Kayaking

Maiden voyage of the new-to-us kayaks that we've had for years. :-) They are harder to use than they look. #summer #boys #7yearold #12yearold #slowsummerseries #lake

We did it! We finally took our two kayaks out for a spin (really) on Lake Natoma on Sunday. A number of years ago, we were given two kayaks by my parents’ friends, the Joneses. They are sit-inside whitewater river kayaks, the really nimble kind that can flip over and back up, the kind whose pilots wear helmets. The first obstacle to enjoying this generous gift was we didn’t know how to use them. The second was that our boys were still rather small. The third was that we had no way of transporting them to any body of water.

So they sat. And waited.

We have a truck now, though, (we call it Bruce) and on a whim Sunday, we decided to see what we could do with these kayaks.

Kayaking!  #summer #boys #7yearold #secondgrader

We also rented a two-man sit-on-top kayak for Asher to ride on. He took to it like, well, a little boy on a boat! He loved jumping off and swimming in the lake too. “Wow, this life vest really makes it easy!”

My love #summer #love #marriage #lake

The kayaks we own have rounded bottoms without a keel. Paddling them in a straight line is tough. When I was piloting mine, I could go straight for a handful of strokes, and then the kayak would spin toward my paddle in the water to point in the opposite direction. This repeated spinning was frustrating. Ian had better luck than I did, using a ton of core strength and the foot pegs to counteract the spinning force.

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Lucas was a natural, really. He has way more experience with this sort of thing than the rest of us do, thanks to summer camps and stuff. He piloted one of our kayaks with good success, despite the spinning tendency. I regret not getting a shot of him in the kayak, but I was justifiably worried about dropping my phone in the drink.

We learned a lot and had fun. We learned that this little lake is a wonderful local resource that we should use more often. We learned that mama shouldn’t leave the sunscreen in the truck with the snacks. We learned that renting a kayak is a little pricey, but very nice (and easier to pilot than ours). We learned that Asher loves the water (we kind of knew he would). We learned, again, that Lucas is a competent young man who loves a challenge.

So thank you, Joneses, for this amazing gift! We hope to enjoy these kayaks more often in the future.

Our Evenings

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We have been spending our summer evenings reading. Daddy has been reading Harry Potter books to us for hours almost every night. We’re into the middle of book 4 now, and the children’s enthusiasm for this nightly ritual has not waned. They even prefer this over a movie night.

#magic #7yearold

You might say it has ignited their imagination.

Wizard #summer #boys #7yearold

This one loves to shout spells and play wizard.

Reading Harry Potter book 3 tonight under the wisteria while rare, blessed raindrops fall.

Sometimes we read outside together, if its not too hot. Sometimes we’re inside, enjoying the AC. Ian got the ebooks too, so if we’re out at a restaurant he can read to us while we’re waiting for a table, or when we’re waiting for the play to begin.

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Ian is a master of funny voices and accents. It’s amazing to hear him read a conversation in a scene with eight wizards in the room, some sounding Scottish, Irish, Russian, English, American, powerful, weak, evil, or snobby. He switches between these various voices with such facility. I applaud at the end of certain scenes because they sound damned difficult to read aloud!

I’m loving this summer’s evening entertainment. I love how we’re all enjoying it, how the Harry Potter books have wide enough appeal that all four of us are engaged. It’s simple, and sweet, and bonding.

Sweet Summer

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This is how our summer began. We took a trip to Tahoe in early June. At first it was just me and the boys, then Ian joined us for the last part. I learned last year how valuable it was to launch the summer with a trip, and repeating it this year was a good plan!

My lovely son #12yearold #summer #woods

Summertime is special time. I know it in my bones. For my children, summer is such a gift of freedom and light, with opportunity both to be in their bodies and to drift away on daydreams. Exploring the woods, freezing in the lake water, shifting the sand through their fingers—these are all precious experiences, for them and for me. I am always pleasantly shocked by the color of the sunlight through leaves.

Tahoe valley #summer #tahoe #nature #woods

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I spent many happy summer weekends here as a girl. I wanted to give that to my children too.

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Aspens #summer #tahoe #tree

#summer #boys #wild #tahoe

We had some wonderful beach time, and some forest time.

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#summer #boys #wild #tahoe

Little John on his fallen log #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

Here’s “Little John.” This fallen log forms a bridge across the creek.

Road trip #summer #boys #tahoe #mamaandbaby #mamainthepicture #12yearold

#summer #flowers #tahoe

I love these blue flax flowers.

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We had the dog beach almost completely to ourselves when we visited. The breeze was quite chilly.

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(Almost 7 and a half)
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(12)

Hiking Tallac trail #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

We had a great hike on the Tallac trail, above Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake. The views were stunning.

Hiking Tallac trail #summer #boys #wild #tahoe #nature

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Just some of the mountain wildflowers blooming in the Tahoe forest in June.  #summer #flowers #tahoe #nature #woods #wild

These are some of the wildflowers we found during this early summer trip. So pretty.

Obviously I’m way behind in my blogging, but nevertheless, here’s a vision into our sweet summer. Maybe posting this now is actually good, as I’m working on hanging onto this full and optimistic feeling as we now enter the final month of summer vacation.

Our love to all. We hope your summertime is full of sweetness too.

Rainbow Garden

Last and best #summer #flowers #gardening #red #rose
My red-orange obsession--all blooming now. #spring #gardening #flowers #red
#orange blooms my July garden #summer #flowers #gardening
Summer yellows #summer #flowers #gardening #yellow
Just some of the greens #summer #gardening #colors #green
My blues,  blooming now #summer #flowers #gardening #blue
#summer #purple #flowers #gardening
Pink and peach #summer #flowers #gardening #peach #pink
I don't have a lot of white in my garden,  but this is what's happening now.  #summer #flowers #gardening #white

This is my garden in summer. These photos were all taken between the very end of May and July 7.

This is, of course, the very best of it. We are having a terrible drought in California, and I’ve been conserving water. I’ve not pictured my yellowed lawn or the roses with burnt petals. I’ve not pictured the patches of bare dirt or my lack of much-needed mulch (where does it go?).  I haven’t pictured how my hydrangeas have 90 percent fewer flowers than usual. Naturally, I don’t photograph the plants that perish. I kill things all the time.

This is the best that I can show in this hot time of year.

But I want to show it because I love it and because I have worked very hard over the last 11 years turning into this third-acre of weeds and potholes into my oasis, my home. This is my English garden, California-style, and infused with all the flare of a Brazilian Carnival that I can muster. This is what my dreams look like at night. A jungle of color. A rush of blossoms. A heaving of growth and urgency. A riot of shapes and textures.

I can’t explain why this garden is important to me, except to say, this is how I surround myself and my family with beauty.

Sleepaway Camp

A little guarded and anxious this morning. Then seven of his friends arrived to go with him. It's going to be awesome.  I'm a proud mama. #summer #waldorf #camp #12yearold #seventhgrade

My sweet 12-year-old left this morning for his first sleepaway camp experience. He and six friends from his school (most from his same class) left for Camp Winthers, which is in the mountains not too far from our city. We are very excited for him and we’re sure he’s going to have a wonderful time. He had a little trouble sleeping last night because he was anxious, but I don’t think he’ll be feeling that way for long. I think he looks a little guarded in this photo.

Waiting for buddies, and for roll call. Camp Winthers,  here they come! #summer #boys #kids #waldorf #friends # camp

This is the same summer camp that Ian went to when he was a boy, and later, as a teen, he worked as a camp counselor there. He assures us that they will keep Lucas so busy with fun activities he won’t have time to be homesick. Ian has already send Lucas a care package so it will reach him before the end of the week.

He will canoe, hike, play, learn, swim, and explore all week. He’ll have no little brother or mama or dad nagging him. He’ll be with some of his best buddies for five whole days.

Lucas and some of his friends left for Camp Winthers this morning. First time at sleepaway camp! #summer #12yearold #friends #waldorf #camp

I’m very grateful that Lucas got to go on two week-long trips earlier this year with his class and teacher. They were great practice for this first opportunity to be without parents or a familiar teacher. My son is a kind, sensible, competent guy, who has great friends, and who makes friends easily. I am pleased he’s getting the chance to stretch his wings in this way.

Bon voyage, my love!

Low-Key Independence Day

Berries and sugar #summer #4thofjuly #independenceday #food #celebrations #family #holiday

Strawberry and blueberry cobbler #summer #4thofjuly #independenceday #food #celebrations #family #holiday

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It was a slow day for us, this Independence Day. We were all tired from staying up too late the night before with friends. We opted to stay home, watch silly “Independence Day,” grill burgers, and eat homemade strawberry and blueberry cobbler. We burned some money in the form of fireworks, and then hit the hay. There was food and fire, and the boys were satisfied. And it was enough.

Edit 7/6/2014 [I’ve linked up to my friend’s Slow Summer Series at Little Acorn Learning. If you and your family are enjoying peaceful, slow moments this summer, join us here to share and inspire others to slow down and savor life.]

 

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day! Wishing everyone a safe, fun, exciting celebration! #summer #festivals #holiday #traditions #gardening #flowers

Happy Independence Day, my friends! We are wishing you safe, fun, and exciting celebrations today. May you be surrounded by your loves, and may you contemplate for a just a moment or two how very blessed we are to live in this nation of high ideals like freedom, equality, peace, opportunity, and love. However imperfectly we achieve these, may we never, never cease striving for them.

Throwback photo from 2002

Defender of Justice

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I’m feeling sleepy and sentimental, so I offer up these three shots from previous Independence Days (2002, 2008, and 2011).

And now I’m off to make a blueberry/strawberry cobbler. Because 4th of July.

Summer in the Sierras

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Pyramid Peak

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Cody Lake

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GG and Mimi and Maggie the Dog #summer # grandparents #codylake #mountains

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He climbed so high!

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upload upload Lupine #summer #flowers #tahoe #nature #woods #wild #sierra Star for Mimi's cabin #waldorf #summer #sierra #star #windowstars #red

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Creek colors #summer #river #sierra

Many, many thanks to Grandpa and Mimi for a wonderful weekend in Strawberry!

Summer Solstice Camping

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#camping #summer #boys #nature #woods

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Playing poker #7yearold #summer #boys #games #camping

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Glamping #camping #woods #friends #summer

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We visited the Tunnel Mills campground in the Tahoe National Forest over the summer solstice weekend. A bunch of friends came and we had a wonderful group campsite all to ourselves. I never managed to have my camera with me when we were playing and rock hopping down by the gorgeous creek, so you’ll just have to take my word for it: it was a truly spectacular, magical place of huge, broad leaves, water snakes, clear, cold rushing water, warm boulders, dancing sunlight, and a million shades of green.

We had our Midsummer bonfire (which I wanted so badly), plenty of relaxation, games of Magic the Gathering and poker, reading, music and singing, shared potato chips, and friendship.

It was a little too chilly at night for my taste, but the warmth that these fine people bring to our lives makes it well worth it.

My Midsummer blessing for you is that you find the people who most uplift you, inspire you to be your best self, who understand you, encourage you, and delight you … and then hang on to them. Learn to be the very best friend you can be because love and connection, joy, trust, and forgiveness is what this one perfect life is all about. And we are all still learning.

Valhalla Renaissance Faire

Lake Tahoe #tahoe #summer

Just after school let out a week ago, we took off for the mountains. Originally we were going to stay a few days in Tahoe, but some work obligations shifted around and we ended up changing our plans and making just a day trip to Valhalla Renaissance Faire at Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe. As we drove to the Faire, I mentioned to Ian that I’d never before stopped at one of the tiny turnouts at the summit on the edge of cliff a couple thousand feet above the Tahoe valley floor. Before I knew it, he was pulling over so we could look over the edge.

Stopped near the summit #tahoe

Asher wouldn’t get out of the car, but the rest of us got to look down into the valley and at the beautiful blue of Lake Tahoe off in the distance.

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I had a Groupon for the Faire admission, but I have to say, it was almost more trouble than it was worth; we had a hell of a time getting online to the Groupon to get into the Faire. Next time I’ll have to print the damn coupon instead of relying on the phone. Maybe it’s my carrier—Credo—but I have a heck of a time using the Internet on my smart phone up there.

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Anyway …. the Ren Faire was super fun and the boys enjoyed it. The most spectacular feature was the jousting by Imperial Knights. Great show, beautiful horses.

Knights at the Ren Faire #renfair #tahoe #summer #knights

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Asher,  me, and photo bomber #rennfaire #tahoe #summer #7yearold #mamaandbaby #mamainthepicture

Beautiful macaw

#rennfaire #tahoe #parrot

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This fellow has been doing his show Fowl Tales with his macaws for years and years. Gypsy has been with him 42 years.

Boys looking at swords and knives #rennfaire #tahoe #summer#12yearold
Unsurprisingly, Lucas was fascinated by all the weapons sellers’ wares. Like father, like son. I could see Ian sizing up the sellers based on his own extensive experience hawking swords for Mayhawk armory at Black Point, Navato, back in our college days. Spending the day at the Faire was an interesting trip down memory lane.

Giant bubbles #rennfaire #tahoe #summer #7yearold

Asher found this cool giant bubble-making booth.

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We saw the show of Captain Jack Spareribs. Ventriloquism!

Lucas shooting arrows at Valhalla Renaissance Fair enough #rennfaire #archery

Lucas found the archery to be a little disappointing. The bows weren’t up to the quality he’s become accustomed to.

We ate yummy Faire food and drank expensive beers and wandered about. We enjoyed seeing Nicole and Bryn and RJ, whom we almost never get to see. The boys were tempted by the real and toy weapons and I admired the woodcarving and the jewelry. So, yeah. It was a pretty normal and fun Faire experience—a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a 78 degree day when it was 105 degrees at home!

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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