Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Adventure is Out There!

Fenton's Ice Cream

I read this post last week about Fenton's Creamery in Oakland.  I sent it to Jason and mentioned adding it to our must do list.  I mean ice cream, diner food and Disney; what more could the McCays need?

Jason realized that we could all use those things sooner rather than later so we headed out Saturday evening.

We drove through San Francisco (not totally worth the traffic) so the boys (and me!) got to go over the Bay Bridge for the first time. That was exciting with a tunnel, big boats and the biggest cranes ever in the port on the other side.

The place was hopping being a Saturday night and all, but we were buzzed for a table before we found a parking space so it worked out well.

The food was good.  They have chicken fingers (a rarity in this area)! So we loaded up on our greasy diner foods, but saved room for the highlight of the meal - the ice cream.

Fenton's Ice Cream

Lest you worry that you won't get enough hot fudge.
Fenton's Ice Cream

Colin approves.
Fenton's Ice Cream
And Eli ordered a milkshake, so Colin could carry the title of messiest child all by himself.

Fenton's Ice Cream
MongoHQ, the hottest thing in the Silicon Valley, eats at Fenton's. You should, too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cars 2

So, we went to the movies. Cars 2, Colin's first visit to the real live movie theater.

Park Day

Quick review: 

1.  The movie was good, but a bit too complex of a story line for the under five set.  The boys did great watching it, but could not really tell us what the movie was about at the end.  
2.  We are now the size family that needs a refill on the large popcorn!  I didn't know people actually got refills.  I thought that was just a marketing thing. Not so, but popcorn for lunch is just fine every now and again!

God Breathed Life


It is hard to find the new place between the grief and the life we are called to live.

The Lord is teaching me about numbering my days.  Oh, how I long for heaven and the end to the sin and suffering of this world more than ever before.

Psalm 90:12 "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

Ann Voskamp says it much better than I can.  Go visit her blessed words, and it will bless you.

Our time here is brief and our time with our children is but a small fraction of that vapor.  So while grieving our Riley, we are taking the time to intentionally love Walker, Eli and Colin and make our time with them count.

I will be thankful for the grief we are walking through and I will be thankful for joy we are being given and believe that they can exist together.

*The days are filled with moments of joy to be pushing my sweet boy in a swing and being keenly aware of the empty swing next to him.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 20, 2011

Last Monday night, our precious fourth child was born straight to heaven.

This is easily the hardest, most humbling, most God-revealing experience I have ever had.

Our baby was exactly 12 weeks.  We do not know if we had a boy or a girl, so we have named him or her Riley.

The Lord has comforted us in miraculous ways.  He has used the body of Christ, both near and far, to care for us in amazing ways.

We are praising God for the blessings he has poured out on us even in our extreme grief.

Lamentations 3:22-24
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
   his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
    "therefore I will hope in him."

Thank you to so many of you have been praying and will continue. This means so much.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Backyard Swimming

Backyard Swimming

Last week it got warm enough in the mild Bay Area climate to blow up the backyard pool and let the kids splash around.

Now, if it is warm enough to swim, then it is too warm to be in the not air-conditioned house. I'm not complaining, just saying the hours between 2 and 6 can get pretty uncomfortable inside.

Of course, it wasn't warm enough to actually warm the pool water enough (even though it had sat in the sun all day), but the kids didn't seem to mind.  They just kept swimming, blue lips, chill bumps and all.

The three older boys dove right in and laughed, squealed and splashed around immediately.

Colin was a little more timid. So, I thought I would give him a little help and put him in the pool.

Wrong idea.
Backyard Swimming

After a little time, he put himself in the pool and had a great time.  It just needed to be his idea.
Backyard Swimming

In fact he was the last one out. All the other kids had given into the need to be wrapped up in a warm towel and this kid just kept going. Eventually we lured him out with dinner.

Ava Grace maintained her distance. Wise girl.
Backyard Swimming
And look, ruffles!

Of course, the next day it was too cold and windy to swim again, but that didn't stop the kids from asking 500 times to get in the pool.

Backyard Swimming

We are supposed to hit 88 degrees this week, so I think we will get another shot.

Backyard Swimming

Because it sure is fun.

Backyard Swimming

{Pool provided by Uncle Matt and Aunt Ally, good call folks}

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm Surrounded

Mommy's bed was the place to be for rest time today.

To my right.

To my left.
(he doesn't sleep, but the stillness is important) 

Oh, these fleeting moments.  One day they will not find there peace and calm beside me. Today I was given a gift.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

We will visit again.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

There was a train.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Amazing rides to watch.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

And if you don't actually ride anything, it's all free!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Beach

This is the one where Eli walks down the boardwalk in his underwear....

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Saturday we made the short trip down to Santa Cruz to actually touch the Pacific Ocean.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

The boys were squealing with joy.  It was so exciting.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Note the pants.  You are probably thinking, pants? on the beach? what was this mom thinking?

Let me tell you, it was cold.  We were comfortable up on the boardwalk, but down by the water it was cold.  We could have used our jackets. There were crazy people in swimsuits, but they were, well, crazy.

The boys were not bothered by the cold.  They walked right into the waves with little regard for the wind or temperature.  They got quite a bit wetter than I expected.  I had extra pants in the car, so it was fine. Everyone got to have their fun.

We enjoyed the waves for a while and then headed back to the boardwalk to clean up.  They have places to wash off your feet and get a little cleaned up.  So we get up there and have 6 little feet and legs to wash off.

Jason had started with Eli and moved on to Walker, I was cleaning off Colin.  You know that moment where you turn you back for a second.  Well, Eli was behind me on a bench with two strangers and...

Jason turns around and says, "Why doesn't Eli have any pants on?"

And there he sits, on a bench in his underwear.  His pants were wet, so it only seemed logical to him to take them off.  The hundreds of people around didn't bother him one bit.  Luckily the man sitting next to him was a dad and just laughed and made a few jokes.

So we get him re-pants we walked off to grab on boardwalk treats for the ride home.

Eli chose cotton candy and Walker chose a snow cone. Jason took them to buy their treats and I took Colin to the bathroom to wash his (very dirty) hands and face.

When I walked out of the restroom to see Eli walking toward us, Jason beside him, holding a bag of cotton candy as tall has him, with his pants around his ankles.

It seems his skinny little waist couldn't hold up the weight of the wet pants, and his hands were far to busy eating cotton candy to worry about holding up his pants.  And Jason just didn't notice.

That was easily one of the funniest moments of my life. I so wish I would have taken a picture before I notified Jason to pull up his pants.  I mean, he was already walking down the board walk, pants down, so the embarrassment had happened. What would have been a few more seconds?

Anyway, the beach was fun and cotton candy is good.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Oh, and in case you are concerned that Colin didn't get a treat, the cotton candy was a three foot bag so was plenty to share.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

He approves.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Birth-Day

There were presents
Colin's 2nd Birthday

For new outside play
Colin's 2nd Birthday

Colin's 2nd Birthday

There was playing in Daddy's office
Colin's 2nd Birthday

There were eggless cupcakes (the cream cheese frosting was easily the best part, and all Colin ate)
Colin's 2nd Birthday

There were birthday cards
Colin's 2nd Birthday

All read upside down, of course
Colin's 2nd Birthday

And much joy at our 2 year old.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Not a Baby Anymore

Colin's Early Birthday

"Baby" Colin has turned 2. Quietly as night turned to day he woke up with the big boy age of 2.  It sounds so old for my little teddy bear.

Today their will be new toys (for a new sandbox), pizza (his favorite), and eggless chocolate cupcakes (I'm hoping the frosting will cover the general lack of flavor).

There will be much celebrating and remembering today as we watch this little boy grow before our very eyes.

Before we left Alabama we had an early celebration with the family.

Colin's Early Birthday

So, really it is like he gets 2 parties.  2 Celebrations for 2 years old. Seems fair.

On turning 1.

On 2 years ago.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Parks - Bay Area Style

We have been doing some park hoping around here.  The weather is gorgeous, and what else have we to do?

Some things are the same as the parks before the move -

There is sliding.

And some safety sliding.

And there is swinging.
Park Day

And there are things that different -

There is sand at every park. EVERY PARK.  Rain is rare so at least the sand is dry, but it is still sand.

I am getting better about dumping out their shoes before we leave, but I've vacuumed up plenty of piles of sand so far. And bath night is needed every night; sand, sand, everywhere.

There are palm trees or as Eli calls them, "beach trees."  The boys keep on asking why they are everywhere when we can't actually see the beach from where we are.

A lot of the parks have these huge steep concrete slides.  You are supposed to bring a piece of cardboard and slide down really fast.
Park Day

Park Day
Thus far, I have been able to keep Colin from going down one.  I feel those days are numbered.

The boys have loved being able to walk to a local neighborhood park.  I never thought I would cross six lanes of traffic with 3 kids with confidence, but we have made the trip everyday this week.

Also, not a lot of moms at the park.  Plenty of nannies and grandparents, but moms are rare and only out after dinner.

We are learning the ropes and finding every corner of this area to play in.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Still Exploring

Last Friday we headed down to San Jose to the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

Now, let me stop right there. It only took 25 minutes to get there, but people around here think that is crazy.  Anywhere out of your 5 mile radius is a crazy far drive.  This is hilarious since it took me 45 minutes to get to the Birmingham Zoo at home, and really it took me 30 minutes to get just about anywhere.  People here don't live the same type of suburban driving life that folks south of Birmingham live.

Now, back to the adventure.

The place was really more park with a side of zoo, but it was perfect for the boys.

Look at that treehouse!
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo
I shall never admit how many times I lost sight of Walker.  He had a blast running, and climing, and sliding and was not terribly concerned about staying in my line of sight. But, in the end he made it out for lunch, so all's well that ends well.

Walker wanted to ride the roller coaster all by himself.  I told him to pull the safety bar all the way to his tummy, but failed to mention he had to wait until the lady unlocked it.  He was a bit panicked for 10 seconds that his safety bar wouldn't come down.  My little rule follower.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

His only comment when he got off, "It was fast." And, he declined a second ride. 
I thought I was taking the kids to a zoo. No animals, yet, but Walker has rode a roller coaster.

Driving police cars and fire trucks.  
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

The fire trucks had working bells. {Ring, Ring, Ring}
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

Colin's second favorite thing was the macaws.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

"Bird, Bird, Bird!"
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

His most favorite thing was the carousel.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

It was our last stop on the way out and everyone enjoyed it.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

Well, not everyone. I mean I don't really do well with the going round and round in circles thing, but I do love my kids. So, round and round I went.

Colin giggled the whole time.  Eli is yelling out in the background every time his goes up. Fun.

Parting shot on the way out.  No one was interested, but I made them stand there nonetheless.
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

They had a blast and have already asked when we are going back.

{Which is just fine. The place is a partner with the McWane center in Birmingham so we can go as much as we like for just the price of parking!}