Saturday, August 01, 2009

8/1/09 Swim lessons and sleepover

I swear I'm not obsessing about this, but 3 lessons a week and the World swimming championships in Rome keeps it high on my radar. And Saturday 8am lessons definitely sticks in my mind.

This week, I paid more attention to Gabriel's lesson. I was dismayed when I saw the barbells come out, but then saw they were just aids for kicking practice. To my surprise, Gabriel was actually OK at kicking.

To my delight, his teacher actually was teaching him to swim. I like this new Saturday AM teacher. No-nonsense, and actually teaches. Trouble is, it could be someone else next week.

Julian's lesson, on the other hand...I don't know. He waits on the sides for a long time while his classmates are pulled around or back-floated. Then it only takes a few seconds for his turn. Watching this video, I notice the teacher counting how many times he pops up. she evaluating him for an advancement?

She seems to count to five...hmmm. Indeed, looking up the ribbon levels , it looks to me like Julian meets the criteria for getting his Blue, wait. You know, the ribbon level descriptions are confusing. If you're at the Green level, which is where Julian is, it means you're working on the skills listed under the Blue ribbon. The order is green, blue, red, white -- Julian's at green, but it looks to me like he meets the criteria listed under Blue. So I guess that means he should get a Blue ribbon (if he does qualify, and I guess he's close) so he can start working on the red-ribbon skills. But, whatever. I'm not hung up on ribbon color except when it places them in the wrong class.

Sleepover night! I was surprised at how excited Katrina was to go.

I enticed the boys to get ready without hassle with the promise of a treat in the car -- and what a treat it was. New Rainbow Magic fairy books! It doesn't get better than that for little boys, especially ones who just came back from Testosterone City at the BMX park.

I just couldn't pry their heads away from the new stories. Not in the car. Not after getting out of the car.

Not on the walkway to the house.

Not in the alley to the backyard.

Not in the house.

And not even with an old friend to distract them.

Three other boys made attempts to tease them about fairy books, but they didn't even lift their heads. I have to appreciate their confidence, and their dedication to these stories.

Dave and I had a nice dinner at a wonderful unusual restaurant in Los Gatos. I was glad, but also slightly worried, that we had no trouble getting a table at 7:45. In the New Economy, you're welcomed instead of laughed at when you call the same night for a table at a popular restaurant on a Saturday night.


Friday, July 31, 2009

7/31/09 Lesson Check

I took the boys to check out a friends' son's swim lesson today. What a difference. These kids were actually swimming, like, laps. It's a popular swim school and not easy to get into, and I'm not sure I can find a schedule that works, but I think I might try to get the boys into one 10-week session. I've seen it myself now. Kids can swim.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

7/30/09 The Wall

We have a retaining wall!

Looks nice against that big redwood tree and lovely yard, doesn't it? Too bad the fence that's going to be rebuilt will completely block them. I wish that big redwood tree were in our yard. But at least we have the wall. It's there to manage the grade difference between ours and our neighbors' yard, but it'll be a nice planting area and place to sit too.

Stunning -- Julian and Katrina played so happily together before dinner tonight.

And now, it's TIME to do some scrapbooking. I've been waiting SO long, and my urge to document and preserve memories is overwhelming!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

7/29/09 Swim arms

Well, what do you know. Arms are pretty useful while swimming.

Gabriel knows this, though so far he undervalues breathing.

Julian's introduction has been nothing short of an epiphany.

One thing I am starting to conclude is that while the boys together in a semi-private lesson may be convenient for me, it's not necessarily the best for the teacher. The boys grab at each other, play together instead of listening to the teacher, and generally distract and complicate things for the teacher. I think Betsy and I will have to conspire to mix up our siblings, yet still get the attention of a semi-private lesson. Actually, for just a 20-minute lesson, private might work well too. Next summer.

Another friend whose kids have late swim lessons raised my hopes that bedtime would be a breeze for us too. Turns out, in Doudna-land, tired means completely wired and very difficult to get to bed. Hmm, what's wrong with this picture: tired agreeable (girls) vs. tired disagreeable (boys)...hmmm...


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

7/28/09 Bunhead

Katrina had a new do when I picked her up today: a little bun. SOOO cute!

I love the multicolored blond streaks in her hair, which really show up when it's all drawn together. Still, the blond weirds me out. She should have rich dark brown hair, as I did at her age. She should look just like me. Uh-huh. Poor kid.

In trying to get the right angle for the bun photo, I caught this shot. It reminds me of the old TV ads for Charlie perfume.

Finally, some landscaping work around here! The south fence between us and our neighbors this morning...

...and again this afternoon.

There's no going back now!


Monday, July 27, 2009

7/27/09 Return to Monday

Andrea and her kids left this morning, but not before I got a photo of us with our "babies."

As usual, her visit and our conversations have left my mind zinging with ideas and perspectives. She's one of the most insightful people I know, and I can always turn to her for support and advice in anything in life.

When I told Gabriel and Julian that Andrea and I had been friends for 30 years, Julian asked, "Do you ever stop being friends?" I smiled and told him, "No, some friends you have forever."

Katrina keeps asking about Aaron. They really were adorable together, though to my surprise, Aaron played just as much with Julian. A 3-1/2-year-old boy is a perfect playmate juxtaposition for them both.

A new twist to Monday madness: 6pm swim lessons far away from home. Gak. A lot of logistics for 20 minutes of instruction, but who am I to pass up throwing good money after bad? And time while I'm at it?

Though I was distracted minding an edgy Katrina and at times, a rambunctious Dylan, overall I was happy with what I saw in the lesson. The teacher worked on arms with both boys, which wasn't enough for Gabriel (but that's OK, we can up it the next lesson), and great for Julian, who hasn't been taught to use his arms at all yet.

Meantime, the key to keeping toddlers out of trouble with the pool was bags of apples. This proved to be Katrina's dinner -- exactly why I don't like late-afternoon snacks, so I've got to think more carefully about what to bring next time. Broccoli, anyone?

My summer feels half-over because all our visits are over, though we still have one camping trip coming up in a few weeks. School starts in about 4 weeks, and then it really will be over! But not before I completely burn out on swim lessons.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

7/26/09 Zumba Sunday

Today Andrea, Dana (her daughter) and I took Zumba at the Y together. Andrea had mentioned that she'd tried a class in NJ where she lives, and that was enough for me! We put her 3-year-old son and Julian into the Childwatch and Zumba'd away. Then they went to Santa Cruz to check out UC Santa Cruz. I would just love it if Dana, who's entering her junior year of high school, ended up going to college here -- then I'd see a lot more of Andrea!

They're heading for home tomorrow, and it's been such a fun visit...but I've got to get a picture of us together. I think the last one in existence was us together at her high school graduation.