What to muse about today?

November 2, 2016 ~ Shoulder?

Nature Trail

Nature Trail

Today I was back on Sleeping Giant, this time on the Nature Trail, a self-guided walk, or rather, hike.  They had booklets at the main parking lot, so I grabbed one, checked my clue list for the letterboxes I was hunting for, and set out.

It was a fun trail, not too long – with super-fun trail blazes – an evergreen tree!  The hike starts off pretty level, and is easy going.  Eventually, it gets steeper and steeper.  Which was kinda fun today, it was mid-60’s!  November and 60’s!  And super sunny.  Just a lovely day for a walk.

The first box in the series was a bit tricky.  I got caught up with one of the former numbered trees instead of walking a bit further to the current number tree.

It was too warm for ice cream!

Ice cream melted in today’s heat!

But no matter, I eventually figured it out, and found one of the BEST letterbox containers I’ve seen so far.  A Talenti pot!  I may suggest using one of the few we have at home for Teagan to plant her letterbox in.  (She needs to plant make one to earn her Brownie Badge.  She knows the general area where she wants to plant it too).

Anyway, the Nature Trail was pretty fun.  The guide book was informative, pointing out interesting things along the way.  Several different types of trees, rocks, geographic and environmental features.



Trap Rock

Trap Rock

The stamps in the series were beautifully carved, and were coordinated to the locations on the trail where they were hidden.  One of the more lovely stamp series I’ve found so far.

It was a lovely day.


October 24, 2016 ~ Left Knee

Violet trail at Hobbomock's left leg

To Violet trail at Hobbomock’s left leg

Today I found a bit of time before grocery shopping to go to Sleeping Giant again.  The girls and I went hunting letterboxes on Sunday along the east end of the Violet trail.  We were looking for a box but had to turn around to get home.  Turns out we called it quits something less than a quarter mile before the clue.  Just around a corner or two.  Who knew?

I went back today, parked along a the red trail and quickly caught up with the violet trail and headed west towards the clue.  The trail and the glittering sun distracted me enough that I walked past the clue.  Walked almost a mile past the clue, not even worrying about it.  Eventually, I came to enough to realize that I should turn around and head back.  I decided that where the trail went over the giant’s knee was a good place.  A part of the trail that I probably shouldn’t be on alone.  I went halfway – because I could do it – then turned back.  I love that the trail goes over this jumble of boulders.  Can you see the three blazes?  the one at the bottom is an arrow, then there are two more.

I need to do this trail properly one of these days.



I had no problem finding my clue, once I was actually looking for it.  Lookie!  There it is.  The box was exactly where it should be and the stamp was beautiful.  Made the almost 300 foot ascent worth it.

It was really such a beautiful day.  The sun was just right.  Crisp air and leaves to shuffle through.

Falling leaves and sunshine

Falling leaves and sunshine

I’m lucky that I can find time to enjoy the outside.  I know the freedom won’t last much longer, nor will the weather.  But for now, I’m going to take advantage.


October 14, 2016 ~ Like a Fairy Forest


Green and Orange and Gold

Just about three weeks ago, Teagan and I went on a Girl Scout Letterboxing Adventure.  I’d always enjoyed hiking, walking through a forest, being outside.  As long as it’s not too hot.  Then it’s not fun at all, and I’d rather be by a pool.  But it was a lovely day, and combined with the treasure hunting aspect of letterboxing, we all had a fun time.


I’m not quite sure why it’s as fun as it is.  You go hiking with some clues and try to follow them to find a plastic box hidden under leaves and rocks.  The boxes are often dirty and there are spiders and bugs and stuff.  But it is like a treasure hunt.  Inside each box is a stamp, usually hand carved.  Often, the stamps are fun, sometimes they are beautiful. That’s probably why Teagan liked it, she had permission to get herself dirty and dig around for “treasure.”  I liked being outside and enjoyed the challenge of solving the clue enough that I didn’t mind too much.

For whatever reason she liked it, and I had enough fun to humor her when she asked to go again.   So I told her we would see what we could do, and looked at the websites listed on the simple logbook they gave us on our adventure. And I found letterboxes around us.  And more letterboxes around us. And it was more fun finding boxes “in the wild” instead of planted for a bunch of girl scouts to work on a badge for the day.

We all went letterbox hunting.  Even Stu tagged along, though I think he’s indifferent about it.


Ashin’s Log Book After Our Mystic Hunt

As Teagan, and I, both enjoyed it so much, I looked around for books for us to use as log books instead of pieces of paper. And once Ashlin expressed how much she enjoyed it, and how excited she was to make her own stamp, I ordered a book for her too.  She was very, very happy to get it and put her first stamp in it.

We’ve gone out almost once a weekend since then.  Sometimes even after school if the boxes are close by and the clues seem straightforward enough.

I’ve even gone out myself a few times.  I admit it.  I love hiking this time of year.  It’s just the right temperature – not too hot, not too cold – and the forests are almost magical.  Like today.  I went to a park not too far away – Alice Newton Street Memorial Park – and walked almost two miles looking for letterboxes.  I didn’t notice that I walked through lunch.  The park was so beautiful.  It felt cared for.  Not necessarily cleaned or maintained, but that it was groomed and encouraged to grow.  Almost magical.


Magical Forest

I have a few more boxes in my log book than Teagan, and of course Ashlin.  Some of the trails aren’t quite suited for a five year old, though don’t tell her that.  Some of the trails, like yesterday, although pretty, I wouldn’t want Teagan on either.


But trails like today, I would go on again, and again, and again.  Even though I have already found all the boxes that forest contains.





Panorama from the top of a cliff – Yesterday


Super tall cliff – Yesterday


March 28, 2016 ~ The Day Before A Full Hand


Almost five


This one.  She’s turning five tomorrow.  A full hand.  For a while, she was nervous, scared even, about turning five.  It was a new number, she’d never been five before.  Eventually, she decided she was excited, and only a little nervous about it.  She is always a bit tentative about new things, even fun and exciting new things.  Still a very big snuggler, thankfully.  If at all possible, I really don’t want her to grow out of that.

She’s finally understood that she’ll always be my baby, even though she’s not a baby any more.  There may be a bit of baby fat there, but she’s not a baby.

She’s a sensitive soul, quick to feel big feelings.  One day she’s asking when I’m going to die.  (Nice, kid.  Just because you don’t like quiet time). Two days later she’s crying because she doesn’t want me to die, because I make the best sandwiches.  (I’ll take that, food is love).  She’ll cry if an animal is hurt in a show, or if someone is mean to someone else.  Watching Star Wars with her was an experience, as was Toy Story 2 (and Toy Story 3, and …)

She can count to 1,114 (just ask Stu!) and loves getting math questions right, though she thinks she doesn’t know how to do math. Frustration comes quickly to her, but can easily be banished with a few encouraging words.

I’m very much enjoying watching this little person develop and grow.

I love my peanut.

1 First Year - Ashlin5573231750_2b32df1a10

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March 4, 2016 ~ Can You Die Now, Please?

24927171090_6ea864efb2_zToday I had one of those conversations in the car with Ashlin.  One that leaves you with a sad heart.  We were almost home from Pre-K when the questions started…

Ashlin asked how many more days I would be alive. I told her I hoped it would be quite a while. She asked how many again, and I replied with many thousand I hope.

And daddy? When will he pass away?

Honey, why are you asking?

Because I want you to pass away. Now.

Oh, really? Why’s that?

Because I don’t love you any more.

You don’t love me? Or daddy?

No. [Ugh.  This hurt]

Well, I love daddy a little bit.

Oh. Ok. Why?

Because you make me go upstairs for quiet time and I don’t like quiet time. That’s why I want you to die.

Thanks kid.

The rest of the ride was us giggling about finding snow in yards, and some on a tree.

I think she realized, a little, that her statement was a bit hurtful, “that’s not nice, you don’t wish someone to die just because you don’t like quiet time.”

Everything was better after lunch.  She asked to snuggle with me, hoping I would fall asleep, and then she’d be able stay downstairs longer.  Because, yes, she still got quiet time today.  Still, she went upstairs easily enough for her quiet time.  Time I used to find out if we could do the party she wants and one that her aunt can attend.  Oh, and taking calls from the school nurse about Teagan’s two head injuries today. (She’s ok.  One was due to a collision with another kid, who wasn’t hurt, and the second was her walking into a door or wall because she wasn’t looking where she was going).


2015 in review

So, I finally got to look at my stats for the past year…  Looks like I need to write a bit more.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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January 26, 2016 ~ Dark Vader


Brave Girl Sleeping During A New Hope

Over the past few weeks we’ve started watching the original Star Wars trilogy with the girls.  Of course we started there.  There’s no way we’d let their first impressions of Star Wars be of JarJar Binks.

Each movie needed at least two attempts.  The first time there were too many questions and Ashlin fell asleep.  The second viewing of A New Hope went much better.

This past Sunday we tried The Empire Strikes Back.  This screening went much, much better although there were still a bunch of questions, and Teagan was a bit confused by Leia’s hair change (though she remembered the buns) and she couldn’t remember Han from minute to minute.

A couple of the questions from Teagan were:

  1. Can we live in a snow fort too?
  2. Why did they change Leia’s hair
  3. What’s the aminal-friend (wookie) doing to the ship?
  4. Did the ice monster hurt Luke?
  5. Why did they cut the aminal open?  (Tauntaun)
  6. Can I have a light saber?
  7. What is a swamp slug?
  8. How do worms live in space?
  9. Why is Yoda so short?
  10. What’s a bounty hunter?
  11. Is [that boy] Han dead?
  12. What is suspended animation?
  13. Will they get him out?
  14. Why is Luke sad if he found his father?

Questions.  She’s Full of Questions

She went to talk to Stu (who had to get some work one) before she went to bed.  Initially, she didn’t like the dark side, but thanks to Stu, thinks it may be better because they have cookies.  Well, she’s not sure…

Ashlin was pretty good, she had her own questions along the same lines as above.  But she was very excited to see her SW Advent Calendar figurines in the movie, more so than she was during A New Hope. (We really only saw the Jawa and their sand crawler, the storm trooper and the imperial destroyer in that movie.).  Eventually her questions petered out as she fell asleep right after Luke got to Dagobah.  She and I watched what she missed Monday after she got home from school.

Both girls found lots of joy in telling me that my phone was ringing..  I have had the Imperial March as my ringtone for the past five years, at least.  My girls think they are the funniest people in the room!


The Snow Tired Her Out!

I still need to share Ashlin’s questions/brain dump, because well:

We had to discuss the exogorth again, and how worms could live in space. She wants to have Yoda’s soup for dinner and IG-88 is her favorite bounty hunter. Bossk is a bit scary, and she likes how Darth Vader snores.  She cried over C3-PO being torn apart, Han being frozen and Luke losing his hand.  She cried because Luke was crying.

My favorite parting thought of hers was “Maybe Darth isn’t nice because he misses Luke.  Everyone needs to be with who they love.”



PS.  Teagan calls him Dark Vader.


December 21, 2015 ~ Letters to Santa

After Santa left yesterday, the girls decided that they better write him a letter.  I had tried to get them to work on their Santa letters a few times, but they weren’t really interested.  Now, they were.  They felt the immediacy.

Stu helped the girls focus, spell, think about what they wanted.  Teagan wrote hers, of course, but Ashlin got frustrated after a bit and asked Stu to help.

Teagan’s list is pretty straight forward:

  1. Stuffed animal puppy
  2. [Puppy] diary
  3. Coloring book
  4. New cartridge for her game (LeapPad)
  5. Stuffed bunny baby
  6. Lego set

This is managed.  We have a few lego sets, a couple coloring books, I picked up the diary she had wanted at the Book Fair.  There’s at least one new Leappad cartridge as well as a few books (chapter books!).

Ashlin’s letter to Santa is a bit of a different story:

  1. Stuffed animal warthog!
  2. Robot toy giraffe
  3. Legos (preferably pre-built, so she can play with them)
  4. New cartridge game (for her Leapster)
  5. New books (both paper and for the Tag Reader)
  6. New CD player – pink!
  7. Stars for my bedroom [ceiling] (like Teagan’s from IKEA)

This one is partially under control.  But there were two additions from left field – the robot giraffe and the stars for her ceiling like Teagan’s.  Notice, the warthog is managed, that’s not the odd wish.

I do love that she wants pre-built legos, though after this morning, and her success with her mini-build from her advent calendar, this may already have changed.  I’m not sure that she knows you can get pre-built lego sets, but she knows that her building skills aren’t that strong.  But she’s four, they don’t need to be that strong yet.

Hopefully they’ll be happy – estatic – with their presents.  Like they were yesterday with their dolls and pajamas.


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December 20, 2015 ~ Santa Came Early

Santa made an early visit to our house today. Twice.  Once by airmail, and the second by firetruck!  Thanks to the local fire department.

We let the girls open their presents from their Nana and Aunt Em this morning.  Topsy Turvy dolls that Nana had hand knit along with a personalized knit ornament for the tree and a book to match their doll. They both LOVED them and didn’t put the dolls down for the rest of the day. Each asked for their book to be read at bedtime.

Later this afternoon, after some quiet time, we heard a siren outside.  We all got up to see what was up, and they saw the truck come down and around the corner.  At first they had no idea what was going on, we usually don’t get firetrucks on our road.  Once they saw Santa get out they got excited, totally surprised.  They were still a bit curious.  They knew it wasn’t Christmas yet.  It hadn’t even been LaLa’s birthday yet.



Thankfully they were super polite as Santa came up and told them he was doing an early delivery today, and asked if they wanted a present.  Both said “yes, please” with no prompting.  Almost no prompting.  Ashlin started her excited jump, but was able to stand still long enough for a candy cane and a picture.  Notice, there is much less fear on her face than the last time she sat with Santa.  Yay!

Stu and I hustled them in as the truck drove away, they were so eager to open their presents.   The Santa ones.  Watching their joy as they ripped off the wrapping paper was worth the small fee to have the special delivery.  Ashlin was able to get her present unwrapped first and her head exploded.  Rainbow Dash pajamas with a hood with ears and a rainbow mane.  They’re footie pj’s without the feet, one piece with a zip.  We got “I love them!” from both girls, and “this is the best day ever” – over and over – from Ashlin.  Neither girl could wait for bedtime to put them on.

Yeah.  I got them matching pajamas.  With a hood.  I am an awesome mom!

Rainbow Dash, Small Version

Rainbow Dash, Larger Version



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December 18 ~ Quick! Catch-up!

My Two Front Teeth!

It feels as if I was just here, writing about Teagan losing her first tooth.  But no, it’s been four months.  To the day.  Crazy.  Teagan has now lost a total of four teeth.  Just in time, too.  She’s already learned the required song.

She lost the other top tooth about two months ago, and we still don’t see any sign of the adult one coming in.  For awhile, the top and bottom were missing and she looked like she had a coin slot in her mouth.  Also, the tooth fairy is out of (affordable) pirate Lego sets to leave.

Her reading skills have leaped forward, she’s almost able to read books – she can read a few of the pages from Fortunately, The Milk – which is a pretty cool book.

Oh, and she’s earned her white belt in Taekwondo.  And her first trophy.

Ashlin is gearing up for Kindergarten.  Already.  She’s started with Raz-Kids, and can identify some of her sight words. Yes, the four-year-old has sight words.  Also, she’s super jealous of her sister and the tooth fairy visits.

Also!  She was brave enough to go up and take a picture with Santa.  She’s not super happy about it, but she did it. Twice. She was super excited when we saw Santa walking on the street after the town’s tree lighting that she couldn’t stay still.  The blur is Ashlin.  Teagan was so full of awe when he stopped to chat with her, you could see the pure amazement and joy on her face.

Talking to Santa

Hoping you all have a happy start to your holiday season!