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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Our good friend invited us to the Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada. It was really nice place to visit. Unique exhibits and cool interactive things for kids to do. I liked the history of mining of gold in Nevada. It was interesting and a good way to introduce history to the kids.

The museum was not too large or overwhelming. The museum is well laid out and easy to get through in a few hours. We packed lunch and ate in their cafeteria which was nice when you have kids.

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Climbing the clouds. What an awesome view from the top for the kids!

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So want this for my house! Love this magnetic wall for building.

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The kids spent a while playing with this water feature that circled the Cloud structure they kids had climbed.

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Sunshine had an awesome time making power from the wind devices. He was curious about how biking and sun could power things. It was a cool exhibit which even allowed him to jump and make his own earthquakes. Cool, right?

 

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This holiday break, we headed to Tahoe for Sunshine’s first ski vacation. It was an awesome trip. The mountains were blanketed in white. It was a winter wonderland. The family we stayed with was super fun and easy going. It was a magical 7 days filled with skiing, sledding, good food, and company.

Sunshine took 1 1/2 days of private lessons with his friends. Then on another day, I took him for half a morning. That morning, we started with green runs then he kept begging me to take him on the blue runs. I was very hesitant. To be honest, I was worried that he might have a fall and/or difficult time which could lead him to not like skiing. After asking me a few times,  I caved in. I figured we could do it for our last run. If it failed, we could just head home. He surprised me. He took the blue run and just went for it. We did two more blue runs afterwards. He later told his buddy at dinner, “I was scared because when I looked over the mountain cliff, I couldn’t see anything.” I was proud but at the same time a little amazed. This kid has some guts! I asked him what it felt like to go down. He said, “I just went down. I liked it and wanted to do it again.” Just as I heard his words, I realized this kid loves skiing. It is in his blood.  Skiing is not only about having good balance but it is also about controlling your fear. It was amazing to me that Sunshine at such a young age could be so fearless.

Sunshine hitting the slopes of Tahoe Donner. Look at that precious smile.

Sunshine hitting the slopes of Tahoe Donner. Look at that precious smile.

first ski lesson

They kids on their first ski lesson. Putting on their skis to go on the fun magic carpet.

Aren't the kids looking cool with their teacher.

The kids looking cool with their teacher.

The kids checking the ski map to prepare for their first green run, the mile run (yup, it's a mile). They had just come up on their first chair lift. So many fun firsts.

The kids checking the ski map to prepare for their first green run, the mile run (yup, it’s a mile). They had just come up on their first chair lift. So many fun firsts.

This trip wasn’t only great for Sunshine. It was a confident booster for the both of us. On this trip, I conquered my fear of getting back onto skis after a 10 year hiatus. I almost chickened out but pushed myself. I’m so glad that I did. It felt liberating to do so. I remembered why I loved skiing and I was able to confidently take Sunshine on the slopes. Have you taken any chances lately? It’s normal to get into your regular routine and lose sight of trying new things. We take heart in Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote “Do one thing every day that scares you” and Jimmy Carter’s quote “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”

In case you are wondering, the ski runs are categorized by bunny, green, blue, black diamonds, then double blacks. The main difference is the steepness of the mountains. We stayed in Truckee and skied at Tahoe Donner which was family friendly and pretty inexpensive. I bought Sunshine’s skis and boots at Ann Mountain because they have a great trade-in program and we don’t need to wait in the rental lines. Ski clothes were from Lands Ends. Some must – hat, gloves, hand & foot warmers, and helmet. Everyone had a helmet. 10 years ago, no one did. If you need more tips on how to go skiing, leave a comment.

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Hey Friends,

It’s been a long time since my last post. We had a busy summer then start of school and all its madness. Now, things are settling down and I’m back with lots of updates.

The last few months has been full of Sunshine’s firsts including his first camping trip. It was soooo much fun.

During our morning hike, the kids had a blast exploring this cool tree.  They kept saying, “let’ go back to the HOME tree.”

I grew up camping but had never camped with kids. It was a little more work but worthwhile. Some tips for the next one. These are not your typical checklists. i.e. firewood, tent, cooking utentils. Instead, these are practical tips that I wish I knew before we went.

1) If you using a new tent, pitch it the day before so you know how the poles go in.  It didn’t dawn on me till I was struggling in the dark to find directions and telling the kids, “PLEASE Don’t play with the tent sticks! We need those.” Yeah, big lesson.

2) Headlights are essentials. You will not look like a geek. Instead you will be grateful. Those are the best inventions on earth. It is worth getting the more expensive ones as they are brighter and in the dark woods, the brightness comes in handy. REI and Amazon have them. They are great for emergencies i.e. Earthquakes.

3) Ikea blue bags are great for lugging all your gear. They are big and waterproof. Sleeping bags, tents, clothes, etc all can fit into 2-3 of those big plastic bags. A friend suggested them instead of getting an expensive duffel bag and boy was she right.

4) Camping chairs are on my shopping list. Growing up, we didn’t have them but with kids, they are nice to have. We were able to huddle around roasting marshmallows and listening to our friend play the guitar.

Thank goodness that Uncle Andy was a pro at starting the fire. Don’t the kids look cute with their headlights?

5) Put all the kids on one tent. More fun with the kids and the adults get more sleep. Hmm, not sure it will really work but worth trying.

6) Hoodies for the kids. Everyone slept with hats but I quickly realize that the hat kept slipping off so I spent part of the night checking if Sunshine’s hat was on. So, in the morning, I was a tiny bit tired. A hoodie would be perfect for the night, no slipping off.

7) Keep food simple. Best to precook dinner if arriving late. Keep breakfast easy. I was too ambitious and griddle 30+ buttermilk pancakes after our first night. Next time, bacon and eggs. Much simpler.
8) Lantern is a good thing. I thought the headlights would be enough but soon realize that the lantern are good with kids. It serves as a homebase in the darkness. So, this is on my camping wishlist!

Some memorable memories from this trip. As we were pitching our tents, raccoons invade our friend’s car and opened a candy wrappers and left a trail of paw prints. Yeah, yuck! Then as we were enjoying the fire, more raccoons snatched our Safeway shopping bags full of smore ingredients. Seriously, it was crazy to watch these little raccoons stealing our desserts. The kids and adults were yelling and running after them. It was comical. Even with these crazy raccoons, we still plan to go camping again. It was fun for the kids to just run around in the woods and enjoy nature. Can’t wait till our next trip.

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Our friend Jenny took us to Tilden Park for an afternoon train ride. I remember going there as a kid and it was fun to relive the memories with Sunshine.  We had a great time with our friends and recommend going if you have a chance. The park is beautiful and there are numerous trails to explore. On the ride to and from Tilden Park, we saw the most beautiful clouds hovering the Berkeley mountains.

Sunshine loved ringing the bell on the steam train.

Beautiful day for a train ride. They kids had the best seat in the house.

The kids look so cute covering their ears when the steam train let out steam.

Quick. Quick. Cover your ears!!

If you have a chance, check out A Nature’s Mom post about the Botanic Garden at Tilden Park. And, at Natural History Wanderings, you can see what flowers are in bloom. I think next time, we are going to the hike Trail Hiker took.

Can’t wait to go back again.

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Our good friends invited us to the Lindsay Wildlife Animal Musuem and we loved it. The museum was interactive with simulations, talks by volunteers, wildlife for the kids to see, and a real vet hospital which operates on injured animals.

The museum has a wonderful program which takes in injured animals for free and helps them so they can be re-released back the wild. The kids had a chance to see a real vet operate on an eagle. Afterwards, everyone had a chance to ask questions. I was proud of Sunshine. He asked “Where does the eagle sleep?” The volunteer responded “In the tree.” He then responded, “I mean here.” Everyone chucked. I am impressed with his confidence and his ability to respond quickly.

Flying like a bird .. pretty cool simulation.

Look how close we to the eagle.

The kids had a great time looking the tools in the vet hospital.

It was so cool see the vets operate to save an eagle broken leg.

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Pescadero

One of my favorite places to go is Hawaii because of my love of the ocean and the warm weather. So, a friend recommend taking a drive to Pescadero which is only 45 min drive from my house. I have never been there so was pleasantly surprised by how charming the town was. We had lunch at Durates, a local favorite, known for their Cream of Artichoke soup. Then, we spent the afternoon enjoying the ocean and beautiful sunny day. The smell of the salt water, the cool breeze, and the gentle crash of waves provided us a recharge. I can’t wait for us to drive along Highway 1 again and explore other beaches.

Cute general store with yummy sandwiches.

Just love it!

Sunshine's sand castles.

He's on top of the world. Lucky bird.

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Taipei 101

We took Sunshine to see Taipei 101, the tallest building in Taiwan. It was the tallest in the world in 2004. On this rainy morning, the building still looks pretty cool.  You can go to the 89th or 91th floor to see the views. We elected to stay near the grounds and shop around. We love PageOne bookstore and came away with many goodies.

Taipei 101 which has 101 floors from the ground up!

The building is a mix of modern and traditional lines. It was designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes which are common to Taiwan.

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