Thursday, August 30, 2012

Up a Tree....

So, this happened:

I'm going to need a stronger dose of Xanax.

At least he wasn't as high up as his friend, J.  Note that Ethan is looking straight up and you can just see the bottoms of J's feet.

That's because J is alllllll the way up there.

Ethan stayed put on the second level of branches.  High enough for me, considering the first level of branches was nose level with me.  Here comes his friend, L, who at one point was even higher than J.

This will probably be one of my favorite pictures forever:

Hello, magical childhood memories!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I am not sure how this happened, you guys, but somehow, my kid became turned into a flipping first grader.  I'm just.....I mean, it's......I can't....yeah.

Pinterest (damn you, pinterest!) is blowing up right now with picture ideas of littles holding miniature chalk boards with the date and "(whatever grader your kid happens to be") written on them.  Some overachievers have their special snowflakes adding, for nostalgic impact (and perhaps a greater sense of failure later in life when one does not become an astronaut brain surgeon veterinarian), "When I grow up, I want to be: ____________."

Oh, how I wanted to partake in that fabulous fad, but these things don't always work out. (When he was a baby, I tried to wrap him in blue and white holiday lights for our holiday card photo, but he kept falling over and it looked more like I was trying to choke and/or hang him than take a festive photo, so....)

The night before school started, Husband and I had tickets with friends to see Steve Martin and his blue grass group, The Steep Canyon Rangers.  Yeah, probably should have stayed home and bonded with my almost-first-grader.  Made him a big healthy dinner and talked to him about his hopes and dreams and fears for the coming year.  Tucked him in lovingly and wiped a little tear away as I looked in on him sleeping.

But.  STEVE MARTIN! People, I can't really overstate my bordering-on-inappropriate adoration of Steve Martin. He's an actor, a writer, a playwrite, a musician, a comedian---it's just....I love him. Not as much as I love my kid, obviously, but I can love my kid 364 1/2 days of the year.  Steve Martin's only around once a year, so, you do what you've got to do.

That means that Ethan split a frozen pizza with his sitter and ran around outside with the neighborhood kid until the sun went down, before collapsing into, mostly likely a sweaty heap in his bed.   MOTHER OF THE YEEEEEEEEAR!!!!!!

I, on the other hand, behaved like Kristen Wigg's over-excited aunt character from SNL from pretty much the second the lights went down at the winery until the lights came back up, squealing and clapping, and a couple of times just shaking my fists in front of my face with excitement.

And then we came home, full of post-concert malaise (and red wine) and I realized I had not yet made my trendy chalkboard "FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE" sign, and that the little chalkboards I had purchased at the beginning of summer to hang on our kitchen wall with all the super! special! family! bonding time! activities we'd planned for the summer were actually STILL on the wall, and that those little 3M sticky tabs adhere to the wall REALLY REALLY well. So I couldn't use those.  I managed to hunt down a small white board in my office & in my attempt to find a dry erase marker, I must have been distracted by something (it doesn't take much, I'll be honest) and the sign didn't get written up until the next morning, about 30 seconds before we left the house.

Behold, my janky sign (and my totally adorable FIRST GRADER!!!)....

His first-day-of-school, at least in his own mind, was meant to be much much fancier than the shorts & casual button down.  When we went back-to-school shopping last week, Ethan picked out that shirt, along with an argyle sweater vest AND a black corduroy blazer.  For the first day of school.  In California.  In August.   We agreed after looking at the weather report for the day (um, hello 90's) that he's be more comfortable in just one layer of his intended ensemble.  He's wearing a white tshirt under the button down and you can be 100% certain that when I picked him up at the end of the day, that button down was crammed down into the bottom of his Star Wars backpack, and he was running around the school yard in a white undershirt--we like to keep it classy on the first day of school.

After his father and I paparazzi'd ourselves out in the front yard, we took Ethan to school and I got the chance to stay with him for the first 1/2 hour as he explored his new room.

There was the science area, where Ethan met the class frogs, Trevor & Petie, and then looked at his hand under a microscope that was not turned on (he was underwhelmed).

There was the reading area, where Ethan did not do any reading.  He did, however, manage to make some silly faces, and that's not at all anything like reading, but its cute.

At the end of parent time, he joined his 1st & 2nd grade classmates on the carpet and amazed me by following the very first directions without hesitation (thank goodness he can handle "If you're excited to be here today, give me a thumb's up!!!!")

After school, Ethan swung on a tree in the school yard.  Natch.

Wheeeeee!!! (don't break your leg. don't break your leg. don't break your leg!!!!) 

Then we went home and had a snack on the front lawn before a leisurely afternoon of bike riding (which included me falling off my bike) and a trip to my chiropractor (see first part of sentence). 

All the excitement of the day?  Makes a little boy sleepy....

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Catch Up....

No matter how hard I try (okay, not that hard...) I can't seem to blog and write creatively at the same time.  So when I blog, characters stay trapped up inside my brain and I sometimes lose entire scenes of potential fictional brilliance (ha. As if)  And when I write creatively, I worry that memories of my actual life and my kid's childhood will slip away if I don't write about them in the blog.   And if I do attempt to do both in one day, my kid and husband go hungry (not really) and have to wade through piles of laundry to get anywhere in the house (really--sort of).   So I have some work to do in the whole life-balancing act department.   But I've written a lot creatively this week, so I think I'll spend some time catching up with you here (the laundry can wait; we still have clean underwear).

So there's been a lot of pool time, and a lot of beach time and a lot of "its too hot to go outside so lets lay in front of this fan that's blowing hot air at us and groan intermittently while we go glassy-eyed staring at the TV/iPad/wall" time.  I should feel guilty about those particular lethargic times, but if you could see the way this kid runs, scooters, bikes, swims, jumps, light sabers, and generally burns more calories in a day than he consumes in two days, you'd agree that a little bit of veg-out zone couch-potato time for him isn't going to get in the way of him being healthy and/or fit.  Also? These particularly lethargic times give me a chance to do that aforementioned laundry.  Sometimes.

This week Ethan is in "Knights, Dragons, Princesses & Fairies" camp.  He has been coming home with cardboard shields and tin-foil helmets (I did double check the camp description and it says nothing about indoctrinating the kids in government conspiracies, so I'm assuming the tin-foil hats are purely for aesthetic and pretend-play purposes).   I'm kind of relieved to see him shifting away a tiny bit from lightsabers and quoting Star Wars to other forms of imaginary play--perhaps now is a good time to introduce him to Monty Python's Holy Grail.  Because, you know, with a computer engineer for a dad and a former English teacher for a mom, he might need more help getting on the nerd train. Right?

We've also been watching a LOT of the Olympics.  Ethan is riveted.  We let him stay up late to watch the opening ceremonies, but he only made it to 9pm (a full three hours from Sir Paul McCartney's performance--poor kid; his musical tastes do not sync well with his six-year old circadian rhythm).   Also, letting a six year old watch a piece of performance art like the opening ceremonies?  Is exhausting.  "What is happening?"  "Who are those people?"  "What are they doing? "Is that smoke?" "Is that real pollution in the air now?" "What's happening now?" "Are those kids really all sick?" "Is that Mary Poppins??!!!"  "Why are there so many Mary Poppinses?" "Is Mary Poppins from London?" "Remember when we went to see Mary Poppins at the theater, Mom?"  "Was it the same Mary Poppins?"  "What's happening now?" "Mommy, why is there a giant baby in the middle of the field?"
"Mommy, why are the Americans wearing berets? Are we French?" (okay, I made that last one up...but the rest of them?  Happened.)

When he's not asking questions about the opening ceremonies, he's asking why I cringe every time a diver's head twirls past the board/platform.  Two words, kid: Greg Lougainis.  Or he's struggling to remember which country is wearing which uniform and asking, much to the chagrin of isolationists everywhere, "Why do we have to root for the American people?  I like China's uniforms.  I'm going to root for them."

We've talked about what good sportsmanship is (ie: not Makayla Maroney) and why athletes cry when they win.  And why they cry when they lose.   Oh, the humanity!!!!

This weekend is the 3rd annual music festival hosted by the group I did the SGK 3-Day walk with last year.  We're not walking this year, but we're still raising money--all of it will stay local, going to two smaller, more transparent, breast cancer research & outreach foundations in the Bay Area.  That was one of the big lessons we took away from the entire SGK/Planned Parenthood debacle of earlier this year--donate your hard earned charity bucks someplace smaller & local, within your community.  Fortunately for us, our community includes some very major research hubs and treatment centers.  Last year we raised almost 20K at this event, and we'll be thrilled to give every penny of it to those local scientists and doctors who are trying to save this and the next generations of moms, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers and daughters.

I missed the festival last year bc I was on the East coast; this year I will be there, with (pink) bells on, sitting at a table of my photography, hoping to make some $$$ for the cause. Also the etsy shop that I "opened" last year after this event?  Will actually be really opening sometime before the end of this month.  Just working out some of the logistics of printing out the photographs in a timely fashion as/if the orders come in for them and how to price them.  I'll be sure to start begging for your business just as soon as I'm open for business.

Next week, Ethan and I embark on yet another cross-country excursion (twice in one summer?!! we're cray-cray!) to South Carolina.  Apparently, nothing says "super fun times!" to me like sitting on a plane with a six year old for 6 hours and spending 5 days in the jungle, spongey heat & humidity that is the American South in August..  We usually fly Virgin Atlantic, the airline preferred by hipsters everywhere, but we'll be flying USAir this time.  Please note: I am not a hipster, but I do enjoy being in their general vicinity, and taking advantage of products and services marketed towards them. Ethan has already expressed concern that there will be no TV in the seat back in front of him, at which he can stare blankly for the entire 6 hours.  I have assured him that the miracle of modern technology will see him through the ordeal, via the iPad, and that he'll be just fine.  I, on the other hand, am going to be sitting next to an iPad alternating episodes of the Fresh Beat Band and the Star Wars movies.  I'm going to need a drink and an eye mask to adequately shield me from all that business.

Here are some pictures of my kid because he's pretty cute:

Pool membership: Best decision ever.

This picture, while decidedly not of my kid, is still pretty cute.  This guy was hanging out at the beach one of the days we went last week. I wasn't really that close to him; I used my zoom. And then I went after a couple of teenagers who were too close to him and started squawking about the law about staying 400ft away from wildlife on California beaches.  I love me some sea lions and I don't want my kid to witness some sort of horrifying sea lion mauling when the wild thing decides its had enough of being oooh'd and ahhhh'd at by stupid humans in side-ways baseball caps.  (although, most likely it would just lug itself back into the water and be done with us, but still....)  I was relieved that the kids listened to me and went on their way, thinking I was all official-like & beach-ranger-y.  Truth be told, I've only seen that 400-feet away from wildlife on the beach in certain areas and only during certain times of the year, but every once in awhile, I have to flex that "I'm a teacher, I'm in control" muscle and see if it still works.  It does.

My child has discovered that boys are allowed to run around in public without a shirt on.  As his favorite state-of-being is 100% naked, this is a step in the right direction as far as he's concerned.  Now we get to argue on a daily basis about where and when he can be topless.  Oh goodie.

When I told him going bottomless was not an option in this particular (or really, any outside of the home) scenario, he decided to roll up his shorts until they looked like black and green plaid diapers.  Fashion-y.