Friday, August 26, 2016

End of Summer Shenanigans

In the past Abby has made cakes for Ava's birthday.  This year, Ava baked and decorated the cupcakes for her birthday party from scratch.  They looked and tasted great.
Ava's birthday party was held at SkyHigh - basically a large warehouse with tons of trampolines, trampoline dodgeball, and a laser maze (think Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible).  
The girls had a blast and topped off the party with pizza and cupcakes in the glow room.
Ava's actual birthday was a week later when she turned 9.  In the morning, Grandma and Grandpa - fresh off their camping trip with Ava - joined Abby, Chris, and Ava for mini golf and video games.

Grammy and Poppy joined us in the afternoon and we all had burgers for dinner.
Ava's last camp of the summer was with friends Sadie and Savannah at the Newport Aquatic Center where they canoed, kayaked, and paddleboarded each day. 
Back in our neighborhood, Gavin and Bryn invited Ava over to celebrate Ava's and Bryn's birthdays, and Ava received one of the best gifts ever, an inflatable pizza!
Joining Catherine and Edward in Palm Springs during the final weekend before school, Ava and Catherine put the pizza to good use, and also spent time just hanging out and relaxing.
School is back in session and that means more new adventures for Ava.  Stay tuned. 

Football and the Other Football

Ava's favo(u)rite sport has long been football, er soccer - the one where you use your feet - and has been fortunate enough to see our beloved club, Chelsea, on two trips to Stamford Bridge (three if you count the time when she was still in utero).  This summer, Chelsea made the trip to our own back yard to take on Liverpool as part of their pre-season tour, so Ava had to partake in all the fun.  Before the match we hung out at the Chelsea in America tailgate with friends and with former Chelsea midfielder Gary Stanley.
At the match, Ava sat right above the tunnel where the players entered and screamed for the boys in blue throughout the match.
Despite the late hour, we stuck around after the match and Man of the Match, Gary Cahill, walked up to Ava and handed her his sweaty jersey.
Ava's main summer (and fall, winter, and spring) activity is continuing to play soccer with her Slammers team.  After just a few months, the girls have quickly bonded both on and off the field, and they love their coach.
After 22 years, the other football (aka throwball, hand-egg, gridiron) is back in LA.  LA apparently includes Orange County as the Rams have been holding training camp at UC Irvine.  This has given Ava a chance for free peek at the area's newest (and oldest) professional sports team.  The Rams had a great set up for kids with an enormous slide, and obstacle course. 
They even had combine activities for kids including a broad jump, vertical jump, and shuttle run. 
No event would be complete without some junk food.  Don't worry.  Ava didn't eat that funnel cake topped with strawberries and chocolate sauce on her own.   Chris helped her and they still couldn't finish it.
While not all the kids in the crowd paid attention to the practice on the field, Ava enjoyed watching the quarterback battle between incumbent Case Keenum, and #1 draft pick Jared Goff. 
After practice the kids had the chance to meet some of the players and get some autographs.

Camp Oakland Goes Camping

As she has done for several years, Grandma and Grandpa took Ava to Northern California for a week.  This year they returned to Hendy Woods State Park in the Anderson Valley, which is known for its old-growth coast redwoods, some of which are over 300 feet tall and nearly 1,000 years old.
Both the redwood and the smaller trees make for great places on which to climb.

Ava was able to play, and cool off, in the stream. 
Of course no camping trip would be complete without s'mores!  Ava - be careful not to burn your marshmallow! 
Back in Oakland, the crew checked out the Oakland Museum of California, which focuses on telling the extraordinary history of the Golden State.  Ava and Grandma even got to dress up and play 49er.
After time in Oakland, and visits with cousins, Grandma and Grandma drove down to Orange County just in time for Ava's birthday.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Camp Torrance Goes to Yosemite

After several days enjoying the beauty of Mammoth, Grammy and Poppy took Ava to California's most famous National Park, Yosemite.  Entering Yosemite via the Tioga Pass, they first stopped at Tenaya Lake, between Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley, for a cool swim.
Next, they stopped at Olmsted lookout for a great view of Half Dome.
After some delays checking into their room, including being assigned to a room that was already occupied (whoops!), they settled into a lodge room with beautiful views.
The next day, the troop hiked from the lodge to Lower Yosemite Falls, which included views of both the lower and upper falls.

They visited Happy Isles as well where Ava engaged in river rock hopping and boulder scrambling.
On their last night, Ava, Grammy, and Poppy topped off their trip with a beautiful dining experience at the Ahwahnee Hotel (recently renamed the terribly generic "Majestic Hotel").
After one last look at Yosemite Valley, Ava returned home and even made it back in time for soccer practice.