Apr 29, 2014

2014 Zoo Zoom

My running these days is not where I would like it to be, but for the time being I am not signing up for any half marathons either. Our life is too busy to put in the effort to properly train. So for now, I am focusing on 10Ks. Recently I participated in one that benefited the Sacramento Zoo. And London participated in her very first race - a 220 yard dash Fun Run for the Sac Zoo. To top off the weekend, my dad was in town for a quick visit - he just couldn't wait to see the girls until June. He hadn't seen them since our trip to Tucson in February. 

The weather was perfect for my run. The breeze had brought in the Bay Area fog cover, something we rarely get. It was actually rather chilly while we waited for the start. The fog cover work break while I was running. While I didn't have a personal best, it was wonderful to get back out and running. Cameron, my dad, Sydney and London were waiting for me when I had less than 50 yards to go. London was so excited to see me that she ran out to greet me. Since I still had to finish the race, I grabbed her hand and she finished with me. The crowd got a pretty big kick out of it. 

After my race, we waited for London's to start. She great and loved getting to run by herself. There was an option for me to run with her up to the very last second, but London insisted that she wanted to run by herself. Honestly, I understand the need to allow parents to run with their kids, but they then should have had two heats - one for kids alone and one for kids with parents. Parents were supposed to run behind the kids, but the participating parents wanted to keep up with their kids, which made for a bit of a chaotic run. What was even more chaotic was trying to get to London after the run. The finish line spills into a col-de-sac just behind the zoo. And for the kids, medals were being handed out - but right at the finish line. The handing out of the medals actually caused a backup at the finish line and with so many parents trying to get to their kids, it was just a disaster. It probably took me 5 minutes to get to London. What would have worked better was to create a kid coral and make sure that kids didn't leave it without a parent. And they probably should have had something to give to parents to claim their kids at the finish line based on the bib number. 

But oh well, it was mentioned that Kid Fun Runs were just getting started in the community again and this was by far the largest - over 400 kids ran in the two age groups. I'd still have London do it again if she wants. And she was so cute in her new running shoes and the running outfit my parents got her. 

Having my dad visit for the weekend was wonderful too. The girls loved having him. That Saturday, London had a birthday party to go to, so Cameron took her and ran grocery errands for the two hours. My dad, Sydney and I stayed behind. I headed into the garden to tackle some weeds and let Sydney get some special 1:1 time with her grandpa.

Apr 17, 2014

A Barnyard Bunch

The girls' school has cute names for each class: Butterflies and Caterpillars, Barnyard Bunch, Lil Ducklings, Friendly Frogs, Zoo Crew & Lion's Den. 

London's been in the Friendly Frogs class since we started at the school last October. Sydney started out in the Caterpillars class until she was steady when walking. I think she made the transition to the Butterfly class around Christmas. And she wasn't due to join the Barnyard Bunch until she turned 2. 

But she ended up starting the Barnyard Bunch this week. Our daycare got themselves re-licensed so that kids between the ages of 1 and 3 could have easier transitions into new classrooms. Before this, you had to be 2 before you could go into the Barnyard Bunch and it had proven to be a rough transition for most. With the new license, kids 18 mos to 2 1/2 years can be in the Barnyard Bunch and 2 to 3 years old for Lil Ducklings. It all depends on the child's readiness not the age. 

Sydney was selected along with 3 other Butterflies to make the move and they are working on the transition this week. We still drop her off in the Butterfly room and when all the kids have arrived, they are walked over to the Barnyard Bunch room together with one of their Butterfly teachers. The Butterfly teacher stays with them while they are there and takes them back as necessary. 

Last week, in anticipation of the move, we were encouraged to bring Sydney by at pick up time just for a few minutes to get to know her new room and teachers, Ms. Pam Pam and Stefanye. We did this on Wednesday and Thursday. So we sort of expected a good report at the end of Monday as Sydney had no qualms with the visits last week. Plus, from our experience with London and seeing how Sydney has followed well in her footsteps, we suspected the change wouldn't bother her much. 

Still, we were anxious to hear how it went. 

Sydney's reports both Monday and Tuesday came back glowing. She did better than expected and much better than the other 3 kids. She actually did so well on Monday, that when Ms. Tracy headed back to the Butterfly room at the end of the day, she took the other 3 kids with her - but Sydney stayed with Ms. Pam Pam and played away. While we weren't surprised by the glowing report, we were relieved to know our expectations of how it all would go down were met and exceeded. My guess is that next week, we'll even be dropping Sydney off in the Barnyard Bunch classroom in the mornings. 

Cameron and I can't help but be a little proud in how well the girls transition to change. It makes us feel like we are doing something right with them that they can have the confidence to go into the unknown and still be the happy and outgoing girls they usually are.

Apr 10, 2014

Dog Run Update

Cameron started the process of building the dog pen almost as soon as we moved in. Progress stalled for a while thanks to time, budget, and most recently, weather. Finally, on Monday, cement could be poured, and thanks to some paid help, and a break in the rainy weather, poured it was! 

Since this Dog Run will be located in our still-to-be fenced backyard, we decided to spend a little extra to have the concrete stamped and colored. It's going to take about a month for the cement to cure and for the color to be less red. 

That means the dog run is at a stand still again. We can't drill into the cement to install the wrought iron fence until the cement is cured. But that also gives us a month to save up for and purchase the fence, which will likely have to be ordered. Maybe by the end of our first year here, the dogs will have their special space. Not that they are complaining. They love life in the current backyard and have only escaped should a gate get left open, and even then, they have been VERY GOOD dogs and stayed on our property. Most days they romp around chasing each other until they spy activity inside the house. Then they set-up look out into the house, begging to be let inside.

Apr 8, 2014

A Willow Tree

Cameron & I have always loved Willow trees. We both agreed we wanted a willow in our front yard as a statement piece. And Cameron is determined to get any trees we will have on our property in these first few years to reap the rewards of their growth as soon as we can. 

We've planted a total of 10 trees including the Willow Tree. This was the last tree to be planted, back in Mid-March. It's pretty much just a twig with leaves right now, but it will be fun to watch it grow from my kitchen window as time marches on. 

Now, to remove the few trees that were already on the property, but in bad spots. We've recently fallen in love with the Red Bud, and were so sad to learn that the two trees outside the girls' bedrooms were Red Buds. Why were we sad? Because these two trees have to be removed - they are planted over our septic tank and leach lines which is an absolute no-no! We also have two trees in the front yard that we are not fans of, but we were also instructed to remove those by an expert because they were planted too close to the house and will soon be an issue for our roof and satellite for TV & internet.

Apr 3, 2014

Summer Garden 2014 - Seed Starting

Somewhere at the beginning of March, this happened while we watched TV one evening: 

Yep, we started our seeds for our Summer Garden. This is the first year we are starting the garden by seeds, but since we have so much land to cover and we wanted to plant more, we chose the most economical route.

We used a seed tray and after planting, the tray was placed in our laundry room - warm place without direct sunlight. In 3-5 days we had sprouts and last week, Cameron and I planted those seeds, now plants in the garden. 

We also planted some seeds directly into the ground just to test things out - which will do better, directly planted seeds or started seedlings. Time will tell.

Apr 1, 2014

Strange Weather

Winter finally decided to grace us with his presence last week - a week after winter ended! We went from Sunny & 75 to cold, windy and rainy in less than 24 hours. Which set us up for some funnel clouds and a few tornadoes. Luckily for us, tornadoes here don't pack a punch like they do in the mid-west. For the few that touched down, some houses lost some roof tiles and a few fences were wrecked. 

And the biggest news story to come from this wild and crazy weather? That no one in our area took the warning seriously and went outside to view this wild weather versus what we were told to do - go inside and stay away from windows. 

Cameron and I were some of those people. While we kept the kids and dogs inside, the two of us did venture outside. At one point there were swirling clouds above us so we tried to get video of it - unfortunately, the video didn't turn out well as the clouds were swirling so slow. But then, while we were watching everything unfold on the news, a funnel cloud was reported and seen via the news copter and from the description it should have been near us. From our back window we couldn't see anything, but when we went out on the back porch and looked to the right, there it was:

This puppy was about 2 miles away and would be one to touch down. We knew we were out of harms way. Had the cloud that was swirling above our backyard really formed, we would have headed into the girls' bathroom as it has no windows and is in the center of  our house. So don't worry, we weren't ignoring the warnings that bad; we had our plan. But, you don't see this in our area very often and it's usually not much of anything to be worried about compared to other areas in this country.