Saturday, May 01, 2010

5/1/2010 Haircuts

The boys have been long, long overdue for haircuts. Katrina wanted to come with us, then she said she wanted a haircut too. So hey, what the heck, why not! I did a lousy job on her bangs last time anyway.

Before. This is my new favorite picture of all three, with Katrina refusing to cooperate. That's just so....her.

A perfect opportunity for a "no evil" shot!

She did fine with the actual haircutting though.

After. I wish all 3 ended up with shorter cuts, but, whatever.

Another double-sports morning! I had to leave Julian's T-ball game before it was over to take Gabriel to a skating lesson, but before that, I had a great time hanging out at the game with Gabriel.

Before the game, the kids needed a few minutes of entertainment while the coach set up for the game. A Dad took the whole team running down the field, which was soooo cute.

I'd have happily volunteered to do this, except for two things. One, any parent interacting with the team is supposed to have a background check first, according to Little League rules, which I haven't done yet. I'm not sure if that rule applies to pre-game practice, but I haven't made myself entirely available to the team yet, partly because of that, and partly I really can't be dependable yet. Any parent who has a younger sibling to deal with on a regular basis really can't be there 100%.

Also, last Wednesday, I had a near miss with my back. I was getting up from the floor at the end of a weights class, and felt a telltale pull in the wrong place. Nothing at all like my usual back blowouts, but the similarity is unmistakable. Sitting on hard surfaces is uncomfortable, and if I sit too long, my feet start to buzz. This kept me from running on Friday, and, apparently, from butting in on the pre-game fun today.

Trick back notwithstanding, I still greatly enjoyed watching. Here's Julian batting.

Julian played first base for a while today. (There was a reason for that, I found later.)

Some video of a perfectly typical "play" in T-ball. All the plays are like this: the batter bats, the kids pile up to get the ball, the winner throws to the first baseman while the batter runs to first base, the first baseman throws home to the catcher. They're all like this, in fact. (That's Julian at first base -- the kid always pulling his pants up.)

Almost all like this -- last week, a teammate at first base actually caught the ball. That's extremely rare!

Well, unless someone outside the game handles the ball. I was a little annoyed about another kid allowed to participate in the game, fielding the ball when it went out of bounds. Looks benign, but after a few plays I could see this affected how Julian played. He knew the kid was there, and would hesitate and wait for the kid to get the ball and toss it to him.

The times Gabriel's been on the periphery with a glove, I've given him very very strict instructions not to touch the ball or get in the way of the players at all.

Julian got this week's "Spirit Award," mostly because he hasn't had it yet -- and that's why he was placed at first base. In T-ball, the first baseman is guaranteed some action.

Overall I don't like the modern trend of awards given for just participation, but this is a little different. The "spirit" award is like a rotating MVP award, that the kids have to return at the next game for the next player. But really, all of T-ball is about getting kids interested and having fun and staying encouraged when they're this age. Everyone bats, everyone gets on base, everyone runs home, no score is kept -- and every team member gets acknowledged at some point. Real MVP awards come later, with real baseball.

Real baseball is a ways off, but T-ball is an essential first step. Meantime, the kids are learning about teamwork and sportsmanship and cheering for teammates, and that's what the Spirit Award is about.

And meantime, I continue to be startled at how much I'm liking this!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

4/29/2010 T-ball game

T-ball after school/work today!

Somehow, we got there early, and had time to watch some older boys practicing. Gabriel and Julian were very impressed at how hard the boys swung the bat, and that the coach gave them real overhand pitches. It was pretty impressive.

I still amaze myself at how much I enjoy these T-ball games. Everyone's having fun, but it's not just fun. I mean, it IS all fun, but there's learning and structure and teamwork going on too. Julian's team had a new boy today, who didn't know where first base was and didn't know to turn when he reached a base. A few weeks ago, no one on our team knew that either, and now they're all experts.

The coaches have also figured out how to keep the kids from hanging on the backstop while they're waiting to bat: give them a "dugout." Our team's dugout was a blue blanket; the other teams' dugout was a bunch of 5-gallon plastic paint cans turned upside-down to sit on.

Katrina and Gabriel played together happily during Julian's game, thank heavens.

Meantime, I watched a kid on the opposing team catch two fly balls. This doesn't happen in T-ball! He could also bat really really well, run really really fast, and throw really, really far and accurately. His coach told me he's also very encouraging to his teammates, and always pays attention and is completely alert during the games. Somebody call the scouts!

I love rooting for both teams, or rather, for kids on both teams. When the play starts getting more competitive, will it take some of the fun out? I don't know; it was really interesting to see some actual skill, while at the same time, it was also really cute to see the new boy trotting out to left field in his quest for first base.

On weekday game nights, Dave meets us at the park and stays with the kids to the end of the game, while I zip home to get dinner started. I think I have the losing end of the deal; I'd much rather stay and watch. Fewer things about motherhood have surprised me more than how much I like watching T-ball. I'm sure my experienced baseball-mom friends can tell me down to the minute when that wears off...but until then, I'll just enjoy it.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4/27/2010 Circuit artwork

Every day when I pick the boys up from the CDC, Gabriel has a new circuit drawing in his hand. At home, when he's not bouncing off the walls and tormenting Julian, he's sitting studiously on his floor, studying his Getting Started In Electronics book, and making yet more drawings from it. This is really a nice book -- entirely hand-written! Like, published in someone's handwriting. It's got nice illustrations and is very accessible to kids.

I'm not sure how much of this Gabriel is learning from the book, or from Dave, but he's also learning about AND, OR, XOR gates and their negatives, and the logic behind them.

Tonight he got all upset because one of his latest creations got torn, so I promised him I'd tape it up, giving me an opportunity to scan it.

This is what my borderline 2nd-grade behavior problem does in most of his free waking moments.

He's also been learning basic binary arithmetic, or at least writing things down that makes it look like he's learning it. No, correction, I asked him, and indeed, he really does seem to understand how to make numbers in binary. Dave's been teaching him, and he practices.

Though much of what he says or draws isn't technically correct yet, he's certainly got a lot of the vocabulary and a lot of the groundwork, and ton of interest. I think it will come together correctly someday -- most likely without my even knowing it! I can't tell when his rattling off of electronics terms is right or wrong. Fortunately Dave knows and can correct him and discuss something, though Gabriel will get into states when he dogs Dave with nonstop questions.

This is no passing phase. Every day, he has one or two new drawings of some or other circuit, for a burglar alarm, a radio-controlled car IC, a jet airplane's wing lights. They're all over the house. He's only 8, but it's getting hard to imagine how he won't be an engineer of some sort.


Monday, April 26, 2010

4/26/2010 Out tonight

Can't talk now, off to a friend's house after a hectic -- I mean normal -- evening w/the family.

Dave astutely observed that with a round table with 3 kids and 2 adults, there is no way to separate all 3 children. We need a 3rd adult here at all times.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

4/25/2010 Pacific Coast Dream Machines

Today was the annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines vehicle show -- cars, motorcycles, aircraft, many vintage, and this year, a tank. Right up our alley!

Unfortunately, once again, I didn't go. Fortunately, this year, I had a great reason: a good friend's baby shower. She's expecting twins -- I couldn't miss that! It was really nice and fun and relaxing (the fruit and wine spritzers might have had something to do with that), I really enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, Dave braved the traffic to the Half Moon Bay Airport with all 3 kids in tow. Not easy! The boys are no trouble really, but Katrina....well, being past diapers and naps improves things, but she's still very tantrumy and unpredictable, and has a strong capacity to ruin an outing for everyone. And being stuck with a stroller is no fun either. Still, Dave managed fine with the kids, though decided against going to the section with the aircraft, as it was the furthest away.

If I'd been there, we'd have made a beeline for the B-25 Mitchell bomber, the plane instrumental in the morale-boosting Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during WWII -- heavy bombers actually flown off an aircraft carrier. This incident was featured in the movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, which includes a few seconds of actual footage of the B-25s flying off the aircraft carrier Hornet. I've seen the movie and it was so-so, but the footage was not to be missed.

Anyway. WWII bombers will be around for a little while longer, but welcoming a friend into the world of 3 kids -- that's really un-missable. The baby shower was hosted at the home of another friend who also has 3 kids, also via twins, so she's especially well-suited to the event. 3 kids definitely puts you in a different category of parents, if nothing else because your car choices suddenly change, and your plan of having them all in their own rooms either means no office, or having at least a 5BR house. Even in our 5-6 bedroom house (depending on how you count), the boys will likely always share a room.

The morning for me started off with another first: I went swimming and running. Neither the swim nor the run were anywhere close to my usual standards; the swim hampered by lane closures and leaky goggles; the run curtailed by having persuaded a non-running friend to join me and discovering he really meant it when he said he's not a runner. Still, an interesting experience that gives me new respect for triathletes. Especially those who have 3 kids.

No photos did that happen??