grandma

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summer with grandma

ava spent the latter half of her summer hanging out with grandma in thunder bay. they had a summer full of good times and fun adventures including camping, concerts, chicken-chasing, classes, fairs and bears. and, of course, lots of time to just enjoy grandma's house. full album here.

grandma's chickens

due to a rather late-breaking change in the schedule for the end of the nyc school year, ava hopped up to thunder bay for a quick early-summer visit. among other things, this meant that she got to meet grandma's new chickens. and who knew... a case could definitely be made that chickens make better pets then cats.

i had no idea that chickens actually like humans. provided that you don't lunge at them, the chickens will actually voluntarily come see what you're up to - even if you don't have any food. and, they aren't so very smart, so if you stay still for a minute, then grab 'em real quick when they get close, they aren't too hard to catch. i wouldn't say they are exactly snuggly, but if you hold them correctly, they'll put up with it. and they are so soft, like little bunnies!

ava spent hours hanging out in the chicken run. she hammered them together a perch, stole all the cat toys and gave them to the chickens, and made them a little swimming pool. and after a few days, she was an expert at chicken capture too.

in addition to chicken farming, ava and grandma had a busy week full of hiking, picnics on the beach and tending to the garden. full album here

Lake Superior Ski Division Championship

Ava popped up to Thunder Bay to visit Grandma (and winter) for her Mid-Winter school break. I came up to pick her up at the end and got to see her compete in the Lake Superior Ski Division Championship.

Ava was the only 5-year old skiing in the 8-and-under category. There is also a 5-and-under category, but the course 100 meters long, which is just silly for Ava. Ava skiied the same 800m course that she raced on Boxing Day, and once again I attempted to follow her around and take pictures.

I did not do nearly as well with pictures this time though, because Ava had gotten way too fast! Despite my attempts to sabotage her performance by tripping and falling in front of her, Ava sailed through the course 2 minutes faster then in December (finishing in 8 minutes).

Christmas 2011

ski camp

christmas began for ava on december 9th, when she flew up to thunder bay with grandma to begin her three weeks of "ski camp". despite her short stay in the wintery north, due to grandma's every day training camp, ava passed all the way through "level 1" in jackrabbits. when she comes back in february, she'll start level 2, and start skiing with poles.

christmas traditions

christmas in thunder bay follows a pleasurable pattern. this year's theme for quinn's magical family christmas cake was "santa's workshop".

ava and john assembled multiple components of lego city. by the end, ava was able to nearly follow the directions for the speedboat all on her own. we all predict that daddy will be superfluous in next year's legoing.

lappe boxing day classic

ava stepped it up a (big) notch in this year's boxing day ski race. she graduated from the 200m race to the 1 KM race. the weather was mild (-2 C) and just before her race the sun came out for about five minutes. the result of the brief warming was that your skis got temporarily glued to the ground. this resulted in 80% of the kids in ava's division falling over trying to get out of the gate. ava was no exception, but she just got up and kept on trucking, finishing her 1km course in 10 minutes and 46 seconds.

skating

the city of thunder bay outdid itself with a brand new outdoor skating rink at the thunder bay marina. the rink comes complete with a heated indoor changing area, from which you can stroll outside in her your skates right on to the ice. well done!

sleigh ride

we conveniently picked the only cold day of the entire christmas week for our annual sleigh ride. thankfully, everybody seemed to remember how you usually need to dress in thunder bay in december, and the frostiness didn't matter much.

due to low snow and high temps the little sledding hill at the sleigh ride place was an ice track. this turned out to be a good thing - bumpy but really fun and fast.

measuring by where her runs ended, ava's little green sled was the fasted sled on the hill. so fast that i would slide down on my stomach behind her for the first 10 feet, acting as a temporary brake. at the bottom, ava quickly perfected the emergency exit. see tree coming. roll out of sled.

the grown-ups had fun too.

the white stuff

snow was in uncharacteristically low supply this december, but things picked up just before john and i arrived, and there were several good snowfalls during our visit. ava enjoyed all snowy activities, but she seemed to get a particular kick out of sledding this year, so we graduated her to "the big hill" at centennial.

ava's october trip to grandma's

typically, grandma comes for a visit to california in october. however, due to our double bathroom remodel, we decided it would be more fun for everyone to send ava up to thunder bay again instead.

they attended every halloween gathering that thunder bay had to offer, romped through the boreal forest, collected lots of treasures, and took some interesting baths.... lots more pictures here

grandma, what's a clothesline?

while ava was gone in august, i enjoyed hearing about all the funny things she said and did. one day, grandma was reading ava a story, and in the story a mother was hanging clothes on the line. ava asked, 'what's a clothesline, grandma?". lol. well, there definitely aren't many clotheslines here in foggy san francisco!

great lake. bad name

grandma took ava on a visit to titmarsh lake - my very favorite camping spot as a child. titmarsh is a beautiful lake with golden sandy shores and towering white pine trees, and even (if you're very lucky) the occasional lady's slipper orchid.

titmarsh reserves it's very best feature just for kids though... the depth of the water increases very very very slowly. you can probably walk out a quarter of a mile and still only be up ava's waist! in fact, it's a knee high stroll out to the little island in this picture. exploring this island was one of my favorite adventures... and apparently ava was similarly enamored.

live from the rock

with momy out of the way, and safely back in california, ava and grandma took off for a few days of partying at "live from the rock", an outdoor music festival in red rock california.

i'm sure that ava and grandma took in a kid-centered slice of the full offerings, but it looked pretty idyllic for four year-olds to me. what could be better than a music festival that comes complete with drums to play, big girls to hang out with, room to do cartwheels and a lake to go swimming in?

cascades

grandma's house is about a mile walk from the cascades section of the current river. as you might expect, the cascades is a stretch of river with many picturesque waterfalls. even better the banks of the river are vast expanses of granite - perfect for trapping little "tide pools" and for creating fun scrambling challenges for small kids

it used to be a bit of a chore to drag ava down to the cascades, as it was really a bit too far for the little legs. however, thanks to daddy's to-and-from-school marching this is easily within ava's reach now. and it goes by even quicker when grandma invites a friend along too!

apparently the cascades was also the only place grandma got ava to sit still all summer, and grandma managed quite a little fashion photo shoot!

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