Today we tried to go to Millie’s for breakfast, but there were so many people on the porch waiting that we bagged it and headed elsewhere. Wiggly toddler + newborn + long wait for food = disaster. So we ended up at Emil Villa’s in Walnut Creek, where my mom hoped that the fresh peach pie season hadn’t ended yet. It isn’t as cute or close as Millie’s and the clientele has definitely been retired for a few decades, but the wait was short and everyone was just the friendliest. We were given a giant booth and at least ten people stopped by to check out the kids, comment on their cuteness, and tell us about their own grandchildren. It was really lovely… and a total mood booster to be told that your kids are adorable over and over. I mean I always thought that they were adorable, but now strangers have verified that they are the cutest. Oh and peach pie was still in season, so a good time was had by all.
And then we went bike shopping at Hank and Frank’s bike shop and Uncle Nicky bought Charlotte her first bike! She test drove a balance bike and proclaimed it “too wiggly” before falling in love with a Barbie bike complete with basket, bell and streamers. Balance bikes may be all the rage, but Charlotte clearly loves to perch on a stable bike and pedal. The sales guy confessed that his son was the same way and the balance bike at his house had gone mostly unused. Before today, I was planning on ordering a balance bike on Amazon, so I’m so glad that we took the time to test drive.
We took it home and she rode around and around the patio table shouting “DELIVERY” and handing us toys out of her basket and then demanding them back.
We had a wonderful Fourth of July filled with family time. Ellie wasn’t feeling well and stayed home with my mom, so the rest of us put on our red, white and blue and any themed doodads that we could locate and headed out to the Orinda parade.
We watched the parade from our yearly spot near the end, where all of our friends and family gather. Being at the end of the parade has it’s drawbacks, as their were some big gaps in the parade by the time it reached us. The music and any float tossing candy were big hits with our crowd and some of the performers stopped and gave a little attention to the kiddos.
Charlie enjoyed waving her flag enthusiastically at everyone walking by, while her cousin Jack preferred to hold his solemnly raised for all to see.
We were all a little hot and tired from sitting in the sun, so we headed to a local swim club. I didn’t know if Charlie would like the swim club, as they don’t allow the floaties she desperately needs to keep up with her cousins. They had a beach front entry on one end of the pool that Charlie loved. She laid it it, rolled around, and walked on her hands like a little alligator. All of the kids stayed in the shallows, so she didn’t feel left out at all. She’s been asking to go back to that pool ever since. We’ll have to wrangle another invite soon.
We finished the day with burgers and milkshakes from Nation’s, fitting the theme of the day, a family nap, and watching fireworks on television.
Happy Birthday America!
On Sunday we woke up early to secure tickets to tour the Crystal Caves. We waited for 20 minutes to reach the front of the line and listen to a ranger tell us about how fragile their colony of bats are and how we need to wash our shoes before we can go in. They talked for so long about bats that we started to call it the “Bat Cave.” As the cashier rung us up at the front of the line, the park ranger looks me up and down and says “there are some narrow places in the cave, you’ll just have to try to squeeze through.” While I realize that I am 8 1/2 months pregnant, I refuse to believe that I can’t fit through a cave that has hundreds of visitors a year. With my ego a little bruised, we hopped in the car to drive to the Bat Cave.
Once we arrived, we listened to another speech about bat disease and cleaned our shoes. Then we hiked downhill for 15 minutes to the cave entrance. Inside the cave we saw tons of formations and learned about the cave. In the biggest chamber of the cave, they turned out all of the lights and asked everyone to sit silently. Of course this made Charlotte into Miss Chatterbox. We couldn’t keep her quiet and then she wanted to move around. In a pitch black cave. With steep ledges she could easily fall off. Charlotte thinks my mom has the best stories, so Grammy took her off to the side and told her the following story:
A little girl was in this cave and she wanted to run and jump and dance. Her mommy and Daddy told her to sit still because it was very dangerous to run and jump and dance inside the cave. But the little girl didn’t listen and while she was running, she fell into a deep deep hole. Help me mommy! Help me daddy! She cried. Mommy and daddy said Oh no! The hole is too deep, we can’t get you out. Then they called the fireman to help the little girl. The fireman lowered his long ladder into the hole and pulled the little girl out. She ran to her mommy and daddy and promised not to run and jump and dance in the cave ever again.
She ate up every word and retold the story over and over again for weeks. We even had to act out the story a few times.
There were a few tears when mommy wouldn’t carry her for the 20 minute uphill hike to the car. Almost to the car, a park ranger asked her if she liked the cave. “There’s no bats” she told her. The park ranger laughed, told her she was a smart little girl and gave her a 3-D postcard. That postcard and pooping on a rock were the highlights of her trip.