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Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

This year Margie’s birthday fell on Easter which made it difficult to invite friends over since most of them celebrate the holiday. (We typically don’t, although we do celebrate Ostara on the Vernal Equinox and they are pretty much the same, minus the bits about Jesus.) So we decided to go camping. Well, we tried anyway. see?

the monster emerges

Elliott found this Jerusalem Cricket under a rock.

jerusalem cricket

And I saw this gorgeous Bluebird of Happiness flitting around.

Happy Thing: The Bluebird of Happiness

But, it was cold. And I mean DAMN COLD. It wasn’t even 9pm yet and we were bundled in several layers of clothes, sleeping bags and blankets; our fingers and toes aching from the cold; watching our breath while INSIDE the tent. According to my phone (which I was having trouble using due to the cold – true story) it was 51 degrees and would drop to 42 but the strong, icy wind made it feel much lower than that. If it had been just me, I’d probably have stayed, but I was afraid the kids, who sleep deeper than adults, would kick off their blankets in the night and end up freezing their fingers or toes. And that would make for a really terrible birthday. We just don’t have the gear for those temperatures and I didn’t expect them so late in April in San Diego (then again, we have had a colder than usual winter). So we came home that night.

In the morning we had our planned breakfast of bacon and bagels and then we opened presents around the kitchen table.

gifts

presents

happy

Then we went to Balboa Park, where we got to ride the carousel to music from Star Wars.

carousel

sillies

playing with her DSi in the park

lilies and a reflection of the botannical building

birthday girl

In the afternoon, the neighbors invited the kids to hunt for eggs so Margie took her loot and decorated her own cake.

cake

And then she and her friends sat around playing with their Nintendo DSi’s. A good birthday. ♥

three girls and three DSi's

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Camping!

And the day after that big crazy thunder storm? We went camping. Naturally. The weathermen were still predicting thunderstorms, but we had this reservation and some plans to meet friends up there so we decided to at least head up and see what we see. This is what we saw:

storm clouds

And then it started raining. And pouring. But! It ends well. Shortly after we arrived it was a mere gentle rain, and then by the time the tent was set up, the sun came out to stay and everything dried up quite nicely and the day even became quite warm. The kids played until dinner time and, after marshmallows, snuggled down in the tent and fell asleep in roughly 30 seconds. We had flashes of lightning all night and one storm around 4am that moved in pretty close to us – which was scary for us city folk – but we lived to tell the tale.

In the morning I took the kids on a short walk where we were greeted by a small rainbow and where we observed some of the local plants. Also wild turkeys. (And the day before we’d caught a glimpse of deer!!) Later, we took a beautiful hike with some friends and saw a lizard (which I am pretty sure must be a fence lizard of some sort), tons of acorns, moss, poison oak, and more. We came out of the forest for a view of the valley before us. Incredible. We can’t wait to go camping again!

wild turkey!!

eating 'smallows

rainbow

singing the double rainbow song

climbging naturey stairs

moss

oak leaves

hike

blue lizard

the view from the topish

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We’ve been talking about wanting to go camping for years but have let one thing or another get in the way. Until now! We are still gathering equipment so had to borrow some things, but we survived a night in the wilderness and had a blast in the process.

The reason we wanted to go camping on this particular night was to see the Perseid meteor shower. It will continue for the next couple of weeks, but it peaked in the wee hours of August 13th. We woke up around 3am and stepped out of the tent to watch the sky. We saw the Milky Way (more spectacular than I had remembered!), looked for constellations we knew, and sang the TMBG song about shooting stars (there is a TMBG song for any occasion). It was really cold, so we huddled in a blanket for awhile, but eventually went back to the tent where we cuddled until the morning.

What woke us up for the meteor showers? Why animals eating loudly outside our tent. We had forgotten to throw away a plate of corn and an avocado before going to sleep for the night and various animals found it. The first ones, we didn’t get a good look at, but we think they were a pair of foxes or coyotes. They ran as soon as I turned on the light and make some dog-sized footsteps. The second pair of animals to come munch were raccoons. They didn’t shy away from the light and they hung around until they decided they were done. Then, once the sun rose, the crows came and nibbled at the few bits that were left. Lesson learned: put every scrap of food away. The absence of bears in this area doesn’t mean we are safe from raiders.

Other animals observed: more yellow jackets, fire ants, lizards, beetles, butterflies.

our morning view

cute campers

tent in the dark

breakfast of champions

beetle

bubble success!

this is Umbrella, the Umbrella Fairy

And, for your convenience, I will leave you with a TMBG video of the Shooting Star song. Now. I COULD leave you with the actual kid’s video. But, I think it’s more fun to see them, as Alex and I saw them last November, as sock puppets in concert. And this is an adult show. Just another reason to love TMBG. Puppets for grownups. (It’s a kid-safe video, IMO. They do say “damn” once, though, FYI)

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