Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Magical Lake Martin

Despite the Pryors' move to New Jersey last year, we managed to coordinate a 2012 visit to Lake Martin, marking five summers in a row. Even better, we scheduled it along with Amy and her kids, also marking five summers in a row. And it seems the older the kids get, the better our visits. (Well, if I hadn't come down with a stomach bug Saturday night, but at least that was the tail end of our visit.)

I feel like there should be some sort of height chart at the dock, because nothing makes us think more about how much our kids have grown than heading down for a swim and thinking back to the first time we visited. As Clare spent hours swimming and jumping this year (far surpassing her compatriots in time logged in the water), I couldn't help but think about how hard I tried that first year to coax her to jump from the dock into an inflatable tube - and how she never did do it. A small reminder of how kids do things on their own time. I like to think I've grown similarly as a parent, but...that might be a bit optimistic.

I was more than happy to shirk my toddler-rearing duties for a couple of days, leaving Laura behind with Daddy so that we could enjoy the full pleasures of the dock, and the boat. Clare and Danny were in pure heaven - Danny had been counting down to this weekend for weeks. There was the addition of the Aqua Lily Pad, and a brief jaunt on the three-person tube, but mostly they enjoyed what they've recalled from years past: fishing, swimming, boating, snacking, goofing around with friends and plenty of freedom. If that's not bliss, I don't know what is.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time is Relative

On the day that Clare and Danny resumed their school schedule, a friend texted me to see how I was enjoying my "2/3 freedom." This exactly summarizes how I have felt. I was so happy to have them go back to school, but in some ways it highlighted just how far I have to go with Laura.

I know I am not the only parent who tires of hearing about how quickly these days/years pass we parents by. I know. But there really are those days, and hours, that feel interminable. However, a recent trip to Costco (you know, the kind of errand that helps to break up the day and assure peace of mind) highlighted the speed of childhood. A couple of the men who check receipts at the exit are known for using their Sharpies to draw a happy face on the back of the receipt. This particular trip was the first time one was drawn for Laura - and it reminded me of the first time they drew one for Danny. He gleefully pointed to it and said, "Snowman!" which put me, and subsequently him, into gales of laughter. "That's not a snowman!" became one of those silly, happy phrases for me and him. And truly, it does not feel like it happened 4.5 years ago.

Thus I am once again reminded that 3/3 freedom will be mine very soon, so in the meantime I'll put on a happy face (well, most of the time).

Monday, August 20, 2012


It's funny how most traditions get started. You decide to do something on a whim, and the next thing you know it's an annual affair. At least, that's how it is with the Lobster Fest we've now enjoyed three years running with the Bergstroms and the Kings.

It's particularly funny that this tradition continued, considering that all three of us were pregnant the first time around, two of us very newly so. The following year made up for any lack of wine consumption the expecting ladies may have been responsible for. This third year, when we hosted, added a competitive twist that generated quite a few emails the following morning.

We titled our version Seymour's Revenge, a) because I thought it sounded funny, and b) because Tim decided he had no intention of eating any lobster. While he definitely enjoys the mussels and/or shrimp we consume as an appetizer, he declares the lobsters far too much work for the end result. Other parties were a bit shocked by this, but willingly went along with the addition of turf to the surf.

Tim and I were admittedly very stressed about hosting this event, because we have never cooked lobsters before. Turns out it's pretty easy, especially when your guests not only bring the supplies but do the actually boiling. On the flip side, the real bonus to hosting was no need of a sitter. We put Laura to bed, and then set Clare and Danny up with a movie and popcorn in our room. They made a brief appearance to watch the lobster "race," a tradition of our fest that continues despite the fact that the lobsters do very little moving of any kind. And then, best of all: Clare put Danny to bed before putting herself to bed. Let the angels sing.

So while Jason may have grass burns on his backside and Tim may be headed back to the chiropractor sooner than later, I believe a good time was had by all. (Except for Quincy, who was relegated to the basement.) In the words of Bryant "the cheat" King, "It's a lobster eat lobster world out there. Decide how you want to live it."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Day of Fourth Grade and Pre-1st

I am happy to report that both kids were very eager and excited to begin this school year. (Clare perhaps verbalized it a bit more.) It was only a half day, as CKS likes to ease them in, but as Clare spent the remainder of the afternoon saying, "I can't wait until tomorrow for a FULL day of school," I think we're in good shape. Both have waxed poetic about their teachers, were delighted to reunite with friends, and overall seem to be off to a great start!

I am fortunate to be friendly with the CKS photographer, who snapped this cute picture of Danny with one of his Pre-1st buddies who was also in his kindergarten class:

As a 4th grader, Clare gets a locker and will decorate it tomorrow. So before bed tonight she decided to cut out pictures of Olympic swimmers for the decor. Man, is she excited about this locker.

And so we are off and running...and already half a tank of gas down.

Monday, August 13, 2012

California Scenin'

The first day of school is two days away. Our 2012 Summer Grandparent Tour is officially over, and we're almost over our jet-lag. But the memories continue, as does the looking forward to next summer. Here I present our West Coast leg in photos:

Laura was much more pleasant on the airplane than I anticipated. She didn't sleep all that much, but having her own seat was truly worth the expense.

Our first week was sans cousins, which led to us discovering new outings with Grammy and Grampy, such as The Grand Tradition.

An early morning walk around Grammy and Grampy's house is not an uncommon occurrence.

Sea World was a big hit with all three kids. Clare particularly enjoyed the sea turtles.

At last, the cousins arrived, and on their first full day in town we decided to go on a harbor cruise around San Diego Bay.

After the cruise we headed to Old Town for some Mexican food and stumbled upon this aptly named sweet spot.

Laura really enjoyed the guacamole at lunch.

We scored a last-minute horseback riding lesson for all four big kids, partially due to Danny's incessant nagging.

Lunch at In-N-Out, en route to the beach.

The girls frolicked in the waves for a good three hours on our first trip, and a couple more when we returned a couple of days later. We love that the beach is an easy drive, and I suspect we'll spend even more time there next summer.

Not much of an ocean guy, Danny passed the time collecting sand crabs. Lots and lots of sand crabs.

On our last evening, my cousin John and his family drove up from Coronado, where they are now stationed with the Navy. The kids sent John a care package a couple of years ago while he was in Iraq, so he thanked them with these very cool t-shirts.

Fortunately, Laura got along with Aly much better than her Topeka counterparts, although this grocery cart did become a bone of contention. Next summer she'll hopefully be even nicer...

Lots of other memories from our time together, which is always magical. We are so blessed!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


20 years. Class of 1992 USDHS Dons. Our campus is gone and we're scattered far and wide, but we reunited for a fun weekend that proved how strong our ties still are!

Here we are back in the day. That is some serious hair.

Friday night we toured Cathedral High, the new answer to the old USDHS. Pretty spectacular, but I still miss the old stomping grounds.

Saturday night saw lots of familiar (not old!) faces, including Kathy, my favorite fellow strawberry blonde:

Terri and I relived our glory days as journalists (though for my part there was very little reporting and lots of opining...):

We all got a big kick out of our 20-year surveys, got freaked out by a certain teacher's attendance, and observed that for the most part, no one had changed (most notable the more alcohol the classmate had consumed). I feel very fortunate to remain so close to my core group of friends. Just goes to show that I've always had good taste, right?
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