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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

42 Months

Athena grew! She's super excited about this. After being stubbornly 38 inches for months, she put on an inch in a week. How do I know? Well, she asks us to measure her all the time because she wants to reach 40 inches so we can go back to Disneyland. At first I couldn't believe it. Then it was clear after the third measuring that yes, we'd reached 39 and there was one inch to go. What does that mean in real terms? It means that when we go back, she can ride:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Radiator Springs Racers
among a few others I wouldn't invite her to try. (Seriously - 40 inches for Tower of Terror? Well that's a good way to traumatize a kid for life.) In very real terms, it means if she wants to go on the Lightning McQueen ride, she can. If she wants to go on the fast railroad, she can. She asked before and we told her she wasn't big enough. So, we'll see. In reality, she may be too afraid to try them, but she might love it. The story of my first trip on Space Mountain is legend in my family. I came out completely silent and wide eyed. My mom asked if I was okay. I nodded. She asked if it was scary. I nodded. She asked if I wanted to go again. I yelled, "YEAH!" To be fair, I was 6, not 3 1/2, so not sure if we're willing to try that experiment yet.

We had Clementine over for the weekend after 4th of July and proved once again that entertaining the two of them is easier than Athena alone. We'd be lost without Clementine in our lives. 

Bedtime stories

Letting Daddy sleep in
We went to McKenna's birthday tea party at Chris and Darne's house and it's still a subject of interest weeks later. This morning Athena and Clementine were discussing when they'd next get to have Clementine come over and how we'd have to set a place for Clementine. I was puzzled for a minute but realized she meant at the tea party table. 

Tea party treats
Athena picked up materials for the summer reading challenge. We decided that 30 books in three weeks was a good goal for her. (Well, there were 30 lines on the page, so...) She blew past that easily, and we only wrote down unique books not rereads. I'm feeling pretty good about how much time she spends being read to, and this didn't count circle time at school. One morning we sat on the sofa and she got through nine books and started to get restless on the tenth. When we read Dragons Love Tacos, she likes to eat the tacos off the fronticepieces. Daddy got a little silly and started dumping them from the page into her mouth.

As her reward for reaching her goal, she got to go pick out a book from the library. She got Not Your Typical Dragon
Plus there was a photo booth
This past Friday, I noticed some irregularities on my credit card statement. I called EBMUD, the utility district for Berkeley/Oakland and said, "Sorry, why are you charging me $150? I haven't lived there in 20 years." But as I looked down the statement, I realized there were also charges for PG&E and a whole bunch of Uber rides. So, I called Chase and said, "Yeah, this is a problem." And they took down the list of bad charges and said they'd send a new card in 3-5 business days. Now, this is the Amazon card, so before long I was thinking, "Seriously, you can get me thousands of things the same day, but it takes a week to get a new piece of embossed plastic?" Ugh. I also called Santa Clara to file a police report. Athena headed to the park with Daddy and I waited for the police officer to arrive. They almost didn't make it back in time because a little girl brought her Frozen Jeep to the park and shared it with the other kids. 

How to make kids insanely happy, pt. 1.
But I texted when the officer arrived and they made it back just in time to meet the police officer, and they went to go walk him out to his car and he offered to let her have a seat.

How to make kids insanely happy, pt. 2. 
We went to the Fezziwig's rehearsal on Saturday and Athena slept through the first half. Then she joined us for dancing the second half, with brave Mr. Holly taking a waltz with both of us and her joining me halfway through the Lancers. She's really good about offering her hand to dance partners, so that's nice. We headed to Nicole's birthday party to follow. Athena was a perfect angel, the only kid in a crowd of adults, and happy as can be to play with Robert, eat cake, and get flowers in her hair.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Fourth of July

Our biggest party of the year, the one where we invite everyone from coworkers to closest friends, is the Fourth of July party. I spent all day Friday making salads and pie and prepping meat and cleaning house and clearing up the yard. On Saturday morning, we did the unthinkable and ducked out of the house to go visit Cy and Sandra at their new place in Alameda, see the new house, see the parade, see friends who wouldn't be making the trip south, and then we raced back home. I told Athena that if she took a nap in the car, she wouldn't have to rest during the party. I've never seen her try so hard to go to sleep before, but she was motivated by the imminent arrival of all of her friends. 

We came home just in time to meet our first, prompt guests: Dave, Ellen, and Sarah. I handed Ellen the first cocktail, and Sarah volunteered to juice lemons for lemonade and away we went! I spent much of the next few hours orchestrating in the kitchen, pouring drinks, putting out food, and saying hi to folks as they arrived. Erik worked on arranging the furniture, getting the shade structures up, and firing up the grill. Meanwhile, the party got underway. Lots of folks took heed and really arrived early. There were nearly a dozen kids rampaging through the yard and many more adults to keep them safe.
Athena and Miriam share a box.

We enjoyed the unexpected pleasure of Kevin's birthday. He always spends it in Brown Island with his family, but couldn't this year since Rachel is injured. Instead, Athena made him a birthday cake. It was declared delicious by all.

Kev also brought a pinata and taught the kids how to do it.

Bob arrived late, so dancing was bound to break out finally. There was a little swing and such, and then Night Fever broke out. Athena joined right in. I love this kid!!! My little dancing buddy. Yay!

Around 9:15, I suddenly realized it was almost time for the big show. Our neighbors down the street said their place was as good as the park, so the party migrated there and we enjoyed the show.
At the neighbors where Toledo becomes Asbury.
Dave captured this from our place
As the evening wound to a close, and Athena was ready to fall asleep in my arms, we started turning out lights per our usual bedtime routine and found the pinata head tucked into bed, enjoying a well-deserved rest.
Athena knows nothing of The Godfather and thought the llama head was hilarious.
We'll be eating sausages and ribs and other leftovers for at least a week (and freezing other things). I had the foresight to schedule our house cleaners for Monday at 8 a.m. I should've left a big tip. The house was drenched in a layer of lemonade and splattered food and soggy footprints. It will be miraculously clean when I get home. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015


There has been a ton of chase lately.

First, there's the episode of Dinosaur Train where Alvin the Allosaurus and Morris the Stegosaurus can't get to their food because they can't pass each other with civility. Buddy and Tiny coach them into doing it with nobody getting bit and nobody getting a Stegosaurus tail to the leg. Alvin wants the meat. Morris wants the plants. For whatever reason, this really clicked with Athena. We talked about how different things are made of meat, and how plants can't move on their own, unlike animals made of meat. She got to the conclusion that Mommy and Daddy and Athena are all made of meat. So then we somehow leapt to chasing each other around to nom the meat. With a wild eyed look, she'll say, "You're made of meat!" and the chase is on, laps around the kitchen island, until someone gets caught or cornered and is nommed. I can't get video of it because most of the time one parent is helping Athena catch the other parent as meat. That's how we roll in my family apparently.

On Tuesday night, Erik went to Lowe's and Athena asked for a flag. He got her a flag and she loves it. We decided to try the Tuesday night Kids Make Their Own Pizza thing at Pizza My Heart. This was a huge win, especially with the big patio outside. She made her pizza, waited for it to be cooked, and ate dinner. A lot of dinner. Since that's a battle we still fight most days, this was awesome. She even accidentally consumed a piece of ham and didn't spit it out. Win! After dinner, she and Daddy chased after each other to get the flag. Then I chased her. Then they chased more. Thank goodness there's two of us and only one of her.

She loves her "fast shoes." The girl has no shortage of shoes, but they're being rated in terms of which ones are easiest to run in. Sparkly gold shoes are awesome for some days. Dancing shoes are fine sometimes. But most days, fast shoes win. As these are also her most durable shoes, we're okay with that. She's gonna run the soles right off them before the outgrows them.