Half Moon Bay, California November 2012

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A yearly tradition

True friends make the world of difference.  Anything can happen... but only true friends can stand by each other, laugh through it, and still want to continue the yearly tradition!  See why:

So we left Friday evening for the snow.  We were scheduled to leave earlier in the afternoon, after our friends' daughter, Emma,  got out of school.  While MG had the week off, Emma was just beginning her vacation.  It was a bit odd this year with every one's "ski week" being a week off from school to school.  So, that was the plan.  But things went a bit off schedule when poor Nicole's cat, Charlie became ill in the afternoon.  So she had to rush him to the vet... only to find out that she had to put him to sleep.  So it was a very somber event.  She brought Charlie home so her family could say good bye to him.  Her husband, Todd, dug a hole in the backyard and they all went outside and had a service for him.  Her oldest 2 children cried their hearts out... which then of course, made me cry!  My heart broke for them...  My children, on the other hand, were clueless!  Although they knew what had happened, they were not effected by Charlie's passing.  First of all, they hardly knew him - he always hid when they were over for any play dates.  (When I told them what had happened to Charlie, they kept asking, which one is he???)  Second of all, they have never had a pet.  Well, E will tell you that we have pet fish, "and some of them have already died a long time ago!  But we have new ones now... and they will die too."  He merely states the fact for you if you ask about our fish -- so, you see how my children do not understand?!  So, although MG tried to comfort Emma, she still couldn't really empathize.  Maybe one day, when we have our own home and a yard big enough for a dog or a cat... or a pig (that's what E want! yikes!).

I think it was well after 4:00 PM before we loaded the children into the car and headed out... right into traffic!  (Madness, I tell ya!)  What would have taken us 3 to 4 hours took us 6 to 8 hours.  We honestly did not mind it though.  Our children were pretty excited about the trip.  We had stopped half way to have a nice dinner by Vince's work place.  We ate at a place he frequents, as the waitress recognized him when he entered!  "Wow, you have 3 children?" she asked.  She seemed shocked if anything!  Anyway, they were fed and content.  E had a long nap -- even through dinner in my arms!  So he was ready to stay up all night if he had to!  By the time we arrived in Arnold to check in and pick up our keys, we needed to put snow chains on!

It was probably passed 10PM when we got out of the car to put the chains on the tires.  MD and E were fast asleep by this time, MG was struggling to stay awake... She watched us get out in the snow to put on the chains... and struggled to stay awake, but she did.  She stayed awake through the dark as we slowly made our way to the cabin... and then we got lost!  It was so dark.  It was very difficult to read the road signs and the snow was coming down and it was beginning to settle... and then we got stuck.  But the time we finally stopped to ask for directions, it was passed midnight.  We were lucky enough to find a house that had its lights on... and those occupying the cabin were awake!  They gave us directions, Vince merely went to turn the car around... but got stuck.  People, we got stuck in the snow!!!!  The tire was turning, but we were going... no where!  Why?!  Because we had lost our front driver's side chain!  Yes, we managed to lose a chain - without realizing it until now!  So out we went... shoveled snow out of the way... but didn't really make much of a dent!  And out came the same people from their cabin to lend us a hand. They brought out their shovels (and managed to break one while shoveling!) and they dug us out of our mess!  The Varnells literally had to give us one of their chains in order for us to make it back up the road, as we were unable to make it up.  And rather than waiting for us to give them back their chain when we made it up the road, they followed us and were able to make it up the hill without their driver's side snow chain....  And by 1 AM, we made it to our cabin... but just barely!

I crashed as soon as I put the children to sleep... and by morning, the power was out!  We're not sure when, but we did not have electricity all day Saturday and Sunday... by 7PM Sunday the power came back -- to Vince's disappointment.  He was actually enjoying the "going to bed with the sun thing!"  (Although he did not wake up with the sun!  If you know Vince, you know he is NOT a morning person!).  You may wonder how we ate, right?

Like this:
thank goodness for wood burning stoves!  And fortunately, Nicole and I had pre-made our dinners.  Tonight, we had the lasagna I made -- recipe courtesy of Pioneer Woman.  It took about an hour to warm it up... but it was nice to have a warm meal!  Then we had brownies for dessert.  I also pre-made that and we warmed it up while we ate dinner.  See, we still were able to have coffee -- we brought along our coffee press!
E enjoying his first real experience in the snow!  The last 2 years he played in the snow... but this year, he really enjoyed it!
 That's how much snow we had!!!
 If they aren't the cutest girls on earth!  :)
 And here they are 3 ago ago:

It was neat to see the snow plow come by and plow the driveways:
 Back inside they battled with their Pokemon cards:
 The next day we witnessed this small snow plow get stuck while plowing our neighbor's driveway... then he called the big guy there and in a few seconds, along with a chain, the little snow plow was pulled out!  It made me wish I owned that big snow plow Friday night!
 The men went to town to buy us another set of snow chains to replace our lost one.  The children and moms played in the snow outside our cabin.  They are trying to build a fort here:
 They collected various sizes of snow balls to help build the fort:
 Dragging it up the road...
 The sled is as big (if not bigger!) than he is!
 When the dads came back home with a successful trip to town, the children all yelled for them to go down the road with them.  They had a blast!!!
 But we quickly went in the cabin, ate lunch and then headed out to the snow park.  With only about 2 hours left before the park closes, we were able to rent some tubes and did a lot of this:
 "That was AWESOME, mom!"  (That's MD all covered up!)
 That's the ramp!
 Vince decided to photograph while going down!  He's with E here:
 Just relaxing between trips up and down the slopes!
 Couldn't be happier!
 Everywhere we went, he had to attempt a snow angel.

Overall, this was an awesome trip!!!!  I hope to get some of Vince's professional photos up here... soon!  Off to edit now.  Looking forward to next year's trip already... along with a few things we need - "just in case"... a tow rope, spare chains, duct tape (in case snow outfits need to be adjusted)... and a plan in case of an emergency!

Special thanks to the Yeh/Bui Family for lending us their snow gears year after year!!!  What will we do if we want to go to the snow together??!!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I wish I could be more efficient with my blog posts... but tis the season... for the flu or whatever bug is going around!  (It all started with E getting a runny nose.  He shared it with MD.)  One moment I am fine.. then the next moment - BOOM!  I am out and can't even get up after putting the children down to bed.

That's what happened one Monday.  I was fine that morning, had coffee with the usual suspects (the four moms )... and that was the beginning of the end for me.  That evening, I layed down with Ethan and never woke up.  The next morning I slowly got out of bed, made MG breakfast, got the children ready for school, drove MG to school on automatic pilot, and then came home to crash on the.. whatever was closest to my body when I arrived home!

The rest of the next 2 weeks went something like this: (but don't even think about asking me for details, I can't remember!)

February 9, 2011
This evening, she went through her class Valentine's since her last day of class was February 11, 2011 ... then one whole week off of school!
 They turned out really cute!
 February 10, 2011 -- MG had her publishing party at school.  Her school takes part in a program called Writer's Workshop. Through this program they go through all the steps of writing a book such as pre-writing, proofing, editing, rewriting, and publishing.  It is a long process, so when they publish -- it is a big deal!  Today the teacher invited all parents to come listen to their children read their published works.  MG was very nervous, but I felt she did an excellent job!  it is hard to read in front of your friends -- but more nerve wrecking when other parents are listening and watching too!  I was very proud of her!

 They boys didn't last too long after MG read her story.  So we took off and went for a hike.  As you can see, MD was not willing to wait for us... see that small dot?  He was off!
 We finally caught up....
 And they were off again!
 I let them lead....
 All the climbing and crashing through bushes and trees led us to this nice play area!
 But that didn't last, they were happier digging and looking for gophers. squirrels, etc.
 And playing Star Wars!
 "I am Yoda!!!!"
It was their last day of swim lessons on February 14, 2011... session three!  His teacher gave him this cute lolly.  I had to photograph it - for next year!  :)  They start session 4 next Monday, February 28, 2011.
 That same night MG and I made these tasty (but not so good looking!) Smores pop for her Girl Scout troop's Valentine's Day Teddy Bear picnic.  I found the idea on a blog... but I can't remember which one.  I will look around and give credit where credit is due soon....
Looks much better in these pretty bags from the dollar section at Target!
 This card is an inspiration from here.  Leo gave us his left over hearts from a project he did with the children last year, so we made cute pencil toppers and hair clips for the girls - with their initials on them.
 While waiting for her Girl Scout friends to get out of school (because MG had the week off of school), they played.  MD was finally able to do this!
Walk up....
 Kick legs up...
 And hang upside down!!!!
 Lesson on that was courtesy of his big sis - who learned from her buddy, Olivia!

Our future scientist

We decided to skip "preschool" the rest of this year before we enroll MD into Kindergarten in the fall.  But never fear, he has been keeping very busy!  Our latest discovery has kept him involved in a lot of science discoveries.  First, we signed him up for Rock-it-Science class because Amanda has been sending her children there for a long time now.  She has always been happy with the program, so we decided to give it a try.  He is having an amazing experience!  (Let's not mention that E is getting a free course too!  He sits in the back and soaks it all in!  After awhile he gets restless so we take a few trips outside, but overall, he has been enjoying listening to the teacher's silly stories and watching MD experiment!)

January 6, 2011
On the first day of class he used a heat gun!!!!  Can you imagine me sitting at the edge of my seat trying very hard NOT to interfere?  Well, that didn't last long... I finally did get up and gave a few side instructions!

 When we arrive early, this little one tries on different things available:
January 13, 2011 
Today they learned to balance a stick on their finger!  And then they experimented!
 "Look mom, I can balance it on my finger tip!!"
 Before leaving, he wanted to crush a plastic bottle... always safe to have safety goggles on!
  January 20, 2011
Today they worked with colors:
January 27, 2011
Today's class was by far, his favorite... "because we launched rockets and I hit Mr. Mac!!!!"

February 10, 2011
Today,  MG and E were able to join him....  They are goofy, aren't they?!  Today's lesson was a bit noisy so they felt they needed these!  (MG is showing me her canker sore, poor thing, she keeps getting these!)

 working with sound using various wires and electro magnetic something or other... and liquid...

 and dry ice!
If I was not so sick,  would have paid better attention to the lesson.  But it was a rough week or so for me!  I may have not been so sick at this lesson, actually...

Anyway, this post has been sitting in the draft box and is long overdue.  I need to post it before he starts graduate school!  He is really enjoying himself and I am very happy with these classes that he has been taking part in.  Thanks Amanda for introducing me to this!

MD is also taking science classes through Schmahl Science and he has been enjoying those too.  Last week he dissected a squid.  He was able to identify the gender (but he couldn't remember which was which by the end of class!), point out the "beak", the individual tentacles, and locate where the ink is stored.  He was pretty stinky after class!  :)

Every now and then MD and MG join in the homeschooling classes through Guadalupe River Park program.  Last week they both took part in a geocaching class.  I had never heard of it until Amanda (same as above) posted activities with her children.  It sounds really cool but I don't seem to have enough motivation to get started!  One day!  So, to get them started I signed them up for this class and they had so much fun!  The day was rainy but once their class started the skies turned blue and not one drop of rain fell upon them!  What luck, right?!  (Thanks Dad!  ;)