Friday, June 26, 2015

The Summeriest

To continue with the theme of days tumbling by:

We celebrated summer solstice all last weekend. The days were long and full of the summeriest of activity. On Saturday after making fruit salad and tabbouleh for the night's upcoming festivities, I took the girls and my mom and we met my oldest best friend Kimmy at the El Dorado County Fair. The theme was "Hog Days of Summer" and it was my first time going since i had kids. I didn't even know there was a toddler-ride area, nor did I know that they bumped up the price of a small cup of beer to six bucks. On a hot hot day, that's worth it, even if it is just for a Shock Top.

Speaking of shock...the girls could barely believe their eyes.

Taking Polly on the ferris wheel was one of my more freaky moments. She could so easily slip right under that bar, and when we were felt very very UP. And when we came down, we came so much faster than I remembered! She gripped that bar, and I gripped her, while also nervously watching my mom and Lucy a few seats below us.

Ordering beer with's just not the same as the late-90s ruckus we used to make at the Beer Tree.

But really, some things never change.

Yikes! Thanks Nana! I guess if I get beer, they get a sugar high.

To my surprise, Polly was frightened of the pigs, goats, turkeys. She'd get this terrified cry of real fear. I had to get her out and hold her, bring her closer and tell her how nice these animals all are. When she was in the stroller, at their level, with their curious noses or beaks coming toward her, she absolutely panicked. 

But now she is sort of obsessed with "goats" and says it all the time, very nicely enunciated. DOATttt.

It was about three hundred degrees inside the whirling strawberry. We squeezed in with Addie, Utah, and two other random little girls.

Cuzzie greetings.

Big kids!

We got home to a rager in progress! Solstice party in full swing. I swiped the girls' fair-dirty hands and faces and feet with washcloths, put them in quick jammies (Tootie has to always pick her own, and the shirt has to be tucked in "to my undies AND pants") and we joined the fun.

Such a fun night, all our friends stayed late, with our whole caravan of bedraggled kids. Darin made a bonfire once it got dark. There were only six marshmallows left which the kids shared remarkably well.  Songs were sung, beautiful music filled the night as Sean got out his stand-up bass. Stories were told, kids jumped on the trampoline by moonlight, and later grew sleepy on our laps by the fire. After a brief adjournment as we snuck away to put our girls to bed, Darin and I stayed up later than we ever do. Joey and Em and Scout and our friend Jacob from Baltimore all spent the night in our living room.

Next year I plan to introduce some real solstice rituals and maybe even stay up all night, dancing up the sun.

Next day, Father's Day, dawned with headaches, smoky hair, strong coffee brewed by Em, and dragging around tidying up. Darin and I made the tough decision not to join Joey and Em at Fallen Leaf Lake, and instead to go the opposite direction and hit up a few fun spots in Sacramento. 

A bookish father deserves a good bookstore on Father's Day.  Beers Books is a treasure that has been in Sacramento since the 1930s. I remember it best for its heyday on L Street, but this newer location serves it well for spaciousness. You can't not find something desirable inside.

And a bookish father (and mother) begets bookish daughters.

A day of Sacramento staples. We had a late lunch at a favorite cheap Mexican food joint, Los Jarritos on Broadway. For some reason I just have a good feeling eating there; I like that nothing really changes, I like the chips and salsa, the big map of Mexico, the tray of sweetbreads, and I like that it's clean. And it doesn't hurt that they offer every flavor of paleta for a buck. 

Bubble gum and pina colada. I think the flavors match our girls' personalities.

Finally, we ended the afternoon at another old Sacramento stand-by. I had heard about Funderland, that the rides are old fashioned and there's no entrance fee and it's been there next to Fairytale Town in William Land Park, since 1946. So we basically gave the girls their dreamday to celebrate their dad. Hey, it's fun to have fun with your kids. What can I say?

That's her "in heaven" face. One of her favorite things to chant is UP, DOWN and ALL AROUND! It sounds like this: Up, dowwww nallowwww!

Lucy always wants the "bench" on carousels. It's so strange, because she will ride any ride! But for some reason she doesn't want to go up and down on the horseys. This swan was a gorgeous place for a little queenie to ride.


She was the only one on this whole ride!

Glued, fascinated, agape. 

They both rode on Daddy's shoulders back to the car. It was a perfect day.
 And thus ended the official start to the officially busiest and most fun season of the year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

One Week in Summer


The girls and I were having a watermelon treat in the backyard when....

Our friends from the city suddenly surprised us with a visit! Doniella (Auntie D), Amanda and baby Chloe (almost exactly Polly's age) showed up to chill out with us for a while on their way up to their camping adventure at Sly Park Lake.

Addie and Utah joined us, and it turned into an impromptu pool party.

The makings of a perfect summer afternoon: laundry on the line, watermelon slices on a plate, babies in a pool, and laughing mommas.


Tuesday was a long awaited Movie Night since Zack and Rebecca and Sylvan have moved into their new home. This was our most well-attended movie night yet, with about 25 people including ten, yes TEN tots under the age of five, plus ten year old Sylvan as shepherd. The kids in age order are as follows: Sylvan, Juniper, Oliver, Zillion, Lucy, Aesop, Utah, Chloe, Polly, Arlo, Elan.

Tofu taco spread was a big hit, thanks Rebecca and all contributors. I made pico de gallo and guacamole which sounds like no biggie but is quite a feat for my afternoon. And I love how Jorden is holding Polly below, since it's a rare sight for anyone but me to be holding her.

Meeting and getting to know baby Elan was a real treat this past week. He is a smiley guy! And he's bigger than Polly though not quite eight months old!

Although Sylvan really wanted to kids to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox, they mostly ran around outside, literally doing laps around the whole house. It was a bit nerve wracking for the parents but they were busy having a classic summer night so what are you gonna do? Polly took one big spill and I ended up picking gravel out of her forehead, but she took it like a champ and was back to sprinting up and down the path in no time. 

We did have a few nice moments of chaos in the movie room as well. Chloe did a great job sitting with the big kids.

Thanks to the Rebecca/Zack clan for hosting an unforgettable June night.


My cousin Kristy, whom I have not seen since we were preteens, was going to be in Reno visiting our grandparents. I have never met her little girl, Kaylee. So my mom and the girls and I headed to Reno for the day to meet the long lost cousins!

Kaylee was so sweet, immediately taking Lucy's hand and leading her all around Grandpa Corry's beautiful yard to show her all the trees and the bridge over the fish pond, and the old chicken coop and wishing well that Grandpa built. 

They brought gifts for my girls! Such a sweet surprise.

We spent part of the afternoon at a big park nearby.

Being brave, climbing up tall stuff, going down slides that are way too high.

Marma, Grandma Cherie and Aunt Sandy.

Second cousins scouting for rabbits.

Both my girls took a chance to hang out with Grandpa Corry on the porch swing. Doesn't faze them at all that he's known for being a bit of a curmudgeon. I hope that when they're old enough to sit still long enough, he can tell them some of the stories I remember from when I was little, like " the little boy with his finger in the dike" (he's from Holland) or Jonah and the whale.

Grandpa's beautiful garden.

Kaylee teaching Lucy to "make fire."

Cousin Kristy and I:


Thursday was Darin's day off, so we joined the gals up at the lake for some camping fun.

The site was practically at the water's edge.  

Little explorers off together.

Chloe taught Polly that hummus is best eaten with all five fingers.

Mamas and their babes.

Getting comfy back at camp, the best feeling.

Makeshift jammies:

Doniella makes a mean camping meal.

Picnic dinner.

Post prandial walk with Auntie D.

Good-bye Sly Park Lake! We're home to our own beds just a hop and skip away.


You might have thought that all that hanging out was over. Nope. That next afternoon everybody got together for another quick pool session in our backyard. With wine spritzers all around.

Pops brought over cherries from a farm up the road. We shared them with our friends.

The End.