out in semi-seclusion / LOLspeak

This might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re planning a vacation may I suggest TAKING my kids with you? I am entirely serious. They are simply delightful. Since getting here they’ve been spending all their time swimming (with or without clothes – Nels just came in from the twilight, stark naked and grinning with all his teeth splayed, and announced “I went skinny dipping!”), boating, fishing, and eating. They are even forgetting to snuggle, until very late in the day (sob!). They are 100% agreeable 100% of the time, and say “thank you” for everything – when we help them with a fishhook, when we make them cocoa, when we serve them food, when we hang up a towel to dry. Just “thank you”, thank you thank you.

At dinner tonight we sit around an outdoor fire and Ralph brings plates heaped with food to the kids’ adirondack chairs and Nels crows how he is being treated like royalty (coming out a bit later I hear him courtly-like, addressing his sister as “my princess”). As we dine, both children discuss the food and how wonderful it is. “The grilled pork is hot and also delicious!” Nels beams at his sister. They are so happy and I feel so grateful for their presence.

Only a few years ago I found vacations a bit stressful as it seemed so much work was involved – packing and planning, managing the kids’ safety and their food and their behavior and their clothes. Over time I’ve come to trust the process of kid-growing, and rely less on my own efforts, egoic desires, and manipulation schemes. In time I came to believe a lot of my “management”, specifically with regards to behavior and manners, was likely counterproductive – although in my defense all this effort was entirely well-intentioned and was forged in response to very real cultural and familial pressures. Mostly these days I notice I have a parenting hangover. My state of constant vigilance left me exhausted and oddly less effective than I might have been. Water under the bridge; I know. But I write it here to let you know, if you’re raising young children you can learn from MY mistakes – you don’t have to make your own.

But despite my errors, and Ralph’s as well, the children have grown into amazing human beings. Two people I’d rather spend time with than anyone else. That’s pretty wonderful.

Today’s vacation photographs courtesy of Nels:

Self-Portrait, Top

Self-Portrait, Toes

My daughter and our kitty:

Phee + Hamilton

Phoenix fishes. She’s already put a solid 8 hours in. She is very patient. It would be really cool if someone who knew how to fish, would take her somewhere where you can catch fish.

Phee Fishes

Hamilton. Very pleased with herself:

Hamilton Is Pleased

And a few pictures from me. First – the laundromat in Shelton today. Is it just me or is that woman only pretending to read a newspaper, for God-knows-why reasons? & yes, Nels is wearing a sailor’s cap.

Laundrymat

Laundrymat

Paddling in the duck boat, a weird little craft we’ve had around here forever.

Kiddos Paddling, Perfect Balance

Another lovely day.

at the lake we forget to count the days

Today right before we took our first boat trip two bald eagles flew above, just a few feet away, silent and majestic as shit. The two birds studiously ignored one another, leading me to think they might be fleeing from some kind of awkward liaison.

Out On The Lake

You want to know what I do on vacation? So far, sit on my ass. Inside. Watching movies. And eating pho that my husband so graciously picks up for me in Olympia. Yup, I got up to hardly anything else today.

I am suffering some sort of illness/depression hangover. I ain’t gonna lie. I’m grateful everyone else in the family seems to be doing just beautifully. The kids spent every minute outside, and I mean every minute; they’ve even been eating all their meals outside. And snorkeling, and boating, and fishing, and swimming, and all the things.

Our kitty Hamilton is with us. She was very ill a short time ago and we thought we could better keep an eye on her if we brought her along. She’s made amazing progress. Interestingly she was starving herself by not eating her dry cat food; we have her on wet cat food and raw meat and she’s much better. Please note her skinny haunches and distended stomach. She was looking at death’s door just a few days ago.

Hamilton, Feeling Better

Hutch’s first boat ride, probably ever. He was dismayed at first.

Hutch's First Boat Ride

Getting ready to swim, for the fourteenth time today:

Getting Ready to Swim

Evening. It is so peaceful here. There are very few people here off season. It’s the nicest time to visit.

Brother & Sister

Gloaming

like swallows, by sipping the surface

I’m aghast as we unpack into the log cabin. A bat is flying about, likely the same bat that is always here. How long do bats live, anyway? Yeah, it’s flying about six inches away from my face, flying in that creepy clutchy swift way bats do. The kids are thrilled. They name it “Pete” and laugh and clap and are completely undisturbed.

I’m glad the children take after their father, enjoying the very rustic space of the cabin. It’s old, built by my great-grandfather. Many memories of drunken singalongs, my family and the neighbors. An area populated by Hoquiamites enough it’s named “Little Hoquiam”. As if actually Hoquiam isn’t little enough!

It’s serene here. Always, and especially off-season.

Lurvely

The kids make their beds in the loft; the dog snoozes by the fire. Ralph and I shower and enjoy the quiet.