Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Positive Vibe

I'm considering creating some wall-art for my new house of positive words that we, as a family, believe in a strive for.  What do you think of my list?  What would you add?

honesty truth benevolence virtue respect believe hopeful hope enduring lovely praise work grace graceful generosity devotion giving give patriotism thankful charity love goodness motivated honor courage enlightenment education vigorous cherish true listen conscientious sensible prepared caring responsible dependable creative balance diligence faithful faith resourceful resilient duty happy happiness eternal loving teach family help strength friend kindness kind clean reverence industrious determined integrity cheerful humility learn practice health patience

Some of the words have multiple forms, but pithiness is not a virtue in this case.

What am I missing?  What words do you strive to do and teach?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ninah Mae

In my husband's grandpa's family, there was a semi-famous cow (yes, cow) (OK, only famous to the family) who will be annually remembered and celebrated by yours truly, because she was born on, and named after, the date that was to become my anniversary.  Now, I don't know if her name was spelled "Ninah Mae," or if it was ever even written down, but I think that spelling suits a cow.  Don't you?

Although we managed to get a babysitter and to get away from the kids for an hour or two, young parents never truly escape the toddler influence.  Our restaurant of choice this year was LuLu, which is what we often call Curie (her middle name is Louise, just in case you think I'm crazy).  (I am certainly over-using parenthetical phrases in this post.)

I have never had such attentive service.  Not even close.  Nick had mentioned our anniversary when he made the reservation.  When we arrived, everyone in the place knew about it and congratulated us.  As we were seated, they brought us complimentary champagne to celebrate (awkward!  ... we don't drink).  The bus boy (man?) circled like a vulture waiting for us to finish anything.  Between each course, he would clear absolutely everything off of the table, wipe up, and bring out all new place settings, silverware, salt & pepper, etc. Now, maybe this is generally done and I just don't get out much, but I hadn't seen that before.
The food was awesome.  This is officially Nick's favorite place we have eaten here.  The hostess came by to chat about our anniversary and to put us in a good tipping-mood by telling us how young we look for being married so long.  Nick told her that we have a daughter that we call LuLu, so she promptly got a souvenir menu and a copy of the restaurant's cookbook for us to take home.  See what I mean about the attentive service?

Just after that little convo, we ordered the beignets for dessert.  Not only did they throw in an extra serving of panna cotta (which was amazing), our beignets came with a tall candle and a little "8" lemon rind inscription!  That little hostess told our secrets!
Hold on!  It just occurred to me why we got the star treatment.  They must follow my blog and wanted a post!  I am like a celebrity food critic!

Happy Anniversary, Nick.  And happy post-mortem birthday, Ninah Mae.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alamo Square

I'm running out of time!  Last weekend we made it out to Alamo Square, a large block park in the heart of residential San Francisco.  Alamo's claim to fame is bordering some of the city's most iconic homes, the Painted Ladies.  Can't you just hear the Full House theme song running through your head?
We promised the kids a chance at the playground after a few quick pictures with the houses.  Sometimes adults make no sense to kids, but they put up with us. 
As detailed as this house may look, the camera really did not capture half of it.
Off to the playground.  What a fun surprise!  The toys matched the houses.
When the kids had run themselves quite ragged, we explored the trails of the park, one of Bethelle's favorite activities.  And we stumbled across a gem.  A garden of shoes.

Only in San Francisco would something like this evolve.
The shoes were old and dirty, but some of them had a lot of style.  How does something like that begin? Should I have a shoe garden at my house?
Looks like Curie may have made a small contribution to the garden herself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers' Day

What a fantastic Sunday.  Nick made sure that the kids kept me in the forefront of their minds all day.  It began with "sleeping in" while Nick and the kids made french toast.  I say use quotes because in this one-bedroom apartment, my bed is roughly 18 inches from the table where they worked.  What is even better than sleeping in while your kids cook?  Pretending to sleep in while you watch your three year-old learn to crack eggs and sprinkle cinnamon and try to remember to whisper.

My other surprises included these little pretties.
And a shine on my "second home," inside and out.
It was a lovely day.  But I will say without fear of those who may not always feel the same, it wasn't too different from every day that Nick is around.  He is so good at teaching our kids to respect and love me.  Thank you, my little ones and my husband!  It's not all sunshine and roses, but I am so glad to be a mother.

I Just Think She's So Pretty

I guess I might as well say it.

Wells Fargo Museum

We're here in San Fran because of Wells Fargo, and we're hitting as many museums as we can, so it was only a matter of time before we made it to the Wells Fargo Museum.  We planned ahead and came on "Take Your Kids to Work" day.  Of course, Nick was working, so for us it was "Take Your Kids to Your Husband's Work" day.

There was a little something for everybody.  Curie and Rigby like the coloring and riding this horse-drawn wagon.

Bethelle liked those, but she also got into using this olde timey telephone.
The museum had a saddle to mount in front of a large screen which played a scene of riding down a bumpy trail, old historical telegraphs (WF has been around for a looong time), a telegraph machine to learn Morse code on, gold to weigh on a balance, and a carriage that jostled to ride in.
As there is an "Old West" theme to the museum, I let the kids each bring a Toy Story toy.  Rigby brought his Woody cowboy hat, Curie brought Bullseye, the horse, and Bethelle brought the cowgirl doll, Jessie.  We crossed Jessie street on our way back from the museum and had to snap this shot.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This is how you know you're on gov't property


John (9)

I could write about Mothers' Day, or I could show you the so-cute pictures that I took of Curie last week.  And I probably will, but not now.

First I want to tell you about what I learned today in Sunday school.  Our text was John, chapter 9.  In this part of the New Testament, Christ comes across a man who was blind from birth.  His disciples inquire who caused this punishment on the man.  Was it due to the sins of himself or his parents?  Jesus teaches them that we are not given our trials due to our sins, "but that the works of God should be made manifest" in us through our trials.

Christ then heals the man of his blindness in front of witnesses.  When later pressed, the man and the witnesses cannot refuse that a miracle occurred and that Christ must be what he says he is.

I've had this lesson many times before.  But this time was different when a man in class, John, commented.  John is himself blind.  He has the white-tipped cane, the sunglasses, the whole bit.  He became that way at 40 and said that he went through a period of suffering and blame and depression.  Then one day he decided that he didn't want his condition to make him that kind of a person and to ruin his life.  He said that he pulled himself out of his misery through prayers and the scriptures.  I've only known John for four months, but he is absolutely amazing.  He's bright and considerate and motivated.  I would never have thought that he went through such a dark time.  He just seems too strong.  Miraculous as the healing of the blind man in the New Testament was, I think that John's spiritual and mental healing was even more vital and miraculous, more essential to who John really could become.  And there he was, a "manifestation" of God's power and goodness, right there in the room as we marveled over the example in the scriptures.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wave Organ

My blog has turned into a San Francisco travel guide.  There is just so much to do here.  For our next adventure, we visited the Wave Organ at the San Francisco Marina.

It is a happy little place built on the ruins of some tiny little building at the end of a skinny jetty.  Pipes come up from the surface of the water...
 ...and end in little listening ports where you can sit and listen to the music made by the crashing waves.
Isn't that a beautiful concept?  Nature creates the music.  That reminds me of the bridge at the SFMOMA that I wrote about earlier in this post.
I had this crazy idea that we would take some great family pictures while we were there.  While this did turn out to be one of our favorite places in the city, pictures don't work so well here.

The wind was whipping!
And the sun was so bright!

Most of our pictures have hair in faces, or a mass of squinting eyes.  We did get a few nice ones, though.  Just look at my favorite little man.  He found a hole to crawl in that was just his size.

Bethelle would rarely stop exploring the endless crannies of the sculpted ruins to smile for the camera.
And Curie.  Well, she's a bit of a pill lately.  She is a D.I.V.A.  We are trying to break this.  Really, we are.  But for now she does just what she wants to do.  The trick then becomes to manipulate her into wanting to do something cute.  Something photogenic.
The holes in the wall behind the kids are more listening ports.  At adult height, they surround your ears.  This is one of the best places to sit at the wave organ and has a beautiful view just to ice the cake.
Nick seemed to enjoy himself.

You can see how long and skinny this jetty is.  It is a bit of a walk from the closest parking lot.  But city life accustoms your legs to walking.
I hope that we will make it out to the wave organ one more time before we leave our little big city.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Santa Cruz

Last Tuesday, we all went to Santa Cruz, a beach town with a boardwalk carnival.  I realize that our life lately is not normal.  We are spoiling ourselves and our kids.  My rationale is that I am the kind of person who will live in one place forever, if I have my way.  This trip is a rare chance to live somewhere else for a short while.  So live we will!  I'll be a California girl, through and through, for five short months!

We rode the ferris wheel.
We flew in airplanes.
And we swam on the backs of orcas.
We went on this kiddie coaster three times.  In a row.  There was no line.
While the big kids coastered, Curie drove a truck around the park.  Also three times.  Maybe four.  Then Bethelle and Nick went on the spinning room ride in the background of this picture.  It's the one where you spin so fast, gravity gets all messed up and then they tip you 90 degrees.  Both of them agreed that it was nauseous torture.
See that beach right by the rides?  This is why people love California.
My favorite people!
This ride was more fun than I remembered.
And this one made me nervous.  It was very high and lasted seven minutes, carrying us across the park in open, ski lift-like cars.  Hold on to your babies!  But Nick was sitting in his lucky number 11, so we made it out OK.

The rides close at six (so get there early).  This gave us an evening on the beach.  I must mention with this picture that an era has ended.  I knew it would someday.  Having Nick with us for eight straight days made the difference.  He is now Curie's favorite.  And Bethelle and Rigby's, for that matter.  I get a short year and a half or so out of each baby.  That's what all my efforts buy me.  Then they switch to him.  I may sound like I am griping, but it's sarcasm.  I really appreciate that I married the kind of Daddy who can be the favorite.
Nick says the water is practically as cold here as in the northwest, but it seems a lot warmer to me.

Did I make you want to see Santa Cruz?  Good.  But visit soon, so that we can go with you.