Saturday, June 30, 2012

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Today, on a lark (can you tell I've been watching too much Dr. Who?), we decided to take the kids to the Beach Boardwalk, which is arguably one of the most famous places in the Monterey Bay Peninsula. I haven't been since high school (I think?) and Bryan's only been once. They have some kid friendly rides and it was supposed to be a nice, warm-ish day, so we thought it would be a nice change of pace. I'm getting rather tired of the Aquarium - all the kids want to do is play in their fun-for-kids-but-boring-for-grownups area.

Anyway, it was the kids' first time at an amusement park and on "roller coasters". Following are a TON of videos of the kids (and us) on rides. Some of them are long (3 mins) but most are shorter. I honestly don't expect anyone other than my parents and Bryan's parents to watch them all. But in case you do, here you go. Underneath is a short blurb on each so you can decide which of the videos you'd like to see :)

Length: 3:42
Penelope on her very first ride!

Length: 2 minutes
This is G's first ride - we're on racecars that swing you wildly on the turns. It's Poe's second ride, and she has become quite adventurous. She's on it alone, G had to ride with me since he was a smidge too short to go solo and not nearly as brave. I had a hard time getting into this one. My legs are too long for kiddie rides...

Length: 3:25
G's second ride, P's 3rd. We went on this one as a family since both kids needed a "chaperone". It goes forward & backward, which did a number on B's stomach. The video is shaky, but considering that our videographer was on the ride, it can be forgiven :) Penelope had a BLAST. Griffin had a ok time... she says some pretty cute things.

Length: 3 minutes
Penelope on the Dragon Ride. Griffin wanted to go, but not with Poe and not alone and not with me or B, so he didn't go.... and threw a fit. It was close to naptime and he was being wishy-washy about rides.

Length: 21 seconds
G & I on the Pepsi caravan ride. He did NOT want to go on this ride, but had a good time after the initial tantrum...

Length: 2:16
Squishy on the boat ride!

Length: 46 seconds
Griffin on his only solo ride of the day!

All in all it was a fun, albeit exhausting, day. Next year we might invest in season passes...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A conversation

P: Mama, I want a snack please.
M: Ok, what do you want? I have pretzels, nuts, apples, and bananas.
P: I want bats.
M: Bats? You mean the things that fly around at night?
P: Yeah, bats are spicy. (giggle)
M: What? Bats are spicy?!
P: (giggle) yeah, and they have claws like this (claw hands) and are like monsters. Bats are spicy monsters. (dissolves into a fit of giggles).
M: You are weird.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I want my own Brave doll.

The kids loved it. And it managed to make me cry TWICE. Damn you Pixar, damn you. Although it's arguably an easy bar to hurdle since I cry every time I hear Morgan Freeman's voice (seriously, stupid Olympics).

Anyway, after the movie Poe said the following:

"Mama, I want to turn into a bear."
"Mama, I'm princess Merida. And you're her muh-der" (i.e. 'mother' which she inexplicably pronounces with a Brooklyn accent).

The Funk crashed on the way home and Squishy soon followed.

Recital post coming up - the kids beckon.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

There was something in the air today...

That turned my normally delightful children into super whiny-obnoxious toddlers. I guess we were due. Although it was probably because we didn't get to bed until quite late last night, and yesterdays BBQ/party fun was worth the tears today. Hopefully they both sleep well tonight since I leave tomorrow for a 3-ish day training in Temecula.

It's unfortunate that I leave on Father's Day, but to make up for my absence tomorrow (I'll leave Salinas around 10:30) I'm making homemade cinnamon rolls for the morning. The dough is currently rising and then I have to punch it (my favorite part of bread making), roll it out, coat it was enough sugar to kill an elephant, roll 'em up, and stick them in the fridge for the night. In the morning they're baked and then glazed. It's the first time I've tried this recipe and it got rave reviews on so hopefully B enjoys them.

I'm sure I'll write about the training (Link Crew) once I get back. I've been told it's fun and it will be nice to get out of town - although it's Temecula and it's supposed be 1,000 degrees. But whatever - I'll be sleeping in an air conditioned room and won't have to do any dishes for 3 days. I'll take it.

I will miss the B & the 'babies' though - we'll have to Skype while I'm gone. Plus I'll miss my dad coming in to town for an interview - although I'll see him and my mom next weekend for P's recital.

I'll leave you with some pictures of last night's party.

Bubs and I.. my boss is in the background (he and his family are moving to China, hence the reason for the party - we're going to miss them, he's the first principal I've ever worked for and subsequent principals are going to have big shoes to fill!)

Ok, so I don't really have many pictures. Actually, I do - but the ones of the kids have pics of other people's kids and since I don't have their parents permission to post on my blog, then I'm not going to post them.  Adults are one thing, but kids are another. So all you get is this one of Bubby and I :)

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What to teach your children

My last post got me to thinking about what the most important ideals or habits parents instill in their children. Is it more important to teach them to pick up after themselves or to appreciate art? Do they need to be good readers or good listeners? Is oral hygiene more or less important than learning how to fix a flat tire?

There are a lot of things parents teach their children - some we teach explicitly (like how to fold a towel, because if you don't teach that then your children grow up to be like my husband and fold them into squares that don't fit in a linen closet) - and there's a lot that we teach through modeling (usually behaviors & communication, although that can be taught explicitly as well).

If I had to boil it down to a top 10 list, there's a lot of important things that would get cut... BUT since I enjoy making lists and because I have some time to kill, here's what I consider the TOP TEN things parents should teach their children.

1. Love to read... parents need to instill a love of reading into their children. Even if that parent hates reading. Why? Because reading is linked to improved academic performance as well as a host of other benefits. Children who can read well will do well in school, they improve their vocabularies, they become more logical thinkers, they have an easier time mastering language, they cure cancer and AIDS and bring world peace.

Ok, so that last one may have been a slight exaggeration. But I will bet you that the person or people who DO end up curing cancer and AIDS or who bring about world peace WILL BE fluent readers. So it's only slightly hyperbolic.

2. Be self sufficient... Alright, I admit that this one is broad and can encompass a lot. What I mean is that kids need to be able to balance a checkbook, clean a toilet, do laundry, and cook something other than microwave dinners. You can add change a tire into this one if you'd like, but I have AAA and while I know *how* to change a tire, it is not a skill that trumps cooking. Not being able to change a tire isn't going to kill me (although I may be extremely inconvenienced), a lifetime of snack foods and HungryMan meals will.

Which brings me to...

3. Healthy eating habits... I certainly don't expect any parent to withhold treats from their children. That's just crazy. But parents do need to expose their children to a variety of foods - especially fruits and vegetables - and parents need to explicitly teach their children what the word "moderation" means. I've seen WAY too many teenagers show up for 1st period with a Monster and Hot Cheetos only to see them out at lunch with a sugary sports drink and another bag of Hot Cheetos. Hot Cheetos are not the devil, but they're not a food group. 90% of the kids I see eat horrific things at lunch are overweight. It's not a coincidence.

There is a time and a place for junk food. That time is not every day. And for heaven's sake that place IS NOT SCHOOL. Your brain is supposed to be working during the school day and yet students feed it crap and wonder why they didn't do so well on their test. Gah!

4. If you can't say anything nice... I was going to put "be nice" but that's just unrealistic. Some people are just not nice people - but they can fake it! Really, kids just need to learn appropriate filters. They can say some things in front of their friends or peers that are not appropriate in the classroom, or at Thanksgiving dinner. If they learn it as children and teenagers, then they can apply it in the workplace.  There are some things you just should NOT say in front of your boss. There are some conversations that are best left out of the office... I'm guilty of this sometimes myself - no one is perfect at it - but if you can teach your kids to think before they speak, they'll be one up on everyone else who tells everyone at work about how drunk and stupid they got last night at the bar.

5. It's ok to be gay. Or straight. Or in theater. Or in mathletes... Athletes have value. Valedictorians have value. Homosexuals have value. Heterosexuals have value. Artists have value. Engineers have value. Gamers have value. Bookworms have value. People with disabilities have value. Homeless people have value. I could go on. No one is more deserving of rights than anyone else. My rights do not trump the rights of the homeless person sleeping on the library grass down the block...

And for goodness sake, corporations are not people.

6. Brush your teeth!... Maybe it's just because we took the kids to the dentist. Or maybe it's because the last time we were at the play-place at the mall 99% of the 10 & under crowd had visible fillings and crowns - but oh mylanta! Brush your d@mn teeth! Twice a day! With toothpaste! Flossing is good, and I know all dentists will recommend daily flossing, but as I am not a dentist nor am I a regular flosser, I'm just going to advocate for twice daily brushing. Hopefully P & G will get into the flossing habit as well, I'll try. But I will sure as hell make sure they brush every morning and every night. Anything less is just plain GROSS.

7. Teach them about their bodies.. It's called a penis. And the other one is a vagina. Use nicknames if you must, but teach them the real names for things as well. Teach your daughters what menstruation really means, teach her about ovulation, and cervical mucous, and how to tell when you're fertile. Teach her how to give herself a monthly breast exam (or make sure her Ped teaches her). Teach your sons about related boy-stuff. Teach them about condoms, and STDs, and birth control pills. Answer their questions. If you want, tell them sex is for marriage - but don't skimp out on real and genuine sex education just because you want them to wait. Married people need to know this stuff too.

8. VOTE... Because it's your civic duty and if you don't vote then you have to right to complain. Also? Teach your kids to respect jury duty. Yeah, it can suck - but it's an important part of our judicial process.

9. Disagree civilly... This one is HARD. I mean, few of these are really easy. But this is arguably the most difficult, in part because we have such a hard time with it ourselves. It's so much easier to degrade and deride - especially when we argue against things that are (birthers anyone?). But when we get too heated - regardless of how right we are - things rarely end well. Umpires get verbally abused, baseball fans are beaten to the brink of death, people are called Nazis and their likeness is burned in effigy, hate mail is sent and received, Congress does jack-s**t for 4 years, etc.

And while we teach this lesson to our kids - we'll make mistakes. We will mess up. We will be WRONG. And so...

10. Admit fault... Our kids need to know when to say "mea culpa". And they need to learn this from us. It's hard to admit to your toddler (or teenager I'd wager) that you screwed up. You want to protect that facade of infallibility because you believe that it's the source of your authority - your parental power node. Only it's not. In part because your kids aren't stupid - they'll know what you mess up. And the most powerful lesson you can teach them about personal responsibility and leadership is to say "my bad" and then fix it if you can.

**edited to add: I forgot manners! How could I?! Manners are so, so important. But what do I replace? Voting? Teeth brushing? Maybe manners fits in to the "if you can't say anything nice category. What do you think blog world?

The Denist

I, like any other rational and normal adult human being, haven't been to the dentist in over 5 years.

However I do have an appointment in a week and half (as does Bryan, who hasn't been in longer) and we found out that our insurance is "incentive" insurance - so going every 6 months increases the amount they pay for services. This means that we may will actually go every 6 months.

Especially since we discovered that the kids (Penelope in particular) just *love* going to the dentist.

Did you think I was being sarcastic? I wasn't. Am I being sarcastic now? Nope, still genuine. I know. I'm shocked too.

Sissy started off her appointment in my lap, but soon decided that she was a big girl and could do it by herself. So she sat in the chair and dutifully obeyed every command the dentist and dental assistant gave her. She kept her mouth open while they counted, scraped, polished, and brushed. She allowed the dental assistant to use that loud liquid sucking contraption. She let the dentist floss her teeth. She didn't bite the dentist.

She sat still for x-rays.

They only took two (of her front teeth - upper and lower) and - you guys - the d@mn x-rays made me CRY. Why? Because you can see, especially on the bottom, just how close her permanent teeth are to the surface. We still have a year or so before she starts to loose teeth... but holycrappeople she just GOT those teeth!

And? AND? The entire dental office was shocked and amazed that she was only 3 1/2. They pegged her for 5 or 6. SIX. How can she be close to six? I JUST GAVE BIRTH TO HER.


And then there was Bubby. Who did well - but was too squirmy for anything other than some teeth counting and a quick fluoride treatment. His 2 year molars are almost finished popping up (thankyousweetbabyZeus), so I'm hoping that soon his sleep will be... better.

The office really was terrific. So if you're ever looking for a family friendly dentist in Salinas, let me know. Dr. Moran is terrific.

She thought we were pretty terrific too - no cavities (I know, they're so young, but it's shocking how many toddlers I see with caps & fillings), no plaque, kids brush 2x a day, and (starting yesterday, after our appointment) we floss daily. She will be less impressed with us after B and I go in. We have good brushing practices, but neither one of us floss regularly and we're both soda drinkers - plus it's been so long since our last visit that I'm sure one or both of us will need a filling or two.

Oh well, at least the kids are off to a good start...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beach, Bubba, and BUGS

One of my very few New Years Resolutions was to go to the beach at least once a month.


Lately we've been there every other week if not more often. May and June have been pretty stellar weather-wise and we've been broke (ah, I love teaching), so the beach has been a fun & free way to kill an afternoon.

This weekend was particularly beautiful so we packed up the kids & the dog and headed over to our favorite spot for a few hours. There's a stretch of the beach that's off-leash, so the kids AND the dog can run around and tire themselves out enough to nap well - HQ adores the beach, and so do the kids. Sometimes it's hard to tell who loves it the most...

This visit was especially fun, in part because Griffin has become obsessed with bugs.

Like all beaches, Asilomar is "infested" with lots of creepy-crawly sand insects. Usually the extent of our interaction is watching them burrow out of our sand castles, but this visit we went on a big hunt.

He spent most of his time looking intently at the sand for various sand bugs. Of course, as soon as he'd find one he'd let out a shriek of combined excitement and fear. He is both terrified and exicted by the sand bugs...

Looking for bugs with daddy

Of course, he also did some building...

And we all did some running...

At one point I was chasing the kids around with a shovel full of sand, threatening to get them with "a bug!" They shrieked every time I got close and ran as fast as they could away from what Poe called "that gross bug." It was rather amusing...

And did you know that Bryan and I have a 13 year old?

Sometimes I forget that she's only 3 1/2... she's looks much more like a pre-schooler in this one:

She's really getting too big too fast - what happened to my babies?!? Her first dance recital is in 2 weeks. I'm sure it will be hilariously adorable. Video will be posted as soon as I get it.

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Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

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