Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sweet find, thanks Aunt Lynn and Uncle Lou!

My mom was going through the documents in her safe deposit box and stumbled across this:

Know what it is?  A bond.  Cool, no?  My Aunt and Uncle gave it to me just before my 1st birthday.  It matured 12 months later to the tune of $25.  Of course, it kept accumulating interest, stopping at the 30 year mark. I took it into the bank last week and cashed it.  Can anyone guess the compound interest on a $25 bond over 30 years?  I walked away with $134.75.  

What a great present!!!  Thanks Alaska!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fancy nails

A little while ago, we took Grandma to get a pedicure to celebrate her birthday.  Erin came and got a polish change. 

Selecting their colors:

Pink sparkles, of course! 

All done, now to read Brides magazine while it dries.

Fancy nails!  The lady actually painted a flower on each of Erin's big toes.  Oh, and only charged me $5!  Fun and happy belated birthday Grandma! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off to Yosemite!

A week in the woods, these kids are going to have a ton of fun.

And remember two years ago when we somehow managed to pack a weeks worth of stuff in the Prius?

This is what it looks like this year:

DSC_0011 Minivan packed to the gills.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Belated Mother's Day Present

To honor Mother's day this year, my parents bought a well in a Cambodian village in our girls' and my nephew's name. So that other mamas could have clean water to drink and raise their babies healthy.  When my mom told me I cried, it was beautiful.

And here is a picture of the well:

I think I'm changing my Christmas gift list a bit.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Because - Beatles Tribute Band

Yet another night danced away at the Commons!  Brian is away so the girls an I braved the chilly (65F, gusty, and foggy) weather to enjoy the Beatles tribute band Because.  Holy mashing guacamole was it fun.

First the band.  They did 3 sets, representing the 3 main eras of the Beatles. They also sang and spoke with spot-on accents.  It's all in the details, baby!

The early, screaming-girl, bowl-cut phase:

Stg. Peppers:

Abby Road:

We really gotta buy some Beatles albums.  My voice is hoarse from singing along the entire time.  It was so cool to see so many people totally rocking out to the music too - just about every one there were singing, moving, and participating in the music.  A great show!

Of course there were all the other treats.  Popcorn, a cookie, some gummy snacks, a quick trip to the ice cream stand...

Just about the best though was Robin's reaction to the second set change, the Sgt. Pepper Phase. She laughed until she was red in the face, for nearly an entire song. 

The girls were pretty pooped from all our recent adventures but they were really energized by the music.  Hopefully that means they'll sleep in this morning!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

File under "D'oh!"

I looked up a Manatee documentary to download on our TIVO.  I thought since Brian is in Vegas, it would be a fun, special dinnertime movie for the kids. So I call him,

Me: Hey, can you tell me your Amazon passcode so I can download a movie?

B: Um.... well, I'm at a Hacker's convention.  Probably not a good idea to tell you over the phone.


More summer fun

OK, so the no-car thing really didn't work out.  When I wanted to go pick up Robin Tuesday from her preschool/summer camp on the bus (my legs were pooped from hauling 73 lbs of kids in a 15 lb trailer up and down the hills) I realized that from 8:30 - 4 the busses run once every 2 hours.  Seriously?  No wonder no one ever takes the bus!

So.  Back in the car, we had another busy day yesterday. Playdate at Totland (super cool, and featured briefly in the movie Babies).  Lunch at IKEA, a little shopping, and some treats for the excellent helpers:

Did you know IKEA sometimes has vanilla-blueberry swirl frozen yogurt?  For $1/cone? Awesome.  I splurged and go the girls one each, but they each ate less than half.  Go figure.

Then off to the exciting world of the Restaurant Supply Store.  I know, every kid's dream right?  We looked around, admired the large mixers (14K used) and other crazy appliances.  Found what we were looking for but was not pleased with the price.  Then on the way out we saw this:

Yes, it's a real, taxidermic polar bear.  Shot in 1966.  It was huge. Oh, and apparently it's still legal to do.

Lesson 1: adventure and surprise abound, even at the most boring of places (AKA Restaurant Supply Stores).
Lesson 2: Where we live, life is really, really confined without a car. New goal: replace 1 car trip per day with an alternative mode of transportation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surprise package!

We got a surprise package in the mail today!  It was from a dear grad school friend, Dr. Deanne. 

In it was 3 Science Magazines, 3 fresh Mad Libs, a lovely note, AND ..... a 7 pack of stick-on mustaches.

Do they make us look sophisticated or what? 

Then the girls decided to try the new facial decorations in other ways. 

Thank you, Deanne!  We're loving the 'stashes and we will have so much fun with the Mad Libs on our drive to Yosemite on Sunday!  You rock! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Car-Free Day One

I had an action packed day planned for taking bus/bart/bus to go pick up my glasses (the kids were not thrilled) then taking the bike trailer to the pool.  The kids, after having a super-packed weekend, were content to stay at home all morning in their jammies listening to Pirate Rock, reading books, and working on art projects.  Fine by me!

I did take one bike trip to the grocery store and took the kids to the pool in the trailer.

Then. We went shopping.

Granted we sandwiched 4 destinations into one car trip but that means we technically only have one left for the week.

Full disclosure: we're headed for a week-long camping trip to Yosemite on Sunday, and Brian is gone Thurs-Sat for a conference.  So we have to get all those last-minute packing/gear/food details done before Wed.  So.... realistically we're gonna surpass the 2-car-trip rule this week, but I think today started out well. Erin even commented tonight, 'Hey Mom!  This was supposed to be a car-free day!"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Car-free Experiment

It's been my plan this summer to have one car-free week.  I've whittled it down to 5 car free days, and I get two exceptions.

The plan goes into effect tomorrow.  So this Mon-Fri, we only get 2 outings in the car.  Rules are, we don't get to drive ourselves, but if the girls are driven by someone else (Hint hint, Grandma/Grandpa, Grammy/Papa), it's OK.  The trailer and my bike are all set, the double stroller is good to go, I've got the bus and BART schedules, hopefully I won't be whining by mid-week.

 I quizzed Erin about alternate modes of transportation and she rattled off a long list of reasonable ones: bike, walking, scooter, BART, skateboard... then she happened upon Taxi.  She reasoned it was the best because it was the fastest.

Taxi wasn't on my list of options, but who can argue with that logic?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Second Summer Outing: Filoli

For his birthday, Brian got a membership to Filoli, a mansion and garden in San Carlos (I think) built by a wealthy Irish immigrant over a century ago.  It's beautiful.  Really amazing.  Anyone who visits us and wants to make a trip, it's totally worth it. It's a huge mansion complete with ballroom, butlers pantry, extensive gardens, and embroidered tapestries.   It's like a European palace, only Bay Area style. You can learn about the history here.

It was really hot today though, so we didn't see everything.  And we only got a few pictures, only outside.  But since we're members we can go back whenever we like!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Finally Begins

While it's been summer for awhile now, both girls have had summer camps during the week.  Yesterday was the last week that both girls had anything, next week Robin only has 2 days.  So it's time to start taking some serious day trips.

First outing: Oakland Zoo.  We went here every two weeks, or sometimes more often, last summer, so it's strange that this year it's our first trip.

We were treated to the male lion roaring and prancing, a giraffe shimmying down for a drink of water, elephants relieving themselves in a big way, lots of goat and sheep petting, and fruit bats napping.  The girls were on foot and they probably walked about 2 miles. Robin never asked to be carried.  The outing was topped off with two rides on the carousel.

Pictures! (just a few, I promise)

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

* To AmyCS: The picture of the giraffe licking herself is for you.  Erin first started by observing, "Look, that giraffe has a purple tongue."  Subsequent observations, "Look!  He's licking his penis!  He's licking his penis!.  Oh, wait. No,  She's licking her vagina!"  I nearly died. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Swingin' Good Time

We had another fantastically fun evening at the local park for a free concert, popcorn, hot dogs, ice cream, and play.

 The band was a local swing band, and had a guest singer dressed to the nines in a purple suit.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will the real "Mrs. Miller" please stand up?

Yesterday at the pool* a mom introduced me to her 8 year old girl as "Mrs. Miller".  I really do think this is a first.  I did the textbook double-take and looked around for my mom.

Now, I know when we were kids all grown-ups were Mr/Mrs Lastname.  As an adult, I have a hard time still re-addressing my parents' friends by their first names - even though it's socially acceptable now, I still think of Nancy as "Mrs. C" and Diana as "Mrs. W".

Then today I was introduced as Mrs. Miller.

As a parent, I've introduced my grown-up friends to my children by Mr/Mrs Firstname.  For some reason it still rings of the necessary respect that goes along with being an adult (a topic maybe for another day) but keeps it personal.

How about you?  Are you a Mr/Mrs Firstname or Lastname?  Or something else?  Are you offended when I introduce you to my children as Mr/Mrs Firstname?

*Yes, for now we are members of a pool and tennis club.  It's way low-key although proposed renovations will probably price us out of our membership.  While we're members, we're trying to take advantage of it as much as possible.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reason #72 why I love my husband ...

... he has a wonderful way of encouraging fun.

Brian is in PDX (the normal 2 day every 3 week trip).  He usually leaves a little something taped to the window for the girls - pop rocks, $1.  He went all out this time and set up a construction zone for the kids in the garage:

Erin has been happily hammering for 30 minutes.  Brian is awesome.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cooking Show Time

I've blogged about Erin's cooking shows before: her mixing random amounts of many ingredients to make, well, something.  Robin is in on the act now. They spent 20 minutes happily mixing, tasting, adjusting, exploring new ingredients (the baking stuff is all at in the bottom pantry.)  This time, Erin used discretion with the baking soda and only used two tsp, not the many tablespoons she usually likes to use. And Robin had a ball tasting at nearly every stage. Oh, and they cleaned up. 

We baked their concoctions, but have not tasted them yet.  There's lots of pumpkin pie spice, cloves, vanilla and colored sprinkles, so I'm thinking it won't be too bad.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Every girl needs tools

Not sure what she's making, but she skillfully cut several pieces of wood.  She has informed me tomorrow she will nail them together, then paint them.  Not with water colors.  With grown up paint.

Friday, July 13, 2012

These bodies gotta move

The girls decided they needed more exercise, so they put out the mats, got out the weights and popped in one of my "Julie Ann's."  To their credit, they finished the 5 minute warm up.  I was impressed.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Such a good helper!

Yes, that's Erin vacuuming out the van.  In her pajamas.  She was meticulous and thorough.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blackberry Picking

The girls and I went for a walk around the neighborhood today and found a thicket of blackberry bushes with its first berries.  Our tummies are full and our lips are purple!

It is also nearly 100F and we used the hats as berry baskets.  Oh, and we forgot to put on sunscreen.  Oops. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Raising a Reader

Robin loves books. She loves to read. As soon as she could hold a book she would read. To herself. It's hard to read a story to Robin because she's very happy just reading alone. Sometimes to a friend.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Big Basin - Camping Trip #2!

This weekend we headed to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  We went last year so this year we were prepared with even more bug spray.

We had fantastic weather, superb rangers, and did a lovely hike.  The girls spent a lot of time enjoying nature and playing in the creek.  We all donated a lot of blood to the mosquitos.

And there were lots of pictures.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Some Big Basin Memories

* Erin found a new role model in Ranger Morgan (a girl).
* Both kids are sensitive to mosquito bites.  Erin has sweet, sweet blood.
* The girls saw mosquito and water skipper larvae.
* Erin slept in the latest she's ever slept - 8:35 am.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Knit project: "5 hour sweater"

The actual knitting took about 12 hours, but I'm kinda slow.  Then I let it sit, unfinished, for about a year.  But now, with a new 2nd cousin almost here, I had a reason to finish it and send it out.  So, another 15 minutes of tucking in the ends and sewing on a button, voila!  I give you a cute, "5 hour", 1 year baby sweater! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July

We had a fun and busy 4th this year.  We started early with the local parade.  Of course, the girls wore dirndls.  Why wouldn't you? 
Then we had a house full of family for pulled pork, salads, and water sliding fun.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2 quick thoughts

1. I have posted a blog post every day for half a year.*

2. I have 14 1/2# of pork shoulder slow-roasting in the oven.  The house smells awesome.

*Hopefully there won't be many more posts like this where I just phone it in.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Honest Neighbors

A few weeks back we cleaned out the garage.  By cleaning out the garage, I mean we put a LOT of stuff on the curb, posted to Freecycle.org, and let everyone come n' get it.  About 500 books, some random kids toys.   We had a sign saying "Free Stuff" and in small letters, "If you find something you really like feel free to throw a buck or two into the mailbox."  Just about everything was taken. And, amazingly, there was $16 in our mailbox!

Then today, when getting the mail, there was this in the mailbox:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dinner Choices

The other night, it was hodgepodge dinner.  I had an inspiration for encouraging the kids to eat.  I put 6 things on their plate, just a tablespoon or two or a slice of each item.  The selection: mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, buttered baguette, watermelon, grilled eggplant, grilled chicken, sliced avocado.

The rule: they could have seconds of anything, but 3 of the items had to be completely consumed before any seconds would be given.

Erin ate avocado, cheese, tomatoes.  Robin ate bread, watermelon, chicken.  Erin got more tomatoes and avocado.  Robin got more chicken.  Mama felt good that her kids ate well.