Friday, June 29, 2012

Finger painting in the tub

It's been SO hot here lately, I don't want to go outside and Bean runs herself ragged in the heat until her cheeks are bright red and she's a sweaty, limp-noodle shell of her normal self. I have been trying to think of things to do inside, but she's been getting bored easily.

I had bought some Crayola fingerpaint and had a genius idea: Let her go paint crazy in the bathtub! The paints are washable, right? So why not let her paint the tub and herself and then just wash it all down the drain when she's had her fill?!

Yesterday, an hour before lunchtime, that's what I decided to let her do. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to do at first, but it didn't take long for her to jump in. She had the tub and herself covered in no time! I think she loved to have the paint squishing between her fingers, she loved seeing the colors bright on the wall and on her skin. She was entertained for over an hour with only 4 blobs of finger paint. I will definitely be doing this again!

I was relieved when the paint did wash off easily. The paint that had dried came off with a quick swipe of a wet washcloth and the paint that had dried on her skin came off with her normal baby bodywash (California Baby) - no scrubbing required!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6 days in San Francisco!

I've been MIA from my blog for awhile. First, my good friend Larissa bought me a plane ticket to go visit her in San Francisco. It was a combo gift: part bday present, part Christmas present, part last-trip-before-Bean-needs-her-own-plane-ticket present. I have amazing friends and I am so thankful for Larissa's generosity! Second, travelling with an almost-two-year-old for 6 days is exhausting. (Day one was just flying there, I had 4 full days of visiting, day 6 was flying back to Colorado.) I got back to Colorado late on the 19th, it's now the 28th. I'm just now getting back into my normal routine. A lot of lounging around, s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking, and visiting with family has taken place since we've been back. The idea of writing a blog post and posting a TON of pics just seemed to daunting, so I've been putting it off. But, after a great morning this morning I'm feeling recharged.... so here it goes!

Larissa knew how much I loooooooooove San Francisco, and how long it had been (7 years!) since I'd been there to visit. She got a settlement in a legal case and generously decided on her own to surprise me with a trip out to see her and my favorite Bay. She called me and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. ;) She said anytime after her graduation-date (with her Masters degree!!!) up until Bean's 2nd bday (when she would need her own plane ticket) was open for her. After speaking with her and Jeff we finally decided on dates to fly out there and fly back. (Jeff and I are still relatively new to this whole parenting gig and NEITHER of us realized that I would be in SF over Father's Day! Oops!! Though, I really tried to make it up to him by getting him some super awesome gifts and hiding them throughout the house so that on Father's Day we could call him and he'd have a scavenger hunt to do in order to find his gifts! I hope it made up for our oversight! xoxo!)

The week before the trip I was STRESSED about packing. I always stress about packing, but in the past I've gone to visit people who have kids of their own, so if I forgot something odds were that my friend would have it for us to borrow/use. None of my SF have kids so I didn't want to forget anything. My packing list was a bit OCD, but it got the job done. On Southwest you're allowed 2 checked bags, 1 carry on and 1 personal item - plus car seats/strollers can be checked for free. I had two large suitcases, the diaper bag, camera bag and her huge convertible car seat. Totally do-able if Jeff would have been coming with us, but alone? Sheesh-Louise! That was a feat at the airport! Thank the Lord for those $5 luggage carts!

Larissa lives in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, the houses are gorgeous, the hills are steep, and the local culture is colorful. I love the electric energy in big cities, and being that this was the first time I've gotten to stay in the city (as opposed to at a hotel in the tourist-areas), I can say for certain that the energy in SF is definitely electric - and eclectic! I loved it, so much!!

The first morning we got up and went down to the 'Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf/Embarcadero' part of town. In the past, this is where my mom and I have stayed and spent most of our time. It's the touristy stuff, but it's still fun so I wanted to go again this trip.

On the way back to Larissa's house we stopped at a tea cafe and had an amazing tea-for-two with cucumber finger sandwiches, scones, biscotti and some amazingly delicious herbal tea. Their mission-statement is pretty awesome too, they take people who've spent time in the prison system and they teach them a new skill-set, giving them an opportunity to get work experience to help get them back on their feet. The food was awesome and the service was great! I highly recommend Crossroads Cafe.

That night we went on a short hike to the top of a mountain in a neighborhood park by Larissa's house. The view was amazing. We could see almost the entire city from up there!!

Day 2 was spent with our long-time friends Sarah and Jaynie who were nice enough to come from Sacramento to visit us! First, we went to Baker Beach, which I have always wanted to go to! It was breathtakingly beautiful. If I could have, I would have spent all day there. Just looking around and listening to the waves. After the group of us had our fill of sun, sand and kite flying we got back in the cars and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. Something else I'd never done, but had wanted to for many years. If it wasn't a toll road I would have asked to go back and forth over it 5 times. It's amazing to look at from afar, and even more awesome up close and personal. Earlier this year was the 75th anniversary of the GGB and from my understanding, the celebration was pretty epic - I'm just so grateful that I got to see it in person. I've got a serious love-affair with that bridge and it's something I'll never forget. On the other side of the bridge, we drove over and parked by the Presidio Yacht Club to take pictures of the GGB from a different angle. Again - stunning. The name of the Yacht Club is pretty insignificant, but thanks to some unfortunate car trouble, I have committed to memory the name of where we were parked - since we had to call a tow truck. (Don't leave a Prius' accessory-feature on for more than.... 5ish minutes as it will kill the battery QUICKLY!) But, now I know of a great place to go, in the future, if I want to take amazing pictures from the less-popular, but equally stunning side of the GGB. 

 Me, wanting to get in on the kite flying action. Bean, refusing to play with me. Ha!

I hung my head and expensive camera out of the car window to take these pictures!

Day 3 was spent at Adventure Playground and flying a big, trick, kite at Cesar Chavez Park across The Bay Bridge in Berkeley. 

Sarah and Jaynie went back home to Sacramento after our day in Berkeley. I was so happy to spend a couple days with them, I've missed them so much since we all moved away from Las Vegas.

Day 4 was spent hitting up Ghirardelli Square as well as stopping at the Mrs. Doubtfire house and the famous Painted Ladies houses - which anyone born in the 80s knows are the Full House houses to take pictures. 

The rest of our visit was spent stopping at Trader Joes and In-N-Out, both of which I've been missing in Colorado, and then coloring with side-walk chalk on the staircase outside of Larissa's house. Just relaxing while repacking, watching movies after Bean went to sleep, fancy fingernail painting - one of Larissa's many talents, just hanging out. It was a busy, fun filled, exhausting, exciting, wonderful trip and I was sad to say goodbye to my favorite bay and to some of my favorite people. 

However, 6 days is a long time to be away from the best Daddy, and both Bean and I were SO happy to see him again at the Denver Airport. I can't say 'thank you' enough to Larissa for flying us out. We love and miss her so much! 

Phew! Now that I got all that out, I'll get back to my regularly scheduled blog posting!

Monday, June 11, 2012

High Park Fire

Saturday morning another wildfire started in the foothills to the Northwest of us. It has been reported confirmed as being started by lightning. It wasn't raining, so I'm going to guess it was heat lightning? I don't know, but regardless, it's been so hot (in the mid-nineties which is unheard of this time of year) and so dry that whatever started it there were perfect conditions for the fire to spread fast and wide. It has done both, unfortunately!

Saturday 8pm

Sunday night's reported acres burned was totaled approx 20,000. The winds really picked up once the sun set, which didn't bode well for the firefighters who had already been working for 24+ hours.

 Sunday 4pm
Sunday 8:25pm

By this morning (Monday) the fire area had almost doubled to just shy of 37,000 acres burned. The winds calmed down and seemed to have shifted, though, because when I woke up the apartment didn't seem as smokey. Both Saturday and Sunday nights I was woken up by the smell of the smoke that had crept in through our closed windows. When I looked out the window this morning it wasn't as hazy, but the potted flowers on our patio had a covering of ash all over all their leaves so it was clear the air was thick with smoke and ash overnight.

While Jeff worked he sent me picture texts of the smoke billowing over the tops of the hills and creeping down through the valleys up at Horsetooth Reservoir. It takes about 7 minutes, driving, to get from our apartment to Horsetooth Reservoir so the close proximity was making me nervous. Throughout the day I checked the Larimer County and the Larimer Sheriff Dept's websites for official updates, I watched the live video feed where I was able to see the helicopters dip their fill bags into the reservoir and take the water back to the burn areas. It started to make me really anxious so I had to turn them off when Bean woke up from her nap and just focused on playing, coloring, and dancing with her.

When Jeff got home from work I packed up Bean's dinner and we loaded up in the car. We drove up to Horsetooth to see the damage first hand. There were hundreds of people up there with the same idea. Cars lined the roadsides, the picnic areas were full of people with binoculars and cameras, but regardless of how crowded it was it was remarkably quiet. People talked in hushed tones, the most noticeable noises I heard were the clicking of camera shutters and the airplane engines that flew overhead. It was really fascinating to watch the planes drop the flame retardant. There was a 'marker' plane who would fly in front, get directly over where the retardant was supposed to go, and then spit out a puff of smoke to 'mark' the area. Then there was one or two planes following behind who would drop the orange colored retardant on the hot spots below. The planes flew in a constant loop, their pilots working hard.

 Marker plane
 Reddish-Orange Retardant

 Planes circling back around 

We drove a bit further north in the direction of where the fire started and saw helicopters dropping water on the area back there. It was sobering to see just how close the fire had gotten to the farmlands on the outskirts of town. The barns that were close enough to see into were, for the most part, evacuated. I don't think there were many mandatory evacuations that far down into the plains, but there have been many recommended evacuations in the last three days.

Helicopter with water bag hanging below

Today ends the third day of the fire and at the last report I read it's still at 0% containment. According to the Larimer County Emergency Information Page 41,140 acres have burned, approximately 100 buildings have been damaged or destroyed and 1 person has died. Because it's still 0% contained the numbers will only go up from here. 

If you're the praying type, prayers are needed up here for the firefighters and volunteers working around the clock to try to get a handle on this fire, for the homeowners who live and work out there, and for the animals - of both the wild and farm varieties - whose homes are being threatened and destroyed. If you're not the praying type perhaps you could send a few positive thoughts this way. If you're the rain-dance type we could use a ton of rain too. I know that wildfire can actually be good for the environment, but it's still scary when it's so close to home.

Here are some more pictures from today's trip up to Horsetooth.

 Monday 7pm