Thursday, June 20, 2013

More summertime fun with the grandsons in the OC

June 12-19, 2013
Orange, California
Orangeland RV Park

grandpa and gransons in mh2

We returned to Orange, California, to spend another week with my step-daughter and grandsons as we hardly saw her last time we were here and the boys were all still in school. Fortunately, we made these plans a few months ago as our campground was quite full with the beginning of summer as it is only a few miles away from Disneyland.  The Angels Stadium is even closer and there were fireworks after each game that we could see from the RV park.

The first day we arrived was the last day of school for the boys. Sure brings back memories of last days of school for my own children when they were small as well as memories of wrapping up the year as a teacher for almost thirty years. There is kind of a collective sigh of relief followed by anticipation of Now What? I could sense this feeling in the boys on their arrival home from what was only a half day of school. Lucky for them, they have their own swimming pool and spa which their mom heated for this special occasion. The kids, their mom, Mindy, and I all spent the afternoon in the pool while Grandpa took what must have been a needed nap. After pool time, we had a BBQ outside on the patio and, for a special treat, the boys were allowed to have root beer. We headed back to our motorhome (about twenty minutes away) with plans to return by noon the next day for a Jump Into Summer celebration held by their neighborhood association.

Before going to the summer celebration,  Vic and I took an opportunity to go out for breakfast in the charming historic downtown area of Orange—near Chapman College. We discovered this area when we were here a few weeks ago and looked forward to enjoying one of their sidewalk cafes on this trip. A little after noon we met Mindy and the boys at the East Lake Village clubhouse and pool, their local park, where the association sponsored a great event for young children to celebrate the beginning of summer. East Lake is a beautiful neighborhood that includes a man-made lake with homes on the water.

In addition to events going on in the large swimming pool, the association had rented inflatable jumping houses and waterslides and set up booths for face painting, tattoos, and other arts and crafts.  Another big hit for the kids were the free hot dogs, lemonade, popcorn, cotton candy, and snowcones.  Quite the sugar binge but at least they worked it off by being in constant motion the whole four hours we were there. Every hour they also had some kind of contest the kids participated in such as bingo, a cannonball contest, free-throw contest, and water balloon toss. Needless to say, the kids had a blast.  At the end, the oldest grandson remarked that he wished he could go there every day of summer.I remember feeling that way as a child when the annual carnival came to town. It was a very well run event with lots of volunteers and generous donations that helped make it a success.

jump into summer collage

The next day our middle grandson Nate had a basketball game in the morning, then our son-in-law, David, had a company picnic for the family to attend at Universal Studios.  We were invited to join along but we would have to buy $80 admission tickets to the park.  We were going to do this but reconsidered when we thought about it being the first weekend with school out—long lines and lots of people. Plus, the kids had been here several times already and they were not really planning to “do” Universal so we decided to spend a quiet afternoon at our park. 

The second and third grader basketball game brought back memories of when my two sons were young and playing all kinds of sports. Where do the years go?  Nathan’s team, the Raptors, played very well for this age level, winning the game 35:28. They do something interesting to give all the kids on the team a chance to score: they line up to each try a free-throw before the game and again at half-time and any points made get added to the overall team score.

This Saturday was also opening day of the College World Series and “our team,” the Oregon State Beavers, were playing at noon against Mississippi State. It was a perfect day for lounging outside on our patio and watching baseball—all except for one thing. The Beavers were down by two in the bottom of the ninth with two men on, two outs, and on a 3:2 pitch Danny Hayes (first baseman) hit one to the wall but it was caught—ending the game with a loss for the Beavers. All is not lost though because in ‘06, they lost their first game in the World Series and came back to win the championship. As I write this, the Beavers did win their second game (an elimination game) against Louisville 11:4 and tonight they play another elimination round against Indiana. Having lived in Corvallis for almost thirty years, we came to know many of the coaches and assistants as well as teaching their children. And, as I mentioned in a previous post, my step-daughter played volleyball for OSU and her husband played baseball for OSU, so we are big fans.

beaver nation

Father’s Day sneaked up on us this year. I think having endless summer all year makes us less in touch with the rituals of each season. Most years when I was teaching, Vic would drive down to the Bay area for Father’s Day (where his daughter used to live) as I typically flew to Tampa (yes, in the heat of the summer) to spend time with my mom when she used to live there. (She passed away two years ago and I am now so grateful we had that time together for the last ten years of her life.) For Father’s Day this year, I thought it would be fun to have brunch at our campground so the kids came over for a relaxing time in our park.

After brunch we watched the movie Wreck it Ralph and then the boys and grandpa played a little shuffleboard.

That evening we had dinner at their house, then Vic took the oldest grandson to basketball practice. As a former basketball coach, he was very pleased to see the fundamental drills the coach had the kids perform. They must be paying off because he is a good ball handler for a third-grader.

Monday brought a somewhat unexpected experience for Vic and me. We learned that Mindy’s dentist was offering a new patient special: x-rays, exam, and cleaning for $59!  Since I retired, we no longer have dental insurance so we are always looking for deals on dental care. We tried to follow a suggestion from Mr. and Mrs. Heyduke of On the Road of Retirement blog which is to find dental hygienist schools, but they have either been closed for the summer or had long waiting lists. The other plan was to go to Mexico once a year but we have not done that in a while; however, we both agree that we are due for a south of the border visit—for other reasons than seeing a dentist!

After our successful dentist visits, we took Mindy and the boys out for lunch. After lunch, we had a great time watching the Beavers score ten runs by the end of the fifth inning. The sad part for Louisville was most of our runs were due to errors on their part. Adios Louisville. We will take our first win and eagerly await three more.

Plans for the last day here were to spend it at Newport Beach. The weather here (inland from the coast) has been absolutely perfect with daytime temps in the high 70s-low 80s, a gentle breeze, and hardly a cloud in the sky. Vic and I just recently discussed how lucky we have been with excellent weather since we left Florida in April. The last time we remember having rain was in Louisiana one night for a few hours. Reading so many blogs from the East Coast, we are happy with our choice to be here in the spring and early summer. Last year we headed north to Oregon a couple weeks too early and spent quite a few cloudy days on the Oregon Coast, so we decided to wait until July to go to Oregon this year. Having said all this, I really don’t mind the rain—never have, but Vic—not so much. I am most resistant to hot and humid weather as it just seems to drain my energy. Living all those years in the Northwest definitely creates a bias against steamy climates. So, in our quest to fulfill Vic’s vision of twelve months in his cargo shorts and flip flops, we have done pretty well.

Back to the beach. Our parking genie gave us a spot right next to the boardwalk with direct beach access. The beach here is a fairly wide expanse of sand with rather cool Pacific waves (66 degrees) breaking at the shore. They boys were in heaven with their boogie boards, shovels and pails, and baseball gear. I thought I would go in the water with them but the air temperature was also about 66 making for a rather chilly water experience. I kind of regret not just going for it, but instead I resorted to taking lots of photos of them braving the cold water on their boards.

newport beach collage

What a fun last day to be on the beach in the sun watching the kids play to their hearts content. We ended the day with ice cream treats and too soon goodbyes at our campground. What made it easier though was knowing we would see them all again in a few weeks at a family camping trip in Oregon. Next stop for us is an overnight stay in Fresno at a friend’s then on to the San Jose area to see Vic’s mom and two sisters. La familia es muy importante. Roll on. . . .


  1. What a wonderful time you two had making memories with family. We love family time.

    We are with the kids...count us in on hot dogs any day.

  2. I notice the with longing the long legs on all those boys and Vic. What a great gift from him to them. Basketball and riding the waves are two of my favorite pastimes - if only I were taller so I could play. Thank goodness the waves don't care how short you are. You definitely had a fun filled and busy time.

    1. I never would have guessed that you like basketball, but I have no doubt you would have joined the boys in the cold water!

  3. What a great time and I know you all enjoyed every busy minute! Your grandchildren look so happy!

    Safe travels!

  4. Nothing better than spending time with young people. They have so much energy. I have sat through so many third grade basketball game since I was a third grade teacher for twenty years. It always amazed me how some teams are so mature and skilled and others were painful to watch.

    Glad to see that your time with the grandsons was packed with fun. Lots of smiles going on!!!

  5. You're surely having a great time with family in California. And the weather seems to be cooperating as well. Like you, I am most resistant to hot weather ... I don't do well when it gets really humid. Unfortunately, our complicated off-the-road travel plans are going to see us in hotter temps than I had hoped. Good thing I have plenty of things to do inside, and being an early riser will allow me to at least get outside before the temps really get going. That said, VA Beach has been surprisingly comfortable weather-wise. In fact, I am outside with a fleece jacket now. No complaints ... will take the cool temps while I can ;-)

    1. Glad to hear you are having a welcome cool spell in Virginia Beach.

  6. Great post. It's so nice to see your grandkids outside playing and having fun. It's also terrific that you guys are there with them. They will always remember these fun times!

    1. See what you have to look forward to with little Mason?


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