Almost there...

Friday, March 29, 2013

14 Months

We've had a roller coaster week. We bid on a house. We got into the final two offers, but lost out to an all cash offer. We'll never be able to compete with that. It's hard to summon the courage to keep trying. This place was a compromise in some ways, being smaller than we'd hoped for, but was ideally located. In fact, it was next door to the school we'd like Athena to go to. That alone was worth a whole lot. But apparently it was worth a lot to someone else who has more money than us, so none of that matters. I hope that somehow in the next four years we'll be able to find a home that is a better fit for us, but I'm losing faith. Prices are rising far faster than we can keep up. Perhaps private school will be in Athena's future after all.

Daylight Savings Time threw Athena for a loop. She spent the following two weeks waking up 2-3 times in the night. Just as we reached the end of our rope, Erik decided to pump her full of as much food as he could between 6 -10 p.m. and then put her to bed later. It worked! And from that night forward, she went back to her usual routine of going to bed between 9 - 10 and waking around 7. One Saturday morning she let us sleep til almost 10. It was magical.

She is such an affectionate little girl. When she sees us, she routine reaches out for a big hug and then plants her mouth on your face and says, "Mwah!" Repeatedly. And then, if the other parent is around, we get a round of pass the baby so that she can do it to each of us in turn. When we leave her at daycare, she blows kisses to us as we leave.

Mommy is definitely the center of the universe. Daddy is good and lovely as long as Mommy isn't present. If I'm there is there, then she'll follow me around, demand to be held, and cry if she doesn't get her way. We're working on boundaries with this.

In the evenings, we've been playing with a ball. First it started with us throwing the ball and her going to fetch it. Now she wants to throw it too. This sometimes works out to bounce it somewhere near one of us. Then we bounce it around and get it back to her. The whole time she giggles madly like this is the best thing she can possibly imagine. It's nice that the world is this simple some days.

Shoes are still the best thing ever. The other night at Cyrus and Athena's place, she picked up a pair of Lorelei's shoes and wanted to put them on over the shoes she was already wearing. Erik helped her into them and she walked around, pleased as could be with her four shoes on.

Robeez plus sandals

Why yes, my feet ARE fabulous!

Friday, March 15, 2013


This has been an interesting week of serendipity for me. On Wednesday, my Facebook feed lit up with the video for the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter.

Yesterday, Ariel posted about getting her GoldieBlox. I too funded that project and had one coming for Athena. It arrived today. I showed it to a coworker who was curious who immediately thought it was the coolest thing she'd seen all week and was ready to get one for her niece's birthday. I mean really, how many toys come with a pet sloth? This one does! Since Athena can't use it for a year or two, I'm sure she won't mind me play-testing it a little.

So then I went back to check on how the Veronica Mars Kickstarter was going and realized I'd missed some news. It was done. The movie was totally going to happen. After years of being told by studio execs that there wasn't a market, the market said, "I think you're wrong and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is." And by market, I mean people. Lots and lots of people.

And that's what's magical about this new Kickstarter and IndieGoGo paradigm. Someone says, "No really, I think people want this." And then the world gets to say, "Meh" or it gets to say "Hell yes!!!" For Veronica Mars, that was a resounding Hell yes!!! In one day, they got their funding. Not even one day: 11 hours. That's awesome.

This inevitably begs the question - "So hey Joss, about Firefly...?" Joss is no fool. He's already responded. Still, the trailers for Much Ado look delightful.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St. Patrick's Day!

The annual day that the rest of the world cares about Irish dance is fast approaching. This year it lands on a Sunday, meaning that all weekend long there are various opportunities to dance! Here are the events I know about:

Friday, March 15, noon-1 p.m.
Driving with Fergus
Oakland City Center
This annual tradition brings out lots of old friends who work or live nearby. It also usually gets local news coverage. Dance like crazy AND appear on tv? Heck yeah! The band plays a 1-hour lunch time set. Arrive on time for the most dancing! Lunch usually follows, often at Le Cheval (because what's more Irish than Vietnamese food... wait...what?)

Saturday, March 16, 8-11 p.m.
Stanford Ceili Presents the 3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Extravaganza
in the Old Union Clubhouse Ballroom, Stanford on campus
Live music led by Dave and Anselm, but it's a pick-up band like the old days at the Starry Plough or Alameda Ceili, so if you want to play, bring and instrument and join in!
Dances go Waltz>Dance for Everyone>Dance for Those Who Know. Even if you've never made it to ceili before, you can probably do 2 out of 3 dances. 

Sunday, March 17, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Craig Johnson of Bangers and Mash leads a dance band playing tunes just for dancers at Surf Spot in Pacifica:
Craig offers all-we-can-dance tunes while we enjoy cocktails and nosh on the beach in Pacifica. Derek from Surf Spot contacted me a while ago via an old friend and started arranging his St. Patrick's Day plans. He wants music and dancing to go with his usual Sunday afternoon crowd. I said, "So you really want us crazy dancers?" He said, "Yes!" Let's get out there and show him our stuff. Apparently, they've got a lovely deck that needs some dancers to break it in. 

So that's the big plan so far. Who can add more dancing opportunities to this madness? 

P.S. Pass this on to anyone who dances! The more the merrier!

Monday, March 11, 2013


Before my eyes, Athena is steadily transforming from a baby to a toddler. She now walks wherever she wants, but more than that, she's enjoying very different things.

I suggested to Erik on Friday when he was at loose ends for an hour that he take her to the park and push her on a swing. I figured she'd like it. Sure enough, it was awesome for her.
On Sunday, I took Athena to Happy Hollow in San Jose. They have a petting/feeding zoo area with goats and sheep and a donkey and a zebu and three little Shetland ponies. I dropped a quarter in the food machine and handed her bits of food one by one that she held out to the various creatures. She fed them the same way she did with Maggie or Pepper. She marched right up to the goats who were in a big open area and started offering them food. They used their lips and took it from her. The ponies in their pen reached out and hit their hooves on the ground and she didn't mind a bit. Another mom said, "How old is she?" I said, "13 months." She said, "She's not scared at all! I'm amazed." Her kid was busy cowering from the goats. Well of course she's not scared. She's been trained to feed treats to the cat from as soon as she could sit up! So once again, I embraced the certain knowledge that it's all in what we're exposed to and what's expected of us. They arrive preprogrammed with a bit of personality, and how that gets shaped is up to us. So far, we're doing a-ok.

She also enjoyed playing on the play structure for the 2-5 year old set at Happy Hollow. She climbed the stairs up to the top, and then I sat her in my lap and went down the slide. She went around and climbed up again. I sat her in my lap and we went down the other slide. Then we caught up with Jeff and Connor and I said, "Hey Jeff, could you spot her at the bottom?" Sure, he says. So I send her down the slide by herself. Big smiles, then looking back to see if Mommy was leaving. I slid down right behind her, and not a hint of fuss.

It's just amazing how fast it all happens. Just a few short months ago, she was so helpless. Now she's getting to be downright gregarious.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Tardy Baby Update

My dozen readers are probably wondering what the heck happened to their 13 months update. Between work, various bouts of the sick, and travel, it just didn't happen. Sorry! That said, here's the highlight reel.

Athena is now walking, talking, signing, and throwing her first temper tantrums. Yeah, temper tantrums. At this point, they're small and kind of funny because they're usually when we're around the house and she's bored and wants mommy or daddy to do something for her and we're not cooperating. She'll burst into tears, lie down, and kick her heels on the floor. So far my reaction has been, "Sorry sweetie, I can't do what you want because I don't respond to tantrum. Look - a distraction!" Then I shake a toy or get out a book and start reading to myself til she gets curious and wants to see. Hopefully she'll learn quickly that pitching a fit is the least likely way to get what she wants. I think she's just a tad frustrated at the moment because she can't communicate as well as she wants to.

But we're getting there! She now says Mama, Dada or Papa, Kitty, Uh-oh, and Bye-bye. She calls Pepper "Papa kitty" and thinks all of the cats are the greatest thing ever. Heck, even Leeloo has realized that Athena is the resident cat-treat-dispenser, so she's going to have to suck it up if she wants the Greenies. She has even let Athena pet her once or twice. Athena also has full mastery of "all done" and "more" in sign and does several things on command - blow a kiss, wave bye-bye, high-five.

Mommy is still the alpha and omega, but Daddy plays her favorite game: flop on the bed. This involves  pulling her up to standing on the bed, then letting her fall slowly backwards to sit and then to lying down. She giggles like mad, then pulls up to start over. I'm pretty sure Daddy could do this for an hour before it would bore her.

As for events this month, Athena had her 12-month well-baby checkup. She's developing totally normally, and she's no longer relentlessly average. She's a little shorter than normal. I'm okay with that. Basically, everyone assumes she's advanced for her age, when really, she's pretty normal. Still, she gets treated like she's impressive, and that's just fine by me. She is impressive, and the whole world is welcome to reinforce that. (It certainly worked out well for me as a kid!) Athena also had her first dentist appointment. Her teeth are coming in normally with no crowding. Dr. Rabitz office in Willow Glen was totally awesome, and Athena charmed everyone as she toddled out, waving bye-bye to everyone as she left. She doesn't need to go back til she's 2 1/2 unless there's a problem, so that's cool. Apparently babies don't need to worry about tartar build up every six months. Nice!

We had a totally awesome time at DunDraCon. We checked in Friday and Erik made it into the Friday night L5R game, so Athena and I hung out with Jeff and Bit. On Saturday morning, we both made it into Aaron's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game, and that was made possible by Elizabeth's offer to babysit for us. For this we're eternally grateful. Saturday night I played in the Mutant Saga game while Erik had baby duty. On Sunday, Erik ran his annual Seventh Sea invitational. Sunday night we had dinner at Eddie Papa's with John and then hung with the peeps in the Team Volare room. We finished with our annual bacon breakfast orgy with the Schluntz family.

This was the moment of impending doom though. My tummy was a bit off, so I abstained from the bacon, opting for a cup of water instead. Before 3 p.m., it went to Sean and Logan barfing. John called Becky to warn her what he might be coming home with. She escaped to a friend's house. Before it was over, Erik, Sean, Logan, John, Elizabeth, Autumn, and myself had all gotten sick. The baby escaped this fate. There are few stranger moments than dealing with a happy perky toddler while feeling an overwhelming need to lie down or barf. While I lay suffering in bed on Tuesday, I learned that my new favorite word ever was "daycare." For hours, they took her and kept her happy and entertained while I tried to sleep in peace. It totally worked and I was ready to be Mommy again in the evening.

On February 23rd, we went up to my mom's house for a luncheon/grandma's birthday/chance to see Kattie visiting from Sweden. We had a lovely time, and this was when Athena decided to get confident about walking. Sure, she took her first unsupported steps on her birthday, but after that, she never went more than a few tentative steps before deciding the walking thing was no good and she dropped back to a crawl. At my mom's place, she just kept going. She walked around the table. She walked into the kitchen. Everyone else was saying, "She's getting good at walking." And we replied, "Yeah, as of today." That night we took her to Gaskell's where she got to wear her pretty blue dress one last time. Only now, instead of being the shoeless wonder, I decided to see if she'd let me put shoes on her. Figuring this would end in screaming, I slipped them on. She didn't mind. She didn't even mind when she started walking around. Let's just sum up February 23rd as being one of the more surprising days in recent history.

This past weekend we drove down to Disneyland for one final use of our Annual Passes. It'll be a while before we renew, but it's been a great year of trips. We stayed at the Howard Johnson on Harbor this time and I was once again reminded that I really like that hotel. They provided a really nice crib for Athena and had it set up and ready for us when we checked in. This was a godsend as we drove down and arrived late on Thursday. In the mornings, Athena would wake up and peer over her crib at us in bed and say, "Mama. Mama. Ma ma ma ma ma." I'd go scoop her up and bring her to bed with us and kiss her. One morning she kept rolling side to side to kiss each of us. It was heart-meltingly cute. Many "mwah!" kisses later, we got up, got dressed, and hit the park.

Out side enjoying the patio at the hotel.

Sit, then stand, then clap!


Enjoying Disneyland with Daddy.

Listening to the piano player.
Loving the big marble in Tomorrowland.
Teacups with Lorelei
So that brings us to day 405 since Athena arrived to share the world with us. Life is good, if a bit exhausting. This weekend has little more than an annual vet appointment for the cats scheduled as a must-do, and that sounds pretty good.