Saturday, June 30, 2012

Erin M, from Tadpole to Pollywog

Erin and Robin took two weeks of swim lessons a few weeks ago.  Erin is so close to being able to swim, it felt like the right time to get her some professional instruction.  She started just being able to bounce in the water, and ended up being able to swim several feet, jump in and out, bob, kick, flip, and, well swim.
She has so much confidence in the water and she eagerly practices every time we go to the pool.

Such a water baby!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fashion Friday: Star Clips

Because why stop at just one? 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I heart Captain Von Trapp

The girls wanted to watch a movie to wait for Brian to come home last night - he wagon his way back from his tri-weekly trip to PDX.  We indoctrinated Robin to the Sound of Music last night.  She loved it, and asked question after question about Maria.... why is she wearing that on her head?  Where does she live?  What are they singing about her?

I think she fell asleep right after the Leisl and Rolf "I am 16" number.

Erin made it a little further, and conked out right after the kids fell off the boat into the river.

Seriously, Christopher Plumber had it going on!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Whirly Wednesday: 2 silly stories

Zero picture, two stories. 

In the car: we're singing along to 'Hokey Pokey' from a CD.  When it's over, Erin adds her own verse: 

"You put your testicles in, you put your testicles out....."

Last night when we were playing with our houseguest, Scout the Dog, Robin decided it was the perfect time to do a #2 on the cement.  I ask the girls to hang tight while I get something to clean it up before Scout eats it .... then Scout promptly zooms in.  And she eats it. 

I'm mortified. Erin is devastated and goes into full melt-down mode, fearing for the dog's safety.  Robin laughs. 

ASPCA says not to worry, and as of this morning Scout seems OK.  So we'll just chalk this up as an embarrassing moment for Robin. 

Am I going to regret sharing these stories 12 years from now? Probably.  But it's so worth it. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Murder on Moraga Way

OK, this is already old news to most of the people who read this blog, but holy bananas, this happened a few doors down from us!!!!

More here
and here

This was today!

Here is my picture:

 We heard the sirens just about 12:30.  We passed by at 12:50 on our way to pick up Robin.  There were 9 cops, some unmarked police cars, and 2 motorcycle cops.  On the way back, 20 min later, there was one ambulance and 1 fire truck.

Both the house involved and the neighbor's house were cordoned off.  Holy bubble breath!

Monday, June 25, 2012

What to do with 6# of apricots

Belonging to an all-fruit CSA has meant the kids gorge themselves for the first day and a half, then the fruit just sits there.  I've gotten some great suggestions for how to preserve/enjoy the bounty.  Here's the latest venture: 

Pit and halve the apricots. Place them face-up on a cooling-rack lined cookie sheet. Put in oven, with oven at 170F. (or the warm function. I actually used 170 on convection) 

A few hours to a day, depending on your oven, will yield you lovely, dried apricots.  This is a fine stopping point.  They are sweet, chewy, easily packable, awesome. 

But then... you could do this.

Take the dried apricots... 

... melt some dark chocolate .... 
... dip .... 

.... let set.  Yum!!!!

Congratulations for making it to the end of the post.  As a reward, the first 3 people who comment on the blog will receive 6 of these treats in the mail by the end of the week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dog Sitting

We have a house guest for the next week: Scout!  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Moonalice at the Commons

And so summer begins! We started with a free concert Thursday night at the park down the road. They offer free concerts most of the summer, and the lineup is usually fun. We saw Moonalice, a really great show. They had their own satellite feed, passed out free 10" x 14" posters unique to the show, and they did the show for free.  Crazy cool.  The weather was chilly so some people were in ski parkas (well, it is California.)

We ran into one of Erin's friends from preschool, and those two girls spent the evening bare-footed and in tank tops.  Here's a movie of Robin enjoying the evening. Look carefully, you'll see Erin as the small pink figure just at the front of the stage.


Let the summer fun begin!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

From the drafts

I thought I started a post yesterday so was looking in the blog drafts.  There are 20.  This was put there about three years ago.  No idea why it was never published, but enjoy y'all.

Here's all that was in the blog post:

This is funny

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Robin Rides, Erin Instructs

There's so much going on in this movie, I won't spend time talking about it. Just will tag it with a bunch of things and let you enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fashionista Erin and Robin's First Day

Today was busy!  Erin discovered a new way to accessorize: ribbons twisted and tied on her arm.  I think it makes her look very Renaissance, or maybe it's also the fancy dress she loves to wear:

And.... today is Robin's first day at preschool summer camp.  This marks her entry into real pre-school. She took one look around, clung to my leg for about 5 seconds, then ran off to play.  No kiss goodbye, no hug, no tears.  She had a long, 4-hour day and came home exhaustedly happy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Preschool Graduation

Friday was a big day.  Erin graduated from her preschool, and officially became part of the class of 2025 (boy, did that statement start the waterworks from all the parents/grandparents!)

Some pictures:

Waiting for the start of the ceremony:

Erin and some of her BFFs:

Robin enjoying the ice cream afterwards:

And movies: 

Again, I can't hear the audio so not sure what's up with vimeo and my computer.  Hopefully you'll hear some of the cuteness.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

CSA box: More Apricots and Peaches.

So far, we've made fruit leather, preserves, canned them, now I'm onto straight drying them.  Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?

I mean, looking at the picture it doesn't look like that much fruit.  But the bowl in the background is a 1.5c bowl.  So, these are not little itty bitty apricots.  These are "I'm done after one" kinda fruits.  And we have 6# of them.  

At least we're enjoying untold regularity in this household.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


We've purchased some toys lately from eBay, some coming from China.  One was the water beads.

Instructions include:
When the flower want to oxygen and nutrition, I will help you too much.

And some body painting crayons:

It isn't include injuring, could direct drawing on your skin and easy cleaning, bring more happy to your festival and cosmetic party.  Not only could be as present but also Suite for prancing for the birthday party, Christmas dance, festival painting,    DIY, and painting education, rooters    , game, etc. (sic)

Friday, June 15, 2012


Today is Erin's graduation from her preschool, and from pre-K.  There is a ceremony today.  Brian and I are bringing fistfuls of tissue.

Video to come.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Little Celebration

Erin decided to have a little celebration this morning.  So she decorated.

And set the table "fancy".  She did this entirely by herself.  The only thing I did was light the candles. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yesterday, Erin and Robin received a "Make Your Own Jellyfish" kit in the mail from their dear friend Henry.  This was awesome.  Super awesome.  

The kit: 1 balloon, 8-9 pieces of string, 10 or so pieces of tape (stuck on a laminate sheet, ingenious I tell you!) 

So simple, right.*  

1. You blow up the balloon. 

2. You tape on the tentacles. 
3. You bloop bloop the jellyfish. 

Oh, was there bloop blooping!  Blooping all over the house.  Blooping at each other.  Blooping in the bath.  Such a great activity!  Thanks, Ms. Christie, and Henry.

*OK, simple yes.  But still, like most Julia Child recipes there's lots of room for interpretation.  One: I did not blow up the balloons nearly as much as Ms. Christie Illustrated.  2. I taped the tentacles on in the middle so they would be more numerous but not as long as intended.  I chalk it up to a lesson in "it was fun so it was OK." 

Monday, June 11, 2012

A sweet moment

Just had to share this moment I had tonight. Robin is having a hard time these last few nights - 2 year molars?  A slight cold?  Too much activity?  Who knows.  But she was really squirming and whimpery-sad tonight.  The only thing that worked was to offer to rock her.  She nearly never takes me up on it, but tonight she practically jumped in the rocking chair.  We rocked and rocked. Took her a few minutes to find her comfy spot - a cradle position.  Looking down at her, with one little hand up by her face, one under her chin clutching her little blankie, she looked *just* like she did as a newborn.

I totally relished in this moment, knowing that it is a complete privilege to parent and guide these individual souls on their way to personhood.  I get to hold her, so close, and comfort her in a way NO ONE will EVER be able to. Well, nearly never. I want to dribble on, but I'll just say I spent an extra 15 minutes just rocking her because I could.

And it was fulfilling.

Parenting is hard.  Really hard.  And we're only <5 years into the game.  However, there's a million moments in parenting that make it so worthwhile.  Watching you kid's wonder at blowing a dandelion.  Watching her taste her first raspberry. Helping her connect the dots in understanding how rain happens.  And our jobs as parents are complex.  Am I providing enough enrichment?  Enough creative downtime? Reading enough? Feeding them the right foods? Etc.  But rarely is parenting distilled into such a digestible package as this: holding a child close, calming her, watching her relax into a heavy sleep.  This, my friends, is a privilege.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Evening of Yes

We got home from our first swim lesson today.  Dinner already consumed, "bath" already taken, Erin asked if we could paint.  With the "big" paints (tempera).  This is an outside-only activity, and as the temperatures creeped towards 100F today, it sounded like a great idea to go outside. So, yes, we can go outside and do big paint.

I fixed each girl up with paint and paper, and let them go to work.  They worked on blobs, butterflies, etc.  Then they got into it.

Yes, you can paint with the wheels of a car.

Yes, you can paint with rocks and leaves.

Yes, you can paint with your hands, cotton swabs, and just about anything else you find outside.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crochet project: Soap Spongie

Not sure what to call this, but I had an idea to make a little crochet sleeve for little bits of soap from all the leftover acrylic yarn I have.  It seems like a useful idea: a little pouch you can put all the crumbling slivers of soap into, and use it as a sponge/washcloth.  Using scraps of soap and scraps of yarn to make something useful?  Doesn't get any more frugal than that.

First attempt:

A cute little pouch, and it will certainly fit the bar of soap from beginning to end. 

The second attempt incorporated a few minor improvements: 

A slightly scalloped edge to bind the edges. Not sure what difference this will make mechanically, but looks a bit fancier.  A looped edge for hanging to dry in the shower.  And a slightly beveled front flap.  I might add in a little button to close it, but that might feel bumpy when showering.

This particular yarn (yes, same for both, different photography conditions.  Need work there I guess) is acrylic, kinda thick, and should hold up well in the shower.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Robin June, Grammar Police

A few weeks ago, Brian and Robin were talking.

R: Where's Mommy?
B: She's at the park.
R: No, Daddy.  Mommy is IN the park.

This morning, we had waffles and little dipping cups of maple syrup.  I saw Robin slurping the last few drops of syrup from her cup.

A: Robin, did you eat the syrup all gone?
R: No Mommy, I drank the syrup all gone.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Canned Apriums!

Our fruit-only CSA has us faced with a bounty of delicious fruit.  Rather than watch it fester and end up in the compost, I thought I'd jump on the micro canning bandwagon and give home canning a try. 

The first batch: last week's apricot-plum hybrids.  I stored half in the fridge, so these were not quite ripe yet.  Put them in a boiling bath, peeled, seeded, and halved them. 

Sanitized the jars.

The set-up.

Some adult fortification (gin and fizzy cranberry juice).

Processing in medium syrup (2C sugar to 3C water) for 25 minutes.

And viola, 3 jars of beautifully preserved Apriums.  I'm gonna store these away for the fall/winter when such delicacies are sparse.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Another artist in the family

Robin drew a portrait of "Dad".  And some fish.  And some scribbles. 


We used to make these awesome pretzel dogs, with homemade pretzel dough.  The recipe was one I'd bookmarked from a blog.  Then the blog server quit out, and I lost the recipe.  We've tried half a dozen recipes to try to get a good one, when this one found its way to my pinterest view.  It's good.  Really good.

OK, ok, the recipe is really for ham-and-cheese pretzel bites, and that sounds even more awesome.  But we were pressed for time, didn't have any ham, and it was questionable if the girls would eat stuffed pretzels.  So we just used the dough/boiling part.

It was delish.

The ones I made:

The ones the girls made.  Even their "lumps" turned out beautiful, tender and tasty: 

Of course, the girls wanted to do their own "cooking show", consisting of them putting together fairly random amounts of common baking ingredients into a bowl, mixing, tasting excessively, demanding it to be baked, and declaring the product to be delicious.  Sometimes it is. 

Tonight the girls were on the tired side, so they each took the opportunity to test the consistency, integrity, and viscosity of their mixtures on the countertop.  They were engrossed.  Clean up wasn't that bad. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CSA box 3: More Drupes

Crimson lady peaches, Robada apricots, Bing cherries, Rainier cherries.

Anyone have a good recipe/protocol for small batch canning?  We're swimming in apricots here, we're only 1/2 way through last week's bounty and I ended up making fruit leather with the first half.  Fortunately the kids LOVE the fruit leather.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Erin's Dance Recital

Somehow, I forgot to sign Erin up for dance classes most of this year.  I finally remembered this last spring session.  The only one that worked for our schedule was a ballet/vocal performance.  It suited her perfectly. 

She threw herself into each and every costume change.  She tried to remember all the words.  She kept her eyes on the teacher to follow her moves.

All the while she took care to note where her fellow dancers were, space herself appropriately, and try to keep in-time with everyone.

And she laughed the whole time.  Gotta remember to sign her up again in the fall!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Champagne and Chocolate Women's Half Marathon

That's right folks!  Dr. A ran another women's half marathon, this one sponsored by See Jane Run.  It took place in the lovely, flat Alameda, CA on a mild California morning.  While the race organization could have been improved, the course was lovely, the drinks/goo was plentiful, and all the participants were very, very gracious.

A few pictures from my sweaty self:

The 3 mile point.  We crossed a bridge.  It was lovely but smelled like estuary and skunk.

Hard to make out, but we actually had a beautiful view of downtown SF and the Bay Bridge.

Oh, and did I mention the GIRLS RAN A 1 MILE KIDS RACE?  1 Mile people. This is not a fun run, if you're in the 2-4 age group.  This is serious business.  Both girls did great and apparently were self-propelled the entire time. Here's Brian and Robin coming into the home stretch: 

Honestly, I'm so proud of my girls for doing this race.  It's way farther than most kids fun runs, and if I'd known it was a whole mile I might not have signed them up.  But they were spectacular.  Hopefully B will upload some of his pictures and video of Erin crossing the finish.  It was a sight!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Super Bouncy Fun

Our neighbors gave us this slide.  It shoots water.  This is going to be a fun summer.