Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birthday Weekend Extravaganza & Field Trips Galore!

What a birthday weekend we had! On Friday night, Bill's cousin, Kathi, and her husband, Craig, drove up from Southern California to spend the weekend with us and see Grandma Ann. They made it in time for dinner so the kids had a great time meeting their "big" cousins.

On Saturday morning we all walked downtown for a nice lunch of crepes and then walked Kathi to the yarn shop, since she is a big knitter like her Aunt Ann.

Saturday afternoon Grandma Ann came over to the house for a small birthday party at our house to celebrate her 78th birthday. Our friend Ron came over to say hi and finally meet her in person. Kathy had knit her a pretty green wrap that she presented to her that afternoon. Then we all got to dig in to a great big white cake with fresh berries on top from Whole Foods that Sweetpea had picked out herself. Gordo helped Grandma Ann with the candle blowing out fun.

She was feeling pretty good that day, and enjoying the company, so she decided to stay a while longer while Bill showed his cousins the movie from his trip to Antarctica. The penguins are so cute and the panorama is so incredibly beautiful. After that, Bill took Grandma Ann back to Sunny View and Kathi and Craig offered to stay home with the kids for pizza and a movie while Bill and I went out on a date. We went to see "The Vow." I liked it very much, very romantic and uplifting. I was disappointed to learn later that the couple it was based on were very devout Christians and that that part of the story line was completely whitewashed out. It's too bad we couldn't see another positive movie about Christians in action like "Blind Side."

The next day, Kathi and Craig went home, and we went to visit Grandma Ann again since it was Bill's birthday and we wanted to say thanks for giving birth to Daddy 49 years ago. When we got there, she was in the main activity room by the big sliding glass doors looking at the flowers blooming in the courtyard and the birds and bees buzzing around. I am SO glad she is not hiding out in her room all the time anymore like she used to in Mississippi. They make sure she is surrounded by lots of people all day long and she is still progressing in her therapies, which is very good news. She is officially a resident there now. Praise God!

In the afternoon, Bill decided he wanted to go to the Easy Bay Vivarium in Berkeley to see the snakes.
The kids had a blast looking at he lizards, geckos, snakes, tarantulas, and monitors. Some were a little scary looking, but they were all pretty cool. Toto decided to be brave, and for $ 5 he got to pet and hold a boa constrictor for about 5 minutes. He was all smiles as you can see! He's brave, that one!

 Gordo took a turn too. Sweetpea and I did not want to hold it, but we did each pet it. Not so bad.
Afterwards, we stopped by a great Mexican restaurant that had some of the best tacos I've ever had. We got home in time for baths and dinner, topped off with another fabulous cake from Whole Foods. They were both good cakes, but we all decided that Grandma Ann's white cake with the fresh berries on top was better.

Monday morning, President's Day, we went with some homeschool group friends on a field trip to the Hiller Aviation Museum up on Hwy 101. It's a fun and compact museum, so you don't have to worry too much about losing your kids, and it's one of the few (if not only) museums open on Mondays - which is good to know when it's raining and you HAVE to get out of the house. The kids all had a great time running around, sitting in old fighter planes, touring the inside of a real cockpit, and standing on the outdoor viewing platform and watching the small private planes touch down and lift back up, over and over, as they practiced next door at the local community airport. Some of the group headed home, but some of us headed over to the nearby Burger King for lunch which has a helicopter the kids can sit in instead of a play area. Lunch was quick but fun.

On the drive home, we stopped off to buy gravel for the backyard garden train, and then stopped at the Mexican market to buy Masa to try to make homemade tortillas like the ones we had eaten the day before. While I got Baby M to take a nap, Bill and the kids worked on laying out the gravel (ballast) for the scale model train in the backyard. It turned out great. They got about halfway done, and then Bill needed to clean off a bunch of tracks that had gotten covered in rabbit poop over the last year. (Thanks, Stuart!) They should have it up and running by this summer.

After cleaning everybody up, I started making homemade corn tortillas and they turned out fantastic. I also made the taco filling which turned out very flavorful and not spicy. We topped them with salsa and sour cream and slices of fresh avocados that cousin Kathi had brought us from her tree in Altadena. They were delicious. I thought the tortillas would be really hard to make, but they're not. It's really just like making pancakes. Once I got a good rhythm going, it only took me about 20 minutes to make 16 hot, fresh, corn tortillas that tasted great and were soft and pliable. I would definitely make them again.

This morning, Sweetpea and Toto got to go on a "field trip" they would rather have not gone on - their first visit to the orthodontist. Our nanny came to take care of the two little boys while I spent nearly 4 years hours at the doctor's office watching the kids have multiple x-rays and photographs taken, measurements made, treatment options discussed, models and appliances shown, and fears calmed. They got spacers installed today and in 10 days they go back to get their palate extenders made and installed and then Toto will start his front jaw puller contraption at that time to correct his underbite.

I nearly had heart failure when they said it would be $ 6,000 for the 2 of them. Our insurance only pays for about 40% of the cost, but thank God for that! They will set us up on a payment plan that we can pay over the course of 18 months while the kids have their appliances and braces on. It is going to oh.so.much fun for me to tighten the screws on each of their palate extenders each night - trying to find that little hole and getting the allen wrench in there while they're complaining. But a palate extender is better than having teeth pulled. And the head gear to pull the top jaw forward is definitely better than having jaw surgery. I got Toto excited about the head gear by telling him he could pretend to be a little robot when he had it on at night and come to our bed for a snuggle. All kidding aside, they did great at what was a ridiculously long first appointment, and they were good sports about having the spacers installed today. They were a little sore and needed some Tylenol when we got home, but they said they forgot about them after a little while and were able to eat their lunch normally. For lunch, I made homemade macaroni and cheese for the first time ever. It was so easy, I don't know why I've been using a box for so long. I did not even use a recipe. I had boiled noodles. I melted shredded cheddar cheese with butter, cheese, a little flour and salt and pepper, and poured the sauce over the noodles. It took no time at all.

Tomorrow I have a meeting at lunchtime, but then after that, we will be heading over to our homeschool group meeting for the kids to see their friends and enjoy a little more sunshine this winter. Hands on Sports in the middle of February, a first in four years of homeschooling!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to know you've stopped by and read the blog.
Me encantaria saber que estuviste leyendo el blog.