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!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Doctor, heal thyself! Yep, I have the stuff.

Have you ever wondered what is in a doctor's home medicine cabinet?  Let me show you ours!

As physicians we have WAY too much stuff to fit in a small cabinet.  Years ago we organized our medicines in plastic boxes by category--ie. pain and fever reducers, antibiotics, wound care, etc.  Over time other supplies took over the bottom 2 drawers of the boys' bathroom cabinet.  While the box system does keep things organized, it periodically needs to be weeded through and cleaned out.  We have recently started a huge remodel (more on that another time) which was going to require Pete and I moving into the boys' bathroom (Yes, 6 of us in 1 bathroom.  Thank God I have 4 boys and not 4 girls!).  I realized it has been years since our cabinets were cleaned out so I hit them hard.  I was shocked (and maybe a little appalled) at all the crap in the medicine boxes.

A list of medicines found--a few bottles of left over antibiotics, zofran (anti barfing medicine), lots of different creams and ointments, tons of sample sizes of children's tylenol and motrin, inhalers and spacers (Zach was a wheezer when a toddler--no one else has been but we still have all the stuff!), multiple allergy pills and nasal sprays, every possible type of band-aid, bandages and gauze, and a ridiculous amount of mostly full bottles of vicodin, tylenol with codeine and other pain relievers (mostly pills, but some liquid for the kids), some of which expired as far back as 2003.  WTF???  Why all the narcotics??  Good question.  Every time we (mostly I) have some sort of dental/surgical procedure we always get an Rx for those things.  I don't know why I bother to fill it.  I hate them as they usually make me throw up which I remember after the first dose, then decide I prefer the pain.  Then we always keep the left overs "in case of emergency".  Not sure what type of emergency we are expecting that is going to require 5 bottles of (mostly expired) pain killers.  Needless to say I got rid of all but the most recent bottle (you know, in case of emergency).

And what did I find in the bottom drawers of medical supplies?  A treasure trove.  There were splints and walking shoes (for casts), supplies to suture someone up including lidocaine and needles, several strep tests (which came in handy a couple of weeks ago when Vinny woke up with a fever and sore throat, not one but two blood glucose meters (why do we have those??  Who knows.  No one has diabetes in this house), otoscopes, stethoscopes, thermometers, a cautery (for nail beds), dermabond (skin glue) and other things I am probably forgetting.  Sheesh.

This was after I cleaned it out

In our defense, we do periodically have people dropping by with some injury or illness that they need us to check out, so it helps to have stuff here.  Maybe we need to build a home office as part of our remodel?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter 2014

 The Contini's had a wonderful Easter weekend.  I was able to attend both Holy Thursday and Good Friday Mass.  As a family we always attend the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night. It is along, late Mass (8- 10:30 pm), and a beautiful one, my favorite of the year.  I was proud of Zach and Joey, who served as alter servers for the Mass, no easy feat in a Mass this long filled with lots of different parts.  They did a great job.  As usual Vinny was asleep 10 min after it started, at times snoring so loud Pete had to roll him over (wish I had a picture!) Christopher was asleep before 9, and Pete snoozed off and on as well.  No matter, I loved it.

 Sunday morning we awoke to find the Easter Bunny had arrived--a jelly bean trail led the way to their baskets.  She got creative this year, and led the trail outside to the van.

Vinny can never give me a normal pose--here is his Thinker pose

 We never got around to egg dying, so did it Easter morning.

 We then headed over to Pete's mom house for our annual Easter shin-dig.  The highlight of the day is the big Easter Egg hunt--so big we do it in stages.  Above  are the younger half, waiting for the "Little Kid" hunt to start.  It is the 2002 birthdays and below.  In the front row you will also see Katie, my brother in law's sister who was visiting.  She is in her 40's, but has Down's so was thrilled to join the hunt.  She is a total crack up!

 My handsome boys!

 Katie ADORES Pete, and insisted he help her with the hunt.

 After a delicious brunch, it was time for the "Big Kid" hunt.  And we mean really big kids.  Most of them are in college (or beyond) with only a couple of high schoolers left in the group (including Zach).  Don't let their ages fool you--these guys are as in to the hunt as the little guys.  Maybe because most of their eggs are filled with money--this year Zach's take was about $37.  Not his best year.  One of my nephews made almost $100!

 After the hunt it was time to hit the pool--the weather was perfect for swimming.

 And then it was time for dessert.  I made an Easter version of my Kit Kat cake, along with some cupcakes.

Singing Happy Birthday to the April birthdays in the bunch!  With a family this big, there is always a birthday to celebrate.  I am so lucky to have married into such a huge, great family.  I love them all!

Hope everyone had as wonderful an Easter as we did!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mt. Umunhum and Spring Break

The kids are on Spring Break right now, but we are going nowhere.  We don't usually travel this week anyway (too busy with baseball season) but we will frequently take the week off and do local stuff with the kids.  Unfortunately this year we couldn't find anyone to cover the office (plus I just had 2 weeks "off" for jury duty), so it is a mostly normal work week for us.  We had today off though and wanted to do a little something.

We started the morning off at Scramblz, the kids' favorite place to eat breakfast.  Then we decided to see how close we could drive to Mt. Umunhum.  Everyone local knows what Mt. Umunhum is-- The mountain peak with the big white cube shaped building at top that we can all see from Almaden.   An old military base (read here for details) the concrete tower was part of a radar system used to detect incoming aircraft during the Cold War.

For what ever reason, Vinny is fascinated with Mt Umunhum and the building on top.  Frequently when he draws an outdoor scene, he will include the mountain and building in the background.  We knew it was closed up top, but wanted to see how close we could get.  So off we went.

 We drove and drove, up Hicks Rd to Mt Umunhum Rd  We passed the Sierra Azul Open Reserve parking lot.  We finally came to a closed gate blocking the road.  There was an open gate to walk through, with a sign stating that the boundary of the reserve was 1.2 miles up ahead.  We decided to walk up.

 It was a beautiful hike, with amazing views of Almaden Valley below--look closely, you can see our house.  Lol.  I was surprised at how little the kids complained about the walk, which was straight up a hill.

The view was worth it though.

 So close, yet so far...

 We walked until we reached this sign, stating we were at the boundary of the reserve,  and that there was no trespassing past this point.

This is the tower next to the square building--some type of radar facility I believe?

When we got back to our car there was a nice Park Ranger waiting for us, with a written warning.  Apparently the "do not block access" sign that Pete parked in front of was real and they really didn't want us to block the road.  Thank you Mr. Park Ranger for not giving us a real ticket!

You don't have to go far, or do anything elaborate or fancy to have a fun family day.  It was just a few hours total, but we had a nice morning visiting with the kids, and enjoying some beautiful scenery right in our own backyard.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Happy birthday Joey!!

12 years ago it was a beautiful warm spring day.  Joey made his entrance smoother and easier than all my other boys (although admittedly they were all fairly easy).  I went into labor at 7 am, on my first day of maternity leave, and on Pete's day off.  Labor was fast and easy, and he was here by 3 pm.

That easy going entrance has defined Joey's nature ever since.  He likes everyone, and never has a bad thing to say about anyone (his brothers excluded of course.  He isn't a saint after all)  Because of this, Joey has lots of friends and is comfortable hanging out with anyone.  he is one of those kids that other kids want to be around.  A fabulous quality that will take him far in life.

Joey recently had his head shaved at school, as part of a fundraiser.  He was one of only 6 kids in the entire school willing to do it!

He loves playing baseball and has a quick glove, making him a great second baseman.

He lucked out and got on the Giants this year!

The traditional sprinkle waffles with ice cream birthday breakfast.  Eat up Joey!

Happy birthday to the sweetest boy I know--it is a joy and a honor to be your mother.