Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rock Climbing Camp

This week Will took a rock climbing camp four afternoons down at the Quarry in Provo. There were nine six and seven year old boys from our ward who all went together. They had two instructors, Buzz and Pierre, who helped them learn the basics, after they got their rock climbing shoes and harnesses on and adjusted.
Then they had four hours each afternoon of climbing, obstacle courses, rope bridges, and the "king swing" which hung about twelve feet off the ground. Will made it up to the top of the blue, pink and green training courses. The last day they had a water fight and a pizza party. I had thought it would terrify Will, but it was a great thing for him and for several other boys who hadn't had much chance to participate in anything except team sports. They were great at taking turns and helping each other out by belaying for each other.

Fourth of July

Here is Charlie, in his Abercrombie July Fourth pose. It's an unfair shot, because he is such a happy chap, but he didn't appreciate the sparklers very much. Or maybe he wasn't keen on putting his clothes back on after playing naked in the hose.
Maddie, practicing for her first rock concert, and Will, unleashing his inner pyromaniac.

Maddie was a great big sister and cousin, playing in the water fight and jumping on the trampoline.

Jeff is armed with the super soaker for the great water fight in the backyard. It was all fun and good for the lawn (which was dead after our ten day trip to California, second year in a row) until Rob tried to douse Jeff, who dodged the water, and ended up getting Hazel instead. She let out the Mighty Hazel Roar which was well justified, if you ask me.

Here is that petite flower Hazel before she got wet. She was charming, and then she got a fever (presumably not because Uncle Rob dumped water on her, though I'm sure it didn't help), so she was snuggly too.

So here is an action shot of the water fight. Will gets it, and you can see Hazel walking up behind Jeff, never suspecting that he is the target of wet misery to come . . .
And you can also get an eyeful of the dead lawn. Rob is nursing it tenderly.

And finally, Sebastian, holding his sparkler and Cal Berkeley football. Saydi showed me how to use some of the special features on Picasa while she was here. Now I'm trying to figure out how to upload them to the blog in the order I want! In the meantime I am learning a lot. The football was Sebastian's loot from our trip to campus, and the site of a bad parenting moment we can talk about another time.
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The Trip Back

We were prepared to stay longer in California, especially because it was Piedmont's centennial Fourth of July and great weather that week, but the kids insisted that we go right home to see their cousins Hazel and Charlie Shumway, out from Boston. So we piled into the car and flew screaming back across the desert.

In their defense, the kids made it both ways in only one very long day. I go to the dollar store before we leave and pass out periodic treats, and we watch videos during the strait patches. And it was all easier than the trip to Sea Ranch which we tried two different ways and both of which scared me half to death. I was certain I was going to drive us all off the edge of a cliff in to the ocean, thousands of feet below. My palms are sweating now, just thinking about it! No one got carsick at any point on the trip, which is another great success to celebrate.

By Elko everyone was tired of the driving, so we used a suggestion from one of Kath Newman's friends: we stopped at a public pool there. The girl behind the counter said "But we're closing in 20 minutes!" and we replied "So much the better!" and changed and jumped in the pool until they closed. It was a great rest stop and everyone got to wiggle and cool off, then we changed back and hopped into the car again. In the future we could time it better so that they can have an hour, but if not, it was still better than trying to run around a dog run at a gas station!

Rob and I also made the kids wait until we reached an In-n-Out Burger for lunch, and then we just didn't get any more food. We usually end up arguing for and against fast food for the kids and we go to some awful Burger King in Elko or McDonald's in Battle Mountain (In-n-Out doesn't count as fast food, if you've read Fast Food Nation). This time we just said "NO" and we were happy about it.

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The Vuillermets

We got to stop by Jen and Eric Vuillermets' before we drove back through Utah. They have redone all of the public rooms since we last saw it, and they had a baby boy while we were out of the country last year. We had a lovely dinner, and brought them gelato from Berkeley, where we had bought gelato from the wrong place (oh, that we had two gelato places to choose from in Provo . . . ). Anyway, Clarissa had recommended Icci's on College Ave. which is supposed to be stellar, with ginger snap ice cream sandwiches filled with lemon verbena ice cream, and we didn't find that, and went to Lula Rae's instead, where we got mango, lemon basil, orange cardamom, and blackberry cabernet gelato, and none of them were bad! This is Zoe, who is two months older than Sebastian, but she acts about two years older.
Here is Jennifer in their new kitchen. It was done in eight weeks (and the end of that was while they were in France -- so lovely to come back to). Unfortunately they haven't had time to get everything out of storage yet, so Jen says they have only one pot at present. She say the stove boils water fabulously.
McFarlands and Zoe in a group hug. Zoe managed amazingly well to having so many large, loud kids in her house for the evening. We didn't get any pictures of her little brother, Tristan, but he was very smiley before bedtime. We didn't get one of Eric either, now that I think about it . . .
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The Kids at Sea Ranch

Here is Maddie showing off the starfish that she and Rob were tossing back into the ocean. We have another picture of her with a purple starfish when she was one and we were camping with the Christensons at Big Sur. I can't believe what a tall bookworm she's become! She's also an avid tidepooler, scampering up the rocks and poking the anemones with sticks.
Here are Will and Maddie at one of the pools. We went a couple of times, but it got cool quickly in the evenings, so Rob and the kids tried out the family sauna.
And here is Sebastian, doing what he did the entire time we were at the beach. He ran up and down and back and forth into the waves. He was still very diligent about throwing sand back into the water (?).Posted by Picasa

Our House at Sea Ranch

Our house was shaped like a "C" around this center deck, and we loved the views out of almost every room. Here Sebastian is showing off the flowers that he and Rob picked from around the yard.
One afternoon I taught Maddie and Will to play Monopoly. Will loved the fact that he got money. Maddie liked building the houses. Neither one of them was much into organizing their cash as you can see! We played for a few hours and they both did well.
This is the Sea Ranch chapel. It has about a dozen and a half seats inside, and was both designed and crafted by a man from San Diego named Hubbel. Really beautiful and reminiscent of a Gaudi or Hundertwasser creation. Sea Ranch also has three recreation centers, a golf course, an airport, a stable, and horsebackriding trails.Posted by Picasa

Sea Ranch

The second part of our vacation was with the kids again at Sea Ranch. This is about an hour south of Mendocino and is a city or a subdivision of beach houses over ten miles of coastal land by Gualala. We had a fun house there that was stocked with everything we needed right down to jigsaw puzzles. Here Will is helping Grandma Shumway, who came and stayed with us for a couple of nights.
Here I am with Sebi on Shell Beach. We came here the first night as soon as we got in, and the kids were so happy to run after another day in the car. Soon I saw two little heads looking out at them from the water, and then more and more, until there were six or ten sea lions watching them and from only a few yards out in the ocean! Of course I didn't have my camera.
But we went back and there were two friends who came to look at us, and they weren't too far away either. I thought that "Sea Ranch" was going to be a misnomer, but it didn't disappoint. We also saw starfish, anemones, mussels, pelicans, crabs, deer, hummingbirds, bluejays, and wild turkeys.
I guess we're not the only curious ones!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ten Year Anniversary!

While out in California, Rob and I left the kids with my parents and drove up to Mendocino to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We stayed at the Albion River Inn, one of the places we went on our honeymoon. It is still a beautiful place, and they set out this bottle of Sonoma pear sparkler to celebrate with. We were having unusually good weather -- sometimes this view is foggy and cool.

We went in to Mendocino proper and window shopped and walked out along the shore. Ron and Nedra got us massages at the Little River Inn which were fantastic. We ate one night at the Albion River Inn, and the other night we had a picnic from Mendoza's hardware and grocery store (a fun place to go).

This was the view from the backyard. The inn is made up of several little cottages set on the cliffs. This time there were signs up along the fence that said 'unstable cliff, please stay back' so I hope that the whole lot doesn't end up in the drink in a few years, but that is the sort of gamble you're willing to take to stay here!

This was the restaurant where we had dinner and breakfast. Our waitress was so wonderful. When we wanted to know the hidden ingredient in Rob's ollalieberry cobbler, she went back and sampled the ingredients in the kitchen. It turned out to be Meyer lemon and it was marvelous!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tilden Park

We drove out to Piedmont and the kids did wonderfully. The next day we went to Tilden where we had lunch at the Merry-go-round with Grandparents Shumway, Aunt Kiecoo, and her friends, the Hubers.

We rode the trains, which were very popular with our crowd, and very busy.

And we rode the Merry-go-round several times too. I'll have to gather pictures of the kids growing up on these -- we bring them once a year or so and almost always take pictures.