4th of July, Big Bear

I grew up in Oregon. Really green, tons of rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Everything you hear about how beautiful it is in Oregon....it's true. So being transplanted into the desert, was a bit of an adjustment for me. I hated it for 2 years, was okay with it for the next 2 years and by year 5, when I realized we were here for good, I decided to love it. It was a conscious decision. And then I really fell in love with it. I think it's beautiful. I love the heat. People say we don't have seasons, and maybe we don't, but I'm down with warm and hot. That's two seasons. So go back 10 years ago, when I hated it here, one of Shad's co-workers said, "Oh, you're from Oregon, you should go up to Idyllwild. It's just like Oregon. Beautiful with tons of trees. So, I was pretty excited....a one hour drive and it looks like Oregon? Great. So we headed up there a few weeks later and I saw the signs for Idyllwild. I looked around and saw some very ugly pine trees (if you could call them that) and the heat was still blasting down on my from above. I asked Shad, "Is this it? We must not be in the right place." We kept driving. The ugly pine trees got a bit closer together, but that was pretty much it. I was so disappointed. Eventually I got over it, and like I said above, fell in love with the desert and the heat.

So....on to Big Bear. I wasn't expecting much. I remember how I felt when I went to Idyllwild for the first time, so I'm thinking, "Southern California mountain town...probably some really ugly spaced apart pine trees that everyone thinks is pretty because they've never seen what real pretty is." I know. I'm a tree snob. Deal with it. But I was wrong. Completely wrong. It smelled heavenly, it was beautiful, the trees were bunched closer together than I had expected and there was WATER. A huge real lake. Time slowed down there. There was a quaint little village with shops and the best fudge/candy/icecream shop I've been to in my life. Seriously. I went there twice while we were there. It was so much fun. And while I was pleasantly surprised with the trees, Shad was surprised at their ski hills. He's sort of a ski snob...growing up in Colorado, he skied at Aspen and Vail on a regular basis. But he's now excited to go skiing up at Big Bear...2 hours away. So if we had gone up there 10 years ago and checked out Big Bear, we probably would've been disappointed, but after living in the desert all this time, our perspective has changed. A lot. It was beautiful and we loved it.

We rented a cute cabin and Marion was able to come out and join us for the weekend. She bought the kids fishing rods and Shad took them out to the lake. Toward the end of the fishing experience, while Tanner was casting his rod, he let go and the rod fell into the lake and sunk to the bottom. I wasn't there, but Shad said it was really funny. Tanner didn't think it was funny though.

Rebecca came out for an afternoon because she was down in Pasadena visiting her friend Steve. It was fun to see her again and meet Steve.

These are not the greatest pictures of our family, but we don't have very many of all of us, since I'm usually the one behind the camera, so I decided to include them anyway. Tanner loves them. He had me print them out for him because "it's our whole family."

We bought Tanner and Kate some firemen and policemen figurines at the dollar store. Holy smokes we got our money's worth out of those things. They set up rocks and leaves and played for HOURS with them.

The cute cabin we rented. The porch was awesome...huge for the kids to play on all day.

This was a couple of weeks ago. A pleasant surprise I found in the middle of the day.

Last week I asked Tanner who his best friend was. Who he liked playing with the most of everyone. He thought for a minute and then said, "Our family. Our family is my best friend. All of us." Then today I asked him what his favorite day of the week was and he said, "Saturday, Sunday and Family Night day. That's when we're all together as a family." I wish he would stay like this forever.