First Class Trip

Off he goes!

My little son left this morning for his first overnight class trip! They’ll be camping at Full Belly Farm, and doing farming-type stuff, including packing up CSA boxes. Asher has a little nervous and very excited, and I know it’s going to be a wonderful trip. This weekend Ian got Asher a few items he needed, like a new water bottle. I finger-knitted a lanyard for his mini flashlight so he could hang it around his neck. He’s got warm clothes, layers, our ancient snow lion sleeping bag, and he’s packed up in Ian’s Europe backpack from 1993.


Lucas did this trip in third grade too. Somehow, it helps little brothers to know big brothers have done the same things before them, and they had fun and everything turned out all right. Today in the car as we were driving to school, Lucas kindly said things like “Don’t worry. It’s gonna be great. You’ll be fine and you’ll have fun.” It seemed to help Asher relax a little. I can say all the same things, but somehow, it’s better coming from a big brother.

So proud of this boy!

Last night, Asher reminded me that Cindy was going to be there, and that I could call her if I wanted to talk with him. I think that was code for “I might need to talk with you, Mom.” I doubt he really will though. I mentioned this to Cindy, and I know I’ll get a text later on.

He’ll be in Farmer Steve’s group, and teachers know all about his asthma medicine (something we never had to do with Lucas), so it’s all good. Asher has plenty of camping experience under his belt.

I wrote this years ago about Lucas’s first overnight trip. All of this is still so completely true, and I wish Asher the best possible time!

“I love this Waldorf curriculum. I love that my son gets to spend a day and a night on a working farm that is using sustainable practices and raising sheep for wool. I love that he knows where his food comes from. I love that part of school for him is fresh air and sunshine, digging in the mud and planting seeds, and swimming in a pond. I love that his physical and spiritual development are carefully considered in addition to his academic aptitude and achievement; that the health and unity of the class as a whole is considered. I love that he is challenged with tasks that are a trifle scary and difficult, and supported while he faces his fears and overcomes obstacles. I feel he is being nourished every day by these qualities and so many more that I can’t even put into words.

“I’m just so full of gratitude, and hoping he has a wonderful time.”


Speaking of Lucas, big things are coming up for him, too! In two weeks he and his classmates will dance the maypole, and in May he’ll go on his eighth-grade trip for a week!

There are all kinds of letting-go opportunities around here. XO


Summer Solstice Camping







#camping #summer #boys #nature #woods








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


Glamping #camping #woods #friends #summer


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.

Nature Therapy

I love this meadow

A couple of weekends ago, we joined 30 of our best friends for camping in the mountains south of Lake Tahoe at Grover Hot Springs State Park. I got to visit my favorite meadow for some much needed nature therapy. After four solid weeks of difficult work, I was ready for an escape.

Lucas Holding Baby J

It was just the ticket for me, really. We got to be outside in a beautiful alpine forest. We got to hold a wee three-month-old baby (sublime!), and play with friends.


I got to watch this, and watch my competent 10-year-old son light the campfire.


The only hard part came on Friday afternoon, when my boys were stung by wasps after moving too close to their hive near the creek. They each received five or six stings, which were very painful. D, a brave 12-year-old girl, ran for help and trundled through the forest to find some, eventually making her way to the road and the ranger station. She brought a ranger who was prepared to give us medical help. Meanwhile, Lucas bore his brother away from the wasps and helped him back to camp. I am very proud of my son for helping his little brother! Honestly, my heart is full to bursting about this. When they arrived at camp, traumatized and sore, there was still a wasp in Asher’s armpit, stinging him. Fortunately, friends had Benadryl on hand and that, with some ice, did the trick. Within 2o minutes or so of resting, they were up and playing again. They are brave, irrepressible boys.

Holding Hands

Everything after that was sweetness and light.

Daddy and Solstice

Our little dog Solstice surprised us with his desire to confront forest creatures in the dead of night, and “boof” at every nighttime sound. Hmm… He is braver than he is smart, I think. Apparently, bravado is just a part of our family.

E, T, and Suki

T and J

It was gooooooood to see some friends out there. Quite a few of us have been having a rough time this summer. I’m so grateful to have these amazing, inspiring people in my life. And I’m grateful that they continue to put one foot in front of the other.


Ian made us hobo stew (custom dinner for each of us!), which we cooked over the campfire. It was yummy, and I have some notes to make it even better next time.

Potluck Barbarians Party

The second night we had a huge group potluck with TONS of veggies. I totally failed to get photos of everyone. Sorry, darlings. I was determined to relax and didn’t cart my camera around everywhere.


On Saturday night we had a thunderstorm and it rained and rained. We were cozy and dry in our ancient Coleman 1970s tent. The rain sounded wonderful on the canvas of our tent!

Ivan the Terrified and Luna

We had eight dogs of varying sizes and shapes in attendance. Amazing! These were particularly kooky.

J and L

Some of us traveled six or more hours to join us. I am grateful to them for all the extra effort they expended to share this weekend with us.

J and Oscar


I got to spend a little time with my easel and oil paints in my beloved meadow, which is what I wanted to do from the moment I first saw it last summer. Plein air painting is hard and delightful. The only thing missing from my painting experience was a tall glass of cold white wine. Next time!

Welcome Spring!


I’m catching up from last weekend. Last Saturday we celebrated Delphinia, a tradition that we have held for about 20 years. Friends come from far and wide to play on the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore and to declare that springtime has come! The time for breathing out, adventuring, travel, enterprise, and busyness has returned and we can throw off our quiet introspection of the winter months. This year, the weather was absolutely perfect! We sometimes have a chilly beach experience, but not this year.

Champagne! Why, Thank You!

Champagne? Why, yes, thank you!

Daddy and Asher

We picnicked. The daring children splashed in the cold waves.

Dragon Kite

We played and flew kites. Sweet X has a nifty dragon kite. We had a community fire; we shared our intention and our gratitude. Two mamas are expecting. We’ll soon have two new baby friends in the world! How amazing is that?

Beach Doggy

So many of us have dogs now and we brought them along. Five dogs makes things extra exciting. This was Solstice’s first trip to the beach—as far as we know. He’s new to our family.

Manly Men

The guys found a giant log up the beach. They decided it was in the wrong place.

Erecting the Log

And in the wrong orientation.

She Made It!

Then they hatched an even greater plan. (Everyone in this photo is at least 6 feet tall.)

J on Top

And brave J climbed to the tipy-top, amply proving her courage, . I watched the whole thing and I still don’t know how she did it.


Point Reyes is so lovely. This is one of my favorite places on earth. Perhaps it’s because we have been coming here to celebrate and adventure my entire adult life. It’s pretty far from home—more than three hours in the car—but it’s definitely worth the trip. As is our family tradition, we picked up garbage on the beach before we left and hiked it out. Earth Day was the next day, after all, so we worked extra hard.

Lucas Leaving Pt. Reyes

We didn’t leave the beach until 7:30 in the evening!

Soggy Lucas (Leaving Pt. Reyes)

We were tired and soggy, but very happy. And our adventure didn’t end there! Our friends, T and E invited us to camp with them in their trailer at Samuel P. Taylor campground in the redwoods of Marin county. Staying overnight there with them meant that the fun didn’t have to end, we didn’t have to drive 3 hours home at night, and we got to play and hike a bit in the forest in the morning. It was sooooo great waking up on Earth Day to all that green!


It was beautiful. Suki dog patiently tolerated all of our noise and business. We had a yummy breakfast together.

E and T (I took this one!)

I got to play with E’s iPhone and took this funky Hipstamatic shot of her and T.

Clowning with My Sons

And we got silly. Nothing pleases little boys more than allowing them time to be goofballs.

Our Family! (E's Shot)

Thanks for the family photo, E! (And for all the photos!)

Naturally, I’d like to show you all the wildflowers and beautiful emerald trees but this post is getting waaaaaaaaaay too long …

Asher in the Wildflowers

Sunlit Leaves

Oops. They sneaked in here anyway. Ahem! So, I’ll skip our stop at the Mission San Rafael on the way home. Perhaps I’ll write about that another time.

For now, I need to clean my house and get ready to have family over for a birthday party this evening. Lucas turns 10 on Tuesday!

Birthday Beach Camping

I’m catching up from last month! I guess life has been pretty busy, and pretty good lately.

Old Family Tent "DAD" by Lucas

We went camping for my birthday in May to Wright’s Beach, which is where my family always went for vacation when I was a kid. I love this beach with my whole heart.

Lookout over Wright's Beach

We spent two chilly nights there in Ian’s old family tent. We wandered on the beach, collected small seashells and pebbles, flew kites, and read books. Lucas did a lot of whittling with his new pocket knife, making arrows and spears and assorted sharp and pointy items. The boys bickered a lot, and unfortunately this beach isn’t terribly safe for playing chase with the waves. There are signs posted everywhere saying how Wright’s Beach is one of the deadliest beaches in California. Funny, I don’t remember that tidbit from my childhood, and while I do remember gettting knocked about by the waves, my brother and I always survived. When the ranger came around in her truck to tell us under no circumstances should we allow the boys to touch the water, well, we decided to play by the rules. Still, we had plenty of fun and Daddy’s delicious grilled steak, plus s’mores!

My Favorite Beach Learning How to Light a Fire

Wright's Beach

My Boys

The next day we packed up early and drove five minutes down the coast to Duncan’s Cove, where the beach was more sheltered and the wind wasn’t so bad. We explored and found lots of wildflowers. Lucas found a great rock to jump from onto the sand below. It was quite a drop!

Leaping Off

Happy When Moving

Here we did let Lucas get his feet wet. Asher didn’t let the waves get anywhere near him before he began running for the dry sand.

My Little Trekker

It was cold and windy up on the bluff. The views were amazing and so were the flowers. Asher enjoyed wearing his camelbak.


We picnicked on Portuguese Beach before beginning our drive home. A beach picnic with beautiful seagulls, sandwiches, champagne, and peach pie is tops in my book!

Asher's Wistle

Lucas at Lucas Wharf

This is one of the fun things about Bodega Bay. The Lucas Warf sign photo.

Enjoy Life!

We stopped at the candy and kites store. I enjoy all the flags and spinning things. Ian says I am allowed to be an old woman with flags someday, as long as we make them ourselves.

It was a great weekend and I’m glad I got to show my children this place that’s so special to me. Even if we never go there again, it was delightful to have all those fond childhood memories come flooding back.

And after we came home, I had some fun playing with my seagull photos. Tee hee!

Seagulls High Drama


First Overnight

My baby left this morning wearing Ian’s 20-year-old backpack covered in European country patches. It was stuffed with his gear and bigger than him.

“I feel like the tortoise who won the race. No wonder he went slowly!” Lucas said, staggering under its weight.

He’s off with his third-grade class for a first-ever overnight camping trip. They are going to Full Belly Farm, an organic farm in Capay (which must be really close to the farm we went to last weekend). The whole class will be sleeping in tents. It’s going to be awesome.

I am so proud of Lucas. Today, I truly feel that the time does fly by. Wasn’t it only a few months ago that I was holding his hand as we marched for the first time into the Kindergarten?

The anticipation of this class trip was hard on him. Lucas was pretty nervous and asked me more than once, “Do I have to go?” He cried and worried. It’s so hard to find the right balance between being compassionate about his emotional turmoil and being encouraging yet firm. No, I’m not going to let him skip this amazing class trip because he’s afraid of it. He is ready, even if he doesn’t know it yet. Does that make me mean? That’s mothering for you—I’m part Mom, part Sensei.

I just kept telling him how much fun he was going to have, how busy he and his classmates would be, and how it’s OK to feel nervous about things. “You’ll be fine! Lots of people will be there to take care of you,” I told him. I also know that Lucas is a wonderful caregiver, and so we role-played how he would act if he found one of his classmates was having a hard time and feeling sad and homesick. He came up with wonderful strategies for making that friend feel better. I think that made him feel empowered and competent.

I made sure Lucas has both phone numbers so he can call home if he needs to. The teachers said that would be fine. We packed a little lavender-scented pillow I made him for Valentine’s Day; something he can sleep with if he’s feeling homesick.

My Boys' Valentine Pillow Sachets from Mommy

The worry he has been feeling the last couple of days seemed this morning to have been outstripped by his excitement. He happily trudged out the door—no tears, no bargaining, no hesitation. Just an 8 1/2-year-old boy with places to go and friends to meet.

Courage is being afraid and doing the right thing anyway. This trip seems to me to have just the right degree of challenge, the right ratio of fear to reward. And of course, it has everything to do with their third-grade curriculum, studying gardening and grains.

Gardening and Grains Lesson Book, Third Grade: Corn

Gardening and Grains Lesson Book, Third Grade: Wheat

(These are partial-page scans from his Gardening and Grains lesson book. My scanner isn’t big enough to capture the whole page.)

I love this Waldorf curriculum. I love that my son gets to spend a day and a night on a working farm that is using sustainable practices and raising sheep for wool. I love that he knows where his food comes from. I love that part of school for him is fresh air and sunshine, digging in the mud and planting seeds, and swimming in a pond. I love that his physical and spiritual development are carefully considered in addition to his academic aptitude and achievement; that the health and unity of the class as a whole is considered. I love that he is challenged with tasks that are a trifle scary and difficult, and supported while he faces his fears and overcomes obstacles. I feel he is being nourished every day by these qualities and so many more that I can’t even put into words.

I’m just so full of gratitude, and hoping he has a wonderful time.

Best Family Burn Ever

I’m still not entirely sure what to say about Burning Man, nor what pictures to show here. My heart is full of love and gratitude. We have endured and celebrated nature, the elements, life, humanity, friendship, silliness, joy. My impressions of Burning Man are swirly and colorful.
Nevada Desert

Nevada desert on the way to the playa

After the One Rainstorm

Sunset after a brief rainstorm

I am so glad we went, and especially glad that we camped with so many wonderful friends. Our campmates were super fun and very patient with our small taggers-on. They helped us look out for the boys, entertain them, and graciously shared their “space yogurts” (yogurt in a tube) and other goodies that were novel and exciting. Two friends even volunteered to babysit one night so Ian and I could have a much-needed date!

Our children were brave in the face of not only a hostile environment but also a Saturnalian one, where grown-ups generally don’t behave as usual, where instead they act silly, dye their hair pink, dress in funny clothes (or none at all), and spend their time playing, adventuring, or lazing about. It was a place where you might gleefully talk with strangers and give a made-up playa name just for the fun of playing at being someone else. Best of all, our boys got to see that play is for everyone, that all human beings need long stretches of time to do nothing, or only what we want to do, and that these moments are crystalline and pure. Climbing, running, jumping, dancing, flying kites, making friends, laughing and telling jokes, creating art, falling in love, being—these are the things that make life worth living.

Lucas climbing a pole on top of the Nexus nightclub

Super Fun

Super fun Genesha art car that passed us by one day

Dust Overload Strawberry Shortcake Yummy

A dust-weary Asher, me on the afternoon of the burn, and our dashing Agent Daddy

Fearless Tightrope Walker

Lucas fearlessly walking a tightrope about 10 feet off the ground

"My Parents Take Me to the Weirdest Places"

This tuna art car drove by during one of our family bike outings

Asher's First Kite Flying

Asher’s very first kite-flying experience; hold on tight!

Bocci Ball Mid-Throw

My boys playing boccie ball

Jellyfish Parasol Workshop Exultant Fish Dance with the Salmon of Knowledge

Decorating our parasols like jellyfish; Lucas jumping on a trampoline; Asher dancing with the Salmon of Knowledge

Lucas and Asher also got to see, and we ourselves were reminded, that challenges are worth facing because the rewards are often great. Braving our fears or walking out into the unknown is our task, our surest course to learning who we are and what’s important to us. By purposefully venturing into a desert of nothingness, we fill it with our hopes and dreams and remake ourselves. I watched both of my children, in their own individual ways and according to their ages, encounter their limitations and push past them, gaining confidence and respect along the way.

It was a different kind of Burning Man for me and Ian. Having our kids along was a ton of work and we spent much (most?) of our time making sure that their needs were being met. Keeping two sensitive children safe and happy, hydrated and fed, rested and slathered with sunblock in the desert is pretty much a constant effort. Ian worked ceaselessly to take care of all of us. There was a lot less aimless wandering just to see what there was to see. There were moments I felt despair because I thought I was missing all the fun, but mostly I let that fleeting feeling wash over me and away, and we managed to relax into a new kind of Burning Man experience. We got more sleep this year on the playa than ever before, thanks to the boys’ tuckering out and needing to be home and in bed fairly early. We ate like kings, with lots of fresh produce and barbecued tri-tip dinners. We spent more time near and in camp, which meant time together as a family and with our peeps. We let Burning Man come to us much of the time, and the sweetest folks wandered into our communal shade and spent time with us. Our camp gave out water, drinks, food, advice when it was asked for, a place by the fire, and generally enjoyed that special/sacred hospitality relationship. To all the desert beauties that we met, thank you! You’re my little potato.

Dusted! After the Burn

Lucas is VERY happy to have seen the Man burn this time! Here he is after the burn on Saturday night. I’ve never been in such a whiteout before! For long moments the Burning Man disappeared from view completely, then eerily reappeared through the waves of flying powder.

The truth is we saw a teensy-tiny slice of Burning Man, maybe 1 percent of what was out there. However, what we saw was wonderful. We are tired and a little sad to have to resume normal life now that we are home again. We are loving this breathtaking miracle called running water. My thoughts are dreamy and I feel like I need a rest after my vacation. I feel a creative pulsing in my veins.

All in all, Best Family Burn Ever.

  • 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.

    © 2003–2018 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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