The boys had camp at the local nature center this week. There was plenty of complaining about going. Arlo was pissed that he wasn't going to the kind of camp where you roasted marshmallows. We promised him that if he went to nature camp, we'd roast marshmallows that evening.
He went to camp.
Evan came home and made a little fire in the fireplace, and we roasted marshmallows.
Some of us actually made S'mores.
Others of us just made sandwiches with pieces of chocolate and unroasted marshmallows.
Eventually the boys admitted that they loved the camp. It was at three different nature preserves in the Verdugo mountains, two of which we hadn't visited yet. The counselors were cheery and remembered the kids' names on the second day (out of 40 kids). Over the course of a week, they built paper mache volcanoes, did lots of fun group games, and went on a hike every day. (Oh, the complaining about the hikes!)
One day, some Burbank firefighters came up the mountain for some practice maneuvers. Keep in mind that out here, firefighters are much more concerned with wildfires than house fires.
They delighted the kids by letting them sit in the truck, and they sprayed the fire-retardant foam on some trees, much to the delight of our boys. They've seen plenty of fire fighters' displays in their days -- preschool, elementary school, block parties -- but never did they spray foam! Great fun.
Oscar and The Goose in front of some gorgeous pillars leading to a bathroom.
This camp, M-F, 9-12, cost me $55 for each kid. For the week. Every day I am reminded of why my adopted state is billions of dollars in debt.
And what did The Goose and I do when the boys were at camp? Laundry, bills, grocery shopping. I am completely unable to shop with the three kids. It's a horror show. I admire those who can, and I grit my teeth to those who make disparaging remarks when my kids are losing it in a store. With both boys in school, I managed to do 95% of my shopping with only one or two in tow. The past couple of weeks, having all three all the time, has been tough.
As The Goose and I unpacked groceries one day, she discovered a bag of chocolate chips and asked to make cookies. Since the boys were in camp, and I had some chores done, I was able to say OK! We made cookies and The Goose added the chocolate chips one by one to the batter -- one to the batter, one to her belly.
We left to pick up the boys a few minutes early so we could drop off a Goose-decorated plate of warm cookies to Evan's office. The Bachelors were appreciative. Evan's co-workers have been very understanding and supportive of his need to take off for class picnics or sick kids or visits to the office from the kiddos. In these waning years of my stay-at-home-momdom, I try to thank then with BBQs and cookies and donuts.
Wednesday, Evan took Oscar to Universal Studios Theme Park. It's a pretty common thing out here that kids go to Disneyland for their birthdays. After years of orchestrating elaborate birthday parties, I was ready to take a year off. We informed the kids that this year, you will have a visit to a theme park with whichever parent you chose as your big present in lieu of a party. After a bit of persuading, Oscar was excited to go to Universal with his Daddy. I had been there 15 years ago for business, and Evan was dying to go.
They had a fantastic time. We timed it to be the day before LAUSD got out of school, and it worked -- none of the lines were longer than 20 minutes.
They went on the Simpsons ride 3 times. Oscar has never seen the Simpsons until last week. Evan had him watch an episode or two online to prep him.
Shouldn't he be getting a huge Union paycheck for this kind of work in New York?
Running from Bruce.
I decided to pull Arlo out of camp as well and brought the little guys to the NHM.
Man, how much do we love the gigantic dinosaur puppets?
We'd visited the butterfly garden on the opening weekend, and it wasn't too impressive. A month or so later, there were plenty of butterflies.
The Goose walked in, took a guide, and immediately had a butterfly alight on the guide, in more or less the space he was supposed to be.
This was a climbing vine with an amazing flower. It's no wonder we feel like we live on Mars.
After the garden we hung out in Exposition Park and waited for the ice cream guy. The kids chased pigeons and sea gulls. We checked out the in-progress enclosure at the Science Center for the Space Shuttle.
The boys went back to camp the next day, and after camp, we went to a birthday party for some new and dear friends. They had a talented face painter and a bounce house at our favorite local park.
Oscar got turned into a zombie. The other two didn't stay still long enough for a picture.
Zombie in the bounce house.
It was a busy day. After the party the boy took off for the summer reading program at the library. At 5pm, The Goose had Bellydancing at our favorite park/rec center. (9 weeks, 30 minute class, $38. Why CA is Bankrupt, reason 465. We will miss three of them due to travel plans, but boy, does The Goose love to dance.)
A quick break to let you know that all three kids have inherited their dad's powerful bedhead. The ginger, most of all.
We were able to host a playdate with The Goose's friend on Friday. There was twittering, there was dress-ups, there was walks with their babies.
Over the course of the week of camp, the boys made volcanos and painted them. On Friday, they set them off.
Even the kids are cognizant of how beautiful it is here. Sometimes I am fighting a losing battle.
Here's my SF Valley gangstas, posturing in front of some glorious mountains that they've gotten used to.
I never saw this kind of sign at the South Mountain Reservation.
The boys have another week of camp booked in August. It will not be as difficult to convince them to go then. We might even get a babysitter out of the week.
Remember last summer, before Evan left? And I planned and blogged every meal meticulously?
I still take pictures of our meals sometimes.
Spinach Greek Risotto, with Sauteed Shrimp and Feta. Easy (for risotto) and delicious, and makes great leftovers.
Our dear friends Janice and Mike took a very belated honeymoon in Hawaii. Even though Mike is a founding member of the He-Man Ankle Biter Haters Club, he seems to like our ankle biters. They don't mind when I invite ourselves over to swim in their swanky pool, and when they were in Hawaii, they were thinking about our kids. Janice popped over today to deliver tee shirts for the boys and this for The Goose:
Can you stand it?
Super duper cute, and again, we are so lucky to have good friends here that are always thinking about us. California is slowly but surely worming its way into my heart. I don't hate it here all the time anymore. I recognize that this is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I love that my kids hike through the mountains and switchbacks and know to watch for snakes. I love our school; I love our rec department; I love our libraries.
This week was the last week of school in South Orange & Maplewood. Someone online posted a link to prom pictures from our formerly local high school. I was amazed and delighted by all the interracial and same-sex couples grinning in their prom finery. It made me homesick for our towns. I mentioned this to Evan and he pointed out that it wasn't a East Coast vs. West Coast thing, it was a Maplewood/South Orange vs. The World thing.
We luckily landed in an amazing, family-friendly town. A town that cares about its residents and its history, and luckily gets the tax money from the studios to support all these great programs. My mom was an appointed official on the county level, and I know how lucky we are to have all these cheap rec programs and camps and well-stocked libraries.
But Burbank is still, at its heart, a small, mostly conservative town. All the wealthy liberal creative types commute to Burbank, and all the blue collar union types live here. That's okay. I grew up in a small blue-collar town. But I miss my towns of like-minded folks. (I don't miss our property tax being more than our mortgage payment.)
Rant over. Oscar B is 9!
Oscar was born on June 23, 2003, after 54 hours of labor. Most of it was merely uncomforable but the last 12 hours was awful. I had hoped to have a natural birth in a birth center, but he was 17 days late, so we ended up at the hospital. I tried to get an epidural, but since I have a slight case of scoliosis, the epidural didn't work.
But with the help of my husband and my midwives, I bore that little bugger, and we called my folks, and they met us two hours after his birth, bearing milkshakes from Red Rooster.
I woke up today at 6:45 and the boys were already up watching DC Nation. I evenually pulled on some pants and got some donuts.
Donuts are a big thing out here. There are Donut Huts and Donut Shacks all over the place. There are no Dunkin' Donuts. Our favorite place is Divorce Donuts, AKA Donut Prince. We call them Divorce Donuts since their motto is "don't get a divorce, get a donut." The donuts are fresh and tasty and cheap. This box (which is missing a couple already) cost me 9 bucks and change. The walls are covered with pictures of the owners on the George Lopez show and with the celebrities that stop by for coffee and a donut on their way to the studios. My favorite was a picture of Jason Segal holding a cruller, with a caption saying "I Saw Your Cruller in Sarah Marshall."
Since Evan took Oscar out to Universal, I got to take him to his first real PG-13 movie. We went to see The Avengers in Glendale.
Make your own soda machines. He had Cherry Coke, Lemonade, and Root Beer. I don't drink a lot of soda but I got some so Oscar could have another cup to play with. My cup was Coke with a squirt of Vanilla Coke. We both drank about 1/8 of our sodas, but the fun in mixing them was worth it.
Of course he loved it.
When we got home, Evan and the little guys had decorated the house and wrapped the presents.
Oscar received Pokemon cards, cash, checks, and karate and swim lessons. He got a Marvel collection of origins from his Daddy.
Our budding scientist was thrilled to get a real microscope and samples.
He got a Rubic's Cube and he inherited Evan's Kindle Fire. Evan won an iPad at work so we had his Kindle Fire ready to pass down to Oscar. Evan wiped it clean, put on lots of kids' books, and a couple of games.
Since it was his birthday, Oscar got to choose dinner: tortellini with pesto and shrimp. Man, that does seem like a lot of candles on that cake. I kept putting them on and recounting them -- surely I couldn't have a kid with that many candles on their birthday cake?!?
Happy birthday to my Oscar B. May your life be as happy and adventurous as you dream it will be.