June 24, 2013

Hello Monday {Solstice in Old Town}


It's Monday and I'm all worn out from a marathon, 14-hour day at the Disney parks yesterday. More on that later this week.

Today, I'm sharing some camera-photos from our Friday evening in our Old Town district. It was the summer solstice, and we ate on the patio of one of our favorite casual Mexican joints, Rosa's Cantina.
Then we strolled up the street toward the City Hall plaza, where the Street Art Festival that took place this past weekend was just getting started. By Saturday afternoon, the street is filled with chalk art drawn by local artists. I think anyone can enter in advance -- there were lots of young people in their late teens, alongside more serious artists.

The city also sets up two great big grid areas for children (or anyone, actually) to add their own art squares. The kids are given plastic gloves and a box of artist pastels and invited to get creative.  Of course my own kids were thrilled to jump in:
 After that, we got them cleaned up and strolled around town for a while... It was nearing sunset on the longest day of the year, and the streets were filled with a fairly even mix of both local families and tourists.
 And of course, it wouldn't be right to welcome in summer without stopping for ice cream. (Cotton candy flavored, for him.)

Hello to another week of summer vacation...the kids are in soccer camp this week, and it starts at 9am.  That's a welcome change, to be dressed and out the door early in the day.  We've been pretty laid-back around here. (Although we were out of the house before 7 to hit Disney yesterday.)

Hello to the last week of June...is it me, or has this been a realllly long month? Not in a bad way, but the first of June, back when the kids were still in school, already feels like ages ago.

Hello, Leon Day.  Do you celebrate? My husband is crazy about the holidays, and Leon Day (Noel, spelled backwards) marks 6 months until Christmas Day. I'll wake up tomorrow to carols and "Jingle Bell Rock" at my house. The kids are all excited about it. I like to think I'm the lone sane person here, rolling my eyes at the whole thing.

Hello to sweaty soccer clothes and pool time and probably some more ice cream thrown in there, too.

Hello to Tucker's Love Robot. You have to look hard, but it's got a great big red heart in its center (just like my sensitive, sweet boy).
Wishing you all a great first official week of summer.

Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello, Mondays.

June 18, 2013

Rancho Las Palmas in June

Last Sunday (not Father's Day, but the week before), we left for a quick 2-night getaway to the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage.  I'd been wanting to stay there for a while, knowing that the kids would love it. The hotel calls their water play/pool area "Splashtopia"  and it boasts a lazy river, a zero entry sand-play area for the toddler set, 2 twisting water slides, a spray zone, and large regular pool.

This was definitely one of our more kid-centric escapes to the desert, which is also typically our romantic-getaway spot.  The rates during the winter high season at the resort are crazy high, especially for what was, to me, a three and half star hotel.  It's an older property, notably in the architecture, which is sort of a watered-down '70s hacienda style.  I was also not a fan of the beach chairs, which are the same strappy white plastic style we keep down at our HOA pool. They get dirty so easily with wet feet. (The rooms were nice and spacious, and the bathroom was updated in granite.)

Thanks to an internet sale site, I didn't pay the crazy-high winter rates, but a much more reasonable one, which made the negatives not too big a deal. (I'd have been a lot more cranky about the cheap chaises if I'd paid $300+ per night.)

It was hot out, of course. I'm used to and enjoy the desert heat, but I tell ya...sitting by the pool with the sun bouncing off all that scorching concrete, with other bodies in close proximity -- even under an umbrella, it was hot.

Obligatory pool-side feet shot:
By the way, on our last morning, the pool attendant wouldn't let us bring in our inflatable whale (christened Shamwow), because he wasn't transparent like the similar dolphin toys sold at the resort's swim shop. He said it was because the life guards couldn't see through it. My husband pointed out that no life guards were on duty, anyway.  Still, no go for Shamwow on Tuesday morning.  Oh well.

Here's the lazy river, before it opened at 10am. (The pool opens earlier, and then people, us included, line up around 9:30 at the gate to the the river, to score chairs in the shade.)
The lazy river shortly after opening:
 Me and my boy:
 Our ground-floor room overlooked one part of the golf course:

This was the reading in our car, after we returned from lunch:
It wasn't really that hot at all --  only a mere 104 or 105 degrees.

Like I said, it was a very kid-friendly, kid-centered trip this time around. One good side effect of spending so much time in the sun and water is that my monkeys, sharing a double-bed, were too tired to fuss and whisper and not sleep well, like they typically do when sharing a hotel bed.  They were conked out but good.

I'd go back, but not without my children. The husband and I definitely prefer the quirky charms of the small boutique hotels near downtown Palm Springs.  But for a family outing, this was, like I hoped, a great way to kick off our summer.

For a different take on what to do in the desert with the family, check out my post, "Palm Springs Break...with Kids.

June 7, 2013

Summer Plans

First day of summer vacation, and here we are, still in our pj's in what some would say is early afternoon, but I prefer to call it late morning.

It was a strange week, a whirlwind of crazy-busy, interspersed with stretches of downtime that I didn't quite know what to do with. (Attempted a nap one day, but unless I'm sick, I can't ever fall asleep.)

And it was a wonderful week. Wednesday was Lily's promotion ceremony out of 5th grade.  Lots of smiles and hugs and high-fives all around. (But no tears!)
She was delighted with that candy bouquet.

Yesterday was the last day of school: Lily went to her class pool party, and by all accounts it was awesome. Listening to the DJ playing Taylor Swift and knowing my girl was down there screaming along to "Trouble," was the one moment of the week I got a little misty and sentimental.  So begins the point in her life when most of her best memories and good times will be spent away from us, and with her own crew. 


On the last day of school, just like last year, I had end-of-the-school-year gift bags for the kids when they got home. Inside were new boogie boards and pool toys, along with some gift cards for ice cream and Jamba Juice and boredom-busting books.  Yes, I spoil them.  On the other hand, I like to reward them for a good year --- Tucker came home with a perfect report card, and Lily was recognized at her ceremony with the President's Award, for making the Honor Roll throughout 4th and 5th grades. (And yes, I'm bragging, I know.) 

So now what?  We're ultra-lazy on this Friday, but that's certainly not my intent for the whole summer. There is the pool. There is the beach, 45 minutes away. There are Disneyland passes that must be justified. There are free movies and play dates and the library's summer program and so forth.  My husband, who works from home, is dreading the next 9 weeks -- it's distracting having the kids home all day, and it just makes him feel bad -- we're free to spend the day as we please, and he's locked up in his office, typing away.

One new routine I hope to implement is attending our city's free summer concert series, that happen mid-week through August. Although we've lived here for nearly a decade, we've never attended a single concert (okay, maybe one).  I want to change that up -- pack a picnic or grab some take-out, and enjoy being out and about on a warm evening with live music (even if it's just a Journey cover band).  Maybe it'll make the husband feel a little more in the summer spirit, too.

And though I already don't post that often, expect me to be more absent on the blog.There will be other lazy days like this one, but overall I really don't want this to be the summer of jammies-till-noon.

But I invite you to follow my Instagram feed. I've been one of the last 10 bloggers on the planet to join, and I'm enjoying it -- it's like reading blogs behind-the-scenes and gives my Harriet the Spy personality a little thrill.  I've been posting a pic pretty much daily, and if you followed, you could see the awesome way I spent my downtime at the end of Wednesday.

It was just me and some old records that I recently carted home from my mom's house:
 Grease is the word.
Sauvecito memories. (I recall a New Year's Eve party when I was maybe 5 years old, and this was on the turntable.)

Anyway, I invite you to join along with my feed, via this link, or the Instagram camera button on my sidebar. You can indulge your own Harriet the Spy, voyeuristic tendencies, and see what I'm up to and where I've been. For instance, in a couple days we're going to be hanging out near where the President is spending the weekend.

I don't expect to be sharing any Obama pics, but who knows?

June 3, 2013

Hello, Monday {Goodbye, 5th Grade}


It's going to be a busy, fun, emotional week around here....the last week of school. On Wednesday morning, Lily and the rest of the 5th graders will have a small promotion ceremony, as they say farewell to elementary school.  They're all big shots now, moving on to middle school and the 6th grade.

I am not at all a scrapbooker, but I've been working on a memory book as a gift for her, with photos from of each of her six years at our school, starting with the first day of Kindergarten:
I remember picking out her first-day clothes at Gymboree. (Now walking past Gymboree makes me sad, as she's too big for all those cute coordinated outfits.)

And this is from last August, on her first day of 5th grade. (At least she's still open to wearing skirts.)
 It's such a cliche that it all goes by so fast...but wow.  How it has. Even though I'm a hugely emotional person, I rarely cry at ceremonies, happy or sad. But we'll see how I hold up on Wednesday morning...I know the 5th graders have been practicing a couple of songs to perform for us parents. Sounds treacherous for me!

Then on Thursday, the official last day of school, the entire 5th grade will walk down to our community pool for a big pool party. Lily is soooo excited for this, and I'm excited for her.  We live close to the pool, and every year I hear the shouts & screams of excitement from the 5th grade class, while the hired DJ spins tween pop songs. And this year my own girl will be there.  
Look at that happy girl.  Friday was "Hawaiian Day" at school, and this was taken shortly after the Honor Roll awards (she made it again)  and during her Girl Scout troop's wrap-up ceremony. Whew! So much to keep track of and on top of lately.

Summer! I can't believe it's here again, so soon.

Linking up with Lisa Leonard for Hello, Mondays.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogger Template by Designer Blogs