Friday, September 14, 2012

2nd Annual Siblings Weekend Getaway

Two weekends ago, Jason and I went with his sister and bro-in-law, Jennifer and Dan, for a getaway trip to San Francisco. We had been hoping to catch a Giants game, but with the playoffs right around the corner and the fact that they were playing against the Dodgers, tickets ended up costing way too much. We had already arranged for Jason's mom to watch our kids for the weekend (we're so blessed that she's always so willing to take our kids), so we decided to go away for the weekend anyway. We each had one item on our "wish list of things to do" so that's what we ended up doing. Here's a quick overview:
*For previous visits, we've stayed right in the heart of San Francisco, but this time, our timeshare wasn't available, so we ended up staying in Pleasanton and took the BART in to town
*On Jason's wish list was seeing a show of some type. He had looked into some groups playing at different venues, but it didn't end up working out. We did get to see a comedy show with Anthony Boden (from Last Comic Standing) on Friday night though. It was a ton of fun!

*On Jennifer's wish list was a visit to the Ferry Building. On Saturday mornings, there's a wonderful Farmer's Market. I absolutely love this place!!!
*We headed to Chinatown but instead of finding a Chinese restaurant, we had lunch at a Vietnamese place. It was Dan's first time!   Here's Jason enjoying his Cafe Sua Da (Vietnamese Iced Coffee)

*The number one thing I wanted to do this weekend was ride a "Go Car." I know- it's so touristy, but still, I have always wanted to do that and now I can cross it off my San Fran list. It was so fun, definitely one of the highlights of our trip. I laughed almost the entire time- it was just so funny to be zooming around the wharf area and to the Golden Gate Bridge in the Go Car. We stopped along Crissy Field and turned around at Fort Point at the base of the bridge.  Along the way, there were moments we wondered if we'd make it up the hills in that dinky little car!

*On Dan's wish list was seeing some art.  We had planned to visit a museum, but some unexpected things happened back home that needed for us to return to Fresno earlier on Sunday than originally planned.  Lucikly, after strolling through the Ghiradelli Chocolate Festival, we got a chance to wander through some art galleries near Ghiradelli Square. 
*We love eating in North Beach!  Instead of heading to our usual seafood place, we ventured out and tried a pizza place named Cafe Baonecci.  It was great- they serve authentic Italian pizza!  I have to admit though that when we walked by Sotto Mare, I kind of wished that we had gone there instead...
*We weren't ready to head back to Pleasanton just yet, so we decided to go hang out at O'Reilly's Pub for a few hours.  As we walked back to the BART station, we stopped off at CityLights Bookstore and perused the book aisles.  By the time we were on BART, we were super tired and glad to be able to sit!

Not everyone gets along with their family... It's fun to hang out with Jen and Dan, and I'm glad that the four of us are not only family but friends, as well.  Next year, we'll do a better job planning so that we can make sure that Jason and Dan get to see their Giants!   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Preschool or Kinder?

This post is mainly for me to remember this difficult decision that we had to make regarding Jeremy and his future...  A few days ago, we got a phone call from his preschool teacher suggesting that we move Jeremy to kindergarten.  He's doing so well!  Of course we were thrilled to hear this, however, it completely threw us off because we simply weren't expecting to have to process through this decision again.  We agonized over this last spring, trying to figure out what Jeremy should do this year.  Jason and I talked at length and then I called several people for input and advice.  We know Jeremy is doing well now and will probably always be academically successful.  Our concerns are his maturity and social skills- we started Grace in kindergarten when she was 4 and have seen firsthand the effects of her being one of the youngest in her class.  There are so many reasons both for and against him heading to kindergarten.  Ultimately, it's his future we really need to consider.  Well... We decided to leave Jeremy in preschool.   When I talked with the preschool director, there was one thing she said that really boosted my confidence in our decision.  She said that if there's any doubt at all of how Jeremy would do if we were to move him to kindergarten, that alone was enough of a reason to not do it.  So, Jeremy will continue in preschool.  When we asked him what he liked the most about school, he said he loved learning and he loved his teacher.  That alone is enough of a reason to let him "just be." 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dad's Birthday Party

September 7 is Jason's dad's birthday.  Even though he is no longer with us, every year, we celebrate his life by getting together for his birthday party.  The kids attach special notes and pictures they've drawn and written, and we release them.  Then, we go to Yoshino's for teppanyaki and to Coldstone for dessert afterwards.  (If you haven't heard the reason why our family celebrates in this way, please feel free to visit my previous years' posts). 
   Grandma sharing a scrapbook about Grandpa's life with the kids.  Jeremy is the only one who never got to meet and know Grandpa.

 Releasing balloons to Dad/Grandpa in heaven

We love you so much and miss you terribly, Dad... Happy Birthday to you...

Jeremy's First Camping Experience

We are gone for so much of the summer every year that when we're actually in town, we don't feel like going anywhere.  Every year, our friends head to the mountains to camp, and we've declined their invitations, wanting to stick closer to home.  Well, it dawned on us this year that our almost 5-year-old son has never been camping!  The last time we went was when I was 8 months pregnant with him.  I can't hardly believe it has been that long, and I definitely can't believe that he doesn't have any camping memories!  Well to remedy this, our friends, the Macks, invited us to join them and some other friends over Labor Day weekend.  We said yes this time, mostly because school has started and summer has been over for us for several weeks.  Unfortunately, things didn't pan out and so we had to figure out a Plan B.  We had made the mistake of telling our kids weeks ago that we would be going camping.  In fact, we even set up a play tent in Grace's room several weekends ago to let the kids "practice" sleeping in a tent. 
 So, what was Plan B?  We had a "Backyard Camp Out" and invited the Macks to join us.  They even drove their RV over to our house to pretend that they were really going camping.  Here are some pictures of our time together!
We had a wonderful dinner (the Wiens family joined us for that).  That's Jason's arm- I know, silly, but it was the only one I managed to remember to take of our meal.

The kids swam and played in the water (we said it was like playing in a lake or river).
We roasted marshmallows and had s'mores!

Randy and Jason set up two tents- one for the boys, one for the girls.  They brought tons of stuff into their tents- board games, Star War figures, cards, coloring stuff... They were still awake at 10:30pm.  The adults stayed up talking but when it was time for bed, Randy and Jamie ended up sleeping in our family room (on our floor!) with their little one, and Jason and I slept in our own bed.   I still can't believe they slept on our floor- we really need to invest in at least a blow up mattress!!! (Again, so sorry, Macks!)  The girls woke up at 4:45am, and the boys were up before 6am.  We had our windows open and they were so loud- wide awake, laughing and talking.  Later, we found out they were passing notes back and forth between the tents.
After we got up, our families were able to have a nice breakfast together before the Macks packed up and headed home.
It wasn't exactly what we pictured for camping this weekend, but we had so much fun!  We are so thankful to the Macks for going through all the work of getting everything ready just to stay in our backyard- they helped to create a wonderful memory for our family- what a great first camping memory for Jeremy!