Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving California Style

We celebrated this holiday with our friends the Holcombs - Sean, Heather, and Haley. Our goal was a stress-free, relaxed day. After a busy morning of packing we headed over to Adronico's to pick up the goods - our dinner. We ordered the complete dinner including turkey, dressing, greenbeans, mashed potatoes,rolls, gravy and pie. Art did make his all famous sweet potato pie (which is mashed sweet potatoes with marshmellows on top) As we drove to their house in Marin we sang, "Over the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge to Haley's house we go....."

After a loud greeting we settled in. I was a little nervous about unleashing our loud family on the Holcombs but our energy was greeted with open arms. We started with a walk on a trail right near their house. They live on the side of Mt. Tamalpias. The children ran, screamed and had fun. We found a nice grassy spot to have a snack, climb trees and begin our relaxing.

My memory of the day from an adults perspective included a flight of wines (as Sean works in the wine industry), sitting on their deck, and minimal kitchen time. Heather and I were a little disappointed to realize we would have to coordinate and plan this dinner more than we'd hoped but we certainly could not expect any less. So we did have to keep our heads about us.

After dinner we packed everyone up and drove to Muir Beach about 15 minutes away. It was beautiful, the glow of the setting sun just passed the horizon and the moon coming up. The drive reminded us of our old days of going to Stinson Beach on Friday nights. We took a little bit of wood out the beach only to discover the HUGE bonfire made from telephone poles. It was so cold outside that you needed to be close to the fire but the fear of creosote infused smoke scared me a bit. The children were a little over whelmed by the blazes and spent most of the time playing with the flashlight in the shadows (up-wind of the toxic smoke.) All of a sudden I saw a police man's light coming from a car up on the hill over looking the beach. 5 minutes later a park ranger was there. He asked us if we started this fire. We confessed we had not which was further confirmed by the children saying we found it over and over to him. He said it was an illegal fire - too big. I asked if we needed to put it out. He said technically yes. but after surveying the blaze for while, he said, "go on, I got it." so we thanked him, wished him a happy thanksgiving and drove home.

The children were to happy to be together and it was a truly relaxing day. Haley is wise to the world of sleep-overs and was able to stay awake until almost 10:00. Eli passed out at 8:30 and Eva finally was banished to our room around 9:00. As can be the case sometimes the later our children go to bed the earlier they get up. So at 5:00am they were up and ready to go. Each parent took turns sleeping in.

Art had to go to the city to take care of a few things. Haley showed E+E her school yard and we had lunch at a fun restaurant where they got the biggest hot chocolate they've ever seen piled high with whipping cream.

We returned to city in the afternoon tired and ready for an early bed time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Eli's family celebration

Eli's birthday fell on Veteran's Day. He thought back fondly on our trip to the Oakland Zoo last year and wanted a repeat performance. When I asked Eli what he wanted for his birthday he was so sweat, he did not request any presents (though his were thoroughly enjoyed) but asked to eat off they bunny plate and have decorations at the breakfast table. Well this was easy to produce.

The morning was fun, I had a treasure hunt set up. I took a big plastic storage box and filled it with beans I got in the mission. I then emptied bags full of little rock treasures. Eva and Eli played with this for an hour. They loved the feel of the beans. It was tempting to help them find the treasures but I resisted until the end. Once I got started I could not stop...

We went to the zoo. I was not expecting the huge crowd due to the holiday. I was so stressed out by the time we got there, parked and made our way. Eli and Eva had fun riding the rides before we went to the zoo. Once we got in it was time to eat, children were hungery and of course the line was ridiculous. We met Naomi/David/Leon there. I can not remember what set Eli off, maybe someone took a bit of his chicken strip but he went into such a rage. He cried and carried on like I've never seen him. Art finally took him away from the table so other guests could eat. It was so uncharacteristic for him that we were snickering (without him seeing us). After this was said and done he was exhausted. He did not want to join anyone on the sky ride but wanted to go the children's zoo with me. We had a really nice time with each other, he was as happy as a lark.

We ate the no-so-successful coconut cake I made him and ate pizza. Eli is 4 - one of the big boys.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Eli's birthday - HE'S 4! photos to follow later

We had such a nice birthday. The weekend before was the big party. This included a co-celebration with our dear friend Felix who's birthday happens to be the day after Eli. It took a while for Eli to warm up to the idea of sharing a celebration but the reality of the event was perfect. It started out with a bit of a scare from Helen. The night before I got the phone call that Felix has a low grade fever. After an evening of what to do's on our end we decided to carry on. We were more than elated to get the call in the morning that TEAM- FELIX was on board.

Careful choreography got washing duties tucked away, a trip down to the Ferry Building to pick up the sheeshee cupcakes and to get the van from the Nadal Zarrow family. We were then able to pick up David, Naomi and Leon for a van-full of fun to Felton. We arrived happy and ready to enjoy the day. It was definitely the off-season as it was almost empty. The leaves had a bit of color, the weather was cool, it fooled this East Coaster in to believing it was actually Autumn.

Helen brought a wonderful spread of food - salads and tortilla wraps (egg/pesto, procutoo/fontina...) the children played, adults talked and then it was time - TO RIDE THE STEAM TRAIN! It was a fun ride. We've done this trip before but it was more fun with friends.

After the trip we celebrated they boys with cupcakes. We got them from a fancy bakery called Miette. I kept the order simple and just got chocolate with vanilla icing and the reverse. I wish I'd branched out and gone for the 6 other flavors. I just had images of wee ones fighting over the few coveted ones.

After the treat we took a nice walk through the redwoods. It was cool, dark and fun.

The ride home was so much fun. The men sat up front discussing politics and no doubt philosophy with David along. Naomi and I took task at keeping the boys awake. They were so tired they were punch-drunk. Naomi and laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt. If we were to imitate Leon clapping today we'd probably return to a fit of hysteria. They spent the night with us and the adults ordered Indian food. The next morning we made pumpkin pancakes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


It has been so long since I've spent time on this site. Halloween is a place to start! It was a fun day. Eva was able to go to school regaled as her puff/pom pom fairy. Eva went with the entire Kingergarten to St. Anne's to parade for the seniors living in the facility. It was Eli's hiking day so the teachers requested a sensible outfit. Eli chose a pair of red striped tights and brought his red sparkle shoes to wear instead of slippers during lunch. Shu Shu was grand support all day as I had duties for the school's Fairy Walk.

After the children we safely tucked away in school I went in to full operation Queen of Hearts mode. This is the tableau that I was in charge of for the school. Susan helped me gather boxes, load furniture, pick up fire-place surrounds and most of all witness me forgetting my children. I let time get a head of me and was 45 minutes late picking up Eli. He was snuggled in Heidi's lap reading a book. He was fine but a little fragile the rest of the day. Eva was so mad that when I showed up. She was having her first "after-care" experience and did not want to leave. I finally hailed a cab and forced two screaming children in to their seat and the driver pulled away. Susan assured me this only lasted a block.