Thursday, May 28, 2009

duvall farmer's market

giant homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.

beautiful fresh flowers.
what more could anyone ask for on a small town spring day?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Return to Rattlesnake Lake

Readers with long memories will remember that 364 days ago, we took Summer to Rattlesnake Ledge on her very first hike.The glorious conditions of late inspired Emily to plan a repeat hike and follow it up with a picnic and wading in the lake. Naturally, we had our doubts about Summer’s viability, since she hadn’t been on a hike in eight months, and attempts to strap her into any type of restraining device usually end in violent protest. But oddly enough, when I retrieved her throne from the garage, she squealed with delight.
We returned this year with seven of Summer's friends (aka the Darrington family) plus Summer's baby sister in utero. Sunshine, long weekends, and proximity to Seattle always produce one thing around here: crowds. At times, I felt like, instead of on a hike through Washington wilderness, I was walking in a line at a Disney World ride. Fortunately, a Starbucks latte really only lasts 30 minutes on the trail, and the caffeine fueled crowd thinned substantially as soon as things got really steep.
Summer enjoyed herself immensely and those squeals of delight were the only ones we heard.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

betty spaghetti

a handful of important events are captured in every child's life.

among these are generally births, christenings, first teeth, first haircuts,
and, of course, first encounters with spaghetti.

baby emily, december 1984, 17 mos old

baby summer, may 2009, 18 mos old

Saturday, May 23, 2009

intermediate hairstyling 201

so it's not perfect (let's face it, granny "the laser" wendy i am not).
but i think i deserve a solid E for effort.
and summer, for her part, gets props for even allowing me to experiment.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

day four: fly away home

sigh. we have come to the end of our san diego saga. day four was spent in more gratuitous leisure as we laid out in the morning by the pool and ate giant ice cream sundaes at mootown in coronado.

thank you much, california, for a great vacation.

queen summer surveys her loyal subjects.

summer learns to share.

it's time to go back home.

day three: wild animal park and coronado beach

day three is where the wheelers hit their stride. having spent two days fulfilling the “vacation” mentality that both bryan and i grew up with (see all, do all, go home exhausted), we decided it was time for a break. we introduced a concept unheard of in the family trips of our youths—one that would have mike and dennis crawling out of their skins—“leisure.”

first stop: wild animal park. we were skeptical of visiting another park masterminded by the malicious san diego zoo; however, this place is AMAZING. if it’s not on your list of san diego attractions, include it.

adding to our wild animal park experience was the fact that lisa, a good friend of mine from high school, was able to join us there. lisa does iron man triathlons and spends weeks at a time in the wilderness. how she and i ever got together remains a mystery to most. nevertheless, it’s always a pleasure to see her, and this time, she got to meet our vivacious little summer.

next stop: coronado beach. there’s a reason it’s named one of the best beaches in america—perfection. the sand. the water. the sun. and finally, baby summer could wander around and explore at will. of course, as soon as we arrived, she impetuously ran straight into the ocean. she frolicked with delight in the waves until she eventually ended up face down in the water. this, by her own pronouncement, was the end of her ocean fun. luckily, there was still plenty of good times to be had in the sand. sand which we are still finding in shoes, bags and hair four days later.

day three review: let’s just say day three had me looking up real estate opportunities in coronado. we’ll definitely be back.

  left: we continue in our quest to bring summer closer to the animals.
top right: summer loves the tram ride (and her lucky charms).


  top: no, that lion is not fake.
for the first time ever, we see a live, active male lion.
let’s just hope there’s always a fence between us and him.


meet lisa.

beach babe.


oh sweet sunshine!  where have you been all my life?

unfortunately, due to the necessary liberal application of spf 85,
emily came home with just about as much of a tan as she had when she left.

bryan finally fulfills his bodysurfing fantasy.

‘till we meet again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

day two: sea world

we arrived at sea world a little before 10am on tuesday, paid for parking, and received our change. gasp! a two dollar bill! things are looking up already.

as a HUGE fan of aquariums and sea creatures, sea world was everything i’d hoped it would be. the shows and exhibits were stunning, the signage was very helpful, and walking around was quite pleasant . the only holdup here was (guess who?) baby summer.

before we left on our trip, we had great parental expectations that summer would see and love the animals—that they would somehow capture her tenuous attention. but in reality, all she wanted to do was wander around and play with rocks and drains. and any time we stepped in and tried to focus her interest on an exhibit, she quite vehemently voiced her displeasure.

though she did have one moment of exuberant emotion during the shamu show. after watching the whales perform, all of a sudden and for no easily discernable reason, she began clapping and squealing with delight! ‘twas a moment that, as a mom, made the rest of her troubles much more manageable.

speaking of shamu, we of course went to see his latest act, “believe.” and while the performance itself was beautiful, even bringing a few tears to my eyes (hormones, maybe?), by the end, i wasn’t quite sure what i was supposed to believe in. the orcas? conservation? whale training? myself? it was all a bit over my head.

one line they kept repeating was that orcas and humans are two species who, at their core, are trying to become one. this, i believe, is fundamentally false. having seen the killer whales out in their great wide ocean, i believe they could care less about “becoming one” with us. but hey, who am i to rain on sea world’s parade?

day two review: we drank more water, sat down more often, and summer, while not perfect, was far less difficult than she could have been. add that to the fact that sea world rocks and we have a solid B+ day.

join us next time for a report on the best. day. ever.

right: summer's disapproval of the "leash."

walking on water.

mom enjoys the manta rays.
summer enjoys the water.

in the middle of sea world, there is a little kid's park with a few amusements.

we soon discovered, however, that there are two reasons summer does not like rides:
1) you have to wait in line. 2) you have to be buckled in.

really, it's just more of "the man" and all his "rules" trying to bring her down.

eels are creepy.

summer hearts shamu.

Friday, May 15, 2009

day one: touchdown and the san diego zoo

we left seattle early monday morning amidst chill and rain showers and arrived not too long afterwards in the land of sunshine and shorts. i walked outside the airport, put on my sunglasses, and didn’t take them off for three days.

first stop: in-n-out burger. and while we wish we were cool enough to order “off” the menu, we just aren’t. in fact, i made a classic “i’m a tourist” blunder of ordering medium shakes. apparently, their shakes only come in one size (duh!).

next stop: the so-called “world famous” san diego zoo. an unfortunate disappointment. we should have been tipped off that something was amiss when we discovered they offered bus tours of the zoo. now, both bryan and i have visited quite a few zoos around the world, and we can’t recall any offhand that have bus tours available. so why this zoo?

1) the terrain. up, up, up. you must spend half the time you’re there hiking up. which, as a pregnant lady pushing a stroller and melting in the sun (didn’t we come to california for the sun?), did not make me a happy camper.
2) the signage. there are very few signs at this zoo, and those that are posted are difficult to interpret. we utilized a great deal of precious energy walking in circles (up…up…up) looking for particular exhibits.

neither bryan’s experience as an eagle scout nor the three and a half college/graduate degrees between us proved valuable in our battle against the zoo. we were defeated.

day one review: our feet hurt, we’re tired, we’re dehydrated, and it’s become an obvious pain to keep summer in her stroller AND to let her out. was the jump from lounging around in the cloudy northwest to mountaineering in the southern pacific sun too much for the wheelers?

find out in our next installment.
summer learns to dip french fries.

how emily spent most of the afternoon.
a cheery lass, no?

the petting zoo.

top left: summer shows us her true feelings about animals.
bottom left : summer's favorite part of the day was washing her hands

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

mon premier bebe

behold: summer's first baby doll.

the only toy we have ever brought home that she has played with for more than three minutes.

she refused to eat, she refused the tub (gasp!), she refused anything that would part her from this new enchantment.

somebody's going to love having a sister.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

summer shoots hoops

to anonymous donors (suspected: grandma and grandpa wheeler):
thank you so much for my new basketball hoop!! after but five minutes of practice, i can already sink more shots than my dad. you guys rock.
love, baby summer

Monday, May 04, 2009


adventures in parenthood continue: summer has discovered the garbage can.

lately, i’ve been trying my best to enter summer's little toddler mind and better appreciate what the world must look like through those big brown eyes. and for one thing, it probably seems a bit haphazard how bryan and i walk by the trash can and randomly throw things in it. to summer, our selection process for what we toss into the “garbage” is a bit unclear.


because the other day, i found my wedding rings in there.