Of Fish and Faces

Over the weekend, we were reviewing the Rules of Go Fish! before starting to play a hand:

Pea: So first, you ask everyone if they have the card that you want, like you say, Does anyone have a 5, and if they have it, they have to give it to you.

Me: And if no-one has the card you asked for, you have to Go Fish, right?

Jammy: And you say, Go Fish!

Pea: That's right. And then you have to pick a card from the pile in the middle. And what is it you have to say once you have four cards of the same kind and lay them down in front of you?

3Po: You say, In Your Face, Baby!

Wassup for Fall -- A Disney Electronics Sneak Peek

As a blogger, I've been invited by various PR firms to various events, and to tell you the truth, it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes one event memorable and another event forgettable. Sometimes it's the chance to meet some heroes, both real and fantasy. Sometimes it's the awesome food. Or Swag-to-Die-For. And sometimes, all it takes is the chance to say I Saw It First.


Last week I was invited by Disney Consumer Products to get a sneak peek at their lineup of kid tech products coming out in the fall. I joined fellow SV Moms Linsey, Jessica and Nicole for our own private product demo by Thom Richmond, Disney's Director of Consumer Products.

All the toys and gadgets Thom showed us would easily make it on any kid's 2009 holiday wish list, like Mix Lights MP3 player that lights up to the beat of the music, or the Disney Pix Twist, a kid-friendly digital camera with a viewfinder that they can twist around to take pictures of themselves. And it's quite possible that the Ultimate Buzz Lightyear Robot -- with programmable actions, voice recognition, interactive game play, and the coolest animatronic moving mouth ever -- might be the Tickle Me Elmo of 2009.


But the crown jewel of Thom's demo was the Disney Netpal, a full-functioning, Windows-based netbook made exclusively for Disney and marketed to 6-12 year olds. Disney's Consumer Products has really leveraged Disney's knowledge of what kids enjoy, and added in some cool parental controls to make it fun, safe, and easy to use. In fact, the Netpal is loaded with so many features that it deserves a post of its own (so watch out for a separate review sometime this summer on Bonggamom Finds).

The event was simple and low key, but it was so exciting to be shown products that aren't even on the shelves yet. Even occasional glitches during the product demo didn't detract from my positive impression of the products because they just added to the sense that we were true Disney Insiders ("Sorry, that doesn't work quite well yet, it's still in beta but we'll fix that for the final version"). Yes, probably with the other bajillion or so reporters they've given sneak peeks to at trade shows and other demos like this one, but it was a nice feeling anyway. And it sure doesn't hurt with the "Moms Know Everything" mystique -- because now I know what my kids are going to whine for even before they do.

Temptation

It all happened because I wanted.

For months we had flirted. At first was lighthearted, fun, mischievous. We were both in other relationships anyway. Along the way we became friends, and I discovered the perfect companion, debating partner, kindred soul. And I discovered he was single. But he was all wrong for me. And I had a boyfriend.

One night I finally agreed to have dinner with him. No big deal, we're just getting something to eat after work. It's just a dinner between two work colleagues, I told myself. Then he reached over the Chicken Masala and held my hand. Electric sparks shot through me. I didn't admit it to myself, but deep down inside, I wanted. We paid our separate checks and went our separate ways.

I was lonely and I wanted.

No, that's not true. I wasn't lonely. But still I wanted.

Another night we stayed in the office, working late. We ended up talking about this and that until everyone else had gone. It was just him, me and the janitor. Over the hum of the vacuum cleaner, he said, I'd really like to kiss you right now. This time, I admitted it. I wanted. I told him, so would I. But we didn't.

It was obscene, that wanting.

Then we walked out into the parking lot. We went to our separate cars. We looked at each other from across the parking lot. And he walked back to me. I just stood and stared. Again, the electricity. It was as though we were already kissing.

Until we actually did start kissing -- and then the sparks really flew. It was one of the best kisses of my life. I broke up with my boyfriend the next day, and the rest is history.


Italicized text was taken from Anita Shreve's novel, Testimony -- which chronicles one character's moment of temptation, one with much more tragic results than my own. Click here to see what other members of the Silicon Valley Moms Book Club have been inspired to write after reading the novel.

Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- Day 5

Day 5 activities consisted of revisiting the Pre Assessment activities that we did on Day 1. As before, 3Po and Jammy were able to do all the activities -- but this time, they didn't have to sound out some of the -ALL words. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I think it's getting easier and easier for them each time they read. Maybe I'll ask them to do the same activities again in a couple of weeks, once their short-term memory of it fizzles out, and see what happens.

And so ends our little experiment. My babies have graduated from Super Why Camp! It has been well worth the 30 minutes or so we've spent on it every day this week. The boys got their little afternoon summer at-home camp, they got to spend some quality time with their mama, and I got the satisfaction of knowing they're getting good practice with their literacy skills. When I asked them, both boys said they'd like to do more Super Why worksheets.... so this is a Shout-Out to Angela Santomero and all the creative minds behind Super Why -- we want to do another Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- so we need more worksheets, based on more episodes! See, the reward for doing such a great job with extending the learning activities beyond the TV show is getting asked to even more of it.

Staying in this summer? Start your own 5-day Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp! Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/learningwithmedia/superwhy.html to download the 3 Little Pigs episode and all the activities for each day.

Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- Day 4



Day 4 of our Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp featured the show's namesake, Super Why -- so I thought 3Po and Jammy would be all over it. But they didn't really get into the activities today, which were patterned after Super Why's role in changing the 3 Little Pigs story, as seen on the Super Why 3 Little Pigs episode. The Day 4 coloring pages I gave them were too detailed for them to color properly; at the risk of sounding gender-biased, maybe it's because they're boys? Maybe a girl would easily have colored in the drawing? Or maybe our crayons are too blunt. At least that's what The Pea tells me (I think it's all a plot to get me to buy them new markers).

Whatever the case, Day 4 turned out to be more about Alpha Pig than Super Why. During the Add-on Activity, Jammy had fun drawing the 3 Little Pigs and changing his story to turn them into a quartet. And they really got into Alpha Pig's Alphabet Song when they watched today's Super Why episode (Rapunzel).



I guess Super Why's not their favorite character after all.

Staying in this summer? Start your own 5-day Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp! Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/learningwithmedia/superwhy.html to download the 3 Little Pigs episode and all the activities for each day.

Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- Day 3


It's Day 3, Princess Presto Day! Unlike yesterday, the boys weren't too interested in donning a girl's mask (I guess getting in touch with their feminine side doesn't extend to Princess Presto's sparkly pink-ness), but they still tackled the day's worksheets with enthusiasm. Today's activities didn't seem to be too related to the 3 Little Pigs episode, and the kids were getting a bit too intimate with that episode anyway, so I let 3Po and Jammy watch another episode of SUPER WHY (Goldilocks and the Three Bears: The Mystery ) instead.

The activities for Princess Presto Day were centered around phonics: matching letters with their corresponding sounds. It was interesting to see that 3Po and Jammy had no problem at all with the first worksheet (looking at pictures, identifying the beginning sound and circling the beginning letter), but found the second activity (and the related follow-up activity, the Letter Scavenger Hunt) quite challenging. It was kind of the opposite: they were given a letter and had to come up with a word beginning with that sound. They needed a bit of help from The Pea and me, but eventually Jammy really got into it. Our house is now full of letters taped to various objects, including me (I was the lucky recipient of 4 letters: M for Mama, F for Friend, G for Glasses, and A for Ana). My favorite one is the "I" taped to the light switch:

Me: Jammy, why is there an "I" on that switch?
Jammy: Because "L" is for light switch.
Me: But that's an "I', not an "L".
Jammy: But I couldn't think of anything that starts with "I", so I pretended that it was a lowercase "L".

Methinks Princess Presto would be proud.

Staying in this summer? Start your own 5-day Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp! Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/learningwithmedia/superwhy.html to download the 3 Little Pigs episode and all the activities for each day.

Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- Day 2



Today was Day 2 of the SSS (Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp), and it was Wonder Red day. 3Po and Jammy cut out their Wonder Red masks (surprisingly, no gender issues there, I'm happy that my boys are in touch with their feminine side) and happily settled down to watch the SUPER WHY 3 Little Pigs episode once again. Here's a video of them interacting with Wonder Red as she sounds out the words TALL and BALL:

video

The kids are supposed to watch this episode every day for the 5-day period (because all the activities are based on this episode), but I can tell that with my kids (and most older preschoolers), this might get a bit old. They clearly remembered all the words from yesterday and were starting to act a bit know-it-all-ish ("Oh, I know that already, that's so easy!") . Tomorrow I might have to mix it up a bit and show them another epidose, then see if they can still do activities based on the first episode.



The activity sheets for Day 2 were great! 3Po and Jammy really had to use their reading skills by adding the beginning letter to the ALL-family word that matched the picture. Some of the pictures were actually quite confusing -- SMALL was a tiny bug, CALL was a girl on a phone, and don't even get me started on the pictures for HALL and MALL. But I gave 3Po and Jammy less credit than I should have, because they worked it out.

Stay tuned for Day 3....

Staying in this summer? Start your own 5-day Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp! Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/learningwithmedia/superwhy.html to download the 3 Little Pigs episode and all the activities for each day.

Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp -- Day 1



Hooray, it's summer! And this is the summer that 3Po and Jammy are going to learn how to read. Thanks to Alfie's dedicated bedtime reading program (and a few choice bribes), they're actually doing quite well; they've gotten the 3-letter words down pat, and are coming along nicely with consonant blends and words with a silent e at the end. What they need now is practice, practice, practice. Right now they see words all around them, words they are perfectly capable of reading -- on street signs, on buildings, on TV -- but they never actually read them because they only read when they're sitting beside their dad and sounding them out. I want them to be able to recognize the words they see in books outside in real life, and hopefully be able to sight-read the simpler words quickly, without having to sound them out.

Inspired by the success stories I heard at last week's PBS Kids presentation to mom bloggers, I've decided to help the boys get some reading practice in a structured, but fun way by running my own little summer camp this week: Our Superwhy Superreading Summercamp (SSS). The activities are based on the PBS Kids SUPER WHY Learning Activities, a 5-day curriculum of activities that build upon the skills that kids are learning when they watch SUPER WHY's 3 Little Pigs episode.

To get things started, yesterday we did the Pre Assessment activities to see where 3Po and Jammy stand with preliteracy skills. The Pre Assessment activitise consist of simple letter recognition, spelling, rhyming and comprehension activities. After glancing at the activities, I fully expected 3Po and Jammy (age 5) to be able to all of them, and they did. Since they can easily sound out 3-letter words, my main goal this week will be to increase their sight-reading vocabulary (i.e. without sounding out), especially words in rhyming families like ALL, BALL, TALL or PIG, DIG, RIG.

Moving on.... today, Day 1, was Alpha Pig day. The boys donned an Alpha Pig mask and watched the SUPER WHY 3 Little Pigs episode for the first time (In the episode, Alpha Pig's friend Jill is knocking down his block towers, so the 4 Super Readers enter the 3 Little Pigs storybook to figure out how Alpha Pig can get his friend to stop). They really enjoyed it, and I was surprised at how much participation the show enlicited from Jammy. I think he was really surprised and proud that he could read the words he saw on the screen. After the episode ended, they did some letter recognition activities. I wasn't too impressed with the Day 1 worksheets -- the coloring page is so detailed that no kid under age 8 will be able to color it in properly -- but the boys seemed to enjoy doing them. I think the biggest source of excitement for them was the notion of a 5-day SUPER WHY camp, with tv, activities and crafts.

Stay tuned for Day 2.....

Staying in this summer? Start your own 5-day Super Why Super Reader Summer Camp! Go to http://www.pbs.org/parents/childrenandmedia/learningwithmedia/superwhy.html to download the 3 Little Pigs episode and all the activities for each day.

Creamy


This is a berry parfait with vanilla yogurt and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Oh, the creamy, sweet goodness...... it's the perfect ending to a summer evening barbecue. Can you believe that the glaze on those strawberries is raspberry vinaigrette dressing?

Learning with PBS Kids and SUPER WHY

I've always maintained that watching TV can be a positive, educational experience for children. Actually, make that: "watching PBS is a positive, educational experience for children". There's a lot of good quality programming on many kids' networks these days, but as far as I'm concerned, PBS sets the gold standard in educational TV. A lot of it has to do with my own experiences; I learned to read watching the two original PBS Kids programs: Sesame Street and The Electric Company. And because they're noncommercial, airing on nonprofit stations, I really get the sense that they put kids' interests first. I've put absolute trust in the PBS Kids brand: if it's a PBS show, I let my kids watch it.


The Silicon Valley Moms bloggers were recently invited by PBS Kids to learn about the thought and research that goes into all the media (tv shows, online, books, licensing deals, etc..) that PBS Kids develops. I was happy to see that the whole non-commercial, nonprofit vibe extended to this event as well: I didn't get the sense that this was some kind of marketing ploy, because it was actually a two-way discussion. The PBS executives were genuinely interested in hearing from us how PBS shows have influenced our children and how they can work more effectively to reach parents.


By the way, this is totally unrelated, but did you know that Alfie and I held our wedding reception in this very same room? We drank champagne and fed each other wedding cake right about where Citymama (in the sunny yellow jacket) is sitting.


Back to the subject....that's Angela Santomero, creator, executive producer and head writer of SUPER WHY, a PBS Kids tv series. Angela spoke to us about the extensive research process that goes behind each SUPER WHY episode, and all the success it has had in increasing pre-literacy skills in preschoolers. I feel like I should have asked for an autograph, because in my mind she's a bit like a female Jim Henson -- she's also the creator of Blue's Clues, one of my kids' favorite shows when they were younger, and in my mind, one of the cutest preschoolers' shows ever. She's two for two with SUPER WHY; my iPod is filled with SUPER WHY episodes for the kids to watch when we're on road trips or plane trips. And from the independent studies Angela was quoting from, it sure sounds like SUPER WHY is helping kids gain the skills they need to learn how to read, in the same way that Sesame Street and The Electric Company helped me.

We were sent home with a backpack filled with a week's worth of activities to maximize the educational value of SuperWhy. I'm guessing (or hoping) these activites are patterned after their highly successful SUPER WHY Reading Camps, and I'm eager to do the activities with 3Po and Jammy. Call it our very own Super Summer Camp, if you will. I'll be blogging a bit more about the activities as we plow through them, and you can download the same activities we received and try it along with us. Hey, it's free, and your kids will learn something besides making macrame potholders.

In which my sons convert to a new religion

A couple of weeks ago, 3Po and Jammy went for a playdate at a friend's house; when I picked them up, they had found a new obsession: Bakugan, a robot/card game. I'm still learning what exactly Bakugan is and how to play it, but all I'm sure of is that they've found a new religion. And yes, religion is the right word, as evidenced by a conversation we had when they were examining their new Bakugan toys:

3Po: Where's the Jesus?
Me: What?
3Po: I can't find the Jesus!
Me: What do you mean, Jesus?
Jammy: You know, Jesus. Jesus is Power!
Me (shaking my head in an attempt to clear my head and understand what they're saying): Say that again?
3Po (very patiently): Jeeeeeezus. Look here, mama, on the other Bakugan it says 480 Jesus.

I grabbbed the Bakugan from him and read what 3Po was pointing to. There, in tiny gold letters, was "480G".

Me: Oh.... 480 Gee's.
Jammy: Yes, Jesus. You know, how much power your Bakugan has. Jesus is Power.

Schmoozing and Boozing at the SF Bay Area BlogHer Meetup

This July I'm leaving my babies behind with their daddy for the first time ever for to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago. I have my conference pass (thanks, Label Daddy!). I have my plane tickets (okay, the flights are crappy but I used airmiles to get the ticket, so I guess a red-eye outbound flight and an inbound flight with a stopover is to be expected). I have my hotel room (thanks, Linsey and Carla !). And most important of all, I've RSVP'd for all the cool BlogHer parties out there!

But when it comes to parties, I'm rusty. The only parties I've attended lately involve jumpy houses, goldfish crackers and birthday cake with disgusting red frosting. So when I was invited by Elisa to help organize a pre-conference meetup for bloggers around the San Francisco Bay Area, I jumped at the chance. Hooray, a warmup! A way to ease into the party circuit! And on a more serious note, a way to get to know more people before I actually go. Even though I'm not a total newbie, I can still see myself hiding away in a corner during some cocktail party, holding a drink and pretending I'm waiting for my BFF or smiling at my cellphone, hoping people will think I'm reading and responding to a particularly witty Tweet on my iPhone. I figured organizing it would be an easy way to make conversation ("Hi! Let me take those olives, we've got a nice bowl for them").

SF BlogHer Meetup 09
Thanks to the lovely @lizhenry for hosting our little shindig! (I shamelessly borrowed this photo from @rbucich's Flickr Photostream)



Much to my relief (Yay! they're not directing my email to their spam folders!), the SF Bay Area BlogHer meetup was well attended, with thirty or so (I didn't count and I must have had a pitcher of sangria, so my estimate might be off) bloggers coming together to meet, mingle and enjoy. Liz Henry gamely volunteered her home, and everyone really came through with the best nosh ever. I was so worried we'd end up with potato chips, some wine and lots of paper plates, but the tables were overflowing with goodies like these:

I brought my macro lens by mistake, so the only decent shots I could get were of the food. And it was definitely photo-worthy. Check out the gigantic chocolate truffles from http://www.ettores.com/!

I'm really not good at cocktail hours and small talk, so I didn't expect to have so much fun, and the feeling had nothing to do with the wine or the sangria. It was well past the cocktail hour when we finally broke up, and even then I wasn't ready to go home. Good Lord, but bloggers are interesting people! I got to talk and laugh with old blogger friends like Kim, Nicole, Lia and Stefania. I got to meet BlogHer rock stars like Jory, Elisa , Liz and Lisa, as well as some great bloggers like Rick, Abi, Meggan and Lorraine. And I got my party mojo back.

SF BlogHer Meetup 09
Yours truly eagerly waiting for @jonesabi to finish pouring a drink for @citymama. I want some white sangria, dammit! (I shamelessly borrowed this photo from @rbucich's Flickr Photostream)


BlogHer, I'm ready for you!

For more awesome photos and posts about the meetup , check out:
* Rick's photos
* Liz's photos
*

From Latch to Lock


We installed this latch on our driveway gate about 4 years ago. It ensures that our back yard is completely enclosed, and it's well out of the kids' reach, which means the kids can't wander in and out without our knowledge or consent. Or so we thought.

Soon after the latch was installed, 3Po and Jammy (who were about 18 months old at the time) were out in the yard playing with their Little Tykes Cozy Coupe ride-on cars. I was indoors and I heard lots of banging on the gate. I figured they were having fun ramming the cars into the gate and thought nothing of it. Then all was quiet for about 5 minutes..... too quiet. I went outside and discovered that they had been banging the gate in order to flip the latch. The latch had lifted, the gate had opened, and they were off, laughing and riding their cars on the sidewalk.

After that incident, we always made sure we threaded a padlock through the hole so that it would never accidentally flip again. And the latch became a lock. Lesson learned: do not underestimate a toddler who wants to escape.

For more locks, click here.

Last Day of School

Dear 3Po

To you, the Last Day of School doesn't mean much. To you, it's much like any other pickup day, when mama meets you as you exit your classroom and chases you down as you attempt to play one last game of tag with your friends. Maybe you notice a couple of differences. The Last Day is a chance to get a dayglo-orange popsicle to lick. It's a day when you get to take all your artwork home. For you, it's more about that First Day of Summer than the Last Day of School.

But this Last Day is bittersweet to me, because it's truly your last day as a pre-schooler. In September you and your brother will be in kindergarten. You'll be one of the Big Boys now. Your sister won't be able to tease you about not having proper lessons (well, she'll always find something to tease you about). Being a twin gives kindergarten an even greater significance. Now you and your brother will be forging your own, separate identities and going your separate ways.

No doubt I'll feel this way each time you move up a notch in the educational hierarchy, and when you enter college I'll wipe away a tear and laugh at myself for thinking that Kindergarten meant you were now One of the Big Boys. Tomorrow I'll rejoice with you and say I'm so excited you're entering your grade school years. For now, just let me stare at your stained, sticky face and wish you could be my little boy forever.

Love,
mama

For more Love Thursday posts, click here.

Parenting Classes from a Five-Year Old's Perspective

2Po: Where's mama going?

Alfie: She's going to a talk about raising boys.

3Po: What's that?

Alfie: Someone is going to talk about little boys and how they think. Mama's going to learn what to do when little boys are sad or angry, and how to help them learn at school and play with other kids . They're also going to teach mama what to do when little boys are naughty, and how to help little boys like you behave better.

3Po: So.....will mama be able to tell when we're lying?

In which the spirit of Andrew Zimmern posseses my kids

I remember when The Pea would eat nothing but macaroni and cheese. And when the boys would eat nothing but meat. Alfie and I persevered, serving a variety of foods and insisting they try, try,try. And baby, we've come a long way. Case in point:


See these little insects? They're crickets. See the orange dayglo substance on their little chests? That's cheese powder. Yup, these are Bacon-N-Cheese flavored crickets, all nice and crunchy for you to munch on. Not ground up so you don't know what they are; these are the real, whole deal (okay, a couple of legs and wings did break off in transit).

The Bizarre Foods show on the Travel Channel sent us a couple of boxes of edible crickets to try. I thought the kids would run screaming and call social services, but they surprised me. I think the spirit of Andrew Zimmern must have been in the box along with the crickets. Actually, it was his DVD of Bizarre Foods season 3 (Season 4 airs its penultimate episode tomorrow night; you should watch it). After watching it and seeing all the stuff that Andrew eats, everyone was eager and willing to try the crickets.


Yes, even when their beady little eyes stared at us and pleaded to be given a decent burial, or at least be added to a bug collection like most other normal families would do.



That's my little omnivore! And if you think they're just faking it, watch the video:



Do you want to win some of these edible crickets to serve at your next cocktail party? Or to share at the office? Go to my Bizarre Foods giveaway post on Bonggamom Finds. Bon Appetit, y'all.

Advertisements


It's difficult to believe that these gorgeous illustrations were created simply to promote stuff. I find it funny that people were probably handing out flyers at the mouth of the Paris Metro for free (the original junk mail) . Now you'd probably pay through your teeth to get your hands on an original print. I've always loved the Art Nouveau style, and even though these are just tiny magnets, I love looking at them. Maybe someday that Kraft Mac-N-Cheese magazine spread will be worth a lot of money!

For more advertisements, click here.

Making Memories at the Maker Faire

Our jam-packed schedule last weekend has left me with a sore throat and bad cold, but as far as I'm concerned, our Weekend of Science was worth it. After all, how many opportunities do you get to meet Bill Nye the Science Guy, see things blown up, watch bowling balls trigger a giant mousetrap and do other fun experiments? We barely had enough time to recover from our visit to the San Jose Tech Museum on Saturday, then on Sunday it was off to see all kind of gizmos, contraptions and inventions at the Bay Area Maker Faire.

This was the first I had ever heard of the Make Faire, but apparently this is the largest DIY fair in the US, and it attracts hundreds of people. Alfie and I couldn't believe that people would pay 50 bucks to get in, but the place was packed! The high cost became more understandable when we got to the workshop section; fairgoers can make all kinds of crafts there and take them home for free. Alfie could probably have stayed at the whole morning. . Stuff gets blown up, lasered, melted, sawed off, cut, hammered together, riveted and soldered, all in the name of innovation, experimentation and fun.




3Po and Jammy were really getting into the wooden structure they were building, but we had to drag them off to see the rest of the fair. They protested bitterly, of course, until they saw that the Maker Faire had so much more to offer -- robots and bikes walking all over the fairgrounds.... crazily-decorated cars on display.... steam engines.... rocket launchers.... huge flamethrowers......


.... a fun mini-golf course......

....a life-sized Mousetrap, just like the board game..... and tons more. We probably only got to see a tenth of what was on display.



They also had a food section with beer brewing demos, cheese making demos, and lots of booths featuring organic, artisanal, homemade, alternative food and drink. At one of the booths, The Pea and Jammy agreed to be interviewed and dance like a monkey for 20 seconds, in exchange for a free bottle of juice. Just like their mama, my babies' swag-gathering instincts are strong and I grew misty-eyed thinking of it. Besides, it's not like they don't ham it up for me and the blog every other day of the year anyway.

There just wasn't enough time to take it all in ! In fact,as we were eating lunch (delicious maize-wiches with fillings like pork and avocado, shredded beef and tomatoes), the phone rang. It was the mother of Pea's friend, telling us they were just about to leave to pick The Pea up for her ballet recital. Horrors! My memory had failed me again; turns out The Pea's recital was at 3PM, not 4PM, so we had to leave even sooner than I had planned (and do yet another mad rush in order to get her into costume before the curtain went up).

Everyone was disappointed that we didn't get to stay longer, but The Pea's legions of fans were calling, so we left with our photos, our memories, and some lessons learned for next year:

1) Go early.
2) Plan to spend the whole day.
3) Pack a lunch, or line up to buy lunch before noon.
4) Grab a map so you can check everything out and see what you really want to see.