Monday, December 31, 2012

High-fiving the Navy mascot



Goodbye 2012

One of my resolutions this year was to blog every day.  I came pretty close, as of posting this I've missed a total of 29 days this year. 

Going back through my posts has been a wonderful exercise for this day.  What a busy year we had. We did several home remodels, inside and out.  Erin finished preschool and started Kindergarten, Robin started preschool.  We visited Portland, Sacramento, Monterey, Davis, and went camping again and again.  We did a lot of crafts.  We experimented with food and learned an all-fruit CSA might not be the best idea for us. 

So, I could go back and fill in the missing posts.  I might if I get a bee in my bonnet However, I think the goal was really to document a year in our lives, and I feel I've accomplished that.  Just think that on the days missing a post we were just having too much fun to blog about it. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gooooooo Navy!!

We went to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game today.  It was Navy vs. Arizona State.  Boy did Navy get a whooping.  Oh well.  The game was a ton of fun, we got to go with my cousins and their families.  Also, since my cousin Sean is the main recruiter for the Navy team, we got passes to a fancy tailgate, as well as great seats.


Some highlights:
Sarah, Hannah, Miles, Stella

Sarah (standing), Hannah (kneeling), Stella (drooling)

Spectators

Great seats!

Yum!

Cotton Candy!!!

Cotton Candy

MORE cotton candy!!!!!

Kim, Matt, Nate 

Kim, Matt, and Nate. (Maya not pictured).

Lots of fun. Amazingly we stayed the entire game.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A's cousins visit

My family is not huge, so when not one but two of my cousins come into town with their families in tow it's something special.

Kim and Sean:

Sean, Kim, Papa, Nate

We met up at the "Museum"

Family with an albino crocodile

Then headed to their hotel room for a pizza dinner.

Kids play

The kids got to play and the adults got to visit. What a treat!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Auntie Tina Visits

A very good, wonderful, dear, and often missed friend visited today.  Christina "Auntie Tina" spent the afternoon and evening with us and brought, as always, lots of fun.

The girls wasted no time in wrangling her to read.

Reading

And convinced her to brave the difficult double-swing.

Auntie Tina

We had a great visit and really hope we'll get to see more of her next year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Erin woke at 6:30 - pretty standard.  We forewarned her she would cuddle in bed and watch shows on the iPad while we waited for Robin to wake up.

Robin woke. We scurried out to see what Santa had brought. Erin dove straight for the stocking, completely oblivious to the present in front with her name on it.


Stocking first.


"I Got Candy!!!!"

Robin saw her scooter and told Erin that she got a bike.  There was much excitement.















Then Erin wandered into the family room,  where the family presents were.  She started screaming, "Robin!!! Robin!!! Come here!!!  There's something really big!!!"


Doll House

My old doll house.  Complete with very 70's doll house furniture.

A good haul, all around.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

We hosted dinner this year.  My parents, brothers, sister in law, two nephews, Brian's parents and his grandmother.  A good crowd.

  Christmas Eve Dinner Table

 I didn't get ANY pictures that night. But here is the menu!
 Cara Cara and Blood Orange Salad topped with Fried Rosemary and Kalamata olives.

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with dried fruit and chestnuts
         White wine and dijon pan sauce
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Japanese Sweet Potatoes, and New Potatoes with Sage
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Crisp Shallots.

 Dessert was Tiramisu and Pumpkin Pie. Everyone left stuffed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nutcracker, 2012

Ever since I was teeny, it was the family tradition to go to the Nutcracker on the 23rd of December.  Erin started going when she was 3, and this was the first year Robin got to go.

The girls did wonderfully.  Erin sat at rapt attention for the entire ballet. Robin was perfectly still for the first half, and was a bit squirmy for the second.  All in all, a successful and memorable trip.  Many thanks to my folks for continuing the tradition.

I only got one picture, the girls all squirmy and getting their wiggles out by rolling down a ramp after the show.  Hopefully Brian got a better picture.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Spice Therapy

It's been a rough day all around, so decided to take myself to a local chinese food place for lunch.

This place is kind of known for the "extras".  Last time we ordered take-out we got a beer, some fried appetizers and a couple pieces of baklava.  For free.

So it was no surprise then when the waiter walked by each table, and set down a huge bag of organic greens, gratis.  Because nothing goes better with spicy eggplant chicken than 2 pounds of uncooked greens.


And the spicy peppers did really elevate my mood.  Now back to the Holiday Madness. 
http://www.yelp.com/biz/asia-palace-restaurant-moraga

Friday, December 21, 2012

Old Married Couple


We had some friends over for a pre-holiday easy-peasy dinner.  Erin is best buds with her classmate, A.  After dinner the kids were watching a video while the grown ups visited some more.  Caught Erin and A zoning out on the couch:

Reminds me of an old married couple crashed out after a long day. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sewing Project: Grab Bag

OK, totally back posting here.
I got a sewing machine for Christmas!!!!
Here is my first project: a reversible grab bag.

Super duper easy, and Erin has already staked a claim for it as her snack bag for school.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mrs. Y's Present

Erin's kindergarten teacher is out on medical leave for a little while.  She's fighting a good fight, and has undergone her 3rd surgery in as many  months.  But she'll be out for the rest of the week, and will return during the new year.

One of the Moms had an idea for a very, very thoughtful class holiday present for her.


Each child was assigned a color.  They used their index finger to paint a few dots in an outline.  The outline is the shape of a peace dove.  Each unique color had a fingerprint dot on the bottom half, with the child's name next to it. (non-family members names smudged for privacy).  Such a thoughtful class gift.  I didn't get to see the final product, but we gave it to her as we caroled at her house a few days later. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Craft Project: Reusable Snack Bag

I have seen reusable snack bags for sale here and there and though I could do it myself.  A few rectangles of fabric and a strip of velcro later, voila!. 

From the outside:


A crummy picture of the inside.  Sweet fabric, no? 


And I checked out some of the fancy embroidering stitches on my machine.  Cute little leaves. 


So, it's not "waterproof" by any means - I'd have to get some PUL fabric for that.  So snacks left in the bag will quickly get stale.  But they should be fine for a lunchbox, and what a cute way to snack.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Salted Caramel Sauce

 I was in need of a quick hostess gift, so I made a batch of salted caramel sauce.


An hour later, with about 5 minutes work, I had two jars of tasty, sweet, rich delightfulness.  


Add a pretty lid cover made from a fabric scrap and a stamp, fake mod-podge on a label, and now I have two lovely little pots to give away.  Sweet. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Media Blackout

Today something awful happened.

We have a total media blackout here for the next few weeks.  The 24 hour news cycle will not help us, or them.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Big Candy Cane

Today Erin comes home with the biggest candy cane I've ever seen.  Well, maybe not the biggest, but the biggest one she's ever had.

I say, "Erin, that's about 15 times more candy cane than you've ever had. It's a lot of candy.  What do you think we should do?"

Erin thinks for a few seconds, then replies, "Mom, I'm going to split it and share it with Robin.  Because she is my best friend!"



OK, I guess you guys can eat the whole thing.  You're already too sweet.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Early Morning Yoga

The girls decided they needed to get a little more exercise.  So they asked if they could do Yoga. 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Train Trip!!!!

We headed on the train for a quick overnight to Sacramento. Love the quick getaway! The girls loved the train, loved the hot tub and heated pool, loved the free breakfast, loved getting everyone up at 4:30 AM, loved the railroad museum, loved checking out the capitol building. All in all a good trip.

Waiting to get on the trainTwo engineers and a silly guyRailroad MuseumDid somebody say "Shenanigans"?ArboretumOn a walk
Sleepy GirlBrian and ErinFirehouseWaiting for the train

Sacto Dec'12, a set on Flickr.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mom Trick: Free Fruit!!

The kids have their own snack shelf - I fill it with kid-friendly snacks and they can help themselves as they see fit. It also houses their plates and cups, with the hope they'll pour their own water and put their food on the plate.  Well, one can hope.

The drawback to the snack shelf is fresh fruit.  I don't trust my brain to check it every day, nor do the kids feel motivated every day to go grab something from there.

So...

a simple solution we've found is the fruit bowl.  Placed on the low table on which the TV also sits, the fruit bowl is filled with 4-6 pieces of fruit in the morning. Most days it is empty by the evening.


Of course, if it's little apples or pears, I'll find half-eaten gifts all over the house.  But at least they're getting *some* fruit. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Scientist" Erin

Erin's classroom has been working the last few months on writing their first book.  It is a book about scientific observations of trees.  Each child illustrated a concept and wrote a sentence.  Today was their "publishing" party.  They were instructed to don a white shirt as their lab coats.  They read each other the stories, then shook each other's hands and congratulated them.  "Well done, Dr. Erin."  "Well done, Dr. J".  

Very cute, and pretty amazing.   

Erin's book reading

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pirates!!!!


The girls had a pre-bedtime pirate adventure. They sailed their "leaf" ship and found treasure sprinkled throughout the room.

Note Erin's hook hand and Robin's spyglass.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Why we don't have any rugs/carpets in the house


4 oz of banana soy-vanilla ice cream milkshake, poured on the floor and "played" with.  Cup thrown across the room.  Preschooler happily smooshing in the puddle.  Let her have a few minutes of fun, then clean up on aisle 3. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

House Moat

A storm drain got clogged yesterday morning during heavy rain, and our house was about 1/2" of water away from getting flooded inside.  Shit.  When you have to say "Keep the kids away from anything electronic,  unplug everything!" you know you're in trouble.

Water was on both sides of the house, washing out dirt and gravel everywhere, out onto the front lawn, in the garage, down the driveway, carving a gully in the hillside, putting an inch of mud on the deck.

There's a storm drain in the upper hillside that feeds into a buried pipe, but if it fails, this is what it looks like.  I think we'll just have to hire an intern to stand by the drain night and day to keep it clear.  However, even when the drain was cleared, water still shot over the drain and came down the hill.



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Robin's Photography Round 2

She got ahold of my phone for about 2 minutes. Probably less.  This time, only about 40 pictures and 2 short movies.  

Love the self-smooching. 


And her first arms-length.  Kinda like this one!