Archive for the 'Fun' Category

Yippeeeeeee

Posted by laura on Jun 08 2011 | Fun, School

Last full day at elementary school. Woohoooo!

You know, she rides down this hill many a morning with her hands up over her head, and I trail behind her with my heart in my throat. She’s been trying to teach me to ride hands free – she has a mantra that she repeats that has to do with sitting up straight and looking ahead, and I’d like to believe that I’m getting better at applying that to my life, although I still can not ride a bike without holding on.

She’s also trying to teach me how to hula hoop, and I’ll be honest – it’s not going any better.

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Compliments

Posted by laura on May 15 2011 | Fun

Dropping Hot Wheels off at school the other morning, I gave him a hug and a kiss.

HW: Mummie, why do you smell so good?

ME: That’s nice of you to say, HW!

HW: You smell like… hand sanitizer.

ME: Thanks.

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Juxtaposed

Posted by laura on Dec 13 2010 | Fun

Hot Wheels is in a sweet spot. He just turned 7. He’s still completely obsessed with cars and numbers and running super fast. He’s competitive and sometimes a total knucklehead, but at the same time he’s surprisingly tender. There’s a curiosity in him that hasn’t yet been locked into any assumptions about what he should or shouldn’t like. He’ll play Mario Kart or Pretty Pretty Princess, he doesn’t care if he’s hanging out with boys or girls, he still gives me a big hug and a kiss at school. It’s AWESOME.

I’m trying hard not to clutch at this moment. It’s fleeting – at some point his actions and his preferences will be choices as much as they are inclinations. He’ll start listening to the way his classmates talk; he’ll start caring what they say about him. But right now, it’s glorious. I have to work at not being a total sap around him because every day is just funny and pure.

Except for one thing. I’d like to have a word about entrapment. It always starts innocently enough, but in a heartbeat you’re in hot water. This morning, “Mummie, who invented the Frosty the Snowman song?” led to “Who invented Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” to “Is Rudolph real?”

See what he did there? He didn’t even touch the big man, but we all know where this is going. I think I’d better start clutching at the moment, because it looks like next week it’s going to be insider trading.

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Scramble

Posted by laura on Nov 23 2010 | Fun

We’ve taken to playing Scrabble, or Scramble, as Hot Wheels calls it, over dinner.

I think it just might be the perfect game for Hot Wheels, since he’s what you might affectionately call a ‘reluctant reader,’ but he loves with a bright hot passion any game that involves points and scores. He’s not competitive at all, oh no. Scrabble is the best of all worlds, then, for him – word construction with points!!

This actually reminds me of a funny moment today in ballet class. My buddy Dorothy decided to opt out of one tricky across-the-floor combination, and as she ambled over to the side of the studio where our teacher was queuing up the music, I heard the teacher ask, “Wanna keep score?” The concept made me laugh – Dorothy over on the side of the studio with a clipboard, marking points off for mistakes, holding up big numbers with our final scores. I could almost hear the commentators murmuring as I crossed the floor – “Oooh, that’s going to cost her.”

Anyways, back to Scrabble. Let’s just have a closer look at the board from the other night:

Nothing too spectacular, here, although I was fond of a couple of our words, like ‘clique.’ Let’s see,we earned 34 points for that. Not too shabby. Now, let’s take a look at Hot Wheels’ word up there in the corner. ‘Zips.’ Four letters (the blank tile is an ’s’). 75 points.

75 points. Doh!

Now he’s obsessed with how many points he can earn. He’s all over the story about the carpenter who earned the highest points for one word (and subsequently one game) in tournament play. Which probably makes him one of the few first graders around to have a fondness for the word ‘quixotry.’ That’s just a hunch I have.

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Back Again

Posted by laura on Nov 22 2010 | Fun

Hey – did you know it’s November? What just happened??

It’s time for a little catch up. First things first though – I have to wish my awesome nephew a super happy wonderful birthday! Here he is:

He’s a little elusive. Not quite as elusive as his sister, though.

Lots of birthdays this month – Dad’s was on Sunday, and a number of our cousins and their gorgeous kids had birthdays recently (or very soon!) – many happy returns to all the November greats. Hot Wheels hit seven a week ago Saturday, and I’m not sure there’s been a happier birthday boy in history. I’m not sure what it was, but he truly relished this one. As a matter of fact, he started relishing it at 3am Saturday morning.

“Can we get up?”

“Huh? NO!”

I can still hear myself saying, “It’s twenty-to-five, honey – we can’t get up yet,” and himself saying, “But it’s so hard to wait!!!” Finally, finally, it hit six and we all got up. And so began the happiest birthday I’ve ever witnessed. There wasn’t anything particularly crazy. He didn’t get a puppy or a Ferrari. He just had a terrific, wonderful day. There was birthday toast, of course:

And presents:

And bowling…

which was hysterical. We went with three of his friends, and one of Honey’s friends. Despite lots of coaching and pleading, the boys felt strongly that this was actually training for the shot-put, and they’d launch the ball, from the shoulder, onto the lane. Ka BLAM, it would land and then creep its way towards the pins. The boys were all chill. Sometimes they wouldn’t even watch the ball go all the way down the lane.

Yeah. It’s cool. Whatever.

The girls, on the other hand, were completely into it. They each bowled one ball for every turn, figuring they’d help each other out that way. It worked too – we were calling them the Spare Sisters by the end of the afternoon.

This next shot is blurry, unfortunately, but it’s the only picture I got of them doing their happy dance.

After that, it was back to the house for dinner and cake and a sleepover which remarkably had as much sleep as over. How that happened I’ll never know.

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Colorful Birthday

Posted by laura on Oct 12 2010 | Fun, Tasty

Honey’s birthday landed on a Friday this year, so it coincided with soccer practice. Since our Friday practices are a bit of a party every week, we decided to bring some cupcakes. And Tom rode up with a bunch of balloons, which made it super special. We went with a multicolored approach…

I finally bought one of those cupcake carrying thingamabobs after resisting for some time. It always seemed like a lot of plastic, and it’s not like we have cupboards just longing for items to fill them. However, after many a dicey bike ride with cupcakes packed into tins, I decided to take the plunge.

They worked out great! After practice, we rode home with one of Honey’s friends on the back of my bike. I gave her my camera and asked her to take a bunch of photos along the way. Here are a few of her shots:

It was a perfect 10.

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Lucky 13

Posted by laura on Sep 14 2010 | Awesome, Fun

On September 13th thirteen years ago, Tom and I had a humdinger of a wedding, surrounded by our incredible family and friends from all around the world. It wasn’t the wedding I’d always dreamed of. It was far more layered and beautiful than anything I could have imagined. It rocked.

Yesterday, he gave me a bouquet with lisianthus and delphinium – flowers I chose for my bouquet. Yes, he is that good. Thanks, Tom! Thanks for 13 lucky years. And thank you to all our near and dear who promised that day to guide and support us. I must admit, I’m still a little unclear on what some of you were modeling when you were dunking your heads in the ice buckets towards the end of the reception, but Tom and I have been faithfully following your lead these many years and it seems to be working.

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What a Weekend!!

Posted by laura on Sep 06 2010 | Awesome, Bicycle, Fun, Uncategorized

FRIDAY

Every Friday afternoon, Honey’s soccer team has a practice. I’ve mentioned it before, because we’ve had it this way for three years now – Friday soccer practice ends at 5pm and we all know that’s cocktail time. So we usually bring some snacks and drinks to the practice and kick off the weekend in style. Everyone lingers at the field for a little while before we all head off to our evening plans. It has to be one of the most civilized moments of the week, and I always look forward to it.

This past Friday, I was late for the practice for perhaps the first time, as I was looking after some extra kids that afternoon and one of them experienced an unfortunate convergence of hill, wide turn and speeding cyclist. Ouch. It all could have been much, much worse, but thanks to that, and this,

and another mother who happened to come along at the perfect moment to help with all the calls and details, we were able to keep it all together until the injured party’s mum could scoop him up and take him in for some stitches. He was exceptionally brave, and we were all pretty lucky.

[BTW I thought I'd already posted something on my sweet retro first aid kit, but it looks like I forgot. You can buy the reproduction kit right from the American Red Cross site and support the organization. It comes with basic supplies, but there's still space to trick it out with some extra items like large non-stick pads, which I can now tell you are quite nice to have if you need them!]

When the rest of us finally arrived at soccer practice (I thankfully didn’t lose or maim the other extra child along the way), my terrific friends had thrown a surprise birthday celebration for me. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it!

They were ridiculous – champagne, prosecco, delicious snacks… all organized by my extravagant friend Jill. Unbelievable. This is the life, I tell you. I am now spoiled beyond recognition.

This is how I arrived home that night. Lucky ducky.

That evening we had a relaxing, delicious meal at our friends’ house – and were there when our hero arrived with stitches in his hand. He was feeling much better and just beginning to experience the warm recognition that rightfully follows injury, so he was in a good spot. I heard one of the dads ask him how it happened, and he said, “Well, I was riding out of the school and I took the turn pretty wide and … lesson learned!” So darn great.

SATURDAY

A beautiful day here. Honey’s soccer team won their first game and even passed the ball to each other – a marked departure from their traditional strategy, which was give the ball immediately to the best player and watch her score. She still did half the scoring, but it was much more evenly played overall.

In the evening we drove down to Palo Alto for dinner with Needham friends, and that was tasty and quite fun. We loved catching up with our friends, and the area is really quite beautiful.

SUNDAY

Honey and I started out bright and early, with a trip to the Alameda Flea Market with Joan and the girls. It’s been nearly a year since our last trip and I was beginning to doubt the possibility of finding good items there at a reasonable price. We ended up having a terrific time and coming home with some treasures. Our timing was perfect – we waltzed right in the entry (when we left, the line had to be 45 minutes long) and started strolling through the booths sometime around 8am. Joan and the girls actually found some items they were looking for, which is a coup considering how hectic the market is. Honey found this ridiculously lovely jacket that honestly could have been made for her – the color and cut suited her perfectly.

She wore it the rest of the morning, she was so pleased. It had no size or materials tag inside – just one label:

I remember Mum mentioning “Princess Ann” clothes years ago, but I was surprised that I couldn’t find anything out about them online. Not that I spent a huge amount of time, but I was curious to see if I could figure out approximately when the coat was made, and I couldn’t find a thing about the label online. If anyone knows anything more about it, I’d love to hear.

Check out what I found:

Oh yes. We are Dance Masters of America.

And how about this?

Your eyes do not deceive you – a handbag with a watch built in. Wanna see it again?

Mm hm. That’s right. It still works, too.

As if that weren’t enough, Honey and and her friends scored four perfect, gorgeous velvet doll capes for $3 each. What a morning. And then, that night… we went to watch a professional women’s soccer game.

Our local team, SC Gold Pride, was playing the Boston Breakers. Talk about a dilemma! Who to cheer for? Both I guess. Although the Pride sure held their spot at the top of the league last night and played well and won. One of the most popular Bay Area players is named Marta – she’s from Brazil originally and played for the LA Sol last year before they dissolved the team this season. She just danced around the ball like you wouldn’t believe, and them BAM! Right into the corner of the goal. Yipes.

Fortunately/unfortunately the stadium isn’t huge and the game wasn’t too crowded, so we had great seats and a close view of the field. It was fun to walk up higher to see the patterns of play, and then sit close so you could really see the women’s footwork. We were all blown away.

On top of all that, there were contests to win shirts and signed balls and all the people in the stands were having such a great time. After the game, the players came out to give autographs, and Honey and Hot Wheels had never done that before. They lined up with all the other kids and held their programs out hopefully. Hot Wheels was so much shorter than the other kids, the players couldn’t even see his face – just a small hand stuck through a sea of legs and the gate. But these women were ridiculously nice. They took their time and smiled at all the kids, and some of them even chatted a bit.

When they got signatures, our kids turned back towards us, and I swear I will never, ever forget the looks on their faces. I simply wasn’t prepared for it – I thought it was terrific that the players would come out, but I totally underestimated the impact on our kids. They were radiant, all the way home. Hot Wheels fell asleep in the car, and as I carried him into the house, he stirred, then shot awake in a panic. “Do you have my program??!” This morning he wrapped it carefully in a plastic bag and hid it behind the shelves in his room. Maybe he’s afraid it will get stolen.

MONDAY

Thankfully our friend Amy decided that for her birthday this year, we should all get the day off. Wasn’t that nice of her? I thought so. We decided to do very little today. It was deliciously hot, and we took a walk and went over to Soccerfest, which is a soccer fundraiser/party they throw here in town each year. They usually try to have a professional player there to give a brief demonstration and talk to the kids, so Hot Wheels went over with his precious program from last night, just in case one of the Pride players was there. No such luck, but he had a great time on all the bouncy castles instead. We all got a little fried in the sun, just like we do each year, but it was fun nonetheless.

Now I have to go to bed. I hope you all had a great weekend!! Happy birthday Amy!

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Lordy Lordy

Posted by laura on Sep 02 2010 | Awesome, Fun

I just turned 40.

Somebody give my mother a stiff drink. It’s surprising enough to me, so I can only imagine what she’s going through. It’s been an awesome birthday though.

I’ve been showered with drawings and ridiculously cool presents and wonderful shared meals and drinks with friends – it’s been nothing short of spectacular.

Last night, Tom took me to the theater here in town to see and Impro Theatre production called Jane Austen Unscripted. Just as it sounds, the whole evening is an improvised play in the style of Jane Austen. I had to check that out. We laughed through the whole thing and were amazed at how difficult improv must be, although some of our favorite lines actually came at the expense of slip-ups the actors made. It was a great evening.

So far this is looking like it might be my favorite decade!

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What Just Happened?

Posted by laura on Aug 24 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Would the little squirt who pressed fast forward on the season remote please report immediately to my office? Speed up the end of winter any time you like, but summer?! You stinker. I swear the last day of school was yesterday, but somehow the kids are supposed to go back tomorrow. Plus, we had weeks, I tell you WEEKS of freezing fog and today it was 100 degrees. Now that just burns me up. (oof)

A week ago we had a great visit with Mum & Dad and Claire & Andy and the kids. What a party! Highlights? Too many – but here goes.

CITY DAY

Unfortunately for all, Honey had to have another oral surgery the day after everyone arrived. She was down for the count the next day, so Tourguide Tom took the rest of the gang into the city to hunk around.

Nothing beats the ferry into San Francisco, even on a windy day that leaves your hair in knots.

Even waiting for the ferry is fun.

They looked for one of the old trams to take them up Market street, and this one was headed in the right direction.

It was absurdly busy downtown that day, but they had a good look around the whole Yerba Buena Gardens area.

COUNTRY DAY

For the opposite experience, the next day we wandered around Muir Woods.

This is a place that always catches my breath. After the woods, we visited the shore – Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands.

Doesn’t everybody look happy? We were FREEZING.

If you look at the photo above, you’ll see a chunk of land just above Honey’s head, on the right. Dad kept calling it his brick – it just sits there, very like a brick, with the water crashing all around it. Well Dad, it turns out your brick has an official name. Bird Island. I know it – totally boring, but there you have it.

The Headlands are dotted with old military batteries, and after we left the beach, we drove up to Battery Mendell, right on the point of land you see next to the brick. Here’s the view from up there:

Look at that coast! I love taking visitors up here because it really feels like California to me. No graceful slide into the green Pacific, but it’s rugged without being harsh somehow.

Here’s a view back towards the city from the Battery Wallace area, on the other side of Point Bonita:

CITY DAY PART DEUX

Our second San Francisco day focused on the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Boy do we love this place. We got there early enough to just walk right into the rainforest exhibit, which used to be impossible to get to when the museum first opened after its renovation. It was still so chilly outside that it felt incredible to step into this lush warm environment.

And the aquarium! Always magnificent and mysterious.

After the museum we stopped by Chrissy Fields for some nice views of the city, some hot chocolate, and some more wind.

It was good for the boats, though! Here’s a view of the bridge from Fort Point:

It was a fantastic visit, and boy were they all troupers as we packed a greatest hits tour into just a few precious days. Whew! I hope they’re all still napping.

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