Sunday, June 26, 2016

California Dreamin'

The second half of our vacation was spent with David's aunt and uncle, Lana and Barry, and their two kids, Kailer and Taylyn. Lana is just eight years older than David, and since he spent so much time at his grandparents' when he was growing up, they were practically raised like brother and sister. Barry's family is from Sacramento and that's where they live now (kind of crazy backstory: Lana and Barry met in New Orleans at a Mardi Gras parade when Lana was still living in St. Louis and Barry was finishing medical school at Tulane). Anyway, Barry's family has a house in Tahoe, so we drove their from Oakland to meet up with them and stay at the Tahoe house for a few days.

It was a long drive (especially because the girls really only slept for the first half of it, and then we got a lot of chatter/whining from the backseat--Coco basically spent the last half hour of the trip yelling, "Uppa! Uppa! All done!" which was somewhat cute at first but she got increasingly angry about it so we were all feeling pretty exasperated and ready to get the heck out of the rented RAV4 by the time we got to Tahoe City and stopped at the grocery store.

It was great to see everybody, and Zuzu was super excited to hang out with her cousins. 

Coco, as expected, took a little longer to warm up, but by the time she went to bed Saturday night, she made the rounds to everybody with her little lips puckered up for good night kisses.

The next day Lana and I went for a walk/run with Coco in the jogging stroller, and then we all headed out to "Rock Beach" (also known as Carnelian Bay Beach), which is within walking distance of the Tahoe house. 

Zuzu kept calling Lake Tahoe "the ocean!" which made us laugh, but she had a good time swimming and throwing rocks and playing with her cousins. Coco would get in the water and then her eyes would get super big and she'd say "Coooooold!" (Accurate!).

We came back from the beach to have lunch, then Coco went down for a nap and everybody else went to play miniature golf. I assured David that I was MORE than happy to stay back at the house with the sleeping baby, and then I spent an hour or so relaxing in the hammock and reading on the deck and just staring up at the tall trees and the blue, blue sky. It was fantastic.

That night we went out to dinner at a nice restaurant on the waterfront. You'll recall that Zuzu went swimming, then played miniature golf, and spent zero minutes napping. By the time we sat down at dinner, she was not exactly her most charming self. 

She was bound and determined to order a hot dog (gag gag gag me) off the kids menu, and when she received that hot dog, she said, "I'm not eating THIS PART!" and put the whole hot dog off to the side while she at the bun. (I would complain about paying $8 for my kid to eat a hotdog bun, but Barry and Lana treated us to dinner).

At one point, Coco's sandal came partly off and she was crying about it and saying, "Zuzu" when Zuzu (for once) hadn't actually had anything to do with it, and Zuzu started SCREAMING across the table at me that she DID NOT DO ANY-FING TO COCO and I was glad we were sitting outside, but we still got some looks from other diners.

A guy was there playing guitar and Zuzu asked (after eating her hotdog bun) if she could dance. At this point, I figured as long as she wasn't screaming we were doing well, so I said sure. They did some dancing (also known as spinning in circles) and played some ring around the rosy and were a general nuisance to the wait staff and probably a few other diners, although one woman who'd obviously had a few drinks knelt down and talked enthusiastically with them for a few minutes. It was a nice restaurant and my vegetarian ravioli was delish, but I was relieved when we were all finished and ready to get out of there.

The Tahoe house had one bedroom downstairs with two twin beds and two bedrooms upstairs. Lana and Barry slept in the master suite with Kailer on the daybed in there. David and I took the other room upstairs with Coco in a pack & play. 

The plan (Taylyn's idea, I think) was for Taylyn and Zuzu to sleep downstairs by themselves, but of course that never panned out. Zuzu has such a hard time settling down to go to sleep, and when I read to her and tried to get her to doze off in the twin bed, she kept saying, "Are you going to stay here, Mommy?" and finally said, "I want to sleep upstairs with Mommy and Daddy." So the three of us shared a bed for the vacation. I actually don't mind sleeping with her at all--she's sweet and snuggly and as much as I love her, I swear I love her 10% more when she's sleeping--but I do really like it when she goes to bed at least an hour before we do.

Our next full day in Tahoe, we went to Sand Harbor to swim (ha) and play. 

The water was even more frigid than it had been at the rock beach. Splashes felt like needles. I later did some googling and determined that surface temperature of the lake was somewhere around 53 degrees. I found it to be unbearably cold, and even the kids couldn't get in it for more than a few minutes before they were back on the sand with their teeth chattering. 

Coco and I had a lovely time just lounging and snuggling under an umbrella, and I was sure she was going to doze off on my lap, but she held out for a late nap back at the house.

The only downside to the beach was that the air was so perfect it was easy to forget how much sun you were getting, because you don't get so hot. Perhaps the Midwest is actually protecting our skin when the prime hours for UV rays are also those in which it's so hot and humid that being outside feels pretty miserable? At any rate, I was trying to be super vigilant about applying sunscreen, but Zuuz's cheeks still got a little pink. I was not mother-henning over David, though, and between the altitude, the sun exposure, and probably drinking too much beer and not enough water in general while we were in Tahoe, he stood up as we were getting ready to leave the beach and suddenly felt woozy and sick. I ended up having to drive the rental car back to the house with a brief stop at the grocery store to get 7UP, Gatorade, and Smart Water, as he had turned totally gray and looked like he was going to barf.

He ended up taking a nap with Coco in the cool, dark bedroom, and then drinking all the Smart Water and by dinner time he felt back to himself.

I tried to be good about drinking water, and even brought my trusty stainless steel Starbucks cup with the straw out there with me, but I find it much harder to drink lots of water on vacation when you're always on the go and it's not always convenient to pee. And also when you just feel like it's a good idea to be day drinking a beer or sangria because it's vacation. I'm making a conscious effort to drink more of it now that I'm home though, because I know I feel the difference. (Super boring water talk over now.)

Dinner at Tahoe was an outdoor affair back at the house, and I told David that the cost of living in California might be crazy, but you are really paying for the weather. It was just so freaking beautiful, even when it was hot. The sun felt hotter in Tahoe, but the breeze felt cooler, and there's something so awesome about wearing shorts and swim suits during the day and snuggling up outside in sweatshirts and blankets to watch an outdoor movie on the deck in the evening. 

Plus you have mountains and beaches and desert all within an easy drive of each other--it's really pretty great. I haven't spent much time out east, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the West Coast Best Coast camp.

It was also so sweet to see Zuzu and Coco with their big cousins. Kailer and Taylyn were patient and kind with the girls and laughed a lot at their antics (even their bratty behavior). At eight years old, Taylyn was the perfect age to entertain the girls and enjoy playing with them, and Kailer (who is almost twelve) kept an eye on all the little girls. It truly made for a more relaxing vacation than I had expected! It also made me wish we lived closer, or that it was easier (and cheaper) to fly from St. Louis to Sacramento. I have such fond memories of playing with my cousins when I was little, and I wish the girls had some who lived closer. Of course, it also makes me appreciate the good friends we have and the way that friends can really feel like family. (Particularly when the parents have decided that they are betrothed.)

Our last night in Tahoe we got so chilly outside that we came inside to play silly board games and we let all the kids stay up way too late because we were enjoying ourselves so much that no one wanted to stop playing Family Feud to put the kiddos to bed.

Also, I totally let the kids get on California time and I'm finding that switching back to being two hours earlier is waaaaay harder than staying up late (even for me and David!).

In short, I would absolutely take a vacation house in Tahoe, we're all sleeping in until at least 8:30am Central Standard Time, and I would also like to have an eight-to twelve-year-old Mother's Helper move in with me to entertain my children so that I can read more novels.

Coco and I were both sad to say good bye to beautiful Tahoe.


  1. Zuzu's bathing suit and cute little goggles on her head = CUTE overload.

    We have that sand beach on our list! When we were flying to Chicago from Reno last week, the guy next to me (also transplant who grew up in the town next to us in Chicago) was literally combing through his phone to show me all the great places he takes his two girls. And so I literally took notes on my phone. That guy made me even more excited about Reno than I was before!

    So glad you guys had a great time. You're a saint about the sleeping. I seriously don't even like my husband in the same bed as me half the time. Hahaha. But really. I'm like a no noise, no movement kind of sleeper. It even annoys me how annoying that is.

    Glad you had a great time.

  2. How lovely! Maybe the water part is boring, but also totally pertinent. We live in NW Arkansas but are traveling in Colorado, and staying hydrated and not being sun burned is no easy task, especially with busy little ones!

  3. Had to say I adore that photo of Coco standing on the tree stump (although all your photos are great!). Those bell bottoms are very San Francisco circa 1967. ;)