Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FALL 2011

Finally, the August post and only 2 and-a-half months late! Much has happened since our last post. Most significantly, the kids are no longer attending daycare. Instead they've started a great half-day program in the Alameda School District (ASD). You might recall me mentioning all the testing and assessments the kids had in preparation for the new program. We were a little nervous, but the class is great. Right now Milo and Madeline are the only kids attending and they have a teacher and two aids assisting him. Not often you see that kind of student-to-teacher ratio. It's especially good since Madeline technically did not qualify for any services based on her assessments alone and Milo probably would not have qualified in most other districts. The district was pretty concerned about their medical history and wanted to ensure that they got the best possible support early. How often does that happen?

Maddy with hair long enough for pig tails.

The original plan was to have the kids attend the ASD program then take a school bus over to the daycare. Turns out they were scared to ride the bus and there was no reasoning with them. It was probably too much to expect all at once anwyay. So, we ended up hiring a great woman named Amy to pick the kids up and watch them in the afternoon. Much better arrangement all around. The bonus is that Amy is pretty good at painting nails and doing Maddy's hair, which she loves of course.

Milo with a giant cookie.

Despite packing down the cookies, Milo is still pretty lean. No concerns in particular with his weight at this point. He's eating a lot and is super active. There are worse things.

Milo, Maddy and Mom - Rodeo Beach - August 2011.

Beach trips are probably one of the best activities around for the kids. They love it, and since they can't run that fast in the sand it's pretty hard for them to make a break for it. M&M both really like putting their feet in the water, but since the surf is generally pretty big and cold, they don't go in much further than their ankles.

One of Maddy's favorite activities - standing at the edge of the waterline and getting her feet wet.

Milo, Maddy and Mom making tracks on a chilly summer day.

Maddy on the board walk.

We also took our first family camping trip in August. We headed up north to Humboldt Redwood State Park for a few days. Despite a long, rough drive up, we had a great time and the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Just north of Ukiah California.

The 5 hour drive started out well enough. Unfortunately, we got a flat tire enroute. Given that it was about 90 degrees, the car was fully loaded, and we had two 3-year-olds in the back seat it actually didn't go that bad. There was a tire shop nearby and they took care of us pretty quickly; we were back on the road within a couple hours and still made it in plenty of time to setup camp and cook dinner in the daylight. Definitely a beautiful spot and it was great getting to camp out under the redwoods.

The first ever McDonald's meal.

Enroute to our campsite, we decided to do the logical thing and stuff the kids full of junk food. Turns out our finicky eaters wouldn't touch the Happy Meal - with the exception of a couple fries and some apple juice.

Our little tree huggers enjoying a hike out to the Founders Tree.

Lunch time at the Women's Club Grove along the Avenue of the Giants. We looked for a larger table, but unfortunately this little one was the only one available.

Ambitious Milo decides to give climbing a go.

In addition to the great hikes, the Eel River flowed near our campsite. The water was a little chilly, but the kids had a great time swimming and playing there. Above: Milo cruises back and forth across the bridge over the Eel.

Tossing rocks in the Eel.

First morning in the woods. Success.

As much fun as we had, we ended up keeping the trip relatively short. Maybe too short... The ever present poison oak just became to formidable an opponent and it was near impossible to keep an eye ont he kids at all times at the campsite. We'll definitely go again though.

Food stop on the way home. The Lumberjack Diner. Classic Northern California dining.

M&M posing with their favorite vehicle, the fire truck! We ran across a group of several firefighter grabbing dinner at the Lumberjack of course.

Back to the usual activities: Above, Maddy engaged in a little double barreled nose picking -- a highly advanced technique.

I ended up bringing Milo and Maddy by my office one day back in September. We a have a staircase on the base that rises 123 vertical feet (202 steps). The kids really wanted to walk up it and made it all the way!

A visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berekeley.

Dad and Milo at Lawrence.

Milo takes in the great view and enjoys a rare, relatively fog free day. He's pointing to the Golden Gate Bridge, by the way.

A day at the Pumpkin Patch - October 2011, Near Petaluma, CA.

Maddy making strides.

Daddy, M&M enjoying a ride.

Melita and Milo.

Milo picks out his pumpkin.

The Hay maze.

PUSH! PUSH! Despite her super toddler strength, Maddy did not manage to cover much ground with the wheelbarrow.

Parting shot: M&M backyard gymnastics - sticking the landing.