My mom was nice enough to point out that there hasn't been a blog in a while. I really don't have an excuse, I just haven't been feeling overly creative or wordy. However, since I leave for Mongolia tomorrow I thought I better go ahead and write about my last trip.
In June I went to California for 2 weeks to see family and it was incredible! I hadn't seen my parents (who flew out from FL) in a year and a half and I hadn't seen my CA relatives in almost 5 years - since before we moved to England. I figured it was about time!
First things first. After dropping my bags off at Aunt Wanda's we headed to La Imperial for some Mexican. We used to go there when we'd visit in the summer and have fond memories of burritos and quesadillas as big as our heads (and let me tell you, I've got a big head). While the size of the burrito didn't disappoint:
None of us were that impressed with the flavor. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
This was a great relaxing vacation spent shopping (my shopping is very limited in Japan) and hanging out with family.
One morning Aunt Wanda and her friend Steve drove my mom and I to lake Chabot so my mom could get her first taste of trail running.
It was gorgeous, cool, and dry. I felt like I could run forever in California - the lack of humidity was heaven.
While I was there I got to meet three second cousins for the first time and one who I hadn't seen since he was a newborn. I don't want any, but my family sure makes some cute babies!
Jackson with his mommy, my cousin Colleen:
Another cousin I met for the first time was Natalie. here she is with her grandpa (my uncle Mark):
She is so stinking cute! So is her brother Andre:
Plus, I accidentally kicked him in the face and he took it like a champ. :)
The last cousin I met for the first time was Nayana:
She might be the smartest 4 year old I've ever met and with those curls and freckles she is a living, breathing Cindy Lou Who.
Wanda was nice enough to let me crash at her house and had our trip scheduled for us so we were never bored. My grandma also lives with Wanda. She looks so happy looking at her newest great grandbaby. She has great grandsons, but for a while are family was definitely anti-boy. My grandma has 10 grandchildren and we are ALL girls! Crazy, huh?
This picture will seem a little ridiculous, but after living on Okinawa I miss a good old salad bar. I looked up Sweet Tomatoes before leaving Japan so we could hit it up for lunch.
I licked the plate clean and loved every bite.
Besides family and salad I loved just getting outside in California. The environment is so different. One morning we went walking with a family friend and her dog, Maggie. You know I'm a sucker for a lab.
That morning we saw a buck. Luckily, Maggie did not see him because if she's anything like my old dog Christi she would have been off like a shot. I was lucky enough to capture the deer:
Another day we went to the California version of Tivoli Gardens (the original is in Denmark). The flowers were stunning, the roses smelled incredible, and we had a gorgeous day to explore.
Here are my beautiful cousins Makenna and Karlee:
My mom with this beautiful rose vine:
(sorry for the bluriness - my cousin got a finger print on the lens - oops)
After the gardens we headed back to Castro Valley to the Ice Creamery. This is a childhood favorite where they make not only the ice cream, but all the sauces and whip cream too! I got this beautiful sundae:
But sadly could only eat to the top if the glass. It was so rich and delicious!
Probably my favorite part of this trip was running the Angel Island 25K Trail Run with my mom. It was fantastic! We got up early and drove to the cute bay town of Tiburon. If I was rich, I would love to live there. Here's the view of San Francisco from the Tiburon ferry dock:
There were 4 races offered that day - an 8K, 16K, 25K, and 50K. The 25K route was 3 laps around Angel Island. The first lap kept us down around the perimeter, the second lap was about half way up the mountain, and the final lap took us to Mt. Livermore summit. The views were gorgeous and I took dozens of pictures of the Golden Gate bridge.
After each lap there were great aid stations with all sorts of goodies - gummy bears, m&ms, pop-tarts, boiled potatoes, pretzles, and more.
I love this picture of my mom running down the road:
I enjoyed the entire race and am proud of my mom for going out of her comfort zone to run it. Plus, my mom took first in her age group! My only regret came when I finished and a lady came in behind us, but instead of stopping she was headed out for another lap because she was doing the 50K. A large part of me wanted to continue on with her. I think that's a good omen for any ultras I might take on.
Thinks warm fuzzy thoughts as I try to conquer the mountains of Mongolia!