Saturday, April 30, 2011


We have fished, eaten smores and lasagna, and watched Blake compete in the first annual fun run.  We love the RV and checked out the RV rental booth and decided renting one is way more time and cost efficient in the long run!  Andrew is gearing up for his big race on Sunday.  I forgot our Hurst Cowbell so my voice will get lost in the crowd.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Loaded up the RV for fun times ahead.  Is everyone getting ready for the Royal Wedding?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Andrew's nephew Nick is a YouTube star. Here he is portraying a "Weekend At Bernie's"-like character. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the show:

Two thumbs up! Nick - I loved your dead person acting. Brett - You were made for the movies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We went up to Oakhurst to pick up Ellen and David's RV for Andrew's triathlon. We had great plans for a community Easter egg hunt, but the rain kept us at home.

My Easter chick (with that funny look he always does):

My Easter clown (with that funny look he always does):

Ready for the big day, but no where to go. Reade looks on as his brother teaches him how to eat a chocolate bunny:

The boys are now sick so it is only a matter of time before we are all infected. Hopefully, Andrew will take an IOU on this disease so he can compete in his triathlon with 100% health.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Don't forget to swing by See's candies to pick up some Easter friends. You too can friend each one of these bunnies on Facebook. Ridiculous:

Eggs are being boiled, cupcakes are in the oven, and I am this close (imagine my pinched fingers) to opening the See's candy box I bought for Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 22, 2011


We met up with some friends to enjoy the spring time air at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. The weather and company was great!

Running around hay bales:

Babies discussing baby things:

The chickens were nice enough to send us home with fresh eggs:

Reade loves ramps that pose any kind of danger:


The last month tuition, deposit, and materials fee are in so my child is officially enrolled in preschool. This preschool is the perfect fit for us and Blake ran around like a chicken without a head when we dropped off his enrollment packet. He went so crazy he ended up taking a nap at 11:30am that morning after we got home. Good sign! The teachers are great, it is play based, and the majority of the day is spent playing in two, huge play areas. Oh, and they have an animal farm section. This preschool costs less than the majority of the ones I visited. I do have to drive 15-20 minutes each way, but hopefully it will be worth it?

Montecito Preschool here we come:

The original sign made by the father who founded the school. Their daughter now runs the school:

Each schoolroom looks like a little house/cottage:

They have an aviary, chicken coop, and iguana enclosures. The iguana went to a lizard rescue so they are trying to figure out what fun, farm animal should take its place:

August 23rd will be an exciting day around here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


From the Tosh.0 blog:

"Hamilton College student Galia Slayen created a life-sized Barbie with proportions based on the doll's measurements.

Galia built the giant-boobed beast for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in an effort to start a conversation about unrealistic body images.

Life-sized Barbie stands 6' tall with a 39" bust, 18" waist and 33" hips.

Unrealistic? Sure. Sexy? Definitely.

You think life-sized Barbie is going to convince girls that Barbie's body doesn't rock? Please. Now you just have a bunch of 8 year-olds even more confused.

"Mommy, why isn't my head smaller than my boob?""

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cake's Done

My spring chicken's birthdays are past us now. Cakes were baked* and eaten.

This year Blake wanted a "knights that fight", motorcycle, and pirate birthday party. This was my interpretation:

* Sorry everyone had to endure another one of Shannon's dry, homemade cake from scratch.

Blake said Reade needed a "sheep" birthday so this was my take on that:

* I used a coconut recipe that called for box cake and everyone seemed to like it. I will never go back since I just can't get a cake from scratch to turn out right.

My mother ordered my Nana's cake from a local bakery:

Two great Sundays full of cake!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday(s)

Happy Birthday Reade and Happy Birthday Nana. My son and his Great Nana share the same birthday. I couldn't resist throwing them a joint birthday party to honor a baby turing "1" and a great woman turning "90." It was so fantastic to have family and friends around to share in the fun.

My Nana means the world to me and has always been a great example of what a strong woman can do in life. I am sure those traits will be passed on to my son so he too can do great things in life, as well as relate well to strong women. I loved tucking my son into bed tonight with the gut feeling that he will be marvelous in life. Maybe not at all times, but on a whole I just know that he is going to be part of some great things while entertaining those around him. Maybe his red hair will be enough to elicit some good conversation.

Time for song...

Nana blowing out her candles:

Reade blowing out his one candle:

Happy Birthday to two very special people in my life!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I am officially a poser now. I have a pair of biking shoes that will never see the open road. No, these puppies are going to be gym rats. I am trying to resist buying biking shorts, but we all know what addiction does to one's soul. I want everyone to know I do not claim I have any knowledge of road biking. The beauty of spin classes are there are no flat tires and no embarrassing falls on the side of the road. There must be a study somewhere showing that YMCA air is just as clean as outdoor air (not next to the lady from Saturday's class!!!).

His and Hers:

Monday, April 11, 2011


I am trying to chose a preschool. Why is this so complicated?

Redwood Grove at the Children's House of Los Altos

I have two criteria for choosing a preschool. First, it can't be a parent co-op preschool. We are hoping to have a third child so I can't imagine myself "helping" in the classroom while pregnant. Plus, I have another child so it doesn't make sense to try and find child care for the other child just so I can help out in Blake's classroom. That would be fine for me if he was our only kid. Second, I want drop-off. I love the option of driving up to the preschool and having them get your kids out of the car for you. Some even put them right back into your car at the end of the day. One of life's wonderful inventions!

Here is how my decision process has morphed:

In The Beginning:
- Decided that Blake should go to preschool in the fall of '2011.
- Wanted to chose the cheapest program since Palo Alto preschool prices made our jaws drop.
- Toured the cheapest preschool.
- Decided that "kind of ghetto" wasn't the feeling we were going for.

In The Thick Of It:
- Went to the Palo Alto Preschool Fair put on by my parent's group.
Found out that we will have to bite the bullet and pay the equivalent of a car payment for a Land Rover if we want our kid in a decent program.

I decided to tour private schools just to see what all the fuss was about. Here is the breakdown:
Challenger School
I loved their academics (3's write sentences, 4's write short stories). The four year old class uses kindergarten curriculum. All art is teacher directed. I asked the director what would happen if my child took the paint brush and painted his face during art time. She looked at me bewildered and said, "That has never happened before." The children only get to play on one play structure and throw balls into a basketball hoop. Once again, my kid would be smart, but would lose muscle tone and creativity.

Waldorf School of the Peninsula
The academics blew me away. Waldorf has the stereotype of being super hippie where kids learn to read at the tender age of eight. Not true! They have a fantastic way of teaching academics through story telling. The artwork is all done in the same style and all the kid's drawings look the same. I am sure the children learn great art skills, but why does everything have to be so synchronized in private schools? The physical education is top notch. They really do a great job of developing the whole child. That night, I told Andrew I was going back to work so my kids could go to Waldorf. He slipped me the tuition handout, which I had not looked at, and I broke out laughing. Getting a job probably wouldn't cover the $20,000/year tuition plus childcare for Blake's siblings. No longer an option!

Back To Reality:
- I scheduled a "trial day" for Blake at a preschool I had toured and liked (Children's Corner).
- I didn't really dig the teacher and when asked his opinion, Blake replied with, "I want to go to another preschool." That answered that.
- Went back to the stack of preschool fliers
- Decided to tour Andrew's pick (Children's House of Los Altos)
- Really enjoyed the preschool. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between the two campuses. - Still wanted to tour one more before signing up.
- Toured one of the City of Palo Alto preschools (Barron Park). Quaint, bare bones program. A breath of fresh air from the academic spiels of the other programs. The outdoor area was a bit too small for my tastes.
- Andrew told me to sign up for the Los Altos preschool, but I have one more tour scheduled for next week (I promise that will be my last).
- So maybe Montecito Preschool???

Footnote: You may be wondering why I didn't mention any Catholic or Christian preschools. I checked out the Catholic schools and there are only two in the area who offer a preschool program. One was something like $17K a year for preschool and the other had a three day program (I am looking for a two day program). I don't consider myself a Christian (not speaking for Andrew here) so I didn't want to have to open that can of worms for Blake. I am completely comfortable with the exposure, but I would rather not have to challenge my child's innocent school work from preschool.

I had no idea I would be knee deep in preschool program decisions. This area has every school for every walk of life, but it gets a bit overwhelming when all you want is a "normal" school for a "normal" kid.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reade (Eleven Months)

At 11 Months I:
* walk!
* talk!
* say: da da, ma ma, uh-ew for uh-oh, and nana for banana (just once)
* have started cuddling
* push and pull everything in sight
* always have bruises on my head
* fell while chewing on the coffee table resulting in a split gum
* laugh proudly while walking
* put everything in my mouth
* can be put down in my crib to fall asleep on my own
* sleep through the night
* love to eat in massive quantities
* drink through a straw out of a big kid cup (with a lid)
* am a happy boy
* love animals and am very gentle with them
* like to hit people
* love my brother, but am cautious since he tends to knock me over
* cackle laughs (the happiest laugh) when daddy appears in the room
* still squeal at high pitches when I am frustrated/hungry/or am unhappy
* melt my mommy's heart with my plump feet and thighs

Check out my Ten Month photo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


My Knit Picks catalog came today. I was so happy to see that my favorite yarn is back in stock:

I don't have a lot of time to knit or crochet, but this yarn is yelling out to me. Can't you imagine how cute every child would be if they were running around wearing leg warmers in these colors:

Afternoon 25224

Caprica 25220

Sunny Day 25229

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I want again. I want a farm. I want to live by the beach. I want, I want, I want. Someone stop me in my tracks. We are so lucky to have found the rental we are currently in. Why isn't that good enough? Maybe because Redfin is like crack for me. Always showing me the unobtainable, but leaving me with just enough high to make me think I could have it. Okay, I have never done crack so that might not be the feeling one gets. Moving on. Here is the current real estate I want:

2518 Great Hwy San Francisco, CA 94116

Built in 1941, 1,495 Sq. Ft.

Photos from Redfin & skbike's photostream.

Time Out

I treated myself to a pedicure today. I have only had a pedicure once before so it was nice to take time out for myself. It feels good to get my feet in order for summer. I wouldn't have done this, but someone on the parent's list recommended this podiatrist (who offers pedicures in her office) because they handle all feet issues, no matter how bunk! Right up my alley. It was a tough winter and now my toes are ready for sandals:

Dr. Pardis Kelly's Good Work

Blake took time out from his busy schedule to nurse his "baby Reade." Just like mom, he gazed out the window with his stomach sticking out above his pants:

This all may have been too much information! I am tired so my filter isn't exactly in working order.

Monday, April 4, 2011


We spent the weekend in Oakhurst so Andrew could help clean up the property after the big snow storm. Trees fell all around the property and a few even uprooted themselves. The men got to work (Ellen and Jessica helped too) clearing the trees in close vicinity to the house. Blake and Reade watched with eager eyes.

David removing the branches so the wood can be cut up for firewood. They say they have about two to three years worth of firewood now:

Paul and David working together:

Blake took the branches over to his daddy so he could add them to the burn pile:

Andrew managing the fire:

Reade hanging out with mommy on the log pile. (Notice how blonde he looks in the sunlight!)

We were supposed to get home and enjoy jumping into our own beds for a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, the stars and planets had a different plan for us. Reade woke up soon after being put to bed. He tricked me into getting him up because I thought he had a dirty diaper. He was hungry so I fed him some food and then put him down on the ground for four minutes of play before returning him to his crib. He was chewing on the edge of the coffee table and must have slipped because I looked over to find he had split his gum all around one of his front teeth. I had no idea what happened until his mouth filled with blood. Now, the poor kid his a huge gash/scab around his front tooth and his lip is super swollen. After lots of hugs and love, he finally fell asleep for the rest of the night.

The other child went to bed just fine, but woke up at 1:00am telling me he wasn't tired. He got used to sleeping in our bedroom at David and Ellen's and wanted so much to be with us again. The next three and a half hours were spent battling that kid to go back to sleep in his own bed. I am a ragged mess today and just need to get through this day without loosing my cool and pummeling someone. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 1, 2011


At times I favor sunshine over rain because I want to be able to go outside with my kids. I will never stop hating heat though. Everyone was so happy to see the sun yesterday. I got a headache. So instead of hanging out in the heat (for the record, I did take the kids to the park in the morning) we did a "rainy day/Shannon proclaimed heat day" activity. We made banana bread using a recipe found in Blake's High Five magazine.

I used whole wheat pastry flour for the majority of the flour portion and decreased the amount of sugar:

Blake did most of it himself:

Cooling it off quickly so we could try a piece:

It ended up being one of the best banana bread loafs I have ever had! Go High Five.