5 posts categorized "Brownies "

June 01, 2010

Whee!

IMG_2053-1 Nicholas's expression says it all:  we are feeling a bit footloose and fancy-free.  Peter cleaned up the leftover dregs at the house last night..(you know, those little items that seem to escape the first five look-sees) and met with the property manager today.  The walk-through seemed to go well and there was a handshake, a return of keys and garage door openers and the final farewell.  We are now completely finished with the house and can truly relax for the next few days.

While I am sure we will be anxious to get settled once we arrive in Virginia, there is something...no...a lot... to be said for living with fewer items.  We have not finished our de-cluttering and reorganizing and those two items are still on my task list for next year.  Theoretically, we could be headed out again in 14 short months and I would love a move as stress-free as this one.  

After Peter returned home (definition: wherever we are living at the moment)  we headed back to the Art & Wind Festival to celebrate. Kelsey had arrived home from Camporee late this morning.  She was safe, sound and exhausted, but still had plenty of energy to look for snow cones and cotton candy.  The kids had fun on the bouncy rides, we enjoyed a bit of  very tasty fair fare, and Nicholas was able to watch (hold onto your hats) the ladder being put away on the really super-big and awesome Truck #34. 

IMG_1933 Speaking of "fair fare," kudos to Kristen of the McNabb Clan!  She correctly guessed that the items in question in my Santa Cruz post were none other than deep-fried Twinkies.  Nothing like that to make the funnel cake covered with goopy strawberry sauce seem high on the ol' ANDI scale.  Apparently she has not tried them either, so sadly, still not a clue as to what they might taste like...and perhaps that is a mystery best left unsolved?

May 31, 2010

And they're off...

IMG_2025 IMG_4623 IMG_4634 With a giant belch of exhaust, the truck heaved to the left...to the right...back to the left...then righted itself again and managed to finally pull forward.  All 15,000 pounds (give or take) of our 'stuff' was headed east.  Odd for a change that our household goods will only be crossing rivers and going through woods, save for 250 pounds.  The only items shipped over any large body of water will be those that Peter chooses to send by UAB to you-know-where.

I have to say this must be the least stressful move yet.  I finally let go of the notion that we have to do everything ourselves, and hired painters and house cleaners.  Brilliance in action and well worth the money.  We were able to focus on the move, not fret about matching colors or whether the fridge was clean enough, and Peter (bless him) uttered the magic words when the maids left yesterday,

"I am hiring a maid/housecleaning team to come to the house next year on a biweekly basis."

It just doesn't get more romantic than that.

Now don't get your panties in a wad or think he's gone off the deep end, but with three kids, a cat, maybe a dog (yes, it's time, a shelter visit is in order..), he decided that's a necessity.  You know what? After parceling out jobs during this move, I have realized that doing it all on a regular basis (much less just during a move) is a worry I don't want.  I think a little help may just aid me with holding onto my sanity over the next year...along with exercise (really need a good Yoga class), learning how to sew (and knit),  photography lessons, that occasional glass of vino, and, of course, my dear, sweet kiddos and all of their activities.

IMG_4643 IMG_4647 Now before all of that happens, we have to finish up life here.  In case you are wondering, we are sort of pretending everything is status quo.  Kelsey went to Camporee* this weekend and I will assume is having an absolute blast.  When we aren't trying to Freecycle remaining items (anyone need a stainless steel wastebasket for their office?), we are enjoying local events like the San Ramon Farmers Market (The Green Lantern's grilled artichokes are not to be missed) and the San Ramon Art and Wind** Festival.  We are hitting favorite eateries for the last time and I will have one final jaunt into the city this week.  It's hard to imagine that this time next week we will be on our way...

Oh, that reminds me: the itinerary.  Some have asked, and here is the (extremely) tentative plan:

  • 6 June, depart San Ramon and stop in/around Barstow area
  • 7 June, drive to Flagstaff
  • 8 June, visit the world's largest hole in the ground (just couldn't resist...) and head to New Mexico
  • 9 June, drive, drive, drive and spend the night in Oklahoma City
  • 10 -12 June, an 'extended' stay in Memphis (technically Germantown) to hang with the 'rents and eat the world's best BBQ!
  • 12 June, drive, drive, drive and spend the night somewhere on the TN/VA border
  • 13 June, arrive in Edgewater (home of Baby Nate!), and celebrate a certain someone's birthday...

IMG_4648IMG_4649So, until next Sunday,  we are happily ensconced in our second room in ye Old Residence Inn.  We received a hearty welcome from the staff upon check-in and enjoy the fact that Caitlin can walk to and from school (and the library!) for one more week.  Nicholas is sad to miss the carpool with "John John" (Cait's carpool buddy), but we still have the frantic race to get Kelsey to school...at least some things don't change.

*End of the year Girl Scout Camping trip...s'mores, tents, hiking, swimming in lakes, campfires, and scary stories galore. 

** Nicholas decided that the firetrucks were THE reason for the festival.  They had the ladder extended all the way...if there had been an "ananance", too,  we might never have seen the rest of the goings-on...

May 23, 2010

Santa Cruz

IMG_1921 IMG_1927 Last Saturday, as I was hanging over the boardwalk on in Santa Cruz on the Sky Glider, I once again lamented our imminent departure.  I realize I must sound like a broken record with regard to the "there is so much to do here" business, but darn it (again), there is still just too much to do! 

The trip to Santa Cruz last weekend was a reward trip for Kelsey's Brownie Troop.  They earned a tidy sum selling cookies and although some funds are being donated, we wanted them to enjoy a bit of their earnings.  They chose a field trip to the Boardwalk, and we apparently planned it for a gorgeously sunny, but not too hot Saturday in May. 

IMG_4507 IMG_4508 It had its ups and downs (don't they all), but I felt by the end of the day, it was safe to categorize the trip as a success.  The girls romped and picnicked on the beach, ran into each other at the bumper cars, rode roller coasters, and in general, had a great time.  There were a few tears here and there (should I say they all seemed to be on my daughter's part?) but nothing like a few Dippin Dots (apparently no longer the "Ice Cream of the Future") to bandage any wounds. 

IMG_4525 I didn't buy the all-access pass (wrist bracelet), but managed to take in two rides, one of which was the Giant Dipper.  It was a hard, noisy roller coaster ride, but so much fun.  I couldn't bring myself to purchase the obligatory picture of me at one particularly harsh turn, but just imagine my hair on end, mouth pasted open in a frightened grin, and fists gripping the handlebars for dear life...you get the picture.  Oh, and note the day it opened?  I had to ride it after I saw that, considering 86th anniversary was only two days away.

Now I was good and avoided most of the Boardwalk fare, but the funnel cakes just called to me.  I skipped the ice cream and gloppy strawberries, and ordered the "original" which is the cake sprinkled with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Even that was a bit much, but thankfully the girls were willing to help me finish it off.

IMG_1932 After walking up and down the Boardwalk and investigating it fairly seriously, I felt it was like others that we have been to in the past with the exception of the items in the photograph.  Your name* in lights (or bold-face type) in my next blog post if you correctly guess the item's name.  I was a bit frightened by the idea, but have no doubt some folks love it as a special Boardwalk treat.

The day went by much more quickly than we anticipated, and soon we were headed home.  The girls seemed to have the time of their lives, and although I was not sure what to expect, I was pretty thrilled with the outcome.  If you are in the Santa Cruz area, and have the chance, it's definitely not a bad way to spend a sunny Saturday.

As it turns out, the Boardwalk was not much closer to home than other parts of Santa Cruz. Our drive was easily 90 minutes one way, and the GPS veered us slightly off track once, making the trip a tiny bit longer.  Happily, there was parking just across the street from the boardwalk, only $11 and an easy walk if you felt like dropping off the lunch bags prior to starting the rides.  As with other areas in Northern California, light jackets are always helpful, even on sunny days, as well as hats and sunscreen.  If you or your traveling companions opt to romp in the sand or water, you might consider a change of clothes and most definitely a towel.

*Sadly, Shannon and Peter are not eligible due to the email photo they received that afternoon explaining said items.  It was too shocking not too share!

May 14, 2010

It was just a tiny lump

IMG_1914  in my throat until I opened the card, and found that the girls in my troop and their parents had written the sweetest note possible. Tonight was our last Brownie meeting, and at the very end the other co-leader and I were presented with gift bags and roses.  I was so touched just by that gesture, and did not expect (a way too big) gift card inside nor the card that took me from a bit verklempt to completely overwhelmed.

A good thing that I did not peek earlier than when we returned to the house for the evening.  We had a busy night tonight, with the Brownie meeting running almost concurrently with Cait's Open House.   Nicholas, Caitlin and Peter headed to her middle school and Kelsey and I arrived there as soon as we could.  

IMG_1903 IMG_1907 IMG_1905 IMG_1911

We were able to visit with almost all of her teachers, and the reports were just glowing. I was very curious to hear what her Language Arts teacher had to say, and her comments mirrored our thoughts that Cait had matured quite a bit throughout the year and truly enjoyed her work.  One of her big projects for the year, if not the most involved, was a compilation of correspondence with a friend or relative of a different generation.

Cait had to choose an older family member or friend and write to them throughout the year.  The two were to share information such as likes and dislikes, differences between their generations, and strive to learn a bit more than they might just through conversation.  Cait picked her Great-Uncle Bill, who also happens to be her godfather.

They exchanged letters, and Cait created a beautiful album around their written conversations.  She had a chance to foster their relationship, and realized, I think, that while some things have changed drastically through the years (technology) other things remain the same (having to babysit one's younger siblings from time to time).  She did a lovely illustration on the cover, and both her project and a poetry book were on display tonight for all to see.

We also visited her math classroom and were thrilled to hear that her extra work at home has been quite apparent to the teacher.  Nicholas enjoyed flirting with the teacher and she made a comment about "Someday you will be here for middle school!"

Um, no, he won't. Sigh.  Back to those letters to the schools, one down, three to go....

February 05, 2010

Drum Roll (Drum Roll!)

After two grueling (and rainy) weeks of sales the totals are in and we are thrilled.  The column total matches the row total and Kelsey D. managed to sell a whopping 146 boxes of Girl Scout cookies! 

IMG_3789 IMG_3786 She was still a bit nervous this year even after several days of selling.  However, the enthusiasm never flagged and she insisted on wearing the complete uniform every time (though now I really wish I had sprung for the beanie...).  Nicholas even got into the act and knocked on several doors ("Knock? KNOCK!"), when he wasn't jumping in the homeowner's mulch (tan bark is very, very big with him right now).

In case you are wondering, we (our little family) did not boost the sales by much.  No, I did not add 50 last minute boxes, only 12 and, trust me, that's on the low end.  She sold to those near and far, even some two continents away (which excited her beyond belief).  While I am glad to take a break (until booth sales begin),  it was very enjoyable, especially given how involved she became.  It was such a good exercise, from the charitable aspect to the extra work with math and money (just numbers, she won't actually handle the cash).

As a reminder, they are due to arrive the last weekend of February.  If there is any hope we will see you by mid-March, we will give them to you upon your arrival.  If not, they will be shipped as soon as possible.  Kelsey and I both thank you very much, and hope you enjoy!