Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lauren and Jillian in the Teacup

In the boat for Small World

Eric, Riley and Lauren

The big lollypop

Lauren, Daddy and Mickey

Lauren and Pluto

Roger Rabbit ride

The Moose topiary

lauren and Daddy in the Teacups


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Disneyland 2005 (Jillian's Birthday)

Dear Lauren,

A few weeks ago, we went down to Disneyland for your friend Jillian’s birthday. I think that we’ve been there a few times already. I picked you up at school on Friday and we went to the airport. We flew down to LA, and Jillian and her mom, Pam, picked us up and we drove down to the hotel we were staying at. On the way down, we played a game where I would say the name of an animal and what it looked like, but I would get it wrong. I’d say “A cat lives in the ocean, and has eight legs”. And then you’d say, “No, that’s an octopus.” And, I’d say “No, an octopus lives on a farm and gives milk.” And, you’d say “No, that’s a cow.” And, I’d say “You don’t know your animals very well. A cow says ‘quack’, and lives on a pond.”

The next morning, we got up pretty early, had breakfast at Denny’s and walked over to the park. The first ride we went on was the Teacups. All four of us went in the same teacup, and spun around a lot. It was really fun. Next, we went over to It’s a Small World, which was your current favorite ride. We rode Small World about 5 times over the two days we were at Disneyland. This year, there was a topiary of a moose. :-) There were other bushes shaped like animals, and we played the animal game again.

Pam’s boyfriend, Eric, came along and brought his daughter Riley. Riley was a pretty good sport about hanging out with us, and going on the rides.

We hung out in ToonTown, where we went on the Roger Rabbit ride, which was a favorite from your last trip there. There was a roller coaster in ToonTown that we went on. We also went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which used to scare you a little bit when the boat went over the little waterfall, but now you say it’s your favorite.

I took your picture with Pluto.

Saturday afternoon, we went back to the hotel and took naps, so we could go back to Disneyland at night for more rides and the fireworks. The fireworks were amazing. There were smiley faces, and hearts, and Tinkerbelle was flying around over the park with her wand.

You were a really fun person to go to Disneyland with. Sometime, I’d just look at you and feel so overwhelmed with how much I love you. I loved swimming in the pool at the hotel. I liked having lunch at the Italian restaurant. I liked how we talked about getting a big lollypop, and I liked that you’re just a lot of fun to travel with.

I Love you,


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

First day of kindergarden

Today was your first day of Kindergarden.

First day of school

I am so excited. I met you down in Santa Cruz first thing in the morning because the school, Spring Hill, was having a pancake breakfast for the parents and students. You were too busy playing with Mia and Claire to eat much. You did have some bacon, because you love bacon.

Claire and Mia

After the breakfast, we went down to your new classroom. You already knew where it was because you'd been to the same school for summer camp. We got to your classroom, and they had a table set up with stickers that had your name on them and a red apple with your name on it on a string. You were one of the first kids to pick out your cubby for your stuff. You picked on on the top row, and put your name sticker in it.

Choosing your cubby

Before you put your name tag around your neck, I wore it and kept saying that I wanted to go to school and you were going to go to work. Then you put it on. I am so proud of you when I look at this picture that I can hardly stand it. I just think about all of the great things that you'll have fun doing. Even just the smell of the classroom reminded me of going to school when I was your age, and it brought back such wonderful memories of innocence and joy.

I'm so proud of you

The best part of the whole day was when I called you at night to ask you how it was. You sounded so excited, You said "I LOVED it!! It was GREAT!!" You said it was really fun, even more fun than you expected.

Your classroom

It was really special for me to hear about how excited you were. It made me very happy to picture you in your classroom with the other kids having a really great time.

I love you.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Sodus Point, NY - Summer 2005

We spent a week at Sodus Point. Your cousin Hannah was there, along with Bammer and Grandpa. Your aunt Annie and Uncle Ted were there for one day, with your cousins Stephen and Brian. Your grandmother is called "Bammer", because when your cousin caroline, the first grandchild, was little she couldn't say "Grandma".

Sodus is a place that I went to a lot as a kid. We sometimes would spend almost the whole summer there. My father, your grandfather went there when he was a little boy too.

We stay in a small cottage. It's next door to the house where we stayed when I was little. My uncle Jack and my cousins Neal, Bruce and Janet along with their spouses and kids stay in the old house.

The house is on a beautiful bay. Ducks swim by the house, and swans. Sometimes you can see a Great Blue Heron fly past.

Sodus Bay as seen from the cottage

The house has a dock, where your cousin Brian likes to fish. You can catch a lot of fish there, but you have to let them go after you catch them. Last year, before you took swimming lessons, you had to wear a life jacket on the dock in case you fell in. That made you mad. This year, because you're a good swimmer, you can hang out without it.

Hanging out on the dock

One of your favorite things to do with Hannah is play a game called Rat-a-Tat Cat. You've made up your own rules, called "Rats are the Best". As far as I can tell, you both draw cards until someone has all rats in their hand. You and I playes a few games with the regular rules. We also played a game called Slamwich, and another game which I forget the name. But, you had to fib about your cards, and if you got caught, you had to take another nose card and your nose got longer.

Rat-a-Tat Cat

Tubing is the number one water sport these days. When your aunts Sarah and Anne and I used to go up, it was water skiing. I think you'll probably ski or wakeboard when you get older. Most of the kids go behind the big boat, 'cause they're bigger. But you like to go behind the Georgie Boat. This is an old Aluminum fishing boat with a 4 HP outboard motor on it. My great uncle George bought it a log time ago. George is your grandfather's uncle. Anyway, I used to love the Georgie Boat as a kid, and now you like to go tubing behind it with Hannah. One of the times we went tubing this trip, you fell out of the tube when I started the boat fast. I went back and picked you up, and then we rode together in the boat for a bit. Then you wanted to go back in the tube.

At the dock with Bammer and Grandpa

While we were up there, there was a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a pretty big hurricane, and it brought some wind and rain up to Sodus. Nothing scary, but it did bloiw the tubes off the lawn into the Bay. They were lost for a few days, but then Dillon halligan found them in his boat.

Lauren and Hannah in the big tube

Your other favorite activity is looking for shells in the water. You also found some rocks you like, some sea glass, and a piece of an old pottery bowl that was blue and white and very pretty. My favorite shells are the spiral shells. I saved a few of the things you found, and they're in your treasure box.

Looking for shells

Bammer and Grandpa have a Old English Sheepdog named Sonoma. You love Sonoma, or "Mo-mo". She hangs around the house and doesn't run away. At night, we walk her on the golf course that's across the small street from the cottage. Sonoma loves to go in the water, and follows the kids around.

"Bammer" and Sonoma

Here is a picture of you playing with something that your Bammer though of from her childhood. You and Hannah got some chestnuts from a chestnut tree. Then, you went to the beach and found some seagull feathers. My dad and I put a tack in the chestnut and tied it to the feather. Then you guys went over to the golf course and threw them in the air. It was pretty fun.

Chestnuts and feathers

Throwing the "conkers"

It really was a wonderful week. Every morning we got to snuggle for a little bit. Then we had breakfast together. You like lots of bacon, but not eggs. For lunch, I would make you a grilled cheese sandwich, sometimes with bacon. I also made you a turkey sandwich which you took with you to the doll museum with Hannah and Bammer. I think that there were dolls there, but I mostly heard from you about a pretend store where you could pick 5 things, and then take them to a cash register and check them out. You brought home the receipts. Your receipts all had some healthy food, like a pork chop and some green beans. And some ice cream.

we went to a place called Burnap's farm, where they have a maze made in a corn field, and a train you can play on. And some ice cream.

This is how you looked for most of the trip. It was a great time for me, and I love being with you.


By the way, you are a really fun person to travel with. You're a great flier, and fun to play with on airplanes. But, on this trip home, you mostly slept.

I love you.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day picnics and singing cowboys on horses

Dear Lauren -
I had such a wonderful Fathers Day with you. I want to tell you about all the nice things that you made me, and what we did to celebrate - just the two of us.

First, on Friday when your mom dropped you off, we had a special dinner. Momma and Otto stayed, and we had David and Stephanie and Cole come over also. Stephanie was pregnant with their new baby, who will be a girl, but I don;t know what her name will be. Cole is your friend, here is a picture of Cole and you when you were about 2-1/2 years old.

We had fresh crab with melted butter, and salad (you hate salad), and green beans and corn on the cob. You like when I pick the crab out of its shell and give it to you for dipping in the melted butter. I don;t think that Otto had any crab, but your mother liked it. You were a big helper, and set the table. First you cleared off all the toys, and then spread out an old white sheet. We eat crab off of the coffee table in the living room, sitting on the floor. The sheet is for the melted butter. After dinner, you played trains with Cole, and David, Stephanie and I hung out and talked. It was a very fun night, we stayed up late and then had our stories ("I Love you, Stinky Face" and "Red is a Dragon") and songs (I don't remember exactly, but it was probably "A You're Adorable" and "Twinkle Little Star" two times.)

On Saturday, we played around the house a little bit and then went to visit my friend Alison (she has a cat named Blake that you played with). We also shopped for our picnic lunch for the play on Sunday.

Sunday morning, we drove up to Mill Valley, near Mt. Tamalpaias. We were going to see the Mountain Play, which is a musical play they do every year at an amphitheatre on top of Mt. Tam.

This year it was Oklahoma, and it was going to have real horses and carriages in it. We went to a place where we parked, and took a yellow school bus up the mountain with a bunch of other people.

We go to the play very early, so we could put our stuff in a good spot. Then we went to watch a puppet show about animals in a circus. They had a horse with a girl who cvould ride it, and a lion and an elephant. Some clowns too, but the horse was your favorite, and the lion and the elephant were tied for my favorite. We watched the puppets twice whele we waited for the play to start.

We got you a straw cowboy hat, which was good since it was very sunny. We had a lot of sunscreen too, so nobody got sunburned.

The play was very exciting. It started with a man, Curly, who rode in singing a song called "Oh, what a beautiful morning".

There was a lot of dancing, and horses. There was a stagecoach which came it with two horses pulling it. They driver of the stagecoach had to make the horses go backwards when he wanted them to turn around. it was great.

We ate our picnic lunch, and then we took the bus back down the mountain and drove home.

You were a great helper all day. You helped plan what we were going to have for lunch. You helped carry stuff. You helped pick out a spot to sit.

I really enjoy spending time with you. It's a lot of fun to do things with you, I like when you cuddle up next to me when you're sleepy and put your head on my shoulder. I like when we share things to eat. I like when we do things that make you happy.

Ohm I almost forgot to talk about all the nice things you made me. You made me a tile at a pottery shop that I can put hot things on. You made me a nice card which you wrote "Happy Father's Day" in. And, on the night befopre father's day, you made me a special picture. On one side there is a unicorn with sparkles all around it. He's jumping over a dolphin in the water. And, on the back were like 25 read hearts, as you always say "Hearts for 'I Love You'". You cut out some little shapes, hearts and triangles, and taped them in the corners. it was a very special present. I saved it.

I love you Lauren. You're growing up to be such a great little kid. I'm so happy and excited to see you grow. And I'm very lucky to be your daddy.

Love, Daddy

Monday, June 06, 2005

Campouts, tuna and rollercoasters

Dear Lauren -

We had a big weekend this last few days. First, on Friday night, we had a camp out at your school, Montessori Scotts Valley. A bunch of the kids from your class and some of their parents came up to the school at around 6:30. We set up tents in the playground area, and all the kids got to play until long after dark - well past your bedtime. We had a campfire, and you made me some Smores with graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. You had a great time toasting your marshmallows. Some of the kids got their marshmallows caught on fire, but you were very careful with yours. You seemed to like making the Smores more than eating them. You never finished your second one.

You helped me pitch our tent, over near the slides. And you set up your pad and sleeping bag all very straight inside the tent. Your favorite two stuffed animals right now are a pink dragon which plays a betime song, and a pink My Little Pony (Pinkie Pie). Your friend Jenny was at the campout, but her mother couldn't stay. So, you invited Jenny to stay in the tent with us. She slept next to you, and you let her cuddle with Pinkie Pie. You slept in the middle, and by the morning, you were cuddled up right next to me. I had a great time camping with you and snuggling in our tent.

In the morning, we woke up and you and the other kids helped to make pancakes. You brought me one with blueberries and it was yummy. You helped pack up all our stuff into our 'camping car', an old VW van. And then, we said "see you later" to your teachers and took off.

Then you and I drove down to Monterrey to go to the aquarium. We saw them feed the tuna, in a huge aquarium. The tuna were very fast especially since they are so big. There were sharks too. We touched sea urchins and kelp and starfish, and saw some penguins. We watched the jellyfish, sea horses and sea dragons (one of my favorites, they look like plants).

After the aquarium, we had lunch in a restaurant (mac and cheese for you, a hamburger with cheese for me) and then... ice cream :-) On the ride back from Monterrey (it takes almost 2 hours in the VW) you got to ride in the very back of the van. There is a little bed area there, and we spread out a sleeping bag, and pillow, and your dragon and you slept back there for most of the drive home. Towards the end, you popped up and watched out the windows at the cars and things we drove past. I got to look at you in the mirror and think about how much I love you.

When we got back to San Francisco, we went over to my friend Steve and Faye's house. Steve has 2 little girls, Amber Lynn (sort of your age) and Alyssa (sort of older) and Faye has a 13-year old daughter named Natalie.

This is you and Amber Lynn.

You guys played baseball with a slip-and-slide going to home plate. It was a little cold and windy to be getting wet, so you mostly ran on it and didn't slide. You girls stayed home together, with Natalie in charge while the grownups went out for sushi. It was Natalie's first real babysitting job, and everyone was very excited. You looked like you had fun while we were out. When we came back, you were all curled up in front of the TV watching Hello Kitty.

After we got back, we had a fire in the back yard and you made Smores for the second night in a row.

The next morning, on Sunday, we all went to Great America.

We rode a merry go 'round.

And roller coasters.

You went tubing on the river with Steve. It was pretty warm, but it was windy, so getting wet was a little cold.

I had a great time with you, especially when we got to go on the roller coaster together.

I love you,


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

5-year old birthday party.

Hi Lauren.

It was your birthday a few weeks ago. we had the party on March 31st, even though your actual birthday was March 5. We had the party in Santa Cruz. This is a picture of the cake you had.

A few weeks before your birthday, we were talking about what kind of cake you wanted. We talked about Barbie cakes, and Dora the Explorer cakes, and Ariel cakes . Then, one night while you and I were going out for sushi (your favorite dinner) in San Mateo, we walked past a bakery and you saw a blue cake in the window, that was square, shaped like a present, with flowers on it and a blue ribbon that crossed in the middle. And you fell in love with this cake.

I kept worrying that you would want a pink cake, since pink is usually your favorite color (although you will say that they are all your favoorite colors, except black and brown). But you kept saying that you liked blue and you wanted a blue cake. I went back to the store a few times to order the cake in time for your birthday, but they always seemed to be closed. I thought it was because I was going after work, and maybe it was the kind of bakery that was only open in the mornings. So, one day I left work at 12:00 and drove over to the bakery. It was closed. "Oh no!", I thought. "What am I going to do?"

I went over to another bakery that I knew made pretty cakes and talked to them. I told them that my favorite girl in the whole world was turning 5 years old, and that she wanted a blue cake that was square, shaped like a present, with flowers on it and a blue ribbon that crossed in the middle (since that's exactly what you said you wanted). After much discussion with the lady at the counter who took the cake orders, and the lady in the back who made the cakes, and the other man at the counter, we had drawn a picture of the cake and they decided that they could make it in time for me to pick up on the way to Santa Cruz for the party.

But I got worried, so I went to the first bakery and took a picture of the cake. I showed the picture to the lady behind the counter who took the cake orders, and the lady in the back who made the cakes, and even to the other man behind the counter.

Now I felt like they would make a good cake, just they way you wanted it, square, shaped like a present, with flowers on it and a blue ribbon that crossed in the middle. And, that's just what they did.

We had a fun time at your party. You had a lot of friends there, and we played pin the tail on the donkey, and we blew bubbles on the porch. Your birthday present from me was a tree house that you puit together with people, and two wolves, and a trap door, and a hammock, and a rope ladder and some god treasure that you could hide in a treasure chest. You and I put it together (you had already made a dollhouse that was sort of like it, so you knew how) and we played with it. We also had some cake. It was a very fun birthday.

I love you,