I apologize for the lack of blog posts. We were gone for about a week and a half and I'm just getting back to catching up on everything.
Russell and Autumn were in Simi since the end of June. Instead of putting them on a plane back home we decided to do like last year and go get them. Gives us a chance for a visit and to have Will celebrate his birthday with family.
We can make the trip in one day, but we broke it into three days. So we left Wednesday morning and drove to Grass Valley, CA. Will does really well on long trips. He just keeps himself busy with his toys, ipod and gameboy. At one point I handed him the map to show him where we were and where we were going.
About 7 pm we rolled on to Rattlesnake Rd. Grandma and Grandpa have lived here for about 25 years now. I remember when Grandpa retired from the LA county fire dept. and they decided to move from Simi Valley to Grass Valley. They bought 2.5 acres and built their house in the middle of it.
After the house was built Grandpa went to work building the deck along the outside of the house. It's a beautiful spot to sit and have a meal.
There are two extra bedrooms upstairs. One is Grandpa's office and the other is the 'doll room'. Grandma's doll collection is substantial and has been her passion since she was a little girl. This is just a small portion of them. When I was 15 I lived here for a little while. This was my room. It hasn't changed much (at all?) and this is where we stayed for two nights.
The following day we had plans to visit the Empire Mine where Grandpa has been a volunteer for years. Tim and I have been there before, but we were excited to take Will to a real gold mine.
This is the area that Grandpa does his wood working projects for the mine. He showed us window frames in the park that he had done, along with many other improvements and projects.
Grandma has always been so wonderful with young kids. Always getting down to their level to listen closely and pay special attention. I have the best memories of her when I was child - she made me feel very loved and special.
Down in the mine shaft. It's hard to believe that men spent their days going down into the earth to retrieve gold.
Will was a little freaked out by this and I think he thought that they were going to take him down the shaft. Immediately after I took this he said, 'ok, that's enough'.
He was getting a bit out of sorts and impatient. I handed him the camera to take of photo of Grandma and I. His form of protest at the moment was to turn the camera upside down to take the picture. He's quite good with the camera and knew full well that this wasn't right.
I threw a threat his way (can't even remember what it was now!) and he turned the camera around to take a proper photo.
Then we took the long trek up to the cottage. It's beautiful and worth the hike.
We left the mine and drove to Nevada City to look around and have lunch. We got through lunch at a mexican place by promising Will ice cream afterwards. Tim found a frozen piece of cheesecake dipped in chocolate on stick that he fell in love with. In fact he talked about it for a couple of days.
That night Grandpa grilled hamburgers for us and we had another nice dinner out on the deck.
It was a great visit and I was happy to bring Will there. He got to spend some time with his Great Grandparents and see where they live. If you ever find yourself in northern CA you should stop in Grass Valley and say hi to grandma and grandpa!