Second Fosters

In late July we got our second set of foster kittens, Bosun and Skipper. We had these guys for two weeks, and then we had to call it quits on the fostering for now. It’s a ton of work (especially with these two who came to us with a stomach but and needed medicine which was unpleasant for everyone), and poor Emmy and Sophie never warmed to the idea of having extra cats in the house.

These two were opposite personalities of the first three kittens we had. The first time we let them out of the cage, Boson and Skipper hid under the couch and wouldn’t come out. They were very nervous kitties, whereas the first three thought they owned the place from the first minute. They did warm up after a few days, and they were even somewhat cuddly off and on.

Here are some photos of this eventually-playful duo.

Goalie Camp

Finn did his first week-long goalie camp the week after we got back from Laguna. Busy summer for him! I don’t have a lot of pictures since it was a drop off situation, but here’s one of him and two of his goalie friends heading in for the day.

Here he is after the first day on the ride home.

It was a very exhausting camp full of drills, both on and off the ice. On the last day they had a scrimmage with the players from the regular hockey camp that was also going on. There were so many goalies that they had to take shifts, and the extra goalies waited in the penalty boxes.

I think he had a pretty good time. Here’s a photo of the whole bunch. (Finn barely made it into the shot in the far right corner.)

Laguna 2018

This year we wedged our Laguna trip in between the boys’ sleep-away camp and Finn’s goalie camp, and had a great week-long vacation with the Bannings. Super fun that Bruce and Rob were both able to take the whole time off. Cari and I planned ahead for a couple of new adventures — the King Tut exhibit at the Science Center and a day trip to Catalina Island. And, we got in several bike rides, a couple of hikes, and of course, plenty of beach time. Here are a few photos.

All the kids at the Science Center. Not easy to get them all cooperating but this is a close as it got!

The Catalina was a great day. The boat trips were smooth and fun, and we rented kayaks on the island and did some snorkeling. Everyone was worn out at the end of the day but agreed it was an excursion we should revisit.

One day, all the boys (and I) went on a little hike to check out a local park. It was a little warm and dry, but fun nonetheless. A couple of days later, the boys all went back for a bike ride which was mostly successful with a few glitches (one broken derailleur and some complaining about the up-hills).

On the non-adventure days, we had lots of hanging out on the beach time. The kids are still enjoying digging big holes and getting pummeled by waves at “the pool.”

And, of course, we had many delicious meals on the deck — one of my favorite places in the whole world.

We’re so appreciative of this annual invite to spend time with great friends in such a gorgeous place.

First Foster Kittens

The main reason our proposed trip never happened was that later in the afternoon on July 4th we got our first set of foster kittens: Spotnik, Boy-o, and Tuxi.

These three were so friendly and completely nuts! They chewed up all sorts of stuff in the office, but none of us cared since they were also great cuddlers.

We only ended up having them about a week though because we had our annual vacation with the Bannings in Laguna planned for mid-July. We have a fairly torn up couch to help us remember them though!

July 4th Long Ride

Bruce and I had grand plans of taking a little trip while the boys were at sleep-away camp, but those plans failed to come to fruition. We did, however, get to take a long bike ride on July 4th.

It was beautiful and mostly on trails so very bike-friendly.

Sleep-Away Camp!

The boys did their first week-long sleep-away camp during the first week of July. On our way to the camp, we stopped at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, which turned out to be a fun little detour. We always say we want to make more stops when we travel, but we rarely follow through. Glad we did this time!

After Railtown, we went on to the camp in Pinecrest. I only have a few photos that I took during drop off.

They had a great time at camp, which was really a traditional sleep-away camp: swimming in the lake, horseback riding, campfires, the whole bit. They managed all of the little inconveniences that came up (scrapes, forgotten items) and each said they wanted to do it again next year.

Miscellaneous June 2018

Here are a few extra photos from June. Ezra and some of his friends:

Finn got a cool new bike (he was way overdue):

Someone posted this comment in response to an article in the local paper about the new bicycle infrastructure in town.

When I posted it on Facebook, one of my friends said I needed a Do-Gooder Bicycle Fanatic badge. So, even though I own no spandex, I made one. (Thanks to the All Powerful Bicycle Lobby for the awesome logo.)

And, of course, no miscellaneous post is complete without some pictures of Emmy and Sophie.

Cari’s Visit

I’m out of order here because my pictures weren’t well organized, but on June 5th Cari came to visit for a few days! We had so much fun riding all over town that I didn’t manage to take many pictures. I did get a couple when we visited Bruce for a tour of X. He had a little fun with the visitor badge.

I have to admit to dragging her all over for some boring stuff — to the hockey rink for Finn’s jersey fitting and the next day to the City Schools Traffic Safety Committee meeting (doesn’t that sound like a barn burner?!). But we also managed to get in a nice long ride (14.4 miles) along Stevens Creek trail, and before she left we rented electric Lime Bikes for a little jaunt around Palo Alto.

It was super fun having her here under much better circumstances than her visit last September to help when Bruce was in the hospital.

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.

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.

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!