Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A paint day

I feel guilty since Claire is the poor second child, I hardly ever do artwork with her like I did with Olivia. So the other day, I gathered some paint, paper, paintbrush and water. We already had plastic for our house painting jobs.

She had fun, I just wish I had taken a picture at the end. I left her momentarily unattended and I heard her cry/whine, she came to me holding the open container of yellow paint and yellow paint all around her nose, totally covering her nose, around the eyes and mouth. I debated getting the camera or cleaning her up...well, I was afraid it would get in her eyes, so I opted for the latter. I took her over to the sink, I told her to close her eyes and of course, she wouldn't so I just proceeded to splash water on her and clean off the paint. After I cleaned her up, she was still upset saying "nose"..."nose" so I had her blow her nose a few times, she got yellow paint up her nose! I wonder if this happened because she was trying to smell the paint?!

Monday, September 25, 2006


To all my blog readers (cuz I know you're out there), we will be leaving town on Friday for a 2 week vacation. We are going to Orlando to visit Walt Disney World for 8 days. We are meeting up with friends of mine (and Olivia's best friend from Danville) and friends of my hubby. We are then going to spend about 5-6 days in Fort Lauderdale. So it will probably be a while till I blog.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Our new car!

It's a Honda Odyssey, isn't it pretty?! Claire seems to like it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Claire's cute saying

Lately Claire points and asks about everything...'what's that?' 'what's this, momma?'. She has also starting asking it this way: 'what's that thang?' It's so cute, it sounds like she has a Texas twang in spite of being a native Californian!

Car buying is such a game

And you really have to know how to play it. My hubby is in charge of negotiating (with a little help from our friend, M), cuz I am horrible with numbers and finance. So we are working with the Toyota dealer and the Honda dealer. So far, the Toyota dealer offered us a good deal, but they only have a white (frost pearl) minivan on their lot. Both our cars are white or some variation of white and it would be nice to have a different color. I think he is hunting down another color to try and close this sale!!

We've been negotiating with Honda, but they just haven't come down to what we wanted. I talked to the salesman today. He called and I think he was trying to figure out how serious we are and if we made a decision. I told him we thought he would come down more and he was hemming and hawing, saying they offered (only)$400 over the invoice...blah...blah. I told him we haven't bought a van yet and haven't made a decision and that he would have to talk to my hubby this evening. We are looking at the 2006, and we know they have to get rid of those since the 2007 models are coming in.

We came so close to buying a new van last night, but decided we didn't want to rush into it. We almost bought the white Sienna, but the color was holding me back. They are both great vans, maybe the Honda is a bit nicer, it had more power and more control in turning. But both are better than the Nissan Maxima we have. Can't figure out if we get the Sienna which can hold 7 people total (vs. 8 in the Honda) if we will miss out on the extra passenger space? The captain's seat in the Honda is really tiny anyway so I'm not sure how often we would use it. If friends came to visit us, say...a family of 4, then I'm sure we could all squeeze into the Honda, although it might be a bit uncomfortable. I know in the future, we might be doing carpools, etc. so it will be nice either way to have space for carpooling.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Car shopping

At least now, we have a rental that can safely fit all 4 of us. Tonight, we are going car (minivan) shopping. We will probably buy a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. What do you think? Anyone drive either of those minivans?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In Olivia's words...

"Our car is broken."

Yep, we had an accident yesterday on the way to a baby shower. Thankfully, everyone is okay, except our car :(. The front end is all messed up. Olivia told daddy she wanted a new car...a minivan! All I can say about the accident is that I wasn't driving...

We were headed to a shower for an employee of my husband's company and it so happened another employee drove by and saw us so he gave us all a ride to the shower and then home afterwards. We are currently without transportation, well, except for my husband's 'baby' a.k.a. the Mitsubishi 3000 GT which seats 2 comfortably and 4 uncomfortably (the carseats don't really fit in there).

Olivia's first soccer game

It was fun to watch all the kids chasing that soccer ball down the field, up the field, towards the wrong goal and way off the field! Olivia seemed to enjoy it, although she had a hard time keeping up with the bigger kids. I'm now glad she is on a team with bigger and older kids. She seemed to really watch and take in what they were doing. The coach said she did really good for her age. He said some kids just stand there or don't even want to play, but she really tried to keep up. There is only one other girl on the team (there was another girl, but I think she may have dropped out, I'm not sure what happened to her) and she takes every opportunity to socialize with her. She is starting to interact with the boys a little too, she seemed really intimidated in the beginning by all the boys.

Sequoia-Kings National Park

We took our time getting there, but when we arrived, it was beautiful...some of the views were breathtaking and the Giant Sequoias were amazing. We ended up buying an annual pass to the national parks so now we will HAVE to go to Yosemite some time within the next 12 months!

On the way up, we stopped at this little cafe called the Cider Mill cafe, they have a cider mill, so I ordered apple cider with my sandwich and it was delicious. Nice little mom and pop type cafe on the way to the park. Here is a couple of pictures of our pit stop.

We drove to the General Sherman tree trail and brought out our double jogger, however there were several short flights of stairs on the trail on the way down, my hubby managed fine the way down, but ended up having to pick us up at the bottom (at the accessible parking lot). The General Sherman tree is the largest single trunked tree in the world, according to the Park Ranger that was there. It is unbelievable how huge these trees are. They are about 2000 years old. It was amazing to be in nature, it's easy to forget how beautiful nature is when you spend all your time in cities. I definitely have the 'bug' to go to Yosemite now.

After we spent time admiring the trees we decided to head to the Giant Forest museum. While we were waiting for my hubby to pick us up at the accessible parking, some people walked by us, shouting 'bears!', 'there's bears', and I looked down the road to see 2 black bears heading down the hill from the road about 200 feet from us. They were too fast for the girls to see. My hubby picked us up (he didn't believe me about the bears :) ) and we drove to the museum, it's a small museum, but had interesting information about restoration and preservation of the forest and the giant Sequoias.

We missed another encounter with bears, there, too. I passed by a woman that asked 'Did you see the bears? They were right on the trail!' By the way, in the parking lots, the Park has provided lockers for food from the cars, as bears have been known to break into cars. Hmmm, I had a banana and some snacks in my backpack, were these bears we kept missing hunting my banana down???

We headed back out of the Park about 4pm. Hopefully, next time we can go to Crystal cave, it was about a 45 minute drive from the main road inside the park. We had a great time, only thing is some of us get carsick while driving on winding roads. I felt carsick and Olivia threw up.

On the way back to Tulare for outlet shopping, we passed this lake called Kaweah lake, there was a dam there and it was interesting, here are a couple of pictures. You can see the lines where the water was and also how green it is in the valley with everything else around brown from lack of rain. We couldn't figure out if the water level rises during the year, but then what happens to the house boats and I could have sworn I saw a building or 2 down there.
Kaweah lake:

Dinner at Carl Jr's:

Friday, September 15, 2006

Off to see the Giant Sequoias today

We are taking a day trip to the Sequoia-Kings National Park today with the girls. Ever since I was a young child I have wanted to see the Giant trees. My grandmother had a viewmaster with slides from her trip to California and I always remember seeing a particular slide showing a car driving through a tree...I thought it was pretty cool!

Rambling Muse from my blog list also recently made the same trip. She has some wonderful pictures from her trip... hopefully I will get some nice pictures, too.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Tonight we went to the local Greek Festival at St. George's Greek Orthodox church. I grew up going to the Greek Festival in Houston and always enjoyed the wonderful homemade food, Greek music and Greek dancing. One of my favorite things about the one in Houston was the travel film about Greece...because of that, I longed to visit Greece...unfortunately, I never made it there while I studied and traveled in Europe. Sigh...maybe someday.

This is a much smaller festival than the one I've been to in Houston, but the food was still delicious and the music was enjoyable, Claire loved dancing to the music. They had bounce houses for the kids which Olivia enjoyed and we tried to go on a 'tour' (it was really more of a history lesson of the origin of Greek Orthodox churches) of the church...however, Claire got to antsy and we had to leave. We missed out on the dancing because it wasn't going to happen till 8 or 9pm, which is past the girls' bedtime. We got there around 5:30pm and left about 7:30pm...when we left, the line to get in was very long...we were glad we went early!

Food booths:

The combo plate my husband got...the souvlaki(kebabs) were my favorite...besides the pastries, of course:

Greek musicians:

Vendors...I thought these vintage handbags looked beautiful:

Pictures of the outside of the church:

Line to get in, it wrapped around the corner:

Went to the park today

Ok, so I was trying to start a playgroup in the neighborhood. Some of you know about my efforts (turned out to be fruitless) of posting flyers on the neighborhood mailboxes in the area promoting a neighborhood playgroup, well, today was the day...and no one showed up. For those of you that don't know, I taped flyers on our mailboxes (they are at the end of our street in our neighborhood) some locations, I saw flyers for businesses or for a missing pet. I also discovered my flyers disappearing...I thought it was pretty weird. I've come to the conclusion, it must have been teenagers just causing trouble. I also put some information in the free local weekly paper.

Anyway, despite that setback, I am happy to announce I have been meeting people. Yesterday I went to a local mom's group at a park. I couldn't stay long because of Claire's nap schedule, but I got to meet some nice people. Also, today, one of the mom's from Olivia's school (the mom of the boy with a crush on Olivia) met us at the park (where the playgroup was supposed to be).

Here are pictures of the girls at the park.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The next Mia Hamm

This evening was the first soccer practice for Olivia's YMCA soccer team.
We showed up, found the 2 coaches and looked for the team...boy...boy...boy...Olivia...boy...boy...boy, you get the picture. There are 3 girls and 9 boys on her team. Olivia seemed a little overwhelmed by all the boys, so I suggested she go say hi to one of the other girls and they quickly became friends.

I think we will need to work with her some at home. The boys all seem as if they have played before and there were some BIG boys on the team! I wasn't sure if she was enjoying it, but afterwards when I asked her how it went, she said "good" I guess that's good? She really did seem to work at it and tried her best.

Towards the end of practice, the coaches gathered the team to try to decide on a name. A few kids raised their hands. I saw Olivia raising her hand and I was thinking she would probably suggest something like the 'Princess team'. Anyway, the team came up with the name 'Lightening' and they will wear purple shirts.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Spent the weekend up north

We decided to go up to the Bay area this weekend for a short getaway. We mostly spent time with my husband's uncle, shopping and visiting...I mean helping my husband's cousin with unpacking near Sacramento. I sure miss northern California. The first morning, we came outside and it felt so cool...I miss that. And it is just so beautiful with all the hills, mountains, trees. We also met good friends for dinner, it was nice to catch up with them. I hope we'll make some good friends in Bako. It was really nice to getaway from the heat, gossiping neighbors, the dust....