Long distance: From August 19th to September 6th, Jan and Sofia spent time in the Netherlands and Spain visiting family. They stayed with Opa Jan and Margaret in Albir, Spain, where Sofia fell in love with her grandpa's backyard swimming pool, swam in the Mediterranean sea, and bought a flamenco dancer's costume. The rest of the vacation took place in the Netherlands, where Sofia spent lots of time with family as well as visited the Bambini play area; the Sportpunt Zeeland, a swimming complex with lots of fun slides; and Plopsaland, a big amusement park in Belgium. Jan and Sofia checked in with Amy via Skype as often as possible; two and a half weeks was a long time to be so far away!
Scream: Cameron and Amy set aside the last weekend before school's start to visit Six Flags' Magic Mountain north of Los Angeles. They spent all of Saturday and Sunday riding roller coasters in heat of over 104ºF (now that's summer weather!). Cameron had a blast, his favorite rides being X2 and Tatsu, both extreme coasters and the only two that Amy refused to ride. Otherwise, exciting, thrilling, or downright frightening, Amy accompanied Cameron on all of them. All the automatic coaster photos showed Cameron with arms up, laughing hysterically; Amy with a death-grip on the seat, screaming and grimacing with a mixture of determination and shear terror. Nevertheless, Amy had a great time in Cameron's company; and of course, Cameron thought that, if summer has to end, this was the very best way to do it.
After a long day on the coasters, Amy and Cameron meet Foghorn J. Leghorn
Old friends: On August 15th Amy attended her 30th high school reunion with graduates of Meadowdale High School (Lynnwood, Wash.). The reunion was held at Kafe Neo in Mill Creek, owned by alum Kyle Huffman. Interestingly, there was a big difference between men and women. Most women were recognizable, although some looked much younger and in better shape than others; while a few looked ravaged, as if they'd been smoking, drinking, or eating for the past 30 years. The men's nametags, on the other hand, required close scrutiny; as there were only a handful who were recognizable by face. Many had gained a lot of weight, others were bald, and some were both. Whoa! Happily, those to whom Amy spoke were doing well, and it was fascinating to hear their stories. Alums with whom Amy connected during the evening included Nancy Albrecht, Sue Ballman, Bill Catey, Joyce Freeman, Sue Hastings, Colleen Howell, Bob Lebrun, Carol Lowe, Wendy Miller, Norm Randall, Cindy Richardson, Renee Riksheim, Jeff Shannon, Fritz Shoemaker, Brad Shuman, Sherry Spani, Paul Stamey, Vicki Valley, Kelly Williams, and Mark Wilson. Amy also won a prize at the reunion—for attendee with the youngest child!
Sun and mud: Potholes Reservoir is a 28,000-acre, man-made lake in the Eastern Washington desert (near Moses Lake) contained by O’Sullivan Dam, which is the longest earth-filled dam in the United States. In July, Sofia, Jan, and Amy stayed at MarDon "Resort" on the Reservoir. Looking on the Web, you'd feel sure that MarDon is Eastern Washington's best recreational destination; in reality it's a tightly overcrowded RV park and campsite that reminds one a bit of the slums of Calcutta. In addition, the predominant clientele range from tattooed, to overweight, to tattooed and overweight. Hmm. Nevertheless, we made the best of it. Our spot was shaded under some trees and close to the beach, where we parked ourselves in beach chairs for two straight days in 90-degree temperatures. We enjoyed some swimming and boating, and Sofia loved the muddy-muck.
Independence: Independence Day is Cameron's favorite holiday next to Christmas. This year he asserted some of his own independence by remaining home and starting to light fireworks beginning at 10:00 in the morning! In the meantime, Amy, Jan, Sofia, and Cameron's brother, Brennan, went to the Bothell Parade, starting with a kiddie parade at 11:15. Sofia's favorite part was the candy that so many parade participants threw into the crowd. Her least favorite part were the blasts from the Revolutionary re-enactors' muskets and the canon on the SeaFair Pirates' float. After a mid-afternoon break, we went to the barbeque at the Richards' house for four hours (great food, lots of people), then returned home to attend a neighbors' large party. It was a very big day for Sofia, and she slept soundly through the hailstorm of neighborhood fireworks from 10:00 to 11:30. Back at Cameron's ranch, he reportedly lit off fireworks until 12:30 AM!
Last day of school!: As of June 19th, Sofia and Cameron were free for the summer! Sofia has one week of camp at Montessori, then weeks filled with fun at daycare interspersed by days with Mom and Papa, plus another visit to Holland at summer's end. Cameron will work a limited schedule at Target, attend a Richards family reunion near Lincoln City, Ore., spend some additional time on the Washington Coast and camping, and hopefully make some progress on his senior project (building a go-cart) and a little college research. For Cameron, summer couldn't arrive soon enough, and if he had his way it would never end. Sofia, on the other hand, is already asking how many days until school starts again because she's so excited to be a kindergartener.
Sofia and Cameron end their preschool days and junior year, respectively.