Monday, November 18, 2013

Square Nail

Mark has long aspired to bring the kids climbing.  All of 'em...ours and Gail's.  Well, last weekend, it finally happened.  We went to a face called Square Nail, so named for the many old nails that can still be found around the site today.  They are remnants of the old flume that carried lumber from the high country down to the mill.  Here is a Google Earth shot of the area.  Tollhouse Rock is the face on the right.  Square Nail is the face on the left.  Both are accessible within a 20 minute drive, so it is a little sad that it took us so long to do this!
As you can see, the faces are both far above the valley floor.  Here is the view from Square Nail, with Scotty in the very bottom of the frame.

 It did feel a little exposed!  But the kids were unphased. 

After Mark set up the rope, Mae was the first to gear up and climb.  Despite shoes that were way too small, she scampered right up the rock and OUT OF SIGHT.  That was a little disturbing to this helicopter Mommy, but this was Dad's day.


Zooming in as she rounds the corner...

Next up was Megan.  Not surprisingly, she also scampered up.  Strong and fearless, that one.

Next up was Scotty.  He was solid, but more (sensibly) cautious about the height.

And here goes Abigail.

See, I can make this look even more scary by turning the camera!

But reality is scary enough.  There goes my baby!

She made it down safely, of course.  Everyone then took on the next climb, to the left.  A very different climb, all face.  Abigail and Mae ended up wearing MARK'S OLD SHOES.  If you know anything about how Mark used to climb, he used to jam his feet into shoes that were WAY too small, all in the interest of "feeling the rock".  His quarter-inch thick deformed toenails bear testimony to this bizarre practice.

ANYway, those were the next smallest shoes above the too-small children's shoes.  So the girls slipped them on, and with perhaps an extra inch on the toes, scampered up the face climb! 

But do I have pictures of that?  No, I do not.  But I think you can imagine tiny dots of kids, up on the rock face.  And if you are like me, maybe you'd rather see their smiling faces at the bottom!

In all seriousness, I do love that the kids are strong, confident, and adventurous.  It is my goal to not inhibit that with my worries.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nana's Wild Friends

A perfect follow-on to the Nana post is a couple of shots of Nana with various costumed crazies.
 Actually, this Elvis impersonator seemed like a very nice man.
 Although, I do need to point out that the scarf Nana is wearing WAS WORN by this man, and was moistened by the sweat of his brow.  Now that's a little wild for me.  And when my own mother jumped up to the stage, grabbed the scarf, and twirled it over her head?  Well, I guess I just have to acknowledge that I come from some pretty wild stock.
 On the tamer side, here is Nana with my own precious babies, Ketchup and Mustard.
 Grandma's house is always our first stop.
The girls came up with this idea with a little help from their friends.  Particularly apropos, since Mae seems to have an overly fond regard for ketchup (so now you know who is who).  Like...she will eat it in some very odd pairings.
 Some people thought they were crayons.  Those people clearly don't read labels.
 The kids all marched in their traditional Halloween parade.
 The girls spiced up the back of their costumes with a little competitive messaging:  "Mustard Rules!  Ketchup Drools!"  And so on...
 Here they were, the night prior (of course), putting on the final touches.
 Halloween is really, really one of my favorites.  I love pulling the costume together and seeing them enjoy the day.  We did our traditional drive-around our valley, looking for signs of Halloween, and visited maybe a dozen houses. 

I had to choose between Halloween with my kids, or attending my 25th reunion at the Air Force Academy.  I'm happy with my choice.  I'll wait for the 30th.