August 2012

Monthly Archive


Posted by lynn on 31 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: melina



Welcome to kindergarten, Melina! Our biggest girl took a big step to the next phase of her social and educational life on Wednesday. And she did so with giddy eagerness and far more confidence than Joey or I remember having on our first day of school. She couldn’t wait to pack her own lunch (“I’m going to make a sandwich!”) along with Kai all three days of the first week. She got up each morning (30 minutes earlier than she has been) without a huge fuss.



And biggest of all: She said good-bye without a hint of clinginess or withdrawal – and most importantly, without any drama. (Just last month she threw a fit when I left her at preschool. Guess she decided it’s time for that act to end.) Nalani was also excited about Melina’s first day, wearing socks and a “pack pack” (backpack) just like big sis.



Melina had a fabulous first few days, with the only bummer being she wasn’t yet on the list to take the bus to her after-school program. I was there (I’d hoped just to watch her get on and then follow the bus and watch her get off without a hitch) so drove her and Kai to the rec center on day one. Luckily she was able to ride the bus on day two – and she was thrilled! Her excitement didn’t end with the bus ride. Instead of being exhausted she’s been amping herself up into a super loopy world each night. Thrilled to see how much she loves school.

Her favorite thing: “I made a lunch buddy” (Saira). She also got to play with Kendall and Kai and make new friends at her after-school program, and I got to commute an amazing five-minute walk to pick up the kids at 5pm. She also brought home a picture she drew of me walking her to preschool friend Maya’s house for a sleepover. And on Friday evening of her first week of school, that’s exactly where she is right now. It was a big week for my little girl!

oregon road trip

Posted by lynn on 26 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: family, friends, travel



We did it! We pulled off a fun road trip (almost 30 hours of driving in all) with three little kids and a just-the-right-size minivan. Nine days in all, we traveled from Berkeley to Ashland to Portland to Rockaway Beach (OR coast)–and then back again, with some longer stops at the coast and in Portland. The key was keeping each driving stretch to no more than 2 1/2 or 3 hours, and no more than 5 1/2 or so hours each day.

See more of our favorite pictures in our Oregon Road Trip album.



We enjoyed small surprises at every stop. In Ashland we took advantage of a lovely outdoor pool at a sweet, garden-filled roadside motel (cottages, really) called The Palm. We also caught part of a free folklorico dance performance at the Shakespeare stage and got a rocky start to our Oregon brewery tour. (Standing Stone Brewery had a cool setting and bicycle theme, but the beer wasn’t great.)


Beach girl

We spent our first night in Portland at a hotel (complete with a pool looking out towards Vancouver, WA), more as a stop on the way to the coast than anything. It also allowed us to get re-acquainted with Sarah, Kari, and the girls at a much better brewery (Laurelwood) and check out Powells and infamous Voodoo Donuts the next morning. Somehow the kids and I managed to walk past the red-rope line guiders at Voodoo and right in to take our time picking out a bacon maple, rice crispies/chocolate/peanut butter, and rainbow-cereal-on-pink donut before finding a seat on the alley picnic tables. By then the line stretched halfway down the block.



The coast was lovely, and with record-hitting, 98-degree heat in Portland was also a perfect-weather (blanket o’ fog burning off to upper-70s by noon) getaway. You’d miss the town of Rockaway Beach if you blinked while heading up highway 101, but it has a small market, nowhere else you can really waste your money, and one of the widest, unpopulated stretches of coast I’ve ever seen–complete with a perfectly-placed rock arch jutting up from the sea on the horizon.



Kai and Joy spent hours in the sand, mostly kicking and throwing it to their hearts’ content, and without anyone near enough to care. Nalani scooped sand into buckets, dumped, and repeated. Melina and Linnea explored. And we all enjoyed countless games of Sleeping Queens, and introduction to duct tape art (Joy made Melina a purse!), and chill catch-up time.



Back in Portland we hit Powell’s again, visited the Oregon Science Museum (OMSI), had brunch at Portlandia-like Tin Shed, explored neighborhoods, and mostly just continued to hang out with Sarah and her family. By staying in her parents’ basement we also got to catch up with Ivona and Don and their two crazy cats, Bob and Zora. Oh, and we found our favorite restaurant ever: Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB), with a great kiddie play area and the beer (Ace of Spades imperial IPA) that for the time being has ruined all other beer for me.

Portland, we’ll miss you!


Posted by lynn on 10 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: family, kai, melina, nalani, travel



We’ve made a yearly trip to Capitola a part of the Weiss (-Rapoza-Ham) family tradition. It all started when Melina was just three months old my parents rented one of the “Painted Ladies” that stretch right in front of the main beach – and (to harken to a longer-standing tradition) where we once stayed when I was just two or three years old.



As an aside, my two memories of that long-ago trip are playing in the lake water next to the sea (it’s now too polluted for swimming), and winding up in the emergency room with a burn to my side. I ran straight into a hot radiator when horsing around at the house, and the next thing I knew I was lying on a metal cot looking straight up at some very bright lights.



Now that we’re grown with kids of our own, sometimes Joey and I can only manage to get away for the day, but this year we made a long weekend of it and stayed for two nights. In all, we were six grown-ups and six kids. And we moved from the run-down (though super central) Painted Ladies to a house just up the river that actually fits our large headcount. As Melina pointed out, the new house is also “just around the corner and BAM you’re there!” to the ice cream shop.



Besides daily ice cream runs, other highlights this year included a trip to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk (I got Kai to ride the Giant Dipper with me, wheeee!!), s’mores on the grill, plenty of sand-digging at the beach, and a late-evening Pinot Noir flight for Joey and me at the luxurious hidden-garden bar at Shadowbrook. Looking forward to next year, when, with Zoe’s upcoming adoption, the kids will outnumber the older-than-10 set.