Each summer, JoanMarie and I watch our niece and nephew for a week. It's a week we all look forward to, and with this year's week-long extravaganza coming to a close, we're already looking forward to next year!
This year began as it usually does, camping for a few days in beautiful Big Sur.
We did much experimenting with the best way to eat a S'mores. Ever try adding a bit of PB&J to your S'mores? Ever try roasting marshmallows with a slab of chocolate between the burning 'mallows? We did!
After a hike to the top of Buzzard's Roost...
...it was time to relax in the river right next to our campsite. Here's Ellory, JoanMarie, and Genevieve chillin' on some tubes.
But you can only relax for so long. Then it's time to rock-jump!
It's fun finding new ways to quickly dry off.
Whenever JoanMarie felt Isaiah move, it was all-hands-on-belly.
The weather could not have been better all week. Avila Beach was amazing.
Somehow, for the first time, no one got sunburned!
Over chocolate fondue, I introduced them to The Monster Squad and Explorers (two of my faves from the mid-80s). The expressions say it all.
Each night, I read to them before bed. I'm getting a bit better at differentiating voices, but I've got a ways to go.
One morning, we went out for donuts at Sunshine Donuts. Back in college, JoanMarie worked their 11pm to 6am shift for a while, and I'd visit around 1am for some free donuts and a little flirting.
For those of you who've ordered JoanMarie's CD (available on the right-hand side of this blog), the song Sunshine is about a few of the customers she met while working at the donut shop.
I know. I know! All I've mentioned so far are S'mores, chocolate fondue, and donuts. But I swear, we ate healthy. There were salads! (No, there were no salads available at the Great American Melodrama. But the chilidogs were great!)
Of course, it's all about noticing the little things which makes hanging out with family so special. For example, Ellory noticed how perfectly my tire stopped after rolling over a couple wads of gum.
And we all noticed the friendly starfish at the aquarium.
On our last night, we took them to their first ever drive-in movie.
It doesn't matter what you see at the drive-in, just being there is worth the admission.
Next year, there'll be a new addition to our week-long extravaganza. I can't wait for Isaiah to spend some quality time with his cousins...and they can't wait to hang out with him!