Saturday, August 27, 2016


Thank you St. Raymonds and Coach Shelly for a fun "Volleypalooza" day.  G had never played volleyball before her first practice this week and in one day now has seven games under her belt (or should I say under her knee pads?  :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grab Your Guns!

A friend took these... she brought the girls to a "Nerf Battle" with a bunch of other kids.  The sunglasses add a glamorous element, but they are for eye protection.  The afternoon was apparently a LOT of fun and both were bursting to tell me about it when I got home from work.

They were also both highly amused by the organizational rules.  The pointy things that look like guns?  Definitely not guns... they were told to call them "launchers."  And the pointy things that come out of them?  Definitely not bullets - these are "darts."  And you don't "shoot" people, you "hit" or "tag" them.  It only looks like shooting.  I don't know the reason for the rules, but the girls found them pretty silly and amusing.  For myself, I had to run to a store to get them equipped for battle as we previously had neither "guns" nor "launchers" in the house and was surprised to hear myself composing sentences that I never thought would come out of my mouth, like "girls, it's time to go.  Grab your guns!"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Birthday Slumber Party

We planned the slumber party ages ago, but around noon before the 5PM arrival, G decided that it ought to have a Harry Potter theme.  Oh gosh... and I thought I was going to spend the afternoon vacuuming and dusting!  But her energy and great ideas are hard to resist and we pulled off some great ideas:

A cute owl veggie plate
"Butter beer" ice cream sandwiches.  This was a bit of caramel, ice cream, and chess piece shortbread.  We also made butter beer, always a favorite.

Pretzels with cheese and tiny scallion strips that made them look like brooms
The best part?  A happy birthday girl surrounded for over 24 hours by sister and cousin play time.  Hurrah!

This was special because the girls pooled the gift cards they had been saving from choir (they get them as incentives/awards) to splurge on ice cream for their cousins and themselves.  Happy choice!

Saturday, August 20, 2016


Just found out that we are a Poke-Stop; my nephew brought it up on his game and, yep, that's our house.  Very weird and not a little bit invasive...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Watermelon growth

Love our little watermelon, now about two-thirds the size of a tennis ball.  I've never gotten one to grow before, so this feels so exotic and exciting...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ice Cream in the City

We had a busy morning, then a fun afternoon playing in the City with friends.  Dinner at a vegan restaurant wasn't to the kids' tastes, but I thought it was wonderful to try new flavors.  Then we walked by this cool ice cream truck and had to stop:

1950s truck, with background music to match

The back was converted into an ice cream shop; fun and yum!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School

K is taking her first online class, though a gifted online forum that reaches students worldwide. The other students seem to all be from the US, though, probably because the class is on trials in the US legal system.  She's excited about the topic, which is great. The class is targeted for kids up to12th grade, so I have some trepidation about the workload, but we'll see how it goes.

More classes start next week and in the first weeks of September....

Friday, August 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dear G!

This kid! Celebrating her is a given, easy to do every day. She's so many things: bright and adventurous and sweet and cuddly and athletic and tough. She's a natural leader - I saw it when she was just a toddler, micromanaging me until I would comply with her requests and I see it now on her sports teams, as she cheers for her teammates, even while participating herself. She's a person with great ideas, a self-starter who at the ripe age of nine has multiple active businesses. She's loyal and kind, determined and an independent thinker, not loathe to challenge anyone whom she disagrees with. She's delightfully, insanely stubborn AND persistent, depending on the context. She's got a deep well of compassion, often pushing beyond her own preferences to reach out to those who are struggling, strong even in the face of others' nasty grumpiness.

I thank God for her every day and am so blessed to get to be her mom. Happy Birthday, my lovely and wonderful girl!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ropes Course

When I signed up, I apparently didn't know what a "ropes course" was.  Geek!  I thought it was sort of a playground made up of ropes that you attempt to cross; I didn't realize the degree to which it would be challenging nor did I know the height involved.  Yowza!  It was super-fun though, a wonderful day with the girls, very hard and yet also a really cool experience I can't wait to repeat.

The gondola ride up may have scared them more than the ropes course... but in a fun way!


This one was "no hands" (she looks like she is hanging on, but it wasn't allowed).  I did it too and it takes a lot of nerve to step out onto a small and wobbly platform with nothing to hold onto!

The rare selfie with my awesome adventure girls

Helping each other...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lake Tahoe

Ahhhh.... beauty!  And the sunset light gives it an almost tropical feel....

Monday, August 8, 2016

California Water Politics

I don't know much about this, but driving past completely dry lakes and orchards dead from drought while others are full and even overflowing makes me curious to learn more.  Clearly, though, our drought is far from over.  This is a poor view of one completely dry lake we drove past (everything at the lowest level is labeled as 'lake' on our map); we saw others with almost nonexistent water levels....

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Teensy Watermelon

Our garden has been growing well this year... sort of.  Leaves and vines overflowing from the pots on the porch (to protect them from foraging deer) and some interesting produce that we haven't grown before, like green bell peppers.  We've also had a consistent strawberry plant and a beautiful tomato plant that produced well earlier in the season.  Our watermelon and cantaloupe plants have been growing like crazy, but until now with no fruit.  But when we got back from our camping trip, we found this, about the size of the tip of my thumb, so cute and full of hope....  This little garden makes me smile every time I come home.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Family Reunion

We had a fun trip to Southern California for our annual camping family reunion, this year combined with a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for my parents.  A great weekend with about 50 cousins, cousins' kids, siblings, aunts, and uncles.  Hopefully I'll get some photos from someone else, 'cause I didn't get more than this one of my kids with one of the youngest in the family (he's also one of the cutest; an adorably happy baby whom the girls haven't stopped talking about.... love!)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hearst Castle Visit

We learned a little about William Randolph Hearst on this tour, less about his architect Julia Morgan, which was unfortunate.  The tour itself was actually disappointing, a tribute to excess.  I expect that it would have disappointed Hearst and Morgan, too, for we did learn that they saw their creation as a fabulous backdrop for an art collection that they wanted to share with the public; hence the donation of the entire property to the State of California.  But in each room that we saw, we learned no history of the art, merely its age, repeated in such general terms that I began to question the accuracy of the guide.  "This is 800 years old" sounds impressive the first time, but after that's virtually the only history you get from item after item, it starts to sound too much like bragging about the quantity of "old stuff in big rooms" and less about the individual artists, their history and their contributions.

Glad that we went (I'd been twice before, both times long ago), but unless the tour improves, I'd be reluctant to go again any time soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

City Hall Bay Sox Celebration

With some of her teammates

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee gives K a high five

The Mayor got to have his photo with K.  :)
Other local VIPs also posed with K.