Friday, July 31, 2009

Biking Time

I've been taking the boys out to ride bikes, tricycles, and scooters with Rachel and her gang. Since we've started this, Aidan is so much more comfortable riding his bike now and yes he's far too big for his bike. (We know what he'll be getting for his birthday) He's still riding with training wheels but today he had a chance to ride Parker's bike, without training wheels and it's the right size. Rachel is such a trooper, running along with him. According to Rachel, he balanced pretty well, so hopefully he'll be riding without trainers soon!

While Aidan is riding, Miles and Liam are pushing scooters and tricycles around. They don't really have the hang of how to work the pedals yet. Liam insists on riding Aidan's bike and is constantly pushing back on the brakes. The funny thing is, it's just his size. Hopefully, they'll be bike riding soon too!

A Visit From Grandma & Grandpa

The boys love their grandparents and have so much fun when they come to visit. All the rules get broken when they're visiting, sweet treats, later bed times...oh boy how fun! The boys are fortunate to have such loving grandparents and it's nice to see them enjoy their time together. The boys have really bonded with them, when they aren't visiting, the boys ask often to call grandma and grandpa. It sure is true love!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Key To Swimming, Go With A Friend

Aidan & Parker, you can't see it, but they were actually holding hands (so sweet)

As many of you know, Aidan's first swim class was a disaster. Today's swim class was, what I would call a success. This was much thanks to Aidan having a pal at swim class. Sheer coincidence that I signed him up for swim class at the same time as Parker's. Although Parker is in a more advanced class, Aidan was comforted by the idea that Parker would be in the lane next to him. Hurray for friends, sometimes that's all it takes. No fuss from Aidan this time and he actually enjoyed it, yay!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TBB Moms Night Out, A Thank You

Just got back from dinner out with some Twins By The Bay Moms (TBB). It was a dinner out to thank those that had helped with the annual garage sale. Dinner out with the ladies reminds me how blessed I feel to have joined this club. I'm currently the club secretary. I know, for those who truly know me, don't laugh. I'll be the first to admit it's laughable that I'm secretary. I actually feel honored to have the position, I just think it's a job for someone who is much more organized. Anyways, I digress, the reason I was spouting about TBB is to talk about how wonderful I think the club has been for me. I have made some great friends and my kids have too. When I had Aidan, I didn't join a singleton's mom group and soon returned to work. With twins though it was a whole different ball game, I don't think I would have ever made it out the front door had I not had the motivation of a twins mom group to go out to. And it has been so nice to have women to socialize with who understand the challenges of having twins. I'm a person who recognizes what I should be grateful for and show appreciation when appreciation is due. I am grateful for TBB and the close friends I have made through TBB....and look forward to many more good times with TBB.

Happy Birthday Maia & Vivien, We'll Miss You

Maia & Vivien turned 1. I can't believe it! Seems like just not that long ago Mama (Alice) was very pregnant at a baby shower we had for her in our backyard. It's very bittersweet how fast time flies, our babies grow up so fast. I'm grateful for the time we got to spend with the Pannebaker's. I'm sad they will be moving soon to New Zealand. The economic crunch has sent another fabulous family in search of a new beginning. We'll miss them, Aidan will truly miss Tim (the twins older brother) when he realizes they're gone for good. Tim gave Aidan a great big hug and kiss goodbye yesterday. Although Aidan returned the hug and kiss, I don't think Aidan grasps the finality yet.

On a lighter note, Maia & Vivien's birthday gifts were wrapped in Martha Stewart's gift wrap. I just love the quality of her paper. This one is embossed with a crosshatch pattern. I used variegated wired ribbon and paper flowers attached with rhinestone brads to adorn these packages. Absolutely love the way they came out..I quickly took the photo on our way out. Wish I had been able to take a better photo to do them justice.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

happy anniversary

6 years ago I married my very best friend on a sweltering but beautiful summer day. I can still remember smiling at the very idea that I was getting married that afternoon, to a wonderful man who loved me and accepted me, flaws and all. It was just a perfect day that has been followed by so many others, Aug 22nd 2004 (Aidan), Nov. 2nd 2006 (Miles and Liam). Falling in love with him was the easiest thing I've ever done. After 6 years, the familiarity is the most comforting place I have at the end of the day. I love him for all the comfort and love he provides me with, 6 yrs later it's still only the beginning.

Aidan's version, I think one of the sweetest things he's said to us: A princess was married to a superhero. My mamma the princess, my daddy the superhero.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Soccer Time

Miles and Liam had there first soccer class. Surprisingly, they really enjoyed themselves and participated to the best of their ability. It was a parent interactive class for beginners. Parents helped with redirecting their kids and retrieving balls. There was about 10 kids in the 2.5 - 3yrs old range. I know sounds crazy but it was all pretty organized thanks to the great instructor. Today's lesson was about getting comfortable with the ball and making a goal. Liam is able to manage the ball really well, Miles on the other hand....well what can I say, needs work.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Madison

Unfortunately, we won't be able to attend Madison's birthday party as Aidan has a pre-kindergarten activity to attend. We did get her a set of Brain Quest preschool cards and Hi Ho Cherry-O Book Series. Aidan just loves both of these so we thought Madison would too. And, I just love this owl wrapping paper. I used the last bit of it on these gifts, just love the colors!

Little Starfish

Today was Aidan's first official swim class. Although, we went to mommy and baby swim classes when he was an infant more of a playtime to get acclimated to water, this was his first actual class where he had to get in the water without a parent for a true swim lesson. Albeit, it was far from a swim lesson and more of a test of will, as you'll soon find if you read along. Today's class was the "starfish" class for nervous beginners which I would have to say was a pretty mild description of Aidan today. The instructors tried everything to coax Aidan into the water, using toys and talk therapy. He wasn't having any part of it so they finally did what they called a "hand off". One staff member pool side picked him up and handed him to the instructor in the water as Aidan kicked screamed and flailed. Aidan had refused to let me take his t-shirt off insisting he wasn't getting in, to his surprise he went in with t-shirt and all. He cried and protested for the entire 30 minutes clinging on to the instructor as I watched from the observation deck (as they requested). The instructor bobbed around the pool the entire time, up down, up down, side to side, while Aidan just clung on like a koala bear. The nice part was that there were other parents in the deck who were reassuring me that either their child or other children they'd seen were just like that. Session ended, I went down to the poolside to pick him up, what I expected to here was "nice try, don't bring him back" actually turned out to be "see you next week!"....and they even gave him a gold ribbon that said "outstanding" on our way out....I was amazed!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Garage to Art Studio

Garage soon to be my studio.

Contents out of garage...what will I do with it all?

Today with the help of a Ismael, a handy man, I've begun the conversion of our unattached garage into a working art studio. We pulled everything out of the garage and not quite sure what's going to happen with all that. That problem will have to be tackled soon. Truth be told a lot of those bins you see in that photo are filled with fabric that I've collected over the years (about 12 yrs worth). Ismael power washed the floors and walls which needed it desperately. We just got a new roof a few weeks ago, prior to this there were so many holes that rats and squirrels were coming in and making their mess in the garage. Now no more, it's soon to be spic and span clean. After power washing, Ismael began, priming the walls, caulking some holes, and repairing an area of dry rot. This is going to take a couple of days to complete. Next step will be to add a window and better lighting. Then it will be time to move in all my art and craft supplies, can't wait to have a working space of my own. I've been using the dining room table and it's just not working out anymore. With the kids curiosity, I have to put everything away to keep them from exploring through everything and there's always the danger of them hurting themselves on my tools. So much time is spent taking supplies in and out that I don't get to spend much time actually working on anything. Now with my own space I can leave projects out and work on them as time allows without losing time taking out and putting items away. I can also work on projects while the kids play in the yard. I'm hoping that sometime down the road we'll replace the garage door with french doors. For now I'm just happy that I'll have a space to work in soon!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Productive Monday

It's been a whirlwind day of productive activity, lots of home projects and tasks to be done. Started with phone calls, confirm my appointment with the window guy, refrigerator delivery this afternoon, and Aidan's swim class later this week, schedule dentist appointment, then a run to Costco to restock the household, run to Target for a new rice cooker (ours died)and a few other miscellaneous items, run to gymboree for new undies for Aidan, back home to meet the window guy to give us a quote on new windows call from fridge delivery company informing me they are behind schedule so I unload the dryer, fold laundry, start a new load of laundry and then run back out to the post office to mail some packages, then out to Home Depot for a deck box we'll be using to keep all the boys sporting goods in and cleaning and painting supplies for tomorrow's project(garage conversion to working art studio). You tired yet?? because by this time I sure was. Not over yet, I now run back home unload van, empty the fridge and freezer into coolers, run out once again to pick up the boys, to then come home and wait for the fridge delivery, fridge delivered so now I empty coolers full of food into new fridge. Phew! exhausting day, was feeling pretty good about all that had been done today but what..wait a minute, what's that my brand new teeth bleaching kit I'd just gotten from the dentist was accidentally left in the old fridge that is now long gone my big bubble of satisfaction of a days job well done has now been completely deflated with disappointment. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Swim Time Fun @ Lake Anza

Another hot day here in the East Bay. We decided to beat the heat with a swim at Lake Anza. We met up with some friends, it was a day for relaxing, chatting, swimming and sun bathing. The kids had a great time, especially Aidan who got to spend some time with his pal Luca and played frisbee in the water with a group of friends his age. So far July has been a month of fun family weekends. Hope the rest of the summer follows suit.

Buggy Wrap

Another crafty wrap here to share. I just love wrapping presents and try to give each present I wrap a unique touch. This one was for Aidan's pal turning 5. Simple craft paper wrap with natural raffia with some fun colored dimensional bug stickers for a bit of fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Birthday and BBQ

We spent the early part of the day at Kai's (Aidan's preschool pal) birthday party. It was a "camping trip" themed party at Lake Anza. The kids had a great time going for a hike, playing ball, pinata, eating hot dogs, and cake. It's always fun watching your kids have a good time.

Later part of the day after naps, we had Uncle Jimmy, Auntie Conny and Auntie Honey come over for a BBQ. And as always, when they come over, we had a fabulous feast.. rib eye steak, seared ahi tuna, chicken skewers, grilled shrimp with bell peppers, garlic bread and grilled corn on the cob with feta and basil.....mmmmm. As if that wasn't enough, we finished off the evening with yummy dessert. Honey brought over delicious Mexican pastries, watermelon, pineapple, lychees, peanut butter cups that we enjoyed with a fresh brewed pot of coffee.

It sure was a delightful day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Family Time at the San Francisco Zoo

Daddy's work had an outing at the San Francisco Zoo today. We picked up daddy from work at noon and headed off to the zoo. It was the boys first time at the SF zoo and I hadn't been in years. I know the zoo got a bit of a bad rap after the tiger malling incident, but I tell you daddy and I were pretty stunned at it's beauty. Everything was so lush and vibrant, aesthetically pleasing. We were excited about the rhinos, baby gorilla, and penguins...however, the highlight for the boys was riding a new steam engine. This steam engine was so fast, I'd have to say it qualifies as the boys first roller coaster ride.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Busy, Busy, Dare I Say Soccer Mom

It's been a busy summer and it's going to get busier. Next week, Aidan starts swim lessons on Thursdays, Miles and Liam start soccer on Fridays. I now feel like an official "soccer mom" (except for the fact that I don't live in the suburbs), driving my kids to and fro, to this and that. Our summer schedule has been busy with play dates, birthday parties, and lots of fun outings that of course I transport them to and from. I am grateful that I have Mondays and Tuesdays for errands, otherwise we'd have to spend our precious family weekends doing mundane tasks, blah! Wednesdays are for play dates, Thurs and Fridays will now be for classes, this leaves the weekends open for relaxing family and friends time. That really is one of the advantages of being a stay at home mom, I'm in charge of executing all the daily tasks(well now mostly done on Mon & Tues) so that we can spend quality time together on the weekends. Max doesn't have to worry himself about errands after a long work week. I'm the the "family CEO", maintaining a household and all daily tasks are overseen by me. I don't mind being the "Family CEO" it allows me to be there for all the special moments in my children's lives and I'm there to look after the emotional and physical well being of my family, it's priceless....and it makes for a great team.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Be Persistent

Sometimes it pays to be persistent. Like in motherhood, when you need to stand your ground when your child is continuing to badger and plead for some treat or toy, or maybe to stay up later. Today it wasn't a child, it was GE company I had to be persistent with. We have a stainless steel GE Profile fridge that I fell in love with when we bought it. It's the kind with the french doors and a full sized shelf inside so you can put something large in, like a full sheet cake, and a bottom freezer. The problem is soon after we got this fridge it began to have problems. In the first year we had 4 service calls. The 4th visit they replaced the control panel in it. Well it began to have problems again, so now on it's 5th service call, the service man replaced the control panel again. I let him go ahead and do this knowing as soon as he left I would be calling the customer relations department and demanding a new refrigerator. Five service calls in a year and half is unacceptable. So I called, and was persistent with my request, with a supervisor, then a manager, and another manager etc. etc. until I spoke to the right person. It only took me 2 hours (what a drag), not exactly how I wanted to spend my afternoon. The good news is that we will be receiving a new refrigerator, despite many attempts on GE's side to tell me that the only thing available to me was a discount on a new purchase. I refused to accept this. They almost had me beat. I was so frustrated and tired of having to explain the situation over and over to various GE staff that it would have been easy for me to say "forget it, it's been repaired". This time, persistence prevailed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jumpy House Fun

I still can't believe we own a jumpy house, Well thanks to our friend Rachel we do. This is her brain child...six of us from our play group went in on a jumpy house. With six families, our portion of it was equivalent to one rental. What a deal, right!? A yahoo calendar was created so we could all sign up for the days we would like to use it. Surprisingly, no conflicts on dates. We all have kids in the same age range but their birthdays are all spread throughout the year. It's worked out perfect with still plenty of available dates for fun use. We used it for 4th of July weekend and this weekend too just for fun. The kids absolutely love it and it makes for easy entertainment for the parents. I was hesitant at first about this but now realize this sure was a great investment that has already paid for itself. Thanks Rachel for coordinating this great idea!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sonoma Train Town

For all those train enthusiasts out there, here's a fun little place to go to, Train Town in Sonoma. It's a park with a train ride, petting zoo, and kiddie rides. Our friends Steve and Tom suggested we meet them there so we decided to go today. It was a great idea. The kids really enjoyed it especially, since Miles and Aidan are major train enthusiasts. Liam likes trains too, just not to the degree that his brothers do.
After Train Town we went down to Sonoma Square and enjoyed lunch with our friends, took a stroll through the park and around the plaza. It sure was a nice day in Sonoma...and the boys really enjoyed spending time with Uncle Steve and Uncle Tom.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Interesting Tidbit

Aidan was playing with this pig family this afternoon. During this time, this is what I overheard while watching him line them up...

He first lined up "Daddy Pig"
Then came "Mommy Pig"
Next was "big brother"
Along came 2 more together "little brothers"
finally he line up the last one "little sister"

I'm thinking "little sister!" Yes Aidan, that would be nice but I don't think mommy could handle one more.

Day 5, Final day of Music Camp

Today was the last day of music camp, I'm guessing Aidan is relieved about this. Music camp was for kids ages 4-12 and Aidan was the youngest there. I think this was a hard transition for Aidan, having come from preschool were all the kids are 3-4 yrs old. In hindsight maybe he wasn't quite ready for this. I think if Aidan was more outgoing he would have been fine but given that he really is a shy individual, this was a bit overwhelming for him. Thankfully, Irene, the camp director is a wonderfully talented and nurturing woman who was really skilled at drawing Aidan out and supporting him when he needed it.

Aidan did get a lot of good exposure to different instruments, percussion and string. He got to see what's involved in learning to play an instrument, and participated in a variety of activities, conducting music, writing songs, singing and performing. They did art activities as well, but once again I think the art was geared more towards the older kids. He did take part in a mural painting which he enjoyed and took a lot of pride in.

Would I send him back to this camp in the future? Most likely when he's a bit older, that is if he still demonstrates an interest in music. He did connect with the director. The programing was fun and laid back, yet educational. I was also pleased with the diverse group of kids, from all different backgrounds....although I have to say lots of violin players.

Congratulations Aidan, you made it through a week of music & art camp. Mommy & Daddy are so proud of you!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 4 Music Camp

"Mama, I think I want to play the banjo"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 3 Music Camp

Not too sure what went on today. I asked Aidan, "what did you do today?" and I got a response from him "I don't know." What do you mean you don't know??

Did you sing? yeah.
Did you play any instruments? Yeah.
What did you play? Drums.
Did you do art? No.
Why not? I don't know.

You get the idea, this conversation was like pulling teeth. Irene, reported that Aidan worked on a song he's writing..."I like applesauce and I like honey. I like bananas and I like doggies. Chugga chugga chugga chugga choo choo." He performed this while playing the drums during a talent show they had today where each camper performed what they were working on. Sorry to say that I missed this, would have loved to have seen it.

Urban Eggs

Although we live in an urban city we still get to enjoy farm fresh eggs. How lucky is that!? We have a few neighbors who have chickens. One of these generous neighbors brought over some fresh urban farm eggs for us to enjoy. The eggs are just gorgeous, there's brown, aqua-blue, and white eggs.

Counting Ice Cream Scoops

Play = Learning. My boys have plenty of unstructured play, but with our busy schedules, I try to take every opportunity to make play time = enjoyable learning with fun craft activities. Because it's summertime, I decided to do craft time with the boys that had a summertime theme. What's better than ice cream in the summer. We made ice cream cones on paper. The kids got to pick how many scoops they wanted on their ice cream cones. Then, with my help, we drew them, cut them out, and counted the scoops together out loud. They had so much fun with this.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sweet Cupcake Surprise

Daddy brought home some sweet cupcake surprises today to celebrate Aidan's success at attending music camp. I know we've gone way over board. Most kids just go to summer camp and that's it. It's just plain fun to have something to celebrate....and lots of yummy fun to celebrate with La Farine goodies!

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