Sunday, June 8

Well, it's happened...

Well, we've lived here for two years now, and I've found myself pretending that we actually have a summer here.

This is our first official summer in the sense that we have a kid in school now, and we observe that school year schedule. It was our first time to count down days til summer. Even my preschooler who continues his part-time program through the summer is aware of the "season," thanks to the movie, Frozen.

But if you know anything about summer in SF, we do spend a lot of our days feeling a little frozen. July and August tend to be our coldest and foggiest months of the year. And while I know those days are coming, I'm pretending that they're not. And I've found that's how most people around here cope with the impending weather shift.

So let me backtrack; we moved here in July 2012, and while it was chilly, I was actually grateful for the stark climate change from our 100-degree summers in Texas. People would tell me that the weather was nice, and this was unusual for July. I really had no idea what they meant, because in my mind, the weather was supposedly always nice here. Then August came, and I had to find where my winter coat was hiding in our half-unpacked moving boxes.

As summer 2013 approached, people I knew were talking about summer like it was an actual season around here, like they anticipated warm weather. Friends were buying their kids summer clothes. I was delighted to find jackets on clearance racks, remembering all too well our experience from a mere 10 months prior. What are these people talking about? Summer? I've only been here a year, and they've been here a lot longer, so what is wrong with them?

So here we are, summer 2014, and I've figured it out. We are all delusional! Me included. Let's see, it's 64 degrees in the city, but looks like 70 in the East Bay, so let's spend the day at the lake! Oh, 67 degrees!? That's practically swimming weather! Just know that when you're wearing a swimming suit, you're sporting head-to-toe chill bumps as well. And when those kids exit the water, have those towels and hoodies ready to wrap them up quickly!

The truth is, you don't have to go too far from the city to actually find summer. An hour or so in either direction (except west because, well, that's the ocean) and you'll find a warm patch. I figure that's what SFers also mean when they're gearing up for summer... they are LEAVING.

But for us, we're just diving right in, making the most of our sunny days when we get them, taking some day trips to find the sun when it eludes us, and bundling up and exploring the city in other ways when it seems like we're swimming in cream o'soup.

Tuesday, April 29

A hunting we will go...

Gift hunting, that is! When Seth's birthday presents started to stack up, and the day's agenda involved events centered around Ian, I wanted to do something fun to start off the big birthday just right. Ian, in true big brother fashion, still made this activity about him, but I think Seth had fun doing a little scavenger hunt to find his birthday goodies.

Each present had a card on it with a picture of who it was from and a picture of where the next gift was hidden. We started like this.

The picture above shows how I kept it all straight while planning/arranging the night before.

Disclaimer #1: All of this occurred BEFORE 7 a.m. so I might seem a little low key. I didn't exactly chase after my excited gift-hunters, either, as you'll notice in the video.

Disclaimer #2: There is a lapse in between the two videos during which I missed the filming of the gift from Nana and Paw Paw, sorry! My intent was to get the video to specifically share with our family who sent in presents, but my phone ran out of memory while taking the first video, and it took me a while to realize I wasn't recording! But Mom, you'll notice at the start of the second video that Seth is toting around your gift and requesting to open it. It's been a hit ever since.

Disclaimer #3: Ugh, Ian is terribly annoying and overbearing. I bet if it had just been Seth, he would have taken his time with each gift rather than being pushed on by his bossy big brother. Regardless, they both have played well together (for the most part) with all the new toys around here, including the slew that came with the birthday party on the following day.

Monday, April 21

Snapshot of Six

I just went through a big pile of to-do stuff, and I found these notes I made around Ian's sixth birthday. They're just on scrap pieces of paper, so I figured the blog would be a better place to store them, and maybe you'd be interested in the information, too. Of course, it's been a couple of months, so some things may have changed, but this is a snapshot of Ian when he turned six in February.

First, I interviewed him about his favorites:

Color: blue
Food: chicken that dad makes
Dessert: ice cream, cake, candy
Movie: Mary Poppins
Game: Skylanders Swap Force
Thing to do with dad: play games
Thing to do with mom: go to parks
Thing to do with Seth: jump on mom's bed
As a family: go on a bike ride
Place to go: Chuck E. Cheese
Days of the week: Saturday and Sunday
Sport: soccer
Subject in school: science and recess or playtime in their classroom

I also asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he answered a policeman. A few months prior he had wanted to be a chef. Interesting.

I also wrote down a few "skills" he acquired in his sixth year of life. He learned how to:
  • tie his shoes
  • blow a bubble (with gum)
  • whistle
  • shuffle a deck of cards (with the bridge)
  • tackle the fundamentals of reading (in Spanish AND English)
  • crack eggs AND scramble them (with no assistance)
  • make popcorn (all by himself)
  • make coffee (but not consume it)
  • do basic addition and subtraction

Friday, April 11

A Whittle Story

Once upon a time, three boys went hiking. One found a stick.

He wanted to make something out of that stick.

He only needed a little guidance.

He was proud to use his dad's knife.

Dad worked on his own project.

The stick turned out to be very useful indeed!

Friday, February 28

Photo Book

It's Like... Magic!

It'll be magic if I can manage to finish my photo book before the Groupon expires tomorrow. Why do I always wait until the last minute on those? Well, in my defense, the party did just happen last Saturday, and I just got the photos on Tuesday, but I think when I purchased the deal, I was planning on doing another set of photos entirely (like summer or Christmas because I already did books for the fall; I really need a system here, obviously).

Anyway, I plan to post the link to my photo book here, but in the meantime, here is "Ian the Great" making his magician's assistant debut.

Monday, February 17

Peninsular Presidents' Day

When we headed south for the third day in a row today, I realized that we pretty much spent our Presidents' Day weekend on the Peninsula. While the city (which is largely north and west of us) has lots to offer, sometimes I guess it's nice to escape to the "burbs" to find some wide open spaces and places to go shopping where there are actual parking spots. (Although we didn't even take our car on that particular outing!)

Saturday a friend and I visited a fun and familiar place.

So big and crowded and cheap and overwhelming and wonderful all at the same time. An Ikea outing is indeed an all-day affair, which John may or may not have expected when I left the house. I think he and the boys fared OK without me, and hopefully I restrained from spending too much money at the great big blue abyss.

Sunday we boarded the commuter train and took it six stops south (about 30 minutes) to a city with a nice shopping area where we simply had lunch and bought the boys new shoes at Stride Rite. They were certainly proud of their new light-up shoes, while I was in shock at how big their feet looked in sizes 13 and 10.5. My busy boys are growing up!

On the bus ride to the train station

Sitting on the top deck of the train

Monday we drove south again, not far from the previous location to a nice bayside park with paved bike trails, tall trees, playgrounds, and close-up views of planes coming in for a landing. John calculated that we biked nearly 10 miles overall between all the loops and switchbacks that we made. Both boys were exhausted, and John and I took turns trailing Seth who inevitably fell behind with the training wheels. And even after all that, they were running around like crazies when we got home! Mom and Dad were TIRED!

At one scenic overlook, Ian commandeered a fishing pole from someone and the boys took turns at fishing. You can sorta see the new shoes, too. The Ikea-acquired reflective vests turned out to be very helpful! I had originally bought them for dress-up play, (Seth announced, "I'm a worker man!") but I'm contemplating making them wear the vests for every outing!

So that was our weekend. Before that I was busy with Valentines and school volunteer work. Before that I was doing work work. This week is party preparation since I'll soon have a six-year-old on my hands! So, hence the blogging hiatus (yet again)!

Friday, January 24

The Boomerang That Didn't Come Back

John took a business trip to Australia in early January and brought back boomerangs as souvenirs for the boys. In fact, while Seth was playing with dandelions (see previous post) Ian was doing this:

That was the weekend of January 11th. On the weekend of January 18th, Ian was going this:

Because his beloved boomerang was stuck up in this tree:

His dad threw it up there. And his mom found a new one on ebay. So, see, there is a happy ending to this story. Even though the picture above still pains me. Alright, I must leave you with warm fuzzies instead. Redirect your thoughts to the positives about boomerangs:

Oh, hmm. Interpret that last one as you will. Carry on.