Saturday, October 15, 2016

New career - Nanny job

I knew I made the right move by switching careers on the very first day of my new nanny job. Actually - it was within the first 2 hours that I was so thankful. I was pushing the 9 month old (Steffen) in his stroller, trying to get him to take a nap. It was an absolute beautiful, sunny, fall day - and I remember thinking "I cannot believe that I am getting paid for this job."

When I started working for this family, Mikey was 5 and in Kindergarten, Anika 3 and in preschool and Steffen 9 months and spent all day with me. When my time with this family ended, 2 years had passed and Mikey was 7, Anika 5 and Steffen 2.5. 

It was amazing being with this family and watching these kids grow. 

Mikey talks nonstop. (This is in present tense because this is still how he is). He has so much energy and is a know-it-all. He loves to talk about guns, zombies, swords, and pokemon cards and especially legos ... etc. He is a very well loved little boy - everyone at his school knows Mikey - from kids in his grade, to other parents, to the principal. Leaving the school with him - several people always told him good-bye. He is also a sensitive boy - and sometimes can get his feelings hurt - but then gets over it quickly. One day while Mikey and I were building legos - he said "So, you and Dennis don't have any kids?" I answered no and he said "Oh My Gosh - Jennifer, you have to have Dennis give you some seed right now!" When I said "uh, what????!!!!????" He replied with "some seed, you know like a seed you plant." It was pretty hilarious! 

Anika is a sweet, sassy little girl. She liked to hoard things and sneak things into her bedroom that didn't belong there. She also would sleep with her new boots, books, toys, etc. She and I sometimes had difficult times - but also some very sweet times. She tried to fire me one time - I wasn't playing according to her rules and so she went upstairs and asked her mom if I could be fired. But, a couple of hours later, she told me that I was the best nanny ever! One of my favorite things that Anika would say is: "I'm a milk monster, yes I'm are." She told me that her tiny foot hurt. 

Steffen - there is so much to say about him. When I started, he was crawling and when my job ended, he was talking up a storm. I got to see him get through all the fun developmental stages: crawling, walking, running, talking, understanding ... I had Steffen full time for my 2 years employed with this family, so I feel that he and I were the closest. He responded to my instructions very well.

Today - I actually got to watch these kids all day long and had so much fun! It was a bit chaotic most of the day - but I have missed them so much! I am thankful that their parents still use me when they need someone to watch their kids and I sure hope that we will keep in touch for years to come. These 3 kids certainly touched my life in ways that I can't being to describe and therefore still mean to much to me. 


(Phew - I thought that this post would be WAY longer than it is) Insert pat on the back for me! :) 

I'll post a couple of pictures. 

Mikey and Anika when I first started 


Baby Steffen
Steffen at 2 years old!

Mikey dressing up - ready to fight zombies



A very rare, very sweet moment between Anika and Steffen 



And this may be my very favorite of all times picture of these 3 kids - it was a extremely quiet car ride home from the zoo! Amazing! 

*Disclaimer - the car pictures were NOT taken while the car was in motion. 
















Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Spending time in Napa with dad

Spending time with my dad is always time well spent. My dad - he is so optimistic, happy, friendly and funny. He is caring, helpful and well, just super fun to be around. After he took us out for burgers and we arrived to his place on Thursday evening he helped Dennis replace the window motor. 

Dad had to work on Friday so he told us of some places worth seeing / eating at within walking distance from his condo.  



Dad suggested that we try ButterCream for breakfast - it was super tasty. Dennis and I both got pastries and I think that dad got a healthier breakfast (he was able to meet us for a late breakfast). 



This is some of the earthquake damage that we saw. Dad was living in Napa when they had the earthquake just a couple of months prior to us visiting him. 

Saturday:
We really enjoyed time together on Saturday. He took us to Tiburon, CA and to Angel Island. We had such a fun day with him. 



One vineyard in Napa - it was awesome seeing grapes on the vines





A palm tree in Tiburon, CA. I have an aunt that lives in Tiburon - and that is also where Robin Williams lived. My auntie knew Robin. 














From Tiburon, we boarded a ferry and rode to Angel Island. This is the Golden Gate Bridge from the ferry!



Dad - being a tourist - taking a picture with his tablet! :)



Another typical dad pose - on his telephone! 



Arriving on Angel Island. It once was a military base and it's possible to camp there now. It has quite the history and is a beautiful island.



Dennis and I went on a hike and the higher we went - the more we could see. The scenery from this island is amazing.



I'm pretty sure these houses were ones in Tiburon, CA



Me with San Francisco and Alcatraz Island in the background



San Francisco!















Alcatraz Island with San Fran in the background! 



My handsome hubby



And my amazing dad



After our tour of Angel Island, we came back into Tiburon and ate lunch there. 



This is a vineyard house that we saw on our way back to dads condo.

Unfortunately - our trip to visit dad was way too short. We ended up leaving soon after we got to dad's condo and headed north. We wanted to be in meeting with one of our friends on Sunday morning in Medford, OR. It was hard leaving dad, though, our time with him was so special. It makes me super thankful that I have such a loving family. Thanks again, dad for your wonderful hospitality and your generosity too. Hopefully we'll visit you at another one of your job locations! 

Road trip to California

(Once again, I am going to try and update my blog - from 2 years ago) 

Dennis and I decided to take a mini road trip between the end of my office job and the start of my nanny job. We thought of several options of where to visit including: Crater Lake, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, San Juan Islands and Napa, CA (where my dad was working and living). I thought that we could fit all but the San Juan Islands into a 5 day road trip - but then figured that would be way too much to do and too stressful. We decided on Lake Tahoe and Napa. 



We drove to Klamath Falls on Tuesday evening, spent the night and then Wednesday morning woke up and drove to Lake Tahoe, through Reno. It was my first time in Reno! We stopped by a casino so that we could walk through. I believe it was my first time in a casino and it was really interesting to me. It seemed super dark in there. We watched some people play cards and others play slot machines. 






We were so excited to get to the lake and had just pulled into a parking lot ... when ... the drivers side window in the pickup would not roll up. Oh no! We decided to drive north to Truckee, CA to a NAPA auto parts store to see if they had the needed part in stock. They did - however, we were unable to replace the broken part ourselves. We headed back south to Lake Tahoe and arrived there in the dark. We did stop for a while so that Dennis could take pictures of the moon rising over the lake. We finally got to our hotel in south Lake Tahoe and enjoyed the nights rest.




Thursday, we drove on the west side of the lake and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. We hiked a mile and toured Vikingholm Castle - a must see for anyone who visits Lake Tahoe. We also went swimming in the lake this day! Lake Tahoe is extremely blue and clear - when we opened our eyes under the water, it looked Caribbean blue! I wish we had pictures - it was that amazing! :)


Lake Tahoe is so blue and beautiful!


The only island on the lake


At a viewpoint 


Lake Tahoe is super clear

  
Vikingsholm Castle!






I wanted so badly to play this piano - but we weren't allowed to touch anything in the house. Inside Vikingsholm Castle had such an inviting feeling!



There is history behind almost everything in the castle. (The following is taken from a website about the Vikingsholm Castle): Many antiques were purchased for the home in the countries abroad. Mrs. Knight greatly admired some pieces seen in Norwegian and Swedish museums, which were not available for purchase. When she encountered such situations she hired craftsmen to make copies of the museum pieces. They were produced to exact detail, even to the aging of the wood and duplicating of scratches on the originals. The brightly painted bridal table, which stands in the living room, represents the quality of these outstanding reproductions. Fortunately many of Mrs. Knight’s original furnishings remain in the home today.





















I really like the fireplace in this bedroom. So much character! 













A guest room in the castle


The dining room table



















"Selma" the clock


The actual car Mrs. Knight's chauffeur drove

 
The view from the living room windows! I was ready to move into the castle! :)


Then Thursday afternoon, we drove from Lake Tahoe to Napa (all the the drivers side window down) in 98 degree weather! 


And we were so happy to see this very fine gentleman - and to eat at In-N-Out Burger! 



Seeing my dad is always a treat! 




















I will put the rest of our trip in another post, as clearly this one is quite long enough! :) 

Stay tuned! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Grandma Smith turns 80

The day after I quit my office job, we headed to Seattle to celebrate my grandma's 80th birthday party! There was quite a lot of people who came to wish her happy birthday and we had a fun time. 
Typical Smith gatherings - lots of chattering and happy hellos!  



The lead up to an awesome photo session of Grandpa, Grandma and their 8 kids! The posing, checking each others teeth, getting ready, fighting over who they do and don't want to stand by. Does sibling rivalry every go away?!? - Come on Uncle Steve, you need to get in the picture! 


The reach ... Grandpa's phone rang and he was reaching for it to answer it. Auntie Amy was trying to stop him ... was she successful? 



Nope! My grandma, aunts, uncles and dad laughing at Grandpa! 


Oh no! Now everyone has a phone call? 


Phew, finally! 



Bentley James!


Ellia and I have a thorn on our noses!


My Jensen grandparents came! How lucky am I - to be 35 and have both sets of grandparents living ... AND to see them all in the same day! 


Grandpa and Grandma Smith


Talking with Evie! My cousins sure make cute kids! 

We had a great day celebrating Grandma's birthday! It is awesome whenever my family gets together - it sure doesn't happen often enough!