Saturday, July 02, 2011

7/2/11 Playing The Blues

We really need a new electronic piano that has more keys, but still has all the other features too.

The piano we have now has a recording feature that Gabriel uses a lot. First he records something:

Then he plays it back and plays another part. Sort of like being your own band.

I'm really at a loss how to help him develop this interest. Piano lessons seems the obvious choice, but he doesn't want lessons, or thinks he doesn't need them. His playing is pretty sporadic anyway -- he goes in phases in which he plays a lot, then doesn't, then a whole bunch of new compositions come out (like in the videos above). Piano lessons are more of a regular, committed thing. He would benefit tremendously from the training, but we're not going to force him. I regularly remind him that if he wants to take lessons, we'll totally support it.

It was really fun watching him sort-of jam with his cousin playing on recorder.

Though, his cousin is really more of a front-man vocals guy, and prefers Guns'n'Roses to blues.

I wonder if there are kid-blues guitarists and singers out there who'd like to start a kid-jam band!


Friday, July 01, 2011

7/1/2011 Summer Family Visit

We had such a nice visit with East Coast cousins!! There's a whole photo book waiting to happen, but here's a rundown of each day.

Saturday, Laura and Ryan were here and played with all five kids all day. It was great! More aunts! More uncles!

Sunday morning, Gabriel and I ran in the Summer Scamper 5K. In the afternoon, we set up my new 4-man tent in the backyard in preparation for our camping overnight later in the week.

Monday, we took the kids to Rinconada pool in Palo Alto. This was a huge hit! They had a great time in this shallow, diverse and fun pool.

(Heads left to right: Gabriel, Aidan, Julian, Remi, Katrina)

Tuesday morning we packed up the minivan -- and not easily -- for our much-anticipated campout night. We were delighted to find the campsite spacious and the entire campground empty, though the clouds and sprinkles were threatening as we were setting up and making lunch.

We went on a short waterfalls hike, handily accessible right from the campground. It was sprinkling on and off.

By the time we got back from our hike, it was really raining. I drove out to get cell service and called Dave to get a weather report, but it was clear from the skies that we were in for a night and morning of rain from a freak storm. With great regret, we packed up camp, had dinner at a restaurant in Morgan Hill and went home.

Wednesday was recovery day, and we fulfilled our promise that we'd roast marshmallows, with a makeshift firepit from leftover bricks in the backyard.

Thursday we went to the beach! A chilly wind drove us grownups home a little early, though it's never truly warm on a Northern California beach. I assured my sister she wouldn't need a swimsuit.

Friday, today, we went to Castle Rock State Park and did a lot of climbing. The kids loved this.

And tonight after dinner, I took my sister and niece and nephew to the airport for them to be reunited with their father and dog. But the joy of the memory far outweighs the sadness of seeing our family go. And we're determined family-wide camping will happen again!!


Thursday, June 30, 2011

6/30/11 Beach Day

I haven't been blogging this week, since my sister and niece and nephew and my kids have been too busy together and I've been too tired at night.

So this too will be brief: we had a great day at the beach today! We took the kids to the same place we'd been to a few weeks ago for Jake's birthday. This is a darling beach, easy to get to, pretty and very convenient.

As usual, the first half-hour was spent in the water, jumping the waves.

But the water is cold here. The bigger kids retreated to shore and spent most of their time digging in a hole and playing in the sand. Katrina spent the entire time running around in the water. It got really cold, but she didn't quit!

After about 2-1/2 hours, Steph and I got tired of being cold, and just as the chilly wind died down, we gathered the kids to go home. It seemed longer! They'd all had a great time.

The kids entertained themselves the whole way home singing in the minivan. Even Katrina joined in?! (She was pretty out of key though...!).

Aidan, Remi and Julian continued this on our front lawn at home too. SO cute.

Some colorful bee cookies were the incentive for this shot after dinner. This one's for you, Mom!

I'm still blue about the freak rainstorm forcing us to bail on an otherwise perfect camping introduction, but today was so great it almost much makes up for it!


6/30/2011 Updated Scamper photos

I just updated my post about the Packard Summer Scamper 5K with two wonderful photos that a photographer took along the course. What a treasure to have these of me and Gabriel together!

About halfway through the course. I love this picture!

Approaching the final turn to the finish line, moments before my epic sprint to barely edge out my son by 1 second, probably for the last time ever.

Thanks to Stacey for pointing me to these photos or I'd never have noticed!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

6/26/11 Summer Scamper

Today Gabriel and I ran in a 5K race to benefit the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Over 1200 participants turned out for a 5K and 10K walks & runs, plus kids' runs. It was quite the event! Steph and Aidan and Remi accompanied us to cheer us on -- and of course get photos.

Gabriel and I had a goal of finishing the 5K in 25 minutes. I thought I was running strong, but he kept up with me the whole way, fading back sometimes, then catching up. That's harder to do!

A photographer was taking shots along the way.

(I love this shot, what a treasure.)

When the finish line was in sight, Gabriel and I were running together, and the photographer was there again.

As we approached the finish line, Gabriel sprinted ahead, and then I pushed the hardest I've ever pushed in my whole life to pass him. I barely did and had to work HARD to keep going -- and Steph got the shot! (That's me crossing the finish, and Gabriel is the next runner behind me, the short one in the white T-shirt).

We were both really out of breath but psyched. What a race!!

Afterward we walked to where the goodie bags and snacks were. A radio station was blasting music so loud there was only one thing to do.

A lady with the radio station came out and gave Aidan a T-shirt for dancing! He was psyched.

Race results were chip-timed with devices we attached to our shoes. In the end, I beat Gabriel by 1 second, for an overall time of 26:33 (pace 8:33 minutes per mile) -- much slower than our goal of 25 minutes.

This race has the strangest age divisions: womens' age groups spanned only 5 years (I was in 45-49), but the younger years (where the most differences are) had only one age category: 19-and-under. What's that about? 19-year-olds in the same group as 7-year olds? I don't THINK so!! I thought they should at least have had a 10-and-under category, even before discovering that if they had, Gabriel would have come in 3rd. He did GREAT. He'll certainly beat me our next 5K, as he should.

Other than getting too discombobulated by the crowds to meet up with my friends who gave me the idea to do this, it was a terrific time. I'm so glad my sister and niece and nephew were there for us. And what FUN to do with my son!