11 July, 2012

Busy Days of Summer

What a great week at the Lake house. Happy, tired kids and happy tired parents. Someone told me I looked rested today, someone else said I looked like I'd been "hiking or something." All I know is that I had a great time.

We had Sage and her family come up for a few days, and while I didn't manage to get a picture with all the kids together,  they got to do lots of things that they like. We went swimming at the beach, and went out on the boat and identified a rare bird for our neighborood. Jake got to chill on our hike, dribbling pine needles and rocks through his hands on the trail that used to be the train bed for the railroad that was built to supply the workers at Hetch- Hetchy.
 Kids and grownups scrambled all over boulders and only one foot of one adult, and one foot of one child got wet in the fun. Not bad. There were very few scuffles amongst the kids that were not resolved in under 5 seconds, and every single one was caused by Lucy being in someone's space. If ever there was a child who wanted a big sister it's Lucy. Thank goodness we have so many close family friends who will be able to step in to that role over the years.

Jake wore a hat. Woot! This is something we've been encouraging for the last two years, and it is really feeling like we can almost call it a success. With a history of melanoma in the family, it's especially important that we do what we can to protect the kids' skin. He lets me put sunblock on his face now too. Those ears get sun blocked every day, rain or shine!

Lucy got to drive around with the roof open on Daddy's Jeep. Even better when Descartes went back to the Bay area for a couple of days I got to drive around in the Jeep with the music and the sunshine and the bluetooth connection, and the awesome handling of the car, it is really hard not to smile the whole time you are driving that car... especially if you are driving it in to Yosemite because Oh My there is so much there right above your head.



I took the kids in to Yosemite by myself on Monday when Descartes went back to the city to work for a couple days. It was exhausting and awesome. Being responsible for little people all by yourself a long way from home with no local safety net is apparently something that gives me a bit of anxiety. It also made me feel powerful, strong and very cool. I'm sure driving with the wind in my hair and sun on my shoulders helped me get through. Did you know I am younger, more beautiful, and always recycle when I am in that car? Did I mention that we love the car?

Lucy asked me to take a picture of her where she is holding up the biggest rock ever. I think she got these crazy photo ideas from Mali and Iz. I will be studying how to get proper forced perspective shots so we can get them over with. By the time I take her to Pisa I want to be able to get that cool shot with her kicking over the Leaning Tower.

Lucy is loving being a little Junior Ranger. In fact, when asked to wear a hero costume to camp past Friday she chose her ranger outfit with hat and vest, because she thinks Park Rangers are like "heroes for the planet." This is one endeavor I do not mind indulging so that means a pin purchase and stamps from the ranger stations in our little passport book. It's been a learning experience for all of us, because as it turns out I did not know that garbage that you might find in the National Park that is over 50 years old should be treated as a historical items. So congratulations all you hippies who left your soda cans in the campground, they are now artifacts!

We explored an area new to us in the Yosemite Valley, the Happy Isles Nature Center. Most of it was very wheelchair friendly, and we were able to park about two miles closer with the disabled placard making the actual hiking part possible. We've been very good about asking Jake if he wants to walk or ride. I forget sometimes that his low tone means that he really will be tired and might not even be able to walk well towards the end of the day.

He and Lucy have both been pretty good sports given each of their limitations. She's only 6, and her little self gets tired out seemingly out of the blue. I think her blood sugar drops and she just plummets. She goes from greatest kid ever to, uhm, not the greatest kid ever. We can fix that most of the time with something from the bottomless snack bag that goes with us wherever we go.
There is so much to see and do, and there are all of those animals and birds to check out, I'm not sure that we will ever get tired of this beautiful place. It doesn't hurt that there is pretty decent pizza and if we stay too late, there's that awesome, inexpensive all-you-can-eat buffet in the evenings in Curry Village. We even discovered that the Pizza Deck has good beer (and commemorative glasses!) I'm not much for Hefewisen, but on a hot day at altitude it sort of hit the spot.
There was an Independence day barbecue, which included an airshow, and music, and many multi-generational families. The world is small, so of course the table next to us had a family that had retired to the Lake from my hometown, and the father had worked with special needs children in his first years of teaching. His daughter went to my rival high school. And there were many people who just stopped by to say hello to Jake. What was nice is that they all said hello to him before they said hello to me. Jake thought the tiny pony was pretty funny but chose not to pet him.

We did a lot of boating on the lake. This kind of cruising makes Jake very happy. He happily wore his life jacket and made me feel at ease enough to sip wine. Some days we took the boat out once in the morning and again for a wine and cheese cruise. It is such a luxury, and I cannot thank my husband enough for his ease on the water, parking the boat, picking us up on other docks. He makes it all look so easy. For the big celebration we entered the boat parade and while they don't give out a second prize, apparently we would have won it. It was supposed to be an historic event, so my darling husband bought hula-hoops and we went for the gold with Olympics 2012. That's the London Eye and Big Ben. We also had a cauldron and the Olympic torch. Little Lucy yelled "GO USA!" for about an hour. We had no colored paint for anything, so if you'd like to know how to make latex house paint go from beige to slightly not beige we don't really know the proportions, but it took coffee grounds, coffee, soy sauce, and a dash of Worcestershire. Pathetic, but very fun. Big Ben is very textured, and smells just plain odd.

Jake went back to summer school and has had positive reports filled with happy sounds and "cooing" as his teacher told me today. Lucy is settled into a new camp where she swims every day, so that little fish is happy and completely over tired by 4:30pm. I am trying to get back to work after weeks of sketchy Internet service. And Descartes and I are both trying to get back to a world where beer with lunch is not normal, and there is no ordering two-for-one pina coladas for me.

Tomorrow is music in the park which we all enjoy, and it just makes me feel all the more thankful because it seems every city in which I rest my head, is a pretty awesome place. Cheers!

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