Wrapping-up Summer

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I just thought I’d pop on here to share a little bit about what we’ve been up to this summer! I feel like I just haven’t taken the time to write like I used to; partly because of our house remodel hell we were in for a year, partly because being a mom and having any sort of a social life is time consuming and I’ve put my blog on the backburner!

Aloha from Kaanapali

We semi recently spent a week in Maui with my parents and my brother’s family to celebrate my mom turning the big 6-0! Instead of having a big party, she decided the best gift she could have would be to spend a week with us in Maui. My parents paid for our plane tickets and everything and I’m so beyond grateful for the generous gift. I think when I’m 60, all I will want is a week in paradise with my husband, kids and grandkids too! It was honestly such a special time and I didn’t want to leave. The boys slept like little angels (they shared a bed) and everyone had such an amazing time. I think it really helped that we were all in separate condos, enabling us to spend tons of quality time together, but still having that bit of privacy – they’ve had a time share with the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas since 2005 and I finally got to see it haha. The grounds are stunning, the pools are so fun and it’s right on the beach – we will definitely be going back. We are already tentatively planning to have our 10 year wedding anniversary there (sans kids).

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Summer in Sacramento

Back at home, our summer has been consumed with summer camps, back-to-back kid fevers (womp womp), ice cream cones, BBQ’s, swimming and trying to finish our house. The big stuff was done prior to us moving back in, but we ended up taking on a lot of the finishing touches ourselves. Ryan bought a bunch of saws over the past year and they have sure gotten some use! We’ve saved a lot of money thanks to Ryan’s handy work – and since he’s a civil engineer and is super meticulous about everything, I know all the work is being done right. It’s been a long time coming, but we passed our final inspection right before we left for Maui! Hooray!

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Trip to SoCal

After being home from Maui for less than a week, I headed down to Orange County for a sorority friend’s baby shower (Alpha Phis where you at?). I went to a smallish private college called Chapman University in Orange, CA.  To this day, my sorority friends and I are close — even though we’re all sort of scattered across the country (with a clump of them in OC/LA) we always make sure to reunite every year or two. It’s been easy with all of our weddings and now baby showers, but we have plans to always continue our get-togethers as we grow old. I so cherish these friendships that have stood the test of time/distance!

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Update on the Kids

Porter starts Transitional Kindergarten (TK) next week! It’s crazy to me how fast he’s growing up, but I’m excited for this next chapter. His birthday is September 2, so he missed the Kindergarten age cut-off by one stinking day, but I’m grateful for the TK program they have these days for kids with fall birthdays! He’s also starting golf lessons soon, which he’s so excited about.  Porter’s dad, grandfather and great-grandfather are/were very skilled golfers. It’ll be interesting to see if Porter follows in their footsteps — either way, seeing Porter carrying around his cute little junior golf club set is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Preston (Presto) is still my little tornado and he’s not old enough for preschool – most preschools in our area have an age requirement of two years, nine months. Some of them are two years, seven months, but require potty training (unless you go to a daycare type of school). Preston turned two in March, so I’ve decided to just give it until next year when he’ll be old enough to attend Porter’s old preschool. He’ll get two years of preschool and I think that’ll be fine.

With school starting already, I sort of feel like “summer” is already coming to an end, even though I know it’s technically not. I’m totally ready for pumpkins and fall (can I get an amen?) and for these damn NorCal fires to be put out. I’ve been living in smokey air for like two weeks now — I know it sounds whiney considering all the people who lost their homes, but I’m an asthmatic and this smoke is killing me!

I’m going to end this blog post with two sources of entertainment I recently discovered:

  1. Iliza Shlesinger’s Elder Millennial Netflix Special (so funny, and so relatable since I’m 33 and considered an older millennial) She’s funny on Instagram too: https://www.instagram.com/ilizas/?hl=en
  2. S-Town Podcast (totally sucked me in) 

Mitchell Family Holiday Photos 2017

Photo shoots are HARD when you have a four year old and a nineteen month old. With Porter, we were dealing with smile refusals and attitude problems. With Preston, we were dealing with just general crazy behavior that mostly included running away when we put him somewhere to stand or sit or even heaven forbid we hold him and he isn’t diving head first to the ground. I tried bribing with food, but it was ineffective.

Somehow our photographer managed to capture some moments that made it look like we have our *ish* together, so thanks for that Jacki Raney. Hopefully we can fool everyone that’s on our Christmas card list. And thank the Heavens above for Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping for giving me something to wear. My outfit is linked below and I really think every girl should buy these shoes.

Sam Edelman Leopard heels (on sale for $119 from $140 – kind of a splurge for me, but I’ve been obsessed with these forever and plan on wearing the heck out of them)

Plaid Shirt (only $15 with a looser boyfriend-ish fit)

Tulle Skirt (Under $30 and comes in every color you could ever want)

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California Mom’s guide to Gibson Ranch Country Park

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“We passed through Sacramento on the way to Tahoe” was a statement I heard often during the six years I lived in Orange County and later, Los Angeles. It was said innocently, but it always kinda irked me because my hometown has so much more to offer than your average passer through town and I never understood why more people couldn’t make the distinction between Sacramento and say, Modesto (no offense to Modesto). Home to over a million residents, the Sacramento region has an NBA team, a United Soccer League team (there’s talk about them becoming an MLS team) and a minor league baseball team, which is a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. It also has a lengthy history dating back to Sutter’s Fort, The Gold Rush and the Central Pacific Railroad. It’s home to the Crocker Art Museum which houses internationally recognized art pieces, not to mention our rich pool of local artists. We have endless nightlife options and a booming restaurant scene (even according to our Bay Area frienemies). PLUS, we’ve been declared the ‘Farm-to-Fork’ Capital of America, which means you can rest assured that your food is most likely sustainably sourced from a nearby farm. I should probably also mention that Sacramento is the Capital of the sixth largest economy in the world, but I’m assuming you already know that.

californiamomsimage-1Hopefully all of this info has drawn you into visiting if you haven’t already, because I’ve teamed up with a group of California Mom bloggers (check out their links at the end of this post) and we are spilling our local knowledge of places to take your kids throughout our beautiful state. I decided to share about a less obvious spot, Gibson Ranch Country Park, about 20ish minutes outside of Sacramento, because it’s a destination you wouldn’t easily find just by googling.

Located in Elverta, CA, this 30 plus acres park is still within Sacramento County lines, but you’ll feel like you’re out in the country. When you enter the property, you’ll almost immediately see horses peacefully grazing, as well as endless natural fields, heritage oak trees and a pond filled with fish, ducks and geese. I immediately feel a sense of tranquility when I enter; I roll down the windows and let that clean country air blow through the car.

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Here are a few activities you can do while you’re there:

Feed the Ducks

I’ve been reading more and more about how feeding bread to ducks is bad for them, so here are some alternative options, or pick-up some duck feed

Have a Picnic

There are shaded picnic tables all around the pond, near the playground

Let the Kids Play

There’s a large playground close to the pond

Go Fishing

The pond is stocked with catfish and trout

Fly a Kite

The park’s wide-open fields are the perfect spot

Run Around

Just set the kids loose! There are acres of fields for them to run around and wear themselves out

Visit the Stables

You can see the horses close-up, or you can call ahead and see if there are any horses available to rent for a little ride around the property

Hike

There are five-ish miles of trail

Host an Event

Gibson Ranch accommodates parties as large as weddings and as small as family BBQs – I’m thinking this could be a good spot for my son’s 4th birthday in September 🙂

Go Camping

You can reserve a campsite or even a rustic cabin

 

This park is seriously cool – it’s a must see if you’re ever out this way, even if you are just passing through on your way to Tahoe 🙂

Be sure to head over to these other California moms and check out some of their favorite spots: