Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

July Traveling

How can we already be at the end of July? Every summer at the end of July, I realize just how short summer is.

But we did get some traveling in (also the reason I have been so slack about posting). We did a road trip through Oregon and northern California with heavy emphasis on family. On our way south to the Monterey Peninsula, we stopped at the Lava Beds National Monument in Northern California. Ever heard of it? Probably not. It only gets 100,000 visitors a year.

lava tubeKids love this place, and if you’re in the neighborhood, I recommend it. There are more than 700 lava tubes with about three dozen developed for the public. The tubes were formed by volcanic eruptions from thousands of years ago. The lava flows cooled around the outside, leaving a molten middle that flowed away, leaving pitch-black tubes perfect for exploring.
Some of the tubes were closed while we were there because they were hosting baby bat populations, and we also opted not to visit the caves that required crawling, which left us with the best of the best.

Ceiling of Golden Dome tubeGolden Dome was our favorite: manageable ceilings that required some stooping but not crawling (watch out for “headache rock” as you enter), long tunnels, and a glittery gold ceiling formed from water droplets adhering to a coating of hydrophobic bacteria. Sounds gross, but it’s not. Looks a lot like fool’s gold. We didn’t get lost, but because the cave has a figure 8 shape, you could easily go around in circles, and I must admit, I did find it a little worrisome. But then the kids started to recognize various boulders and entrances to tunnels as places we’d been before. “This way,” they would say. Whew.

Petroglyph caveYou do want to wear a helmet (we had our bike helmets with us) to protect against head bumps—plenty of those to go around. We met families without them, who looked at ours rather enviously. And you definitely want flashlights, which we checked out from the visitor center.

If you’re heading to California, the Lava Beds are a great stop.

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Summer Revelation

Last night we went to our local Fourth of July block party, per usual, a party we’ve been attending for about six years now. Just so happened we’d been going through photos from these parties the night before and exclaiming how young our kids were when our neighbor started throwing them. Here’s a photo of yesteryear’s fun. That’s Leah in front.

Leah with firework

So last night’s party felt particularly poignant as I realized the young kids lining up for their turn to light a firework were not kids I knew. The kids I knew, many of them now 13, 14, and 15, were roaming around and chatting, a few lighting fireworks but most not. The lure of fireworks has dulled for them, especially for the girls (until they start throwing their own Independence Day parties, I suppose–now that’s a scary thought).

On Facebook this morning, I saw a few photos of families who had congregated one block over from us, families with toddlers, preschoolers, and soon-to-be kindergartners. The same phase I was in six years ago. In six years those kids will be on the cusp of adolescence.Leah at Skaha

For my daughter, six years is just about half her life. For my son, it’s two-thirds of his. Forever.

For me, six years is nearly one-eighth of my life and getting fractionally smaller every year. In other words, a couple fleeting steps and then my kids are gone. Kinda freaky.

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