Last weekend I went with the boys to Kings Mountain Archery Range in Woodside. Since I usually don’t go with them, I took the opportunity to take some photos. Ezra decided not to shoot, but Finn and Bruce had a go.


It’s a really beautiful course with some very difficult targets.


Finn did pretty well with this one!


Ezra shagged arrows which is right up his alley.


Here are a few more shots.




Hodgepodge July

I have a few random pictures to post from July, a month that has flown by. First, from the if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em file, here’s Bruce learning a new game that the boys are obsessed with.


Here’ Finn grating some onions. I just really liked his look in the onion goggles.



Ezra’s fifth grade promotion present finally arrived — a new Islabike.


Our chalkboard got a facelift (new blue paint) and made a reappearance after two years in a box in the garage. The boys (all three of them) had fun with it immediately.




We went to an A’s game a couple of weekends ago. It was a completely different experience from the Giants game last year. This is an old stadium with a diehard fan base that is sticking with the team despite many years of losing records and very few stadium amenities. It was a mellow afternoon in the sunshine for us. Check that off the NorCal list.


Best of all, the boys are both taking a hockey skating class in Redwood City.


They seem to really like it so far. Ezra is very excited to be learning the hockey stop. I liked this very old school display at the rink.


They’ll be taking this class through most of September, and then they’ll start the second class if they’re still interested.

Fourth of July 2016

Our Fourth of July was low energy with almost no pictures, but I’m going to go ahead and do a post anyway. We had the obligatory library flag decoration which was up for a couple of weeks around the holiday and was a big hit with neighbors.


I’d posted it on our library’s Instagram account and got a lot of love. Then the official Little Free Library account picked it up and it got a lot more love. So fun!


The boys built and decorated a Trader Joe’s cookie White House on July 2nd.





And they ate it the next day.

We had planned to attend Palo Alto’s annual chili cook off the afternoon of the Fourth, and then bike over to watch fireworks outside Shoreline Amphitheatre. We did the first activity — good chili and a nice, fairly relaxing atmosphere — but we bailed on the second. Instead, we watched The Sandlot which, surprisingly, none of us had ever seen. Once Finn got over the scary big dog, we all relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Partway through the movie we heard the Amphitheatre’s (very long) fireworks show from our comfy spots in the living room. That was enough fireworks for us this year.

Bring Your Child to X Day

This post is quite chronologically-challenged, but all the way back at the beginning of May, while Ezra and I were on a field trip to NASA, Finn and Bruce participated in Bring Your Child to X Day.



In addition to Bruce’s duties as a dad that day, he also had an important role as an employee — he devised a fun way to demonstrate how the laser communication system on the balloons works. He wired a switch to a laser pointer and fastened it to a helmet, taped on a small motor to cause vibration, and attached a giant balloon to it. Then he had the kids try to point the laser pointer at a fixed spot across the room, while the balloon swayed above their heads and the motor vibrated the helmet. All this simulated what the laser comm system has to deal with in trying to point to another balloon in order for successful communication. It’s really quite difficult to keep the laser pointer straight on target with all this going on, but the kids (and adults!) had a super fun time trying. Here are a few pictures taken by his colleague, Paul.



Here’s Baris giving it a try. I love this picture. Everyone’s faces are expressive, and I especially love Finn peaking out between Bruce and Baris.


The demonstration proved to be so successful that the project is planning to use it for other Xers and visitors. What a great outcome for one of Bruce’s crazy contraptions!

Mt. Tamalpais Camping Trip

In our efforts to explore north of us, we scheduled two camping trips this summer. The first one — to Mt. Tamalpais State Park near Marin — was at the end of June. We stayed at the Steep Ravine campground, a small area with limited amenities but gorgeous views. First, though, a little bit about our drive up. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge while it was half covered in fog, an iconic view that I made Bruce take a picture of (since I was driving). He loves it when I make him take pictures.


We stopped for lunch and a walk around Marin before heading west to the campground.




The campground is on the cliffs overlooking the ocean (awesome!)…


… but you have to park in the lot and haul all your stuff to your site via wheel barrows (not so awesome!).


The boys were thrilled.


We took a quick exploratory walk. This view was ten steps from our campsite.


After we were settled in, we hit the beach.


Here’s our destination.


And the way to get to it … not easy!


But it was definitely worth the hassle of climbing over the rocks. A beautiful, quiet, sunny beach is my happy place.


The boys love it too.


They flew kites.



And dug holes.


And got surprise-attacked by cold waves.


After a while we headed back up to the campsite for dry clothes and food; then we did a little more exploring.




Back at the site, there was whittling.


And tree-climbing.


And deer-sighting.


And an early campfire — it was colder than we’d expected.


After the boys’ favorite camping dinner (hotdogs) we turned in early because we were all freezing and just wanted to get in our sleeping bags.

The night included a raccoon invasion that Finn and I slept through. Bruce and Ezra woke up, though, and knew those pesky pests were going after our food so they got up to fight them off. The rascals couldn’t get into our cooler or food container, thankfully, but we must have left a loaf of bread out although neither of us remembers getting it out of the box. They ripped it apart.


It was clear from the box that they had made a valiant effort to open that too.


A little while later when the boys and I were snuggled up in the tent (it was still so cold!) and I had dozed off, Bruce starting yelling at us to get up because there was a whale close by. Despite being startled awake, which is not my favorite thing, I was happy to have the opportunity to see the whale. It was amazing — he stayed out there for a long time feeding. I tried to get a good shot, but you can’t tell where he’s going to come up until he’s already up and my reflexes aren’t that fast. But here are a couple of shots.




Once we’d had enough of whale watching, we took a hike around the campground as the fog started to lift.




As soon as the sun was fully out, we headed back down to the beach for several hours.






Finally, after the boys were soaked and every morsel of food had been eaten, we trekked back up to the campsite for chips and salsa. And dry clothes.


And views! I couldn’t stop taking pictures.


In the evening, we had another campfire, burritos for dinner, and, of course, roasted marshmallows. We were all pretty tired, though, and turned in early again. Did I mention that the tent was on an incline? Not the best sleeping situation, but we didn’t have another choice. It was comical how much the boys slid down during the night … right off their pillows.


The raccoons came back for a second try, as evidenced by the paw prints all over the cooler, but we’d thwarted their attempts and they got nothing! Nothing! We, however, had a lovely breakfast of avocado toast.


As usual, after a couple of nights of camping we were ready to get home (or maybe that’s just me). So we packed everything up pretty quickly and hit the road. Or … maybe not. We were pulling out of the campground when Bruce noticed a trailhead across the road. So, we parked the car and, much to the boys’ dismay, started walking on the Steep Ravine Trail.



Pretty soon the boys came around and we all had a nice time on the hike.





It was a great way to end our first trip of the summer.


Bennett’s Visit

A couple of weeks ago we had a visit from our long lost friend and the boys’ former babysitter, Bennett. She’s embarking on a teaching career and recently moved to the Bay Area, so we got together for a lovely Saturday.

We took a tour of X first where we all enjoyed seeing the oddball decorations and perks, including the scooters and the nap pod.


After a brief stop at home, we biked over to the bay to have lunch.


From there we went to the kite flying area and flew kites. The boys also drove their remote control cars. Ezra’s kite is a two-hander that’s hard to fly.


But eventually he got it going and made it do tricks.


It was a perfect day, although a little warm, and we were all worn out after the kites and bike ride. We took a lovely afternoon nap and then made pizza on the grill for dinner. It is so settling for me to spend time with old friends and we truly enjoyed our day!

Obama Motorcade

President Obama was in Palo Alto on June 24th for a conference at Stanford. I knew this because I got the multiple traffic warnings from the PAPD about the impending ObamaJam. And so, when I needed to run an errand to the other side of town, I rode my bike. (Truth be told, I always ride my bike when I have to go over there because even on regular days the traffic and parking are horrendous.)

Anyway, I was on my way back and crossing Embarcadero when I saw a gaggle of motorcycle cops riding down the street. Then two of them stopped at opposite corners of Embarcadero and Greer, and the timing was consistent with the traffic warnings so I stopped to ask one of them if Obama was en route. Luckily the CHP officer was very nice. He told me yes, eventually, the motorcade would be coming all the way down Embarcadero, but he wasn’t sure exactly when, probably 15-30 minutes.

Of course, I had to wait! So I parked my trusty steed across from the officers and found a shady spot.


After about 30 minutes, the cops blocked off Greer, much to the chagrin of many drivers. There was even one woman who tried to cross the street on foot and was quite perturbed when the officer told her she couldn’t.


After several sweeps from the police helicopter, a small crowd of onlookers joined us and finally the procession started.


It was pretty great.



There was a long line of vehicles behind the one Obama was in — press vans, ambulance, more police, etc.


I stopped taking pictures as Obama’s car passed by and I did, in fact, get a glimpse of our President. In light of the disaster that is this year’s election process, seeing Obama was especially exciting!

And then, in the blink of an eye, it was all over and the streets were open again. There are hundreds of cars backed up though, so I was very happy to be able to jump on my bike. I was home in five minutes!

Bike Ride with the Aubins

Our friends, the Aubins, are spending most of the summer at home (Calgary) but before they left Tiffany and I took the kids on a bike ride. We planned out a six-mile route, which ended up getting modified a bit toward the end.


Our first stop was a little farm that has some donkeys. It was a very popular stop.



I snapped this shot as we were about to leave the donkeys and ride to a nearby park. I love this biker gang.


We played at the park for a while and then headed to Driftwood Deli for lunch. It was yummy and then the kids talked us into going for ice cream after lunch. So, our off map part of the excursion was a trip to Rick’s and from there we rode home. Nice to get a little exercise and sunshine with friends!

Father’s Day 2016

Father’s Day was so low key this year that I can’t remember what we did. I know we had a lovely breakfast for Bruce … because I have a photo.


Other than that, I’m drawing a blank!

Finn’s Piano Recital

Finn started piano lessons this year, and on June 11th he had his first recital. Here he is before we left for the music school — hair combed and wearing long sleeves and long pants!


Here’s the program with the songs he played.


I took a video of his performance, of course. It’s a little hard to see his face behind all that hair but he did great!

And here’s a shot of all of the students with the teacher.