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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pillow Fight

Each year on Valentine's Day, hundreds of people come to the plaza in front of the Ferry Building to battle it out with their pillows. It's a big feathery event that starts just after work at 6pm.

Jack and I decided to eat dinner at a restaurant near the action. It had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the fun. Jack looked up and said it was snowing. He was right, it was a blizzard of feathers!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Jack and I had fun making Valentine's Day cards for the grandparents last week:

And today, Jack decorated himself and me with heart stickers. He handed out Cars-themed Valentines to his teachers and put one in each cubby for his friends at school.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Palo Alto Excursion

Jack will fight taking a nap at home to the point where we are both exhausted with each other and no one gets any downtime, just time-outs and escalating frustration. He naps at school each day and is a cranky mess at night if he doesn't have one, so he still clearly needs a nap in the afternoon. And I'm not ready for him to give it up either!

So I've changed my strategy. I try to time our weekend activities around some sort of naptime - whether that's in the stroller and I walk around for at least an hour or travel time in the car with the potential that I park and wait for him to wake up.

With the thought that Jack would nap in the car on the way home, he and I journeyed to Palo Alto this weekend (about a 1/2 hour south of San Francisco) for brunch and a play at the Children's Theater. Palo Alto is a suburb that's next door to Stanford University and the venture capitalists that fund up and coming technology companies. Technology and research dominate the area with many startup and established companies (HP, Stanford Research, etc.) being headquartered there. In 2010, Palo Alto ranked as the 2nd most expensive city for real estate in the United States with a $1.48 million median home price. What's interesting though, is that the homes don't look any different than any other nice suburb - its just that the little Craftsman bungalow on the corner, while well maintained, costs a million dollars.

We ate brunch at Saint Michaels Alley which had a wait list 10 minutes before the doors opened so you know it was good. And then we took in the glorious sunshine and opted to walk/stroll the mile to the theater.

You know you are in the suburbs when your community theater is within 500 feet of a "children's" library, the Girl Scouts "building", and a junior museum and zoo. One in three households has a child under 18 - unlike San Francisco which has the lowest per capita rate of children of any US city.

Big turnout, lots of interaction with the audience
The production was acted by local high school drama students, super interactive, and told the gory story of Little Red Riding Hood (I don't remember slicing up the Wolf to get back Granny and Little Red Riding Hood). They did a great job of getting the kids to participate and even gave each child a prop - plastic flowers which we used throughout the play. There was a big turnout and it was fun to see a roomful of kids simultaneously pretend to be big trees and little mice and big bad wolves.

Afterwards, we strolled the mile back to the car and went even further towards the downtown. We stopped at a yogurt place for a snack. Of course, this was not your typical TCBY. We ended up at an "artisinal yogurt" shoppe where they make batches of organic greek-style yogurt with a variety of chopped fruit and fruit purees. It was delicious and I'm not complaining, but I can't help thinking how fancy food has become in our generation and what a fine little palette Jack will have when he gets older.

Jack, lovey, and bunny rabbit
Then disaster struck. Jack has two loveys that he drags everywhere: a little giraffe lovey and a bunny rabbit. Somewhere in our 2 mile trek we lost bunny rabbit. We cut our sightseeing short, ran back to the car, and frantically drove back to the theatre. No one turned it in so we searched the theatre and surrounding grounds ourselves. I left my name and number in case it turned up. When we got back into the car, I decided to retrace our steps and literally drove in the right lane with my hazard lights on for 1 mile while we slowly scanned the sidewalk. Cars angrily sped past me, gave me the finger, and beeped long and loudly. Found! Laying on the ground was bunny rabbit.

With bunny and lovey in hand, we drove back home. Jack fell asleep about 10 minutes later and then I sat in the Whole Foods parking lot and read the driver's manual and my phone for a hour until he woke up.

When he woke up, he chastised me and told me not to drop bunny again. I promised.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Safety First

Jack has a little bunny rabbit and giraffe lovey that he takes everywhere. When I picked him up from school yesterday he decided to strap bunny rabbit in the carseat instead of himself.

Nut Tree and The Jungle

Beep beep!
Last weekend Jack and I met with cousins-in-law Kerrie and Amber for lunch. We met at the Nut Tree which is right off the I-80 freeway and halfway between San Francisco and where they live in Sacramento.

The Nut Tree is somewhat of an institution in these parts. It was originally a fruit stand in the 1920's and presumably as the interstate became more heavily trafficed, its popularity also rose as the state's first major roadside stop. Richard Nixon and Queen Elizabeth II, among other celebs, visited in its heyday. It closed in 1996 and reopened a decade later in 2006. The Nut Tree is now a booming retail area with a kids' area complete with mall-type rides for a quarter, a train and a carousel. Even an airport.

We ate Mexican for lunch nearby and then topped it off with ice cream at another Bay Area institution, Fenton's, which opened its second location at the Nut Tree.

Dessert at Fenton's
After lunch, Jack and I drove to an indoor playspace called "The Jungle". It's one of those germy rundown indoor playspaces that has seen better days but Jack certainly worked off his icecream. The Jungle is multilevel with a series of interconnected tubes and an arcade upstairs. Kids can walk up ramps (see video below of Jack walking up one of the ramps), walk through a series of tunnels/tubes, and slide down more ramps. The tubes are mostly opaque so I paniced a couple times when I lost sight of Jack and the place is a zoo with all of the kids amped up. Lots of older kids were sliding down the slides and onto the younger ones. But Jack held his own and had a blast.

Climbing up one of the tubes
Watch Jack climb up one of the ramps:

And "play" Dance Dance Revolution (one of those video games where you are supposed to dance by stomping on the floor panels as they light up). Jack just had fun watching the monitor and jumping up and down instead: