Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July

I spent the month of July working with just one client so I've had a lot of time to hang with the kids and Dave. It's been great! Summer is the best time to have a light workload. I thought about tagging along for part of Neeracha's annual trip to Thailand but decided not to after learning that her sister came this year, too. It's one thing to crash your friend's exotic beach vacation, it's another to elbow your way in on a multi-generational family trip, one I'm sure her parents were really looking forward to.

One day we went to Cowell Beach with Paige and her extended family plus friends. There were more than 30 of us in the end. They had extra wetsuits which enabled Thing 2 to boogie board for four hours straight. It was a good thing she ate pizza before getting in. The day was overcast and it even rained for a bit but that didn't stop the kids from going in and out of the water, trying to catch sea gulls and building sand castles. One of her twins drove down in our car and we sang show tunes.

Paige's family has beach days down to a well-oiled machine. They caravan. One picks up pizzas on the way in. Once the kids are fed and playing, someone else walks to The Picnic Basket and buys gourmet sandwiches for everyone else. Chairs are set up. Umbrellas are erected. Trashy magazines come out of beach bags. The laughter begins.

After the afternoon at the beach we hosed the kids off and went to the Boardwalk to take advantage of $1 Monday night rides and eat trash for dinner. We can't wait to go back!


Thing 1 spent most of July in dancing. Ballet. Technique. Team rehearsal. One of the moms brilliantly suggested that we take turns entertaining them between classes. On my day, pictured above, I took them to breakfast at Country Waffles. Another mom took them to the pool. Another day was Bagel Street Cafe. All around town you would see girls in buns traveling in packs. One day Thing 1 and I met a friend and her mom for breakfast at Chow.

Thing 2 wrapped up July in a lacrosse tournament. She even scored two goals while her grandparents were watching. We have a lot to learn about lacrosse but I like what I've seen so far.

I start working with a new client in early August, kicking off the project with a two-day meeting in Boston. Although it's a very quick trip with a packed agenda, I can't wait. I have really missed business travel.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ten Years

Our family has officially graduated from elementary school. We spent ten years there watching our children grow, learn and occasionally be beaten down. Our kids learned a lot. So did Dave and I.

I will miss
  • The sounds of laughter on the playground
  • Performances like Geology Rocks and Rumpus in the Rainforest
  • Amazing teachers: Marc Trapani, Melanie Carbrey, Brenda Aepli, Lori Ransdell
  • Gold Rush Day and The Old Schoolhouse field trip
  • The Halloween Parade
  • Breakfast Book Club
  • Lunch on the Lawn
  • The elaborate, over-the-top Teacher Appreciation celebrations we could do in the early years to spoil our wonderful teachers rotten
  • Volunteering

I will not miss
  • The parents who disregard the carpool pickup line
  • The revolving door on the principal's office (three in ten years)
  • Recorders and recorder concerts
  • Questionable cafeteria food
  • The cold water in the bathrooms when the taps say there is both hot and cold
I'm not sure how our children can be so old. Probably my parents ask themselves the same thing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer means peaches.

Paige and I hauled our two sets of twins to Brentwood today to pick peaches. I'd only picked peaches once before and strangely, she picked the same place Dave and I had taken the kids five years earlier.

The peaches were just as good as I remembered and we came home with 5x as many as we did in 2008. Seriously. 50 lbs. We went a little crazy. But they just tempt you, the rosy orbs clinging to leafy branches within easy reach. Fortunately The Pinks are old enough to look through cookbooks for recipes now and bake with me!

Still, 50 lbs is a lot of peaches. If you're nearby and want some, come on over.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I cried.

I picked Eldest Daughter up from Driver's Ed and we went to Trader Joe's. In front of us at the cashier was a baby in the shopping cart basket. She was 10 months old.

She had dark brown hair and big blue eyes rimmed with ridiculously long lashes. She was all smiles, in the unstoppable way 10-month-olds are. She was round and soft, with those delicious extra rolls and folds of skin. If not for my good manners and self-restraint, I would have scooped her up and hugged her. She was that yummy looking.

Instead I cried. The tears silently down my cheeks puddling on my white t-shirt.

I looked at Eldest Daughter, standing beside our cart. She is tall (5'3" is tall in our family). She is thin, all legs. Her makeup still looks perfect at 5:30pm. I struggle to make the connection between the sweet baby girl in the cart and my articulate, well-groomed daughter.

Eldest Daughter looks away, embarrassed by my display of emotion.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The pool. The lake. The river.

Three perfect days at Tahoe.

Day 1 we spent with friends, first at the Truckee 4th of July Parade and then at Northstar. The Truckee Parade is very sweet, it's what Danville's was before it got huge and crazy and commercial. We got there 20 minutes before it started, sat down in the shade and enjoyed the mountain-style patriotism. It lasted an hour and that was just right.

Day 2 was spent with my brother's extended family and friends at Dollar Point. We kayaked on the lake for the first time and Eldest Daughter, Thing 2 and I just loved it. I can't wait to do it again. There's a certain peacefulness out there on the water.

Day 3 was our biennial raft down the Truckee River, this time with two other families. It was hot but not too hot. It was also crowded, which makes for lots of water-gun fights, within our clan and impromptu with others doing the same thing. It was a good, wholesome day enjoying the best of Tahoe.

On Day 4 we packed up and came home. This is starting to sound biblical. I started missing the mountains the minute we crossed Donner Summit. En route home we stopped at Machado Orchards for pies and produce. Usually we stop at Ikeda, across the highway. Machado is lesser-known, smaller and cleaner, without the attached greasy spoon and bathroom line. The kids ate all of the peaches I bought before we got home and we're going to try the peach pie after dinner tonight.

Dave shot the picture at left with his iPhone on Day 1 from the Village at Squaw. You can see the low clouds and then the amazing sunset. I've never seen anything like this. We have two friends who are professional photographers. It just makes you wonder what a DSLR could have done here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

There's a new sheriff in town.

And it's Eldest Daughter.

The good thing is that she's completed Driver's Ed.The bad thing is that she knows the rules of the road and she can quote them every time I deviate from them. For example, your turn indicator has to be on for a full five seconds before you change lanes or turn. Heck, sometimes I don't decide to do it that far in advance! I now know, during city driving, how many blocks ahead I should look for obstacles.

I have decided to make this into a game. Every time she catches me doing something wrong and can show me the place in the California Driver's Handbook that cites it, she earns a quarter. It's a win all around -- I get a refresher course in the rules of the road and she will have that book memorized by August, when she can test for her permit. She earned a whopping $.75 this weekend for the 3 hours we spent driving to Sonoma and back. At one point I drove over the speed limit on purpose. It was a two-lane road and eight cars were in line behind me. What would you have done?

File this one under adventures in parenting.