A Worrier Justified

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

 M. and I had a fantastic time away while our children learned the value of having an unpaid slave about the house who does 90% of the house work without being asked… yeah it feels great to have your 16 year old admit she is so glad your back because being Mom is not as easy as it looks!

I would like to say that my worrying was totally justified!  I am not kidding that I got 2 out of 5… almost:  First of all a man DID break down and knock at our door while we were away… fortunately he wasn’t a psychopath… he just wanted to call AAA… unfortunately K. E. and J. didn’t do the things we had prearranged in case a random stranger showed up at the door.  SIGH.

And second: one of our chickens was taken.  We don’t know when but we suspect it was at night as one of the Delaware hens was particularly stupid (for a chicken): she would sit on the roosting bar all day and then get stuck outside the hutch when the automatic door closed at night.  The girls forgot to check and didn’t do a count in the evening… anyhow we found a mess of feather’s outside the hutch door and a path to where the varmint dug under the enclosure leaving some of it’s fur behind on the barbed wire.  So one stupid hen down and one coyote/fox/raccoon/bobcat well fed.

On the bright side we came home to find the baby rabbits had opened their eyes  and are so adorable!

New Zealand Rabbit kit, 14 days old @ Sweet Little Wood

They are starting to get out of their nest which makes Champagne a very grumpy Mamma Rabbit!

New Zealand Rabbit kits, 14 days old @ Sweet Little Wood

Sleepy Bunnies. So sweet!

M. and I went to Chico.  Its a beautiful town (in the middle) and a bog standard San Joaquin town on the outskirts.  M. and I were pretty happy to enjoy the time we had and explore some of the green (and sometimes not green) spaces.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Lower Bidwell Park. Bidwell is the largest municipal park in CA.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

The only proof I have that I was even there!

 

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

A potentially grungy Highway 99 underpass painted to look like a forest was unexpectedly charming.

Bidwell Park, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Little Owl. x

Sadly Bidwell Mansion was not open when I was there but I enjoyed looking around the grounds none the less.

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Bidwell Mansion, Chico, California- Sweet Little Wood

Afterwards we drove out to Oroville and visited the lake and dam.  The situation in Lake Oroville is pretty horrifying: so little water! So take note LA county… your water supply is low… stop watering those darn lawns!

Lake Oroville, California

Look at the huge swathe of dry bank… at the end of winter with a 6% snow pack in the Sierras!!

IMG_6108

En-route home we stopped of at an awesome little flea-market where I picked up a collection of  Spode Fairy Dell china:  $20.  I am so thrilled!

Spode, Copeland, Fairy Dell chin

Spode, Copeland, Fairy Dell chin

I was happy to be home and in my own bed but I do miss being away  just a little:  the hotel room had the most enormous bath in the main bedroom suite without any children knocking to use the restroom, and I didn’t have to think about feeding anyone for awhile.  Oh well, back to being the unpaid house slave.

xx Joanna

The Monday Project: Back Seat Designers

K. E.  and J. in Murfreesboro TN.

K. E. and J. in Murfreesboro TN.

It’s really difficult to keep children entertained for 80 hours of driving.  The road does a certain amount of entertaining but really you have to give it a hand: about hour 12 everyone has had enough of the road!  Our kids are a little old for I-Spy so these were our methods of distraction when people started to get antsy:

1: Books- unfortunately our books were gone within a day… so don’t count on more than 7 hrs solid reading if your kid has a voracious appetite for books.

2: Read aloud together: we read the bible, a digital book and magazine articles.

3: Music- there is almost no event where the soundtrack to Shrek doesn’t cause a sing-along!

4: Stop A LOT for pee breaks and leg stretching.

5: Fashion drawing competitions (admittedly that one may only be good for distracting girls but it worked great for us).

6: Make Simple Travel Scrapbooks.

The back seat fashion design competition.

The back seat fashion design competition.

Our Simple Travel Scrapbooks probably saved our trip from deadly awful boredom!  Well… and taking pictures of funny color hydrants… Oh! AND looking at dinosaurs perched strangely in random places.  How many awful dinosaur figures are there along US interstates anyhow?  They were freaky and endless!  My joy would have been complete if I could have found a funny hydrant NEXT to a freaky dinosaur!!  That would have been awesome!

Fire hydrant: Murfreesboro TN.

Fire hydrant: Murfreesboro TN.

Sorry… distracted.

Anyhow. Scrapbooks.

When we stopped and saw something crazy or cool I would capture the moment with an Instax 210 camera or Instax Mini 8 camera (more on that Wednesday).  Generally I would take three so everyone could have a copy and the rest of the day would be happily spent filling in a page.  K. E. and J. primarily used pictures, words and stickers.  To stick the pictures we used glue dots on a rolling dispenser and paper-tape in various shades and designs.  We all had one sheet of stickers to start off with but the girls bought another sheet en-route as they ran out of the other.  We picked up very few ticket stubs and paper leaflets en-route but when we did they were a great source for cuttings etc.

So come with us now and enjoy the ride- without the junk food, late night tent set ups and yelling at the GPS when it got us stuck in an insane dirt road leading to no where!!

E. had a brilliant use of  paper-tape for her cover.

E.'s Simple travel Scrapbook: cover.

E.’s Simple travel Scrapbook: cover.

K. used a lot of writing throughout her book.

K. : Arizona through Arkansas.

K. : Arizona through Arkansas.

J. wanted to make sure every single state got a mention.

J. : Arizona through Texas.

J. : Arizona through Oklahoma.

K.: roadside oddity.

K.: roadside oddity.

E. and J. had a race at every state line between their stuffed animals (Blue-beary and Ginger Puss- in case you are wondering) to be the first to cross!

E: The race to cross the state.

E: The race to cross the state.

This is absolutely my favorite page EVER.  E. has written a caption under a photo of J. which says

“Jessica- sister, best friend and most annoying person ever.”

Classic.

E.: Memphis and Nashville TN. Rock and Roll and Country.

E.: Memphis and Nashville TN. Rock and Roll and Country.

The girls love babies so my niece’s gorgeous little boy features heavily on at least three pages per book.  He is rather adorable!

J: Tennessee and time with our family- My sweet sister and brother. And thier youngest daughter, her husband and baby.

J: Tennessee and time with our family- My sweet sister and brother. And their youngest daughter, her husband and baby.

E.: Time in TN.

E.: Time in TN.

This is K’s page with 3000 miles left in our trip.

K.: The acetate pages were fun but tricky.

K.: The acetate pages were fun but tricky.

J.: In Wall Drug South Dakota.

J.: In Wall Drug South Dakota.

E: Subtly highlighting the important things in the photos...

E: Subtly highlighting the important things in the photos…

K. has an abiding love for fairy tales so she enjoyed learning the tales associated with native american sites.

K.: Devils Tower.

K.: Devils Tower.

E.: Yellowstone.

E.: Yellowstone.

Here is where we ran out of film- I had one photo each left by the time we got to Nevada and got to visit with my other sister there but we have managed to misplace them.  I hope you enjoyed the ride.  We did.  

xx Joanna