7 posts categorized "Girl Scouts"

October 15, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. One photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


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Technically taken a day late and published much later, but still a moment. Idea courtesy of Soulemama.  

 

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 25, 2010

Signs

I think we might actually pack up this week and move.  Despite the fact that we are still going about our day to day activities, little signs pop up here and there.

IMG_4618  IMG_4609 The bath toys are hanging up and drying out, the various and sundry awards, memorabilia, decorations, and bits of gear from the field office have been boxed up and are in the living room awaiting a proper packing.  The extra garbage bag has been purchased on the off-chance we go over our one bag* per week limit.  The handyman (to paint the girls' rooms), plumber, and housekeepers have been scheduled.  Utilities are set to go on in the new house, and are being scheduled to be turned off (in the rental) as I type this post. 

IMG_4604 The girls' schools know they are departing, Nicholas said his last good-bye (or see you later) to Miss "Rindsey" (Lindsey, of Kindermusik) today, and tomorrow is his last lesson with Janice (Jenny's replacement at All Star). Kelsey said good-bye to "Guy" (Brian, her swim instructor) yesterday, and we have plied all of said teachers with cards including a favorite photo of teacher and child..

The biggest sign?  The piles of clothes that are being stacked in preparation for being packed into the suitcases.  We are moving to the hotel tomorrow night, as there is nothing I loathe more than being in the house the night before pack-out.  Given that the movers could say they are coming at 8 a.m. (and show up at 7 a.m.), the kids have to go to school, and we really don't want our toothbrushes or dirty linens packed...we decided to ante up for an extra night at the Residence Inn.  We are packing tonight, and everything we need for the final 10 days to include Cait's chorus costume, Kelsey's Camporee needs, and anything for the cross-country trek in the Truckster will go to the hotel tomorrow afternoon. 

While it may seem like all is moving smoothly, we do have occasional setbacks.  Kelsey had a bad night last night, as she is terribly excited about the move, but can't get over missing Field Day or the end of the year party.  The straw that broke the camel's back was my insistence that her framed artwork (for the Art & Music show on Thursday) not be on display at the show, as otherwise the movers couldn't pack it.  I finally bent on that notion, and we are just going to beg them to pack one more box Friday morning.  Given all she is giving up (extra time with friends, birthday parties already being discussed, Girl Scout camp...), I think it's a reasonable compromise.  

Now I need to quit my procrastinating and get back to organizing.  I tackled the catch-all formally known as the "cabinet beneath the wet bar" last night and made a great deal of progress.  Time for another coffee, and then I think I can easily tackle the craft desk that has been calling my name for days...

*We normally produce about one normal kitchen size bag of actual trash per week, a big improvement for us.  Between composting, recycling, and the new green waste bins, we realized we could easily down-size our garbage bin that is used for weekly collections.  Over time, we have gone from a 65 gallon cart (left behind from the previous renters) to a 20 gallon cart.  It technically can hold two bags, but 1.5 bags is generally our max.  Unfortunately, we always seem have a bit more throwing away to do at moving time, despite the Freecycling, Craigslisting and just giving away stuff  to anyone who will take it.  We were grateful to learn that the Waste Management company offers huge pre-paid bags that can be left out with next week's waste pick-up.  Not that we want to have more, but better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

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!

March 21, 2010

Reunion

It seems like just yesterday I was lamenting our impending departure, feeling torn about choosing between the possibilities that are in our future.  Somehow in the past 48 hours, I have come to terms with the fact that I while I am not thrilled by having to make tough choices, we need to move forward with our original plans.  I may never be 100% sure, but after a brief reunion we had today, I remembered that all is not lost by moving forward, as there are always future opportunities.

 IMG_1613 A friend from Iceland,IMG_1614 who worked at the Embassy with Peter, (I will call her "Mary") came to visit San Francisco this weekend.  She was in town to see The Little Mermaid performed by the San Francisco Ballet, and was able to carve out a generous amount of time to spend with us today.  Having not seen her in almost two years (Nicholas was not even 4 months when we left Iceland), we were thrilled to be able to catch up in the city.  Kelsey had been aching to visit San Francisco as a pre-birthday treat, and we could not miss the chance for the girls to entertain Mary with hours of pre-teen bickering.

One might say, "Oh, it wasn't that bad."  Oh, yes, it was. They insisted on displaying their sisterly love, and bickered through a good portion of the morning.  Sigh.  Nothing like showing off your maturing, growing, hair-pulling, and name-calling sweethearts.  Where did I go wrong again?  We pushed through though, and realized perhaps the ole blood sugar might be a bit low, and that a bit of lunch might be in order.

No, we did not end up at the vegetarian restaurant, but thought the menu (given the name of the establishment) to be immensely amusing.  We let Kelsey choose the place du jour, and, yes, Nan-King is now officially an old haunt.  The girls were separated, Mary and I caught up for a good hour, and Peter and Nicholas had nice father and son quality time.  After lunch, we thought a few minutes at the park might release a bit of energy, and this appeared to be the magic that reignited the real sisterly love.  The girls ran around, played with their brother, watched endless games of Chinese checkers, and enjoyed the unique decorations of this playground in Chinatown.  Nothing like pagodas and cherry blossoms in a park surrounded by hotels, apartments, restaurants, and many gray concrete buildings to feel as though you are in an oasis of sorts.

IMG_4091 IMG_4092 Given that Mary had the ballet (no, I didn't repeat that because I am jealous...okay, it looks amazing!), and we had to get back for Kelsey to participate in her troop's cookie sale (it's almost over...), we had to skip Crissy Field (Kelsey's last request for the afternoon), and nosh on ice cream at Ghirardelli Square instead.  Nicholas chose this area to have his pre-nap breakdown, though the free chocolates being handed out calmed him down a tiny bit (until the sugar kicked in). 

Our final event was a ride down Lombard Street (Kelsey's favorite), which helped Nicholas conk out completely, and then we had to bid Mary adieu (or bless, bless as it should be) and return to our corner of the East Bay.  It's hard to believe it has been almost two years since we last said good-bye at the Embassy, and yet after 5 minutes, it seemed that no time had passed at all.  I realized on the way home, that I needed to worry less and simply enjoy more during our last few months here.  Nor do we have to say good-bye, but rather just, "see you later."

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!