Tuesday, July 17, 2012
So, when my "coffee buddies" and I decided it'd be fun to take all of our kids...all 11 of them...on a weekend camping trip this July, Uvas Canyon seemed like a great choice. It's just an hour's drive, it's got a shady campground, waterfalls, creeks, some wildlife.
The best part about going places with these ladies is that we've all known each other since our 10-year-olds were tiny babies. We were all around for the births of our second set of kids...and in a couple cases, the third set. It's great to be around people who know about your kids, are comfortable playing with them and reprimanding them if necessary.
And our kids aren't all that familiar with each other anymore. None of them go to school together. But they're familiar enough that they know each other's names and they can get back into the swing of things pretty quickly. In the case of certain monkeys, pretty darned fast, actually.
Dinner was late in coming with everyone arriving after work and getting themselves set up. So s'mores were postponed 'til Saturday. There were still marshmallows to roast though.
Saturday,we herded all the kids together for a hike around the waterfalls. They all got to see a tiny little rattlesnake who seemed patently unimpressed with the attention.
Can't wait! We're off on a single-family camping trip to Sequoia National Park this weekend. Somehow, I'm not sure the kids will have nearly as much fun!
This year's theme? Water. Then again, given the opportunity. I think my kids would have a water theme every single day of the year. This time, they had to settle for every day of the trip instead. So Monday...Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum at Miramar. Smunch said he didn't want to go, but wanted to stay the longest. Of course. Mam enjoyed it too, to my surprise.
I'd hoped to get some tickets to watch San Diego's "Big Bay Boom" firework show from the deck of the USS Midway, but by the time we arrived in San Diego, the tickets were sold out. Just as well. San Diego's fireworks show was probably the biggest fiasco it'd ever been. It made national news, it was so catastrophic. At least no one was hurt.
Instead, we took the mellower route of watching fireworks local to Aunt Karen from a nearby elementary school. The kids played with (er, ehm) sparklers:
Maybe the show wasn't quite as spectacular as what folks should have seen from the deck of the Midway, but I suspect it was a lot more fun that what they actually saw.
Many thanks to Uncle David for taking all four kids for an evening and letting Aunt Karen and me go out for a terrific dinner. We got to enjoy a rare, great conversation and for a change, almost got to feel like grownups!
As the very youngest player on the team, she improved markedly and by the last tournament, she had become the team's leadoff hitter.
I don't think she ever caught a fly ball in a tournament. She didn't have the opportunity. Like her brother, she now plays second base and outfield. But she could have caught one, if she'd had the chance.
During my absence, Smunch also had evaluations for his travel team, the Blues. The team still doesn't have enough players to field a team for tournaments, but reports were that he acquitted himself rather well, despite the heat.
In college, I discovered there was a major called "Wildlife Biology". I was so excited, I called my mom and told her I'd figured out just what I wanted to be. She scoffed. "What are you going to do with that?" she said. I probably would have loved being a wildlife biologist, even if it meant never living in the Bay Area again and never making a whole lot of money. Maybe the politics of it all would have found me jaded and unhappy. Hard to know.
Then I left my college sweetheart to become an outdoorsy girl with an outdoorsy guy. He was outdoorsy, but didn't want the other things I wanted...marriage and a family. It took me far too long to come to grips with that.
Finally, I took a little break from my mid-life existential crisis and went out to find myself in the wilderness again, booking myself with a group of "solo travelers" on a sea-kayaking trip to Wyoming and leaving family behind for a week.
Our three guides were in their early 20s and apparently having the time of their lives guiding kayak trips in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I can't say I got to know any of them super duper well, but I can tell you how grateful I am to these three.
I'm not sure this trip could have been a whole lot better...at least not for someone in my situation.