Spring Break 2016: Yosemite National Park

As our eyes first set in this magnificent valley, I could only whisper all my gratitude to the Almighty.  For this tranquility, for this peaceful beauty.

Welcome to Yosemite National Park

I know it's already summer here, but I still have some stories to share from our last spring's adventures. Here's Spring Break 2016: Yosemite National Park chapter.


"Mama, where are we heading?" asked Bo in the car that day.
"Yosemite, Bang" I replied.
"Hmm..what's that again ma?
"Y-o-s-e-m-i-t-e.." I said 
"Oooh cool.. Like the one we saw on TV!" 
"So what are going to see here ma?" Added Obi.
My hubby and I just smiled and said," You'll see, kiddos, you'll see..."
Obviously, we just couldn't wait to see this world-wide famous National Park.

7 AM.
Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley, California.

Yes, we're here, in the California Republic.
The alarm screamed its heart out at 7 AM dot.

"Wakey, wakey, kiddos. We gotta move, El Capitan is waiting" I gently tapped Bo et Obi. 
"And we will see that great sand dunes nearby before heading to Yosemite," 
I know it was early and we were on spring break (a.k.a vacation ;)), but with the bathroom fun rituals (bubble bath session, enjoying the hot tub) and delicious breakfasts waiting for us, even 7 AM is considered late.

The kids had a great sleep after spending some times under the sun in the driest part in the US, the Death Valley. We stayed quite late down there, until sunset. And by the time we arrived at the Stovepipe Wells, we were all washed out.

Mesquita Sand Dune at the Stovepipe Walls..

After a brief morning walk at the Sand dunes, we were driving straight to Yosemite National Park. Wuhuuuu...


What intrigued us in the first place is how do you pronounce the name of this famous park.
I know...it might sound silly for you.
But for a non-native English speakers like us, you'll be surprise to hear the way we said it :).
Of course the correct way of saying it is (/jˈsɛmti/ yoh-sem-it-ee) as I copy paste it from wikipedia.

But anyway, we still have tons of questions in our head when we first prepared our journey last spring.
Where is it? How do we go there?
What can we do there? How long do we have to stay there?
Where are we going to stay? How about the food?
And the questions continued on and on and on, until the day we actually went there.

We have zero knowledge of Yosemite National Park when we first heard about it. 
But as if the faith has been sealed for us, our itchy feet brought us to this lovely place on earth.

We drove around 4.5 hours from Death Valley, but we stopped for quite some times in Oakhurst as we had a little problem with our rent car. All was okay after we visited the car center and had our tyre checked. Apparently, after super hot days in the Death Valley, the car tyres and brakes were a bit compromised. Good thing it was handled swiftly, although we arrived a bit late in Mariposa, where we stayed first he first 2 nights in Yosemite. We managed to visit the Park but it was 8 PM already so it was all dark. 

And the view along the way was awesome. Super blue sky, green lush trees and hills.
We pretty much enjoyed it.

We stayed at the Yosemite Miners Inn Motel, around 1 hour from the gate of Yosemite National Park. It was a lovely motel and Mariposa was a lovely place indeed.

Early morning, we were so ready to visit this infamous national park.
With our America the beautiful card, we paid USD 80 for a full-year free entrance to the all US National Parks all over the country for a family of four like us and/or with other 3 adults.
What a steal!

Surely there are abundant things you can do in this beautiful place. 
Hiking, driving along the scenic routes, rock climbing, biking, camping, tracking, bear and bird watching and so many more. Initially, we wanted to see and try everything.
Somehow, with limited time we have, we really had to choose where to go. We highlighted the landmarks and some friendly tracks for us and the kids. Being outdoor is our favorite, but traveling with kids require further consideration,

On the first day, we drove through El Portal Road and headed to meet El Capitan and the Three Brothers. In case you were wondering, those are the names of granites rocks which dominantly adorned the Valley View. 

Meet El Capitan...

We hiked to the Bridalveil Fall as well. It was only 30 minutes walk from the parking spot near El Capitan area.
And just as beautiful as its name, the Fall is mesmerizing. 
It felt so fresh to walk on the ground like this.

Bridalveil bridge from a far..

We drove and walked around the Valley to enjoy the spectacular view right in front of our eyes. Wherever you look, you won't stop admiring the irrevocable beauty nature can bring. 
As much as I enjoyed the sceneries, I couldn't stop taking pictures here and there.

meet El Capitan

On the way to the Yosemite Village, we stopped at several places.
From Valley View to the  Yosemite Village, you can see El Capitan with its horse tail fall and ribbon fall, as well as the Three Brothers and the Cathedral Rocks

the Valley seen from the Vista Point

Heading south, you will see the  Sentinel Falls as well as Columbia Rock, which is not far from the majestic  Yosemite Falls, the upper and lower parts. 

The Falls is easily accessible from the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center as well as from the Sentinel Bridge. There is a path that you can follow if you want to walk along the trail and get closer to the Falls. But both Falls look fantastic from a far.

Yosemite Falls

While enjoying this beautiful area, we were just sitting in one of the valleys, simply doing nothing but sitting on the grass, deeply inhaling the fresh air, and giggling around. Obviously we took tons of pictures and videos, so we spent sometimes waiting for our GoPro did its magic and recorded some of those time lapse videos.
I didn't mind waiting, as the scenery is wonderful and we got lucky that some wild animals joining our leisure time there.

And finally, we stopped at the famous Tunnel View.
I have no further explanation but leave it to your judgement in these photos.
No wonder people are flocking in this very spot to witness what Mother Nature presents.

the 4 of us...

We spent three days in this one of the world's natural wonders.
And I have to admit, even three days are not enough.
Sometimes we just got confused which rock or falls that we were seeing as there are so many of them. But whatever it is, it's beyond words beautiful.

I don't think my story and photos do justice to the real beauty of this place.
Nevertheless, I have to go back with more stories and photos (for sure) about our 2nd and 3rd day here at the Park.

Have you visited this place or other national Park as well?
How do you like it?

Check out more stories and photos in my Steller :)

Stepping Up Ceremony

"Mama, can the first grade student eat candy?" 
"Am I a big girl now?"
"When am I going to be 6?"

As always, my daughter Obi bombarded me with questions. That morning we were rushing to one of the highlights of her days in Kindergarten.
After almost a year learning and enjoying her days in kindergarten, here comes the day when she will be ready to be the 1st grader.
Or as abang Bo said, to be "the real student."

The Stepping Up ceremony started at 8.30 AM.
Early? Not really.
If only you saw the queue that morning.
Well, the invitation said so but we had to line up outside in order to get into the hall. And what a queue we had that morning! I started lining up at 8.10 and already I was way in the back >_<. Some might start lining up at 7 or 7.30.

the lining up..

At 8.45, parents and all invitees were filling up the room. The Hall is big but everyone was trying to get the best spot to witness this important milestone. Surely not easy to decide one until you were there in the room, stucked in the middle of squirming and screaming, super-excited parents and grandparents. But we managed to sit happily in the middle row :).

the invitation

We waited for a while before the students entered the room. The Auditorium had been transformed into a big stage which will accommodate 8 kindergarten classes. And while waiting, the assistant principal had reminded parents to stay at their seats and not to move forward to the stage during the performance as it will make the kids nervous and surely disturb others. We would get plenty opportunity to take pictures later after the ceremony.

before the ceremony..

So we sat tightly on our seats, enjoying the performance. After the processional march (the theme song chosen for this is You've got a friend in me from Toy Story.. Love it 💜), we have the opening part which included salute to the US flag while singing along America the Beautiful and God Bless the USA. Then a short welcoming remarks was given by Ms. Anna Prea, the Assistant Principal.

Then there came the performances.
Lovely to hear the performances of all the kids singing some of their favorite, beautiful tunes like Hello to all the children of the world; All we're meant to be; Big,big dreams; This little light of mine (one of my fave!); Who do we appreciate (2,4,6,8... Who do we appreciate? You..:)); Everybody has music inside; Sing and a wonderful rearrangement of the famous New York, New York, First grade, First Grade.
Such a wonderful song itinerary.
And Mrs. Robinson, the music teacher, surely has done fantastic jobs in preparing the kids for the performances.

Nadine, in the middle of her classmates..

After the ceremony in the auditorium, all students (and parents) were invited to join the presentation of the certificate in the school yard. It was crowded but beautiful. 

in the schoolyard..
The certificate was presented by Ms. Honahan to all the kids and it was really a bittersweet moment. All the kids love Ms. Honahan and we will surely miss her. We can't thank her enough for helping Nadine exploring her passion and learning a great deal of fun at school. Thank you so much, Mrs. Honey.

Our dearest Mrs. Honahan..

Then there came the ice cream!
Yaaaay.. Ice cream, as the kids screamed with joy.
Surely the ice cream was only for the kids as we were fasting as well.

Nadine was spending some times with her girl friends before we were heading home. It was so touchy to see all those smiley faces, Nadine, Zoe, Daphne and her twin, Eleni. And how fast they have grown up! I feel like crying again :).

the girls :)

So Nadine, ready for the 1st grade?
I bet you are!

How do you feel when you see your kids' graduation?

WW: Peaceful Yosemite

I need peace.
More peace...

Feels like going back to Yosemite National Park to clear up my mind and refresh my soul :)

Check out more story on my Steller :)

And join us on linky (almost) Wordless Wednesday

Wonderful Wednesday with Oh My Heartsie Girls

Another week has passed and I have to admit, what a busy week it was for my petite famille.
First we have the stepping up ceremony for my Obi. 

My daughter is graduating from the kindergarten already. 

Feels like yesterday when she was just our chubby little baby who loves to smile. And now, as she walked gracefully with her friends from K-208 as the President of the class, my heart bursted with proud and joy. And honestly, I felt like crying but managed to restrain myself :)

The of course we have Father's Day as well. I have shared that in my previous posting and we all are blessed to have Bapak Rudi as our best-est Dad.

We also continue to observe our solemn holy month of Ramadhan and it is already half way through. I sincerely hope we can be better individuals in the future.

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Happy Father's Day, Bapak

"Mama, is Bapak awake?" 
Whispered Obi that morning to me. 
Sleepily, I said no, not yet, and saw Bo et Obi were obviously hiding something behind their back.
"Okay.. We'll be back then. You know it's a special day, right?" Giggled them both while running out of the room.
Of course, I know.
It's the Father's day...


Last Sunday we celebrated father's day.

And how my heart aches and screams with joy at the same time.


Because I miss my Dad terribly.
My fun, easy going, love-to-sing, and bring-out-the-sunshine dad.
Our lives were indeed colorful, like roller coaster rides complete with strings of unforgettable events. But he was always be there, trying to find the solutions we need and keep our sanctity as one big family.

know he has rested in peace with my Rabb up there. 
Al-fatihah for Papa :).

miss you, papa :)

As for the father's day celebration this year, the kids got so excited for sure. They have prepared these beautiful cards and gifts for Bapak. It becomes sort of a tradition at school to work on special presents for the best dads we all have. 

special gifts from Obi :)

And as I mentioned earlier, we all got so excited. 
Bo et Obi were ready with their gifts and I was ready with Udi's favorite food :). Check out the recipe of tempe bacem here in my blog.

I love this one from Bo :)

And Bapak Udi, my hubby, is indeed our best-est Dad!

We can't thank him enough for everything he has done to us. 
I can't thank him enough.
For being there whenever we need him and being himself, always! 

Bapak :)

As a working mom, I spend so much time at the office. I always try to go home early but the UN and my Mission don't always give me that luxury, so that I heavily depended on my hubby in taking care of my kids. And taking care of me as well :).

my angel

And he is my angel! 
Sent to me to help me raise my petite famille wherever we are. 
As we are away from home most of the time, it put us in the best position to find ways to deal with our unique situations. And without the courage, commitment and compassion from my hubby, I don't know how we can manage everything for the last 11 years.

How we all cherish all those late night hugs from Bapak at home. 
Plus a quick 'I love you, Pak' hugs and kisses before going to bed.
Or home works checking, and math as well as reading sessions with Bo et Obi.
Not to mention our morning walks to school, with Bapak bringing all the kids' bags. 

And as for kitchen department, we all are the big fans of Bapak's signature butter rice and  yummiest sambel goreng tempe. 
And last but not least, he has the best tickles in the world.
Sometimes Bo et Obi are especially volunteering themselves to be tickled by Bapak. I will be far a way from them when they start this tickling game as I can't stand it :).

Happy father's day, Bapak!
May Allah SWT bestow you with love, strength, bless, patience and warm heart, for always 💜💜💜

Stay fun, keep cool and forever be awesome!

Happy father's day

Happy Father's Day to all great fathers out there.