Monday, May 28, 2012

Photo dump.

Alright ladies and gents, grab your favorite drink in your favorite cup and snuggle in...because it's time for a Holy-Crap-That's-A-Lot-Of-Photos! post!
And we're off!

Russ and I have been taking advantage of Shelan living with us--forget her paying rent to stay with us for the summer, we are more than happy to get all of the babysitting we can get out of her!!
Not just for date nights either--I'm proud to say that my kids have been to Costco (which seems to be my kids' arch-enemy) in nearly 2 months!  This makes for a happy momma and happy kiddos.

But we do get date nights far more frequently.  And lucky for us, we have a fantastic little theater downtown that was restored.  They added a bar and grill and a section of the theater that offers super comfy loveseats to sit in instead of the uncomfortable theater chairs.  When I saw them, I was sold--the theater is within walking distance, is cheaper than the bigger theater, offers real food AND has couches?!  My mind was officially blown.
(Sorry for the quality of the was dark, you know, like a theater...)

Brooklyn's interests seem to border on architectural lately, so when she saw these big soft blocks at Lawrence Hall of Science, she obsessively constructed a house and then proceeded to run into them at super-sonic speed and send them all flying.
And then she started over again.

While Brook attended to her blocks, Sam and Lanny had fun finding a new perspective on this ball machine.  Lanny would get the balls and start them going around and Sam would watch, looking like an owl, craning his neck as far as he could in one direction and then whipping it back to the other side.

On another day, we went to a children's magic show in Danville and decided to swing by "the big park" in San Ramon on our way back home.  The kids were thrilled to find that the water feature was turned on!  It's really fun--this huge area of water that is about 2" deep, then it goes down a whole creek-like area that winds it's way through the playground area.

We decided to check out the Wine Festival going on downtown since we drove by and spotted a ferris wheel, which I've been wanting to take the kids on for forever.  On our way to the ferris wheel, we were sucked in by the face painters.

Brooklyn asked for a unicorn and after the girl was finished, Brook turned to me and said, "Are you ready for your turn, Mom?" 
Uh, sure...what should I get?
"Actually, I want to paint it..."
So she asked the woman there, who had to okay it with the guy in charge...long story short, I sat there for what felt like a very long time while Brook perfected her artwork (which in all honesty, was better than the other girl's unicorn), while the head guy of the tent was hovering, laughing and taking photos of us.  Fun stuff.

Shooting star!

I'm really bummed that this photo didn't download properly, but you get the gist of it.

Looking over west Livermore atop the ferris wheel

And the happy boy I was riding with.

My budding entomologists.  They are currently identifying a false black widow that they caught...

...while the actual black widow that Russ caught sits outside the back door...

Russ had a 4-day weekend a couple of weeks ago, and I decided what better time to do a 1000 piece puzzle?!  Oy.

This is about how far we got.  I think this took us a good 5 solid hours with at least 2 of us working at all times.  This is as far as we got before it mysteriously disappeared. :)

We hit our first Farmer's Market of the year and this half-flat of organic strawberries didn't last even one day.  DE-licious.

Russ made some SUPER addicting caramel popcorn.  Unfortunately, popcorn and I don't agree so well...not like that stops me from devouring the entire bowl though!!

These days I think that we are the reason that The Dollar Store is in business.  Seriously, the kids ask to go there at least once a day.  We usually make it every other day or so.  But they always find something new and interesting, like this wonderful clapper...oy.

Whoops, sorry for the sideways orientation, but Brooklyn is BEYOND ecstatic that her lupines are beginning to bloom!!

Last week (I think?) we swung by the compost garden to see what was growing--we found delicious strawberries, gigantic fava beans, apple trees, potato plants, and...a kitten.
I had heard a very distinct "mew mew!" and thought, 'oh crap.'  But how could I NOT investigate?
We found this adorable, bright blue-eyed creature stumbling about his little hidden home.  My first instinct was to take him home, but then reality set in...I am allergic to cats.  And his cat is obviously still nursing.  And it seems quite healthy.  So we all gave it some love (it actually fell asleep in Lanny's lap) and put it back in it's home.

We returned later that afternoon and caught a glimpse of the momma cat and saw that she had moved the baby (no surprise there).  We were happy that it was well taken care of and let them be.

Here's a photo of the fava beans (they are huge!)...I think they were a bit overripe, but the kids LOVE them.

And of course we cannot leave the compost garden (or anywhere, for that matter...) without flipping rocks (and garbage cans...) to search out unusual bugs and slugs under them.  I don't generally mind, except when I find a garden that was surrounded by a rock wall nearly destroyed...say it with me now, "Oy".

Livermore had the honor of being the start and finish for Stage 3 of the AMGEN Tour of California bike race.  It was a big deal.
We got there just in time to see the first place racers come in, but unfortunately I didn't have my camera ready.  Not that it mattered, because there were people all over--even ON the bike track area.  Apparently there was some controversy over this, as the guy that was in first place (Peter Sagan) had one the previous two stages (highly unusual, I'm told), and there were people there trying to get in the way so he would be kept from winning again.
(There are 8 stages, and Sagan won stages 1-4, took 2nd in the 6th stage, and 1st again in the 8th stage!  Supposedly it's a big deal.  He also took 1st in the Overall Sprint Standings.)

It was really neat--this is looking down First Street (downtown).  People lined the sides and whenever bikers would come into town, the sound of people drumming on the boards lining the streets was deafening.  It was really neat--it got my adrenaline pumping!

The awards stage.

A month or two ago, we went for a bike ride to a stream to play in on a hot day.  Unfortunately, about 3 minutes after we got there, Brooklyn cut her foot open.  I took her home in the trailer, and Russ later followed with Sam on the trail-a-bike, but we had to stash Brook's bike in the bushes so we could return with the truck and pick it up. 
Alas, by the time we got home, we were all exhausted and completely forgot said bike...until the following week.  We went to reclaim it and surprise surprise, it wasn't there.  Sigh.
We love our thrift stores though, and found this bike (a bigger one even) on the cheap.  She is pretty proud of it and asked for a washcloth and used the hose to shine it up.

I love this photo...Sam loves to read and learn about tadpoles (ours are getting their front legs and their tails are starting to shrink!!).

We went to a homeschool park playdate at a new park in Danville--it was a super cool park!  This is only part of it, but the toys were all Old West themed!  At this playdate I got to take part in a focus group to give feedback about a fun new conversational mommy-topics game called Mommy Tonic, that one of the moms from the group is putting together.  It was very interesting and pretty fun!  I look forward to it being on the market to play with my girlfriends.

There was a free trial for a Homeschool PE class, so I figured I'd sign my kids and the kids that Lanny nannies up for a morning full of running and games.  It was a lot of fun--I sat in the sun and watched them play Tag, Duck Duck Goose, Dodgeball and tons of other games for an hour and a half.  Later that week, Brook instructed me that she is going to be my personal trainer and spent about 20 minutes coming up with all sorts of interesting things to keep me on my toes.

It was also Lanny's birthday on the 17th!  We made a chocolate cake with cream cheese and whipped cream frosting (YUM).

And we made her a snazzy sign to see when she came home from work.

Lanny's friend Shaun sent her and the kids some airplanes.  We had a lot of fun patching and re-patching them with tape and seeing how they flew (better than I expected!!).

"Happy Birthday to you!"

We get a packet from The Magic School Bus each month that is full of science experiments.  This month is volcanoes!  Brooklyn LOVED the paper mache.

We painted it the following day, and by that evening, when the neighbor kids were home, we were ready to make that baby ERUPT!

All of the kids had fun taking turns making it explode.  Again.  And again.  And again and again and again.  It's a good thing we get our baking soda and vinegar at Costco!

Of course there is block building.  This time, a ramp was requested.

And of course more (frustrating) Dominoes.

Brooklyn's Domino/Jenga creation.

Brooklyn wanted to create the Eiffel Tower out of Jenga blocks--not bad!

And then Sam wanted to make one out of Marbleworks.

Of course there were experiments (this one is an old, icky quarter that she's soaking in water).

And giggles (Farting Fish app).

And polliwog mustachios.
(No really.  Sam says in a "disguised" voice, "Hey you, wook at my powwiwog mustache...hehehe.")

Some gaming--the program Algadoo is really neat (Sam found other people's simulations on YouTube, and there are some really neat ones!).  It's a bit tough for either Sam or I, but we both enjoy just dinking around with it.

Another website that is awesome is Symmetry Artist.  The kids love printing off their artwork, and it's fun for me too!

Guess who learned that he doesn't need training wheels anymore?!

Lotsa trains.

Shelan and I spent a good half hour going braindead trying to blow this thing up, when Russ came home and finished it in about 1/3 of the time.

The neighbor kids all had a blast taking turns in it, rolling over each other and such...

Did any of you west-coasters catch the eclipse??  We were in the kitchen and I said, "Wow!  Look at the light!"  Russ remembers, "THE ECLIPSE!!"
All of these mini-eclipses were from the light being filtered by the trees on the side of our house.

Brook wanted to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy to say that she now has THREE loose teeth!!
(A side-note from the future:  loose tooth #1 popped out this morning!)

More Dollar Store goodies--silly string wars!

And possibly my favorite photo of the post--this is what bedtime look like at our house.  There is snuggling on the couch, brushing of teeth, reading of books together, and then they both get their headlamps out to read books until they fall asleep.  Sam usually tells us when he's Done, "I need to sweep now." but Brooklyn is more of a night owl and will read until after I go to bed some nights.
Seriously, headlamps are a great invention.

Well dang, I thought I was all caught up and then another 4-day weekend pops up and I've got more photos on my camera to download.  See you next week!