25 November 2012

Upon request - one chocolate cake please

Abigail just turned 9 years old. She's growing up! We had a small celebration on her birthday with her friend Hailey who turned 9 a couple days later. For birthdays, as early as Abigail's 3rd birthday, +Laura Headley  has been making a delicious chocolate cake. This year, Abigail specifically requested the cake again, since she likes it so much. Also, we had homemade pizza.

The big moment of cake wishing with Hailey participating too -- that's why there are 18 candles!

Since Abigail's birthday falls around the holidays, we had a birthday party a couple weeks early, which she decided to only have a handful of friends to go to a movie with her instead of a larger party which wouldn't be a movie. She took her friends to see Wreck it Ralph. They all loved it. 

I think the theme for Abigail this year was Barbie - she loves the dolls, the clothes, and the accessories -- who wouldn't? 

We're proud of Abigail growing up! It's a little sad to see her become a little lady, but it is amazing how responsible she's become as the oldest sibling in the house, watching kids, doing chores, and having 'serious' conversations. That said, we'll really enjoy Abigail's last year in a single digit while we can. 

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

01 November 2012

Run for Candy

This year, more than any other, our kids were focused on candy collection. Abigail led in the effort declaring she'd be out until midnight trick-or-treating. She talked about how it was Halloween until midnight, so it would be okay.

I took the kids for their first run around the neighborhood.

Gabriel was a real trooper, running with the kids from door to door. Toward the end he got tired and would only want to approach the "scary" houses. So, for the last six or seven houses, he didn't go up. Benjamin, before he realized Gabriel didn't want to go to every house, almost wedged his foot in a door, telling them to wait for his little brother. Good job, Benjamin!

Laura went out on the second shift, while I stayed home with Gabriel who handed out the candy. Some people stopped to take pictures with this cute kid. We call him "face" for a reason.

Laura had a third shift too and this time Collette stayed behind. But Benjamin wanted (and did) keep up with Abigail's zeal to canvas the entire neighborhood.

Abigail = Daffney (from Scooby-Doo)
Collette = a vampire, but the teeth were too cumbersome to wear
Benjamin = spiderman and also Jango Fett at school

Gabriel = Iron Man

08 September 2012

Flower Girls and Ring Bearers

One of our favorite babysitters got married on Saturday. And the girls were able to participate as flower girls while the boys were ring bearers. The kids loved being apart of the wedding and we're so happy for Kelly!

The girls played their part perfectly, announcing the incoming of the bride. Nice look to the camera, Collette.

Gabe also delivered the rings. Unfortunately, Ben felt a little put on the spot and came down the walk way looking for Mom instead of trying to deliver the goods. 

Dinner afterwards was even sweeter since the bride gave thank you gifts to the kids that included some of their favorite things (toy dog and cat for the girls plus Star Wars and Iron Man for the boys).

And finally, I just love the work the photographer did on this picture of Abigail blowing bubbles.

06 September 2012

First day of school 2012

First day of school for our kids in Fremont was after Labor Day, Sept. 5th. Here are the kids getting ready to walk over to school through our fancy new gate that joins our backyard with the back of the school.

The girls helped get Ben excited about his first day of Kindergarten. His teacher was also Collette's, and we're excited to be working with such a wonderful Kindergarten teacher. 

Both Abigail and Collette reported fantastic first days, excited about their class and first impressions of their teachers. Both Laura and I walked the kids to school and were able to check up on them during recess from the deck in our back yard. 

The next morning, when Laura was waking up Ben so that he could get ready for school, she whispered, "Time for school." Ben was a bit surprised and responded, "But I went yesterday." 

The next day, Gabe started preschool, which he's been begging to do for the last year. He's pretty familiar with the place since it was Ben's preschool for the past couple of years and his friend is there too.

Here's hoping for a great school year! 

07 August 2012

Friend, will you fix my dishwasher?

Our friends from Tucson (well, now Utah) helping us fix our dishwasher that suddenly started to leak water while they were visiting us. Hard to call them just friends! Who else would lay down on my kitchen floor and start to work on fixing my dishwasher. 

Having the Fadel's visit us for a few days this summer just reminds us of the great time we had in Tucson. There was a group of families which all became good friends and acted as each other's family away from our families while we were all just beginning. Post-Tucson we've stayed in touch and were so happy to host the Fadel's as they visited the sights in the bay area with us.

25 June 2012

Our last 3 year old

Happy Birthday Gabriel!

This morning, I started my week's vacation to cover for Laura as she tromps off to YW girls camp. So, it was just me alone with the kids to hang out today.

The morning started off with all of us singing "happy birthday" to Gabriel. He's a treat to have around. I still like to call him "face" since it seems like he knows he can get away with anything just with that smile of his. I feel like he's growing up quickly. He's having conversations with his siblings and adults, reasoning with them to get his way. Also, in the last couple of months, he's been potty trained, which make him ready for pre-school in the fall. 

So, today, we went to spend some birthday money (along with Ben) at the mall. They selected swords, axes, and maces in order to duel and show their toughness. Then, we went to his choice for lunch: McDonald's. Not only do they like getting toys with their meal, all the kids love the play structure. We finished up by going to the park for even more play.

The boys and girls played with the new toys and you see Gabriel sporting his batman shirt with cape. Sweet.

After all that, the kids came home pretty exhausted, and we all slouched on the couch and veg'd. Gabriel fell asleep after playing so hard. I think he enjoyed the nap (as did I!).

Our littlest one is growing up so fast! Happy 3rd birthday, Gabriel.

23 June 2012

Party for the boys

Since Gabriel and Benjamin have their birthdays so close together, we held a joint party. It simplified the planning since Laura will be at girls camp during their actual birthdays next week.

We had a lady bring by reptiles, which was the highlight of the party. Of course, there was the usual piñata, bounce house, presents, and Laura's signature chocolate cake.

We all had a good time. Laura's cake was peppered with Star Wars figures all looking at a much larger Darth Vador. Since Gabriel constantly sings the Imperial March around the house, we thought we'd continue emphasizing the Star Wars theme. By the way, that's a 5 (Ben) and 3 (Gabe), not 53.

 Benjamin enjoyed the snakes. He said he didn't like the tortoise who was eating all our grass and plants around the yard (they're brand new!).

 Gabriel enjoyed some reptiles more than others. I think the tonge on the monitor was a bit of a fright for him.

This monitor (though that's not the name the handler used) was shedding. The kids thought it was cool to keep the skin. Yuck - it's like hording toe nails.

The turtle just wandered around the yard for most of the party. I shouldn't have mowed the lawn, since the turtle was happy to do it for me. Though, he also got to our strawberry plants.

Perhaps Laura enjoyed the company of the snakes a little too much. She got a kick out of them. The boa's eyes are blue because it is ready to start shedding his skin soon.

15 June 2012

Paper plates, paper bowls, and old men's white shirts

Benjamin had a graduation ceremony for his pre-school. We loved this place, mostly because made a bunch of great friends here. They all love to spend time playing together. He complains if he doesn't see them that often. Unfortunately, none of his friends will be attending the same elementary school as Ben. We're a bit sad to see them all go, but that just means we'll have to try extra hard to make sure he keeps his friends close!

Ben's taking his diploma from his teacher, Miss Gail.

Benjamin and Nolan, best friends, singing some songs together. Later on they used their diplomas to sword fight with each other. You've got to love kids who love to fight as if they're in a galaxy far, far away.

02 June 2012

Lucky number 7

Happy, happy birthday, Collette! 

When we celebrated with her friends, we brought in a make up artist to do the kids faces. Collette loves animals, and little cute things. So, to get her face painted like a little kitten was a special treat. 

She's making her wishes and blowing out candles like a pro. 

Collette pounding love into a unicorn piñata, which then sheds candy all over the ground. The children are dutifully standing in safety against the wall.

Collette loves being a kitty along with her friends. It seems like they all got nearly the same treatment.

We didn't just have pizza, but also a rainbow of fruit for the kids - Laura put her heart into that decoration. Of course, the clouds are marshmallows.

Who doesn't love a good game of duck-duck-goose? Birthday girl along with Ben are in the center.

20 May 2012

Hold your breath

We had a family get together to celebrate Collette and her cousin's birthday. He's another one of Laura's great cakes made up for the happy birthday song. 

I love this shot, since Benjamin is trying so hard to avoid blowing out candles meant for Collette. 

Collette love playing dress-up when her cousins are around. That's why she's decked out in a princess dress.  Note that as she munches on her cake and ice cream, there are arches of light against the wall.

15 April 2012

First day of season pass

On my last vacation day, we took the kids to our first visit of the season to Great America.

This place is great, really occupying the kids. Abigail and Gabe both love the thrill rides while Ben and Collette would prefer to stick to the slow car rides.

14 April 2012

Toy blocks mean science

Along with family friends, we went to Lawrence Hall of Science, which was great fun for the kids and Dads.
The place is one big playroom for kids. They have paper plane making, fans that blow balls and paper into the air, sound machines, friction testing games, and building blocks.
I think we had the most fun with the blocks. All the kids made towers of some sort, while I focused on trying to get the structure grow horizontally.
By the way, the view of the bay area is superb from the Berkeley hills is amazing.
Friday night was movie night (lots of movies!) and we saw Hop which was so- so.

12 April 2012

It's a little "green"

Laura, as a certification counselor for girl's camp this year did backyard camping in the thundering rain this week. An unnecessary "practice" for girl's camp. She was a little annoyed that everyone got up, except Laura, to run inside when the rain was its worst. She also took the girls on a hike through mud the next morning.
When she got back, we went to the Lorax. One of the girls that went on the hike commented on how it was alright, except that it was a "green" movie. We are both a little confused why some think there's a political agenda when it comes to being the caretakers of the earth.
The kids loved the movie and going out to lunch afterwards.

11 April 2012

Bringing down the deck

While the kids went with Beth, Alex and Nate to Chuck E Cheese, I stayed home and removed the rotted deck that sits outside our master bedroom. Hopefully, we'll get it replaced in a few weeks.
Unfortunately, the work kinda wiped me out. But I'm glad it is finally done. The wood was totally rotted. It was the first thing we were supposed to do after moving in. We're finally getting around to fixing some of this stuff.
My biggest fear in taking down the deck was having it fall into the house and breaking our sliding glass door. Abigail, watching from afar just told me to wack it with a sledge hammer. That worked without issue (after I removed most of the attachment to the house). Abigail was pretty proud of telling me what to do, predicting the outcome. 
I had to finish some of this on Thursday with the last trip to the dump Friday morning.

10 April 2012

Jelly Bellies

There was a girl scout trip to the Jelly Belly factory. We took the trip back to Laura's hometown and waited in a long line for the tour. Apparently, we weren't the only ones that thought we should go to the factory on our spring break.
We also had a visit with Laura's friend, Jeannette and her two kids. The kids all agreed to getting pizza. We got home later and exhausted.