28 September 2011

Mom/Abigail day at Great America

Abigail is my daughter at heart. She LOVES roller coasters and is often disappointed when we go over to Great America and we have to hang out in the little kid area. She's so ready for bigger rides. But, I usually don't have the option to do anything about it. We have the other kids who can't/won't go on the bigger rides so it leaves Abigail sitting on the kiddie rides, which she is DONE with. So, one Saturday morning the other three kids went to a birthday party and I took Abigail over to Great America for a little Mom/daughter bonding time on the rides. I also love roller coasters but Abigail put me to shame (if it matters to anyone at all except me, I had just run like 8.5 HILLY miles earlier that morning) so my legs were tired and I hadn't eaten very well.

Regardless of those facts, we set out to have fun and ride as many rides as she could handle or was allowed. Which turned out to be a lot. She is only not tall enough to ride 3 rides there. THREE! That just kinda surprised me. She's so little to be on some of those rides! But, she was happy and excited and ready to go. We started out on the big swings at the front. That was no where near the thrill she was looking for so we headed over to the Demon. She was nervous but she did it without hesitation. After the Demon was the Grizzly, which she LOVED. She was unfortunately, ok, not UNfortunate for me at all, too small to go on Drop Zone, which she whole heartedly wanted to do. After that was some Tiki Ride, which scared the crap out of me. It does NOT seem scary when you see it. It seemed like a more tame ride but I PROMISE you, you feel like you're going to get thrown like a frisbee off the ride. Holy crap I wanted off that ride. She, again, was in heaven. Then we went off to two, yes two, in a row, super duper spinny rides. Something called Centrifuge and something that should be named likewise but I have no idea what it really was cause I could barely see after all the spinning. Blech! Abigail decided after those two rides, it was time for lunch. And why shouldn't it be?? So we ate.

And after we ate, we headed over to Delirium. If it explains anything, during the ride at one point, Abigail looks over at me and calmly yells, "why are you screaming, Mom?" Then we walked over to the Revolution. Which apparently has a new name now. But that's what I grew up calling it so that's what I will call it for this post. The giant ship that goes around and makes you hang at the top. I could normally handle this but my stomach was not doing well after lunch and more spinning and twirling. No worries, readers, I hung in there. But I totally thought the little girl screaming was going to come from Abigail. Not from me. It's been awhile since I've been on some scary roller coasters---somehow my "love" of these things has shape shifted into "the mom who's afraid to die on rides and leave her children motherless the rest of their lives". Weird.

We ended on one last ride on the big swings only AFTER me turning her down to do some crazy human slingshot ride that costs $35! After paying for 5 people's season passes, we should be allowed to not pay for ANYTHING but apparently Great America doesn't agree with me. But, I was glad for the price. It gave me a good reason to say No. I was shocked, really, that she could go on this human slingshot but not allowed on Top Flight or Vortex. Again, weird.

All in all, we hung out for about 3 hours riding and playing. It was a fun day and I would totally do it again...even if it means my 7 year old making fun of me again. We didn't get many pictures, or even great shots, but here are 3 pics from our day:

Us in the car ready to head in

After lunch, she got a picture with...ummm...?? not Charlie Brown. Linus?

Getting ready for our last swing ride

Abigail's getting older

So Joel and I never put a set age on when we would allow our girls to pierce their ears. I just wanted them to be old enough to take care of their ears themselves once they did it. I didn't want to have to clean, disinfect, deal with an infection, twist, turn, or have anything to do with it, really. I've got enough on my plate to remember earrings. SO, we unofficially told Abigail 8. She turns 8 in about 2 months and was asking us if she could get them pierced a little early. We had no objections since she's pretty responsible with stuff. She asked us on a Sunday and we went over on Monday after school to transform her into a "older" girl. She was so excited to get it done and I have to say, it's been a very easy experience. She loves it and I don't have to do anything about it! Perfect!

Before and After: (I know, you can barely tell...but hang in there, I'm sure there will be more to come)

She's already very excited to change her earrings right before Halloween to something more "festive" :)

11 September 2011

Ten years ago

Ten years ago, I woke up suddenly, but stayed still, lying in bed.

In the room next door, my housemate had his television on — unusually early for him. I didn't hear anything specific, but the noise was enough to give me a sinking feeling. I remember lying in bed, not wanting to flip on my television, because I knew something horrible had happened. I lay there for minutes, trying to second guess my gut, hoping the slow panic filling my stomach was imagined.

When the feeling wouldn't go away, I sat up, finding the remote, and flipped on the television and watched the horror of 9/11 unfold.

I was stunned — numb. I can't remember when I woke or what I saw on TV. I remember the news outlets confirming we were under attack. The towers hadn't come down yet and full tragedy of the day hadn't unfolded.

I remember talking to Laura that day. I asked her not to cross the bridge to get to school. She lived in Berkeley at the time, attending SFSU. Crossing the bridge was part of her normal commute. I think she eventually went to class, but no one else did.

I went into the lab having just started graduate school at the University of Arizona. Everyone was at work, but no one was working. I was glued to my laptop, watching CNN online trying to understand what was happening and where.

I don't remember the full events of the day. I was shocked, to say the least. And I was very apprehensive. My dad sent an ominous email — 9/11, a second day of infamy — was the only message. I knew this meant our country would retaliate. And I knew that meant many would die that never deserved that fate, just like those who had died this day.

What a strange time. Only days before, Laura and I had purchased tickets for a mid-October trip to Las Vegas. We ended up getting married on that trip. We were traveling often between Tucson and Alameda in those days. The airports were mostly empty save for a few frequent fliers and the new security provided, in part, by the national guard.

It is a sad day to relive. A sad day to remember. A sad inflection point in the history of our country and the world. I'll be honest, though.

I don't consciously remember this event everyday (no, I'm not Oprah). Though, I won't forget the day. The impact of those events have changed world events. But, I'm not sure if they've changed me. My life has changed — I have changed. I can't say that I would have made different decisions in my life as a result of this catastrophe. Are you a different person as a result of 9/11?

10 September 2011

Walking to lunch

Just can't help to love my family, walking across the street on the way to lunch on Labor Day. Everyone is holding hands while crossing the street, as we should.

05 September 2011

Collette & Joel's first photowalk

Collette and I, for our night out, took advantage of a special event – a Google+ photowalk at Cal. I've been trying a little photography here and there - still don't really know how to use my camera. So, I thought it was a good time to meet some photographers, and hopefully learn something. Plus, since Collette loves the 'train' rides, I thought taking her on BART up to Berkeley would be fun. Also, all my kids love using our cameras to take pictures.

The BART ride was great. After getting off BART, and making a quick potty stop, we trekked up to the campanile where the group was meeting. I shortened the strap on the Leica and let Collette have free range taking pictures. I think she actually took some amazing shots. Probably better than any of mine. Seriously, I was a bit disappointed with my inability to take good pictures.

Here's some of Collette's pics:

From Berkeley photowalk (Collette's pictures)

My photo of her:

From Berkeley photowalk

Inside of the mining building:

And at the reflecting pool:

She also loved to take self-portraits.

Unfortunately, the Leica ran out of batteries soon after we started the walk. So, I gave her my phone so she could keep up the picture taking. That second self-portrait is with the phone. You'll notice the other low-quality pics are from the phone too.

After the mining building, we went to the Biology building to check out the dinosaur. Collette really loved looking at the bones of these old creatures. What's the first thing she did when she saw it? Of course, she ran past the 'don't enter' marks and touched the toe of the T-Rex. Here's my snapshot of the bones, followed by Collette's:

After looking at the dinosaur, we split from the group and went to get some food. It was getting late, and Collette hadn't eaten much, except for an energy bar brought by a Google+ community manager. On the way out, we saw some drum rehearsal in Sproul Plaza. We stopped off to get crepes and then hopped on BART to take the long ride home to Fremont.

Everyone loved having Collette around. I met a few people in person that I had only known online previously. It was good fun for us both. I think I need to hand my kids the camera more often. They can take some great pictures. It was a late night, but ultimately worth it. Plus I could talk up what a great university Cal is and how she should go there someday. Go Bears!

04 September 2011

Sound alike

As Laura was walking through the maze of IKEA, Collette was getting tired, but Abigail tried to encourage her to the kids section.

Abigail: "Collette, it is just a couple of more steps to the kids' section. C'mon!"
Collette: (taking two steps) "One, two — we're not there yet."
Abigail: "By 'a couple' I mean just a few. We're almost there."

This is a conversation repeated multiple times between Laura and myself. A 'couple' has a very precise meaning. I'm glad at least Collette knows that. I'll have to keep working on Laura and hopefully it will trickle down to Abigail.