Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Weekend at the Beach

Last weekend we came up with a spur of the moment plan to go to Pajaro Dunes. It's located just west of Watsonville, halfway between Santa Cruz and Monterey, and we last went there when Jackson was six weeks old, so four years ago. We called last Wednesday to see if they had any available condos for the next night, and they did, so off we went! We arrived just before sunset on Thursday night, and stayed until checkout at noon Sunday. It was a true vacation: we played on the beach, and didn't leave except to buy groceries once or twice. Andrew and Will were not able to come since they had previous plans, so it was just the four of us: Trace, Holly, Jackson, and Caroline. We went for lots of walks down the beach, collecting sand dollars, practicing our letters in the sand, and we built sand castles and played in the waves. Every day. That's all we did, and it was completely relaxing. Jackson and Trace watching the sunset Thursday after our arrival. Both kids had some trepidations about the water at first, but in the next three days they certainly overcame their fears! Looking at a shell perhaps? Caroline and I watching the sunset with our shades on. We saw a lot of pelicans, sandpipers, and seagulls, with or without the sunsetting. The kids loved the bunk beds in their bedroom. They both slept through the night every night--no worries about new beds with these two! Caroline slept on the bottom bunk, and although Jackson played on the top bunk all day, and called it his, he slept on the queen bed also in their room at night. That was fine with me, since I didn't have to worry about him falling. I packed their warm pajamas, which they haven't worn much since last winter, and Jack found a hole in his foot. Our first full day at the beach was Friday, and it was a sunny, beautiful day. Trace and Jack built a sand castle together, which surprisingly lasted the whole trip, although hit by waves a number of times. Caroline built her own sand castle, further back on the beach, because she was a little intimidated by the waves coming close to the big one. The kids loved playing in the big sand castle, and spent time in it every day.
Jack did a good job with his shovelling! The next day dawned foggy, but still warm, and the fog didn't slow us down much. This is the view from our condo.The kids spent a long time running in and out of the waves, and Caroline would run back and forth between Trace and I. She always held a hand, but Jack by day two was pretty fearless, and he got soaked falling down in the waves, perhaps intentionally.
They even did ballet in the water, and their shadows were pretty cool too! For dinner that night Trace made fresh oysters. Both kids tried them--this was definitely their first oysters, but contrary to her face, Caroline actually asked for more.Caroline's first bite of oyster. Her reaction.
Then we finished up with clams for dinner, which everyone enjoyed. Eating seafood sitting outside at the ocean. What could be better than that?
Sunday morning I didn't take the camera with me, so that I could get a little further in the water. It was cool that morning, and the kids had on sweatshirts with their shorts, but as you can imagine, that didn't stop them from getting soaked to the waist. We had a lovely trip, so much fun that we're hoping to do it all again soon. Want to come?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Race

Jackson and Caroline have an amazing amount of energy. Oh my goodness, they spent twenty minutes this evening (at least it felt that long) racing around the island, while all of us sitting at the dinner table watched and laughed. It was Monday Night Dinner, so they had quite an audience. One of them would shout "I'm in the lead" until the other caught up, or until they caught up again. Trace was trying to get Sam out of their way, which caused additional confusion. I was definitely jiggling the camera when Caroline would come past and flash a smile as she ran. She's quite the little ham. She was also getting out of Jack's way when he caught up with her: she learned her lesson after he accidentally knocked her down. They're pretty cute, but as a warning, this is a long video, suitable especially for grandmothers!

Boys and Girls

Have I had this title before? Because this is something I think about a lot: the difference between boys and girls. For instance, last night Jackson was playing with his cars in the hallway, as I walked past him to check on Caroline, who had been quiet in their bedroom for a long time. She was not getting into anything, as is sometimes the case, instead she been quietly setting up an audience for herself. She had dolls and stuffed animals lined up at the bottom of her closet, and when I asked her why? she said they were watching her jump and dance. It was too cute, so I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures of her jumping and then doing ballet.
She's very serious about her ballet, as you can see. But the thing that always strikes me is how different their play is. Sure, they play together a lot of the time, and they even play similarly a lot of the time, but there are striking differences between boys and girls. I think I always thought it was more nurture than nature, but having a child of each sex has taught me differently. They're both unique and wonderful . . . and different.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We're back!

At least that's what it feels like: like the Fike family has been MIA, brought down by a nasty virus, not to be seen for two weeks or more. And now we're back, feeling better, and we even got out of town yesterday, which was good for my mental sanity. I actually never got sick, but with both kids down with days upon days of high fever, and with Trace and Becky both sick, I certainly had my hands full.
This week, however, we're on the mend. Jack has started preschool: two days a week, from 9-12, which seems like it will fit our schedule perfectly. He missed the first week from being sick, so he hopped out of bed Tuesday morning, excited for the big day. And now that he's been twice, I can report with confidence that he loves it! This picture was taken while we headed out the door on Tuesday morning, ready to go.
Next we have a series of pictures of our day yesterday. We took the Oakland ferry to the ball game. Becky went with us, and here she, Jackson, and Caroline are ready to go!
Caroline had her Giants jersey on for the game (it no longer fits Jack, but he got a new one by the end of the day, so he was willing to share). She was definitely the cutest Giants fan there! Watching the ferry terminal recede. This is exciting Mom!
San Francisco is in view!
Crazily enough, there were people on the top of the bay bridge. Maybe that happens a lot, but I've never seen it before, so I snapped a picture.
We made it the long walk from the Ferry Building to A T & T Park: it might not be long for you, but to a four year old it was a long way. Caroline was in the Ergo backpack, not because she couldn't walk that far, but her legs are short and the game had already started, so we wanted to make good time. I think Jackson and Caroline are now convinced that ball games are about the food!
Our seats were just five rows back of the field, on the third base side, just behind the Padres bullpen. It was perfectly close to the action for two young kiddos. They could really see what was going on.
Trace and Jackson watching the game in front of us.
Two family shots after the game (note Jack's new hat and jersey, which he loved): one on the bay side and one facing the ballpark.
Caroline kept talking the whole time about how she wanted a ball. We saw lots of balls caught around us, and she was sure she could catch one too.
But she settled for a hat as we walked out. We ended our city experience by walking back to the Ferry Building (this time Caroline fell asleep in the backpack, and had a nice half hour nap on my back), missing one ferry by a few minutes, and then stopping for oysters and clams at Hog Island Oyster while we waited for the next ferry.
Jack was playing games with Aunt Becky and the camera, hiding behind the wine bottle. She patiently got this shot of him inspecting his water glass when he stopped paying attention to her.
We took the ferry boat back to Oakland, leaving San Francisco in our wake. The boat ride was definitely a highlight for all of us, and it was fun to watch the container ships being unloaded in the Port of Oakland as we went by.
Oh, and how was the game? Well, the Giants lost to the Padres 4-2, but other than that it couldn't have been a more perfect day.