Sunday, July 13, 2014

Synchronized Rock Throwing

Obviously, when you spend a good bit of your time around large aquatic formations of indeterminate depth, throwing rocks into them will take up a great deal of your time.

We've been working a bit on form this trip, and although I haven't gotten everyone to where I would like, things are certainly looking better.

Last week, we went out to Lake Crescent (we've gone there more this trip than I have been ever before. It's odd, but I think that I am willing to do things that are slightly new.  See me growing as a person over here?).  I tried to get a synchronized picture of them all throwing, but only Leo listened.

Still, maybe next year.  And really, to get the good version of this shot, I should be standing in the water having them throw rocks at me, and I'm not willing to go that extra mile, so why should they?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bedtime Reading

Ellie has developed this penchant for taking novels to bed with her and reading them aloud at great length while I am trying to get Margaret to sleep.  Last night it was Anne of Windy Poplars.  Tonight it was Frankenstein.  I'm not sure what to do with her, I'm really not.  And she tells these long and complex stories about the cover illustrations (or not, in the case of Frankenstein, because the story tonight was about a little baby and three bears and a circus and a small king named Lionel, and everyone having baths.  I admit that I haven't read Frankenstein for some years now, but that isn't the way I remember the plot).

She's also started to behave like a ham in pictures.  She's trying to get a smile, but she says "cheese" and screws up her face into this ridiculous mug.  She wrote Leo a letter today (she said it was an O, but I don't know that she a) knows what all the letters are like and b) quite understands what it means to write someone a letter), and told me to take a picture of it for him.

Anyway, she's a goof.  And a loud goof.  When we put the children in the same room, I did not anticipate that Ellie was going to be the troublemaker, which just goes to show that I shouldn't try to forecast what fool things my children are going to get up to.

Speaking of which, Ellie the amazing baby who can form pigmentation in her skin (this is a foreign concept to me, and I am in awe) has taken up sunbathing.

We went to the beach today with a friend of none from high school, who is also gifted with this magical ability to tan, and she taught Ellie to lie out on a towel in the sun, and allow the sun's rays to beat down on one's skin.

Margaret tried it for a while, but soon abandoned it for a large project involving buckets.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Irrational Demands

Since we left St. Louis, Ellie has decided that she is going to be two in nature, not just in name.  This has led to an increased insistence on what she wants, and doing it by herself, and stomping her feet when someone has the temerity to suggest that perhaps we might do it a different way.

She is, in her mind, in the driver's seat.

Or at least the navigator's seat.  We went out to hike on a short loop at Lake Crescent yesterday, and she discovered that there was a map.  She proceeded to tell us all the places that she could go, and how we were going to go and pet the deer that was pictured on the map. Attempts to explain how the map actually worked, and show her where we were and how the path was pictured were met with "No, I do it myself, okay?" and a charming closed-eyed grin.

Her refusal to eat anything is also becoming more and more two-ish.  Yesterday she grumped because she didn't get the right yogurt in the right receptacle with the right utensil at the moment that she wanted it.  

Actually, she's been doing that for years.  Well, year.  But now she does it with an arms-folded humphing noise, which makes it more dramatic.

Tonight, for those of you keeping score at home, was a doozy.  First, she demanded that I let her take this book with her to bed, where she proceeded to read it aloud for fifteen minutes at the top of her lungs.  Requests for her to pipe down a bit were met with the comment "But I'm just reading my book, Mommy.  It's a good book."

I personally wouldn't have started with Anne of Windy Poplars, but to each her own.

After she had tired of narrating the adventures of the girl on the cover, she began demanding The Wind in the Willows.  But she demanded that instead of reading it from my phone, which I can do in the dark, I read it from a paperback (which has no pictures, so it's not like it is ANY DIFFERENT AT ALL from my phone).

It was dark, so I declined.

She screamed.  Loudly.  Sadly.  Punctuated by ostentatious sniffling.

I went to give her a hug, and Margaret said wisely "I think that she misses her Daddy, and her feelings are all tangled up," which was an amount of psychological insight I wouldn't have expected of her.  Ellie help the book out to me sadly and said "Pwease wead this book?"

So I went and lay down on the other bed, and read my phone.  Tucked inside the cover of the paperback.  I think she suspected something, but she let it go.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Visiting the Mountain

Having built a mountain on Tuesday, we proceeded to go to a mountain on Wednesday.  I like to think that Margaret and Ellie were overpowered by the majesty of the real mountains, and we will have no more foolishness about building mountain on their own, but I think that we are more likely to have redoubled activity next time we get near water.  

Anyway, we went with the modest plan of hiking around up at the ridge, and then getting some lunch up there because I vaguely remembered that they had put in a new snack area at the Ridge that was supposed to use locally sourced stuff that had to be better than the limp hot dogs they used to have sitting there for decades at a time, and Leo wanted to get there and wasn't interested in waiting to pack a picnic.  This was a mistake, but when these pictures were taken, we didn't know that.

To return to my subject -- Ellie and Leo started up the hill while I extricated Margaret from her straps, and then Ellie came back down.

I thought it was because she missed me, but it turns out she had ulterior motives.

So we hiked up to the top of the hill, and surveyed the surrounding countryside.

And then we decided to do more walking.  This may also have been a mistake.

The children flagged, and we were at the bottom of a rather sharp declivity, which meant that we carried them up another hill, and then down to the snack area, which was a fiasco from start to finish, but I think that it would be best to confine ourselves to highlights: I paid $9.50 for a ham and cheese sandwich that had some bizarre and unannounced pickle on it.  Ellie ate nothing but potato chips.  We couldn't pay with a card.  It took 11 hours or so for them to ascertain that we couldn't pay with a card.  There were no knives.  Leo spilled mustard and water on Margaret.  

So we came back down.  It seemed the best choice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Making a Mountain

This post took approximately eleventh-billion hours to write, because there are a lot of pictures in it.  I mention this merely to impress upon people that I am frittering away my precious free time on your amusement, and they should be decently grateful.

Anyway, we went back to Salt Creek yesterday, because the weather was nicer and the elder daughter was less feverish (she's still not quite right -- she's been taking naps -- but she's a bit better).  The children got themselves into the water at the beginning and then decided that they'd be better to build sand castles on the nice warm shore.

But then they cast their eyes on the far shores, and saw other children playing at things, and thought that they could join them.  And now that I look at this picture, I see that I didn't just take a landscape shot; Leo and Ellie are setting up shop on the far shore in it. 

Anyway, we moved to the sandbar and Margaret started to build a mountain.  She insisted that it was going to be there for always, and was rather resistant to explanations about tides and what have you, so as far as she is concerned, it is permanent.

She enlisted Ellie's help to bring buckets of water to her to pour over her mountain to be a moat.  We think that there was some confusion there, but it seemed wisest not to delve.

Ellie took her job very seriously.

The deep water is the best, you know, for mountains . . . err . . . moats?  Whatever.  Deep water is better, so Ellie got it.  And Margaret worked on her mountain.

Sorry, another one of Ellie working hard to carry water.

A great time was had by all, and the sunscreen worked, so no one was miserable later on, which was nice.  Late in the afternoon, their cousins, who were camping up on the bluff, came down to play, and Ellie was so excited to see them that she ran off the end of the sandbar, which she didn't like at all, but we rescued her, and all was well.

They both fell asleep in the car on the way back, so we're calling it a win as an outing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


The Fourth of July weekend was busy.  We picked up Leo, and came home to a house full to bursting with relations, which meant that time for calm contemplation of my computer screen was limited, but also that we were doing things that would make for good blog posts.  It's a bit of a quandary, you know, because it would be a lot easier to blog completely if I wasn't doing things (also if I didn't have to leave pictures to upload overnight, but that's another problem entirely).

Anyway, on Saturday, we went out to Salt Creek.  It was a miserable, wet morning, cold and dank and windy.  Just the sort of weather that is best for looking at tide pools.  So we did.  Ellie picked up rocks, which occupied her time.

Margaret managed to fall in the water not 5 minutes after we got to the beach, so she was a little damp and muddy, but game for anything.

Provided, that is, that "anything" involved messing about in the mud.

She was wearing more clothes before she fell in the water, and it should be noted that we tried to get her into a coat, but she refused.

Ellie, meanwhile, gave up.

You may not be able to tell from this picture, but it started raining.  So we quit and went to get something to eat.

Something small and light, that might just sustain life.  Nothing too much.

Those of you who were with us on this trip and form a large portion of my readership might notice that I edited out the fall in the bunkers and the skinned knee and the accidentally misplacing either Joyce or ourselves and Margaret's subsequent fever.  Let this be a lesson to you in both the vagaries of autobiography, and the historian's emplotment of history.  Or don't.  Whichever you want.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Not Picking Flowers

My children spend a preponderance of the time that they spend outside not picking the flowers out of their Nana's flower garden.  They are very good about not picking them, but you can tell, as you spend time with them outside, that they are not simply ignoring the flowers and letting them live out their brief yet beautiful lives in peace, but rather they are, by grim-jawed effort of will, at every moment choosing the virtuous path, i.e. not picking their Nana's flowers.

If this distinction is fuzzy to you, allow me to illustrate.  Here is a picture of Margaret not picking flowers:

And here she is concentrating on not picking them.

You can see how taxing it is for them, can't you?