Mini road trip to Gilroy Gardens with the kiddos

Neither L nor D nor the kiddos had been to Gilroy Gardens and that’s where they headed today.

The Park is known for its plants and trees (it was first called Bonfante Gardens). Most of the greenery went unnoticed by the kiddos although James did manage to spot some of the  most interesting twisty trees. What the trees did do is provide shade, important on a summer day in Gilroy.

The big new of the day was that James overcame his fast ride phobia. When the Adventurers first got there, he didn’t even want to ride the kiddie roller coaster (Grace and L rode the snake like coaster.) But after conquering the very fast and high swings – ridden at least four times – he proclaimed himself ready for the Quicksilver big coaster, first with his buddy D and a second time just with Gracie.

The Adventurers told him “Giant Dipper next summer if not before.”

It did get hot as the day progressed, but they got a swimming invitation from friends in town visiting their mom/mom-in-law. Getting wet felt good after all the running around…

Walk/easy/three miles

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The “big kids” are in the house for the traditional August weekend

For a couple of years, this has been a “James and Grace” weekend, sometimes on a road trip and sometimes in Menlo Park. This year it’s a stay-at-home adventure with lots of adventurous side trips.

The Adventurers picked the kids up in Orinda today (Julie was good enough to bring them there from Moraga) and they headed home to pick up Maggie. The next stop was the Menlo Charity Horse Show at the Circus Club.

Gracie was more interested in the many dogs there. James did ask to see the jumping. That he really knew how hard it was to get a horse to go over a dozen or so jumps in a timely manner was probably lost on him.

The kids are always on the lookout for something cool and on the way back to the car they spotted a lovely bench on the Brody’s property (top). They called it a “magic bench.”

After a brief rest at home, it was on to SCRA where they did some jungle gym and a lot of swimming and diving. James, in particular, mastered diving off a “big” board and swimming back to the rim in the deep end. His arm stroke it good and with a little more polish on the breathing he’d be a great six-year-old swimming.

L and D thought they’d probably go out for dinner tonight but instead it was home for the traditional kid dinner of spaghetti and meat sauce, where James was the assistant chef. Gracie and D also made a key lime pie but it will be for another night. Instead, straight from the over cookies were the dessert.

And oh we should mention that Gracie got two Yatzees in one game and skunked us all…

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Heading home but not before the traditional family portraits

Since the Adventurers have been visiting Nikki, Matt and the grand twins, Kai and Lily, there is on spot on the wrap around porch were the portraits are taken.

So before they sat down for dinner last night (D made his spaghetti), they ventured out to the spot.

First up was a Nugent family portrait with dad, daughter and grand kids.

Then L got into the frame with a grandparent and grand kids photo.

Good new is that the Adventurers don’t have to wait to Thanksgiving to see them again. Looks like they’ll make a trip north in October…

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Amusing (and dirty faces) of the grand twins

Yesterday at lunch, Kai leaned against the screen on the window and the result was one sooty-looking boy.

Today, the kids got popsicles after their swim lessons and the result was one very grapey- looking Lily.

Of course, being grandparents, it was the parents that did the clean up….

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It’s twin time in Pasadena on a hot summer day

Ah yes, summer in Pasadena. It quickly came back to L as they rolled into town late morning.

The day was a busy one. The giving out of silly gifts, including a Whoopy Cushion that got Kai and Lily’s attention immediately. Willy Wooly took some patience but they enjoyed moving the magnetic drawing tool around Willy’s face

Then a game of Candy Land before heading off to lunch the good pizza restaurant with good food (and slow service – some how D’s sandwich got forgotten).

Post nap there was swim time at Matt’s parents house. L and D picked up Thai food to have for dinner in the nice air-conditioned house. What makes the visit extra nice is all the conversation’s with two very verbal 3 1/2 year-olds…


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Rode trip time: Stops on the way to Pasadena

The Adventurers are headed to Pasadena to see the grand-twins (and their parents, too, of course), but they always like to add on adventures, so they stopped first in Santa Barbara before landing in Carpinteria for the night.

L had pulled out her dog book to find some good walks in Santa Barbara and indeed the bluff top walk in the Douglas Family Preserve, felt good after four plus hours of driving.

Maggie is back to her old self and loved the fact that she could run free after a leashed street at the preserve’s entrance.

She was freer than the Adventurers who got stuck in massive Santa Barbara traffic exasperated by closed road for a festival of some sorts that was going on.

In Carpinteria, they found one of the few restaurants that allows dogs on the patio (some stupid Santa Barbara Country rule) and enjoyed the food and hospitality at Clementines, an old-fashioned kind of place known for its baked on site pies

After dinner they took a nice walk along the boardwalk on the beach followed by window shopping in town. A nice but long day…

Various walks/hikes/easy/3.25 miles

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Same old Byxbee except for a brand new stopping place

Neither of the Adventurers were up for a big trek today. Add to that the fact that it was going to heat up and The Mag was a little off her usual bouncy self. (Could it be the prime rib bone she gnawed on for a day?)

So they head over to Byxbee Park in Palo Alto which has been greatly expanded on the last year. Many of the new pathways they’ve explored, and they try to do a new loop each time the go there.

Today, they noticed a number of lovely plantings at various junctions. They are not sure they noticed them before. And they are certain they didn’t noticed the circular area that’s been installed at the highest point on the preserve (which isn’t that high but still provided a nice 360 view).

All to say, keep your eyes open and you’ll see things in even familiar places…

Hike/easy/3.75 miles

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