Monday, August 24, 2009

Back To School

My fellow blogging mothers, most of you have blown me away with your back-to-school posts and pictures on Facebook! Mine isn't going to be very fancy, only one picture, and it's not even a very good one (but doesn't Pearl's hair look cute!).

Monday was the first day of school for our girls. Pearl started 1st grade and Chloe started KG. We have been encouraging the girls' excitement of this day for at least a couple of weeks now. Both girls got the teachers we wanted for them and Chloe's teacher is the same one Pearl had last year. I was worried that Chloe might not know any of the kids in her class, but to my relief, there were at least 6 kids from her preschool class. I have been carefully laying the groundwork for Chloe's adjustment to school to be a smooth and tear-free one.

So the day came. I was thrilled that Chloe easily rose at 6:30 AM (when I haven't been able to get her out of bed before 7:30 for the past month). Pearl also arose easily and was dressed and had her bed made in just a few moments. If only they could always move that fast! I took a couple pictures on the way to the car (seen above) and at the school. The pictures at school weren't that good and I didn't take enough to get any good ones. What do they call it when you are having a creative mental block? I am blaming the almond dust, but that's a story for another day.

Dad and I first walked Pearl into her class. It was all smiles and fun as Pearl met her teacher, Mrs. Funk. How can you have a bad time when your teacher has a name like that? She met and hugged lots of friends and then sat down at the desk with her name on it, just like a big kid.

Next we took Chloe over to her class, just three doors down. It was crowded in there with all the parents. We all stayed for the first half hour as the teacher explained a few things to us and help our children get settled in. I really like how they do this and I love being in the classroom to share in this moment. As we headed out the door, all the kids took a seat on a colored floor mat. Chloe picked the red square in the front corner. I bent over to hug her goodbye and she gave me the strongest grip I could imagine a 5 year old capable of. I could feel her anxiety, but I was proud of her for not crying. Her best buddy Dylan didn't fare so well. I could hear his wailing as we walked out the door.

The girls called me at work when Dad picked them up after the first day. I asked Pearl how many of her friends were in her class and she replied "23". That's actually the number of kids in the class, but knowing Pearl, I am sure she considers each and every one of them her friend.

And so it begins.................



It's Sunday. The day before school starts. I dreaded this day, but not because of school. I knew our girls were ready and eager. I dreaded this day because we were going to have yet another open house. At least this time we had a real estate agent to manage the people and pay for the advertising. All we had to do was clean the place and disappear. I dreaded cleaning the home from top to bottom yet again. The home was pretty much in good condition, but there's company clean.........and then there's open house clean. Open house clean anticipates nosy visitors looking in your closets and drawers. Open house clean means climbing on the roof to clean the skylights and to remove branches that have fallen off the tree. Open house clean means hiding your trash can and stashing the girls' bikes in the shed. It means tucking away all those little things you use every day (like our computers and cords) and knowing that you will just need to get it all out again as soon as you get home.

It wasn't that bad. My hubby and the girls pitched in and in a couple of hours, we managed to stash everything out of sight except for furniture, decorations and wall hangings. Our plan was to take the girls to the movies during the open house, after a short stop in the park to show off the girls to Dad's high school classmates from 30 years ago. The night before was his class reunion.

We went to see the movie "Shorts". Please avoid this movie at all costs! I want my 89 minutes of life back. It's bad enough that I get to see only kid's movies, but really dumb ones are a whole 'nother level of torture. I found myself thrilled when Chloe asked to go to the bathroom. "I'll take her!" I quickly announced before Dad could beat me to it. I guess the payoff was at the end when Chloe announced, "I really liked that movie." Well, at least somebody did.

After the movie, it was already time to go home. We decided to stop off and go grocery shopping (note to self: avoid shopping for groceries on Sun eve.)so that I could pack lunches for the first day of school. Chloe still doesn't eat more than 18 items of food, mostly brown, beige or white. Despite my tone of writing, we were all in good spirits and having a nice time together. As we pulled out of the grocery store lot and into very heavy traffic, we heard the all-to-familiar "CLUNK". That's the sound of your transmission going out. Here we were in the middle lane of a busy intersection with no gears, except "reverse". We learned that lesson from the last time our transmission went out(different Chevy Avalanche), and we didn't realize that "reverse" still worked. Dad flagged cars to go around us, while I called AAA for the tow truck and the highway patrol for assistance getting out of the road. As it turned out, we had just enough break in traffic to back our way over to the side of the road. Dad called his friend to transport me and the girls back home (in a different city), because I wasn't going to try and fit their car seats in a tow truck. I unloaded the girls, carseats, crayons (did I mention it's almost 100 degrees?), my purse and camera. Well, I didn't want my camera to go to waste, so I took this opportunity to take a picture for posterity. The other photo with Dad and the girls didn't come out and I am not in the mood to Photoshop it into place.

It all turned out OK, except for all the bills we will incur. At least it gave me a story to tell. It's alright if I lost you three paragraphs ago. I just needed to vent. Next up, First Day of School!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Car Show

This weekend was another typical weekend around the house. Pete took the girls to see a movie, while I made an attempt to sew. I did for a couple of hours, but didn't finish my project.

By Sunday, I was feeling pretty guilty about squandering another chance to do either something productive or something fun with the family, so I talked my husband into taking us to the Mountain Festival in Tehachapi.

There were a lot of people and we decided that it was too hot and dusty to go to the rodeo. The carnival rides looked pretty dirty and lame compared to our trip to Gilroy Gardens just 6 days prior, so we told the girls "No rides today. We will go back to Gilroy Gardens soon." They willingly agreed without even a fuss. I just love how understanding my girls can be sometimes. That left the car show as our destination and it was wonderful. It is amazing how much work people put into restoring these old vehicles. I assume that some of them are never driven, even if they are operable. The engines are just too pristine. I just wish I had the chance to take pictures of these cars without all the people getting in the way! Some of the attendees to the car show were as interesting as the cars, but I was just too shy to aim my camera at them (because I had a wide angle lens and I would have had to get right in their face!) so you will just have to use your imagination. One of these interesting characters was riding a cool orange-flamed chopper. It wasn't even part of the show, but I had to take a picture anyway.

Chloe kept asking me to take her picture in front of every car she liked, so I now have a full library of Chloe posing in front of fancy rides. I'll spare you the full-length version and just post a couple here. If you click on the pictures, you will be taken to my Flickr photostream. You can click on "all sizes" at the top to view a larger version.

Next weekend will be all about getting ready for school!
Antique Firetruck
The girls pose in front of a restored antique fire truck
Cool Blue
Sweet Ride
Hot Chopper

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Small Town Street Faire

Our summer temperatures average around 100 degrees with some days reaching 110 and others in the low 90s. Given that, you can imagine my surprise that our city was planning a street faire from 5-9PM on an August evening. City staff was worried that it would be unbearably hot and that no one would show up, but they pursued their plans anyway. As the day approached, it looked like cooler weather was in store, and miraculously, the high this day was in the low 80s. It was by far the coolest day of the summer.

Most local businesses, non-profit organizations and service clubs had booths and activities for the whole family. There were kittens and dogs available for adoption from our local shelter, face-painting, a giant slide in the middle of the street, and numerous food booths.
So we decided to join in the fun and take the girls downtown. They had a great time and kept thanking us over and over again after we got home. The proof is in the pictures!

Live music

colorful pinatas

Free facepainting by the Girl Scouts

Racing Cars at the State Farm booth

How many hands am I holding up?

Boots for sale

Riding a giant slide

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Toy Store Reflection

While in Carmel this past weekend, we made a visit to our favorite little toy store. It's not very big, but there is always something wonderful for us to take home after the girls get a little time to explore. As I was walking through the store, I spotted Chloe's reflection in a mirror and decided to take a picture. I loved the composition, but it was way too busy to see what was going on. That's one reason I hadn't edited it sooner. Tonight I had the idea to convert the image to black and white, leaving only the reflection in color. To see other reflection photos, click on the icon below.
we picture {this}

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Mini-Vacation

This past weekend we took a little trip to our favorite vacation spot, Carmel By The Sea, California. Friday evening and Saturday were playtime at the beach. Sunday we traveled to San Jose to see Cousin Bruce and friends Maddy and Gwenny. On Monday we took the day off and on our way home we stopped off to visit Betty Chu and her gloriously beautiful English Angora rabbits. After that, we spent the whole day at Gilroy Gardens. This place must be one of California's best kept secrets because this theme park with over 40 rides and attractions was nearly empty. We had the whole place to ourselves and didn't have to wait in any lines all day long. The girls had so much fun that we will surely have to return. I think the best part of it is the drive is only a few minutes further than to Disneyland, but without all the crazy traffic. In my opinion, this park blows away Legoland.

I guess that pretty much sums it up, so now I will just post a few pictures from our adventures. I noticed that on this post and the previous one, my pictures are coming out a little pixely, so I will just have to go back and load them differently.
A gorgeous Carmel Sunset
A friendly pelican
A hydrangea at the Barnyard
Chloe, Maddy, Pearl and Gwenny right before a swim.
Visiting Cousins Bruce and Lorene
Pearl poses with Swanka, a white English Angora rabbit
Chloe and Pearl hold a baby angora
Chloe on a ride at Gilroy Gardens Amusement Park
A circus tree

Saturday, August 01, 2009

She Loves Me

I am supposed to be sewing right now. Pete took the girls to the movies so I could work on my clothing designs. I was looking through the pictures I took last night and I just couldn't resist blogging after looking at Chloe's shots. She was bike riding in the heat at sunset and her eyes were amazing. They always draw me in and I feel her love for me. It's almost overwhelming. Once again, my darling Pearl did not wish to venture into the heat, so she stayed indoors and worked on a jigsaw puzzle with Daddy. I am not so great with the indoor pictures yet, so unfortunately, this is yet another post with her image missing. She is really growing a lot too. I will try to lure her outside for some pictures later today.

As usual, Marty the cat found us and joined in. He is hard to photograph because he comes straight at you until he is too close to focus on. I caught him here laying on the concrete driveway. I also threw in a picture of juniper berries. Our tree/bush is totally covered in these spikey little seeds right now, so I had to take a picture of that too!

Now back to the sewing room!