Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Crazy Meal

  As part of advent this year we decided to try crazy meal. Everyone got $5 to pick out whatever they wanted and Justin made a meal out of it. It was sort of a food challenge to make a cohesive meal out of various random ingredients. Here is what we ended up with....it was surprisingly delicious. Cheesy broccoli mixed with kidney beans, corn muffins with black beans and bacon in them, guacamole with cinnamon cereal as a seasoning over taquitos and cheese (one slice of American from the deli counter split between the four of us) and  a plate of oranges and bananas.
  To break it down: Vander chose: Black beans, corn muffin mix, and cinnamon cereal. It was really fun, the boys had a really good time and I was very impressed by the foods they chose.
Ollie chose: kidney beans, 2 bananas, a bag of frozen broccoli covered in cheese, one slice of American cheese from the deli counter. Justin chose: 3 avocados, a couple slices of bacon from the meat counter, and I chose: 4 red Cara oranges that were being sampled at the grocery store that had great flavor, a box of taquitos.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gilroy Gardens

 We took the boys to an evening of fun at Gilroy
Gardens and had a really good time. Gilroy Gardens does a special Holiday evening with a light show in the waterfall area and a special Charlie Brown show where they sing Christmas carols. We took the boys to be part of the fun. They really enjoyed having pizza and chicken strips at Gilroy Gardens and enjoying while sipping hot chocolate. They also loved going on a few rides together. Ollie was stoked that he was tall enough to go without an adult on several rides. It was decorated beautifully and we really enjoyed the quality family time together, and the fake snow too of course. Vander and Oliven both loved the fact that they each got a chance to DRIVE the car (and there was no line- score!) Don't we look like we are on a super fast train!!!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

  December 19th Vander's school took all the Kindergarteners on a field trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have been learning all about the ocean. Vander has been talking to me recently about lemon sharks and wanting to be a scuba diver when he grows up. I was lucky enough to be able to go with them since Justin was able to work from home and Ollie had preschool. Anyway, I learned some really important things about Vander...1. He actually does listen to what we say to him and makes good choices based on what he has been taught. (At least when he is with other people). He chose to sit in the back row of the car instead of the middle because he thought it would be better if each of the boys had more space, then they would fight less. Really smart thinking. 2. He is really well behaved in comparison to many of his peers. He is very polite and accepts what adults say to him and responds respectfully and in a helpful manner. He was the best behaved kid in our group.
  It really was a joy spending time with Vander. He is curious and inquisitive, but also stays within boundaries. It is sometimes hard to have perspective when your own kid drives you crazy or challenges you, which Vander often does. It is nice to see him being such a great kid in group settings where you aren't sure what he might act like.
  I was extremely impressed by how many parents showed up to chaperone- there were 12 parents for 24 students! Great ratio!!! We had a good time and Vander really enjoyed seeing the octopus. I liked the jelly fish. We were in a group with Lisa(Jackson's mom), Jackson, Lyndon, Vander and myself. Lyndon was a little firecracker and he did not like to listen.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Hannukah was a bit unconventional this year. It started on Thanksgiving. Justin didn't realize how much Chanukkah meant to him until Thanksgiving stepped on it's toes (and Santa). We had to skip the 1st two evenings of Hanukkah, but made up for it the rest of the week. We had a great night with Latkas (some of the best- they were so good even Larry didn't mention them not being up to par) and roast with veggies with Larry and Theresa and Mitch, Katie and Heather at the Katz home in Morgan Hill. It was a great afternoon spent with family. Good company, great food, and of course- presents and fudge, what could be better? The boys got passes to Gilroy Gardens for the season. I am looking forward to taking them to the Holiday Lights. The rest of the week was pretty mellow, but each night we lit candles and enjoyed each other's company. One night we ate dinner by candle light.

Monday, December 2, 2013

San Diego Thanksgiving

Vander and Jules
  This year it was decided that we would spend a week in San Diego for Thanksgiving instead of in December. It was so nice seeing Emmie, Molly, Freddy and Annie and spending quality time at their house. Let me start from the beginning...
  Friday, we picked Vander up from school (they had minimum days) and headed down to Jon's house. We spent the evening with Jon and Ruth. He made us a dinner of parsnip puree, skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and roasted asparagus. We played some games and went to bed.
 Early Saturday morning we got back in the car and headed to Andrea's house to spend time with her and Jules. Calie was there too. We spent 1/2 the day with them and walked over to the store and made some egg sandwiches for lunch. Jules enjoyed the cheese and avocado. He is on the move now.
 Then, we headed down to Freddy and Annie's for the rest of the day. Van and Ollie got to meet their cousins for the first time and they were enamored.
  Sunday morning, Justin took the boys to Target to get new shoes. We thought we could wait, but they both had really thrashed their shoes scootering. Annie and I took an hour out to go get pedicures while the guys watched the kids. I also bought some chocolate covered honey comb to share, which my boys love. (Me too- grandma Gretchen started me on that when I was young). Later that day we took the boys to the park to play. They loved that, except Ollie did not want to step in the sand with his new shoes.
  Monday, Justin went out to sushi with Walter and we stayed at the house and hung out. Colby flew in to San Diego to join us and it was so great to have him there!
 Tuesday, Justin, Vander, Ollie and I went to lunch at the Burger Lounge with Walter and Elyse. Walter wanted us to meet her, and she was a very nice person. Unfortunately she only had an hour lunch, so it was short and sweet. We headed down to Grandma and Grandpa's house to spend a couple hours with them. The boys enjoyed the park while I spent some time with two of my favorite people and I got to see Hedy for a few minutes too when she dropped Grandma off from her mani/pedi. Then, we headed up to spend some time with Deb and have dinner at her place. She played Sorry with us and made taco/fajita's for dinner. The boys were especially fond of the ice cream pie.
  Wednesday was mostly spent cooking and prepping for Thanksgiving day while also taking care of the kids. Freddy was able to work from home, so we got to spend time with him too.
  Thursday was Thanksgiving and that was the big culmination of everything. It was a busy day getting ready in the morning, then the family showed up. The Thankful speeches made many of us cry. We had a great meal and spent lots of time hanging out. Santa and Mrs. Clause showed up with presents for the boys and the girls. It was pretty exciting stuff. Later that night the boys got to open their gifts from Hedy and David and Annie and Freddy. Then, we packed up the car.
  We left San Diego early (6:20am) Friday morning and didn't really hit any traffic, so that was really nice. It was a 7 hour, 3 bathroom breaks kind of trip. We stopped at a farmers market in Gilroy to grab some fruit for the week. 3 large bags for $7!
  Vander and Oliven thought Annie made some of the very best dinners that they had ever tasted while we were in Carlsbad, they also LOVED Thanksgiving dessert- they tried one of everything. They were so happy to meet their cousins finally!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cooking class, Mystery dinner, Chinatown, Thanksgiving play date, and Scrambl'z

  We have been really busy having tons of fun. I took a cooking class at Cucina Bambini with the Club 2008 ladies and it was really fun- throwing pizza dough in the air, mixing up sauces and pouring lava cakes and of course eating all the spoils of our hard work.
A few days later it was time to go to the Murder Mystery Dinner that I had booked for Justin and my 9 year wedding anniversary. It was in July, but this was the soonest available tickets- that is sometimes what you get when you buy things with a groupon. Anyway it was a fun evening of who done it with actors in the crowd and cops interrogating people. Trust no one. Justin was a little bummed that he did not guess the correct killer, but we enjoyed the food, the conversation, the acting and the mystery of it all.
     My good friend, Zach, from high school took our pictures recently. He
moved to San Francisco this year and is a professional photographer. Anyway, he asked if we would come up to San Francisco and spend the day. We decided to meet up and hang out in China town. They boys had never been to China town before and even though we know people in San Fran nobody has ever really asked us to come up, so we took the opportunity. We had a great time walking around and looking at all the interesting foods. We took the boys to Dim Sum and really enjoyed it. They were very leary because they like their usual Dim Sum place, but they ended up having a good time and Vander really enjoyed the food. It tasted and ran very much like the place we usually go with Theresa and Larry in Cupertino. Afterwards we walked around and went to a Chinese bakery to have a special treat. Vander had a cake roll and Oliven had and almond cookie with walnuts on it. We got on the cable car and rode it up the very steep hill. The boys really enjoyed the ride. We said goodbye to Zach and headed back to San Jose. Both boys fell asleep in the car and took their naps in the drive way while I read a magazine in the front seat.
  Later that day we hosted a Thanksgiving play date at our house. Many of our friends from the South Valley 2010 group came over to play, hang out and eat some delicious Thanksgiving foods. We even got a pretty decent group photo. It was a fun evening with friends.The kids really enjoyed wearing the mustaches for Movember. :)
  The next morning, Veterans day, Vander had the day off of school so we met up with our Almaden 2008 Las Madres group for breakfast at Scrambl'z. It ended up being a pretty long wait, but the kids were very patient and enjoyed each others company. From there we headed to the Los Paseos park to hang out and play with Vander's best friend from kindergarten, Alex, and his siblings, Lucas and Anna, who are just a little older than (but will be in the same grade as) Oliven. Vander and Ollie were so excited for all the fun that they made up a song about how AWESOME the day would be and it was.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The end of October highlights

Here are the highlights:
  Deb came down up for work and we got to see her and Heather for dinner at our house. She then came up to our house with Theresa Saturday morning to hang out with the boys and then eveyone in Nor Cal (except me) went to Dim sum. I wasn't able to go because I was hosting October's brunch cookbook club at our house. It is always such a pleasure to spend time with Deb. It was nice to see Heather as well, we have been trying to have her over for a couple months, but she is a very busy lady. The same week we also had Mick and Marisol over for Mick's 32nd birthday. We made him his favorite: fish tacos and guacamole with apple pie for dessert. On Friday, we had the Paulson's over for dinner and games. We played Through the Dessert and had a really fun evening.
  The boys have moved on to harder scooters. Vander is now on the two wheeler and Ollie is riding Vander's scooter. I am proud of them, but now I don't have a scooter to ride with them. They really like riding around in Super Hero capes. They got some new capes recently at Zade's Super Hero 5th birthday party. They both had a great time playing Super Hero games and making masks. Zade has been Vander's buddy from the very beginning of his life.
Oliven and I have been going to Happy Hallow with Gina and Daniel. Oliven was finally tall enough to ride the roller coaster (as long as I was sitting with him). He loved it so much that we had to go on it twice in a row.
I also got a chance to go to the Witch's party for the 3rd year in a row and exchange useful little gifts with the other witches at Polly's house. She is so creative. Hannah and Polly are super special ladies and I am really thankful to have them both in my life. I was the "Fiery Hot" Witch.
  Ollie's preschool went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Ollie enjoyed running around with his friends, but he did not want to pet the bunnies. He doesn't like animals that could lick/make him dirty.
  Sunday we went to the South Valley Halloween party at Carrie's house. Carrie had crafts set up, but the kids were too busy playing tag and eating mummy dogs to notice. We all had a good time and we even attempted a group picture. Carrie even had a tub of cooked pasta noodles set up in the backyard for the kids to play in, and that was a huge success.
  Always last in October is Halloween and trick-or-treating. 1st thing in the morning I took Ollie to Whole Foods and Willow Glen to trick-or-treat and we had a good time. Carrie and family met us for Willow Glen. Then, at noon Justin came home early so I could go help out at the Kindergarten Halloween party in Vander's classroom. They had each kid bring a pumpkin dish to share. It was really a great idea and a good mix of savory and sweet. The kids really enjoyed it and Van loved that I was there to help.
 Larry and Theresa have come down to our house to have dinner and hand out candy for several years now and we appreciate it. This year Justin and I made witch's brew and a squash and green bean spider. We take the kids out to gather candy. This year a big group of our friends decided to meet at Kira's house and we joined them for the fun. There is an element of fun to going around the neighborhood with a large group of friends. Oliven made it about 30 minutes before he decided that he was done. Vander never wanted to stop. He finally did when his feet were hurting after about 1 1/2 hours. The kids were very happy with their "loot". They had a fun evening and so did we. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Vander went to the Pumpkin Patch with school and Ollie will go with school, but I thought it only fair that I take them once when they could both go, so we headed over to Giordanno Farms when the Almaden 2008 group was meeting up. That meant the kids could play with friends and enjoy the afternoon. We had a good time. The boys got to ride the train (and someone else paid for it because she really wanted her kid to be able to ride. I told her I'd pay for it and she did it anyway...thanks, I'll have to pay it forward!) As we were about to leave Casey, Addison and Jake showed up, so we stayed a little longer.  The boys really liked the train ride and the hay tunnels. They enjoyed the corn maze as well.

Friday dinners

Since Casey, Carrie, Arielle and I have been friends since our first kids were just born we decided that just because our kids are in Kindergarten is no reason to stop seeing each other. Our kids are all best buddies and we always have a good time together, so it was decided that we will reserve the 1st Friday of every month to spend with each other rotating houses.
We had our first one at Arielle's house and it was so much fun. The kids loved playing together and we loved hanging out, chatting and catching up. The husbands get to be included too, which is really nice because they all get along really well too.

San Diego- Emmie and Molly's Christening

   Saturday morning I flew down to San Diego to meet up with Freddy and Annie and their two beautiful baby girls, Emmie Catherine and Molly Aline. It was the weekend of their baptism into the Catholic Church. By the time we grabbed Colby it was about lunch time, so we all headed to Encinitas for a nice lunch out at a yummy diner. The twins slept through all of lunch in their stroller. We headed back to the Grand house to prep the food for the next days celebration.
  The timing coincided with Colby's 26th birthday, so we got together with Mike, Lindsay, Kevin and Leah to go to a brewery to celebrate Colby's birthday in the evening. Annie was planning to come too, but the girls weren't really up for it. We spent the evening hanging out, drinking beer, eating pizza and talking. When we got back to the house we made some s'mores by the fire. I may have taken a little cat nap in between on the couch by accident.
  The next morning Freddy, Annie, Nancy, Chuck, and I went to Church with the girls. We headed back to their house and finished getting ready to go back to the church for the Christening. Almost our whole family and all of Annie's family showed up. (Heather, Kenny, and my family didn't come, but everyone else did). It was a very nice ceremony- Emmie was very squirmy and fussy. Molly was relaxed and didn't seem to mind. They were blessed and had holy oil rubbed on them. Joey and I were pronounced Emmie's Godparents and Allie and Colby were pronounced Molly's Godparents. After the ceremony and lots of photos we all headed back to Freddy and Annie's. We spent the afternoon admiring the babies, eating lasagna, and enjoying each others company. It was really nice hanging out with the family on such a positive occasion. After everyone went home we realized we were all hungry, but everyone had been drinking except for me, so I drove Colby and myself down to the Thai and pizza places so they could grab some food (I had leftover lasagna). We sat out by the fire and talked for a while before heading to bed.
Monday, we had a leisurely morning. I spent time with my nieces while Annie took a much needed nap. Colby joined me after a while and I made him some breakfast. After the girls had their 11:30am bottle we headed down to La Mesa after picking up some yummy sub sandwiches from a fresh deli where they slice the meat and cheese in front of you after you order it. We grabbed a sub for Grandma and Grandpa, one for the Whiteing family, and one for ourselves. We went to Grandma and Grandpa's house to eat our sandwiches, afterward I headed over to see Nicole and Doris. George passed away early Saturday morning. I had talked to him on the phone a few weeks before and promised to come and see him. Instead, I went to honor his memory and visit his loved ones. I loved George very much. As the father of my best friend in high school I spent many hours at their house talking to George. He was a good and loving man. I will miss him very much. I still called him on the phone and chatted with him every few months. I headed back over to see Grandma and Grandpa and meet back up with Annie, the girls and Colby. I got a text about how great it would be if I was inspired to bring frosties with me on my way back. I'm a sucker for frosties, so I of course said yes. We all enjoyed our frosties. A little while after it was time for us to head out so that we could beat the traffic. We said our goodbyes and Colby was picked up by Mike.
  Later that evening Freddy came home and Annie made us all tacos for dinner. She forgot to make rice (which was totally fine, but she was concerned that mommy brain was a real thing).We went to bed a little earlier that night.
  Tuesday after a leisurely morning spending quality time with the girls we headed down to Old Town with girls and met up with Grandma, Grandpa and Bob for lunch at delicious Mexican food restaurant. I think it was called cafe Reyes. After lunch the Gparents dropped me off at the airport. I had a nice cozy stay as my flight was delayed.
  Upon my return to San Jose my boys picked me up and whisked me off to Golden House Chinese food restaurant where we met up with the Lim family for dinner. Afterwards, we all headed to the school for Family Math night. The boys liked it, but it was pretty crowded. We stayed for about 30 minutes and 6 tables of math and headed home for bed and relaxation. What a great 4 days. I miss my nieces (and Annie and Freddy) already!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Big Basin camping

  It only took me 14 years, but I finally convinced Justin to go tent camping and ...He didn't hate it! In fact, he liked the tent part- it was easy to build and take down, and it was cool and clean inside. That was his highlight from the trip. We went with 5 other families with Oliven's Las Madres 2010 South Valley group organized by Kira. We were all in charge of our own food, but we chose to hang out with the Lim family during meals since they are good friends, had all the equipment to cook with, brought tons of extra food, and had a fire going.
  The boys had a blast with 4 campsites in a row to play on with tons of
friends. We went on a group hike and checked out the little museum as a group. Justin had a bit of a hard time with scheduling and not eating dinner at 5:30pm because we had just gotten back from our hike, but overall I think he can be convinced to go camping again, so I will consider the trip a success. The boys both love camping and have asked to go back again this weekend. :) The kids also had a dance party on a big stage and squished into a big redwood tree. Vander said that making s'mores and eating extra sweets was his favorite thing. Oliven liked listening to the crickets.

Charter School Gala

  The Charter School hosts a fundraising Gala every year and it's the
don't miss event of the season. This year the theme was Celebrate the Night in Black and White. Justin and I attended in our black and white best. Justin wore his Batman suspenders and I wore my Batgirl bracelet. The auction was really fun. There were about 220 items/events up for bid. The Charter School basically told us that they expected us to donate $1000 a year per kid, so we figured if we gave them $700 and spent $300 at the auction we would be there.
 I think it will be easier next year because we now have a heads up that this is coming instead of a letter asking for the money by the next week! There is nothing like being a kinder parent for being blind sided by what is going on in the school. We are learning as we go. Anyway, we won a couples dinner with a chef- 3 course meal and they teach you how to make it, a 10 person wonton making/learning afternooon with appetizers and drinks, and a gymnastics class with the kinder teachers for Vander and 15 kinder friends. The auction was beautiful and elegant. We had a great time with Carrie and Peng.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013