Archive for June, 2010

Tom’s Party

Posted by laura on Jun 27 2010 | Fun

Amazing how some events feel like they’re forever in the planning and anticipation, and then they’re over in a flash.

It was such a fun time – a beautiful day and a whole bunch of great friends. We counted 115, but there might have been a few extras. There was one gorgeous little boy that we all thought came with somebody else and in the end we think he might have just wandered over from the playground. It was such a gift to see all these terrific people we know from different areas of our lives all coming together. It was like a wedding, with bouncy castles.

And cupcakes!

(We had some serious icing and decorating help from our friends across the street.)

Here’s the thing – we’re insanely fortunate to be surrounded by such fun, generous friends and family. It’s ridiculous. Tom was the happiest birthday guy in the world yesterday, and we’re just so grateful to all our friends for making it a real party.

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It’s Official

Posted by laura on Jun 21 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Happy Summer. (At least if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere!)

We had our first play in the creek behind the library, and it’s the 21st, so summer must really be here at last. Here’s to late light and slow days!

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Happy Father’s Day!

Posted by laura on Jun 20 2010 | Fun, Holiday

Here’s to all the great dads out there. Thanks for all the stories you tell, the problems you fix, the performances you encourage, the time you make.

This is what you call a soft-focus Father’s Day photo. We were walking through the outdoor mall after we saw a matinee (!) of Toy Story 3 (!!) and there was a guy handing out balloons. As we approached, he looked at Honey and said, “I’m wrapping things up here today – would you like a balloon, or all of them?” It’s like asking a kid if she’d like a puppy. Oddly appropriate, seeing as we’d just walked out of the latest Pixar wonder, to walk around under a huge bunch of balloons. Hand me my cane, Russell, we’re off to South America…

Happy Father’s Day!

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It’s the Hap, Happiest Time of the Year

Posted by laura on Jun 17 2010 | Fun, School

Or at least one of them! Last day of school yesterday. WAHOOOOO!!!!

We’ve talked about teacher gifts here in the past. This summer we hit the same dilemma and ended up with the same solution – money into the general gift pool and sampler bags of our favorite types of cookies with thank you notes attached. Thank you notes are not easy, which is what makes them worthwhile. That’s my opinion, anyway.

Here we are, heading off on the last school day of the year.

We love our crossing guard. He’s a professional pianist who travels back to China for competitions every summer.

The last day of kindergarten sure is bittersweet. Does it get better than kindergarten? At our school, the 5th graders have a ‘graduation’ ceremony on the last day. (Let me just quickly get it over with – I’m a curmudgeon about this, I realize, but I just don’t like graduations before high school. There.) Anyway, the school does a lovely job with the whole thing; beautiful slideshow, a brief thoughtful statement about each student, great decorations on the walls with the kids’ pictures. Very nice. This year the 5th graders passed around a microphone and each told one memory of her/his time at the school, with a small takeaway at the end. Some were absolutely hysterical, and one kid told a story about his mother having to drop him off early before school one day when he was in kindergarten.

He said he was the only kid waiting outside the classroom, but his mother had told him people would be coming along soon, so at first he didn’t worry. Then as time passed and he’d been waiting and waiting with no one else showing up, he started to cry. “Then,” he said, “like a knight in shining armor, the lawn mowing guy walked up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said, ‘It’s going to be alright.’” That how this student summed up what he’d learned so far in school – it’s going to be alright.

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Tooth Fairy Found

Posted by laura on Jun 15 2010 | Uncategorized

Turns out she was catching up on the Netherlands/Denmark game and got so caught up in the Denmark own goal that she, well, she got a bit distracted.

Stay on target, TF! Step away from the vuvuzela.

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Has Anyone Seen the Tooth Fairy?

Posted by laura on Jun 15 2010 | Uncategorized

What a flake – she forgot to show up at our house last night. What is her prob?


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Poor Socceroos!

Posted by laura on Jun 13 2010 | Fun

What a game – Germany was on fire! My heart goes out to the Aussies, of course, but the German players sure were fun to watch. They often really looked like they were enjoying themselves and working beautifully together for a team that has had a bit of a tough road to the World Cup.

One thing on the Australian side – the red card for Cahill sure seemed excessive to our crowd. Did anyone out there think he really deserved that? I wonder if he’d just built up enough annoyance with the ref with his aggressive play up till then, and the ref just snapped. I still don’t think it was called for, though.

The weekend here was gorgeous. Sunny – actually HOT, if you can believe it. The kids are slowly getting better, although we’re suspecting that the antibiotics did a number on Hot Wheels’ stomach. He had a rough couple of days with that. And then poor Honey had been having some pain from this crazy spring in her braces, and tonight as she went to bed it went katwang and sent wires into her gums. She was bleeding and sobbing and we had to put in an emergency call to ┬áher orthodontist. He’s such a cool guy he said, “I’ll meet you at the office in 15 minutes,” and zipped over to fix her up. Thus marking the second time a dentist has opened up a closed office to see her. Pretty soon she’s going to be all “office hours? Mm yeah, see, they don’t apply to me…” Thankfully the doc patched her up in a flash and she’s sleeping fairly peacefully now. Sheesh I think our kids are going for some Guinness World Book insane illness record I don’t know about.

This weekend marked the 100th running of the Dipsea Race here in our town. It started in 1905 (don’t panic about my math skills – they had to suspend it a few times for stupid things like wars and depressions and stuff) and the course runs about 7 and a half miles from downtown Mill Valley, up and over Mount Tam to the beach. The Dipsea is cool, not only because it’s the oldest trail race in America, but because it has a great handicapped start setup that allows all kinds of people to win it. This year an 8 year old girl won, which really isn’t very nice seeing as just walking the initial steps section leaves me feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack. Then there are our friends who don’t even bother with the Dipsea anymore – it’s too crowded at 1500 runners. These maniacs wait a couple of weeks for the slightly less popular Double Dipsea, which is there and back. And we won’t even discuss the Quad. Please.

After taking in the festivities downtown, we watched the world cup action, and then headed over to a fun outdoor festival where our friend Andy was playing in not one but two bands. We missed the first, but had a great time listening to the second. Friends, sunshine, music, fun? Check check check check.

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World Cup!!!!!!

Posted by laura on Jun 12 2010 | Fun, Uncategorized

Nothing beats the World Cup for improving a bad week.

We rounded this one out with Hot Wheels coming down with conjunctivitis on Thursday afternoon. Just because. In hindsight, we really should have welcomed Tom’s parents from Australia with a different greeting…

“Welcome back to America! We have some terrific, highly contagious specials for you this week: we’ve whooped up a house-blend cough that can leave you gasping, and we have a terrific side order of pink eye. Greeeaat. Would you like a fever with that? And shall we go ahead and bring azithromycin for the table?”

Overall, I guess we’re lucky in that the kids decided not to share the fun with the rest of us. Now we’re all done with the antibiotics and are cleared to hang out with our friends once more. Whether they’ll have us is another question.

Everything is all right now – we just watched England vs. USA. Completely turned me around. Lucky squeak by the US, eh? All I can say is, thank you soccer gods, because we know some marriages that were threatening to dissolve over the outcome of that game.

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This is the Week

Posted by laura on Jun 09 2010 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday, Not So Fun

in which we went from this -

to this.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, but honestly, Vegemite isn’t that bad. No, it was something far more unsavory, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the good stuff. Tom turned 40 at the end of last week, and we decided to take a quick trip down to Santa Cruz for some fun on the boardwalk with Gini and Craig. It was a perfect day.

It started with a steam train – really the best start to any day for Tom. We weren’t on board, but we got to see it head out for a tour through the Santa Cruz mountains, and it was beautiful.

We checked out the boardwalk…

and had our lunch at the best taco bar. We’d stumbled upon this place the last time we were in Santa Cruz a few years back, and boy were we happy to find it again! $1.50 taco? Yes thanks.

Santa Cruz has a cool style going on – check out this mural:

How about a close-up of that awesome retro mod car? You got it.

Seriously, now – who doesn’t want one of those?

And just before we left town, we caught some surfing action along the coast. Gorgeous weather, awesome time.

Now for the opposite end of the scale. Are you sitting down? Both of our kids have whooping cough. That’s right – check your calendar, but it’s still going to say 2010, and our kids are still going to have this crazy thing I thought belonged to the history books. Here’s the story. Hot Wheels got a cough at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, and we’d just been reading in the local paper that our county is currently inundated with Whooping Cough cases. Feeling a little alarmist, we brought him to the doctor and asked if he could have pertussis. No way, the doctor said. His booster was only a year old, he didn’t have any of the right symptoms, and the cough sounded like an allergic cough. It was Memorial Day weekend, so we pressed the issue – was he safe to be around people? Absolutely.

Let’s go forward a week. He was still coughing, but no real change in symptoms. Then we heard that some friends’ kids had been quarantined with Whooping Cough. “We’ve got to bring him up again,” I said to Tom. So off he went for another check – and more assurances that he was fine, but we said we really wanted him to be tested. Two days later, Honey was coughing and I brought them both into the pediatrician’s office. She swabbed Honey and said she’d bet they both had it.

HOW? I wanted to know. How do two healthy kids with all their immunizations get Whooping Cough? You might be more up to date than me on this one but I learned for the first time that no vaccine is 100% effective, and if we have enough exposure to a disease, we can contract it even if we’ve been vaccinated. When enough people in a community are vaccinated, you develop a ‘herd immunity’ so you don’t have enough exposures to risk sickness.

I just read this morning that our county has the highest rate of families choosing personal belief exemptions for vaccinations. Ten years ago, less than 2% of kindergarteners in our county entered school without their vaccinations – in 2009 it was 7.1%. Clusters of exemptions like that in a community increases risk for all of us. I respect that lots of people were scared by the autism fear, but the science just wasn’t there to support the scare – and I didn’t fully realize until this week the danger those exemptions pose not just to the kids who aren’t immunized, but to all our kids.

Personally, I feel horrible. I know we were acting on doctor’s advice, and I know it’s all around us, but of course I get hives at the thought that we were walking around with this unknowingly. I’m also pretty angry. Our kids have been miserable and we’ve lost a week of school and work and a good chunk of change dealing with this.

Here are our takeaways. Ready?

1. Don’t assume that your kids are protected by their immunizations.

2. Even if your kids aren’t presenting the traditional whooping cough symptoms – runny nose, slight fever, cough that ‘whoops’ – they might still have it. One friend of ours tested positive with no cough at all.

3. Tom figured the last one out – if your child develops a cough, call Wildcare. Tell them you found a baby bird and it’s coughing. They’ll have you tested and treated by mid morning.

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Let’s Talk About Tuesday

Posted by laura on Jun 03 2010 | Not So Fun

Shall we? Here’s the thing – you’d think that a holiday weekend would provide us all with two terrific benefits: the beautiful addition of a weekend day and the crucial removal of Monday, the bottom-dweller of the work week. That’s the way it’s meant to be. Occasionally, though, the Tuesday of the holiday weekend decides that it has a noble duty to take on the pressures and pains of Monday, for reasons I cannot fathom. Stinky Tuesday. What is its problem?!

This particular Tuesday, the one that thankfully ended 48 hours ago, was wedged between the social revolving door of Memorial Day and the arrival of Tom’s parents from Australia on Wednesday morning. A great deal was expected of it, and I suppose it was too much to ask that it simply behave itself. It all started with a baby bird.

Tom and Honey found this scrappy little thing at the base of our neighbor’s stoop on Monday night. Honey, of course, wanted to scoop it up and bring it in for the night, but we persuaded her to hold off. Well, first thing in the morning, they went across the street and found it still shivering on the ground looking very much like it had been bumped out of its nest in the climbing roses nearby. They took it in and found some sites that talked about feeding baby birds. I was suspicious.

I’m sorry – I know this picture is blurry but it’s the only one I got with the little guy’s mouth open. It was pretty cute in a squawky kind of way. I left Tom with the bird and took the kids to school, where I had a chat with my friend Lauren, who told me that they had scrub jays in their yard, and that those birds kick the babies out of the nest at a pretty young age. Back home, I looked them up online, and sure enough, they looked just like our little birdie. Tom had called the local Wildcare folks for advice, and he spoke to me about it afterwards.

Tom: “I wish our pediatricians were as great as the Wildcare people!”

That’s saying something, because our pediatricians are awesome.

The Wildcare lady called me and reviewed our next steps, which went something like this; return the baby bird to the place we found it, monitor its behavior throughout the day, bring it in if it gets overheated. Basically it was an hour out of the day which ended in this lesson: don’t mess around with nature, stupid. Turns out that is exactly what scrub jays do with their babies, even though it seems pretty ridiculous in a world full of cats.

Ok, back on track, I was going to really be efficient for the rest of the day. So I dashed up to the shopping center near us, and did my last birthday shopping for Tom who is 40 on the 4th. Woohoo! I bought a couple of nice things at the shops, then ran into the grocery to stock up on some basics. I was fast, I was on fire. I got back to the car, and while I was unloading, the owner of the car next to mine asked me a question, so I answered and we chatted a moment. I was fast, I was friendly!

Back home, I did some work, I put the groceries away, I got ready to pick up Hot Wheels and his best buddy from school who comes home with us after Kindergarten on Tuesdays. I thought – I’d better hide those gifts for Tom. Now, what did I do with that bag?

I left that bag in the bottom of my shopping cart, that’s what. You know that feeling when your heart just sinks like a stone? And you’re grateful the kids aren’t around to hear you swearing? Hmm, hello Tuesday. I called all the shops, and they politely didn’t laugh at me when I asked if anyone had turned in my bag. Then after I got the boys from school, we even drove up there to look, just in case. It was crazy busy, it took forever, it was useless. I was kicking myself for being in such a hurry and not paying attention to what I was doing. I’ve never left a bag under the cart like that before.

Back home, I traded in Hot Wheel’s friend at the regular school release time (Kindergarten gets out early) for Honey and my California goddaughter, who spends Tuesday afternoons with us. We came home and I thought I’d try to make up my lost time and work like mad. Hot Wheels asked for a snack, so I said, “I’m super crazy busy, Hot Wheels – just grab the cheese from the fridge, and I’ll slice it for you to eat with some crackers.” He went into the fridge and a moment later I heard an uh-oh. Turned to see that he’d pulled out a huge bag of shredded mozzarella that wasn’t sealed properly, and there were mounds of cheese all over the bin, the fridge, the floor. Just everywhere. Ok, should have taken a moment to do that job myself.

Then my friend Sherri swung by to pick up her daughter, and we were chatting. This is where it gets really good, people. I was talking to Sherri about my crazy day and my poor lost bag, and how I blamed myself for doing too many things at once, and while I was talking to her… I superglued a piece of a ceramic bowl to my finger.

Not intentionally, of course. I was fixing this broken bowl, talking to Sherri, Honey came in with a question and in a flash of distraction, I slipped and completely stuck myself to this ceramic shard. I kid you not. What a knucklehead.

I suppose it’s not entirely fair to blame Tuesday for all this. The universe was clearly sending me a message – with a bullhorn – but I had a banana in my ear.

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