Blog Archive

Friday, December 13, 2013

Shopping Trip

Yesterday I went to Santa Rosa to run a ton of errands. Here's how it went down:

  1. Dropped Eddie off at the bus at 7:15 am.
  2. Ate breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, and pulled out of Gualala at 7:45 am.
  3. Pulled into Lowe's at 9:15 am to pick up a new, super-discounted, super-efficient washing machine. Dave calculated that it will pay for itself in only 3 years in water alone over continuing to use the old top loader we currently have in the Coast House.
  4. Nearby shopping center for all the stocking stuffers and some Christmas gifts.  The Dollar Tree and grocery section of Wal-Mart were both out of smoked oysters so Edward will be purchasing those for our stockings this year. I got a hazelnut iced coffee at the McDonald's inside Wal-Mart and it tasted like pure sugar. 
  5. Taco Bell for some nachos, which I ate in the car with the windows down, enjoying the sunshine and listening to NPR. It was a nice break from the shopping madness. I was ready to stop shopping at this point--but I knew I needed to finish my list of to-do's to make that 4 hour round trip worth it (not to mention the day off of school work!).
  6. Costco for a carpet steam cleaner and the usual bulk groceries. Among many other things, I bought a fresh 50 pound sack of whole wheat flour since I discovered that our supply had gone rancid in the hot Davis garage this past summer.  I also bought a double pack of bread...for half the cost of the sack of flour. I've GOT to get back into the homemade bread habit because it's so much cheaper.
  7. Spent 20 minutes packing the car--remember there was already a washing machine box in there and I needed to fit in a steam cleaner box AND a cart full of things for me and my MIL. And knowing I had other errands and it was a warm-ish day, I needed to arrange all the cold items together to keep them cool for the rest of the day.
  8. Got a phone call from my MIL that she wanted cotton yarn from a nearby fabric store. When I got there, I called to find out what color(s) she wanted. She said "one of each except black." I told her that there were 30+ colors and she still wanted one of each color. So...I loaded up a cart with 40 skeins of yarn for her!
  9. Old Navy to get a supply of pants for Eddie. Until we had that week of sub-freezing temperatures, he had refused to wear anything but shorts because pants make him run less fast. He had exactly 4 pairs of pants in his dresser, two of which were 4" floods on him. And that's really a lot considering he's only 43" tall in the first place.  A couple of months ago I paid for our new garage door installation with my Old Navy credit card so I had TONS of rewards to use for my purchases that day.  I got him 4 pairs of jeans, exchanged a pair for myself, and got a few things from the clearance for myself. 
  10. Haircut at the mall...just the split ends trimmed off.  FINALLY.  This was on my to-do list (whether in Gualala or anywhere else) since October.
  11. Picked up dinner at Chipotle, never mind the fact that I knew I wouldn't get home until way after dinnertime.  Normally I get a fatty burrito,but this time I got a salad with the lettuce on the side (to prevent it getting soggy on the drive). 
  12. Got myself a grande no water soy chai at Starbucks.
  13. Drove home, arriving at 7:30 pm, just as the boys were exiting the shower. I sang along to Crawdad Republic and listened to the beginning of a Radio Lab podcast during that dark drive.  The podcast was amazing even though it begs more questions for me than it answers...I might have to look up the prof and email him. Eddie and I talk about dinosaur extinction theories all the time so I'll have him listen to it or watch the video soon.  The music is upbeat and complex and sorrowful all at the same time. Edward and I went to high school with the band members, which makes it even better to me. I downloaded the album when we moved to the coast and I listen to some of it nearly every day when I drive to get Eddie from daycare. It's become the soundtrack to my new life as a coastal, motherless person.
  14. I unloaded the van all by myself (minus the washer, a monumental task with all those purchases) because I didn't want Dave or Eddie seeing their gifts. 
  15. Put Eddie to bed.
  16. Watched an episode of White Collar and drooled over Matt Bomer while I ate my super spicy Chipotle salad.  I think Dave was even drooling a little--he agrees that the guy is "very handsome."  
  17. Fell asleep at 9:45 pm. Errand days are looooooooooooong.
And because no post is worth looking at with out a cute picture, here are two that Dave took last weekend. Eddie asked him to take his picture with sister.  These two bicker, fight over toys, and make too much noise for my delicate ears most of the time...and then sometimes they're sweet. And seeing them be sweet together is crazy cute! Aw, melt my heart!
Cute Eddie and my beautiful baby girl. Isn't she a gorgeous dog?  I love love love her expressive brown eyebrows.

Dave asked her to smile and she did!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Marry Me, Korean Beef

Last weekend I was stumped about what to make for dinner each night this week.  Here in Gualala, Mondays and Tuesdays have become crock pot or frozen Costco pizza nights to make evenings easy since we both work those days.  So Sunday I prepared a crock full of pumpkin soup mostly using items from the freezer (pumpkin, black beans, beef stock, tomatoes), amped up with coriander, cumin, and garam masala. I love most soups topped with yogurt and cilantro so I had to buy the latter to complete the meal. The crock moved from the fridge to the cooker at at noon on Monday when I popped out of work for an errand.  I love living 2 minutes from work!

Typically, I base my short term meal planning on some ingredient that I will have on hand for a desired dish, just to use it up. Not knowing what else to make for the week and being without our CSA box until spring, I went to my Pinterest recipes board to get some ideas.  I spied something that made me remember a Korean beef recipe on my friend's blog AND a similar recipe in a magazine for Thai beef. I liked aspects of both, so I combined them.  Since I omitted key Thai ingredients like fish sauce and basil, it ended up tasting more like Korean food. was amazing.  Dave liked it so much that he had a second small serving instead of his piece of candy from the advent calendar.  Yeah, it was that good. Thank you, Leah, for posting your Korean beef recipe on your blog a few months back!

The pictures I took were terrible because it was already dark out and our kitchen lighting SUCKS.  But trust me, you should make this.
You can't see it in this crappy picture, but it was a very pretty meal since I used yellow and red bell pepper. This would be excellent made for a pot luck.
Korean Beef (with spinach)


  • 1.5 T oil
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t (or more) red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 pounds ground beef, 15-20% fat
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 3 cups packed spinach, whole leaves (although I would double that next time)

  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t sesame seeds (garnish)
  • More pepper flakes (garnish)

In a large skillet, heat oils on high, cook pepper flakes and garlic for just 30 seconds. Add beef and flatten out on bottom of skillet for maximum browning. Brown heavily, 8-10 minutes.

Add soy sauce, stock, sugar, and ginger and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and scrap up brown bits from bottom of pan. Fold in spinach and let wilt, about 2 minutes.

Remove from heat to a warmed oven until ready to serve.

Make the salad by mixing all ingredients together.

Serve beef over rice and top with salad and garnishes.

Even Eddie liked it!  But first he insisted on cutting up his salad.
I hope the rest of the week is just as yummy!  (Although I doubt anything could top that beef...)  We're using up the left over rice as a substitute for pasta in a tuna salad served inside romaine heart leaves tonight.  Tomorrow we'll use up some frozen corn for corn cakes with goat cheese since we have everything on hand for that, including locally made fresh goat cheese.  Mmmm.  I wriggled my way onto a local goat cheese maker's email list and picked up my first batch last week. It's really good.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Since November 5....

Oh my goodness...where have I been?  It has been nearly a MONTH since I last posted anything.  My poor dad must be going through withdraws for lack of pictures.  Of course, if he were on Facebook or Instagram or had a cellphone to which I could send him pictures of Eddie like *everyone else* then I wouldn't have to post anything here.

Except...I should post stuff here because while pictures 'tell a thousand words' I can't take a picture of my brain so you'd never know what I've got to say.  Someday I'd like to use one of those blog-to-photo-book services and order a hardcopy of this thing to keep foreverandever as a journal.  So blog I shall.

This will be short because I want to get some work done today.  I have a self-imposed deadline of 12/31 for submitting my second chapter to my professor.  For now I'll ignore the fact that he sent back revisions to the first chapter back in the summer and I've not made any changes to it yet.

Since November 5 when I last posted:

The dogs are obsessed with Nina Kitty. If you say "meow" or "kitty" around Taters then he BOLTS to attention (if he isn't already on kitty patrol) and runs to her room to see her. Her litter box and food are in the laundry room so she's in there a lot. I don't blame her since there are high places to keep away from the dogs and a sunny window sill with a blanket on it for napping.
I made 23 pints of roasted salsa verde using the zillions of green tomatoes from the garden. It's gooooooooooood.  And now there are only carrots and chard left in the garden.

Ruby got sick with bloody stool, vomiting, and no appetite for a week. After $700+ in vet bills she recovered on her own without intervention beyond antinauseau and antibiotic shots and lots of xrays. There was a blockage but we never figured out what it was.
I did a small honey harvest with John a few weeks ago. We only got 18 quarts this time.
Dave bought us a phone holder for the vent in the car. I LOVE IT. I used to set my phone behind the steering wheel so I could use speaker phone. But this is easier and I can take selfies! Haha.

I'm now the in-law driver, taking my MIL and FIL on the two hour drive to Santa Rosa for medical appointments and shopping. I took this picture on the way to pick up John for one such trip. Sometimes I feel a touch resentful that I have to spend my time doing this, but it IS one of the reasons we moved up here--someone has to step in to care for aging parents and there's no one else around to do it. And at the end of the day I am glad that person is me because I wouldn't want them to have to pay someone else to do it.  At least they buy me lunch and a Starbucks treats for the drive home!

Eddie had Veterans Day off of school and a few days later stayed home sick with a slight fever, body aches, no appetite, and sleepiness. Dave kept him home one day I stayed home the next to give him a healthy 24 hour buffer before returning to school.  It was nice to spend extra time with him, even if he was sick for most of it. Once he recovered, I took him to the park. It was about 50F outside and he still insisted on wearing shorts. I was amazed that I convinced him to wear a sweater. This picture commemorates his first Superman swing experience--my favorite as a kid.
Eddie wanted me to take him on a walk around the neighborhood to see the houses that are for sale. (Anyone want a $400k cottage or a $1.25m multilevel house both with ocean views?) He didn't want to walk so I suggested a stroller ride. He pointed out, "But I'm a BIG BOY and strollers are for babies!" So we settled on the wheelbarrow instead.

Notice his Hulk shirt. I got this for him as a surprise addition with one of Dave's recent Old Navy orders.  HE LOVES IT. For about two weeks, I washed that thing every other day for him. One night I promised to wash it when he went to bed. About 40 minutes after saying goodnight we could still hear him in his room singing, laughing, reading to himself. Dave and I were talking in the kitchen and we hear Eddie yell, "HEY GUYS! ARE YOU WASHING MY HULK SHIRT?!  AND KEEP IT DOWN IN THERE!  I'M TRYING TO SLEEP!"  It cracked us up.
On Monday, 11/18 we tried to get Eddie to ride the bus. He refused. But the next day he rode it like a champ. And has every day since then. WOOOOOOOOOO! I used to drive him to school at 7:45 am and would get back to Gualala at 8:30 am. Now he's on the bus at 7:15 am and I don't have to get to work until 8:30 am. I've spent that extra time eating a hot breakfast, going grocery shopping, or getting to work early.
The dogs are still obsessed with kitty.
Eddie had no school for Thanksgiving week so we took him to Disneyland for the first time. It was a looooooooooong drive but we survived. Don't worry--we were stopped in traffic at a light when I took the picture.
Our Costco Disney package included character dining passes so we had a special Thanksgiving lunch at Ariel's Grotto. Eddie wasn't too keen on the food, but seeing the princesses was a hit.  "Mama, are they REAL princesses?"  Of course, Eddie.  =)
For Thanksgiving dinner, we ordered pizza and salad room service and watched Kung Fu Panda. They boys are holding up teeny tiny Tabasco bottles that came with the pizza.

I realized that my 32nd Thanksgiving was the first ever without my mom--I'd had Thanksgiving with her every single year--throughout childhood (obviously), college, and grad school. She loved relaxing as much as she hated cooking so I'm sure she would  have approved of our room service decision. 
Eddie's favorite ride was Autotopia. I have NEVER seen him so happy in his entire life. 
When we got back from Disneyland, we started bringing Nina into our room at bedtime. She sleeps on a pillow near my head and LOVES the extra attention.
Well, she likes the human attention anyway...the dogs still love staring at her. She was purring loudly in this picture so I know the gawking dogs don't bother her much.
Annnnnnnnnnnd that's what we've been up to!  I'll  be back again soon...but maybe not until the end of month after I've emailed off this next chapter.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween 2013

Guess what Eddie was for Halloween?  If you're not sure, think about these facts:
  • He's a boy
  • He thinks he's really strong and tough
  • He's four
  • He loves weapons
Answer: NINJA!

He debated on his costume for a couple of weeks...until we got to the store last month and he spied the double sword/double sai ninja weapon pack on the shelf.  HE NEEDED TO HAVE THESE WEAPONS IN HIS POSSESSION.  So he promptly decided to be a ninja.  
Have you ever seen such a cute ninja?  You can tell from his mouth that he was making sound effects for me as he posed.
And of course he was the cutest (I mean FIERCEST) ninja around.  But he's a terrible ninja because they're supposed to be quiet and sneaky and he thumps his feet wherever he goes.  

We didn't need to decorate the house for Halloween this year because it was scary enough with all the CRAP everywhere.  
See?  It's like a creepy hoarder's house: piles of crap everywhere.  We had to move two bedrooms out for carpet installation and the only semi-available space was the soon-to-be-downstairs-kitchen.  
The entry way into the house.  Looky there, a kitchen cabinet in a box!  Next to a new stove in a box!  SIGH.
But we did hang our inflatable spiders and spider lights and ate off of paper Halloween plates. And we carved our pumpkins.

Dave's, Eddie's, mine.  We let Eddie draw a face using a permanent pen, then we cut the shapes for him, and he gets to erase the pen marks with nail polish remover.  
There was a parade and a party at preschool that morning and I attended both.  The preschoolers led the parade and got to go through a 5th grade classroom, where they were each given a goody bag.  Back in the classroom there was an impressive spread of festive foods--I didn't eat any because seeing all the slobbery kids touching everything grossed me out.  But I'm glad they all enjoyed the treats!
Parading kiddos!  Since he couldn't carry his weapons at school, he opted for a knight helmet instead.
Eddie and his friend Charlie were super excited to find glow-in-the-dark teeth in their goody bags. 
Eddie went straight for the blue gummy worm jello mold.
That night, we took Eddie trick-or-treating along Gualala Court, one of two places kids go around here. It's a loop, actually, and most of the houses were decked out for the holiday. One even had flame throwers (cue four year old boy enthusiasm for gratuitous displays of flames).  His best buddy, Mason, and another friend were there so Dave and I got to socialize with their parents.  
Mason the storm trooper, Eddie the ninja, and Rylan the ninja turtle.
All total, Eddie got 29 pieces of candy--I know this because he counted it that night and again every single night thereafter.  He thinks that's a LOT of candy and we're going to let him think it is.  No one needs to tell him that his mama used to haul home half a pillow case full when she was his age.   
For dinner that night we had a decorated Costco take-and-bake pizza.  Pinterest had all sorts of ideas on decorating pizzas so I combined three ideas into one. It looked best uncooked.

I hope everyone had a fun, safe Halloween this year! I saved the best part of this post for last...the gif of Ninja Eddie.
I canNOT get enough of these gifs!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chestnuts and Firewood

Last week several people at work started getting a cold.  Dave was out sick Thursday and Friday.  That meant I got to (had to?) take his dad "to town" for his doctor appointment and a meeting at the drinking water office on Friday.  It was a long day but we did get a lot done while in Santa Rosa.  My favorite things were the restaurant supply store (ever so conveniently located next door to the roofing supply company where we had to buy some stuff), eating out for lunch, and getting an ice cream before driving the two hours back home.  I was hopeful that Dave would be all better by the time I got home, but he wasn't.  So he stayed home in bed all day Saturday, too, while Eddie, John, and I attended the 32nd Annual Zeni Ranch Chestnut Festival.  

I haven't been since before Eddie was born.  This year's was more fun than I remembered--lots of music, tons of food, and lots of people to chat with.  Eddie had a grand time running around with other kiddos.  John and I spent about 30 minutes picking chestnuts way up on the hill where other folks hadn't gone yet.  Next year I need to bring sturdier gloves--the sharp spines came through my leather gloves and poked my fingers too much.
Eddie and Papa heading up into the chestnut orchard.
Me and some chestnuts.  They grow in clusters of about 4 super spiky shells, with about 2-4 nuts in each shell. You can see the yellowish spiky balls all over the ground below me.
Me, my bucket o' nuts, and John's shadow.
John purchased about 3 pounds of nuts for us to take home.  We'll eat some soon and then pop the rest into the freezer for later.  I'm hoping to make some stuffing with them for the holidays.
The open fire on which to roast chestnuts.
Fire roasted chestnuts.
Before we left, John took Eddie and I up a hill to see the small log cabin he and his father built back in the 1960s to use for deer hunting. Every season they'd rent it and spend a few weeks hunting in these mountains.  It still has the old blue and brown painted double hung windows that were taken from the Surf Motel renovation.  The Coast House had the same windows up until a few years ago.
The deer hunting cabin.
John walking down the hill from the cabin back to the ranch festivities.
Eddie was completely exhausted by the time we left.  He fell asleep as soon as John started driving back home.  He woke up when we stopped to collect some sugar pine cones on the road--where we happened to have a nice view of the historic Gianoli Ranch Vineyard.  I pointed it out to Eddie and told him that it's where his great grandmother Ida was born.
You can see the Gianoli vineyard across the valley.
Yesterday we braved the chilly wind on the ridge and Dave's lingering cold to cut firewood for this winter.  Along with a great many other things, this task has been on our list for quite some time.  John pulled two felled madrone trees out of the woods for us to cut up. This is a very dense wood so packs a lot of fuel per volume.  But dense also means it's harder to chop up with the ax.  

Last year for Christmas Grammy and Papa gave Eddie his own pair of ear muffs for working around chainsaws and riding on heavy equipment.  He was excited to use them finally!
Three Bowers, making firewood for their women.
Dave and John cut up the first, larger tree and I got to use the chainsaw to cut up the second one. I did some chopping, too, but dang was it hard!
Dave let him try chopping some of the rounds...he's a little small for that still.
Eddie was a very good helper when it came time to move all the wood.
This picture cracks me up because my hair is positioned to look like Eddie has a really ugly haircut.  Trailer trash boy ponytail anyone?
We stacked up about half of a cord of wood in the breezeway-turned-future-pottery-studio at the Coast House.  Hopefully it'll hold us for a while.  Of course, we haven't had use of the living room since we moved in because of all the construction and resulting shuffling of stuff in the house.  But last week we had carpet installed in two north bedrooms downstairs so we moved Eddie's bunk bed down into it's proper place in one of those rooms.  And that allowed us to uncover the couches in front of the fire.  So of course we had a nice fire last night.
The living room up until Sunday evening.  It was unlivable so maybe we should have referred to it differently.  You can barely see the stone fireplace at the back left.  I'm excited that we unearthed it and the couches so we can enjoy toasty fires this winter!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catch Up!

Goodness...I haven't posted anything in quite sometime.  I used to blog at my school desk on campus during slow-brain moments when I needed to let my subconscious work out some complex data-related thing.  And these days I don't sit at a school desk often enough for that to even happen.  So on the rare occasions when I DO sit down to work I actually WORK.  How novel.

I've been struggling to get back on the school work/data crunching/dissertation writing wagon.  It's my least favorite thing to do at the moment, but I'm confident that'll change.  Distractions include:

  • The lovely Indian Summer weather.  I don't want to waste the warmth sitting inside so when I'm not at my job or sleeping I'm often out and about.
  • Running. Dave and I were training for our first 5k by running at the airport 3-4 times per week.  It may sound silly to train for such a short race, but we're new to the loving-to-run club. I'll have a whole post on how that went but here's a spoiler: it was fantastic!  We are still running now that the race is over so we can do other races, too.
  • Food storage.  Oh my goodness, we didn't even get to press apples for cider or harvest honey this summer but I was still up to my eyeballs in canning/freezing/drying/cooking the abundance of fruit for storage.  Eddie has figured this hobby out and will make up stories about how once upon a time he picked a whole bunch of [insert his latest food obsession] and he spent "hours and hours" [insert his choice storage method: freezing/drying/canning] it all to "save for the winter."  
  • Eddie. I have a love-hate relationship with this four year old stage.  One minute he's a doll who is helpful, considerate, and sweet and the next moment he's an argumentative, mocking, know-it-all, stubborn monster.  
  • Yoga. I still go about 3 times per week and I love it.  
  • Taking care of my in-laws. I've started doing some geriatric-type caregiving for my in-laws, including all the big shopping, providing my FIL's dinners, and making and driving them to doctor appointments both in and out of town.  
  • Work. I am 'in the office' 2 days per week but usually end up doing some extra work throughout the week since a lot of what I do is not water company-specific but for other components of the Bower Enterprises.  It has been an excellent way to meet people in the community, make new contacts, learn about all the other projects that Dave has going on, and whatnot.
  • The dang house. Oh boy, this house.  It's huge. It's mostly under construction (= mess that's not worth cleaning up). It's inefficient because of the sheer size, construction chaos, and layout.  It can only get better from here on out but it's a painfully slow process because we're not millionaires who can pay people to do the work for us. Have I complained about how we don't even own the stupid thing so it often feels like we're doing all this work for nothing?  The good news is that we won't have to decorate the inside for Halloween--it's a nightmare of a haunted house already, full of scary 1960s decor and ghosts of Good Intentions Past. 
  • My mom.  I haven't mourned much since she died, at least not outwardly.  But we did so much grieving back in 2008 that I felt like it was almost a relief.  She was so uncomfortable with her appearance, her story of ignoring the cancer for so long, the prognosis, that we all knew she'd be glad to have it all gone.  Now I'm planning her memorial reception--an occasion to remember her at her best.  I have struggled with the church a bit to make sure it is a happy memorial but the idea of having a celebratory party disturbs some people.  My mom wasn't one for sad emotions so I'm sticking to my guns about it and it can be stressful and overwhelming.  It's happening in about 2 weeks but I'm finding that I put off the planning for longer than usual because I don't want to confront her death as real.  I finally had to sit down to hash out the details and disturbed me how unsatisfying it felt.  Normally I love the rush of getting things organized.  (I need a vacation, I think.)
**I was blogging and then BOOM my brain realized I'd done something wrong with my data analysis so I looked and yes indeed, I needed to fix something.  So I did, ran some tests, shot off an email to a postdoc to confirm my procedure, and came back. I love my subconscious...I think it'll be what ends up writing my dissertation.**

So there are numerous distractions.  But as it gets colder and miserable outside I won't have so much food storage to take up my time.  Almost everything else will still be there but I know my motivation will kick into gear...soon...

Here are a few pictures to enjoy until I get around to posting something else.

We adopted a kitty cat named Nina.  The dogs are veeeeeeeeeeeeeery interested in her.  Taters wants to nose/sniff/chase her and Ruby wants to guard her from Taters and Eddie...unless there's ice cream residue to be licked off a plate.  Then they all get along just fine.

My Royal Chantanae carrots are HUGE this year!  

"The" cat has become "Dave's" cat.

Here's the Bower-Levie-Whitney team last weekend!

We went to the beach after the race.
More later: Nina Kitty, back to school in Davis, Eddie's 48 month check up, a few perfect weekends in Gualala...and...there's probably more.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Visiting Davis

Last weekend Eddie and I went to Davis for Leila's birthday party.  Cassie had invited us juuuuuuuuuuuuust in case we wanted to come...and of course we did!  We were lucky that Dave needed some alone time to get the newly textured sheet rock primed in the downstairs bedrooms.  So off we went on Saturday morning after waking up late, having breakfast, and packing up the van.  It was so refreshing to not worry about packing up the dogs and tons of stuff--just the toiletry kit and a change of clothes.

We made on pit stop in Petaluma for snacks and then went straight to the party.  It was at a gymnastics place we'd never been to before, which was fun.  Cassie was the only one who knew we were coming so it was really fun when all the other parents got excited to see us walk in.  Ahhhhh, I really felt loved.  Eddie took off immediately toward the trampoline with his Davis bffs, Leila and Isaac.  I didn't see him for the rest of the party except for a lemonade request and then cupcakes/candy at the end.
A kid and his croissant and juice.
The party was a circus theme, complete with buckets of peanuts and popcorn and TONS of candy.  Each kiddo got an empty paper sack to fill with candy as their goodie bag.  Eddie did the reasonable thing: he tasted each thing and kept what he liked and handed me what he didn't.
All the kiddos enjoying their cupcakes.
Eddie's cheeks are rosy red from intense tumbling. 
Before we moved away from Davis, I decided that we should play at every single park in town. I found a list/map online and began checking them off. In July we left with two remaining on the list.  So after the party ended and Cassie went out with her family, Eddie and I headed off to those parks.  The first one was disappointing, having only two baby swings.  Seriously, nothing else, not even a bench to climb on.  However, the last park did not disappoint.  Eddie proclaimed it as his favorite park in town, but I think his memory isn't very good.  Rainbow City definitely wins the prize for best park, not this one on Redbud.  It was small but we had a good time together.
I love these rotating seats--and especially that green metal umbrella thing in the background--it spins and spins you around when you hold onto the bars with your hands.
We headed back to Cassie's to spend the night. The kids ate pizza on the couch with Leila's dad and uncle while Cassie and I chatted at the table. Everyone crashed around 9 pm.  I usually hate sleeping with Eddie because he's a thrasher but this night wasn't too bad. The worst part of the night was all the noise from outside. Cassie lives a block from campus and it happened to be the Saturday night before school started for the year.  We were serenaded until midnight with shrieking girls, bike bells, and chanting frat guys.
We slept in the 'infant room' of Cassie's house, a room she uses for her daycare.
That morning I was in serious need of coffee so we all walked downtown to Pete's.  We let the kids play at the park for a bit before heading back to the house to pack up.
They were playing pirates, I think.
It was hard to leave because we love Cassie so much...but it was also fun to run errands with Eddie after we departed.  He got to pick out two new fish and an aquatic snail at the pet shop, plus 20 crickets for his classroom lizard.  Then we headed over to Wal-Mart to pick up a few odds and ends, including whichever <$20 toy Eddie wanted.  He'd been so good with all the driving and change in schedule and he hadn't gotten a new toy in a while so Dave and I agreed to let him pick something out.  I steered him away from certain things and he settled on an Iron Man action figure.  It has recorded sayings on it and he thought of them said, "Popsicle bread."  I finally realized it actually said, "Possible threat" and tried to correct him, but he's sure he's right.
Cassie gave Eddie a huge sack of old princess/fairy dress up gear before we left. Here you can see Kiki, who got to eat her very first food while we were there.  She's a chow-down champ!
Eddie was asking all sorts of questions while the gal scooped out his fish.
Lab meetings and school have started up again but I'm on leave for the quarter. I'm planning on going to campus for the meetings and some lab work/focused writing time/professor meetings once or twice a month. So...until next time, Davis!