Saturday, February 23, 2013

San Francisco

My latest field trip with the boys was to San Francisco. (Thank you Daddy for staying home with Baby M!) The main purpose was to attend a San Francisco Symphony youth program, a forty minute program where the musicians played snippets of classical music for schoolchildren. We got to sit in the terrace, right behind the orchestra, which was very cool. In all honesty, I think I was much more excited about it than the boys. After just ten minutes they kept asking if it was time to go yet. But I'm checking off "Fine Arts Field Trip" for the year! 

The trip was a series of mishaps. But everything ended well and we all had a great time. We ended up at the Golden Gate Bridge because I missed a critical turn trying to get to the Exploratorium, the kind of turn that if you miss it, you either go over an incredibly big bridge or have to drive around in a twenty minute circle to get back to where you need to be. We made the most of it. We got a snack, checked out the bridge exhibits, hiked around a bit, and then got back in the car.

Here the boys are at the Palace of Fine Arts, right next to the Exploratorium. Or what used to be the Exploratorium, anyway. When we (finally, after getting lost several times and driving around in circles) got there we realized that it was closed. Yes, closed. To my kids, who were beside themselves with excitement at the idea of going to the Exploratorium, it was like finding out that Disneyland was closed. They were seriously disappointed. But after the tears subsided, we made the best of it and explored the grounds and climbed some awesome trees.

Plan B: Golden Gate Park. Made use of the concrete slides, climbed to the top of some crazy tall rope climbing structures, made some new friends, and did the usual playground things.

Our San Francisco tradition: stopping at Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home after a long day of fun.


Tommy got an electrical kit for Christmas. It was full of batteries, wires, small motors, lightbulbs, and lots of little gadgety things. He loves putting them together to figure out how to make things go. 

I give you his latest creation: a flashlight.

Discovery Museum

The boys and I have been going on a lot of adventures together while Baby M stays home with Daddy. Here we went to the Discovery Museum in San Jose. It had been about two years since they had last been here. They had a ton of fun. It was bittersweet for me though, because I realized that they've outgrown most of the things to do at the DM. I'm looking forward to bringing Baby M here when she's old enough to discovery everything for herself.

Me: Tommy, can you smile, please?
Tommy: I am! 

Making corn husk dolls superheros.

The water room was their favorite part of the museum. They stayed here for about two hours total.

Ben's 5th Birthday

Ben had an awesome birthday:

Birthday cereal: Cookie Crisp. I wish I took a video when he saw the cereal pour out into his bowl: "Wow! It's like little cookies! ((gasp)) And they have chocolate chips!!"

Helped me make his cake: chocolate with green icing. Part of the perks of being the birthday boy is licking the batter off the utensils.

Finished product

Opening presents surrounded by his favorite people: brother and cousins (other cousins are around, just not in the photo)

Dad putting together Ben's gift from Grandma. Perfect for the monkey that Ben is.

Point Lobos

It's been a month since our family downsized considerably. Back in late January our two foster children left in the same week, leaving only our two bio kids and our soon-to-be-adopted seven month old daughter. Since then, we have slowly been getting back to normal life. Part of that return to normalcy and the freedom of 'only' having three kids has been getting out for family trips more often. 

These pictures are from when we went to Point Lobos back in January. Better late than never, right? 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday Ben!

Ben: You are a goofball. You so love making people laugh. You'll do anything to get a laugh, even if it means literally flipping over and falling on your face. You love making your baby sister laugh. You are incredibly sweet and loving. 

You like hiding in the house and seeing how quiet you can be. You even invented a game called "Sneaky" where you and Tommy tiptoe around the house and try to sneak past me. I, of course, pretend that I don't hear the thud, thud, thud of your footsteps or the giggles coming from inside the pantry and act so surprised when you jump out and say "Here I am!" 

You don't like us joking with you. You get very angry when we say we're going to the cooked-spinach restaurant when we're really going to your favorite restaurant. You'll say, "Mooooom, I don't like you teasing me like that!". 

Books: Berenstain Bears are your favorite books. You go straight for the BB section at the library every time we go, and will sit for the whole time picking out your maximum allotment of three BB books. You also love anything with action, so I've been letting you get some (selected) comic books from the library. 

Food: Turkey sandwiches are your favorite food. You hate spicy food, or anything that is even remotely spicy, like pepperoni or the mildly seasoned chicken at Chipotle. 

Toys: Your favorite toys for a long time have been weapons. Specifically, you love the Nerf guns you got for Christmas. You love it when I announce it's time for a shootout and we all play Nerf guns together. I have to admit that I really enjoy our Nerf gun shootouts. You've also taken a recent interest in Transformers.

Activities: You really enjoy playing soccer. Since your dad and I are sports-clueless, we've been showing you the little we know and you've taken off with it. You have natural agility and an intuitive sense with how you move your body. We've been saying for a while that we need to get you into sports, and now we're finally doing it. You will be starting soccer in the spring. You don't know it yet, but you'll probably be over-the-moon excited when you find out.

Shows/Movies: You like action-packed, intense movies. Your favorites are How to Train Your Dragon, Robin Hood (old Disney version), and Kung-Fu Panda. 

We love you, Benji! You are such a joy to our family. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of boy you grow into over this next year.

Ben's 5th Birthday Interview

So how do you think it'll feel to be five?
Really good. I’ll still think I’m 4 and a half.

What kinds of things can you do now that you’re almost five that you couldn’t do when you were littler?
Climb really really high. Like on top of the redwood tree. On top.

What is your favorite color?
Blue and green. (Do you have a favorite between those?) Light blue.

What is your favorite food?  
Candy cane.

What is your least favorite food?  
Mushroom soup.

What is your favorite book?
Berenstain Bears.

What is your favorite toy?
Really cool Transformers. Actually, no. I mean really cool water guns.

Do you have any friends? Who are they?
Of course. Gabriel and The Halls. And Hannah. and Kurt & Meghan. 

What is your favorite thing to do?
To go to fun places with with you and Dad, like Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?
That I can climb so well. 

What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Play tag with Dad.

Where is your favorite place to go?
The Jungle.

What do you want to do for a job when you grow up?  
Take care of my kids. (But what will you do for a job?) Get money for working at Oracle.

Where do you want to live when you grow up?  
I want to live in this house when you guys move out.

Do you think you’ll get married when you grow up? Who do you think you’ll marry?
Yeah! (Who?) You know. (No I don’t). Claire, of course.

How old will you be when you get married?
86. (86 is really old to get married. It might be better to get married when you're a bit younger.) Oh. How old was Dad when he got married? (26.) Okay, then 28.

Where do babies come from?
God and their mom’s tummy.

Is there anything you’re afraid of?
Tommy scaring me. And spooky caves.

If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? 
A sick baby dog. So people could take care of me.

What do you love most about your siblings? 
(Tommy) Because he picks me up and hugs me and is really kind to me when he leaves for somewhere.
(Baby M) She’s so cute!

What do you like learning about?
Baby puppies.

What makes you very happy?
Tommy being really kind to me and picking me up.