Saturday, December 04, 2010

12/4/2010 Snow stuff

Today I went through all our ski/snow stuff, taking inventory, seeing what still fits, what's missing, what never really worked during our one trip.

Partly this was motivated by the astounding generosity of a new friend, a mom I just met through the Las Madres 2006 group. She and her husband travelled and camped and skiied together a lot before kids, and have done a fair amount of camping and travelling since, considering that her oldest is Katrina's age and her youngest is only 18 months.

Anyway, they're going on a 6-week trip in a few days and she offered to loan me all her ski stuff -- and she's 5'2"! Her shoe size is 7 but there's no reason not to try her boots with socks anyway; I can always rent 6-1/2 boots if hers are too big. Since they're leaving soon, if I was going to borrow her stuff, today was the day.

So I brought Julian with me (a strategic choice, as it allowed Dave a pleasant breakfast out with Gabriel and Katrina), and went to my friend's house and looked through all her gear. I can't believe how much I didn't know about how things are supposed to fit together.

When I got home, I pulled out our boxes of snow stuff and bags of hand-me downs (thank you!) dumped it all into a huge pile in the living room. There was no going back now on plowing through it all, but it could wait.

I spent about an hour in the office checking out some ideas....could I bring the kids to the snow before our ski trip in January? Just an overnight, or even a long drive-up-drive-back one-dayer, for sledding or something. Looks possible, but I'll have to make more calls tomorrow. Cool.

Then I went back to the living room to find the funniest scene. Katrina had discovered the pile of clothes and was going to town. A little girl's dress-up paradise!!

She was so cute, she was having a ball.

My friend had showed me a lot about how gear works these days (ski socks? Who knew?), and much has been outgrown or didn't work well last year, or we rented. And since now we'll be transporting one pair of skis, we have to figure that out too. I have some shopping to do!

But we'll be ready for the white stuff this time -- especially Katrina!


Friday, December 03, 2010

12/3/2010 Report cards

First report cards of the year!

Definitely not a shining moment for the Doudna boys. Julian earned the first "less than proficient" we've ever seen -- in, of course, "listening." All over his report are flags for finishing work on time, following instructions, working neatly, listening in class. Overall he's doing fine, talking in class notwithstanding, and his teacher continues to describe him as curious and very interested in science and how things work. And that he's helpful and caring -- now that's nice to hear!

At least Julian cares about the report card -- usually when we try to correct his extremely sloppy writing in homework, he retorts, "MY TEACHER CAN READ IT!!" This time, I showed him where his teacher said he needs to practice writing every day, and he lost his snotty attitude.

Gabriel didn't even get a report card because of a lost library book. The school knows this is THE way to get parents' attention: pay up or no GRADES! Gabriel claims he returned the book (I think he thinks he did but I wouldn't be surprised if he spaced it), but I'm annoyed he never made it to the library this week to look for it or talk to the librarian. I told him he has one more chance on Monday, or we will pay for the book ($18) and he will repay us with his meager income. That said, I'm not exactly anticipating a bunch of "6"s (levels are 1-6, with 6="exceptional proficiency") for Gabriel either.

I know better than to pit my children against each other, but I can't help but to hope for a clean behavior-issue-free report card when Katrina's in school.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

12/1/2010 thinking snow

It's ironic that one of the main reasons I moved to California is to get away from snow.

But now it's one of the new major reasons I might never want to leave. I'm still amazed it took me this long of living in California before I discovered that the very thing I sought to escape would become my favorite thing about it.

Then again, it's not that odd, I've loved the Sierras for a long time and spent a lot of time exploring them -- in the summer. Motorcyclists tend to avoid snow. With varying degrees of success.

As a kid, we took ski lessons at Jiminy Peak, but I remember mostly being really really cold, and my arms feeling like they were going to fall off trying to hold onto the rope tow. I never liked the hassle, crowds and high overhead of skiing just to be cold and uncomfortable and always feel in danger from the ice.

But the snow world is completely different here. It's altitude-based, it's not that cold, it's beautiful, the snow quality is completely different for skiiers, and you don't have to live in the snow. Our first and only ski trip earlier this year was so was an amazing discovery for me.

So, today I closed in planning our first ski trip of the season!!

We'll go to a low-key, uncrowded, relatively inexpensive, beginner-friendly place called Sierra-at-Tahoe (East Coasters, map Phillips, CA to see where on the globe that'll put us).

And look where we'll be staying! OMG! SO cute!

I'm beside myself. I can't wait. The kids are all really psyched too. The only problem is that January 19 is SUCH a long time away!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30/2010 FM Radio

Gabriel was mortified when I took this paper from him today to scan it: "But MO-OM, it's not DONE!"

He's spent countless hours the past weeks working on electronics projects, looking online at FM radio receiver schematics, working on encoders on his Electronics Learning Lab (he's WAY past Snap Circuits and Julian has no interest), and drawing. I have no idea what he's doing, but I think his work is migrating more and more from art to science.

This might even be making him smarter, because he's finally figured out that if he gets his homework done at the CDC after school, he has more time at home to work on his projects.

In fact, homework struggles with the boys have been greatly reduced the past few weeks because Gabriel gets it done before we get home, and Julian blows through his weekly packet on Mondays. Gabriel because he doesn't care, and Julian because he does.

Gabriel still bitterly complains about how "boring" homework is, and he still earns very mediocre grades because of sloppiness and apathy. We've yet to ask him a math problem he doesn't know right off the bat, but his math test grades say otherwise. He can do binary arithemetic but gets "13 - 8" wrong. Gabriel makes no excuses and doesn't whine -- he looks right at you, locks eyes and says pointedly, "I DON'T LIKE SCHOOL. It's STUPID."

But at least he's getting practical about it.


Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29/2010 Pitching In

Busy night, and Dave had to work. Julian was being putzy and completely ignoring me, SOP these days, but things were not moving along. By the end of the childcare-push, I'm pretty tired. Tonight, I needed some help.

So Gabriel volunteered to read Katrina her bedtime story. It turns out she reads a lot of it herself, with help. And he's a surprisingly good and patient teacher.

Now I need someone to read me a story. "Once upon a time there was a frazzled overwhelmed insecure mom who felt she was a failure in every aspect of her life, and then one day....."

I have some writing to do.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

11/28/2010 cleaner's night

tons to do, gotta tidy up the house bigtime for the hardworking ladies who keep this place from sinking into squalor!