Summer was wonderful, but how busy it was took me by surprise. We loved having visitors these last few months and we had a wonderful house with a pool and hot tub to house sit at for a week or so. Joel also did his first Young Adult "event" this summer, a cookout at Griffith Park, and it was just really fun, relaxed and everyone had a good time.
Josiah, my awesome little (not so little anymore) brother visited in leu to Mexico for a mission trip. Hanging out in the pool, drinking chai shakes, and watching him surf for the first time in San Diego were some highlights. Josiah also picked up a sweet marble chess board in Mexico for us, which may be on the list for "top three gifts" that Joel has ever recieved.
Shortly after Josiah left, Bill and Margie came and we had a wonderful time. Memories I will cherish! There is nothing like a good field trip to look at houses in Malibu with Bill Dad. Simply hilarious! We had some nice meals together, ventured to the Hollywood Bowl, hung out at the best boccie ball court in America (Laguna Beach) and had some really good laughs over what must have been "treat customers bad day" in LA! First while trying to rent bikes for the beach path, then "Mike the confrontational, everything I do wrong is someone elses fault" waiter in Brentwood. Glad we could all laugh about it and still have a good time, just wish it could have been "cheap entertainment" for the parents:)
Right after Bill and Margie left, we went to Yosemite. The original vacation plan was to backpack in Nicaragua, inspired by our adventures in Guatemala last year, but there was no plane fare to match our budget. I have no regrets with Yosemite, though! It was wonderful. The highlight was hiking 17 mile Half Dome together and Joel getting to jump into waterfall pools with rainbows at the end of the hike. He said it must be a taste of what heaven will be like. It looked heavenly. At one point during the hike Joel was getting desperate for water. He hit a low point, especially when he had to wrap his shirt around his head so he would stop getting sun burnt and we could hear a rattle snake. He was pitiful but for some reason I found him hilarious trying to suck the last moisture out of a half apple. A group with water purifying tabs was passing by and he didn't hesitate ask to ask for some. He was so desperate and pitiful that I'm not sure they felt they had a choice but to help out:) At least the low point was over and soon we were drinking some safe purified mountain water and chillin' on some river rocks for rejuvenation.
At Yosemite we did some other hiking too (Cathedral Lakes and Mono Pass) and visited Mariposa Grove (giant Sequoia tree forest), Glacier Point with brilliant stars at night, and some different high sierra meadows. We did the Valley Floor bike path too, which wasn't very hard, but just incredibly scenic. The campfire each night was a highlight and roasting food over the fire, like cheese fondue and chicken sausages from TJs. Our tent was cozy and our campsites picks were peaceful, wooded and a little off the beaten path away from noise, a nice contrast from our day to day LA experience. We were so thankful for the trip!
I was able to spend a little time with Anja after Yosemite. I really liked going to Santa Barbara and hanging out with Mia and Anja at Butterfly Beach and having Anja in Pasadena for a night. I was so thankful for it! Our morning hike up Echo Mnt was a little long and dusty (I kinda led the wrong direction) but it was fun to show Anja a place I frequent.
Now the fall is basically here and we are finding our ryhthmic routine's stride again, which I don't mind, now that we had a break. Back to studies for me and back to teaching and Young Adult ministry for Joel and trying to survive financially in LA:) We have a better hold on our priorities as we delve into the busyness and have been incorporating more peaceful things like evening hikes in the San Gabriels behind our house and less time with technology... soooooo gooooood.