Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 5

We rode bikes to school because I car was getting towed to the car service. I love roadside assistance. 100% worth the premium. It's not just the battery and key, so I'm hoping the warranty might cover something!

As you can see behind Abby, the boxes are piling up in the back porch. I'm hoping there is no rain in the next ten days and no robbers. Not that anyone would really want wrapping paper and duplos, but they wouldn't know that.

Our house got cleaned today, which is becoming a necessity for me. Even in this small space I don't find the time to do much more than tidy and I am so grateful for the kind couple who comes and brightens our home. It is one of my favorite things.

We walked to the bank and Ruby rode Betsy's glider the whole way. She was also wearing one of Betsy's shirts and two different shoes. 

Some key principles of a home environment I want to create - COAL. Curiosity. Openness. Acceptance. Love.

After school we were all in their bedroom and they began an impromptu Yoshi Kids Club meeting. It started out with the pledge that sounds an awful lot like the pledge of allegiance with the word Yoshi inserted several times. 

This week is spirit week at school, so they got ready for the Hawaiian day and did a luau dance with someone accompanying on the piano. 

It was taco Tuesday tonight for dinner, which may have become a little polarizing. Gavin claims to love it and it seems that makes Gabriel not love it. Although they seem similar in personality, they do often choose opposites. Like if I ask them what they're favorite ice cream is, Gabriel will say vanilla and then Gavin will immediately say chocolate. Or when people ask them what color they like, they are quick to say different colors or "only my brother likes that color." 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

I am a little sad to be taking apart our house. Making sure everything had a place, putting up decorations in the right spots, organizing rooms has been a lot of work and I'm really proud we all have done it together! As I pack I realize this place will never look normal or homey again. It's just going to be bare and boxes until we leave. I have been very happy since the day we decided to move, but I still have some reservations not knowing what the next place will be like and leaving behind friends that we just didn't have enough time with. We had not even met everyone in our ward and those we had met, our friendships were still developing. But I have to leave Palo Alto! I am not sad about that. We missed the window of middle-income people moving here about twenty years ago and now our 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment that is 900 sqft sells for over a million. So let's just think about what a normal-sized house costs and the chances you will get it with the competitive bidding and then it is obvious why we are leaving. It's just the most insane market. It's been interesting to be a part of it and witness first-hand how people live in such small space, sacrifice so much for rent, and learn why they do it. Or also learn how people made a business and sold it for several millions and that's how they live here. It's a town of millionaires. And I have honestly told Amanda V. and others from the beginning that I wanted out. I hit my limit and this place is beyond it and I really respect others for holding out longer/think they're crazy. By the way, we still lose things in our apartment, despite it's size.

We are surrounded by boxes and stuff needing to be packed. This morning was brunch at Dick and Mimi P.'s house, which was lovely. It's amazing what a year can do. I remember going last year and enjoying it, but we were the new family on the block. Gabriel and Chris had helped with set up, so Gabriel said he knew what was going to be there, but was going to let it be a surprise. Then a few seconds later said, But I'm so excited for face painting!

Chris drove with Gabriel, Betsy, Abby, and the egg casserole. The recipe called for 1 cup of cheese for every egg. Seriously! I rode bikes with Ruby and Gavin because of the minivan issues. Ruby is having shoe troubles. The only shoes we can find for her are the right blue keen shoe and left black shiny Sunday shoe. That's what she had to wear to church yesterday! I keep believing the pairs will show up, but I might cave and buy her some soon. Also, Ruby loves Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and calls it Tiger Daniel, saying the Daniel as one would in Spanish. She sings the songs Use Your Words and It Might Get Better a lot. Gavin was fussing on the couch about a problem and I encouraged him to work it out by using his words. Ruby walked over to the couch, pointed her finger at him and sang, Use your words! We all started laughing in that tense moment, even Gavin. He didn't like it so much when Betsy and Gabriel joined Ruby, though. 

The best part of the brunch was the singing and talking with friends. Mary P. sang the national anthem, primary kids sang My Flag, and everyone sang God Bless America and This Land is Your Land. The pictures show Betsy and Ruby mesmerized by the singing. Gavin and Gabriel were wandering through the beautifully landscaped trees making up a game with other boys. I love their natural ability to play. It happens so easily wherever we go and who ever we are with. I wonder when they'll stop going immediately to the trees to make forts or battle plans. Hopefully not soon! It's so previous to see.

Jeri Seams is painting Lorin P.'s face. She was the nursery leader when we first moved in and welcomed Ruby so well. Chris has been in nursery this year and really respected her detailed preparation and service. She loved him in nursery, too, and said how loving he is. She also said it has been priceless to have Ruby see her and come sit on her lap during sacrament. Ruby also goes to belle d. And Abby often gets taken by the cooks. 

By the way, I like the bricks for the outdoor flooring. 

We had a packing afternoon and the kids watched Kung fu panda. We were all going to go to shoreline for fireworks, but Gavin needed to stay, so I'm home with Abby and Gavin. The rest parked at Costco, walked to the golf course, found the Coehlos, and are enjoying the fireworks and crowd. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 3

Sunday afternoon is down time that is a little bit hard to fill. I want it to be a little bit different on the sabbath and it lasts a long time and we don't live by family to go visit. So today they read, which I absolutely love seeing them do together. I'm so glad Gavin was willing to do this. 

They also tried to get Abigail to lay down on a blanket to pull her around, but she was not cooperating so they gave up. 

One picture taken with Ruby attracted several more for a group selfie. 

After the girls go to bed, the boys let loose! Just kidding. Usually they are reading, but tonight after reading they decided to pump it up a little. We finished All-of-a-Kind Family tonight and started Al Capone Does My Shirts. It helps that we went to Alcatraz here. That was a very worthwhile excursion. I am kind of sad we didn't go again with family when they were in town. The ferry ride over was fun and then we all had our own headphones for a guided tour. 

July 2

We leave in two Saturdays. So we headed to Pacifica to have some beach time. I had been there with park days, but Chris hadn't. This beach attracts surfers and has a Taco Bell literally on the beach. We met the Coehlos with Raphael's mom there, but we were super late because of the battery again. And taking bikes off the back rack. Our kids had fun running and digging for crabs. The most amazing part was that WE SAW WHALES! It was really amazing. I was corralling kids to come back closer to parents and I was walking by two little boys who started jumping up and down screaming and pointing. I asked them what they were so excited about and they said they saw a whale. I looked out there and it was amazing. I gathered the boys who I was bringing back and we watched until we one again. When the whale jumped out of the water headfirst and landed on its side (I know there's a name for that) everyone on the beach clapped. So then I ran to tell the adults to look and we whale-watched for a while. The thing about whale-watching is you have to be still and keep your eyes focused on the water because they'll suddenly appear, but only for a moment. It's fun. And just amazing to think of these huge creatures in the water. When I go to the ocean I have no need to get in. I love being there, but the water itself terrifies me because of how massive it is. Unfortunately, it was so windy that the sand was stinging our skin and it got cold (Chris and the boys still got in), so we stayed huddled and used towels and blankets and only stayed for a couple of hours. 

Abby kicks balls well and did this upon her first few steps. When we were at a ward picnic she wasn't really walking except a few steps at home and then she found a soccer ball, stood up, and started kicking it. Also, she has had eight teeth by Christmas, now has all of her molars, and is getting her in between teeth now for a total of 16 teeth. I only write this because I have not had a kid get so many teeth at this age before. 

Betsy wanted to perform something. I think it was a song, but turned into jokes by the end rotating through her, Gavin, and Gabriel. The jokes start out decent and end up being quite far stretches. 

July 1

Friday was a free day and we did some packing in the morning. Packing uncovers toys and books that haven't been seen for a long time or never discovered. Gavin found a French history novel, for kids, and went through every page - reading just the speech bubbles in the frequent illustrations. But still, they didn't make much sense and he kept reading them. I stayed by him and listened and looked for a while, which I loved. It's a luxury that usually only happens with Chris around.

While I was doing some packing Chris disassembled the trampoline. We later delivered it to the Coehlos, which is when my kids swam. It was free to us from a Stanford family and has been well-used every day. I am thankful we got it, although the home insurance guy and our pediatrician told us we shouldn't get one in Washington. I loved trampolines as a kid and spent tons of time on them. For a period of time I even went out before school to get some jumping in. I played a lot of Add-On with Laron and neighbors. So I see the positives more than the negatives. 

All kids love their parents' phones, right? It seems innate because Abby prefers my phone to almost every other option. Betsy and Ruby take pictures without me knowing it, too. Well, this time I was sitting right there and heard them. Ruby said, okay Betsy go stand over there. Say cheese! It all sounded normal, and then I look up and see Betsy standing there forcing the biggest grin ever. It made me laugh. 

Also, let's remember our walkway from door to street. Our stroller and bike trailer scrape the doorsteps and stairs and fence as we roll through. I'm glad to record this, but I might not have thought of it if Betsy/Ruby hadn't taken this picture. 

June 30

This Thursday started out as usual. I decided to go with Ruby and Abby to the park and meet Simony there. This was after school started. I came home from dropping school kids off and double parked quickly to run grab something for the park. I had turned off the car, put the hazards on which don't use battery, and had just been driving normally for at least 20 minutes. When I came back the battery was dead. Roadside assistance came and jump started the car and we went to the park. I thought we were good, but it was dead when leaving the park, too. Peers park was fun, too. So roadside assistance came again. I was able to walk home with the girls while waiting. Then it worked that evening, but has been dead several times since. 

So, as we were waiting outside for the guy to come, Ruby ride her scooter up and down the sidewalk and Abby walked all over with a brush. Peek-a-boo is one of Abby's favorite games! By the way, I don't know why the battery is drained, could be because we just went on a long road trip, but Betsy and Ruby constantly and quickly go up to the front seats and I will find lights and blinkers turned on. I don't know, just sayin.

The afternoon was enjoyable with the kids dragging tons of stuff out to make their clubhouse and then having a meeting and snack. They made sure Abby attended. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 14 - Betsy Gliding in Pink

Betsy is a spirited, intense girl and I love the action photo of her gliding to summer camp for the first day. She rode all the way from our house to Middlefield Road. She was slower than the boys, but would not give up, even when I offered to have her jump in the trailer with Ruby, she would glide faster. 

What was even more surprising was when I showed up on my bike to pick them up and ride home and they were gone. I missed them at the place I thought I was supposed to pick them up and by the time I went to the gym, their classrooms and back to the pick-up, I had missed them. Betsy's teacher saw me asking about where my three kids were and said they had left together on their bikes. They had told the teachers they were just supposed to ride home by themselves. I caught up with them when they were almost to College, our street. Gabriel was standing by Betsy. When I rode up to them he said, 

I bet you're glad to see me with Betsy. You probably couldn't tell that most of the time we went way ahead and didn't see her. But now we are together. 

Honesty. Those are not the busiest streets in Palo Alto, but there's so much traffic everywhere and stop signs that Betsy doesn't understand the rules to cross through safely. We were watched over that day. Betsy in her favorite outfit - all pink and the long-sleeve cowgirl shirt, was blessed with safety.