Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hidden Genius

Liam surprised me this week with a bit more knowledge than I gave him credit for. He can successfully identify the letters A, B, D, O and Y. Still I can't help but recall that at this age Megan knew all her letters, upper and lower case, and all the sounds that went with them, too. Also, she was already playing Memory and Sorry with us. Liam still seems to prefer putting his head in a plastic bag over academic pursuits.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Thirty Something

Megan and Liam's first day of school was also my 35th birthday.

I had to work, but I had this huge bouquet waiting for me when I got there (from a great colleague) which made the day more bearable.

When my mom turned 62, she climbed Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S. I think it was her way of proving she was still alive and kicking. In a similar vein, I signed up to do a 100 mile race (102 miles actually!) the week of my birthday. That could be a sign of early senility! But I did it and I surpassed all expectations.

Celebrating 35 with 102 miles.

The first few days after the race I looked more like an 80 year old, hobbling around, but mentally it felt good! In fact, I don't feel anywhere near my age. Now if only I didn't have these new wrinkles so I wouldn't have to look my age either!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of School

The day after we got back, Megan and Liam had their first day of school. (They were a week behind because we were some of those horrible parents that hold their kids out to go to Disneyland!). Megan is in kindergarten (but will likely repeat in public school next year due to her age) and Liam is going two mornings a week...which means two kid free mornings a week for Mac (cue the angel choir to emphasize the heavenly nature of this milestone!)

Ready for school! I think my words were something like,"Can you please make sure Megan doesn't look trashy for her first day of school next year?" This seems to be coming tradition. This may be one area where the stay at home Dad routine may not quite measure up to the stay at home aspiring Martha Stewarts. Fortunately, her friends didn't seem to mind.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grandpa S

On the way home from San Diego we stopped to lunch with Grandpa Siechert. He had fruit snacks and a bowl of candy, which instantly made him a popular guy with the kids. But Liam wondered,"How come Grandpa doesn't have any toys?"

The rest of our So Cal trip was hanging out with family including two trips to see Great Grandma Smith and the relatives from Iowa, lots of swimming, and visiting some of the local parks. But after ten days we were ready to head home.

Friday, September 18, 2009

San Diego

Our plans were to be in L.A. for two weekends, one for Kendall's wedding and one so I could run the Angeles Crest Endurance Run, but the race was cancelled this year because of the Station fire. So we had lots of extra days to play in Southern California. On Tuesday (Sept. 15th) we traveled down to San Diego to hang out with my cousin Ed and his family. It is embarassing to admit we've never met each other's sons, especially since they are so close in age.

The kids hit it off right away and the age matching was perfect. Plus all the kids found Mac to be super-exciting. then again, who doesn't??

Besides being consumed by a man-eating hammock, we diverted ourselves with a trip to Sea World! This time we even let Liam come. Good thing, too, because the walrus really wanted to give him a big kiss.

And Megan continued to work on her comfort level with humans dressed as TV characters.

We were marine oogling maniacs till mid-afternoon. Then Ed and james joined us and we hung out in the kids play and ride area till the park closed. We had a couple of sleepy kids in the car on the way home.

Everyone rallied to celebrate Caroline's 4th birthday and enjoy a big slice of vegan chocolate cake!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Disneyland Re-Do

Mac and I had nearly as much fun as Megan when we went to Disneyland last December, so we thought it would be a great idea to go back. So on Monday (Sept. 14th) we found ourselves spinning merrily away in a giant teacup!

Megan has matured some from the last visit; this time she agreed to be in the picture with Minnie (but only if I held her!). And we certainly had our fill of Dumbo and the teacups, but at the end of the day when we asked Megan what one ride she wanted to do again, she was quick to answer,"Big Thunder Railroad!" That a girl!

the lines weren't bad, but I was expecting it to be empty on a Monday after school started. No wonder our teenagers are such delinquents - all these parents are taking their kids to Disneyland instead of sending them to school!

Nothing says Disneyland like a four dollar mickey mouse ice cream!

Once again we had a great day, even with the outrageous prices (including a three dollar increase in admission since Dec.). Next time we might even let Liam tag along to meet Mickey! Lucky for him, we won't mind going back.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kendall and Dave's Wedding

Ok, I am finally getting around to the back log of posts. Seems like we have just been too busy living life to take the time to stop and write about it. Or as my cynical husband would say,"It's 'cause you spend too much time running."

Anyway, on Thursday Sept. 10, the Smith clan was once again up before dawn to catch a crazy early flight out of PDX to SoCal. After Iowa and LA, I think we have come to the conclusion that a 10am flight would be worth the extra twenty bucks a ticket!

The main purpose for the trip was Mac's sister's wedding!

Friday the girls spent all day hanging out, starting with mani-pedi's. Even Megan got to join in. My feet were extra challenging, seeing as I only had six toenails, but wanted it to look like I had ten. Don't worry - I tipped big!

Megan had so much fun with the girls that she went ballistic when we told her she didn't get to come to lunch with us. I had an extra beer at lunch since I was missing her so much (ha!). We checked into the hotel, hung out for a bit and then had the rehearsal. Fortunately, Megan was back to her delightful self!

Liam finally got to join us for dinner. The kids were more interested in this big box than eating, though.

Saturday, we spent all morning getting glamorous. Well, except my make-up made me look like a cross between Elvira and a prostitute, so I maybe wasn't all that glamorous.

Being in the wedding, I didn't take any photos. I have some from my Mom but they are on the lap-top and that is just WAY too much effort. Suffice to say it was lovely and Kendall was beautiful.

Once the music started up after dinner, my kids were the first ones out there, totally getting DOWN! Shy Megan was nowhere to be seen!

Hours of dancing will wipe you out!

Congratulations Kendall and Dave! Wishing you a life of happiness together!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Iowa, Part 2

I won't keep you in suspense any longer for the conclusion of our Iowa vacation!

Friday we drove to Davenport, on the Illinois border. Nice river views, but, um, a little lacking in charm. However, the super swanky country club for the rehearsal dinner was nice. We got to spend some time with Anindita and her husband Tim that night, since we were lucky enough to have them sitting at our table.

Saturday morning, we decided to make a point of crossing the Mississippi and taking the kids to Illinois. Liam has already been to 10 states (if you include DC) in his meager two and a half years (WA, OR, CA, HI, CO, IA, IL, MD, DC, and VA). Megan has three more to her credit (NV, UT and AZ). I guess we are still doing a good job of getting around after having kids.

Anyway, we asked some of the Moline townsfolk for a good Illinois breakfast place and they both recommended the Village Inn. When we realized that the Village Inn was a local chain (with many Iowa lacations as well) similar to Denny's, we decided to keep looking. And so our quintessential Illinois meal came down to a stop at Donut Delite. Hey, at least it was local!

Then it was time for me to get ready for the wedding. Since my high school best friend is Indian, all of the bridesmaids wore sari's. Most of us were total Whities, so going ethnic for a day was so exciting. We met early so we could have the "aunties" dress us because none of us knew how to put on a sari. I immediately made my cultural ignorance clear by coming downstairs with my sari top on backwards. After a good laugh at the pasty white girl, the aunties got me all straightened out. It was awesome. I felt so exotic in my sari! Best bridesmaid dress ever!

We took a bunch of photos, but really didn't have much of a role in the ceremony. One of our main jobs was to show the guests that it was okay to go to the bar during the ceremony (typically guests mingle during a Hindu ceremony instead of just sitting and watching), so I fulfilled my duties by getting some champagne and then hanging out with Mac for the rest of the time.

(Above: the "white wedding" dress, for the reception. Below: Hindu attire (and posing) for the ceremony)

After dinner, we reunited with the kids (who had been in a child care area) and they were ready to DANCE! I think Liam got the third dance with the bride after her husband and Dad!

We all crashed after a way too late night and finally got back home super-late Sunday night (actually Monday morn). This holiday weekend we are still recovering before our next big adventure to Cali for Auntie Kendall's wedding.

Monday, September 7, 2009

To The Tall Corn State!

One of our main vacations this year was to Iowa. Yes, Iowa. My best friend from high school was getting married and we had a couple of other good friends there to visit, so it became a weeklong mid-west adventure.

Our adventure started with a 4:15am arousal to catch our early morning flight. We had an uneventful trip to Des Moines and then a 2 hour drive to Iowa city. Mac and I were struck by the buccolic beauty of the rolling hills, but we were blown away by the I-80 rest stop! It had commissioned art, wi-fi, free maps, a nature trail, and bathrooms so clean you might contemplate sitting directly on the seat! Oregon doesn't even have real mirrors. We made it to Aimee and Joel's just in time for dinner.

Tuesday it was off to downtown Iowa City, a charming little University town. We had lunch in the plaza and the kids enjoyed the park. Megan and Adelaide hit it off, and Adelaide even showed Megan a few new tricks.

Liam was sometimes the third wheel, but at least he had new baby to play with.

Tuesday night, we had dinner with Mac's college friend Rusty, his wife Frieda and their son Oscar. We were back early enough to get in some gaming, just like the good old days.

Wednesday, we had a quiet day around the house, but fortunately we got outside to paint the flowers with driveway paint before the rain hit. (photo from Aimee)

No problem, though, plenty of good stuff to do inside, too. Like read books with a guy who makes lots of funny voices!

Thursday our hosts had to work. This was another day of pouring rain, so we were off to the Children's Museum and the carousel.

By Friday, Liam had almost gotten Adelaide's name right (Adelady, but better than Emily, which is where he started), but we had other places in Iowa to see and the Mirons were headed to Minnesota.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Once In a Blue Moon

Friday when I got home from work, Megan had important news:

"Mom, want to know something cool about December?"
Well, of course I did. Who wouldn't want to know something cool about December??
"In December there are two full moons. One on the second and one on the 31st!"

Very Cool, indeed. Even cooler is that I finally got a good picture of BOTH kids after two and a half years of trying!

Both kids looking at the camera, smiling and fairly clean. Plus, the arm on the shoulder was totally spontaneous!