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Caroline was all dressed in her Giants gear for the game Saturday.

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On Sunday we were sitting above the strike out “K’s”

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Jack was at least looking at the camera.

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Selfie at the Giants game.

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We got to go on the field after the game, for Kids Run the Bases.

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Jack firmly running over home plate.

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Caroline coming over home.

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Foggy sunset.

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Jack collected seashells and played in the waves all day everyday.

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Showing off her shell collection–wearing my shoes for protection against jellyfish.

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Playing in the sand.

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I started a Monopoly game with the kids, Grandma Caroline took over for an hour or two, and Trace finished it. Whew!

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The kids loved the touch pool at the Aquarium the best.

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Posing in a giant clam.

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Ready to go down to the beach. The fog didn’t stop these kids.

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Collecting sand dollars.

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What a beauty.

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The boys playing catch on the beach.

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Yesterday we went to a Giants game, which was Trace’s Father’s Day gift (and Chuck’s).  We took the ferry from Vallejo to the Ferry Building, and a pedi-cab to A T & T Park.  We thoroughly enjoyed the game, which the Giants won in extra innings (yes!  I’m sure we were the good luck they needed).

Afterwards we walked back to the Ferry Building, and then caught a cable car to Grace Cathedral.  It was closed, but the kids enjoyed walking the outside labyrinth.  Miss Carol-lou was disappointed that she didn’t get to spend her money on a labyrinth necklace, but the excitement of another cable car ride soothed her.

We rode down to the wharf on a packed cable car, with a brake man pointing out all the sights as we went by.  Actually, he didn’t point anything out, he sang it out, literally.  It was great.  We finished the day with Crab Louis salads at Scoma’s.  There must be a half of a Dungeness on each plate, at least.  Our waiter got us in and out quickly, so that we could catch the last ferry back to Vallejo.

After a hurried walk down to Pier 41, we made it to the Intintoli (the name of the boat) just in time to fly over the bay under the super moon.  We couldn’t have had a more beautiful finish to our day.  The amazing thing is that both kids stayed awake all the way until we got in our car: and were even cheerful to the end.

These are my favorite pictures from the day.  They’re not my favorite moments: those were Jack’s enjoyment of and concentration on the game, sitting next to my kids on the outside bench of a cable car, kissing Trace on the ferry under the super moon, and our two small miracles: getting immediately seated at Scoma’s, and making it on board the final ferry.

The girls in the morning, riding on the ferry.

The girls in the morning, riding on the ferry.

Ready to eat her hotdog!

Ready to eat her hotdog!

Sticky cotton candy hands at the ballgame.

Sticky cotton candy hands at the ballgame.

A family shot while being blown away by the wind at the back of the ferry.

A family shot while being blown away by the wind at the back of the ferry.

The supermoon over the Bay Bridge.  What a night!

The supermoon over the Bay Bridge. What a night!

The San Francisco skyline as the boat roared away.

The San Francisco skyline as the boat roared away.

I love how much fun they were still having together at the end of the evening.

I love how much fun they were still having together at the end of the evening.

Finishing up a coloring page on the ferry home.

Finishing up a coloring page on the ferry home.

Jack has jumped in the swimming pool each of the last few days.  He’s definitely decided that it’s summer already, although the pool is probably only 75-80 degrees.  It’s not warm.

 

It would make more sense to me if he was swimming in the middle of the day, but last night he took a quick dip before bed and today it was at least 6 pm before he jumped in.

 

Tonight he found a froggy friend in the pool.  Some kids wear a brooch: my kid wears a frog.  I loved this picture I took of him!  They were even swimming laps together.  Too cute.

 

Do you know this book?  Jack playing with his frog today reminded me that this was one of my favorites as a child.  Kids and water go together as well as kids and animals.  A boy and his frog indeed.

Wearing the frog.

Wearing the frog.

Frog love.

Frog love.

Today was such a simple, normal day.  The weather could not have been nicer–I was never around a thermometer, but I bet it was in the seventies outside.  Definitely the warmest day we have had this year, and it’s supposed to be even warmer tomorrow.  I do love the changing of the seasons, but I especially love the sunshine.  I was born in June, and the warmth of blue skies and bright days call to me.

We had our usual late breakfast/brunch today, complete with corned beef hash made from scratch (Trace started a corned beef before bed last night), and homemade biscuits that Grandma Caroline whipped together.  Oh, did I mention the perfectly poached eggs that topped our corned beef?  It was so good.  I had fig jam on my warm biscuit, and the sweet flavor complemented the salty hash like Fred and Ginger.  I love Saturday mornings.

Next Courtney stopped by for a prearranged tea party with little Caroline.  She had recently pulled out her childhood American Girl Doll, and planned a party with Caroline and Caroline Abbott (three Caroline’s in the house is a bit confusing, so the doll goes by her first and her last name).  My nephew Cody has been working hard for us to clear out the overgrown creek at the bottom of the property, and Grandpa Chuck built a new bench down there last week.  So Caroline Virginia–maybe middle names will clarify this story?–wanted to host the tea party down at the creek.  That’s where she and Jack spend most of their time anyway!

The girls and their dolls having tea.

The girls and their dolls having tea.

Jack joined the girls for a bit, and then he and I played catch for a while.  Man that boy can throw when he wants to show-off a little to his mom!  It’s fine if he’s far enough away from me, but a full power throw from a distance of about ten feet is a bit much!

Jack and his cat.

Jack and his cat.

Caroline with both dolls: what a lucky little girl!

Caroline with both dolls: what a lucky little girl!

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Jack caught a frog: one of many, I’m sure!  He often sports his bike helmet for quite a while after he finishes riding his bike.  

The kids had asked me if they could sleep outside, so we agreed that if their room was picked up that they could have a camp out.  They did eventually get the room done, and we dug out the tent from storage, and two sleeping bags, and they excitedly helped set it up.  I think they would have gone to bed immediately, but we hadn’t even had dinner yet.

I love the his and her boots outside the tent as they setup.

I love the his and her boots outside the tent as they setup.

Oh, and the grown ups got this project done today: the tiles around the pool grouted.  It was actually a polymer sand, or jointing sand, and it didn’t even take that long.  Maybe an hour of sweeping the sand into every crack, making sure the tiles were clean, and then you wet it all down.  Done!

The grown-up project: grouted tiles around the pool.

The grown-up project: grouted tiles around the pool.

We finished the evening by delighting the kids with a fire in the fireplace outside their tent.  It was so lovely sitting outside, talking around the fire.  Trace offered to pay the kids a nickel for every pine cone they retrieved from the lawn and threw in the flames.  I know that Caroline earned two dollars, even after it became quite dark out, and I suspect that Jack earned double that.  The funny thing is that Trace paid them entirely in change from his pocket: who carries around that many coins?  His pants must weigh five pounds!

This boy loves to feed a fire!

This boy loves to feed a fire!

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Now that’s quite a load of pine cones tucked into her nightgown!

The kids finally ran off to their tent, and Trace and I sat around the fire together, holding hands and drinking wine, and Trace said: this was a perfect day.  Indeed it was.

A perfect end to our perfectly  ordinary day.

A perfect end to our perfectly ordinary day.

Play ball!  I heard it chorused at the Nevada City Little League Opening Day, and it has certainly been a theme in our home for the last month or so.  This year Jack is playing farm: he just missed the age cutoff to be allowed to tryout for minors.  We received a mailing a few weeks before the season was slated to begin that the farm league was short on managers and coaches.  Trace read the plea and e-mailed back that he was willing to help in any manner: thus he is managing Jack’s team for the year.

By default, I am the designated team mom, coordinating volunteers and communicating schedules with our team.  We’ve truly been absorbed in baseball this year.  In farm league the coach pitches, so at every game Trace is either pitching or out coaching on third base.  He’s a good coach, and a good pitcher, and it’s fun to see how the kids love him.

Jack is loving having his dad as his manager.  He’s good at baseball, and to have his dad there beside him sharing those moments with him makes him glow.  At our last game he made a double play while he was the first baseman (they rotate positions every inning): he caught the fly ball for one out and then tagged first base before the runner returned.  Nice job Jack!

The only problem with all this baseball, is that I have yet to bring my camera to a game.  We have had three games already, and I only have the pictures from my cell phone.  I’ve included a few below, but they’re not very good.  You’ll have to take my word for it that it’s a beautiful sight to watch my husband pitch a ball to our son.

True confession: I played just about every sport as a kid except baseball, so I’ve had quite a learning curve in the last three years.  I’ve also never known how to throw properly (yes, I throw like the proverbial girl).  Nonetheless, with some excellent coaching (and observation of child instruction) I have become capable of playing an easy game of catch with Jack.  And I love it!  It turns out that standing in the sunshine tossing a ball is quite enjoyable.  You can learn something new even at 36.

Trace on the mound.

Trace on the mound. Jack at bat.

Taking the team picture.  They are the Indians this year.

Taking the team picture. They are the Indians this year.

The opening day team parade.

The opening day team parade.

I’m pretty sure that I spent all of Easter Day trying to get a good picture of my kiddos. Well in between unpacking and doing laundry from our glorious spring break trip (read about it here).  We got home at 10 pm Saturday night, so most of Sunday was about catching up, except for the joy of celebrating Easter at church.

I don’t think that I ever succeeded in my photo quest, but I definitely got a lot of goofy pictures!  And I even got a great picture of Becky and Dave, watching the kids on their Easter egg hunt.  We had the perfect time of day for our hunt: the weather for the day was mostly rainy, and included hail and thunder and lightning, but our time outside was marked by sunshine.

In fact the only mishap of the day had nothing to do with weather: since we’d been gone all week we had never dyed eggs.  We bought them at the grocery store after we worked the coffees before church, and I boiled them when we got home: at least I thought that I did.  I put 15 eggs on a low simmer upstairs while I started some laundry downstairs.  When I came back upstairs, probably at least 20 minutes later, I assumed the eggs were done.  Even on a very light simmer they would be done after twenty minutes, right?

When an egg broke up in a tree during our hunt, I discovered that I was wrong.  It was a soft-boiled egg, and later the others proved to be the same way.  Shoot.  They were all beautifully dyed, but hard to peel and eat.  Oops.

Anyway, other than my miss with the eggs, we had a lovely day.  Everything was done by the end of the day, and the eggs were hunted after all.  Enjoy the pictures of the day.

First thing in the morning Caroline shows the chick the Easter bunny brought her.  She chose this dress because of the bonnet, which she loved.  She was complimented on it all day long.

First thing in the morning Caroline shows the chick the Easter bunny brought her. She chose this dress because of the bonnet, which she loved. She was complimented on it all day long.

Before breakfast, when everyone was still clean I tried to get a smiley picture. I love these two!

Before breakfast, when everyone was still clean I tried to get a smiley picture. I love these two!

Another attempt at a picture worthy of posting, before church.

Another attempt at a picture worthy of posting, before church.

Drawing before the church service began.  There's no Sunday School on Easter, and that's a long time to sit still.

Drawing before the church service began. There’s no Sunday School on Easter, and that’s a long time to sit still.

I couldn't help trying to get a picture of the weeping cherry blossoms.  They're too delicate to photograph, but boy are they beautiful!

I couldn’t help trying to get a picture of the weeping cherry blossoms. They’re too delicate to photograph, but boy are they beautiful!

Posing for a picture . . . or not.  There's another ten along these lines.  After a day in the car the day before, they were GOOFY!

Posing for a picture . . . or not. There’s another ten along these lines. After a day in the car the day before, they were GOOFY!

Found one!

Found one!

Where?  Over here?

Where? Over here?

We all watched the hunt.

The helpful spectators.

Don't they look alike?

Don’t they look alike?

Looking for the last egg.  Could it be in the box?

Looking for the last egg. Could it be in the box?

Our dinner preparations were interrupted by a turkey in love--it was quite a loud gobble that he gave, and we all enjoyed the spectacle.

Our dinner preparations were interrupted by a turkey in love–it was quite a loud gobble that he gave, and we all enjoyed the spectacle.

These two watching the tom were as cute as could be.

These two watching the tom were as cute as could be.

We finished our evening with great food, including a local ham from a hog that we bought at the Nevada County Fair.

We finished our evening with a feast, including a local ham from a hog that we bought at the Nevada County Fair.

 

 

Oops, one last picture.  I missed this one of Becky and Dave, and they’re cute as could be.  At least someone knew how to pose for a picture on Easter!

Becky and Dave: happy Easter!

Becky and Dave: happy Easter!

Last January Trace and I attended a school fundraiser, and we had the winning bid on a VRBO at Pebble Beach.  It happened to be available during our spring break, so off we went for the week.  We had three generations along, and it was a perfect spot for all six of us.

I know that this blog is often mostly pictures, but for the last week I couldn’t help myself.  I think vacations, as in much of life, are all about the memories.  Photographs are a good way for me to capture those memories, so I took a lot of photos in the last ten days.  So here is our spring break in pictures:

We arrived the first night as the sun set over the Pacific, silhouetting the Cypress trees.  What a way to start!

We arrived the first night as the sun set over the Pacific, silhouetting the Cypress trees. What a way to start!

Trace and I started every morning peacefully with a walk on the beach.

Trace and I started every morning peacefully with a walk on the beach.

Our first day, we checked out Pebble Beach, complete with a lunch at the Lodge, overlooking the 18th green.  What a view!

Our first day, we checked out Pebble Beach, complete with a lunch at the Lodge, overlooking the 18th green. What a view!

A kind attendant offered to take our picture on the first tee.  While only Trace appreciated the course, we all posed for the picture!

A kind attendant offered to take our picture on the first tee. While only Trace appreciated the course, we all posed for the picture!

While Jack and Trace played the nine hole, par 3 Peter Hay course, Chuck, Caroline, Caroline and I walked the beach at Carmel.  We could not have had a more spectacular day.  Aren't these two cute?

While Jack and Trace played the nine hole, par 3 Peter Hay course, Chuck, Caroline, Caroline and I walked the beach at Carmel. We could not have had a more spectacular day. Aren’t these two cute?

My little girl posing for the camera.  She entertained herself for an hour building fairy houses in the sand.

My little girl posing for the camera. She entertained herself for an hour building fairy houses in the sand.

Calla lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and everywhere we went along the coast they were blooming!

Calla lilies are one of my favorite flowers, and everywhere we went along the coast they were blooming!

On Wednesday I took the kids to the beach while Trace played golf at Pebble Beach with Phil, John, and Ted.

On Wednesday I took the kids to the beach while Trace played golf at Pebble Beach with Phil, John, and Ted.

They were so happy looking for detritus together.

They were so happy looking for detritus together.

Even the rocks are fun at the beach.

Even the rocks are fun at the beach.

On Thursday we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Since Caroline got stung by a jellyfish in Hawaii, she wouldn't even get close enough to the tank for a silhouette picture.  Jack thought they were great!

On Thursday we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Since Caroline got stung by a jellyfish in Hawaii, she wouldn’t even get close enough to the tank for a silhouette picture. Jack thought they were great!

The two green sea turtles were a highlight of our visit: Jack had done a report on them earlier this year, and it was so cool to see them in person!

The two green sea turtles were a highlight of our visit: Jack had done a report on them earlier this year, and it was so cool to see them in person!

We took the requisite picture of the lone cypress on 17 mile drive.

We took the requisite picture of the lone cypress on 17 Mile Drive.

The seals and sea otters that we saw were fascinating to all of us.

The seals and sea otters that we saw were fascinating to all of us.

Several evenings we had a fire in the fire pit in front of the house we were renting.  Perfect accommodations!

Several evenings we had a fire in the fire pit in front of the house we were renting. Perfect accommodations!

My balancing boy standing on the fence rail.  He did stand all the way straight, but this picture is cuter:)

My balancing boy standing on the fence rail. He did stand all the way straight, but this picture is cuter:)

What's a vacation without a stop for ice cream?

What’s a vacation without a stop for ice cream?

We drove up the coast on the way home and stopped by Grace Cathedral to walk the labyrinths, which we all love.  They had these amazing ribbons hanging from the ceiling for Easter, lit up.  It was spectacular, and joyous.

We drove up the coast on the way home and stopped by Grace Cathedral to walk the labyrinths, which we all love. They had these amazing ribbons hanging from the ceiling for Easter, lit up. It was spectacular, and joyous.

We finished our trip by crossing the Golden Gate and driving home via Sonoma.  We stopped for dinner at the Fremont Diner (barbeque night, yum!) where we took these great pictures!

We finished our trip by crossing the Golden Gate and driving home via Sonoma. We stopped for dinner at the Fremont Diner (barbeque night, yum!) where we took these great pictures!

IMG_0563Jack has been wanting to learn to sew, so his generous and wonderful Aunt Becky invited him over to learn.  For his first project they started with hand sewing, and he embroidered a bird and then sewed it onto a bag.  He also made a pillow at the same time for his little sister.  The photos of him sewing are courtesy of Becky.  They finished with doing machine sewing, since they were running out of time.

He went back to Becky’s a week later and made a bag for his sister for her birthday.  It is also brightly colored, and I took a picture of each of them using it as a treasure bag when we went on a walk.

Then Caroline wanted to make something with Becky.  She drew out her own pattern for a butterfly, and together they made it.  It was a stuffed animal, with two different wings.  She’s holding it in the picture with the grey dress.

Thank you Becky for teaching my kids new skills!

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Proud of their bags, made by Jack!

Proud of their bags, made by Jack!

A hug.

A hug.

Caroline's butterfly that she made is in her left hand.

Caroline’s butterfly that she made is in her left hand.

 

We have a mighty chorus of frogs around here this spring.  Our bedroom is right next to the swimming pool, at water level, so it’s quite loud at night.  Luckily, I love the soothing lullaby they provide.  Trace, however, might not find it quite so soothing.  Tonight he was out with the net flipping frogs out of the pool.  Jack joined him, gleefully trying to catch frogs with one of the smaller nets.  They were quite a pair, enjoying the game of trying to catch an animal that can move a lot faster than their water-laden mesh sticks.  I took a few pictures of the frogs, cute as could be.

The game ended when Trace caught a big frog, a seven year old frog, and popped him right into the water.  There was a loud splash, and I missed the moment with my camera, but I did see Jack climbing quickly out the ladder.  He was mad as could be until he dried off a little: then he giggled for quite a while when his dad said that he looked like a big frog.  After a hot shower, we all laughed a little more, and off Jack went to bed.   Ah, another day at the Fike household.

Post Script: the frogs seem just as loud tonight, despite the removal of some of their kinfolk.  Hmmm.  Perhaps flinging them a few feet is not very effective?

Frog Collage

One unhappy wet boy: he thought it was funny about two minutes later, when he dried off.

One unhappy wet boy: he thought it was funny about two minutes later, when he dried off.