Saturday, June 30

Friday, June 29

List Maker

We went over to have dinner with baby Rafi to celebrate his mom's birthday tonight. Matilda made a list of all the things she wanted to do there and checked them off as she went:

•Porter wants to play with Stella
•I want to pet Rafi's head and play with Stella
•Go home

She completed 100% of her tasks, very effective use of time!

Monday, June 25

Short Summer Hairdo!

Matilda has been asking for a haircut for a few weeks now and we finally got to it today. She is thrilled with the results and so cute. It reminds Tim and I of when she was a squeeky two year old with hair this long.

Saturday, June 23


Years ago when Matilda revealed herself as an artichoke lover we bought a plant to grow in our potted patio garden. For a long time it survived in a pot, but it wasn't until we planted it into the ground this spring that it took off! It grew way bigger than we expected and dominated the little garden bed it was in.
This week we picked the three smaller artichokes on the plant finally. 

The kids have been insistent that we pick them all but I am holding out on the center one so we can all see how it blooms. This is what it looks like when cut open, but I can't wait to see it flower on the plant to show the fuzzy purple thistle center.
Here are the trimmed baby artichokes soaking in a saucepan today.
 I made marinated artichokes from the first Moosewood cookbook; we will see how they turn out after soaking for a day or two!

Summer Reading

Matilda is really into the library summer reading program. She is super determined to earn some prizes and has already racked up 3 hours reading in the past week! I am being strict too, and will only count her time reading aloud to someone else (rats included). If I counted the time she spends "reading in her brain" ( as she calls silent reading), I think she would be close to done with the whole summer's goal of 11 hours.

First Sleepover!

Look who headed on the road with her pillow tonight! Just this morning she was talking to me about what sleepover friends she wanted to invite over soon. Then, late afternoon, the mom of one of her oldest gal pals called to invite Matilda over for the night. Matilda was THRILLED and completely neglected to say goodbye to me as she dashed out of the car when I dropped her off.
In her absence, Tim and I took Porter out for a boy date to Pie and Burger, a fantastic little diner place in Pasadena. Porter devoured his burger and fruit cup and then had room left to eat most of my rhubarb pie.
 This picture of bedtime silliness just arrived in my inbox. The kids gave each other manicures, watched a movie, ate ice cream and who know what else. Fun all around!

Summer Fun: U-Pick

We headed back out to the farm this week with two of the kindergarten friends that live on our block for some strawberry picking and farm fun. Matilda tis taking this summer relaxation business very seriously:
The picking was not quite as plentiful this visit but we still managed a good haul with so many hands picking.

After picking strawberries and some veggies we headed back from the field to eat a picnic lunch and play. Porter loves the wooden train there; here he is camped out in the tanker car. 
Matilda and her pal confer and plot on top of the hay pyramid.
We capped it all off with several runs down the combine tractor slide.

Tuesday, June 19

Last Days of Kindergarten

Today was Matilda's last day of school. The summer is super short this year as they change the school calendar a bit next year and we start up mid August. We are going to have a first grader in no time! 

Here she is goofing with friends in the line for drop off yesterday.
 Matilda's kindergarten teacher has been out for the last 4 weeks as she injured both her ankles badly. It was like Santa Claus visiting to witness the teacher's return to the class yesterday for a final farewell.
 Posing with Porter before her final walk to school as a kindergartner (sob!).
 When we offered up dinner out to celebrate, she choose sushi again, just like on her birthday. Here she is savoring her salmon.
Time for the summer fun to begin. The plan for tomorrow: beach! 

Saturday, June 16

Dodgers Win!!

To cap off a fantastic game, the kids got to burn off their last remaining bits of sugar/hot dog fueled craziness with running on Dodger grass before we settled on our blanket for a great fireworks show!

Friday, June 15

Friday Night Fireworks

Happy early Father's Day to Tim! Go Blue!

3rd Annual Preschool Camping Trip

This camping trip is just better every year as the kids get older and know more kids. Porter spent the weekend testing out every possible riding thing that came along including bikes, trikes, scooters and skateboards. 

You like how he is wearing his helmet for tree climbing but not on the bikes. I swear this kid should just wear a helmet at all times. (Unrelated side note: The other day I was explaining to Porter why kids are not allowed to run on the treadmills at the gym and he responded with, "Maybe I should just wear a helmet when I run on a treadmill!?")
We made it down to the beach both days for tidepooling, cave exploring and general splashing.

This was the sandiest box of frosted cheerios on record. Porter could not be convinced to stop eating them, despite the grit. I can understand as I have very fond childhood memories of the mini-boxes of sugar cereal we were all allowed on our last camping day.
Check out this fantastic Saturday night potluck dinner that everyone comes to. Tea lights and lanterns in the trees, cloth tablecloths, gourmet food for a small gathering of 40-50 families. Can you tell that I am not at all stressed about being in charge of the camping trip next June?

Amazingly, no one was skewered or burned as the massive hoards roasted marshmallows. I think together my kids probably ate an entire bag of marshmallows between them: roasted, cold, in s'mores, in cocoa. So good. 

Thursday, June 14

Dino Jerk

I feel like this dinosaur piggy bank might be mocking me. 
"Your house will never be clean again," he is saying. 

Summer To Do List

Over dinner tonight Matilda made a list of things she wants to do over summer break. The countdown continues; 4 more days!

Here is her (unedited) list:
read books, go to a playground, go swiming, go sliding, go on the monkeybars, go camping in Sakoia (Sequoia) I love that!, go to a Dodgrs game, go hicing.

Sounds like a we are going to have a good summer!

Thursday, June 7

Eventful Day!

Today Stella's brother decided to make his appearance so we got to pick her up from school! Who's ready to party I asked them and without hesitation everyone yelled, "Me!"
After a pit stop at home to re-group and eat dinner we all headed to the science fair at school. It was amazing with fun exhibits, hands on experiments, french fried cricket snacks (Matilda ate them, liked them and would not let me even try one: she gobbled them up!), and regular old bake sale treat. Stella went for a cupcake while Porter chose one of the bird nest cookies we made.
After loads of excitement Stella and I headed to the hospital for even more, to see her baby brother. Meet Rafi, born today at 2:18pm at 7lb 12oz. He's a lucky boy to have such an excited, sweet big sister.   

Tuesday, June 5

Venus, Berries and Asphalt!

The rest of those strawberries Porter and I picked found a home with the rhubarb Tim picked up at farmer's market. A classic combination that will never fail to remind me of my Grandma Margie.
Porter and I did more picking this week at a huge patch of wild boysenberries we found a few blocks away in the neighborhood. Score!
 Our street was closed today for a new asphalt sealant coat to be put on. Porter was so thrilled with the whole affair. It did not hurt that the workmen were sitting on the corner eating lunch as we came home. My little social butterfly chatted them up a ton and the guys were all really friendly back, solidifying their superstar status in Porter's eyes.
We also took time to go see Venus crossing the sun at the Observatory this afternoon. Matilda saw it really well through one of the big telescopes set up in the lawn, but I do not think Porter could actually make it out. Regardless they had fun in the festival like atmosphere with their new special "sun glasses." After our visit I realized what a rare, special occurrence it is (happening next in 2117), I was glad we managed to see it. even if the kids only remember the craziness of the Observatory.

Saturday, June 2


I think the grill is going to get a good workout this summer as we 
attempt to escape our hot kitchen. Not too shabby so far!

Farm Trip for Porter

Matilda's recent field trip to the farm with her class reminded me how long it has been since Porter has gone. That, combined with the fact that the u-pick strawberries are ready, spelled a trip for us this week. When I told Porter where we were going Thursday morning, he got all excited and asked if we were going to ride the school bus there? Poor boy is so ready to go to school too, like his big sister!  

One fun new thing added this year to the farm is a crank conveyor belt that brings a cup full of the feed up to a waiting goat on the goat-sky-walk. I did not bother buying any food because Porter was perfectly happy to just crank away, feed or not. It was a bit sad to watch to goat though as he got a little hopefully anytime a kid would wander by to crank it, and then the goat would return to looking sad/tired/bored as it realized the cup was (yet again) empty!
Porter is really getting into dress up these days and rocked his sister's fake glasses for most of the farmyard play time. (He spent most of today as Superman and chose to wear the plush chicken costume out to a restaurant tonight. We are adequately entertaining our neighborhood I think.)
Once we headed out into the fields to pick, Porter was happy to take charge of pulling the wagon and his friend, G.
What a nice, big smile!
The strawberry picking was the best I have ever experienced. There was lots of ripe, delicious berries and we filled all our buckets super fast, regardless of the berry-vacuum-boy that came along too.

We also picked some radishes and dug up potatoes, which the kids both really enjoyed. Matilda was even a little jealous of the potato digging so I see another trip out there in our near future. Only 12 more days of kindergarten until summer adventures begin!

Friday, June 1

Memorial Day Hike

For the holiday on Monday, we celebrated with a big hike! We joined friends and went up into the mountains close to LA off the Angeles Crest highway and hiked the Switzer Falls trail. We did not make it all the way to the falls, but that does not mean we stayed dry. The trail crisscrosses all along a rocky stream through the canyon which led for lots of toe cooling off. Porter actually managed to completely soak himself in record time. As we walked up to the trailhead he took his first few tentative steps into the stream and immediately fell down, flipping and flopping trying to get up until he was in deeper water and submerged to his neck. It was so comical because he could not have gotten wetter faster if he tried to. 
There was lots of frogs and lizards for chasing along the way.

The crew of four kids all had super fun playing in the pools where we stopped for lunch.
G, one of Porter's good pals.

Porter and Matilda both spent lots of time trying to catch water striders, to no avail.
Maybe next time!