Friday, November 16, 2012

11/16/12 Snow Stuff

This is a new annual ritual, but it has to happen -- and this one is pretty fun. The kids have to try on all their snow stuff from last year, and find out what's missing, outgrown or just never worked.

That doesn't mean they're very happy about the requisite photo though!!

After a record-breakingly abysmal last year snow-wise, several ski resorts around Tahoe just OPENED due to early snow!!! That's promising, and I'm PSYCHED!!

My new financial circumstances mean that ski/snow trips must turn from "ok, time to go!" to carefully planned, sacrifices-made luxuries -- but I can't begin to imagine not doing it. Especially seeing Katrina jump up and down about snow. I can't possibly sacrifice this.

Snow came for free for me growing up in the East Coast, but in the unbelievably mild climate we live in, you have to go to the snow -- and I am determined to make that happen, no matter what the tradeoffs are. The experience, the joy, the memories.... they just can't be traded. Snow just feels like a right!

And this year, unlike last year, it's already promising that Mom Nature will cooperate!!

(Alpine Meadows ski resort, yesterday)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11/13/12 The Spelling Test

ARRRGHHHH....Julian, once again, BIG trouble!!

So much for my relenting and offering him incentives for expected -- not even good -- but expected normal behavior. I had told him that with great behavior for the next two weeks, that not only could he go on his next class field trip, but that I'd miss a day of work and volunteer to accompany the field trip -- unlike last week when his behavior was so poor that he was excused from his class field trip and spent the morning sitting in the poor principal's office.

What a shame too -- his first class field trip was a nature/science trip that involved turning over rocks and seeking insect life to examine the health of a creek at a wonderful nearby park -- totally up Julian's alley. But I didn't blame his teacher at all for excusing him from the trip, he knew full well that he was at risk of losing the trip due to classroom behavior.

I hoped that a stern talk and an offer of accompanying his class on the next trip would make for tremendous incentive, but today, Julian rewarded my Grand Ideas by being sent to the principal's office -- and during a spelling test, which I was asked to re-administer this evening. Between phone calls, email, doorbell solicitations, making dinner, and keeping after Mr Delinquent to do his homework, I had enough to deal with, so I was furious about this extra job.

Fortunately, someone else stepped up to the task.

I couldn't believe it, but Julian and Katrina plowed through nearly 40 spelling-test words -- and not super-easy ones either, ones like "outmaneuver" and "tantamount," and written in cursive. Julian even paid Katrina (who'd finished her homework after school at CDC) 50 cents to help -- which I said he couldn't do, but he insisted. Aside from the fact that she agreed to do it -- she was completely undaunted by reading a 3rd-grade-level list of spelling words written in cursive. It's like it doesn't occur to any of them that this might be a little odd.

And I'm pretty sure the parenting magazines don't cover this dilemma -- is it OK to allow your 8yo son to pay his 6yo sister to administer a spelling test he was kicked out of his classroom for????

Well, regardless....I doubt this will register with Julian's teacher as my finest parenting moment...but it just occurred to me that Katrina's 1st-grade teacher should be pretty impressed!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

11/12/12 Bike Swap

Not quite sure how this happened, but I went outside to discover the kids happily playing on bicycles -- but not their own??

Katrina was on Julian's 18" bike, and she loved it.

Julian was on Gabriel's beautiful new mountain bike, which I think is a 24", and looks enormous for both boys:

Gabriel was left with the very original 12" bike he got from REI so many years ago, which he accepted good-heartedly so his younger siblings could play on the bigger bikes. That $100 investment of a "good" bike was way worth it!

(April 2005, 7 years ago, when Gabriel was 3 and Julian wasn't even walking yet:)

We'd always had a slightly different view of bicycles than many families, seeing them as communal resources to be used as fit for a given member -- so, not "gifts" or "mine," but rather, "use what fits you now." That's much easier to implement when the oldest is a boy and there's no pink involved, and when Dad scrounges bikes from neighbors discarding them.

Now that there are two households, I see no reason to diverge from this perspective -- indeed it becomes a practical economic reality. Bikes, ski boots, jackets -- it's all in one, guys. So I'm glad to see you sharing!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

11/11/12 Belated Birthday

It was late, but finally, Katrina's birthday party happened today, on Sunday Nov. 11th. The great part was splitting the party with her longtime friend Dylan, at Sky High Sports, the trampoline place. This is by far the best place to have birthday parties!

As kids get older, lives diverge....Dylan is far, far more athletic and would have nothing at all to do with the "little kids" area (for 8 and under), where Katrina and her 2 friends ended up spending all their time. But 2 friends proved to be a perfect number of kids. Both Dylan and Katrina invited 4 friends each, for a total of 10 kids, but the difference between the two kids' schools really showed here.

Most of Katrina's invitees had classes on Sunday morning; but Dylan goes to a more diverse school and had less trouble finding friends without prior commitments on Sunday morning (though Dylan and his siblings lead very rich lives themselves, unlike Katrina!)

Katrina was so excited about her party, and picked out a dress that she's never worn before. Of course it's a hand-me-down, do I ever buy her lovely dresses?! No!

She also chose heavy knit brown tights to wear under this light summer floral dress! I hear some moms are bugged by stuff like this; I think it's hilarious, I love it. Look how absolutely lovely and happy my beautiful, fantastic, funny daughter is!

Since so many of her friends couldn't attend, I ended up filling the spots with brothers.

The trampoline place is a fantastic way to wear out little boys though. It's phenomenal how mellow they all are afterward!

It was a terrific party for all. I spent much more time yakking with Moms than jumping, as I'd planned for, but given how my last visit to this place ended (hobbling out with a cane after my trick back tricked out....owch), this was probably just as well.

I'm really sold on "smaller" parties for kids -- two to four friends is really the way to go. This was total fun -- thank you Dylan, and Dylan's Mom!