Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Two college-aged guys were standing by me, commenting on various movies, deciding which one to get. This is their conversation about "Sideways".
Guy #1: Have you seen "Sideways"?
Guy #2: Yeah, it was kind of weird.
Guy #1: I didn't really like it. I mean, who wants to see a movie with a bunch of old people in it?
Lucas started out opening all his presents with enthusiasm, from clothes to books to toys. He would yell out, "Look, I got CLOTHES!" And he got down on the floor with his Pop-Up Aesop book, looking at all the cool illustrations.
Towards the end of the gift-opening session, Lucas could predict what the present would be just by the shape of the package. At the end, he was just looking for big boxes to open. I couldn't even get him to open another flat package, which he knew would be a book.
At the end of the day, we all had full full bellies and Lucas scored big in the gift department: books, trains, cars and trucks, a tennis racket, and a horse on a stick with a moving head, which of course everyone had to try out. I think one of his favorite gifts was the big box that his wagon came in. He spent a lot of time in there and would order us to drag him around the house in it.
Before going to bed, I told Lucas that Christmas is over and it would be another year till we had Christmas again. He looked at me and said, "When I'm three, I want two things for Christmas. Star stickers!" I guess he'll tell me the other thing that he wants next year.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Lucas was a little tentative at first, but went ahead and sat on Santa's lap. SC asked what Lucas wanted. Lucas said, "A train that makes noise." The photographer snapped away and we got a nice picture. Lucas hopped off Santa's lap and Santa said, "I have a little gift for you."
Imagine Lucas' horror when Santa pulled out a little Christmas book. "Where is my train?" he cried once we had been ushered to the side of Santa's room. After all the build-up, talking about how Santa would bring him presents, and all he got was a book, Lucas was disappointed to say the least.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
For those of you who knew me, pre-Lucas, I was super high energy with only 5-6 hours of sleep a night, a definite morning person. I'm still getting the same number hours of sleep, but it's interrupted sleep, which I'm realizing doesn't cut the mustard.
The benefits of being awake at all hours: 1) I get a lot of work done around the place. Like making soups or loaves of French toast to put in the freezer or paying bills; 2) I get a lot of real work done. My co-workers and clients think that I'm such a dedicated worker since I'm sending emails from 11-4am. Also, I frequently have to interview folks in other countries, so I can interview someone in Kuala Lumpur, midnight my time, but it's 4pm in Malaysia.
The downsides of being awake at all hours: 1) I'm pretty tired all the time; 2) I'm cranky; and 3) I've had one really stupid car accident (refer to hot chocolate incident below), and a minor bump that, luckily, did not result in any trips to the auto body shop.
My mom says I should sleep with an apple above my head. I think I'll try it now and see if it works. If you have any non-pharmaceutical suggestions, please post here.
After a particularly dramatic breakfast this morning, I went to get ready for work. Lucas came in, still kind of weepy from breakfast. I sat him down and told him that he needs to listen more and do what I say. He looked at me with his eyes wide open and asked, "What's Santa Claus going to do about this?"
Lucas looked so concerned about this, I almost felt bad. But alas, I took this as a "teaching moment", as we would say in the toy business. I said, "Santa saw you and said, 'Lucas has to listen to his mommy.'" Lucas said, "Okay, I will listen because Santa is watching me."
A very kind man, who I will call Dr. D, was the unfortunate owner of the vehicle. We never actually spoke, but traded voicemails over the next couple weeks. He assured me from the get-go that he was not the litigious type and said over and over that he appreciated my honesty.
We decided to skip going through insurance and Dr. D was gracious enough to go with a little patch up on his bumper and a wheel alignment, since that's what he would have wanted "if he was in my shoes". It still cost me almost $400, but I'm grateful to Dr. D for not making a bigger stink out of this.
So I had to dish out $400, but when I die, if the "intelligent designer" needs to know what kind of life I led and whether I can live "happily ever after" or if I have to go to the "other place", I'm hoping Dr. D will give me a good recommendation.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
A couple weeks ago, when our car was in the shop after the hot chocolate incident, we REALLY needed a 2nd car. One rainy morning, I had to bike with Lucas to his school, in the rain! He thought it was fun, but I felt pretty guilty toting him around in the rain on my bike. So I came home and signed up for City Car Share (www.citycarshare.org), which I think of as a co-op for cars and trucks.
Today was my first day using this spiffy service. It was so convenient and kind of fun too. At first, I felt a bit conspicous driving a purple car with the CCS logo all over, but what a lifesaver! So if you see someone honk at you from a purple CCS car, it might be me!
And tonight we went, for the 2nd time in the past week, to the Christmas Merry Go Round in Tilden Park. We met up with his friend Owen. We rode the Merry Go Round for a little, had some hot cocoa and a gingerbread cookie. Then Lucas and Owen entertained themselves by running around in circles, laughing, and having a great time.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
In the recent Announcements email that came out, I had to laugh out loud at some of the listings that one would only find in an area like Berkeley:
Music for the Soul of Parenting: Topics range from breast feeding highs and lows, the challenge of children's wants and desires, and the intimate story of a teenage birthmother, to a deeply reassuring lullaby and a fierce and determined vow to make a world worthy of our children.
Family Political Action, a way to introduce your children to political activism in a friendly, easy atmosphere.
Holiday Recycled Crafts Fair. Tired of buying garbage at the mall? Come buy garbage from us! Bags, peace banners, toys and more crafts from around the world made from reused & recycled materials will be on display. Proceeds will benefit GAIA's (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) work to stop waste and create a toxic-free future.
My mom solved the tree dilemma for us this year. She gave Lucas a little Christmas tree. The tree is small, reminiscent of the one in the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special (it was a centerpiece at a Christmas party the night before).
At first I thought he would be disappointed because he's seen the big trees in other people's homes, but he LOVES it. He has spent so much time re-arranging the decorations and taking ornaments on and off and playing with them. Last night we spent about an hour constructing train tracks that went around the Christmas tree.
This morning Lucas ran to his tree, picked it up and said, "Hey mommy, look at my BIG Christmas tree!" Maybe we'll get a big tree next year.
Friday, December 09, 2005
The concrete counters were poured last week. They will be a sligthly different color after they're stained, but they look pretty good as-is.
The latest is around our beloved fireplace. The contractors thought the fireplace would like kind of look like an afterthought with the stairs now next to it. So they created this "frame" for it. I can't wait to move back in!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Lucas has had ample opportunity to test his driving skills this past month. At the Oakland Zoo, he was finally tall enough to be allowed to go on the car ride. He LOVED it! (As you can see in the picture, his friend James, did not take to it like Lucas.) He went around and around many times. He took his driving very seriously. I heard another mom talking about Lucas, she said "Look, he really thinks he's steering!" I would call out orders to him, like "Turn left Lucas", "Don't forget to turn right.", just to add some realism to his fantasy that he really was driving.
On our trip to LA for Thanksgiving, Lucas experienced his first pony rides. The pony ride where you just go around in a circle was good for beginners, but after a while, we put him on the ponies that trot around the track. Again, Lucas was in the driver's seat and loved every minute of it.
Before we know it, he'll be asking for keys to the Volvo station wagon. Unless of course, it's not cool enough for him.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Also according to Lucas, Kevin, Uncle Rocky, and I will also get trains. For grandmas Kay and Trudy, Papa, Uncle Joe, Uncle Brady, and Maggie goldfish are in order. "But the goldfish is not for eating. You put it in a bowl and feed it." And Auntie will be receiving a taxi car.
Need gift ideas for your loved ones, just ask Lucas!
Monday, November 28, 2005
After dropping Lucas off at preschool this morning, I debated on where I should get my hot chocolate. I decided on Semifreddi's in the Kensington Circle, since they know how much "extra chocolate" to put in my drink.
I saw a spot in front of a fellow Volvo. Pulled in in front of it, and heard metal on metal. Yes, I side-swiped this car while trying to park.
The estimate from the body shop, approximately $800, which makes this morning's hot chocolate the most expensive ever!
Though it's somewhat frustrating and tiresome, there are some advantages to the sleep issues at this age. For instance, this morning, around 3am, I was in bed next to him. He was patting my cheeks very softly and said "Hi, my tiny little mommy" in a very very sweet voice. Then he was asking about who people's brothers are. He said, "Mommy, I'm your brother." I replied, "No, you're my son." Then he said, "No, you are my sunshine." Then he asked me to sing him the song ("You are my sunshine").
A few hours later, Lucas was tossing and turning in his sleep and he kicked me in the back then pushed me off the bed. But it was worth it!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Lucas has always been interested in the cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels. Since we like to encourage make-shift toys around here we dubbed these rolls "telescopes" and have had a lot of fun with them.
This "telescope" looked a little sad. It was kind of squished and still had some toilet paper remnants stuck to it, which I did my best to remove. So to help embellish his toy, I picked up a sheet of star stickers and we headed out the door. Lucas had a great time in the car applying the stickers to his telescope. I put some inside and said, "Look, you can see the stars in the telescope!" We both thought this was very clever.
When we opened the door to school, I heard the "beep beep beep" of not one, but three electronic hand-held toys. Lucas walks in proudly with his telescope. He started waving it in front of some of his friends, "Look at my telescope, you can see stars in there!", but most of them were pretty busy running around and looking at the noisy little high-tech toys. As I was leaving, I saw one little girl sit next to Lucas to take a look. (Thank you Leah!)
When I picked him up from school, he had his telescope in hand. I asked him how his friends liked his telescope. In his optimistic and earnest little voice, he replied, "They liked it A LOT!"
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
One of Lucas' favorite games these days is playing "train". Not with the train table, but with his chairs. He enlists one of us and we take turns driving and being the passenger. Yesterday, he asked that we wear our bike helmets. We both had a lot of fun!
Sunday, November 13, 2005
This morning, we were sitting at his little table eating cereal and milk. Right next to the table is Maggie's den. I had just said something about what a nice day it will be for us to go to the park and Lucas picks a new topic.
Lucas: Is that Maggie's butt? (pointing to Maggie's backside)
Me: Yes, it is.
Lucas: Where is her penis?
Me: She doesn't have one. She's a girl dog.
Lucas: Yes, she has one. It's on her tail.
Me: No, that's just her tail.
He ponders this for a few seconds.
Lucas: Maggie has a big butt. It's big and black.
Me: Yes, she sure does.
Yes, it is! That's me (Julie on the left, Karen on the right) at the Cal stadium for the Cal-USC football game. The pull of seeing old friends outweighed my lack of enthusiasm for football.
Saturday morning, Julie and I donned the appropriate USC football attire: tall boots, jeans, and cute tops; and went to a Trojan tailgate party, hosted by Karen.
At the tailgate party, we scored tickets to the game with other fellow Trojans. So we trudged in our now somewhat uncomfortable boots up to the stadium.
So, there I was, surrounded by avid SC football fans. We were in the 3rd row in the Cal endzone. One fellow, Klaus, was particularly vocal with many a "Cal sucks!" directed to any Cal fans or football players who walked by. We called him "The Ambassador".
The last time I actually went into a stadium to see a game was my freshman year at USC, fall of 1988. I never managed to learn the basics of the game. However, I did learn to take my cue from other Trojans. I can cheer on cue and mimic some of the football fan jargon. I found myself joining in the chant for "Reggie, Reggie!" I would also repeat things I heard, like "Excellent field position!"
We left at the beginning of the 4th quarter, once we saw "our boy" Lendale White, score a touchdown at our end of the stadium. And we saw the spunky little USC band during half time, which was a nice perk. I saw some people who I have not seen in a while, which was nice. One of them, Hunter Ellis, I am told was a contestant on "Survivor".
Stay tuned for my next foray as a football fan, which should be in another 17 years.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
This morning at breakfast Lucas gave me some new information about rain.
Me: Lucas, did you hear the rain last night?
Lucas: Yes, I did. It was raining and raining and raining!
Lucas: (pointing at Maggie) Look Mommy, it's raining in Maggie's mouth.
Me: Hmmm, is it really? That's interesting.
Lucas: Why you say "that's interesting"? Why you say that, Mommy?
Then as we were walking down to the car, he could see that it was wet.
Lucas: Mommy, why is the car all wet?
Me: Because it rained last night.
Me: Because the clouds were heavy and full of water so they had to let out some rain.
- 10 seconds later -
Lucas: Mommy, why is the car all wet?
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Lucas has recently completed a few projects that I'm sure are of great meaning to him, but leaves the rest of us saying, "Huh?".
The other morning, Lucas dug in and got to work. He put a little plastic baggie on his hand and began to pile an assortment of gizmos on his table. After about ten minutes of intensely putting things on, removing them, and rearranging, he stood back proudly to admire his work and said, "There, I'm all done!"
Then a few days later, we came in from outside and I asked him to take off his tennis shoes. When I came back to the room, this is what I saw. I may have no idea what these things mean now, but mark my words, the boy is a genius.
Here are some recent pictures of our house, complete with windows, doors, walls, and our whole house fan. By the way, we are going with concrete counters.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Our first stop was to Jeannie's to pick up some good Halloween loot. We walked around the block with Jeannie, Zach, and Maggie. But Lucas wanted to take off his costume and walked around in his shorts and t-shirt. Sorry, no Halloween picture this year.
Once we got in the car, Lucas started screaming, "I want more candy!". I told him if he didn't stop, we would go straight home. His screaming decreased to a pitiful whimper.
So we went to Whitney's house. Lucas had his first Butterfinger and loved it. Of course, after eating his and most of mine, he started in on "more candy". So we made a hasty departure and went home and decorated his pumpkin with the Mr. Potatohead kit from Jeannie. It was a big success.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
We will take him trick-or-treating on Halloween. I figure this is the last year I can use him as a decoy to score some good candy for myself. He will read this one day and resent me, I'm sure.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Last week, Lucas decided to try his hand at interior design, Maggie was his first client. He took some of the ASPCA mailing labels and other assorted stickers and made Maggie's little spot much more homey.
Lucas has a very modern approach to his designs. I asked what inspired him. "I just take the stickers and put them on there," he says.
According to Lucas, his client is pleased.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
So now he gives me his own analogies, some of which make more sense to me than others.
Lucas: I want bubblegum.
Me: Do you know what bubblegum is?
Lucas: It's kind of like a mud puppy.
(Photo on left: bubblegum; photo on right: mudpuppy)
Lucas is also getting good at answering my questions, with the same definitive answers I give.
Me: Lucas, why are you so smart?
Lucas: Because I take naps. That's why!
Me: What is that? (pointing to a picture of a porcupine)
Lucas: That' s a porcupine. It has sharp points that can hurt you. That's why it's called a porcupine and that's all!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Now that we're in decision-making mode for the kitchen, I've become a non-committal nut case. Countertops keep me up at night and online early in the morning, searching for the "right" one. I posted a question on Berkeley Parents Network (parents.berkeley.edu) on concrete counters and was invited to Larkspur to check out some counters. And, of course, I went!
As our contractor says, there is no perfect countertop, they all have their ups and downs. Well, this may be true, but it's driving me batty.
After discussing the virtues of concrete counters with our contractor yesterday and leaving the meeting with the "decision" of moving forward with concrete, I had to poll everyone I knew who either recently redid their kitchen or just those who know a lot about kitchens. And of course, everyone has a different opinion. Granite, honed granite, tile, soapstone...there are just too many choices. I'm one step away from creating a countertop matrix (appearance, durability, price, degrees of porosity, levels of stain-resistance, color options). It would help kill time, but I don't think it will get me any closer to making a decision.
My friend Monica says that since all countertops have their issues, I should just go with what I like. Easier said than done, my friend. If anyone has input, please let me know!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The girls were following the rules set by the teachers, content to hold hands with their partners and stay with the group. On the other hand, the boys were all over the place! Running around like maniacs, waving around sticks, and screaming at each other and the poor farm animals.
After an hour or so of terrorizing the goats, feeding them tons of celery, and eating snacks, the teacher asked me what we should do next. I had only one thing on my mind: Let's get these kids back in school before chaos really erupts! After a few suggestions, she suggested going back to school and I nodded emphatically, car keys already in hand.
Friday, October 14, 2005
The interesting walks occur when I have to take Maggie out with Lucas. I've always known that Maggie is an alpha dog, and am just starting to realize that Lucas is a burgeoning alpha toddler.
Our apartment is on the 2nd floor, so walking up and down stairs with Maggie and Lucas can be a tiresome task. Maggie, her silent but pushy self, trying to ooze her way up the stairs past me and Lucas. And the vocal Lucas, saying "No, me first. Don't come up yet. Me first. No Maggie, ME!" It's about a 5 minute ordeal to walk up 10 steps. Usually Lucas goes up first while Maggie and I follow, but he gets upset that Maggie is even on the stairs. So once inside the apartment, he tries to tackle Maggie, the sturdy fortress that she is, who just stands there looking at me like "What the heck is he trying to do?"
Nevertheless, Maggie, the good old gal that she is, lets him do what he wants. No matter how humiliating it is.
I think they will be good friends.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Then this morning in his room and I lifted him up and said, "Let's look out your window." Of course, we saw other apartment windows, but Lucas said, "Mommy, where are my roses?" At least he can be certain that his lowly servants (aka Mommy and Daddy) are just in the next room, waiting to take orders from him.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
I've never lived in an apartment with so many units. The biggest apartment I've lived in had 14 units, aside from the college dorms. There must be at least 40 units here.
It's kind of surreal to be living dorm life with Kevin and Lucas. Maggie will be making her debut here tomorrow. Yes, Maggie the original good-time gal, the official party animal will be living with us in this little apartment. Let the fun begin...TOGA TOGA!
While I spent the first part of this post talking about what we don't have, I'm still so so so happy to be back in Berkeley. Lucas and I biked over to Totland to meet up with Whitney and Julian, it only took us 5 minutes.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Well, we decided to bite the bullet and rent an apartment in Berkeley till the construction on our house is complete. A few reasons for this: 1) Completion date moved from November to December (whoops!); 2) Three very long round-trips a week through the Caldecott tunnel during rush hour to take Lucas to preschool. Restless and hungry toddlers do not make for happy passengers; and 3) We really missed our favorite people and places out in the Berkeley area.
We made the decision just in time. I was almost brainwashed into thinking Moraga is BETTER than Berkeley. Lucas and I went to Totland park yesterday, the big park with lots of trucks and scooters that Lucas and I love. I looked around and it was so crowded, more toys were broken than functioning, and there were half-eaten pizza slices sitting on a picnic bench. This was shocking in comparison to the nearly-empty, pristine (almost sterile) look of the parks in Moraga. Then I shook my head and realized that this was home. Luckily, we had just come from signing the lease on the apartment. Moraga almost had me for a second.