Shortly after returning from Big Basin, the boys and I went to Carmel for a couple of days with Christina, Henry, and Julia. It was fun to see their house there and discover how beautiful Carmel is. It was chilly, but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to spend time at the beach (of course). There was the obligatory digging and building.
After that, we went on a nice walk through town. The reward was the candy store.
The next morning, Christina and I went on a moms-only walk and had breakfast at a little cafe. It was a great way to start the day.
After we got our acts together and dragged the kids off their devices, we went to the Aquarium. We didn’t stay very long but we had a good time.
We had another round of building on the beach before we headed home. Finn and Julia even braved the water … a little bit.
We kicked off the summer with a camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We rode bikes, took hikes, whittled, relaxed at the campsite, made s’mores — all of the usual camping activities.
Ezra was beyond thrilled to discover that Base Fake Fake (as explained in my 2015 entry here) was still there.
Here are a few other shots from the trip. Ezra whittling:
Finn roasting a marshmallow:
Melting pennies on the fire:
I took a few shots on one of our hikes. We found a gazillion banana slugs.
It’s really something to be among the redwoods.
On May 20th, right after Finn’s piano recital, we headed down to SoCal for a sad purpose — the funeral of Bruce’s stepdad, Jay. Despite the circumstances, it was great to see all of Bruce’s siblings and get all the cousins together. I didn’t take enough pictures, but here’s one of some of the cousins. It was like a meeting of the minds at this table.
One of the tasks for the siblings was cleaning out the condo. Of course, treasures abounded. Here are a few.
The funeral was a lovely celebration of Jay’s life. We all enjoyed the eulogy his brother gave with stories we’d never heard. Next time we’re all together, though, we have to do a better job getting photos!
On May 20th, Finn had his third piano recital. Here’s the video.
I think he’s made a lot of progress this year! And, more importantly, he seems to really like it. He sits down and plays at home all the time.
On May 17th, at my insistence, Bruce and I attended the U2 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree show. That album was such a huge part of my teen years that I just knew I couldn’t miss the show. We did have a couple of logistical items to work out though — namely, how to get there (traffic in and out of Levi’s Stadium is notoriously awful) and what to do with the boys (we had some trouble finding a babysitter). So, after much deliberation, we decided to leave the boys home alone, which we’d been doing already but hadn’t done when we were going to be that far away and for that long. Luckily it worked out just fine. As for how to get there, we decided to drive part way, ride the last few miles, and park in the free bike valet parking lot that is put on by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.
The biking worked out great! In fact, we would definitely consider biking the whole 11.5 miles if we do it again.
Once we worked our way through the crowd waiting to get in, we got ourselves a drink and settled into our seats. And, we took the obligatory selfie.
Unfortunately, we were way off to the side, so we missed some of the show that was going on on the giant screens behind the stage.
But, the band sounded fantastic and it was a thrilling show. Here’s a snippet of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
I’m so glad we got to go. From the NorCal show, U2 moved on to SoCal and did two shows in Pasadena. It was amusing how my Facebook timeline was filled with U2 for a few days as so many of my friends attended shows!
Finn got his turn to experience the magic of fourth grade Gold Rush Day on May 17th. He and the rest of his classmates had been preparing for this day for weeks and they were all very excited. His class was in charge of making this year’s town sign.
Finn’s work shift at the Assay Office wasn’t until right before lunch, so he spent the morning panning and mining for gold, buying stuff at the general store, and enjoying sarsaparilla at the Redwood Ridge Saloon.
Finally, his shift started and it was a doozy! He and his friend Satvik manned the scales during the busiest time when everyone was cashing out their gold for the day. Here’s a shot in the calm before the storm.
And here they are mid-transaction.
Once they were finally done, they enjoyed a miner lunch of chili and bread.
After lunch they had an auction, but I didn’t stick around for that so I don’t have any photos. I want to share a few of my other favorite shots from the day and you can see all of my photos here.
Here are Mrs. Johnson and Mr. Easton getting in some gambling time at the saloon.
A couple of girls from Finn’s class teaching school.
The opening gold rush.
It’s such a great day!
The third and final sixth grade dance happened on May 12th. I’ve been surprised at how enthusiastic Ezra is about the dances, although so far it’s all about the junk food and not at all about dancing. So, I guess not really surprising at all. For this one, he went with Henry and I dropped them off. I wanted to get a photo of them before they left the car … it wasn’t easy getting them to settle down.
Finally, they let me get one conventional shot.
Since Ezra has decided not to continue with cello next year, May 10th was his final JLS orchestra concert. While I’d be happy to see him continue with cello and will encourage him to take up another instrument in the future, I can’t say I’ll miss hauling the cello around! Here’s video of one of the pieces the sixth grade orchestra played that night.
On May 9th, Fairmeadow had its annual Learning Celebration and Finn got the chance to show us around his classroom and all of the work he’s done this year. I didn’t take many photos while he was showing us around, but here’s one of him showing Bruce a book that they read.
We got to bring home his art portfolio that night — always a highlight. Here is 2016-17’s artwork.
I’m going to toot my own horn here for a second. Last month I was on a team of people recognized for our work with Safe Routes to School. It was unexpected and, of course, nice to be honored. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the ceremony because it was on a Thursday from 4-6 pm, which is the absolute busiest time of our week. My friend Tiffany sent me pictures though.
And I got a certificate.
April 27th was Take Your Child to X (and Waymo) Day and this year all of us got to go. (Last year Ezra and I were at NASA on a field trip and missed it.) It was a good thing spouses were included this year because Bruce spent the entire day working on the Loon/FSOC display and was unable to show the boys around. Granted, the FSOC display was very cool — lasers, optical fiber spelling out Loon for All, more dry ice. I sneaked a picture.
The only other pictures I got (we weren’t supposed to take any) were of the sign-in wall.