Spring Party

On Saturday we accidentally hosted a spring party that did not raise money for a bunny.

Huh? Here’s how:

The other day Lucy came home from school* and told us that she and Kaya were having a spring party to raise funds for Kaya’s bunny. So I asked, “Does Kaya have a bunny?” “No, Kaya needs to raise money so she can get a bunny,” Lucy explained. Since I’m not Kaya’s mom, and I do not have to take care of the bunny, this seemed like a great idea, so we got straight to helping Kaya raise her funds.

Obviously I’m just kidding.

But it did seem that somebody got straight to work, because in our inbox was an email to all the parents from Lucy’s teachers saying some kids were organizing a spring party and it was this Saturday at 11:00 at Mitchell Park. The specificity sure made it sound like we were on the hook for organizing this spring party.

Like a good organizer I checked in with with Kaya’s mom. Did she know about the bunny? “Yes”. Was the party for the bunny? “No, Kaya is doing chores for the bunny”. Was she planning the party? “Let’s do potluck”. So all my organizing was done. I figured I’d pick something up on the way.

Saturday comes along and 30 minutes before the party Lucy says, “we have to pick the oranges. I promised to bring orange juice to the party to raise money for the bunny”. Now if you don’t live in California picking oranges from the tree in your yard and making orange juice is actually not such a crazy idea. Making it 10 minutes before a potluck is no so realistic. So we decided to buy some orange juice along the way.

We arrived at the park and it was quite a bit chillier than I would have liked for a spring party but there was a new playground in the park so actually no organizing was required. The kids played in the playground. The parents shivered around the potluck. A former teacher of Leo and Lucy’s came. A lovely time was had by all. Here is a picture of everyone near the party sign.

And that is the story of the accidental spring party that did not raise money for a bunny.

* “School” refers to Wildchild Free School, the Nature program the kids attend
** “Teacher” means “Guide”, the person of authority at Wild Child Free School.

Sweetness, Weddings and more …

As I tucked Leo into bed last night we had this exchange.

Me: I’m glad you had such a great day, Leo.
Leo: I always have a great day.
Leo: I think I may have had a bad day once, but I can’t really remember it.

I’m still feeling warm and fuzzy from that sweet sentiment. A sweet sentiment to start out a sweet post. I promise to end with a sweet sentiment of Lucy’s after a long and meandering update. But now let’s turn to another sweet topic … donuts.

Healthy Eating

Those are my Mother’s Day donuts from Sunday (minus a few that have already been munched). Mother’s Day started with only one box of donuts. The pink box on the right. But as you can see there really are only 4 or so types of donuts in that dozen so I had to send Caleb back to the store to buy more because when it comes to donuts I always want to have a bite of each kind and I need lots of variety.

Mothers day was awesome. We invited over another mother whose husband was away so I did not get to eat all the donuts myself.

But the company was worth sharing a few donuts for. Here is where my plate wound up.

Despite his mother’s sweet tooth (or sugar tooth as Lucy calls it), Leo is turning out to be a very health conscious kid. He will tell us things like he does not want too many sweets because it is unhealthy. The other day Caleb was craving a Big Mac and could not convince Leo to join him at McDonalds. Why? Because it is not healthy. Leo also orders the side of fruit instead of the fries on the kid’s menu. Recently Leo took his health awareness to a new level.

Caleb was planning on making Leo a tuna salad sandwich for lunch. Leo protested. “Why not?” Caleb asked, “you love tuna.” “I do, but I’ve already had tuna once this week and that is too much mercury.”


(Leo hunting his food)

Now it is time to take a moment to reflect how we are always inclined to highlight the good when talking about our children. While it is great to put your best foot forward, there is a lot of talk about how facebook and the Internet make people think this is your only foot, creating the phenomena that everyone else’s life is perfect on facebook, while we all sit around feeling bad about ourselves and our imperfect lives. I, too, want you to think that my life is perfect and my children are perfect. So I direct my blog on the items to brag about. For example, Leo’s great eating habits. Or another example is my childrens’ love of nature. I love to take pictures of the kids in the tops of trees, which of course, is a place they love to be. My kids love climbing trees. If you read my blog you would realize that my kids love nature more than your kids love nature. They make hedge nettle tea from plants they collect. No piece of poison oak is too strong for their little plant identifying minds.

Here are Lucy and her friends in a tree just yesterday.

But somehow I never take pictures of Leo watching other people play Minecraft on YouTube. If you don’t have kids you would not know this is a thing. You might think that kids like to play video games. But you might not know that kids like to watch other kids who have taken videos of themselves playing video games. Along with climbing trees, and avoiding mercury, watching other people video games is one of Leo’s favorite pastimes (although not so favorite as climbing trees … ahem).

So this is my long winded way of saying that lest you think that Leo is a perfect eater, on the topic of food I’ve conveniently forgotten to mention that the kid who monitors his mercury intake also broke down crying the other morning when we returned from Boston and had missed his sugar cereal day.

At night when Leo is watching others play minecraft, Lucy is usually watching My Little Pony and singing along (to her brother’s chagrin). A true true friend helps a friend in need. A friend will be there to help you see. A true true friend helps a friend to see the LIIIIIIIIIIIGHT that shines from a true true friend.

Since Lucy likes to sing so much, Caleb put her in a music class. A few weeks back we got to got to Lucy’s recital. Which brings us to Lucy’s eating habits which have their own idiosyncrasies. She still loves the normal stuff. She loves sweets. She loves the dregs of our coffee. She loves fattiest pieces of meat. And for her new love …

Here is Lucy getting her certificate after performing at her recital:

And here is Lucy’s half-eaten certificate after our car ride home:

I’m not sure about the mercury content in recital certificates but I’m encouraging her to stick to the fatty meat.

The Wedding

And now lets flash even a couple more weeks back. I hinted at it, but me and the kids got to return to Boston for Sammy’s wedding celebration. Sammy and Gretchen met at a running club by the Charles River that has weekly races. And so to celebrate their marriage they decided to put on a race around a section of the river. Then they ran the opposite direction of the runners to create the sportiest and sweatiest receiving line ever. It was a really lovely event. The only thing that could have made it better would be if Boston had been 10 degrees warmer that night.

Here is a picture of the bride and groom.

Here is a picture of me finishing the race with my brother and new sister in law.

This picture reminds me of a time that I ran this same very race at this very club about 13 or 14 years ago — right about the time of my own wedding. I was in pretty good running shape, training for a marathon and running lots of races. So I came out to Sammy’s club one summer night and ran as fast as I could. Now one woman had clearly won the race, but another woman and I were neck-and-neck for second place. I had never won a running race before and it looked like I might even come in second. I dug in. I focused. I pushed myself. And I won! I came in second place!!!! It was amazing! I felt so good and proud of myself.

At the running club they stand around and drink beer after the race. So as I was proudly drinking a beer with my brother the lady I had beat was standing nearby talking to her friends and I overheard her say “she was trying so hard so I let her win …” Let me win!?!?! Let me win!?!?!? Way to kill the moment.

Well anyway, check out the picture again of me finishing the race at Sammy’s wedding. See that 10 year old kid who is like twenty steps ahead of me. I totally let him win.

More on winning

My mother is not very competitive and so it seems that I must have inherited my competitive genes from my father.

Dad and I got to have a few games of scrabble during this trip in which he also let me win, which I appreciated. You can see there is a theme here. I’m not sure he appreciated my winning though. He kept helping me out but then getting frustrated that I was winning.

Sharon who was visiting my parents as well, said that my father just cant help but be helpful.

My dad is actually pretty good at Scrabble. Which I have always taken as a given but is kind of surprising because for the last 45 or so years he has been married to someone who hates to board games and only plays occasionally with his children. Without practice where did he learn to play? So I asked.

Turns out when my parents were newlyweds and living in an apartment building in Cambridge near these guys (pictured above). Some guys from MIT lived in the building as well. And they were board game junkies and spent their evenings sitting and working out the optimal steps in the games. This was the cool crowd my dad was hanging out with in his youth and how he learned to be good at Scrabble.

Back to the wedding

In her retirement my mother is picking up other firsts so if my dad is lucky she may yet pick up scrabble. Another first was for her to get on the dance floor. Here she is boogie down with her kids.

Back to the sweets

At the wedding we got to met Matt’s lovely new girlfriend, Brittney. Later in the week when we went to visit NH I had another opportunity to exercise my sugar tooth. Brittney had nice a plan to bake cookies with the kids.

We all had a lovely time. Britney, Cheryl and the kids baking. Me eating.

I’m not so sure about the chronology of this post but eventually we returned from Boston, Mother’s Day happened as did everything else I talked about in this post. So now, as I promised, I will end on a sweet sentiment of Lucy’s. The other day Lucy unprompted started listing the reasons she was lucky.
1) Gets to eat sugar cereal
2) No hair lice
3) Has such nice parents

I’ll never say if #1 is true. #2 is true, especially if you never check. But #3, that is definitely true. At least her Daddy anyway.

Easter Blog

Ken visited for Easter and took some lovely pictures. So now that it is a few weeks later, it is time to memorialize the event.

Leo and I spent some time talking about holidays. Leo suggested that there are 10 holidays in the US. I’m not sure where he got that number so I asked him what holidays he could name. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Easter. Woman’s day. The anniversary of the Eiffel tower being built.

Well that was an interesting list. I think Leo’s idea of holiday’s may be unduly influenced by the Google doodles that he sees.

Usually we do not do much for Easter and this year we were not invited to any Easter egg hunts so Lucy encouraged me to make one for the family which I did with great skill.

In the past we’ve had friends work really hard to make kids have the exact same number of eggs and create fairness. Becca, would for example, label each egg with an initial so that the kids got the same amount and an age appropriate loot. I was not sure how to approach this part of the hunt or if it mattered. But then I had the great idea. The kind of idea that deserves a lot of pinterest repins. My idea was to have each kid fill up an egg carton and then stop. 12 eggs each. I was quite impressed with my idea and am still so much so that I had to write about it and post here for the world to see. I tried to encourage Caleb to say how impressed he was with idea and while he had little to say about the egg cartons, he agreed that I, indeed, was very impressed with myself.

But kids do think about these egg comparisons. For example we learned from Lucy that Kaya only gets about 5 eggs each year as a result of her cousins being better at finding eggs than her. This was a very important fact to Lucy who decided to save one of her eggs for Kaya as a result. We saw a generous side in both of our kids. Leo quietly saved eggs for four of his friends with candies he thought they’d like and brought them to “school” on Monday.

While I was busy being so proud of Lucy and her generosity she decided to point out my selfishness.
Lucy, while poking through my wallet: Mom, can I have a quarter?
Me: No.
Lucy: Why do you love money more than us kids?
Me: What?!?! Why would you say that Lucy?
Lucy: Well we were at the store and I wanted a toy and you would not buy it for me.

Well there you go.

Here is a picture of Lucy clearly making one of her favorite expressions. “What … “ followed by some obvious explanation of the situation. Like:

“What? … I love edamame”

“What? … you’d be mad too if you grew too big for your favorite shirt”. Well yes. This has even happened to me at an age where it is more upsetting than than I am sure it is for you now.

or when spanking her little four year old friend’s bottom …
“What? … I’m the queen and he’s my loyal subject”

And here is the family in its Easter finest.

All pictures were taken by Grandpa Ken so there are none of him. Next time you’ll have to take a selfie Grandpa!

Pi Day

While my mom was busy teaching children math in the snow trodden streets of Boston our own little Pi Day event came together here in sunny California. We decided that ratios were a little advanced for the youngins so we’d just stick to lessons around cooking and eating.

We hatched this idea with Danielle on Friday. And then Saturday Danielle and her family and a bunch of neighbors came by to make (and eat) all sorts of pies.

Danielle and Aaron brought the fixins for the first and most important kind of pie. That’s right …

it’s a pizza, it’s a pizza, mama mia, pizza pie:

That pizza turned out so circular that it really is a shame that we had opted for cooking over math lessons. Had we not been friends with Danielle and Aaron it is very likely that that pizza pie would have been ordered on the phone and delivered. But these guys are the quintessential DYIers so it probably would not have even occurred to them that we could actually order pizza. Along with the pizza fixins they came with homemade beer, ingredients to make pumpkin pie, and even home sewn clothes on their backs.

Not to be outdone by such industrious friends, Caleb set out to show us all how he could make pies by … magic. With just a sprinkle of fairy dust—poof!—you have banana cream pie.

What is really happening here is that Caleb woke up on Pi Day to make his banana creme pie and realized that it had to chill over night. But he wanted to eat the pie that day. So an inventive solution was hatched: pour dry ice into the pie custard and see if that cools it off.

You may now be wondering if we are the kind of people that keep dry ice on hand for this sort of occasion. Actually we don’t happen to have a stash of dry ice in our home, but it turns out that dry ice is a common enough component in birthday parties: cake, hats, balloons, party favors, and … dry ice, of course. So a quick jaunt over to the neighborhood party store hooked us right up.

It also turns out that dry ice improves pretty much every liquid at a Pi Day party.

It improves water …

Milk …

Beer …

And what is that? That is a bowl of something that looks like it could use some improving with a little carbon dioxide. Certainly that is what the expressions on Lynette and Aaron’s faces are saying.

2015-03-14 15.32.22

It is time to apply a little magic!

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and caldron bubble

That pink stuff is totally bubbling over! Why does Leo look so happy? It’s because that pink stuff is ice cream! Dry ice ice cream is genius. Because of the carbonation it tastes just like a root beer float only without the root beer flavor. You can make a root beer float of any flavor this way. By golly we are inventors. Time to get our an patent that!

You might be wondering if the kids were as excited by the dry ice as the adults or if they were as excited about spending an afternoon slaving away in the kitchen. The answer is that Super Smash Brothers turns out to be more exciting to the children.

And here is an in-action close-up. Miguel and Leo are smashing each other hard. Miguel warned Leo that he was good at Wii and his warning turned out to be true. And whats going on over there in that corner of the couch. What are Ewan and Lucy up to?

The other thing the kids decided to do was have a water fight. They took bags from the grocery store, filled them with water and smashed each other. This reminded me of our poor friends in Boston who were busy looking at their 108 inches of snow that they had accumulated over the year. No pictures of the water fight unfortunately.

And now the finished pies. The banana creme set perfectly. Oh the pie.

Catching you back up

It’s been a while since we last spoke. And I’m headed to NY so I thought I could use the plane flight looking back over my weekend as an excuse to catch you all back up with the kids.

As I look back over this morning, it highlights how self-aware the two are becoming.

Me and the kids got up early to let Caleb get some beauty rest. No matter what I did, asking, gentle reminding, yelling. Nothing could quiet the kids down to let their daddy sleep. But then Leo explained it to me and it all made sense. “Mom, there is nothing I can do. I just don’t know how to be quiet.”

Hmm …

Lucy is turning out to be quite aware of herself. I was preparing her for a sleepover she is heading out on.

Me: Lucy, now when you go to Ewan’s …
Lucy: Yeah, yeah, be good
Me: You need to listen to his parents
Lucy: Yeah, like I don’t listen to you

Uh, yeah, like you don’t listen to me.

Along with being self-aware, these kids are cute. I decided to take a portrait of them to look at on my trip.

There is Lucy. And right next to her is ratty. No picture is complete without ratty. Oh and that is her guitar that she dragged out of Rancho San Antonio park. And what’s Leo doing? Oh Leo has turned into miniman. Miniman is a version of Leo that jumps around in a squatting position. He appears when Leo is either around new people or just when Leo wants to be a pain in the butt to his parents. His parents try to explain to him that maybe if he didn’t jump around squat-legged he might not feel so awkward around new people, but it does not seem to help. Oh and what’s that pile of sticks behind the kids? Oh that is the branch that broke off the tree when Lucy was pretending to be Tarzan while I was asking her to quiet down and let her daddy sleep.

Did I mention that the kids love trees and love to climb trees? Lucy especially loves to climb the tree in the apartment building next door when I am not in sight. (Don’t worry, I’m probably just next door checking my facebook). This causes our neighbors to express a lot concern for Lucy and her safety in the tree. I tell her to tell them “my mom says it is OK”. Sometimes I remind her to put on her shoes before she goes. I hear this parenting style is called free range parenting.

Well here is Lucy in her natural habitat.

I’m actually justified to be so confident in Lucy’s tree-climbing skills. She has graduated from the Wild Child Free School of Tree Climbing. I’ll teach you what she has learned it case it comes in handy. It really seems to work.

How to be safe climbing trees: Keep three points of contact (i.e. two arms and a leg, or two legs and an arm) at all times, and only walk on branches wider than your wrist.

Now over to Leo who also loves to climb trees. Another thing he loves to do is to make faces at the camera and say “can I see?” So here is in a tree making faces at me.

Here is another one of those but without the tree.

There is a cute story about the shoes in this picture. Leo and I were out shopping for shoes to wear to a wedding and I came across a pair that I thought Leo’s daddy would like. Then we looked at them and it looks like Air Walk thought so as well. Check out their name! (lower left)

I’m rambling but there is still so much to catch you up on with the kiddos. Grandpa Ken has handed us down a piano. Leo is really digging it and learning to play. It is so cool to watch him spending his time trying to figure it out. It is also one of the first things he is doing that I have no idea how to do. So it is just neat to see. He has the chords going with his left hands and the melodies with his right … I don’t really know what I am talking about but he makes the minuet in G sound so much nicer than it ever did on my violin. E 32123 screech screech. (ah suzuki). I think Leo may even be learning to read music better than I did.

Lucy is learning to read (words not music, in case I confused you). She can read little stories from her phonics book but I can’t convince her to read me Hop on Pop yet.

And Caleb has got both kids trying out Kung Fu. They have received their white belts.

Now that they are into Kung Fu Lucy walks around the house talking about Bruce Lee, a “real famous Kung Foo fighter”. And even convinced Caleb to bring home a version of Muscle and Fitness that was featuring Bruce Lee.

So that about sums it up. The kids are doing great: self-aware, courageous, musical, smart and athletic. What more could a mom ask for.

I miss you guys!!!

Part way through our Maine vacation

Well I wrote this when we were part-way through the Maine vacation … and I’m just now trying to figure out how to post it!

There was so much great fun in Maine and I had big plans to turn it into a wonderful story. I was talking to another mom today about perfectionism. I was proudly explaining to her about how I wasn’t remotely a perfectionist and was confidently half-assing things all the time. This blog post proves my point. Here is the half written post from half-way through the vacation!

Here we are, partly through our lovely vacation in Maine.

Just like every vacation, Grandpa Mike wanted to make sure we got to go fishing. Usually he waits until the end of the vacation and gets frustrated that we did not fish, so this time we got started early and our first morning here I woke Leo up at 5:45 and we headed to the boat. I assured Leo it would be worth it, and it was.

Here are the sisters getting ready to fish. (Why are they sideways? It must have to do with the earlier explanation of the unfinished post).

We went out on something called a tidal river. There was an eagle soaring overhead, seals lounging on islands, and all in all it was quite peaceful.

Leo was a champ figuring out how to cast and reel in his line but he did not catch any fish. No matter. At least he caught some seaweed! Here is my happy son with the biggest seaweed catch of the day:

Grandpa caught a striper! Here is Grandpa with his 19.5 inch striper.

19.5 inches means throw it back. It has to be 20 inches to keep!!! Bummer!

And here is Matt with his catfish. We wish Matt threw that fish back. It took hours of cleaning and then figuring out how to cook it, it seems like all of us, least of all the catfish, wish that it had had a chance to return to the sea.

While were all out fishing, the girl cousins were all adventuring around our vacation home with Grandma. Later that day Lucy was excitedly telling her daddy what she had done. “I found an animal skin. Then I found another animal skin!” Whoa, I had no idea Maine hunters would be leaving skins out at the rental property. Oh wait, here are the animals:

Bug skins. Yes, Lucy continues to be fascinated with bugs. She spent much of our swimming time with a bucket near the edge of the lake catching different swimming bugs.

Last year I wrote about how Lucy wanted to do everything that Vanessa did. This year they are learning from each other. Vanessa is learning to sleep in her undies. Lucy is learning to eat hot-dogs at every meal.

We have been trying to make sure that the girls play nicely with each other. I overheard this between Vanessa and Lucy. Vanessa is running around with a toy gun saying “pow pow pow.” Lucy tries to take the gun from her and is saying “you can’t play with the gun.” So I butted in and said, Lucy you have to share. Lucy says “But I’m the mom in the game and she’s the kid and that is a gun with real bullets!” OK that makes sense. Good mothering Lucy!

With all these extra adults around I’ve had some time to myself. I got to go running out in a nature preserve yesterday. I took my mom’s prius to get there … and when I got back from my run I found out that something else had been running too. That’s right, that weird car can keep on running even if you take the keys on a five mile run away! Thankfully, no one stole the car, and so only some gas was wasted. And it was a prius and that means only half the gas was wasted. Phew! And my mom even let me take it out again.

Today we got to experience another first for my family. We went to the movies with grandpa and we arrived on time! This may be the first time grandpa has ever been to a movie on time in his life. To celebrate he suggested that we head out to Friendly’s for dinner. I was hoping for something a little healthier but Dad insisted you could get something green at Friendly’s. Turns out he was right. Mint chocolate chip!

So that ends the earlier post … and as I already explained, I’m no perfectionist.

Because the post is only halfway done, this is why we are missing pictures of the lovely Sophia:

and stories of grandma the math teacher with her slimmed down hubbie:

or stories of Leo swimming with grandpa:

or the creation of the dragon book:

or me taking the kids in the canoe to see fish jumping out of the water to catch bugs. Nature appreciation that can only be made better with a continual story from Leo about what he is creating in minecraft back at home.

It was a wonder weekend with cousins and aunties and grandparents. We miss everyone already.

Music Theory at the Wright Home

Lucy has been singing Darth Vader’s theme song so Caleb decided to play Chopin’s Sonata #2, March Funebre, to the kids. The kids were dancing around enjoying the music, and Caleb decided it was a good time to teach some music theory.

Caleb: Leo, why do think the music changes tone like that?
Leo: Some is happy and some is sad.
Caleb: But what do you think is happening at the happy part? Why is it happy? Remember it’s a funeral march.

Leo gets quiet and is obviously thinking. Leo: “Because they get to get all his stuff?”

Well at least the kids are learning something!

Family Camping

This weekend we went on a family camping trip.

It turned out to be an adventure in California wildlife.  At Leo’s last count we saw 10 banana slugs, a baby skunk, a dead mouse, a dead scorpion, too many bumpy red backed newts to count, a pacific giant salamander and a shiny iridescent frog.

The kids go to home school program with a group called Wild Child.  My children feel wild and free.  The have turned into these outdoor naturalists who are squeamish about nothing and prefer adventuring to hiking. What is adventuring you might ask? Adventuring it’s something they learned about at wild child.  It is when you go for a hike and then something catches your fancy and you spend your time doing that instead of hiking. Moms and dads do not get any exercise during adventuring.

Since we were with the wild child crowd when our group went on a hike I thought it might turn into adventuring expedition especially when Lucy spotted this dead mouse on the side of the trail. 

Lucy is a sucker for dead animals. Last week when me and the kids went for a bike ride in Shoreline park it turned into a dead animal adventuring time.  We had been riding along for I’d say about 50 feet when Leo saw a cool tree on the side of the road and went to check it out.  Of into the bushes we went.  Then Lucy found this dead turtle.

And that was really the and of any bike ride aspirations.  After playing with the dead turtle we found some bones.  Mysterious bones.  Mysterious hollow bones with something that looked like it might be a beak.  We concluded the mystery bones must belong to a duck.  And then about 2 hours and no bike riding later after poking around in the bushes around that same spot we concluded that it was too late for bicycling.  So we collected up our carcasses and headed on home. 

So you can see why I might have been scared when the first thing Lucy ran into in a hike was a dead mouse. But peer pressure pulled her away and we were able to hike up the trail and along a rocky creek bed that was full of bumpy backed newts. 

Later back at our campsite Leo and Caleb went in a jaunt up the creek.  When they got back the claimed to have seen a Pacific giant salamander swimming in still pool in the creek.  So today when we woke up and after we had breakfast with this guy …

… we headed out to find once again the salamander so I would also have a chance to see it.  I pretended to be an agile 7 year old climbing over the rocks. I only had to say slow down once or
twice.  We climbed through the tunnel that goes under the road.  Finally we got to the pond but there was no salamander.  Caleb used a stick and poked into the corner of the pond it had been in yesterday and, voila, out he crawled.  Probably about 7 inches long and little frills over his ears. Wow. Our as our fellow camper who came along for the trek said, “Awesome”.

You will have to believe my words because I certainly did not carry a camera up the stream. 

Im pretty sure what we saw was actually a cope’s giant salamander, a variant of the Pacific giant. This is what that guy looks like on the internet.

I had never seem a salamander in the wild before a few weeks ago.  But as I said before, Lucy is particularly enamored of gooey animals hiding our in nature.  Two weeks ago I got to meet this guy who must also be some kind of salamander that was hiding under a rock in my yard.

Now no camping trip would be a camping trip without a fire. Here the kids are sitting by the fire.  The kids roasted marshmallows by the fire at night and then ran around like crazy with their sugar highs. 

That is every kid except Leo.  Leo was beat after the long day and wanted to sit in the tent and read comic books. I joined him soon after.  We have a big rooftop window in our tent so we could look up at the forest. “I’m the only kid who wants to sleep,” said Leo.  It was nice to fall asleep with my boy looking up at the big trees.

A little later Caleb and Lucy returned. Caleb says Lucy was pretty upset that her dad was making her go to bed.  She was complaining with fervor but the mid complaint passed out right asleep she was so tired.

Here are pics of the kids being happy in the wilderness.