Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Memories Are Being Made

A pair of black shorts and a red t-shirt were found under my footstool in my study, these forgotten clothing items will be mailed tomorrow. The beds all need clean bedding.  The pile of dirty towels have been laundered (thanks to my dear husband) and await folding and putting away.  The wall boards need a good wiping down. The dirty footprints have been scrubbed from the tub. The few days with three of the grandchildren are over.  Today, unmotivated, I sit, very much at peace with the world, and reflect on the great memories that were made in the past week.

Blackened bottoms of the feet and of the hands are common at my house when the grandchildren are here.  When they were younger, in self-defense, I put a tub of warm water, a bar of soap, and a towel at the back door so they could wash their feet and hands before entering the house.  I am not a clean freak.  I gave that up when I had five kids, but the black feet from trampoline jumping were leaving black marks everywhere.  I fought back with soap and water.  Summer at Grandma Sally's house means that much time will be spent jumping on the trampoline, and the trampoline gets the jumper dirty no matter what we do to the trampoline itself.  I wouldn't have our memories any other way.  Sometimes having fun means making a mess, and that is ok in my book.

Hannah and Mason came and spent a few days with me over last weekend.  Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well on Saturday, so Grandpa Jim took them swimming.  By the evening, I was feeling well enough to go to our favorite Mexican food restaurant and then take Boston for a walk at the River Walk.  Mason and Hannah had their first experience of walking Boston.  He did great with them, and they did well with him.  Walking Buster at the River Walk had always been one of Mason's favorite things to do since he was just a small child, so he was really looking forward to walking our new pup Boston.

On Sunday, Hannah was a bit impatient waiting for Atticus to arrive.  She and Mason had thought he would be here when they arrived on Friday evening.  Atticus had been staying with his other grandmother in Colorado Springs since his parents returned to Boston the week before.  He did not arrive at our house until Sunday.  Hannah and Atticus are just a month apart in age, so they always look forward to being together.  Meanwhile, as she waited, Hannah read the Sunday comics while sitting in Grandma Sally's chair in the "newspaper room."  Our front living room, seldom used except for Saturday and Sunday morning newspaper reading, was dubbed by that name when the grandkids were little.  We found a note written by one child to the other, "Meet me in the newspaper room."  The name stuck.  

Once Atticus arrived, I decided we need to go on a picnic.  Veggie chicken nuggets, fried chicken, potato salad, chips, cantaloupe, and Oreos were packed in the cooler and off we went to the mountains.  Everyone was in great spirits as we piled into the car and took off.  Boston was especially thrilled!

Lake San Isabelle was our destination.  A favorite spot of mine because of its beauty and easy access from our house, I knew the kids would have fun playing in the mountain stream that flows into the lake.  We all looked forward to going someplace cooler.  It was 99 degrees in Pueblo when we left, and it was 77 degrees at Lake San Isabelle when we arrived there about 30 minutes after leaving home.  The cool, mountain air felt great.  

After eating, with Grandpa Jim leading the way, the kids grabbed their towels and headed out to find a place to play in the water.

They found the 'perfect spot' which was really just the first spot they came to where there was easy access to the water.  They quickly scampered across the stream to set up a place in the sun.

Boston loved the water.  No surprise there.

Atticus poses in the middle of the cool Colorado mountain stream.  

Posing for Grandma Sally...

Since Boston kept drinking the mountain stream water, Grandpa Jim took him back up to the picnic site to work with him on some new training he was doing.  We didn't want Boston to get sick since we had just nursed him through a severe bacterial episode that required two visits to the vet.  One visit was overnight.

I sat on the side of the stream and recalled many, many happy days in childhood when I played with my many cousins in the most wonderful mountain stream ever at our favorite camping spot that we called "The Green Spot."  Green it was, and the stream was always perfect for wading and for building dams to create 'swimming pools.'  As I sat watching the kids play lost in my own memories, I started to get nervous.  What if a bear came along?  We had been warned by our next door neighbors, and the warning was confirmed by the ranger, that there were bears up at San Isabelle Lake camping areas.  Our neighbors had just returned from camping at the same place we were heading and had seen bear, right at their camping site, several times.

I decided to go find Jim and take the dog from him so I would have a dog with me to warn me of bears. The kids decided they were done playing in the water.  They said it was full of parasites.  They could see them they said, so off we went to find Grandpa.

We found him standing up on the road and surrounded by people.  They were all looking down the mountainside at something that held their interest.  As we got closer, I saw many in the group seemed to  be taking photos with cameras and cell phones.  I knew they had to have seen a bear.  Sure enough, that is exactly what they were all staring at.

It turns out that Jim was concentrating on Boston's training, and I guess Boston was concentrating on Jim (for once) when a crowd of people started shouting at Jim that there was a bear by him.  Jim said it was about 20 yards away from where he was working with Boston at a campsite.  So much for Boston warning us if a bear was around!  

The kids were very excited and wanted to see if they could see the bear.  We ventured down the hill a bit, and sure enough, there he was.  Unfortunately, I had not brought a good camera with me on the picnic.  All I had was my point and shoot that the kids reminded me I had sat on and broken when were up at San Isabel Lake a few years ago.  They are right.  I did sit on it.  It was fixed and still takes pictures, but not very good ones.  

The bear is just to the left of center.  He is the dark black spot.  Really, it is a bear.  Trust me on this.  

Here is another shot of the bear.  He is near the picnic tables near the center of the photo.  I did not get a good shot.  He wouldn't stand still, and I wasn't going down there to get a better shot.  Jim said he had been working with Buster near the red pump.  The bear was up near the trees at the front of the photo when he saw him.  He measured by estimating a football field and was quite sure the bear was only 20 yards away.  

All in all it was pretty exciting.  I caught this great photo of the kids looking at the bear. The experience provided a great Facebook status update.  Then, I worried the parents would never let Grandma Sally take their children on a picnic again.  Son Jon said, "Damn spoiled kids.  I've been in hiking and camping in the woods for 34 years and never seen a bear."  Guess what, neither have I.  This was a first for me too!  

It all makes for wonderful memories and some great stories in years to come.  I can just hear the grandkids as they meet for reunions in years to come, "Do you remember when we saw a bear when we went on a picnic with Grandma?"  


  1. Aren't they grand, grandchildren?

  2. A lovely post Sally! The photos are great and you and the children had an exciting experience, seeing the bear.
    What fun!

  3. What a wonderful day for all. There seem to be a lot of bear wandering around up here in VT this summer--more than usual for some reason, the mild past winter, perhaps. I hope not to see them when I am out for a walk.

  4. I don't think anybody would ever forget seeing a bear! What a fantastic summer everybody is having. It's a memory even I wouldn't forget!!!

  5. Kids, dogs, picnics, great memories and a bear thrown in for a little extra excitement....I'd say your summer is a very good one, Sally. I'm sure a little down time is also very sweet after all the activity.

  6. Wonderful post Sally. And a bear. Wow. I do wish my grands didn't live so far away. There in school now as Arizona is year around...

  7. You can't beat memories like that. A bear, wow.

  8. making memories together is the best

  9. How nice of that bear to make your trip one the kids will always remember. I love the picture of them all looking so intently.

  10. Oh yes, they'll be talking about the bear exclusively to anyone and everyone for years. I'm always amazed at the things each of us remembers from a common experience.

    I had teens for three weeks, visiting colleges, relatives, city sites. When not in the car, they would ask if they could go off on their own, exploring. We made time for such private times; and we worried. Yes, the little ones need constant supervision; and the bigger ones need organized free times that are safe and still allow them opportunities to use their own judgement.

    Tiring and exciting times!

  11. You and your husband are providing wonderful memories for the grandchildren. They'll never forget seeing that bear, for sure! I love the photo of Boston in the
    very back of the van or car, just one of the kids.

  12. Wonderful, just wonderful.

    That trio is a very lucky one, they have great grandparents who take them on actual adventures and let them get dirty playing, instead of keeping them 'safe' indoors in front of some screen or other.

    I bet you had a great time too and there will be many stories told in the future.

    Make the most of it, they grow up so fast.

  13. Cute kids; good times. Love the "swimming hole."

  14. What lovely memories you're all making together, Sally! Your grandkids are at such wonderful ages. I'm so glad you've had such fun together during this visit.

  15. I was here reading earlier, and didn't have time to comment...but couldn't wait to get back and do that!
    You KNOW that I love photos and writings about your Grands. I love mine beyond words, and I can relate in every way to each and every precious moment that you spent with them and that they spent with you!
    And, I wanted to tell them and tell you: they picked a perfect spot for their towels!!
    I send you extra smiles (even though I know that you are full up and brimming over with smiles as you enjoyed each precious moment with them.)
    Hugs and love,

  16. So cute. I love "the newspaper room" It reminded me that my two called the door from the garage into the utility room the "secret door." We're already planning for next summer. My two don't have cousins. They had to settle for second cousins, but they had a wonderful time.

  17. Oh what wonderful memories you all made.... Enjoy your grandchildren now--they grow up SO fast...

    We'd take our grands when they were little to the Smokies and we'd find a place like you all went to --where the kids could play and swim in the water. SO--your memories brought up some good ones for me also.


  18. You are so right, Sally--the grandkids will never forget this trip to Grandma's! I'm sure they will have many fond memories of time spent with you and Jim, but a bear-sighting certainly sealed the deal.

    I haven't seen a photo of Boston in awhile--my, how he has grown! And I love the photo of him peeking out behind the grandkids in the car. I'm glad he's over his infection and feeling better again. I think if our Sophie saw a Bear, she'd high-tail it out of the campsite immediately and wait for us to catch up:)

  19. What memories! And that goes for the kids and the grandparents, too!

    I love it!

  20. Very glad to hear the bear wasn't in a "mood!" It looks like a magnificent holiday and I'm so glad you had the kids all to yourselves to just enjoy. Yes, they will remember this forever!

  21. What wonderful experiences you have given your grand kids, even more than you expected!

  22. Now that is a day that you guys will never forget! How fun to have them all visit and hang out. Glad the bear left everybody alone.

    Kathy M.

  23. A bear? You took making memories to a new high! It's quiet when they leave, isn't it?

  24. Dear Sally, these are indeed lovely memories that you've collected of your three grandchildren's visit. You can keep those memories close and find then when winter settles over the land and family is far away.

    I met a bear once in the Smokies. He was large and his nose was right by my left elbow, which was bent as my fingers held an ear of corn and I'd just finished going down one side of it with my teeth, raised my head, and looked to the left, to start again. And there he was! I was so scared, I threw the ear of corn in the air and rushed for the car! From its safety, I watched him eat the cookies, pick up the loaf of bread in his teeth, and lug it off to the woods. An adventure! Peace.

  25. These are such fabulous photos of your beautiful grandchildren, Sally. They'll have such lovely memories to take them into the fall. A bear too? Good gosh! They'll remember that forever.

  26. Picnics, Boston, and Bears, oh my! :) What a grand adventure you and your grands had. They will definitely be remembering this and chatting about it for years to come. Happy Saturday, Sally! :)

  27. Beautiful photos, and obviously some very precious memories for you there.

    CJ x

  28. That picture of the kids and Boston in the car is absolutely precious! You are all so much braver than I would be with a bear nearby. I don't know what I'd do if I saw one while camping. Yikes!
    Blessings, Joanne

  29. You truly are embracing joy! Wonderful memories for the grandchildren....they really are fun, and a bear to boot! WOW.

  30. Just simply a magic visit. Thanks for sharing this day with us.

  31. What wonderful memories for all and you have written about it so beautifully!

  32. Loved the photos of your Grands, Sally - and the adventure story about the bear!

  33. Such lucky kids to have you for a grandma. You've given them memories and stories for a lifetime. Thanks so much for sharing here - I sort of feel like I saw the bear myself. :-)


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