We got home from Hawaii late on July 1, so we spent most of the next couple of days recovering from vacation jet lag and swimming in the pool, but by the Fourth, we were ready to re-enter the world. First, we went to the Montevideo neighborhood parade (as is now our tradition); we met up with R.’s co-worker Daniel and his family (with shandies for the grown-ups and juice for the kids), and a good time was had by all. Then we came home, grilled & swam, and eventually got ready for the city-sponsored fireworks in Almaden Lake Park. We walked over with the stroller about 15 minutes before the start time; it was crowded, but we found a great vantage point right near the entry (which also made for a better exit). The fireworks were awesome — just the right length of a show for the kids, super-loud (due to proximity and geography), and the perfect capper to a great day.
—We went swimming nearly every day. It was a very hot, dry July, and I more or less stopped bathing the kids — we’d rinse off Annika’s hair, but that’s about it. Swimming pool counts as bath! (Especially in this drought. Very responsible of us.) —Vasona Park: I took the kids on a couple of local field trips, and Vasona Park was a highlight. They have really cool playground equipment (e.g. a WWII bomber — just the structure, no guts), a restored old carousel (Lukas was terrified the first time he rode it, but then wanted to go again and again), and a little train that made about a 10-minute loop around the park (which both kids LOVED).
—Mini golf: Ray took the morning off of work one weekday and we all went to play mini golf at GolfLand. It was kind of hilarious — the kids were better at it than I’d imagined! But it got hot toward the end, and we were glad we’d come early.
—Visiting Precious Preschool: With the idea that Lukas should start some kind of preschool in the fall, I took both kids to visit one that is a)very close to Annika’s school, and b)comes highly recommended by several of our friends. It was just about perfect, but there’s one big problem: They won’t take kids who aren’t fully potty-trained — which leaves our Lukas out. [sigh] Annika is vehement that we not send Lukas to Appleseed, so we’re kind of at an impasse for now. Still, good to know there’s a good local option.
—Dance Camp and Camp Galieo: Annika went to two weeks of local day camp this summer, which happened to be back-to-back the last two weeks of July/first of August. The first was at her dance school: Dance Around the World, with a different style of dance each day (plus crafts and such), and a performance at the end (it was great! so cute!). Camp Galileo was at her school, and this year she chose the Road Trip theme — it was all about Route 66; they built cardboard cars, made roadside diner signs, etc. She really loved it, and is looking forward to doing it again next year.
—America’s Got Talent: Both the kids got really into watching the show with Daddy. Lots of fun in general (including the one where they heard the song “Baby’s Got Back” for the first time, because the opening line — “I like big butts and I cannot lie” = COMEDY GOLD — seriously, they both repeated that for weeks, collapsing into helpless laughter each and every time).
—The earning of badges: From sources unknown, Annika got very into the idea of earning badges for awhile. She had me print some out from the Daring Book for Girls, requested badges as souvenirs from every place we went, and made dozens of her own (for herself and for her friends). She said she wanted to joint the Girl Scouts — for the badges. I will wait and see how long this obsession lasts.
—Homemade helicopter: Springboarding from her obsession with Paw Patrol, Annika spent a couple of weeks designing, building, and improving a helicopter out of cardboard boxes and bits. This sucker had a back rest, multicolored dials and buttons, a working joystick, front and back rotors, a windshield, foot pedals, side panels that opened to reveal the engine — and she painted it blue, of course. Lukas was allowed to ride in it, sometimes, but not to wear the goggles she also made (which she wore while flying the helo, and while doing engine maintenance). Amazing.
—Playdates: We arranged a few get-togethers — one at Grace's, the blonde mafia (Alana & family, Vilma & family) here in the pool, etc.
—Mike and Angie visit: Our friend Good-Looking Mike (GLM) and his fiancé Angie, who is about 6 months pregnant, came down from the city with their large, gentle black doggie for a day of swimming and grilling. Our kids were on their best behavior — which is always nice for expectant parents to see. :-)
—Grandma & Grandpa arrive: Near the end of the month, the Dorks came for a visit; the kids were, as usual, out of their minds with excitement and filled with plans for the next couple of weeks.
Lukas tells us all the time how big a boy he is, but OMG he is fighting potty training like the very devil, and really wanted to keep the pacifier — although when we started the same method we’d used with Annika (cutting it just a little eensy bit more every day, and saying it couldn't be fixed), he gave it up after about two nights. So … there is hope for the potty?
—Lukas: "Hey! I was just doin' somethin'!" (protesting his innocence as I found him trying to open a package of SweeTarts)
—Spider-Man everything: The little guy names everything SpiderMan (e.g. a SpiderMan school, his imaginary Spider-Man puppy, a Spider-Man train, etc.).
—“Hobercrack”: His interpretation of “hovercraft.”
—“Gummy”: His interpretation of Gumby.
Annika: “Vikini”: Her interpretation of “bikini.”