Saturday, August 27, 2011


Last week we were up in the mountains, backpacking, enjoying the summer and being together.  This place is pretty heavenly.

We started out by taking a water taxi from Echo Lake and then backpacking up 800 feet to Lake Aloha, a remote alpine lake.  All the kids and dog had their own packs and it was a pretty happy trip up there.  We set up camp near the lake where we could climb the granite boulders and swim in the shallow, clear water. 

What were the best parts of this trip?

Being together.  I know it sounds cheesy but it feels good to leave the world behind and be together.

Throwing our daily routine at home goodbye.  Saying hello to backpacking rhythm.  Waking up, eating breakfast, doing dishes, swimming, climbing rocks, filtering water, eating lunch, doing dishes, cleaning up camp, eating, filtering water, making hot cocoa and tea, swimming, hanging up the bear bags in the trees, going to bed and waking up to do it all again.

I don't really like sleepless nights which happens inevitably but the first night I got up and just took in the night sky which is so much better in the mountains. 

I like living on the wild side.  Hanging up our food in the trees so that the bears can't get to it makes the trip just a bit risky!

Skipping rocks, throwing rocks, climbing rocks and camping on rocks.

Being outside my comfort zone.  I'm not a fan of deep water.  The second day Amelia encouraged me to go "island hopping" with her.  Lake Aloha is shallow and filled with rock islands.  Some parts of the lake are deep though . We swam from rock to rock together and  I'm glad we did it.

I enjoyed carrying that heavy pack.  Going down the mountain on the way back made me realize what an accomplishment this was for our family, physically and mentally.

Amelia made us a lemon cake for dessert the second night.  We all sang happy birthday to Jon's dad, whose birthday would have been on the 22nd.

Watching our dog really enjoy himself.  At times we couldn't find him and we'd look up to see him all the way up the snowbank on the mountain.  He was a tired doggy by the end of the trip.

I loved waking up before the sun to enjoy the views.  Very rarely do we really get up early and enjoy the beauty of a sunrise.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

i am grateful

We hopped in the car and headed up the mountain.  This was the conversation.....

Solomon:  Mom, I think I'm coughing up blood.

Me:  Seriously?!  Have you been picking your nose?

Solomon:  Umm...

Me: (Amelia and I glancing at each other in amusement)  Well, I'm glad you aren't dying!

Eli: Mom?

Me:  Yes, sweet love.

Eli:  My lips are cemented shut.

Me:  Well, I think they're better now?

Me, Amelia, Solomon and Eli:  (laughter) 

I am grateful for teetering rocks.

I am grateful for this monolithic hunk of earth and tender new growth.

I am grateful for wildflowers.

taken by Solomon

I am grateful for ginormous tree mushrooms.

I am grateful for laughter and my kids are definitely grateful for crepes with Nutella.

I am grateful for stinky, dirty little boy feet.

I am grateful for my daughter who tells me that I'm beautiful.
I am grateful for so many things.  Too many to count.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

being outside


I am trying to be outside as much as possible.  It's so easy for me to fall into a routine of staying home and "getting things done".  The kids need to be outside and I do too.

Last week I started feeling dizzy and my heart was racing.  It was a terrible feeling but I told myself that it would pass.  By the weekend I felt so weak and drained that I decided to call the doctor on Monday.  After some tests the doctor found that my thyroid medicine was too much for me (which is what I suspected) and we lowered my dose.  I felt better.  Things are well.

But it was pretty stressful and on this beautiful walk in the desert over that weekend, it was all I could do to take step after step up that mountain.  It was so enormous up there.  We were on the top of the world and all I could do was cry.  I don't like it when I get this way but it happens sometimes.  What really brought me out of it was being up there.  Just being outdoors away from town, away from technology and my laundry pile.

I've realized that I just need my dose of nature every week, every day.  Being in my garden isn't good enough.

We went up to the lake last week, just the kids and I.  We brought our snacks and just a few other things and set ourselves down on the beach.  The water is really high this year because of the amount of snow we got.   It's so insanely gorgeous up there.  But, I'm a little biased.

It took me a while to really relax.  Isn't it true?  We don't realize how stressed we can get until we get to somewhere in nature.  Then we can start to breathe again.  I remember that moment I started breathing again.  Amelia and I were in the water hugging each other, smiling and talking.  I looked out into the sparkly, afternoon water and just felt a gazillion times better.  It was a good day.  Now, I'm headed off for a hike somewhere.  I don't know where just yet but I'll figure it out when I hop in the car.


Friday, August 5, 2011

growing food and flowers

We are well into summer gardening season and I have to say that I love the green-ess of it all.  Not at all lush by others' standards but we're at the peak of green in the the high desert.

The one thing about our area is that the nasty, prickly and dangerous weeds love hanging out with us.  Goat's heads anyone?  If you've ever stepped on a goat's head or ran over one with your bike, well, you know what I'm talking about.  They're stealth ninjas, talented at camouflaging themselves.  Not until they reach the size of a large cat, spread out several feet do I notice them.  And they produce the most beautiful little yellow flowers capable of sweet talking just about anyone.

What are we growing in our garden this year?  Lots of stuff.  The usual that everyone grows.  We have to have our tomatoes, carrots, basil, kale, sunflowers, onions, etc...  We're always learning and evolving with our garden.  I tell you what,  I will  never know everything about growing food.

This year we are growing quinoa for the first time.  Well, my daughter is growing it if you ask.  But, I water most days and do the weeding.  Technically, it's her garden.  Each one of us has our own garden area they keeps on getting bigger every year.  It's the nature of the beast.   This is our quinoa.  Isn't it beautiful?

I also enjoy growing flowers.  They make me happy. 



The thing about growing food is that some years I'll have a bumper crop of one thing and the next year not.  It keeps me on my toes. It humbles me and makes me feel grateful....ever so grateful for the farmers that grow food for my family.