Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter 2013

I borrowed Curious George Colors Eggs from the library to get the kids into the Easter spirit. Mark’s reading of one of the lines in the story made me laugh long and hard: “THEY WERE GOING TO DYE… eggs.” (Of course I heard “dye” as “die.” See video here.) Because she saw my reaction, Julia then began saying that line just like Daddy which sounded hilarious coming from my squeaky girl. (See video here.)

The Easter season was filled with egg hunts - four of them to be exact. First there was one at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool. After decorating baskets and dyeing eggs in class, the kids ran around on the grass and collected six eggs each. Inside the classroom they examined their loot to find out what toys and stickers they’d found.

Julia dyes an egg at preschool.

And they’re off!
Finding eggs in the preschool yard

Opening eggs

Julia likes the spring animals, and (no surprise) the bunny.

We dyed eggs at home the night before Easter and decorated them with stickers a few days later. We faced the age old problem of egg dyeing - the kids want to do it more than the parents but the parents can’t let them do much. We’ll revisit the same problem carving pumpkins in October.

Daddy blows their minds by dyeing a two color egg.

So… Easter! I wanted Julia to wear a special Easter outfit but also knew I wouldn’t be able to get her in a dress. As a result I purchased a bunny shirt for her on Etsy and pinned it to a tutu, telling her they were attached and if she wanted the bunny shirt it was a package deal. Well, that didn’t work and she ended up wearing the bunny shirt with - her favorite clothing item - jeans. This time, sparkly ones. And getting her into some new bunny pigtail holders took a LOT of bribery.

Julia’s Easter ensemble, a.k.a. “the best Mommy could do”
Despite labels on the Easter baskets indicating whose basket was whose, Julia quickly declared that she wanted the blue and green basket this year and James got the pink and purple one and that was that. Julia has the eye of the tiger and ran as fast as she could from egg to egg. She reminded me of my super competitive self that still loves Easter egg hunts. At one point she just carried the eggs in her arms, eschewing her basket, so she could scramble (no pun intended) faster from egg to egg. Meanwhile James happily plodded along collecting an egg, looking around, and eventually collecting another egg.

James is a study in calm.

Meanwhile here’s Julia.

“Basket? Who needs a basket?”

The Easter Bunny hid 56 eggs in our newly landscaped backyard. This was also the first time our eggs were filled with anything (M&M’s, jelly beans, and stickers), and the twins sat on the deck afterwards to go through them, compare, and eat candy.

“What’s that Julia has?”

James enjoys all the M&Ms he can eat… until we finally put them away.

Afterwards the twins had a picnic lunch on a blanket in the backyard, complete with bunny-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Even though James is eating, Doggy still likes to cuddle.

Picnic lunch!

Mark’s birthday was the same day this year as Easter so we went out to dinner at Bombay Garden. When we got home Mark read his cards from the twins. I tried for a week to get James and Julia to make birthday cards to no avail. I finally got them to make them that morning by giving them their favorite letter stamps from Bubby to decorate cards, and Mark helped them finish not knowing their sheets of paper were going to turn into his cards. They also helped Mark eat his Kara’s Cupcakes and open his birthday presents. One was Magna-Tiles, clearly a present for the kids though it was something Mark wanted.

The kids are getting really good at using their letter stamps.

"Are shirts what passes for grown-up gifts? Bo-rrrrrrring." "That's it? A shirt? Seriously?"
Next was an Easter playgroup playdate at Vicky L.’s house with her twins Amelia and Sophie along with Rachel P.’s son Oliver, Beth’s daughter Laura, and Stacy’s son Ronan. The kids decorated baskets and also tried on pretty Easter hats.


Julia in her Easter hat

Huck Finn in his
The egg hunt was in the backyard. Julia again was Miss Uber Competitive, and James meanwhile saw eggs but didn’t pick up any. Suddenly he started bawling - apparently Laura took an egg he had his heart set on (he was five feet away as she took it), and he kept crying and didn’t gather any more. As the other kids passed him to go inside, each sweetly put one egg in his basket and Julia did too (even though I didn’t suggest it), which filled his basket. I re-hid his eggs just for him. Afterwards James and Julia sat outside and were genuinely excited for each other as they both opened their new treats.

Ronan, Sophie, Laura, Amelia, Julia, and James about to hunt for eggs outside.
Julia has her eye on the prize.

James has his very own egg hunt.
Happily checking out each others’ loot
When my parents visited a few weeks later, I hid eggs in the backyard and held an Easter egg hunt re-enactment, which brought the total number of Easter egg hunts to four.

Julia fills her basket during our Easter egg hunt re-enactment.

The End

Here’s Easter 2012 and 2011.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Tale of Two Train Trips

“I love you more than trains and Caltrain.”
-James on his card to Mona on her last day with us

Our last field trip of the year at Mountain View Parent Observation Preschool in May 2013 was an excursion on Caltrain. The previous field trip involved taking a city bus to the Palo Alto Children’s Museum and Zoo, but because James was afraid of the bus we had to skip that part and meet the class at the zoo. He thought there was no light inside the bus, and he had mentioned the same fear about trains. (I think it’s because from the outside both appear dark inside.)

Since I didn’t want to face a two-kids-don’t-want-to-board-a-train-while-I’m-on-my-own situation, I decided we’d try a dry run a few weeks before. While in the car on the way to the Mountain View Caltrain station, James suddenly got excited to get on the train, and pretty much everything went smoothly after that.

The kids were excited to “help” Daddy get his tickets from the machine. They boarded and they looked out the window delighted as we zipped along. They particularly liked going to the upstairs section of the train, mostly because they love to go up and down stairs.

James helps Daddy get the tickets.
Here comes the train!

We chugged about 20 minutes to the Menlo Park station. Stepping down from the train, I held Julia’s hand and couldn’t reach James’s so I asked Mark to take his hand since there was a large gap between the step and the platform. He announced that James was just fine and then a moment later James’s leg slipped into the gap. He was okay but still, Mommy 1, Daddy 0.

The other hiccup when we disembarked was when we walked ahead of the train because when it pulled out of the station it was VERY loud which frightened James. But I explained that it was because we were in front of the train and next time we would be sure not to be, and he was okay with that.

We only had a little over an hour in Menlo Park. Our excursion began with a several block walk to Jeffrey’s Hamburgers for lunch. 

Julia makes her grand entrance into Jeffrey’s Hamburgers...

...And then lies down.

The many faces of James

The kids liked their food (Julia always loves French fries), and James tried a root beer float for the first time. With each bite he looked like he was in heaven.

James likes his milk.

Julia likes her food.

Daddy likes his root beer float.

James is in ecstasy as he tries his first root beer float.

On our way back to the station we stopped in Kepler’s Books, and the kids had fun playing with puppets with Daddy in the children’s section.

Playing at Kepler's Books

Julia and James enjoyed the ride back and everyone wanted to ride upstairs on the train. 

James and Julia play at a fountain near the Menlo Park train station.

Mommy waits with Julia at the station.

“A train! A train!”

Going upstairs on the train
Meanwhile in preschool to prepare for the field trip on Caltrain, Teacher Mindy lined up the chairs to resemble a train and had each child sit and hand her a pretend ticket. 

First row: Julia and James, Second: Melina (her mom Manisha is in the background) and Ethan, Third: Luciana and visitor, Fourth: Brody and Phoebe, Fifth: Ellen and Scarlet, Sixth: Jamie and Harper, Seventh: Lyra and Zachary, Eighth: Everett and Zoe.
Julia gets her ticket.
The following week we met the class at the Mountain View Station. James and Julia got super excited seeing the train pull into the station, and they loved riding the train all over again. 

My kids kind of look like they were transported from the 1920s for the day. You know, except for the ever present jeans.

Pointing at the train, still far away

Everyone in hats!

They play with their friends on the train:

James looks at Everett.
Everett looks at James.

Melina and Luciana show off their talents.
Phoebe and Tracy watch from upstairs.

We disembarked at the Diridon Station near Downtown San Jose and the class walked to the playground at the Arena Green next to the Shark Tank, home of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. After eating a snack there really wasn’t much time on the playground, and soon it was time to make our return trip. 

James eats a cupcake at the park for Luciana’s birthday.

Teacher Mindy put on her Conductor Mindy hat and walked the aisle of the train pretend-taking each child’s ticket. I think James and Julia actually handed her our parking pass. Sucker!

Conductor Mindy returns James’s ticket.

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers