July 2011

Monthly Archive

nalani’s new stair skill

Posted by lynn on 22 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: nalani

I taught her to scoot down our family room steps on Monday and she’s been practicing all week. I’m a proud mama.

s’mores and screams at big basin

Posted by lynn on 22 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: family, friends, melina, nalani, travel



Last weekend we took our first family camping trip along with two other families. Joey hadn’t been super thrilled about the idea, and less so when we realized I somehow managed to book it for his birthday weekend. (It was the one time that worked for everyone.) But he hadn’t realized that sometimes camping is really just hanging out, drinking, eating, and playing in the forest with friends. And we had plenty of all of that for a day and a half.



The three highlights for me were being surrounded by redwoods, spending quality time with good friends, and all the delicious food we managed to cook over an open fire. And by “we” I really mean our friends, who were so eager to camp cook that Joey and I ended up just bringing lunch fixings. We also drank. James home-brewed Joey (and really, the rest of us) a birthday ale just for the trip. I hear he was trying to copy Red Spot from Jupiter. It was tasty and smooth, and much to his surprise we managed to polish it off before the end of the second night.



Dinner menus went something like this. Night one: fresh baguettes and delicious cheeses from the Cheeseboard, followed by steak and seasoned shrimp skewers grilled over the open fire. Fire-warmed berry cobbler and s’mores for dessert. Night two: fire-roasted baguette slices topped with fire-warmed goat cheese and spicy olive tapanade as a starter. Marinated chicken thighs cooked over the grill alongside potato cakes, and served with arugula salad. Homemade birthday brownies for Joey – and more s’mores – for dessert. And the breakfasts were just as good.



All four girls seemed to have a blast, but outside marshmallow roasting I’m not sure how much food played a part. The older girls played in a pup “play” tent, colored on a table-top-like redwood stump, and visited a nearby creek. Nalani, well, she just explored our campsite, tried to join in the big girl fun, and got covered in dirt. Since there was only one toddler and only two real dangers (the biggest being the fire, the other being the not-so-traveled camp road at the far end of our site) it wasn’t too big of a deal to keep her safe. The four- and five-year olds also helped.



We’d had to gear up a little before the adventure began. We bought a tent meant for six (in reality it fits two adults and two small children fine, but adding Kai would have been a squeeze.) The kids helped me set it up in our backyard the weekend before, so we knew what we were doing but somehow in taking it down we managed to lose two stakes.



For Nalani at night we brought the princess sleep tent Melina used in Portugal, meaning she was snug and sound in a tent inside a tent. Our little girl went down beautifully both nights as soon as we saw she was tired. And she slept beautifully both nights until exactly 2am, when she, right next to us, started to grumble, tried to get comfortable, couldn’t, and then devolved into a screaming fit that lasted at least 45 minutes. Both nights. As one of Melina’s preschool teachers joked when she heard the story, “Nalani, you woke up all of Sherwood forest!”

Early morning screaming fits aside, even Joey agreed it was tons of fun and will be even better next year when our littlest girl is a little bit bigger. Rachel and Zac are on board for take two, so now we just need to see if we can talk Tracee, our other hesitant camper, into it!

(mini) staycation!

Posted by lynn on 08 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: family, friends, kai, melina, nalani

acad sci bench

ac sci lesson

Grandma Rapoza arrived for a month-long visit from Hawaii last week, and we’ve kept her on her toes with all sorts of fun. We started the weekend with a trip to Roseville to visit the Hams. Grandma got to meet Ella and see the twins, who she last saw at our wedding when they were just nine weeks old. We “enjoyed” 100 degree weather by the kiddie pool (beers in hand) and some water fun with cousins, then made it back to Berkeley in time for Jupiter and ice cream with Lily and her family.


hold hands

We started our Independence Day celebrating early, with a play group BBQ at Lily’s pad. Luckily our Berkeley weather was also warm enough for the kids to dip in the wading pool – even Nalani had fun playing with the big girls and eating pulled pork. Joey and I enjoyed plenty of beer (thanks, James!) and stayed long enough to make it home safely.

balloon toss

lily pool

We spent the holiday on a picnic at Memorial Park, which has become our serendipidous annual tradition. No pony ride this year (and Melina wasn’t brave enough to try the mechanical bull), but we did enjoy a water balloon toss, plenty of music and sunshine, and a kiddie bounce house. Nalani had a great time walking up to other people’s picnics and trying to walk off with their food. She actually made it a few feet with someone’s bag of watermelon before I caught her.


fairy bride

Later that afternoon the kids, Grandma, and I took a bike ride to the park around the corner, and that evening Melina got to see her first fireworks from the Rose Garden. The view was a stretch (Kai was bummed we weren’t right under the show), and the kids had to perch on grown-ups’ shoulders. But we had far better luck than when I took Kai up there a few years ago and the low fog was so thick we couldn’t see a thing.

ice cream


Joey and I both took several days off work to hang out with the kids and his mom, so we decided to round out our staycation with a trip to the Academy of Sciences in SF. It re-opened at least three years ago, and the first time we tried to visit last summer we made it as far as the parking garage and Melina threw up. This week’s trip was a greater success, and by heading there on a weekday we got to breeze through the line to the butterfly rainforest, and get front row seats to watch the penguin feeding. The girls and their friends had a blast, though the hot dog lunch was as big a hit as the fish behind glass.

ring around the rosey

Posted by lynn on 03 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: friends, melina

Or wading pool, as the case was this afternoon at a fun-loving BBQ with the Schultzes. We all had a great time, especially the posse of four-year-old girls!