We had an overall successful weekend on our annual Sheep Ranch and Murphy's trip, with the usual kid-challenges, but overall far better than last year.
We drove up Thursday late morning after swim class, and had a great trip. The boys like travelling, and the more interesting the road, the more they point things out and talk about the drive. "I like curves!" said Gabriel. We stayed in a rented cottage within walking distance of downtown Murphy's, a charming little tourist trap.
Friday we visited my first VP at my previous company, who incredibly, lives in Sheep Ranch now. He and his wife are raising horses on an old ranch along Sheep Ranch road, and are building a new house in a lovely little valley.
It's a great place to take kids visiting -- we looked at the river and threw rocks in, then saw goats, horses, miniature horses and the best part, construction vehicles.
Saturday is the big day at Sheep Ranch, where our old moto-friends stay and hang out at the historic Pioneer Hotel (which is privately owned now). We were very careful that two rambunctious little boys didn't disturb the group of about 25 mostly child-free grownups, with varying degrees of success. Any time anyone played with them, they loved it. Gabriel followed Lissa around like a puppy-dog -- even better, since she and Eric brought their brood of birds and rabbits! Amazing how people have hidden talents -- and Lissa has many not-hidden talents already -- who knew she was so great with kids.
Sunday morning's breakfast could have gone better: we went to a nice rustic place in Arnold called Bristol's, but Julian uncharacteristically was wiggly and difficult, grabbing and throwing things, not sitting down, and shouting "DAMMIT!" when scolded. After the 5th time that Dave brought him outside, we gave in to tag-teaming, and strapped Julian in the car and sat with him. That is, until he said "Dammit, Mommy" to me, so I left the car and sat outside in the parking lot. Not altogether bad in this particular parking lot; it was shaded with tall redwood trees and had a lovely mountain air. I used to spend all day immersed in that, exploring it via motorcycle. Nice, but still, I was ticked.
We took the usual indirect route home, travelling on roads only motorcyclists seek out, which again made for a far more enjoyable trip for all. When we needed a break though, I was in no mood to sit with Julian in another restaurant and be waited on, so we actually found a Carl's Jr. to have some french fries, a drink, and be on our way (the boys had yogurt first though). There is a place in life for fast food.
Next year, we're thinking about looking for a way to leave the boys behind and bring just baby#3. It's a lot of work for us keeping the boys under control, and arguably, little boys shouldn't be put in a position to be under control all day. That said, they loved being there and playing with grownups (including us). And of course, I just love being in the Sierra foothills again. We've got to go up there more than once a year. Someday.