Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesdays for Tuesday

Today Tuesday starts yet another round of chemo. Her family is sad to have to separate again while she is in the hospital receiving treatment but they know she will be home again soon and the cancer will continue to shrink. Please send out prayers that this round goes well and that her battle with cancer continues  to go in the right direction.

PS- my family just left after a wonderful visit and the kids birthday party was a great success. I plan on getting you all caught up on all the fun stuff we have been up to shortly. I know you all sit on pins and needles waiting for Sharlene's next great blog post and I don't want to torture you any more!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Mari and Ben!

This time two years ago I was looking at the clock and thinking I better wrap this up or I am going to miss the 49ers game. This time two years ago I was informed that my two hours of pushing were up and if I didn't get them out right now I would be forced to have a c-section. Two years ago at this time I let out a blood curdling scream as I was given an episiotomy with no anesthetic.  Suddenly, I was greeted with a perfect little girl, with a perfect little boy to follow ten minutes later. Two years ago they looked like this:

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And  today they look like this:

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Happy Birthday Mari and Ben! I hope your greatest dream comes true. Mine already has.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesdays for Tuesday

This week I will give you this picture and send you over to JK's blog to read about life with all her family home. It is a great post. Please check it out and send her some well wishes!


Click here to read her post

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tahoe in September, Part 1

This time last week I was walking along a trail with my family surrounded by pine, boulders, and the most azure water In California.  This time last week the temperature was hovering around 80 degrees and the only sounds I heard were birds chirping, the wind rustling through the leaves and my children's excited voices as they took in all the great scenery. This time last week, I was on the Rubicon Trail in Lake Tahoe.

The Rubicon is considered the premier hiking trail in the Lake Tahoe basin. It follows the cliffs surrounding the west shore from Rubicon Point all the way to the famed Vikingsholm Castle providing some of the most beautiful views of the lake around.  The trail is about 6 miles long and a wonderful day hike. It is also extremely popular and can be exceptionally crowded on summer weekends. But on a Monday afternoon in September there is hardly another soul to be seen. Obviously we couldn't do the entire length of the trail with a couple of two year olds unless we felt like carrying them on our backs; which we didn't.  Since this trail isn't a stroller friendly one, we chose to do the simple 2 mile loop near Rubicon Point in D.L. Bliss State Park. Everything about this trail is gorgeous. The scenery was both awe inspiring and mesmerizing.

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Another amazing view around every turn.

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There were plenty of boulders to climb on, play with, and squeeze between.

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The trail does hug the edges and there are cables in place on particularly steep edges. For this reason it is important to pay attention to where your children are. I don't think it is unsafe  as long as you keep an eye on them. I never had a fear that a child was going to launch off a cliff and into the lake!

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There are also lots of steps to climb and count.

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And its a long way down to the bottom

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It really was a nice easy afternoon hike that I would love to continue when the kids get older and can go for longer.

After the hike we headed over to the South Lake Tahoe near the Nevada border to check in to our motel and relax a bit before dinner. I will be writing up a review of this motel soon on Travel Savvy Mom so look out for it. It was a great deal, clean, and had a perfect location so I will let you guess whether or not the review is positive.

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We decided to walk down to the casinos and hit up Cabo Wabo for dinner. It was a very short walk and I wish we took the camera with us because I think we missed out on some cute shots of the kids chasing birds. It was kinda depressing to walk right past the Heavenly Gondola and see what we were missing out on because it only runs Thursday through Sunday. Oh well, another time. Dinner was good, the margarita was great and the kids loved their Mexican feast.  My only complaint was the lighting was so dim. I could barely read my menu. I felt like an old person squinting and moving the menu back and forth away from my head as I tried to figure out what was for dinner.

After dinner we walked down to the private beach the motel has access to. The sun had just set and the view was amazing. Ben was not entirely thrilled about the sand and stood paralyzed in it with no intention on walking through it.

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Paul helped him over to the playground so he could have some fun with his sister for a bit. Then we headed over to the water where we got lots of great shots.

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Truly an amazing sunset on an amazing day.

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Stay tuned for day two!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Night at the Circus

Last week we went to go see the "Greatest Show on Earth". Or so its been called. I don't know about greatest but I do have to say it was pretty fun. The Ringling Brothers Circus was in town and opening night tickets were half off. Sure, we got cheap nosebleed section tickets but we didn't care. We were going to see clowns, elephants, and tigers!

I got the idea to go to the circus after reading Mashel's fabulous blog about the time they had at the circus. The great thing about this circus was that an hour before the show started you got to go down to the arena floor and meet circus performers. We were running a bit late so our time on the floor was short but we did get to see performers up close, take pictures, and even have the kids pose with a clown (Mari looks a tad scared in that shot).

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You may have noticed the FABULOUS Tuesday tshirts  the kids and I were sporting (Paul's needed to be shrunk). Yes, you too can have the coolest shirt around. Just click on the link to the right of my blog. Okay- shameless plug over.

The kids were very excited to see everything up close and personal but the show was about to start and we had to climb up, up, up to our seats.  Our seats may have been way up high but we could see everything just fine. It came time for the National Anthem so we stood up and sang and after the applause Mari started to cry. She wasn't done singing! She thought the show was over and she wasn't ready for it to end! I tried to explain to her that we were just starting the show but there was no consoling her until the lights came back up and show did begin.  From that moment Ben's eyes were absolutely glued to the stage. He sat on Paul's lap and stared with a big smile on his face. We had a fan. Mari was a bit more vocal. She cheered and said wow and clapped. She enjoyed the crowd participation just as much as the actual show. We saw all kinds of normal circus stuff and some things I had never seen before like these people on inflatable bouncing things doing tricks. I know, poor description but they were really cool.

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Paul and I were especially amazed by the 7 motorcycles spinning around in one cage. How do they do that? I think the kids loved the animals the best.  At intermission we went up to the tip top of the stadium and let the kids run laps. That actually may have been some of the most fun of the night.

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The second half started past the kids' bedtime so their attention was not held as well as the first half. Ben reached his breaking point and made his attempt at escape.

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Mari was more interested in climbing the stairs then sitting still and Paul was making funny faces in the camera.

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So we watched the elephants and headed out. My only regret was going to the 7:30 performance instead of the day performances because by the time the second act hit, the kids were really tired. Luckily- I think the preshow and first act were well worth our money. It made for a relatively inexpensive special treat which is always my goal. As long as you don't get caught up in the $8 cotton candy and $10 light up toys you can really have a pretty cheap, very fun, memorable night. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday for Tuesday

Since I was out of town on Tuesday I thought I would give her Thursday instead. Hey- those both start with T right? Right. I talked to JK today and everyone is just so thrilled to have her home. The kids are having the greatest time hanging out together outside in the perfect weather and just enjoying each others company. Tuesday is trying her darndest to keep up with her twin sis and its the best form of physical therapy out there.  She is even walking with some assistance but does still tire easily. She is taking lots of meds and being monitored closely but odds are great that she can stay home until her next round of chemo on the 29th. The scans still show the cancer is reducing in size but she still has a long way to go. The family is starting to get the sniffles which is of concern because we don't want Tuesday getting sick so please pray for good health.  Please also donate $5 (or even more if you are feeling especially generous) to her fund and get entered to win that portrait. Just click on the donate button on the right hand side of my blog. Thanks for giving. It mean alot.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Napa Valley: Part Deux

Note: Yes, once again I am behind. I have a good excuse though. We were in Tahoe (to be blogged about soon) enjoying the beauty of our surroundings and perfect weather. So there. There is my excuse. Oh- and Sunday was football and you know I can't be expected to do anything other than watch the games and stare at my fantasy score on the computer while yelling at my players to score me some points. So I will do my best to play catch up. Though I am feeling pretty lazy so we will see how things go. And now, without further ado, I give you part two of our Napa Valley spectacular....

After our wonderful time at the winery we made our way into Calistoga to go pick up sandwiches at the local deli. Deli sandwiches have been our go to lunch for hiking. We usually find a local shop near our hike and grab food because I hate a soggy sandwich. Plus lets be honest, there is something about a deli sandwich that just tastes better than the boring turkey sandwich you made at home hours earlier. Anyhow, we grabbed our sandwiches and headed back down the road towards Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

The wonderful thing about this park is that it is literally across the street from wineries but feels like a world away. It is the Napa Valley as the pioneers knew it. Before grapevines dominated the landscape, I imagine the area looked alot like the park does today which was full of vegetation and wildlife.  People will be surprised to know there are redwoods in this park, something not commonly associated with the region. The park features several hikes and we were planning on taking the Richey Creek hike which follows a creek through the redwoods. Unfortunately I read the map wrong and we headed in the opposite direction entirely.  We ended up on the Pioneer Trail instead. Not to say this hike wasn't pretty, it just wasn't what I had planned. And if you know me, you know I pride myself on my sense of direction. Discovering we went the wrong way made me absolutely nutty. I guess my mistake gave us a reason to come back, right?

Walking along the trail was like walking into fall. Leaves were everywhere on the ground and the kids were so excited to pick them up and examine them.

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It made me really look forward to this autumn because I think the kids will absolutely love playing in the leaves.

The trail meandered through the forest and reached a clearing where we made an interesting discovery. It was a pioneer graveyard. It just seemed so odd to stumble upon graves out in the middle of the wilds but I suppose that is how they did it back then. The graves were from the 1800s and marked those who first settled this amazing landscape.

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We decided to make the graveyard our turn around point because Ben was starting to get sleepy. No wonder- it was way past his nap time and the boy loves his sleep. Mari can go like the energizer bunny but Ben reaches a breaking point and there is no turning back. Paul ended up carrying him most of the way back.

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A gate did spark Ben's entrance and helped him learn the finer points of taking the path of least resistance:

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As we headed down the road to our car the kids decided to practice their balancing routine on a curb with Daddy's help.

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All that effort trying to balance took Ben's last bit of energy and he collapsed in the middle of the road with his sippy cup in tow.

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We carried the poor boy to the car and bid farewell to the Napa Valley. I hope to take my mom, aunt, and uncle back out that way when they are in town at the end of the month and hopefully we can create some more wonderful wine country memories. I hear there are some fainting goats that I need to check out...