Saturday, August 16, 2014

New School Year

Monday is going to bring a lot of new changes for our family.  Jack starts kindergarten, Ryan will be in second, and I will be a full time second grade teacher.  I haven't taught full time in six years.  I'm sure we'll have some adjusting to do, but we're also really excited for this year.  Jack was so happy to find out that he was in the "froggy" classroom and Ryan is thrilled that he is with his same teacher from last year, along with his friend Jaxon.  Thankfully Phil's job is the same so he can help the rest of us hold down the fort.  

Part of becoming a full time teacher again meant I had to move to a new classroom.  I had a lot of fun decorating my new room, but I sure missed my teaching partner!  It's a lot more work to do everything by yourself.  I wanted my surroundings to make me feel happy in my new home away from home as well as be inviting for my students.  I'm really happy with how my room looks and am excited to start a new year.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Road Trip to Portland 2014

We just got back from a really great road trip to visit Doug and the girls in Portland.  Our boys are finally not needing naps or strollers so this trip was tons of fun.  There was nothing relaxing about it, but we loved every second of it.  

Our first travel day started bright and early at 6AM.  We stopped first at the Sacramento train museum.  Before we went inside, we saw a mini donut shop across the street so a snack was in order. We needed to prevent the infamous Ogden "hanger."  We got to watch as our donuts were made.  It reminded me of the book Homer Price.  

Next up were the trains.  Now that Ryan is seven, he was asking Jack to slow down so he had more time to look at the trains.  How the times have changed over the course of a few years.  

After the train museum, we set our sights on Ashland, which was our day one stopping place.  We passed by Lake Shasta along the way, where the drought and the water level were abundantly apparent.  

We were super happy when we crossed the border because we knew Ashland was just a bit further.  

On day two, we got up and headed for Doug's.  We made a stop in Eugene to see Geoff and Shanna, and then we caravanned the rest of the way.  Jack asked incessantly to see his cousins along the way.

He was finally and happily reunited.  

On day three, we spent some time in the park across from Doug's house.  Georgia, who was not too sure of me on the first day, became my friend at the park, even though she looks pretty unhappy in this picture.  We went down the slide about a million times together, which started off our friendship.  

The littles were ready for a nap at this point, so our family stayed in the park to do some exploring in the woods.  We promptly found a garden snake that Ryan wanted to keep.  

That evening, all the grown ups went out to dinner to celebrate Doug's birthday.  We ate at the Pied Cow after first trying Pok Pok, where the wait was going to be two hours.  (This reminded us of the Portlandia brunch episode, so we had to watch it after we returned home.)  Our evening was awesomely Portland.  

We then went to Salt and Straw for ice cream.  It certainly did not disappoint.  

Day four, we went to Doug's church and then in the afternoon, we went to the Children's Museum.  The kids had so much fun!  The girls and Jonathan had never been so it was so much fun watching them.  

Voodoo Doughnuts, the zoo, and a visit to Anna and Mike's were on our itinerary for day five.  

Jack thought he was going to die waiting in the line for his donut.  

He also thought that I ordered him the wrong donut when I asked for a chocolate glazed bar instead of a "chocolate maple bar" as he calls them.  He fell on the floor and cried.  Luckily, when he saw that I got it right, things improved.  He slowly devoured his entire donut and a carton of milk, then carefully licked each finger.  It was epic.  He also didn't eat anything else until dinner that night.  

The zoo was next.  

Ryan and Phil had Lorikeets land on them and drink nectar.  Because of this, Jack had another meltdown and said, "They're NEVER gonna land on me!", followed by tears.  (We may have also been going too hard and resting too little at this point.)

Our last stop for the day was Anna and Mike's.  I got to hold Joseph.  He is the squishiest and snuggliest baby ever.  I loved meeting him and holding him and Anna and I also enjoyed catching up.  I had a hard time saying goodbye that night.  Living so far away is tough.  

The next morning, we gave Georgia and Carolina the donuts that we brought back for them.  The girls were pretty excited when they saw the chocolate frosting.  

Next, we took the boys to OMSI.  At this point in the trip I felt like I had a hang over from too much fun and not enough sleep.  It took till about noon before I felt like I was really awake.  The boys loved OMSI. (Which, is pronounced AWMSEE, not OHMSEE.  We were corrected by our Portland friends.)  

We got to see the dinosaur exhibit, the planetarium, and do a ton of cool science experiments.  We practically had to drag the boys out of the museum and we had been there for about five hours!  

We left OMSI to visit our friends, Ben and Alli.  We were wondering why all of our Portland friends had to live in different suburbs that were all in opposite directions from one another.  We had another very enjoyable evening, and again, we had a hard time wanting to say goodbye.  

We had to tell the girls goodbye before they went to bed that night because we were leaving the next morning before they got up.  This was so hard, but was made a bit easier by the fact that they didn't really understand that we were leaving.  Carolina and I were already buddies before this trip and we had so much fun together.  Georgia and I got to know each other really well this time.  She even told me "I yuh you."  She melted my heart and has me around he little finger.  

We left bright and early the next morning and really didn't make any stops until we got back to California.  It rained the entire drive out of Oregon, but stopped about five miles into California.  I was hoping our family could bring the rain back to California.  

We made it to Vacaville by the evening and were completely beat.  We picked up finger food and just had a picnic on the floor of the hotel room.  We all went to bed early to catch up on some much needed sleep for our big day in San Francisco.  

Our plan was to drive into San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge and then to stop in the viewing area and take some pictures.  The whole city was bright and sunny except for a giant bank of fog that covered the entire bridge.  We could barely see it even as we drove across it.  The bank of fog never lifted the entire day.  When we made it into the city, we parked in Fisherman's Wharf, then went to the Musee Mechanique. 

There weren't many people around since we were there right when it opened.  

Right outside the doors to the Museum, was this cargo ship from WWII along with a submarine.  They boys wanted to go inside both, but because we only had one day to spend in the city, we made the boys pick one.  They picked the ship.  

Ryan could have stayed on the ship all day, but Jack and Phil were stricken with a case of hanger and we had to find food quickly before someone got hurt.  After lunch, we got in line for the cable car, which surprisingly wasn't very long.  

As the cable car pulled away from a crowd of people, Jack said, "So long, suckers."  I about died.  I don't know what  I'm going to do with that boy.  

We spent a little time near union square and Market street, then walked up Grant through Chinatown and on to North Beach.  

North Beach was our final destination for our day in SF.  We got coffee at El Greco, our favorite coffee house, and all the boys got a snack.  Phil ordered strawberry ice cream for Jack, strawberry lemonade ice cream for Ryan, and tiramisu for himself.  When Phil set all the food on the table, Jack started crying and said, "but chocolate is my favorite."  Phil, being the kind father that he is, traded Jack and let him have the tiramisu.  

He ate EVERYTHING and then said, "I love coffee AND chocolate!"  We do too, Jack, we do too.

Our family was totally exhausted at this point and had about a five hour drive to get home.  We started the journey back to the car and after a MUNI jaunt in the wrong direction, we caught a cab, found our car, and started the drive home.  This little mistake in direction also satisfied the boys' desire to ride as many forms of public transportation as possible.  

We made it home just before midnight and realized how amazing it felt to sleep in our own beds that night.  We learned that we don't hate road trips like we previously had thought.  It turns out that as the kids get older, things like this trip get to be a lot more fun.  This was probably one of the best family vacations we've ever taken and we can't wait to do it again!