Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Christmasy Morning

 According to John Tesh on the radio, this weekend is the number one weekend to buy Christmas trees.  We of course heard this report while driving back from the Christmas tree farm while a tree was strapped to our roof.

 We took our annual visit to Santa's Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay, and Orelia was eager to help us find the perfect tree.

 Bennett was eager to find the tree, but not overly eager to keep looking and looking for just the right tree.  He was pretty keen on this creek, though.

 He was tolerant and trudged alongside us while we looked for just the right tree for our family. 

 Once we found it he was mesmerized by John sawing it down.

 I should've brought his logging truck and he would've fit right in.

 John carried our tree down the mountain for it to get strapped to our car (thankfully that's the one step we don't have to do ourselves).

 The kids were excited we found our tree but were mostly excited to get the free candy canes at the exit.

 We came home and made Reindeer Nose cookies, and then I walked into the playroom to find Orelia diligently cutting out snow flakes (she learned how to do this at school).  It was so sweet and organic, I was loving seeing her working on this task.

Bennett wasn't a snowflake maker, but he put every vehicle sticker he could find on a single piece of paper, which is about as arty as he feels the need to be. 

We had a great Christmasy morning, and our house is starting to look more festive by the day.  The kids wake up every morning eager to check in on all their advent calendars, and we talk about all the festive activities we have coming up on the calendar.  Orelia is just about bursting with excitement this month, and Bennett is really joining in on the fun this year.  When he saw Orelia's flannel Santa pillowcase, he asked for his own.  When he saw Orelia's small Christmas tree (that she had from last year), he asked for his own.  So when I put twinkle lights in Orelia's room today, I knew to grab a second set for Bennett's room straight away.  We are a Christmas-obsessed family and I'm loving every second!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Color Factory

Living in Palo Alto is great and all, but one of the best things about it is its proximity to San Francisco and all things urban.  A perfect example is the pop-up color experience that came to San Francisco for a limited time --- The Color Factory.

 I can't even tell you the lengths I had to go to in order to get tickets for this, but it was definitely worth it to experience things we never would have expected (like this scratch and sniff wall, above - this one smelled like drinking out of coconuts on the beach).

 Throughout the factory there were rooms dedicated to certain colors, and we managed to hit all five senses throughout the morning.

 After the scratch and sniff wall we headed to a marshmallow tasting center.

 Orelia was not keen on her flavor (I think it was cherry chocolate).  Bennett's was much better - mint chocolate chip.

 The next room was black and white and we got to try a completely black lemonade that had charcoal in it.

 This one was another bust for Orelia.  Ha!

There was a huge balloon installation that felt like you were on another planet.

The Color Factory had some cameras throughout where you could take photos and scan your ticket to have them emailed automatically to you.  This was our best attempt.

 After the balloon room we went to a room decorated with tons of disco balls (that I somehow forgot to photograph).  Orelia and Bennett loved spinning around in here.

 Next we went to a giant Lite Brite room which the kids loved, but only John and I felt the nostalgia for this toy of years ago.

 Bennett could have stayed here all day removing the pegs and putting them in the "trash" (the bins to collect them).

 The green room had markers taller than Orelia where you were encouraged to draw on the walls.

 These markers were so big, Bennett couldn't even hold one by himself.

 There was almost an entire room full of ribbons hung from the ceiling.  It felt surreal to be in the middle of it (almost disconcerting really).  The kids loved running inside the ribbons and popping out to surprise us.

The purple room had a printer that would print out an image that someone has hashtagged #selfie somewhere on the internet.  One selfie would print out every minute or so, and the kids loved literally swimming in these selfies (even if they didn't quite "get" it).

 I can't even describe the pure joy Bennett felt watching a picture print out every minute or so.  He was just beyond delighted by it.

 He and Orelia would scramble to catch the picture before it hit the ground, and they felt so proud when they were able to manage it.

 One of the most fun rooms was the confetti room (especially since I didn't have to clean it up).

 There were grated contraptions on the ceiling that slowly turned and let out a steady stream of confetti from up above.

 The real joy, however, was playing with the already fallen confetti on the floor.

 This was the most crowded room we saw of the morning.  One of the nice things about the Color Factory was how few people they allow to enter in at a time (every ticket has a time you may go) so that the day isn't ruined by crowds.  It made getting the tickets a bear, but it was a great decision by the owners to make sure there weren't too many people there at one time.

 The last room was perhaps the most memorable.

 Apparently there are over 20,000 yellow balls in their ball pit.

 Orelia loved jumping around, hiding, and generally swimming in yellow.

Bennett loved finding the smashed balls and removing them to the nearby trash can.  Ha!  He's nothing if not consistent.  

The Color Factory isn't really a kids place, but it's made for all ages. I wasn't sure if the kids would get much out of it, but Bennett especially has talked about it every day since we went (two weeks ago).  He is begging to go back, and wants to take everyone he loves.  Sadly, the Color Factory is closing in San Francisco soon; it was only open for a few months.  I am so, so glad we got a chance to visit and make the most of this unique city we are lucky to live near.

And thankfully Orelia's last taste at the Color Factory was met without a grimace - a miniature yellow ice cream cone in her favorite flavor: vanilla.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Happy Halloween

 We had a great Halloween this year with Wonder Woman and a trash truck.

 Bennett changed his mind about what costume to wear (he decided on last year's trash truck costume at the last minute), but we were just thrilled he wore any costume at all.

 The weekend before Halloween we took the kids to go trick-or-treating in one of the downtown areas.  Not surprisingly, the kids quite liked going into stores and coming out with candy (what's not to like?).

 We carved pumpkins the night before Halloween and when we went outside to check it out, Orelia was in awe and Bennett was mostly just freezing.

 Orelia designed her spooky happy pumpkin, and we carved it together.  She was very proud of it, and I was glad we went through the trouble even though both kids refused to help dig out the pumpkin guts.  I thought that was supposed to be the fun part!

 Halloween at school was a big deal this year, and Orelia volunteered to go first when discussing and displaying her costume to her friends.  They did a sing-a-long and then a parade, which was hilarious and adorable, as one would expect.

 Finally at long last it was time to go trick-or-treating, and Orelia was beyond thrilled.

 Bennett was a little unsure, but definitely interested that there might be candy happening in the near future.

 This kid loooooves candy.

 And this girl loves dressing up.

 Halloween is a holiday she was made for.

 Halloween is also a great holiday for uncles who know how to take a joke.  Uncle Bobby was a hit with the five year olds this year.

 Orelia's boots were a hit with the adults (and with herself).

 We went to a friend's house to celebrate and trick-or-treat, and it lived up to the hype for both kids.

 After each piece of candy Bennett would hold it up and ask "Do I like this one?"

 Luckily he likes basically all candy, so I could always say yes.

 After his bag got a bit heavy, Bennett was ready to head back to our friend's house.  When we turned around to walk back we skipped all the remaining houses for candy.  Bennett instead chose to play the role of trash truck and stopped at every house to pick up their imaginary trash bins.  The perfect Bennett ending to the night.

 Orelia didn't want to turn around until we made her, and she got quite the haul.

It was a happy Halloween for us, and we hope you had a great one too!