Turning 42

The night before my birthday, I came downstairs to get a drink of water and Steve was up busily decorating for my birthday.  Now, that might be considered endearing to some, but this is what I saw on the counter.
I was shocked to see the numbers so big and bold, that I swiped them off the counter and hid them behind my back so Steve would not notice.   I continued to have a conversation with Steve as he started to search all over for the number 42.  I watched him for at least 10 minutes trying to find where he had put the candles.  I then went to bed and kept them hidden under my pillow. 

Getting older has never been a problem for me.  Life keeps getting better and better.  Turning 40- was glorious!  Turning 41-  still basking in the joy of turning 40.  Too be honest, this past year has been amazing.  For some reason, I didn't like seeing 42.   Yes, there is 20 years difference between me and "Hot Nanny" (aka Amanda).
The week began with a celebration with Amanda and Tracy.  We all had birthdays in the same week.
(Kim, Amanda, Linda, me, Melissa)

Just love this pic of Amanda. It is so her. 

Then the next night a little celebration at the Elks Lodge with Alice.  Forgot to bring my camera for that one.  Then on Thursday a quick celebration because Steve had to go to the induction ceremony at the Elks Lodge.  He felt really bad that he had to leave so soon.  We are doing a birthday dinner another night.  Just the two of us.

Chelsea launching into a story as we are about to blow out candles. 
Apparently, I was not doing a good enough job at blowing out the candles.  Steve had to come in. 
Happy Birthday!  Grateful that 42 years of living has given me a wonderful family and an amazing life!

 The kids wrote some really nice birthday notes to me.  I was very impressed and felt loved.  Yes, I did ask for a waffle make, not the cheese slicer but Stevie really thought I would like it.  The picture does not show the fun gift cards for future shopping trips!! 

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Back to School Feast and New Tradition

When you enter the Blog world, you find yourself with the ability to look  inside the homes and lives of other families.  It is fascinating to see how other families live.  The good part of it is that you can get a lot of ideas, traditions and values to instill and implement in your family.  The bad part is that sometimes it can make you feel like you are not doing enough, (but that will be another post). 
Little Patriot

This new tradition that I found on the web, added to our already tradition of a Back to School Dinner.  This year we decided to get even more festive by calling it a "Back to School Feast."  We also unveiled an educational theme for the year, "Learn for Life."  We are going to try and have a new theme each year and unveil it the night of our Back to School Feast.
Swimming Pool

I also had this artist, Kurt Knudsen make these beautiful stars and engrave our theme and the year 2011 on each start.  I envision the kids getting a star each year with a new theme engraved on it.  They will have quite a collection when we are done, maybe they can even display on their own Christmas trees.

We will (hopefully) reinforce the theme a couple times a month.  Our first story we read, Steve's sister sent us.  A Weave of Words by Robert San Souci kept all FOUR kids attention.  How often does that happen? 

Patterned and Stained Glass Star- Une Petite Rouge

Marky and I were in charge of the Feast.  We based our Feast on the book, "I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato."         
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Charlie and Lola)
Marky and I made: Orange Twiglettes with snow, hot coals, greendrops from Greenland, logs, rainclouds, volcano drinks.

Sweet boy is working hard on making dip.  Love it!!

 Love his concentration- he even has his tongue out, he is concentrating so much. 
 Marky dressed up in an apron and hotpads on because that is what you need to cook with.  Matt is making main dish.

Dining al fresco!

 Unwrapping their stars. . .

 Chelsea reading our theme.
 Love his expression of anticipation.

Here's to a great start of a new school year.  We have children at every stage this year:  High School, Junior High, Elementary, and Preschool.  So grateful that our children attend great schools, have great teachers, keep good friends, have varied interests and activities to keep them busy.

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Picasso Exhibit in San Francisco

We do not always take advantage of living so close to San Francisco.  However, this past year, we have taken the opportunity to see some amazing art exhibits in San Francisco. 

When the King Tut exhibit was here, we took the kids to go see it.  I remember going the last time it was here (I was 8).  I figured if I remember going when I was so young, it was important to take my children.  We always love visiting San Francisco, since this is where we lived when we first got married.  I always encourage our children to live in a big city at some point in their lives. It is an amazing experience.
This year, we saw the Impressionist exhibit.  The D'Orsay Museum in Paris was closed for rennovations and loaned their paintings to the deYoung Museum.   We also saw the Van Gogh and post-Impressionist exhibit a few months ago.  Most recently we saw the Picasso exhibit.  This exhibit is on loan from the Picasso Museum in Paris. 

The kids and I had a great time trying to guess the title of the paintings. We were getting creative as we went along (maybe because the art was becoming more abstract).

It was an amazing exhibit. I realize that our kids do not understand why we drag them to these exhibits. When they are older, I am hoping they appreciate these experiences and hope that they will see how much beauty is in this world. 
The next day, Matt did go visit his Freshman history teacher, Mr. Navarro, who is EXTREMELY passionate about art. Matt spent an hour discussing the exhibit with him (I am taking that as a good sign).  Matt said Mr, Navarro was actually wearing a t-shirt from the exhibit and jumped out of his chair when Matt said he visited the exhibit.

Ok, We went to the Giants game after the exhibit.  That made it more bearable for the boys.  Not going to post Giants pictures here- will leave this post just about the art.

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It makes me wonder and be in awe of how much our personality we are born with.   At the time when our children our babies, we may not recognize that their behavior is part of their personality, but sure enough as they get older we see the same traits. 

Stevie LOVED tools when he was young.    He would carry his tool box everywhere and help Steve with jobs around the house.  Stevie is fixing his own high chair.

 When Stevie would wake up from his naps, he would climb out of his crib and get all of his tools and put them back in his crib.  Then he would play with his tools in his crib.  He still loves building and creating.  It is fun to see him do it with Marky.
As a baby (and still today), Stevie used to look at people with the expression, "Why in the H+++ are you talking to me?"    He still has this same serious expression at times.

 I used to take Stevie's clothes off before he eats because he was such a mess.  If it was socially acceptable now to do that, it would save me a lot of  time with less laundry. 

Stevie came home on the first day of 1st grade upset because Andy Cai who sat next him knew all of the multiplication facts.  Stevie promptly taught himself  multiplication that week.  When these two boys were in 5th grade, they got in an argument over a math problem and got sent to the the principal's office.  We thought this was so funny. 

How did this beautiful, sweet, chubby face

turn into this Lacrosse, Cross Country,basketball playing, Boy Scout, Harry Potter loving, hanging out with friends tween?
 Such a tender-hearted boy growing into a handsome, talented, interesting young tween. 
Steve and I love him so much!!!!

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Friends of Summer

Just some of our wonderful friends and family we got to see this summer.  How wonderful life is to have so many amazing, loving people in our lives. 

 I realized this summer that there were so many days and events that I did not have my camera to capture the fun memories and special people.  The blog is helping me to be better at "capturing memories," but alas many are lost.  Here are some we happened to capture!!!

Chelsea+ Kimberly+ Alyssa= BFFs
Cheslea, Rochelle, Emily

Lots of time with the Cousins!!
Matt and Peter Blink

Matt and Nate
Craig and Mike Gonzalez
Chelsea and Madison- Last day of school!
Stevie and Sami
Boys of Summer: Jake , Ricardo, Winston, Sam, and Sami
Stevie, Max, Wyatt
Alice and Joilene at the Hyatt

Luncheon for Junette: Angela, Billy, Lilia, Junne, and Cyndi
We realized that day, we should be "lunching" every week.

Jerry's 45th Birthday - the best Prime Rib ever (dinner)
Talent Show: Simran, Chelsea, Mo, Mallory, Sandy
Jenna, Ryan, Lindsay Livengood and kids
Joilene and Mona

Mona Mistry, Joilene, Linda Garrett

Kaley, Chelsea, and Simran
Khloe and Kiley painting with Marky

Nate, Matt and Stevie in Tahoe

Chelsea and Megan
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