Sunday, April 13, 2014

At least it's an entertaining commute

The kids made it through their first full week of school here.   

Entering the system late in the year with 3 kids you definitely 'get what you get & don't get upset'.  All things considered we got pretty lucky - just 2 different schools, start / end 40 minutes apart & only a mile between them.

The slightly challenging parts are the 7:50 start (Who thought that was a good idea?!) and 4 miles from our house to the 1st school.  

No need to dwell on the negative - examples of the fab...

Door to door service
The J-church train stops literally 8 steps from our door.  
(photo taken from our stoop)

And while we do have to transfer to a bus too, there are apps to tell us exactly which bus is coming when.  Crazy easy!

Pets on Public Transportation
I have no idea what the rules are, but its fairly common to see furry friends on board

I'd totally expect this kind…..  
(service dog)

But not this kind….
(dog in a baby stroller - no baby - just the dog, with dyed fur)

(bird on a leash - why not?!)

While I can't say any of us are at our best leaving the house at 'the crack', meeting fellow passengers like this makes it all good

(looks like Zoe dressed this one)

Parading down Polk
After dropping Q & Z, I get rare 1:1 time walking Xavier to his school.  We've enjoyed the leisurely pace (one could probably crawl the mile in 40 minutes), fun window shopping, and time to chat without interruption (he typically has some serious 'conversation competition').  I've learned far more about Dungeon Defenders than I ever imagined.

In the afternoons, Q, Z & I walk to get X.  By then, the zillions of shops, restaurants, bakeries, ice cream stores along Polk are open. 

Being new to town & with only 40 days of this school combo, we decided the prudent thing to do is to stop at a different place each day

We've hit a broad range:
(Donuts are Q's 'happy place')

(X approves of what we got for him - he coached the 'procurement team' in the morning)

2 different pizza places...

Frozen yogurt….

That said, in my review, the BEST stop along Polk Street so far is (Shhh!!!) one we went to without the kids….
 (an Oyster bar that has been open over 100 years)

Here's to 35 more days of 'research' & enjoying the journey of a crazy commute

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Our stuff is here - RUN, hide, stay away!

After 3 days of school, the kids were off for Spring break last week.  The week flew - and in hindsight I know why…

OH NO - our stuff is here
Monday morning a truck rolled up and started unloading boxes of what we had deemd critical enough to travel via air.  

With a furnished apartment + 3 weeks of enjoying the simplicity of minimal possessions, I wasn't so excited about the reunion.

After locating the essentials (bedding, computer, school lunch tupperware), the place looked like our boxes threw up.   

So we decided now was the time to listen to Lexy's sage advice "focus on having fun & exploring in the new city, getting everyone settled - don't worry about the unpacking at first".

Our anti-unpacking plans….

Happy 12!
We celebrated 12 years exploring our new city

We always enjoy the fun of Dim sum - but this one was dangerous (a lazy Susan with 3 kids?!)
A mere 2 minutes after arriving a full pot of hot tea was flung from our table
 (this is NOT how I remember life 12 years ago)

Sun, Snow & Sissy
Just a 3ish hour drive to Tahoe, we decided to literally run away from our stuff & head up again - enjoyed a few days of blue skies, late season snow & a visit from Sissy


Loads of games

And a stop to visit cousins / in-laws...

When we got home late Friday, I'd forgotten what sad shape our house was left in until I saw it.   

Soooo - time for more outside the home activities….

Train to Chipotle
The J line literally stops right outside our door & delivers us directly below a mall with a Chipotle
(Dangerous on so many levels)

FAB Exploratorium

A very hands on museum with a cool new waterfront location

You know it's bad at home when the whole family chooses to go along for glasses shopping….

So many parks
By the waterfront….

By our house…

But my favorite - Dolores Park - where I am now convinced ANYTHING goes
Families of 5 come along…..

Come on in sporty people...

Welcome jugglers…

Big Band-ers & Swing Dancers…

We embrace you, random indiginous musicians…

And please join us hula hoopers

In order to keep this PG, I didn't photograph the examples of love - but clearly friendliness is also welcome in any combination

While the randomness and inclusiveness was enough to make me feel warm & fuzzy, the guy in the background made it feel like home… 
(yep - that's beer at the park)

So while there are still piles of unpacked, somewhat unwanted 'critical possessions' laying around our house, the exploring is fab & the cluttered house is because "Lexy told us to"

Here's to prioritizing 
(and if all else fails - blame a friend!)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 weeks, 1 birthday & a million changes later….

A bit over 2 weeks since our final departure…..some highlights

Tahoe Evacuation: we started with 'evacuation camp' in the mountains given our house wasn't available yet (with the accelerated departure)

Featuring our 'Half assed home school'


(Thanks G'mom & G'dad for the belated Christmas gift - a fab 'school project'!)

Roller Rink & Pine needle PE...


Teacher break...

Wow!  Did we swing the pendulum moving to California:

Fresh fruit - we bought these on the 14th - they were PICKED only 3 days prior!

Seriously Eco - we went from having to go out of our way to recycle, to eco solutions being brought to us...

The bathroom at the community center where Zoe takes dance...

Even better - our garage!   The cans they pick up from our curb…..
(trash + recycling AND compost.   I LOVE it!)

But all this comes at a cost...
Warn against invisible evils - seriously, Starbucks telling us about the risk of chemicals in coffee??   
(Wouldn't you keep that on the down low?!)

No Wild West in the west -  gone is the parking flexibility…

But one really can't complain with this kind of scenery….

We also enjoyed Quincy turning 11 on this side of the pond
A split birthday brunch with 'Puncle Peric'….

Breakfast & presents in bed….

A ride on Cable Car #11 to sundaes on his 11th!

Now we have shifted to: 
Settling into new normal

New Schools: Quincy & Zoe got into a great school in the Marina…

Even more color: while 'international' has been our recent norm, Xavier's school shows us super colorful.   It is like the United Nations - people are from everywhere!

New Standards:  Zoe came home day 1 with a huge pack of homework & reports "this is WAY harder"….
We also got a "please help your child learn to count money over break" note from her teacher.  (Zoe can tell you the exchange rate between US dollars and hryvnia but doesn't know a nickle from a dime :0)

So while we are having to adjust to some new, we are enjoying the color too!
(a local wig store - 2 blocks away in case we get into a hair pinch)

Here's to enjoying the new and hoping the 'new normal' isn't too normal!