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.

Love Is …


* A night out dancing and celebrating with my sparkling friends.
* Grandparents who take my boys overnight so I can be with adults at a nightclub.
* Friends who figuratively put on their wellies and step into the muck to help others, who sacrifice and do the work and give so much of themselves.
* Visiting my mother-in-law over coffee, and admiring how she has already thriving vegetable garden seedlings under a grow light in her dining room.
* New-to-us chairs from my parents; they’re more comfortable than any chairs we have, even if they are a shade or two too purple.
* Working all together on housekeeping chores that might not be fun, but that make our living together easier and our home the haven we want it to be.
* Giving away wonderful games and puzzles to my sweet nieces.
* A brief visit from my brother and his girlfriend, who brought us the chairs.
* Gardening time: I planted pansies, divided day lilies to make two new clumps, planted forsythia, planted two irises that have been in pots a while. I was able to divide each iris into several groups.
* Watching my garden come alive again with new shoots, daffodils, magnolia, and azaleas blooming, and tulips coming up. My plum trees are clothed in flower clouds, too.
* Rain. Yumptious, sloppy, wet rain that soaks the ground and demonstrates our persistent drainage problems.
* Flower and seed catalogs that come in the mail.
* Being done with basketball season, but also feeling so grateful for all Lucas learned, for his wonderful coach and teammates, and for a wholly positive experience.
* Having work to do, even if it’s not very interesting. I’m learning more about surgery than I ever have before.
* A reunion with my husband; although I hate it when he goes (and I try not to whine), I love it when he comes home.
* Taking my dad to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert this week
* Little Fur audiobooks, which are entertaining my little son while he’s home sick today.
* Window stars.
* Fractal vegetables and welcome-home dinners.
* The sixth-grade Waldorf curriculum, which is so brilliantly meeting our son.

Edible fractals #waldorf #math #food #wholefood #csa #farmfreshtoyou

Cross Country


I’ve been meaning to write this post for four months now. A-hem.


Lucas joined the school’s cross country running team this past fall. He’s in sixth grade and it was his first opportunity to be involved in school sports, and he jumped in with both feet and tons of heart. The team started practicing even before the school year began, and Ian and I watched with wide eyes as he completed two after-school practices each week and ran meets on many Saturdays and a few Wednesdays too. The sixth grade boys turned out in force (I think we had eight from our class), and for many of them it was their first team sport experience. I am so proud of them. They were supportive of each other, encouraging, and really gave it their all.


They trained hard and had a lot of fun too. Practices often involved running more than 3 miles.



They practiced and ran races in 100-degree heat. Races were usually about 1.4 miles or 1.25 miles long.




These are shots from their very first meet at the Lagoon Valley Classic Invitational in Vacaville.


This was a meet that took place at Capital Christian Center school. I love this photo because it illustrates what it’s like to have sixth, seventh, and eighth graders racing at the same time! (Fortunately, they gave medals for the five fastest boys in each grade.) It also illustrates to me how much growth our boys are going to experience in these next three years.


Some of our boys are just born to run; they’re fast and lithe, and they want it bad. But all the Sacramento Waldorf School boys were dedicated and worked hard to improve their times. And they all did through their training.


Lucas got 5th place (among 6th grade boys)! He is feeling great!

Lucas came in fifth of all the sixth graders at this Capital Christian race. It was a very proud moment for him.

Over the course of the season, which was about eight weeks long, he improved his mile time by more than two minutes. By the end of the season he was running a mile in under-7-minutes.


This was in the foothills at Foresthill High School for the Wildfire Invitational. The Waves middle school runners were warming up. This course took them a little more than a mile through the forest. It was a beautiful location.



Go waves! Last middle school meet of the season.

And how’s this for a culminating moment? In the last meet of the season (“The Other Meet”), the runners trekked out over a track through an undeveloped field on the edge of some soccer fields. They ran past a hornet nest, and the insects stung them. Some described seeing runners covered in hornets. All of our boys came back with a sting or two. They kept running and all of them finished the race! So tough! I think I would have flipped out had I been in their shoes.

The middle school runners’ season ended in the middle of October. The Waves high school runners continued to train and run till Thanksgiving. I somehow misunderstood the team schedule and assumed that Lucas would train through November also. When we learned that was not the case, it was a great disappointment for him. He was having the time of his life and getting so good, he just wasn’t ready for the season to end! I am quite sure that he will be on the team next fall.

The Waves high school runners went on to perform very well in statewide competitions. They run faster and farther in their meets. The coach is looking at this big crop of young, middle school runners with excitement, perhaps imagining what they will do when they are older.

We are so proud of Lucas and what he accomplished! We are delighted that his first team sports experience was so completely positive, so affirming and encouraging. We are so grateful to the coaches, the other parents, and to kids on the team for such a wonderful time. And we cannot wait for next year’s season.

Summer Swimming

Swim Practice

My darling boys are sure getting good workouts in the pool these days. We are nearly done with Lucas’s a six-week swim team commitment. There are four more days of swim, with the last day a meet.


Lucas was on this American River College Aquatics youth swim team two years ago, and because he was younger then and the length of the commitment a couple of weeks longer, it was kind of a slog. Long before the season was finished, he was ready to be done. I had to coax and cajole to get us through it because I felt it was important not to quit. Last summer, he wasn’t interested in doing swim at all.

But this summer has been altogether different! This summer, Lucas is older, stronger, and more confident. This summer, three of Lucas’s classmates are on the team with him. This summer, he’s better able to take direction and coaching and incorporate new knowledge into his strokes. This summer, the session is a tad shorter. All of these factors have combined to make swim team a lot of fun. He’s getting great exercise four days a week, having fun with friends, and getting to be a stronger swimmer.



This summer, he’s learning the butterfly stroke. His backstroke is beautiful. On June 21, there was an “inner squad” swim meet and these photos are from the meet. The competition of the thing didn’t interest him much at all. He was just determined to swim hard and have fun. I love the photo above because he is smiling while racing!


And for three weeks now, Asher has been taking swimming lessons. This young man (I’ll call him S) is Asher’s very patient and gentle teacher. Asher has learned to trust him during these 20 minute lessons, and S has coaxed Asher along from the point when he was afraid to get his face wet, to floating, going underwater, diving for toys, swimming in streamline position, and now doing “freestyle,” which for Asher is a kind of flailing about and moving slightly forward. But it’s a fantastic start. Now Asher goes underwater for fun, even when S isn’t asking him to. Now Asher jumps from the side of the pool into the water, knowing that S will help him up.



And now when Asher and I swim together, he’s willing to practice these new skills with me, even though it’s not lesson time and  S isn’t there to encourage him. This last week, Asher was paired in a group lesson with another little boy, but the boy was very frightened and the swim instructors split them up because they weren’t at the same level. So Asher’s been getting private lessons with S and lots of attention. I watch him closely. I see him negotiating, asking S to come a little bit closer so he doesn’t have to swim quite so far by himself. And he’s always got a smile on his face while swimming with S. This week, S had Asher “dive” with assistance. He sort of carried him head first into the water from the edge of the pool.

The last time Asher had swim lessons, two years ago, he hated every single moment of it. He has come so far!

There are four more days of lessons. For my part, I’m ready to be done driving to the college pool and waiting around in the hottest part of the day for my boys to do their swimming, but I’m so grateful this summer’s swim experience has been so successful and fun for both of them. I’m proud of them. There’s so much good stuff here to build on!

Last Swim Meet and Lesson

Some are probably sick of hearing me talk about swim team and swimming lessons, but I just have to crow one more time. My kids are awesome. I am totally proud of them. They met this long-term challenge with so much courage and perseverance.

Lucas raced in three races last Friday at his final swim meet. He worked HARD all summer. He attended 29 practices (out of 32) and two swim meets. The practices he missed were missed because of illness. Going to swim practice four days a week for eight weeks was a lot, and he did so after long days of camp. It was sometimes a struggle and he sometimes wanted to give up, but he kept at it and finished with flying colors, and now he feels great about his accomplishment.

Lucas Warming Up

Here’s Lucas warming up for his meet.

Diving in For a Race

Most of the kids just started diving this summer; they have a lot to learn still.   😉


At the end of the meet, the kids got to jump off the high dive. So brave!

As far as results go, well, Lucas’s team came in second during the 100-yard relay. Lucas finished smack in the middle of the pack in both of his other two races. Not the fastest, not the slowest.

This summer Asher went to 30 20-minute swimming lessons, which he hated at first and learned to enjoy. He also learned how to swim—at least a little ways to get to the side of the pool. He learned streamline position and kicking and floating and blowing bubbles and diving for things underwater.

Asher Swimming

Noodle Time

He can use a kick board or a noodle now and can jump into the pool from the edge or diving board and swim to his instructor.

Asher Likes Lollies

And he learned that if you work really hard, you can have a lollipop.

I spent about 57 hours poolside and driving so they could do this. It was hard for me to drag them unwillingly along, especially on those hot days when I didn’t want to go either. It was hard to hear “I hate swim team. I wish you would just let me quit.” And it was hard to say in reply, “I’m sorry you feel this way. You made a commitment. And besides, Wilsons don’t quit.” To Asher’s almost constant plea, “WHY do we have to do swimming lessons? Why?” I learned to answer simply, “Because it’s summertime.” Somewhere around the sixth week he stopped asking that. Phew!

Many thanks to the two grandmas who took the boys to swim a handful of times so I didn’t have to do it. That help was a sanity-saver!

We’re all feeling pretty accomplished.

Swimming Derring-Do

Thursday was a big day for both of my children. Lucas attended his first swim meet (we had missed the first two meets of the summer due to illness) and Asher finished his second session of swimming lessons by jumping off the diving board.

Lucas Waiting for His Race


Here’s Lucas (in the black shirt) doing a great backstroke. He is is becoming a stronger swimmer thanks to all this practice! This, and having fun, are our two big goals for this experience. I am also hoping that this is the right amount of team and competition for my beginning athlete.


He’s new to diving, as are many of his teammates. They are given the choice to dive from a standing or seated position.


Here’s Asher floating calmly with Miss Brittany. He has come a long way in the four weeks he’s been taking lessons. For the first time, on Tuesday, he didn’t ask my “WHY do we have to do swimming lessons?!” He just came along quietly and did the work. I think he’s finally settling into the routine of it, so I signed him up for another session! (We have to be there anyway!)


The coup de grace! Asher jumped (was helped) off the diving board with his noodle. He was cheerful until he had to walk the plank; then his face was full of grim determination. Jay was there in the water to reassure him and make sure Asher didn’t slip out of his noodle. He popped up quickly, blinked, and made his way to the ladder. We cheered like crazy!

Lollypop Reward

Asher got a certificate for completing the session and a lolly. BIG treat!

Lucas reported that the swim meet was pretty cool, but there was a lot of sitting around and waiting for his turn in the water. They did a warm-up swim, then each child raced in three events, with multiple heats. In between races, they rested. During a regular practice, the kids swim for 45 minutes with only very brief rests.

Lucas’s swim meet culminated in ice cream sundays. Daddy came to see the kids swim, and so did two grandmas, so my kids had quite the cheering section.

Four more weeks to go.

Summer Swim

My kiddos are enrolled in swimming team and lessons this summer. For eight weeks we will go to the American River College pool every afternoon, M–Th, so Lucas can be on a swim team. This team is noncompetitive; although they have “inner squad meets,” they are really only racing against teammates and their own times. This is good for many reasons, not the least of which is that we don’t have to give up every summer Saturday to competitive meets. Ours will take place on some Thursdays, during the normal practice time.

Lucas missed practice three days last week due to being ill, but this week he has rallied and is back at it, apparently giving it his all. He’s got new swim fins and new goggles and new shorts and a new rash guard and a new backpack to carry it all in. He’s a well-equipped boy. I think he’s enjoying it a lot, although it will be nice when he makes some friends there.

Lucas Likes Swim Team!

Asher, on the other hand, hates his swimming lessons. He has now gone to six of them and is no longer spending the time in the water with his instructor screaming (as he did his first two days). Nevertheless, he is not a fan of this experience. I can tell he is learning and becoming more comfortable in the water, practicing the skills (face in, dip underwater, streamline arms, kicking, etc.). I’ve even caught him smiling a time or two. Every morning, though, he wakes up and asks if we’re going to swimming lessons. And when I say yes, he asks, “Now?!” Since they are at the end of the day, I get to answer “Later” about a hundred times every day. He worries about it all day. Here’s a picture of him going underwater, which he would never choose to do.

Asher Goes Under!

His instructor is pretty and fun and she jollies him along through the twenty-minute lessons. And the point of all this is not to torture my child, but to teach him that he can be OK in the water and (hopefully) get to the side if he falls in. I remember Lucas didn’t care much for swimming lessons at this age either. Now he is a fish!

So, sports. Not really my thing, but I’m making an effort to be a “Swim Mom” this summer to give Lucas what I hope is a good, gentle introduction to a team sport experience. I’m doing my best to have a good attitude about the whole thing. Thank goodness the bleachers where the parents wait are in the shade!

  • 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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