Monday, 20 July 2009

Micah's First

Amazingly, one year has passed since we welcomed Micah into the family. And while the year has appeared to fly by it's easy to see how long it really is by looking at the progress Micah has made. Apart from having his older brothers and sisters (usually) at his beck and call, he has also charmed quite a few friends of the family. Probably something about those blue eyes and easy grin ...

So we celebrated his successful completion of his first year on the planet with the usual gift-giving and a family dinner, the menu being a favourite of the celebratee. Gifts included a ride-on car -- he has very strong legs -- and a mini basketball. He loves to throw the ball and chase it. A fairly good arm too.
Micah is quite a fan of moving places fast -- so we thought he should have a new set of wheels.

The menu was chosen by Gaynor which she based on careful observation of the speed with which he wolfed down certain foods. Consequently, we enjoyed a lovely dinner of chicken drumsticks and corn on the cob. Of course, Gaynor's now-traditional, Year One Gateaux was a particular treat.
Too busy with a drumstick to blow out your own candles? You need Family Helpers(TM)!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Summer Holiday 2009

One of the ironic exchanges made for us when moving to the US from Europe was the vast improvement in weather coupled with a vast reduction in work holidays in which to enjoy said weather. So it was with a fair bit of anticipation that we organised a couple of weeks away.

There had been an intention to make it all the way up the west coast to Vancouver and renew our entry visas. In the end, a lack of available appointments at the US Consulate in Vancouver meant that the focus of the trip shifted to relaxing with a bit of sightseeing. Northern California was still on the radar starting with a few days -- including the Fourth of July -- with some good friends in San Jose. During those days we made our second trip into San Francisco with Gaynor desperate to hunt down some `decent Chinese food'. Apart from the House of Nanking, sights included Coit Tower and rides on the cable car. The cable car was fun but seems mostly for tourists as the waits to get on were fairly lengthy.

The owners of some cute backsides look over San Francisco Bay from near Coit Tower

Gaynor gets some satisfaction.

We also enjoyed a little time down at Santa Cruz

So after the hospitality of San Jose we headed north-west to camp and relax. Basically days of doing nothing but eating, sleeping, reading, talking and running amok. We did rouse ourselves for a day trip into Sacramento -- nice but a return visit probably isn't necessary -- and another day in Yosemite National Park -- popular, spectacular and well worth going back!

The trip back through the San Joaquin Valley was a bit warm, especially without air conditioning in the van. I believe the high was 41C (106F) and the children coped with it very well using cooler packs and spray bottles to keep themselves from over-heating. Micah was a pretty fair traveller and we arrived home just on his first birthday.

Strolling through the gardens of the Capitol Building in Sacramento

Mara is speechless at the spectacular scenery.

Panorama of Yosemite Valley taken on our way out of the park.

More photos from this trip on Flickr.