California Summer- Monterrey Part

nnBecause Justin and Megan have been living near Monterrey we thought it would be fun to spend some time in the wonderous place.  We had a house just a 10 minute walk to the aquarium, and it was big enough for all of us to stay comfortably in… perfect!  We spent some time at the beach in Carmel, it was a little chilly, but the kids had fun.  The ran through waves and played in the sand and it was cute to see the cousins playing together.

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We also walked around Carmel, Sophie twisted my arm and got me to the Cheese Shop on 2 separate occasions… we bought some seriously delicious cheese!

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We spent a whole day at the aquarium and it was super fun.  We got there right as it opened and caught them feeding the otters with no crowd and it was really great, I love the otters.  The girls do so great with animal exhibits, they always seem to love them to their fullest.  It was a great day.  The jellyfish exhibit was wonderful and the girls got to make their own jellies and send them into the ocean.  We also got to turn ourselves into a kaleidoscope to see ourselves as a squid or octopus would.  We had a good time!

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We headed to a new beach, near the house we were staying in, for the kids to play in the water.  It was a little cold, but they didn’t seem to care!

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The kids had a fun time at our rental house, the kids ran around like crazy in the backyard and all over the place!  Hattie found the stairs…

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We visited Fisherman’s Wharf and Dennis the Menace Park.

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On our way home from Monterrey we stopped by Gilroy Gardens.  The kids had fun, but the park has crazy rules about how old and tall you have to be to ride without an adult, there were several rides that went in a slow circle that Sophie couldn’t ride without an adult… kinda crazy!  We had fun regardless.  The girls insisted on riding the paddleboat ducks, which was a lot of exercise for Kelly and I.  I took Hattie on the ferris wheel and she screamed the whole entire time, poor other people riding with us!

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We also got the chance to drive through Madera and go to my cousin Tori’s reception… it was nice to see Grandma and several other family members… no pictures, though.  We spent the night at Karen and Allen’s house and visited all morning with James and Monica and Karen’s family, so fun.

California Summer- Other fun in the Bay

I am going to simplify my California posts, and put everything after Jeff left and after Monterrey in this post… and then Monterrey can have its own section!

After Jeff left we had a couple of days before we headed down to Monterrey.  So we took a morning and visited Contra Loma, one of my favorite things to do in the East Bay with my girls.  Tons of fun.

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We spent a lot of time at a neighbors pool… there were some super hot days during our visit.  Thank goodness the girls are now good swimmers, so I only have to hold on to the baby.  The other 2 girls have gotten to be so much more competent.

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Liz and I had a girls night crafting birthday boards.  With some serious help from Lanette helping us saw and drill, we ended up with some super cute finished projects!

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We had another day with Vivian and her girls.  We took the ferry into San Francisco and walked around eating and letting the girls play together.  We also visited the Musee Mechanique for my first time.  Free with a ton of coin operated games/machines.  Some of which were so bizarre and crazy… I had to take a picture.  The girls had a good time, right up until the end when Violet was told she couldn’t buy the necklace she wanted… then she fell apart!

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We had a fun day at the Oakland Zoo, we had so much fun.  The gibbon was swinging around all over the place, and right at the end he stopped swinging and peed, the girls were laughing hysterically, they thought that was the best thing ever!

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 The girls and I headed to another A’s game, this one to celebrate the 1989 World Series win… it was a great celebration, and we even got free shirts!  The opening ceremonies were great, and it was so cool to see all the greats come out on the red carpet!  Eck and Ricky and so many fabulous ball players, Jeff would have loved to have been there.  At least he got a t-shirt and didn’t have to see us lose.  Hattie loved clapping with the chants and the girls all got one more trip to Stomper Land before we left for Utah the next morning.

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We love being in the Bay, and wish we had seen more people and gotten more pictures with those we did get to see.  We miss home!

A California Summer – The part where Dad is here too!

Are you ready for a massive post?  This is part of what we did in California this summer!  I will put Monterrey in a different post, but a lot of our first fun days will be here!  We flew straight from Spain to the US, and Kelly and Gerry didn’t know Jeff was coming, so that was a fun surprise at the airport… and I was so happy that he flew with us (or in business class with the baby!).  We crammed a lot of fun into the week Jeff was in Concord.  We had a lot of fun at Grammy’s house, and a LOT of fun with JD and Holly using next door neighbor Lanette’s play stuff!  We had so much fun seeing Liz and her kids regularly, and it meant I got a lot of Liz time without having to desert the family!

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We visited Costco several times, had a movie afternoon in the fancy reclining seats out in Blackhawk and had dentist appointments as well.  Hattie also had her first outlet experience followed by her first Fenton’s experience, it is fabulous that they are right near each other.  We were busy folks!

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We got lucky and had a free night to see our Angolan family, Lance and Vivian moved back to the states last Thanksgiving, and we had been missing them a whole lot, it is so fun to meet up with them when we are in California.  We closed out Skipolini’s, and let our kids go crazy together on the play structure, just like the rec center, without malaria!  Hattie took a shining to Lance right off, just like her sisters!

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We took Hattie to her first A’s game, and were so happy Jeff could join us, it would have been sad for him to miss that important family milestone!  We were also so happy to have all the cousins and extended family there.  Everyone came to town, and it was fun for Jeff to see everyone, none of us had met Ginny before this trip, so we even got to meet a new cousin!

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The next day was the 4th of July and we headed up Mt Diablo for breakfast.  The girls got Pinterest star hair-dos and we had a good time.  Later that day we went to Holly’s house for swimming and a BBQ.  It is always fun to see everyone.

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We also had group family pictures done because we were all together and since the last time we had pictures done it was 3 grandkids ago (and Jeff and I each had about 10 pounds more on us!).  Liz did a great job and got some great ones of all the kids, here is a small sampling.

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Before Jeff and Sean left we celebrated Dean’s 4th birthday.  He had asked if I could make a Spiderman cake, and so I did my best.  As is the norm for Dean’s parties we had a oversized piñata and a lot of fun.

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Unfortunately, after Dean’s birthday Jeff had to leave- back to work, real life and Angola, but man, we were so happy that he was able to come for any part of our time at home, and help on the flights home.  It would have been tough to fly by myself with all three girls.  We were sad to see Jeff go, but we had so much more fun planned still, so we couldn’t get too down about it!  More fun to come.

Hattie is 10 months!

So we are still catching up here on Curveball City!  Back on June 12th our sweet Hattie Grace turned 10 months old!  I am sadly lacking stats, as we were traveling heavily during the time and scales and measuring tapes weren’t readily available.  But, she had starting taking steps right before we headed to Spain.  Then, the week school was ending, she got super sick.  High fever and was not very cheery.  We even took her to the clinic for a malaria test (negative, thank goodness) but she decided to stop walking entirely, so I don’t know when to count her official walk date as, but that is life with the third child!  When she was feeling sick she found multiple binkies to switch between… poor thing was miserable.

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Baby girl started eating more solids, beans, rice, a variety of baby food and making big ole messes while eating!  When we were in Spain she ate churros and little bits of all our meals, she isn’t as picky as Vi or Sophie was at this age, but she sure isn’t the biggest eater. She is also super inconsistent, loving something one day and then not wanting it the next.  Luckily she almost always will eat sweet potatoes!

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She continues to be loved by her big sisters, and she just loves them, but is mad when they leave her out.  She crawls right through their games and they just can’t stand it… hopefully they will be good friends together when Hattie learns to play nice.

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We sure love this little thing, she is such a joy, and such a personality, she lets you know what she wants and how she wants it.  Cutie patootey of a baby girl!

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Spain 2014- Part Barcelona

Our last stop was Barcelona, and it involved a lot of walking and sightseeing!  We arrived by high speed train in the late morning and started checking it out immediately.

We started walking around Montjuic.  We saw the old Olympic stadium and grounds, an old bullring, turned mall, and the National Museum of Art.  The views were great, we didn’t take the tram to the top, but even from the top of where we could walk, the views were pretty fabulous!

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The next day we visited Casa Batllo.  One of Gaudi’s houses, it was quite impressive.  The amount of work that went into every single little piece of the house, crazy stuff!

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We also visited other parts of Gaudi Barcelona, including Parc Guell.  So much to see and so many interesting details, again.  The park had so many different little parts and so many different nooks and crannies, and the houses on site were like little real life gingerbread homes… I loved them!

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We visited Sagrada Familia, and I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not!  I loved each carving, and I loved the inside, but some parts just were so bizarre and so random, almost melty.  But I can’t believe that it has been in construction for so long, and will not be done for years to come.  The amount of work that has gone into one church, it is mind blowing!

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Sophie and I climbed up to the top of the tower in Sagrada Familia, turns out they wouldn’t let Violet or Hattie up to the top, so we split up to see everything.  Sophie was a trooper, as it was a lot of stairs down.

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We also got to see a lot more around Barcelona, including the Cathedral and Spain’s Arc de Triumph.

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That night we went to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, which was like the original Bellagio fountains.  It was a nice show, crowded, but funny that all songs were American.  The girls enjoyed it.

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Our last day in Barcelona we visited Mount Tibidabo, in our lives, known for its Friends fame… from the episode where we find out who Rachel’s baby daddy is.  We took a trolley to the bottom of the mountain and a funicular to the top of the mountain.  WE walked around, tried to ride rides (but the ticket was surprisingly limited) and walked to the cathedral on the very top.

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And thus ended our Spain vacation.  It was a lot of fun, I feel like we got to see so much of the country, but I know we missed a whole lot also!  Until next time!

Spain 2014- Part Madrid

We arrived in Madrid, dropped off the rental car and showed up at our apartment for the few days we were in Madrid.  We walked around the city a little bit, found someplace for dinner and took in the city.

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We happened to be in Madrid during some sort of music festival, there were several different venues around and a lot of loud music- it made it all seem quite festive!

There are 3 huge museums (and several other smaller museums) in Madrid, we decided to visit the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.  It was a fabulous museum and we saw amazing works, Degas, Picasso, Monet and so many more.  It was great, and the girls did a great job.

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That night we visited Chocoleteria San Gines for what was supposed to be the best churros con chocolate in Madrid… they were delicious indeed!

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The next day we headed over to see the Palacio Real, we missed the coronation by just a couple days, and were thrilled with our good luck as Madrid was a crowded mess during the ceremony, but we honestly didn’t know that it was even supposed to happen, but if you had ever wanted coronation plates, mugs, t-shirts, or any other number of knick knack it was available!  The palace was cool, though we couldn’t take pictures inside, the rooms were amazing and just so over the top.  The wall paper, drapes and tapestries were all matching… same pattern, same colors, the wall paper was just insanely detailed.

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We had a good time in Madrid, I would have liked to visit more museums, but with the girls it really isn’t the best idea!  But we had a good time walking around and seeing the sights.

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Spain 2014- Part 2

The next morning we headed to the Alhambra, which was the whole point of us visiting Grenada.  The place was just beautiful, the carvings, the gardens the fountains.  Seriously, without 3 kids we could have wandered around for a long time.  I loved the different paintings on the ceilings and the intricate carvings were my absolute favorites.

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After walking around all morning we ate at a restaurant across the street, I had my only paella of the trip, it was delicious and I wish I had eaten more.  Yum!

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After Grenada we drove to Sevilla.  That night we got settled in our hotel and then had tapas for dinner (ps, this was the only time while we were in Spain that we ate tapas, I need less picky travel mates for trying new food…).  The girls enjoyed the food.  We ordered several things, including fried shrimp… which ended up not being large shrimp but more like fried cakes with whole little shrimp in them, eyes included, Sophie loved them!

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The next day we toured Sevilla, without Matt, who wasn’t feeling well.  We started at the Bull Fighting Arena.  It was pretty cool, we took a tour of this arena and learned a lot about the formality of the fight and the tradition of it all.  It was all quite impressive.  But, no actual bull fights for us to see.

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After the Bull Ring we headed over to see the Torre del Oro.  We didn’t go inside, as it was a weapons museum, but we walked all around it.

IMG_2728The next stop was the Cathedral and the Giralda.  We wandered around the grounds of the Cathedral and then walked up to the top of the Giralda.  It is now the bell tower for the Cathedral, we got worried as we waited for our turn up, as Hattie fell asleep in her stroller, and we weren’t sure we wanted to wake her up, then we found out that the walk up was almost entirely a ramp!  A lot of work for Jeff, over 40 flights of pushing a stroller up, but he managed!

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The views of the city were amazing from the top of the Giralda.  We were super lucky to find shop that advertised having the best milkshakes.  We tried them, and we agreed, they were divine… we might have found it again later in the day for another snack!  Also, in the same plaza as the Cathedral was the Alcazar of Sevilla, but we didn’t tour that as it is supposed to be similar to the Alhambra, and we had just spent hours there the day before.

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Later we picked Matt up from the hotel and took a boat tour of the river and some highlights from the city.  We also got to see a Flamenco show.  It was a good show, but they didn’t feed the girls, and Hattie was a little cranky.  I took a picture of the dancer and got in trouble, but the lady in front of me recorded the whole thing… so I was not happy about them getting mad at me!  I did get my picture though!

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The next morning we were off to Madrid, and then, finally, Barcelona.  More to come later!

Spain 2014 – Part 1

We started our summer vacation by flying to Spain for 2 weeks!  We started in the south of Spain, in a place called Marbella.  It was where we were originally supposed to stay when we visited with Jeff’s grandparents and Jon and Dory, but we had just had Hattie and ended up canceling the original trip.

We stayed at the JW Marriott and it was pretty dang fabulous1  The pool and beach were great, the hot tubs were relaxing and we had a nice time exploring different little towns nearby.

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One of our day trips was to a town called Ronda.  It was this amazingly cool city that was built over and around a big gorge… the place was crazy cool, and we would have hiked around without the littles, but it was pretty neat seeing everything built up on cliffs and the structures going down into the gorge.  We of course had to end our day of walking with some gelato!

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Our next day trip was to Mijas… and it was one of my favorite cities, tiny, white buildings, quaint and just so European and adorable!

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Jeff and Matt also got a morning of golf in before we left the south of Spain.

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We started driving ourselves to Grenada.  On the way we stopped by some the Cuevas de Nerjas.  We saw some amazing caves, with some of the largest natural structures… but it was dark and so the pictures suck… what can you do!

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That night we arrived in Grenada and had one of the best dinners we had the whole time in Spain.  Then, we ended with churros con chocolat…  awesome deliciousness… seriously, divine! 

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End of year Picnic for Prep 3

Basically, I was at the school for almost 4 hours yesterday, between bus duty, Sports Day and this event, a luncheon for the Prep 3 teachers- Hattie and I were worn out afterwards! The room moms put together a lovely pot luck to thank the teachers for everything they did this year, due to the heat we ended up having it inside the great room between all the Prep 3 classrooms, much happier children than if we had held it outside as originally planned.  I got a couple pictures of Violet with her friends, but they were crazy and barely wanted to be in pictures!

Violet, Henry and Cameron (there is some serious competition, at least in Cameron’s mind, between Henry and Cameron):

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Violet and Henry (Good buddies, and such good playmates, they are so hilarious together):

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Violet and Julianna (who had a little competition over another little girl, Isadora, who has already gone home for the summer, but without her at school these two play well together, and they totally posed for this pic, it was so funny):

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Violet and her amazing, patient and caring teacher Ms. Georgina, we LOVE Ms. Georgina!

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We are going to miss our teacher and our fun class with 5 (that’s right FIVE) Monte Belo peeps, the stars will not align that well again for us!  PP4 here we come!!!!

Sports Day 2014

Sophie had the spring edition of Sports Day yesterday.  It ended up being much more like a field day than the fall version (which had hurdles, high jump and other such activities).  Sophie was on the red team for the 2nd year in a row… we would have more options for shirts if they would just put her on the green or blue team ;).  Her good friend Alyssa was on her team, which was really nice, you just are randomly assigned a team between 2 different grades (for this year it was Years 1 and 2, so 6 classes of kids are mixed up into different teams).  Anyways, she had a great time, they had all different races, tug of war (which her team never lost), basketball relays, rugby throws, and many other such things.  It was a hot day, luckily, their break time was right in the middle of their rotation, so they got a nice break in the middle, with water refills and such.  Hattie did a good job being happy in her stroller, especially as she still wasn’t feeling well, the fever was still there (she has had it since Saturday night, but a clinic visit confirmed there was no malaria… thank heavens).  Either way, Soph did great!

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