The beginning of July brought the much-anticipated Camp Laguna weekend, the madness that began in 2003 and has been honored, expanded, and celebrated every year since then. We decided to mix things up a bit and conduct Camp Laguna over the 4th of July holiday - with the huge, added bonus that my brother and his kids got to stay several extra days because of the holiday/weekend combination. My boys were in cousin-heaven with the addition of Hugo, age almost-8, and Julian, a newly minted 5 year old. They picked up right where they left off a year ago, which, come to think of it, is exactly how my brother and I approached our time together as well. The ongoing water fight/throw your sibling into the lake contest between the two of us makes me giggle every time I think of it. Also because I was the last to get him in the water.
One especially fun addition to Camp Laguna this year was the photo booth...
Always the list-maker (and therefore the list-checker), I've found such deep satisfaction in checking off the "To Do's" of summer: the ones that guide our Fun Fridays; the ones we anticipate as only summer ritual and tradition can inspire; the ones that that lay claim to so many of these cherished moments. One such "To Do" was accomplished on a hot and muggy afternoon, rather spur-of-the moment but decidedly well-executed. We found the perfect patch to clear out and create our very own tipi, a work-in-progress that has yielded several more sweaty afternoons of hunting-and-gathering sticks. (We did, however, have to work up our nerve to resume construction after the first session was briskly drawn to a close after I came upon the harmless - yet rather surprising - discovery of a coiled up garter snake dozing away the day....)
Indeed, among many other descriptors, this also seems to be the Summer of Slithering, Spidery, and Sweet: the garter snake we discovered beneath the decaying dead tree; the wolf spider I bravely chased out of the car one early morning before swim practice (with the help of a can of wasp spray, aka whoop ass, and my trusty broom); and finally, the spotting of this sweet little toad in our garden late one evening. Jeff was so taken by this little guy that he decided Toad was in search of Frog. Jeff dashed into the house, only to return to the Toad, ready for a read-aloud: