Working Vacation Highlights—Half A Week’s Worth of Entries

We were in South Lake Tahoe from Saturday the 18th to Friday the 24th. Here are some highlights…

A Brief Encounter 2/20/06
“How lucky that I got a chance to play with that baby!” Lucas said as we were leaving a Mexican restaurant. He liked touching the baby boy’s hand. Baby’s mom didn’t like that so much; I could tell Lucas’s coughing was making her nervous about the touching and what germs her son was picking up. I can understand how she felt. Otherwise, she was very friendly. Her son was about 6 or 7 months old. Lucas was enchanted.

Here We Are in Tahoe 2/21/06
We’ve been at the cabin since Saturday afternoon. It was storming and snowing pretty heavily last weekend so the drive up here took a really long time—4.5 hours, but we stopped in Placerville to eat lunch at Mel’s. At one point during our drive, a guy in a Cal Trans truck pulled right in front of us to stop the traffic, and then sat there for an hour fielding the same three questions from all the drivers who got our of their cars to find out why we were stopped. Fortunately for us, we simply had to roll down the car windows to hear what was going on—nine accidents up ahead. Yikes.

We were pleased to learn when we finally got over the summit that Kelly and Ambrosia were stuck in the same jam behind us, waiting for the road to clear. I had been a little worried that they might have moved ahead of us and might be waiting in the driveway at the cabin for hours.

The kids were happy to see each other. Lucas was excited to spend time with Ambrosia. He kept saying before she arrived, “I really love Ambrosia. She’s my baby sister,” and “I will share my toys with Ambrosia.” This we took to be an encouraging sign for the weekend. And honestly, they both got along with each other quite well. A few arguments cropped up during the 40 or 42 hours they spent in the same house together, but in the end, neither child wanted to say goodbye.

So anyway, we enjoyed a few yummy Atkins + Vegetarian meals during which Ambrosia was curious about the various meats at the table. Kelly is a vegetarian, but she allowed Ambrosia to try unfamiliar foods.

We did just what you’d expect with two small kids in the mountains—we bundled them up into their snow clothes, boots/shoes, hats, and mittens and tromped through the snow. The storm had brought maybe four or five inches of lovely, soft powder and covered all the trees with what looked like vanilla frosting. Lucas and Ambrosia liked eating the snow, making snow angels, and sledding down the gentle slope near the neighbor’s house on the yellow and orange saucers. Lucas was much fonder of snowball fights than Ambrosia was, so he and I pelted each other. I hoped to give him an enthusiastic target for his powdery volleys to draw fire away from the little girl. (That’s how nice I am—I really don’t much like being hit by snowballs!) Lucas mainly got my legs.

Lucas Quotes 2/21/06
“Special new babies are called stars. Boy babies are called suns and girl babies are called moons, did you know?”

To Ian, “I tell my mom a funny word, but it’s secret and down in my belly button.”

To me, “I have a present for you…It’s really special. Do you want to see it? It’s a new pair of earrings…they’re shaped like Thomas! …

“Oh wait! It’s a new book. The cover is shaped like a train. And the pages are shaped like a train. And the WORDS are shaped like a train. And the pictures are pictures of TRAINS! It’s a THOMAS book!”

Mutual Admiration Society 2/21/06
This morning I went looking for Lucas. I found him upstairs bouncing on the bare mattress of the bed. I watched him jumping joyfully, ecstatically for a while. Then I stripped him down for a shower. This did not deter the jumping, but rather encouraged more of it, for he’s freer in his skin. I watched him bounce some more, wincing when his head came too near the sloping ceiling. He invited me to join him. Instead of bouncing, we cuddled on the bed and rolled around together. We giggled and smiled and gazed into each other’s eyes. It was one of those moments when all the strain and stress of parenting melts away.

“Mom, you’re beautiful like the sun and moon and stars,” he said.
More melting.
“Lucas, you’re beautiful like a sparkling sunshiny day.”
“Mom, you’re beautiful like the blue sky full of sunshine.”
“Lucas, you’re beautiful like moonbeams on the glistening snow.”
“Mom, you’re beautifulest like the night,” he said. Wow.
“Lucas, you’re beautiful like an angel’s wing,” I replied.
“Mom, you’re beautifulest and cutest of all.”
“Lucas, you’re beautifulest like a rainbow reflected in a clear lake.”

It went on and on like this for several glorious minutes. About this time, Ian joined us for a shower. He rolled his eyes at all our sappy talk.

“What?” I said. “I’m just teaching him about poetry and wooing women.” I guess I was teaching him about simile, too, come to think of it.

Lucas was teaching me about unconditional love.

Sledding Fun at Zephyr Cove 2/22/06
Today was fantastic! We woke up, had a lovely breakfast, and then packed up the car for a day on the sledding slopes. We met with Brittany and Ella and Henry on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe at a place near Zephyr Cove. There’s a terrific sledding hill that’s far enough away from the highway to make me feel comfortable about playing there (such places are hard to find on the 50 side, in my experience). We got there at about 10:30 am and we all had so much fun we stayed until after 2 pm. Brittany brought a great sled—one that’s far superior to the saucers we had with us. Their sled could fit Lucas, Ella, and a grown-up. Mostly they went down the hill with Ian playing the anchor man/driver. Sometimes I went with them. I am not a good sledder. Somehow I always manage to spin around in lazy slow circles, and end up going backwards most of the time down the hill. The kids preferred Ian’s technique by far. They ditched me after only a few runs.

Still, I had a wonderful time playing with our relatively new camera, and pointing it a lot at patient and slow-moving Henry, who stayed near the bottom of the slope more than the other two kids did. Brittany and I chatted, and sometimes she took Henry for rides in the saucer. For his first time in the snow, Henry really seemed to enjoy himself. He had, as his mother put it, amazing “snot rockets” all day though. I got some great shots of everyone sledding, digging in the snow (Ella and Lucas are particularly adept diggers—after all, they’ve had tons of practice at Miss Jennifer’s preschool.)

The weather was really warm and sunny, and we all wore only sweaters with our boots and snow pants for most of the time—no jackets were necessary until the cold wind picked up a little later. I’m glad I had sunscreen and an extra pair of sunglasses in the car for Lucas to wear.

Brittany’s husband Kevin and her son Nicholas were on the ski slopes today. Originally, she wasn’t planning to come to North Shore with them. But when I told her last week what we were doing during the teacher conference week, she changed her mind about coming and bringing the kids. Honestly, it couldn’t have been a more perfect play date. Given that this is the halfway point in our vacation, the chance for Lucas to play with other children came at the perfect time.
This was Ian’s first opportunity to get to know Brittany and her kids. And, as usual, he was easily the most popular adult around. I think children sense a kindred spirit in him; they warm to him almost instantly—pretty much without exception. Not so with me.

Nap Battles 2/22/06
Lucas has not been napping while we’ve been here. I think it’s partly in reaction to the unfamiliar place, but probably also partly because the bedrooms are so bright during the day, it’s hard to fall asleep. Well, not for me. But it’s basically impossible for him. I find this development tremendously challenging. He’s such a little jerk while he’s refusing to nap, even though we work hard to cast the same sleeping spell here as we do at home. The only good thing about it is that it’s pretty easy to put him down for the night because he’s completely exhausted by the end of the day. Frankly, so are we.

Homemade Aoili 2/22/06
Tonight I cooked the last of the albacore tuna that was given to me this time last year by Red Jioras, Chris’s father. Last February, in honor of teacher conference week, Lucas and I went on a road trip up to Eureka to visit Chris, Peggy, Matthew, and Alex. We got to have a nice meal one night with Chris’s parents who also live up there. Red is a sport fisherman, and he loaded me up with a cooler full of delicious fish.

For dinner tonight, I successfully made aioli from scratch. Aioli is a fancy word for mayonnaise. It’s made from egg yolk, oil, and garlic—and in this case, lemon and basil. I was skeptical, especially when started whisking with a wire whisk, as opposed to a mixer or food processor. Sure enough, the miracle happened. It thickened up just like it was supposed to, and it tasted delicious!

Surreal Questions 2/22/06
Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are from nights when I rode home in my father’s 240Z from my grandma’s house, while mom and my very young brother rode in mom’s car. These late-night drives (it probably wasn’t really late—it was probably rarely later than 9 pm) home from Carmichael to Rolling Green Way in Fair Oaks were my special time with my dad. I would always strive to stay awake by asking my dad questions. We had long conversations about how and where license plates were made, why the sunset was more beautiful on some nights than on others, how jellyfish move through the water, why the road painters always seemed to spill and splatter paint on the road, and other really important life-changing topics. Dad would patiently explain all the workings of the world to me, and I soaked it all up. I soaked up every word he said to me. Now, I realize it never really mattered what we talked about; what was important was that we talked together, and that my father knew everything. He still does.

Today in the car on the way home from sledding, we were gazing thoughtfully at the beautiful blue of Lake Tahoe surrounded by snow-kissed mountains. Lucas asked, “Dad, do whales ever get stuck in trees?”
“No, I don’t think they do,” Ian replied.

We laughed. And after I was done laughing, I cried a little bit. I’m glad Lucas’s dad knows everything.

4 Responses to “Working Vacation Highlights—Half A Week’s Worth of Entries”

  • pirategrrl
    February 27, 2006 at 11:19 pm

    My comment is one big “Awwwwwwwww!” Sounds like a good trip.


  • childofeos
    February 28, 2006 at 12:42 am

    *wiping tears from her shining eyes*
    That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with everyone.


  • toxgunn
    February 28, 2006 at 3:44 am

    Very cool – glad you arranged the chance for these things to come to you…


  • sarabellae
    February 28, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    I was very clever, actually, to convince Ian that he should be around to help out while Lucas was out of school for a week. He convinced his employer that he’d get more done on a working vacation than he would at work! He said that he experienced fewer interruptions even with an adoring wife and a 3-y-o around than he would have had at work. 😉


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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.

    © 2003–2018 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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