Saturday, August 20, 2011

8/20/2011 Rainbow Princess

This afternoon Katrina dressed up as a "Rainbow Princess -- no wait, ROSIE Princess -- no, no, no, I mean Rainbow Princess."

I'm not big on the whole princess thing, but this is cute!

This morning, Julian had a belt test for Kung Fu. With Dave still out of town, I handled this by dropping Julian off first to get him there in time, then driving home to get the other two if they wanted. Katrina still wasn't ready, but Gabriel wanted to watch Julian's belt test, so I told Gabriel he could walk there himself.

After Julian's belt test, the boys walked home themselves, though I had Katrina in the car.

Dave was supposed to get home in the early evening, but his motorcycle died on a fairly remote road on his way back from Susanville. Fortunately, it didn't die on the much much more remote roads he'd been on earlier that day! Still, he hitched a ride 9 miles to the nearest town, no cell service, and called me from a pay phone. From there, I called around and found a "Motorcycles Only" service, that drove 100 miles into the mountains to get him. He picked up Dave around 5pm and drove him to Yuba City, where I coordinated a U-Haul pickup, just before they closed at 6:30pm. Dave loaded his bike into a U-Haul truck and drove straight home, just got here at 9:30pm. Whew, what a day!


Friday, August 19, 2011

8/19/2011 Noey

This 5-week old baby's name is Noemi!

A coworker's wife liked my name so much that at first, it was going to be their baby's middle name -- then got upgraded to first name. But they call her Noey, like, "NO-ee." HOW CUTE. That's a nickname I never got, or even heard of!

Not often you see two Noemis in one photo!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

8/18/2011 First Day of School!!

If you're interested in our just-before-school camping trip, here are the photos. Facebook, I'm afraid, makes it a zillion times easier to upload photos and add captions. So here it is.

Facebook Album - Camping-Canoeing August 2011

OK, now, on to the first day of school.

Today was the first day of school!!! I just sent my youngest child to kindergarten!

I've asked parents many times what's worse: your first child's or your last child's first day of kindergarten. No doubt: first. Last isn't easy either, but though I felt bad about it, I wasn't even there to pick her up. I wished I could be, but the calculus said that just couldn't happen. I'd missed too much work taking them camping, which on balance was worth it.

Of course I had to get my photos in first. Katrina is still doing the toddler-tantrum thing of refusing to cooperate and making it all take too much extra time. But it makes for a funny picture!

I drove them all to school, we dropped off Katrina's knapsack and school supplies, then she walked with me and the boys to their classrooms. Which are VERRRRRY far apart this year!

Julian in front of his 2nd-grade classroom. He had as little to say about his first day.

Gabriel in front of his completely unadorned classroom. No welcoming banners or bright colorfulful decorations here. 4th-grade or male teacher? He's in one of the new portable buildings, allll the way across the campus from the permanent buildings, where Julian is. That too I'm sure was deliberate. Our principal made sure to do the easy things to reduce our sons' visitorship of his office.

(I commented to another 2nd-grade parent that I liked our new principal better than the previous one, and she laughed and said, "well, DUH!")

I peeked into the window and saw Gabriel's teacher busily putting together welcome envelopes. I can't explain why I'm so glad his teacher is a guy, but I really am. Gabriel later said that his new teacher is "AWESOME!" with rare enthusiasm.

I wasn't too enthusiastic to hear from Gabriel that 33 kids are registered for his class though. 30 was enough!

After giving the boys a big kiss and a sendoff, I took Katrina into her kindergarten classroom. Finally, she started to act excited about the whole idea, and even cooperated with a picture.

When the kinder classroom opened, it was filled with parents, so I said a happy hello to her teacher (who I already know), showed Katrina where her cubby was, then her table, and then did what the teacher -- and Katrina -- needed the most: I left.

I thought about them all, all day long, but I had to go to work. I looked forward to picking them up and hearing about the first day of school.

Katrina was happy and cheerful when I picked her up, and said she loved her teacher. But she fell apart later at home, throwing massive tantrums for the minorest reasons. For the first time in her life, she lost dessert for disobeying -- usually that's her brothers' pervue!!!

But my patience is short, and I must now treat her exactly like the other school-age kids in the house, and anyone who makes me come back outside to lecture and insist they take the first step of simply getting out of the car will instantly lose dessert. School's in session now -- no tolerance.

Gabriel was overall cooperative, and Julian was too, including going to Kung Fu -- but only after a crisis when Julian broke a new gift that Gabriel had received from his teacher, a cheap mini-Rubik's cube on a keychain. I was furious with Julian for breaking the rule of not touching anyone else's things, let alone breaking a new gift from a new teacher. And hello, don't touch something attached to someone else's knapsack. Thank heavens I discovered the problem before Gabriel did, or I'd be typing to you from the Emergency room.

Lights were off at 8:15 and incredibly, no one objected.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/18/11 Day before school

I should have spent last weekend getting ready for school....well, ok, I should have done that weeks ago. I didn't. All my friends finished their "back-to-school" shopping weeks ago, including new back-to-school clothes (!), but me? I waited until the day before school, exploiting the handy excuse of rafting and canoeing in the last weekends before school instead.

Each kid had a list of supplies requested for their grade, so each kid got a basket and was supposed to shop for their own supplies.

In practice, Target was so crowded with other last-minuters -- and so empty of supplies -- that I ended up doing most of the work myself anyway. That included driving to Staples to get stuff that Target was wiped out of.

Tonight was incredibly hectic -- getting kids to bed TRULY on time (8:15 lights off after a lax summer, I did it!), then arranging all their school supplies -- including sharpening 50 pencils, unwrapping 50 glue sticks, and unpackaging and labelling countless erasers, pencils, folders, etc, then putting them all into their own marked bags. The 4th grade also wants 7 folders, each labelled with name and subjects. That's the sort of thing the kid should be doing himself if he weren't already in bed. And I thought this was a huge pain when it was only one!

I also got to re-unite myself with my all-time least favorite task: making lunch for four! Blah. (Dave's on a moto-trip this week for a traditional event that I've attended several times too, I encouraged him to go.)

At least I had ordered new knapsacks and lunchbags in time, monogrammed to spare me the labelling problem.

After Target, we dropped by school to find out their teachers and classmates. Odds were good that we'd know our kindergarten teacher, since two of them taught the boys, and Julian's first-grade teacher is a K/1 combo teacher who was a 1st-grade teacher last year and a kinder teacher this year.

I'd have loved to get her again to redeem ourselves after Julian's relentless pestilence last year and because she emphasizes writing so much, but instead of Julian's 1st-grade teacher, Katrina got Julian's kindergarten teacher, who I also really liked. Julian was no problem in kindergarten, so our chance for redemption is lost.

(Speaking of Katrina, she's been worrying me this last week. At camping, and at home this week, she still showed many signs of tantrumy toddler when she gets into a snit. The boys are often defiant, but I can usually get them to comply with a lost-dessert-days countdown. It's rare I have to threaten Katrina, but when I do, it never works, she just breaks down and screams. Is it possible she's not really mature enough for kindergarten? I had no doubts until now, but they're creeping in. It might be a rough start.)

Anyway, boys' teachers. Julian's teacher I've never heard of, but I was happy to see that one of his classmates is a neighbor, about a 4-minute walk from home without crossing streets, who was also in his kindergarten. I'd requested a strict teacher in support of Julian's first-grade teacher's recommendation, so I'll assume Julian's teacher is strict. He has 24 kids in his class, but at least 13 are girls and 11 are boys. And poor beleaguered Aditya isn't in his class.

I'm sure the principal put a lot of thought into Gabriel's teacher. My guess is that Gabriel's class placement was mostly about who'd present the greatest authority figure to him. So, Gabriel has one of the few (only?) male teachers in the school. That will be interesting. This teacher is well-known and highly regarded, gives a lot of homework I hear, and if I recall is supposed to be strong in science and math. Gabriel is getting a head start on complaining about school -- and sulky grouchy teenage behavior just with shopping for school supplies.

First day tomorrow! GAH!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8/16/2011 Back from camping!

Drove back from our camping/river-beach/canoeing trip in Guerneville today. Editing pictures, haven't had a chance to post yet. Great, beautiful, enjoyable trip overall - a terrific, if imperfect, start to camping with all three by myself. More tomorrow!

(Posting photos like these always presents a dilemma: do I repeat them in the "real" post with complete photos, or replace this quickie-post with the "real" one? Ah well, I'm too tired tonight to worry about it.)

Age is a good thing when it comes to camping -- there was a huge difference between Gabriel and Julian+Katrina. Gabriel still needs some reminding, but he's crossed the threshold from "helping" being a teaching moment to "helping" actually helping. I was so grateful that I could quickly bark an order at him ("ok, now go empty the water container and then go put the garbage away!") and count on him to be there with me, whereas the other two are still in the little-kid mode of barely going along -- often at great pains -- with requests ("time to pack all your clothes in your knapsack!" x 100) and needing tons of prompting and supervision.

I was so proud of Gabriel that I started to entertain a whole new venture: true backpacking! (like where you hike to your campsite carrying all your food and shelter with you -- not dumping it all in the back of a car). I've never backpacked and never, until today, thought I'd have anyone to do it with. Could we pull it off?!

Turns out -- Facebook makes uploading a lot of photos MUUUCH easier than Blogger. Here's the trip in FB format:

Facebook Album - Camping-Canoeing August 2011