Smokey days.

This past week has been just unbelievable in California - from the shooting in Thousand Oaks to the fires in both northern and southern parts of the state. It has been incredibly sad. The Camp Fire in the Paradise/Chico area is only an hour and a half north of us in Sacramento - and the air here has been full of smoke as a reminder of the devastation those communities are feeling.

The part of the Sacramento Valley that has been hit by the Camp Fire holds a lot of family history for me - my grandfather was a coach at Chico State in the 1950s, my dad went to Chico State and so did my sister. We've spent a lot of time in the area - enjoying all the wildlife and nature they have to offer. I have family who lost their home in Paradise and friends who live in the area and have been affected one way or another.


The Honey Run Covered Bridge that crossed Butte Creek - was a spot that 4 generations of my family have enjoyed. From a surprise birthday party that my dad held for my grandmother at the bridge in the 1970s to my kids getting to enjoy the bridge just this past spring. I was heartbroken to see it had burned down.

We have been staying inside, watching the death toll rise as the fire continues to burn. The kids are once again concerned about fires (just like they were last year during the Napa/Sonoma fires.) They don't really grasp the distance -- and with the air quality as bad as it is, you can see why they think it is a lot closer.

I haven't been blogging much this month - focusing a bit more on other stuff. But I've been asked about these fires and how close we are, if we've been impacted and how to help - so I thought I'd share. If you are looking for ways to help those affected by the fires - check out this article from the New York Times. Both North Valley Community Foundation and Caring Choices are two organizations that local Chico and Paradise folks have recommended to me.

Lots of love and support to anyone affected by these recent tragedies throughout California.

Ellen Martin

I'm a west-coast mama of two little ones, 15 months apart. This is our family story with reviews and recommendations along the way. Thanks for joining our journey.

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