11 September 2015

Wild & Free

All good things are wild and free. 
- Henry David Thoreau

08 September 2015

Labor Day Camping

Third year in a row camping for Labor Day and the group has grown! Two years ago I believe we had 4 families and this year was 10 (or so). There were 22 kids - not counting the strays from other sites that wandered over - and their corresponding parents. The weekend was filled with food, drink, debauchery, and campfires. There were bike rides (and races), a whiffle ball game, teepee building, forts, wood collecting and chopping, face painting, and games.

 Jeremy led an expedition into the woods to collect wood for the fire as well as for building a teepee. The teepee didn't last long. The male urge to chop and saw wood overtook several of the grown up boys and they had the pile whittled down to fire wood in no time!

It is fun to catch up with families and see the kids grow from year to year. To be honest we didn't see much of the kids as they found some great spaces in the woods to be build forts and there were a few battles between the boys and girls from fort to fort. P-man also started a trend of not wearing a shirt and by the last morning even the little guys had gotten into the spirit.
What? Is there a problem?
The communal living allows for a lot of down time when others are preparing the meals and we really ate some great food all weekend including plenty of snacks and shared cocktails. Activities were also shared including paints that ended up on faces - think war paint for the boys and full on face color for the girls:
Yellow Face

14 August 2015

First days!

  Another summer has come to an end and that means the kids go back to their regular
jobs during the day. Pickle is lucky enough to go to school with a couple of children from her Kindergarten class at the Montessori school. Since first grade the kids come over and join us for the walk to school. It makes good sense because so many parents drive the first day of school that parking is almost all the way to our house and it is a nice tradition to boot. This year there was a new kid as another younger sibling joins the older at Big School.

  For a reason not explained to me, nor important enough for me to question, New Kid's school did not begin until Tuesday. This afforded her an extra day of following me around and delayed my breakfast date with my wife. But Tuesday finally came and New Kid made the jump to Kindergarten. It is ridiculous that the time has flown by so fast! She has made it, or maybe we have, though and now there are some real expectation. They are all her expectations! She expects me to go on all kindergarten field trips, to be included on the chore chart and get an allowance, and to not sit in a booster seat at the dinner table.

08 May 2015

New Kid Turns 5

Hard to believe this thing -

Is now 5!
She has her moments of being so grown up but is definitely the "baby" of the family; I guess she always will be. It has been a momentous year for her. She learned to ski and to ride her bike with out training wheels and started playing soccer. She learned to read and has jumped way ahead with her math skills at school.

Keep smiling New Kid! We love you!

09 March 2015

New Kid's Flower Light

 What we have here is a picture of a boring ol' flower light on the wall. That wall is next to New Kid's bed. And the light went up today. It has been planned for some time but it not being hung was not a product of my procrastination. New Kid was in charge of when the light was to be hung.

 That light next to New Kid's bed means that New Kid is a reader! She was told months ago, when she first asked for a flower light like Pickle has, that as soon as the books came home from school she could have a light. Well, the books came home last week and she is a real reader. She still has troubles with some sounds but is blowing through books already. She doesn't quite have the ridiculously voracious appetite for the written word like The Boy has but she can read on her own and that is where it all starts.

27 February 2015


Soccer season returned again in January and New Kid decided she was ready to play. She convinced her Dad to sign her up by agreeing to drop swimming from her agenda (poor third kid totally gets that we have to limit each kid). She has really enjoyed her time especially because one of her classmates is on her team - and he happens to be a pretty impressive four-year-old soccer player.

Here they are down field ready to score:
And here they are after scoring a goal . . . C cheers for all!
 And here they are getting some coaching . . . I promise they have other players on their team!
 Here C is taking it down field to score!
 She seems to be pretty pumped about soccer . . .
 Or maybe just has something stuck in her teeth?
And then there is this one:
 The pictures show a lot more effort and interest than she actually demonstrates.
Actually, this was one of her better games.
Which is hard to believe with the picture below ... notice which way she is looking and where the ball/ action is happening.
And finally the big guy who moved up to 7-on-7 in the fall. This has been a great move for him and he has showed tremendous improvement in his skills. There is not much interest from others to play in the goal so P continues to volunteer. The day I had my camera he spent a lot of time in the goal and with good defense there wasn't much to photograph!

12 October 2014


A few weeks ago for the kids "fall break" we decided to visit the nearby (4 hours away) beach in Rocky Point, Mexico. We did this two years ago with our friends and it has taken that amount of time for JP to decide he was willing to go back. The drive is easy even with the border crossing and it is all made even simpler because we go with another family that has been many times. They know which houses to rent and where to stop for beer and other necessities in town. Both times we have stayed in houses that are the outskirts of Rocky Point so we are not venturing into town with the locals and other tourists. It is a pretty quiet existence particularly on Thursday and Friday when we saw few others out on the beach.
The tide is very interesting in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) and there are actually two high tides and two low tides each day with meters and meters of difference between the two. The beach has a sharp incline where the waves crash pretty hard during high tide but when it is low tide there is a vast flat expanse of sand and tide pools where we can run and play. This is my favorite part and I really loved getting up in the morning and taking my coffee down to the waters edge to wade in the water and see what the ocean was offering. The tide would be going out again in the evening and we would wander down after dinner to explore.
This year we had some very windy days which really churned up the sea but that did not deter the older children (of all ages) from trying to wage battle with the waves. The boy and his buddy donned life vests and would charge through the crashing waves to get to a "calmer" spot where they could bob along until they decided to brave the return. If you did not time it right the incoming wave would pick you up and slam you right into the shell-covered beach. It was a good workout so the adults would attempt it as well much to the laughter of everyone watching safely from the sand.
There were hours floating in the water and digging in the sand. We all got scratched up from the shells and appropriately pink, red, and brown. After dinner the kids would pass out and JP and I would sit on the porch and watch for shooting stars, study the planets, and debate where the planes were headed. We had a great time . . . can't wait for JP to be ready to return.