This week…we bailed, again. This time to Tahoe.

by Janelle Hanchett


  1. First of all, I realize it’s actually been two weeks. But we’re going to pretend like it’s been one. Mmkay? I’m happy to report I have a computer again, finally. It’s rather shocking how dependent I am on this damn machine. When it died, I felt like I was going to die. However, I have reason to believe that I did not. Ha.
  2. Tomorrow school starts again (for me). I am an instructor of 4 classes – not real classes – writing workshop/tutorial type classes. However, there will be 12 students per class looking at me for direction. Please nobody tell them how I am in “real life.” They’ll never take me seriously.
  3. As many of you know, my husband and I have a ridiculous habit of taking impromptu trips – usually camping – to various parts of northern California. Usually one of us says something like “we should go somewhere this weekend,” and the other one smiles and perhaps says “yeah. Totally. Where?” The answers vary, but usually can be summed up by the following two geographies: ocean or mountains.
  4. This week, on Wednesday, we decided we needed mountains. So I got online and by some gorgeous stroke of obscene luck, got the one remaining campsite in a campground in South Lake Tahoe, called Fallen Leaf Campground, which is one mile from the shores of Lake Tahoe and 2 minutes from Fallen Leaf Lake, a place so beautiful I almost don’t want to tell you about it, for fear it may lose its hidden-heaven status. But I love you too much to do that…so I won’t.
  5. Apart from one unfortunate event involving the dog, his excrement and my car, which I will I explain to you later because indeed it deserves a whole post of its own, the weekend was amazing.
  6. Also, do you ever try to be present and calm and enjoy yourself but just can’t seem to make it happen? Yeah. I was kind of there. I was in heaven. HEAVEN. But something was awry up in my trusty old brain, and I kept finding myself irritable and impatient and just not relaxed at all, save for a few moments that took my breath away, as the Tahoe Basin only can.

And now I’m going to be quiet, and let the pictures speak for themselves. I apologize for my crap photography. Someday I’ll take a class and wow you with my talent. Right. Let’s all agree not to hold our breath for that one.

I figured we’d get some crap campsite that nobody wanted. No. We got what appeared to be the best campsite in the entire place. It was against a meadow, people. A MEADOW. Site 148. Be there. Here’s the meadow. And Laser.

And then, there was the LAKE. Fallen Leaf Lake. I had never been there. I will go back. When I checked into the site, the ranger lady almost fell over when I told her I reserved the site two days prior. She said the campground fills up a year in advance, so there must have been a cancellation and I snagged it within moments. Sometimes the universe delivers. Here’s the lake…by the way, my mom took the last two shots, which is why they don’t suck.

Laser swam in a lake for the first time. Adorable.









The water was not deep, so the kids could go way out and play. They played with logs and an old pallet. For like hours, in heaven.

perfect, right

happy kid

the prized pallet

Georgie spent a lot of time on Nana’s lap, or throwing dirt, eating dirt, rolling in dirt and scooping dirt into a green bowl, “jumping” off rocks, and asking for “later,” which she thought was the name of marshmallows, since she kept grabbing them and we’d say “Later. We’ll eat those later.” She kept holding them up saying “later.” When later came, we asked Georgie, “Do you want some later?!” Not gonna lie, it was funny even after the fiftieth time we asked her to go get the “laters.” She also, as you’ll see, passed some time eating chips out of a bowl with a giant serving spoon. Yes, yes I am that kind of mother.

my wonderful mom, and a very happy baby





















it’s hard to explain this face. she makes it all the time. nobody knows exactly why, but obviously it’s a win.




















getting ready to jump off a 3-inch rock…she says “ready, go, SET!” and “jumps.”

I don’t lie

brilliant toy. highly recommended.

two days later. still fun.

Ava, well, she was Ava. She read, mostly. Yelled at her brother, played, asked complex existential questions. Got annoyed, cracked jokes way too funny for her age. And cradled the baby for a minute in the hammock.

ANNOYED. And Rocket missing his front tooth. He’s officially entered the goofy kid stage.

 We went to Taylor Creek, a stunning watershed alongside Lake Tahoe. It was gorgeous, and across the street from the campground. Go, people. Go.

Taylor Creek watershed, Tahoe to the right…

wading in the creek

When he wasn’t running around tormenting his sister or playing like a madman, Rocket pretty much lived in the hammock, singing to himself and making up stories – talking to himself, lost in pure imagination. I love it when they get lost. Ha.

nothin to do…

He turns 7 in a week…hold me.

thanks, mom, for capturing this shot before Ava started hating me

Tomorrow, the crazy begins.

But today, today my heart’s in Tahoe. Have a great week, all.



18 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | August 26, 2012
  • dixiebelle

    Your photography is great… & your subject matter brilliant. Gorgeous kids, gorgeous scenery. Makes me wanna run away too! It’s Winter here in Australia… I want to escape to somewhere warm!

    • renegademama

      Thank you! come to California (the weather’s fine). 🙂

  • Lizaelha

    Sounds like a fabulous weekend. But I’m disappointed! In previous posts you’ve talked about the fact that Georgia never wears shoes or clothes…Have you been lying to us? She looked pretty happy all dressed, and even had on cute shoes!
    I love the “laters.” My baby (17 months) calls nursing “more” because I always ask her, when she stops, if she wants “more.”

    • renegademama

      Haha! Yes. We force the clothes issue when it’s cold…Tahoe can get pretty chilly. And even the shoeless wonder wanted shoes when she felt the rugged Sierra ground – she was barefoot but got stabbed in the foot with a pine cone – started demanding shoes. 🙂

      I love the “more” thing. So precious.

  • Suzanne

    We are living in Texas now, but loved spending time in and around Lake Tahoe when we resided in the Bay Area. I hadn’t realized how much I missed that gorgeous place – especially in the fall when the temperatures begin to drop and the crowds have all left.

    Can’t wait to hear about the dog debacle. And eating broken potato chips with a spoon…isn’t that what camping is all about?

    • renegademama

      It really is a special place. Love it. And yes! Chips and spoons! Camping! (wow that was a lot of exclamation points)

  • kim

    1. Fucking amazing. If it wasn’t camping, I’d be totally jealous.

    2. I love that you have a colorful hammock for camping.

    3. Georgia’s face? Let me bring you back to those wedding pics on FB…Mac’s expressions? Similar?

    Love ya.

    • renegademama

      I heart you. I’m going to look at those photos. Does Mac make that face? Now I’m fascinated…

  • Shan

    Beautiful! I wish you’d all schlep down here and then I’d show you our beautiful secret place, Moss Point. It will take care of the ocean part.

  • Marlene

    Thank you so much for sharing your holiday. I love the family pictures and stories. It brings me/us a little closer to you. The kid stories are heart warming … you so love your kids!

    Did you ever discover what was causing you tension this weekend?

    • renegademama

      Thank you, Marlene. I thought a lot about the tension this weekend, and I think it was just anxiety because I start school again, I’m teaching classes for the first time, and the mayhem is starting again for real. School just adds this new level of insanity — I think it was just kind of wearing on me. But I’m okay now! And I think that little trip was a great thing, even if I was a little tense…whether I wanted to or not I seemed to relax… 🙂

      • Marisa

        I think your going to love teaching. It is scary every new start to the school year, but then you get into the swing of things and those teaching hours fly by! Can’t wait to hear more about that.

        Love the laters!

  • Paige

    ugh. I freaking love camping. or being in the woods. or just … not being in civilization. I was lucky enough to stay at the Marin Headlands Hostel at Fort Barry (in Sausalito… is that enough mapping points?) this weekend. freaking beautiful. the hostel is part of an old base (duh, Fort Barry) and we stayed in both the captains’ quarters and the dorm (which used to be an infirmary! and is probably haunted! WIN!). it was seriously gorgeous. they’re family-friendly too, if you ever want a different place to get away to 🙂 big kitchen, tons of grounds to run around on, big common area with toys and books and guitars. I’d definitely recommend it!

    • renegademama

      OOOOOO I’ve always wondered about that place. Now I’m definitely going. Thank you!

  • Mama Keeps Going

    We’re headed to Mendocino for the three-day-weekend…you just renewed my enthusiasm for the idea of camping…

  • Jennifer

    I love Fallen Leaf Lake. We hiked there once — so gorgeous and you end up at some other lake whose name escapes me.

  • smg

    New(ish) reader … first time commenter. LOVE Fallen Leaf Lake – magical place for sure. As I’m in the Sacramento area, I’m curious about these writing classes you’re teaching. Seriously interested … details, please?