Friday, January 29, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away!!!!




So after two weeks of rain, 7.5 inches in one week, we finally got a break in the weather. And boy did we need the break!!!

As you can imagine, the hills are bright emerald green and the mustard is beginning to show. It is just beautiful!!

During the storms, we had snow for the second time on Mt. Diablo. There were funnel clouds in Bentwood and, closer to home, Clayton. It was a rip roaring time!!


To keep us occupied, we introduced the kids to the game Sorry and Chutes and Ladders. We did puzzles and a little baking...


So during this week, Sophie had Buddy Bear. This is a teddy bear all of the kindergartners take home. They write in a journal all of the activities that they did. The bear comes in a basket with a bunch of stories in which we read to both Sophie and Buddy. The Bear has seen better times (it is the same one from when Emma was in kindergarten). Sophie thought it would be a neat activity to do with Buddy to make brownies and play Sorry:


Emma got into the action and made a cake and decorated it with blue berries:

Also during this week, Sophie began her 100 day project. It is something they do to help the kids learn to count to 100 and signify how big 100 is.



Sophie is a VERY detailed girl and really does not like to have Papa's help. She had to cut out a big number 100 and then decorate it with 100 items. The funny thing is she did a better job cutting on the lines than I ever could.

As you see here, she is meticulous at adding her 100 items: Marshmallows

video

Mind you, it took quite some time and patience (on me and Beth's part) to get all 100 marshmallows glued and positioned "just right."

Sophie is also working on her sight words. She is doing great at home; however she is a bit nervous at school to read out loud:

video

All in all a pretty good week.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Run Trip!!!


When I was a kid, my parents took us on "drives". On these road trips we got to see a lot of places and experiences.

Beth and I have continued to do this with our kids. It is a little bit more low tech, we run, Emma rides her bike, and Myles and Sophie ride in the jogger.

This is definitely family time we all enjoy. We get to see the sights, we get out of the house, we get our exercise, we get to talk and see the works of our wonderful creator.



One of our favorite trips is through Golden Gate Park. There are so many interesting things to see and we always start and end at the beach.

Pretty fun for a 15 mile run.














Our turnaround point is at the Conservatory of Flowers at the far end of the park. The kids like the Dahlias in the summer time.







As we are leaving the park, we come across the bison. I really do not know why they are there. But the are fun to watch.












At the end of our run / bike ride we always end at beach. Beth and I can recharge, the kids can play in the sand, look for shells, chase waves and have a picnic.



We make the day an event.











And at the end of the day everyone is tired, but have memories that will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Break, California Newts and Posion Oak




During the first week of winter break, Beth and the kids had been taken up with Angela Behrens and the kids to look for salamanders. You will find the pictures on 12/23/2009 on Our Picture Site. Here is a funny movie of them being chased by cows.




video


The movie stopped because the bull came a cross the ravine and began following them.


What makes this movie even funnier is when you know that Beth has grew up around farm animals!!!

I had taken the second weekend off and we decided to go back up so Beth could show me the area. It is amazing that there are so many places within 15 minutes of our house for us to explore. The hike was pretty harmless (so I thought). It had rained a couple of days before, so the ground was a bit moist. However, we found the cache we had been searching for. And a bonus. The following are some pictures from that day.







So as I was putting away the Newts, Emma starts saying "Papa, come here quick!!! There is something that will sting and kill you!!!" She had been turning over logs looking for more newts and salamanders and came across this:




This is a Western Woodland Scorpion. They mainly stay near the coast and are located from California as far north as southern Washington State. Their sting is like a bee sting. We never knew this even existed outside the desert, less nearby.

The day came to an end and we had our lunch. There is a fun tree to climb and the kids were all over it.


The following day, we decided to hike the Rim Trail around the Lafayette Reservoir. It is a fun trail, and Myles can finally walk most of it. These are some of the pictures:




Well after 40 years of reciting "leaves of three, let them be" and following urban myths like, Poison Oak is only poisonous when it is red, I think I got a little cocky. I mean, over the years I have hiked in many different areas, Lake Shasta, Washington State, and definitely had no problem taking "deer" trails. Well it finally struck.


It was the most painful and maddening three weeks. Besides the initial reaction to poison oak, I also had an allergic reaction. The funny thing is that I didn't realize that I had poison oak until a week latter when the allergic reaction happened. I finally went to the doctor who gave a steroid to help with the reaction. Since it took me a week to understand what it was, Beth unfortunately was exposed, though did not have as bad a reaction.
Here are some of the pictures of the onslaught.