"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If you wish to be happy, think not of what is to come nor of that which you have no control over but rather of the now and of that which you can change."
Oromis, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Spring!

We had a lovely Easter weekend. On Friday we travelled down to Mammoth Lakes, CA, where my ILs live. Friday was DH's birthday, and Monday my FIL's birthday, just to add to the festivities.

On Saturday we spent the afternoon at Keough's Hot Springs. This swimming pool is fed directly from a natural hot spring, and is a wonderful place to relax. We especially love to visit in the wintertime. It is definitely becoming more relaxing for DH and me now that the kids are becoming strong swimmers. My MIL was remarking how much they had progressed since we were all in Jamaica in December.

Good friends of ours own the Joseph House Inn in Bishop, CA, and have a Easter party/egg hunt there every year. It is a beautiful spot, with a large lawn and gorgeous gardens. This year was especially good fun, as it was decided to forgo candy and desserts. The egg hunt was still great fun with toys and stickers. The kids didn't get nearly as wild, and the parents all had a much better time!

Yesterday was exciting in a different way. DD2's swimming teacher noticed that she was holding her head strangely. By the end of the lesson DD2 had sprouted a huge lump on her neck! Our pediatrician was out for lunch for another 1 1/2 hours, so I took her to the surgery center where DH was working yesterday so that he could take a look at it between cases. A dear friend of ours who is a pediatric ENT was nearby and available, so we got her seen right away. A CT scan revealed that the lump was an abscess. (I was imagining all kinds of horrible scenarios, so this diagnosis was quite a relief!) The lump was getting bigger and DD2 sicker as time passed, poor baby. I can't say that she enjoyed having the abscess aspirated, but she's feeling much better now that's done and she's had a few doses of antibiotics. I hope that takes care of it.

This was the view from my window early this morning.

Monday, March 17, 2008


We actually made it camping this weekend. DH was supposed to work late on Friday, so we planned a one-nighter close to home. Davis Creek looked cold and snowy, so we went a little further east to Washoe Lake State Park.

We last camped at Washoe Lake in August 2004, before we had the PUP. DD1 was almost two, and I was pregnant with DD2. I remember it as being very windy, with unrelenting sun. Picture here.

Since then, they've added a shelter over the picnic table at each site, and planted some trees. It was still windy, but we chose a site that put the PUP between the fire / picnic table and the weather, and it was just fine. The last of a series of storms was coming over the Sierras on Saturday evening, which made the scenery rather dramatic. We enjoyed the sound of snow falling on the roof overnight, but stayed warm and toasty thanks to our Popup Gizmos and Portable Buddy. I do think that some Reflectix under the mattresses could cut down our heater use.

Hardly anyone was camping on Saturday night (I wonder why?!?), so the campground was nice and quiet. We enjoyed strolling through the sand dunes to the beach and sitting around the campfire. Campfire-popped popcorn is the best! The kids got in plenty of bike-riding. Overnight we heard coyotes and an owl close to the camper.

This trip marked DD2's first night in her own sleeping bag. Prior to this, she's always slept between DH and me. We put her down on the couch, thinking that she would be less likely to fall climbing out of bed to come to us at 3am than if she were up in the bunk end with her siblings. It worked very well. She went to sleep quickly, didn't fall out of bed, and found us no problem.

All-in-all, a great start to the camping season!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Still no camping!

We had planned to camp this weekend. The weather forecast was good, DH was off work on Friday, and we had new tires put on the PUP on Thursday. DD2 came down with influenza on Thursday morning. The rapid flu test is supposed to be read after 15 minutes, but hers was reading positive for Flu A after only 5 minutes. The whole family is on antivirals so that the rest of us don't come down with it too. Needless to say, DD2 wasn't feeling up to going anywhere.

On the plus side, DH found out that he can take a third week of vacation this summer, so we will get to have a long camping trip after all. The school year at Coral Academy starts in the second week of August, so we're taking the last week of July in hopes that DS and DD1 get in there. July will be quite the travel month. We'll be in Norway and the UK during the first two weeks, and then camping the last week. We're tentatively planning to going to Bryce Canyon, perhaps with a day or so at Zion on the way there. I'm a little concerned about the daytime heat; it's cooler than Reno, but our house is airconditioned, and we usually camp up in the Sierras at that time of the year. At least the nights are cool; about the same as Reno.

On Saturday afternoon we took the training wheels off DD1's bicycle. She wiped out a couple of times, but got the hang of riding without them very quickly. One spectacular crash involved a pillar that seems to exist under a different gravitational constant than the rest of the universe; it sucked DS in when he was a new two-wheel rider, too! Our yard is rather small, and our street rather steep, so we usually ride bikes at the local elementary school.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dude!

DS is eight years old today. The big present was his very own iPod nano. It was basically an afternoon of my time to get it going, as the iMac in the playroom needed more memory and an OS upgrade before I could load DS' music (five Bionicle songs) onto the thing. (Come to think of it, the computer is only about three months younger than DS!) He is thrilled. We've already had occasion for a lesson in iPod etiquette, as he's inclined to leave his earbuds in and yell at everyone.

We had a fun weekend celebrating. On Saturday, my ILs took him to Clay Canvas to paint a mug. He painted a Bionicle-themed mug there with them before, but I fumbled and broke it a couple of weeks ago. I believe the new one is also a Bionicle mug. It'll be ready next Saturday, so I'll know for sure then!

On Sunday afternoon we had some friends over for a Mad Science birthday party. What a blast! The kids had a great time working with the "mad scientist." I suppose at some point we'll work out in which neighbour's yard the rocket crash-landed...

This morning DS had his first piano lesson. He was counting down the time for at least an hour beforehand, afraid we were going to be late. He was wearing a watch on each wrist -- I suppose so that we'd still make it there on time even if one watch stopped?

The lesson was a great success. He loved it, and played very well. I'm somewhat irregular with my own playing (given that it's purely for my own enjoyment, and I'm rather busy with other things), but now I have motivation to play more; I can't let DS catch up to me too soon!