Saturday, April 26, 2008

4/26/08 She's Gotta Have It

Nosy neighbor that I am, I stopped by an open house in our neighborhood today. You never know what you might pick up. And boy did I score with this: "Kick Sweep".

How many times a day do I grab a broom and sweep up crumbs, cereal, food bits, dirt, whatever? About a million. How many times a day do I actually pick up the ever-growing pile? About ... um, er, once. This feature is part of a central vacuum system, and lets you sweep stuff right into a slot along the floor. That is SO for me!

If I had any doubts at all about remodeling vs. moving, this does it. Now I have to hope a central vac system doesn't have to be drawn into our remodeling plans, which in theory are done. Well, they can be changed of course, if I want more delays and more cost.

The kids all had a sleepover last night, and as predicted, we paid dearly today. Katrina and Julian both had multiple meltdowns. I made a point of not taking them anywhere today, and they pretty much played in the yard all day.

For Uncle Ronan: the boys had a great time talking to him on the speakerphone this afternoon.

The playhouse out back was apparently "No Babies Allowed" today. Katrina did not approve, but she can't intimidate Julian as she can other kids who aren't used to her.

Gabriel decided to teach Julian how to jump rope, with amusing, if middling, results.

Gabriel shows levels 1 through 3 of learning jump rope.

Meantime, Katrina, who'd succeeded in getting into the playhouse and coating herself with dirt, rearranged chairs and played with wheeled things.

I went running this afternoon! I've been encouraged that the impact activities I've been trying, including a mile on the treadmill, have resulted in only minimal buzzing and feet-falling-asleep. And I'm feeling cheeky about possibly having an actual diagnosable and fixable condition (the herniated lumbar disc). So I did a short, but exhausting given my diminished condition, run at Rancho this afternoon. So far so good!


Friday, April 25, 2008

4/25/08 Holding hands

Gabriel and Katrina sat quietly holding hands in the car, driving back from picking her up today. I managed to catch a shot at a long red light.

I have this "thing" with Julian's pal Taeshon, one of the friendliest and hammiest kids I've ever met. I give him a hug and a kiss, and he gives me a kiss and I make a huge deal of what a fabulous kiss it was, and he goes "WHOAAAAA!!!". Julian and Taeshon play a lot together, and give each other hugs goodbye (boy-style).

Sleepover tonight! Dave and I went out to a wonderful dinner, I had too much wine, and fell asleep during what he reports was a pretty good movie (Vitus, about a piano prodigy who just wants to be a kid).


Thursday, April 24, 2008

4/24/08 The Delay

Our city design review committee will recommend our remodeling plans to be approved! They want to notify our neighbors first, so we can submit for permits after May 12. Great!

....Wait a second...May 12?!

We first tried to submit April 7! This extra design review is costing us a full 5 weeks. Then, after we submit, it's another 4-6 weeks to get the permits. That brings us to mid-June -- just in time for our summer visit back East.

This is never, ever going to happen. It's all a big joke someone's playing on me. I'm never going to have a new kitchen.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

4/23/08 Not again!


This time, his teacher reports that he rifled through his teacher's workbox, pulled out other kids' work, and made fun of them. After being told not to, he did again, once with a cohort. He and said cohort were made to sit out part of recess, and later, Gabriel in particular was made to sit in another classroom (his teacher once told me that usually freaks them out). The next step is the principal's office. The teacher was most concerned about his ridicule of other kids.

So tonight, Dave and I did something of an intervention. It was all I could do not to laugh seeing the cloud cross his face when he saw us standing together and instructing him to go to the living room. He does not like that. Of course, his reaction is defiance, not fear or contrition as one would hope, and on his way into the living room he spit out that he wasn't going to say anything.

Lacking much to say, and making sure to speak very clearly and slowly so that his hearing impairment wasn't a factor, my delivery was surprisingly effective, I thought. It was tempting to insist that he answer questions, but I remembered how he'd maintained control of situations as a toddler by refusing to say he was sorry. Not this time. Besides, it was easy to trick him into breaking his silence by telling him I heard he'd been sent to the principal's office, which he immediately denied.

He had to go to his room and write "I'm sorry for not listening I'm sorry for making fun of other kids" ten times, a requirement he met 6/10 of the way, and he'll have to finish out tomorrow. The loss of his playtime naturally resulted in a horribly ugly scene, and it wasn't until well after he was in bed that I was able to calm him down enough for him to relax and go to sleep.

I also tried some positive modeling (I just made up that term) by talking to him about what he should say if he thinks another kid's work isn't good. I told him he should encourage the kid, and say something nice. It was most effective when I used Katrina as an example: "Will you make fun of her when she scribbles outside the lines? No, you'll say, 'Nice try!'" and other such drivel that adults all think is good teaching and that kids universally think is stupid. I mean really, didn't grownups say all sorts of stuff to you as a kid you thought was dumb?

Dave took Gabriel to the pediatrician today: no surprise, fluid in his ears. Doc suspects some infection keeping them clogged, so we're trying antibiotics for 10 days, then will follow up. Dave picked Julian up on the way back, and lucky me, the boys made a detour to get Mom a pick-me-up:

My favorite: daisies! Julian picked these himself. Did he know that my wedding bouquet had lots of (mini)daisies?

I did not coordinate Katrina's clothes to her favorite little push-wagon today, I did not, I did not! But what a fortunate fashion faux pas.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4/22/08 Zapped

I had a nerve test this morning...I should have known when the doc said "these usually aren't fun." OWWWWW! About an hour of getting zapped all around my feet and legs.

And the results? Not much, mostly normal, but the "S1" nerve does seem to be irritated. That one terminates around the lower lumbar area, same neighborhood as my tricky sacro-iliac joint. I left with a pamphlet on "Herniated Lumbar Discs" and a prescription for an MRI.

I deliberately tried to aggravate this problem yesterday by going to the Y, in the hopes of making it more obvious to diagnose. The good news is that I only slightly succeeded. I definitely feel it today, but not nearly as badly as before. This after a Zumba class and then running .5 miles on the treadmill. Yay!

The Zumba What's better than a new Zumba teacher? A new awesome Zumba teacher. And what's even better than a new awesome Zumba teacher? One who throws in some hip-hop too. And what's even better than a new awesome hip-hop Zumba teacher? One with fabulous music who cranks it! And what's even better than a new awesome hip-hop music-cranking Zumba teacher? One who hasn't been discovered yet so there are still passes available when you stumble across the class 5 minutes after it started. Unfortunately, "undiscovered" won't last long; the class LOVED her and word will spread fast. Next week, it'll be serious competition for passes. But boy, I sure had a great time.

Something unbelievable happened at work today. I actually had a good time. Yesterday, I went in and didn't talk to anyone. Today, I attended another training session, but this time, it was for something more relevant to my job, and I got to actually talk to people and interact. As hermit-like and focused as I am by nature, I do like some contact. What was I thinking, arriving at 8am when it's completely isolated, dead-quite and absolutely freezing?

When I picked up Julian today, I brought Katrina in with me, and she immediately lit up with all the kids around her, going right into the crowd and demanding some little truck. She looks so tiny compared to the other kids, and they immediately swarm her, but she's not in the least bit fazed. I forget that toddlers could be until other parents or teachers exclaim "wow, she's not at all intimidated." (She does cling to me once a week though: when we first arrive at Music Together, inexplicably.)

I still should do my due diligence about finding other childcare for her, and possibly for Julian, but inertia tugs strongly, and I really like the lady who takes care of the little ones at Julian's school. Oh, the very idea of having her and Julian only 3 minutes from home -- 10 if I walked. Walked! What a contrast to Melissa's. For me, anyway. Katrina loves Melissa. (Here she is happily reading a book there today.)

Is life turning around? A migraine held at bay yesterday by a single Prontalgine. Work actually interesting. Drastically improved childcare commute on the horizon. A major step in my back/foot troubles. And a new awesome hip-hop music-cranking Zumba teacher!


Monday, April 21, 2008

4/21/08 The Shattered Dream

The Dream: 1st, 3rd and 5th grades: all 3 kids go to the same place (school) and all 3 are on the same schedule. They'll all be in the same place for K, 2 and 4th too, but Kindergarten has a shorter day. Still, not bad.

The Shatter: I picked Gabriel up from the CDC at 3:15 today for his piano lesson, only to encounter a long line of minivans. What's this? Turns out: grades 4-5 get out at 3:15pm! Grades 1-3 get out at 2:45. Ack!

Not only does this squash my Dream of all 3 on the same schedule in the same place, but it guarantees they never will be. In fact, it completely reverses the Dream: when they're in K, 2 and 4th grades, they'll all 3 be on DIFFERENT schedules! Oh, except on Tuesdays, when everyone gets out at the same time, but earlier.

Who dreamed this stuff up? And why are they turning my dreams into nightmares?!

Katrina: happy as a clam today at Melissa's, happy much of the time in music class today, edgy other times if I wasn't doing exactly as she wanted. Melissa reports that a boy (age 2, and Julian's size) who bugs the other boy (age 3) doesn't bother Katrina at all, since she screams if he tries to take something from her and it intimidates him.

Julian has an adorable, if slightly strange, new habit of calling people "my little friend." It's amusing to hear him say it to an adult, like, "Bye, Melissa, my little friend!"

Gabriel drew a picture this morning I find pretty interesting, though it didn't scan well.

His asking "WHAT?" so much, and my having to speak right to his face and loudly to ensure both listening and hearing, means it's time to see the doc again. His teacher and the CDC haven't noticed his trouble hearing, but we have. Great, tubes, just in time for swimming season (earplugs, what a pain!).


Sunday, April 20, 2008

4/20/08 The Series

A nasty headache tonight belies an otherwise marvelous day, highlighted by our first letterbox "series." We went to a nearby winery, with historic farm buildings and a wine-tasting barn, and famous resident peacocks, then followed a trail to an attached open space preserve. A kind letterboxer planted three letterboxes there, and it was easy to go from one to the next.

We encountered beautiful, varied scenery.

and lots and lots of beautiful spring wildflowers.

..and lots of this. Aww, so pretty, these three shiny red leaves -- doesn't it just make you want to rub it between your fingers? EEEK!

Julian, Gabriel and Aunt Laura each found a letterbox.

Thank goodness, Dad was home with Katrina, or this would have been difficult to impossible -- some parts of the trail were much too narrow and with a major dropoff to accomodate a jogging stroller, and I was very glad to be free of it anyway. The dropoff made us enforce a "no running" rule, which Aunt Laura creatively implemented by playing a rotating game of Follow The Leader.

The crew, having scored 3 out of 3.

It seemed like a long walk back, though it really wasn't, and Julian was getting tired, but on the whole, it went great and we all had a wonderful time. And I got to see a place that is SO closeby, but I'd never fully explored. Wow! I'm definitely going back.

Speaking of series: Katrina put her first words together yesterday: "My SIH!!" which was her demanding to sit in the booster seat in the pickup when one of her brothers dared to reclaim his rightful place. Today she was putting together more words, though most of the time one of those words is "MY!"

I sure look forward to when "My sit" isn't on the program for letterboxing!