Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/30/12 For Bonne Maman

The five cousins are happily ensconced in Arnold, CA!

At the last minute, I threw together some knitting needles, yarn and scissors, because Katrina said she wanted to learn to knit. Well, she's in good company -- her grandmother is a terrific knitter, her mother knit for many years, and best of all, her aunt has her own yarn-craft business and is a talented, creative designer!

So Aunt Stephanie taught Katrina to knit, and Katrina was VERY excited about this. She talks about it nonstop and claims that's all she wants to do.

And whaddya know, one day later, she's doing just great at it. She can actually knit now (not purl yet though), including the tough first one or two stitches in a row. She can't recover from loops or cast on or off yet, but she can knit basic rows herself and is doing great!!

This exercise has gotten cousin Remi and brother Gabriel finger-knitting too, though no photos unfortunately.

Today the whole crew went to Big Trees State Park, where we walked around the North Grove trail. Fantastic, amazing, massive trees. There was some tiredness, whining and of course the requisite fighting along the way, but overall everyone found this to be a magical place. Being among the giant sequoias, less than 5 miles from where we're staying....indeed, magical.

Lots more has happened that deserve more blog time, but this will have to do. I got away with these photos under the guise of "Bonne Maman and Papa Paul are waiting for these!" -- so they must be posted!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6/27/12 End of swim lessons

Two more swim lessons this week! And that's it!!

Just Julian and Katrina took lessons this time; Gabriel has (barely) satisfied me that he's safe in the deep end. Actually, Julian's even safer because he likes to play there -- but he likes lessons and is learning flip-turns, so I figured I'd keep him going.

The real holdup -- the real key I should say -- is Katrina. And she's doing great -- far better than I expected at this stage. She's happily jumping into water over her head and swimming back to the side, for instance.

And while I'm not confident her side-breathing would hold up in an emergency, this is how it starts. She's (basically) swimming!!!!!

We ended swim lessons yesterday, just because of time and upcoming vacation. I wish I'd known years ago that this is the way to go for swim lessons: an intense round of private lessons early on in the summer, for about 2 weeks, and then give the kids a way to practice. THAT will solidify water comfort and safety, if not style :).

Meantime, I'm SUPER DUPER busy planning and preparing food for our annual cousin visit, starting TOMORROW!!!!! We'll pick up the Engels at SFO at 11am, then drive straight to Arnold for a rental cabin and 5 days of summer mountain fun.

My sister was kind enough to take on the massive hassle and time-sink and faith-in-the-world reducing experience of continental air travel, so it's the least I can do to present a reasonable food selection. I'm having a great time planning a totally over-the-top menu!

It's driving me crazy, but anyone who knows me knows that this is my sweet spot! I work better under pressure. I'm bound to forget something, but overall, every entree is prepared, sauces made, meat marinaded, hors d'oeuvres planned.

We will most certainly have too much food for our 5 days in paradise (also known as sleepy Arnold, CA, smack-dab in the middle of Gold Country in CA's Sierra foothills, one of my truly favorite places in the world) -- but too much is better than too little. And of course, resources have evolved since the Gold Rush -- there are always markets nearby if I forget some or other ingredient.

After my sister told me that my picky 7yo niece thinks I'm a good cook, I have a VERY high standard to live up to! I must impress...and raise the bar every year!