we made it home

Home.

I LOVE that we are home…

our pets, our garden, our couch. our routine… i LOVE it all.

back home meant back to work too. i’m trying to find a balance between my reality and how I want to live. I would love to live simply, have less, relax more be at peace. I know I’ve said it before and if we’ve ever talked I’m sure you’ve heard the words too. I’m a very laid back person always have been. I let most everything roll right off. But with kids that really isn’t an option. I have to be present, involved… I have to care. And I do with out a doubt. However it frustrates me that I can’t be the “me” i knew. that I can’t just be…

anyways… so I’m trying to find a balance and maybe writing again is part of it. we shall see.

HOME…

the garden runith ( how do you spell that?)  over ! Seriously I have 2 zucchini that are a big as my thigh. that’s a hole lota squash!

thought I’d try my hand at some zucchini butter.

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(mind you I’ve made cake, brownies, baked, grilled, par boiled, froze and battered it)

it’s only July and i think the Clarke house is zucchinied out.

and while I was busy in the kitchen the boys were keeping busy too… as boys often do.

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now yes i know California is in a drought… no water at camp sites… we have to conserve…drought.

BUT…. seeing my boys laughing and playing together nicely… totally worth it!

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ahhh summer. ahhh HOME!

Yosemite

It is everything they say it is….
Grande os!
Your driving. ..there’s tree(it’s beautiful)… Then Boom!
Ahhhahhhahhh! Half dome!

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What?!!!!!
We keep telling the kids “look up! This is amazing! ”
I couldn’t capture just how emense the landscape is here.
Unlike the other places we’ve visited this park is really touristy.  Kind of a double edge sword. .. I’m glad to see the money coming in the park but the amount and quality of people is just not what I’d expect being in a national park.

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That said we saw the main sights took a few small hikes and I even snuck in a nap.

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Much needed I might add. The hotel’s put me on edge so I hadn’t slept well since before Redding.  That and one of our kiddos is VERY verbal in her sleep…

Knowing Wednesday was our last day made the dad and I gitty…

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It has been fun but I can say without a doubt all 6 of are ready to go home.

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The monk put together a really thought out museum at our site, made from rocks and sticks. It had a road, campground, ranger station,  waterfall, parking, and recreation area.

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Open for business

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Love her!
RT made and Indian village with a Christmas tree at center stage

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So…homeward bound!

Our last day in Redding

To let you in on a little secret we had very high hopes for this town.  We wanted to find a place north and fall in love with it…
Why? You ask. ..
Because we love finding amazing destinations and falling in love with them of course.

Unfortunately the hotel we stayed in the past 2 nights was booked solid so we had to move… One entire block.
No big D…
Said the girl that didn’t load and unload the g – ride for the umpteenth time.
Today we just hung out in Redding.
Hit up the very cool and famous sundial bridge. And yes it really tells time…

Then we took of to Whiskeytown
It’s about the size of a shot glass *ha get it?*

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Full of history… my favorite little stops!
It’s a National recreational area which also have Jr. Ranger programs.  Did you know this? We had no idea. The kids are digging these badges… and they are unknowingly learning a ton. And the hikes they suggest for the kids are always stunning. .. As you can see

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“Take the discovery trail and describe something special you find”
Uh check!

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Not a good picture but look at those chicken legs… I swear I’m feeding them!

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Well let me just tell you… we fell in love!

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Oregon and Redding

Last night we pulled into Redding; it was a very humid 99 degrees! The lake that we had originally booked a cabin was very, very, very low. Not much of a lake to be honest.  The Shasta forest is beautiful.The drive was long but a few ballads about snow covered peaks and our spirits were lifted again.

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To get here we decided to boogie north through Oregon. Thought we’d stop off at a few national monuments that appear “right off the road”. Well they weren’t so we only stopped at one. Oregon caves.
It was very cool… from the outside.
We were a bit ill prepared for a caving adventure.
  But….The kids including the bear earned their Jr. Rangers badges.  It’s pretty rad they have one from Oregon I think.  I didn’t have my camera either.
Boo….

A good meal, a warm shower, and we were feeling great.

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The mood of trip has come in waves. They are literally trying to kill one another one minute then singing and sharing markers the next. I have yet to figure out the rhythm of it all. Full stomachs seems to help but only half the time. They are not wearing out the way I thought they would either. Which is annoying*hahaha but really what the heck they should be exhausted too!

Today we did a beautiful EASY 1.2 mile hike at McArthur Burney falls.

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3 out 4  complained non stop the entire time about either being tired, having to pee of course (seriously… This one makes me want to play in traffic) or wanting to know what we’re doing next.

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Again… I want to run in traffic. .. can’t we all just enjoy this “just for 1 blasted minute! ”

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Anyways after said hike they were more full of energy then when we started.
Oy!

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On a super cool note for the mom we stopped at a very tiny road side cafe and had a delicious lunch. Everything was handmade and local. The beef was from the cows 5 miles up the road. And the coolest part it wasn’t even a big d… that’s just how they roll in these parts.

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So cool…

We hit up Lassen volcano national park. But tempers were hot and to be honest I’ve just put that part of our jont behind me…

We’re staying in redding another night. Why?
Because the dad and I are really really exhausted… and we can so we are.
Ya hear me…

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Now I’ve been sitting in the hotel laundry room writing so i better get folding. Thank heaven for in hotel laundry. .. i hit up my first laundry mat in Cresent city earlier this week. Pretty awesome. .  I may have already mentioned that….

Redwoods state and national parks

Holy national forest batman!
Trees trees beautiful trees… This place is  like a whole nother world. Our camp site at mill creek was beautiful; very, very, very dense forest. Reminded me of the U.P. except for the completely different kind of trees growing…Moss grows on everything there and to our surprise it’s not a soft as it looks.

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We did a few hikes…

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We had a creek running through it all. Throwing stones has become a major pass time for the crew. That and finding these amazingly vibrant yellow banana slugs.

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It’s funny how the kids really don’t have a concept of how far from home we are or how long we’ve been gone or all the amazing  sights we’ve seen.

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This will be a trip of spotted memories for them.
Like becoming Jr.  Rangers!

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The dad and I will remember it forever as the summer we started our camping adventures with the kids.

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The bear camping in a hot pink tierra. 
R.T. wadding up to his next trying to cross a river. Boo using a camp chair as a walker pretending to be an old man walking the site. And the Monk worrying about the safety and well being of every passer by finally letting go and taking a deep breath. ..

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A summer adventure to remember.

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Tomorrow we hit our halfway mark. I canceled the cabin and booked a suite at the hampton. .. breakfast included!
I’m not out to prove anything. .. I WANT some amenities!  We’ve passed far too many sketchy cabins in the past 5 days I wasn’t about to risk my only 2 back to back hotel nights… Ya hear me….

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Next stop Redding. .. By way of Oregon. .. might as well it’s just a short drive away!

Point Reyes National Seashore

This morning we broke down camp and headed out to Point Reyas. The fog was thick. So much so we couldn’t see the sea. It’s a cool area nothing but huge cattle farms that were established over 150 years ago and 360 views. I couldn’t help but think these cows have it better then most of the population.  We saw deer too standing there grazing with miles of Pacific Ocean at their backs. Incredible. ..

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We camped at Samuel P. Taylor state park…. The kids made some friends and played their hearts out.

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When night fell so did they swift and soft. For the first time this trip…

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We crossed the golden gate bridge yesterday… One small bear had reached her breaking point (hence the awesome looks on everyone’s faces).

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Oh I was there too…

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It feels like an adventure.  It’s cool being far from home and feeling at ease. Really reminds me that I truly have all that I need just having the dad and my kids. I do miss my fred though…. oh the Fred would love it here.

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Big Basin of the Redwoods

I’ve decided the first night at any campsite is rough….I want so bad for them to be quite and just take it all in. The boy wants so bad to to be old enough to see and do on his own. It has been more stressful then either of us anticipated.  By morning everyone is in their own groove, the dad and I are comfortable with our surroundings enough to allow them to explore and everyone is happy.
The trees here are beautiful. Each with its own personality.
It is very grounding being in the presence of such grandure. The land is open and uninhibited for as far as the eye can see. The ocean is the ocean