Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nevada Museum of Art

Today was my special day with my three kidlets: Sean, Ashton and Abbie! Abbie is almost exactly one month older than the boys, so they have been doing a lot of growing up together, as triplets even (people have asked!). Since it is so smoky outside, I didn't want them playing outside too much, so instead we headed to the Nevada Museum of Art in downtown Reno. We had the "museum behavior" talk, and we all held hands and didn't touch, and they all three did fabulously! First, a couple pictures outside. The three gathered under the wooden horse~

And playful under the Lotus Flower~

In a room on the 2nd floor, we found the Froebel blocks- to build and expand the mind with. All three created objects from the shapes; they built skyscrapers and other fantastical stacked figures.

I just love how you can see them concentrating, their creations growing in complexity and color!

Not only did they play with blocks, but we all 4 spent time at the drawing pads, tracing shapes with colored pencils, and filling them in with all colors of the rainbow. Three architects in the making!

Sean worked especially hard on tracing with his stencil, and was upset that we didn't get to take his picture home. "But Mom! I didn't finish coloring it in yet!" We did lots of coloring when we got home this afternoon- I think I need to buy him some stencils too, because he was getting pretty good at it, and that will really help him develop his fine motor skills, which he needs more work on. Abbie traced all her letters and numbers, and seemed very satisfied with how they looked different from her own handwriting.

This next photo is from the roof looking over the rest of the city (west). Even one street over is blurry from the haze. And no mountains to tell of.

It was a fun, educational day- I haven't ever taken the boys to this type of museum where we looked at paintings and appreciated the colors and the message behind different mediums of art. I think their favorite room by far was the one entitled "Unbuilt Reno" which were drawings, sketches, and three dimensional models of buildings that were never used for one reason or another. Kids 5 and under were free, so not only was it a highly educational day, but a very inexpensive one as well! I highly recommend going, whether you have children or not. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Ever Ever by Gail Carson Levine

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great fast read, this book had part Norse, part Mesopotamian myth incorporated its story lines. I of course I snatched up this book immediately when I saw Gail Carson Levine had published a new one, but even if she wasn't one of my favorite Juvie/YA authors, the first few lines on the back cover would have captured me:

He is watching me.

He is flawless, without a blemish. Majestic... Muscular.

Our hero, Olus, an Akkan God, is lonely in the heavens; the only child amongst immortals. He decides to live among the mortals~ soap bubbles, as his mother calls them. There he discovers Kezi, the daughter of the man whose sheep he shepherds for. She is beautiful, but more than that- she dances her feelings, and is the most talented knotted rug weaver in the town, and Olus falls in love with her almost instantly. Kezi, on her part doesn't know Olus has been watching her, but when he does make himself known to her, she is swept up by his unusual character, but is frightened by his command of the winds and believes he is her guardian. Even though Kezi must fulfill a death oath sworn by her father, Kezi loves this immortal and follows him to his home on Enshi Rock to try to thwart her own fate and strive for a happier outcome...

View all my reviews.

Berkeley and San Francisco with Scott and Sara

I have lots of lovely pictures to share today! I took a couple days off from work to go visit my brother in Berkeley, but we also managed to escape to San Francisco for the day on Sunday. It was the first time Sean and Ashton (and me too!) have ever ridden on BART, and Ashton was definitely concerned because he thought it was going to be a roller coaster, like Space Mountain or something. But once we got started, he quickly relaxed and quite enjoyed his ride. After walking around for half the day, he started asking every so often when we got to ride the train again. :)

And did I mention we walked for 5 and a half hours?

Sean and Ashton did awesome, too. They didn't complain, only begged to be carried because they wanted to climb all over Scotty.

I have to say Scott was quite the trooper- he willingly carried them both almost as often as they asked. What a great uncle! They soaked up the attention.

We found a free museum of SF history, all machine operated, but the best part (for S & A) was the distorted mirror. Talk about some hysterical laughing! And again when I downloaded these pictures (I took about 10 of these).

One of the best smells to ever assail my nose, this place is true to it's name! We stopped in here just to breathe, but of course ended up buying a different hunk of chocolate for each of us.

Oh, yes, SO much goodness... and Scott was kind enough to pose for me with the goodness, no Greatness!

Sean and Ashton begged to go on the carousel on Pier 39:

Family picture with Alcatraz in the background:

On Monday we had planned on taking the boys to the Exploratorium, but they were closed on Mondays! Didn't know that, so we headed to the second best place: The San Francisco Zoo! It was pretty cold, so we bundled up and headed out. Of course when we got there, we headed to the Children's Zoo first. Sean and Ash had a great time petting/chasing/brushing the goats and sheep (although I somehow managed not to get a picture from the front):

Ashton and Sean took their turns riding on the available saddles- Ashton on an English style saddle:

And Sean on a Western saddle:

Then for a fun family photo in a prairie dog hole (with my camera set precariously on a rock on an auto timer- I didn't do such a good job of lining it up, now did I?)

Now, I was all excited to go to the zoo because they have I think 4! snow leopards! But I was thwarted in my excitement to see them by the fact that the entire feline conservatory was closed! No snow leopards for me. Bummer! But I did get to see a 3 month old baby tiger, one of three born in the zoo, and I was even lucky enough to find this one lazing next to the window! We had to wait our turn to get up close, but it was worth it! Here is Ashton, the tiger and Sean:

And another one with just Ash (can you just see the "Awww!" on his face?):

I couldn't resist this Lemur pile- I think since they are from Madagascar, I bet they were cold this day too! SO CUTE!

They are more colorful than I realized too!

One final picture of the boys on the bronzed puma on the way out the door...


All these roses, and the honeysuckle? From my backyard! Maybe I should be a florist on the side with this fancy arrangement? My home smells just heavenly!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Faerie Lord

Faerie Lord: The Faerie Wars Chronicles (Book 4) (The Faerie Wars Chronicles) Faerie Lord: The Faerie Wars Chronicles by Herbie Brennan

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The fourth and concluding book in a series that I found waiting for the next publication as difficult as waiting for the next Harry Potter book to come out! Most books I finish, I think, "That was a good book!" and move to whatever is next on my list. This one I raced through because I just had to know what was happening next, but then was sad it was finished. And no more to look forward to now- like Harry Potter, and the Bartimaeus Trilogy. A book that I connected with so thoroughly I get this feeling I call post-book depression.

But anyway, about this book: Henry Atherton is a likeable boy living in England with no really outstanding qualities. But amazing things seem to happen to him, and he becomes a hero in another world, of light and dark faeries. Despite his love for Blue, the Faerie Queen of Light, he decided to finish school in the Analogue World (Earth) at the end of the third book, "Ruler of the Realm." But Blue's brother, Prince Pyrgus, comes to find him looking like a middle-aged man instead of the teenager he is. The Faerie world is being ravaged by a disease that ages the population randomly in coma-inducing spurts, and it is forseen that only Henry can save them. But does he have enough courage to face Blue again? And how is he supposed to cure a disease he knows nothing about?

View all my reviews.

Monday, June 16, 2008

44th Annual DeCelle Memorial Tahoe Relay Race

It was a beautiful day for a run around Lake Tahoe on Saturday for the 44th Annual DeCelle Memorial Relay Race (6/14/08), minus the haze from the smoke blowing in from the California fires, that is. This was my first experience running in this type of race, relay style- the slap and go kind, and I had a fantastic time playing leap-frog with the runner, shouting and cheering and snapping pictures. (The only relays I have have ever competed in were swimming, of course.) There were 7 people on my team, Turi and Chris who work for the library with me, Peter Lubbers and his two sons Sean and Rocky, and their friend Hayes. Everyone met at my house at 5 a.m., and then we drove 2 vehicles up to the starting point where we picked up our t-shirts and waited for the start. Here is a picture of the seven of us before the race- in the back from left to right is Chris, Hayes, Peter and Turi. The front row is Rocky, Sean and me.

Hayes ran the first leg of 9.6 miles- here he is the second one back, running through town:

Peter ran the second leg, the shortest (at 8.2 miles) but steepest leg up Spooner Summit. Here's the view of the road he ran up:

(What mountain is that Scott? I'm sure you've climbed it since you'll climb anything that'll hold still for a few minutes at a time!) And a close up of the Gu/water hand off:

I really enjoyed meeting and hanging out with Peter- he is so positive about running, and stinkin' fast too, I've noticed. :)

He handed off to his younger son Rocky who ran 10.3 miles. I got a geat take-off picture of him, as he tagged his dad. I must say that I am in complete awe of him and Hayes and Sean- when I was in the sixth grade I ran 600 meters in P.E. and thought my lungs would pop, not to mention all lack of feeling in my legs plus my vision went dim. The fact they participated and ran most (or all, in Hayes' case) of their leg would have been daunting to me at their age (I think they were all between 11 and 13? Sorry, I don't remember exact ages.) Way to go guys!

I think Chris needed some agua, and I caught him trying to drink the lake during Rocky's leg- Silly man! You can't drink the entire lake!

Next up was Turi, and he lucked out with the longest leg- it said 12.3 miles, but his Garmin GPS tracker said 12.6 miles, and the total miles on the race packet was off by .3 miles. Thanks for picking up the extras Turi! Caught him smiling, which means he wasn't working nearly hard enough! :)

While we were waiting for Turi/after Sean took off on the 5th leg, Chris got a hold of my camera and nearly broke the screen with his mug shot:

Then he took some other random pictures when we were least expecting it- Peter:

And Sean:

And Rocky:

And Hayes:

At which point Peter managed to snag the camera from him and get a really nice one of he and Turi and I:

Off subject a bit there, but fun pics! I like this next one- Sean is sprinting into his tag-off with Chris at the end of his 10.6 miles, and Rocky didn't even notice his brother coming up behind him... Watch out!

Here comes Chris on the 6th leg (10.5 miles), sprinting up the hill so fast that Turi missed the shot!

And saving the best for last, here I am floating (see? not touching the ground!) down the steep windy road (see that car above my head to the right?) with the final 10.5 miles down and around the bottom tip of the lake. Emerald Bay was turquoise and sparkling as it always is, and the views of the lake were magnificent! (Although running on a shoulder with barely 2 inches on the outside of the white line with a sudden 200 foot drop-off and no railing, toward oncoming traffic made my heart beat a little faster than from just the running!)

I did not run as well as I'd liked because I couldn't quite get enough oxygen from within all the haze, and so was forced to walk an almost embarrassing amount. I won't post my split, 'cause next year I'm going to nail my leg of the race, whichever one it may be. But that aside, I had a wonderful day playing leap frog with all the runners on our team, shouting (like a girl in Chris's case) and cheering each other on, and taking wacky pictures too. Thanks to everyone on this team for the high spirits, and all-around memorable day!

A few extra photos here- Our official posted time: 11:25.08, and yes, that's us. Sgt. Lubbers and the Melodious Colon Band. Chris's idea. No really! It was his not mine!

And a finishing picture of all of us in our race shirts and medals (looking a little dazed, I might add...)

Finally, two bonus pictures of my bestest library running buds- Me and Chris and his peanut butter bagel,

And Turi too~

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boys' Last Day of Kindergarten

Well, it's done. Sean and Ashton's first year of their elementary education has come to a close. This morning I purposely dressed them in the same shirts I sent them to school in on their first day so I could take another picture in the same spot I took on their first day, to measure their growth. Here they are, just this morning. (Like Ashton's socks? He's the one in red. :)

And to compare to their first day, here is that picture taken at the end of August:

They look a lot the same don't they (even though I got their shorts wrong)? Although the tops of their heads are much closer to the bottom of the picture. I'll have to take this photo again on their first day of 1st grade to show some summer growth. (Although hopefully with a different pair of shirts on! :)

And I did make 32 black and white (chocolate and vanilla) cupcakes for their field day yesterday. Isn't this cupcake carrier grand? There weren't enough for all the kids in both classes, for which I feel bad, but I can only carry so many cupcakes! Poor Sean and Ashton didn't get any since their teachers figured they could make more with their mom. Which we will. AND I did bring home a couple chocolate chip cookies left over from a library function.

And life continues...