A few months back I got this wild idea to invite my and Matt’s parents to come and stay with us in a cabin in Mendocino for Kennedy’s birthday. Matt’s parents flew in on Thursday morning from North Carolina and we spent most of their first day packing for our trip to the beach. Friday morning, Matt loaded the dogs and his dad into the old Volvo (odometer stopped at 189k), and I had Nana and the kids in my car. Overall, the drive was unremarkable and we arrived at the Bay House in about four hours. We arrived at the house around 3:00 PM and were completely taken aback by the beauty of it all. The front yard was perfectly landscaped and once you walked around the porch to the back of the house, you found yourself staring at a simple wooden bench on top of a cliff. Much of the rest of our Friday was spent settling in, cooking some fish on the BBQ, playing Spades, and staring off into the expanse of the ocean.
Saturday we woke up early (thank you Kennedy) and made our way into Mendocino to walk around the shops. Right off, Kennedy threw an epic tantrum that landed her on my back in the Ergo carrier. Luckily, it wasn’t long before I had coffee-in-hand from Moody’s and she was fast asleep. Having spent many summers in Mendocino, I tend to have my trip fairly well rehearsed and mostly look forward to stopping at Rainsong Shoes (for shoes, obviously) and Old Gold for some of the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen. After that, I’m happy just strolling through the shops until I get to have the most messy-great mango curried chicken pita from Cultured Affair Cafe. The rest of the evening involved some BBQ chicken, the dogs at the beach, and a late night Spades rematch.
Sunday was another early morning (again, thank you Kennedy) and her actual birthday. The afternoon was spent wandering Fort Bragg (I found a black pair of Miz Mooz sandals that I love-love and Kennedy had an epic slice of pizza) and sitting down on the sad, now-commercialized, Glass beach. In the evening, Kennedy opened her gifts and looked on in amazement and joy as everyone sang her happy birthday (my favorite moment of the weekend). Overall, the trip felt both calm and chaotic. It felt good to actually spend the weekend away with my parents (I cannot remember the last time I spent so much time with my father), and together as a blended family. I am hoping that the terrible parts of the terrible twos are gentle, and the rest is slow moving, or at least, that Matt is nearby and I can say, “Not it” when I need to.
A few months ago, I started taping a large piece of paper on the coffee table for Kennedy to draw on whenever she pleased. What I found was that if I left a few crayons on the table, she would draw on it intermittently throughout the day. After a few weeks of that, I decided to cover the whole coffee table with one piece of paper, and leave it there for a month and have it framed. We had needed some sort of art in our living room, so this worked out perfectly. The only caveat is that we weren’t going to treat it as something sacred. While she did the drawing part, I still put my feet on it, put my overflowing coffee on it, and generally pretended as though it wasn’t there. Below are the progression photos through each week.
Week 1: I thought she made a surprising amount of progress the first week, with pretty uniform coverage all over.
Week 2: She continued to make progress here and there, but without as much zeal as she has the first week; however, I did manage to spill a few cups of water and some coffee. Go Mom!
Week 3: I think this photo appears like it should be before the last, but that is just because of all of the water and such that we spilled on it. I don’t think I have spilled that much in my whole life.
The end result: