Sunday, July 29, 2012

If You Like Engines

If you like engines, or stop action, or just admire mechanics and creativity, a couple of minutes watching this video is well worth it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teacher Note For Enzo

Enzo gets these little notes from school on occasion to let us know something about his day. It's a cool idea. This one made us laugh. I can just hear my son saying this as he plays at school, sitting in the wooden boat in the playground. Changing his couple of Spanish words into English, Enzo said: I'm driving the boat and the shark is going to eat you Teacher.

Friday, July 27, 2012

7th tooth, 2 camping trips, Peace

My beautiful daughter has seven teeth now. We noticed the newest addition (bottom, just left of center two teeth) two days ago. She is so smiley. And her cheeks so soft. I love those baby cheeks. I have given her hundreds of baby cheek kisses in the last couple of weeks.

That's the main news for posterity for now.

What else? Well, I am struggling lately to write all that is else. Lately I have been feeling good, peaceful. My days have been filled with enjoying time with my family, getting uncharacteristically good nights of sleep, or efficiently working before coming home to enjoy my family and a good night's sleep. So, full days and no writing. I think on occasion of things I would like to record but never do. Also, I have been lacking that most common motivating quality for my writing that is a little bit of angst that simultaneously keeps me awake a little longer, gives me energy to be alert a little longer into the night, and makes the writing itself therapeutic.

But I have enjoyed some delightful snuggles, kisses, and play with my family. And I have pictures. They will help jog my memory. So, without much in the way of philosophy, poetry or therapy, here is what we have been up to.

Nicole and Shea invited us camping with them in Big Sur. The place we stayed at was so perfect for the kids.

Shea, soon after our arrival to join her and Nicole.

There is a river that goes through the camp site. It was interesting to see Enzo less cautious as has been his habit these last several months. He wanted to go in to the water right away. Tami thinks it may be the two weeks of swim lessons we four just took. They were toddler and parent classes where basically the kids hold on to the parents most of the time and get use to being in the water. Tami held Ana and I held Enzo. We had fun. Maybe that did make the difference. Anyway, Enzo wanted to explore further and play in the water and take his mom all over. It was fun to watch.

Ana was her usual self, fearless and excitedly rushing into everything. It is neat but I look forward to her acquiring a healthy dose of caution. In the last couple of days, she has begun to show some signs. The garage door going down now makes her run for a parent. So, perhaps it won't be too long before we can sit back while she plays in a playground. For now, it is a lot of work as she climbs every structure, especially those built for kids much older and bigger. This particular camp site also had a superb play ground with great slides and climbing structures. Ana made older friends fast and used her fingers to grip small holes in the play structures to pull herself up the levels repeatedly to ride the slide over and over with Shea and another older girl that took a liking to Ana. Every now and again we would be on heightened alert, Tami and I taking turns on Ana-duty at the playground, as she would work her way up climbing bars that were impossibly too big for her. It's amazing how far she gets and how well she does. Then, there was the heart stop moment when she wanted to just walk off an edge on the second level, an edge meant for older kids to use to go down a fireman's pole. Tami stopped that. As I said, one of us always has to be on duty with her in playgrounds, except when she is in a swing. Ana loves to swing. And when it's time for us to take a break, it just works out that Enzo usually wants to be the one to push Ana on the swing. We all win.

Another area that was a big hit with the kids was the basketball court area. Shea and Enzo shot hoops for ever and never seemed to tire of it. The area even had a bunch of hula hoops to play with. It was cool that the grounds provided a large bin of different balls to choose from and had a special lower hoop beside the big hoops. By the way, I saw Shea make her first basket in the full height hoop! Super cool.

Enzo just had fun throwing the ball up and then, after many attempts, he made a basket. Once he got it, he made many more baskets that day. I'm not sure how coordinated a two and a half year old is supposed to be developmentally with regard to athletics but I am pretty certain this kid is way ahead of where I was when I was four.

The visitors in the night left traces on our table.

A morning fire with snacks before breakfast.

Ana and Mami rafting down the river.

 Shea and Nicole rafting down.

Enzo then with Ana and Mami.

 Playing in the river.

And then the sleepiness hit her. I had just spent minutes doing my best to keep  her from going too deep or too far into the river as we played when the others were on the rafts. Then, she just looks at me, walks up with her arms up and wants to be carried. So I lift her up, take her to shore, sit, set her down for a second up against me while I get myself situated... and then realize she fell asleep on me before I could even decide how we were going to sit or lie down. So that is how we stayed. My beautiful girl deeply asleep and worn out from playing by the river. The next day was similar but that time she slept on my belly as I was able to lie back on watch the shadows and light play through the leaves of a tree above in the soft wind.

 Another day on the river.

The kids rafting together. For the record, we were always close and following them in the water. This statement is especially for Cousin Vincent who thoroughly enjoyed teasing us about our lack if safety precautions in the river when he saw the pictures.

I love watching Enzo play cars by pushing them around and crawling after them on the floor. It just strikes a nerve in my memory of myself as a child. And how excited I was when I saw both of my children pushing along their tractors on the floor! This is what makes me a proud father. Silly perhaps but this touches my emotional center. I love it. I wonder what else will have this effect on me over the years. I look forward to discovering. And enjoying.

So, we were camping a few days, came home Saturday. Had our Sunday brunch. Then, went to work Monday morning and left for "camping" again Monday evening. What a luxurious summer. I say camping in quotation marks because this time we got a cabin at a KOA south of Santa Cruz. A cabin where "camping" comes complete with cable on the flat screen, wireless internet access, a bed with bedding, a shower, bathroom, microwave, fridge, etc. Not exactly roughing it at the cabin. It was very nice and just hit the spot. The KOA was super nice, too. Play ground, sand play area, a little train-car that drove around twice each day that Enzo of course couldn't stop talking about when ever he saw it out again. Until, of course, he was on the little train and then he became completely silent for the whole ride. Interesting kiddo. There was a lot to do at this camp site for kids. I can see us going back and the kids having access to even more of the available entertainment there when they are a little older and can ride the three and four wheel bikes, play miniature golf, swim in the pool, participate in some of the special event games, etc.

This is the traditional morning walk while camping with these kids. Enzo walks his penguino, Ana walks her pato, Tami walks with them. And sometimes Monte and I join, too.

Sometimes they like to be carried part of the way.

This site had this super big bouncy thing that came right out of the ground in the sand area. So much fun! Here are Tami and the kids enjoying the middle of it right as it opened in the morning before the throng of camping kiddos swarm to it and make only the edges safe for those less than five or those old enough to care if they bounce and roll off into the sand.

On the stage playing with a balsa wood plane.

Playing next to our cabin.

 Another beautifully calm morning, another walk.

Not at home, but when you are roughing it "camping" in your luxury cabin, the kids get to eat a snack on the couch.

It's been a good summer. I made myself start this post because I didn't want to forget to mention Ana's 7th tooth. Maybe I didn't need the therapy of going through my recent days but it sure was fun anyway to remember these great days we have been having. Of course, the trade off is that now it's midnight so tonight will not be a long restful sleepy night. But I do enjoy thinking about the peace of these summer days. And while I am recording these days, I'll say also, after the midnight snack I just enjoyed, that my wife is a very good cook. I came home from a long day at work to home made rice, home made beans, and home made tortillas. All fresh and delicious and excellent from dinner through midnight. Yumm.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photo Updates

A nice ride on my Norton with my new Gold Metal Flake helmet.

Ana in Southern California with Mami, Enzo, and Aunti Tia.

Family in Southern California with Aunti Tia on a ferry.

Enzo jumping from a monument in Southern California.

Enzo and Hun.

Enzo and Tata. 

Enzo and Tia K.

Enzo and Ana walking and looking at the train in Los Gatos. 

Ana looking adorable in two hats.

Cutest beach bum looking kids on the streets of Capitola.

4th of July parade in Fremont.

Enjoying the hammock.

Mysterious Ana.

We finally went to the Gilroy Gardens.  We liked it a lot and look forward to going back. This is Ana's first ride other than riding horses on carousels. 

Enzo on the train, carrying his train whistle and a pluma from a pajaro  (feather from a bird) that Papi found for him. He always looks so straight faced on this train even though he gets excited before we go and after we go to ride the train. Funny kiddo. I guess he is just taking it all in. He regularly asks to go back to the train so I know we will be back before long.

Riding the steam train (it only runs weekends; weekdays the diesel engines run so this was a fun special treat... to me, but I say it was for Enzo). We had a picnic first with Nathan, Laurie and the kids. We watched them play, and then we went for a ride before going our separate ways to ferry our kiddos to nap time. A fun day.

Enzo participating in his first wave of his own accord at the Oakland Coliseum.

Enzo running the bases with his Aunti Tia at the Oakland Coliseum. He has been mentioning this ever since. This was a big deal for him.

Tami cruising the bug while me and the kids drive the family car.

My Mom's birthday dinner.

Tami's birthday BBQ.

Food stop after the car show.