Early on Thursday, Jan. 16, I drove to the airport and flew to California for grandson Cedrus' 5th birthday on the 17th. It was a lovely day: the coastal mountains and ocean beyond were visible the entire trip. But it was shocking to see those mountains, in January, with virtually no snow. Only the highest peaks of the Trinity Alps in California, above tree line, had a dusting of snow. California is in emergency drought conditions and it looks like Oregon is not far behind.
From the airport we went straight to Kestrel's 1st grade classroom where the kids were involved in writing stories, playing phonics games, and other fun (and educational) activities. After school, we came home for supper before the boys had music lessons: Kestrel on guitar, Cedrus on keyboard. Kestrel played for me before we left for the lessons, and also finger-knitted. Cedrus danced to Michael Jackson songs. Cedrus is always dancing.
It was impressive to hear Kestrel, 6, playing the guitar after only beginning in August and Cedrus, 4, playing keyboard after beginning lessons a few months later. Both boys already read music plus can pick out tunes by ear.
The next day, Friday, was Cedrus' birthday. In the morning we went to his Montessori preschool for a birthday celebration. In the afternoon, we brought Kestrel home from school early so he could join the birthday party at home. While Cedrus, his mom and I planted the flower bulbs that were my gift to Cedrus, Kestrel and his dad created a scavenger hunt of clues that led to the family's gifts.
Steve (Dad) took photos of where the next clue was hidden and printed the tiny pictures. Kestrel hung them all over the house. Cedrus had to figure out where each photo had been taken and race there to find the next "clue".
|The clues led to the kids' bedroom where the gifts were hidden under his bed.|
|Dad and Mom each got a big thank you hug.|
On Saturday, Cedrus had requested that we all go to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and do all the things he had done with Grandpa on Grandpa's last visit. So we did.
First was paddle boating.
|The sign said don't feed the birds, but this American Coot knew that people fed them anyway. It followed our boat for a long time, hopefully.|
|So did this Western Gull.|
|Here Munazza and Kestrel pedal while Cedrus steers.|
|We sailed through this lovely bridge.|
The trees were interesting and the views from on top beautiful in every direction.
|Downtown San Francisco in the distance|
|San Francisco zoomed up|
But the view was not why the kids wanted to reach the top. The goal was the big rocks where they had played with Grandpa. The game consisted of Grandpa and their Dad chasing them. I let their Dad do the honors. I took photos.
|Other kids joined the fun.|
|Kestrel, Cedrus, Steve and Munazza posed for me|
Eventually, we headed down for a picnic lunch and a hike to the Botanical Garden. On the way down, Kestrel took giant steps (with Dad's help) across a pond at the base of a waterfall.
|A Squirrel took a drink a few feet away but paid the humans no attention.|
|Meanwhile, Cedrus took giant steps on the giant "pavers".|
The next installment will be the Botanical Garden plus our adventures on the last two days of my visit.