner. This was the start of my favorite part of the trip. I also drank a lot of wine, which helped. Julie and I were happily inebriated over dinner, while the kids, who were done eating by then, ran off to play freeze-tag in the gulch at the foot of what was now "Iggy's Hill." "It's like Lord of the Flies down there," observed Maria T. and my god we couldn't agree more. (The grownups did stop them from building another fire this time, though.) Later that night, we gathered around the (official, adult-approved) campfire and made more s'mores (and drank more wine) and played a movie guessing game. Before retiring to our tents, Arthur gave me half a melatonin pill. I slept for two hours tops.

070514 clothesline grilling chicken kabobs

On the drive home the next day, my kids couldn't stop talking about how this was The Most Fun Camping Trip Ever! I was glad they thought so. It was quite an adventure. But my nerves were frayed. I needed to recuperate.

family selfie

We're all better now, by the way, and ready to go camping again. Oh yeah.


june: summery|summary

Little India on Father's Day.
asha & imo dresses for sale mom & dresses

A crazy quick visit to LACMA.
noodle sculpture sam doyle paintings artist at work "mulholland drive" painting by david hockney

A backyard barbecue, birthday parties.
the spread rainier cherriesiced teas sidewalk chalk piñata

Swimming and more barbecue and hanging out at Lille & Adam's.
y&a nacho jah & lille jump drawing "no big hair..."

Also, summer school. And gymnastics, karate, basketball. And lots of downtime at home.


at the drive-in

On Friday, we kicked off the summer break with a trip to the drive-in theater.

I love going to the drive-in -- getting the kids all showered and in their pajamas, packing blankets and dinner, getting in the car and traveling the 30 miles to Mission Tiki in Montclair. I love that it costs only $8 for adults and $1 for kids 5 to 9 years old (younger kids get in for free!), and that's for two movies! The modern drive-in is pretty much a huge parking lot with a big screen; the parking spaces have these ramps on them so you can park your car at an angle for a better view of the screen; the image quality is really quite decent, and sound is broadcast on FM radio. I love that we can all cozy up in the car and watch movies under the stars. I love that after the movies are over, the kids often fall asleep on the ride back home.

marquee before the movie in the car, eating how to train your dragon 2 - first feature

The Mendozas joined us on Friday. They brought banh mi sandwiches and milk tea drinks for everyone. We saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Maleficent (not that great, haha, but the kids enjoyed them). It was Olivia's first time at the drive-in and her cousins were more than happy to initiate her into what has become for us, come to think of it, a summertime tradition.

cousins screen

*The all-American drive-in, after its peak popularity in the 1950's and early 1960's, has experienced decline in the last 30 years, but I am glad that it seems to be recently undergoing a revival. Even so, according to a 2012 article in the New York Times (which also features Mission Tiki, our theater of choice), drive-ins are "an extremely fragile business" and only 368 remain in the U.S.


the lead-up to summer

so many trips to the huntington, i've lost count.
hanging out with lille, jah and adam in fullerton: railroad days. greek food. swimming.
a visit from howard. a visit from anna.
jacaranda trees.
mother's day weekend. coffee shops. a new old camera. gymnastics. shabu-shabu.
gymnastics in the courtyard. playing restaurant. building forts and fairy houses.
cinnamon rolls. buttermilk pancakes. banh mi, boba milk tea, vietnamese vermicelli salad, kbbq, bibimbap, tofu soup.
the south pas fun fair. face painting.
a train ride to downtown LA. the toy district. the last bookstore.
birthday parties. an outdoor concert. school open houses.
barbecues (and indoor grilling). a newly cleaned patio/balcony.
early evening walks. bright blue skies at 9 p.m.

japanese garden bamboo groveaustralian garden boys & miniature railroad town hello? flat bread with arugula, figs, manouri cheese, honey, olive oil yumi & nacho cheers anna & kara jacaranda-lined street coffees & argus more tickles shabu shabu practicing her back handspring in the courtyard playing restaurant vietnamese cold rice vermicelli water balloons kat here comes the train crossing broadway, downtown LA last bookstore window & plants saxophones n & his baritone past, present, futurelea salonga report balcony drive home