Del Norte

We visited Grandma and Grandpa who live too far from us, the redwood trees and the beach in California just for a short few days, but wow, was it fun!


We had a few brief but treasured afternoons with Grandma and Grandpa, mostly spent at the beach but with enough time for hugs and catching up.

The kids tried blackberry picking and eating from the wild bushes all along the path down to the beach. They decided they like blackberries freshly plucked and which don’t have any red pips. While looking for berries we saw some small snakes living in the bushes.


We looked in lots of tidepools

and discovered many, many purple and orange and red sea stars, small and big, and one leather star that I couldn’t get a clear picture of because the tide was coming in and making for murky water.

We spotted a sea cucumber,

anemones, giant green and smaller pink and cream kinds, periwinkles and hermit crabs and dungeness crabs,


caves, including one we could go into through one channel and out another,


nudibranchs, animals I’ve only rarely spotted,


lots of iridescent sea weed

some bright orange washed up sponges that were so bright and so rubbery looking I thought they were washed up balloons at first

shells of various kinds

pink and orange sea lichen or algal crusts, not sure which, but I used to think of it as tidepool wallpaper


mussels and barnacles, in the thousands.

We played in the water and on the rocks and read signs about the area.

We climbed on redwood stumps in our campground and spotted a few banana slugs and many jays.  Lilah even collected some jay feathers.

On the sandy beach down the road we found hundreds of sand dollars, big and little, bleached and still covered in mauve fur. Here are a few of the most intact sand dollars we found.


The kids spent hours pushing and throwing sticks and logs into the wavelets and watching them come back, running back and forth in the ocean’s edge.

At the campsite, Lilah and Gavin arranged firewood and kindling and Lilah lit the fire, as she had been very anxious to be part of that since Gavin had done the same on his own at scouts just a week or so back. She was successful and we had some s’mores before heading to our tent.

When we pried ourselves away from the beach and drove the hundreds of miles home, our cats and bird and dog were waiting.  Lilah made a welcome home card for the dog and put it on his carrier.



Much of the way there and back we listened to Douglas Adams on audiobook, reading his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. He’s particularly good at voicing Zaphod Beeblebrox, who particularly amuses me.

Much to his annoyance, a thought popped into his mind. It was very clear and very distinct, and he had now come to recognize these thoughts for what they were. His instinct was to resist them.

– Z. B. by Douglas Adams


Here to There

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” -Dr. Suess

We’ve been here and there, near and far lately, with trips to Dinosaur National Monument, trips to the park around the corner, lost of museum play, a birthday and another trip to the beach in California coming right up.

Gavin finished his summer reading challenge and picked out a book. He was very pleased.  Lilah’s read three times the number of books, at least, but is still working on writing down ten.


We camped near Dinosaur National Monument at Steinaker reservoir with friends and

Gavin started his very own fire


we roasted marshmallows over Gavin’s fire


we swam in the lake


walked right up to amazing petroglyphs

we started boondoggle keychains


the kids prepared kebabs for dinner


there were dinosaur bones up close at the quarry and



both kids earned their Dinosaur Monument junior ranger badges after learning about dinosaurs and then swearing in with a park ranger.

I’ve been working on a long overdue project at home: a big mandala on our wall.  I painted a background for it, a large blue circle with drips underneath, 4 or 5 years ago but never got around to working on the mandala.  It’s been more fun with kids help anyway! (They would have been too young to help much at all when I made the background.)  It’s still not finished but here’s some of the progress.  I drew it by hand and then painted it with help here and there from the kids.  It feels so good to be doing it finally and I’m really enjoying the process and the progress!

Lilah painted another on her own.



We did some more geocaching with friends and found three caches in about an hour.


It was really exciting, the mapping, the hunting, the eventual victorious finding and the recording of our names in the cache log.


There were games, like Mine Shift.


Computer coding games for kids have been popular at our house lately.  Chris has been looking into more options for them to keep exploring. This one involves code writing to make designs which they print out and admire.



Lemon cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are ripe in the garden.


From there to here, from here to there, beautiful learning is everywhere.