A Pretty Lazy Morning

If you know me, you know I LOVE lazy mornings. They are right up there at the very top of my list of life’s luxuries. This morning was one of them. I took my coffee, curled up by these gorgeous blooms, caught up on some of the “trend” news (nothing horrifying or serious like real news, but still great conversation starters as the Moms hang out poolside during swim practice in a few hours), and just enjoyed a little solo time while the world woke up around us. Trying to do this as much as possible this summer before the early morning school routine kicks in.

The “Pose Like You’re Over It” Photo

These two. We were harvesting another giant bucket of strawberries and our first giant pile of tomatoes from our backyard garden last night. I thought it would be cute to take their photo since they were having so much fun. This is what I got from them – cheeky faces, breakdance move poses, and almost an eye roll. I usually snap at least 5-10 for every decent image but tonight, I knew the ship was sinking, so I just let it go with these. And don’t you worry. When one of these kiddos celebrates a milestone moment, I’ve got millions of embarrassing photos to whip out for a slideshow. For sure. Fair notice, I tell them now that I’m doing it later and they don’t seem to care. They will. #momwin

A Girl & Her Dog

I often post about Holden and his dog but Finley also has a very soft spot for Emmy despite having really wanted a pet rabbit actually, not a dog you know.

When it is just the girls at the house, Fin often snuggles up to and hangs out with Emmy. She talks to her like I do with the same voice and speech patterns. Emmy doesn’t listen to Fin as well but knows Fin is the source of frequent falling food and so between the play sessions and bonus snacks, they’ve formed a good friendship.

I think if you ask Fin, she loves Emmy just fine, but… she still wants a rabbit.

Boys Day Girls Day

In keeping with tradition, Holden’s friend Lukas invited him to a summer day game with the Giants. These two sweet silly boys have certainly grown since they met each other as one-year-olds at Little Wonders! So tall and lanky. See how much they’ve grown & changed – check out last year as well as 2016 too.  As you can imagine, epic fun was had despite a team loss. Somehow this year, they managed to attend the Battle of the Bay game with the A’s which was especially exciting. They also walked away with themed snowglobes, now treasured by both kiddos!

Last year, Fin was not keen on the fact that Holden got to go to the Ballpark and she only got to go to gymnastics class, lunch, errands, and construction dramatics so this year, we planned a girls day with Evie so the little sisters could also have an epic day. We tore through the Exploratorium at their pace – without having to keep up with the older boys or wait for them to examine every element of the decomposing rats (remember this?)

To say they had a great day was an understatement. Check out their happy silly faces. Although don’t try to get an adorable snuggly photo – you’ll only get silly faces and antics which thankfully are still adorable, especially given the giggles that accompany the expressions.

Here’s to keeping up traditions with sweet friends! xo

1 year wake up

This morning (July 15) marks a one-year anniversary from the first morning we woke up in our new house. Can you believe it? After years of planning, delays, expense, and drama, we can finally say we’ve lived here one year. I had to take a moment and just hang out in this room (my room) – the dog isn’t allowed in here (thanks Invisible Fencing), and we don’t let the kids play in here. This is by far the most grown-up room in the house and it is my special haven.

I’m so glad we survived the past year… My eye twitch is slowly disappearing (joking. sort of). Our punch list is being chipped away yet, at even a slower pace, if you can imagine that. Uhm… Dad, are you for hire? We need someone who will show up and get the job done for us like only you can in your whirling dervish of mad skills.

One year ago, I woke on an air mattress, to this view – my oldest nugget who couldn’t be cuter. I then heard my other littlest nugget calling out from her bedroom “Momma, I’m awake. Come to find me. I’m lost!” She did eventually figure out the new house and now regularly runs and hides from us!

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A small event with big talent

On Saturday evening we opened our home to showcase the amazing, life-changing work and talents of the Bay Area Children’s Theatre. Founder and Executive Artistic Director, Nina Meehan, shared research and the reason why behind many of the programs that BACT develops. She was joined with Composers & Playwrights Min Kahng and Austin Zumbro, whose vocal, piano and guitar magic and mad skills filled the room. Seeing the house being used as we designed it so long ago is always rewarding.

I enjoyed the chance to connect with old and new friends of BACT. Being a kid-free event, we could really have great (aka uninterrupted) conversations and dive a bit deeper into how the organization works as well as how people are connected to and benefit from this program. I continue to be amazed and inspired by all of BACT’s staff and vision – I’m so grateful for a chance to be part of such a talented team.

Annual Lawn Mowing

After an eventful trip to Yosemite, we returned home to see the annual sheep lawn mowing machine in full effect. Emmy, our newly self-proclaimed sheep wrangler dog, had a great time running around the backyard doing all her tricks while keeping a close watch on the sheep. It was really calming hanging out on our back terrace watching to the sheep move through the ravine and listening to all the ranges of sounds they made. I don’t think I stood still enough in past years to take it in. Noted. Learning to slow waaaaay down these days and feeling good about it.

The High Low to Yosemite

Folks, we just had perhaps the craziest travel experience yet. With all our family travels, we’ve managed to escape without having to deal with a few really unpleasant options. This trip, we rolled the unfortunate dice. Read on to hear all about the highs & lows on our recent adventure to Yosemite.

Day 1:

We usually end up flying on vacations. This summer we have been driving more – we live in Northern CA and we’ve got a new car. It’s a win win. Traffic was pretty easy – even on the hilly climb – except for the group of cows crossing the road en route to our Lodge. I swear they stopped, looked, and waited to make sure we were stopping before they crossed. I don’t think my kids do this on their own yet.

We selected Evergreen Lodge based on great recommendations of so many friends. I do recommend their 2-bedroom cabins for families. A living room separates a queen bedroom and another bedroom with twin beds. Furnishings are very minimal & simple – nothing fancy. Be aware, the beds are hard. The bathroom is also very minimal but it is spacious and that was a big win later in our stay (wait for it).

Once at the resort the kids loved the snacks in the General Store and the outdoor park area right outside our cabin. They also enjoyed the geode cracking activity of the day – resulting in some really pretty crystals. After being in the car most of the day, a dip in the pool was re-freshing. We enjoyed a poolside buffet dinner before taking the kids to the fireplace to make S’Mores. Yep. They thought this was the best place ever.

Day 2:

We woke up bright & early (not hard with our kiddos who love to get up around 6:30 a.m.) and got ready for a day packed with adventure. There is nothing express about the Lodge Restaurant so we grabbed coffees and breakfast foods (along with picnic supplies for later) from the General Store and headed out to the park.

The views driving into and through the park were beautiful. We stopped at Tunnel View to enjoy a peek-a-boo view of Half Dome and the kiddos (especially Finley) were amazed by the size of the rocky peaks, boulders, and beautiful views.

We hiked all around the Valley Floor – through meadows & groves of trees, into museums and galleries, we took tons of photos and learned all sorts of facts. We took a break at the Majestic (formerly Ahwahnee) to cool down. I purchased coloring & activity books for the kids and had to borrow highlighter markers from the front desk. Can you believe not one outlet in that Hotel had crayons available for use or purchase?

After nearly 4 miles of walking, we made it back to our car. Finley flat out refused to do the last .25 mile and honestly, I don’t blame her. Poor turkey.

We returned to the Lodge for a swim, poolside dinner and dessert (check out the strawberry infused Palomas if you go). We all cleaned up and fell asleep with wet hair well before 8pm. Bill was getting up early the next day for a private guided fishing trip in High Country and I was going to enjoy a day with the kids – either at the Resort or taking in Hetch Hetchy. Or so we thought…

Day 3:

 

Holden woke me up 11:30 p.m. announcing he just threw up. Unfortunately it wasn’t an isolated episode and I sat, holding him, in the bathroom all night till about 6am when Bill woke up to get ready for his trip. Poor Holden was sicker than I’ve ever seen him. I didn’t know if it was food poisoning or a bug.

Bill stayed with Holden for about 90 minutes so I could get a really quick nap before he left. I kept Fin in her bedroom with an iPad while I kept Holden with me. I packed us up between Holden’s episodes and moved us to the Rec Center when our room was no longer an option. I spent at least an hour on the phone with a local Dr. and my nurse friends since Holden wasn’t improving at all till mid afternoon. The Lodge didn’t hae any electrolyte tablets but thankfully one of the staff brought us some of her own which really seemed to help once Holden was able to keep down fluids. The kids and I made baskets to help distract (and keep them separate).

Bill finally returned around 5pm and we loaded up his gear quickly to head home. He indulged Fin with another few rides on the zipline and we were off. I’ve never been so happy to come home from a vacation. As Holden was improving, and no one else was showing signs, I was hopeful it was food poisoning. Nope. Wrong.

Finley went down Thursday afternoon, I followed late that night, and Bill got it on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, we had committed to hosting a fundraiser at our home on Saturday evening but thankfully when Holden got sick, I booked full catering services. I thought it better to be safe than sorry and didn’t want to infect anyone else if we did have a bug. I’m glad I did because even looking at the food, still on Saturday, was hard enough. Cooking, arranging, and serving was not an option.

If you want a laugh after this story (you may need one), check out the videos of the kids on zip lines above. They both absolutely loved this – definitely their favorite part of the trip. Hands down.

In short, this trip was the ultimate high low experience – gorgeous views and fun family outings but also awful with a horrid stomach bug & very limited resources.

I learned I need to be in close proximity to hospital & medical services at all times; to avoid locations filled with large groups of children that may or may not wash their hands (aka the Mather camp that has a history of closing due to norovirus); always have electrolyte tabs and a tub of Clorox wipes on hand; and to stay wherever a butler comes with the property.

It’s just the way it needs to be.

 

 

Mini Driver. Buckle Up.

Watch out neighbors! Finley Grace is behind the wheel and she means business. Just look at that face! Check out her “pop a wheelie” mad skills below in the super short clip. We’ve made a deal with our neighbors that we’re each buying very bright, very sturdy, very durable cars for these girls and we’re all keeping a close watch on the entire crew.