Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School 2014-15: Kinder & 2nd Grade

Well, our first day is already over and was a success! 

The day started bright and early (like 12:30am early) when Sam came into my room crying and upset about the "fort" in his bed falling apart. After much discussion, I finally asked him to crawl in bed with me and go back to sleep. Maddie woke shortly before 6, excited and unable to go back to sleep. She joined us in the bed until we all rolled out about 6:30.

Sam & Maddie with their teachers' flowers. The lightbulbs say, "Can't wait to grow BRIGHTER in Kinder/2nd Grade this year!" It was Maddie's idea to take flowers on the first day. :)

My big girl! All set for her first day of Second Grade, in a 2/3 split with Mrs. Buhler. Maddie is thankful this year to have several friends in class, five or six girls from her Summer softball team!

Sam's first picture pretty much sums up his morning, as well as the attempt at school pictures:

Little Buddy was pretty nervous and was having a hard time channeling all that nervous energy into anything besides whining, asking to stay home repeatedly, and running around like a crazy person.

When we got to school, Maddie gave us the shove-off, letting me know she'd be "fine" and to take Sam to Kindergarten. :) He was pretty unsure about the whole thing:

The parents were able to stay for 20 minutes, and thankfully by the end of our classroom tour and after playing with some unifix cubes, Sam was ready for me to go. He gave me a kiss and headed straight for the carpet when Mrs. Dennis rang the bell.

I'm really grateful for the kids' placements this year. Mrs. Dennis couldn't be any sweeter. She is totally warm and loving and nurturing, just the kind of person Sam needs. She gave him a big hug and talked so sweetly to him at the end of school today. She told him, "Thanks for being such a sweet boy in class!"

Maddie's teacher also told me how "sweet" she was. Couldn't ask for any better compliments about my kiddos! Looking forward to another great year as Sycamore Sharks!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back to School Eve Feast 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Back to School! And in keeping with tradition, we're kicking off the 2014-2015 school year with a Feast! 

This year's theme: Let Your Light Shine.

I was thinking about how to send my kids off to school and started singing, "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," which made me think of the verse:

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

All the party decor just flowed from there. I found a cute print on etsy that incorporated a lightbulb so we just went with it. I had so much fun planning and preparing for this year's feast.

First, the traditional back-to-school party crowns:

Some of the decorations:

I printed a few instagram photos of moments where their little lights were shining bright:

New this year are fun little "let your light shine" tags (also found on etsy) which will accompany the kids to school each day on their backpack and bookbag as little reminders to shine their best. I can see this becoming a tradition as well. :)

On the menu:

Pineapple Sunbeams

Sun Buns:

Lemon Roasted Chicken
Yellow Squash Sunbeams
Yukon Gold(en)s

It wouldn't be a party without sparkly (lemonade):

 Second Grader 


And, last but not least, Sunny Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipping Cream

Bags are packed, folders stowed, lunches ready, outfits laid out, kids in bed, Mama at peace.

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds
while visions of back-to-school danced in their heads
With Mama in her jammies
holding a nightcap
hopinh everyone stays down for a long night's nap

Merry Back-to-School to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lake Almanor

A few weeks ago our friends offered to let us stay at their house on Lake Almanor. It was the perfect vacation for our little family of five. We enjoyed lots of outdoor adventures including fishing, hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, dock jumping, rock throwing, stick collecting and sunset watching. We also rested a lot, watched movies, did "dates" with the kiddos, and enjoyed a lot of fresh trout.

Exploring around the river

First day on the river: a success!

Hiking in the Mt. Lassen wilderness to Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell steam vent (smells like sulphur)

The best sunset of our trip

Sam swimming around

It was a long dusty road to the Yellow River

Yellow River aquatic plants: there were flowers growing right out of the stream. It was so beautiful!

Exploring around the Yellow River

Swirl cones at the Pine Shack

Somebody loves his Maddie girl

no caption necessary
pretty little stream trout

 honeybee reunion?
me and my hiking buddy

Friday, August 22, 2014

lens envy

A family friend is selling his 70-200 1.4 and I've been borrowing it the past week. I'm totally in love. I rented one a few years ago for Ben's 35th but two days wasn't nearly enough time to truly admire every little detail of its awesomeness. A few days ago Evan and I did a mini photo shoot at a local park. Here are my favorites (it was hard to choose).

If I had a dollar for every photo with his pointer finger doing its thing, I'd be rich.




his messed up hair is my favorite part of this photo

sweetest little face

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Date Night: St. George Spirits

A few months ago, Ben and I went on a super fun date night to St. George Spirits in Alameda. I credit Ben's dad with starting my gin habit after leaving ice cold gin and tonic in my fridge last summer. I finally tried it one hot August night and I've never looked back. We sampled some amazing gins while at St. George, and several other spirits including a coffee liqueur that we ended up buying. The most interesting, hands down, was learning the history of the licorice-tasting absinthe. 

Anyhow, if you're local, and you like spirits, you should definitely look into doing a tour and tasting. It's worth all the interesting facts you learn about the process of making gin, vodka, whiskey, liqueur, brandy, etc. plus seeing their amazing space. It's a converted war airplane hangar with redwood ceilings and some pretty amazing copper stills:

The absinthe changes color as it mixes with ice. Super cool:

Cheers, St. George! Thanks for the super fun date night!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Evan: 17 Months

Evan, my lovey little monkey bug!

This month, you are in love with:

eating (sometimes 3 breakfasts by the time I've sat down to mine)
"jumping" off the hearth
climbing high
getting your way
playing along with the big kids (little munchkin)
exploring the world
 and barely pausing to rest

On our trip to Lake Almanor, you were a fan of:

eating snacks (and throwing them)
sitting by the stream (usually on Mama's lap)

going up and down three flights of stairs
waking up multiple times a night (still happening. ugh.)
throwing things in the water

You are not such a fan of:
being left behind or put down when you're not completely ready
getting your hands dirty (Maddie thought of that one, and it's true)
having your face wiped

Our favorite things about you right now:
your babbling and conversation-making
you crack yourself up
how you give kisses
your animal sounds "woo woo!" (dog) "Oooooo" (cow) "owwww" (kitty)
how good you are at throwing

Every day you make us laugh, and you make us tired. Thanks for bringing so much joy to our lives, Evan Michael! XOXO