S: C a t a l i n a S u r p r i s e !
BC: Thanks Nana! Thanks Papa! We all had a wonderful adventure! Can't wait till we can all get together and do it all again! Of course I am going to end every one of these sentences with an exclamation point! It is completely necessary! Brilliant surprise with lots of fun memories! Thank You! We Love You!
1: So here we go again!
4: This year we escaped to an island! ...Catalina Island! | These photos are evidence of our journey by sea to get to the promised land...at least Emma was excited.
5: It was a long and treacherous voyage, all of about 45 minutes. Unfortunately not all of Boon's appendages survived in tact. Even his head suffered decapitation.
7: Okay, so it was slightly windy outside. And the constant turbulence did not help matters with regard to balance. | Mother got to experience this firsthand in the isle. Let's just say she rolled back gracefully with the crest and trough of the wave;)
8: Honestly, I think the weather ended up working to our advantage because the boat captains actually took pity on us waiting in the rain and let us wait inside the boat instead. Of course, the tickets were forgotten in the car so Papa was left running for dear life out and back through the rain so we didn't miss our vacation. Apparently they don't allow exceptions for passengers even one minute late but this time, they accepted a whole group a good few minutes passed that. | Balance is the key. The road here was not particularly smooth, though. We had to venture through a terrible rain storm just to get to the boat. On the drive out through Oceanside, Tommy and Elizabeth literally witnessed a car spinning out across all four streaming lanes of traffic in front of them!
9: When we arrived in port it felt like we had just traveled to the Mediteranean or something. It was beautiful! | Just to let you know, it was not this windy. We all know how Elizabeth loves to exaggerate. This is just how she likes to style her hair. She seems quite pleased with it. Lyla, on the other hand, not so impressed.
12: Once on land we explored their little town- and chased some birds. | Isn't this a tender moment? I was a little nervous about the pelican eying me but I did manage to get pretty darn close and personal. Note the sharp hook on the end of his beak.
14: The distinction in their personalities is, oh, so apparent. Emma, cautious to pose well for a photo shoot. Rainn, well, Rainn just lets it all hang out... for all occasions, regardless.
15: So buffalo are a big thing for Catalinians. They are obviously not native to the little island, but were transported there for a movie set. They did manage to linger and take up residence there, though, and now there is a thriving population.
16: This is the boardwalk, down by the sea, yah. What?! Not candid enough for you? If you look to your right you will find we have finally documented Papa's signature move for the record books.
20: The three stooges had a blast doing the usual-"skipping" rocks and running from "waves". We tried to get artistic with the whole 'family feet' shot thing...turned out it was a little more complicated than anticipated. Guess which feet belong to whom?
23: What's your first guess...Calvin Klein ad, Gap, or Abercrombie? Seriously. | So Lyla and I had the privilege of dining on gourmet rocks- les rochers, if you will. With a little encouragement, she was generous enough to share, but she is a sly little thing and eventually went back to her selfish ways. I like how, for a moment there, she even confused herself, but she recovered gracefully and was able to indulge once again.
25: As if the trip wasn't enough, the parents set up a few tours. Obviously the Catalina Airport was our next destination. At this, the top of the highest point on the island, we began our downward journey on the long and winding path to the beach.
26: This is the operating tower by which the planes communicate. And by which we visited the restroom before heading off.
27: This page is called, "Look who's an irresponsible parent?!" | After running a muck for a while around historical information, we noticed a little sign...
28: Helmet Heads! | This is at the top of the mountain where we unloaded and prepped.
29: Oh whoops! Are Amanda's feet having a hard time reaching the ground? We wouldn't want to facilitate a short leg complex now would we?
31: Now this was the journey of Nana, Papa and all the grandchildren. They made their cozy way down the mountain with ease, and lots of quality time together in one of the popular mini vehicles.. | Since none of them were in seat belts, we were lucky to have only the strollers fall out once or twice on the bumpy path.
32: Our tour guide was one of a kind. We should have taken a close up picture of him. He was...odd...looking. Super thick glasses, pudgy, and he had teeth behind teeth, like a shark. He was quite thrilled with this here rock. He also ventured off the path in search of mushrooms for his "plant loving buddy." Of which he found growing on a pile of crap-yes, literally-and pocketed.
35: I know Steven had no problem changing gears and peddling up the hills. For some of the rest of us...we were taking some nice walks on our bike ride. :) | This was somebody's ranch out on the trail. There were very few residences on the island outside the square mile of homes by the harbor. So this was a fun place to break and check out.
36: Elizabeth and Tommy branched out on their own for a while-I don't know who they think they are. They claim they thought we were right behind them. Mm hm. But we were able to catch each other here and there for a few photos.
39: Being the super-star athletes that we are we had no trouble on the course. Our guide, on the other hand, was not so lucky. He kept reminding us to slow down and enjoy the scenery.
40: Watch Out Lance Armstrong.... | Here comes your competition!
41: This was Elizabeth's attempt at a Japanese tourist's photo shoot. And she would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling cameras-exposing her normal picture position.
42: Obviously this was a worthwhile photo opt stop. The view of the beach we were headed for was spectacular. | It was actually really cold-hence my hooded helmet head. We did warm up a bit though as we went along.
43: Ah, so stylish. I got mocked endlessly for my choice of athletic shoe but hey, I was warm and comfortable so :b on all y'all. | I personally enjoy the enthusiasm with which the boys dedicated to their stylish bike ride. Hint: check out the sock action.
44: GroupShot!... Ya, I'm outta here! | We could even see other islands that were rarely ever visible because the weather was so facilitating.
45: Nana, Papa, and the kids all arrived on the beach just before we did. We were supposed to go canoing around the the cove but the water was way too rough and the temperature way too cold! Especially considering none of the kids could swim!
46: So instead we took to beach exploration. There was a full stream that ran across the beach and into the water. | It got a little tricky trying to cross over it without getting wet. | Unfortunately we were on a time schedule so even though we didn't get to boat,we still had to pay for the extra time spent there .
47: It was well worth it though. | We were able to explore this corner of the cove virtually uninterrupted by any other soul on the island.
49: The Zimmermanns spent some quality family picture time together while on the beach. Jason challenged the camera while Lyla lit it up. Eventually she had to give it up though and take a mummy wrapped nap. Now, when looking away from the beach, we could see green grass, more mountains, and large palm trees. A little ways down from that we could see buffalo meandering and resting in the shade. I guess you could say we were in the danger zone riding our bikes down that mountain. At any given moment we could have been run down and trampled under foot by a buffalo on a tiny island off the coast of California. What are the odds...
51: Oh no! There's a crack in the Rainnbow! Classic. My children somehow (it is a mystery to me) inherited thick little middles and no hips. It does render a little bit of a problem for them and their pant situations.
52: I could have only imagined what the fledging beginnings of Aristotle, nay, DaVinci, must have looked like. Until now.
53: Ah, the philosophical discussions and explorations of toddlers.
54: Alright, time to head 'em on up, move 'em on out. The bikes were collected immediately after the ride finished and taken away. | From here we were packed back into the van that took us up the mountain in the first place and taken back to our rallying place in town.
55: We saw some of the random wilderness households that existed on the outskirts of the island. | We even saw a bald eagle in a makeshift aviary that apparently belonged to somebody off the dirt road.
56: This apparently is the position Rainn thinks highlights her best attributes. Her silly, squishy attributes, of course. | I obviously tried a number of times to get a sweet little shot of my Rainnbow. This is all I could come up with. | This was the kitchen we baked bacon chocolate chip cookies in. I have no regrets. :) This is also the kitchen where I officially documented father. Doing Dishes! | Happy New Years! ...I mean... Happy Birthday Lizard! So this was Elizabeth's...creative...cake. It was made from fudge. And candle wax.
57: Hurray for pedicures! Hm...I wonder which feet belong to Amanda... It's an interesting concept for shoes-no strings attached. I kept half expecting a little trail of paper footprints to follow behind her.
58: And so begins the zip-line adventure! Our guides were quite a funny little pair. Their humor totally played off one another. He was kind of sarcastic and playful and her humor was kind of dry and unexpected.
59: This was our first run of 6, I think. We each began a little tentatively. Dad somehow managed to practically sit on the platform on his first baby step out.
60: Isn't this such a cute picture of everyone?! We rarely ever get those! Well, somebody had to be the brave willing soul to go first. Take a wild guess...yep. Steven!
62: CHEESE! This was the ever present back of the zip-line guide as he tried to absorb our entries. He was quite the witty man and we tried to get Amanda to go to the New Year's Eve Ball with him but, alas, it was not meant to be. | Back shot #1 | Back shot #2-with dad | Back shot #3
63: ...and ultimate back shot. He had a wooden block that would smack loudly against our incoming apparatus and prevent us from blowing through the back of the platform. Except for Amanda, of course. That wasn't ever really a problem for her somehow...
64: So obviously this layout is dedicated to Amanda. -In all her zip line glory. | After a sorry first run, Tantie decided-that was it! "You just wait!" she thundered. And wait, we did indeed!
65: This is the part when she really showed us all what she was made of. She really stuck it to us...well, more like, got stuck, in front of us. This is the downward course of action taken by her to give us an example of what not to do. Glide as slow as possible until you come to a complete and utter stop. | Then hang patheticly until rescue line arrives. Lastly, hold on for dear life until the guide can drag you back in. PERFECT!
67: Truly this accidental phenomena of perfection was worth the shamefully expensive purchase. On the other hand, we have also given full documentation to my most envied, much discussed...diaper bottom. It was a fairly ridiculed favorite of the zip line guides'.
68: Team Zimmermann aimed for perfection in everything from style to delivery. Elizabeth, giving perfect form whilst Tommy, sticking the landing. What a dynamic duo!
69: Papa's Turn! | Alright, so dad cheated a little bit. He may have just ever so slightly pushed the weight limit allowed. No big deal. I mean, really he only bounced off the ground once...and the guide was only slightly alarmed. He seemed little surprised they allowed such a weigh-in to slip by because that never ever happened-even if it was only a pound and a half. But let's just think of it this way. Had dad kept his weighty sweatshirt on (thereby relieving himself of the bitter | cold) things could have been a lot worse. I mean, as it was, he was already having to starfish the end of all of his runs. Again-officially documented. | And there it is. The infamous starfish.
70: Now, Benjammin was flawless, a regular Speedy Gonzalas. (Did you appreciate the rhyme? I thought so.) He did have to starfish a little, but he undoubtedly made it to the end every time...unlike some people we encountered...
71: This was our last run (the one on which dad tried to get a jumping start from the ground). It ended on the beach at the grassy knoll. Everyone leapt out as hard as they could on this one since we were all used to it and were allowed to participate in crazy antics on our way down. As evidenced by the amazing photo shoot at the end. As also evidenced by the dropped camera on Tommy's run.
72: Hey! They offered parasailing?! Where were we on that one, guys?! Just kidding-we were plenty busy. Who needs them anyways? | I bet this fish and chips shop still couldn't hold a candle to the place down the street in town. Even if it had decided to be open.
73: Moving on... The water was really clear and very blue so it was very exciting for the kids to search it's depths as close as possible.
74: The pier that jutted out into the harbor was very enticing. Emma, Jason, and Rainn enjoyed peering into the water and finding the orange fish. We tried the fish and chips place that was located there. If left many things wanting.
75: Fortunately we also managed to eat at the other fish and chips place down the street that I mentioned earlier. Wow! Talk about a world of difference! It was arguably the best fish and chips place we've ever eaten! We eventually made it back there a second, maybe even a third time to make up for the lack of edible dining options. | Cutest little pumpkin pie. A la mode.
76: Fortunately the view in Catalina helped us to cope with the food. The kick-back family time was so refreshing.
77: This is the Grand Ballroom. Apparently it is the largest ballroom in the world! So they make use of that fact by hosting a masquerade ball every year on New Years Eve. We did happen to be there on New Years Eve but we did not happen to have $100 per person to attend. Nor did we have the apparel for such extravagances. But at least now we can plan ahead for next time!
79: Inside the ballroom is also a theater. It is gorgeous! They played movies there, but we were quite limited in selection. I think they only offer one movie at a time, and it's not always the most current. We did get to enjoy some fabulous organ entertainment though!
81: We went to the waffle house for breakfast. | Now what do you think you should order to eat at a waffle house? | Duh, waffles. Instead those who did order waffles- | Received Egos-and that's being polite.
82: Here are the kids enjoying some delicious freezer burned ice cream. I will say this of Catalina : their food is pretty crappy, and they don't care! Fortunately, neither do children!
83: Jason has made some difficult decisions in his lifetime, but this one just might take the cake. Or ice cream. Rainn chose a very bright green color that I'm assuming was mint...Mmmm.
84: At the end of the pier was a restaurant...at least in the open season. The kids chased the birds, and each other, all over the deck.
85: It was such a beautiful day and the kids just looked so happy and free. Emma still asks when she is going to be able to go back to Catalina Island. They absolutely loved it!
87: Ah, here we find a rare gem. Either both these lads are in deep, contemplative thought, or they are both really concentrating on picking their noses...I choose the latter. And no, there is no happy medium.
88: Hi mom! Hi dad! I love this picture of you! Our next adventure was the bottomless boat. Well, the bottom of the boat had a few excessively framed windows. Once we lowered off the platform onto the boat, we simply moved down the coastline of the harbor a bit and then returned through slightly deeper waters.
90: We definitely got to see a bunch of seaweed. | Lyla was thrilled.
93: There were little packets on board that you could purchase to fish the fish. Uncle Boon helped the kids drop the fish food down the designated hole so that fish would swarm under the boat. When fish swam under the boat, we got a show through the glass.
95: This looks happy-go-lucky, but don't be fooled. Pictures can be deceiving. This is the open air part of our boat ride that facilitated seats for the children to essentially climb up on their own and lean out the opening. That is where we found Rainn perched-out on the window sill. No big deal. Just made me throw up a little bit in my mouth.
96: We decided to take a walk out to Wriggly's Field, where dad used to play baseball in highschool. | The high school looked active-it's just hard to imagine what it must be like to grow up on an island in a town that's only 1 square mile in size. | So apparently everything in Catalina is very mini...at least as far as transportation is concerned. Golf carts are people's main source of transportation. You gotta get on a waiting list if you think you're going to own a vehicle.
97: It was a beautiful, very green and sunny day in the field. Does Emma command everyone's constant attention? I'm going to venture to say...yes. | Dad had a good time reminiscing. I don't think baseball is played on that field anymore though.
99: This page is called, Ode To Lyla.
100: F O R E V E R
101: The awesome thing about these kids is that they are happy just to hang out.
103: So many adventures...So little time... | Doesn't that just look like a postcard?! Somewhere on the east coast, maybe Massachussettes...
105: We took a moment to enjoy the beach one last time before our departure on this speedy boat. Fortunately we did not leave Steven in charge.
106: One of our favorite new traditions embarked upon this year was about musical favorites. We each chose a song that was significant to us and explained why. Dad's was my favorite because he didn't know ahead of time that he was going to be spiritual. He ended up having three songs because his unexpected answer was, I Am A Child Of God sung by children in Africa while he was visiting Amanda. He appreciated the fact that, no matter where you were in the world, the church and the spirit were the same. In such an unfamiliar place he was still able to be comforted by home.
107: This year we stayed in 2 separate houses, right next door. From our houses we could walk to the grocery stores, restaurants and beach...well you can basically walk anywhere. When we weren't exploring it was nice to just hang at the houses. Did you know the grocery stores get stocked by boat every day? Not a very self sufficient place. | Pincoc
108: We got to ride back at sunset, which was pretty cool, way more impressive in person than on film.
109: Dad thought he was hilarious. He would not stop chewing to smile for the camera. Fortunately I caught them braving the wind chill for a final goodnight farewell.
110: Dad-Dad actually one-upped everyone and sang the Star Spangled Banner. He chose it because of it's history and patriotism. It was written during the war of 1812 by Frances Scott Key as a poem when he witnessed the flag still flying after bombs had been dropped. It was later put to a popular tune and became our National Anthem. Dad also chose the Battle of New Orleans from the same time period by Johnny Horton-a popular song in high school in his day. As I mentioned before, dad cheated and also chose a last minute 3rd song, I am a Child of God. Mom-Mom chose Amazing Grace because it's an extraordinary song on the bagpipes and bagpipes hold significance in the Robertson family life. Amanda-Amanda played 2 versions of the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight. She also played The Original Beat because it was the origin of where hip hop began...and she is a gangsta. Benjammin-Benjammin chose the song Hysteria by the band called Muse. It's on of his favorite groups and he chose it because he loves the drums and heavy riffs. Steven-Steven chose the song God's Gonna Cut You Down originally sung by The Golden Gate Quartet. The current version he appreciates is done by Johnny Cash with his rich, old sound quality. Steven played both versions of the song and chose it because of it's message.
111: Shenda-I chose I am Like a Star Shining Brightly on behalf of myself and my girls because it is the last song that I have always sung to them at bedtime. So it has been special for many years and is one of the first songs that they memorized. Tommy-Tommy chose Wild Rover by The Clancy Brothers because he has fond memories of singing and dancing to Irish drinking songs. Elizabeth-Elizabeth chose Flight of the Bumblebee because she has fond memories of dancing "fast feet" while dad played it on the piano. Jason-Jason's song was the "hi-ho song" aka Blitzkreig Bop by the Ramones. He likes to dance and yell, "Hi! Ho! Let's go!". Lyla-Lyla's song was "the monkey song" aka One Dozen Monkeys by They Might be Giants. It was the only song that would make her stop screaming while she was in the car. We are pretty certain this is a new tradition that we have begun thanks to Tantie's brilliant suggestion.