Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Peanut butter

Oliven loves to take walks and go on bike rides. He is always up for a stroller walk. He loves to point out flowers and there colors. When we get close enough he smells the flowers and he always tells me, "it smells like peanut butter." It's just so darn cute.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vander's birthday week/ Memorial day

   Justin's family has a tradition- birthday week. When it's your birthday you get to choose all the meals for the week. It's awesome, and we have adopted it into our families tradition as well. It really makes you feel special. Vander got to choose his meals for the week. He has quite the sophisticated palate for a kid turning four! He requested Hawaiian pizza, hamburgers, macaroni with peas, corn and hotdogs in it, shrimp stirfry, steak tacos, burritos and for his restaurant out he choose Dim Sum. We went to Dim Sum with Pops and Grammy. So very yummy. Vander even ate squid. He loved it. He ate everything and lots of it. He has a real love for food. More often than not he comments at dinner time, "I love this dinner. Thank you for making it mommy and daddy." AWESOME!!!

   Jon was in the bay area for work most of last week so he stayed at our place and hung out with us. It was a joy to have him here. We all really enjoyed his company and having two adults to two kids is a really nice ratio. He even accompanied us to swim lessons and helped keep the kids in line as well as playing with them. Over the weekend Ruth flew up and we got a chance to see her too, not for very long, but for a lunch and game.
  For memorial day weekend we got to have 2 BBQ's. We spent Sunday afternoon in Morgan Hill hanging out and having yummy food with Pops and Grammy. Puzzles, T-ball, and bubbles were the highlights. Then, Monday, our friends, the Rodgerson's came over for Shish Kabobs. We had a good time and the kids really enjoyed swinging and riding scooters in the backyard.
  The boys choose to spend there birthday money on Jake and the Neverland Pirate paraphernalia. Ollie got the scope and Vander got the characters.
  Just so I have records for later, we also had the privacy hedges in the backyard chopped at fence level and thinned out. It was $180 (way over priced, cause Justin didn't negotiate at all!) and it doesn't look so good. We have to decide what we want to do with the backyard next. Upkeep is just so much work!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Vander's actual fourth birth day

  
   Justin took the day off to celebrate Vander's fourth birthday with us. We were concidering taking the boys to Happy Hallow Zoo, but after getting the credit card bill for swim lessons we just couldn't spend any more money. So, we took the boys out to donuts for a special breakfast. Vander tried six different donuts, and of course loved them all. We took them over to Arielle's house for a play date and then headed home for lunch and quiet time. When they got up Vander got to play Wii with daddy and Ollie. Then Grammy and Pops came over to Vander's choice of dinner- pizza. He had Hawaiian. For dessert we made s'mores on the BBQ and enjoyed each others company. Vander also got to open presents so he did some puzzles with his grandparents.
  Poor little Oliven woke up from his nap with his diaper rash turned into raised blisters and spots all over, mostly on his feet and around his mouth- he has a case of hand, foot, and mouth. Bummer. The little guy is miserable and doesn't want to sit down. :( Being little with a weak immune system is rough.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vander's 4th bday party: Jake and the Neverland Pirates


  Vander has been really psyched about pretending to be Jake, Issy, and Cubby from Jake and the Neverland Pirates for a while now. He loves the Disney cartoon and he was a pirate last Halloween. That theme has stuck around and he had a Jake and the Neverland Pirates Party. He asked the guests to dress as pirates. He has actually been asking people for a couple of months if they have a pirate costume and if they say yes he invited them to his party. It was pretty cute. Anyway, Vander chose Los Paseos Park, which is super easy for us since it's right down the street and never so busy that you have to go too early. We didn't have Larry and Theresa to help this time and they were sorely missed. It's hard to have one person watch the kids while the other sets up- it's just too much work for one person.
   We had meat on a skewer (in this case hot dogs) and corn on the cob, pineapple, animal crackers, peanuts and pirates booty. Justin cracked open a coconut and the kids got to try the coconut milk, then anyone who wanted to got to eat some coconut meat. One of the key phrases in the show is, "Ahhh coconuts." After that the kids went on a treasure hunt, which was a rousing success. The kids really enjoyed hunting for clues and then finding the treasure chest full of treasure and diving it up. One girl said it was the best party ever! After that Vander cut into the Pirate Treasure map cake. It was chocolate cake with lemon curd filling- at Vander's request. It was actually pretty tasty. Then, of course he opened his presents. We stayed and played at the park for another good hour. The kids were having so much fun and the weather was great. Oliven had a blast with Uncle Mitch and Katie. Christi, Brian and Nate even made a pirate ship wagon and sailed the kids around in it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pictures and a picnic

We started the morning dropping our car off to get an oil change and walked over to the mall.
   It was time to go into Sears and get Vander and Oliven's pictures taken since they are now 2 and 4 (in a couple days). Who knew that 2 and 4 were the magical ages to get great smiles and cooperative boys. I did bribe them with $.50 each for candy if they did a good job and smiled, but still they were excellent. There individual pictures were super cute too.
  Afterwards we walked to Lake Almaden for a lunch picnic. It was a fun and productive morning.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

friends are fun

Rub a dub dub, four kids in the tub.
  Jerry is out of town for the next two weeks, so we wanted Arielle to come hang out with us for the evening. The kids had a blast. We played at Los Paseos park for an hour and then headed back to our our house for a chicken lime burger picnic in the backyard. The kids loved it. Oliven even said that dinner was really yummy. (That is unusual for him). Sweet potato fries, strawberries and chips- you can't beat that in kid world. Afterwards, four filthy kids got into the tub together. Who knew 4 kids would fit in the tub??? They thought it was pretty fun. Overall a good evening that went by fast and was full of low stress fun.

lemonade

  Oliven has decided that just because he has to wear shoes at night and nap doesn't mean he can't make the best of it. He is making lemons into lemonade. He loves to tap dance on the hard wood floors. He thinks it's an absolute blast and really enjoys it. He also requests his click click (that is the bar clipping into his shoes) when I have his shoes on. He sings, "say click, take a pic." This is from Diego, a cartoon the boys used to watch. It's pretty cute and he has fully embraced it- it only took 2 years!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colby's quiche

  My brother Colby cracks me up. He called last night saying that he had decided to make a quiche. He wanted to know if the crust was just flour and water. I told him that it also had oil and milk. He wasn't super happy about that and really didn't like the idea that the ingredients needed to be measured. Not only that, but our recipe calls for 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. So, it assumes you have all the measuring tools for wet and dry ingredients. This I know because I used to think they were interchangeable and this recipe is why I know they are not. Sometimes the crust was really good and other times I would wonder why it wasn't right at all- now I know. I have actually debated Freddie on the topic of wet vs dry measuring before. Anyway, back to the point...Colby says he is just gonna throw some stuff in the crust to make the quiche. I told him he should really follow the base recipe if he wants it to turn out and taste good. He asked if I would send him some other recipes as well since he is in Keystone, Colorado and everyone he knows has left town, so he is alone and bored. Here is the email he sent me today.
  I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the quiche I made.  To begin with, it turned out really well (and I ate an unnecessary amount).  I used half a cup less cheese than you suggested and added extra vegetables (mushrooms, garlic, onion, jalapeno).  I also cooked it with crushed red pepper mixed into the eggs.  Next time I make it I'll use a little bit less oil in the crust.  However it should be noted that I did not measure stuff quite as you suggested, so I might have used a lot more oil than you said to, anyway.  O, I also crushed up a couple leftover taco shells onto the top of it because for some reason I like doing that.  I think maybe I like the variances in texture.  Thank you for the recipe! 
   I think tonight I'm going to make the bread pudding that you sent me.  I only have wheat bread, and not the Hawaiian rolls, so I hope it is still good.  The ham and Hawaiian rolls would probably make a really sweet/salty dish.  But I think I'm not going to use either.  I know it will have an entirely different flavor profile, but I bet it will be a good one.
Stay Gold,
~Colby Grand
I think it's pretty awesome that he has decided to be productive in his free time and hone an important life skill.

What's the opposite of nostalgia?

  At the park today the kids were playing, when all the sudden a swarm of middle schoolers take over the playground. We took our kids immediately over to the other playground for younger kids. My friend says, "holy cow, some day our kids are going to be that big. Did you see how hairy the one boys legs were?" I can't even imagine my sweet little Oliven being a big hairy middle school kid. Vander...maybe- he's pretty rough and tumble. But, hairy??? Switch to nostalgia---how did Vander get to be 4 (in a week) already? They aren't kidding (who ever "they" are), when they say "the days go slow, but the years go fast." My baby is fully functioning, walking, talking little boy. My dad used to say that he wished he could put us in the freezer so we would stay little and he could take us out and play with us, but put us back in when he was done so we didn't grow up so fast.

Mother's Day

  We had a very pleasant and relaxing Mother's Day. Theresa and Larry, Mitch and Katie all came over for brunch. It turned out to be pretty delicious with quiche, monkey bread, sausage casserole, and fruit. We ate and then played around in the living with the boys for a while. After quiet time Heather came up from Santa Cruz and had dinner with us and played a game. They boys made me a special cake called turtle cake. It was one of my mom's most requested recipes. It was very decadent and delicious. It was a great way to end the day thinking of my mom.

Mother's Day Tea


Our cookbook club theme of the month was an English tea. I decided to make shortbread cookies. I love them, but I have never made them before. They aren't too complicated with only 2 ingredients. It turns out this recipe is not my favorite, but the company was great and all the different treats were delightful.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

3 Things and a behavior contract

   Vander was doing his very best to drag out bedtime with a million questions every time. Justin and I were getting tired of it...so, we decided to make a rule that he could ask 3 questions. No more and then we shut the door. Previously, if we tried to shut the door he would start crying. Now, he asks the funniest questions. Here are a few examples off the top of my head, "Why do I have curtains?", "Why do I have a wall?" "What would happen if we took this side of my bed off?" "Why do you love me?" Some of his questions are simple, but some are very profound and difficult to answer. I love that his mind is always thinking of new and interesting questions to ask.
  Vander wants to be "BIG AND STRONG" and he is always asking me, "What from my plate will make me the biggest and the strongest?" It's pretty fabulous. He is a super good eater and often tells us, "Thank you for making such a yummy dinner." Last night he said that the pasta alla carbonara is his favorite meal. He eats lots of vegetables and loves variety. This is the food pyramid we made the other day so that Van would know what foods were good for him and which category they go in.
  Lately, Vander has been on the naughty side. He hasn't been as sweet to has brother as we would like. He has been disagreeing with us just because and the most annoying thing is that he wants us me to do everything for him including feeding him dinner, opening doors for him, and putting his shoes on. These are all things he is perfectly capable of. He was also refusing to give kisses, claiming he only had hugs for that day. Justin and I were both extremely frustrated. So, we came up with this behavior contract. It's been working pretty well so far. I'm hoping he will just learn the positive benefits of being good and won't need a contract.




Daily Rewards
6Marshmallow
8Bubble Bath
10Read an extra story
12Do a puzzle















Cumulative Rewards
80Wii Game w/ Daddy
80Disney DVD Movie

Carry-over Points
 Positive points:








Sharing with others









Getting dressed by yourself









Propping door open without being asked









Say "Please" and "Thank You" w/o being asked









Putting milk cup in the sink









Putting shoes on









Opening car door








Buckle seat belt









Potty/poop on the big toilet









Keeping your bedroom tidy









Giving hugs and kisses when asked








Arranging your own buddies









No interruptions during quiet time







Eating dinner by yourself







Using utensils







Helping clean up other rooms







Positive Actions Total















 Negative points:Hissing







Hurting people







Arguing with parents







Not listening







Waking mommy/daddy up at night 







Kicking balls in the house







Throwing things (not to people)







Rolling cars off of things onto floor







Playing with lights







Putting cars under the couch







Putting a toy on toilet blanket







Negative Actions Total









Mother's Day at preschool

All the moms were invited to come join the kids at preschool this morning to honor them for Mother's Day. It was really cute. The kids had made brownies and served them to the moms along with tea. This is a picture of the three of us playing inside the playhouse at preschool.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Israeli Folk Dancing

Last night I went Israeli Folk dancing with my good friend Arielle. It was later than I like- 8-11:30pm, and farther than I like - Sunnyvale. But, it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed what I would consider lots of running around in circles doing dance steps. A couple of dances I felt I got about 30%, the rest more like 10% and the goal being that I don't run into anyone and try to go the right direction. There was lots of spinning, which most people know that I LOVE to spin. I don't know why, but it's a love I developed in high school. I used to spend a fair amount of time just spinning across the choir room. What came out of this experience for me was that I really miss dancing. I go to Zumba once to twice a week and do the routines, but I miss actually dancing. Tap, Jazz, Show Choir. Those were all so much fun. I just love to dance. I have always enjoyed it. I need to find an outlet for dancing that isn't super expensive or really late at night.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Swim lessons- hard on the wallet, but great for the boys.


Ouch! I signed the boys up for swim lessons over the summer. It hurt- it really did! It cost $600!!! Who knew it was so much money to learn a life skill??? We had a pool in my neighborhood so it was super cheap for swim lessons and we went swimming all the time. If we want pool membership we have to get on a waiting list and then it's like $400 for the summer! Yikes. The bay area is so expensive!!! From now on all Vander and Oliven want for their birthdays and Christmas is lessons - swim, gymnastics, etc. or memberships to fun places.
  Vander has been a water baby since the day he was born. He LOVES to be wet. He likes pools, water tables, sprinklers, buckets of water, the bathtub. If there is water, he is there. He is currently working on holding his breath under water for 10 seconds. He loves going swimming and can't wait for swim lessons every week.
  When Ollie started his lessons he asked to get out 2 minutes after getting in, but now (5/10, so 3 weeks in), he asked me when his lesson was over if we could stay in and not get out all day. He went under water several times, jumped in a lot and was even blowing bubbles.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Daddy dates



Since Justin was gone for 5 days when he got back from his business trip in Alabama we thought he should spend some quality time with the boys. Being that it was a Thursday that entailed being a part of their every day lives. So, Justin went swimming with Oliven at swim lessons and then afterwards we took him to brunch at Scrambl'z. We got to sit on the bus. It was pretty cool, I thought. Oliven kept trying to look out the windows and see what everyone else was doing.  
After that Justin dropped Ollie and I off and he picked Van up from preschool to take him out to lunch. Vander chose Subway, so they had a daddy son lunch date and even took him to Baskin Robin's for a scoop of ice cream.

Fun weekend



This weekend has been lots of fun. It included, but was not limited to: Cinco De Mommy night in with the girls, Brunch with the girls, soccer, shopping, and the highlight: Great America with the Rogersons and the Kurtze families. We met up at Great America today. Justin had the Lockheed tickets from our rainy day, since it rained they let us use the tickets again, but we have season passes- which we so need to use for a date some time to go on all the adult rides. Anyway, I know Arielle wanted to take the girls to Great America, but wasn't getting passes this year, so we decided free would be a good price (plus $15) for parking. Unfortunately, Nicole wasn't able to come since Tyler had a soccer game, but the rest of us had a pretty good time. Oliven was a bit sad since he isn't 36 inches there are several rides he couldn't go on. Vander was a good sport when the girls went on a 42 inch ride and he had to just watch since he wasn't tall enough for that one yet. Vander loved the water area- Ollie not so much, but that was an easy one to predict as Vander can't get enough water ever and Oliven is always a bit hesitant. Either way we had a great time and it was much more fun to go to Great America without the rain.

Giants game

Double date night round two: We went to the San Jose Giants game with Mick and Marisol. It was so much fun. It was a bit chilli, but good food and good company...you just can't go wrong. We had a good time sharing rib dinners and then 6 innings of the game. We watched enough to follow the action and chatted enough to keep it interesting. When we were ready we decided to go out for dessert. We headed over to the plant since it's right next to the stadium. To our surprise a Johnny Garlic's restaurant had opened two days before. This is Guy Fieri's signature restaurant, so we were intrigued. We went in and had a mint pie and smore's pizza. Mick and Marisol shared the banana's foster. It was yummy and fun. The prices were a bit high and the staff was obviously new, but overall a great experience and a fun evening out with good friends.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sesame Street Live

 Oliven got to choose where he wanted to have his birthday dinner. He chose 5 Guys Burgers. Burgers and fries before the show was in Ollie's words, "it's yummy."
  This year for the boy's birthdays we got everyone tickets to Sesame Street Live. The timing worked out great since it was between their birth dates (though closer to Oliven's). We went downtown and when we got there we let the boys pick one toy each. We told them that we would pay up to $10 and if they wanted something more expensive they could subsidize it with their birthday money. They both chose the $15 Elmo spinner, though Van did think about the Sesame street soccer ball. Anyway, Justin bought us each a cookie that was baked by Cookie Monster. Vander was super worried we were going to miss the show and they would start without him. We of course would not let that happen. The show was really good. It was all about a music teacher moving onto Sesame Street. There was lots of dancing and of course all the Sesame Street muppets. The boys loved it and smiled a lot during the show. Oliven wanted to sit higher so he could see better so Justin held him up on his forearms for a while (what a great dad) and then on his lap the rest of the time.

Colorado


  Justin got a prestigious work award for a program that he and his boss created. He claims Lockheed should have had this years ago, but he enjoyed working on it. It's nice to be involved in something that matters and this program will really make a difference to his company now and in the future. He received a big trophy in the mail. It's actually really nice, but we decided it would be more appreciated on his desk at work. I have an idea in my head of what his work looks like, but I'm not allowed to actually see it as I don't have clearance to even get onto the Lockheed campus.
  Larry and Theresa were very supportive of Justin and I going to Colorado for the awards ceremony. They watched the boys for us Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. We got into Denver and rented a car around 5pm. They only had SUVs. We drive Corolla's, so Justin was a little leary at first. I really enjoyed riding up so high. It was a brand new Ford, Eclipse. I liked the heated seats and that the air on each side of the car could be set differently. :) We met up with Drake, Ashley, Kyle and Krista at Lucky Strike bowling alley where Drake and Kyle both work on Friday night at 6:30. We hung out and chatted for a bit and then headed upstairs and went to a nice Indian food restaurant for dinner (Drake had to stay at work). It was really delicious. I had there sample platter. So good. I really like lamb. We had good conversations as well, though it was a bit loud. Afterwards, Ashley headed home and the other four of us went to see The Five Year Engagement. It wasn't a great movie, but not bad either. It was worth seeing once. We were all tired afterwards, so Justin and I went back to our hotel room and went to bed. The room had two smaller beds, so we had to smoosh. You really do get spoiled in a king bed. :)
   We met Colby at 11am at a breakfast place called Snooze. Can I just say that I love love love that place. Justin had been there before and liked it so much he wanted to bring me there. It was so yummy. Seriously, the kind of place that you dream about cause it was so good. We had flavored pancakes that we shared- pineapple, banana and peanut butter chocolate. I had the OMG french toast and Justin and Colby had the breakfast tacos. It was seriously one of the top ten breakfast dining experiences. The ambiance was awesome. The company was superb and the food was utterly scrumptious. The wait was a bit long, but it gave Colby and I a chance to walk and talk for like an hour. Justin wanted to stay and play games on his phone. The booths were also a cool rounded cushy benches around a round table, great for chatting. 5 stars in my book. Did I mention that it was also very reasonably priced! Afterwards we walked around in Denver. Colby went into his first two pon shops ever. We walked down 16th street. I wanted him to see the big blue bear, but his meter money was going to expire, so he said he would catch it next time he is in Denver. It was really great to spend time with him, as always. We saw the baseball stadium, took some mandatory pictures, and he drove back to Keystone.
  Justin and I went back to the hotel to check what time dinner was, decided we had enough time to catch a movie so we went to see the big blue bear and get some Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory caramel/chocolate apple and see The Hunger Games. We both read the entire trilogy and the movie did not disappoint. They left a couple things out, but it was really well executed and acted, so I was thrilled. We headed back to the hotel to dress for the cocktail party and dinner ceremony.
  We headed down, got some drinks, I got an alcoholic Shirley Temple, Justin of course only drinks water. We chatted with some people he knows and then headed in to dinner. We were at a table far from most of his people, but he did know the VP at our table and hopes to maybe work for him next year. Everyone was very friendly and we had some good dinner conversation. Justin got his award handshake 14th of maybe 100ish, so he was very close to the beginning. It was a lot of jargon I didn't understand, but it was pretty cool. Only about 3% of the company gets an award each year (and most of them get group awards with 20 or so other people), so it is definitely an honor. Lots of people congratulated Justin. The VP of the whole company said that they would be using his program often. I tried to get Justin to dance with me, and he stuck it out for a few songs, but his heart wasn't in it and he felt like he was being judged, so we went back up to our room after dessert.
  The next morning at 10:30 we met Jeff for breakfast in another part of Denver. It was a cute little rustic place. They messed up Justin's order so it took a really long time to get the food. The food was alright, but it was fun seeing Jeff. We walked down to the big park nearby. It was really beautiful. I wish there was a park like that near our house. We have Lake Almaden, but it's covered in goose poop.
  Then it was time to head back to the airport and come home. The flight was 30 minutes early- totally unheard of (it was a 50 person plane and about half were Lockheed people, though none that we sat by). It was really nice to see the boys. They had a fabulous time with their grandparents. We had dinner and put them to bed and Justin headed out to catch a red-eye to Alabama for the next 3 days.