So last week my parents came down, and on the part of both me and the boys, can we just insert a huge HOORAY!! here? It'd been a while and Oregon is starting to feel just a wee bit too far away from us. Anyway, they came down for my cousin's wedding in Santa Barbara, but made a swing by our house a few days before the wedding and came back by for a few days after. My Dad had to fly out for work on Monday, but my mom was able to stay through the rest of the week to play. Since she would be down for more time than usual and since we'll take any excuse for a mini-vacation, we decided to spend a few days over in Mammoth visiting with Nammy (my mom's mom) during her time in CA as well. Jenn came too, of course, and then we also met up with my Auntie Pam and her kids, Hannah and Garrett. We hadn't seen Auntie Pam and her kiddos since Christi's wedding one year ago, so it was a treat getting to visit with them as well!
I realized once we got to Mammoth that I had forgotten my jogger this time around (doh!). Not to worry though, we managed to find plenty of fun without a lot of effort (in terms of little feet not having to walk any extravagant length). I actually think the boys would have been just as happy sticking around and playing at Nammy's all day with Hannah and Garrett, go figure.
So one of the things I most remember about visiting Nammy and Grampy's house when I was little were the candy dishes my grandma had spread though out her house. We loved running around "sneaking" candy (although I'm sure we were just as stealth as Collin was here). Well Nammy's house in Mammoth is no different now then it was when I was little in that regard and Collin was loving it! By the end of his first ten minutes there, he had already filled his pockets to capacity with M & Ms and Skittles. Too funny and it brought back great memories!
The first night there Nammy had set the table for dinner with a cute puppy and place card for each of us. She had put some thought into who got which puppy too (for example, Jenn's was a Pug since she owns two). Just another fun thing that was so "Nammy" to me. :)
These super cute big "kids" happen to be my cousins Garrett and Hannah, and how they grew so tall and morphed into teenagers is beyond me. Hannah is a freshman this year (can we just talk about how old this makes me feel??). I still refer to them as my "little" cousins...guess I'm going to have to work on that at this point. Anyway, Hannah and Garrett were amazing with the boys and they loved the time they got with "their" cousins. It's funny because the first night we were there, I sat upstairs talking with my mom and Aunt, uninterrupted and suddenly realized how quiet it was. Drew and Collin were happily playing downstairs with Hannah and Garrett and although my first reaction was to go rescue Hannah and Garrett from the munchkins' invasion I stopped myself when I went downstairs and saw everyone was happy...and then I realized. Oh my gosh, this is how my aunts and uncles felt when Jenn and I would come up and watch their kids (read: Hannah and Garrett) when they were Drew and Collin's age. Oh, how times have changed!!
Auntie Pam making a flat Drewski
Flat Drewski at home on the Mudroom door for the rest of our stay
Just before dinner on the first night there, the boys had some restless energy, so off to the park we went. Pam, Hannah, and Garrett used to live in Mammoth so they remembered this great little park that they used to play at when they were little. My boys had a great time, and I dare say I think Hannah and Garrett did too! :)
Auntie Pam and my Momma...aren't they just so cute??
Garrett (and Hannah too!) was such a great sport and so willing to go along with all of the things the boys wanted him to do! Thanks Hannah and Garrett! We are still talking about all the fun we had with you guys!
The next morning we headed out to see the fish hatchery. I had great memories of visiting this place with Grampy when I was younger, but had actually forgotten about it until my Dad mentioned it as something we should do with the boys while on the phone with my mom one night. Turned out to be a great idea! The boys loved seeing all of the fish, but even better than looking at them was feeding them....that's right, pay a quarter and you too can feed them a stinky handful of food. Is there anything better??
Collin is not real into smiling for pictures these days. Actually, if you ask him to smile, he now does the opposite and will generally look straight at you and frown until you give up and just take a picture of him that way.
I'm assuming the nets were to keep the birds away from the smaller fish. As we walked down the row, the fish gradually got bigger and eventually the nets were removed off the top of the canal.
Coercing Lala into buying more fish food. I think we used up every single quarter Lala had, both in her purse and her car!
The fish are so used to being fed that if you even move your hand over the water the way you would throw food in they all jump out of the water.
Is this not just a ridiculous amount of fish??
And of course, when I finally get Collin to smile..Drew insists on making silly faces. It's always something
We ended up at the hatchery towards the end of their day, which actually worked in our favor as it was feeding time for the fish. This truck would drive along the sides of the fish canals with an automatic feeder that would shoot fish food out to the fish.
Aaaaand this was the result of that food being thrown in and that truck driving by. Fishy madness in the water. Definitely the best time to go to the hatchery!
Later that day, the boys got to spend some time in the "cuccoozi"....
...and we got to enjoy some thunderstorms (such a welcome reprieve from the heat at home!).
Auntie Pam and her kids left a day before us, but Poppa John arrived that night (never a shortage of people at the Mammoth house, which is part of what makes it so fun!). So, on our last day, we packed up everyone and took the gondola up to the top of the mountain. You can now bike the entire mountain, which is generally what the gondola is running for, but you can also ride it just to take in the view from the top of the mountain...aka, us.
Have I ever mentioned how much Drew loves elevators? Well, the gondola just so happened to be one great big glorified elevator for Drew....way too much fun!
Collin on the other hand, wasn't quite as sure about it.
He was fine once we were at the top, but on the gondola ride itself, he insisted on having a hand "seatbelt". If Jenn so much as inched her hands to a different position, Collin would place them back where he thought they should be and then hold them there. So long as his "seatbelt" was on, he was a happy camper!
Auntie Jenn, Nammy, and the boys
At the top with Lala, Auntie Jenn, Nammy, and Poppa John
Yep, that would be the gondola we rode up! I'm not going to lie, I get a little bit panicky in those things....especially when they stop...and swing, which is exactly what happened on the ride down. Fortunately they had warned us that they would be switching the lines and stopping the gondola for a minute when we had hopped on for our ride back down, but still, knowing that it was going to stop, didn't necessarily make the fact that it did stop any better for me. My loving family of course made fun of me as I gripped the gondola rail for dear life. So compassionate they all are! :)
Say cheese Collin! Oh wait....
Despite their oh so joyous appearance, I promise the boys were indeed having fun. :)
All of that apprehension on the gondola gave way to fearlessness once solid ground was under his feet again. He had no problem throwing rocks and sand over the sheer cliff edge of the mountain. Yeesh.
Mammoth Mountain Eleveation 11,053 feet. I sent Nathan this picture on my phone and I got back, "Are you supposed to be hiking that high at 34 weeks preggo??". I purposely didn't ask my doctor about this one for fear she might tell me I couldn't go. I felt fine though. Guess that's the difference between first and third pregnancy...you just stop asking.
At the top of the mountain they now have a small museum and one of the things there were these little telescopes mounted in the direction of certain peaks or volcanoes. When you looked through the scope, there was a little black arrow pointing directly to whatever peak was listed below the telescope. Then, each listing had a blurb of info on the peak and who climbed it/discovered it/when it was formed/last erupted, etc. They were actually really interesting!
Checking out other things at the museum
We left for home again shortly after returning from our gondola trip. My mom left for Oregon and we headed back to the Valley (we're already looking forward to when the baby's born and Thanksgiving!). A short, great trip that left us promising that next summer we'd come to visit Mammoth more often! Thank you Nammy and Poppa John for hosting all of us! We loved seeing you and getting to spend some time together!!