Sunday, 31 July 2011

Reservoir Dogs

A day on the water today, out at Lafayette reservoir.  You're not allowed to swim in it, as it's drinking water, but it seems fine to have ducks, fish, pedalos, and plenty of other murk in there.  I don't want to think what might be coming out of my tap.

The reservoir was supposed to be much bigger when it was built, but a "land settlement" (bad planning?) meant that it couldn't be filled to intended levels.  So you get a romantic, Rapunzel-style control tower in the middle that should be much deeper underwater.  There's also a 2.7 mile loop around the outside, but that sounded too much like hard work so we opted for putting the kids through their paces in the adventure playground instead.

Lovely Lafayette.

Talking of Rapunzel (although sadly there are stairs in this tower).

Social climbers.

The water tower.

Hannah and Katharine power off with the twins.

Scott and I leave the heavy work to others.

We were harassed by an armada of ducks all the way around!  But unfortunately didn't have any hoisin sauce with us.

The view back to land.

Later, the electronic babysitter was employed to give us some peace.

Later still, Noa provided much entertainment.  The Hammond family definitely needs a seventh member.

Cheesecake Day 2011

By now this should really be in your diary.

This year's National Cheesecake Day included the launch of a new Hershey's Chocolate Bar cheesecake.  Well, you can imagine Hannah's derogatory Cadbury-based remarks about that.  No matter, we scooted down to our local Cheesecake Factory (or "CFac", as I will refer to it on all future occasions to save my typing) with Shauli and Anat.  Amazingly we're still not being greeted by name there, but we did take over most of the outside seating area.  We also took full advantage of the half-price-a-slice offer on any flavour, so the cost was only like feeding a family of five!


"Please could we sit as far away from them as possible," I heard one guest ask the waiter.

Even Shauli is intimidated by the size of the portions.

But not Jacob...

...or Oliver...

...or Bethany...

...or Rebecca.

Sadly one of our party is still in a pre-cheesecake phase, but Oliver was kind enough to help out.

Chevron: the family company

It was the annual Chevron Family Theatre Festival here in Walnut Creek, because nothing says "oil is good" like a theatre festival.  We went along last year, but only to the outside activities.  This year Hannah secured us premium ticket to two shows: The Rude Dog Duo, and The Pushcart Players.

Both were great (although Rude Dog finished early when a stage light exploded and reigned burning glass down on the stage from 50ft up.  Now that was a finale).  But the real highlight of the day, for me at least, was meeting the huge variety of Disney Princesses that were wandering about outside.  Jacob even got to meet Buzz Lightyear, although was disappointed to discover he was made out of foam.  Thank you again to Auntie Hannah, and the wonderful corporate giant for which she works.

Pledge of allegiance.

They're sold.

Waiting for the show.

Children + bubbles + theatre = chaos.

Jacob meets a hero.

Bethany meets a princess.

Some very cool tyco drummers.

Making sock puppets.

The children are happy to meet Little Red Riding Hood.

Snow White is happy to meet Daddy and David.

So is Cruella de Vil.

You'd better be getting this right, threatens Rebecca.

Bethany and her rainbow butterfly (we're still trying to get the green dots off her cheeks).

Scott looks on worried as Katharine and the Wicked Queen exchange tips. 

Everybody's over the  rainbow!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Hammond week in review

Children eat up time and energy the same way they eat all food put in front of them.  This is my excuse for not updating the blog with what we've been doing with the Hammonds, something my Mum castigated me for today, so...

San Francisco, pool, eating ice cream every day, Waldon park, the most exciting baseball match I've ever been to, Lindsay Wildlife Museum, more pool, Target (Katharine's favourite), etc.  Evidence below:

Hammonds in the city!

Rebecca enjoys a ride at the Musee Mechanique.

But the most exciting event of the day was getting free cookies being handed out at Pier 39.

Scott's happy.  Look, he's smiling!

Uncle David, prepared as ever, leads his charges out into the Creek.

Family on the move. 

And what better way to spend a day at the park?

Children can be very useful to have around.

The many choices at Gelateria Naia.

Satisfied customers.

Auntie Hannah put her Godson Oliver to work pretty quickly (in exchange for some dollars...)

Friday's lunch.  Just the one loaf today.

Evolution of a predator.

Can we have a pet?

Listening skills.

The happy sisters.

Jacob and his new purchase (it's a fluffy tadpole that you turn inside-out, and it becomes a frog!  Super cool).