Saturday, December 22, 2007

12/22/07 The Party

Fun party for Julian today! thanks so much to the moms for coming on a holiday weekend, we all had such a good time.

Dishwasher croaked for good last night. It couldn't have done it the day before, when Dave and I were both off work, no, it had to wait for out-of-town guests and a party. Miraculously, we bought and had a new dishwasher installed today. Thank GOD Laura and Ryan were here, on all counts.

more later.


Friday, December 21, 2007

12/21/07 Holiday Luncheon

Today Dave and I both took the day off work, so we were able to attend Gabriel's class's holiday luncheon. It was fun, and some of the parents are *fabulous* cooks. I've got to learn to cook Indian food -- with the flavor, but without the hefty spice.

So much to do today, but much of it was spent catching up on a building sleep debt. I went running this morning at Fremont Older, which took a lot of committment and persuasion. It was 36 degrees, and I was in shorts! And it was horribly muddy. But as usual, by the end, I have to persuade myself not to "go the extra mile," as I really needed to get home and get ready for Gabriel's luncheon.

And Julian's party tomorrow, and Laura and Ryan arriving tonight. Busy, and fun!

Last night, Dave had to cycle a circuit breaker to "reboot" our dishwasher, which had decided not to turn on at all until he did that. While I was waiting to find out if he could get it going, I had horrible visions of it breaking and having to scramble today to buy a new dishwasher. It'd be so ironic if it held out all this time only to die a few critical months before being replaced anyway. Thank goodness he got it going. This is so not the time for my dishwasher to croak.*

Back to it, lots of preparing to do! This is so much more work than work, but so much more fun too. The Intensity knob just got cranked on my life.


* my father referred to this writing "technique" as "foreshadowing"...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12/20/07 Last Day of Work

Yay! Today was my last day of work for the year. Tomorrow, Gabriel's class has a special luncheon, and I just couldn't bear to miss it. I wish I felt like I'd accomplished more at work, as my brain is still mired in a cottony fog.

Mom asked me for a photo of Katrina in this beautiful velour pajama she got in France, and a photo of Melissa. Two for one -- since I bring Katrina to Melissa's in her PJs, getting the two together is practically a must.

Melissa was very agreeable about a photo-op, even though it was just 7:15am and she was busy getting her 2nd-grader out of bed and getting ready to run Tonya's daycare today. Which meant I got to pick Katrina up in Cupertino instead of way the heck out in San Jose today, yay!

But doesn't that bright strong color look wonderful on Katrina? I wouldn't have figured that pink-almost-magenta for a strawberry-blonde, but I love it.

I got a rendering of the new kitchen in email from our kitchen designer today!

Even though I was drop-dead exhausted today, this perked me up enough to leave work early and go back to the appliance store again! to work out some more details. I'm getting a little annoyed about asking about the reliability of an appliance brand and getting told that Consumer Reports is biased, wrong, not useful....I've had my issues with CR as well, but criticizing the magazine isn't an acceptable answer.

I wonder if after two weeks at home I'll be itching to rejoin the grownup world again...or not. For now, I'm thrilled.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

12/19/07 Cookies from afar

Tonight we opened a very special package that arrived from the East Coast tonight. I was on the lookout for the imminent arrival of homemade cookies, so wasted no time opening a big box that hailed from New York!

The boys did an outstanding job, even for them, on their dinners tonight (grilled steak, roasted fingerling potatoes, and green beans), so I let them go to town with the cookies. Mm-mm. And even more special, 'cause their grandmother baked them!

I have to chuckle at the image of a sweet chubby old lady with a white bun, bifocals and an apron that "grandma's homemade cookies" evokes. Anyone who knows my mother will guffaw out loud at the contrast, because that is so not my mother.

The boys got a big kick out of picking shapes out of the tin, many of which didn't survive their daunting journey, but they had fun trying to guess what shape a piece of a cookie belonged to. Merci, Bonne Maman!

Neither Dave's nor my family had a rich tradition of holiday baking, something I'm on track to change with this generation. I love how cookies bring people together!

I made sure to leave work today at 4pm, instead of squeezing in an extra half-hour of work as I often do on lunchtime-run days. Even with extra time getting gas, I got everyone home before 5:30, and it made all the difference today.

Another minor improvement was inspired by my friend Betsy, a veteran of this runaround: Katrina mostly fed herself tonight. Betsy does this with Dylan, giving him things for dinner that he can mostly pick up and eat himself. Katrina still kept me running with picking up things she threw, and nervously checking to make sure she doesn't run out of food, to avoid a piercing demanding shriek for more. Still, I didn't have to sit down with her during the prime-time that I needed to be cooking, and this helped tremendously. Already-cooked broccoli helped my cause, as did yet another fabulous freezer discovery: turkey meatballs. Trader Joe, will you marry me?

So everyone except Dave was done with dinner, and I'd mostly cleaned up everything, and gotten everything ready for tomorrow by 7:30. (I shift much of the morning burden to night by getting lunches and clothes ready -- everyone's except Dave's -- the night before.) Baby in bed before 8, boys by 8:30. A new record for us.

Gabriel has a new habit of calling everyone "Dude!" usually when he's admonishing them. Jury's still out on if it's cute or annoying.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

12/18/07 The Performance

Julian had a little singing performance at Kids Inc tonight. We only found out about it a few days ago, described as "no big deal," and with virtually no information (like what time to arrive, though it started at 6:15pm).

Well, a "little" singing performance was absolutely packed with parents, grandparents, siblings, and just about all of them were loaded up with cameras and videocameras (including me). The director clearly underestimated the parents' interest -- and the kids' interest too. She had to bail on the younger group doing their own performance, as all but one just huddled with their parents or cried.

Julian's group did the four songs we've been hearing him practice at home, though once again, Julian mostly stood and stared. I wouldn't call it performance anxiety, as he doesn't seem to have any anxiety, but he generally shuts down. Hence no video -- it doesn't look all that different from the photos, since he barely moves. He did warm up toward the end though.

And I know he had a great time learning the songs, and a good time at the performance too, despite his immobility. I of course ate it all up. I just wish they'd gotten it going more quickly, as Katrina was a ticking time bomb, and the room was filled with hungry wiggly toddlers.

Before the "show," Dave and I met with our kitchen designer for round #2. I made the big oven decision that's been tormenting me (and any unfortunate listener) for days, and we did a first pass at cabinet doors and shelves -- and decided to ask the architect for another foot extension. I'm under orders to start deciding where I want things like glasses, plates, exciting task!

I'm beside myself about this kitchen, though I have a feeling I'm unwittingly slipping into another Garage Majal. Our garage project turned from a simple functional building into a Taj Majal of garages, one I'd never chosen if I'd had a showroom filled with garages to pick from, but somehow the project took on a life of its own. And then once a great idea was out there (skylights! epoxy-paint floor! insulation! finished walls! conduit to the house! dutch door! shed roof! carriage-house door design! a zillion outlets!) there was no going back.

Anyway, we had to hurry up to finish the kitchen design meeting, go pick up kids, make a quick dinner (argh! Annie's Arthur Mac'n'Cheese takes *15* minutes to cook!), feed children, and get to Julian's performance by 6:10pm. Whew!

Katrina was exhausted tonight, having had another screwy day of naps, and was about screaming with exhaustion through a quick bath, and then actually almost fell asleep nursing. Naturally, instead of put her head on my shoulder and relax when I carried her to bed, she corralled her remaining energy into a formidable protest. But as soon as I gave her The Satin Blankie (a $4 satin pillow cover from BB&B), she took a huge breath of relief, put it in her mouth and closed her eyes. Whew!

(This photo just in from Sonia, her rigorous documenting of every mom-baby pair at every party! From Saturday's Las Madres 2006 party. Katrina is clutching a tortilla chip which kept her happy just long enough to take the photo, until she discovered a truck to push around.)

And I'll say it again at the end of today: Whew.


Monday, December 17, 2007

12/17/07 The not-so-bad Monday

Has something has shifted? Today wasn't so hard at all.

It could be from having had a good day yesterday, between a nice run in the morning (9.3 miles!) and all the fun we had at the holiday party yesterday.

It could be from talking with Betsy and it sinking in that she has a longer drive home from work with 3 pickups, plus 2 dropoffs in the morning, and she gets home later -- and she complains a whole, whole lot less than I do. Like, not at all. So what am I whining about?

It could be from knowing this is a short week with a long holiday coming up -- and Laura and Ryan are coming this weekend (!yay!).

It could be because I have a deadline this week at work, bringing with it a smidgeon of a sense of accomplishment. That is, assuming I actually complete my part of the project by Thursday, which at the moment is about 50-50. Then again, if I bring one skill to work from my momming experience, it's cutting standards and getting the job done on time no matter what. If I could get a baby and a stubborn toddler to swim class, lunches made, by 10:00am twice a week, I can certainly finish up a document!

It could be because I coached myself to keep dinner tonight really really simple -- don't cook, just fall back on old standbys. More importantly, try to relax when grumpy demanding Katrina interrupts me again and again. My goodness, her screeching so distracts and stresses me out, compounded with irritation that I keep having to put the boys off: "Not now, I have to take care of BabyCakes." They're both remarkably understanding -- usually I'm the one who's frustrated that I can't talk to them more.

At least tonight I was sort-of able to remind myself that Mom Nature intended for babies' cries to stress mothers to care for the babies. And Katrina's insistence is an excellent manifestation of the theory of Survival of the Fittest. So I braced myself to try again and again to find out what she needed. I finally hit upon it: she had to hold her own spoon. Well, DUH, Mom! Then she was happy for a long time stuffing fistfuls of rice into her mouth with the other hand -- just so long as she had a death grip on the spoon. But I am SO tired of the throwing. She only gets water in a sippy-cup right now, because she throws the sippy-cup after every sip.

Gabriel was full of enthusiasm tonight finding new 'I' words, though for some reason he was focused on places that start with I. "But not Italy, India or Israel -- we've already done those." We talked about Indonesia, Illinois and Indiana (duh, I forgot Ireland!), then moved on to actual words. He was disappointed to hear that iPhone isn't really an 'I' word. Such is the world our children are growing up in.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

12/16/07 The holiday party

That is, our third holiday party, and my favorite one since it's with the 2002 group, with friends I've known the longest. And it was at a house, which is very pleasant, and makes dealing with creepy-crawly Katrina much easier!

Katrina had a grand time with this ATV toy, climbing on it again and again and pushing it around. She played with it pretty much the whole party, though there was a lot of competition for it from kindergartners at first. Too bad she didn't discover the easel with a magnetic whiteboard until later -- she loved it. I had to plan my exit so that I was prepared for the protest when I had to whisk her away.

The boys had a great time too. It's striking how different they are socially. Gabriel had a great time during the running games, but later found a little video-game sort of toy and wouldn't be wrestled away from it. He was either on his own, or in the midst of some or other fray.

Julian, on the other hand, will play games that involve more cooperation and exchanging -- he'll do his share of running too, but it's more about actually playing with the other kids than trying to prove he's faster.

I caught an adorable moment during which Julian and Andrew were "playing" CandyLand together, and then he and Cassie had made up some jumping-falling-down game on the bed. I didn't catch a photo, but he and Allison also had something going on in which they were following each other all around. He'll lead a game, but he's not nearly as dominating as Gabriel.

The mayhem! The chaos! It was really a lot of fun - I hope the hosts feel the same way!

I wish I could have enjoyed getting ready for the party more, since making cookies is the ultimate for me these days. But Katrina was demanding and difficult, constantly crawling to me and pulling on me. She has a new trick in which she winds one leg around me, apparently trying to scale my leg. I had no idea what was wrong.

Somehow I got it all done and it was worth it, since I had a great time, largely thanks to other moms and the nanny who helped me a lot with Katrina. Once we arrived and she had a pretty good dinner (including her first blueberries, first goldfish crackers, and first apple juice, all huge hits), she was in much better shape, though still needed a fair amount of attention. It wasn't hard to keep track of her though, I just had to listen to the shrill screech signalling that someone was trying to play with the green ATV!