Thursday, September 25, 2008

Going for a Spin

I am SO proud of Claire.

What am I so proud of, you ask?

Claire can read... but that's not it.

Claire can write... but that's not it.

Claire plays chess... but that's not it either.

No, no. Nothing as important as all that. I am here to brag about the fact that Claire went on a real grown-up roller coaster on Saturday.

I don't know what that says about my priorities, but oh well. We went to Six Flags for M's company picnic and Claire was tall enough to go on this one. Yay for being tall for her age! It didn't go upside down or anything, but it's no walk in the park either. I got to sit across from her and I'll admit I was nervous. She wanted to go and I believed she would enjoy it based on past experiences, but I couldn't shake the nagging fear that maybe we'd end up scarring her for life. As we hurtled through the drops, twists, and turns, the look on her face was priceless.

Basically: abject horror

Needless to say, my fear was growing. Then there was a lull in the ride and she was laughing and smiling. *sigh of relief*

Or should I say, sigh of relief quickly snuffed out by another set of drops and twists and turns. Which led to more terror stricken face from Claire. The worry mounted again.

Then the ride was over and Claire asked, "Does this roller coaster go around once or twice?"

"Just once," we cautiously replied.

"You mean, we don't get to go again?"

**BIG sigh of relief**

Friday, September 19, 2008


As someone born in California, I am ashamed to admit it. Prior to our family vacation last month, my children had never been to the beach. Though the beaches near the bay area are less-than-stellar, we remedied our children's deprivation with a visit to the coast.

Of course it was cloudy and bordering on chilly most of the time we were there. That's just how the beaches there roll. However, much to the dismay of the grown-ups, there was even less surf than the usual sad showing. No boogie boarding for us! We still had a lot of fun. Anything is fun with Aunt J and Uncle N around:

Plus there was sand:

Scott (who was apparently the Gordon's Fisherman in a past life) is thinking, "This is SO much cooler than my sandbox at home. Just look at all of it!"

We were fortunate enough to score a pre-dug big hole:

All the climbing, sliding, and almost-but-not-quite trapping the kids fun without any of the work for Mom and Dad!

M started building a sandcastle. Claire thought it needed her own personal touch:

Using your feet still counts as "touching," right?

Scott felt that it needed more. More destruction, that is:

Some villages get burninated, some get Scottinated. I can almost hear the screams of the little sand villagers as they run from Scott raining down destruction. And I had thought the little castle was under more threat of succumbing to a mini-tsunami (AKA the rising tide).

Fortunately, the sun eventually did come out and we got to spend a little time cavorting in the water without coats on. We even made it through with no hypothermia!

Try not to blind yourself with the whiteness of M shirtless in this picture. And be glad there's none of me, because I make M look down right olive-toned.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fancy Shmancy

My sister wanted to flex her very burly culinary muscles while we were all at my parents' house. My parents' anniversary and M's and my anniversary (6 years!) are one day apart and happened while we were all there. So my sister put together a very fancy anniversary dinner for us all. We put the kids to bed and then sat down to this table:

Do you see that there are no less than 8 pieces of silverware at each place setting? Do you???
Yah, it was that fancy.

My contribution to the evening was selecting dishes from my mom's stash, setting the table, and creating the centerpiece. So if you think this table is absurd and/or ugly, I don't want to hear it. Seriously though, in defense of the snootiness of it all, the table setting matched the food.

The food, oh the food! In fact, the food was even fancier than the table. If that's possible. I mean, at some point the fanciness is just off the charts and there's no way to gauge it. But more importantly, it was so delicious that I was thinking maybe the Romans were really onto something. I mean, I was SO full, but I still wanted more. You would be full too with bread followed by five courses and a palate cleanser consisting of:

(And here I am quoting from the provided very cursivey menu at each place setting)


Endive Spoons with Chevre and Tomato

Dark Chocolate Truffles


Rustic Potato Leek Soup

And a White Peach Sorbet to follow


Plate Principal

Grilled Steak with Seared Spinach, Whipped Kabocha, and Broiled Asparagus in an Argentinean Chimichurri Sauce

Stuffed Pork Chops, Braised Green Beans, Grilled Squash, and a Smooth Apple Cranberry Compote served over Wild Rice Pilaf



Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons and Parmesan Frico


Strawberry and Mascarpone Trifle with Sweetened Balsamic Glaze

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce and Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

My sister posted details on all of this.
The bread, the first course, main course 1, main course 2, salad, dessert 1, and dessert 2.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

... And Then Scott's Head Exploded with Happiness

While we were visiting my best friend in Arizona, we got to go with them to a really great air museum. A very good time was had by all. In fact, it's a tough call whether the grown-ups or the kids enjoyed it more!

(Good thing Scott's got that diaper to cover up the plumber's crack action. The kid seriously needs to put a little weight on around the middle. To get pants long enough for him, I have to buy ones that are huge around the waist and then cinch them on with a belt. A belt on the tightest notch. A belt that came with 12 month size pants. SHEESH. Takes after his dad...)

Scott was "reading up" on this bomb.
I'm pretty sure the internal dialogue went something like this:
"Hmm... a 750 lb bomb. I need one of these babies at home..."

Oh yah, and also, there were fire engines. We're lucky Scott survived with the ability to be excited about anything else ever again still intact.

By the end of the day, Scott had finally stopped constantly exclaiming "Airplane! Airplane!" Perhaps he finally realized that he no longer needed to alert us to the presence of an airplane after about the 137th specimen.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tripping on the Road

Our family vacation last month was a VERY long road trip. It actually went pretty well. It turns out 52 hours of drive time aren't so bad when you have kids who will stay transfixed on a movie for as long as you can stand to listen to it playing in the back seat.

The first day, we drove from our home to Arizona (13 hours drive time) where Leann and Matt live (my best friend from college and her husband).

Most of the drive looked like this:

With the occasional increase in prettiness, like this:

One of our favorite parts of that drive is the experience of driving along I-10 through El Paso, Texas. At one point, the freeway butts right up against the Rio Grande and the border with Mexico. So on one side of the freeway is your typical American city and on the other side is this:

The contrast always fascinates us. Those houses definitely wouldn't be up to code around here...

We spent a day in Arizona, then drove to the San Francisco Bay Area (13 hours drive time) to see my parents and my sister and her husband who were at my parents' house. We spent three days with my family there, then drove with all of them back to Southern California (5.5 hours drive time) and saw my aunt. We spent a day in SoCal, then we drove back to Arizona the next day (7.5 hours drive time), my sister drove back to Utah, and my parents went back home. The last day we drove all the way home from Arizona (13 hours drive time). The first day and the last day were pretty rough because you can drive basically all day and guess what? You're STILL in Texas.

There was a mishap or two along the way. Like this one involving EZ Cheese:

(Note to self: When trying to retrieve Scott's blanket from the bowels of the back seat while sitting in the front passenger seat, DO NOT lean on the nozzle of the cheese in a spray can. Now who wants some crackers with cheese? Get it while it's hot and/or all over the center console!!!)

When the terrain wasn't flat, flat, and flat, there were cool rocks:

And then, at last, we knew we must be back in Texas:

Our thoughts: Sweet, we're finally in Texas. Only 10 more hours to go!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Stuff of Legends

The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Chupacabra, and Dust Storms:

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Fallout

It's official. We took the rail off Scott's crib, so now he's sleeping in a big boy bed. He never did start climbing out of his crib, but we took the plunge anyway.

The next morning, M and I were chatting with him. The recap he gave us went something like this:

G - Scott, tell Daddy what you did last night.
M - What did you do?
Scott - Sleep in big boy bed, like Claire. Fall out.
M - You fell out?
Scott - [rubbing head] Yup. Fell out, hit head.
G - You hit your head?
Scott - [nodding] Yup. Got back in.
M - You climbed back in your bed?
Scott - Yup.

End of conversation. I guess if it's not a big deal to him, it shouldn't be a big deal to us.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fair Representation

I actually had a good Wal-Mart experience last night! I went there because it was the only thing open that late at night. I was in a pretty good mood after a fun morning of sporting clays and a great evening having friends over for dinner, so maybe that was it. Of course, it might have just been euphoria induced by the scent of the Hoppe's No. 9 I was there to buy...