Tuesday, May 27, 2008


As we passed by our local donut shop in the car the other day....

John, "What's the name of that shop, Erin?"
Erin (who really can read, by the way), "The Donut Foot."
John and me, "The Donut FOOT?"
Erin (giggling),"Yeah, the Donut Foot." (more giggling)
John, "Erin, how do you spell 'foot'?"
Erin, "W-H-E-E-L. They're silent letters."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

game over

Erin had her last softball game on thursday evening. I'm both happy and sad that it's over, because it created quite a full schedule for us for the past two months, but Erin always enjoyed it and I met several really nice parents there. And because none of the kids on Erin's team go to her school, I doubt I'll see much of them in the future.

Kate and Allison enjoyed softball season too. They spent a lot of time with a teammate's older brother Chad, above, and another teammate has twin 3 year-old sisters who I never seemed to be around every time I had my camera with me. I will try to keep in touch with them.

I have been impressed that Erin really did her best with softball. She very enthusiastically attended every practice and game and asked to practice at home many times too. Erin seemed neither happy or sad that she's had her last game because I think she's moved on already. She has been talking about summer and the dance and tennis lessons she and the twins will be taking. I wonder if she'll want to play softball again next spring. I mentioned to her that some girls play softball all the way through high school and college too, and she responded, "I think I'm going to be a cheerleader in high school instead." Good grief.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

the weekend a day too long

We had a very full weekend--too full, really. It's been unseasonably hot the past few days. It warmed up 30+ degrees from one day to the next last week (no exaggeration) so we were looking for fun hot-weather things to do. The most obvious and easiest, we used the "pool" for the first time this year.

Later we went to a BBQ with friends who have two boys about the same ages as the girls, and one very patient large doggie.

And in retrospect we should have considered ourselves fortunate in having spent a fun saturday and left sunday alone as a non-eventful, good old fashioned, boring day at home, and been happy with that. We didn't have any plans on sunday so *I* thought it sure would be nice to take the kids to the beach. The five of us haven't been to a beach together since Hawaii in '06. The girls and I have been with friends or family a couple of times since then. Basically, practically, we never go to the beach and normally I wouldn't have considered it in May with normal May weather.

And I ignored the warning signs. As we were driving home from the BBQ yesterday this is the conversation we had in the car.
"So would anyone like to go to the beach tomorrow?"
"Yeah!" said Allison
"Yeah!" said Kate
"Um, no." said Erin.

"What? You don't want to go to the beach? The...BEACH?"
"Not really." she said.

"What do you think about going, John?"
"I'm indifferent."
"Well, nevermind then."
"Oh, I'll go, and I think Erin will have a good time once she's there."

Of course she'll have a good time. What 5 year-old doesn't like the beach? What kid doesn't like to sit in the sand and dig and make castles and walls and moats and wade in the water and run from the waves. I mean, when you're 5, the beach is like fun central. I thought.

So I chose a beach that even had tide pools we could explore, and we set off.

When we arrived the morning fog was still burning off so it was a little chilly, but not bad and the forecast was for sunny skies. Kate and Allison rushed out to the water almost immediately and filled their buckets to start preparing the dry sand for castle making, then they went back for a second trip and Kate lost her balance in the waves as they receded. (I was actually surprised to see that I had a picture of this, I thought that picture was taken just before the fall.) And from here Kate, definitely cold and very wet and with sand up her nose and in her mouth, had a radical change of disposition that lasted over an hour.

Erin, even without a sudden loss of balance to blame it on, lost all enthusiasm for the location at about the same time. It seems this beach just "had too much sand!"
"Sand is everywhere!" she mustered, in the second most annoying whiny voice possible.
"Sand is on my feet!" she lamented, in the most annoying whiny voice possible.
"So put your sandals back on, Erin."
"Then there will be sand on my sandals!" so distraught that the words could barely come together.

"Erin, you play in the sand, with your shoes on or off, at the park, all the time. What is the difference today?"

"But here there is just TOO MUCH SAND."

At a loss for what we were supposed to do about this abundance of sand mystery, she was mostly ignored by me and by John, so she sobbed and whined while sitting in a beach chair for the next hour, stopping only because she decided to start eating lunch.

The rest of the fog burned off and we had beautiful blue skies and suddenly a strong wind picked up. Now Erin was hopelessly sandy-footed, whiny, and cold, Kate was thoroughly tired out from whimpering on and off for the past hour, and only Allison was left having a reasonable time.

"You wanna pack it up?" John asked after we were there for about an hour and a half.
"Well, not yet." I thought, having put too much effort into this to bail now, though the wind was only getting worse, it really was cold, and I didn't bring jackets for us.
So pack up we did, a few minutes later. We never even made it over to the tide pools.

With everyone changed and mostly de-sanded and in the car I thought, what the hell, "What do you think about going to the boardwalk? It's so early." I said.
"No way, they're already in meltdown mode, let's just go."

I thought, we'd already come all this way, and maybe in a new scene they'd have some fun. So we drove over to the boardwalk and I found a spot at a meter and had enough quarters for 2 hours. The girls had never been here and I hadn't been to the boardwalk in at least 10 years. They were very excited to see the rides and fortunately there were many fun rides for small kids--more than we had time for in the 2 hours we had to spend.

Kate, still in somewhat whiny mode from the beach, lost almost all willingness to walk anywhere and needed to be carried, and she got very offended if she had to share a ride on this or that with a sibling or didn't get her pick of color of whatever she was riding on.

It was much, much warmer on the boardwalk, and without any wind at all. Warm enough for some ice cream for sure.

Overall, the boardwalk was a much bigger hit than the beach, but their experience and attitude today still perplexing. And I wonder if I'll ever make it back to Hawaii with Miss sand-hater around, until she's old enough to move out.

Monday, May 12, 2008

peacock letterboxing

On saturday Erin asked to go letterboxing. Good idea, I thought, it's been too long since our last outing. I printed out clues to a set of three boxes in the same location, and other clue for another box in the same vicinity at a different location, and we set off.

We got to the first location and came upon a couple of peacocks on the front lawn, squawking and displaying to each other. No peahen in sight, no wonder they were kinda ticked off.

Then we started after the first box which was an easy find and a fairly short walk from the peacock spectacle. That one done, we continued on after the second box, which required a longer walk than the directions described, and it was pretty hot out, and I didn't bring water, and the twins always seemed to confuse "walking" with "running as fast as you can", so by the time we got to the second box and completed the stamp exchange there was already chatter about going home and "what's for dinner?" So we bailed on walking, er, running to the location of the third box in favor of the water I had back at the car.

We saw some pretty nice views from up there. I love being in the west hills.

On the way back home I stopped at the location of the last letterbox, which had only a brief clue and lead me to believe it would be a quick easy find. As it turned out, once we were there and I tried to make sense of the clue, I couldn't figure out exactly where the starting point was and so we walked and walked around, as I tried to find the landmark I needed, and I didn't find it. "Do you even understand what you're reading?" Erin helpfully asked. So after 20 or so minutes of aimless wandering, we bailed on letterbox #4 and I took our 50% success rate for the day, and my tired and hungry and thirsty girls back home.

buyer beware

Note to self: if you hire entertainment for your child's birthday party, be sure to ask for a photo of the talent ahead of time. Otherwise, you may think you are going to have a reasonable impersonation of lovely Ariel from the Little Mermaid at your kid's party and be sent someone who looks like another sort of entertainment worker in another industry, way, way, off the strip of a certain city in Nevada.

When she showed up at this party Erin attented on friday, most of the kids were visibly surprised, and not in a good way. Erin wouldn't go near her for a good half hour. The kids didn't really join in with the songs she sang for quite a while either. They mostly stared. They were perplexed, not only about whether she was really Ariel, but also about whether Ariel was a she or a he. But this Ariel proved to be multi-talented: mermaid impersonation and face painting, which, eventually, was an irresistible combo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

the triple bath day

And I'm back.

Today started off with a bath for the kids, then breakfast, and taking Erin to school and the twins to gymnastics and doing a couple of errands before it was time to pick Erin up again (tuesdays are short school days for her, she is done at 12:30).

Tangent here...we stopped at a bagel shop for a snack and when we got out of the car there were two asian men having a sort of loud, spirited conversation in chinese. As Kate walked by them she said, "Yay-ay-ay-anananana, blee, blah, bleh! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!"

Not to be outdone in the causing me embarrassment category, as we waited in line Allison asked and, even better, pointed out, of the woman behind us, "Mama, why does that lady have such a BIG BUTT?"

Somehow I managed to get us out of there unharmed and shortly after getting home with all three in the afternoon I got Erin started on her homework and a few minutes later I heard her yell from the bathroom. Accident all over her pants and the floor because she "didn't make it there in time". She was in my bathroom because one of the twins was in the hall bath, so I just threw her into the shower and Erin had bathing number two.

A little later the kids took out their bikes and we went to the nearby park to meet up with some friends. Everyone had a good time blowing bubbles for a long while, and afterwards everyone was pretty sticky and bubble solution was splattered and poured on everyone's clothes and shoes to some extent.

Those are the girls' friends Gina and Andrew in the photo, by the way. Gina is about 5 months older than Erin and Andrew is 2 months older than the twins. Kate is a little shrimpy to be sure, but Erin isn't short for her age. These kids are just giants, always have been, and it's just remarkable to see the difference when they are right next to each other.

Then the kids took their shoes off and found some mud to have fun with, and they also enjoyed playing in the sand box and doing some chalk drawings on the walkway.

By the time we had to leave to make it to Erin's softball practice, all the girls had blackened feet and dirty clothes and filthy hands but no use cleaning up now. After dropping off the bikes we headed to softball where the twins rested for a few minutes as they watched the team, but soon they were wrestling each other on the grass and trying to climb the nearby trees.

When we got home from practice the girls were sweaty, sticky, soapy, dirty, and grass-stained and I asked John to give them all a much needed bath, again, as I made dinner.

Then after dinner the girls watched a show, and 20 minutes later as John was rounding them up for bed he discovered that Allison had soaked her underwear and pajamas, and part of the couch. Allison's turn in the shower, and so both Erin and Allison had a family record (so far) 3 bathings today.

I'm gonna throw in some good photos from sunday here--we had dinner at grandma and grandpa's house and afterwards the girls got to pick a flower each from grandma's garden.