Monday, July 20, 2015

Champs and Banquet

   Swim team is officially over for the year. Nancy and Mark Crowley joined us for the day at Champs. The boys did a really great job. They were both determined to get their team as many points as they could. They both improved two of their times. Yay!
Oliven's end of the year times are: Free: 44.88 (down from 57.40 at the season start); Back: 54.25(down from 1:28:97); Breast: 44.90 (down from 54.12); Fly: 50.93 (down from 1:24:06)
Vander's end of the year times are: Free: 26.88; Back: 30.63; Breast: 36.36; Fly:31.37;
The boys exchanged gifts and said goodbye to their buddies for the season. They really enjoyed having Ben and Maddy as their big buddies this year.
  After dinner it was trophy time. Every kid on the team got their trophy for participation. Afterwards, they handed out the special trophies. Oliven won the trophy for Most Improved Swimmer in his age group. He really deserved it. He worked very very hard this year to become a great little swimmer. We are proud of both of our boys. :) Yay little penguins!

Minions movie and bowling with Daniel

Another fun week on the books...
  Mrs. DeRome, Vander's 1st grade teacher invited us to come see the Minions movie with her in Morgan Hill. The boys were very excited- Minions 3D. The boys loved it. It was very much a kid movie. There were a few funny parts.
  The next day we were off to go bowling with Daniel, Ruth and Gina. Daniel, Vander and Oliven had a great time. Daniel won and game and Vander won a game. Ollie was not impressed with the results, but they all had a good time.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

GGs and Deb visit

  I really love spending time with family. I know that I wasn't born into Justin's family, but you would never know it by the way that Deb and the GGs treat me. I am so lucky to have them. My kids are of course truly lucky to have family on both sides that love them so much. I have to hand it to Larry - he really loves Vander and Oliven to the moon and back. Theresa does too. We are all blessed. It was great to get to visit with GGMa and GGPa again after seeing them in April. They are just truly warm-hearted loving  people and the world is better because people like them exist. We got to visit with them Friday, twice Saturday, and twice Sunday. The kids were beyond thrilled about it...Friday we went down for dinner (and the boys helped make a trifle, so that was really special for them to share their creation).
  On Saturday everyone came to the boys' swim meet and watched them compete.It was a great day with nice weather and some great swimming. There was a bit of a hissy fit that Vander threw for everyone over sunscreen, but overall a great morning. After some resting at home and a major debauchal we headed down to MoHill for dinner. Vander banged a hole in his wall from the rocking chair in his room. During quiet time he decided to blow into the hole, which in turn caused dry wall dust to blow into his eyes causing him lots of pain. We took him into the bathroom and rinsed his eyes out with water over and over, then poured eyedrops into them and examined repeatedly. I called the nurse and consulted with the doctor and it turns out I did everything right and he was fine, but what a scary thing to have happen!
That evening Mitch and Heather joined us for dinner and after dinner Robin, Marie, and Jeff showed up to have a surprise birthday party for Theresa (a month and a half early- so it really was surprising). Carrot cake and lively chatter ensued. We had to leave all too soon for my liking.
  Sunday morning we supposed to meet everyone in MoHill for brunch. Justin had to fly to Maryland for work, so as the boys and I walked him to the car this morning we got a BIG surprise...our house had been toilet papered. Vander was stoked. Oliven was a bit upset at first, but when he saw that Vander liked it so much he changed his tune and decided it was pretty fun too.The kids who did it were definitely not amateurs! Yikes! Of course Justin had to go at that time so I was left to clean up the mess. It took me over an hour, with half the time being on an orchard ladder trying to get the t.p. out of the tree. The boys played in the toiled paper, but really didn't help much. A lady walking by stopped to help (Nancy Keslin's sister, Kim) who knew all about the toilet
papering antics of the swim team teenagers. Apparently it is a swim team right of passage tradition. Time to start sleeping with one eye open from now on. Anyway, we finally made it down for brunch and we went out with everyone to do some baseball practice afterwards.
  We came home so everyone could rest and headed back in the afternoon. We played Rummicube. Oliven, not surprisingly, did a puzzle with GGPa. We had a lovely dinner and made memories. We even got to facetime with Drake, Ashley, Grayson, and Collette. It always ends too soon. We love you all!

Beach buddies

  Last year Carrie decided that she was going to go to the beach once a week and we joined them, so this year we decided to keep the tradition alive and go to the beach every Monday (when we are both in town). We have had a great time every time. We love hanging out with the Lim family and the kids have a great time while Carrie and I relax and chat. It is a fantastic summer activity. Vander, Bella, and Jeremiah love collecting sand crabs. Oliven tends to play on his own. He finally got a foot in the water on the last trip for the first time. It's great summer experiences that they will remember forever. Thanks Carrie!

San Francisco

Gina and Daniel came with us (the boys and me) to San Francisco. The goal of the trip was to go to Ripley's Believe it or not before the tickets expired- we ended up going the day that they expired. Justin HATES parking in San Francisco- I get it, but it makes him very cranky when we go. So, Gina and Daniel were a great choice of friends because we had a great time together. We met up right after swim and Gina drove us all to Fremont to catch BART to San Francisco. Vander and Daniel were a bit wild and antsy. They tend to rile each other up and cause some trouble together. The boys thought that the idea of going under the water was pretty great. I have never been on BART before so it was an experience for all of us.
  When we got to San Francisco everyone was hungry so we stopped in at a bagel shop and got bagel sandwiches for lunch. I thought it was pretty funny that we were eating at a New York bagel shop in San Francisco with pics of New York all over the walls.
  We decided to walk to the pier since the GPS said it was only a 30 minute walk- no biggie. We walked through little Italy (which is actually not that little). I really enjoyed it. I have never walked through there before, it was quite a treat. I LOVE Italy. We decided we should embrace it and stopped for a cup of gelato and a canoli (the boy's first). They thought that was really great. We all know we love gelato, but they were delighted with the canoli. Then, we continued our adventure.
  A pit stop to potty later, we ended up only a block from Lombard street. We thought we better head over, cause, well, why not? So, we walked up the 250 steps to the top of Lombard street. Then, at the top we could see the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz. We continued on our journey down to the pier. Finally, we got there. We enjoyed the atmosphere and stopped when we saw something that intrigued us- like the giant candy shop. The boys couldn't believe the size of the candy.
  We finally made it to Ripley's Believe It or Not...there were several things that Vander did Not believe. It was very interesting and we had lots of fun trying to roll our tongues, dancing in the dance party room and we saw a manican of the tallest man. We also saw a video of a man that had turned himself into a human lizard- yikes! Afterwards, we went into a mirror maze room. It was pretty cool, Vander loved it, Oliven did not enjoy it as he thought it was scary. Overall, a very fun place to go.
  Everyone was hungry for dinner afterwards so we decided to get a healthy meal at Trader Joes. Fruit and vege wraps on the benches inside a really neat Trader Joes.
  Then it was time to make the walk back up to the BART station. Everyone's feet hurt so we stopped at Starbucks to rest. We made it back to the BART and ended up getting home around 9pm. What a fun and interesting day. Being a tourist in San Francisco was quite fun. We ended up walking about 8 miles that day...good exercise and great experience.

Tea party!

My boys LOVE to have tea parties. We use the little tupperware set that my mom got me and we used as kids. It's very small and all in 80's colors. They ask for tea parties whenever they think of it. We have had many (I had lots as a kid too, my great grandparents often came to them). So, I decided this year that I wanted to go to the Satori Tea house for my birthday meal out. I mentioned it to Carrie and she suggested that instead of dragging Justin to a tea house for dainty finger sandwiches that she would come with us and bring her kids. Yay! I didn't think Justin would really appreciate it, especially since he doesn't drink tea.
  We met up at the VTA station and took it to downtown. We went in and we were the only group most of the time we were there. Carrie and I ordered the Alice in Wonderland special. They boys got a kid tea party- Oliven opted for the pb&j with sprinkles, Vander went turkey pesto. They loved the idea of the three tears of treats and being with their friends. They enjoyed the tea house and really enjoyed that their good friends were there with us to share the fun and the tea. Vander really enjoyed his tea (with several lumps of sugar in it), Oliven drank some, but was not nearly as enamored with the tea. I had an amazing tea flavor. It was so good I had to buy some to take home.
  We all had a great morning enjoying our rides on the VTA, hanging out with our good friends, and enjoying all the boy's first tea party. It was pretty expensive, but a great experience.

Date with Grammy and Pops/Colby and Alex stop by

   For Oliven's birthday Grammy and Pops gave him a certificate for a movie, dinner and dessert. The boys chose to go see Inside Out and they all loved it. The headed to Super Taqueria afterwards and some frozen yogurt. They were very happy customers.
   In the mean time Colby and Alex dropped in for the evening. We spent our time chatting and playing games. Colby and Justin both really love playing strategy games. It was a very nice evening. They were off super early for Yosemite the next morning.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Swimming: buddies, cardboard boat races, swim-a-thon, and rafting trip

  Swim team is not only fun, family friendly, and a great summer activity it is also great exercise is also a special and magical place. Everyone who does it enjoys it and the extra bonus activities make it a summer to remember and truly enjoy. Vander and Oliven have Ben and Maddy as big buddies this year and they are both fantastic teenagers. We have had Ben over for dinner and games twice and Maddy once. They are great with our kids.
  One of the most fun activities of the summer are the cardboard boat races. Maddy Bleeg (V and O's buddy) and her friend Maddy Doud constructed a boat for the little buddies and had them over to decorate. The kids had a great time and felt great pride in their boat. They made it across the pool with the help of coach Ryan as their impromptu motor. It was super cute. Afterwards was the over nighter. The boys stayed until 10pm. They ate tons of food - hot dogs, hamburgers, fruit, brownies, cookies, etc. They played dodge ball and jumped in the bounce house. Maddy and Ben looked out for them. They had a blast.
    The boys participated in the swim team's swim-a-thon...Justin decided to pledge $1 per lap. Sounds harmless. Until, Vander swims 50 laps and Oliven swims 30! Great job guys!!! $80 dollar later, Justin will not be underestimating the boys again!
  Even more recently we took the boys to join the swim team for the river raft trip at the Stanislaus river in Oakdale. We decided to stay the night to try it out. We left our house at 6am to meet at the river and sunscreened up. We got in a boat with Mark and Gabe to paddle down the river. Vander and Oliven didn't even grab a paddle to pretend to help (we wished Gabe hadn't either). We had a lovely time down the river. It was a very wet ride with everyone splashing everyone. Mark brought a bucket (as did many other people so it got VERY wet at times and lots of water filled the bottom of the boat. Oliven decided half way through that he no longer wanted to get wet, but that was not really an option. The teenagers, who dressed like the Incredibles would paddle fast and they lay in wait for a major ambush. There were two of these and we managed to escape the first one mostly unscathed, but the second one was a very interesting, fun, and extremely wet experience. Vander was captured by one of the older kids and stolen out of the boat (which he absolutely loved). There was a point when each of the adults had to jump into the water. At several points something or other was lost out of the boat by Vander or Gabe. Once I jumped in because Gabe went under the boat and I was afraid he wouldn't be able to get out. Getting back in the boat was quite a challenge. There were also several shallow rocky points that we had to be pulled and/or pushed over.

  After the boating part we took the bus back to the parking lot and headed back to the hotel. It was about 107 degrees outside and just miserable. It was recommended we stay in the motel 6- GROSS! We showered and stayed in the air conditioned room- really what other choice was there. Around 5 we headed down to dinner at a diner that was recommended nearby. I was not impressed- neither was Justin. The kids didn't seem to notice. They enjoyed the coloring menus. After dinner we headed over to Rite Aid to buy some candy for the fireworks to be held in the parking lot/street at 9:30- legal in Oakdale. Well...the kids didn't make it. They just kept having melt downs and after so many warnings follow through is no longer an option. So, at 8:40 I had to call of the fireworks and the candy and put the kids to bed. I sent Justin down to the fireworks- cause really there was just no need for us both to endure the hysterical crying and complaining. By 9pm the boys and I were in bed with the lights off much to their chagrin. I really hope they learned something from this experience! It wasn't easy or fun for any of us. Nobody was surprised that the boys didn't make it out to the fireworks as I suppose the little kids often don't. We didn't get much sleep since we each slept with a boy in our bed.
   The boys of course woke up super early so we got up and headed to the donuts shop for breakfast. On the way home we stopped at a little farmers market and Justin, Vander, and I had a couple of plums. Needless to say, we won't be staying the night again for several years and we definitely won't being staying in a motel 6. It's really not worth the $30 savings.