Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heat Wave

The first week of school was a hot one around here.  Considering that summer did not show itself until August this year, our September heatwave was welcomed.

The parks are considerably more quiet when school is in session, so the little ones and I gathered some friends and went to the lake.  It's no Crissy Field (wow, I miss that place), but our little lake was a nice refreshment from the heat.
Rigby likes having a quick picture taken and requests it often.  If it is my request that he smile, though, no guarantees.
These two are really getting to be best friends now that Bethelle is gone at school all day.  I knew that would happen, but it is fun to see.
What a ham!

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Things

Last week was a week of firsts in our family.

1)  Bethelle's FIRST time riding a bike without training wheels.  She's six years old, so this has been a long time coming, but with all the moving and apartments of the last two years, we slacked on this.  Just in time, I decided that our schoolgirl had better know how to ride.
Twenty minutes.  That's all it took.  Congrats, Bike Rider!
2) Bethelle's FIRST day of FIRST grade.  This also means her FIRST day of school this calendar year (she didn't go in San Fran), and her FIRST day of full-day school, ever.  All of this amounts to a big transition for me, but Bethelle could not have been more pleased or excited.  She has been waiting for this moment for all six years of her life.
She has been there four days so far, and I am still skeptical of her "high-rated" school in this "high-rated" district.  When I asked her what she learned today, she says, "Mom, we don't learn things every day."

"Well, What did your teacher teach?"

"Umm... she doesn't really teach."

3)  Rigby's first day of soccer.  I know he's only three, and that is a bit young for organized sports, but he'll be four very soon, and I have noticed lately that he is getting a bit cozy in Bethelle's shadow.  Time for him to shine!
4)  Bethelle just started soccer, too.  But she played last year, so this may not technically be a FIRST.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lulu's Island Get-Away

A few weeks ago, Nick and I were discussing planning Curie's second birthday party and, separately, that we need to get out to Anderson Island yet this summer.  And a star was born: a birthday party on the island.

Anderson Island's naivety and serenity is preserved by the ferry passage required to get to her.
This mountain seems to follow me around.  I am not complaining.
Check out the power in this picture!  These cousins are so lucky to have each other.
Washington gets some of its best sunshine in September.  Trish got her first sunburn of the season out here.
Dad relaxed a bit.
We went swimming and the water was truly WARM.  Awesome.
Fresh crab, anyone?

This doesn't really show anything about the party, but it makes me swoon.
Present time!  Alyse, a mother of three little boys, was worried that she didn't get a girlie gift for Curie.  No worries there, Alyse.  Curie likes Thomas the Train and dinosaurs, so that's what we got her.  She has a boy for a best friend (Rigby), so I'm not sure girlie stuff is in her near future.

My mom has a tradition of giving each two year-old a homemade quilt.  Curie's is so quilty and patchwork.  I love it.
The kids set to playing with the presents pretty quickly.
How would you like a chef that looks this good?  Sorry!  Taken!
Happy Birthday, Curie!  We love you so much!
Here are some clips from the party.  It's like being there... for two minutes.   It's worth watching just to hear Curie's cute voice.
Will someone please remind me to delegate next year?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oh Sunny Day

Check out what I have to look forward to!  This is what we live for around here... but why did it take so long?  We usually have amazing Septembers weather-wise.   Remember when it hit 70 degrees in Western Washington in November last year?  I could definitely go for an Indian Summer again.

Looks like we'll be at the beach this week.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hair CHOP!

Not long after her last haircut, Bethelle saw the movie Tangled for the first time.  She then informed me that she would never cut her hair again.  She wanted to be Rapunzel.

A few days ago, I suggested that it might be nice to have a fresh haircut for the new school year.  Bethelle reminded me that she was never going to cut her hair again.  So I reminded her how cute it was when it was a bit shorter and wouldn't it be nice to have a change.  "OK," she said.  Really?  It was that easy?  I held back my shock and escorted her to my bathroom/salon.

This blog is full of "before" shots, like here.  So, without further ado, the "after":

Amazing how a little haircut can add five years.  What is she, twelve?

School starts in just a couple days.  She only went to kindergarten for the first four months, and she was home by eleven every day even then.  I am now going through the whole grieving process all over again.  Now she will be gone for seven hours every day.  What will I ever do without her?

Rigby assures me regularly that he will take care of things when Bethelle is at school.  And I must say, I am looking forward to his opportunity to be the leader around here.  I can imagine him blossoming.  In a manly way, of course.  Do men "blossom"?

Anyway, I will do my best to get by.  I'm going to get out of bed every morning; breathe in and out all day long.  Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out.  And then, after a while, I won't have to think about how I had it perfect for a while.

We'll miss you, Bethelle.  I know you'll do great!

Hiking with Heart

Two years ago, my dad informed me that he wanted to spend his 60th birthday at Big Heart Lake with his kids.  To those of you who think this means a drive and some camping, let me assure you that it is not that simple.  Ten miles up, and ten miles back down.  I remember saying that it sounded like a great plan if I wasn't pregnant or nursing (which has made up most of the last seven years of my life).  Dad replied, "That's why I'm telling you now."  The man was serious.

The birthday arrived and so did the hike.  These two fellas stuck with me, the slow-poke, for the whole hike.  My sister-in-law, Alyse, also walked with us most of the way, until we caught up with my brother, Troy, and their son, Asher, who had gotten an early start the day previous.  A great group.
I am not a very experienced hiker, but this is my dad's favorite hike, so I think I've done Big Heart at least  four times now.  At the point along the trail pictured below, we pause every time to look up the waterfall (that white stripe going up the middle) and say, "That's where we're headed."  It always looks so high and far.  Even more so than in the picture.  And guess what?  That's not even the end of the day's walk.
We cross over a few falls on our way.  See that bridge behind my brother?
This is me on that same bridge.
And here's the view from it!
Isn't that beautiful?  I think that landscapers try to recreate that kind of thing in unnatural places, but they will never pull off what I saw on the hike.

Here is a view of the valley we hiked through from the top.  The car was way, way out there somewhere.
After arriving at the lake, we set up camp, ate, and went to sleep.  Nick does not think much of hiking because he doesn't like sleeping on a skimpy pad on the ground in a tent.  As I lay there trying to sleep and thinking that the pad I slept on reminded me very much of a rock, I realized that NO ONE likes sleeping on a skimpy pad on the ground.  But we do it anyway.  It's part of the cost that buys you the rest of the experience.

Here we all are, a little more chipper the next day.  That's Asher on the far right.  He is only five years old!  What a champ to hike all the way up!
If you can overlook my lack of access to a shower and mirror, isn't this a beautiful picture?  They call this area the Alpine Lakes, and for good reason.  It reminds me very much of my travels through Switzerland eons ago.  The weather was perfect, but getting in that water past my waist took more courage than I had that year.  The top twelve inches were really cold and the rest of the lake was positively hypothermic.  There are patches of snow all around the lake, keeping the fish happy, the water clear, and the people out.
On the second day, we always day-hike around the lake without our heavy packs.  We like a particular trail (if it can really be called one) that takes you to your hands and knees, climbing and crawling up a rocky mountain face.  As Jared, Dad, and I were struggling to determine the best route, I happened to look around and Asher had simply floated up to where we were.  Kids.

You can't tell from this picture, but we're standing on a large rock far above Big Heart Lake, overhanging the water.  It has been ten years since we were here last, but things really don't change much.  This is one of the greatest view-spots I've seen.
In this picture, I am looking down at the lake from our camp.  If you look very, very closely, you will see Alyse and Asher in the middle of the logs on their way back to camp.
I can see why this is my dad's favorite place.  And I am resolved to get him to Switzerland.
The hike up had been laborious, but bearable.  The hike down was soooo much easier.  We woke with the sun (no one even had a watch), and made it to the car by 12:30.  Upon seeing our escape vehicle, my brain must had told my muscles that they were done, as I was in quite a bit of pain before my dad had even found the key.  Although I got through that within a few hours, my legs were pretty sore for the next three days.

Would I do it again?  Already planning on it.  See you in a couple years, Big Heart.