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Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Month of Halloween Ends

A giggly shark and Santa Claus
Well, another Halloween month has come and gone.

Jack's preschool joined a costume parade this morning through the Marina neighborhood and he got lots of stickers and candy. When I picked him up from school, he was obsessed with his candy. I tried to convince him that candy is a treat and we eat it after dinner but that didn't fly. He asked me to unwrap a Tootsie roll and I took a bite - but evidently he didn't want to share either because he took a fit on the way home. See the video below for "Mommy Ate My Candy". After two years of barely any sugar, Jack now has "candy" firmly in his vocabulary.

After school, Jack and I went to our friend's house for pizza before heading out together for trick-or-treating on Fair Oaks Street. Their little boy, WyWy (Wyatt) is the same age as Jack and they are best buds.

On Halloween Day, Fair Oaks is closed to traffic for several blocks and the whole street gets into the action with decorations, music, haunted houses, etc. This is our second Halloween at Fair Oaks and Jack is so much fun as he is getting older. He and WyWy ran down the hills and from house to house to get treats. All the while laughing, holding hands, and pulling each other around.

CLICK HERE to see this year's pics of Jack and I with WyWy and friends trick-or-treating.

CLICK HERE to see us all last Halloween at Fair Oaks.

Pet Pride Day

I took Stella yesterday to the San Franciso Pet Pride Day in Golden Gate Park. The annual event is put on by the San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

Under clear blue skies and unobstructed sun in a meadow in Golden Gate Park, Stella and I made our way around the tents from various retail and rescue partners.

We spun a wheel and won some specialty doggie food, received plenty of treats, freebies, and pats. Stella got a nail trim and even received a massage.

The afternoon heated up quickly and Stella doesn't do well in the heat. She was one pooped pooch afterwards and sat next to me in the passenger seat on the way home where we blasted the A/C all on the way until we reached the front door.

It was a hot day today and thankfully there were lots of water stations.

Sporting her Bone Bandana, one of her many freebies.

Getting a doggie massage - and loving it.

One pooped pooch after all the fun!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Diwali

I had never heard of Diwali until I started working at Williams-Sonoma. Diwali is a major Indian festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. Businesses shut down, people celebrate with dinners and parties, and exchange gifts.

Each year at work, we celebrate Diwali as many of our engineers are Indian. I missed it last year and this year I helped organize a lunch. We feasted on Indian food, decorated with flowers and lights, and streamed Bollyhood music videos.

Below is our team creating a traditional Indian design with different colorful powders and stencils. Lights were placed around it afterwards since 
Diwali means “festival of lights” in Hindi.

It's technically five days long, with each day representing a different facet of the festival of lights. In many communities, people pick one day of Diwali in particular to celebrate, often with fireworks and other large public festivities.

Diwali is also an auspicious time for new endeavors, and many people clean their homes and open all their windows and doors to welcome luck and good fortune during Diwali.

I was happy to be able to wear some of the clothes that I bought in India while attending a friend's wedding a few years ago. I was even given a bindi by a friend at work to complete the look.

In multicultural San Francisco, I don't know why I was surprised that Jack's preschool also talked to the kids about Diwali last week.

Happy Diwali!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oh, Playdoh!

Jack and I found some old Playdoh party favors today from his first birthday party. Like Twinkies, I guess, Playdoh never goes bad if you don't take it out of its package. The Playdoh kept Jack and me occupied for a long time as we flattened it over and over again and cut out shapes. Some toys are truly classics.

Happy Fall

This weekend we ushered in Fall with Jack's first leaf rubbing.

Halloween Updates

Halloween is a fun time of year that feels like a warm-up for Christmas - lots of generosity from friends and family with packages and cards. CLICK HERE to see some recent updates to our earlier Halloween post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Indian Summer

It has been spectacular Indian Summer weather here -- high 70's with blue skies and even warm enough for a t-shirt in the morning. I took the opportunity early one sunny morning this weekend while Tom had Jack to spend some quality one-on-one time with Stella. We roamed my favorite place, the beach. Stella and I walked for a long time and played frisbee. Then we sat to rest together under the warmth of the sun and stared out at the sea with its rhythmic roar and tumble of waves towards us and back out again towards the horizon. A soothing and calming start to the day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Drop! Cover! Hold On!

I felt two earthquakes today -- one at 2:41pm (a 4.0 magnitude) while I was in a meeting and an aftershock at 8:16pm while at home (a 3.8 magnitude). Both were centered just across the Bay near Berkeley, about 11 miles from San Francisco, and classified as small. No injuries or damage reported.

I was scared. Though it seems like I am the only one out here that is scared by an unpredictable jerking of the earth that can down power lines, break apart concrete sidewalks/walls/bridges, and create tidal waves. For me, it's the ensuing aftermath of destruction that is the result of an earthquake which scares me - fire, tsunamis, live electrical lines in the street, falling and flying objects, downed cell phone lines, stalled transportation and damaged roads that separate me from being with Jack.

The earthquakes that I have felt in the past usually feel like a little sway or a rumble for 2 or 3 seconds and you think maybe you just got dizzy for a moment. The earthquake this afternoon felt like a violent jolt followed by rumble. Like somone dropped a truck on the roof. I actually didn't feel the earthquake in the evening as much as I heard the whole house rattle for a couple of seconds.

Today's quakes occurred within 3 days of the 22nd anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 magnitude) that struck Northern California in 1989 during the World Series. That earthquake killed 63 people, injuring and leaving thousands of people homeless.

What's so funny is that we had a statewide preparedness drill,  "The Great California ShakeOut", just earlier this morning. At 10:20am, 8.5 million Californians participated in the disaster drill. We were instructed to get under our desks for 1 minute. Public transportation stopped. People in Target ducked under their carts. Hilarious, right? Until 4 hours and then another 6 hours later when two earthquakes struck for real!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bunny's Awake!

Jack consistently wakes up at 6:15am and is an early bird. I am not. In order to have enough time to get ready for work, I'd need Jack to stay in bed until at least 7:00am but he was still too young to tell time. What to do?

I found this "clock" on Amazon. You can set the clock with two wakeup and sleep times -- one for naps and one for bedtime. When it's time for sleep, the bottom bunny is illuminated. When it's time for wakeup, the top bunny is illuminated.

Works like a charm. Jack still wakes up at 6:15am but he knows to stay in bed until the top bunny is illuminated. Now every day at 7:00am you can hear Jack screaming, "Mommy, Bunny Awake, Bunny Awake!"

And then we start our day.

Here's our morning routine in action:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween's Here

UPDATED on October 29,  2011:

Cousin Annie sent a package of treats for Jack and Stella. The candy was all gone in a blink, but the pumpkin socks and straw are a big hit with Jack as were the dog toys with Stella:

Aunt Nancy sent a wooden pumpkin to add to our patch and a Halloween counting book that Jack likes me to read three times before going to bed:

Lola sent Halloween stickers which he used to festively decorate everything from his nose, to his truck, to Bunny Rabbit:


ORIGINAL POSTING October 16, 2011:

If it's mid-October then Halloween must be here.

For the first of our Halloween festivities this year, today Jack and I attended the Bay Area Discovery Museum's annual fundraiser - Goblin Jamboree - with my friend Michelle and her daughter Charlotte.

This is our second year to the Jamboree and it didn't disappoint. There were plenty of activities where the kids each receive prizes like stickers and plastic spiders, we made potions in the witches’ and wizard’s school, listened to live music, patted bunnies in the petting zoo, had a pony ride, and took advantage of the museum's many places to climb and explore.

After naptime and dinner, Jack decorated his first pumpkin by himself with glittery stickers.
I carved a pumpkin last night and opted for an LED light instead of a candle for safety. Halloween has gone high tech. The LED light is very cool with a toggle for a flickering candlelight or steady light effect, a 4 hour or 8 hour timer, and a remote. Jack has figured out the remote and likes to turn on the pumpkin which he did tonight and then proudly placed his pumpkin next to the carved one.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of today at the Goblin Jamboree and Jack decorating his first pumpkin.

CLICK HERE for a flashback to last year's Halloween season.

Here's a video of Jack climbing and crawling through the museum's tree house:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Couch Series

I have two good friends who have started a standing dinner date at my house every couple of weeks. Jack loves it when Auntie C (Christabel) and Auntie Dar (Linda) come over, and Stella gets all excited at the opportunity for more pats. Mom loves the good company and friendship they've provided through these past several weeks, and the bonus of a homecooked meal when they come over!

CLICK HERE for the "Couch Series" which was taken during one of these nights.

Sleeping Beauty

Ring A Ding Ding

If you are of a certain age, you might remember those pull toys from Fisher-Price that look like a rotary phone and ring-a-ding-ding when you dial a number.

I had one. And now Jack has one too. It was given to him by one of his cousins and he can't put it down. I have no idea how he even knows what to do with a rotary phone that has a separate headpiece. Certainly doesn't look like an iPhone.

Anyway, we have it in the car and he has taken to calling his friends from school, his bunny rabbit, lovey, and Lola. On this day he called Sophia, a friend from school.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keeping Bunny Warm

I walk Stella each night with Jack in the stroller. Tonight Jack decided to bring his Bunny and Lovey -- and keep them warm in his jacket.

A Fall Visit From Lola

When Lola found out that Jack does yoga in school,
they did some poses together.
I've been under a lot of stress lately and unfortunatley when Jack and I were going to visit Boston last week, that stress manifested itself in my back and it "went out". I landed in bed, incapacitated in pain, in the same clothes and hyped up on muscle relaxants for nearly 3 days. Tom's cousin, Kerrie, thankfully drove from Sacramento to stay with me and helped me back on my feet, emotionally and physically.

Someone's tired but it's not Jack
 In the meantime, Mom immediately booked a flight to relieve Kerrie and help take care of Jack and me. My back became stronger over the week and Mom was able to help take care of me, Jack, and a million other things that I wouldn't have been able to get to myself for either lack of physical strength due to my back, having Jack underfoot, or just plain procrastination. We waded through Dad's voluminous paperwork which was taking up a box and a suitcase in the corner of my bedroom and I've been avoiding for months, stocked up at Costco so I don't need toilet paper or paper towels for another several weeks, brought boxes to the recycler and clothes to Goodwill, etc. In the end, these turned out to be silver linings in my cancelled trip to Boston.

By the end of the week, my back was feeling better and we drove to Sacramento to visit with Tom's cousins and stayed overnight. We had dinner with cousins Kathy and Barry and visited with Kerrie and Amber. We drove to Apple Hill on Friday morning for some Fall activities. Apple Hill is about an hour's drive from Sacramento towards Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Foothills. Rustic and full of 50 or so orchards, the area has grown to include a winery, micro-brewery, and Christmas tree farms.

It was a perfectly crisp Fall day yesterday and slightly muddy from a few days of rain. Jack went through his first Hay Maze, and had his face and hand painted with glittery spiders and a spider web. We fed the goats, sheep, and cows and managed to lose a plastic glow-bracelet in the chicken coop resulting in a paniced beckon to the groundskeeper to remove it before the chickens started pecking at it. Jack picked pumpkins from a pumpkin patch and we came home with a box of Empire apples (for Stella, an apple a day!), cider, pumpkins, and a pie.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Mom's visit and our trip to Apple Hill.