Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toby Tiger

We have a cat, and we get to keep him forever, as the kids say.  This is to distinguish him from the stray, who only comes by once in a while.  We picked him up from our local animal shelter last Thursday, and he's been warming up to us a little more each day.  He might be nocturnal: today he played with a rubber ball from 4 am to 8 am, and he's been sleeping ever since.  He likes to hide and sleep up high.  Right now he's resting in a cupboard in Trace's closet: at least three feet off the ground.  Most of the night he was sleeping on the bed with Trace and I--he's pretty friendly at night.  And boy oh boy, his purr machine works perfectly: he can purr for hours during the night. 

After tossing around a few names for a day (including Topaz, November's orange birthstone which would be appropriate but difficult to pronounce, don't you think?) we settled on Toby Tiger.  So here you go, meet Toby Tiger.

Jack cuddling with Toby Tiger.

Comfortable in Trace's closet.

Sleeping together.  Too cute!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween is a busy day around here.  There's a preschool trick-or-treat around the downtown stores, and then in the evening we always trick or treat around our neighborhood.  This year was no exception, although it's hard to believe that after six years, this will be my last year taking a child around downtown.  These kiddos are getting big!

This year Caroline was a character from her newest favorite book, Ladybug Girl.  The girl in the book is even named Lulu, and since we call our girl Carol-lou, or Lou, or Lula, she seems like a perfect match.  Caroline was extra excited because she had outgrown her rainboots last year, and we've been waiting for her size to come in at the army surplus store down the street--and on the weekend before Halloween they finally did: so my ladybug girl had ladybug rainboots to wear just like the ones in the story.  I don't think you can see them in any of these pictures, but they might make it into some other photos this winter. 

Jack was a pirate again this year, with the addition of his talking parrot, which was fun to take to school.  He was wanting to be something scary, and we decided that the parrot startling people would be scary enough (just ask Grandma Jo--once the parrot said something when she was babysitting and the power had unexpectedly gone out.  That parrot can be scary!)
The rest of the pictures tell the story of our day.  First we have Caroline with her best monkey friend Marilyn, ready to go visit the downtown shops.
 Lindsey, Graham, Marilyn, Caroline and I.  Check out the next picture for an explanation of my outfit.  I am awfully lucky to have such a close friend who lives so near, and with kids similar ages.  Marilyn and Caroline also go to preschool together, and they're such good friends that Linds and I have both mistakenly called them Mar-oline and Car-ilyn.

 Caroline as a pumpkin. 
 Do we look alike?  Could we be sisters?  We were Waldo for Halloween--or actually one of the other girls at the store, Khrista, was Waldo, and we were the imitators.  Or maybe we were Wenda?

  Two kiddos ready to go trick or treating around the neighborhood.  Doesn't that pirate look tough?  He's pretty good at saying "Arrrgh matey," "batten down the hatches," and "shiver me timbers."  Trace even taught him a pirate joke: where do all pirates come from?  Arrrrgh-kansas.  I'm not sure Jack knows why it's funny, but he repeats it with a nice growl!
Oh, in the middle of the day Caroline had her Monday ballet practice.  In the midst of getting two kids, their costumes, and a Halloween snack for Jack's class (this was easy and cute, but time-consuming), I forgot Caroline's ballet bag with her ballet and tap shoes in it.  The first part of her class is ballet, and then the last fifteen minutes they work on their tap moves.  I ran home and got her shoes, so I missed the ballet, but I thought I'd share this video I took of the little girls, in costume, practicing their tap to Kermit the Frog's Happy Feet.  Too cute!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caroline can ride a bike!

It's still October, so hopefully Grandma Jo can see these videos.  Caroline has been getting really good on her balance bike, so today we went for a bike ride and voila! she's a bike rider.  Aunt Becky stopped by this afternoon by surprise and we went outside to demonstrate Caroline's new skill, this time with a camera.  Here's three videos of the novice bike rider and her brother.  In the final video she's trying to get started uphill, and you can see how her balance bike skills come into play: she gets herself going (eventually), and I never help her.  She figured this out on her own, because she wants to ride in the Agony with her Aunt Becky someday.  Well done Caroline!

The Cat

Since Saturday at our house, we've had a cat.  She showed up on Saturday, and by yesterday she was a well-loved member of the family.  Today she has disappeared again (and yes, we called the hotlines and reported a found cat--and ran an ad in our local paper and radio station) and we are once again a pet-less family.  We sure had fun with her while she was here!
 Reading a book with Trace and Caroline.
 Making herself comfortable on the couch.
 Sleeping with Jack.
 At some point in our relationship, Trace assured me that he wasn't a cat lover.  Clearly that was not true!
Playing outside--she even caught a lizard for us (perhaps to endear herself to Trace?), and then lost it in the house.  I'm choosing to believe the lizard went out the door, because I can't find it!
We all enjoyed the cat so much, don't be surprised if we adopt one soon.  She was charming.

And furthermore . . .

In case you thought the pumpkin fun was over, here's a shot of the four additional pumpkins we've carved in the last week.  I actually had nothing to do with these pumpkins, beyond buying them.  The amazing Ford truck was of course done by the talented Will Fike, and I believe that the other three were done by my creative husband.  From left to right we've got a crow, Jack's spider, the cat, the Ford, Lightning McQueen, and Snow White (did you know Disney has free pumpkin templates on their website--apparently Trace does!). 
Will working on his truck which he drew freehand!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Fun

In their four and six years, my kids have never carved a pumpkin.  They've painted them, drawn on them, and decorated them in other ways, but we've never carved one before.  Come to find out, Trace has never carved one before either, so this was a first for our family.  We all had a blast!

     These first two pictures are the pumpkins the kids did themselves, with sharpies.  This one is Jack's, and this pumpkin came out of our garden!  Jack made it scary with silver sharpie.

This is Caroline's, and it's intended to be cute.  I think she succeeded! 

These are the bouquets the kids have been picking with fall flowers and leaves.  Aren't they sweet?  One has been added every day this week.  The little perfectly round pumpkin in the middle came from our garden too, and we're convinced that it's the cutest pumpkin ever--but we might have a little gardener's pride.

Here is Caroline scooping out the innards of her pumpkin.  She didn't love doing it like I thought she would--she said it felt like spider webs.  I told her it was more like spaghetti, so then she was willing to help.

Trace used the big knife and cut the pumpkins open.  I guess I have these two pictures in the wrong order.
Caroline took this picture of Jack and I working on his spider pumpkin.
Jack worked hard on this pumpkin.  We printed a spider template from online, traced it, and then carefully cut it.  He and I worked together, and our hands were tired by the end!
In this picture he's showing the scary drawings he did on this lid of his pumpkin.  There's a spider and a few jack-o-lanterns.
Trace carved Caroline's pumpkin, with her input.  She had chosen a large pumpkin, and then she wanted it carved into a kitty cat.  That was a little complicated for a four year old, but she was willing to watch Daddy work on it.
Trace working hard.  I think his hands got tired too!
Posing for me with their pumpkin.  Cute!
While Trace and Caroline were working on the cat, Jack turned his pumpkin around and drew his own face and then carved it entirely himself.  Here's his proud smile for a job well done.  Now he's got a reversible pumpkin: spider/jack-o-lantern.
Jack's pumpkin face.
Two lit pumpkins sitting on the front porch.
Putting in the candles was the best part--both kiddos had a giant grin when they saw these faces smiling at them!  It was great fun for all of us!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

For Grandma Jo

My mom asked for videos of her grandkids, since her internet is half price in Papua New Guinea this month.  I wish my internet would go half price for a month!  This is a video I took of Caroline yesterday, explaining what she and Jack had been playing for the last hour or so.  While she's talking she's attempting to fit a phone, a pig pen and a small baby doll into a water bottle holder that's around her waist.  She's wearing her helmet because she was originally riding her bike--so she's very safe.  Here you go Mom: in the words of a four year old.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Joyful Kids

Yesterday we decided spur of the moment to head up to Lake Tahoe for an overnight trip.  We made it there in time for dinner, and then a long session of putting the kids to bed.  This morning they were both up early and eager to get to the hotel pool.  For over two hours we all played in the water--even Trace was able to get in for a bit--and relaxed as a family.  It felt like twenty-four hours to me,with no dishes to wash or laundry even a remote possibility.  My only job was to play with my kids.  That makes me relaxed.

I think the best part of our quick trip came after lunch, which we ate on the shore of Lake Tahoe.  It was a wonderful meal, followed by a walk outside on the beach.  The waves today were as big as I've ever seen on Tahoe, so I wasn't too worried about Jack and Caroline getting wet--it was really windy, with threatening clouds overhead. 

I was wrong.  They started simply playing with the waves, staying out of the water, especially Caroline, who was running away from them before they got within four feet of her.
 Jack's still dry in this picture, but getting close to the waves, with a feather "treasure" in his hand.
 Trace watched all the action from up by the firepit, with his foot elevated.  Caroline kept running up to tell him about the waves.  In the last eight weeks Trace has been at home since his surgery they've become fast friends.  It's a sweet thing.
 Then Jack kept getting closer, and his sister did too!
They played chicken with those freezing cold waves, laughing their heads off, for as long as their mother would let them. 
 Caroline is wet now!
 You can see how choppy the water is in this picture.
 The ballerina was slowly getting braver, and following her brother further in.
Jack is about to get whacked with a big wave.  I think this is the one that knocked him down. 
 Caroline running.
 This doesn't even look like Caroline because she's contorted her face in such a gleeful manner.
 Not a good picture of Jack, but don't you love that toothless grin?  Notice his entire face has been splashed at this point.
 Whoa, now you're getting deep enough to make me worried about needing to come in after you!
 Time's up.  Two soaked and happy kids!
That's my saggy bottom girl, climbing the incline to the car.  They were so happy, and Trace and I were so delighted watching their capers and giggles.  We couldn't have had a better Sunday morning!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I've known Betsy and Lindsey since we went to high school together--actually I've known Betsy since we were in the church nursery at the same time. I know that I am extremely privileged to have such true and longstanding friends.
We now each have two kids, a boy and a girl each, and Betsy has one more coming in six weeks. Yeah for new babies!
Yesterday Linds and I, who both live in Nevada City, drove to Foresthill to visit Bets. We took this passel of kids to the park. Here are a few pictures I took on my phone of this second generation of friends playing together. Who would have pictured this back when we were in high school? And how did we become older than eighteen anyway?!
Caroline, age 4
Elizabeth, age 4
Jackson, almost 6
Andrew, age 2
Graham, age 1 1/2
Marilyn, age 3
Lindsey and Betsy, age . . . well, not 18!
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