Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lush and Full

Our Summer Memory Tree is lush and full of new growth.  So many moments to be savored, remembered, enjoyed again and again.

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...

 which carried over into our group photo for the year:

After the kegs of homebrew were tapped out, the sangria drained to its dregs, the photos handed out, and the awards distributed, White Elephant-style, Camp Laguna came to a close once more and guests returned to places as far-flung as New York City.  The Seehaver and Carter families, however, enjoyed a few more days together.  We dined out one night at our favorite pizza and beer joint in town, and the next day, we spent a lazy and indulgent mid-afternoon at the vineyard where my dad pours wine and is beloved by his fellow staff and customers alike.  It was a beautiful summer day; the kids managed themselves quite well, sipping root beer and playing Uno; and the adults basked in contentment and joy....soaked in good cheese and fine wine. 

We left, only to lounge in the lake, ride on the pull-behind, and then enjoy another family dinner together.  As night fell over the quiet lake, we gathered on the dock for an incredible memory-maker, perhaps the one that will transcend all other memories of this summer.  We launched Chinese lanterns high into the still and dark sky, sending our wishes and our gratitudes along with them.  Ephemeral... enchanting... mystical... magical... all describe the experience accurately, yet still they lack the emotion of what we shared that night.  Verklempt, misty-eyed, and hearts soaring, we adults finally tore ourselves away from the dock to usher five sleepy children off to bed.

A family emergency cut our visit short, however, which made the enchanting memory of the night before all the more beautiful and cherished.  Tearfully and anxiously, we said our goodbyes to Adam and his family as he went back to provide his comfort and care.  Seeking to console our boys a bit over the early departure, my parents decided to continue on with the plan for the day and treated us all to a viewing of Despicable Me: 2.  Such a fun and happy afternoon together!  Although the movie was really cute and thoroughly enjoyable, the part I still like the best is watching my kids watch the movie.  (Also cute: watching them act like minions for hours after the movie had ended.  Not so cute:  still acting like minions, hours and hours later....)  Thankfully, all is well now in Adam's family.

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....)
 Pax and Leo worked hard to create a campfire in our tipi....

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:
And so it goes on the Literacy Farm, serving up good reads to boys and toads alike, 
producing a Memory tree that is lush and full.

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