It has been wonderful having Ariel with us these past two weeks.
While it was crowded a couple of times, the opportunity to interact and spend time together as a family was incredibly worthwhile. We've had an adventure nearly every day including:
Listening to Sam practice the oral presentation part of his book report on My Teacher is an Alien. "Imagine Ms. Bouton was secretly plotting to capture us and take us away in her space ship."
Putting off homework and traversing Ring Mountain with Ariel and Sam. We parked our car on one side then climbed up and over the mountain and back to our home. Then, we drove back around the mountain in her car to pick our car up. It was a clear, refreshing day.
(I am starting to see merit in playing after school during the waning daylight hours and saving Sam's homework until later.)
Driving to the top of Mt. Tam to admire the view from the highest peak in the area.
We watched the sunset and talked about exploring Mt. Diablo another day.
Hiking a mile and a half to Tennessee Beach. Being impressed by the dramatic waves crashing. Having fun playing with the sand. Hiking a mile and a half back.
Hearing Cam talk enthusiastically about his new job. Celebrating Ariel landing a theater job. Considering a new job of my own.
Practicing being a substitute teacher. Enjoying teaching history and literature to a group of fourth graders one day. Filling in as the Physical Education instructor another day. Teaching basketball to them. Making a basket during demonstrations. Enjoying being in charge. Discussing resigning from my part-time position as an Instructional Aide to work full-time as a sub for the district after the first of the year. I could make enough money to stay home with Sam this summer and gain new experiences while still investigating grad school.
Jogging in the rain with Sam and Ariel while my adrenaline was still pumping from substitute teaching basketball. Ending up at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center. Happily finding it open. Exploring the muddy nature trails along the foggy bay. Meeting a friendly staff member who showed Ariel and me the worm farms Sam had seen on a recent field trip.
Spending two hours attempting to make an Indian pumpkin soup recipe my friend Lockshme recently discovered and loves. Realizing we didn't have some essential ingredients. Having lukewarm results. Sharing it with my friend Jennifer from work. Having her discuss careers in market research with Cam. Hearing about the job interview she had that is taking her to Maryland.
Sharing Thai food and conversation with our upstairs neighbors and friends. Enjoying Ariel's curry. Eating fresh berries with homemade whipped cream. Playing cards. Sharing stories. Swapping favorite books. Reading about magical creatures.
This morning, we will head out on separate adventures. Ariel is driving 12+ hours across Nevada into Utah to spend the holidays with our Aunt Maria and the rest of our family who live there. Her girl, Ash is meeting her there after Christmas to share the drive back to the Bay area. They are going to stay with some of Ash's friends for awhile upon their return while they decide what they want to do next.
This afternoon, Cam, Sam and I are headed towards Louisiana. We are looking forward to spending the holidays with Cam's dad, Jim and his step-mom, Liz. We will be there for his dear friends, Anthony & Jeanette's, son Lucas' christening and spend some time getting to know their family.
We plan to have dinner with Cam's Uncle Ruud from his mom's side and meet at least one of Cam's step-brothers. My parents are planning to drive south to spend some time with us too.
Sam and I haven't seen where Cam grew up yet. There are many places he wants to share with us. We are happy to be along for the ride.
Enjoy your time this holiday season.