05 October 2010

Eric Clapton Mans My Boat

That's my hubs manning the boat on Lake Arrowhead.  What's that you say?  Your husband looks just like Eric Clapton you say?  Yep, its true and, if I had a dollar for every time someone tells one of us that, or if he could sing "Layla", we'd be collecting Eric's residual check every month.  My guy can't sing "Pretty Girl", but he comes minus the rehab, so we're good.

My brother has a cabin up in Lake Arrowhead, California where friends and family get together and make memories together during holidays.  When they were little my kids learned to ski and wakeboard, and they had lots of slumber parties.  I think now when they are with their cousins up there they spend a lot of time sun tanning and playing beer pong with those plastic red cups but, that's another story for another day.

We spent many a Thanksgiving at Pete and Molly's cabin with family, walking through the woods in the brisk autumn air, our tummy's so full of turkey and smashed potatoes we could barely make it up and down the hills.  We collected pine cones and rocks and eucalyptus branches that we made into curtain rods and Easter trees. Okay, so made them into curtain rods and Easter trees.

On the lake in the summertime we dared each other and jumped off the boat into the freezing cold water.  Long canoe rides gliding over the calm lake took up lazy days.  The kids learned to water ski and snow ski and drive a boat at full speed! (Just kidding Pete.) Eric was the only one ever driving that boat. 

 Then one day, my husband said, "I think we could swing a cabin of our own and go up there whenever we want to and ( have our own space where we don't inflict impose all the joy that 5 extra kids and 3 dogs) may bring upon an unsuspecting cabin and its family.  Because however awesome we are, it's almost too much awesomeness all at once for the average pedestrian!

When I was growing up we had a cabin in the woods.  My dad was the pilot of his own Bonanza airplane and would fly us from California into the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho where we'd spend the best summer days a kid could ever wish for.  Ever since then I dreamed that some day I'd have a little cabin in the woods where I could take my kids and my husband and we could make memories of our own.  In my dream there were quilts piled high all around us and the kids were snuggled there, legs intertwined with ours and with each other.  Our heads were thrown back in laughter and a fire warmed us as the flames turned to embers and our giggles died down, the cocoa turned to a syrupy mess in the bottom of mugs.  You guessed it, I'm a dreamer.  Also known to be offensively idealistic.  So sue me.

Sleep, inscrutably peaceful, as only sleep can be, deep in the woods, surrounded by love, cozied up, in a cabin surrounded by huge, looming, evergreens permiating the air with the scent of pine.  That was my dream and my husband made it come true.

    So, Eric if you're out there - send a check our way now and again and my hubby would be happy to sign those autographs for you, K?  In the meantime, I'll try not to call him Eric when he's singing "you look wonderful tonight".    

I even painted a picture of my dream cabin.  The cabin we did buy was somewhere we could escape from the city whenever we wanted to.  A place that our kids could tell their kids about one day. A place where for the rest of your life when you talk about good times, you start out by saying, "remember that time at the cabin!"

The cabin is the only place I've ever felt frivolous enough to hang my own paintings on the walls.  This was the first painting in oil that I ever did.  Don't give me any constructive criticism - I'm very fragile.

There were snow angels made every winter.  Although Lake Arrowhead is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the beach where we live,  it is about 5,400 feet above sea level.  So winter brings snow, and snow to beach bums is awesome!

Picnics in the snow?  Nope.  Although my family loves to ski, and my kids are crazy champs at snowboarding now,  I myself, like to bundle up inside by a roaring fire with a great book and take pictures of the cold,  freezing, snow falling outside.  To ease my slovenly guilt, I make sure there is a hearty meal and lots of cocoa upon their return from the slopes.  However, I have been known to join in on the making of a snowman (or woman) here and again and haul out the Uggs for a brisk walk with the dogs.

Our back yard on a bit of a brisk bitterly a_ _  numbingly, cold day.

Some people of unknown origin my daughter, for instance, think snow is fun.

As for me - I prefer spring, summer and fall.  For about one day, I'm all about THIS though.

Then I'm over it and I'm all about this.

Ahh, that's much better.  I can feel the warmth again.   I'm a California girl at heart.  Don't judge me.

Get-aways at the cabin were opportunities for the kids to spend more leisure time together.  In late fall or winter they piled high with blankets and I'd find them all in one room telling secrets long into the night.  Books were devoured, they went over ski and snowboard strategies, and plotted how to win a game of capture the flag in the forest with the neighbor kids the next day.  One of the best parts of being a parent for me has always been watching my kids interactions with each other.  They were always each others best friend.

Puppies were sometimes naughty and snuck into the bed.  Wet.  But we hardly ever noticed, right Bean?

For the most part, we tried to keep the cabin a get-a-way.  No cable television, no multiple soccer games a day to attend to,  rather,  a place for dreams, for making memories, for using our imaginations and nourishing family life and friendships.

Like this one.  Adrianna lapses into Spanish right in the middle of a conversation and talks for 5 minutes before the dumbstruck look on my face reminds her she's not speaking my language.  I have a friend who's French and she does the same thing but in French.  I really must get one of those, Berlitz, learn a new language in your car programs, so I can keep up with my friends.

And this one as well.  Chiloe and Cooper are both off to college now.  Practically all grown up.  Speaking of grown up, is that a Margherita you're sharing there kids?

Look how teeny and sweet they were are.  Ah, the good old days...  

There's nothing like a long walk through crisp mountain air with all your best friends in tow.  "Yo, say  Eric  Scott,  guy in the red baseball cap ";  that's  especially true for you buddy.

Not many things are better than a walk through the woods, except  a rousing game of Pictonary or Catch Phrase that lasts past midnight.  Now that's when you find what your friends are really made of!  The games last way past silly time, and for years afterwards the things done and said may or may not be used for blackmail purposes.

Papa Mac,  Eric, whoever , xcuuze me.  I think you're sitin on my volley ball.

The best times were when there were lots of kids and friends and friends kids and their kids up there.  It's always hard for everyone to get away from their busy lives and it never happened as much as we wished, but when it did it was good, good, times;  a real recipe for happiness and bliss.  That's me, sitting right there in the middle laughing with a full and happy heart!

At the end of a great day at the lake, we'd pack em up and take em home.

Hard to believe it but,  they actually prefer being upside down.

The kids' favorite treat is to go back to the cabin and roast some tasty s'mores.  

Every 4th of July we take these fresh berries

and make this delicious stars and stripes cake.  After a big BBQ we'd head over to my brother's cabin on the lake and watch fireworks with all the cuzzies.   I watched fireworks and I watched the light from them, wash over kids that I have loved over lots of years.  One year they were 4 and 6 and 10 years old.  The next minute it seemed they were 14 and 16 and 20 years old.  Yep, I'm pretty sure that's how it went even though I'm no good at math.  All I know is that time slips by quickly when you're making memories.

I did a lot of painting and crafting up at the cabin.  This is an acrylic I painted of my son Dylan fishing for crawdads.  Vacations in the mountains affords you time to do the things you love and spend time with the people you love, and that's the best part!

I took an old dresser, I think it was my husband's from when he was a little boy.  And after gathering sticks from one of our walks around the lake trails, replaced the old knobs with these cool ones.  For this project I got to use power tools.  Have I ever told you of my immense love for power tools?

This is a close up of the mirror I revamped.  I took a plain old mirror and after using the chopsaw {sigh} on my sticks, I glue gunned them in place and trimmed the inside to match the outside.  A little of my favorite Ralph Lauren red paint and a rustic mirror for the bunkroom is born!

This is a picture of our bunkroom.  My man made the twin headboards.  Yep, that's right, he may not be able to play the guitar like his nemisis Eric, but the man can wield a power tool like nobody's business, and that works out just fine for me.  Check out the large twisted sticks made into a curtain rod hung with an old bunk blanket.  I think I mentioned somewhere above that I like to collect sticks and make them into stuff.

Maggie's favorite thing to do on Sunday mornings in the mountains is relax and read the funny papers.
Her Papa was probably making her pancakes right at that very moment too.

We  loved every minute spent up at Lake Arrowhead, enjoying life and making family memories.   Our kids are growing up and moving on and everybody has so many activities that we can't get away often enough to make that second mortgage payment worthwhile anymore.  So the cabin is on the market.   I'm hoping that someone else will now gets to come make their dreams happen right here,  just like we did.

When my husband first made our dream of having a cabin get-a-way come true,  I stitched this little pillow which sits on the sofa and wraps up all my sentiments in this simple little verse.  The cabin which, we have always referred to as "Camp-Run-A-Muck", comes furnished and ready to move into.  We're taking our kids and our dogs though, so you have to bring your own.  Well, now that I think about it, the kids might be negotiable.

It's true, soon my cabin will be but a memory, but  don't cry for me Argentina.  I live full time in the most amazing beach cottage ever and that's my dream too.  My hubby makes big dreams come true.  Our cottage is where all our dreams come true now.

They say that money can't buy happiness, but as one of my favorite rockers once said, "Money can't buy happiness,but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right along beside it. 'David Lee Roth' 
You go Dave!  Selling our cabin isn't selling our dream.  It just allows us to move on and experience more of them.  I kind of like the thought though, that as one part of my life moves on, for someone else, that part is just beginning and it will be just as wonderful for them as it has been for us.

So, Eric if you're out there - send a check our way now and again bud,  and my hubby would be happy to sign those autographs for you, K?  In the meantime, I'll try not to call him Eric when he's singing "Wonderful Tonight". 

Love you more than all the precious moments spent up in the mountains gazing at the blue, blue, sky from my spot on the hammock.

I'm gonna miss you hammock.  Wanna move to the beach?

This metal sculpture sits on my mantel at the cabin.  Kind of sums up my life, ya know?



michelle said...

I am lucky to know first hand how wonderful that little slice of heaven is.... thank you for having us there and we hope the next family enjoys it half as much as you do... and that they invite very lucky friends to share the happiness:) We can't wait to see the coastal slice of heaven:). Cheers. The Ambuuls

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

This was a wonderful post Tia. I love how you've loved the time you've spent there, but you're looking forward to the next phase. You have a wonderful family, and your hubby does look like Eric :-) My brother and his wife did find a little cabin. He's been up there fixing it up every chance he gets :-)

Marie @ Sally Lee by the Sea said...

Oh what lovely memories ~ thanks so much for sharing.

I love your cabin painting...it's charming! Hope you're having a lovely week.

Croatian_Latina said...

hi there!
I found your blog via beach vintage.
i have a friend who owns a cabin in the rockies and she is always saying how fun it is to get away from it all (technology,etc..) for some peace and quiet.

You have the best of both worlds, the beach and warm weather, the city and that darling cabin, which by the way that's a great painting.

lovely family and memories.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I loved this. But what made me really laugh out loud was the red paper cups. We only use those at the lake house. And you did too. What is it about those darn cups? the little boy who came again this summer with his family asked us if we ever get another color? That made us all laugh. Nope, Costco sells 'em red.

Kellie Collis said...

Wonderful memories! I love the painting you made and the snow angels. Kellie xx

Elyse said...

what a sweet & warm post full of family, togetherness, memories, and dreams of what's to be ...

thanks for stopping by my blog!


simpledaisy said...

Wow...thanks for sharing such a lovely place with us!!! and your paintings are as always...fabulous!!

LBDDiaries said...

Love your "blessings" sign - I have a couple - dream, create, joy, relax - I need blessings, too! Loved this story and my fave line is "My hubby makes big dreams come true" because I thought, "Mine, too!" I enjoy your stories!

LBDDiaries said...

Oh and p.s., I love your paintings, too!