Monday, August 24, 2009

Under Duress

Sheesh.... You'd think I was suggesting they line up for a firing squad, the way they behaved when I broke out the camera for the obligatory annual first-day-of-school photo.

You should have seen Aidan's head begin to spin around when I said I also wanted to photograph them in front of the schools. Kidding. For some sick and twisted reason, I just love messing with his middle-school-angst-ridden psyche. Must be a bit of my mother in me. Hi, Pat!

Bridget didn't even want me to walk her all the way to the front door! And this is the ONE day when the security doors are open and I am allowed to walk her all the way to class! But no. About 25 yards before we got to the building, she turned to me and said, "This is far enough, mom!"

I'm glad I savored all those times where I DID go to the trouble to park the car and walk her to the building and get that last hug of the morning.

They are like Oscar and Felix when it comes to their lunches. Aidan will only eat peanut butter and jelly. He gets two. Bananas are the only fruit he eats. And just for an added caloric boost, he gets 20g of protein in a bar. His lunch looks the same. Every single day. Bridget, the foodie, enjoys variety, and has slightly more sophisticated tastes. Guess whose lunch is whose?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Just back from our (mostly) annual sojurn to California to catch up with family and friends.

If you're looking forward to lots of wonderful photos of our time spent on the beach, with friends, on horses, at the water park, of the new baby, of the 75th birthday party, etc. I am sorry to disappoint you. All three of us forgot our cameras (even though it was clearly listed on TWO of our lists!). For those of you who hosted us and took photos, please send them!

Our first day there started off in the best way possible - meeting and holding the adorable 2-day old Skylar Kiera, my new neice. Such a cutie pie! Good job, Jude & Brad!

Then it was off to Captain & Nonna's house for several days of chickens, chores with Captain, a baseball game, a visit to a marine mammal rescue center, and lots of time sharing a cup of tea on the sofa gabbing with Lynn. I had a fantastic ride in the hills with Kelli on two very nice horses. Later that night she and I made what is beginning to be an annual trip to the "old fogey bar" to party with the octogenarians and sing show tunes.

We also visited the kids old preschool, I had lunch with an old friend, drove by the old house and generally tried to stay in touch with old things. The preschool teacher, the marvelous Polly, invited Bridget to come ride her Very Nice Horse (named Vienna) at her Very Posh Barn and that was a special morning. Bridget really enjoyed the time on the horse, the time at the barn (heaven, to Bridget) and her time with Polly's puppy. I think Polly got a kick out of seeing that one of her former students has the talent and ability to ride her horse.

Aidan got to join Miles's birthday extravaganza and hit Great America with a bunch of boys. Heaven, to Aidan.

Our last night in Danville, we got together for dinner with more "old" friends from preschool and even further back. It is so neat to see the kids play together like they've never been separated. Also neat to see my kids playing with the children of my childhood friends. Hansen-Judd, Bullock & Powers crews - thanks for coming! It was a lovely evening with your company!

The middle portion of our trip was spent in Manhattan Beach. BIG thanks to Janet for being such a gracious hostess and letting this road-weary lady and her two obnoxious children crash at her place for 3 nights. Janet, it was better than camping. The soft bed and warm shower and put all thoughts of Big Sur out of my head. We still had good grilled food, s'mores over an open fire, and hours and hours on the beach. I think it'll be an annual thing unless you move and don't give me your fowarding address.

Also in LA, we saw old friends from NoCal who moved down there recently. Christie and Ryan, thanks for making the trek out to the beach to hang with us. It was such a joy to see Bridget and Ryan playing together just like old times.

Cousin Dan also joined us on the beach and I got to catch up on extended family news. Note to self, must email Paul Belzer about the two new kids he's had and not notified me! On our way back up north, we went to Dan's for breakfast and to see his beautiful home. The kids were treated to parts of Dan's one-man show "A Songwriting Lesson From Irving Berlin" and got to be wowed by a bit of the huge talent this man possesses.

Back up to NoCal to spend the final portion of our trip with Papa and Grandma. We spent a lovely evening in Fremont's Central Park listening to a very energetic and fun rock and roll dance band. Such a nice setting with Lake Elizabeth sparkling in the background and the evening light on Mission Peak beyond.

Then it was "party prep" mode to get ready for the big hoe-down in celebration of both Papa and Grandma's 75th birthdays. Lots of cooking (I was in charge of appetizers), and lots of set-up (western themed backdrops, straw bales, floral arranging, etc.), and lots of errands by Papa and Aidan (pilfering tables and chairs from the church, trouble shooting and then replacing parts of the AV system...). Big shout out to Julie for her amazing party planning and organizational skills, she had us all mustered and marching like the military and it was a great party!

Wonderful to see Jeff and his beautiful and accomplished kids. Tucker, come visit me and give me a golf lesson! McKenna can give Bridget some tennis pointers.

And if we didn't wear out Papa and Grandma enough, our last two days were spent at the water park, dining at our favorite restaurant (The Willow Tree!), and a trip to the beach to crash Dave & Shelley's vacation. Bill and the boys (and even Chester!) generously carved some time out of their busy schedule to come join us for a while and it was great seeing the kids play together again.

Whew. Got me tired just writing about it.

All in all, it was so nice to hug my family members, hang with old friends, do some old favorite things, and some new ones. We had many generous hosts and a lot of people who changed plans to accomodate us and we are grateful. We are sad we didn't connect with a few of you (Lisa! Paula!), but hopefully you will come visit us soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

More odds and ends

Just spent the last five days in Aggieland (Texas A&M for the uninitiated).

It was the state long course championships for the 14-under swimmers.

I think this was the longest most drawn out swim meet I have ever attended.

As I've explained in this post, at this point in Aidan's life, we don't expect a lot out of long course season. So, unlike short course (winter/spring), he didn't have a whole bunch of qualifying times. He swam 1 individual event (50 back) and was on 2 relays (200 free and 200 medley).

As always, he swam his heart out, especially on the relays. The medley relay was the last event on the last night of competition (we'd been there five days by then), and they did awesome - I've never seen him swim so fast, or be unable to stand up after he was done. That relay took third. His free relay took fourth. His individual 50-back was a good swim, but as he's a "young" 12-yr old and also a bit of a small 12-yr old, we did not have high expectations. He's still in the top 20 in the state, so that is a lot to be proud of.

The 11-12 boys from our team got 2nd place overall for their age group in the whole meet. Our team wound up taking 6th (missed 5th by 6 points which is NOTHING in swimming). The best our team has ever done in long course season statewide is 17th. We are very proud of them all.

Since we were there five days and Aidan was only in the water for a total of 94.43 seconds and you can only watch so much swimming, we had a lot of time to kill. There is not a lot to do in College Station, TX.

We toured the campus which was very interesting. Except for the fact that Aidan (who insists he's going to UT) complained and rolled his eyes the whole time. Bridget was a trooper though, as she insists she IS attending A&M (because her riding trainer went there). I find that funny as she's so artsy and creative.

We tried a "self-tour" of the horse barns, but since no humans were on site, Bridget (who is all about The Rules) was so nervous we finally had to leave.

Besides the swimming, the highlight of the trip was visiting the Bush Library (H, not W). It was lovely with very informative exhibits.

The drive home was a real grind. The meet wasn't over until nearly 9pm.

But I'm here now, and I have about 43 hours to "turn & burn" and then head out for California. Well, make that 42 hours. I think I'll need a nap today.