Saturday, February 27, 2010

2/27/2010 Saturday run

This morning, I took Gabriel on a run. He hasn't been doing Running Club at school lately (in favor of going to the library and studying electronics books at lunch, the geek), but he still wants to enter the upcoming Big Bunny Fun Run. He's not in shape for it!

Also, my grand idea of having both boys in the same activity was a huge backfire -- they just can't be in the same class together. Last week at gymnastics, the boys pestered and messed around so much that it disrupted the class, and the coach was frustrated. Today was the last class, and I figured I'd give the coach a break, by giving Gabriel an attractive alternative.

It wasn't as much fun as I thought. He kept stopping, complained about things hurting, dragged along...we ran a short 2.5 mile route, with less success than our previous 4.5-mile run together. I observed with interest that he does better on the uphills, though the uphills tend to be first.

At the end, we ran into my friend Sonia, who had just completed a 15-mile training run. Fifteen miles! And not easy miles; to run that far at Rancho, you go on some long hills. She's training for the Big Sur Marathon. Still, I wasn't too blinded by admiration and envy to miss a photo-op, something Sonia is just as keen on as I am.

An errand this afternoon was to go to Dave's eyecare place to pick frames for his new "computer glasses." It was risky doing this with all three kids, but fortunately some Highlights magazines neutralized the boys. (Oh yeah that was another reason I took Gabriel running this morning, in the generally successful hopes of dimming his energy level today.)

Katrina, meantime, charmed the whole place with her enthusiastic sampling of colorful kids' frames, in a box within reach and (I believe!) intended for kids to try themselves. She had a great time running laps around the place (within reason, I kept a close eye on her), happily declaring, "I can very see now with these glasses!" Then she brought the house down, making all the women laugh with, "OK, time to go!....where's my bag?" She saw her pal Dylan at sleepover last night, and he has glasses now, so I suspect her interest in glasses was motivated partly by that. She sure looks cute though!

(Note to self...she's approaching 3-1/2, time for a pediatrician checkup, which if I recall, includes her first eyesight check. She routinely spots far-away things though, no obvious signs of visual impairment.)

I cooked dinner tonight, even though the pull of frozen pizza was strong. One of my new favorite uber-simple dishes is a Steak Fiorentina: a simple sauteed steak served on a bed of greens with a lemon-oil-garlic dressing. Though the spinach mixture is a decidedly grownup flavor (strong garlic), Julian not only tries it, but I think he genuinely likes it. He'll sometimes eat "grownup food" just to show that he's willing to try -- which is great -- but he likes a lot of it too.

Ah, if only all kids were like this. There would be no macaroni-and-cheese or chicken nuggets. Katrina still won't touch any non-processed meat, and my life is too complex to go cold turkey on hot dogs. Heck, I'd be happy if even Dave had as broad a palette as Julian!

(Sigh...I must resurrect my food blog. I've been cooking so many new things lately, I somehow don't have time to write about it.)

Next weekend, I'm going on a real run -- alone. I sure as heck can't keep up with Sonia anymore, and I'm sorry to say that it appears Gabriel can't keep up with me.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

2/25/2010 Work night

I actually have to work tonight. I feel like I'm betraying this computer.

FYI, in general I'm going to be .... well, careful about what I put in this blog about work, as it is a public blog. All workplaces have their pros and cons, and where work fits into my life and how I feel about it is a whole other set of pros and cons. Overall this situation has a trifecta of pros, hard to find in combo: a great manager, great coworkers, and interesting work. Add to that, a full-time full-salaried job as an engineer -- nothing to sniff at in this economy.

No Olympics for kids tonight; too much putzing/rudeness/trouble all around. I can't tell if Gabriel is sincere when he claims he doesn't know how rude it is to answer "OBVIOUSLY!" when I ask him if he's done setting the table. It's actually well within his super-literal self to be irritated at answering a question with a self-evident answer.

Anyway...back to work.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2/24/2010 It's started

Not that we had one before, but whatever there was of a lawn is now gone! The rain let up and the landscapers started. Yay!

Still, for once, I have only middling interest in the process and mostly look forward to it being done. That said, Dave chatted briefly with one of the workers, who commented, "we're not tearing up the driveway today." Uhhh--- there is no plan to tear up the driveway! He probably mis-spoke, but still, yikes. I have no room for major mistakes like that. And they're going to happen.

Watching the Winter Olympics is a bit of a challenge....the good stuff starts at 8pm, usually lights-off time. I've been letting the boys stay up until 8:30, but tonight all they could see on NBC was Nordic skiing between the commercials, instead of the flashy slalom between commercials. At least on CNBC they were able to watch commercials between hockey, which satisfied them.

But they probably still stayed up too late. Yet another bedtime fight, all too common. Julian makes some obnoxious provocative sounds, Gabriel climbs down out of his bunk and punches him in the face, right above his eye. Just what is one supposed to do about that?!

Maybe no Olympics for him tomorrow. Bummer, it'll all be past by then.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2/23/2010 The sous-chef

I had some unexpected -- but very very enthusiastic -- help with dinner tonight.

Unfortunately, my dear daughter thinks that all food is icy before it's cooked...and indeed, it was tonight -- my top survival strategy for working-school weeknights is freezer food from TJs. This is a big step above "TV dinners" of yore, but still.

Katrina insisted on sitting at the island tonight, and Gabriel moved to sit next to her. (Usually she's safely across from Dad at the table, with boys at the island at a good pester-free distance.) Big mistake. She gets so distracted she doesn't have dinner, and she makes a huge mess. But they sure do have fun together. (Why is it that it's the **3**-year-old who thinks better of touching tongues?! GEEZ Gabriel!)

These two really do love each's almost like there's some special chemistry between them. Gee, in fact, there is, as they are genetically related. I don't mean to downplay their relationships with Julian -- he's the glue of the family -- but both Gabriel and Katrina experience more of a peer situation with him. You're going to play with your close-in-age sibling partly just because of stage-of-life proximity, but with a broader age difference, you don't get as much closeness for free; your personality alignment will show more. And these two are cut from the same cloth.

They all got to watch a little Winter Olympics tonight too. Frankly, I've been soft with all this TV-watching because, well, it's so much fun to watch Olympics with them.

Though we have a whole living room with a rug, pillows and furniture, to sit on, Katrina's spot of choice was, as usual, right next to a brother. So cute.

She disapproved of a figure skater's fashion choice however, and petulantly pointed out that she should be wearing long sleeves. Sparkles are OK though.

The "skeeting" (skiing) is by far everyone's favorite (the really fast downhill and super G). Now they all know who Lindsay Vonn, Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso are. I wonder what they'll think of real skeeting in a few weeks.


Monday, February 22, 2010

2/22/2010 Taxes, already?

Can't talk now, trying to catch up on Nebcom, Inc. taxes and forms and things to file and do and record and calculate. What a pain. Since I'm a "real" employee now, I'm going to dissolve Nebcom, Inc. Corporations in California don't go dormant -- they still have to file quarterly forms and pay California taxes -- a minimum of $800 a year -- even if they don't earn one red cent the whole year. Then I have to file corporate taxes, personal taxes, and Dad's taxes very very soon.

I must have something good to say about kids....not Gabriel, let's just fast-forward past his insolent, rude comments. Julian was brimming with new knowledge about Abraham Lincoln today, about how he and George Washington both fought for freedom, how Lincoln was shot while he was watching a play, and countless other things about him. Julian also got the privilege of doing his homework in my office, since Gabriel was pestering him, and Julian wanted to get right to work, undistracted, when he got home today. My serious little scholar.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/21/2010 Benched

It was a rainy day, I wasn't feeling well, and Dave had to work. What a perfect day to take all three kids shopping. yay. I'm quite certain I have the worst-behaved little boys in Silicon Valley, who just can't keep themselves from pushing, grabbing, running, tripping and fighting with each other for 5 minutes.

Still, I made a fast decision. We were there to look for a park bench, and this discounted floor model, already assembled and finished, is an inoffensive no-brainer.

Later I took Julian with me to a parent meeting for the T-ballers, which turned out to be to discuss volunteering. Listening to the descriptions of the help needed, I was trying to drum up enthusiasm for being "team parent" or somesuch, until he described assistant coaches. They don't run the team, but they facilitate the games, help with practices, keep kids moving along ("you're next!"). Now that sounds like fun.

But it's crazy to commit to that now. We're still adjusting to my full-time job status. Worst, what would I do with Katrina during the week? It's one thing for her to hang around the game if I can pay attention to her, but not if I'm there to help the coach who's running the game keep the players focused and moving. Not to mention having absolutely no experience with organized sports. Weekends, I think my curiosity and the fun appeal would overcome inexperience, but the logistics of weekdays is tricky.

Meantime, I want to sign Katrina up for morning soccer, and somehow sign Gabriel up for -- get this -- hockey! He says he wants to try hockey. Soccer too, but I'm not sure we can absorb another volunteer-only league. Throw money at the problem and sign him up for a class, I think.

I look back at my time with them as much younger toddlers, when Gabriel was 3 and Julian was 1, and how essential my being with them seemed. Logically I knew it wasn't, but it was hard to tear away, especially despite -- or perhaps because of -- the trouble we had with Gabriel. Oh, how naive I was. The tug to be with them now is much much stronger. I never would have guessed that then. I feel like we're entering the best time of our lives together, some of the most fun I'll ever have in my life. Playing hockey or baseball with them blows away Gymboree and park days -- though I did love Music Together, swimming, and making mom friends. It's hard to know in the beginning what type of mom you'll be, but getting my feet wet with T-ball confirms that I should have gotten my last work kinks out before, when they were young, and didn't really need me as much then even though it felt so much like they did.

We've been having fun watching the Winter Olympics too. The downhill skiing is the most popular, getting Gabriel psyched to try it himself. He thinks the Olympic skiers are going slowly?! JUST WAIT. I showed him the videos of some Las Madres friends -- younger girls -- skiing, and he was fascinated and very excited. I couldn't explain why they don't use poles yet (though I remember skiing pole-less as a little kid too), but we'll find out ourselves in a few weeks.

Babies and toddlers are really amazing, but little kids that you can play ball with and ski with and ice-skate with and play soccer with and hike and climb rocks with, and who go to the bathroom by themselves....that's the best.