Here we are in the middle of the year, and I'm catching up back to January. Better late than never?
January got off to a pleasantly busy start. Ryan came home from spending Christmas with his dad on the 4th. The very next day my parents and Ryan and I took our first beach trip of the year. Our relative absence of winter resulted in weather warm enough for Ryan to boogie board without a wet suit. Check out our photos from the day. My dad got some great shots!
The following Thursday, Jan. 9th, my Aunt Jean came out to celebrate her and my dad's birthdays. Of course another beach trip was in order. And of course we took an overabundance of photos. I usually try to combine my dad's photos with mine into one album, but I didn't this time out. My album is first and includes a few snapshots from opening presents. It also includes a few from our stop at "the bee shop," Ventura, and Rincon before our destination at Carpinteria. My dad's album follows. (Our trip was on Saturday, the 11th.)
We used to stop for late lunch/early dinner at Familia Diaz in Santa Paula. Unfortunately, their food and service have gone downhill, so we thought we'd have dinner elsewhere. We used to go to Acapulco's in Ventura, so we tried there. The restaurant wasn't just closed, it was shut down! So I whipped out my phone and consulted Yelp! for nearby options. We found a promising little Mexican place nearby. It was closed for remodeling! Feeling that things were getting a bit ridiculous, we headed toward Ventura's main drag with all the usual dinner chain suspects. I had a gift card for Macaroni Grill (thank you, Lisa!) so we went there.
My dad used the restroom, then Ryan did. My dad noted there were no paper towels in the restroom and asked Ryan how he dried his hands. Ryan replied matter of factly, "Pocket dry." I thought that was brilliant! Of course - you stick your hands in your pockets and dry them that way. I absolutely loved it!
The next day, my dad and aunt Jean, and Ryan and I went geocaching. If I remember correctly, we found all the caches we were looking for. It was a fun way to spend a Sunday. At the end of the day we had birthday cake.This time I did combine my dad's photos and mine.
Monday the 13th, aunt Jean went home and Ryan and I began homeschooling. That is another story all on its own. However, after a bit of a rough transition, we eventually got into a groove that worked.
However, first we had another adventure ahead of us - camping out with Nana and Papa at Lake Havasu! Friday the 17th, Ryan and I drove out to meet Joyce and Norm at their RV outing near Lake Havasu. It's always wonderful to spend time with them.
Saturday morning we all got up before dawn to go to the Havasu Balloon Festival. I've always wanted to go to a hot air balloon fest so I was super excited. Seeing all the balloons taking off at dawn was amazing. We offered Ryan a chance to take a balloon ride but he declined. After all the balloons were up, we got some breakfast and from there we went to Oatman. I'd been there before but this was Ryan's first trip. If you've never been or never heard of Oatman, the best way I can describe it is an old gold mining town overrun with "wild" burros. Burros, which you may know better as donkeys, walk the town and expect to be fed. Feeding the burros is actually a big part of the fun of visiting Oatman, as is seeing the word "ass" on signs for many local businesses. (That was Ryan's favorite aspect of the trip.)
We wandered around the town browsing in shops. We got some food pellets for the donkeys and some ice cream for ourselves. It was a fun jaunt.
On the way home we checked out a Korean War memorial that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. However, I did a little research and discovered that what started out as one man's tribute to his late brother in law became a memorial to all Korean War veteran's. Click here to read a news article on the site and here for more detailed info.
The next morning, Joyce and Ryan and I had an enjoyable time checking out a local flea market. For some reason Ryan was fascinated by dice and decided to buy several in dark blue, purple, and white. Joyce bought some incredibly moist, yummy homemade pumpkin bread.
Below are photos from the Balloon Fest and Oatman.
And that, family and friends, is January!
February will bring us more beach trips, a color run, Dancing with the Antelope Valley Stars and a trip to the Devil's Punchbowl. The month also marked Ryan's triumphant return to taekwondo class.