Monday, August 11, 2014

The California Kids

For the first time ever, grandsons Kestrel (7) and Cedrus (5) stayed with us without their parents for a couple days before their parents joined them. The kids did great. Their mom had separation anxiety. But she and Steve finally got to spend a little time together without the kids. It was good for them both. And fun for the rest of us!

The kids had a great time entertaining Grandma and Grandpa. They danced to Michael Jackson songs, played the guitar (Kestrel) and piano (Cedrus), drove the EZ Go, ate more home-made goat milk ice cream and drank more home-made apple cider than their parents would probably have allowed.

Here the kids rate Grandma's mint chocolate chip ice cream. It rated two thumbs up plus toes!

Before they arrived at our farm, however, they had flown from their home in California to Seattle, where they spent time with friends and with cousin Ian and his parents, then ridden the train to Portland, where they spent a couple days doing city things. Grandpa drove to Portland to meet them on Thursday, July 31, and spent a few hours playing before bringing them back to the farm on Amtrak, leaving the car for Steve and Munazza. Grandpa rode the sky train (called a tram, I'm told) with them in Portland, adding to the number of different means of travel the kids experienced this trip.

Munazza packed lots of food for the train trip to Salem. Here is Cedrus on Grandpa's lap on the train.

And Kestrel, enjoying his mom's berry torte!

 At last they arrived in Salem, where Grandma was waiting.

Then into yet another conveyance... Grandpa's big van.

Always the first morning, the kids and Grandpa make popcorn waffles. Later, they made watermelon lemonade and other variations that they dreamed up.

With a sheet over the window to provide appropriate darkness for a performance, Kestrel and Cedrus danced... and danced... and danced. Where do they get all that energy?

 Kestrel played guitar and Cedrus played the piano. Impressive!

And, of course, they drove the EZ Go. At first, the steering was a bit unsteady, but after practicing in the horse pasture (while Grandma picked yarrow flowers to dry for Christmas wreaths), they grew to be quite competent drivers.

One chore Grandma had for them was breaking a new trail. Grandpa had put two logs across the little creek as the beginning of a foot bridge, but they led into nothing but deep brush! We clipped out a trail.

We got lost in the woods a few times before we had the trail going where we wanted it to go. Then Kestrel and Cedrus showed Grandpa the new trail.

On Saturday afternoon, the parents arrived, just in time to go to an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Grandma told them the story beforehand. The kids loved it. (I figure it's never too young to start kids appreciating Shakespeare. We took Ian to one of these outdoor plays when he was younger, too.) We sat on blankets with our friends J.P. and Monica and ate a picnic supper before the play began. At intermission, we hiked around the vineyard where the play took place.

Also at intermission, Kestrel and Cedrus were selected to draw a ticket out of the raffle jar to see who won a bottle of vintage wine. So they were "on stage", too!

On Sunday, the kids showed off their EZ Go driving skills for their parents and took them on the new trail they had helped create. Of course, there was berry picking, bean picking and watching water striders and newts in the pond.

Then we all spent the hot afternoon in the cool house, watching a DVD of a hip hop dance recital that both boys had been in. Lots of cool moves!

On Monday, Munazza and I went off to do Qi Gong with friends. Hopefully, it will help Munazza's neck problems. In the afternoon, we all cooled off by playing in the creek. Steve caught crawdads.

Cedrus "made dirt" while the rest of us skipped (or tried to skip) rocks.

That evening we had a picnic on the cement slab in front of the shop... in a barbecue rather than on a campfire because of the high fire danger with all the hot, dry weather. It was still fun and tasty.

On Tuesday, we all canoed across the Salmon River to a beach where Johnny and I did the beached bird survey and the others played in the sand. It is a very long beach but the kids had no problem hiking it. Here they are way off in the distance coming toward me, where I waited, across from Three Rocks, after finishing the return leg of my survey.

The canoe trip back to Knight Park was easy. We held our paddles up to catch the wind and sailed our way along, as Munazza is doing here.

After supper, as usual at the Thai restaurant in Lincoln City, we headed home. The next day the kids said goodbye to all the animals (plus ate popsicles they made with Grandpa out of  apple cider, blackberry juice and popcorn. Yes, popcorn.).

Shirley loved the kids and was sad when they climbed into the van and left.

At the airport, Cedrus looked a little sad, too.

So long, kids, until next time!

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