Thankful for Thanksgiving

We had a great meal with great friends and family. But first, the Turkey Trail Trot. 

We waited patiently for Matt to finish. Turns out he was 35th overall in the 5-miler and 4th for his age. So, we didn’t have to wait very long. 

At the very last minute I got the Thankful Tree up with a few leaves from years past and painted the branches a few minutes before our friends arrived. Better late than never. 

Simba snuggled up to anyone and everyone. Such a snuggler, that little guy. 

Sara and Julia were best buds in preschool so they had a blast, although they spent most of their time together locked in Julia’s bedroom to keep the little brothers out. Meanwhile, Zohair and Nicholas are easy-going pals and tried their best to ignore the big sisters. 

We had turkey soup (Julia and I managed to come down with fevers and sore throats on Friday) and turkey dinners again Friday night. I wish the turkey would never end. 

On Wednesday, Matt was off, Grammy was here, and my office closed before lunch. We caught a gorgeous rainbow at my office. 

And I set up everyone with Oculus VR for a few minutes. They’re one of my clients. My mom “went” to Yosemite with Obama, Matt checked out a demo that featured all sorts of amazing tech and the kids loved it, too. 

We made our way down to Crissy Field. 

We saw Trolls that night, but look who fell asleep at dinner. Ah, this sweet boy. 

Friday it was out with the pumpkins, in with Christmas. We did a lot of chores and things around the house, took naps, and watched too much tv. 

Grammy took a few shots of the garden. Thank goodness for low maintenance design and picking the right plants – we’ve barely touched a thing in two months and, aside from a few clover weeds because of all the rain,  it’s looking great. 

Yay for turkey day!

Grammy’s Here

We all surprised her at the airport last night. She thought she was only getting me or Matt. 

There has been a lot of hot chocolate and cozy blankets over here while we’ve had a lot of good rain. 

We got to observe Julia’s ballet class two Sundays ago. 

Happy 7th Birthday

Happy birthday to our happy girl. Tonight we are celebrating with ice cream cake, presents, and our bestie, Shaela sleeping over.

We finished the day with presents and her desk chair plus all the desk accessories she’s been missing. She loves the new space in her room for homework, projects, or just playing.

Matt surprised Julia with a ukulele! She has been really interested in playing and we’re waitlisted for lessons in her after-school program.

For birthdays at school, there are no big celebrations but you get to wear regular clothing, so that’s super fun.

Today was also Julia’s turn for Share Day where you share something special and then there’s the opportunity to take questions. Of course she brought her new ukulele.

On November 5 we celebrated with the entire first grade. Since Signe and Julia have birthdays just one day apart, we co-hosted a big old party with her parents so that we could invite everyone. It was at a place called Pump It Up, which is a series of rooms of giant jumpy houses. In the second room we chose the “Glow” feature. So it was pretty much a crazy rave in the dark for 6-7 year-olds.



It was non-stop Halloween over here for at least four days in a row. Ah, to be a kid again.

Monday was the annual Hamlin Halloween parade which was almost rained out. They walked in the drizzle. 

The first graders performed poems and songs for the whole school. It was sooo good. 

That afternoon the kids came to my office party. Nicholas won the award for “Oh my gosh that is so damn cute” and julia tied for “best use of accessories.” We lost in the “best family” category, I was the burglar to Nicholas’ cop. 

Next up, Shaela’s bowling birthday party. 

Our carved pumpkins took a nose dive on the weekend. We’ve had a lot of rain so all kinds of spooky looking mold grew. We threw them into the compost bin the morning after Halloween but the rest live on to see Thanksgiving. 

Nicholas and his buddies took a wet off road ride through Golden Gate Park and had the time of their lives. 

Monday, the actual day of Halloween, the annual preschool parade happened.

Nicholas had a matching costume with this little guy, Gus. They both shared the hat-is-too-big-where-am-I problem, in case you were wondering if we were just bad parents. (Gus is sticking out his tongue in the second picture below, it’s not Nicholas.)


Some of the buddies: Anna, Reed, Nicholas, and Harry



Julia had the day off from school and was invited to help in the morning. As the teacher’s helper, Julia helped all these kids get into their costumes when it was parade time.



Daddy came to the parade since I had already missed several days in a row of work for two parent teacher conferences, a 24-hour vomiting fiasco for Nicholas, Julia’s parade and performance, and there was something else in there. So, it was his chance to shine and he even surprised Julia with a little bit of her costume.

Then, it was finally time for the big night. We dodged some rain, scored too much candy, and generally had a blast. 

Onto other things. 

Julia started a big unit on neighborhoods, which is a fun part of first grade. There is a great video about last year’s project here.  

Below Julia is beginning her poster about her own neighborhood that she will present to her classmates and she has already started interviewing neighbors. 

It’s the second most wonderful time of the year. 

Halloween Pumpkins 

We carved pumpkins for the first time that the kids remember, instead of keeping them whole. I think the last time we carved a pumpkin was at our old apartment, so Nicholas wasn’t even born. 

We sketched our spooky designs on some craft paper we rolled out. Thankfully they both wanted something that was easy to carve. Matt did most of the scooping, I did the cutting. 

Nicholas got a little spooked, but big sis was there to tell him it was all ok. 

Also on Sunday…

Go Buffs!

We all went to the Stanford – Colorado game on Saturday. There was a fun tailgate hosted by the Buffs and, although our seats were up high and in the sun, the stadium was great without a bad seat in the house. 

It was Stanford’s alumni weekend and early in the season, they were expected to destroy our team. But we’ve been having a good year and we won!! It was a fun game to take the kids to, at least for us it was. 

However, we were HOT and the kids got bored, understandably, so I had to take them to the shade for some big chunks of the game. 

They came up with this ingenious and also very bad idea to suffocate themselves in plastic pom-poms to create shade, but it just made them hotter. 

This is not me holding a pom-pom, that is Nicholas. 

Frozen lemonade to the rescue! This got us through a rough period where we almost left at half time. 

All the fellow Buffs we ran into, including some surprise friends, loved giving the kids high fives. A group of twenty somethings couldn’t get over Nicholas and insisted on taking our picture, about 100 of them, with my camera. I had to keep asking for my phone to be returned. 

We won!! 10 to 5 was the final score. There weren’t too many Stanford fans at that point. Most importantly, we made it through the end of the game and walked around the stadium a little closer to the field at the end. 

A promise was made before the game even started to get the kids to go to the game… The American Girl Doll store is just a couple miles away from the stadium. Despite the fact that the kids were DONE, they both insisted we keep our promise with a “quick” visit. Nicholas loves it almost as much as Julia.  

Nicholas at School this Week

He was in heaven…



Everyone has a tummy bug so the kids gave each other lots of check-ups this week. Knock on wood, Nicholas is the only one who hasn’t vomited. Yet.


I spy a spooky Nicholas skeleton on display.


He waves goodbye to me occasionally from this window. Usually he’s too excited to start his day to be bothered with waving again, but this week I got TWO of them. Be still my heart.