Steep Ravine Camping 2017

For the Fourth of July we made a return visit to Mt. Tamalpais’s Steep Ravine campground. On the way up, we stopped in San Francisco for a hike and lunch break at a foggy, yet picturesque, spot.




Once we got to the campground, we spent some time hauling our stuff in wheelbarrows from the car to the site. The boys were a big help this time, even though they did plenty of moaning and groaning about it. We were all happy to be back in this beautiful place.





It was chilly, so we had dinner and made a fire early. (It’s hard to tell it was cold by the boys’ clothing, but I was already in a parka and warm hat.)


We upped our s’mores game this trip thanks to Christina’s suggestion.


Here’s our campsite at dusk. The sites there are pretty separate and it really feels like you’re out in nature all by yourselves.


Our night was quite eventful with a persistent raccoon trying to help himself to our food supply. We anticipated him after he chowed down on a whole loaf of bread last year, and we made sure all the food was secure before we went to bed. However, he still managed to wake us by making a whole lot of noise trying to get into an empty food container. Bruce scared him away, but then a few hours later we woke up to his noises again! This time, he was tearing at our tent trying to get to a backpack that we had inside the tent. He must have smelled whatever remnants of food were in it, and he tore a hole in the tent trying to get to it. Needless to say, Bruce was not happy. He scared him away again and luckily that was the last we saw of him.

The next morning was cold and foggy — to be expected.



We spent the morning close to the campsite and looked for whales and dolphins. We found them! Sadly, my lens is not the right equipment for catching them, but I tried and I’ve cropped and zoomed a couple of photos.




I also got a video.

Even though it’s hard to capture on the camera, the experience of seeing the whales and dolphins roaming around is not to miss. We had some great vantage points too.


There were other animals also — birds, bunnies, some sort of small rodent that was actually really cute. And, a couple of monkeys in a tree.


After a while, we decided to go on a hike. We started out on a short trail that starts at the campground, but soon found that it led to where we could access the road (Highway 1) that had been closed due to a big landslide. We weren’t close enough to the slide to be in any danger, and it was really fun to have the road all to ourselves.


We stopped at one point and went out to a rocky area where we had a nice view. (I think Ezra was looking at ants in this photo.)



And then we headed back.


It was clearing up and we planned to head down to the beach. I took this shot of the entire campground.


We spent the rest of the afternoon down at the beach. It was chilly but beautiful.




We’d had a lovely time, but Bruce had been having intermittent chest pain and lightheadedness. After we got back from the beach and had dinner, we decided it would be best to skip the second night and head home. With the surprisingly long July days, we had plenty of light to get everything packed up. I was happy to sleep in our own bed that night since I was coming down with a cold. The rest of Bruce’s story is not blog material.

We hope someday we’ll be able to reserve one of the cabins at this campground. There are only about ten of them and they are very hard to get!

Finn’s First Goalie Mask

We’re borrowing (luckily!) most of the equipment Finn needs to be a goalie, but after a few weeks we decided he should have a proper goalie mask instead of his regular hockey helmet/mask. Not surprisingly, he was over the moon to get it.



Sophie liked the box.


Giants v Mets

June 24th was a good day for a ballgame. Perfect weather in San Francisco (you really never know how that’s going to go), a nice train ride up there, hotdogs, peanuts, and good seats.


Oh, and cotton candy, too.



The boys thought the between-inning raking of the infield was funny. I forget what they called it but it was something having to do with a Zamboni.


It was also bobblehead night, which kept everyone entertained for a few minutes on the ride home.


Finn’s Goalie Tryout

Both boys have been loving playing ice hockey since they started last year. For about three months Finn asked me if he could try being goalie. I wanted him to remain a skater and hopefully learn the game before he tried goalie, so I just kept putting him off. Finally, he took matters into his own hands and asked the woman who runs the club if he could try it. Seeing how they are always in need of goalies, she was more than happy to oblige. So, on June 23rd he took his first pass at it. Here he is taking a shot from his goalie coach, Tony.


And, of course, I have video. Slo-mo!

He worked so hard during that first session. I thought he was going to come off the ice and say it was too hard and he hated it. However, he LOVED it! He hasn’t stopped talking about goalie stuff since that day.

He especially likes it that Ezra’s best friend Henry is also a goalie and they hang out at practices.



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.





Great trip!


Big Basin Camping 2017

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.



Last Day of School 2017

I don’t have any pictures of Ezra from the last day of school, but I did go to Finn’s class. He had a great year with Mrs. Johnson.



Another parent took a class photo and sent it to all the parents.


It was a good year!

Ezra’s Sixth Grade Artwork

During the last week of school, Ezra brought home his artwork and projects from the year. As is our tradition, I’m posting it all here.








Also! Here’s a picture of him from the sixth grade formal lunch that happened the week before school got out. So dapper!


SoCal Visit

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!

Finn’s Third Piano Recital

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.

U2 at Levi’s Stadium

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!

Gold Rush Day 2017

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!

Ezra’s Last Sixth Grade Dance

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.


Ezra’s Last Orchestra Concert

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.