Google[x] Holiday Party 2015

This year’s holiday party was definitely more upscale than last year’s ugly sweater / beer pong bonanza. This year, they turned the [x] building into a 1920s speakeasy. To my surprise, most people (including us!) dressed up in 1920s garb. There were themed drinks, good food, and good music. It was a lovely evening.

I have only one picture — one of the photographers snapped this as we were walking into the party.


Not bad!

Wunderlich Hike

Yesterday I joined my neighbor (and 10 other hikers) on her weekly outing. This week’s hike was a ten-miler in Wunderlich County Park in Woodside. I’d been there before and it’s a lovely place, but I’d never gone on this particular trail. I was feeling pretty nervous beforehand because even though I walk a lot, I’ve never done ten miles. It was a cloudy day, temps in the low 60s, and a bit muddy on the trail from recent rains. Here’s our group at the beginning of the hike.


I didn’t take many photos because I was too busy walking and trying not to slip or trip. But I shot a couple at this beautiful section of the trail:



And I got this one at a little offshoot from the trail in a section of redwoods.


Of course, since I’m a data junky, I tracked the hike with my Nike app.


It was a great hike! Even with sore feet and sore muscles, I couldn’t be happier that I got to go!

Thanksgiving 2015

This year the Moision clan met in Lake Arrowhead for a few days of family togetherness, good food, and crazy boy activities. We drove down Wednesday, bracing for a ton of traffic and a very long commute, but it turned out to not be so bad even though it took us the whole day. We arrived after dark to find a small patch of icy snow on the ground in front of our cabin, and the boys immediately started playing in it with Thomas. Here’s a shot of our home for four days; I took this on Thursday morning.


There was no snow in the forecast, but we had some very light flurries on Thursday morning. The kids were super happy to play in the snow we had. Such a novelty!


They even collected it from other areas and made a small, icy snowman.


These two were inseparable.


While the boys played, we got to hang out for a bit with Michelle, Michael, and little Vivienne. Bruce tried to teach her the spoon on the nose trick.


In the afternoon we headed over to the big house where the Becks and Bill and Therese were staying. They had the best option for containing all of us for Thanksgiving dinner. All of the boys had a great time playing pool, foosball, nerf wars, and generally running around like crazy. There was also a puzzle going for those who wanted a quieter activity.


Here are a few shots from the festivities. First, our first girl cousin, Vivienne, in her super adorable pink bunny suit.


Grandpa Bill with Luke and Linkin:


And here’s Bill’s picture of all of the grownups at the table.


We knew that it was snowing while we were enjoying our meal, but we weren’t really paying attention. However, when it came time to leave we realized it had really snowed. And it was still coming down.


My boys were beside themselves; they’d never seen anything like this before. After finally wrangling everyone into their cars, we headed for the cabins. We were thankful that we’d decided to drive down in the Subaru because it’s four-wheel drive. Others were not so lucky and there was lots of drama trying to get home. Vanessa and Bob made it home fine, albeit very slowly. Reba decided it was too much, left her car on the side of the road, and came back with us. Michelle and Michael got stuck too, and ended up walking back to the Becks’ house in the snow and staying the night there.

While we’d been gone, our cabin had been transformed.


The boys stayed up way too late throwing snowballs and generally clowning around, but they had a blast.






It was really kind of magical.


Finally, we dragged everyone indoors and had a fire to warm up.


The next morning it was still beautiful and we got a little bit of sunshine too.


Bruce and Bob bought sleds at the lodge and got directions to a nice sledding area within walking distance. Finn and Thomas couldn’t wait — they started sledding in our “backyard.”




Here are some more shots from our sledding expedition.






After a few hours out in the elements, everyone convened back at our cabin for hot drinks and a warm fire. Here’s a shot of all the cousins.


After the respite we all went bowling, which was super fun. I didn’t take many photos, but I love this one of Finn. Good form! (I think! What do I know about bowling?)


Here are some spectators taking in the action.


After dinner at a local pizza joint, we said goodbye to the families leaving the next morning and headed back to the cabins. On Saturday, our numbers had dwindled but the remaining boys (Finn, Ezra and Thomas) were keen to do more sledding. So we headed out again. It was a spectacular day.


I have a few great slow-mo videos of Ezra (the first two) and Finn.

After a restful afternoon we went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, and then had family game night at Bob and Vanessa’s cabin.




The next morning we said our goodbyes and headed down the mountain. We stopped at the Bannings for a lunchtime visit that included sandwiches from Little Flower and lots of catching up. The kids also made up a bingo game for us. I remembered to take a picture of the kids right before we left. It’s not the greatest since they weren’t so happy having to look right into the sun, but it’ll do.


The drive home was much less pleasant than the drive down — lots of traffic and rerouting to avoid problems — but we finally made it home some time around 10:30 pm. Even with the hellish drive, it was well worth it. A great Thanksgiving!

I have lots more pictures and videos here.

Pumpkin Piñata

I’m one day out of order here. The day before I went to Pasadena, both boys had play dates after school. It was all normal — kids playing, me cooking — until Bruce got home. We had a pumpkin leftover from Halloween so, of course, he got the idea to rig it up piñata-style and let the boys smash it with a baseball bat.




And here are the participants. Finn:








Here’s a video of one of the final hits. Needless to say, it was another endlessly entertaining activity from Bruce.

Quick Trip to Pasadena

The weekend before Thanksgiving I got the chance to have an overnighter in Altadena/Pasadena. The official occasion was movie night for the final Hunger Games movie, but really it’s just an excuse for me to come down and hang out with friends. Altadena never ceases to amuse — here Jerri and I share the road with a horse.


Saturday included a quick visit to Lavender & Honey for toast with avocado and marinated jalapeños (yum!), pedicures, and relaxing at the Heffernans before dinner at El Cholo and the movie with the ladies. It’s always so great to catch up with everyone.

The next morning, Jerri and I hiked to Echo Mountain. It was a beautiful and remarkably clear day.


We took the obligatory selfie at the top.


And the hike pushed me to another Nike+ milestone.


After cleaning up, I met Kelly for brunch (no pictures) and putzed around until my flight that evening. I always enjoy flying in or out of LA in the dark.


Hipster Bruce

Last month they were going to do some filming at Google[x] and, of course, Bruce couldn’t let that pass without a prank. As with many of his pranks, the idea solidified in the late afternoon of the day before he wanted to do it. The item needed: a wig.

After school, Ezra and I ran to the huge party store in Mountain View which luckily had a pretty good supply of wigs. Most of them, however, were for more outlandish costumes and not something one would wear in order to fake real hair. But we came up with two choices, valiantly modeled by Ezra.

The Unisex:


And The Beatles:


For Ezra, I think the Beatles is the clear winner, but Bruce liked the tousled look for himself.


He tried wearing it for a while that evening, just to get used to it. He also added a few accessories; here’s one.


I’m pretty sure my mom had this same hairstyle for most of the 70s and 80s. For work the next morning, he went with the cap.


About halfway through the day, I figured out who he reminded me of.


Best $30 I ever spent.