Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hanging with the 4-year-old crowd

Last week Clara turned four years old. The way she acts now, you would think she just became an adult. "I don't need you to get me into the car, Daddy. I'm four years old." But sometimes she's just trying to work it: "Daddy, I don't need to eat my vegetables. I'm four years old."

The best part of the last week has been the time she's been spending with her group of friends. Whether they're spending so much time together because they're appreciating each other more or because the end of the summer is approaching, Clara hasn't gone two days in the past week without seeing her friends. Most of them know each other through either Clara's preschool class or an art class that Clara attended one day a week last year. Luckily, a couple of them have siblings Kate's age. "Lucy's my friend! Lucy's my age," Kate points out.

That picture up above is Clara and Alexis enjoying a birthday cupcake. We held a birthday pool party at our house. The kids acted like a flock of birds, following whichever kid happened to be deciding what to next at that moment. One minute they're all in the pool, then they're all at the playground, then they're all running in the yard, and then they're all back in the pool.

Dad presenting the birthday cupcakes:

Guess who got right in there with her plate?

We spent a morning in the Children's Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Then a morning at the zoo:

Can childhood get any better?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation, part 2

Continuing our jet-setting summer, the girls and I flew to Sacramento to visit Grandma, Uncle Chris, Auntie Tracy, and cousins Alex, Kyle, and Adam. We stayed for ten days, but it felt like far fewer as the cousins circled around each other in a constant tornado. I was able to do a ride-along with my brother, who is a Deputy Sheriff. Ask me about it, as some of the details are not appropriate for a friends and family blog.

Much of the time was spent making up for lost cuddle time:

When Chris and I were toddlers, our family camped with family friends in a place called Union Valley Reservoir, a lake past Placerville up highway 50. Now, almost 35 years later we took our children up to share the experience. The lake has a boulder you can swim out to and jump off. When the water was high, it was under water. When it was really low, you could walk out to it. As Chris and I got down to the beach this time, we were struck by how something that looked miles away when we were kids could actually be quite close to shore.

The girls loved their first camping trip, especially being able to get incredibly dirty. Kate was pigpen, and for some reason couldn't keep her shoes on, so her feet were caked with a layer of dirt. A few pictures:

Clara's first taste of s'more captured:

Kate didn't sleep much, so we get images like these:

After returning home, Grandma watched the girls so I could drive down to the Bay area to see Michelle's beautiful new baby in their new house. The visit was short, but even in a new house being around the Etters feels like home. Here's baby Ryan:

I drove up to the city and saw old friends from St. Ignatius, as well as John and Liz Regalia's little one Dominic:

Each time I visit San Francisco Megan fears I'll refuse to come home.