Last weekend we gathered with friends and family up at Millerton Lake to celebrate one of our brightest stars: Aliya. We spent two nights camping and one full day hanging out lakeside, enjoying the water and the sun, and marveling at the six-year-old before us. The fact that so many of the people close to us were able to make it made the day even more special.
Every birthday is a reminder of how amazing life is. There are so many variables in being created and born and making it through each year of life, that when a birthday comes around, it deserves a day of fun with those you love.
I could write more but I think the video and photos speak for themselves…
It’s 9:56 p.m. as I begin to write this and I finally got the kids to sleep about 30 minutes ago—solo. Yes, I’m on my own with these little scruffers until Sunday. More on that later. It seems to make more sense to step back to look at that trip to the beach…
Taking the R-Pod Out, Round II
In my last post, I mentioned our new travel trailer and what it affords us vs. just sticking with the tried-and-true tent. Over this last Christmas break, we put that to the test with our first winter camping trip. (Side note: Can you still call it camping if you’re in a trailer? Since we were at a campground, I’m going with it.) We got hitched up and headed to San Simeon for a few days.
Last week we were camping in the mountains at an annual event with friends and family, trying to keep the focus on the moment, our surroundings, and simplifying. This coming week, school starts. We’ll try to keep the focus on the moment, but somehow school raises the level of anxiety and stress about 100 notches—which has us questioning (again) if the path we’re on is the right one.
Isn’t that the constant in parenting? Assessing and finding balance. What’s working, what’s not? What do you change and what do you accept? How can we get close to everyone being happy and content? What can we do now to help our kids be the most well-balanced adults they can be?
Wow. We’re back in Fresno. What a day. It’s always a little weird waking up in one place and going to sleep in another, even if it is home.
Yesterday we did make it up to the kilns with our extra hiker, Luna, and she and Keana continued where they left off on our hike to the falls, singing made-up songs together and making plans for staying in touch once we all went our separate ways. Maia really was pretty much done, so I carried her on my back in the Ergo. Good exercise for me and I was even fine in my Vibram five-fingers.
After the hike, Luna’s parents welcomed us with fresh cod sautéed in lemon and butter and then we all headed down to the beach, with Anya in tow as well. And it was a perfect beach day. We played, talked, got some sun, and even saw a seal just barely off the shore. It was pretty spectacular.
After the beach, both Aliya and Maia were very tired and upset (i.e. tired out), and Keana was rearing to go to Luna’s camp as soon as she could. Aliya eventually crashed on my shoulder while Sarah navigated Maia’s needs through dinner. Then Maia and Keana headed off into the forest for a “parting ways banana s’mores party” at Luna’s camp. We decided to wake Aliya from her late nap so we could all go, and we were really glad we did. We all had fun making bananas filled with marshmallows and chocolate chips, then roasted them in the fire. The kids played and roasted marshmallows while we visited some more with Ayan, Liza, their friend Liz, and Cindy (Anya’s mom). They were very gracious hosts and we left feeling very fortunate to have found such friendly, kind, open, and like-minded people while camping.
Maia would not be parted from me for bed time, so she and I stayed out and closed camp for the night, which was pretty cool because then she got to see more stars since it was way after 9 by the time we were winding down.
Today the kids woke up mostly with a sense if excitement for heading home, but Keana, especially, was sad to leave the friends she had made. Maia was the most ready to get back to civilization and all our creature comforts, which made her the most helpful packing up as well. Keana got one last visit with Luna, and Aliya just played in and out of the car while continually asking for Mentos. Overall, Aliya really had an excellent attitude the entire trip, and was the most easy-going of the three, even though she’s just barely three.
We got packed and on the road by 10:30ish, had breakfast at the Whale Watcher Cafe in Gorda, then continued our journey back to super-hot Fresno. The heat basically sucks, but the one good thing is all our equipment dried out in two seconds.
I’m not going to lie, it was not an easy trip. But sickness and meltdowns aside, we thoroughly enjoyed being at the beach and in the redwoods, recharging in many ways apart from normal life. Having time together as a family without the interruptions of the every day is so important, and connecting with new, like-minded people that were easy to hang out with really feeds us in another way too. As it is with the rest of our life, this vacation tested us as parents and individuals, and I wish I could say we hit home runs every time. But no one does and I feel pretty good knowing we did our best and many things were much better than last year’s camping experiences. I’m pretty sure we’re making mostly positive, unforgettable memories for the kids, and look forward to many more wilderness adventures.
10:58: 3% battery on this phone. Headed to Lucia for breakfast this morning, BUT NO BREAKFAST SERVED. Blargh. Got snacks and beans at the store but definitely a big disappointment. Maia seems to be doing okay, but is really just holding on I think. Keana ran into the forest camp sites to play with Luna right after breakfast and now I think we may mobilize for a little hike up to the Lime Kilns. Going to be a perfect beach day too, methinks. Hoping there’s enough battery for a recap tonight…
Then I went to Luna’s camp. We colored a design. Then I borrowed a sweater and a pair of pants from Luna. Then we colored by the fire. Then we went on a hike with Luna. We made up a song and saw fairies! Then we came to the kilns. Then we took a picture. Then me and Luna went on the trail. We talked about what we could play and what Luna was having for lunch.
Then we had lunch with Luna. We had cod for lunch. Then I borrowed Luna’s camelback. We played scuba divers and there were sharks chasing us! Ania joined us and we went to the beach. We had a snack and then we got on top of a BIG rock. It splashed Ania and Luna. Then I went the bathroom. Then we warmed up and went on the big rock again. Then we played in the waves and saw a seal. We named it Sammelcece (Sam-ul-see-see). Luna held on to me when a big wave came. We both got very wet.
Then we went back to the blanket. Luna’s mom gave me a persimmon and I guess it was a persimmon! Then we played camels on the sand. Then we played camels in the water. Then before we knew it it was dinner time. I had tacos and Orangina for dinner. Then I went to Luna’s camp where I found Luna and Ania relaxing by the fire. Then I came and sat down with them. Then we carried Xavie like he was the king. Then Luna’s mom put Xavi in the tent. Then we played Queen. Luna was first, I was second, and Ania was third. Then we saw Xavie escaping from the tent! Then we played horsey and Xavie bit me very hard on the back. Then we made banana boats. While we waited we roasted marshmallows. I caught Luna’s and my marshmallow on fire! I got the burnt ones and Luna got the not burnt ones. Then I tried the banana boat and didn’t like it. Then I went in the tent and told stories. Then Luna walked me back to my camp site. I undressed and went to sleep.