Tuesday, September 04, 2007

California Dreamin': Campin' & Beachin' It

This Labor Day Weekend we piled in the Gilmore hybrid for a road trip/camping adventure with Nana and Papa, Auntie Michelle and Uncle Paul, and the famous dog, Buster. Our destination: Rancho Oso campground in the mountains above Santa Barbara. The trip there was a grueling five hours on Friday night as we got a late start (surprise! surprise!) and traveled across to the Central Coast and then south to Santa Barbara. We even managed to miss one of our turnoffs which took us about 30 more minutes out of the way.

Meilani was a pro for her second-ever camping trip and decided she should put up the tents on her own. Following in her Papa's footsteps, she got right down to business organizing tent poles and giving out orders. (Not bad for a 15-month-old!)

She had great fun at our fancy schmancy camp site complete with flush toilets, hot showers, a club house with wifi (we didn't use it), horse back riding, a playground, mini golf and even a chapel. Of course, our low maintenance girl doesn't need entertainment for real fun. She just followed Paul's dog Buster around and made "woof-woof" sounds at him. They only had one tiny run-in when she accidentally stepped on his tail and Buster growled. We're still learning.

Saturday we headed down the coast to Capitola state beach for a day of honest-to-goodness California fun. The ocean sparkled. Dolphins swam about 100 feet away from us. Ericlee and I enjoyed body surfing while the parents and auntie/uncle watched our sweet girl. Meilani was a little afraid of the huge, crashing waves so she stayed by her big Uncle Paul's side for the first half of the day.

Later, she did venture out for a walk with Nana and Papa. Then she and Auntie Michelle made friends with another little girl on the beach who had some really cool beach toys to share (since we forgot ours!)

On Sunday, we went to the campground chapel for a little service and then headed out of the mountains to beat the heat. (By early morning, the temperature was already pushing 100 so we made a beeline for the ocean once again.) This time we found a little park right near Carpenteria State Beach and parked our stuff under a big shade tree.
The highlight of Sunday afternoon was family nap time when even Buster the dog took a little snooze in the shade. Of course, Meilani was not about to take a nap when everyone else wanted one so we took turns walking with her. Paul and I even got in a few card games while the others were exploring.
And just because we Lazos always have to describe our food in detail we barbequed salmon with an herb-butter sauce and a tropical salsa on top. (Paul shows off his here.) We also had pasta salad made by Michelle and turtle brownies made by me for dessert.

After naps and lounging in the afternoon, we continued back to Santa Barbara for a dinner on the beach. We caught a great color show as the sun set behind the palms. We ate some (sandy) teriyaki chicken, rice & black beans (gallo pinto), strawberry-spinach salad with goat cheese, garlic toast and pomegrenate juice. We even squeezed in a game of frisbee.
Meilani giggled with Nana and wriggled her toes in the sand. She tried eating a sand pie for dessert and then spent the next 15 minutes trying to spit it out. Yech!
We concluded our Lazo Family Vacation with a quick trip to the Camarillo outlet mall for new running shoes and then lunch at California Pizza Kitchen in Thousand Oaks with Nana/Mom's cousin Modie and her husband, Norm. All in all it was a fabulous weekend of quality family time, incredible eats and no agenda. I guess this is why we labor for the rest of the year...


Parm & Kate said...

Sounds like a wonderful Labor Day weekend! Glad you and your fam enjoyed it. And I have to tell you Dorina..I have the same shirt you wore in the top photo! You took me to my first Old Navy,and it shows that you taught me right :). Have a good week!

The Growing VM Family said...

Well, at least you didn't end up in Sacramento!

What a fun weekend it sounds like you had! Thanks for sharing the illustrative recap and pictures.

Request for your next blog: describing in detail how in the WORLD you successfully tent camp with a toddler...

Love, Jen