Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall activities

We had such a mild fall in Livermore which allows us to enjoy lots of outdoor activities.  We went popcorn picking at Ardenwood farms and got a nice stock pile.  I've decided microwavable popcorn isn't so healthy, so we have been blowing through our ears of corn pretty quickly, but I do think we got enough to last us for quite some time.  Our family is big on eating popcorn!
Ainsley's best bud, Makayla joined us.  We were sure sweaty by the end!
I also enjoyed lots of hikes with friends at the backside of Lake Del Valle.  It is such a peaceful place.

We also joined the Livermore rocks movement and painted/decorated rocks and placed them downtown.  Hopefully, we brightened someone's day.  These rocks were unique because they traveled all the way from Lummi Island in Washington.  I think we will make it an annual thing.  It was a very fun activity and didn't require much effort.

Ryan and I had a date afternoon, wine tasting!  There is a wine trolley that drives all over Livermore and we decided it was time to see what that was all about.  We packed a lunch and rode our bikes downtown to catch the trolley and tasted at 3 wineries.  We split the tastings at 2 wineries, thank goodness because by the last one, I was having a really hard time functioning properly.  Wine is very strong!  They were all delicious, especially the last place we went, ha ha!  It was quite a comical ride home for me, laughing all the way.  Not sure if its legal to drink and bike, but I'm pretty sure I would have gotten a ticket.  We made it home safe and sound!

 I just so happened to find someone else's rock that day :)

This was the first Halloween that Reggie did not trick-or-treat with us.  He went with his friends, but at least he was in our neighborhood.  We got stopped by a police officer who was handing out full size candy great was that!  And we saw our favorite pig :)

 Khalif blends right in the with the decorations at this house!
Ryan flew to Asia the next day and Grandma Pam flew in!  Reggie had a field trip that day that I was chaperoning, so I couldn't even pick up Aunt Pam from the airport (that goodness she has a friend who lives close to us).  Reggie's field trip was really neat....we learned about refugees and experienced just a tad of what they deal with.
Of course, his field trip was long, so she got thrown into our crazy schedule and had to take Ainsley and Khalif to piano.  It is a good thing she had Siri and maps and was able to navigate.  It is really hard to make the schedule work with one person, so thankfully, she was able to come visit and help out!
This was the next morning....Ryan's tire had been losing air and he just kept putting air in it...I happened to look at it after picking up one of the kids from piano and saw the nail :(.  I drove it anyway since the repair place was only about 1 mile away.  Usually things go terribly wrong when he travels and I was worried this was the start of a crazy week, but that was it!

Playing Taboo of their new favorite games.

We kept busy while the kids were at school, going to the gym, delivering food for meals on wheels and having lunch!  Aunt Pam went all out at Sauced.  This is the biggest sweet potato I've ever seen!
 So full

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Level 8?

Ainsley was a bit behind after the summer because she had a lot of fear.  Ryan gave her a pep talk and let her know awhile ago that she only had a month and a half to learn her new skills.  She came home in tears that night, freaking out that she was running out of time.  I told her, forget 8, let's do level 7 again and have fun, no stress and let it go.  She was much better and somehow after that, she decided she was going to get her skills and it has been amazing to see her overcome her fear and see what she can do when she really wants to.  She is supposed to find out on Friday if she moves up, but you can see from the videos below, that she has her skills.  I am happy for her, but she has lots of aches and pains that we are constantly working to overcome.  Part of me was wanting her to do 7 again (the vault is a little scary to watch) or try something else like trampoline or volleyball, but she lights up when she is at the gym and loves her friends so much. 
I bought a rife machine, so I have been treating her much like the acupuncturist and it has been amazing!  Her Achilles have been bothering her at times, her wrists, her back, ugh, but the frequency treatment is really effective for her.  We have been using CBD ointment (medical marijuana) and that is pretty amazing stuff.  I also bought a cupping set and have been using that on the whole family.  Surprisingly, Reggie's back is always the worst.  He feels just fine though!  The chiropractor seems to have fixed his headaches because it has been several weeks without having one, so thank the Lord for that!

Floor-layout full

I don't have a recent video of this, but she is up on high beam, making these almost every time.

Sleep :(

It seems that when I turned 41, my body started falling apart.  Started with my groin, that was irritated for 6 months on the right side and then finally went away, only to show up on the left side a week later.  My left shoulder has also been freezing up and causing pain, but, my upper back has been the most life interrupting.  It started in early June and was intermittent at first, but now I can't sleep through the night.  It has been months since I have had a good night of sleep :(.  Starts at about 3:30 a.m. and every time I move, it feels like my upper back is going to break.  So, I have been getting up and sleeping in the recliner couch for about a month and it has helped a lot.  I've been doing chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and physical therapy and now instead of sharp shooting zingers, it is a deep ache, so I guess that is some improvement.  The foam roller has been the biggest difference maker and I'm now realizing that stretching after exercising includes your upper body!  I'm hearing the same things from everyone, that I'm very tight and need to stretch and stretch some more.  I need to do yoga, but it isn't something I enjoy, but I will have to start doing it on a regular basis or I might be in pain forever.  Here's a few picture of my therapy (torture)...clearly there are issues!
 This hurt sooooo bad
 I didn't even think I was bruised after this treatment, but no such luck

Monday, October 30, 2017

Firsts for Khalif

Khalif had his first swim meet this weekend and it was perfect weather!  Mid 80's!  Unfortunately, he learned a very important lesson....check your goggles before you dive.  I guess he forgot to suction them to his face and they slipped right off his eyes and it made for a very rough swim.  He was a bit rattled, started with the wrong stroke, but pulled it together and finished.  He was very upset, but we were very proud that despite the curve ball thrown at him, he finished! 
Video of his race: 
The night before the swim meet was multicultural night and there were all kinds of booths and new foods to try and we agreed that the shortbread was best, but the Chupati (sp?) from Kenya was a close second.  There was a booth from Norway, but no treats, just cool sweaters.  Khalif's grade did a song in Spanish...doesn't he look excited and comfortable having the spotlight on him??!!
Ainsley was at practice and Reggie was with his friends, so Khalif got all the attention!  

Multicultural night was part of UN week and since we are an IB school, they have a lot of awareness around that week.  The kids played games from other countries and cultures, had guest speakers from other parts of the world and did Kids Against Hunger again and put together thousands of meals to be sent to Puerto Rico!  2nd grade is the first opportunity to actually pack the food and I just happened to be volunteering when Khalif's class went through!
 Isn't his toothless smile just the cutest!!!

Friday, October 20, 2017


Well, KOA was different this year without mom and dad.  We couldn't pull together a group costume either, so we all dressed up in whatever and Ryan didn't even wear a costume!  But....we made it and the weather was absolutely beautiful (probably the best its ever been) and we had such a nice relaxing time.  It was 2 o'clock on Saturday before I even looked at my phone.  We met some new people and I had a great time catching up with old friends.  The kids were MIA nearly the whole time and had their own fun.  Reggie brought his buddy David since we had extra room in our cabin and that was good since we said no electronics.  He was very bummed about that and wondered what they were going to do.  I suggested they bring nerf guns and that was a big hit, plus they went swimming and rented banana bikes.  They spent a lot of time with Noah too.  Ainsley was glued to Camille and Khalif to Sophia and everyone was happy!
This was brilliant....he rented a uhaul and had all his smoker/cooking supplies right there and there was even enough room for a couple chairs.  I am not a fan of ribs, but his were delicious!

 Thank goodness we brought a football!
 The old lady

 These people transformed their cabin into the movie "It" and it was amazing.  I didn't even realize there was a cabin back there.

 Lots of adult goodies! 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

3 day weekend

Khalif went to visit Aunt Ashley, so we had a little fun of our own.  We took the kids to the beach and they body surfed a bit and boogy-boarded, but the water was very, very cold.  Not like Hawaii at all!  Thank the Lord for wesuits!  We enjoyed hanging out and Ryan played a lot of football catch with them.  They love to watch the football in the surf!

We also had a gift certificate to Umigo go cart racing and I thought it might be a good time to use it.  I loved it, but crashed pretty hard and that didn't feel so good.  Reggie and Ainsley had to get a lesson and be approved to race because they were underage, but they did fine.  Ainsley never wants to do it again, but Reggie seemed to really like it!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

First day of school

The first day of school was momumental!  It was the greatest solar eclipse in a really long time.  Of course, I didn’t have it together enough to purchase the special glasses and by the time I started looking, they were sold out, EVERYWHERE.  Some people were crazy enough to buy the paper/plastic glasses for $50 but I decided to make a pinhole projector instead.  The school purchased them for the kids, so they had an amazing view with their special glasses.  
Reggie is the big man on campus, 8th grade, yikes!  He got his schedule and was so bummed out about having theater/acting again (he had it in 7th grade) and asked if I could fix it.  He put in for stagecraft, but didn’t get it.  I told him that if it bothered him that much, he should go and talk to the Vice Principle to see if she was able to make a change.  It would be more effective coming from him and not me, so I encouraged him to express his disappointment.  He walked to the school and she was in a meeting, so he went back and talked with her and that night, I got an e-mail that requested he pick up his new schedule before school started on Monday!  Way to go Reggie….those types of interactions are fairly uncomfortable for him and I’m glad he sucked it up and obviously was very happy about the outcome.
 Ainsley started 6th grade which is middle school at their school and Khalif 2nd grade.  They all seemed ready and really enjoyed their first day.

I went and had brunch with the moms!  We were all so happy to have a little freedom back and peace and quiet.  There was a group sitting across from us with their special glasses and I kept waiting for it to get dark and it never did!   The group got up and left and I asked everyone why they left and they said it was over.  I missed the whole thing!  It was less than impressive, but I did throw up my pinhole projector and saw a partial eclipse.  I still don’t understand why it didn’t get dark at all.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Cute little bird that consumed our afternoon.  I saw something fluttering in the water and we've had all kinds of things in the lake, including a snake, so we ran down to see what it was and it was this poor little bird.  I told Ainsley to jump in and get it and she swept it up and it became her friend.  We let it recover and dry off and took it to what we thought was its nest, but it didn't take long for it to end up in the water again.  The kids were infatuated and were bringing it ants and bugs and it ate every one very quickly.  Khalif was a very good ant catcher.  It seemed to gain its strength back and took flight, but it wasn't flying right and it became clear there was a problem.  So....what do you do?  Keep this bird or let it be and watch it die to the hands of the cat, Maui.  Liha was on it, looking up places we could take the bird and after talking with them, she thought it had a neurological problem.  After a bunch of back and forth we decided it would be better for the bird to be with people who could help it, so we drove to Arlington and gave it to the bird sanctuary.  I should've followed up, but didn't really want to hear bad news, especially since Ainsley was so attached to this bird, so we will assume it recovered and is living a healthy life!  Quite the adventure :)
 She didn't seem to mind all the poop

 Turns out the sanctuary has a lot of birds with neurological problems, most from falling out of the nest or getting hit by a car.  It was a very cool place! 
This guy clearly had issues.
Beautiful owl
Aunt Pam was up visiting while all this chaos was going on and I'm sure the elders thought we were nuts!  They were toasting to mom who officially RETIRED!!!   YAY!!!