This year for boy’s day, Daniel picked McDonalds for dinner. He also got a Lego Star Wars set and a Darth Vader shirt. Usually we let them pick fun stuff to do for Boys and Girls day, but Elizabeth deferred her choice to going to the dinosaur museum in LA. So, Daniel deferred his fun day to Legoland. So I guess that means we’re planning a trip to SoCal sometime soon. Which means we’ll get to visit all of our family down there, maybe at the end of summer.
Gifts, Mc Donald’s and cut apples (because there has to be something healthy on that table)
Friday night was the girl scout Me and My Guy dance at Elizabeth’s school. The theme was “Under the Sea”, which I think was the same theme as the prom in Back to the Future. (Oh i looked it up, that one added the word Enchantment.) It was a fun time dancing with Elizabeth, meeting all of the other dads, and watching all the girls go crazy. I think they even went crazier than normal because, at least with girls, it seems dads aren’t as strict as moms.
They are always hitting my top lip. I thought that getting them put in was going to hurt! I had to take medicine that made it hurt less for a few days. I can’t eat chewy or hard stuff anymore so that gets rid of a lot of candy. I can’t wait until I get these out. Only 4 more years!
On Easter morning I went to work and the kids woke Sandy up twice to go downstairs and see their Easter baskets. In her basket, Elizabeth got socks, paintable bunnies, fuzzy stickers, new pajamas, candy, and a bell for her bicycle. She also got bunnies and candy from Grandma and Grampa. Daniel got a basket full of socks, pajamas, a bike bell, and little pinball machine; and from Grandma and Grampa he got a Lego building set and more candy. Later they dyed Easter eggs and when I got home we had an Easter egg hunt. For dinner we had a yummy ham, with potatoes, asparagus and deviled eggs. It was a lot of fun.
Easter baskets waiting for kids to come downstairs.
The Hallers came up to visit on St. Patrick’s day weekend and brought their awesomely shiny bubbly new Airstream trailer with them. On St. Patrick’s Day Eve, while I was at work, Sandy and Elizabeth went to see the annual Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade. Daniel had to stay home to put the final touches on his big fifth grade research paper on movies. That afternoon Wade, Jeanine, Luke and Olivia drove up in a gigantic van towing an even gigantic-er trailer. They spent most of the weekend with us and all of the kids had a great time playing with each other. On Sunday, we all hiked to the Dublin Library and spent a few hours eating and playing at the St. Patrick’s Day fair. There were rides for the kids but the lines were crazy long so we couldn’t ride anything. We were sad to see them go on Monday, and can’t wait to see them again.
Big red wagon that was part of the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade
Dan carrying Olivia to her brand new Airstream trailer
Wade helping Elizabeth swing from a tree in our back yard
Luke helping Olivia swing, too
The long hike on the Iron Horse and Alamo Creek Trails
Along the trail
One of the many turtles we saw on our hike. We also saw some very large fish swimming in the relatively small creek.
We went to an awards ceremony at school where Elizabeth got an award for being a good role model. The award was for the character trait: Being Giving. I never thought she was that “giving,” and don’t know what she could be giving away. But there it is, and we are very proud of her. Good job, Elizabeth!
Going up to get the award
In front of her teacher, Mr. Martin.
Frederiksen Elementary’s CHARACTER TRAIT Role Model Award for Being Giving
My class and I went on a field trip to IN-N-OUT. We got our own hats and name tags. We also got a tour of their kitchen. Then it was time to order food. I ordered a grilled cheese with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.
Girl’s Day is March 3rd. Its just like Mother’s day, Father’s Day, and Boy’s day. This Girl’s day my family gave me a Pokémon t-shirt and a Pokémon action figure set. For dinner we ate at Chipotle and watched Pokémon.
Camp was the most fun thing I did in 5th grade. We did lots of outdoor activities like hiking Cresta Blanca and playing zombie tag. We also had fun playing indoors. In my cabin we played monkey in the middle and had pillow fights.
The food at camp Arroyo was delicious! I even ate the Teriyaki chicken. On the last day they served the best meal ever! We had pizza and they baked us brownies. Camp Arroyo is probably going to be something I remember forever!!!
A view of our camp
My cabin mates in “Alder” cabin
Messing around in the cabin
We saw some awesome wildlife. These are ordinary turkeys, but they told us there were some half deer/half turkey “durkeys” running around there somewhere.
I got half way up this wall. It was big.
Vultures were cheering us on.
Getting ready to go on a hike to Cresta Blanca and Lake Del Valle
I bought a really cool jigsaw puzzle when we went to Disneyland and it was so much fun to put together, it put the whole family, or at least Sandy and I into a puzzle building frenzy, completing 3 thousand piece ones in just 9 days. I like puzzles with pictures on them that I can take the picture on the box and try to put individual pieces where I think they belong and join them together as I find more pieces. Sandy is better at looking at the shape of the pieces and putting them together using colors more than the actual picture. It makes for a good teamwork and worked fine until we got to the third puzzle. It is from Ravensburger and called:
WASGIJ? A jigsaw from another perspective! High Tide. No. 19 083
The trouble is that while the box has a very detailed picture that would make a great puzzle that especially suits my style of puzzling, that picture is not the puzzle. The puzzle is what everyone on the picture on the box is looking at. So there is no guide to where to put the pieces. We can only work on shape and color and sometimes the picture if we can tell what it might be. Very frustrating. So much so that I went online to cheat and find a picture of the completed puzzle. But there weren’t any. Anywhere. But we finished and when we did, I decided I wanted to put the picture online to help others that may need it if they are looking. (That’s why I put the whole name and model number)
San Fran puzzle
WASGIJ? A jigsaw from another perspective! High Tide. No. 19 083 The Box. I know that not knowing what the puzzle will look like is supposed to be part of the challenge but it was very frustrating for me.
WASGIJ? A jigsaw from another perspective! High Tide. No. 19 083 The answer. We finished it, actually Sandy did almost all of it. But now if someone else google the puzzle at least there will be an “answer key.”
Sad news as Beau passed away this week. We all miss him so much. He got sick on Wednesday and by Friday was hurting so bad, he couldn’t go on. The vet told us that 13 years was a long life for a dog of his size but that still wasn’t long enough. We are still coping with his absence and think about him all the time. It’s really hard for us to spend any time in the garage or the back yard without him. He was an awesome friend and member of our family.
Below is a gallery of the some of Daniel and Elizabeth’s favorite pictures.
Daniel had the option of taking a trip or having a party for his eleventh birthday and chose a trip a museum in San Francisco. It wasn’t until two hours into the trip and some prodding from Elizabeth, that he realized we were going to Disneyland instead. The kids got a rare non-holiday four day weekend so we decided to check out new stuff like Cars Land, the Little Mermaid ride, and the revamped Star Tours at a time when we thought the place wouldn’t be so busy. Cars land was awesome and still new enough to be kind of busy with wait times for the Radiator Springs Racers ride being almost an hour. The rest of the park had very short lines. The Haller family spent every day with us there, and John and Deanna joined us for dinner and some Lego shopping one night. For his actual birthday dinner Dan chose Rainforest Cafe. He had to wait to get back the hotel room to open presents. He got a puzzle ball from his sister and a video game and promise of a new bike from mom and dad. Elizabeth rode every roller coaster she could and even outlasted me on California Screaming. We still cant decide if she really liked it or just was being braver than her brother.
Driving in Cars Land
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Mullholland Madness roller coaster is now Goofy’s flight school. Exact same coaster with new theme, works well. We rode it lots of times.
Lots of red on the new Star Speeder in Star Tours. We rode three time and went to three destinations. No repeats!
That daring young Elizabeth on her looping machine. California Screaming.
So the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is famous for it’s albino alligator so Dan was disappointed (only a little) that we missed that by going to Disneyland. But there was one in a Downtown Disney restaurant to make up for it.
We celebrated Elizabeth’s birthday by having some ice cream cake, and opening presents and then going out to eat at Yanagi Sushi. She got a bike from Mom and Dad, and a nerf gun, a Pokemon and bouncy ball making craft set from Daniel. The next weekend she had a party at the East Bay SPCA. Her and about 10 of her friends played some games and learned about animals before going on a tour of the facility. They finished up with her second birthday cake. Instead if bringing presents for Elizabeth, the attendees brought donations for the dogs and cats there. Lots of fun and turned out to be a great party idea.
Halfway done with some California rolls, waiting for noodles and soft shell crab.
Ice cream cake with ice cream cones.
Making a wish
Yep! Those little ice cream cones were edible.
Opening cards and presents
Trying her brand new bike out at the school yard.
At the SPCA holding Jenny
Puppy excited because all the kids are coming to visit.
The kids are checking out the cats and the cats are checking out the kids.
Cute Cuddly Kitten
Learning about the veterinarians.
Checking out the dogs.
Waiting to be adopted. One is wearing the “cone of shame.”
It took two days and a hotel room stay, but we now have hardwood floor in our living room, dining room and entry. We thought it would go quicker but when they pulled up the carpet they found 50 year old particle board underlayment that was pretty dilapidated. So they had to spend the first day rebuilding the subfloor with plywood. Then after that they said that the floors had settled over time and weren’t level enough for the hard oak that we ordered. They had to pour a self leveling mixture that took all night to dry, and rather than risk stepping in it and messing it up, we decided to stay at a nearby hotel. We had to choose something that could be installed over the leveler and picked acacia which in the end Sandy and I think looks much nicer than what we originally picked. Now the stained carpets are gone and we are happy with the results. We are putting felt feet on the bottom of all the furniture and up next is finding some area rugs that we like.
Tearing out the icky old floor and subfloor
First they tried making wedges and different plywood thicknesses to get the floor level
But they ended up having to pour this amazing self leveling stuff to make it work
So sad. Workers were all over the place and Beau couldn’t move out of their way fast enough and eventually had to spend much of the install time locked in his kennel.
The first planks. Looks redder than it really is. Its the lighting.
We went to see How to Train Your Dragon live at the Shark Tank (aka HP Pavillion) in San Jose today. We started out with lunch and one of my favorite restaurants, The Fish Market, then we surprised the kids by taking them to the show. It was the same technology as Walking with Dinosaurs but with some added flying and more drama. I wanted the story to be original, but they just acted out the plot of the movie. We may have sat too high because the dragons were not as impressive as the Walking dinos. Still it’s amazing what they can do. After we got home we watched the movie, and to be honest, I liked the movie better. But it was a fun time out, and we all seemed to enjoy it.
Christmas was hectic this year as we were planning for the holiday and the installation of new floors in our home at the same time. Santa brought lots of toys, and there were lots of presents under the tree from family to be opened. Daniel got some video games and legos and Elizabeth got a pogo stick and some Yoohoo and Friends stuffed animals. Sandy got the pots and pans and new eyeglasses she asked for and I am getting the hardwood floors that I have always wanted in our house. As it is every year, there were too many presents, but all were appreciated. Elizabeth was on her pogo stick as soon as the morning rain stopped and Daniel was building legos all morning long. After lunch I took a nap and worked the mid shift. By the time I woke up the day after, Sandy had already packed up all the Christmas decorations and had begun moving furniture out of the living room in preparation for the installers. It made for a very short Christmas season.
Hung by the Chimney with Care
Hamming it up on Christmas Eve
Dino Pillow Pet
Liz is more excited than Mom
Kewpie Doll (or QP doll, according to the package)
Way cool pottery wheel
I think this is the first year that Beau was inside while we opened Christmas presents. He got some treats in a stocking, too.
Happy dad opening lots of geek-friendly gifts like an Ultra-Man shirt, a Star Trek Game and Mug, a puzzle and more. Oh and new floors to come.
Like a fish to water. Successful pogo-ing on her first day.
Daniel and Elizabeth both got school awards yesterday. I think it’s the first day that both got awards on the same day. Elizabeth’s was for “Excellence in Reading Comprehension.” Daniel’s was for “Most Persuasive.” I know that Liz is a very prolific reader and really does seem to understand most or all of what she reads, but I have never thought of Daniel as all that persuasive. We’ll see at report card time if he’s persuasive enough to get his teacher to give him good grades.
Elizabeth getting her award from the school principal
We drove down south to spend Thanksgiving with our Long Beach family and had lots of fun. It was great seeing everyone, but we were sad that Deanna and John couldn’t make it to dinner. We actually had two dinners. One at Wade’s fire station near the Queen Mary, and another one the next day at the Haller’s house. Daniel and Elizabeth really enjoyed playing with Luke and Olivia and we all enjoyed going to P.F. Changs where Mike is working.
Exploring Long Beach Harbor with a new friend
On board the Queen Mary
Cruise ship Christmas Tree
Luke was Elizabeth’s shadow for the whole visit
The Hallers’ surprised me with an awesome beverage. Great name, but really good taste, too.
Halloween started with a parade at school with Dan as an Area 51 alien and Elizabeth as a bat. Both had parties at school, but when they got home, both had homework since the next day was a school day. But after the homework and dinner (we tried for pizza but I guess everyone does pizza on Halloween because the wait was more than an hour, so we settled for sandwiches from Subway), we went trick or treating. Once around the block then back home to hand out treats to other kids. In order not to have them eat the 100 lbs of candy they got, we convinced them to trade their candy for a toy.
Elizabat with her best friend Kate.
Alien Dan in the school parade
Ready for treats, (or tricks i guess, but nah, my kids would never...)
Jeanine, Wade, Luke and Olivia came up for a weekend visit and we had a great time. We went to the Oakland Zoo and the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Olivia and Luke are kinda crazy and I don’t know how Wade and Jeanine keep up with them. But they’re tons of fun. After a great Fisherman’s Wharf seafood dinner we went to get on BART back to the city but some idiot ran onto the tracks and the train was closed. The Davoust’s panicked and took a $150 cab ride back home but the Hallers were patient and waited for BART to reopen and were back into Dublin just a half hour after us. Lots of pictures:
Luke and Olivia playing with Spike
The Buddy System
Olivia wasn't much for the stroller. But...
Dan and Elizabeth got lots of use out of it.
Daddy daughter train ride
Yee haw. Giddyup Lizatortoise!
King of the world. Okay it's only that world where kings stand on tortoise shells with their auties there to make sure they dont fall.
Yesterday was our 20th anniversary. It’s amazing to think its been that long, and then I realized that we were going together at least 5 years before that. Eight job changes, 6 home changes, one puppy and two wonderful kids later, I’m still loving every minute with Sandy. Supposedly platinum is the preferred gift for 20th anniversaries and we shared lots of platinum gifts. Sandy got a platinum and diamond anniversary ring, I got only about a million “platinum” labeled gifts including some Bud Platinum beer and the Platinum Edition of Gran Turismo for the Playstation. We got a baby sitter for Dan and Elizabeth and spent the evening at a Train concert at Berkeley. Now were working on our second twenty.
My new iPhone 5 is here. I should be more excited but I liked my old iPhone 4 and probably wouldn’t have upgraded had my off button not been broken. It’s just okay. It’s got a bigger screen but most of the apps still are the same size with just some black above and below. It is faster, especially with LTE, and my comic books that I read on it are loading faster. But I got used to the jailbreak on my old phone and now I’m missing some of those features. Also iTunes Match in iOS 6 messes up the phone because it won’t let me control what songs take up memory. I used to have power cords everywhere: car, backpack, living room, bedroom, work, garage, now none of those cords fit my new phone and I have to guard the “lightning” power cord because if I lose it (like I have lost many little adapters and gadgets) I won’t be able to use the phone any longer. And of course the maps don’t have street view which was one of the best features of the old iPhones. All that being said, I’m happy to have a phone where all the buttons work, that is thin, light and fast and still can be occasionally be used to make a phone call.
Once again Daniel got an award for Star testing at his school. He again was in the highest level in both math and language arts. We are so proud of him and noticed that he was one of only two kids to get that award all three years that he was eligible. Given there may be people that didn’t show up for the award, but he clearly is one of the top students at his grade level. After a brief but noisy ceremony in the school multipurpose room, the kids got cookies and cupcakes to celebrate.
Hard to believe I’m almost 50. But there it is. We celebrated the day with a birthday breakfast, some cake and some presents. The family got me lots of accessories for our new electric car including University of Hawaii floor mats and an Oakland A’s antenna ball. Afterwards, unfortunately, I had to go to work and despite that, it was a great day.
Thank god there weren't 49 of them.
Big Deal, 49 years to get to 49, try getting to 77 in only 11 years.