Sunday, August 7, 2011

Birthday Fun

One of the best parts about having Evelyn and Micah is that they are excited no matter whose birthday is being celebrated.  Think about it, even if it isn't your birthday, you get to have a party, eat cake and ice cream, and even blow out the candles.  Lynzie made a gourmet meal and homemade ice-cream cake to complement my specific request for a bucket of KFC chicken. 

Planting our Garden

Believe me when I say that a backyard doesn't come cheap living in San Francisco.  We decided to put some of our rented real estate to work by planting a garden.  We've learned from experience that surviving the weather won't be nearly as hard for our seedlings as it will be surviving Evelyn and Micah's curious fingers. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium & Carmel

We continued our vacation week with a trip down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and nearby Carmel.  Evelyn and Micah LOVED the Aquarium.  We spent almost the entire day there, and the kids would have stayed even longer if we would have let them.  They just stared into the water tanks, mesmerized by all the fish and animals that drifted past.  They were especially fond of the giant sunfish and sea turtles, the colorful jellyfish and the tiny seahorses.  They also spent about 20 minutes touching the same button that played recordings of elephant seal snorts.  When we jumped back into the car, the kids crashed in the back while we enjoyed driving along the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach over to Carmel.  We stopped off at the candy shop.  Micah and Evelyn negotiated for a candy necklace and a giant lollipop, while Lynzie and I enjoyed the sea salt caramel and rocky road fudge. 

Camping in Yosemite

After what seemed like an endless move in June, we decided to stick close to the Bay Area during my week of vacation at the end of July.  We realized that we had not yet tried camping with both Evelyn and Micah, and so we opted for a 3-day camping trip in Yosemite.  We stuffed the Civic with all of our gear and then headed east - despite not having reservations for a campsite.  We lucked out big time when we arrived a few hours later at the park, as they had just opened the White Wolf campground that same morning.  We found the perfect campsite near rocks to climb on and even a small creek.  Of course the mosquitos thought it was an ideal campsite as well, and since we had come without insect repellent, we found refuge in our tent.  The entire experience was new and exciting for Evelyn and Micah.  They loved putting together the tent poles, bouncing on our little air mattress, waving flashlights at each other, and even sampling the occassional mouthful of dirt or pinecones.  Micah wanted to touch and sample everything he could get his hands on.  We decided he is ready to graduate to scouting, since all he wanted to do was play in the fire.  While it was easy enough to weather the dip in the temperature while we were still warm in the tent, it didn't take long after waking up in the morning for Micah and Evelyn to decide that cold camping weather was for the birds.  Our solution was to warm up the Civic, where the kids were more than happy to enjoy their first camping breakfast.  We then spent the rest of the day exploring the Yosemite Valley.  It really was a beautiful day and the heavy snowfall during the previous winter resulted in some spectacular waterfalls.  We hiked and took pictures and enjoyed our day together as a family.  Evelyn's highlight of the trip came that evening as our dinner time was interrupted by deer running through our camp.  Evelyn is still talking about the deer she saw "hopping" around.  After a second night sleeping in the tent, both Lynzie and I were pretty exhausted and ready for a return to civilization.  Our Yosemite trip was memorable, although I've decided that camping with a 1 and a 2-year does not exactly qualify as "vacation" time.


A new adventure in San Francisco

I felt like a professional trucker during the month of June, as I officially logged nearly 6,000 miles on the road.  Whether I was driving the Civic packed with our stuff from Boston to Phoenix, or rambling north through Central California with a stuffed 26 foot U-haul to our new home in San Francisco, the month seemed like one long stretch of highway.  We are so grateful to our amazing family and friends who helped ease our moving stress.  Yet even with all the help, I think both Lynzie and I will be very happy if we don't have to see a moving box for a few years.  I started work on July 1st as the principal at City Arts & Tech High School in San Francisco, and we are very excited to begin this new chapter in our lives. 

Grandma Ardy's 85th Celebration

Despite being in the midst of a cross-country move and starting a new job, we decided that it had been too long since we had been up to Salt Lake to visit Lynzie's grandma Ardy and other family members.  When we heard that there was a surprise 85th birthday party in the works, we officially decided to join the fun.  We spent almost a week enjoying the beautiful Salt Lake summer.  Evelyn and Micah were especially fond of the Murray pool and its gigantic water slide. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Back to AZ

Our layover in Arizona was a short one, but it was long enough for us to snap some great pictures at Grandma and Grandpa Burnham's house.  There are few places Evelyn and Micah love visiting more. 

A Day Off

During our time in Boston, time was even harder to come by than babysitters.  With the completion of the school year, and with my mom in town to take care of Micah and Evelyn, Lynzie and I took a full day to enjoy New England on our own.  We spent a morning down in Newport, RI touring the Gilded Age mansions, then we drove back to Boston in time to visit the Isabella Steward Gardner museum and then catch a Red Sox game at Fenway.  While packing for our cross-country move to San Francisco would begin in earnest the following morning, it was wonderful for Lynzie and I to have a relaxing day to ourselves.

Goodbye to friends

While we were only in Cambridge for 10 months, it was long enough to make some wonderful friends. We will especially miss our neighbors at Holden Green. On any day when the sun was out, there was a better than good chance that Micah and Evelyn could be found outside in our common play area with their friends. We'll miss the spontaneous fun and laughs.

Harvard Graduation - 2011

I guess after 370 years, Harvard has graduation figured out.  The pageantry was pretty entertaining, from an entire graduation speech delivered in Latin, to hearing Placido Domingo sing tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg during the presentation of honorary degrees.  More than anything, graduation was an opportunity to celebrate after a year of long days and late nights.  I was overwhelmed by feeling a combination of relief, accomplishment, and gratitude for having survived a truly memorable year.    

Boston with the Allens

We welcomed my parents to Bean Town the week of my graduation.  We took them to some of our favorite spots, like Walden Pond, Boston Common, and Harvard Yard.  We also finally went on the famous Boston Duck Tour.  While Micah slept through most of it, Evelyn and the rest of us had lots of fun learning more about the history and sites of one of America's oldest cities.  Our tour guide even allowed Evelyn to drive the duck in the Charles River.