Tuesday, August 21, 2007

8/21/07 A red ribbon day

A ribbon-worthy day! Even for me!

And such a full one, I'm barely sure how to describe it. I guess I'll let the pictures do the talking, and try to do as little of it as possible myself.

It started with Gabriel's last Tuesday morning swim lesson, during which he earned his "red ribbon." This means he's advanced one level, having proven his ability to do the following (lifted from the swim school's Web site):

To earn my RED Ribbon I must master the following three skills without fins:

• Starfish float on my back for 10 seconds without assistance from the instructor.
• Swim one length of the pool alternating between my tummy and my back
• Swim/kick one length of the [ 20-yard ] pool on my back

I wish I could have seen this a little better, but I had to entertain a wiggly crawler who is no longer content to sit in the stroller and watch. But I'm very proud of Gabriel!

During Katrina's nap, the boys colored and drew. Gabriel made an American flag, then went out to the porch, apparently to wave it.

For Julian, I took a scan of a sketch our architect did of what our east elevation might look like after the Grand Remodel (elevations? we gave no thought at all to how the outside would look when we did the upstairs remodel -- and it shows!), printed it, and gave it to him to color. He was very proud of his paint job.

Note the lovely bald spot on Julian's head.

It was actually our architect's idea to print out the drawings for the boys to color. Yesterday, while she was here, she asked Gabriel what color he thought we should paint the house. I thought for sure he'd say "white" (because it is already) or "green" (because that's always what he says when asked a color question), but he surprised us both with, "Stripes!"

Julian colored while I madly typed a long complaint in email to a friend about the boys' behavior at dinner. I didn't quite realize how much that weighed on me until I dumped all over her electronically!

To illustrate my point, I took a little video of the boys at lunch today. A little different, since the rules for sitting at the kitchen counter aren't quite the same as the dining room, and they can't reach each other in the dining room. But here's a small sampling.

Gabriel and Julian on their BEST behavior at lunch, with Katrina screech-whining in the background:

Funny, huh? Try ALL DAY of it! I had to get them out.

But, as I'd also lamented to my hapless friend in email, it's getting increasingly challenging to go places that are suitable for all 3 kids. Katrina isn't content to just be carted around like a newborn anymore, but she's still so young I have to carry her around for most things the boys might want to do.

Fortunately, today was quite warm, and Gabriel had asked me yesterday about Serra Park, where there are water poles. Not ideal for Katrina, but she could try out her first sand. On a lark, I stuck her swimsuit in my bag last-minute.

First, we dropped something off at said friend's house. Not deliberately to make up for all the e-whining, but the timing could make it seem that way.

The boys had a great time listening to a newly discovered funny-song on the way to my friend's house.

Who knew the Red Hot Chili Peppers were so hilarious?

When we got to the park, I immediately remembered why it's such a pain doing things with a baby. Both boys had to go into the bathroom, which is too small for a stroller, so I had to hold antsy Katrina while waiting for them, helping wipe rear ends, wash hands, etc. What a pain!

And Katrina wasn't about to sit placidly on a blanket watching the boys play, though I did manage to get a photo that made it look like she would.

The water play area's drains were, once again, clogged with sand. It dawned on me that this made for a very gradual "beach" into a "lake" that was 6 inches deep, tops. Perfect for baby! Well, the concrete wasn't, but the water was.

So I changed Katrina into her swimsuit, set her down, and let 'er rip. She loved it!

First she got playing with some other kids' truck, but then she boldly started crawling into the middle of the water.

Meantime, the boys threw buckets of water at a concrete tower. I don't know what this innocent block of rock did to deserve this attention, but it suffered some serious erosion today.

Not one, but two photos of both boys with their tongues sticking out. Serious work!

Julian somehow got a bunch of sand plastered on his head and back, so Gabriel kindly washed it off him by dumping a bucket of water over his head -- about 100 times.

Meantime, Katrina "tested the waters" by sticking her face into it, for seconds at a time. Test-drowning or drinking? Ick. Either way....stop that!

Here's Katrina splashing approvingly of the boys' work power-washing the concrete tower.

We all had fun. Ah. Good Mom made a brief appearance today.

Back at home, something flipped on the Hyper switch on the boys, and they started to get crazy and out of control: running, screeching, throwing things, slamming doors, jumping on furniture -- all at the same time. Usually, this is a sign of boredom. But we'd just gotten back from the park! No fair!

So I raided my stash of emergency gifts, and found two "pictureback" Curious George books.

Immediately the boys latched onto them, and Julian asked Gabriel to read them to him. This kept them busy -- and calm -- for the better part of an hour!

Dave went out to dinner tonight, so I put them all to bed. Ironically, I ended up with all three of them wet at the same time again!.

Once again, the scenario with the greatest potential for trouble (all three all day and night) yielded an unusually good day. A long one, to be sure, but not emotionally draining, and with lots of fun moments enjoying all three of them, together. I think that deserves a ribbon.


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