Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Oh, where to begin? Are you ever so far behind on something that you feel too overwhelmed to even start? That's how I've been feeling about my blog lately. I love it. I'm sorry I've neglected it. I hope it (and you) will forgive me and let me catch up.

We had a GREAT summer. (I can say that now that a few months have passed and the kids are all nicely settled in school for 5 to 7 hours a day. I probably didn't feel like it was so great in the middle of July. Isn't it nice what a few months and a terrible memory will do?) Here are some pictures of the things we did.

Griffith Park
We started the summer with a trip to Griffith Park. The observatory had been closed for a few years, and when it reopened, it was so busy we didn't want the hassle of crowds, reservations, etc. So it had been a long time since we had been there. It's a beautiful place with amazing architectural details.

That's the "Hollywood" sign in the background. Sometimes I forget we have some pretty cool landmarks so close to us.

I love how curious they were about everything there.

We went up to the roof of the observatory. Fifteen summers ago, Brent took me to the roof of the observatory on a Friday night and told me he loved me. A few weeks later, we went back again. He made arrangements for us to be on the roof after the park closed, and he proposed. I like the roof of Griffith Observatory.

Horse Rides
A good friend from our ward, Amy Rex, made arrangements for the kids to go to a friends home and ride her horses. The kids had a great time.

This picture is so Nate, trying to figure it all out.

Adventure Playground
All the years we've lived in southern California, I had heard about "Adventure Playground" in Huntington Beach, but we had never been. There was always a kid who wasn't old enough. This year we finally went, and wouldn't you know it, Nate had scout camp that week. He is probably the kid who would have enjoyed it the most all these years, and he missed out. If you have kids who like to build and/or get muddy, this is a GREAT place.

Dog Beach
Well, summer wouldn't be summer without a trip to the beach. Poor Sammy doesn't get much attention, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and take Sammy to the beach with us. Bad idea.
Sammy isn't much of a "social dog." When I take him to the dog park, he gets really nervous and tense, and refuses to drink out of any communal water bowl, so he winds up with all this saliva around his mouth and looks like a huge, rabid, nervous pit bull. Not the most friendly looking sight. The funny thing is, I can tell he is scared to death, but his looks scare the bejesus out of everyone else. The dog beach wasn't too different from the dog park.

The kids had a good time playing at the beach until I realized how doggy potty issues were handled at the beach. Ugh, how much dog pee is in that pile of sand?

This is how the afternoon ended. Notice how happy Allison looks? Did I mention that Sammy marked his territory? And by "territory" I mean the back of a nice woman who was sitting on the beach, watching her dog frolick in the waves. Yeah, we haven't been back.

Dad builds the kids a tree house. Well, sorta.
Ever since we moved into this house, the kids have been asking if we could build a tree house. The problem is, we don't really have a good tree for a tree house. That didn't stop them from asking over and over again. When we explained that our trees were just not strong enough and/or didn't have a big enough space for a tree house, Allison asked if we could take her apple seeds and plant a tree so we could build a tree house next year. So finally (I think just to get them to stop asking) Brent decided a tree platform would do.

We like to think of it as our little vacation cottage...

Japanese Gardens
I had heard about this great Japanese Garden by our house, but we had never had time to check it out. One Sunday Brent had meetings all afternoon and I thought it would be a nice, "enjoy God's creations" type of activity. It was so peaceful and beautiful. Of course, my kids were running around, destroying the sense of calm and quiet.

We took a last trip to the beach before school started, and it was a perfect day. Seriously. The kids all got along well, the weather was beautiful, the beach was hardly crowded at all.


heidizinha said...

wow shannon, you did a lot of really cool things this summer! you're such a cool mom, seriously.

Jill L said...

You've got me so homesick for California, and I've never even lived there. Post about going to Disneyland recently and you'll have me in tears... :) you are so lucky to live in the *happiest* place on earth. Those are some cool things to go to that look like they're off the beaten path.

darcie said...

What a fun mom you are, Shannon! It looks like you took your kids to a lot of fun places! I was dying laughing thinking about the dog beach, too! Looks like you guys had a good summer!!

President and Sister Livingstone said...

Shannon--wow, what a great post. You did many wonderful things with the kids--including the cabin--that will make wonderful memories for your kids forever. It was great to see all of the pictures and I love the playhouse/platform. It will be a fun retreat as long as it doesn't turn into an "all boys" or "all girls" place! ! I'm sure you have that handled! ! Love you guys and give the kids a hug from the Congo from us! ! xoxoxo MOM

Janna said...

Very fun Shannon! Lots of way neat day trips. I can't wait till my kids are a little older. Then I'll take them cool places too.

Leyla... said...

Looks like you guys had a great summer! I sure do miss you guys! Take care!