July 31, 2017

sequoia national park

After Yosemite, we spent one day in sequoia national park. My advice to anyone visiting this national park: don't go on the weekend. We found out if you do go on the weekend some roads and cool sites (like the tree you can drive through) are closed and so you have to get really lucky on a parking spot or take the shuttle around. With Perry, the shuttle was not an option for us. We figured out, a little too late, that we could've gotten a temporary parking pass to allow us to park closer for the day. But, as it was, we struggled a bit, but it all worked out.

The first time we stopped at one of the visitors centers, we were right next to a deer. Do you see it in the bushes there?

We were excited to see General Sherman. We had heard this was wheelchair accessible. And I guess it is, but because we didn't have the handicap parking pass with us so we parked at the general parking. To get from the general parking to see General Sherman the path is paved, but there are lots of stairs and it is more steep than not (we didn't know this when we started out). We just had to keep lifting the stroller, but we did it. And then we got up close to stand at the base of General Sherman. Looking up at that thing made me feel small, in a good way, and left me with a sense of awe and wonderment.

We also got to climb up to Moro Rock. Perry was having a rough day so we didn't want to push him to climb up the 400 steps with us. So we divided up. Eric took Layla and Kacin on the shuttle and they climbed to the top. When they returned, Kyler and and I took our turn to venture to the top. My favorite thing was that Kyler and I decided to skip the shuttle back and took the hiking trail instead. It felt so good to be out hiking and stretching our legs, if only for a short time. I made Kyler run part of the way, too and he loved that (ha ha). Anyways, Moro rock had amazing, breathtaking views!


Just like Yosemite, it would've been so great to stay longer at sequoia national park and explore a little more, but with the time we had we enjoyed our visit immensely.

July 28, 2017


After we left San Francisco, we drove to Yosemite. It was our first time enjoying that beautiful place. But I probably would've enjoyed it more if we had stayed there overnight instead of driving in, then driving two hours back to a hotel, then driving two hours to get back in the next morning. But when a frugal husband makes the plans (last minute plans so there is no camping available), that's what you do. ;)

The first thing we did was stop at Bridalveil Fall.

Like I mentioned in my last post, we celebrated Layla's 6th birthday while we were there.

We spent time playing at Sentinel Beach.

We walked along the trails in the valley.

We stopped at the visitors center and watched the movie about Yosemite in the theater.

Isn't this so sweet? Little Layla taking care of her dear brother, Perry.

We enjoyed Lower Yosemite Fall.

Other snippets of our time there:
-Layla got her first splinter during one of our walks. She screamed like no other and would not calm down about it, but refused to let us use tweezers to get it out. We eventually convinced/tricked her to let us use the tweezers and got it out in one second and so she learned tweezers are our friend.
-Parking there was a beast, especially on Friday.
-I was still incredibly grateful for that stroller that allowed us to do things that otherwise would've been super challenging.
-Eric took Layla and the older boys over the rocks to get closer to each waterfall.
-The river water was cold, but so much fun to play in. Probably everyone's favorite thing we did!
-We ate lunch on a bench in the Yosemite cemetery.
-We ate dinner on a table surrounded by huge flies. Gross.
-Driving through the park with the windows down surrounded by all that beauty!

There were so many things we didn't get to do while we were there, but we got our feet wet and now we know so we can plan our next trip there.

July 27, 2017

her golden birthday

our sweet, independent, creative, shy, loving, artistic, imaginative little girl turned 6.

We knew we would be on vacation on her actual birthday so we planned her birthday party a few weeks early. She had a "Splash and Sparkle" swim party with friends from school and church. Since it was her golden birthday, I tried to make sure we got a few gold decorations mixed in with her favorite color, pink.

She got pretty good at blowing up balloons.

When it was time to sit at the table for cake and ice cream, she decided she did not want to wear her birthday crown after all.

And she was a little nervous having everyone sing happy birthday to her. But deep down I think she loved it.

Really, her only request was a pinata. She picked out a Little Mermaid pinata and helped me fill it with treats. Then after swimming and before cake, the girls all took turns whacking that piƱata.

On her actual birthday, we drove to Yosemite. Spending the day surrounded by all this gorgeousness and eating cupcakes and opening presents by a waterfall is not a bad way to spend a birthday, I think.

We love you, L Belle! You are such a light in our family!