September 04, 2015

Wow, friends...  can you believe Summer is almost at an end?!  It feels like my kids just got out of school, and already (this week) started again!  Not that our break was insignificant, in fact, it was packed full of awesome.  I was busy with lots of AMAZING weddings with AMAZING couples.  The summer also brought lots of fun times with family and friends.  We spent lots of time in our hometown of Sonoma, went camping in several beautiful places, and then (to wrap it all up with a big ol' cherry on top) we took a trip to Mendocino.  That area is one of my favorite places on the planet... where else can you have the mountains covered in redwoods, and the beautiful beach, all in ONE place?!  It's truly incredible.

I can't wait to share all the beautiful weddings and sessions I've been shooting the last few couple months, but I figured I'd start blogging again after my hiatus by wrapping up summer and sharing some personal photos... sound good?!

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My husband has an amazing golden ticket... it's called, a State Park and National Parks pass, which means that our family gets to benefit greatly from him by going to any State or National Park for FREE!!  We try to take advantage of this luxury anytime possible, including our Mendo trip.  We booked a spot at the beautiful Van Damme Campground and set up camp after a looooong drive (our normal 4 hour drive turned into 6, due to construction traffic and potty stops for the kids).  To say the kids were ready to get out of the car and play is an understatement.  I don't think I've seen them (or our dog, Sierra) jump out of the car so fast in my life....   and high tail it right to the beautiful creek that ran through our site: a kid's paradise!

We got to Van Damme around 5pm, so after setting up, there wasn't time for much else.  We made a campfire and had dinner and told stories around it until we called it a night.

Day Two:  We woke up and decided to take a 20 minute drive down HWY 128 to my husband, Gabe's, favorite childhood campground, Paul Dimmick, which is in the heart of the redwoods and ferns (90's kids.. remember FernGully?!  This place would make your fairy-lovin hearts flutter!)  We were bummed to see that the campground was closed for the year due to budget cuts, but we didn't see any "no trespassing signs" so we took advantage!  This campground brings back sweet memories for my husband, who used to climb the trees (some which have been hollowed out from loggers and fires over the years) that look like castles.  His inner-kid was bursting with joy as he climbed them with our kids, and played amongst the forest.

After strolling through the forest for a few hours, we decided to head back towards town, and stopped at the Big River beach access to soak up the surf and lay in the warm sand.  Our dog, Sierra, was so happy she could get out and run around with other dogs, and fetch rocks from the waves (yeah, rocks are her thing....  what can I say?)

After Big River, we had to pick up some things from the store in town, so we stopped by the headlands to check out the view before heading back to camp.

Day Three: We wanted to spend the entire day in the ADORABLE town of Mendocino, so that's exactly what we did.  The headlands and the town charm are like something out of a romance novel.  I can imagine that writers would be very happy making this place their home... it certainly inspires me to write more often.  I also love how the town has so many eclectic shops and awesome people... reminds me of Nevada City in that way.  The like-minded nature of it all makes me so happy.  I seriously just want to pack up and divide my time here and there...  wouldn't that be a dream come true?!

When we got back to camp that night, Jared and Faith played Ninja Turtles in the creek/under the bridge.  I loved watching them play and caught some action shots of them doing their ninja moves :)  Then, we ate dinner and celebrated the last night of our trip with s'mores!

I honestly wasn't ready to leave, but we had to get back home.  Real life awaits, it always does.  But, we realized that the famous beach covered in glass was only slightly out of our way going back home, so we ventured into Fort Bragg to witness what nature took back.  Glass Beach was once a dump site, but after years of the ocean smoothing out the glass, it's become a beautiful reminder of Mother Nature's rule... that she will ALWAYS take back what's hers.  I've always wanted to see it in person, and it definitely lived up to my expectations!!  So unique and truly beautiful, just like Mendocino itself.  I can't wait to go back, already...


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