Archive for the 'Holiday' Category

The Dog Ate My Blog Post

Posted by laura on May 02 2011 | Awesome, Holiday, Uncategorized

Seems to me, if you step away from your blog for a quick snack and don’t come back for months, your return post better have a hook. I spent some time thinking about it, and finally determined that the best way to jump back in would be with a tale of dreams-come-true.

Let’s travel back to December, where we last left off. (I know, it’s so 2010.) Here’s a quick reminder of those halcyon days…

The fridge covered with gorgeous Christmas cards from our family and friends…

An unbelievably stormy Christmas Day – it poured buckets and we wondered if anyone would venture out to our open house in the afternoon.

Thank heavens they did – how would we have eaten that mound of carrots and sugar snap peas by ourselves? Cheese I can handle, but crudite should never be tackled alone.

But I digress.

The kids had a wonderful morning and received some stellar gifts, but there was a whopper in there. Anyone who knows Honey will remember that she’s waged an ongoing campaign for a dog for at least 5 years. The girl is nothing if not persistent. Well, this year she wrote a letter to Santa that basically said – Please could I have a dog. That’s it, nothing else. We told her not to get her hopes up. Christmas arrived, she loved the presents and was super happy – even when we had a gift mixup that resulted in her thinking for a while that a tea cozy Gini had sent for me was a new hat, she was delighted. Then she pulled this out from under the tree -

A letter from the jolly man himself, telling her that somewhere there was a dog that needed our family, and her job was to find it. Honey went ballistic.

And that, my friends, is where the caroling ended and the crazy began.

The great hunt was on – we visited shelters all along the Northern California coast, and we went waaay off the beaten track. We met a LOT of dogs.

I remember when Tom and I were first looking for our house, I kept thinking that one day we’d walk into a house and just know it was the one. A year later, I had my doubts. We found it, but I never had that epiphany I expected. Turns out the dog search went very much the same way. We met so many great dogs. They all seemed to have potential, but I never had that resonating moment. Of course our kids had that resonating moment with every single solitary animal we came across, including a couple of cats and a horse. That made the search just a bit more fraught, as every time we turned away from a shelter empty armed, they were crushed.

However. Eventually it clicked. We went to the Humane Society one more time and met an extremely bouncy, fun puppy. She was wriggly and happy and incredibly friendly, and most importantly she had a sister. The sister was not quite so bouncy. She was a bit shy, and the first thing she did when we approached her was to sit down and look up at us. The volunteers at the Humane Society told us that the bouncy friendly puppy was perfect for a family with kids, and we thought about it, and then we all agreed that we liked the quiet one better.

We named her Captain Twix. Isn’t she adorable?

Look at that face. Doesn’t it just melt your heart? Could a perfect face like that ever cause you any grief?

As it turns out, it can. Oh yes.

So there you have it, I lied up above. My returning blog hook is not actually a dreams-come-true story – it’s a cliffhanger.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by laura on Nov 25 2010 | Holiday

I hope you all have a beautiful, delicious, overflowing holiday.

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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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More Beach

Posted by laura on Aug 09 2010 | Fun, Holiday

I’m not quite done with our holiday recap, despite the fact that things have been hopping around here! We just had an incredible weekend, but I’ll just give some highlights:
- We had a garage sale on Saturday morning. We got rid of a whole bunch of things but managed to keep our marriage. Olé!

- Saturday afternoon, Amy and Peter invited us into the city for dinner with a bunch of friends. In particular, we got to see Pauline, Dave and their boys, who are visiting from Seattle, so that was spectacular. The food was magnificent and the visit even better. What a great night.

- Sunday afternoon we participated in a badminton invitational at Courtney and Russell’s house. The hosts were charming. The competition was fierce. I won’t lie – I have some suspicions that certain participants were using their ridiculously cute children to disarm their opponents. Those dirty tactics aside, it was awesome. We also discovered that Honey has clearly inherited some skills from her badminton-champion grandmother, so she’ll be someone to watch at the San Rafael Open.

Today we got back to business – swim class, laundry, reading, summer. We’re still just going on faith that it’s actually summer here, of course, as we bundle up in our fleece. I’m a little nervous for our east coast visitors this week. They certainly know cold, but boy are they out of practice! I’d better prep the hot water bottles.

But let’s get back to real summer. Here’s what it looks like:

Ahhh.

These are the shirts we made last year for the 2009 Hampton Beach Skee Ball Team.

We don’t know any of those guys.

Mmmmmm.

First, address the ball.

That’s it for me. Time to put on my flannel pajamas and head to bed!

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Helloooooo

Posted by laura on Aug 04 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Yes, we’ve been back from our east coast trip for a week and a half and I’m just getting around to this post. You are probably figuring it’s the staggering number of photos, or perhaps the intimidating stack of stories that’s holding me back, right? Or maybe you know me better and assume I’m just sitting around drinking scotch and watching Mad Men.

As it turns out, you’re… you’re… well you’re partially right on that one. BUT I have a bone to pick with you nonetheless. Last week it seemed like a really grand idea to give Honey’s room an overhaul. I had terrific images of snapping my fingers and getting that room shipshape in no time, but as it turns out, Mary Poppins was magic and I’m not quite so when I snapped I triggered an avalanche. I’ve been buried in that room for days, under piles of drawings and stuffed animals and clothes and Japanese erasers and dress ups and stuffed animals and cleats and playmobil and stuffed animals and bags and books and figurines and mysterious clay objects and did I mention stuffed animals? Days, guys. Did you hear the muffled cries for help? That was me.

I’m totally asking for a Saint Bernard for Christmas.

The good news is that I finally clawed my way back up to the surface. There might even be some photos once the room is completely back in place. In the meantime, here are some beach shots.

Ahhhhh. Really is there anything like the beach? (Thanks to Tom for those middle two images.) We had a spectacular time, and it’s good to be home. I think.

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Happy 4th!!

Posted by laura on Jul 03 2010 | Fun, Holiday

I hope you get to go to a parade.

We’ll be having a barbeque with some great friends, but a corner of my heart will be at the parade in Needham along with my family, watching 3,742 fire trucks wail their way along Webster Street. Wherever you are, I hope you have a terrific day, and I hope you get some pie.

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It’s Official

Posted by laura on Jun 21 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Happy Summer. (At least if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere!)

We had our first play in the creek behind the library, and it’s the 21st, so summer must really be here at last. Here’s to late light and slow days!

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Happy Father’s Day!

Posted by laura on Jun 20 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Here’s to all the great dads out there. Thanks for all the stories you tell, the problems you fix, the performances you encourage, the time you make.

This is what you call a soft-focus Father’s Day photo. We were walking through the outdoor mall after we saw a matinee (!) of Toy Story 3 (!!) and there was a guy handing out balloons. As we approached, he looked at Honey and said, “I’m wrapping things up here today – would you like a balloon, or all of them?” It’s like asking a kid if she’d like a puppy. Oddly appropriate, seeing as we’d just walked out of the latest Pixar wonder, to walk around under a huge bunch of balloons. Hand me my cane, Russell, we’re off to South America…

Happy Father’s Day!

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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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