Saturday, November 17, 2007

11/17/07 The down day?

Our new kitchen designer came by today to case the joint, and noticed right away that my existing countertops are too high! Well, higher than standard, which is still too high for me. And the cabinets are mounted about 4" higher than today's standard. Also too high for me. Wow. So just having a kitchen made to the "standard" will be a huge improvement, though we'll probably make the island an inch or so lower.

While we waited for the designer to arrive, I did a fun little photo session with Katrina.

She was in fine form today, full of curiosity and silly sounds and games and almost shouting at books. She really took a liking to the kitchen designer, showing off and putting on her best cute act, making goofy noises from across the room to attract her attention.

No boy photos today -- too bad 'cause they finally got haircuts. They were getting pretty darned shaggy!

They had a really big day with Dad: breakfast at Bobbi's, swim class (where Gabriel unexpectedly came home with a white ribbon, having advanced another level), BMX park (where Julian braved some of the mounds, and even made it up to the starting plateau!), haircuts, the bike shop (Julian's earned himself some BMX gloves), out to lunch, then more time with Dad helping him rake leaves and definitely not being any help when he tried to mow the lawn. Then they got a nice impromptu short playdate with the White kids when Betsy & Co. stopped by. They went to bed exhausted.

And here I thought it'd be so nice for them to have a day "off" at home after being in full-time daycare all week.


Friday, November 16, 2007

11/16/07 The errand

For weeks now, a bag of impulse purchases has been rolling around my car, waiting for the opportune moment to be returned at Bed Bath and Beyond. When am I ever going to fit things like that into my new schedule?

Answer: Friday afternoons.

Today I scooted out of work at 3pm, and decided to go to BB&B just so I don't have to look at this bag anymore, and make the return. And I did. Done, fini, finata, finito.

From there, I picked the boys up, then took them to pick Katrina up. Not the most efficient route, but in terms of lugging things and kids around, it worked the best. Best of all, we were all home by 4:30pm, and the boys had some time to play outside together while Katrina bopped around making "bid-dah bid-dah bid-dah" sounds, playing with books and looking for things to draw on with a crayon. I actually got to sit down and have a snack and read the newspaper for a few minutes. Are working moms allowed to do that in the late afternoon? Stay-at-homes deserve every spare minute they get, but me? Anyway, I appreciated it.

When Katrina isn't being swarmed by her brothers and doesn't need a diaper change, she now routinely plays for half an hour, often longer, very happily on her own (and often very unhappily if you try to wrench her away). Another long attention span. We must be doing something right?

Best of all, time from leaving my driveway to pulling into the parking lot at work today was 35 minutes. A far cry from the hour and 20 minutes it took earlier this week! The importance of leaving early cannot be overemphasized, and that was with leaving a little late today (7:10am) and losing a minute -- every minute counts -- to missing a turn.

Still, it's hard to know how to fit everything in. If I exercise at work, then the overhead of a separate trip to the Y or Rancho isn't a time cost. But then I'm spending time working out instead of working, and right now I feel the need to work as much as I can to become productive again. I know it's temporary. I have no intention of making this rat race our regular life, but I have to pay some dues now so that I can start shaping my job/career/income-earning-activity into the lifestyle I want later. Which doesn't involve leaving home with an unbreakfasted (though a very happy and silly) baby at 7:10am.

Gabriel (who has a nice shiner now above his eye, but it's a lot less swollen) came home today with a funny song, one he says he learned in kindergarten class:

Lemonade (clap clap clap)
Chilly ice (clap clap clap)
Beat it once (clap clap clap)
Beat it twice (clap clap clap)
Turn around (turn around)
Touch the ground (touch the ground)
Kick your boyfriend out of town! (make a kicking motion and burst into peals of laughter)

I put the boys to bed tonight, and we had lots of fun repeating this song (really more of a chant) and acting it out. It sure is easy and fun to act like a silly kid when I've been a serious grownup all day.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

11/15/07 Dragging again

Oh my gosh was I tired again today. This getting up at 6:30am thing is for the birds. I'm sorry, it's just not in my biology. I need 10 hours of sleep to feel even slightly OK all day from getting up so early, but I do just as well on 6 hours of sleep if I can get up at 8:30. Or 9. Or 10! Oh, those were the days!

I'm in the camp that can find energy by using it. So I went running with a small group at lunch today (a 4-mile flat run, and slow until I took off on my own), and that revived me temporarily. But when I got home with the kids and immediately kicked into make-dinner mode, I could have fallen asleep with every blink. I swore I'd go upstairs tonight at 9:30pm, and here it is, 9:35, and I'm writing. I'm gonna pay dearly for that tomorrow.

Julian's come home twice this week in his emergency clothes, having peed during his nap. I can't get the story straight. First he says he peed while he was asleep, which I believe, but then he says there's no grownup there, and then he says that if he lifts his head, he's told to lie back down. None of those things go together. I told him he needs to wake up if he has to pee, and if he doesn't see a grownup, to just go, and if a grownup tells him to lie down, then tell the grownup he has to go. Dave's going to talk to someone tomorrow to try to get the story straight, but whoever's there when he drops Julian off might not be the same person overseeing the naps. In any case, some grownup besides his parents needs to assure him he can always get up to pee, if he really is waking up.

Maybe this will turn into a foothold for night-training. If Julian can learn to wake himself up from a nap, then maybe he can at night too. He hadn't peed during a nap at Tonya's for a long time though; maybe he sleeps more soundly at Kids Inc. They always tell me he took a full 2-hour nap, and it shows at home.

Melissa described Katrina as "feisty" today, and said she threw a few fits about not getting something she wanted, but overall she's thrilled to bop around and play, rarely crying anymore unless it's angry protesting about not getting her way. Books are her absolute favorite thing these days, and she is very, very insistent about sitting in a lap and shoving a book at you!

Though I still spent over 2 hours total driving around picking up and dropping off today, it wasn't nearly as painful as yesterday. This would all be so much easier if either work, or childcare, were closer to either home, or each other. But right now, I'm driving around San Jose in one gigantic, traffic-choked triangle. Every day on my way to Melissa's I think, "I've got to find another place." Then every day when I arrive and see how happy Katrina is and how good I feel knowing what fabulous care she's getting, I think, "I've got to keep her here." Not that she'll suffer at Tonya's by any means, but the age she's at is perfect for the excellent one-on-one care Melissa, who's a trained preschool teacher, can give her now (until her license comes through and she can take more kids).

No photos today. I need to take one of myself for my ID badge at work, but I look in the mirror and see a very, very tired face, an old and tired face, and I can't bring myself to do it.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

11/14/07 The DRIVING

Rough, tough day today. Late start, which turned into hitting max traffic on the worst possible routes. All told, I spent over 2-1/2 hours today driving around to drop off or pick up, much of it stuck in stop-and-go on I-880 this morning.

I also happened to arrive at Melissa's right after she'd left to drop her son off at school, so I had a little time to hang around with Katrina. I didn't mind that at all. She had a grand time bopping around, always in search of books to point to or chairs to push around. She now has a second tooth coming in up top. Symmetry!

Given my work location, it's clear that picking up Katrina first is the best way to go, but that means hauling her in to get both Gabriel and Julian, and having to carry her around while I try to sign them out and gather their things. It would be so much easier if I could just set her down for a moment. Please, baby, please walk soon!

At least Gabriel's eye is looking better, though there's still some chance it'll turn into a nice shiner.

Julian said today, "When I'm a girl, I'm going to like pink!"

I went to a Mom's Night Out and cookie exchange with the 2006 mom's group tonight. Just in time to save my sanity. It's a completely different world, being in a group of women in a home, talking about our kids, schools, our lives; so different from being at work in a group of men, talking about much less personal and more directed things. Both worlds are a relief to be in, in their own ways. And I'm looking forward to the weekend to have some time in the kids' world again. That could well be the best thing to come out of this job thing! Meantime, it's a tough adjustment.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

11/13/07 The Designer

Did I complain yesterday about having to get up at 6:30am? That was sleeping late compared to today! Gabriel, out of sorts from his few days in a later time zone, woke up at 5:45am today. That woke Julian, who started whiny noisy crying. That woke Katrina, and it was pretty much all over from there.

Since Dave was taking the day off today, my Plan had been to get to work really early, since he could take Katrina to Melissa's (Tonya's today, actually, they swapped). But my early Plan didn't include missing a crucial hour of morning sleep, nor several boy argument interventions. The early start perversely turned into getting to work later than I'd planned, and from 7:15am on (when I arrived at work), my sorry rear end was dragging like a plow in a muddy field. I can't believe how tired I was today.

But I can believe it, since I've been much more tired in the past. Painful was it was, it was superficial tired, since it was only one day. Not months, like I suffered when Gabriel was a baby.

And, if I was really dying, I could always have taken a nap. As a network engineer, no one's life depends on me. Baby moms, on the other way. So as beat as I was today, I'm here to report: going to work tired is still much, much, much easier than the ravaging wastedness of chronic sleep deprivation that comes with babies.

But you know, something else I find I really miss from being at work: the cute factor. There is just no "awwww" in my day.

Tired as I was, I found the energy for our appointment with our new kitchen designer, Anna at AS Designs. Once again, I left feeling confident we're in good hands, she has a good handle on all sorts of things I'd never think about -- including the kitchen sink.

Gabriel got knocked in the eye by some other kid's elbow today, and boy does it look bad. His eye is half-shut from the big blue puffy area above his right eye, poor kid. (It was a hectic evening, so no photos.)

I'm still so torn about work. Every minute is another swing. I like the grownup time and not being distracted by the kids for a few hours. A whole side of me is coming awake again, remembering what it's like to have a sharp mind (it's a vague and decidedly unsharp memory, and I'm a long ways from it, especially today), remembering what it's like to talk to (pretty much only) men all day, and the direct and nontangential way they communicate. At the same time, I miss my children, I miss being home, I miss having flexible time, I miss YAKKING with my mom friends. Though some of my best yaks have been with men, on the whole, men can't YAK the way we do! I like the predictability and control (I can get coffee when I feel like it), but I miss the variety in the day (hmm, low on vanilla, perfect excuse for a trip to TJ's).

And I miss the "awwwww....".

One mitigating factor is that there's a small, sporadic lunchtime running group, but also, a smaller and more sporadic, and partially intersecting, workout group. My hyperactive colleague has a mini-gym out on the back loading dock, a cart with weights, mats, jumprope and a few other things. So, I availed myself of this today and actually did a weights workout on the loading dock out behind the building! Yeah, there were a few delivery truck drivers that did a double-take ("did that insane woman make a wrong turn on her way to the gym?"), but on the whole, it was worth it. I was so tired it was essential to keeping my energy up. That said, I still suffered pangs of guilt, since an hour lifting weights on a loading dock is an hour I could be home with my children. And I'm off the clock, so it's costly. But then, so is my frail sanity.

Said frail sanity will get bolstered tonight by an indulgence in looking over some house design books and dreamily imagining my future.


Monday, November 12, 2007

11/12/07 Building me

Julian noticed a spot on his leg tonight and asked, "Did they put that there when they builded me?"

Meantime, I swing wildly about how I feel about this work thing.

I don't like the mad dash to get to and from work.
I like having somewhere to go.

I don't like being in an office.
I like being around other grownups.

I don't like reading boring things.
I like thinking and concentrating again.

I don't like the equipment and technology I'm working on.
I like working on equipment and technology again.

I don't like being away from my mom friends.
I like being around men again.

I don't like the feeling of scrambling and not understanding anything.
I like the feeling of being productive (well, when I am that is).

I don't like being away from my children.
I like the break from my children.

I don't like the time.
I like the money.

Dave and Gabriel are home, though my anticipated reunion with my firstborn was anticlimactic when he arrived draped on Dave's shoulder, fast asleep. The trip went well, Gabriel was very well-behaved and had a great time at all the kid activities they did together. There's a wooded trail behind Dave's parents' house, and he loved running around there.

Katrina cut a new tooth today, the right top one!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/11/07 Lots of kid stuff

Looks like Gabriel's having a grand time in St. Louis, visiting a train museum and a children's science museum.

I do so miss the little bugger.

I told Julian I hoped Dad sent pictures of Gabriel from his iPhone, and Julian asked if Dad was going to paint the pictures. I said no, he's going to use his iPhone. Julian then asked, struggling for comprehension, "He's going to paint his iPhone?"

Meantime, I got gas today (my big accomplishment) and the gas pump was playing classical music!