Soren turned 5 on Monday!

Soren says thank you for the wonderful birthday presents

Soren says thank you for the wonderful birthday presents

Soren’s Birthday

I didn’t want to have a big party this year, so I decided to have a very special birthday expedition for Soren after a tiny get-together at our house. It seemed like it would be special for him and less work for us, especially since Justin was right in the middle of switching jobs and was going to be out of the country the whole week before his party. Omie was going to be passing through town on the weekend before Soren turned 5, so it seemed perfect.

Omie and Soren at his birthday party

Omie and Soren at his birthday party

Presents and Cameras and Videos

We had just our family and a few friends, Janet and Maiya, and their new(ish) addition baby Nolan and Janet’s mom Joni. Dinah and Manuel joined us. My mom was here, of course. Justin had just come back from Toronto late the night before. Despite it being a little chilly out, we were able to go out to the backyard for some time where the kids all climbed on the big swing and played a bit on the two-story clubhouse that Justin has been building.

One of the best presents was a set of cameras that my mom got for the kids. Omie helped with accessories. The kids had recently broken the shared one they had been using for years. They started taking millions of pictures, but what surprised me the most was their ability to switch back and forth from camera to video to panorama to other settings, and how quickly they started making videos.

Claire recording a vlog

Claire recording a vlog

Claire used her camera to start recording a video diary (I had to explain to my mom what a ‘vlog’ or video blog was). I found at least twenty video clips starting out with, “My name is Claire, and I’m in second grade…” whereas Ronin had a real knack for zooming in on close action and then moving around the room to zoom in to something else. Ronin also kept his video going for long periods of time unbeknownst to us, while going in and out of the house without it actually in front of his face. That was quite interesting to review!

I didn’t tell Soren ahead of time what the big expedition would be. I kept it a surprise from all of the kids, and they asked about it every day. I gave little hints. That day I finally told them that we would be taking them on an overnight trip to sleep in a canvas tent at a safari park, and then go on a jeep tour the next day among all of the wild animals. He was thrilled.

He also got some lovely books that he’s been reading over and over and over again, balloons, some toys, and of course the camera. He’s been sick for the past few days and has been asking for the new books to be read to him at least ten times a day.

Me reading a new book to Soren, surrounded by kids

Me reading a new book to Soren, surrounded by kids and cats

Soren was so excited about turning five. He said he’d been looking forward to this moment his whole life. He said that Once de Mayo should be a holiday just like Cinco de Mayo. For the few weeks before he turned five, many times a day he would turn to me and say, “Mom, I’m wondering, do you know when I’m going to be five?” He enjoyed being five for about a day. Now he’s started asking when he’s going to be six.

Ronin demonstrating Soren's card to Justin and Omie

Ronin demonstrating Soren’s card to Justin and Omie

Sorenisms

I have a few “Sorenisms” to share, but my posts this year have been so few and far between that my saved Soren files date back for quite a while.

From this March, said to my mom: “Any toy inspires me when it is new.”

From February a year ago (I wonder if I already wrote this?), said to me with a completely deadpan expression when I asked him to find his socks and put them on: “No hablo Español.”

To all of us, more than once: “The best way to not have bad dreams is to stay awake all the time.”

From this March, said to me, while I was brushing his teeth: “I love it when people brush and floss my teeth, because it makes me feel like I have servants.”

Also from this March:

Soren: “Mom, you know when I grow up my last name is going to be Driver.”
Me: “Why?”
Soren: “Because I’m going to be really good at driving. Why do you have your last name?”
Me: “Because I married your dad and I now have his last name as a symbol of our connection together. Most people in our culture no longer have a last name that is connected to an occupation or a talent.”
Soren: “Oh. So that means that Maiya will be Maiya Driver when she grows up and gets married to me.”

Soren and Maiya at his birthday party

Soren and Maiya at his birthday party

From February, this year, said to me: “I am not sure how many children Maiya and I are going to have, but I DO know that we will be very good parents. Maiya is an animal rescuer and she will be a good mom, and I will be an animal doctor and a police officer and a dad and I will be good at all of that.” I told him he was also going to be very busy.

Soren, heaving a big sigh, “I don’t understand why I always have to be Spike when we play My Little Pony at school. Why can’t I be Rainbow Dash or the pink one?” He said that to me last September. I told him it might be because he didn’t even know the name of the pink one.

From last October: “Mom, I love you more than I love anyone in the whole world, do you know that? Do you know? I love you that much! Do you love me that much? I even love you more than I love Maiya!”

From last June, when I tried asking the kids “If you could ask me any question, what question would you ask me?” Soren said, “WHY didn’t you put any sprinkles on my pancakes, Mommy? WHY?”

Soren, building a magnatile tower last week while Claire and Ronin were getting ready for school

Soren, building a magnatile tower last week while Claire and Ronin were getting ready for school

Five-Year-Old Appointment

Soren had an eye chart and an audiology exam, and passed both of those. He is very tall for his age and is starting to develop the posture of a child, without a tummy sticking out all the time. Soren and Ronin can wear many of the same clothes, except Ronin’s arms and legs are longer.

We are busy filling out all of the forms for Kindergarten, which starts in August. Soren has an advantage because he is very familiar with the school already, and at least one of the teachers is lobbying hard to have him in her class. Many of Claire and Ronin’s friends have siblings that are his age, so they are starting school at the same time he is. He has several friends and dozens of acquaintances already. I anticipate his biggest problem being too familiar with the school and maybe thinking the rules don’t apply to him as much. Soren and I are volunteering to host some of the Kindergarten playdates that take place this summer, where new students and their parents meet before school starts so they can meet other kids and families and familiarize themselves with the school and get questions answered. Soren is great at helping shy kids feel comfortable.

Soren's 5 year old appointment

Soren’s 5 year old appointment – I like to make designer gowns out of the plain blue drape they give us

His growth percentiles are summarized below:

Wt Readings from Last 3 Encounters:
05/05/15
21.773 kg (48 lb) (88.77%*)
03/12/15
21.319 kg (47 lb) (88.68%*)
05/13/14
19.958 kg (44 lb) (94.18%*)
* Growth percentiles are based on CDC 2-20 Years data.
Ht Readings from Last 3 Encounters:
05/05/15
1.149 m (3′ 9.25″) (90.82%*)
03/12/15
1.143 m (3′ 9″) (92.34%*)
05/13/14
1.06 m (3′ 5.75″) (81.09%*)
* Growth percentiles are based on CDC 2-20 Years data.
79%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years BMI-for-age data.
89%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years weight-for-age data.
91%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years stature-for-age data.

Joaquin Miller walks

Pyramid at Joaquin Miller

Pyramid at Joaquin Miller

Sometime, maybe a month ago, Claire requested a “Daddy day” so Justin took her to a movie or to a museum and I took Ronin and Soren for the day. They argued about where to go, and what kind of activities to do, so I finally decided the best compromise would be a walk at Joaquin Miller. We ended up going to a part of it that I’d never seen before, and the boys had a wonderful time.

I seem to get this look from Soren a lot

I seem to get this look from Soren a lot – no wonder he falls down on the trail

Almost from the beginning, it was as if I wasn’t there. They played together, explored, threw things, and jumped around. Ronin led the way most of the time, but Soren suggested alternate paths if he didn’t like the way Ronin was going.

They played baseball with sticks and clods of dirt

They played baseball with sticks and clods of dirt

We found some interesting structures in the park. Apparently Joaquin Miller built several monuments on the grounds, including his own funeral pyre. The castle structure is a monument to Robert and Elizabeth Browning. I have seen a few of the structures before, but not these, and it is so fun to come across an unusual structure out in the park grounds, far away from anyone.

The Browning Monument, Built 1904

The Browning Monument, Built 1904

Not long after we passed the castle, we came across another structure. This one was obviously not from a century ago, and the boys gleefully contributed more sticks to it and then made it into their temporary home.

Pretending to sit by a campfire

Pretending to sit by a campfire

Pyramid to Moses, Joaquin Miller Park

Pyramid to Moses, Joaquin Miller Park

I let them choose the way to go. We walked through the woods, over ridgelines to see magnificent views of the city spread out before us, and up and down steep trails.  This park is much bigger than I had suspected, and we have only seen a small corner of it.

The wildflowers were in bloom all over

The wildflowers were in bloom all over

We turned around and made our way back to the car by way of Sinawik Loop Trail. It was green and lush and shady, covered with vines. The light filtered in through tree tunnels. I recently read that the poison oak, so plentiful around here, is not actually discouraged by park personnel because it serves to dissuade people from leaving the trails, thereby minimizing their impact on fragile or threatened species and habitats.

Sinawik Loop Trail

Sinawik Loop Trail

Soren said this tree looked like it had a mouth that would bite him

Soren said this tree looked like it had a mouth that would bite him

As we were walking, I saw an old, rusty car that was half-hidden among the vines, down the side of the trail. It looked old and it was a ways down from the trail. The road above us, Sanborn Drive, had been closed to traffic for as long as I’ve been in the area, and probably much, much longer, considering what the road actually looks like.

Map showing trail in relation to nearest road, which has no vehicular traffic

Map showing trail (in red) in relation to Sanborn Drive, which has no vehicular traffic

Half-hidden, rusty car off Sinawik Loop Trail

Half-hidden, rusty car off Sinawik Loop Trail

It was a mystery! Soren wanted me to call an ambulance, but I told him that whatever emergency had happened must have happened long ago. I did not go closer to investigate the car because it was down a steep hill and there was a poison oak barrier all around. I tried searching online for any news of an old accident or old car later on, and couldn’t find anything.

My boys racing along the trail

Boys on the trail

We had such a great time, and Claire and Justin liked our pictures so much, that we all came back as a group not too long after that the next time we went geocaching.

Ronin carefully checking for observers with the open cache

Ronin carefully checking for observers while the cache is out in the open

I started looking into geocaching a little while ago as a way to make going for walks a bit more exciting for certain members of our family who might be more interested in playing on playgrounds instead. It’s like a treasure hunt! It’s been fun. Some of the caches have little items that can be exchanged for other little items. Some have travel coins or travel bugs. All of them have been in interesting places and give us a sense of triumph when we find them.

Claire at Lookout Point

Claire at Lookout Point

Three kids up and down and up and down again at Lookout Point

Three kids up and down and up and down again at Lookout Point

I think we only ended up finding one cache that day. We found the first one, spent some time looking for a second one and couldn’t find it, and then went to the playground and the reflecting pool. There were a ton of tadpoles, piles of pollywogs, and they were all swimming around in various stages of tails and legs. It was fun to just watch them. We were all watching them. I picked a spot and stared at them swimming around. Most of the kids ran around, trying to spot big ones or ones with legs. Ronin leaned out trying to get a good look, and SPLASH!

Ronin, immediately after being pulled out of the pool

Ronin, immediately after being pulled out of the pool

Apparently he was trying to look closely at some mud. The pool is only about 1-2 feet deep, but he got soaked up to his chest. I had a spare change of pants and underwear in my backpack because I am either really well prepared or because I forgot to put them away from some other event when I thought I might need them, and we did a quick change, and managed a long squishy walk back to the car with soaking wet socks and shoes.

Oops! That page can’t be found. (Yes, this is a real post)

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I would just like to thank you all for your patience as I try to get my blog and my email issues straightened out.

About a month ago, my mom asked why my blog had been taken down. I had no idea it was missing. I tried to troubleshoot it myself, and couldn’t fix it. I contacted the support team here, since it coincided with my recent upgrade to premium service.

They tracked down the problem, and said it was because my domain host (Lyds.org) in Australia had switched a bunch of stuff over in January and did not reset everything so that when people typed in Lyds.org it would go to the WordPress site. I had to go in and manually reset it. I thought this was crazy because my domain was not purchased through an Australian host, but they were right. I guess it was outsourced, and it was true, my settings were all messed up.

I reset it all, and my blog came back, but ever since then I have had intermittent problems with it being out, and then back, and then out, and then back. Similarly, I have intermittently been having emails that are addressed to me bounce back to their senders. A few minutes later, an email will come through. Once again, I’m contacting customer support, this time with my domain host, and if I can’t get it straightened out I will have to switch providers.

error-261887_640If you are having trouble reading this or reaching me, just try again in a while. Also, if you are noticing it consistently, let me know. I have no idea how long my blog was down before I was told about it.

 

Reupholstering our dining room chairs

Mix and match new chairs

Mix and match new chairs

This is another thing I have been doing in my (spare) time. Our dining room chairs have been really stained and, to put it in layman’s terms, yucky, for a long time, despite my best efforts with seat protectors and pads and stain removers. My kids often yell “SPILL!” while eating, even when the children are not actually bouncing around on top of the table. Tonight, after a 6-mile hike, I took Ronin and Soren out to eat at a semi-nice restaurant and was very trepidatious about it because of all of those issues and more.

Aside from having to tell Soren to break the bread into pieces before eating it instead of burying his face into it and slurping up all of the butter, they were perfect. I’m not sure why it’s such an issue at our house. Then again, I ate in my bedroom lying on the floor with a book in front of me most of the time when I was growing up and had to learn manners emergently when I lived in Spain as a teenager.

The children have been helping me out a lot with the reupholstering process. They have a lot of opinions about the fabrics. They like to choose which one I do next. Ronin is very good at removing staples, and Claire liked it too. I have only had them help me with the staple gun a little bit. Claire has been very sad to see the old, stained fabric go. She says it’s been around since before she was born and it’s dear to her heart and she made me promise to keep it for a while before deciding to toss it. Right now it’s on a shelf in a back room. It’s destined for the garbage, but I’m honoring my promise to her. She was not satisfied with “pictures for the memories” or a scrap of fabric to hold on to forever.

This is what they looked like before!

This is what they looked like before! And this is one of the better ones! (Picture credit – one of the kids)

I have enough fabric to double the reupholstering process. I wasn’t sure how much to order, since I’d never done it before. Only after I started doing it did Justin mention, “Oh yeah, it’s not too difficult–you just want to make sure you get the corners really well.” I had no idea he’d had experience. It probably wouldn’t have done me much good to put it on his to-do list, though. I hope to eventually make a couple of matching throw pillows for our couch, though. The fabric is tough, indoor-outdoor, and hopefully will stand up to kid punishment.

I have done four out of six so far, and have two left to do. I have two more unique but coordinating fabrics also. If I have an unoccupied evening, I can get one chair done. Those just don’t happen very often.

Last day of Read-A-Thon

Claire reading upside-down

Claire reading upside-down

Thank you to all who have sent checks and support. I just wanted to let you know that I have been trying (as best I can) to track the reading that Claire and Ronin are doing, and it’s almost impossible, but the interesting pattern that is emerging is that they read far less on weekends than on weekdays, because we are out of the house and doing things most of the time. Also, even though they are reading in the car most of the time when we are going places, I guess I don’t track and write that down on the record because I have no idea what they are reading or how much.

Claire reading upside-down

Claire reading upside-down

I also realized that Claire reads constantly, and I have to remind her to put the book down when she’s going down steps. She reads any which way. I keep catching her in weird positions while reading.

Yay Claire

I am guessing she has great stomach muscles

Ronin and Claire are really getting into an “Animorphs” series from school. They love it and Claire will read a book from start to finish. Claire also reads books about fairies and has been reading the Magic Treehouse series. I bought the classroom a series of books written from a kid’s point of view about surviving disasters, called “I Survived.”

All right. I guess I’d better get off the computer. In the 15 minutes I took to start writing this, Ronin discarded the DIY family coloring pages I made for him and decided to color on our family instead.

Soren, a blue man work of art by Ronin

Soren, a blue man work of art by Ronin

Ronin’s projects

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Watercolor

I don’t think that I have been giving Ronin’s art enough time on my blog, but his work is fantastic and growing more mature by the day. I encourage his development and continue to give him more resources. I love to see his delight as he discovers more forms of expression.

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Scrap paper ship

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First one side

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Then the other side of little green men and spaceships

These next two sketches show a disappointed Ronin after he got a face painting at the zoo. He had an octopus on his face, and he was sad about it. I told him that it did look like an octopus, but it was a happy cartoon-like octopus. He “Hmmmph!”ed and promptly sat down at the table and drew me a picture of the type of octopus he would have preferred to have on his face during the face painting session. He labeled it (I’m correcting for spelling), “Both are octopuses. One looks more like real life. The other looks more like a cartoon.” I was sure he could have done a much better job at the face painting booth, but those people need to emphasize speed over detail most of the time, and their aim is often for little kids.

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Comparing realistic vs cartoon art

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Ronin holding up his drawing next to his cartoon octopus

At Christmas, we made some homemade snow globes. Ronin chose to populate his snow globes with miniature redwood trees and hikers and campers. He thought Grandpa Bruce would like those. He was very precise about the placement.

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Ronin’s hiking and camping snow globe figurines

We also made some trees for another snow globe. Ronin loved this part. I tried to make a tree too, but Ronin’s tree was far better than mine. He was more patient and his fingers were smaller.

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Making trees for snow globes

I took Ronin to Treasure Island on an outing one day during another staged snow day. Ronin built the most impressive little snowman after he finished rolling around on the mound of snow. People kept stopping to take pictures of it. It helped that there was an arts and crafts table nearby that kept dropping stuff.

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Ronin’s snowman

These next sketches date back over a long period of time. I keep piles of some of the best pictures and then photograph them all at once before putting them away.

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World War II tank

Justin was doing something on this page first, and then Ronin used the rest of this. Ronin decided to label it (math, drawing) so people would be clear which was which.

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Drawing and math

I’m pretty sure this next sketch is the one my grandmother thought my mom had done. It has a style reminiscent of some  things she has drawn.

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Skyscraper attack

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Car, terrain

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Miscellaneous dinosaurs

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Truck on a road

This next project was from a day that I stretched out a length of contact paper on the table and put some white paper with oval face shapes, otherwise blank, underneath it. I set out a bunch of magazines, scissors, little jars of stuff from the craft cupboard, and told the kids to make whatever they wanted on the faces. Ronin cut out some fur and used googly eyes and sequins and gems and made Grandpa Bruce. The nice thing about the contact paper is that it’s sticky but not too sticky, so articles can be picked up and moved around.

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Grandpa Bruce

My dad gave Ronin a set of pastels for Christmas, since it was one of the items on our wish list. This shell was one of the first things he drew.

Shell, oil pastels

Shell, pastels

Finally, Ronin created this amazing ship on an Etch-a-Sketch in about 10 minutes while waiting and bored at an office.

Etch-a-Sketch ship

Etch-a-Sketch ship

Our wonderful weekend away

Happy anniversary!

Happy anniversary!

My mom gifted us with an entire weekend away from the children, and we took advantage of it in between our birthdays and around our anniversary. It was a little spur-of-the-moment, and it was one of the few weekends in the past year that it was actually stormy, so we couldn’t spend much time outside. I couldn’t find any rooms available in the places that that were recommended out of town, but I did find a nearby resort that seemed decadent enough to celebrate nearby.

Palace of Fine Arts, overlooking the cloud-laden Golden Gate Bridge

Palace of Fine Arts, overlooking the cloud-laden Golden Gate Bridge

We stayed in on Friday night, since I’d only gotten a few hours of sleep the night before and we wanted to rest up. The next day, we left in a leisurely manner and went across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco, to a museum where we’d never been. We toured the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, which has an amazing collection of art and artifacts, and has a beautiful view.  They had a fantastic Rodin collection there and paintings that I’d seen in books. They had a nail from ancient Babylonia, with cuneiform writing on it. They had an entire salon (French neoclassical) from Louis XVI restored and installed, from parquet floor to ornately gilded walls to the arrangement of the chairs to the lighting to the window treatments to the coved ceiling.

Justin and a Rodin

Justin and a Rodin

After the museum, we went to Pagan Restaurant right nearby, which has a huge menu of Burmese and Thai food. We got Thai iced teas and a few appetizers and one main course, and it was delicious. Pagan is pronounced “Bagan” and is a huge ancient city in Burma. Justin traveled through Burma about a decade ago and took a lot of really nice photos then, which is why “Burma” was one of the first 50 words that Ronin learned how to say. Ronin was fond of a picture we have on the wall and asked about it enough that he learned that word as early as he learned basic colors and body parts and common foods and drinks and animals.

"DANGERGOUS" is even worse than dangerous

“DANGERGOUS” is even worse than dangerous

After lunch, Justin and I went to Sutro Baths at Land’s End in San Francisco. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I heard this wonderful podcast about it on 99% Invisible about the allure of the Young Ruin. Check out the link, and you’ll want to go there, too. I will not take the time to describe the fascinating history of this place, since my links provide far more context and do a much better job than I could do. Every time we’ve had a weekend free, or even a weekend in San Francisco, it’s been too stormy to go. It took me a while to make the connection, but one of our other favorite places, Playland-Not-At-The-Beach, is filled with artifacts from the amusement park that used to be here.

Perfect for Valentine's Day, a heart-shaped hole in the rock

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, a heart-shaped hole in the rock

We walked around the ruins of Sutro Baths, and saw the waves pounding at the walls and frothing through passageways and spraying against rocks. We went through the tunnel, watched the waves sweep up through a few inlets, and stood at the other side. It was dark and uneven and full of little screams and laughs as people tripped through it.

Justin on the hill overlooking Sutro Baths

Justin on the hill overlooking Sutro Baths

Flowers

Flowers

It started to rain again and the wind was whipping around us as we explored, so we thought we should end this segment of our expedition and head over to our hotel. We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to Cavallo Point in Sausalito, where we had a “date night” reservation including one night’s stay, a dinner credit at their acclaimed restaurant, and breakfast. This is a luxury resort in a National Park setting, so for most of the day we were in the Golden Gate National Park, on both sides of the bridge.

Here is a picture of it on a sunny day

Here is a picture of it on a sunny day

We had a room in the more modern section, up on the hill, with views of the bridge. There is no driving in most of the resort, so they recommend valet parking and a golf cart escort to the room. However, we were in Justin’s car and he has modified it enough that it is difficult for other people to drive it. Converting it to run on ethanol was just a small part of the work he has done. The valet parking attendants looked askance at us, but even I have never driven it. We went to the self-park area and walked up the hill with our bags. It wasn’t raining too hard yet.

View from our room

View from our room at Cavallo Point

Our room was lovely. There was a fireplace, a huge bathtub, a sitting area, another sitting area, a balcony with a couple of chairs, lots of windows. There was also a leftover salami that a previous guest had left, completely wrapped, which we chose to think of in the same manner as the two chocolates that were waiting for us. We went down to the reception at the main cabin later on, and enjoyed sipping wine on the long porch while watching kids and dogs run on the big lawn. We strolled through the art gallery. Our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:30, so we filled the time with relaxing and exploring and chatting.

Our dinner menu

Our dinner menu

We ended up getting the tasting menu. I don’t know if you can see this, but it was one small thing after another for a long time. We started out in high spirits, conversing easily and enjoying ourselves a lot, but eventually we lost our steam. It was all very good, but after a long day we were tired and not used to staying up that late and eating for that long. Our last two items were given to us in boxes and we went back to our room, dodging the raindrops. The fireplace had been turned on, soft romantic music was playing in the dim glow of the room, and a scent of lavender filled the air. The covers were turned back and from across the room I spied a tube of something on the bed! I was a little suspicious of what it was until I saw the staff had put the “organic lavender relaxing spritz” on the bed.

Breakfast in bed!

About to have breakfast in bed!

I was so glad the next morning when I saw we had the option to get room service instead of having our breakfast in the restaurant, because it was pouring out and I wanted coffee and Justin was still asleep. I ordered food and we had breakfast in bed without worrying about laundry. We left in a bit of a hurry because the winds were picking up again and the ground was wet and the car was parked in a eucalyptus grove.

Eucalyptus trees, native to Australia, have adapted to climates all over the world thanks to their shallow root system. Approximately 90 percent of a eucalyptus tree’s roots grow in the top 12 inches of soil, which allows them to survive in areas of limited rainfall and harsh environments. After heavy rains when the soil is drenched and when strong winds come along, exposed eucalyptus trees can easily topple over. These are the trees that have been falling all over the Bay Area during the past big storms. The winds had torn the screen off our window at the resort and all kinds of things were banging around. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear trees crashing. We did know the kids were okay, though, because both Mom and Claire sent us emails.

Another stormy view from our room

Another stormy view from our room

We had two more stops on our date weekend. I didn’t take pictures. We drove back over to the East Bay. We had lunch at a pasta place and then watched The Imitation Game, a real movie in a real theater. We got back home around 5 PM Sunday evening, so we had a full 48 hours to ourselves. It was possibly the best present I’ve ever gotten, and I’m only saying “possibly” because I don’t want to be unknowingly forgetting some really awesome present that really was the best present ever but is escaping my mind in the sleepless years of present. Or maybe it’s better to just think everything is always the best, without hesitation, like Ronin often says, “Today is the best day ever!”