Monthly Archives: July 2007

Why I’m Thrilled We Have a Library Card.

~ 12:00 p.m., Saturday, July 21:  Laurel receives Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in the mail.

~11:30 a.m., Monday, July 23:  Laurel finishes said book.  All 759 pages.  Now she's going back through and re-reading portions because, as she said, "I blew through it so quickly I might've missed something."

We could never afford to buy all the books she reads.  Voracious little thing.

San Francisco, Part 1.

Greg and I took more than 900 photos of our trip.  I've been slowly sloshing through them, culling the duds.  I think I've got the cream of the crop here, and I think the best way for me to do this is to post the photos and add captions, so just mouse over the photos for details.


We flew to San Francisco on Friday the 13th, which was awesome.  We're really not superstitious, so it didn't bother us so much, but my mother hates to fly and my sister had never flown before, so they were understandably apprehensive.  However, the flight out was uneventful, other than Ethan doing what toddlers do, and fussing part of the way.  Still, he and Laurel were real traveling champs!

Laurel waiting for our departure flight. Ethan on the plane, waiting for takeoff (he giggled as we left the ground).

We arrived in sunny (ahem) San Francisco right on schedule but then had to stand in line for our pre-reserved rental car for at least 45 minutes.  At last, keys in hand, we made our tired and hungry way down to the rental house where we stayed.  Once we arrived, we met Joker — the resident cat.  Like all of his ilk, he was instantly drawn to Greg, who claims to dislike cats.

View from the back deck of the house -- see how sunny it is? View from the front of the house on a much nicer day. 

The cat, he is in the bird bath. Go figure. Smart cat. Best Friends Forever.

The ladder to the loft area of the house was oh-so-tempting for the Toddler Crew.

As I mentioned, we were tired and hungry, so off we went in search of food.  I'm happy to report that it was under these circumstances that I had my first meltdown of the trip.  Nobody seemed able to decide where we should eat, so I finally just lost it in the middle of the street and demanded that we go purchase food from the nearby market, take it home, and eat it there.  My tone was such that it brooked no argument, and we did just that — followed by general shopping, etc. to prepare for the remainder of our stay.  I'd just like to point out that once I had some food in my belly and my blood sugar was back to an appropriate level, I was much nicer.  😉


We awoke with the ambitious idea of visiting Chinatown before driving to Los Altos to celebrate my aunt's birthday.  We ventured down to the Glen Park BART station, featured in Pursuit of Happyness (it's the station Chris Gardner and his son lived in for a time).  We disembarked at the Powell station in order to transfer to the cable cars, but OH MY GOD the line.  We thought it might work to walk up the hill a bit to another cable car stop, but we soon realized that was fruitless.  Dejected in our failure, we rode back to the house so we could head out to my aunt's house. 

We had such fun at Aunt Ann's.  We celebrated her 78th birthday.  Laurel picked oranges and lemons from trees and splashed in the pool.  Ethan ran back and forth, back and forth, Greg following all the way.  We had wonderful food and even more importantly, a wonderful visit.

They even ordered a Harry Potter cake! I think Laurel had at least 2 cupcakes, maybe more. Laurel couldn't quite reach the oranges and lemons.

See how excited I am? We got a lot of good photos of the kids at Aunt Ann's, but it was hard to keep Ethan still long enough. I think this is one of the best ones.

On the return trip we were pleasantly tired, but we stopped at a vista point anyway.  We took some gorgeous pictures:

Near Half Moon Bay, California Laurel loves trees.


A gorgeous scene, but you can see the fog rolling over the hills in the background. It's amazing, I've heard of fog rolling in, but I guess I never took it so literally until I saw it really rolling.

On our way back to the parking lot, I noticed a rather frightening, nondescript white van with two occupants I thought must be dead.  They were seated in the front seats with their heads lolling back and their mouths agape.  I hurriedly put the kids in the car and frantically tried to signal Greg in as hushed a voice I could manage in an effort to get him to quit taking photos and scurry on back to the car.  I asked everyone if they thought the van people were dead, but they saw the van people move, so they were 'probably on something.'  Well, I guess at least they weren't dead.  But sheeeeeeeeesh.  Go to the back of a convenience store for that or something, huh?  Not to a family-friendly vista point (which here in Missouri we call 'scenic overlooks').

That sums up our first couple of days in San Francisco.  More to follow as I get the time!

Almost There!

Well, we're all pretty much done with San Francisco.  We've seen a lot and we're beat, and I think we're all ready for our return tomorrow. 

Stay tuned — many many blog posts to follow in the next few days.  Wish us luck on the return flight!

School Supplies and San Francisco.

Yesterday we received Laurel's school supply list for PEGS.  The first 2 items needed are a "Jump drive (preferred on lanyard min 512 megabites, you can find 1G on sale for @$15)" and "10 blank cds."

I don't even know what to say.  I guess I'm thrilled that in 3rd grade she needs a jump drive and CDs, but disappointed that megabytes was misspelled and that the 'at sign' was incorrectly used.  But that's okay.  Greg will set them straight, I'M SURE.

We're off to San Francisco tomorrow, and I just KNOW I'm leaving something really important behind or that Laurel will reference bombs in the security line.  So wish us luck, and stay tuned!

Mmm. Cake.

I decided to try my hand at a professional-esque cake, because Laurel seems to think I should make her birthday cake this year.  I'm not much of a cake-baker, though I can tear up a loaf of homemade bread.

I found recipes for good-tasting fondant and some primo buttercream.  The cake needs some work, I need to clean off the cornstarch you can see in the photo. All in all, I guess this isn't so bad for a first try:

Laurel-isms, Part XIV.

A recent conversation between Laurel and Greg:

Laurel:  "Daddy, do you ever have a fantasy about running away?"

Greg:  "You mean, do I ever fantasize about running away?"

Laurel:  "Yeah, that's it."

Greg: "No.  Do you?"

Laurel:  "Yeah!  I would pick leaves to make salads to eat."

Greg:  "But you just think about this, right?  You would never really do it?"

Laurel:  "Oh, no.  I would never leave.  I've got a pretty sweet life here."

Give a Girl Some Model Magic . . .

Over the weekend, Laurel spent time at Grandma Smith's, who offered her 4 baggies of Model Magic modeling compound.  Here are the results:


Here's the detail of the little woman, whose hat is removable:

The other figure represents Laurel.  She is carrying a picnic basket with miniature silverware and an apple.  Laurel implanted a toothpick in the figure so her head will turn: 

Pyrotechnic Party.

We started off the festivities with the daytime works — parachutes and black snakes:

Laurel rescued most of the parachutes as they fell (though one is in a neighbor's tree — shhhh):

The festivities required a fair amount of supervision to ensure Greg's performance was up to snuff:

Although he had fun with the loud stuff, Ethan was scared . . .

. . . of the snakes:

Ethan sought reassurance from his daddy:

 (I LOVE this photo).

More shots of Ethan wearing Greg's hat:

Laurel, who cannot keep her eyes open for a photo, clearly enjoyed herself:

Once it was dark enough for the good stuff, the evening festivities began with Laurel perching atop the unfinished wall:

I played with the camera and caught a few good photos of the fountains and aerial works:


We filled our day and our bellies with watermelon and grilled foods, and had a great time. 

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Harry Potter Daze.

We're eagerly anticipating the Great Harry Potter Blitz of 2007.  The new movie and book releases roughly straddle our San Francisco vacation.  That's good, because it will keep Laurel distracted enough to prevent 30 questions per day that begin with 'Mom-can-I' and end with 'Harry Potter.'

How awesome is this?  Laurel and Ethan watching Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone together, while Ethan (the newest inductee into the Harry Potter Fan Club) swings a makeshift wand made of an old baby rattle: