Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leroy's Road Trip

We've been out of town yet again, this time with Leroy along for the ride. I mean, who could resist this face?
Not us!

Where? To California, northern Marin County coast, to be exact, to meet Jim's family at a beach house near Point Reyes. Not that Leroy cares so much about the destination. He just loves to be in the car. I think it's the most content he ever is, sitting in his backseat nest with both of us nearby, in easy monitoring distance (it's his job, after all, and when he can't keep an eye on both of us at the same time, he's in a quandary), while interesting sights and smells zip by outside the window.

We split the trip in two, rather than driving straight through as we often do. I was having seemingly relentless Braxton Hicks contractions in the car as we got further and further from Portland, which gave me a little anxiety. They've continued, off and on, and Jim and I have joked about naming the baby Braxton Hicks Di Bartolo. But not really, obviously. I called the midwife's office at 11 pm and was connected to the [sleepy] doctor on call, who assured me I was not going into labor, which I didn't really think I was. I bet obstetricians get a lot of annoying Braxton Hicks calls. Anyway, we spent the night in Ashland and my uterus calmed down a little, then the next day it was on to California.

Leroy was pretty tired that night.
The next day dawned perfectly sunny, and we were off to the beach, where Leroy protected us from all the rollicking dogs who, being less inclined to attempt to kill any fellow canines, were off leash.
Leroy is never off leash. He would attempt to reduce the four-legged-creature population of the Earth -- cats, dogs, horses, whatever. He might be 15-1/2, but he's "still dangerous":

That was Dillon Beach, at the mouth of Tamales Bay. After, we drove down along the east edge of the bay to Point Reyes Station and out to Limantour Beach, in Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is a spectacularly gorgeous spot, first discovered (by non-indigenous-people, that is) in the 1570s by Sir Francis Drake and his ship The Golden Hind. Funnily enough, it was another 200 years before the very nearby San Francisco Bay was discovered. Though one of the world's great natural harbors, its mouth is so small (you know it as where the Golden Gate Bridge is) as to be invisible from the sea. So many ships passed it right by, and in the mid-1700s it was finally discovered by an overland expedition. Funny.

Anyway. Leroy didn't really care about the history.

Leroy wasn't the only sleepy one that night.

So, that's Leroy's road trip. You wouldn't know it from that travelogue, but there were other people there too, and really pretty scenery.
the tiny town of Tamales

Tamales Bay

Jim's mom and sister and two nieces


Grace, 4-1/2

(the little wiggler in my belly could have this amazing coloring. Jim did, when he was wee. We've never had red hair in my family. Between us, we have every [caucasian] coloring possibility; so curious was little Braxton Hicks Di Bartolo is going to look like! (ha ha!)

Clam soda, anyone?

Limantour Beach, pre-beach

Limantour beach

My ever-growing belly

nest in the dunes; we took a little nap here, or at least I did.

These were blooming in vast hummocks all over the Limantour headlands

So that's a day at the beach. Lovely, perfect spring day, but still breezy and chilly when one is not tucked into a dune nest amid the sawgrass. The ocean = freezing. I still plot and scheme for the sort of beach days of my youth, in the Mediterranean (I'll take Mexico, too :-) with warm water, hot sand, an umbrella for shade, a bungalow to walk toward lazily. I was recalling how insanely sandy I'd get as a kid, after all day at the beach in Italy (we prided ourselves for never missing a single day, not even when it rained, which was rare; when it rained we'd go down and do gymnastics on the hard-packed sand, then eat gelato in a cafe) -- so sandy that I'd have to scratch the sand out of my scalp with my fingernails in the shower, and the liner of my bathing suit would be heavy with sand. My brother had this trick called bulldozer where, if you were silly enough to lie down in the sand anywhere he might get at you, he'd steamroll the entire length of your body, including grinding your face into the sand. We also played "powdered donuts" which was exactly what it sounds like. Some mornings, my neighbor/best friend Jennifer and I would get up at dawn and go the two blocks to the beach to build entire sand cities before the sun came up and the masses started to arrive. And then, there were the peddleboat expeditions. Those were great summers.

Some day there will be warm sea and hot sand again. With a lot of sunscreen!



Heather said...

Sounds like Leroy had a great trip! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I have serious envy of Grace's hair now!

Kiersten White said...

You two know how to vacation.

Also, I think that's the first time I've read the phrase "my uterus calmed down a little" and I'm absolutely tickled by it.

I'm just weird like that.

Christine Fletcher said...

Go, Leroy! Fifteen and a half and still up for kicking some quadruped butt. What a darling face he has, too.

And ditto on the Grace hair envy.

Natalie Whipple said...

First off, I actually know a kid named Braxton. Dead. Serious.

And second, I agree with Kierst. You guys know how to vacation. I'm craving beach now.

Q said...

Grace has stunning hair. Love it.

Heather said...

A) Leroy has a sweet (and cushy) ride!
B) Holy BELLEH Batman! Don't you still have, like, TWO MONTHS to go?
C) Squeeee! The red hair! The red curly hair! I covet, I swoon! I would have given anything for one of my kids to have hair like that.

That is all.

Unknown said...

Wish I could get to a beach!

I have a question that I'm hoping you might do you keep your hair so bright? I have probably the same shade (Special Effects Atomic pink?) but it fades noticeably after a month. Do you just dye it often? It actually last well because I absolutely killed my hair, but I want as much time as I can get!

Lexi said...

Yay beaches and dogs!

Cuppa Jolie said...

Such fun pictures. (Jim had that look of a baby--you know, that I-can-sleep-anywhere look)

Thanks for taking us along.


myrna said...

Grace is beautiful. And Leroy is pretty cute too. I loved the speech tags!

The sand in the hair and the swimsuit reminded me of vacationing in Portugal with my cousins when I was a teenager. We body surfed, and our swimsuits got positively loaded with sand. I'd have to go back out to dump the stuff in the relative privacy of the water until another wave plowed me through the sand again!

I haven't been near an ocean in years.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a grand time! Don't feel foolish about being worried about BH. On Halloween day, I went in for a regular checkup and mentioned strange tightenings I'd been feeling, assuming that was normal. Nope. I was in preterm labor and ended up being so for the next THREE MONTHS. They did all of it: terbutaline oral, then the pump, then a magnesium drip (OMG the PAIN. Labor was NOTHING on that), before giving up and just letting me go. As my dr put it, I was one of those weird people who just contract. Owen was induced on 1-23 perfectly healthy and VERY alert. After all that excersizing, my stomach muscles zapped right back into place. Silver lining. Point is, don't feel stupid about reporting things. You never know when it could be something important. Lots of luck to you guys!

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Everyone!

Silly Little Girl: the hair color is Elumen brand, a "magnetic" color that my hair stylist gets. It doesn't have a color name, I don't think, it's just pink, but it doesn't fade badly at all. Roughly every 6 weeks I go in, but every other time I do only the roots, so most of my hair goes 12 weeks between dyeings and it stays really bright. It is, however, completely fresh in these pictures, as I just got it done last week.

And Aranel13, thanks for the info. I will definitely take this seriously!

Sara said...

Leroy needs his own line of greeting cards! I want that "Life is perfect" one. :)

And clam soda? Seriously?

tanita✿davis said...

Ohhh, so beautiful it hurts.
This is what I miss the most living in the UK. Tomales. Dillon Beach. All my old stomping grounds.

As you say, there will be summers again...

lkmadigan said...

Thanks for taking us along on your trip, Leroy.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Ah Laini, I'm from Marin and this makes me nostalgic (even though I only live 2 hrs from there now).

The funny thing about labor advice is that they tell you "You'll know when you're in labor" but honestly you don't. I was in four days of "pro-dromal" labor and every day we were like 'is this real labor?' And they were like 'nope.' It sure as hell felt worse than BH and it sure was real--it just didn't produce a baby :)

Jaime Temairik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alysa Stewart said...

SPICY clam and tomato soda!?! Sick. Oh, that's just naaasty.

Jaime Temairik said...

Aww, good boy, Leroy! I love those pictures. What a sweet face and what a good napper!

OMG, I'm so uninformed. I thought you had named the baby Braxton Hicks after deciding to go for b-list pop star/American Idol name combos.

Alysa Stewart said...

p.s. Pictures of my in my Rathersting warrior tatoos up at

tone almhjell said...

See, when we go to Sonoma for Peter's paternity leave, you guys can come down to California and we can go to the beach together. And go wine tasting, cause by then we're allowed a little wine at least.

And I'm rooting for the red hair. Gorgerous.

Rampian said...

I think Brian, Perkins, Pepita, and I had a picnic at the exact same spot in the dunes you guys did! Perkins loves car rides, too, though Pepita doesn't understand cars and tends to bury her head in the cushions. I meant to tell you to check out the Rose Compass Gardens in Bodega Bay. You can rent it for events but sometimes, if the gates are open, you can just wander it and take a look. It's one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen.
May you have a little curly-red-headed girl---absolutely adorable.
Try to swing back this way Wednesday!

Susan Boase said...

Didn't Rickie Lee Jones have a song with the lyrics, "Leroy said..."? Your Leroy and his thought/speech baloons reminded me of that. Hey how about Rickie Lee for a baby name? I have a 13 yr old smooth fox terrier named Frida Kahlo who would kick but too if she could see 'em, or hear 'em. "I know you're out there!!! Put your dukes up!" And Grace...what a DOLL. (Do you think she knows?)
I wanna vacation!

Stephanie Perkins said...

Aww, Leroy!! And ZOO SUNGLASSES!

And those beach flowers are lovely :) I'm so glad you're having a great time! Even with the clam soda and contractions. (Clam soda. REALLY?)

persnickety_jen said...

There's no way on earth anyone could induce me to drink clam soda. Ugh.

But on the other hand, your niece is a total doll! Any child who has such lovely curly red hair is SO lucky - even if they don't agree. :)

Leroy is a fantastic guard dog. I'm sure he'll be very curious when the baby arrives! Hahaha.

Suzanne Young said...

Love the pictures and I'm so glad you kids are having fun!!!!