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Archive for the ‘Grandparents’ Category

Almost to Waldron Island, we met up with my parents and Noah. The motoring mothership dwarfed the kayak we generally call the Big Banana. Dana elected to jump on board with them, so Tom & I powered the crossing without her.

The mothership motored ahead for a bit, then paced us alongside (“you’re making almost 5 knots” dad yelled), and finally settled in behind us.

With the weather a bit grey, we were happy to slide into Mail Bay and land right onto the beach. The mothership, of course, had to fiddle with their anchor and their dinghy to come ashore. Two very different species (the whale and the minnow?), double the options for the kids, an awesome adventure to Waldron Island.

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Previously, we divided our adventures into his, hers, and ours (the whole family). As the kids get older, and now that one set of grandparents has moved to town, we can parent adventure as well. The kids can stay home for swim team or cross country practice if they choose, and we can grab a little window of outdoor time.

We had two nights and 3 days to work with, so headed out on our bicycles early, were in Anacortes 3 hours later, and on the state ferry soon after. We rode on San Juan Island to our favorite hiker-biker site at the San Juan County Park, from which you get amazing sunsets and almost always see whales.

Except we saw no whales that evening. But then we spent the next day at Lime Kiln State Park, and there we were lucky enough to see thirty-some whales slowly passing by for almost four hours. I love hearing people ooh and ahh like they’re watching fireworks each time an orca’s huge dorsal fin breaks the surface.

We bicycled on Lopez Island on our third day and wandered some roads we hadn’t traveled on previous trips. We were lucky to have a simple parent bicycle venture with great weather, spectacular whale watching, and a personalized ferry pick-up from my parents. Pretty decadent to now have that option.

We loaded our bicycles onto the back of their boat, padded them with a couple towels, and bungied them in place. Then we watched little clear jellyfish by the hundreds as we made our way across the water towards home.

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Our holiday adventures included picking oranges and tangerines in my sister’s neighborhood. A year ago, she noticed the citrus going to waste in her southern California town and thought about her social work clients who need food.

To help connect the going-to-waste fruit to those who would welcome eating it, she created a little project she calls Backyard Bounty. She coordinates groups of friends, or her daughter’s Daisy troop, to pick the trees of people she has approached about getting their excess produce to those in need. So on Christmas Day, 10 of us picked three heavily laden trees. My kids and their cousin reached what they could and then climbed into the trees, handing fruit down to their grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

It was a different type of family adventure for us, but sold me on doing charitable work as a family. We helped contribute 8 bins and two 5-gallon buckets of fresh produce to the local food bank. Good work, and good work together.

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Yesterday my mother-in-law earned her first place age-group gold medal nordic ski skating the Garland Glide 10K. Today she’s classic cross-country skiing with her granddaughter. It is a beautiful Michigan winter day, somehow sunny and yet snowing so lightly that the air looks like it is glittering. While I am chastened that my mother-in-law is way faster than me at this sport, I am psyched that she is such a great role model for my daughter.p11907481

Having a Michigan Cup champion ski racing grandma who has competed in the Masters World Cup in cross-country skiing in Moscow, Italy, Finland, and Idaho is a powerful reminder that outdoor adventuring after age 70 is possible. I admire the medals, but even more the excitement in her voice when she talks about a great ski day and the camaraderie among folks who love the sport. Grandpa too is a fit nordic skier, and glad to see his granddaughter out enjoying winter on skis.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t have as much opportunity to cross-country ski as grandma and grandpa, but we know they are classic and skate ski racing every weekend this winter, and we think of them with love and admiration. They are probably role models in adventure not just for us, but for the young folks at those races too.

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