Back to Hunkering Down

Grandparenting is fun and this weekend much too short.

One last splash in the creek. One last barefoot in the mud. One last speed-crawl across the dusty grass. Then homeward.

Bill and I explored a little on the way home. We walked some of the Theler Wetlands Preserve trails and made plans to return to kayak the Union River (which we did several weeks later. We had a lovely, lazy paddle, pole, and drag. The tide was pretty low, but the sandy bottom was nice.)

We’re looking forward to our next grandparenting outing!

Kayaking and marshmallow guns

This morning was overcast and pleasant. I asked Ben how he slept in the over-cab bunk and he said he had “30 winks.” His dad’s morning grogginess verified that 3/4 of a night’s sleep was about right.

Breakfast pancakes were fine even though I remembered too late that the mason jar in the cooler was ice cream mix–the milk was in the other cooler in a mineral water bottle. Sweet pancakes don’t need syrup and we didn’t really need ice cream anyway.

Lynsey, Bill, Rob and Ben spent some time on the beach while Alex and I napped and read. Ben was intrigued by the clams, oysters, tiny crabs and seaweed poppers. He also got used to the mud.

The lovely, shady, shallow creek near our campsite opened into the canal a short walk away. Bill carried the kayaks down for us and I took Ben for a paddle. We have Walden Paddlers. They’re flat-bottomed, extremely stable boats. We’ve had three-year-olds happily paddling around in them.

I hooked Ben’s boat to mine with a tow rope and we headed out. I thought I was paddling in the direction he chose, but quickly realized that he wanted to cross the canal. Um, nope!

Ben used his paddle to poke at the stuff he saw under water, bright green seaweed, dark green grassy water weeds, medium green seaweed with air pockets, many other underwater plants, shellfish, and lots of multicolor rocks. Ben seemed fascinated with his new perspective on the world.

When we beached, Ben got very concerned and very busy. He dug the super big red carabiner into the rocks. Put a big rock on top and let me know “that should hold it for awhile.” I guess he’s been learning about anchors.

Lynsey and Alex watched from the beach

I’m learning Gramma skills. Next time I’ll bring regular yellow French’s mustard and Swiss Miss. Save the spicy brown Gulden’s and artisanal cocoa with nibs for other trips.

I’m not a total Gramma-fail. I remembered to pack my marshmallow guns. The adults had some sustained conversation time while Alex crawled around and Ben gleefully shot marshmallows at tree, stump, and rock targets and ran off some energy retrieving marshmallows.

Should we be doing this?

Belfair State Park Weekend

It’s Saturday afternoon and we’re heading back toward Hood Canal to camp at Belfair State Park. Covid is still raging as I’m very well aware.

I’ve spent the last month calling people with positive Covid tests and their close contacts. My team collects data to inform our state public health response and to make sure those who need it most have accurate information about isolation and quarantine. We’re also trying to provide resources so these folks can safely stay away from others.

Most of the people I talk to are conciously trying to help stop Covid spreading– doing their best based on their understanding.  Me too.

Bill and I have been been staying home.  He goes into the office once a week for about 20 minutes to swap paper files. He wears a mask and there’s usually no one else there. Bill does our shopping once every week or two. Sarah and a Erik are at our house for Pinniped practice on Sundays–outside and distanced with more tunes and less songs–Sarah’s immune system is not robust,  we’re especially careful around her.

So why am I spending the weekend camping with my grandkids and their parents?

It’s not the safest choice for us or our society and I’m not certain it’s a responsible choice.

Yes, I will hug the kids,  hold hands with the kids,  and read books to the kids while they snuggle on my lap. We’ll wear masks in public areas but not in our campsite.  We’ll self impose a 2 week quarantine on ourselves just in case.  Enough?  I don’t know.  I’ll check back in two weeks with an update.

Belfair State Park

Rob picked great campsites.  A few trees, a perfect creek, and the beach just down the road. They rented a motorhome so we all had comfy beds.

Ben is four. He wanted to take off his water shoes so they wouldn’t get wet in the creek.

He happily stood right on the edge of the water and built a line of rocks. A particularly nice rock in the middle of the creek caught his eye and he asked if I’d carry him out to it.

I said I’d hold his hand.

A minute later he was tromping up and down the creek, giggling when it reached the bottom of his shorts and generally having a great time.

The line of rocks turned into a very long T.

Alex, at nine months, isn’t quite walking, but he’s close. He pulls himself up and cruises along. He loves to walk if you hold his hands. Alex got very grubby, very fast crawling everywhere. (Alex takes after me!)

We always bring our scope for looking at birds. Tonight we used it for spectacular views of Saturn, Jupiter, and the Moon. Saturn was tilted just right. The rings were so clear. We could see several of Jupiter’s moons, and craters on our moon. Lovely.

Naked eye viewing was beautiful too!

UPDATE: All is well. Parents, Grandparents, and kids all fine. I’m limiting my interactions to Zoom, Skype, and Teams from now until an effective vaccine is available.