Friday, September 23, 2016

Picture day

Neighborhood kids all walking to school on picture day. 

Then a typical afternoon outside with friends.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Betsy rides a bike

Betsy decided she wanted to try riding a neighbor's bike and just did it. The braking and dismount weren't smooth, but everything else was pretty simple for her. I think she's just been ready and waiting for the opportunity - the right size bike and a safe street/neighborhood. This doesn't happen on college avenue in PA! She was great at gliding and did that for a year before, so the proponents of gliding may be on to something. 

After she rode Keen's bike, we picked up a blue bike with cherry graphics and a basket off of craigslist. She wants to go out and ride all the time and on this second day began starting on her own. This is a day off kindergarten to help the 5 year-olds adjust. I have been pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable these "off" days have been with Betsy. She is loving, bright, and a great leader. I need to take a picture of her Lego store she made and is taking tomorrow for the class show n tell. She came up with the idea tonight since we couldn't find her musical jewelry box. 

$27 from cookies

This event has been talked about almost non-stop since Friday. I made cookies for an after-school "clubhouse snack." The clubhouse includes all the kids in the neighborhood. After eating their own snack it naturally evolved to selling "for the clubhouse," which is an unknown cause. It could mean buying a flag or a fourth plasma car or "more cookies to make more money."

They were quite successful, as people pulled or walked over and the last lady gave them 20 for the remainder of the cookies. They were/are thrilled! 

It was a team effort that could develop into some philanthropic work, but just what would that look like...? That idea has been on the drawing board since Friday, both in the clubhouse and our home. 

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.