We're not bumper sticker people. I should rephrase. I'm not really a bumper sticker person and my husband is definitely not. Still, he humored me when I asked if I could put one, just one, bumper sticker on my car. So around we've driven with a KEEP TAHOE BLUE sticker on our car for the past five years. Although, it seems that, at some point, someone tried to remove the slogan from my vehicle and now it reads more like KEEI TAHOE BLUE. Despite my dislike of a car tattooed in bumper wear, I slapped another one on this year.
It reads: Lake Tahoe is my happy place.
Because it is. And well, that's my new hair. I chopped it all off a few days before I left for the lake but I never got around to posting a picture. But back to the lake and how it's my happy place. The only place that time flies faster than Tahoe is Hawaii. Even then it's probably a tie, really. I spent 10.5 days and 11 nights at the lake and it feels like I was gone for a long weekend. No Internet. No television. Very limited cell service. Pine trees. The sound of the creek rushing just a street away. I saw a sign hanging over a cabin that read, Welcome to God's Country, and although I happen to think that every nook and cranny in this whole created universe is God's country, I know just what they mean and I couldn't say it better myself.
Matthew started the week off in the worst mood I've seen since his first few weeks of life. He wanted me to hold him all. the. time. And if I had to put him down to, say, use the bathroom or brush my teeth or sit in peace for two seconds, he flipped out. And when I say flipped out I mean turn into a crazed and mortally wounded coyote. He wouldn't go near my dad for three whole days. It was absolutely horrendous behavior. Still, I was able to catch this shot of his first glimpse at the lake.
The Rock Star talked incessantly about going fishing with his Grampa. So, while I stood around taking pictures and swatting the mosquitoes off of myself and my son, they fished together. Garrett caught (drum roll please) Grandpa. That's right. At one point his hook somehow managed to nick the backside of my dad's shorts. As I was the only other adult at the creek, I had to remove the hook from my father's posterior. It was high times. Thankfully we were able to use Garrett's fishing pole to catch crawdads later in the week because they were the only thing, other than the mosquitoes, that were biting. After this particular fishing excursion the car was full of blood suckers. I smashed one on the windshield and left it there as a warning to its cousins everywhere that I mean business. It's still there. Dead. Lifeless. Don't mess with me you obnoxious insects. Never did a person walk the planet who hates you more than I.
My dog was awful on this trip. In Tahoe the canines are generally allowed to roam free. They come and go when they please. My dog does not understand why he is not allowed the same privileges.
When he was inside the cabin, he wanted out. When he was outside the cabin on his chain he wanted to roam. So he barked. Incessantly. And at one point we left him off his chain. He played and played and played. And then he ran away. I found him, about a half hour later, frolicking in the creek with a new friend. When I called him he took one look at me, turned the other way, and ran. So I did what any sensible dog owner wearing flip flops would do. I sprinted full speed after him. My mom would later say, "I've never seen you run so fast." In actuality I'd underestimated the incline of the hill I was running down and any speed she witnessed was simply my attempt to not fall end over end. Eventually he turned and ran toward me. I assume he saw the crazed look of rage on my face and realized that he'd better make his mind up quickly whether he was going to disappear forever or return right then and there and face the consequences because, clearly, I was leaving him no other choice. Of course, Beck isn't all terrible. He's well behaved at home when there aren't eleven billion smells to urinate all over. And he sure does love himself some Tahoe. If he ever goes missing, it's the first place I'm going to look for him.
My parents got to the cabin on Saturday. I showed up with the boys on Monday. My brother and his wife got there on Wednesday. Troy got there on Sunday. Matthew enjoyed spending time with his aunt and uncle. He warmed up to them pretty quickly.
On the first full day that they were there we hiked down to Emerald Bay. My brother, Garrett and I rafted over to Fanette Island. We hiked up to Laura Knight's tea house--a place that, after 14 trips to Tahoe, my brother and I had never been to. On this, our 15th trip, we made it over with a tiny not quite four-year-old in tow. As we walked around the island we wondered how many people thought we were a happy little family. Then we shuddered at the thought and moved on.
The Rock Star hiked all the way down to Emerald Bay and all the way back up. Down is, of course, the easy part. On the way back up he moaned and groaned and asked me five thousand times to carry him. At one point he reasoned, "Mommy. I'm getting so sun burned. If you pick me up we can get to the top faster and I won't burn as bad."
I answered by reminding him that he had plenty of sunscreen on.
Even though we were bringing up the rear (by quite a lot) I let him stop along the way to have his picture taken in a tiny waterfall. And I encouraged him, applauded him, commended him. Eventually, we made it back up. Two miles completed for my little guy.Aunt Heather bought Garrett this net while we were there. It came in mighty handy when we went crawdading. (No crawdads were hurt in this endeavor. All were rewarded with pork loin--a part of their natural diet, I'm sure--and released back into their habitat.)
After Troy got there we all went rafting on the Truckee River. If you've ever been to Tahoe you know that the only slightly dangerous part of the river between the dam and River Ranch is the very end. My parents went in a commercial raft and they took Garrett through the final rapids. Troy, Matthew, Beck and me were in a personal raft and we carabinered Matthew in. My brother and Heather also took their own raft. Heather was ejected. She ended up throwing herself on top of an older woman and a poodle and riding the rest of the way down with them. The fact that there was a poodle--and I'm talking toy--on the river and Heather ended up somewhat on top of it is pretty funny. Although, I'm not sure she thinks so.
Here we all are before The Poodle Incident.On Garrett's birthday we drove over to the east side to take pictures and play in the water at Sand Harbor. This is literally one of about 50 pictures that look pretty much like this.
Almost seven years of marriage...
The Rock Star jumping off a rock into daddy's arms.Little Buddy jumping off of a rock into mommy's arms.
The Rock Star turning four. I made him a dirt cake filled with gummy worms and gummy rats. It was a hit. Even if the adults nearly gagged just looking at the gummy rats.
Exactly 7:30 PST. Four years ago I was sweaty and exhausted and The Rock Star was much smaller and gooier.
We had a great time swimming in the lake nearly every day, rafting the Truckee, visiting with family and friends, hopping boulders in Ward Creek, shopping, eating way too much, having coffee at Squaw, hiking, and loving God's amazing creation. It became apparent that Tahoe is in Garrett's blood like it's in my own. He was often covered from head to toe with good, old fashioned, Tahoe dirt. And Matthew, after a few days, decided that he, too, loved the lake.
And also, that he loved Grandpa.
My children do not fall asleep on people. They just don't. They are "put me in my bed and I'll sleep" kind of kids. Except, apparently, in Tahoe.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Lake Tahoe is my happy place.