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Chaperoning Tips for a Field Trip

March 1, 2023

I've been fortunate to have been able to accompany my kids' field trips as a chaperone for the last couple of years. Their school needed volunteers and I had the spare time to do it.
Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach is a popular field trip for elementary kids in SLO County(picture of Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach)

Requirements to Become a Chaperone at an Elementary School

Before I was able to chaperone on a field trip, I had to get fingerprinted and pass a background check for my sons' elementary school. They also needed me to pass a tuberculosis (TB) test. For the background check, I only had to do it once and not every year for the school. It costed me $75 for this and I had to go to the district's office to complete my fingerprinting process. I think you can pick from a list of offices but it made more sense to me to just get it done at one of the school's district offices. For the TB test, I had to get more periodic check-ups. Once I passed the initial one, however, I just have to make sure I get a quick interview for the subsequent school years. I found out later that I could have saved myself some money and tried to ask the school nurse to do the initial TB test on me. You'll have to check with your kid's school and district to see if they offer this service to you. I went to a Nurse Practitioner to get my TB done at Dignity Health a few years back. I hadn't met my deductible yet for my insurance then, so I had to pay a couple of hundred dollars for this. 

During the pandemic, the extra requirement was to show proof that you're fully vaccinated for Covid-19 and/or have a negative Covid-19 test.

Pros and Cons for Being a Chaperone

Pro #1:
I got to see my kid's interactions with other kids and who their friends are. This was comforting to me to see my kids' social life in a class setting.
Pro #2:
My kids have food allergies so being there as a chaperone on the field trips, and carrying the epinephrine shots with me gave me peace of mind and the means to be able to help them in an event that there is an incident.
Pro #3:
I got to experience new places that I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise. For instance, the KSBY News Station is a very secured place and they are very choosy on who they allow on site for tours. (See a list of field trips that I've chaperoned for towards the bottom of this post.) Therefore, for a school group and educational purposes, they were willing to let the kids, teachers and their chaperones go on their tour. I would have never been able to experience this if I had not chaperoned.
Pro #4:
Another wonderful thing about being a chaperone for a school field trip is I feel more connected to the community as I get to help out and keep the kids safe. Without enough volunteers/chaperones on field trips, kids would not be able to go on field trips. There have been instances where other classes couldn't go on field trips because there weren't enough volunteers. As a matter of fact, the teacher for my kid's kindergarten class told me that if I had not been able to volunteer and chaperone, the kids would not have been able to go on any field trips that year. There is a requirement and specific ratio for kids per adult that the teacher, school and district have to meet in order to get permission to go on field trips.
Pro #5:
A connection with another mom is something I find rare for myself. So another positive thing for me from chaperoning is that I was able to find a connection with a couple of moms. Friendships can take time to form but when I was able to spend all day with them twice on two different field trips within a span of a few months, this gave chaperones an opportunity to talk to each other as we all had the same goals during the field trip and that is to keep the kids safe and to help give them a positive learning experience. Therefore, we instantaneously had something to talk about and worked together on. Of course, it's hard to bond with everyone so just being able to connect with one or two moms from volunteering is pretty awesome in my book.
Con #1:
Chaperoning for a kindergarten class was the toughest among all the field trips I've chaperoned for! The kindergarteners had so much energy and a few of them were not very good at listening yet, so I had to chase them around and help keep them in line. Fortunately, my son was not one of the wanderers, but I didn't get to spend as much time with my son as I had hoped. Great stamina is definitely required while you're chaperoning for a kinder class.
Con #2:
There has been a couple of times where I was so exhausted from chaperoning that my body ached when I got home afterwards! There's a lot of walking and worrying about the safety of your kids and other kids in the classroom. One time, I had to help a stuck boy from the playground because he climbed on top of the structure (which was not how it was meant to be played), so I had to do some agile climbing and then lift the 50 pound kid down with one arm while hanging on to the bar with my other arm. The responsibility and the fear of losing any child during a field trip can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, we haven't lost a kid yet.
Con #3:
You might have to have talks to kids who are misbehaving. I really don't like to do this to kids who are not my offsprings. I usually like to leave the chiding to their own parents but in a school function when there are only a couple of adults, as a chaperone, you'll have to nudge them towards better behavior so that they are not being rude to the tour guides or others around them. I have a soft voice, so exerting a stern voice required a lot of effort for my introvert self. Most of the time my talks are to ask them to lower their voices or keep their hands and feet to themselves if they are horsing around. Other times, it's to get the wanderers back with our class group and telling them to stay with the group so that they don't get lost.
Con #4:
If you are used to a routine and an organized timeline, being a chaperone for a field trip can possibly throw you off. You'll need to be able to get used to not having all of the information until the day of. For example, if you'd like to know which exact kids you'd be responsible for, days ahead, more likely than not, the teacher will not be able to provide a list for you until the very morning of the field trip. Teachers are very busy individuals and sometimes the head count can change if they don't get all of the permission slips in or if someone is sick. Be ready to expect the unexpected.
Con #5:
Alternatively, if you don't have a connection with any of the other moms at the field trips and some of their personalities annoy you, being around them requires tolerance. Not all chaperones are rule-followers because the background checks don't check for certain personalities. They just provide information about recorded crimes or negative background records to the school with your social security number. So if you have any of those negative things in your record, then you don't pass the background check and can't volunteer to help the kids, especially if you're a registered sex offender!

Ultimately, we're chaperoning to help the kids and when I'm being surrounded by a bigger group of kids, there is this extra pressure to strive to be cordial to everyone, not cause trouble, and lead by example. I’ll share something that happened in the past. A hard rule while you're on a school bus is: no eating or drinking on the bus. One mom decided to bring her Starbucks drink on the bus and it spilled all over the school bus floor. Not only that, I heard her cuss around the kids as a reaction from her accidental spill. I kept mum about it and pretended to not see it to not embarrass her or draw attention to her, and I definitely couldn't help her clean the mess because I had no napkins in hand.

Things I Would Bring as a Chaperone

For the majority of the field trips, we would have lunch while we're out on the trip before returning to our school buses, so I had to bring my own lunch, which is usually a sandwich. I packed light and exchanged my everyday purse for a compact backpack so that I could fit my lunch, wallet, phone and band aids! Band aids have come to the rescue for me a couple of times when kids accidentally trip.

Usually the teacher has some too but when we split up into small groups, having your own supply can be life savers for meltdowns. One time, I also packed fruit snacks enough for my small group and an 8-pack of apple juice boxes for the zoo. I checked with the teacher ahead of time for any allergies in the class first before I did this. I knew it was going to be a hot day and I looked like a saint to have come with a small cooler with those snacks and cold drinks when we took a couple of breaks during our sweaty walk together during the field trip. So for that particular field trip, I carried my backpack and had a very compact cooler that kind of looked like a purse as well with me. Another thing that has saved me and kept the kids on their best behavior was having a pack of stickers. In past field trips, I would reward the kindergarteners a sticker as an incentive for good behavior, if they were assigned to my group. I think that has helped me keep the kids together and listen to me better.

My sons are not near graduating elementary school yet, so I have a few more years and opportunities to volunteer as a chaperone while they are still smaller kids. However, I always ask them every time if they prefer that I chaperone on their upcoming field trip or stay home as I want them to know that they have the option to feel independent on a field trip without mama around. Thus far, they have always been excited when I'd tell them that their teachers asked me to chaperone and encouraged me to go so that I can spend the day with them! I know that there is a possibility that one day, they will tell me that they can go to a field trip without me, or when I have a job that will not allow me to chaperone anymore. When either of that happens, then I will have to sit out and accept my fate. Until then, I'm going to enjoy being a chaperone as much as I can!

Here is a list of field trip locations that I've been a chaperone for below:

To see fun things to do with kids in San Luis Obispo County, go to the 'For Kids' blog entries or go to the Kid-Friendly Events Page to see a list of upcoming free events.

Did you enjoy my Pros and Cons list from this blog entry? You can read my Pros and Cons list that I created for the Mother & Son Dance

Day Trip Supplies:

Mistura Review | Downtown San Luis Obispo Restaurant

February 19, 2023

Mistura does everything right! Located in Downtown San Luis Obispo, Mistura's ambiance is sleek, the service is sharp and the food and drinks are stand outs!

For a belated Valentine's Day celebration, my husband and I made a reservation online for Mistura for a Saturday.

We arrived about 15 minutes before our reservation after finding a metered parking spot. Luckily, we had coins because the meter we parked right by didn't not use the parking app that the other spots use in San Luis Obispo. Somehow we parked outside of the range but no matter, it was still a good parking spot because it was only a couple of blocks down from Mistura. After checking in with the host, I only had a wait a couple of minutes before we were seated.

We remembered that the restaurant takes great care of making our food and that it was going to be awhile before we'd get our entrees so we ordered a couple of cocktails and the presentation was excellent. I ordered the Cucumber Moonrise and then the Moon Lite. I stuck to a moon theme tonight. If I had to choose, I preferred the Cucumber Moonrise but they were both refreshing options. See pictures of the cocktails that I ordered below.

I was really hungry and ordered their Arroz Con Marisco (paella) as my entree as I loved it so much last time. The portion was big, the seafood on the dish were fresh and it came in a quintessential paella pan! I had leftovers to bring home.

After about 1.5 hours, we finished our meals and walked outside to take a downtown SLO stroll around the busy streets. It was packed with young people, old people, people with families and people on vacation! It's always fun to walk around downtown when there's time to do it. I really enjoyed our belated Valentine's Day dinner with my husband. Next time, I hope to have enough room in my stomach to try one of their beautiful desserts at Mistura.

Watch my instagram reel on my Mistura visit:

Note about Mistura's restrooms: The men and women restaurants are separated from each other by a bar so if you need to use the women's restroom, make sure to walk to the farthest corner (left of the bar) to find it. The men's restroom is perpendicular to host's desk.

Mistura Address: 570 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Other Restaurants I've Visited in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County:


Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark Birthday Weekend Getaway Review in Southern California

February 13, 2023
We drove 4 hours south to Orange County in Southern California to do a Great Wolf Lodge Getaway for our son's birthday celebration this month! Instead of having a party, we decided to take a road trip and spend the weekend at their kid-friendly waterpark. Great Wolf Lodge has an indoor waterpark with slides, toddler area, lazy river and more. It's a perfect place for kids who want to play in the water during wintery weather. Best yet, we didn't have to really leave the resort because they also had a few restaurants inside.
Great wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark Pictures
When you book a room at the Great Wolf Lodge, it includes entry to the waterpark so there is an added convenience and it's located within the property. This made it a very pleasant experience for adults too as it made the trip so easy to plan. Scroll down to see more pictures from our waterpark stay below with our thoughts about our entire Great Wolf Lodge Getaway.

Wolf Den Suite

There were many rooms to choose from when I researched online on the Great Wolf Lodge's website. We decided to reserve the Wolf Den Suite, which was just a bit more expensive than their standard double bed room type. Sometimes they run seasonal deals with a promo code, which you'd have to manually enter to see the discounted deal. That was what we did.
Bunk Beds Room at Great Wolf Lodge
We're so happy that we chose the Wolf Den Suite for our stay. The Wolf Den Suite has bunk beds (that's perfect for our two sons), 1 queen bed and a full sleeper sofa. You can sleep up to 6 people in this room but we're a family of four and felt that if we had 2 more adults, it might seem uncomfortable. However, I think if you had 2 adults and 4 non-teen kids in your family, selecting this room type makes a lot of sense.

Wolf Den Suite Review Pictures
We loved the cave theme of our room and additionally we also added on the Birthday Fun Package to our room which included: a birthday banner on the door of our room, a set of balloons inside, a voucher for a cake and birthday theme napkins, plates and utensils. I thought this made our stay much more eventful and my birthday boy looked really happy when he saw all of this already set-up when we've arrived to our room. It was an additional cost but it was worth it to us. One thing to note is that the birthday cake that came with the Birthday Fun package was way too big for our party of 4. I think this package would be great for a bigger group. Here's a picture of our birthday cake below.
Birthday Cake from Great Wolf Lodge Package
It's a 1/4 sheet sized cake, which I think is big enough to feed 10 - 15 people for dessert. We had to redeem our birthday cake voucher and pick the cake up at the Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, which is on L1 level. 

Bear Track Waterpark

Bear Track Landng Waterpark Picture
When we arrived at Great Wolf Lodge on a Friday evening, we didn't make it to the waterpark as it was too late. However, the next morning, we beelined to the waterpark right before it opened. The waterpark, which is called Bear Track Landing Waterpark inside of Great Wolf Lodge Anaheim, is located on L1 (one level below the Lobby level). You can take the elevator to get there from any room floor. While we were there during the weekend, the waterpark was open between 9AM - 8PM. There were many chairs and tables but the tables get claimed very quickly. So, the sooner you get there, the better if you're looking for a table for your group. Each morning, we got in line 15 minutes before 9AM so that we could maximize our experience there.
Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Chairs
My kids really enjoyed the waterpark and the many things we could do there together. The birthday boy's favorite waterpark feature was the Howlin' Tornado for bigger kids. The raft of the Howlin' Tornado fits 2 - 4 riders at a time. It was so exciting for us! He is over 48 inches now so he was able to go on that with me. We bonded over how scary certain parts were and got off the raft with big smiles!

There were also a couple of sections that were better for the little kids with less-scary slides like Fort MacKenzie. Even adults like me enjoyed them.

Breakfast at Loose Moose

Another awesome convenience with staying at the Great Wolf Lodge is that there were a few restaurants on property inside of the Great Wolf Lodge in Anaheim to choose from. We ordered pizza from Hungry As A Wolf by the arcade (also on L1 floor) for both evenings while we were there and enjoyed breakfast at the Loose Moose in the mornings because it was a buffet and this made breakfast a breeze for our family. After the server at the Loose Moose found out it was my son's birthday at our first breakfast, without having to request it, they came by with a cupcake later on to sing a unique Great Wolf Lodge birthday song to him that ended with a howl! 
Loose Moose Family Kitchen Buffet Picture
I prepaid for a breakfast package for both mornings, thinking that it would save us money and time as the package also included non-alcoholic drinks and tip as well. In retrospect, it might have been cheaper if I hadn't done the pre-paid breakfast package. My husband typically drinks water with his meals and one of my sons didn't feel like eating one morning because he was still so tired. You can only redeem the breakfast slip once per day so the whole party had to be there for breakfast at the restaurant to redeem it so we couldn't stagger our visits where two of us could eat before the other two.

Lobby Area and Other Resort Activities

I really liked the high ceilings of the Great Wolf Lodge as I entered the property. We self-parked in their parking structure instead of valet parked because it was significantly more expensive to valet park. We used the elevators from the parking structure to get to the L1 level to head to the lobby. Once entering the lobby, the check-in desk would be to the left after passing the Loose Moose restaurant on the right-hand side and the candy shop on the left-hand side. Checking in was a smooth process. However, if you are self-parking, you'll need to alert them to exchange your white ticket, that you received from the parking structure machine when you entered the parking structure, with their blue parking pass, which you'd then scan on your way in and out of the parking structure in order to open the gate each time.

It was nice roaming around Great Wolf Lodge. Every day, there were resort activities in the lobby for kids. Activities included: bingo, arts & crafts, yoga and more.
Great Wolf Lodge Anaheim Lobby
Great Wolf Lodge Anaheim in Garden Grove Review
Great Wolf Lodge Animatronic

There was a lot of room on the lobby level to just sit around and hang out.

During our trip, we used the waterpark, played in their arcade, did the MagiQuest scavenger hunt and relaxed. We had a very fun weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Anaheim. To my surprise, my sons actually preferred coming here over Disneyland!

Things I would do differently next time:
  • Get a waterproof pouch for my phone so I could take more pictures in the waterpark without fear of ruining my phone. I didn't take any pictures while I was in the water and wish I had been able to take some.
  • Not get the Pre-paid Breakfast Package so we had more flexibility on what we wanted to do for breakfast on a whim.
  • There was no microwave in our room. We had leftover pizza that we could store because our room had a mini-fridge, but we couldn't it heat up. Our thought is since we drove to the Great Wolf Lodge with our car, bringing the air fryer with us to the room would have been an easy solution. However, it might set off smoke detectors in our room and get us in trouble if we use it. I don't know if they have a hard rule about not bringing in your own kitchen appliances, but I may need to do some research on a solution to heat up leftovers for a future visit. I read online afterwards that there is a community microwave on each floor by the ice machine. We didn't make our way to the ice machine during our stay so didn't know. However, I'll make sure to locate the microwave by the ice machine next time!
My Other Family Getaway Reviews:
Travel Accessories:

Alpha Omega Collective in Downtown Paso Robles Review

January 16, 2023
Earlier this afternoon, we had a Signature wine tasting flight at Alpha Omega Collective in Downtown Paso Robles. It had just grand opened a couple of days ago so this was their first weekend of opening.
Alpha Omega Paso Robles
The inside of the tasting room is very sleek and cozy. We can tell the staff there are seasoned in the industry. They are calm, professional and attentive. We really enjoyed our experience there and loved that it is literally right by the Downtown City Park in Downtown Paso Robles. 
Alpha Omega Collective in Paso Robles
I always like to compare the Downtown Paso Robles area to Downtown San Luis Obispo because they are both located within the San Luis Obispo County. I feel like Downtown Paso Robles has done so many things right! They have a centralized park with a playground, many wine tasting rooms, different types of restaurants and little neat shops scattered around several blocks. Best of all, it is very easy to walk around Downtown Paso Robles because it is flat! Downtown San Luis Obispo, on the other hand, is very hilly. You can read about my Downtown San Luis Obispo staycation at the Granada Hotel & Bistro and pictures of the places we visited in the Downtown SLO area. 
Alpha Omega Downtown Paso Robles
Alpha Omega Collective has selections from three different wineries: Tolosa (Edna Valley), Perinet (Spain) and Alpha Omega (Napa Valley). We like this variety and it was very nice to be able to taste something from Napa Valley without having to visit Napa Valley!
Alpha Omega San Luis Obispo County
We are Tolosa Winery wine club members and was able to enjoy complimentary tastings here as they are sister properties. Because of Alpha Omega Collective's addition here in Paso Robles, we are going to definitely continue to remain members of Tolosa Winery for another year. Tolosa Winery is located in Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo, California. Read my full review on Tolosa Winery.

See my top 10 favorite wine tasting rooms in all of San Luis Obispo County.

Aerating Wine Pourers:


South County San Luis Obispo Gyms or Fitness Centers Reviews

December 18, 2022
Staying active and healthy is one of my goals. Over the years, I went to a number of gyms around the South County part of San Luis Obispo County. Here is a list of gyms/fitness centers that I've visited and my thoughts about them in chronological order:

  • Fitness 19

    Located in Arroyo Grande and in the same shopping area as Marshalls, Wal Mart, Food 4 Less, a movie theater, and a great number of restaurants, I thought this gym had the best location. Their ads kept showing up on my Facebook as well with a free trial offered. Furthermore, years ago when I was a member there, Fitness 19 had a nursery for kids. At the time, I had a 5 year old and 3 year old. They offered a free first day trial. For my first trial visit, I thought it was a pretty good place. All I wanted to do was find a place where I could jog regularly with childcare to keep my heart healthy. They had a lot of treadmills lined up at the front. After my first visit, I joined. The kids behaved fine during their first time at the nursery. However, after their first time, they didn't like to be there anymore. They would cry while I was on the treadmill so the staff had to stop my work out and get me. My ideal work out timeframe was 35 minutes on the treadmill but unfortunately, the nursery personnel was not able to console my kids for even that amount of time so after a few months, I just cancelled my membership. Now, all of this was a year before the pandemic so I'm not sure if they have a nursery anymore. If you're interested in that element of their services, I would check with them. It didn't work out for me but hopefully it'll work out for you. Fitness 19 is also a close distance from an electric charging station. The electric charging station is not right in front of the Fitness 19 gym but it's not more than a quarter mile away as it's within the same shopping center. Address of Fitness 19: 908 Rancho Pkwy, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

  • Tantrum Fitness (Closed Down)

    Located in Grover Beach, Tantrum Fitness was a gym for women only! I liked their class offerings and the members who worked out there as well. They also had a nursery available for certain time frames and was located in the shopping center next to VONS. It was a convenient location. However, this place shut down during the pandemic! The peculiar thing is they did not inform me in an email directly nor called me to let me know that they were closing. I found out through their social media by reading a comment underneath one of their posts that a class instructor responded to. After I'd discovered this and found out that they were closing their doors in less than a month, I emailed their team to request them to stop pulling automatic payments from my financial account. Small businesses were struggling during the pandemic so I understand the hustle. Tantrum Fitness is closed now so all in all, it was a great work out experience and community but sadly, the pandemic was too much for them to sustain their business. 

  • Pismo Beach Athletic Club

    After making sure Tantrum Fitness stopped pulling automatic payments as they were permanently closing, I stopped working out for awhile during the pandemic. The kids were learning at home because of the school closures around our county so we were cooped up, helped our kids through online school work/lessons from home, and didn't get out much. However, as things were starting to open up and the kids were transitioning to a couple of hours of lessons a day in school, I was able to try out Pismo Beach Athletic Club for a morning. They didn't offer a free trial but allowed non-members to purchase a day pass so that was what I did for one morning. I really wanted to try one of their fitness classes but all of their classes required pre-registration and all of their morning classes were already full by a whole week! So, I just came in and jogged on the treadmill. It sufficed for what I needed for cardio. I felt that the membership fees were too high for me and was not able to easily join a class so I didn't join as a member. However, they have an indoor lap pool so if swimming is your main focus for fitness, Pismo Beach Athletic Club is a good option. They are also located just a block from the ocean so it's such a wonderful location. The staff there are all professional and nice so there is a family feel to it. From my understanding on their website and my single day visit, they do not offer childcare but I suggest double checking with the business in case that has changed recently. Pismo Beach Athletic Club Address: 1751 Price Street, Pismo Beach CA 93449

  • Planet Fitness

    Planet Fitness Locker Room Arroyo Grande

    Located in Arroyo Grande and in the same shopping center as a Starbucks, Grocery Outlets and off the 101 highway, Planet Fitness could be a great hub for many needs. They also have an electric car charging station right in front of Planet Fitness as well! I feel like because of their highway proximity, electric charging station and with the Starbucks right there, this Planet Fitness is full of yuppies, travelers, students and a bunch of smart and efficient people! The cost is such a good deal as well! They don't offer classes though so that is the major con. However, if you don't care for fitness classes, Planet Fitness in AG is a great gym spot. They have a lot of cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights. I like their big locker room with a few showers for women. I'm assuming the men's locker room would be the same size? Furthermore, Planet Fitness is a chain so if you have the black card (a higher membership level), you can work out at any Planet Fitness around the U.S. and bring a guest every day for free! They do not have any childcare services. Planet Fitness Address: 1576 W Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

  • CYB Studios

    Located in Arroyo Grande off of Grand Ave., CYB Studios is strictly classes only and they focus on cycling, yoga and barre (hence the acronym for their name)! They were having their anniversary sale so I bought some passes to try it out. Thus far, I've tried their cycling, Barre, YFlow, Y26, and YSculpt classes. The staff members there are all very helpful with customer service as their forefront #1 asset. Within their shopping center, you'll find a Starbucks, Rite Aid, CHC Urgent Care, a few restaurants, and an Aldi so you can get almost all of your errands done in this shopping center before or after working out, if you really wanted to! Their classes and instructors are amazing! I usually feel sore for a couple of days after taking a class there so make sure to give yourself a break for a couple of days between classes if you're not used to it like me. You will definitely get a really good work out! The big con is if you're not into working out in classes with other people and only want to work with machines or equipment on your own, CYB Studios is not for you. They do not have any treadmills or any other cardio machines. Every once in awhile, they offer free classes to the public so that you can try them out or you can always just pay a fee for every visit without a membership or pay a package deal. One fun thing is they often plan really neat social events with fitness. They also have a very nice restroom area with showers. They are very proactive on their social media. They do not offer childcare services, but do offer complimentary towel usage for your work outs. CYB Studios Address: 1231 E Grand Avenue, Suite 105, Arroyo Grande, Ca 93420


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About Me

San Luis Obispo Mom Originally from San Diego, California, I'm a San Diego State University alumna, veteran's wife and mom of two kids who were born two years apart. After living on the East Coast for 6 years, we now reside in San Luis Obispo County and here, the exploration continues.
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