Friday, February 25, 2011

2/25/2011 Aquarium!

Haven't been there in way way too long, but Bonne Maman is a fan, and really, we live here. It was time! So we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today.

It was pretty crowded, but not impossible. We hit the highlights: penguins, jellyfish, kelp forest, sea otters....I could have stayed for much longer and eavesdropped on more tours and visited the aviary and many other displays, but there's only so much the kids could take. They overall had a great time though.

Such an amazing place we live in that we have such wonderful places like this so closeby!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2/23/2011 Mom's here!

Picked Mom up at the airport tonight! Gabriel was very excited to come with me, so I couldn't turn that down.

And what a rare chance to chat with him alone for 40 minutes and have a nice mother-son talk, like about how to do decimal-binary conversions and how shifting left is multiplication by 2, the usual stuff.

My mom will hang with the boys tomorrow -- I'm counting on the "grandmother effect" to kick in! That is, that they won't be horrible or defiant to her. But worst case, she can call me at work and say "come home!!!" I'm fine with that.


Monday, February 21, 2011

2/21/2011 Separation is the key

Dave had the day off work today, and schools, CDCs and preschool are all closed. But my company was open for business, so I went to work while he took care of the kids.

And my sunroof. There was a recall on my car's aftermarket sunroof, which involved taking it to Hayward on a weekday. Today was a rare opportunity to take care of all -- kids and sunroof.

But Dave was understandably apprehensive about having the boys together all day, and that concern played out first thing in the morning. Fighting, arguing, hitting, wasn't even 8:30 yet. He called Tonya and asked if she could take Julian today, especially since Lance was there anyway. She could, so he took Julian over there. That's all it takes to make for a much, much easier day.

When Julian got home, it took less than 20 minutes for the boys to get into another major fight that brought Gabriel to rare tears of frustration. Pestering, insulting; leads to punching, crying, more screaming, door-slamming.

Is it possible for boys to coexist without constant total chaos??

The only thing they agreed on today, and even that was iffy, was playing with the rats. Julian accuses Gabriel of hogging them, but really, Gabriel spends so much time with them that they've gotten very used to him and want to stay with him. I think there will be more tears when it comes time to say goodbye to our adorable visiting little friends. And that can only lead to more insulting, fighting, shoving, punching, kicking, swinging jackets, tripping...good grief. BOYS.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

2/20/2011 Errands

Argh. I had a brainstorm yesterday about shifting our non-ski-day today to Tuesday -- the boys have no school, and maybe crowds will have calmed down by then? Nope. Still no nearby lodging. Ski rentals are completely wiped out (no kids' skis or skis in my size left). Lessons for the 4-8yo set still sold out. OK, I've learned my lesson. "Ski week" must be planned, or it ain't gonna happen.

I'm really happy for those who did plan it though -- what fabulous luck! Major storms and snow right before the busiest snow-sports week of the year. Snow-capped mountains are visible all around us right now too, I just love that. Gabriel said today that we should move to the mountains. I wonder if my love affair with snowy mountains would end if I actually had to live in it? No doubt I'd re-discover my real roots as a summer/water person.

Today I got the boys haircuts, Dave built some kids' storage furniture we ordered weeks ago and never put together, I installed and re-installed a wall shelf, did some other shelf-juggling as long as I had the drill out anyway, then did a lot of combing through closets and toys and getting rid of stuff.

I like the way our new kids' storage units look, though they don't hold things as well as the cheapie "temporary" shelves I bought from Ikea over 5 years ago. But they're better-suited to hold craft materials, which have been buried in a huge box in a closet that the kids can't get to. More and more I realize that things like drawers and big boxes only hide things and make them inaccessible and turn Stuff into Junk. Most kids' stuff needs to be on open, easy-to-reach shelves, and in plain view. You'd think I'd have known that by now.

In fact, so much of the stuff we've been storing in closets we either don't need at all, or should be out for kids to reach (with a few exceptions). We're far overdue for a complete run-through of all our "stored" toys, and the substantial garbage bags of toys that were confiscated in some or other conflict. And all toddler toys can go -- even tricycles! Katrina's heading to kindergarten, we don't need things that help kids learn numbers or letters (or even reading) anymore.

In the end, we need a whole lot less stuff than more storage.

Lots and lots of rat-play today...the boys just love our little visitors! Gabriel was going to build a carboard maze out of one of the boxes that held our storage units, but it turned out that Scabbers (who Katrina has re-named "Scram") could climb out of it too easily. Spot didn't try. Gabriel made a short bridge between a shelf and a table with some blocks and was delighted when Scabbers scrambled over it. Try to get a cat to do that!

I guess checking off some long-overdue home-improvement projects and seeing kids have a great time with their new friends makes up for not spending the day packing and zooming around for a ski day. Sorta.