Erin and Rikki’s Wedding

On the last weekend in June, we traveled to Pasadena for Erin and Rikki’s wedding. We got in late on Friday night, found our AirBnB in Altadena, and pretty much crashed. I got up at a not-too-early hour to have an in-person walk with Cari. It was a very Pasadena walk — two different film crews and the beautiful yards and architecture that I miss so much.

Our house on Atchison was looking pretty good! Unfortunately, they’re losing another one of the old oaks, probably due to whatever killed the first one before we bought the house. The new owners have put in a pretty awful cactus garden on the side of the house, but the front yard looks beautiful.

After our walk, Cari came back to our place for a cup of tea. That led to a decision that we should all have breakfast together, and luckily the rest of her family was able to come up and join us, too. We had a good meal at the newly renovated Fox’s and so much good conversation that I never took out my phone for photos. I did catch a quick one of the kids on the walk back. It was a great way to spend the morning!

Once we said our goodbyes to the Bannings, it was time to kick it into high gear for last minute wedding prep. The two big tasks were to get some shoes that fit Ezra and to drop off our wedding present at the Bates’ house. Our present was a little unconventional — a giant paper maché Peggy Hill head. Peggy Hill is Erin and Rikki’s dog, to whom they are both completely dedicated. It was a whole-family project, but of course, Bruce dreamt it up and did the lion’s share of the work. Here are some photos of the process.

The humble beginnings of the wire shape, made possible by many sketches and printed photos of Peggy Hill herself. (Thank goodness Erin and Rikki post pictures of her so often!)

The first layers of paper maché, left to hang dry outside.

Finished and primered.

Spray-painted with four colors to get her likeness just right.

And, of course, it’s not really a Bruce Moision original if there aren’t lights.

Anyway, we managed to wrap it in rainbow party tablecloths, which seemed appropriate, and Bruce dropped it off. We heard later from Erin and both of her parents that it was the hit of the brunch the day after the wedding. And Erin sent us a couple of photos.

Now, back to the wedding! The boys all cleaned up quite nicely and I took this photo on our way to the shuttle that would take us to the home up in the Altadena hills that was the location for the wedding.

Bruce and I took a selfie a little later. I guess we all cleaned up pretty well!

The ceremony was lovely. Finn said it was the best wedding ever.

After the ceremony and before dinner, the boys enjoyed a bag of candy each from the giant candy table.

There was also a wicked cornhole game.

Dinner was delicious, there was a little dancing (for us, lots for others!), and then it was time to head out. We’re so happy for Erin and Rikki and their life ahead!

Langley Visit

We had a visit from one of my oldest friends, Lori, and her family in June. Our day started with a visit to X.

Bruce gave us a tour, which is limited but improving as they’ve put in a little museum of sorts that highlights the public X projects past and present.

After the tour we went out to lunch and then back to our house, where the boys enlisted Lori’s three kids in a couple of rounds of Anki Drive racing.

After that I took them over to the Google store which is on the main Googleplex campus. They’ve set up the statues representing the different Android versions outside the store and many visitors, including us, were having a good time looking around.

It’s pretty fun to see all the Silicon Valley craziness through the fresh eyes of visitors. We get so used to seeing Google bikes and Waymo driverless cars that we forget the wow factor. Trevor, the one Android fan in the bunch, seemed particularly excited.

Big Basin Camping June 2018

A couple of weeks into summer vacation, we joined some local families for their annual trip to Big Basin. I’d gone with them a few years ago, but Bruce missed that trip because of work. I warned him that we were unlikely to see much of our boys and he should bring a book. I was right.

I managed to get a couple of photos of Finn and Bruce making the first fire, but that was it.

Luckily one of the other moms is great at getting photos and sent them out to all of us. The eighth graders played a game of tag for hours, while the sixth graders had a top chef like s’mores competition.

Our boys never even came to our site for dinner. At the end, they were filthy and exhausted — two hallmarks of a successful camping trip.

Finn’s Fifth Grade Promotion

Finn’s fifth grade promotion ceremony was a beautiful morning on the first of June. We got there early to get a decent seat and the kids were pretty cute milling around all dressed up.

When the ceremony started, they walked in in pairs.

And then went to their rows.

Several of the kids who had leadership roles spoke. Then they gave out the only award, the Fifth Grade Role Model award, which is given to two students as voted on by their peers. Finn and a classmate named Riley were the winners.

It’s meant to be a surprise, and it sure was for us! No one had tipped us off (although his teacher later told me that she wanted to!) and I didn’t even remember that they gave out this award. We were so proud of Finn!

Riley’s mom sent me a fabulous picture of the winners after the ceremony.

Then it was time for Principal Althouse to hand out the certificates.

Luckily my friend Karen had a better vantage point than I did and got a nice shot of Finn’s face.

Then hugs from the teachers.

And then it was over and they marched out.

I managed to get a photo of Finn with his teacher, Ms. Corti, and Principal Althouse, who was celebrating his last fifth grade promotion ceremony as he is leaving Fairmeadow for a new school in Marin County.

And one with a photobomb by some friends, Gabby, Gillian, and Sayori.

We also got one of the newly minted sixth grader with his parents.

Miscellaneous May 2018

Some random stuff that happened in May:

I used my favorite iPhone camera setting (Portrait) on the cats.

Emmy likes to play with (i.e., chew on) the pineapple leaves.

Finn got stung by a bee while he was riding to school! And then we rode the rest of the way.

His face was pretty swollen and red for a couple of days.

Emmy liked the Exploding Kittens puzzle. I posted this photo on Twitter and the creator of The Oatmeal (maker of Exploding Kittens) liked it. Ezra’s mind was blown.

I changed the information on the Commuters’ Corner bulletin board at Fairmeadow for the last time before passing the torch to my friends Tiffany and Denise.

Last Week of Fifth Grade

The last week of school, especially for the fifth graders, is one long celebration. There’s a picnic at Foothills Park that lasts all day, there’s a water balloon toss the next day, and then there’s Field Day. It’s a good week.

The picnic is a fun, activity-filled day. There were all sorts of games available. Finn spent a good portion of the day playing whiffle ball.

After lunch and more play time, they rounded up the whole class for a photo.

And then it was time to get their yearbooks. They only do yearbooks for the fifth graders, so this is a pretty big deal. All the kids seemed to have a fun time running around getting signatures.

The next day was a water balloon toss. Finn teamed up with his friend Felicity. They did pretty well!

After the competition was over, some kids stuck around to get soaking wet with the extra balloons and buckets of water. Of course, Finn was one of those kids.

Finn’s First Hockey Tournament

May was filled with hockey, hockey, hockey, as Finn and his team prepared for a tournament in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend. Due to some stubborn adults, the team was signed up in a division that was above their skill level, and I was already sporting a pretty bad attitude about the tournament. We were initially supposed to play in Valencia which was a) driving distance away and b) in a place where we could have seen our SoCal friends. Regardless of my feelings, the Vegas trip happened. Finn had a great time, as evidenced by this shot of him enjoying in-room breakfast on our first morning.

They played four games. The first two — one each on Friday and Saturday — didn’t go very well. They were pretty outmatched, and, at least for the first one, Finn was very nervous.

Their coach didn’t help matters by getting them on the ice late, allowing for no warm up time. They never recovered, and lost 10-4. Finn faced 36 shots, while the opposing goalie faced 13. Bruce pointed out that Finn’s save percentage was better than the winning goalie’s, which cheered Finn up quite a bit. The boys seemed to recover quickly; the afternoon at the hotel pool helped.

The next game was midday Saturday.

That one didn’t go much better. I don’t remember the score, but it wasn’t pretty.

Again, the boys bounced back with a trip to the hotel bowling alley and arcade, and a team dinner at the hotel buffet. As usual, parents were more upset than the kids.

The final day, Sunday, they ended up playing the same team twice — once as part of the round-robin and then again for the 3rd/4th place final. The other team was a much more favorable match for them and they won both games.

The post-win goalie pile-on.

The handshake line — a great tradition.

And here’s the team enjoying shaved ice after the game.

It was the best possible outcome — they got to end on a high note with two wins, and Finn and I got to catch a flight out Sunday night instead of waiting around all day in Vegas for our original flight home Monday. Now that’s a win-win.

One other fun fact: the games were played in the Vegas Knights practice facility and the whole place was alive with the excitement of the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals. The Finals started after we left Vegas, but we did get to see a Knights practice which was fun. There was always a line out the door for their practices, but since we had an early game on the same ice we were able to just stick around to watch their ice time. It’s always amazing to see NHL hockey up close — even practice.

Christy’s High School Reunion

My class (1987) didn’t plan a 30 year reunion last year, so we did a little belated one in April 2018. It wasn’t a huge group, but a nice critical mass. We met in Paso Robles since we had alumnae coming from northern and southern California.

I drove down with my first best friend, Paige, who lives a little north of us now. It was really nice to get to spend the time with her and catch up.

Most of us rented a house together, and all of us did a walking wine-tasting tour which was really fun and a nice way to keep mixing up the group so everyone got to talk to everyone else. Here’s a picture of the group at our first stop on the tour.

And one obligatory selfie, compliments of my friend Lourdes.

Inaugural Palo Alto Bike Party Ride

With all of the negativity we’d endured for six months of construction of our newest bike boulevard, I thought it was time to bring the fun. I’d been thinking about trying to get some low key family rides going with friends, and then one day my friend Rosie and I decided to just do it.

I felt like I needed a flag and we had our usual split on responsibilities: I found the graphics and Bruce brought it to fruition with a piece of tarp, PVC pipe, and a lot of spray paint.

We attached it to my bike, added rules of the ride to the trailer, and I headed out to the festivities.

It was a short but fun ride — just the length of the controversial Ross Road and back. Fun group!


Finn’s 11th Birthday

Finn’s birthday is a blur (for me) because it was a very busy Spring. I was working on contract with the city to do the fifth grade bike education program. Finn was also pretty busy handling his first hockey tryouts right after we got back from the quick trip to Tahoe.

Luckily, we have pictures to prove that we did something! Looks like we had a little morning celebration — presents and coffee cake.

I have no recollection of what’s in that box.

Tahoe Weekend

We took the boys to Tahoe for the weekend at the end of March. Ezra wanted to try skiing (he loved it) and Finn, as always, wanted to snowboard. Bruce skied too, and they all had a great time.

I spent the time walking and relaxing. The lake was beautiful.

Colonial Day 2018

As is Fairmeadow fifth grade tradition, Finn and his classmates participated in Colonial Day on March 30th. It’s a great day full of costumes, dancing, craft-making, and more. Finn was in the dancing group, so he taught other students a dance.

Here are a few shots of him and his buddies.

He finished the day with a little badminton.

He had a really good time … and he looked super cute!