Monday, August 31, 2009

Cerrito Vista Park - 6/10

A few weeks ago Isabel sent me an email about a play group that would be forming and meeting in the El Cerrito area. She found out about it from a mom that she met at one of the Library's. She takes Sarah almost every morning at around 10:30 to story time, or singing and music time at one of several local library's near her.It just so happened that the Berkeley High Pool was closed for maintenance and the play date was on a Friday afternoon when we had no plans, so we decided to go. Isabel wasn't able to make it because she had to do something in the city on that day, but Holly and I ventured out and found this amazing park.This is Rowan and his Mom Maya, who are friends with the Organizer Becky. We were the only two who actually showed up. Becky had to cancel because her daughter was sick, and the group hasn't gotten together since. But we did discover a fun new park and had a fun time.The tot structure was in the back of the park, and the park is on the top of a hill, so when we parked we walked up about 50 stairs to get to the main area where the Giant structure is. I spent about 20 minutes looking for "Becky" and then Maya heard me asking someone, and introduced herself.There were no baby swings in the park which was a draw back, but Holly did swing on her belly for a little bit. the park has newly reopened and is very new, with bouncy turf and grass everywhere, and if you are about 6 this park is like six flags.This was a neat little wobble spinning chair. I placed holly in it and spun her around, she was interested but not a fan, and after a spin or two was ready to get down. This is a huge twisty tube slide, and must be about 3 stories high. In order to get to the opening of the slide you have to climb up a latter. Holly actually crawled and walked and climbed all the way through the structures to the little room underneath.I was glad that there was a ladder, this prevented little ones from getting all the way to the slide and perhaps going down unintentionally. Holly loved sitting at the base of the slide waiting to see the kids come out, you could hear them laughing all the way down with shouts of glee.Back in the tot area Holly was happy to clang and make some noise of her own with these little chimes. She rattles them, but i should think about bringing her "Bam Bam" so she can hit them.This is a tricycle that another little boy rode to the park. He was sweet enough to let Holly play with it. At first she was eager to push it around but the steering was tricky and it went around and around in circles.She really like just playing with the fringe too, it was bright red, who wouldn't want to play with that. I let her try it out and ride it, what was really cool about it was that when the front wheel turned the pedals moved around too, so it actually helped you learn to peddle the bike and then when you got older you could move it on your own. We had a fun afternoon playing. We stayed maybe ninety minutes, because even though the park was really cool, there wasn't a lot Holly could do yet but this is someplace we will need to come back too as she gets older.Slides - 1 - There was a single mini slide in the tot section of the park, the other structure had one slide that with help Holly could use, but the other twisty slides were amazing, but too big for Holly to use.

Swings - 0 - Big Kid swings, but no baby swings.

Surface - 1 - Bouncy turf and grass and some sidewalk. it was really nice.

Shade - 0 - There was no shade. the day we went wasn't very hot or sunny, but on a hot day I could see not wanting to stay and play.

Climbing - 1 - Lots of stuff to climb on. Although not super safe for her to be on the big kid structure she climbed all the way to the top with Mommy at her tale.

Parking - 1/2 - was on the street and not super close. I parked at the bottom of the "cliff" there is also parking across a field and tennis court, that you could use, street wise but not have to walk up stairs.

Bathrooms - 1 - Yes. There were bathrooms, though we didn't use them.

Distance - 1/2 - It is relatively close and in a part of town I am familiar with, but it was more then a ten minute drive.

Friends - 1/2 - Most of the kids playing were older, even on the tot structure the kids were 2 and 3 and in the main park there were many kids running around, but they were like 6--7-8 or more.

Fun - 1/2- It was fun, but at this age we had more fun at other places.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

T @ Erik's House

We recently went on a Play date at Erik's house. The theme was "T @ Erik's" Mom had Tea for Us, and Erik had T-Ball to play with the kiddies. We were running late as the play date was in Alameda and it was a mess getting there. Traffic and a detour on the bridge.But we were glad to have come as we saw a familular face and also met some new friends. The kids didn;t end up playing T-Ball while we were there, but they had a blast int he back yard. Cynthia (Erik's Mom) had the brilliant idea of having his "kitchen" in the back yard, and the kids loved it.Enzo, a new friend and his mom Diana were a lot of fun. He was just a few months older then Holly, and he took the bin of "food" out and dumped it. The kids had a feild day then playing. Holly loved picking them backup and putting them into various cupbords.There in the Back ground is maura, she is such a sweetie. Her mommy Robin recently had a baby. It is amazing that she is out of the house, but even more admirable is that they are about to move half way across the world to India for 2 years for her husbands work. They are about to embark on a great adventure, but she will be missed.We didn;t get a lot of time to chat, as they were heading out shortly after we arrived, but she updated us on her move, and the international travel doctor stuff when you are dealing with a infant, its scary the medical stuff you have to think about and worry about traveling like that.Here are Enzi and Holly sharing a snack. it is about the only thing they shared that day. She kept trying to follow him around and play with what he was playign with, and he wasn;t very excited about that.Here he is helping clean up a bit, of course that means Holly wants to play with the cool broom too. Enzo was a sweetie though.While we were outside Erik and Liliana went upstairs because Cynthia was getting something for Charity (liliana's Mom) and she hurt herself. Actually Erik accidently shut her finger in a door, so Enzo and Holly stayed outside and played for a while until things calmed down a bit. But after a bit we all went upstairs and holly got to play in Erik's room and with his cool Frog tent. She had fun exploring a new area.Here is Liliana feeling much better. She is very tall and so beautiful. She is only about 3 and such a smart girl and she played really well with the younger babies.Here Holly is chasing after the boys, she isn't quite tall enough to climb up onto the seat like Erik and Enzo. We had a fun time playing, and it was nice to get to chat with the mom's. When we are at someones house, i get much more opportunity to talk, then when we are at the park. It's great.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Mac - Fun Park

A few weeks ago Joel got it in his head to buy a mac so that he could become a iPhone App Developer. We have the iPhones, and we needed the Mac.Well he had been researching this for the past few weeks and at first was thinking about getting a Mac cube, this is like a desk top, and doing some type of complicated monitor switching and adding it to his office space.Well I Nixed that idea right away. I thought he needed a Laptop, so he could have it for writing, and so he wouldn't always be locked away in the other room. New Mac Book Pro's are like $1650 at the store.You could also but a regular mac book with all of the basic options and smaller hard drive ect. for about $999 So we decided to search Craigslist and see what our options were.Joel really wanted the "pro" version, and we saw several for around $. Well Joel is sometimes afraid to tell me his "crazy ideas" because I have a way of making things happen and running with it. Sometime in the morning he "mentioned" the idea, next thing I was looking on cragslist to see what deals I could find, and before you know it I was calling someone with a MacBook Pro about 3 years old for $675The difference between a used one and a new one were minimal, the processor was only about .2 faster, the disk was large, but the main thing with this one was that it had an ATI Radeon Card instead of an Nvidia.We chatted with our mac using friends, and they didn't really know the difference between the cards, and we assumed that since Joel wasn't planning on doing heavy graphics it would work out. We later found out that sometimes there is a problem with this Graphics card and the computer freezes. It has done it a few times on Joel, but not enough for him to regret his purchase, and it hasn't been a problem.The guy in the ad said he would be in San Jose for the day, so when I called him, he said he was on his way home to Pleasanton. That is actually much closer for us and we arranged to meet at a Starbucks.Before heading out we stopped at the Apple store to make sure Joel liked typing on the keyboards and we looked at the new ones just to verify we didn't want a new one. The used one wouldn't have a warranty, but the warranty doesn't cover any of the type of damage his computer would like get.But for a $1000 dollar savings I was convinced we should go with this one. The next cheapest mac we found was about $800 so he was a little worried that something might be wrong with it because we were getting such a good deal.So we made sure to know how to check everything out when we were at the Apple Store, so we could find the settings on the used one we were going to see. See, neither of us are mac users, and we basically have no idea what we are doing or where anything is, there is literally no file system, and when you have been using a PC type system for 20 years, Mac's philosophy and design is foreign.On our way Holly fell asleep in the car, so Joel went in on his own, checked it out and bought it. He was a little floored, as it had been about 10 hours earlier that on a whim he mentioned that perhaps he should get a mac, but you know... I didn't want and excuses or road blocks to his App Developing empire, so i was ready to get going, we have tossed getting a Mac around as an idea for years, it was time to do it. Holly woke up, and well we were about a mile away from Central Park in Pleasanton, so we headed over and Holly got the treat of playing around in the water feature. We decided that our outing was of course to take Holly to the park, "not" to go and buy a mac, and Joel wasn't dressed for the water, so I got to chase her around this time, but as you can see by the pictures above, she was thrilled and had an amazing time. Water, Sand, tubes, and a awesome Slide. What more could a girl want. Can you believe she went down this slide! Joel was on the structure with her, helping her get in, and Mommy caught her at the bottom, her face was glee, horror, and then happy excitement. She would sign more, and be ready to go again. She was a happy girl, and with his new computer, Joel was a happy boy. He has been busily working on his first iPhone App, a game for Holly on the iPhone, I don;t want to reveal too much, but when it's done, I will have codes for all of you to download it for free, and it will be VERY fun.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chloe's Room

So often you see pictures of all the kids playing in Chloe's Play Room and what fun the babies are having. But look at all these other cool things that you never get to see.Behind the scenes, there is the rest of the house, and as they are getting older, and have more desire to explore it is becoming harder and harder to keep them contained.On one particular Monday a few weeks ago many of the other Mommies had to leave early and it ended up just being Holly and Chloe Playing.I was preparing a snack for the road and Katherine was getting ready to go to the store, and we let the girls play and have the run of the house.They had a blast. Chloe has fun toys in her room, and many fun mirrors which we know is a hit with Holly. There was also a lot of space for them to run back and forth down the hall.These little two are like best friends. It is amazing to see them together, they chase each other back and forth and totally interact with each other. It was a fun afternoon.

Happy Birthday Tanta Kat! - Allergy Testing

A few weeks ago Holly went for Allergy testing. I forgot to post about this. She had "Allergies" through out the summer and for a while would wake up many nights in a row full of flemm and throw up. She had a runny nose that would not go away. She would be runny in the morning as well and sometimes throw up after her morning bottle. So when we talked to the Doctor about it, she said we could give her a 1/2 dose of Benedryl before bed. This worked like a charm, her sinuses dried up and she wasn't waking or throwing up any more.

Then I started thinking about my sister's return from the Peace Corps. She has been in Azerbaijan for almost 3 years and she adopted a Cat. Originally Mo (her cat) was going to be left to keep a new volunteer company when she left, but she got very attached and is bringing it home with her. Then in January she is bringing back her two old cats who her friend has been baby sitting in Atlanta. This was really stressing me out. I am allergic to cats, but I can avoid them, and I take allergy medication, I didn't want to have to continue drugging Holly with Benedryl.

So we finally got a referral to the allergist. It only took a few seconds to get the prick. We did the consultation first, talked about testing for Dogs, Cats, Horses, and Dusts and Pollens, and other common Allergens. They had it set up to where the doctor would prick the back left side then the right. 8 pricks then 8 more. It took like 10 seconds, and it was over and she was done crying.

She had a bottle and we waited twenty minutes. As you can see one of the spots blew up in the picture and I was worried thinking she was allergic to something. But when they came in they told me that was the "control" for a comparison, and if she was allergic to something it would look like that. Well none of the other spots looked like that one, which means for now, she isn't allergic to anything!

YEAH they said to come back in a few years if any symptoms come back she could still develop allergies but for now she has none. So now she will be able to hang out with my sister and meet and hopefully not be afraid of her cats, and play downstairs in her "Apartment"