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May 21-26
written May 22+
Dear Diary, Friends, Family, etc,

This diary will be mostly pictures and memories that grandparents value.  Others can peek in, but should really be out there making memories with your own kids, grandkids, friends, and family.

On Wednesday (May 21) we drove down to Monte Sereno to start our babysitting duty.  We practiced with a look over to the horse barns next door and had a session or two of reading.  Then it was time to help with preparation for Sam's third birthday party.
Sam had already had one party at school, so the evening party was family-only.  With Mamal's family, that's always a crowd of a dozen or two.  Lots of fun and plenty of presents.



d140522_02_airport.jpgd140522_10_tv_break.jpgOn Tuesday, bright and early, Gabby and Mamal were off to Cabo San Lucas and warmer weather.   Back home, Gigi and I did our best to settle into our chores, including babysitting.  I have to admit that, for an hour or so, we  leaned on babysitting-by-TV, but the kids seemed to enjoy the slow morning start as much as we did. 

After that, it was clean up time and we were happy to report to Mom and Dad that we got good cooperation, especially from Ava, although Sam did as good as one should expect, for a brand-new three-year-old.

Marianne's step-mom Klare (aka Monterey Mamo) came up for lunch and a visit with us and the kids.  She brought Sam yet another gift and also included Ava in the gifts with a music box from her own childhood, making it almost 80-years old!  Very nice.
The rest of the day was pretty standard - naps (Sam and Opa), reading and screens (Ava and Gigi), play at Oak Meadow Park, pizza dinner (A and S), bedtime stories, steak dinner (G and O), and recollections of a fun first day of babysitting.
Oak Meadow
Dinner, muggers, and bedtime stories

Friday happened.  Here's the report for mom and dad.
Morning exercise, in-house dancing
Another park trip.  Ava liked the carousel, Sam did not.
Dinner and then an excited call from mom and dad, followed by quiet time reading.
(After the youngins were in bed, some of Gigi's friends visited.)

Saturday was unplanned, as usual for us babysitters.  After breakfast, the kids went into the play room for some "independent study" - play, without adult guidance.  They really did a wonderful job for almost two hours, with Ava leading and Sam following, whenever he wanted to.  And if he didn't, Ava adjusted.  In fact, the independent play was extended, at Ava's request, before we could go to Oak Meadow Park.
Today's treat required more patience, including 45-minutes in line.  But with a loud whistle, we were put on board a real steam train.
Then Ava repeated yesterday's carousel ride and Sam again declined - trains are OK, but not these horses!

d140524_44_message.jpgBack home, Gigi showed the kids a message from mom, written in a Cabo San Lucas beach.  They loved it (and we were just a bit jealous.)

Again, no after-nap plans, but something new will turn up.    Nope, nothing novel did turn up, just more independent study, assisted playing, dinner, baths, and bedtime, all with little fuss.  Thanks, Gabby and Mamal, for letting us have all this time with such nice kids.

(earlier events above)
Sunday.  We promised "something good" for our babysitting charges, and it was a struggle.  Any big attraction would be very crowded this holiday weekend and Gigi and Opa don't DO crowds well.  Fortunately, the kids are easy and accepted one more visit to Oak Creek Park's slides and fire truck to which we attached a streetcar ride (their first?) and a little walking in downtown San Jose.  We had lived there 16 years ago and imagined a quiet place on Sunday, but it wasn't.
Oak Meadow Park -- pictures are repeats, I know, but so was the experience.
The trip downtown on the light rail seemed to be a first for both kids.
We got off at the Convention Center station, surrounded by anime, Disney, and other movie and comic book characters.  This was a Cosplay (short for COStumePLAY) Event, right in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Clearly, the Valley is filled with imagination
Lunch out, with two tired youngsters, was a different adventure, properly taxing our own imagination.
Now it is nap and quiet time.  Sam's sleeping and Ava is constructing her own world in the play room.  Not that she needs it, but today's costume play may have given her more inspiration.

Of course the big event was the return of Mommy and Daddy, but airplane schedules did not cooperate enough so Ava and Sam were sound asleep by the time the folks arrived.

Monday started with the kids celebrating the return of mom and dad.  Lots of happy noises.

d140526_02_goodbye.jpgAfter that, it was time for Gigi and Opa to pack up the car, including two boxes of river rocks that we are salvaging from the Rahimi remodel to add a feature in our own backyard.  Ava and Sam enjoyed helping us and we enjoyed our last time together, at least for another two weeks.  We all waved goodbye and the grandparents started our trek back across "the valley", to 100-degree weather in Fresno, a sign of approaching summer.

This new week will see us return to normal chores, house work mostly, including the start of the garage extension project -- but that's another story.

John and Marianne


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