Saturday, September 20, 2014

A waiver free birthday!

We have a new 8 year old in the house today!

 Today is Christopher's 8th birthday.  He started the day with a sprinkle belgium waffle with ice cream.  Yum!

This year we went with a simple, no waiver required birthday party.  His friends came over for swimming,

and trampolining!
 After swimming the kids ate some hot dogs, then it was time for cake.

 I made a quadruple layer chocolate and yellow soccer cake that I saw on pinterest.

 Make a wish!

The cake has a surprise!  When I cut into it, it was filled with chocolate soccer balls!

 We eneded the party with a silly string battle.  Pete put all the cans of silly string in a pile and then cut the kids loose.

 They bolted for the cans and went crazy!

A fun end to a fun party for a fantastic, silly 8 year old.  Happy birthday to my last little man Christopher.  Love you to the moon and back!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School time! (Already??)

I swear summer just started a few days ago, but nope, it's back to school time around here.  Boo.

Zach is starting 10th grade.  He has a zero period class so he was out the door EARLY this morning at 6:45.  I said a quick good-bye to him before my run, and he was long gone when I got home.  He is home, and said he likes all his classes and teachers (although I don't think he has ever not liked a class or teacher).

Joey is rockin' 7th grade this year.  He was excited to see all his friends today.  He has a few of Zach's old teachers so got the low down.

Vinny is now big man on campus in 5th grade.  He has Mrs. Subrmaniam.  We have never had her, but I have heard she is very strict.  She will have her work cut out for her with the Vin Man!

Christopher is in 2nd grade.  He has Mrs. Huerta and Mrs. Schwender and is excited because he has lots of friends in his class.  Vinny had Huerta/Schwender when he was in 2nd grade-luckily for Chris Vinny set the bar very low behaviorially so he should be just fine.  Haha!

 The tradtional group shot, which had to wait until after school this year.

And their new shoes.  We are taking bets on who will rip through theirs first--anyone else want in?

Happy Back to School everyone!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

They're home!!!

Saturday was pick up day at Camp Kennolyn!   As always, Pete and I had a fabulous time while the kids were gone, but by Thursday of the 2nd week I am missing them tons and can't wait to get them!

We were almost at camp, minutes away when my phone rang.  From the number I knew it was camp.  Uh oh.  It was the camp nurse--Chris came to see her with a sore throat and head ache.  He didn't have a fever so she sent him to breakfast.  After breakfast he threw up (from the top bunk in his cabin. To quote his counselor "He was clearly going for distance")  Poor guy.  At least he didn't get sick until the last day.  We went to the nurses office to get him, gave him motrin, and went to the opening ceremonies (may as well- I am sure he had already infected half the camp by that point!)

(excuse the crappy pictures- I forgot my camera and had to use my iphone)

Christopher, with his head down--not feeling well
One by one the cabins come out, the counselors introduce themselves,  then the cabin gives a cheer.

 I like hearing about the counsleors.  Many of them were campers here, lots are from other countries.  Kennolyn hires quality staff--there were some impressive schools and majors!

 Joey's general counselor (one of the tall guys above) was a camper here, just graduated from Cornell in computer science,  and has an engineering job at Google waiting for him when the summer is over.  Wow!

You can't really see Zach in this pic, but he is in the khaki shorts in the back, here with his fellow CILT's

After the introductions we got to walk around and see some of the kids' activities.

 Christopher had animal care, outdoor adventure, outdoor cooking,

art, fun science, and riflery.  Christopher said his favorite meal there was either the chicken drumsticks or the turkey and ham sandwich, and his favorite day was beach day.  His least favorite thing was throwing up that morning.  By the time we got home from camp on Saturday he had a fever of 102.  Poor guy.

Vinny's activities were wall climbing, archery, riflery,

drama, pool hang out,

and fencing.   Vinny lost 2 teeth while at camp!  And much to my surprise the tooth fairy found him and left him a Susan B. Anthony coin each time.  Sounds like Kennolyn's tooth fairy is much more reliable than the Contini family tooth fairy!  When asked what his favorite meal was he said pizza.  His favorite day at camp was beach day.

Joey's activities were pool hang out, fun science,

 outdoor cooking, hockey,

and his favorite- BMX riding.  When asked what his favorite meal was he said the chicken patty sandwich, and his favorite day at camp was beach day and boardwalk day (where he ate an entire deep fried twinkie dipped in chocolate.  Gross).

Zachary was a CILT this year, a camper in leadership training.  This is the first of a three year training process to be a counselor.  He spent his morning with a few activities like a regular camper.  In the afternoon he had leadership activities with the other CILT's.   He was assigned to a younger cabin to help out the counselors.  His activities were  senior pool hang out,

 senior wall climbing (I was shocked at how fast he got up that wall!)

and carpentry.

His favorite meal was Thanksgiving dinner, and his favorite thing in camp was helping out with cabin Big Creek.  He is hoping he gets invited back next year because he really wants to be a counselor.

Christopher and his counselor Spencer-he was also his counselor last year and he loved him!  This is the poor guy who had to clean Christopher's vomit. 
 After seeing their activities, and cleaning out their bunks (omg) we had lunch there.  At times we were joined by counsleors who sat and chatted with us.

Vinny and his 2 counselor's.  Ben, on Vinny's right, was Christopher's JC last year.

I can not say enough good things about this camp.  A wonderful array of activities to choose from, fantastic staff, and a beautiful location.  The kids see the same counselors year after year and they always seem to remember the boys. Yes, I miss them while they are gone (well, eventually I do.  :-) ), but I know they are having such a blast.

What don't I like?  The laundry!  Seven loads, plus an entire bag of clothes that went straight in the trash.  And don't even get me started on the smell.  Yikes!

We already signed the boys up for next year-- 11 1/2 months and counting...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Camp Kennolyn!!

Finally, the day we have all been looking forward to all summer long--camp drop off day!

 They were excited and ready to go this morning!

 The first feat was getting all 4 camp trunks in the van--No problem!

 Next up was the traditional lunch stop at Carpo's in Soquel.  Cousins Peter, Gian, and William met us there.

 After getting through the parking line, and temperature check, it was time for the lice check.  Fast and easy thanks to my boys' freshly shaved heads (courtesy of their father while I was out running errands yesterday)
 Off to find everyone's cabin...

 This is Christopher's 2nd year- he is in Angel's Camp once again (the youngest boys cabin).  He was excited to see he has the same counselor and a friend in his cabin from last year.

 This is Vinny's 4th year at Kennolyn.  This year he is joined by his cousin William who is at Kennolyn for the first time.  They are in Iron Mountain together.

 This is Joey's 6th year--as always he is with his cousins Peter and Gian.  Luke (on the end in the Oregon shirt) has been in their cabin almost every year the last 6 years.

 Last but not least, Zach is in his 7th year at Kennolyn and is a CILT (camper in leadership training) this year.  Being a CILT is the first step to being a counselor (which he really wants to do).  He spends part of the session doing his own fun activities, and part of the time helping out with a younger cabin.  He is in Fiddletown with several guys he has known for years.

 Contini cousins representing!

See you boys in 2 weeks!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Father's day always leaves me with a touch of sadness.  My Dad died about 6 1/2 years ago.  My boys will only have the faintest of memories of him, and will never know what a great, hard working man he was.  Pete's Dad died when Pete was 15, so I never got to meet the man who gave me such a wonderful husband.  Our grandfathers each passed many, many years ago.

My Dad and I

While my boys don't get to grow up with their grandfathers, they are lucky to have an amazing Dad!  I could not have chosen a better father for our boys.  He is as involved in their lives as he can be, coaching them, taking them to ball games, and teaching them about life.  With Pete as a role model, I know they will be great fathers too one day.

 While I gave the boys the idea to make the above card, they went to the store themselves and came up with what to say.  It says " Sorry we couldn't get you a trip to the Milky Way or an orbit around  the moon, because we are just kids we don't have our own Payday.  However we hope this Satisfies you enough, and brings you Mounds of Joy.  We thank you so much for being an Extra Mega special Dad and Mentor.  From your 4 nut jobs- Zach, Joey, Vinny, and Chris"

Happy Father's Day Pete!  You are the best Dad ever.   I even forgive you for rearranging the kitchen cupboards while I was gone this morning (seriously, who does that without even asking their wife??).

Friday, June 13, 2014

So this was how I spent my lunch today...

Soooo, remember the last post when I mentioned how Bochy hid everyday from the construction workers under our bedspread?  Well now he has found a new hiding place--the open air conditioning vent/duct in the garage.  I guess since they are now doing a lot of work right next to our room it was too noisy in there.  So this afternoon we were having our weekly meeting with our contractor--he mentioned that they were hooking the AC back up today so we would have air conditioning again this weekend.  Yay!!    Oh.  Wait a second.  Hooking it up today??  We ran out to the garage and sure enough it was all hooked back up.  We explained about how Bochy liked to hang out in there.  Long story short we ran all over the house looking for him.  No signs anywhere.  I was sure he was in the ducts.  The HVAC guy had to disconnect the ducts again.  We called for him, shook treats, nothing.  The HVAC guy crawled under the house (Lord knows I wasn't going down there!) and felt along the duct and found him.  So we knew he was in there, but he wouldn't budge.

So what did we do?  We shoved Christopher in the ducts with a flashlight and cat treats.  And that was the state of things when I had to leave to get back to work.  I have been getting updates, but it sounds like Bochy is holding firm in our AC system.  So the HVAC guys have to leave, we get another weekend with no AC (no heat waves this weekend though), and we wait for Bochy to decide he is ready to come out.

Good grief.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contini's are remodeling!

 Anyone who has driven by the Contini house in the last 6 weeks knows we have something big going on right now.  We have finally started the final remodel on our house!  This is the big one, bigger than the kitchen 3 years ago.  Basically we are adding on to the existing upstairs- over 400 square feet for a master bedroom/bathroom/walk in closet.  Woo hoo!

The first month has been foundation work.  What does that mean?  A lot of drilling, buzzing, cutting into cement, and shit load of dirt on EVERYTHING.

 It has been traumatic for our cat Bochy who runs and hides under our bedspread the moment the hears the workers, refusing to come out.  I swear whenever he hears spanish this is what we will find.  Thankfully my kids are well past the Dora the Explorer phase.

 Pablo on the other hand loves it!  He has way more access to the outside now, and likes to stick his nose  wherever the workers are.

A lot of the outside of our house looks like the picture above.  Stripped to the bones so the reinforcement can happen.

As you can sort of see in the above picture, our roof as also been removed.  It will be off for the next month.  No roof (and our air conditioner has also been disconnected) made for a good time the last few days when the temperatures in Almaden were 95- 100.  Crossing our fingers there are no more heat waves for the next month (yeah right, like that is going to happen!).  Also no rain please!

Does anyone recognize the can above?  One of the workers found it sealed in the wall of the house- the outside wall that is pictured right above the can.  These houses were built around 1969- 1970 so that can is roughly 45 years old.  Very cool!  It also explains the ever so slight downslope felt upstairs...

 See those arches in the picture above?

Now they are gone!  We have always hated those arches so we had them taken out--the house is still standing so all is good.

We have noticed so many people stopping in front of our house and just staring at it (I am sure wondering what the hell is going on here?  Someone asked our neighbor if there had been a house fire.  Yes, it looks that crazy!)  So what did Pete do?  He put the above board in front of our house, with pictures of our plans.  I have now seen cars slow down to look at it.  He also posted a copy of the letter from our neighborhood association approving said plans, just in case anyone had a complaint about it.

Even some of the walls inside the house are destroyed--the above picture is in the kid's rec room.

And now there is scaffolding wrapped around most of the house.  So much for backyard parties this summer!

What other inconveniences have we had to live with?  As I mentioned, the air conditioner has been disconnected for a few weeks.  When they removed the roof, we also had to remove the solar panels for our pool, so our pool isn't as warm as we are used to.  While they were retrofitting there was a horrible amount of dust everywhere.  In fact, when they removed the stucco off that back wall they forgot to close our bedroom window (which is the one you can see up above).  I came home that night to a quarter inch of dirt covering everything in our room.  I wanted to cry!  We are all 6 sharing 1 bathroom--thank goodness I have 4 boys and not 4 girls! (although girls don't pee on the toilet seat.  Hmmm... Maybe 4 girls would have been better.)  We have had to get used to having a crew of workers at our house all day.  I learned the hard way that when they are on the roof they can see right into our upstairs bathroom.  Yep, got out of the shower one day when they were all up on the roof, right outside the window.  Lesson learned.

If I sit in any pee on the toilet seat I am kicking the kids outside to this bathroom!

Those are all first world problems for sure though-- it will all be worth it when it is done!