We stopped at the Lassen Gift Shop for ice cream. It was a tradition we had with the older kids. Patrick had his first banana split there because Grandma told the kids they weren't allowed to eat them until they turned eight. And since she's a grandma, they believed her. After pink ice cream, we grabbed a few groceries and headed for the lake.
Soon after we arrived, we all headed to the recreation area.
The first thing Ella wanted to do was hit the playground. I was a little worried when she got off the swing and threw up. She was fine after that though. Probably a combination of the winding roads on the way there and the ice cream.
This is walking into the rec area. It's beautiful. Everything is kept up really nice. I took a walk there in the mornings. When we had Ella, we took the golf cart. There are tennis courts and an amphitheatre to the right.
This is the beach. We spent a lot of time here. The boat ramp and docks are down at the end.
We played in the water and sand.
I relaxed and read. (I don't care how much I'm out in the sun, I will never have tan legs! Guess that's a good thing really.)
Can't get enough of those curls.
Ella made friends quickly, of course.
I thought this was the cutest car. I loved the color. And then it headed straight for the water!
How fun is that?
Ella talked for weeks before our trip about riding in a boat.
Grandpa's boat needed some work, so his friends Phil and Gracie Bush, took us out on their awesome boat. It was a blast! It was great getting to know them too. They are so fun and kind and have a wonderful family.
While I was on my morning walk, I watched a golf cart drive by loaded with two guys and some kids. One of the guys was holding a big pie with a Fourth of July decoration sticking out. It looked so good and I remember thinking, "I wish they were going to our house." When I got back, I opened the fridge and there was the pie! Lynn told me Phil and his son-in-law and granddaughters came by. The pie was amazing by the way. I can't remember where they ordered it, but it was a small cafe near the lake. We'll be getting one of those every time.
This handsome dude is Grandpa Murph, a.k.a my dad.
Ella's new life vest Grandpa bought her in Utah while he was visiting. I think it was just an excuse to shop at Cabela's again. :)
That's Mount Lassen in the background.
This flag usually sits on an island, but the lake was so full, it was completely covered.
On the other side of the lake was this nest with three eagles in it. It was amazing to see.
Mount Lassen again. The lake looks so different sitting in the middle of it.
Helping Daddy drive the boat.
Honking the horn--over and over.
Ella gives me this super cheesy smile when she's really, really happy. She loved when the Bush's played Little Mermaid on the boat speakers while we were going really fast. I'll admit, I loved it too. Ella told me later that she was a little bit nervous, but that she had so much fun.
That night we went to a concert at the amphitheatre. Ella and I danced like crazy. She loved all the people and the music. Everyone was laughing at how cute she was. She has quite the moves.
The next day we headed into Chester for the Fourth of July parade.
The whole gang. Grandpa had a fit when I told him he had to wear red, white and blue to the parade. Aren't you glad you did, Dad?
Those little cuties with Ella are Phil and Gracie's granddaughters, Elaura and Emaya.
I thought it was so cute that the girls were waving at everyone, until I realized they were actually yelling, "Over here, over here!" whenever a float with candy went by.
Looks like it worked.
Grandpa yelled for the guys with the huge squirt guns to get the girls.
Later that day, we took Ella to the Bush's home to play with the other kids. They had a great time on the slip n' slide and throwing water balloons at each other.
This little little momma deer and her baby jumped the fence into the backyard.
It was pretty exciting to have them so close.
And then eating right out of the kid's hands! Apparently deer enjoy tortilla chips and pancakes.
We ended up staying for a yummy bar-b-que. Thanks, guys for a wonderful time!
We can't wait to go back next year. Ella still talks about our trip just about every day. The journey home went really well. I'm so grateful Ella is such a good little traveler. We stopped at an Outlet Mall in Nevada somewhere on our way to the hotel. It was a nice break. We have great memories of our trip, but it's always nice to come home.