Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Loomis

As part of our "California Bucket List", Jon and I took the kids around town for our 3rd Saturday in July to take pictures of all our favorite places and memories from growing up.

Jon's parent's house - they moved here when Jon was 6:

Tall redwood trees in the yard:

The "back field":

This is the vacant space between the neighborhood of Jon's parent's house and I80. Jon and his friends spent a majority of their time here, laying in the grass to throw rocks at cars driving by, and to build forts. Hooligans.

My parent's house - the house I grew up in:

When I was little the house was tan and brown. I was really happy when they painted it grey with blue and white trim :) There used to be a plum tree here next to the fireplace out front. Michelle and I loved picking the plums every summer!

We've gone back and forth over the years trying to decide whether we should raise our kids in Loomis or not. We always wanted to come back to the area eventually, but then we decided we didn't want to try and impose the same childhood on our children that we had, because it will never be "the same". As we were driving around though, Jon said he feels sick now thinking that we might never come back to raise them here. We'll have to see where life leads us after college :)

The schools have expanded parking lots now, the local playgrounds have changed, the downtown walls are different, the old Cagle's building is gone, the fields have been developed into grocery stores, and the rocks we used to climb on have fences built around them to keep people out.

Here is the dental office where I had my very first check up. My original dentist's son now owns the practice:

Loomis is more "touristy" now than it was when we were kids. The fruit sheds in town have turned into event centers.

Even the old train station has been turned into a museum and they built a huge parking lot where they do "Thursday Night Family Fests" and the yearly Eggplant Festival. When we were growing up the Eggplant Festival was actually on Taylor (the main street downtown) which they blocked off for the day. Kids raced homemade cars fashioned out of eggplants, and there were eggplant cook offs.

Loomis is all about the California Fruit Exchange label art and history:

Many of the businesses and alleyways have murals on them. I still remember watching Brenda Dominguez (our next door neighbor) paint this wall when I was a kid:

 Jon and I are pretty sentimental. We get attached to places. As we drove around town on Saturday more and more memories came flooding back. It was incredible how one street spilled into another, which brought back feelings and turned into another place we wanted to visit. We missed out on a couple locations due to time, but we plan to get pictures before the big move :)

Loomis Grammar School, where I was educated Kindergarten through 6th grade:

This marquee hasn't changed one bit! I remember being on student council and helping change the announcements on this board:

The blacktop in the back is pictured below. I was running along this treeline here in 6th grade (but there used to be long track stripes painted on the ground) and as I was following them at the beginning of our yearly "walk-a-jog-a-thon" I fell and slid along the ground, bloodying up my left knee and leaving a permanent gravel scar which I still have.

Up at the top of this hill is the exit from the cafeteria and we would sometimes sit outside here at the tables and eat lunch. My favorite days were ice cream Fridays.

Large view of the back playground below. There used to be tether ball courts set up, which is where one of my best friends from kindergarten came back to Loomis school in 6th grade and told me we weren't friends anymore.

The courtyard (below) between the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms where I first met Michelle (Sayad) O'Keefe. That's also the bathroom (on the right) that I was locked into after school one day. My mom found me, I was crying, and she had to go find a janitor to let me out.

The original front playground is gone now (they paved over it) but some of my strongest childhood memories (including learning how to jump rope) were there.

With Jon as my partner in crime we drove all around town.

We'd pull up quickly to an intersection or off to the side of the street where I would quickly hop out and snap a few shots. Then I'd dash back to the car and Jon would take us off to the next stop. In the course of two hours we took almost TWO HUNDRED pictures. The chubses slept the entire time.

Some people probably thought we were weird, or creepers, darting around and catching pictures between traffic and pedestrians, but it was glorious.

The Pizza Factory where Jon was working when we started dating:

Loomis Beauty Salon, Barber, and Laundromat. I always loved this section of town. Reminds me of Mayberry :)

Loomis Main Drug (only open til 2 on Saturday and closed on Sundays). Someone gave us dessert bowls from here for our wedding so we would "always have a piece of Loomis with us." They are my favorites!

We really like the older buildings and that some of them have the names of the original businesses still painted on the brick. It's very "William's Hardware" Star's Hollow:

The Hardware Emporium! We love this place. I remember it being the main hardware store in town as a kid. Eventually it was sort of pushed out due to larger chain stores opening up in towns nearby. Now it is mostly an antique/consignment shop open one day a week:

A lot of downtown Loomis consists of classic homes converted into businesses. Jon and I always loved these adorable Victorian inspired beauties:

Jon and I had to get a picture of this one especially. It's always changing!

 The Loomis STAR LIQUOR. Jon and I have both never been in here, but it's right downtown and I don't think the sign has EVER been repainted:

I'm grateful that Jon and I both grew up here, so he understands my nostalgia for the area. Although he and I had different experiences growing up, so it's fun talking about our memories and how we view the town differently.

Our mini tour covered Loomis, Newcastle and Penryn. Lots of the cool small town charm crosses over.

Antique stores have popped up ALL over the place in the past 10 years. Like this one that was the Blue Ribbon Florist my whole childhood. I got my corsages for 8th grade graduation, homecoming, prom, and senior ball from here! And then I graduated and shortly thereafter it became "The Horse and Buggy".

We love seeing Anderson's "Cool Junk" shop in Newcastle :) Who cares if it's really antique? It's just cool junk!

Another AMAZING place (open limited hours only Tuesday-Saturday) The Cheese Shop. It is impossible for us to have lunch here without running into people we know:

We also love the old buildings and architecture (Newcastle Fire Hall est. 1922)

The awesome Penryn post office/community library:

And I distinctly remember passing this building many times as a kid with its boat halfway stuck in the wall. I loved it!!

The main things that come to mind when I think of this area growing up are:
mandarins, palm trees, sunsets, windy country roads, overgrown fields, horses, and trains.

I also have really fond memories of the Loomis Sunrise Park just a couple roads behind my parent's house:

This is the park where we rode bikes, walked our dogs, flew kites together for FHE and had family picnics :) I definitely consider this my childhood park.

The main things that Jon said come to mind when he thinks of this area growing up are:
building a fort in the back field, rollerblading to Cagle's every day in the summer, riding dirt bikes in the tree filled field by Loomis school, playing street hockey in the rain, going to Nickelodeon Video to rent movies (before Pizza Factory moved there), going to D.O. football games (but not actually watching the game. Just hanging out on the upper baseball field with friends.)

It is really hard to capture the beauty of Loomis even with pictures.

I described memories of growing up as a kid to Jon while we drove.

Greentree Studios:

Driving down this road as a kid was magical to me. My mom would take me once a week to dance class and it always felt so whimsical. Taking ballet lessons as a young girl was romantic. Seriously, as you drive down this dirt road covered by an arching tunnel of trees, there are wildflowers growing along the path and butterflies that flit in front of your car. It always felt like a secret garden to me.

The dance studio is literally an old converted barn. I didn't really think about it as a barn when I as a kid. I still remember how it smelled inside.

I really loved driving up to the ridge off of Clark Tunnel road where you can see the whole basin:

From up there you could see the palm tree lined streets of English Colony and the mandarin orchards around neighboring homes.

On the way home for dinner we circled back behind Del Oro high school and followed Boyington along the freeway. Who knows what the speed limit is on this road, anyhow??

After a break, we headed out to the top of Sierra College Blvd to watch the sunset over Lincoln. We had decided to do this when we drove the windy hills on Independence Day this year and I commented to Jon that I always loved this view.

I set up the digital camera and Jon brought his large format camera to play with:

Jon is always good at getting really great lens flares. I just played around with my aperture and shutter speeds to capture as much real life texture and color as possible.

It almost looked like watching the sunset on water.

We admired the gorgeous colors until the sun was all the way down, and then took a family photo!

I know that our kids won't remember these experiences right now, but I'm excited to see how their childhoods shape them as they grow up. Definitely one of the most fun Saturdays I've had so far this year, and one that I'll always remember.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Santa Cruz Saturday

For the second SATURDAY of July, we spent the day with our Kester family at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk!

It was absolutely PERFECT weather for a Nor Cal beach. Sunny, no clouds, slight breeze but not windy, probably in the low 80's, and the sand was soft and warm :) Perfect conditions for Kate's first time at the ocean. The water of course was like ice water, so we didn't go swimming, but it was still refreshing to dip your toes in.

We came prepared with sunblock, sun hats, glasses, and flip flops. Kate just wanted to wear Olivia's flower glasses everywhere. She even traded for Judith's "big girl" glasses after a while. I guess her little white pair just didn't have enough flair :) Kate is all about the accessories.

Gavin was such a little flirt. Kate and Gavin had the best time playing in the sand! Kate loves to experiment and see how things react when she squishes or drops them. She had sand ALL over herself. Absolutely everywhere. In her ears, her hair, all over her face, and in every crack. Kids in diapers at the beach = no fun.

Seriously, taking 2 kids under 2 to the beach was A LOT of work.

Kate especially loved chasing the "chickens" (seagulls) and pointed them out to me where ever we went.

After about an hour to find parking (holy cats, that place was EXTREMELY packed. It was lunacy.) we stopped at the Dipper Diner for some corn dogs and fries. We ate lunch on the beachfront and played in the water while Jon tried to nap under our giant umbrella. All of the babies were surprisingly happy about the sand and moved about just fine!

BEST PARTS: experiencing California beach beauty with my favorite peoples and taking in all that Heavenly Father has created for us to enjoy. There is nothing like driving through the Santa Cruz redwoods and the mountains just before hitting the gorgeous ocean waves. Absolutely beautiful.

WORST PARTS: leaving 30 minutes late due to our lack of packing well and having to turn back at Roseville to get all the water/snacks/food we had prepped for the day. Then it took about 4 hours to get to the beach because of nursing babies, traffic, turn arounds, and the fact that the Mystery Spot was full so we couldn't go there either. Luckily we were the second to last car let into the parking lot before they closed it off as being FULL for the day! (score) And there was also the fact that we had to carry the strollers across the sand to get to a sitting spot, which was ridiculous and resulted in some french fry casualties and ketchup on our blanket.

Overall, not a bad day for a double set of mini families to enjoy the California sun :)
Enjoy the pictures!