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Friday, May 29, 2015

40 Months for Athena. 41 years for me.

Since last we left our heroes, both Erik and Ammy have enjoyed birthdays. That brings me up to 41 (which sounds oddly older than 40, like, "I'm in my forties." instead of "I'm forty." Weird.) But, since there's been a large gap since our last update, I'm going to sum up a bit more than normal.

Athena now makes me coffee. Our daily routine involves her scooping coffee into the filter, adding water, and closing the lid. Then she presses the button and we wait for the beep. We pour coffee, then milk, and she pours in the sweetener.

I put the lid on because the day she tried that it splashed a bit on her, so now she doesn't want to, because hot is bad. Net result: my kid makes pretty good coffee! Also, the one thing I really wanted for my birthday was a conical burr coffee grinder to improve my coffee experience. My mom got it for me, so now I can up my coffee snob street cred a bit. 

We're working with a grad student in Stanford's Learning, Design, and Technology program (the Master's degree I'd get if I didn't have to have a job for a year) who is working on a thesis called "Nomster Chef," using a custom app to have picky eaters make meals step by step with their parents. The first week we made a quesadilla with beans and spinach. At first, Athena was her usual self and said, "I don't like that." Then as we all sat down to dinner, she decided to try it. Win!!! She explained that she likes the cheese and the leaves, but not the beans. I said that was okay. We've had two more quesadillas since then. This week we made a pizza with mozzarella, spinach, sliced tomatoes, and basil. She didn't like to eat the tomatoes, but she loved slicing them in half with the knives Ashley brought. This time Athena asked if she could eat some of the shredded cheese. I scooped some extra into the measuring cup and she proceed to mow through about a 1/3 of a cup of mozzarella. That was new. So, our girl is still hopelessly picky, always preferring a granola bar and a pouch of banana apple fruit over almost anything else, but we just keep chipping away at this challenge and someday she'll be eating curry and sushi and gyros and with us like a champ.

We went to KublaCon this past weekend. The hotel remains my least favorite of the local gaming con circuit due to it's lack of parking, lack of access to food and shopping, slow and broken elevators, and indifferent staff. Athena has the bug though. We told her we were going to a hotel and she was super excited. She likes hotels for a lot of reasons. It usually means we're spending time with friends she likes and it means we sleep in the same room with her. She gets to sleep on her little cot, which she also likes. She only got to stay one night this time because she was off to Clem's house for a sleepover on Saturday morning. This meant Erik and I actually got to play in a game together. Yay! Then we helped run the Night at the Mouseum game on Saturday night (Disneyland meets Night at the Museum - shenanigans ensue!). 

On Sunday we headed to Rich and Louise's wedding. It was the first time in ever that I was able to go to a wedding without even getting on the freeway. That was awesome. It also meant that when Athena was still pulling down an epic nap at 3:30, I headed off to the ceremony and Erik stayed home with the girl. It was a charming wedding for two folks who seem terribly well-suited for one another. For years, I knew Louise was super awesome, but never quit fit perfectly in the dancer/Fezzi milieu. She found Legion and it was like a sigh of relief - yes, these are your people, including this cute guy you get to marry. Yay! Meanwhile, Athena thought the party was cool, especially when she got to play with the rainbow disco light thingy and the horn helmet for the picture booth. (She was a tricertops, you see.)

Cupcake with sprinkles. 

Peter blowing bubbles for Athena

 On May 14th, we took Erik to the airport for a conference in San Diego. While he enjoyed a few child-free evenings with colleagues, I took Athena to visit her grandma in Sacramento (and her great-grandparents). We booked a ride on the railway and spent an hour on a train. Athena was rapt. 

Then we headed into the Railroad Museum and she played with all of the train tables for the next hour while mom and I sat and chatted. Then we headed to my grandparents house, collecting pizza en route. Our entertainment for the afternoon was a belated egg hunt. My mom had Easter things for Athena (including that purple dress above) and we enjoyed a half dozen times of us hiding eggs for her, and her hiding eggs for us. 

Athena had her first official dentist's visit. To be fair, she went when she was less than a year old, but that was perfunctory. This time she'd been with us to our dental visits for the last three trips. After we went to Dr. K's office, she started telling me she wants to be a dentist when she grows up. She'd reach in my mouth and have a look with some regularity. She was super excited to go to her dentist. She showed them how she brushes her teeth, how she rinses and spits, and then let them do a full exam and a cleaning. She was such a champ. 
The office had an amazing space shuttle toy Athena gravitated to.

We arrived back at school just in time for circle time, so Athena said, "Bye mommy!" then dashed in and plopped down next to Miss Kym.

Miss Kym is going to be out for 8 weeks getting a hip replacement. We miss her so much, but I still get shades of Miss Kym because she pops out of Athena's mouth all the time. Athena may be the most polite child I've ever met, and for anyone who knows me, you know that's her school being awesome rather than us doing an amazing job. Mama has the mouth of a sailor. Meanwhile, Miss Kym routinely enforces pleases and thank yous and addresses the kids as "my friend" when asking them to do things. Last weekend, Athena was asking me to do something and she said, "Could I have that for a snack, my friend." At Trader Joe's this week, she asked if she could have stickers saying, "Please may I have stickers?" And I said, "Yes you may." And she said, "Oh thank you. Thank you mommy." I can't wait til Miss Kym is back! 

Our fence didn't make it through the last rainstorm of the season, so we met up with the neighbors and got bids for a new fence just before the annual Santa Clara cleanup. They tore out the fence and the ivy, and replaced it with a lovely new fence and a gate with a latch that doesn't require insane tugging and trouble. In the process, we found out that our neighbor's daughter now was starting to babysit. She'd taken the Red Cross CPR and babysitting training and was  available for $3 an hour. I just about choked on the spot. That's about 1/5 the cost of babysitting normally. (Heck we've paid as much as $22 an hour when desperate.) And she'd have her mom next door as backup, and really, she's a kid. On Monday we told Athena that Maddie was coming over to play. We got her all set up then said we were going to go out for a bit and she said, "Okay bye mommy." This is not her normal reaction to my leaving. Ever. But hey, there was another kid to play with. A big kid. And painting. They painted, and drew and painted toenails and played outside and watched the Tinkerbell movie. We got home to find Athena napping. She woke up unbelievably cheerful. It was idyllic. Meanwhile, we hit Sushi Confidential in Campbell, then saw Tomorrowland at Camera 7. It turns out one of the main characters is named Athena. In a few years, we'll introduce it to our Athena and see what she thinks.

At work we've done 3 sessions of Elite Technician training. It was great to get back to the training world for a visit. We had 14 different speakers over 3 days and 20-24 techs per session. Now every service center has at least one expert who will review cases before they're escalated to Service Engineering, which is going to be huge because certain things are happening that are going to make things much busier, as if introducing the new dual-motor vehicles wasn't adding enough extra load already.

I also taught two sessions of Mastering Your iOS Device for Stanford Continuing Studies this quarter. It was a blast again! Exhausting, but fun. My "teach people cool stuff" itch has been well scratched over the past quarter, which it appears makes me a happier employee overall, so that's good (and good to know).

During one of those classes, I was demonstrating Find My Friends and I brought it up, and then tried to figure out what the heck was going on with folks. None of it made any sense. Kevin was in the park where Erik and Athena were going earlier, and Christyn was at our house and it was all just so very weird. So I'm driving home and I say, "So, why was Christyn at our house? Erik says, "Long story, I can tell you when you get home." I say, "Yeah, okay, but did Kev go to the park with you?" And he sighs and says, "Want to hear it now?" And, well, yes, I'd love to hear a good story as I drive home from Palo Alto. Turns out, Erik met up with Ben and Miriam in the park for lunch and toddler play time. The city workers decided to turn on the water features in Las Palmas park. (Because it's this awesome tiki-themed park.) It turns out that a pipe had broken, and Erik fell into the invisible quicksand that was forming and was up to his waist almost instantly. He let the workers know and they turned off the water, but then Erik realized he's lost his wedding ring. It could be in the water pit, or it could've flown when he fell, but it was gone. Meanwhile, it was almost toddler naptime, So, he rallies the troops, and begs for help. Christyn heads to our house to sit while Athena naps. Kev goes to Home Depot and gets a bucket and some mesh for a sieve. Erik and Kev head to the park and with shovels and tools in hand, stride back to the pit. Another person says, "Oh hey, be careful, there's a deep pit." He says, "Yeah, we know. I'm the one that found it. I'm just going back to find my wedding ring." And the guy says, "You lost a ring? Is it silver and blue? My daughter just found one." He calls to his daughter to bring it over. It is indeed Erik's lost ring. He thanks them profusely and says, "Sorry, what did you say your daughter's name was?" It's Athena. Erik just stands there dumbfounded, then explains. He offers a reward to Athena and her father insists no reward is needed. So Kev and Erik return the supplies to Home Depot and go back to the rest of their day only slightly disappointed that they didn't get to have an adventure with shovels and sieves and buckets.

I'm out of time, so here's a few more pictures of my cutie girl to wrap up this post. 

Trying on a seersucker suit at Target.
Being patient while toes dry.
Two tattoos! Elsa AND Anna!
Picture by Miss Joanna at school.
Life is good. Busy. There's rarely time for anything more than the minimum requirements - work, eat, sleep, take care of tiny human - but we're doing okay. And she's one heck of a cute tiny human, so it works out. 


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