Times and Sorensens

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our neighbor's jack-o-lantern

Our neighbor's jack-o-lantern got a lot of attention this year:

Ours got some attention, too:

I mostly heard comments along the lines of, "Aw, they're sad." Indeed, they are. Joshua was very certain he wanted a sad jack-o-lantern complete with tears. Somehow he convinced Daniel that he wanted his to be sad as well. Sigh. We promise we're a happy family...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air

The coastal winds brought on a thick fog Thursday night, and by Friday morning the haze under the street lights was back to being a pleasant mist instead of ash and dust. We reveled in the air that smelled only mildly like smoke and didn't build up grit in our throat. We exclaimed in relief that we could open the windows and air out our apartments without being besieged by particulate matter. No more sweltering, sealed inside our 90+ degree prisons and wondering if the air quality was truly worse outside than in.

What better way to celebrate than by having an early Halloween trunk-or-treat? The boys were excited at the chance to wear their pirate costumes, eat pizza, and collect candy. Daniel even won the contest for best costume in the "3 and under" category! I had been sure the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Baby would win. Daniel clung to his prize, a Coldstone gift certificate, with all the single-mindedness of a little kid who never quite managed to wake up from his nap.

Then it was time for the trunk-or-treat. Leslie stayed by our trunk dressed as a witch and handed out candy while I took the boys around to the other trunks in the parking lot. Some were decorated quite well, especially the couple who managed to stage themselves with their vehicle as part of a fatal car accident. Both boys were great about saying "Trick or Treat!" and "Thank you!" at each trunk, except for the one with the glowing head moving inside the crystal ball and a candy bowl guarded by a grabbing hand equipped with a sensor, which they were too afraid to approach. They came home excited about their candy and their experience, and we were just happy they had such a good time. If last night and this morning are any indication, they'll be talking about that glowing head for days.

Joshua has pored through his candy collection several times already, and Daniel insists on bringing his pumpkin with him everywhere he plays. Leslie pointed out that the pumpkins have that "candy smell" that we remember from trick-or-treating, various candy scents all mixed together into one delightful treat for the nose.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Halloween Poem

Composed by Joshua, all by himself!

As I was sitting on the chair,
Something pulled the cushion off
And made me scared.

A seasonal visitor drops in at Times and Sorensens...

I vant to read your blog!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another fire/horse post

I just wanted to share this picture in addition to Jake's post from yesterday because I think Daniel looks oh-so-grown-up, up there in that saddle, holding the reins. Plus, it gives you a pretty good idea of what the sky has been like around here:

Also, I just had to add another picture of Eleanor the mule. When I asked each boy which horse was his favorite, they both answered unequivocally (and independently of each other) that it was Eleanor. Somehow, she endeared herself to them, and I am in turn endeared by that.

The horses were not there this evening, and we assume that some space may have opened up for them at the Del Mar race track, or another livestock evacuation site, as several evacuees have been allowed to return home today. It is not likely that this couple has been able to go back home, as their ranch is in an area that has been extremely hard hit. I saw news footage of several ranch homes in their area that were on fire today, and the fire is still burning out of control there. I sincerely, sincerely hope that their property has been spared. I will never forget them or their kindness to us during their time of great distress. They were genuinely interested in letting our children experience their horses and were just so friendly to us, all while they were calling their home regularly to see if the answering machine would still pick up. Amazing people. They will continue to be in our prayers, and I hope to catch up with their son very soon to find out how they are.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Days

Due to the huge fires that have been raging around San Diego county, there's not much for us to do right now. UCSD has closed the campus for the week, and although I still rode my bike to the lab yesterday it probably wasn't a good idea. The air quality is terrible, and after I finished going each way I had to brush the accumulated ash off my shirt. Similarly, they advise against taking your kids outside in the bad air. Parks are a bad idea anyway, since everything's covered with a layer of ash and soot. You can actually look at the sun just fine; there's so much smoke in the air that it's not too bright.

By noon today, the kids were literally running around the apartment screaming like chickens with their heads cut off. Oh wait, headless chickens can't scream... you know what I mean. We heard from a neighbor that a Mesa resident whose parents live in eastern San Diego County had his parents staying with him, and that their horses were quartered in North Mesa, so we decided to brave the air and look for the horses.

They were there, and the boys loved them! They loved petting them, watching them crop the grass, and of course mentioning what they saw coming out of the back end. They got to sit on the horses, and although Daniel was too scared to sit on a horse at first, he loved it even more after he decided to try. Click the picture to get the full effect of his smile:

Joshua even got to ride the horses, and had a great time too (you can click any of these pictures to see a larger version):

He even got to ride off into the (smoky) sunset:

We are grateful to this couple who helped our boys have some fun outside and experience something new and exciting, even though they've got to be terribly worried about their home. We pray for all of those who are adversely affected by the fires, especially those who have been displaced and whose homes have been destroyed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ice Cream!

It's kind of funny how the kids never seem to remember some phrases, while others they don't need to hear more than once. They took to "Cherry Chocolate Chunk" right away. Maybe it's the alliteration...

I wonder if they'll ever notice we only have ice cream for dessert on bath nights?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fire Department Visit

Joshua's preschool was treated to a special visit from the San Diego Fire Department this morning. It was a big event -- the kids made fire fighter hats and coats earlier in the week to wear especially for the visit, and they learned a song about how brave firefighters are that they sang when their guests arrived. It was really cute!

I was wondering where in the world they were going to park their truck, with parking being so tight on campus. Silly me -- they parked it in the fire lane, of course! Good thing too, because they showed up in the biggest size truck possible, the kind with a driver in back.

It turned out that the firefighters who came today were the very same ones that we met last year when our moms' preschool group went to visit the fire station just down the street. They are super nice, friendly guys who love kids, and they really made the visit special. It was great to see them again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

We love Free Tuesdays!

We hadn't been to a Free Tuesday at Balboa Park since our return from Livermore and decided it was high time to change that. Last Tuesday was the free day for the Science Center and Model Railroad Museum (our favorite!), so we met up with several friends and made a morning of it. Here are some pictures I wanted to share:

Daniel fell in love with that purple dinosaur at the park where we had a picnic lunch after the museums. He was very wary of other potential suitors (especially the orange-shirted variety).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Jayne & Nick's Visit

We had a wonderful visit with Jake's parents the week-before-last. I realized I had better get these pictures up if I want to keep this blog current. We took a walk along the coastal path at Ellen Scripps Browning Park (by La Jolla Cove) and checked out some of the tide pools:

the infamous Children's Pool Seals:

and these little huts they have along the trail (a highlight for the boys!):

The ocean was slate gray that day with none of the dazzling aquamarine you get when it's sunny. It was still picturesque, though in a melancholy sort of way.

And of course there was lots of playing to catch up on with Grandma and Grandpa (I like Joshua's pajamas-with-rain boots look in this picture):

Nick was such a good sport for wearing that construction hat most of the evening at Daniel's insistence and Jayne helped Daniel fly to his heart's content. What a lucky boy!

Thanks so much for the great visit! Warning: if you visit, you will be blogged!