Braces Off!

Phase One of Ezra’s braces ended this week, a much-anticipated event that we’ve been counting down to for weeks. I took one last picture of his mouth full of metal right before they came off.

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They’d told me it would take about an hour and a half, so I dropped Ezra off and ran to Trader Joe’s to get my shopping done. When I came back an hour later, thinking I’d be pretty early, he was already done and happily playing on one of the iPads they have for patients. I got the quick rundown from the orthodontist. Things look good except for the one wonky adult tooth on the bottom that’s headed the wrong direction; they’ve made room for the adult teeth to come in; we’ll visit in September to see about starting Phase Two.

I’d picked up some of Ezra’s favorite treats that had been forbidden for the last year — Abba Zaba candy bars, caramel popcorn, gum — and he enjoyed a few things before I took him to school. Here he is with his loot and newly smooth teeth.

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He had a celebratory play date that afternoon and pretty much ate his weight in chewy candy over the next couple of days.

El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve 2/22/16

This week’s hike was new to me, and was one of the more scenic trails I’ve seen. We weren’t even that far in when we noticed we had a peekaboo view of the ocean.

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The trail was fairly strenuous in places but mostly shady.

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I liked this stretch of manzanitas.

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And they were blooming which was an added bonus.

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There was a tribute to the crew of an airplane that crashed there in 1953.

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And our lunch spot was a vista with another beautiful view of the ocean.

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And here’s the group.

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Our next stop on this sightseeing hike (as our leader called it) was the Tafoni Sandstone Formation which was pretty spectacular.

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And finally we stopped by the Methuselah tree, an enormous old growth redwood.

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It’s always hard to see the size of these trees without reference, so here are a couple of our hikers standing next to it for perspective.

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Once again my tracking app showed this hike as 7.44 miles while everyone else’s trackers came up with more miles. Let’s say it was 8 and call it a day.

Stanford Dish Hike 2/17/16

There was a 70% chance of rain on Wednesday so we opted for the fully-paved Dish Loop at Stanford for our weekly hike instead of fighting the mud on the regular trails. We managed to finish the 5.5 mile walk before the rains came but the cloud formations made for great views. And it was so green!

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Here’s the group.

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Windy Hill Hike 2/8/16

This was my second trip to Windy Hill, the first one was last March, but this time we took a different trail. We were in mostly shaded areas, which was good because it was unseasonably warm that day and would have been¬†uncomfortable if we were in full sun. It was a long hike — my app said nine miles, everyone else’s said ten or more — and we didn’t stop very often so I don’t have many photos. But it was beautiful as usual.

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And here’s the whole gang at the top when we stopped for lunch.

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Age of Sail

Fifth graders at Fairmeadow participate in an overnight field trip called Age of Sail. The idea is that they are sailers on a ship (the Balclutha) in 1906. They all have jobs and are put into teams ahead of time to practice. Ezra was on the rigger crew. Bruce went along on the trip as a chaperone, but the whole idea of the trip is to have the kids be independent and solve problems on their own, so there is very little interaction with the chaperones. The ship is staffed with actors playing the parts of captain, first mate, etc., all with distinct personalities. Some are mean, some are silly.

The trip is a big deal at school and a bit of a rite of passage as they gain independence before entering middle school next year. I took a couple pictures while we waited for the bus to pick up Ezra’s class. Here are Ezra and Henry milling around.

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And here’s Ezra with his giant pack heading to the bus.

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Luckily one of the chaperones was tasked with photographing the trip, so I have some pictures. Here’s the Balclutha.

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Here are the chaperones being shown to their bunks.

Tall Sailors

Here are the kids being introduced to the ship and getting some preliminary instructions. As I understand it, the captain had asked one of the crew to find ten 20-year-olds to hire, but he had come back with twenty 10-year-olds instead.

Mr. Shamus

Mr. Joyce

Here’s Ezra and the rigger crew.

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Here’s the group with the captain.

In the hold

Sleeping quarters:

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All the groups had to do a night watch, which was probably one of the hardest things of the trip. Ezra’s shift was from 2:30 to 3:45 so he went to sleep and woke up to do watch with his group. Luckily he was able to go back to sleep afterwards. Here’s a shot of his friend Emerson on night watch.

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Here’s the rigger crew at dawn hoisting someone up in the bosun chair.

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This one is the teacher in the bosun chair. Apparently the class was negotiating for better conditions (less homework, more iPad time). Bruce said she was a really good sport.

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And one last shot of the crew taking down the Fairmeadow flag before heading back home.

Striking the Ensign

Ezra loved the trip even though he got in trouble a few times for stepping over the lines (ropes) on the ship. We’d heard ahead of time that there would be yelling and that kids and chaperones would get in trouble. It didn’t seem to bother Ezra at all.

Finn’s Buddy Assembly 2016

This year, Finn’s third grade class is buddies with a first grade class. They had their Buddy Assembly last week; the theme was Character Matters. They wore costumes and sang a few songs about the Golden Rule, and were generally just adorable. Finn is in the back row on the left in floppy mouse ears.

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I don’t have many pictures because I was way in the back of the room. After the performance was over and the auditorium cleared out, they did a reprise of their golden rule song for the parents so I got video.

Foothills Park Hike

One month exactly after our family New Year’s Day hike at Foothills Park, I returned with my hiking group for a longer hike — about 7.5 miles this time. It was pretty chilly with temps in the 40s, but the sky was so clear it felt like we could see forever. I see views like this a lot when hiking but I’ve never seen it this clear.

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There was actual rushing water in the stream.

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Here are a few shots of the group.

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And one last shot of the scenery.

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