Wednesday, December 28, 2011

There is internet at the Beach? Who knew?!

Hola everyone! I'd like to finish this year up right with actually getting to post things a little closer to when they actually happened. I remind myself about this all the time, because I am still working on a post about last, last summer... the summer of 2010. Yep. 2010. And it's almost 2012. But I digress... onto actual current events. That was the point right? Right.
Ok. So we're finishing this year with a long planned vacation to Costa Rica. After practically 24 hours of travel we arrived in the capital and were whisked off to Samara Beach, on the pacific coast.

 It's quiet here (except for occasional celebratory x-mas fireworks) and very relaxing.

We've rented the pool house at a lodge that is jungly with hints of Disneyland's Swiss Family Robinson Tree - Quite treacherous in the dark, but cool and relaxing, complete with howler monkeys and iguanas, oh and Canadians.

It seems like everyone here is Canadian. I guess I'd come to Samara if I was from a place that snowed. Heck, we're from Northern California and we came here.

Christmas eve was pretty low key around here, we barbecued chicken (pollo!) and stopped by a carnival that was setting up in town. Real Churros cannot be passed up!
 The carnival really got busy on Christmas day though, with the bumper cars going and karaoke.

If there is anything scarier than carnival rides at home, it's carnival rides in central america. But M had her eye on one ride, passing up offers of cotton candy, churros and ice cream just to have the chance.

We're suckers.

Tomorrow we move further inland, to the cloud forest. We'll see what new adventures await us there!

P.S. -Gratuitous Photos of Monkey See, Other Monkey Do.
Our treasure find of the day - a mustache shaped shell

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The big 5! (Birthday that is)

Because it was such a hit, we decided to do M's birthday at Fliptastic again. We invited all her daycare friends and a couple from school. It was quite a turn out. M probably had an even better time than last year and was much more into the activities.

M running the obstacle course

Max jumping into "the pit"

Kaitlyn's big jump

Everyone in the pit (it was obviously the pits)
 We finished it all up with some pizza and cupcakes, and of course presents!
Another good end to another good year!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Halloween 2011 - part 2...uh late?

We had a great time trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood this year! Uh... oh yeah, I should really post something about how we bought a new house, conned all our family into helping us fix it up and then moved, shouldn't I? FIRST THINGS FIRST - There are costumes involved here so I'm going to roll with it.
M got to dress up as a princess (her choice) and although I didn't make her dress, I did make her princess hat. I'm sorry, but in my version of princess, there is a cone shaped hat. None of this tiara business!

(Sorry for the bad photos- hadn't gotten my new camera yet!)

M had a really good time answering the door for the other kids and then going out herself. We met all kinds of neighbor kids - exactly the type of thing we moved to this neighborhood for! It was a very satisfying Halloween!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween 2011 - part 1

This year we thought we would try something new.. and old, but in a new way.
We traveled out to our local pumpkin patch the Friday, and again on the Sunday before Halloween. On Friday evening it was too late to really enjoy much except the sunset, but we made the most of it.

M made it all the way to the top of the tall hay pyramid all by herself!
 On Sunday morning, the prospects for activities were much better and we had Grandpa R.L. with us too!

We had talked about maybe attempting the pony rides but decided to play it by ear because we've attempted such activities in the past and let's just say... it didn't go well. 
This time, at the mere sight of the pony rides, M was all excited. We were still tentative because she was totally ok last time too, until the realization that ponies are in fact much bigger and snorty in real life than in books and pictures.
So as we walked up and eyed the situation we were ready to distract with "It's ok! Let's go jump in the bounce house and leave this nibbley-lipped hairy warhorse of a pony behind, along with all the related terror!"
 But.. the freak out never happened, and she got to ride a real horse, not just a pony, and then immediately wanted to do it again. 
We obliged. Because we could. Because there was no screaming in bloody panic like last time. 
This time it was all about capturing the moment for the ages.. and the internet.

There were also other fun things, like the aforementioned bounce house (you don't bluff with that), and some pumpkin eating pigs. 

Nitro the pig... powered by pumpkins.
It was a much more successful trip than times before..

I'll post about the actual Halloween day next!

Rewind... Nevada City Classic

Like many topics, I've been meaning to post about this since summer!
It's been a long time goal of our BZ to not only ride in the Nevada City Classic, but to finish - and this was his year! By riding his butt off, he was able to upgrade from a category 3 to a 2, which means he is able to ride with a lot of big names.
The race is held on Father's day every year and this year we made a day of it!

M made friends with the other race orphans

She watched closely to try and see her daddy.

BZ was able to finish with out crashing! Here is a little snapshot of the race.
It's nearly impossible to see BZ - he's like a flash!

After the race we all had a nice picnic in the park - it was reported to be a perfect father's day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This weekend, between home improvement and baby showers, I was finally able to take my dad to the roller derby.  This time the bout was in a sports complex in the industrial section of a small town, a venue I had never been to before
On the way there, my father said "Doesn't it feel like we're going to a fight club?". I think that pretty much describes the back alley feeling of the whole thing.
The place turned out to be ok but I did wish that there had been cotton candy available at the snack bar. There is just no substitute for that. As an adult I feel that it is my right to have cotton candy at every chance, and roller derby should be one of those chances.
Starting the first Jam - waiting for the whistle.
Deis Irea and Alethal Weapon as Jammers
Anyways, I lost a buck to my dad betting which team would win. I picked the team with my favorite jammer -Quick Fire. I like her because she is very quick, but also because she's small but can take some pretty hard hits.
However, dad's team also had a star jammer, La Lucha. She is undeniably fast and can squeeze through the pack like she is covered in butter. I'm pretty sure that is exactly how my dad likes to envision her. Best of all, she is quite a showman (show-woman?) on the rink and fun to watch.
Dad and La Lucha
What really brought his team to victory was their defense- a really strong and talented pack. Dad picked it out during practice.
We're going back next month... maybe I'll bring my own cotton candy this time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Keeping Our Cool

Oh, and we've been swimming a lot.

The goggles are a new thing... and ridiculous.
Ridiculously funny.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Let's start with Preschool

I know it's been a while... and there is lots to blog about....but I have to start somewhere.
M started Preschool this week and it's gone really well. She gets to take a bus to and from her school and I can work in her classroom a day a week, which is super fun.
Mornings are a little rough, not because she doesn't want to get up but because she CANNOT WAIT for the bus to come get her. On the second day of school, the first thing she said to me when she woke up was "Is the bus here?!". It quickly turned into tears and we had to reach a compromise.

This is the compromise.. after she gets dressed, she can sit and longingly look for the bus out the window.

Mostly she watches the kids walking to the school near our house, but it buys us 5-10 minutes of non-tear filled time in the morning. I think it's a good deal for all involved, especially Chubby (the bear).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Two Faced

We've been practicing our happy and sad faces, and just like a 4 year old, Maryn was able to produce both with in seconds of each other.

Friday, June 3, 2011

For the Record

A friend reminded me to record some of the fun times.... so this is for daddy (at the Mt Hood stage race) and for all the grandparents, and for anyone else out there who needs a reminder to come visit.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring is in the air...

There is nothing like a spring breeze...
 and running your fingers through your hair and finding leaves. 
Spring and I have a complicated relationship. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Llama Drama!

At one of the campuses I work at we have large groups of oak trees and generally forested areas. Recently maintenance has been bringing in sheep and goats on the weekends for vegetation control. Everyone praised the idea saying that it was the "green" thing to do. I find that statement funny since we're renting sheep and goats to get rid of the green... but whatever.
 I'm in favor of the idea because GOATS! We're a decidedly pro-goat household even though we have no real reason to be. We're never owned goats, used goats, or been closer to them than at the state fair. But we certainly enjoy the idea of them, their babies are super cute, their milk makes great cheese and since we appreciate them from afar, we think they are nifty.
Back to the college... I teach a class on Fridays and Saturdays when there are few, if any, other classes on campus. While driving on campus I came upon the sheep and goats munching away in a movable gated area. The way they were situated put them right up against the parking lot I wanted to park in and I smiled at them as I  parked and unloaded my books to go to class.
Later, when I came back to the car I noticed that they had really eaten down all the tall grass and taken all the new growth off the underbrush. I could see a handler setting up fences to make a new pen for them to move into, one that would bring them right up against my car. The animals knew what to do, starting to crowd the fence leading into the new area and I saw he had a couple of llamas with the other animals.
As he got closer I said "I see you have llamas too.. are those for the high brush?".
He opened the new pen and the llamas came through first. He said "No, those are gaurd llamas".
I laughed out loud, "Ha! Guard llamas! Funny!" because, of course he was kidding.
The llamas were getting pretty close to my end of the pen now.
 "No," he said, yelling over the sounds of the herd coming through."Really! Guard llamas!"
I heard the warning in his voice as the first llama started getting very close, making a low throaty sound.
"Really! How long are you going to be here? You should probably get in your car!" He yelled as the llama finally reached me.
 I jumped in my car quickly but my window was rolled down a little and I was faced with a llama staring at me, chewing and getting ready to spit.
"You should go now!" I heard the man say.
I pulled out and watched the llamas following me around the perimeter of the lot..always putting themselves between me and the rest of the animals.
So..I'd never heard of guard llamas... but after googling it, I guess it's a thing. They use them a lot in Canada and wherever they need to protect sheep from coyotes.

I guess they're pretty good at protecting sheep from chemistry teachers too.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stuffed with everything good

This last winter, with a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket, I bought myself a beautiful french cookbook by Dori Greenspan.
I had heard an interview with the author, but when I got to the bookstore I couldn't remember the title of the cookbook...  
I did however remember the author because her name is Dori... 
which is the name of Meeshmellow's Parent's pug - a sweet, round, little sausage of a dog.
While listening the radio interview I kept imagining the author's voice coming from a little pug dog in a beret, talking about pumpkins and bacon, licking her little chops... 
It's the kind of image that sticks with you, and the reason I was able to find the book. 
Since it was winter, and sugar pumpkins were available I tried "Pumpkin stuffed with everything good".
Boy is it.
The recipe calls for bread, cheese, bacon, garlic, and heavy cream. Oh, and a pumpkin to hold it in.
I followed the instructions but substituted 2% milk for the cream with great results.
 It smells so good cooking, it's hard to let it finish. 
 Since then I have made it a couple times as a casserole with butternut squash as a base. So good... a new fall/winter tradition!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pay back is a female dog.

We have two dogs... 
an older black lab, Beta, who is sensible, quiet and well behaved
and a younger pointer, Friday,  who is... none of those things. 
Since the very beginning of their time together, the Friday has always sat on Beta. We're not talking about a "snuggle so close she's almost sitting on Beta" type of thing. We're talking about sitting like a normal dog, front feet on the ground, but with her rear end squarely on Beta's back/head/side/rear. Like a 70lb dog sitting on a 80lb dog shaped bench.
This taken when Friday was just a pup, so take this pic and add 40lbs to her.

Everyone comments on it, we always thought Friday would grow out of it, or that Beta would stop putting up with it when Friday got too heavy. But it just kept going on. Now when it happens, Beta just growns and gives us a look that we can only interpret to mean "Wasn't I a good dog? Things were perfect before this Thing came. Why is this happening?"
Now she has a reason to be happy:
Oh, how the tables have turned
I guess now it's Friday's turn to look at us and say:
"Things were perfect before this Thing came. Why is this happening?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Easter in January

It's about time! Our new chickens started laying eggs in January. Mary, who is an Ameraucana breed lays green shelled eggs (just as we hoped). Ameraucana chickens look a little different, with fluffy neck feathers and a short, hookish beak. To me they look a little hawk like.

Not our Mary, but looks just like her!
 Our other new chicken, Shirley, is a Barred Rock and lays brown eggs.
Again, not Shirley, but a splitting image!
Our Shirley is always fluffy so she looks really fat all the time. She is such a good chicken, really personable and doesn't mind being held or petted. She is very aggressive about food, so if you have some she is your best friend!

Of course there was excessive documentation of the  first eggs!
Both a little smaller than "jumbo"eggs, but decent size for first eggs!
As usual, the yolk is proportionally bigger that store bought eggs.
Hard to see here, but after we hard boiled the green shelled eggs, the inside of the shell is a light blue. 
Easter will be interesting this year... what will the green eggs look like when we color them?
 Maybe we won't color them at all!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's a Jungle in Here!

I've made the most of the winter break by enlisting my craftastic mother to help finish a project I've been dreaming about for a long time now... a vine covered tent for M! Originally it was supposed to be a hanging tent with a pad as a base, but Grandma Nancy thought it would be great over her bed. Such a good idea!

We've had most of the materials, but just hadn't gotten the time or energy to actually complete it. It was a lot of fun and quite a challenge, but so worth it. It was great working with my mom and "winging it". I commented that it was more like sculpting than sewing! My mom said, "At least you come up with interesting projects..", like somehow that was better than wanting help with a project that has, you know, like patterns and stuff. 
Then we really had some fun by cutting out a bazillion leaves and making vines and some flowers

When we finally set it up, Miss M wanted to 
get in right away and close it up.

The view from the inside:
 Perfect for imagining you're camping in the jungle!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day at the Museum

Just before Chirstmas, Ms. Alicia and I enjoyed a whole day at the De Young Museum in San Fransisco. We were able to get tickets for the visiting impressionist exhibit where we saw actual Van Goghs!
We also went to the Legion of Honor which was showing a very interesting exhibit called Japanesque. Most of the exhibit was a ton of beautiful woodblock prints but there was also a  portion where they showed how different colors were laid on top of each other with the woodblocks.
Thank you A, for a great lunch, great talk and great day!