Monday, June 23, 2003

Well, I am hardly doing a good job at keeping the sight current! I write quite a bit to blogger in my mind but somehow have trouble carving out the computer time to make it real.

Upon review of the past entries I noticed that I neglected to put any record of our trip to South Lake Tahoe with Thomas, Zoe & their parents. Fortunately anyone checking this blog is sure to see my ofoto emails so gets a sense of our trips from photos and captions without any additional help from me. It was really nice to have that weekend away – we had a spacious home this time with pretty good amenities in house – I think there were 3 TVs that we never watched and at least 4 recliner chairs. The people clearly had a passion for seashells and lighthouses as all d├ęcor contained one or the other. They had managed to even find and install raised seashell tiles in the bathrooms to coordinate with the seashell light fixtures… They also had been fairly liberal with their use of various granite, marble or slate on various surfaces. We were hearing horror stories about the weather (snow) we could expect on the drive up – fortunately the wild winter storm was really more like a few flurries. We did have some ground cover for the first day for the kids to enjoy and some actual snow in the a.m. to enjoy. Aidan is still asking when we can go to snow again. It was especially nice to have the trip as we rarely get a chance to connect with Zoe’s family anymore – they live in the East Bay now and Jessica has just gone back to work – and Zoe has been in fairly fulltime daycare/preschool since early fall. Thomas’ family had moved south about 30 miles just a week or two before we went to Tahoe. We still see Thomas at least once a week as Sara drives him up to go to the same Acrosports class as Aidan (5 or 6 very cute 3 year olds and their cute teacher Felice). She is also keeping him enrolled in the same preschool that was near their old home for next year – we all think she is a bit crazed as it is at least a 35 min commute each way – but I also sort of understand. With these Co-ops you get so involved and invested that you do crazing things like having your kid have an adult-like commute.

Our most recent trip was a fairly last minute one to southern California. Pete had to be a Epson in Longbeach on Thursday and part of Friday and then in Anaheim for a user conference on Tuesday. We also had a companion air ticket just about to expire – so we invested in a ticket for me and called our San Diego friends for some free lodging on the weekend and off we went. We realized it had been three years since our last visit! Hard to believe. I got to reconnect with Anne Marie from college – and meet her 2 kids who were 4 ½ and 13 months in age. They were about an hour away from our hotel but we all had a good time despite the drive. In San Diego we got to meet a whole bunch of “new” kids ranging in age from 13 months to 6 (although we had met the 2 oldest before). We also got to see the very nice (and huge) new homes a couple of our friends were enjoying. Our last night was spent back in LA at the Disney Hotel Grand Californian. I think roomrates were something like $250 a night (thank you Epiphany!). I was laughing a bit as we approached it – it seemed like a very large Swiss chalet complete with lots of evergreen trees. Disney had actually done a masterful job of creating a Craftsman Style Lodge – sort of what the lodge at Yosemite might have been with lots more $ thrown at it. Disney had nice little touches all over the place and clearly very thorough design control. Every little thing you ran into was “designed” – the waterglass coasters in your room, the plastic door key, the soap wrapper etc and of course the public areas were beautiful with custom tiles and stone and carpet designs. I declined taking the kids into Disney park by myself for $120 or something like that. Instead we enjoyed “Downtown Disney” which was right outside the hotel side entrance. The kids had plenty of fun playing in the fountains and at the Lego store and running around the patio of the bakery area. Aidan has lately become quite avaricious – he used to be a great shopping companion, but now he seems to think that I should buy him everything he shows any interest in – even things that I know he would have NO interest in outside the store. And when I say no “why?” he asks. Apparently Thomas is going through the same thing so it is some age related event, but it sure gets tiring! And no matter how nice you are and do actually let them have some treats they always want something else too… Quincy is just plain miserable to shop with. I now work as hard as I can to avoid taking him with me to a store. He was delighted to find himself one day in a Barnes & Noble with a 20’ long bookcase between me and him. He thought it was great fun to play keep away from mom. Fortunately as fast as he runs, I am faster. Another day he woke up in his stroller in Target. Immediately he hopped down and decided to play hide and seek in the clothing area. Fortunately we were in the little boy area and the clothes were high enough off the ground that I could see him when I stooped down. He is also pretty happy to pull things off shelves – something Aidan didn’t really do. I think other kids can be worse in that department – but then they are also really well trained to stay in the shopping cart – Quincy will just start screaming until I let him loose – I can’t figure out which is the worse of those 2 evils – screaming or running around with a huge grin on his mouth. Bad news is that if Aidan is with me that he thinks he needs to behave just like Quincy and he can run faster and is much louder. I get quite embarrassed. Aidan has also lately decided that it is fun to talk in a babytalk sort of manner – he tucks in his bottom lip and says silly things. I really don’t like it but there isn’t too much I can do about it although I do ask him what happened to his lip and it usually will then pop out again. I also tell him with monotonous regularity that he is supposed to be the good example for Quincy and teach him how to behave properly – NOT the other way around! Oh well. Good thing the kids enjoy each other so much that at least we have that reward for Aidan’s not so great behavior!

Quincy had his 18 month check-up at the beginning of the month. The Dr wanted to know what I had been doing to him as he had had quite a growth spurt – was up to 20 ½ lbs (from not quite 18 lbs) and was 32” high if I correctly remember which equated to around 50% in height I believe. Quincy has all his teeth now. I have met several 13 month olds that still only have 2 teeth and a 15 month old with 4 teeth – so a full set (of 16?) including 4 large molars is impressive. But best for us it means that he can chew pretty well. Aidan still chews something like 30 times for each bite while Quincy is happy to swallow whole food – VERY different little eaters! I bet you can guess who gets finished first!

Aidan likes school to the point where he will opt for school over staying home with mom just about every time. I sometimes take him for “drop-in” on Thursday afternoon and then I get a little time off while Quincy sleeps – Quincy has finally moved to an afternoon nap – hurray! Aidan will be changing from 3 to 4 afternoons a week come September. It is nice that his school is year round (with a couple 2 week breaks). The kids there are really nice and I still enjoy my “teaching” days quite a bit. Last Friday I took worms and a snail we found to school. I forgot the tub of ladybugs at home in the frig – they may go with us this week. Quincy is enamored with the ladybugs. He was a bit hysterically scared when I let one loose the first time – but once he was reassured that they were OK he got very into them. He says ladybug (“lay-buh”) and points rather demandingly or maybe I should say pleadingly when he sees them in the frig. We just loosed a couple more spoonfuls this morning – he pretty much just dumps his spoon and then when he spots them climbing around he dances a jig.

Pete and I have been spending a lot of our free (evening) time trying to get our Spain/Portugal trip sorted out. We have relied on Rick Steve’s (of PBS travel show fame) for a rough itinerary (we LOVED his Italy itinerary). Unfortunately we are heading over for the heat of the summer, but we are working with Dave’s trip to Barcelona to sing in the choral group (convention??) there in late July. This means our trip runs into August – when all of Europe seemingly is on vacation. A couple hotels we looked at were just plain closed for the month of August – guess all the hotel workers head to the beach! Pete found a great site http://www.travel-in-spain.com/index.htm that has really nifty boutique looking hotels throughout Spain. I had the brilliant idea of sending them our itinerary and criteria and seeing what they came up with. Pete had logged many many hours to this point with http://www.tripadvisor.com/ which has been great for looking up lodging and checking reviews by both various travel books/sites as well as individuals comments. He also spent countless hours running all sorts of permutations with the airlines which was very difficult as we are trying to fly using frequent flyer miles (very limited availability) and we originally thought we would tack on Greece at the end of the trip. This is by far the most involved Pete has ever been with trip planning – and he stated early on that he finally understood why I got so frustrated in the past when he wouldn’t get involved with the lodging selection – this time it was me leaving well enough alone. He booked several hotels last night and I think we are down to one unscheduled day in central Portugal and a couple nights at the south west coast of Portugal (I am a bit anxious about these as August is Europe at the beach). We also bought some hot weather clothing over Memorial weekend (something we rarely need around here!). Now we just need to get our respective workloads under control and before you know it we will be off! I am not looking forward to squiggling Quincy on my lap for some unbelievably long time – I know of no other family that has flown once with a kid this age who then repeats the cost savings of not buying their kid a ticket. Cousins Julia & Phil are coughing up the dough to buy Ellie a ticket to Australia this summer. Are we just crazed?? Of course Pete sleeps on the plane and knows that Quincy will want me anyway so maybe there is a method to his madness…

More later – am off to the gym now.

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