Heather's Dance Recital 2016

Heather's dance recital was on Saturday, June 11.  She loved it.  Her favorite part was "all of it."  We went and got frozen yogurt afterwards.

The company doesn't allow video taking during the performance, but this year they at least put up free videos and some free pictures that can be downloaded.  The photographer taking the pictures had a camera that does much better than ours in low-light conditions.  So I'll just post those pictures since they look much nicer than the noisy ones I took.  Low-light performance is really the only reason I'd like to upgrade to a newer camera at some point; the sensor technology improvement over the last 7 years have been pretty impressive.

I don't really have much else to say, so here are pictures and the video is at the bottom:

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And some pictures with her teachers after the show.  She switched teachers half way through the year because her original class only had 2 kids so they combined them into one of the other classes before they started learning the recital piece.  I really should have used a fill flash for these pictures in the shade with the sunlit building behind them.  Oh well.

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Now the video (it's only 2:40 long, it's just Heather's dance).  It was just a wide-angle shot of the whole stage.  I cropped it down which is partly why the resolution is low.  The teacher is standing stage left, guiding them through the routine, which is why Heather is almost always looking that way.

If the video won't play in your browser, you can right-click and download it here: Heather Recital 2016

New Couches

After failing to get a new front door we decided to replace the traditional couch & loveseat in the living room with more "sactional" pieces from Lovesac with a new cover color that we could mix & match with our existing pieces.

After an absurd amount of deliberation we chose a nice forest green color as we thought it would go well with the other colors we have in the house.  And it does look quite nice.

Lovesac introduced wedge pieces (in the family room picture) and roll-arms (in the living-room picture) in the last few years which increases the versatility and stylishness of the collection.  We're quite pleased with the quality, durability, and flexibility of the sactional pieces and covers.

Here are some before and after pictures (I probably should have taken the before & after pictures at the same time of day, but I didn't and I don't feel like taking more):

Living Room:

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Family Room:

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Heather's Last Day of Preschool

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Today was Heather's last day of preschool.  They had a potluck lunch and little certificates.  The teachers wrote down one memorable thing about each kid as part of their certificates.

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If you can't quite read it, Heather's says: "Classroom Encyclopedia, Google = Heather."  She's a learner.  She loves learning about everything she can.  Her favorite shows are still The Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, Octonauts, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and others.  She watched Planet Earth with us and was super excited about the animals she recognized from the other shows (e.g., whale shark and vampire squid).  She can pick up and read pretty much any children's book these days.  It's still hard work for her, but she can do it.  She's constantly asking questions about things and asking for explanations.  Her standard procedure is to ask Jess, if Jess doesn't know, she'll ask me, and if I don't know, she'll say, "Just ask Google."

She's developing a concerningly comfortable relationship with Google as a fount of all knowledge.  By which I mean, she'll ask questions like, "What did I eat for breakfast last week?"  And when we say we don't know she'll tell us, "Just ask Google; it will know."  We've tried to explain that Google doesn't work that way, but she doesn't seem to believe it.  Google knows everything.

Anyway, she had a great year.  She loved preschool.  She was sad anytime she had to miss a day because she wouldn't be learning the things everyone else was that day.  This fall she'll start TK (Transitional Kindergarten) for which she is excited.  At least one of the kids from preschool will be in her TK  class next year, so it won't be all strangers.

June 2016 Camping

Heather and I were supposed to go camping a couple of weeks ago.  I had made a campsite reservation back in May.  The weekend of our trip had cool and comfortable weather--and we were all sick with hand-foot-and-mouth disease.  So we had to reschedule.

I booked the same site for this weekend (June 3-4) and we had roasting 99F weather all week leading in to our trip.  We camped at Joseph Grant County Park in Santa Clara County at the base of Mount Hamilton.  Luckily, after we climbed up into the hills where the campground is, the temperature was at least 10 degrees cooler and there was good shade (I scouted out likely shady sites using Google Maps beforehand, shade is key).

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We got to the site around 6:30 and got the tent all set up.  Not wanting to need to get a fire going to cook or eat something hot, I opted for Subway sandwiches for dinner.  We ate those and took a little walk up to an observation hill as the sun set.

After the sun set and things cooled down a bit we got the fire going to prepare for s'mores.  Heather was pretty fascinated by the concept of arranging the wood to allow oxygen flow to help the fire.  After a few false starts she was able to muster up the courage to add a couple of sticks after the fire was going.  She also tried roasting her own marshmallow; it caught on fire in about 5 seconds.

Heather particularly liked the way the fire made everything "look all glowy."  Like this:

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Heather fell asleep around 10:15 (usual bedtime ~7:30) and I stayed up a bit longer to enjoy the quiet and let the fire die out.  Then she was up with the sun around 5:45am, declaring it "not night time anymore."  So....we're both a bit sleep-deprived today.

Breakfast was Fruity Dyno Bites (Heather requested a cereal breakfast and it's hard to argue with simplicity).  This brought us to about 6:30am so I figured I would break camp while it was still cool and overcast as the forecast was for another hot day.

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Due to really annoying flies, Heather asked if she could just sit in the car, so she did (somewhat surprisingly, I guess she was kind of tired).  I was taking the tent down and noticed a oddly worn-out spot on the floor underneath one of our sleeping pads (this tent floor is the same nylon material as the sides, not a tarp bottom).  I figured there must have been a pointy rock under the spot, but it actually felt like a little hollow space.  I thought it odd that a hollow spot would cause that much wear on the material.  Then I folded up the tent and saw the tent footprint underneath.  It had a hole clean through it (picture taken after getting home).

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When I folded back the footprint there was a nasty looking creature lurking in a thumb-size hole under the spot!  A creature that apparently ate or tore a hole through the footprint and tried to get in the tent!  I didn't get a good look at it though and, after moving the tent and footprint elsewhere, it was gone when I got back.  I think it may have been a wolf spider though:

DSC_0017bbGah!  I have no idea what we would have done if that thing had cut into our tent floor and started climbing around inside.  Might have had to just burn it all down and go home.

So, now I have to repair the tent and footprint.

Anyway, we got packed up and home around 9:00am.  Which was fine with me since it was only going to get hot and unpleasant out.  Our next camping adventure is scheduled in July.  We're going to try Heather's first multi-night camping trip.