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.


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.

Autumn Farewell

Tree stars

We’ve had buckets of rain in the past week. Our jacuzzi has stopped working again, due to flooding. The chicken run is a soupy, smelly mess. The pretty leaves have largely fallen from the deciduous trees in the neighborhood, but my liquidambar is still full of golden stars.

My tree


The palette of my surroundings is fading. Bright oranges, golds, russets, and crimsons are vanishing, giving way to more muted tones. Browns and grays, straw, and dusty greens—punctuated by lurid, store-bought red and green for Christmas—are the colors of December in Northern California’s central valley. The transformation is gradual and a few flowers seem to have missed the memo. I’ve seen marguerites shouting “yellow!” at the top of their voices, and a few purple irises are confused enough to bloom even in the heavy rain.

A couple of weeks ago, we took the boys to a local amusement park called Funderland, which has been in operation in Land Park as long as I can remember. The day was perfectly glorious, the kind of day November hopes to achieve—with sparkling, flaming trees and crystalline skies.











The rides, horseback riding, and pretty slanting afternoon sunbeams inspired many shining smiles.





And plenty of autumn frolicking.




It was a wonderful day. Land Park had lots of finery to show off while we were there.

Thank you, November. Your brilliance is fortifying.

Local Evening Safari


It’s been a bummer week for me. I’ve worked a lot. I’ve struggled with my current roster of projects and I have lots more work in my future. Last night, my mother-in-law gave us a big break by keeping our kids for dinner, which allowed Ian and me to go on a mini date. We had a lovely sushi dinner. (When I’m feeling beat-up by life, I always want sushi.)

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When we picked up our kids that evening, I just wasn’t ready to go back home. So we drove to Folsom, parked the car and walked over the historic truss bridge and into the old part of town. It was a great opportunity to visit a part of town we don’t often visit and the spontaneity of it felt really good.


We had great views of the Rainbow Bridge and Lake Natomas. I enjoyed watching the fishing boats move into their nooks for an evening of fishing.


Along the way we ran into our friends, which was a nice surprise. They were out looking for sticks to make into arrows and wild blackberries—you know, like you do.

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We walked through the main street and stopped in a New Age shop to admire the crystals and gems (Asher is very font of such things). We saw a huge crystal ball made of quartz with a price tag of $3800! Madame Trelawney must be missing it.


As dusk fell, we looked into glittering shop windows and then popped into Snook’s ice cream and candy shop for a treat. I really didn’t realize that Folsom has nightlife on the weekends. We saw several open wine bars and pubs. A band was setting up to play in the Folsom Hotel bar. We also discovered a cute and cozy coffee shop. I think this means Ian and need to come back another time when we’re alone.

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For an unplanned ramble, it was very fun. We walked back to our car in the dark. Asher was pretty tired by the end, but he never complained once; his steps only got slower and slower as we neared the car. It was a perfect summer night.


Miners Ravine Nature Walk

A tidal wave of work is coming my way, so the projects I presently have in hand consumed some of my weekend. This isn’t really so bad, except the weather was heavenly and my darlings headed off to the zoo without me on Saturday. I realized after they left that I’ve missed rather a lot of Asher’s zoo trips. This must be corrected soon.

Two strategy guides are hitting my inbox this week. A development task that was pushed off in favor of helping another editor with an urgent deadline is now coming due. My novel edit is due on Friday. Whee!

And still … I walked away from all of this to join my family on a little surprise adventure. We have a lovely book called Best Hikes with Children Around Sacramento and today we tried out a short, easy hike in Granite Bay at a place called Miners Ravine. It’s only a half-mile loop, but it sure was pretty! Honestly, California in the springtime—even in the Central Valley—is fantastic.


The bees were out in force! Many wildflowers were tickled by their buzzy paramours today. I took lots of wildflower/bee photos. Cuz I’m that kind of girl.


I don’t know for sure, but I think this white bubbly stuff might be spittle bug spittle.

Acorn Grinding Rock

We found a granite rock with lots of acorn grinding holes used by the Native Americans of the area—Miwoks, I believe.

Family Portrait

Isn’t the automatic timer on the camera cool?

Pink Clover and Lupines

Purple lupines and pink clover.

Found Treasure

Lucas found a treasure! And see his gappy grin? He lost another top tooth last week. The seventh, if I’m not mistaken.

Pond Ripples

We came across a shadowy pond with yummy reflections of the live oaks overhead and ceaseless ripples from bugs’ movements.

Scaling the Granite Rock

This granite boulder was enormous. Wherever Lucas goes, Asher must follow. ‘Twas ever the way for brothers.

It was such a great day! I’m glad to be taking advantage of this cool, comfortable weather while it lasts, and am very much looking forward to trying more local hikes recommended in our book. Our adventure ended with another exciting surprise, but I’ll save that for a different post.

  • 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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