Beach Day with Jameson

 Grandpa has a firm grip on Jameson to keep him from jumping into the water.

Grandpa has a firm grip on Jameson to keep him from jumping into the water.

It’s no secret that we love the beach.  Several years ago, Leroy and I committed to spend time (even if it’s an hour or so) at the beach as frequently as possible.  We usually make a trip at least every other month but we strive for monthly trips.  Sometimes we invite others to join us, but most of the time it’s just us.

Last weekend, Sierra, Joey and Jameson joined us on our trip.  This was the first time Leroy and I experienced the beach with Jameson.  (He’s been a few times, but had not been there with us.)  We chose to go back to the beautiful Asilomar State Beach for the easy access and great tide pools.  As expected, Jameson loved it.  He loves the water (even the cold Pacific Ocean.) Grandpa had to keep a tight hold of his hand to prevent him from splashing around.

Jameson loves birds too. He is fascinated by the Pigeons around our house and found joy in the abundance of Sea Gulls at the beach too. It cracks me up how he squeals and points to them (just in case I missed it.)

 Yes Jameson! We see the bird!

Yes Jameson! We see the bird!

Beach days really are a feast for the senses. One of our favorite things about going to the beach is the consistently cooler weather (especially in the summer months.) Even the smell and taste of the salt water is a treat but my favorite part is watching and listening to the sound of the waves. It is mesmerizing and meditative. Nothing calls me to prayer as easily as watching the waves.

You can see more photos from our adventure by clicking here.

1st Annual Moms (Gone Wild) Weekend

Once a month, I go to dinner with some friends.  We’ve been doing this for about 22 years and there is no sign of us slowing down.  (If anything, we are more committed than ever.)  During those years, we’ve always talked about traveling together (or at least going away for a weekend.)  Well, it finally happened.  We set a date and made a simple plan for a two-night get-a-way and I think it was the first of many more to come.

We spent the weekend in Angels Camp (about an hour drive from Modesto.)  We shopped around in the cute little town of Murphy’s and even drove a little further up the hill to Avery (to take some photos of a property for Leroy.) 

We ate, drank and laughed… a lot.  We poked fun at each other (and ourselves,) reminisced and planned for the future.  We “hiked” around Greenhorn Creek Golf Course (through the beautiful neighborhood) and got lost but came across some deer who watched us with curiosity. 

Kris Lewis drove (although I’m not sure we’ll let her drive the next time,) Stephanie Pizzirulli cooked (and asked a lot of questions,) Chris Yates documented the whole thing with photographs and I relaxed and enjoyed my time with dear friends.

I’m already looking forward to the next trip.



When Steel was away at school in Oregon (Pacific University in Forest Grove) we really fell in love with the state.  We traveled to almost all of his home football games in the fall and watching the lush green transform into the rich autumn colors was a delight.  Most of the time we flew into Portland, but occasionally we’d leave after Leroy’s games on Friday nights and drive straight through (to be at Steel’s game by the 1:00pm kickoff.)  We always said we wanted to see more of Oregon while he was there for 4 years.  That didn’t happen.  Steel’s college years seem to fly by faster than high school.  Before we knew it, Steel had moved back to California and we didn’t have a reason (or excuse) to visit anymore.

I have a cousin in Washington state that plans and executes extensive motorcycle trips each year.  I have other family members that have joined in on these trips and it is always so much fun to follow along on their adventures on social media.  They have traveled through some beautiful areas in the last few years and I will admit that I’m usually a little jealous.  When I heard the itinerary for 2017 included the coastal areas of Oregon, I knew I didn’t want to miss out on the trip.  So I asked if we could join along.  

We don’t have a motorcycle.  (Nor do we plan on purchasing one in the near future.) We flew into Portland, rented a car and followed the motorcycles on the 2nd half of the trip.  (Two of the couples were traveling a total of 18 days.)  There were 8 of us (total) for this leg:  Dale and Trudy (my cousin and his wife;) Dean and Nancy (new friends) and Kevin and Kathryn (also new friends.)

Day 1 - 7/14/17

  • Flight from Oakland to Portland
  • Drive from Portland to Coos Bay Oregon (with a traditional stop at Costco.)

Day 2 - 7/15/17

  • Leroy went fishing (out of Charleston) and caught fish we brought home to eat.
  • Drove to Bandon, OR
  • Watched kids from Boise, ID crabbing off the pier (and learned how to sex a crab.)
  • Attended Mass
  • Met up with the bikers (and were joined by a 4th couple.)
  • Stayed the first of 3 nights at a private home on the beach in Bandon, OR

Day 3 - 7/16/17

  • Inland bike tour through Umpqua Valley including a stop in Elkton, OR (for lunch) and a stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area in Reedsport, OR.
  • A drive through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Night 2 at Bandon home

Day 4 - 7/17/17

  • I stayed at the house to do some work.
  • Leroy went back to the Bandon Pier for crabbing (and caught 2 beautiful crab that we ate later in the week.) 
  • Our only “day off” from riding.

Day 5 - 7/18/17

  • Cape Arago State Park, Coos Bay, OR
  • A brief stop at Clausen’s Oysters for make a purchase (yum.)
  • Newport, OR (lunch and tour of the pier and boats docked.)
  • Yaquina Head Outstanding National Park
  • Stayed first of 3 nights in private home on Lincoln Beach in Depoe Bay, OR

Day 6 - 7/19/17

  • Devil’s Punchbowl State Park, Depoe Bay, OR
  • Inland tour including Alsea, OR
  • Dinner at house with beach bon fire in the evening

Day 7 - 7/20/17

  • Inland route to Tillamook, OR
  • Lunch at Tillamook Cheese 
  • Coastal route back to beach house
  • Tide pooling at Fishing Rock State Recreation Area (on beach in front of house.)

Day 8 - 7/21/17

  • Drove from Depoe Bay to Mt. Hood (with brief detour to Sisters, OR)
  • Stayed at Timberline Lodge

Day 9 - 7/22/17

  • Mt. Hood to Hood River, OR (where we said goodbye to the bikers as they headed north to go home to Washington state.)
  • Drove along the Columbia River to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery
  • Multnomah Falls Recreation Area
  • Portland, OR - Lunch with friend from California who has relocated to area
  • Returned rental car and spent night near airport

Day 10 - 7/22/17

  • Flight from Portland to Oakland

When it was all said and done, we say a lot of Oregon and put 1,500 miles on the rental car.  We learned a few things along the way but most importantly we love Oregon even more than we did before.  (I’ve never seen so many versions of the color green.)  As much as we enjoyed the scenery, the time with friends (new and old) was the most memorable.  I can't imagine us on a motorcycle (it sure looks like a lot of work) but I will defiantly try to score another invitation on their next adventure.