Category Archives: Education

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The Children’s Discovery Museum

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The Children’s Discovery Museum

We took the kids to my favorite museum in San Jose. It’s hands on and educational but you would never guess it by the kids laughing the whole day. I think its safe to say, we have a new favorite spot to visit!
If you enjoy this video please subscribe to our YouTube channel Taking California & hit like! Right now its only my daughter liking our videos because she feels bad.

 

Emery’s very first day of school

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Emery’s very first day of school

We’ve counted down the days until Emery’s first day of school. She was prepared with a wealth of knowledge and I knew she would be just fine because she’s my out going independent child.  However, I knew I would not be ready at any point or time to let my baby be out of my sight. The thought of her going to school, being a “big kid” and away from me always brought tears.

Getting her class schedule made me cry, orientation made me cry and each day writing a lower number on our count down to kindergarten chalk board made me more anxious.

One week!

One week!

We found a great book called, Count Down to Kindergarten to get Emery pumped up about her special day

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Emery liked counting the items.

and The Night Before Kindergarten (which made me cry of course).

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This book was actually SUPER cute and EXTREMELY accurate for me. I recommend it.

The night before the big day Emery couldn’t sleep, she’s a bit of a night owl and getting her on a schedule was impossible. I decided the only real option was to throw her to the lions and let her fall a sleep at her regular time (which I tried to avoid anyway) and wake up early have a full day and crash the next night. Luckily she woke up excited and ready to go!

Running to class! Wait you know mom wants a photo!

Running to class! Wait you know mom wants a photo!

The family watching our

The family watching our “wee wee” go to class for the first time

Group photo before class started. This is the best we could do, we really need to invest in a selfie stick
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My studious child

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Mommy had to get in the mix and took a cute picture

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and a silly photo, because we are silly girls.

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Then her teacher Mrs. Jasso announced what they would do and how they would make a hat. For some reason it was the hat comment that made me lose it. I cried folks, not just a tear or watery eyes; this mom lost it. My cool was gone and I was in full “omg get my baby out of here what have I done!” mode. Emery’s face went from normal to panic like she wanted to cry. I quickly started signing I was happy, but when my flood gates open it’s hard to stop. She came over and I bent down and told her sorry I wasn’t upset or sad I was just happy for her, she would have so much fun and I couldn’t wait to see her awesome (choked up) hat when she got home. We gave our last hugs and kisses, I tried to get myself together and gave big smiles and thumbs up and got out of there. I’m pretty sure everyone saw me including the teacher, I don’t care I love my baby girl! This was the first time she would be away from me and not with grandma. She was now a big girl and in a new chapter of her life. I’m allowed to be emotional! Right?

(said, in my best Sponge Bob commentary voice)

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We picked up Emery! She was happy to see us and she was wearing the infamous hat that almost ruined the day.

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Now here is where I got excited. When I was a kid my step-mom gave my little brother a “Happy first day of school” party. I wasn’t there but I never forgot what a great idea that was. Ever since then I have wanted to give my child a first day of school party. When I got older, any time a sister or nephew started school I brought over a little something to make their day extra special. Now the time had come to give Emery a surprise party for her very first time going to school!
She walked in and said, “what’s all of this?” she loved the idea of having a party!

Hooray for surviving the first day of school!

Hooray for surviving the first day of school mom Emery!

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No party is complete with out presents

No party is complete with out presents

& cupcakes

cupcakes & pizza!

Thank you to everyone who came over and helped us celebrate Emery’s first day of school and a special thank you to my friends and family who helped me cope during this emotional time. All of your loved words were heard and taken to heart.
I hope everyone’s children have a great school year!

Back to school mantle

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Back to school mantle

Often I make our fireplace mantle change for the season or holiday but I never blog about it. I’m going to change that and start sharing my mantle creations on here maybe to inspire others or if nothing else to share the fun I have creating my mantle master pieces.

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The school year is approaching fast and before the holiday’s catch up with us I wanted to pump up the kids for the new school year. We now have a middle schooler and a kinder kid in the house and those are two big transformations that they will have to get use to.

I went to Michaels to get loom for the crayon wreath, I needed two different size embroidery hoops that I hot glued together (the top thick wood parts with the screws) and bought two packs of 120 crayola crayons to ensure I had enough crayons for the wreath. At my discretion I spaced them out in the correct color spectrum. I ended up only getting to red, orange, yellow and green not even using blue, indigo or violet.

snap chatting my project

snap chatting my project. Hot glued the crayons to the hoops. I found it easier to place the crayon quickly on the hoop where I wanted it and then place to dots and glue it down.

Originally I had planned to add cute cut outs with my Cricut machine, but once the wreath was done I loved it the way it was.

Hung with a measuring ribbon and the rest hangs down in a bow.

Hung with a measuring ribbon and the rest hangs down in a bow.

I had an idea of how I wanted the mantle to turn out, I just needed to find a few accessories at the stores if I could. To my surprise I didn’t find what I needed at Michaels, and now that I think about it I might have been too early in the season for back to school supplies who knows. Next door I made a Target run and “glanced” in the dollar aisle (its my weakness), to my absolute surprise and utter joy Target had a few great back to school decorating items. I’m sure I looked like a kid in a candy store with a million dollars to spend. Each find made me happier than the next. My at home ideas went out the door and my cart was full of new ideas.

The kids and I grabbed a world map and I used this as an opportunity to illustrate the path that their Dad traveled while he was in the Navy on his deployments.

Dad has been around the world twice.

Dad has been around the world twice.

The glass jars were filled with stamps and scissors and the book ends held some children books, while on the other end an apple chalk board counts the days until school starts.

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And last but not least the garland has a positive message for the kids to read daily and absorb before the school year begins.

Stay focus!

Stay focused!

The Calderon’s take San Francisco

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The Calderon’s take San Francisco

In mid February we took a day trip to San Francisco to visit the city and The California Academy of Science. Growing up in the bay area, I was able to visit this museum and many more on school field trips and day trips with my Dad. I want to take the children to all the amazing sites I was able to go to in my life. Any time Victor and I are in the city, whether its down south in Los Angeles or up north in San Francisco we try to set aside a day to take the kids some where they have never been and to a explore things that we don’t have where we live  in the central valley.

The last time I went to the San Francisco Academy of Science was in the mid 90’s. Since then the museum had gone through a $488 million dollar renovation in the Golden Gate Park.

It was like an all new adventure for Victor and I. The museum was completely different from anything I remembered growing up. Immediately to the right is a 90′ spiral dome with a living rainforest. walking in it you feel the humidity while thousands of butterflies and free flying birds are fluttering around.

Below you can take an elevator down to the flooded Amazon and walk through a 25′ tunnel with the rainforest above. The kids loved watching the fish all around them and I loved watching their reaction.

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We saw taxidermy animals in their natural habitat

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Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

The museum also had a huge coral reef aquarium that offered a show with a reef diver. While we didn’t watch the show, we weren’t disappointed at all of the other things there were to take part in.

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Capturing fun

Capturing fun

A whole new world

A whole new world

One of my favorite things doing at the museum when I was a kid, was going on the


earthquake simulator. California is known for earthquakes, but (knock on wood) we really don’t get them as often as people may think. In 1906 San Francisco was hit with a 7.8 earthquake. Any time anyone brings up earthquakes this is the one that al earthquakes are based on. The quake resulted in 3,000 deaths and $524 million dollars in property loss and lasted 1 minute. The city burned for 3 days and destroyed 500 city blocks.

Another major earthquake to hit California was the 1989 Loma Prieta that lasted 15 seconds at a 6.9 on the seismic scale.. This resulted in 60 deaths and wide spread damage. I was nearly 5 years old and it was my first earthquake. It hit in Santa Cruz, 60 miles from San Francisco and was felt in San Jose where I lived. It felt like it lasted much longer than 15 seconds as my mom and I hid under the large dining room table.

Now that I caught you up on a mini earthquake lesson you can only imagine emotion of going through the simulator and having semi experience each earthquake all over again. Instead of having posters to read and standing on a platform that shakes, the  new updated version takes you into a planetarium like room to explain how an earthquake works. After you moved into the self proclaimed infamous Shake House. Hold on to the rail because you will first experience a touch of the1906 quake. The simulator doesn’t last as long as the actual quake did nor can it move up and down like the real one, only side to side. Second up is the 1989 Loma Prieta and as I’m writing just realized how historic it was that 26 years later my daughter was nearly the same age I was experiencing that earthquake. While she’s  never been awake to experience an earth (we’ve had ones while we both have slept) Emery thought it was a fun little ride. A much different reaction I experience living it.

(video in my Instagram GypsyWidow 13 weeks ago from this date)

There was so much to do at the museum but we ran out of time and I didn’t want to run our of daylight before visiting the iconic Golden Gate bridge.

With the mad driving skills of Valerie we made it to Crissy Field at sunset. A little fact that all mothers learn quickly is be prepared with extra everything. I know this unspoken rule, I’m pretty good with it and I know San Francisco is freezing at night. Did I pack warm clothes? DUH. Did I bring them? No I did not. What I failed to mention peed his shorts on the way to S.F. It has never has never happened before but now that we were out I couldn’t have him wet and in shorts. As luck would have it this conductor pants were in the trunk from the day before, and it all worked out.

We got some great shots of the kids enjoying themselves

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Their personalities shinning through

Their personalities shinning through

some of me and the husby

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I’ve always wanted to go to this part of San Fransisco and take pictures with the bridge in the background. I’m so happy that we made it just in time!

 It was Emery and Carlos’ first time in the city so we went down to the peir to grab sone authentic San Fransisco food at Boudin.

Cookie cheers with my little man

Cookie cheers with my little man

The highlight of my night turned out to not to be those bridge picures i’ve wanted for years but forgetting Emery has no idea about street entertainers and watching what she thought was a statue come life after putting a dollar in  the can. She turned around so fast as soon as he began speaking. The man was nice enough to offer a picture of them two together. The bridge pictures I love but the street performer made a lasting memorie for me.

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The California State Railroad Museum

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The California State Railroad Museum

CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOO

The Calderon’s take over The California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento (again). While visiting family and Nina Valerie in Sacramento we had to stop by the California State Railroad Museum in “Old” Sacramento. Emery went when she was two and Carlos is the same age and hasn’t gone yet. Carlos loves trains. He has a growing collection of Thomas the Train movies, toy trains and train apparel.

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I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I had to get a picture of him doing this just like sister did when she was his age.

I dressed him up in his little train conductor overalls, red bandana and conductor hat. He fit right in with all the huge trains and the train stewards. We didn’t bother reading many of the facts this time around, we were strictly there to get on some trains and interact with all we could.

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When you first walk into the beginning of the tour its set-up to explain who worked on the trains and what the time line of the construction. There’s a mock train station booth and cars you can peer inside.

One ticket please!

One ticket please!

Theres a Canadian National Sleeper train in the back of the museum that gives the feeling of movement with sounds as if the train is passing by railroad crossings when you’re in it. Carlos went on it 5 times each with a new chaperon.

Daddy's little guy

Daddy’s little guy

Carlos' first walk through in a train

Carlos’ first walk through in a train

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

& Nina took him on the sleeper car a few times

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

While they were in there they sat down and talked to a few people about trains.

& Mommy took him a few times.

& Mommy took him a few times.

The building has so many trains inside of it, it’s amazing to walk around all of them. Some trains you can look inside, some you can walk in and there’s a big black train that you can sit in the engineer’s seat.

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What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

What a dream come true for a little boy who loves trains

More coal!!

More coal!!

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Up stairs has toy trains to play with and a professional set up behind glass. It was probably my fourth time going and I still enjoyed walking around and exploring.

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them lose and for the parents to re-group

I love when we kind find kid areas to let them loose and for the parents to re-group

In April the Museum begins to offer train rides along the river. We weren’t able to ride it because it wasn’t open yet, but we’ll be back! If you make the trip to The Railroad Museum hang around “old Sac” where the museum is located and check out all the other buildings and the history of the area. It’s very cool to see older buildings and horses right in the middle of the states capitol.

Apple Hill 2014

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We waited months for our family vacation, our yearly trip to Apple Hill Ca. This was Carlos’ first time and I was so excited to get all the pumpkins my little hands could grab. The months leading up to the trip, Emery would freak out in the car about her back itching. A 5 minute car ride to Target was a struggle. She would squirm around, freak out, complain, wail and the cherry on top – she would kick the seat behind me. I probably looked like I was having a demon fighting within me, going forward and back violently in the car with an angry face. So many warnings were given about her being good because Grandpa’s house is much farther than Target.
I packed all of the “best of’s” to avoid any problems. I had 3 hours to keep her occupied and one, one year old. Carlos fell asleep right on schedule but woke up pretty early and did good the rest of the way. Emery surprisingly did amazing (shout out time). She had her tablet, a few snacks and she was an angel. I don’t get to say that much often anymore so I’ll say it again, Emery was an angel.

and here we go ...

and here we go …

DAY 1. Thursday –
We stayed at Carlos’ Nina’s parents house in Elk Grove. I hadn’t been to the area in two years, being able to relax for half a day was great and reconnect.

Ozzy and the kids playing in the back yard dirt.

Ozzy and the kids playing in the back yard dirt.

DAY 2. Friday –
Val (Carlos’ Nina) took us out to eat breakfast, on the way Emery got sick. It was a 10 minute drive (with out traffic) and from that little time she got a fever. How this happened I don’t know, but luckily Super Mom packed meds, a thermometer and a first aid kit just in case (toot toot, that’s me tooting my horn).
We hit up a local hipster coffee spot in midtown and then off to my Dad’s house.
Carlos met his great Grandma Mary for the first time and really embraced everyone instead of being shy and off standing.
At night Victor, Valerie and I went out to Capitol Tap Room to have some brews and celebrate our 7 years of being together. It was our first time being away from the kids, doing something more than a nice fast dinner. Luckily, my family was able and willing to watch the kids. I felt like, “ah, this is what adult time feels like”.

Happy 7 year anniversary  xxXooOX

Happy 7 year anniversary
xxXooOX

DAY 3. Saturday –

Apple Hill!! Valerie came with us, it was her first time and we enjoyed her company. She was our official photographer for our yearly family photo.
Emery found her own pumpkin this year and she was really proud of herself.
Carlos fell every opportunity he could in the patch. The red dirt was all over his chest and back. It was pretty funny because he would fall on the floor and dust himself off not caring at all.
I planned to grab a ton of pumpkins while we were there and I think we succeeded, we walked away with 13 awesome and different ones.

After a long day of walking around and trying different ciders we headed back to my dad’s, where my step mom made a pre-thanksgiving dinner. Perfect for a hunger crew!

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I love this picture of Emery & her special pumpkin

I love this picture of Emery & her special pumpkin

A few of the pumpkins we picked out.

A few of the pumpkins we picked out.

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Our 2014 Family photo

Our 2014 Family photo

My Seesta, my friend, my compa.

My Seesta, my friend, my compa.

 

DAY 4. Sunday –

We took the kids to The State Capitol to check it out because, when in Rome. Emery was learning her state capitals a few months ago so she knew Sacramento was the state’s capital, now she was able to see it up close. We went inside, something Victor and I hadn’t done before. Val was our tour guide leading the way to all the rooms available for visitors. We got to see the assembly room, where all the decisions are made. We found a gift shop and picked up two new California children’s books and a magnet for our trip!

At the end of this day I think Victor and I both looked at each other and decided we needed one more day in the city.

California State Capitol

California State Capitol

walking into the lobby inside the Capitol

walking into the lobby inside the Capitol

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looking up at the dome with daddy

looking up at the dome with daddy

Inside the assembly room

Inside the assembly room

When we got home we did some homework on California

When we got home we did some homework on California

 

DAY 5. Monday –
BONUS DAY!!! Also uuber sad day because this was the day we had to leave. We sad goodbye to great grandma Mary and snuck in a few photos. We had lunch with Nina Val one last time. And let me say this, one of my favorite things about the trip was the last meal at The Sandwich Spot. OHMYGAWD so good. so good.

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Carlos would not take a picture with his grandma. She got the great idea of just standing next to him and smiling. It worked.

Carlos would not take a picture with his grandma. She got the great idea of just standing next to him and smiling. It worked.

Grandpa Max and the kids

Grandpa Max and the kids

Grandma Andrea

Grandma Andrea

We said our goodbyes and I stressed all over about the 3 hour road trip home. Emery had to pee 40 minutes into it (how I don’t know because she went before we left), Carlos woke up right away and I was dreading the hours of crying. Luckily everything went smooth and we plan to be back again sooner than later.

Valerie, has a YouTube channel – Valsays and vlogged our trip. So forget everything you just read and watch mini clips of it below.