Archive for the 'Fun' Category

Poor Socceroos!

Posted by laura on Jun 13 2010 | Fun

What a game – Germany was on fire! My heart goes out to the Aussies, of course, but the German players sure were fun to watch. They often really looked like they were enjoying themselves and working beautifully together for a team that has had a bit of a tough road to the World Cup.

One thing on the Australian side – the red card for Cahill sure seemed excessive to our crowd. Did anyone out there think he really deserved that? I wonder if he’d just built up enough annoyance with the ref with his aggressive play up till then, and the ref just snapped. I still don’t think it was called for, though.

The weekend here was gorgeous. Sunny – actually HOT, if you can believe it. The kids are slowly getting better, although we’re suspecting that the antibiotics did a number on Hot Wheels’ stomach. He had a rough couple of days with that. And then poor Honey had been having some pain from this crazy spring in her braces, and tonight as she went to bed it went katwang and sent wires into her gums. She was bleeding and sobbing and we had to put in an emergency call to  her orthodontist. He’s such a cool guy he said, “I’ll meet you at the office in 15 minutes,” and zipped over to fix her up. Thus marking the second time a dentist has opened up a closed office to see her. Pretty soon she’s going to be all “office hours? Mm yeah, see, they don’t apply to me…” Thankfully the doc patched her up in a flash and she’s sleeping fairly peacefully now. Sheesh I think our kids are going for some Guinness World Book insane illness record I don’t know about.

This weekend marked the 100th running of the Dipsea Race here in our town. It started in 1905 (don’t panic about my math skills – they had to suspend it a few times for stupid things like wars and depressions and stuff) and the course runs about 7 and a half miles from downtown Mill Valley, up and over Mount Tam to the beach. The Dipsea is cool, not only because it’s the oldest trail race in America, but because it has a great handicapped start setup that allows all kinds of people to win it. This year an 8 year old girl won, which really isn’t very nice seeing as just walking the initial steps section leaves me feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack. Then there are our friends who don’t even bother with the Dipsea anymore – it’s too crowded at 1500 runners. These maniacs wait a couple of weeks for the slightly less popular Double Dipsea, which is there and back. And we won’t even discuss the Quad. Please.

After taking in the festivities downtown, we watched the world cup action, and then headed over to a fun outdoor festival where our friend Andy was playing in not one but two bands. We missed the first, but had a great time listening to the second. Friends, sunshine, music, fun? Check check check check.

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World Cup!!!!!!

Posted by laura on Jun 12 2010 | Fun, Uncategorized

Nothing beats the World Cup for improving a bad week.

We rounded this one out with Hot Wheels coming down with conjunctivitis on Thursday afternoon. Just because. In hindsight, we really should have welcomed Tom’s parents from Australia with a different greeting…

“Welcome back to America! We have some terrific, highly contagious specials for you this week: we’ve whooped up a house-blend cough that can leave you gasping, and we have a terrific side order of pink eye. Greeeaat. Would you like a fever with that? And shall we go ahead and bring azithromycin for the table?”

Overall, I guess we’re lucky in that the kids decided not to share the fun with the rest of us. Now we’re all done with the antibiotics and are cleared to hang out with our friends once more. Whether they’ll have us is another question.

Everything is all right now – we just watched England vs. USA. Completely turned me around. Lucky squeak by the US, eh? All I can say is, thank you soccer gods, because we know some marriages that were threatening to dissolve over the outcome of that game.

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This is the Week

Posted by laura on Jun 09 2010 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday, Not So Fun

in which we went from this -

to this.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, Vegemite isn’t that bad. No, it was something far more unsavory, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the good stuff. Tom turned 40 at the end of last week, and we decided to take a quick trip down to Santa Cruz for some fun on the boardwalk with Gini and Craig. It was a perfect day.

It started with a steam train – really the best start to any day for Tom. We weren’t on board, but we got to see it head out for a tour through the Santa Cruz mountains, and it was beautiful.

We checked out the boardwalk…

and had our lunch at the best taco bar. We’d stumbled upon this place the last time we were in Santa Cruz a few years back, and boy were we happy to find it again! $1.50 taco? Yes thanks.

Santa Cruz has a cool style going on – check out this mural:

How about a close-up of that awesome retro mod car? You got it.

Seriously, now – who doesn’t want one of those?

And just before we left town, we caught some surfing action along the coast. Gorgeous weather, awesome time.

Now for the opposite end of the scale. Are you sitting down? Both of our kids have whooping cough. That’s right – check your calendar, but it’s still going to say 2010, and our kids are still going to have this crazy thing I thought belonged to the history books. Here’s the story. Hot Wheels got a cough at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, and we’d just been reading in the local paper that our county is currently inundated with Whooping Cough cases. Feeling a little alarmist, we brought him to the doctor and asked if he could have pertussis. No way, the doctor said. His booster was only a year old, he didn’t have any of the right symptoms, and the cough sounded like an allergic cough. It was Memorial Day weekend, so we pressed the issue – was he safe to be around people? Absolutely.

Let’s go forward a week. He was still coughing, but no real change in symptoms. Then we heard that some friends’ kids had been quarantined with Whooping Cough. “We’ve got to bring him up again,” I said to Tom. So off he went for another check – and more assurances that he was fine, but we said we really wanted him to be tested. Two days later, Honey was coughing and I brought them both into the pediatrician’s office. She swabbed Honey and said she’d bet they both had it.

HOW? I wanted to know. How do two healthy kids with all their immunizations get Whooping Cough? You might be more up to date than me on this one but I learned for the first time that no vaccine is 100% effective, and if we have enough exposure to a disease, we can contract it even if we’ve been vaccinated. When enough people in a community are vaccinated, you develop a ‘herd immunity’ so you don’t have enough exposures to risk sickness.

I just read this morning that our county has the highest rate of families choosing personal belief exemptions for vaccinations. Ten years ago, less than 2% of kindergarteners in our county entered school without their vaccinations – in 2009 it was 7.1%. Clusters of exemptions like that in a community increases risk for all of us. I respect that lots of people were scared by the autism fear, but the science just wasn’t there to support the scare – and I didn’t fully realize until this week the danger those exemptions pose not just to the kids who aren’t immunized, but to all our kids.

Personally, I feel horrible. I know we were acting on doctor’s advice, and I know it’s all around us, but of course I get hives at the thought that we were walking around with this unknowingly. I’m also pretty angry. Our kids have been miserable and we’ve lost a week of school and work and a good chunk of change dealing with this.

Here are our takeaways. Ready?

1. Don’t assume that your kids are protected by their immunizations.

2. Even if your kids aren’t presenting the traditional whooping cough symptoms – runny nose, slight fever, cough that ‘whoops’ – they might still have it. One friend of ours tested positive with no cough at all.

3. Tom figured the last one out – if your child develops a cough, call Wildcare. Tell them you found a baby bird and it’s coughing. They’ll have you tested and treated by mid morning.

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Memorial Day

Posted by laura on Jun 02 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Just getting over our long weekend. It was very fun.

Our town doesn’t have a 4th of July parade. We have a somewhat ramshackle Memorial Day Parade, without a single veteran in it. How is that right? How can you have a Memorial Day Parade with tons of activists and preschools and swim teams and dogs, and no veterans? (Yes, you heard me right. There’s a whole section of dogs.)

Every year I’m tempted to put together a precision team for this parade. Since we’re obviously not going the Memorial route, I figure if you just got a few folks together with decent rhythm and matching outfits, you could totally own this event. I’d prefer veterans, but it would be better than nothing.

This is all sounding like I disapprove of the parade, which I do not. I disapprove of calling it a Memorial Day parade, but other than that, it’s a great time all around. The town jokes that there are more people in the parade each year than watching it, which makes it a whole lot of fun, since you know tons of people walking by. Our particular cheering section would clap for anyone (in the parade or not) who walked past us, much to the delight of some of the kids, and even the reactions of the adults convinced me that perhaps we should all have the chance to be on the receiving end of some good-hearted applause. “Woohoo, coffee guy!” We cheered, and the guy with a coffe gave us a big grin and a wave. “Terrific hats!!” we clapped for a cool behatted couple, and they gave us a bow and a laugh. I’m telling you – it’s not a bad setup.

Here are some shots from all the fun:

The day started bright and early at the volunteer firefighters’ pancake breakfast downtown. There’s something thrilling about sitting down to a great breakfast at long tables set out on one of the usually busy downtown streets. Our office is right behind the building on the right with the blue awning, so this feels like home to us.

The parade began with plenty of fire trucks, of course. This one was particularly cool.

There may not have been veterans, but there were lots of scouts, boy and girl. Always good to see.

And a good old fashioned band – classic.

Of course no parade is complete without motorized bathtubs.

Oh yeth it could be… thomething thpethial…. jutht for me!

I have a major weakness for cool old cars, though, and this is my favorite image from the whole thing. Ahhh.

Hope you had a fun weekend!

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We’ll Need a Bigger Garage

Posted by laura on May 26 2010 | Fun, Lists

Our resident car designer has been hard at work, turning out pages of plans. The drawing above is a bit of a departure, what with the sun and the colors he chose. He was happy with it because he drew the lines with his left hand and watercolored with his right hand, but overall, it was a bit gushy for him. His drawings tend to be more like this:

More of a working diagram. So as we sat down to dinner a couple of nights ago, Hot Wheels had great news for Honey.

HW: Daddy said he’d give us an iPad, an iPhone and all the electronics we have! All we have to do is build him a car.

Tom: But it has to work.

HW: And go underwater.

Honey: Sweet!

HW: [after a pause] But Daddy, I’m going to need you to buy some things for me so I can make it.

Tom: No problem. Just give me a shopping list.

HW: Ok.

Me: Wait – what’s on the shopping list?

HW: Well, I’m gonna need jet rockets, a huge yellow button – a whole bunch of stuff.

Don’t hold your breath. At least until we get to the underwater testing phase. Then, I’d advise holding it – jet rockets are categorically unreliable when wet.

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Posted by laura on May 24 2010 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday, Travel

As it turns out, things are looking up for me, too! Months ago, I was invited to join a group of friends (all fellow mothers from our elementary school) for a Tahoe overnight. One of my friends has a house up near Donner Lake, and I was lucky enough to go up this past weekend for a visit. We got up there Friday afternoon, and here’s what we found:

Yee haw! What an awesome house. It was beautiful, laid back and cozy all at the same time. Here’s something else we found:

Snow! I guess nobody told the Sierras that Memorial Day is only a weekend away. It sure was beautiful though.

We took some nice long walks and appreciated the landscape around us.

It kept alternating between grey skies with snow blowing horizontally by, and bright spots with long views.

Here are the friends contemplating Donner Lake. They’re probably also contemplating their numb toes, but it still felt wonderful to be hiking around. It was simply amazing  - no agenda, no worries. We did some of this:

And some of this:

(That’s homemade tortillas – yum.) And some of this:

And, frankly, some of this:

Although not all at the same time, mind you. We were simply well prepared.

When I got home Honey asked me, “So what did you do? Did you go anywhere?”

I replied, “Well, ahh, let’s see – we went hiking, and we cooked, and we worked on a puzzle, and we talked…” She gave me a concerned look and said, “I’m sorry. It sounds like you didn’t have very much fun.”

Little does she realize. I keep replaying moments in my mind – doubling over with laughter, fresh cold air, delicious flavors, DJing for each other from our iPhones, swapping ideas and stories. It was rejuvenating. We stretched time together and still got home in time to enjoy Sunday with our families. What a gift.

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Things Are Looking Up for Honey, Too

Posted by laura on May 21 2010 | Awesome, Fun

Honey was talking with her best friend in the back seat of our car the other day when an event of such uncommon rarity occurred that Honey is now confirmed as one of the most fortunate people in the world. Are you ready for it? Brace yourselves.

I can’t even remember what they were talking about back there – all I remember is Honey’s friend asking her a question, and Honey saying, “Ok. Here’s what happened. Wait – do you want the long version or the short version?”

And her best friend replied, without a millisecond’s hesitation – “The long version.”

Like astronomers catching the Fab Five, or ornithologists sighting a white robin, or A’s fans watching Braden pitch a perfect game on Mother’s Day, Tom and I were completely amazed that we were there to observe the event. Incredible.

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Things Are Looking Up for Hot Wheels

Posted by laura on May 18 2010 | Fun, Uncategorized

I bet you could hear his heart pounding from there. Our friend Sherri came by with her new (unfortunately temporary) wheels this afternoon and very kindly let Hot Wheels live the dream for a few minutes. We had to hold onto his ankle when he got out, lest he float away.

That’s not all, folks – the good news continues for this boy, what with all the news reports circulating about kids who lie. Apparently a study quoted in The Telegraph this week reports that early lying indicates a “fast-developing brain.” So when one of the well-meaning parents at a recent birthday party asked Hot Wheels about his bazillion allergy-related scratches and he blithely explained that they were from skateboarding… that was just his brain growing! He doesn’t even skateboard! The career opportunities are making my head spin.

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17 Minutes

Posted by laura on May 17 2010 | Fun, Travel

until my cousin Eileen’s lunch break, and I’m absolutely committed to getting something up before she checks in to find that old lame-o has let another weekend slip by with no post. So here goes:

Boston rocked. As always. Not a whole lot of photos to show since I took mostly people shots, but here are a couple of highlights.

The plane touched down at 6:30am on Wednesday morning, so I got to see my niece and nephew off to the bus stop. It was a gorgeous summery morning.

Here was an early morning find. Score! Got to love inchworms.

After school, my nephew showed me the sarcophagus he made at school – complete with mummy. He filled me in on the Egyptian unit they were working on in his class. You know, a couple of weeks ago, my niece told me on the phone, “Second grade isn’t what it used to be, Laura,” and I’m starting to believe that the same can be said for kindergarten!

Since we always go back east during the summertime, it was a particular treat to get a glimpse of the school life for all the kids in our family. I had the chance to check out Eileen’s daughter’s pre-k room – it was awesome. It’s in my old junior high school, which is now an elementary school – a vast improvement, if you ask me. So fun to see those halls now filled with cubbies and art everywhere.

They were having a spring concert on Friday and the kids were all dressed up – remember those perfect spring days? The end of school is so close you can almost touch it, there are final projects, concerts, events, and the days are mingled excitement and hope. Summer might just actually arrive. It still gives me butterflies.

On Thursday I traveled out to scenic Worcester with my parents and my aunt Carmen, to help my great aunt Agnes move from one side of her residence to another. She lives in the Notre Dame du Lac Assisted Living Center, which is an amazing place. First off, it’s gorgeous:

This is the view from the front door – the grounds are long and lush.

And here is the front door itself. Not too shabby. This used to be the convent for the Notre Dame nuns – it has so many beautiful details today, but wouldn’t you love to have seen it when it was first built? Even more impressive than the grounds, though, is the staff. What a stunning group of people – from management to nursing to grounds staff, they were friendly, kind and professional. We had a fun day moving and packing and having a great lunch with Aunt Agnes, who was witty and elegant. The move went a little too smoothly, with no fights or swearing at all, so naturally I’m concerned that we might not have done it properly. We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that one.

On Saturday, my goddaughter made her First Communion and she had a spectacular day. It poured, of course, but that must be good luck for more than weddings, right? There was a wonderful party at my sister’s with relatives from all over the place. Her grandparents and great aunt flew in from Ohio, cousins drove in from all around New England, and it’s difficult to describe the feeling in the house without sounding corny. It’s a certain chaotic embrace that every child should get to feel.

There she is, beautiful girl.

It was all just wonderful. Four sweet, dense, flourless-chocolate-cake days. I wished Tom and the kids could have been there to see everyone and hear my nephew’s Amazing Talking Dog joke, but July will be here before we know it.

Ding dang it – looks like I just talked right through lunch period. Someone needs to work on her time management skills…

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Fun in the Garden

Posted by laura on Apr 18 2010 | Fun

We have a great garden, thanks to our friend Finn. We also have very industrious gophers, thanks to our ‘friend’ nature. We love her and all, but she really likes to test the relationship.

Anyway, we’ve tried pretty much every anti-gopher method out there – cayenne pepper, smoke, water, hair (I know, but desperate times…) and most recently, these sound emitters you stick into the ground. Supposedly, gophers, like teenagers, are supremely irritated by certain pitches that the rest of us can’t hear. Well as it turns out, our gophers laughed at our sound sticks and cozied up right next to them, so a weekend ago, Tom pulled them all out and decided to return them to the Home Depot. With all his gopher-related muttering, I was a little nervous that he’d trade those sound emitters in for a gun.

He didn’t. He did, however, come home with this:

Denial is a very powerful drug. He was a very happy gardener for the rest of the afternoon.

I just have one thing to say, though, Tom -

The 1950’s called and said they want their glasses back.

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