Seeing Sequoia

California is known for many things, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to see, but never have, is their magnificent sequoia and redwood trees. This stop, I get to strike one of those off my list.

Our drive got off to a late start thanks to little-dude waking up at 3 a.m., then mini-man waking up at 5 a.m. Damon let me sleep while he played with the boys, which meant he got no sleep. Once I got up at 7 a.m., Damon went back to bed to get a couple hours of shut-eye. Fortunately, our previous day’s cleaning spree meant that we didn’t need to do too much to leave.

A few hours later, we were ready to go. Before we got too far, we stopped by the bank to get Damon’s debit card, which had been taken the day before for safe keeping. For some reason, though, the bank cut up his debit card. They said it was for our safety, since we’d lost it … even though they were our bank and they had it. Who’s gonna take it? One of your people? Oh well. At least I have my card, so we continued on.

We arrived out our campground by mid-afternoon, after a very bumpy ride (Hey California, how about making your roads a little less bumpy!?!). Due to the rain, we settled in for the night.

I wish! Between both boys I got no sleep. I managed to get a small nap, but you all know it doesn’t makeup for no sleep.

By the afternoon, we loaded up the kids into the car and headed for the Sequoia National Park. Even though it’s just a few miles from our campground, it’s 7000ft up!, which meant over an hour drive.

Luckily, the kids fell asleep and I could enjoy the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Little-dude is going through a ‘I hate my car seat’ phase, which means he cries non-stop. Nothing seems to help him – I hope he gets used to it soon.

We’d almost made it to our destination, the Trail of 100 Giants, when we hit a road closure – snow had blocked our way. At least we learned this now and could try again.

After an hour drive back down the mountain, we headed for dinner. When we arrived, we stumbled upon a local Goodwill! Thinking we wouldn’t find anything, we went in for a quick look.

We. Were. Wrong! We found so much stuff here. Awesome 1980’s Sesame Street books, magnetic toys, a Connect Four, a mystery toy box, and a great GPS!

After the previous day’s long drive to a closed road, we learned our lesson and decided to ask before we drove anywhere. Turns out, the area we wanted to see was snowed in and not accessible by cars.

We did learn that there’s a Grove of trees about two hours away but the thought of spending one of our only nice days in the car didn’t sound appealing to me. Instead, we went to lunch.

There’s at least three

While we were out, we discovered a few thrift stores nearby, so we walked to them. While the Goodwill stop was a bust, we scored at b the .99 cent store – dozens of Lego Dimensions characters, candy, and some cascarones (which mini-man wanted to open in the store).

On the way home, we heard something hit/tumble across the roof of our car. We didn’t think much of it and kept going. 10 minutes later, Damon realized his phone was missing!

So we went turned around and went back to the place where we heard the sound. While Damon searched the side of the highway, I took a chance and called his phone. I heard it! I searched the car frantically but couldn’t find it. Once Damon got back to the car I told him I heard it and had him help in the search. He found it stuck in the roof rack on top of the car. Turns out, he left it on the roof of the car and it tumbled across when we sped up. Luckily, it got stuck and there was no damage.

Once we got home, it was still nice out, so we pulled our outdoor stuff and enjoyed the evening. Mini-man was thrilled to break his eggs (finally!).

The next day, we expected rain, so Damon played with the kids outside for a bit while I cleaned the playroom. Don’t know what happened to the rain, but glad the kids got to play.

Later, Damon and I did a major purge of the kids toys. We realized that a bucket and a hose kept their attention longer than most of their toys. So anything that was a one-hit-wonder (only kept their attention for a few minutes) got donated or stored for future use. Man, does the playroom look so much better.

Per usual, on our last day we get ready to leave. Unfortunately, when we pulled into this sure a few days ago, our living room side got stuck half-out for some reason. The motor engaged but the slide would barely move. Now that we need to leave, we had to figure out how to get the side back in.

Then I remembered that our auto-level jacks couldn’t finish due to slope of the site. Turns out, the slide twisted due to the unevenness of the site. Once we raised the jacks, the RV straighten and the slide started working! Score one for the wifey 😆

So now we say goodbye to Sequoia. I wish we could’ve seen more of the trees but weather has not been our friend lately. Hopefully we’ll have better luck in Yosemite.

Hooray for Hollywood – Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth

Me at Disneyland in the late 80’s

Growing up in San Diego with a Disney loving father meant that my family visited Disneyland a lot. In fact, my parents got engaged at Disneyland! So it’s become pretty important to share these experiences with my kids. I have to admit, I was so excited the first time I took mini-man I forgot that I didn’t have a teenager, I had a baby – their abilities at a theme park are vastly different.

Us at Disneyland in 2016, when we were still a family of three

I have taken these lessons and applied them to all of our outtings – take your time, have your must-do’s, be flexible, and relax! Since then, our adventures have been much more successful.

My boys at the main entrance

Thanks to some wonderful family members, we were able to get some free tickets to Disneyland. After parking, the day was so nice we decided to walk from the parking garage to the park – something mini-man absolutely loved!

Trains! (by the end mini-man was saying ‘toot toot’

After we got in the park, we attempted our first attraction – the Disneyland Railroad. Little-dude hadn’t been on any rides before and mini-man isn’t the biggest fan of riding anything. We thought that since mini-man liked trains, it was open-air, and slow, that he’d okay. At first, he wasn’t thrilled and tried to get off. But after riding for a bit, and playing with my purse, he calmed down. I was worried about the dinosaur section of the ride, but once it started mini-man just closed his eyes and waited for it to be over. I’d call that a success.

Mini-man loved the stairs but hated the crowds

Next we took a stroll down Main Street U.S.A (one of my favorite things), and headed to the Mark Twain River Boat. We had a similar thought with this ride – it’s slow, outside, and you can see a lot of things. Mini-man loved climbing the stairs but didn’t like hanging out with other guests. Eventually, he and I found an empty bench to sit on while the journey finished. He was very excited to go back down the stairs.

Coming soon to a galaxy near you!

Feeling bold with our two minor successes, we took mini-man and little-dude on Pirates of the Caribbean. Little-dude didn’t seem to notice, but mini-man did not like it. He started crying once we sat down on the boat. After that ride, we decided to relax and walk around for bit, making sure to visit some of the new Star Wars areas.

Tea , anyone?

Once we made it to Fantasyland, we took one last chance and rode the tea cups. Little-dude loved the wheel in the middle of the cup while mini-man was not happy. But, by the end of the ride he went from ‘I hate this’ to ‘it’s not terrible’. Hey, I’ll take it.


At this point we were all tired, so we started for the exit of the park. However, I cannot leave this place without a churro and a dole whip. Luckily, we found both fairly quickly and with very short lines. Mini-man wasn’t interested in my snacks, but little-dude could not get enough. I think he’s following in his mama’s food-lovin’ foot steps.


All-in-all, it was a very successful, and fun, trip to Disneyland. I can’t wait to return many more times in the future.

Hooray for Hollywood

California, here I come

This past week, we’ve spent some time in our old home in Glendale.

This place has great food! I miss having it just down the street

First up – thrift stores! After living here for a year, we got to know some awesome places and they did not disappoint. We were able to get some great toys and clothes for the boys. Afterwards, we walked around our old neighborhood and had a wonderful lunch at Everest burger.


A few days later, we took the kids to the Los Angeles Zoo. Mini-man and I came here all the time when we lived here and it was great to be back. I really like this zoo – its well laid out, beautiful, and has a lot of great elements for kids. We saw a lot of animals and had a really great time.

One of my favorite places!

Midweek brought a magical stop – DISNEYLAND! Some wonderful relatives gave us some of their Disney tickets so we were able to take the boys. This was little-dudes first time at a theme park and he had so much fun looking and touching everything – he especially loved eating a churro and a dole whip. Although mini-man has been to several theme parks, he is not a fan of rides. Despite this, he did so well on this visit – he did the train, river boat, pirates, and the teacups!

Exactly what we’ve been looking for!

After many days of adventures, we took a day to just relax by the pool. This is what we’ve been searching for since San Antonio – a gorgeous day by the pool. Mini-man, being the water bug he is, knew instantly what we were doing when we put on his swim clothes and instantly walked into the water. He spent hours in the pool. While little-dude doesn’t love the water like mini-man, he had a blast splashing around the pool.

On our last day, we got into a cleaning mood and ended up cleaning, organizing, and storing lots of stuff. The trailer looks amazing – we even found our kitchen table! Our little spree also alerted us to some things that we needed before we left, so we headed out for some quick shopping.

While we were out, Damon noticed that his wallet went missing. Luckily, a very nice person found his wallet and turned it in to our local bank branch. They stayed at a local restaurant and waited for us to get there. Amazingly, everything was still in the wallet and they wouldn’t accept a reward. They just wanted to make sure that we got it back. Its so great to meet some genuinely nice, honest people in the world.

On the road again

And so ends our trip to LA. Next up – Sequoia National Forest!

Review: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Cream Lipstick


As someone with page skin, it can be difficult to find a lipstick that looks good on me. So when I got the chance to try Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Cream Lipstick for free, I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised – it’s subtle, creamy, and last. It’s become my new favorite every day lipstick. My only criticism is it comes off on everything your lips touch, but that’s pretty normal for lipstick. At least the color still looks nice after some has rubbed off.

Quick Stop in Joshua Tree, California

So Long, Snow!

Our original travel plans had us going to Phoenix, AZ, and then Joshua Tree, CA. But thanks to my teeth, we stayed at the Grand Canyon longer than we anticipated. To make-up some time, we decided to skip Phoenix and go straight to Joshua Tree. What we didn’t realize was the travel time from the Grand Canyon to Joshua tree was double the time as it would’ve been from Phoenix.

Headin’ on the highway               Lookin’ for Adventure

Damon wanted to try and do the drive in one shot. I was concerned – every other time we’ve tried to do longer trips it’s stressful. To compromise, Damon stayed up late cleaning and getting us prepped for driving. This enabled us to leave early. By nine a.m. we were on the road and before I knew it, we were already in California and just a few hours from Joshua Tree. It really helped that the kids are better behaved in the morning, that I was feeling better, AND I had cell service almost the whole time so I could stream movies along the way.

No Snow, it warm and lower elevation!

When we arrived in Joshua Tree, we attempted something we hadn’t done since New York – Boondicking! Our last attempt was less than successful since many things in our travel trailer didn’t work and it was really hot! This time, Damon made efforts to make sure that everything in the RV worked, so we’d be comfortable.

Happy to be outside and warm again!

After we set up, we instantly went outside to enjoy the warmth of the outside. Definitely very different from the freezing tempts we’d left just hours before. However, it was the desert and as the sunset it got very cold.

Mini-man loved being outside

While we could do a lot without hook-ups, the downside is our RV can’t power our portable heaters and our central heat isn’t working at the moment. So by morning, it was very cold inside. Added to my lack of sleep thanks to little-dude and I was in a bad mood.

Beautiful Scenery

Since it was our only day here, we decided to explore Joshua Tree. After a beautiful, hour-long drive through the park, we decided to stop for lunch in the small town of twentynine Palms. In a happy accident, we were unable to stop at Five Guys for lunch since it was on a marine base. Instead, we ended up at Andrea’s Charbroiled Burger – a popular, local restaurant.

Good Food

After an enjoyable lunch, we drove the hour back to our campsite through Joshua Tree. However, this trip wasn’t so peaceful. Little-dude wasn’t happy about being in his car seat and let us know by crying, which upset mini-man, who started screaming, which further upset little-dude. The whole thing ended with my contorting my body so I could feed little-dude while he was in his car seat, which stopped the screaming from every one. However, it didn’t last. The whole thing repeated three times during our drive.

Actual Joshua Trees

Exhausted, I collapsed with little-dude when we got back. I wish it was a nice nap, but little-dude wouldn’t sit still. I wonder what, of the thousands of things, could be going on with him (teething, growth-spurt, wonder-leap…?). Ah, the joys of parenthood – constantly trying to figure out what’s going on with your kids.


Joshua Tree National Park

Fingers crossed that our next leg is peaceful. At least it’s shorter than the last one. Hollywood, here we come!

Grand Canyon Adventures


After being nearby for over a week, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon.

Lots of stuff to play with

We stopped at the visitors center on the way in to see the Grand Canyon Imax movie. We tried to see it together but mini-man didn’t want to. Instead, we split up – one watched the movie while the other played with mini-man in the gift shop. We later learned that this wasn’t the official visitors center and that there was a free movie available inside the canyon.


Our first stop was Mather point, one of the easiest, most accessible areas of the canyon. Since the boys just had naps, we were all able to visit this area. The scene was spectacular.


We then got to do something special – drive Hermits Rest. Most of the time, this area is only accessible by bus. But during this time, we were able to drive to some of the prettiest spots on the canyon. At this point, it was late, so Damon hopped out at each stop to take some pictures while I stayed with the kids in the car.

Some local residents






Part II – Finally Exploring The Grand Canyon

Kickin’ it on Route 66

Health – Check. Weather – Check. Things to explore – Double Check! After being in Williams for a week, we finally went to the Grand Canyon.

Absolutely gorgeous (and hardly any people!)

“The Grand Canyon is too massive to be captured in a single photograph”, is an understatement. The canyon has several stops and multiple places to get a spectacular view that its not possible to see the whole thing in one stop.

Williams, the small town where our RV park was located, was absolutely adorable.

The next day was beautiful weather, which gave us a chance to explore the small town of Williams – the last town on Route 66. The town is filled with cute shops, restaurants, and lots of Route 66 nastalgia – which I adored. It took some doing to get mini-man to walk with us but once we made it into the small town, he had a blast running around (so much so that he cried when we went back to the RV).

Bearizona offered a lot of animals, including bears!

Sunday brought another day of beautiful weather, so we decided to check out a popular, local attraction – Bearizona. This drive-thru/walk-around zoo is home to hundreds of animals that you can get up-close and personal to.

Choo choo!

Little-dude slept through most of the trip and mini-man didn’t want to get out of his stroller – until we got to the gift shop. Suddenly, he wanted to explore and wander on his own. Then we got to the center of the store, which had a model train. I swear, he sat there forever watching the train go round-and-round. Unfortunately, it was lunch time and we wanted to leave to get food. Mini-man was not on board and screamed all the way back to the car. I felt bad for him, so we went back to the store and let him watch for a little while longer. This time when we left, he was much calmer and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Since we skipped our trip to see snow in Denver, I’m glad we got to see some snow here

The next day brought more snow. But this time, it was constant snow, covering the whole campground in 3″ of snow! Before now, the only snow I’d seen on this trip was a light dusting. It was amazing to see the snow build up. It looked beautiful.

Yup, I’m a Florida girl – lasted just a few minutes in the cold before I high-tailed it back inside

The downside to the cold has been out water and sewer hoses. Apparently we got the hoses that work only in warm weather. Once the snow came, we had two sewer hoses, a water hose, and our water filter break. Which meant that we had no running water for over a week. To compensate, we filled up a bucket of water for our daily needs.

Finally got my tooth removed

The big day arrived and I finally got my tooth removed. Everything went well and I now have a big hole in the back of my mouth. Eating has certainly been fun.

Snuggles help when your sick

Thanks to the cold weather, our mini-man caught a cold, which, naturally, I caught as well. So we spent the rest of the week bundled up, inside trying to get better.

By the weekend, we all felt better and had some nice weather, so we went to Flagstaff for some shopping. This meant that mini-man actually went outside and walked in the snow! I was thrilled, him – not so much. Oh well, at least he tried it.

Mama’s breakfast is nummy

As my next dentist appointment neared, we made plans to move onto California. Unfortunately, my mouth hadn’t healed as well as he liked and wanted to wait another week to remove the stitches. Luckily, my former dentist is in Glendale, where we will be next week, and my current dentist agreed to have him take them out.

On the road again (finally!)

Success!! We can finally get back on the road. California, here we come!

Getting to the Grand Canyon

I just want to get better

Unfortunately, during our stay at the Painted Desert, I developed a tooth ache that cause me great pain. And while I saw a dentist, he could help with the tooth that day. Instead, I got antibiotics and an appointment to see a dentist at the Grand Canyon. Turns out, I had a massive infection under one of my crowns. We made it to the Grand Canyon, but I felt horrible.


I spent the next few days in bed while the antibiotics did their job. I felt bad that we were so close to the Grand Canyon but hadn’t seen it yet. Fortunately, we have a flexible schedule and Damon was amazing with handling the kids.

By the time my dentist appointment rolled around, I felt a lot better. At this appointment, I learned that my crown is pretty much ka-poot and I need to get an implant. Fine by me if it means this pain will go away. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do that until I finished my antibiotics and the infection went away. At least I felt better and could finally explore the area.

Mini-man in his happy place – in a comfy chair watching George and eating strawberries

We started immediately. The dentist was in Flagstaff, Arizona, and had a lot of Goodwill’s and grocery stores. Man, did we score! Books, toys, and some other accessories that we needed. Plus, we were able to stock up on food at Sam’s Club. A very satisfying outing.

Both boys love their new train set

The next day was another accomplishing day – this time with paperwork. Since we’ve been sick for so long, we put off a lot of important paperwork, which we finally got done! Now we can enjoy the rest of our trip.

The next day brought snow!?! While I love seeing it snow, the whole point of leaving the northeast so fast was to avoid the snow and get someplace warmer. Often times, the weather limits how much exploring we can do.

Kickin’ it on Route 66

Luckily, the weekend brought warmer weather (yay!). And boy did we take advantage. See what we did in Grand Canyon Adventures.

Driving Through the Desert

On the road again

Our next leg from Albuquerque to Arizona looked to be a long drive. Since we were all still sick, we decided to divide the trip into two hour, two night stops. This way we could make some progress would wearing ourselves out.

While beautiful – there was no cell service!!

Our first stop was Blue water lake State Park. This park is beautiful but lacks a few things this princess is used to having:

• No water hook-ups – makes cooking and going to the bathroom interesting
• No cell service!!! – I went through withdrawals
• Weak antenna service – 9 channels and three were PBS
• Far from anything – 20 minutes to the closest store

Damon loved that trains went by every few minutes

After we arrived, we realized we needed a few things from the store. As we left, we learned that the park closed at 5p and if you weren’t inside, you couldn’t get in until the next day. That was one of the fastest store runs we’ve ever done!

Blue Water Lake half froze over night – the white part is ice!

The next morning we explored the park. A major downfall for me is the parks high elevation -8000ft! I have sensitive lungs, which makes breathing difficult during usual elevation (think smoke allergy). Add in high elevation and it makes things even more interesting.

A canyon a part of the campground

Despite my difficulties, we managed to see some of the parks beautiful scenery.

We then headed out to get some lunch, see some souvenir shops, and run to Walmart – which we just managed to finish before the park closed.

The evening started out disappointing as we couldn’t get the Superbowl game on – couldnt stream it, didn’t have the antenna channel, and couldn’t leave to go see it elsewhere. It turned around when Damon hooked up my computer to the TV so we could watch The Love Boat!!

Beautiful terrain seen on route to the Painted Desert

The next day we hit the road – this time stopping to see the painted desert and the Petrified Forest.

KOA near the Petrified Forest

These shorter runs are really nice – we get somewhere new without feeling like we’re sitting around all day. Plus, it gives the kids more time to stretch after the drive after being cooped up for so long.

The Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

Finally feeling better, I was so excited to see the Painted Desert. Over the course of an afternoon, we saw the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and an old hotel from the 1920s! It was all very beautiful.

Why can’t I get better!?!

Unfortunately, during the trip I noticed my jaw start to hurt. At first, I chucked it up to being pain from the cold. But over the next 24 hours, the pain got progressively worse. Not able to bear the pain, we made an emergency run to the local dentist. The good news was that he figured out the problem – an infection in my back crown, which needed to be redone. The bad news was he couldn’t see me for a week! Instead I got some antibiotics to help with the infection and a dentist I could see at the Grand Canyon.


24 hours after starting the medication I felt horrible and my jaw was very swollen. However, we persevered and headed to our next stop – The Grand Canyon. I just hope that I feel better soon so I can enjoy it.

Seeing How the Painted Desert got it’s Name

Pecos Bill was quite a cowboy

I grew up with a Disney-loving family, so I knew of the Painted Desert thanks to the legend of Pecos Bill.

Mini-man loved the visitors center at the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest

We started at the Welcome Center, which gave a cute introduction to what existed in the park millions of years ago. Mini-man had a blast playing and looking around.

Little-dude and Damon looking at some of the Petrified Wood

Around the back of the center was a collection of Petrified wood. We tried to get mini-man to go see it but it was too windy for him. So he and I stayed in the Welcome Center while Damon and little-dude saw the trees.

Exploring some of the Petrified Forest

We drove to another part of the park to see more trees. Unfortunately, we made it a ways in when mini-man decided he wanted to go back to the car.

Mini-man prefers to site-see from his car seart

At this point, we put Curious George on in the car and let mini-man watch and eat while we drove through the rest of the park.


Luckily, there were lots of places to pull over and take pictures from the car.

I love seeing Route 66!

My favorite stop was the route marker for Route 66!!

This place was amazing! Wish you could still stay here

Our last stop was an awesome old hotel from the 1920’s that was built using petrified wood. The inside was gorgeous and offered a beautiful view of the painted desert.

The poof of hair is mini-man

I am so glad we managed to see this park. It was beautiful and I love seeing all the history the park had to offer.