Friday, November 30, 2007

reasons why today's rainstorm is not good

1. because yesterday I overfilled the pool again (remember when I had a brain? I don't. Because my brain has left the building.)

2. because yesterday I bought TONS of flowers for both front and back so the gardener could plant them when he came today

3. my hair! and I have a gig tonight that I will be walking to!

4. three kids, two umbrellas. (Santa knows we need more umbrellas. But today is Nov. 30.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

on the second day after Thanksgiving...

Noni decided curly hair would be fun.

The Hubby and Uncle Bill went to the Stanford-Notre Dame game (ugly game, pretty new stadium).

We went to the cute retro Sweet Shoppe and played hide-and-seek at the park.

We drove home and finally tried the Apricot Tree restaurant (pretty good for along the highway!). Also The Hubby is a genius because he found a way to bypass that damn Pacheco turn where the cars line up. On Monday, my friend Karen who was in Los Altos for the weekend and also drove home Saturday night, told me that they waited an HOUR in that lineup. Woo hoo Hubby!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

some news about me

Eight weeks ago, I finally did something I've been meaning to do for a long time. When my 30th birthday came along, I decided that could be the impetus to get me to finally do it. But I had a new baby and thought it wouldn't be a good idea while I had little hands grabbing at me all the time. Then another new baby came along. Then ... well... this is not a big deal for most people, but I was self-conscious about being 34 and going in to get it done. So I was stalling and dragging my feet...

Then my friend Annette passed away of leukemia. She was a jewelry designer and I had purchased quite a bit of her pieces over the past few years. I wear some of them a lot, but there are some things I was still unable to wear. I was determined to finally just GO DO IT.

Here are just a few samples of her work, worn by ME!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Uncle D's visit

We all enjoyed having Uncle D here. He set up a little bowling alley in the den for The Boy (D tries to adhere more to the way you are supposed to bowl, while I am just happy when the kids are occupied - I hadn't fixed their pin set-ups or shown them how far away to stand when they roll the ball). The Boy loves having Uncle D to bowl, throw the baseball, and shoot baskets with. Unfortunately for D, The Boy has a very long attention span for these activities.

I hope D enjoyed it here. I know his work project was not so smooth, but I hope he had some good walks and some good food. I like having him here!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Nephew C

Dear Nephew C,
Auntie Barbra thought you might enjoy looking at these pictures. They are from the first day Big Girl was home from school with chicken pox. I found a huge mess in the girls' room, including the whole Calico Critters house and all the little things (The Boy and Big Girl had been playing with it but as usual did not clean up before moving on to other toys). I looked at all the messes all over the room, and then somehow found myself carefully placing everything just so in the Calico Critters house (I think I was trying to pretend the other messes weren't there).
Anyway, I heard you like the Calico Critters, so I thought you might like to see how I arranged everything while I was in mess denial that day:

This is the living room, where mom is coming home after her "away time."

Dad is busy in the kitchen!

The rabbit friend is going to wash her hands.

This is the play room. Also, mama dog is going to sit at the vanity and get ready to go out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

a science and art lesson

Got some new pictures of niece M! Here is my favorite one:

Hello, little smiley! Can't WAIT to see you!

It was fun to see the kids in Big Girl's class so excited to see her again on Tuesday morning. I think she enjoyed that very much!

Here are some photos from the last time we went to the Gardens (Nov. 1):

Surprisingly enough, we found something there we had never noticed before:

You drop rocks through this thing, and they bounce off all the metal nails and it makes a beautiful chiming sound. The Boy spent lots of time on this. What could be better than picking up a handful of rocks and dumping them, then being rewarded with a beautiful, musical sound?!

We had to go do the experiments again, which we so enjoyed last time:

First, you put a drop of nectar (from one of three types of flowers) on the sensor plate of the refractometer.

Then, you look through the eyepiece, and read the number corresponding to the boundary between blue and white zones. This tells you the concentration of sugar. (Doesn't this look like a lovely museum? It really is.)

Lantana = 20%, Salvia = 25%, Lavender = 30%.
Butterflies prefer nectar with 15-25%, hummingbirds prefer 20-25%, bees prefer 30-50%.

Here are some of our favorite artworks from that visit:

Pinkie and Blue Boy, mounted across from one another
Blue Boy is by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1770. The outfit is a costume of 1630's style dress, as Gainsborough painted this as an homage to the works of Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck (1559-1641).
Pinkie is by Thomas Lawrence, c. 1794. Sarah Barrett Moulton (called "Pinkie" by her grandmother) was 11 at the time of the painting. Her younger brother, Edward, was the father of poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Children playing (there was another one of two sisters that we liked as well)
This is Clavering Children by George Romney, c. 1777.

I have always loved this one by Mary Cassatt of a mom and her toddler daughter.
Breakfast in Bed, c. 1897
Mary Cassatt was an American expat living in Paris, and was a close friend of Edgar Degas. She often depicted women and children.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

we left the house!

Oh, boy, did it feel good to get out of the house Friday evening! What a week.

After dinner, we walked over to look at the football game through the fence. We saw the last three minutes of the first half, and then the marching band well, marched onto the field. Suddenly, three high school boys wearing black g-strings hopped the fence on the other side of the field (home side) and ran through the band and across to the away side fence, where we were. The first two hopped over the fence and were standing right next to my bewildered children while the third had some trouble getting over the fence (!). This caused the "away" students to razz boy #3, which caused boys #1 and #2 to yell the "f" bomb at them a few times. Teen boy #3 got over the fence on his third try, and they ran off (almost bowling over my children) down the street. Big Girl said, "mom, that was so, so, so, so, ... weird." Yes. So glad we brought our kids over to see the good, clean fun of a high school football game ... and some butts and foul language! Oh, how I wished I had my camera with me so I could put an image of it on the blog for you!

We watched the band for a while, and headed back home to see the fireworks from our back porch! No helicopter, though. We were wondering what happened to that plan!

Saturday, the girls got to play all day with E&S and go see their soccer games. The Boy got to come to my band rehearsal and play with the drummer's kids' old Hot Wheels. When we left, he said, "mommy, that was a good house." Hee hee!

(The Hubby was at the college football game)

For dinner, we were at "Tall Katie's" housewarming party. My kids love being honorary members of her family! We had a lot of fun.

Now Uncle D is here! Everyone is happy. The Cat won't leave him alone, as is the norm. So maybe everyone but D is happy. J/K He is taking me to dinner tonight!!!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

homecoming game

Big Girl is better, but we played it safe and did not go to school today. So that's a full week missed and Monday is a holiday. The Boy has a cold now. I am losing my marbles.

Yesterday there was a note on our doorstep saying this:

"Attention Neighbors: This Friday's football game will be starting 7:00 PM and ending at about 9:30. As part of our half-time ceremony, there will be a jubilant display of fireworks along with a helicopter hovering over the field between 8-9 PM. Due to the loud noise, you may want to keep dogs, and other pets indoors..."

Well, this should be interesting!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

how Big Girl is feeling

It's been a very uncomfortable few days. Being so itchy has been difficult both day and night. Finally, this morning I see that a few of them are scabbing, so I hope she starts feeling better. She has been doing some schoolwork her teacher sent home, which is taking her mind off the discomfort somewhat. She enjoys working on it. She also has spent a lot of time in front of the TV!

The Boy has two microscopic-sized spots that look like scabbed-over pox. I don't know.

Monday, November 5, 2007

here we go again

Big Girl is home from school today with chickenpox. Found the spots yesterday morning. So we are stuck at home for a few days AGAIN.

She actually had both the vaccine and the booster. This breakout of chickenpox is strange -- more vaccinated kids are getting it than the statistics would predict, and I know of a family in which even the child who had already had the disease got it again. It makes me wonder if this is some kind of different strain? I didn't think that happened with chickenpox... My scientific mind wants to solve this puzzle.

The Boy has a couple of red bumps, but it actually doesn't look like it did on the girls yet. We'll see what happens through today.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween recap

So, all in all, the kids had a wonderful day and everyone enjoyed going up to the houses and saying "trick or treat!" The Boy too! They were all delighted with their costumes and proud of themselves. Time was spent with best friends, and apparently, for at least one person, fears were conquered.

Our doorbell was ringing nonstop. Hubby and I took turns being the "trick or treat" chaperone and the door-answerer. There were lots of times when I didn't go back inside after handing out treats, because more groups were on the driveway and sidewalk. Group after group after group! Nice kids. We did have enough candy! Just barely. It was fun and festive and I enjoyed it very much.

The weirdest part was that the high school's marching band was practicing on the football field. So the music accompanying everyone's trick-or-treating was the halftime show music! That band has been very busy this week. They practiced all day Saturday and Sunday, as well as Mon, Tues, and Wed nights. We were so surprised they had asked the high schoolers to practice exactly during trick-or-treat time.

The Boy did not want Halloween to be over! He is looking forward to next year, and we are preparing him for the fact that the frog costume will not fit him any more. Just planting that seed now.

Our street's trick-or-treaters were done by 9:00. Very good. There are a couple of other neighborhoods in our town that get even more trick-or-treaters. We saw the edge of one of them when we checked out the "haunted house." It was insane. Minivans were pulling up to busy corners (not parking) and kids of all ages were piling out and heading down the sidewalk. I don't know if ours is one of those "destination" areas that people drive to, since we're not on the end of the street. But this practice can't be safe. And I will quote another writer, "CANDY IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT!"

But I want to stress that we had a wonderful night, and everything seemed "just right" to us!!

Do you recognize this person?

There is a house a couple of blocks from us, by the library. All month we've been watching their decorating progress. "All out" is an understatement. They wrap the front of their house in stone backdrop stuff, put stone gargoyles on the pillars, hang witches, skeletons and monsters from every tree, put monsters all over the porches and windows, including the attic window, and put cobwebs all over the porch. One of the monster things moves and has light up eyes and creepy music. It seemed that every time we went by, there were more decorations. One day there was a fenced-in graveyard in the front yard, with skulls on the fenceposts, creepy bones crawling out around the gravestones, and grim reapers standing guard. Another day there was a huge ghoul flying over the front yard (they rigged wire from their roof to the tree between the sidewalk & street and suspended the ghoul from the line, but also rigged the flowing robes from the line so that it looked like it was flying and not just hanging there). Most recently there was a 10-foot tall ghost in shackles hanging from the tree between the sidewalk and street.

In our family, we have taken to referring to this house as "the haunted house." Somebody in the family said, "on Halloween, I want to come to this house!"

So after trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, mom was reminded about "the haunted house," so we set off to walk over there. There was creepy music and somebody was talking eerily into a microphone that was set on echo. Everything was dark except lit up by blacklights. There were lots of pumpkins and people in costume everywhere. It was very very creepy! Somebody in our family wanted to go up to the porch to trick-or-treat there. Somebody else did not want to get any closer, in fact wanted to head home.

Can you guess who it was that went on up to the dark, monster-covered porch to say "trick or treat?"

I think you'll be surprised!

It was my Big Girl!