Friday, July 09, 2010

Mmmmm Beachy

Well, we did wash the van today, but then we decided to go to Kopachuck. It is "our beach," the one that is just 5 minutes away and our default go-to spot. Even on ridiculously beautiful days like today, it isn't too crowded because you have to "hike in" down the hill to the beach. I guess if you can't see the beach when you park the car it's less attractive? I don't care. I happily hike if I can stake out my own little bit of happy beach zone on a 90 degree day.

Chubble did her nurse-herself-comatose thing and promptly dropped off to sleep, enabling me (and sometimes Boyness, too) to sit and read for most of the afternoon.

Boyness, by the way, has turned out to be a surprisingly strong reader. And I don't really mean that he can read particularly well, just that he enjoys it a lot and will almost always take a book with him when we'll be somewhere for a while. Girliness does this too, but tends to wait until she's actually bored to do her reading; Boyness will make a point of sitting himself down and reading while he's taking a break from the action.

See those mountains waaaaaaay far away in the background? We were there yesterday! Cool, eh?

I should probably mention, in the interest of keeping up with the book thing, that I am waiting on several things from the library. Who knew Betsy's dystopian novel suggestions would be so popular? In the meantime, I picked up Deception Point by Dan Brown. I have really enjoyed other Dan Brown novels I've read, so about a year ago I had purchased this book while on the way to what looked to be a long and boring birth. It turned out I didn't need it that day; I found it again in the car a while back, got two chapters in, thought it was a political thriller (not my favorite thing), and then Fran picked it up and loved it. So I retried it. And enjoyed it. I should have given it more time, because it rapidly got much better. Dan Brown has a real ability to build suspense without using the usual suspense-building overt descriptions of, well, how suspenseful everything is (this is what turned me off on Crichton, although I do admit that it takes a couple of his novels for his writing to get old). And while there was a political background to the novel, it was heavy on the action and light on the politics. It was good enough that I am reading it again while waiting for the library to bring me something else, and it has been a while since I've liked a book that much.


In the middle of a highly comfortable 88 degree Washingtonian "heat wave" (seriously, the church down the street has set up a "cooling shelter"), we grabbed some friends and took ourselves to Olympic National Park for some adventuring.

Chubble, in case I haven't mentioned it, has a somewhat ambivalent relationship with her carseat. When I say this, I mean that about 50% of the time she doesn't seem to notice that she's in it and the other 50% of the time OMGOMG-YOU-ARE-TORTURING-ME-GETMEOUTGETMEOUTGETMEOUT!!!!! Olympic National Park is about a 90 minute drive away. On our way out she mostly didn't notice she was sitting in a car seat. The way back was torture. In between there was some kid whining but mostly a good hike; we went about 4 miles total and there was a LOT of whining on the last mile ("I want water, why are we still walking, I'm tiiiiiired"). I guess the kids are out of practice.

The camera ran out of battery about midway through (my fault, we have a GREAT camera in terms of battery life, but I haven't charged it in a month or more). But I did get a lot of great pictures anyway!

We entered the forest and it wasn't quite instantaneous cool (in fact, it was just as warm in the forest yesterday as it was down in Gig Harbor, we found out). It was instant pretty though!

The kids really wanted this photo op:

Chubble rallied quickly once out of the car, and really enjoyed riding around in her carrier.

We packed in lunch. Water and lunch for four people = heavy! Boyness was NOT happy to take his turn carrying the backpack! Next time I'll have each kid pack their own backpack - I can carry a pack that weighs this much fairly comfortably, but not while I'm wearing the baby (it just gets to be too much weight on my shoulders, pulling in two directions like that), and it's too much weight for the kids.

There were some massive trees, and there was evidence of more massive trees in the recent past:

And they see...something...something interesting...

The river was definitely the main attraction of the day. This time of year, it's fairly fast flowing (not at peak levels but still really swift), and COLDER THAN SHIT because it's all snow melt.

Chubble REALLY liked her ride (don't worry, I didn't let her dangle like that for long, just long enough to take the photo after she fell asleep).

The kids thought these trees growing on top of this big 'ole boulder were pretty awesome, and they liked the view to the river too. They tried to get me to climb up there with them, but it's hard to do that kind of thing with the baby in a front carry. Most of the trail was quite easy and I only needed to use my hands to get around a couple of times, so it was a good trail for babywearing (not boring, but not difficult either).

Gratuitous sleeping Chubble photo!

Boyness' artistic senses were tingling for this shot. Alas, I couldn't figure out how to get it to work properly with our camera. I know what he wanted me to capture, and maybe if everyone else hadn't been running up the path I would have eventually figured it out. 4 pictures of essentially the same thing with different settings, and this not-very-spectacular photo was the best I did:

Merrily we hike along...moving up the mountain...

The kids NEEDED me to take this photo. Like, they may have exploded if I hadn't!

We like rocks! The mountain is made out of rocks! Awesome!

I think she likes her carrier:

Look, more rocks! Big ones! Girliness really wanted to explore the caves, I really didn't want her to get squished by a gigantic rock, and ~L~ helpfully reminded the children that if something is growing on it, the rangers said to try not to disturb it, and with that we left the humongous rock overhang.

We stopped on a gravelly "beach" for lunch. The kids didn't seem to want to stay in the calmer backwashing waters, until D got pulled and ~L~ had to go in after him, lest he get swept down the rapids (actually, this was really scary, and the kids finally "got" that even where the water looked relatively calm, it was moving too fast for them to wade out even a little).

The kids LOVED this area:

I mean, think about it, the day is hot, there's a cool breeze coming up from the river, there's all this cool stuff to climb on, and a big high place to drop rocks into the water from - it's like the kidtopia grotto:

About a mile, maybe a little less, down a second trail, we found this lovely stretch of beach alongside the river:

And yes, bonus, I am nursing a baby in that photo. We stopped here and played for a while before we turned around and headed back to the trailhead.

There was even a swimming spot - this drops off pretty precipitously, and was maybe 6' deep - we all went in at some point. The water was SO COLD, really we just dunked ourselves and RAN for the sunshine. It was physically painful, that's how cold it was. BittyPrincess went in naked and SCHREAAAAAAMED until she got back onto the hot rocks.

It was a lovely day to get wet and then dry ourselves on the beach.

And then the hike back and the aforementioned screaming-in-the-car episode.

By the time we got home it was after 9pm. Fran had dinner (burgers) ready. Dinner, shower, and all the kids dropped precipitously into sleep and stayed there for 11 straight hours, ready for new adventures today. Alas, they will probably just include washing the van (which got so dusty on the drive up the mountain yesterday that I could close the back hatch and get a shower of dirt) and playing in the yard.

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Yesterday we washed the van. It took all afternoon. No, really, we took small breaks between steps and stopped for lunch and went to the store for window cleaner and wax, but we started just after noon and ended at 7pm. My standards concerning what constitutes a successful day have clearly fallen far. But it is clean, it got its first wax since we've owned it (pathetic, I know - we've owned the van for about 5 years now), and it's sitting in the driveway all shiny and ready to go drive for 4 hours today. What was I thinking accepting an invitation to celebrate the 4th of July 2 hours from here? At least we'll be driving in a shiny freshly laundered (yeah, we did the carpets too, although that was last week - yesterday we just vacuumed inside and armor-all'd the plastic/vinyl/etc) vehicle. Irritatingly, Francesco and I will have to drive up separately, since he's working today. BittyPrincess thinks we should bring cake to the party. And celery. "Because I like cake and I like celery."

I also had a near-meltdown over the fact that it seems like I care more than the girls do about whether their room is clean. And then I realized my room isn't exactly clean at the moment, either: my dresser is full of random crap I just couldn't be bothered to put away, and my desk has quite a bit of extraneous correspondence on it. *Sigh* I think it's the stuff that's randomly shoved into their bookshelves that is setting me off. If you're going to put something away, do it right. That and the scatter of toys and clothes on the floor. I recognize that I was a terribly messy child and am getting back some of my own here. But I'd like them all to be as particular as Boyness is about his room and his stuff. I suppose it's one of those blessing-in-disguise situations that the two that don't give a shit are living in the same room, so it's not like there's one child stressing out about the mess the other child is making. They're just both really messy.