Spring 2015.    ~mike gradziel.
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At the beginning of June we went to Yosemite and stayed four nights in a cabin. This gave ample time for exploring Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome, the Mariposa Grove of big trees, and the Yosemite Valley in between Norman's naps as well as extended breakfasts and dinners at the cabin. The first two days it rained in the afternoon as mountain thunderstorms came through. I realized I had not seen trees in leaf there since 2002! The landscape was so lush, but also was very crowded with people. Usually I am there in the winter when there is snow and accommodations are cheaper and easier to book. Norman particularly enjoyed playing in the rain and in the muddy sand at the edge of Mirror Lake, where a duck came to visit him. Immediately he pointed to it and said "I want" over and over again. He also was very interested in the squirrels.


We're back from Norman's first camping trip! 9-10 April 2015, age 18 months. Two days before we left, Norman finally started walking significant distances on his own. Overnight, he went from cautious ten-step bursts to meandering around the house for minutes at a time, standing up and sitting down repeatedly. Joy had bought him a backpack so we loaded this with his clothes and strapped it on him for the short walk to the campsite, but the slight weight of this kiddie pack a.k.a. wearable carseat proved to be more than he could manage. In the end, he and the pack got carried to the campsite. Within sight of San Francisco, on a point of land south of Stinson Beach in Mt Tam state park, the Steep Ravine camp area has seven walk-in tent sites and nine cabins. Reservations are hard to come by so when we saw a tent site open on a Thursday night six weeks earlier we took it. With flush toilets and running cold water a four minute walk from the site, and a water tap a minute's walk away, it was a good place to get Norman acquainted with the outdoors. We did however learn that considering all the liquids an 18 month old can produce, hot running water and soap are really nice to have and camping for more than one night is probably not going to be something we yearn to do for some small number of years. One night is great fun, though: the tent is basically like an inflatable bouncy house, there are rocks to climb and slide on, there is fire in various forms, the view of airplanes flying overhead is unobstructed, and there are so many interesting plants to investigate.



We commute and/or work ten to twelve hours a day, and almost half of every weekend day we spend playing with the youngster, feeding the youngster, washing the youngster, or encouraging the youngster to go to sleep. This leaves a little time for cooking, vaccuuming, mopping, dusting, washing clothes and towels and sheets, ironing, and buying groceries. There is also some time for cutting the grass, a little landscaping, and some significant construction projects in the back yard. There is little time, however, to go out and do cool things and take pictures of them. We've managed to do a little of that over the first quarter of 2015 and here are the photos. Oh, wait, these are almost all pictures of the youngster. Well, this is what we did:


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