Archive for the ‘jules’ Category

No doubt, Fall is in full swing in Seattle, but I have one very last batch of tank-topped photos to share, from a late September visit at the Point Defiance Zoo on a Mama-Jules Friday.

The stingrays were our very first stop and we perched here for awhile, Juliette poised with her hand down in the water waiting for them to swim by.

No hands allowed in this guy’s tank!

And then, because Juliette was disappointed she couldn’t pet the tiger or the polar bear, we rounded out our day with the goats, who were all too eager for a little love (and a little snack).

 

And now, onto the business of autumn!  Just a few days after our sunny day at the zoo we were donning long sleeves for a visit to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens.

The suspension bridge was canopied in greens on the cusp of gold and we traversed back and forth across this thing several times, seeing how much we could make it creak and bounce.

Golly, these flowers!

 

We popped over to Lincoln Park a couple of weeks ago to play in the leaves and visit my favorite Fall tree.

It’s pretty magical under this roof of glowing greens and yellows.  I expect it won’t be many years before Juliette is scampering up these branches.

This girl’s got a thousand different faces.  And I love them all.

Next up:  the pumpkin patch and another boatload of kid+tree photos.  The autumn vibes are strong up in here!

I’ve got one last batch of sun-shiny September photos to share, and then I suppose it’s time to crank up the fireplace plant my feet firmly in Fall (well, hello, October!).

August went by without a single Schnell family campout, but I was bound and determined to set up our tent one last time before summer came to a close.  We found ourselves with wide-open schedules a couple of days after Labor Day and decided to try our luck at one of the first-come, first-serve campgrounds near Lake Wenatchee, where temps were running about 10 degrees warmer than Seattle.  We sped down Highway 2 on a Thursday morning and then bumped along a dirt road for a few miles before landing at Glacier View campground, fingers crossed that there would be a site or two available.  Turns out, every site but one was available – we nearly had the whole place to ourselves!

We took our time selecting a primo site right on the water and then got to work setting up camp.

The minute the tent was pitched, Juliette started rummaging around in her bag for her swimsuit and put me to work on inflating her mermaid friend.

The rest of the day was a lazy, hazy haze of bobbing and paddling.

I set out on the SUP and thought I would try to paddle to the other end of Lake Wenatchee.  Turns out, Lake Wenatchee is huge, so I turned around after 20 minutes and found Shane and Juliette tucked cozily into the hammock.

Juliette pondered life’s big questions and worked on her super-hero poses while I got dinner ready.

After spaghetti and camp stove s’mores (burn ban…), we made our way to the water to take in the last of the day’s rays.

Shane and Juliette worked tirelessly on their rock-skipping games; Jules was over the moon when her first stone did a little hop on the lake.

Goodnight, lake..

We awoke on Friday to much clearer skies, as much of the smoke had blown through overnight.  Now I see why the campground is called Glacier View!

I sat by the lake with my thermos of coffee while Juliette scoured the shore for more perfect skipping stones.

We packed a picnic lunch around noon and then made the short trek up to Hidden Lake for a mid-day dip.

We ate our sandwiches on a shady log, ditched our shoes and socks, and then waded into the water for some minnow-hunting.  Shane’s patience and cunning (and bread crumbs) paid off in the form of a tiny, squiggly little fish.  Juliette was thrilled by it all.

It might be time to get this kid a pet.

Juliette’s legs gave out when we were about five minutes away from camp, so Shane lugged her along for the last quarter mile.  She always looks back at me with such sly satisfaction when Dad agrees to carry her…

Friday afternoon looked much like Thursday afternoon.  Paddle, float, repeat.

I went out for a long solo paddle and wound my way into a serene little channel at the northern tip of the lake.

By the time I paddled out of the protected little channel, the winds had picked up and the skies had turned gray.  It was a choppy ride back to shore – I was glad to land on solid ground, collapse in my camp chair, and watch Juliette play a rousing game of “toss the rock into the tree stump”.  Only child games…

We turned in extra-early that night, zipping ourselves into our tent before 7 pm when we felt a few raindrops start to fall.

I figured Juliette would easily crash after a long day of playing, but she showed surprising stamina with the books and headlamp!

We decided to head back to Seattle on Saturday – our camping itch had been scratched and we were ready to enjoy the comforts of home.  First, though, an hour-long coffee and hot chocolate session in our camp chairs.

Juliette spent much of the morning “cooking” while Shane and I packed up.  She was a busy little bee, mixing water and black pepper and salt together to make the best soup she’s ever tasted.

Cheers, Lake Wenatchee!

We stopped in Leavenworth on the way home for taffy, bratwursts, and Christmas ornaments (the Bavarian essentials, really).

And with that, Schnell Camp Season 2018 is a wrap!  We really pushed the limits of the PNW’s camping window this year, heading out the first weekend of June and the second weekend of September (with three other trips in between!).  Quite possibly my favorite summer ever…

I just finished Juliette’s birthday video, and, phew.  The feels.  ALL THE FEELS.  Gratitude and joy and a little bit of melancholy.  Four-year-old Jules really was some kind of wonderful, huh?

It’s official: as of Friday, Juliette is FIVE.  And my head is still spinning.  Not just because I can’t figure out how the past half-decade has flown by so quickly, but also because we partied hard for two straight days and I’m still exhausted.

I awoke Friday morning to the tap-tap of Juliette’s finger on my arm and the whisper of her voice:  Is it my birthday now?  Can I open my presents?  I asked her to give me a few minutes to get things ready and then called her out to our balloon-strewn, gift-laden living room.  She got right to business.

I asked Juliette several times what she wanted for her birthday, and it was always “fancy clothes”.  So I went with it – frilly skirts and sparkly headbands and a gold donut purse.

And, though we’ve resisted the princess craze to-date, I gave in and bought her the Elena dress she’s been drooling over since the Halloween costumes hit Costco last month.  Juliette pulled it out of the box and exclaimed, “This is exactly what I wanted!!!”  Shane raised his eyebrows, clearly wondering “Are we really doing this?”, but I reminded him that this is just a phase.  We’ll indulge her, maybe removing some of the allure, and then she’ll get over it.

Shane took the morning off, so after gifts were opened we grabbed breakfast together at Admiral Bird.  I was able to wrangle Juliette out of the princess dress, but the tiara stayed firmly ON.

After waffles, Shane headed into the office and Juliette and I headed out for a surprise adventure: we were Fair-bound!

The Washington State Fair comes to Puyallup every summer and a piece of me has always wanted to go, mostly out of curiosity.  Is it as fun as the commercials make it look?  Or is it a sad, run-down relic of the olden days, when Fairs were really a thing?

Turns out, mostly the former.  At least for a five year old!  Merry-go-rounds and saltwater taffy and tractors, oh my!

We spent a long, long time with the animals, looking at horses and petting goats and sitting down for a dog show when our feet needed a rest.

Juliette begged to go on a pony ride, and while I tried to convince her to hold out for a more legit horseback experience at one of the riding trails near Seattle, she could not be swayed.  So I ponied up ten bucks for the birthday girl.

She was ecstatic afterwards.  Did you see me, Mama?  Can we get a horse?

I had a handful of ride tickets left, so we hit the roller coaster, which was probably as thrilling for me as it was for Juliette.  This kid wears me out, but gosh, in so many ways she makes me feel so exuberantly young.

And then I let her hop on the flying elephant, because, FIVE.

We breezed past the llamas, grabbed a swirl cone, and then called it day.  We were both dragging our feet by the time we reached the car.

But really, the birthday festivities were only beginning!  We dined that night at Chez Rust and raised our glasses to Miss Jules…

And then headed out for a night at the theater.  A kind friend had offered us tickets to the Seattle Children’s Theater’s production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I couldn’t turn them down.  We’ve been reading Eric Carle books to Juliette since she was just a few weeks old and I was eager to see the animals come to life.  The entire thing was magical – I got a little teary-eyed over their enactment of 10 Little Rubber Ducks – I’ve probably read that book to Juliette a hundred times, and the puppets and music were just so achingly beautiful.  They didn’t allow pictures during the play, which is just as well – I want to seal away in my memory the rapt look on Juliette’s face, the way she whisper-gasped, “It’s so, so beautiful, Mama!” when the butterfly emerged from the cocoon.

Saturday was party-day, and we went…big.  Bounce house big.

Turns out a 15′ x 15′ castle fits quite nicely in our backyard!

Since Juliette is so into dressing up these days, I told her buddies to come a little fancy, in a favorite hat or an old Halloween costume or whatever their little hearts desired.

I had extra super-hero masks and plenty of rhinestone stickers on-hand, in case anyone left their accessories at home.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl…

Juliette scarfed down her cupcake in about 15 seconds flat, because…

The bounce house beckoned!

She jumped for hours.  Literally.  It took a candy-filled unicorn piñata to lure her back out.

It was pretty cute, watching the younger kids take their swats.

But I called on the Rust boys when we were ready to crack that puppy open.

Get it, Gryff!

And…mayhem.

The guests trickled out after lunch and then Juliette called for a quick wardrobe change.  She posed for a few pics with her best bud…

And then gave him a very Prom Queen-ish wave good-bye.

After all the kids had left we found ourselves with two hours left on our bounce house rental, so we kept the party going.

I tried cleaning up inside, but kept finding myself drawn out back by the sound of Juliette’s hysterical laughter.

I mean, I just couldn’t resist.

Though Juliette was quite disappointed to see the bounce house guy show up to deflate her magic castle, Shane and I were overwhelmingly relieved.  This girl’s energy is absolutely boundless (ours is not!).

Juliette opened her party gifts on Sunday, and…it’s possible that she might not grow out of this princess phase as soon I imagined.

New rule: Let It Go may be played in the Schnell household once. per. day.

But giggle it up all you want, Jules.  Your laughter is my favorite sound in all the earth.

The past few days have been full of, Look what I can do now that I’m five!  Do I look taller since I’m five?  Do you think I’m reading so good now because I’m five? 

Yes, baby girl, all of it, yes.  You are so wonderfully grown-up and lovely and smart.  Let’s rock FIVE.

Tonight as she was getting ready for bed Juliette turned to me and said, “Mama!  Can you even believe I’m going to be five in three days?  Are you soooooo excited?!”  And I exclaimed, “Yes!  Five is going to be amazing!”  But in my head, the voices were shouting, “Stop stop stop stop STOP growing so fast, baby girl.”

Four has just been so stinking good – I’m not ready for it to be over.  Juliette eased my woes a bit when she put her arms around me and reminded me, “But I’ll still be your baby when I’m fifty-five, Mama.”  She’s got a valid point.  So let’s close out Four with a few sweet snapshots and then All Hail FIVE!

Juliette’s current favorite pastime is to raid her dress-up drawer and sashay around the house in tutus and sunglasses.  We’ll be hanging out in the living room or the backyard, then inspiration will suddenly strike and she’ll say she has to go get something, really quick.  Minutes later she’ll emerge in full get-up and ask Alexa to play I Won’t Say I’m In Love from Hercules. I LOVE HER.

When her tried-and-true accessories get old, we make our own.

OR, she rummages around in Daddy’s closet, as a healthy counter-balance to her recent princess infatuation.

 

Four hasn’t been all tiaras and dance parties, though. There are days when this girl seems absolutely un-pleasable, when requests for screen time or sweets are incessant and followed by unbearable bouts of whining or pouting.  “But Moooooommy!  You never let me watch shows [false!] or have candy [lie!]!”  Shane and I have learned that one of the best ways to pull Juliette out of a funk is to tap into her inner helper and ask her to come alongside us in a project.  She’s a super little side-kick, whether it’s “checking my drawings” as I work at the dining room table…

Or “fixing the ladder” while Dad works in the garage (safety glasses required, but pants are optional).

We recently started letting her earn money for chores, like unloading the dishwasher or sweeping the back porch, and after several weeks of careful saving, I took her to Target so that she could pick out something to buy with the whopping ten bucks in her wallet.  We wandered the toy aisles for a very (very) long time and then Juliette settled on the sparkliest piece of plastic she could find – a JoJo microphone that lights up and plays Boomerang.  On repeat.  Not my first choice (I was willing to chip in a few bucks for a cool puzzle or a Lego set!), but it was in fact her money to spend.  And she’s most definitely gotten her ten bucks’ worth.

 

After a stint of being easily frustrated and prone to quitting, Super-Girl is showing new levels of perseverance and determination.  She decided a few weeks ago to take on the monkey bars and worked those things at every playground we visited, slipping off rung after rung but always getting back up for another go.  She spent her recess time at school hanging and swinging, coming home at the end of the day with blisters on her hands.  But finally, she got it!  She made it across a full set without dropping.  And she was stoked.

 

We’ve been loving home-time more than ever but still itch to get out and about on our Fridays and weekends. I decided on a whim to see if Juliette still fits in her running stroller, and…hey!  Turns out her legs still fold up into this thing quite nicely!  We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past few weeks, walking to the library and the ice cream shop and the waterfront and the Farmer’s Market.

Juliette reads her Star Wars comic books or tells me stories while we walk.

The stroll down to the water on this particular day was lovely, but the trek uphill was so tough that Juliette had to climb out of the stroller and help me push!

I love dahlias, too, Jules!

 

Finally, a few pics from Labor Day, because they capture the joys of this current age and season so perfectly – walks down to the beach, goofy giggles, heart-shaped sunglasses…summer with a four-year-old has been magic.

 

When I told Juliette back in July that Morgan and Elise would be coming to visit in mid-August, she excitedly said, “You mean they’re coming tomorrow?!”  I told her that their visit was still a month away, to which she replied, “You mean in two days?!”  And thus the torturous wait began.  We made a countdown calendar, but the boxes just couldn’t be checked fast enough – when Mitch and the girls finally rolled up last month, Juliette flew across the room to greet them.  Her cousin-love runs deep.

Kathryn was away on a work trip and Mitch was flying solo with his girls, so I figured I’d take Juliette to school on Thursday since I had to be in the office.  But when Uncle Mitch asked Juliette if she wanted to spend the day with him and her cousins instead of going to school, she about keeled over with joy.  They hit four playgrounds, the beach, and a coffee shop that day.  And he still had energy for a post-dinner round of Candyland.  My brother’s the bomb.

I was thrilled to join in on the fun on Friday.  Also thrilled to roll out of bed much later than usual and find these three quietly reading in Juliette’s room.

Also thrilled to be entertained by a super-fly dance trio during my morning coffee.

Mitch and Kathryn had just bought a new paddle board and the girls were eager to try it out, so we spent Friday afternoon bobbing around Lake Sammamish.  The new SUP was great, though for some reason Mitch had a tough time building any momentum.

These three are water-babies through and through.

Lake life 4-ever.

Before we left, I insisted that all three girls get back out on the mermaid one more time, as I had spent longer blowing it up than they’d spent using it.  All that effort couldn’t be for naught!

Juliette and Elise took my request very seriously and spent a good 45 minutes drifting around while Morgan took a nap on the beach blanket.

I’d say I got my breath’s worth.

We dined that night at home on Mitch’s famous burgers…

And then took our dessert down to the water for a sunset fix.

Heart: FULL.

Kathryn joined us late Friday night and then the Jarrell clan set out for Whistler on Saturday morning.  First, though, one more walk along the waterfront, so they could stretch their legs before the journey ahead.

Juliette, as expected, cried when they left.  I, as expected, pulled out my calendar and started planning our next trip down to Portland.  Cousins, we’re coming for ya.

After our June and July camping bonanzas, we stayed close to home this month, soaking in the beauty of our own backyard.  I mean, I would gladly spend the entirety of summer out on Orcas Island, but August in Seattle ain’t too shabby…

The extra-warm days were spent splashing in the kiddie pool…

And then reading bedtime books on the back patio.

(Meanwhile, I got out for a sunset walk as often as possible).

We occasionally hear a little knock on our door after dinnertime and find the neighborhood kids standing there asking if Juliette wants to come out and play – she has her shoes on before I can even nod yes.  We made numerous trips to the local playground, cruising on two wheels:

And then four:

Juliette’s not quite solid enough on the bike to bomb down the extra-hilly streets near our house, so when she wants to get out for a legit ride we head down to the flat, scenic waterfront.  Lincoln Park at sunset is A++ (even in the smoke).

And this little stretch of Sound-front down the hill from us is prime biking territory.

I was feeling that old Lake Longing a few weeks ago, so we packed up our paddle board and drove over to Beaver Lake in Sammamish to check out the scene there.  And the scene there was…good.

It’s a mellow little spot and the perfect place to drift around on a giant mermaid floaty (an impulse buy I have not the slightest regret over).

By mid-afternoon the lake was hoppin’, but Juliette navigated among the unicorns and rafts with total ease.  Next year, she might be ready for her own mini paddle board!

SO HAPPY.

The three of us checked an item off our Seattle bucket list when we spent a Friday afternoon at Colman Pool.  I’ve heard this waterfront outdoor pool is amazing, and it was high time that we saw it for ourselves.

Juliette sported Shane’s cool goggles and made excellent progress on conquering her fear of getting her face in the water.

Cannon ballllllll!

Every time we got out of the pool for a snack/warm-up break I figured we were finished with the swimming, but…

Nope.

Dad’s turn!

Seriously, see what we’ve been missing for the past 13 years?  Shame on us!

And so…August is a wrap.  And I’m fine.  It’s fine.  Everything is fine.  (Subtext:  SUMMER, DON’T GOOOOOOO!!!)

Despite the extra hours of daylight, it somehow feels like time actually accelerates in Seattle during the summer.  My stomach does a sad little flip with each page-turn of the calendar.  I mean, it’s already August!  AUGUST!  Where did July go?  (Turns out, in looking back through my photo stream, I can tell you exactly where it went…)

The Fourth of July was spent at Rattlesnake Lake, shivering a bit in the morning breeze and then eventually letting the sun lure us into the water.

 

The winds out in the middle of the lake were pretty intense, causing Jack to take an unexpected dip in the water.

And this posse started out with toe-dips but was soaked by the time we left.

Seriously, our Lake Love runs deep.

 

Back at home, we brought out the sparklers and smoke bombs with the neighbors.

Ah, this age where excitement is found in the simplest of pleasures!

The other neighbor kids came and knocked on our door after dinner and asked if we wanted to watch their fireworks show – we walked over to find an arsenal of Ground Blooms and Fountains and Bottle Rockets on the sidewalk while one of the dads stood by with a blow torch.  The next hour was a barrage of booms and fizzles and children squealing, “Light this one, Daddy!  Light this one!”.

Golly, I love our street.

A couple of days later, Juliette and I headed to Remlinger Farms for our annual berry-picking pilgrimage.  Jules got right to work, popping huge red raspberries into her bucket (and her mouth).

Six pounds later, we were done.

(And quite proud of ourselves.)

The three of us hit up Lake Washington Boulevard a couple of times last month for bicycle Sundays – Juliette continues to be a little champ on two wheels.

And Friend-Fridays!  They’ve been extra-good lately.  We spent one sunny morning with N and LaV at Gene Coulon Park, trying (and failing) to catch minnows in buckets.

Last Friday we went to Henry Moses Aquatic Center for some legit summer swimming, and these two little fishes had the time of their lives.

We’ve been doing the splash park circuit on the weekends, meeting up with friends to romp at Jefferson Park and Georgetown Playfield.

And ’tis the season for baseball!  The three of us took in a Mariners game with my co-workers at my office’s summer picnic.

Juliette was really into it for about half an inning, but lost interest when she found out the Giants weren’t playing (I get it, kiddo).

But, the Giants were playing at Safeco a week later, so we played hooky with the Chens on a Wednesday afternoon to cheer on our boys.

Sadly, the Giants lost, but at least there were no gloating Mariners fans in our midst as we were surrounded by orange and black.

La Verne asked us last weekend if we were interested in tagging along with them to the Seattle Chamber Music performance at Volunteer Park, so we packed our cooler with wine and watermelon and joined them for a perfect evening of classical music.

…and contemporary art!

And now, it’s August.  The last full month of summer.  May it be chock-full of warmth, water, and more simple wonders.

I wasn’t super-jazzed about outdoor sleeping when a crow woke Juliette up at 5:45 on Saturday morning, but when Shane and the guys returned at 6:15 from their sunrise bike ride up Mount Constitution (those crazy cats!), I sent her out to hang with him and dozed for another hour while the sun came up and sufficiently warmed our tent.  Once I was up and ready to take over Jules-duty, Shane snagged his own morning snooze.

We packed up our coolers and drove over to Cascade Lake around lunchtime for some beach action.  La Verne and I ran a quick(ish) loop around the lake before settling in with the group for sandwiches, Spikeball, and cold beverages.

I took Jules out for a paddle but got no more than 20 feet off-shore before deciding to head back because of the heavy winds.  Only, I couldn’t head back…after several minutes of fighting the current and paddling in-place, we let the breeze carry us down-shore, where Shane met us and pulled us up to dry land.

These brave little mates were rewarded with ice cream for keeping their cool on the troubled waters.

And, home, sweet home…

Jordan had joined us that morning but clearly had some recuperating to do after his uber-early ferry ride.

Jordan’s chair quickly became Biscuit’s favorite seat in the house.

The afternoon and evening was filled with water play, hammock time, and campfire chats.

Shane offered to cover bedtime so that I could sneak away with La Verne and Jordan to Mount Constitution to catch the sunset.

And it was amazing up there.  Dusky and purply and so much like a soft pastel painting.

GOOD night.

The Chens packed up camp on Sunday morning and bid us farewell, as they needed to get back to Seattle.  First, though, a couple of pics…

And a trip into town for pastries and WiFi.

Back at camp, Jordan converted his Honda into a party pad and the kids perched up there for awhile, launching pine cones at miscellaneous targets.

I had spotted the serene-looking Twin Lakes from Mount Constitution the night before and proposed we make the 2-mile trek.  We headed out around lunchtime, backpacks filled with water and snacks and swimsuits.  We’d heard murmurings of a rope swing on Mountain Lake and came across it a half-mile in.  Seeing as how it was Jason’s birthday, he got first dibs.

Jason Tarzanned into the water, then Jordan, then Shane, and then I channeled my inner adventurer and had a go.

The exhilaration!  The glee!  The water up my nose!  It was a blast.

After multiple shenanigans, we eventually put our shoes back on and hit the trail to Twin Lakes.  We ate lunch at one of the lake’s quiet shores while Biscuit went for a swim.

And our way back, we took our own dip at a quiet stretch of shore on Mountain Lake.

I swam part of the way back to camp while the rest of the group hiked and was plumb tuckered out by late afternoon, sitting back in a chair while the kids slack-lined and deer-hunted.

We all got in one last paddle session before dinner…

And then we kicked backed in front of the roaring campfire, courtesy of Isaiah.

Happy birthday, J!  I can’t imagine a better place to turn another year older.

Monday was go-day, but I was determined to savor every last minute on the water.  Juliette and I paddled out to one of the lake’s little islands and she hid a special rock that she had colored the day before, thrilled by the idea of someone someday finding her special treasure.

We pretended we were legitimate explorers and combed the island for special sticks to bring back to Shane.

Gah!  This girl and this place.  Pure joy.

Nance and I went for a quick swim while Shane deflated our paddle board and then it was time to go.  Jules was none-too-pleased by the idea of leaving our site.

…Or our buddies.

But alas, Seattle was calling us back.  Shane and I agree this was our favorite-ever campsite.  Totally worth the nine-month wait.  Totally.

Shane’s a planner. I love him for it. And sometimes I capitol-L L-o-v-e him for it, like when he gets up early on an October morning to reserve a campsite for the following July. We’ve been dreaming of setting up our tent on Orcas Island for a couple of years but weren’t ever able to secure a spot, as the best sites book nine months out. This year, though, this was our year! A couple of Thursdays ago we boarded the Anacortes ferry and floated toward Orcas to claim our reservation at Mountain Lake in Moran State Park.

(We were all pumped.)

We had invited the gang along and found the Chen tent already pitched when we rolled up. Jules greeted her best buddy with a hug while I stood still for a moment and took in the smell of the trees and sparkle of the lake and the sound of the wind. The woods have become our summer home away from home, and I felt home.

Over the course of the afternoon and evening, paddle boards were inflated, a hammock was strung, swimsuits were donned, and margaritas were mixed. When we settle into camp, we settle in!

The Rust clan rolled in around dinnertime and by 7 pm we were gathered around a campfire with our crew, eating brats and drinking beer and watching the sun dip and suffuse our site with that glorious late-day smoky glow.

Our collective watercraft have never been more well-utilized than they were during this camp trip.

Oh, to end each day this way…

Mornings were always leisurely, with a long, lazy breakfast, maybe an early paddle.  I mean, why rush off from here?

But we eventually summoned enough get-up-and-go to pack up a picnic lunch and head to Obstruction Pass for a short hike and some water-side lounging.

The rocky beach was warm and quiet – we found a shady spot to spread out our blankets and then cracked open the canned Rosé.

The kids and their dads scampered on the rocks and hunted for tiny crabs while I fell into a sun-and-wine stupor…

We swung by Buck Bay on the way back to camp to check out their fresh seafood offerings. This place was charming and chill, with picnic tables and mermaid murals and buckets scattered about with labels that read “Toss Empty Oyster Shells Here”.

Juliette was a little perplexed by the thought of plucking a live crab out of the water and cracking it open as a snack.

Jack’s planner-proclivities come through whenever food and drink is involved, and sure enough, he pulled out a bottle of chilled white wine just as a dozen oysters arrived at our table.

You can see from Shane’s face here that he hasn’t entirely recovered from the oyster trauma he endured at Hood Canal last summer…

Back at camp, Jack and Shane took a dip while the kids cheered them on from the shore.

It wasn’t long before all the kids had their swimsuits on as well.

I took Nico and Jules out on the paddle board to meet up with Jack mid-swim.

I agree, Gryff – this lake gets TWO THUMBS UP.

Dinnertime!

And dessert!

La Verne and I hopped on our paddle boards after s’mores for a sunset row. La Verne remarked at how good the water felt as she waded in and stood up on her board; I launched myself right behind her and then, as if in slow motion, watched the tip of my board bump into the back of hers, causing her to lose her balance and tumbled right into the lake. I apologized profusely and offered to grab her a towel and dry clothes, but she was incredibly gracious and hopped right back up for our evening paddle, wet clothes and all! I felt terrible.  But I mean, the water was lovely that night. I got out for my own short swim before bed, rinsing off a couple of days of camp life in the glassy lake.

Up next:  paddle, swim, eat, repeat.