Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sammy Is 2!

Our Sammy turned 2 years old in August and I seemed to have overlooked posting an entry all about his big day! He loved his baseball cake and immediately climbed on his trike. Also, the girls climbed on too. It was like a present for all. He completely blew through unwrapping his presents and wasn't shy about it at all. But, really, what is he shy about? Mr. Personality plus!


Cake and presents ready for the birthday boy.

Sammy jumped on and Lucy gave him a push.

Sammy checking out his Wonder Pets flyboat.

Can't keep fingers out of cake!

Blowing out the candle (sort of - we helped him in the end).

A happy birthday smile beneath the cake!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Heart Party 2010

Two and a half years ago a surgeon sliced into my 3-year-old's chest - skin, bone and subsequent layers - all the way through her heart to patch a hole. A hole that made us question her future and pray for her health, and we are not usually the praying type. He, and numerous others who helped, succeeded in closing that stubborn hole. A little scarred now, sure. But she's absolutely healthy and that's all that we could hope for, and turns out it's the best thing on earth. Healthy girl, healthy children all three.

Needless to say, I get a little teary thinking about how sick she was as an infant, but how she was a fighter and did so well with, as her cardiologist described it, that clunky old broken washing machine of a heart (funny way to describe her obnoxious murmur). Still, her little heart wasn't going to budge from its first-formed anatomy. So in stepped modern medicine and that strange surgeon with hands like a symphony. He fixed her right up, and her little body took the cue and continued on healing itself after that. Now, that is something else. Something else, indeed.

Which brings us all to the heart party Children's Hospital Oakland throws each year. We went again this year, and the kids enjoyed it. Everyone loves a party! And that's how I want her to remember this whole thing. I keep waiting for Lucy to ask about her scar. Her scar that still itches from time to time. She seems to not think of it at all really, just an absent-minded scratch to rid the itching now and again. I'll mention the heart parties that we go to when it comes up. I'll try to help her remember the good people and place that helped to mend her heart. That it was tough but she was brave, and each year we get to celebrate. And the scar will be a footnote. The life she's living to the fullest is the real triumph.

Ready for some fun!

Lucy excitedly waiting for her balloon animal. A pink dog on a leash.

Annabel getting her balloon animal too. One just like big sis.

Paul and Sammy going down the big slide.

Annabel's turn.


A late lunch of pizza after play time.

That's our girl!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Camping We Will Go

Having missed a few opportunities for camping earlier in the summer because of scheduling issues, we finally got our family camping trip early in September, the tail end of summer. We went to Butano State Park on the California coast just south of Half Moon Bay. We had been there five years ago when Lucy had just turned 1, so it was familiar to us, but it actually turned out to be a wonderful surprise how beautiful, family friendly and relaxing the campground was. How could we have forgotten all these great things? I imagine we will be back again sooner than five years from now.

There were families with kids about the same age camping all around us and everyone was so friendly. During the day they played in the trees and in the evening we all shared s'mores and the older kids even put on skits for us around the campfire. The campground is small and seemed rather close knit and safe, which is strange because we didn't know any of these people prior. It was just the friendly vibe of the campground, which is so welcomed in this day and age.

The beach is close, but we decided to skip it and instead went for a gorgeous hike through the redwoods. The days were warm and the nights cool but not cold. All in all, a perfect camping trip.

Lucy, 6; Annabel, 4 and Sammy, 2

First night there, hanging out around the campfire.

Day two, after breakfast Paul took the kids out for some scooting and running around the campground's ring road.

Hiking along the fire road that would eventually lead to the creek trail. We did it backward, but it ended up being better. Got the uphill part done first.

Sammy hitched a ride on my shoulders. We forgot the kid backpack.

Lone hiker out front, Annie.

One of the many bridges that crossed the creek. It was so nice to be back hiking in the redwoods. Reminded me of college. Really must do more hiking in the redwoods.

On the bridge. Danger boy is up to his tricks again. I had a firm hold on his fleece.

Hiker girls. They did so well! The downhill part was narrow and steep, but they must be part billy goat. Not a single problem!

Creekside exploration.

Having a late lunch back at camp soon to be followed by more campground playtime.

Evening campfire time roasting marshmallows.

Sticky marshmallow boy!

Annabel enjoying marshmallows too. Later the glow sticks came out and the skits took place. What fun!

Day three, early morning milk being requested. The kids slept really well but got up when the sun rose. Early!

Annabel playing on the tree stumps. There were a bunch of hollowed out, live trees (from lightening strikes or fires?) all around that were so fun for the kids to play in too.

At the far end of the campground was the "tree playground." It was the perfect fallen tree obstacle course to practice balancing and great for playing hide and seek too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Day of School 2010

First day of school! First day of school! Ah, yes. Late summer came again and so did the start of school. Lucy was very excited to start first grade and was more than ready. She got a fantastic teacher who was new to Altamont Creek this year, and I am so thrilled for her! She loves it every day and actually gets upset at the prospect of missing school. She's been out only one day so far though, so not to worry. She is reading, writing and doing math with gusto. We are so proud! She's also making a few new friends. It's good to see her adjusting fairly well to the big change of six-hour long school days, plus soccer, Girl Scouts, homework and soon ballet, as well as the other stuff that comes with being part of our busy family.

Annabel started preschool in September and loves it too. She's also making new friends this year and, as always, is the social butterfly. I am amazed at how well she can make herself at home after a bit and really settle into it all. It's wonderful to see her play so well with new friends! She's also starting to learn letters and more, too, so we are really happy that she's embracing it all. She also started a new activity this year, ballet, with a couple of her playgroup friends. Angelina Ballerina move over! Annabel Ballerina is on the scene and practicing for the Nutcracker performance this December.

Sammy also started Mommy and Me preschool this year. Wow! Two years old already and going to his class with Mommy. It's kind of bittersweet for me, as his mommy, to see my baby growing up, yet he absolutely is ready to roll. He does all the art projects and seems to enjoy all the classroom activities. A good sign for the future, for sure!

August 23, 2010. First day of first grade for Lucy. She's looking pretty excited!

She can't wait until the door opens! Annabel wanted to join her too.

Lucy with Connor, our neighbor. They are in the same class this year. They are similar, and it's fun to see them growing up together.

Lucy with her beloved teacher, Mrs. C.

Annabel on her first day of 4-year-old preschool, September, 8, 2010. She was very excited! Paul took her as I was in Oregon.

Doing a little happy, back-to-school dance? So cute!

Signing in.

Sammy with his snack bag on the first day of Mommy and Me preschool, September 15, 2010. He was so smiley that morning!

Making his school bus project.

Playing at the bean table (one of his favorite things!) with his playgroup friends.

Outside time with trucks in the sandbox.

Happy boy going down the slide.

Climbing as high as possible. The girls did it too.

Closing circle. A little ribbon waving time.