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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays everyone! I finished my UCSF study having traveled many miles (over 500!), averaging 77,000 steps a week/11,000 per day. I didn't lose any weight (boo!), but I'm going to try to keep up some of the pace going forward. I'm pretty sure I can do 9-10k a day successfully, but I'm going to focus on also doing other things like core strength building, and some PT for my knees and hips. If I want to lose weight, it means eating far less food, which is a bummer, because I eat when I'm hungry. The catch is, I have to stop when I'm not hungry, not when I'm full. So it goes. 

Meanwhile, my little girl is almost four! She'll tell you often that she's a big girl, and she is. She's almost completely potty trained, only having a wet overnight pull-up 2 or 3 days a week. She's getting up every morning and going pee by herself. We're almost there! Of course, she's a big girl in other ways too. The other morning, I watched her on the video monitor as she got up to pee, then slipped off her wet pull up and change into a fresh one before coming out to greet us. Clever girl. I opted not to bust her that morning, but she tried it again and Erik caught her with the other pull up still warm on her dresser. I embrace the future with eyes wide open, knowing she will get better at hiding her indiscretions. (High school is going to be a fascinating experience.)

Athena is growing and changing in a million ways. She's taking a new ballet class and can easily demonstrate her ronde de jambe when asked. She loves making up songs to sing, but also really wants to learn all the words to various songs. In early November she asked for a new song so I sang Tomorrow from Annie. The next few weeks we listened to it in the car and she got to where she could perform the whole thing without coaching by Thanksgiving (if it was just for Mommy and Daddy). There were awesome swim lessons til mid-November and now she can swim down about half a lane when she wants. More lessons again next year.

Athena had her first haircut. It was great! Jane is so totally the best!

Karen came out over Labor Day weekend, so we had a whirlwind weekend of fun. We hit the Oakland Zoo and Longitude. We went on the trains and carousel at Vasona Park. Erik and I snuck out to go to Friday Night Waltz and hit the Pacificon LARP afterparty with Team Volare on Friday night. 
Giraffes at the zoo!

Daddy's hat at the zoo
Train at Vasona Park
We've made it to a couple of dance events. We took Athena to the Halloween Gaskell Ball with us and she loved it. We also opted to participate in the Bal de Vampyres, with Erik as the Transylvanian prince trying to woo the unsuspecting Miss Eliza Doolittle into his life as a vampire. Athena spent that evening with Cordelia and Alex and Sherman, with huge thanks to them for taking her when our other babysitting plans fell though.
Mermaid the Ariel and Erik as Prince Eric
Family portrait
Silly vampires! They never get the girl.
Halloween was an unexpected treat. With a limited version of Haunted Fox Hollow, there wasn't going to be room to accommodate everyone who wanted to join us, so we decided to do Halloween at home and a little party became a little bigger and a fabulous night was had by all. Turns out, our neighborhood is perfect for trick-or-treating, and our buckets were groaning before we made it around the block.

Athena was napping as the party commenced, and she wanted me to be a pirate since she and daddy were being King Triton and Mermaid the Ariel, but I'd punted and gone for 1950s witch. She was kind of upset about that, and had the usual grumpiness from waking up mid-party, so I offered her some milk and told her I'd change if she wanted me to after she finished her milk. She drank it, and then came over and said, "Mommy, I changed my mind. You can be a witch." I gave her a huge hug and said, "Thank you! That's so kind of you. I love you so much." And then throughout the night, she would periodically come up and say, "I changed my mind. You can be a witch." Which really meant, "Please give me a hug and tell me you love me." So I did.

The Langs and friends came as Stepford Wife-bots and hardware engineer
End of the night selfie
Our welcoming porch
Thanksgiving was spent at my grandparents house with my mom. The best part was Athena showing her great grandma her very favorite movie. That's going firmly in the "why we make the drive" folder.
Best thing ever.
We sent out our annual holiday card. Unfortunately, TinyPrints doesn't give you a very good digital version to keep. Here's the preview I have:

As Christmas approached, I was once again longing for Winter Closure at Stanford and my ever so generous leave. Instead, we spent Saturdays doing Dickens most weekends, and had "Christmas" in Sacramento on Saturday the 19th, and then closed Dickens on Sunday. Dickens was a mixed bag this year. They announced early on that they were indeed having workshops on Halloween. Now when you're dealing with a group of volunteers who choose to spend every weekend during the winter dressing up, it's a safe bet those same folks tend to enjoy Halloween. When the missive announced that Halloween costumes would not be allowed, it was a bridge too far. There was a quick retraction and amendment, but it left a sour taste in a lot of mouths. What's done is done. I decided we really didn't have time for Dickens officially. There was only one day we could conceivably commit to workshops, which is tight at best, and would've certainly cost Athena her nap, making for a long week to follow. Gents were supposed to get new pants and none had been ordered by any means for Erik. I had a new dress, but hadn't had time to sew trim on it. I didn't know if Athena's dress from last year would even fit. So, I sent a note to Fezzi management and said we couldn't join them this year. Dave replied that he did not accept my refusal and that he'd put us on the gatelist. So, we came out Saturdays, and traded off shifts whenever on site with one of us dancing and calling and the other on duty with Athena. It worked out. We managed to contribute sufficiently to feel useful at Fezziwigs, and not completely burn out.
Happy on Daddy's lap.
Out on the streets with friends.
Backstage with Cordelia
Carousel joy
Meow! I'm a cat on a tiger!
Waiting for Lorelei
Waiting and hoping.
We're all mad here!
Up on stage with the magician.
After closing tradition dictates push ups. Now with extra help.
Athena was entranced with the shows this year, including Punch and Judy, the various magicians, and Jack is Back, but especially Jimmy Chiminey.

At the end of the last day, we made it just in time for the end of his last show. She wanted to tell him how much she liked him, so we waited for the crowd to thin, and then she stood there staring up at him. I intervened and said, "Your her favorite thing from all of Dickens. She was wondering if she could give you a hug." He melted and knelt down to meet her and she gave him a huge hug. I said, "Thank you." And she came back to me utterly beaming.

Later when we headed back to Fezziwigs, I led her through a Congress of Vienna. I often wish I could capture these things more effectively because no one will really believe it later, but she can be led through CoV better than the average novice. The biggest challenge remaining is her height. We do a modified windows and turning waltz, but she can open and close on cue, and once into her windows, she waits for the beat to start the walking. Then she sneaks behind me for the pivots like a pro. We closed the fair with a final waltz, all three of us together cheek-to-cheek. More than likely that won't be possible next year as she gets bigger, but it was perfect. Then she sang Hallelujah. She realized that whenever Elizabeth held up the Hallelujah card, you sing that word, so she did. Elizabeth said it was a real treat to see her singing on cue.

Athena was huge on Christmas carols this year, demanding we sing several each night at bedtime. Santa Claus is Coming to Town was her favorite, which I'm a tad ambivalent about as it's very guilt-based. Better be good because you're being watched! Creepy! Oh well. I kept steering her toward Christmas Eve on Sesame Street with one of my favorite songs: Keep Christmas With You.

From 1977, and really, most of the fashions don't even seem that out of date now. They seem like urban hipster winter wear mostly. Anyway, after 38 years, I still find that special to be perfectly enchanting.

Karen and Rich arrived on Tuesday. We went shopping for all the Christmas food on Wednesday morning and Scott arrived Wednesday night. My mom came down for Christmas Day and we had a lovely day of stockings and blueberry french toast breakfast and presents and standing rib roast for dinner followed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Athena's stocking
Christmas morning
Erik commissioned art and it was super awesome! Dinosaurs, a train, and us. Woohoo!
We didn't take Athena, and I was honest with her that I wanted to see it first to see if it was too scary. By the end of the first scene, I was glad I'd made that call. Kelly and Cole volunteered to watch her, and Cole joked she could come with us and Kelly said, "Sure! Go! Enjoy!" And Cole was like, "Wait, what?" So we bundled her off with us and that was totally awesome. On the way home, I told Athena it was too scary and we could watch it when she was older. She asked me to tell her the story, so I did, summarizing the story on the ride home in the car. In our house, it's not about whether or not you know what's going to happen in a story, but how it's told, so I don't even feel bad about baby's first spoilers.

On Christmas eve, we went ice skating in Central Park. It's a great little rink, and it was nearly empty due to inclement weather. It had been raining all morning, so the ice was a smooth as possible. Athena got her skates on and immediately walked over to the edge, had Karen help her onto the ice, and was off. Karen went backwards while she came forward, lifting her feet, stepping along, and utterly fearless. It was a amazing. I don't think she realized it was supposed to be hard. Erik got right out there too and they took her around with two hands. I was far more wobbly, finding my balance, but I got there eventually. The staff offered Athena a bucket to push around and before long she was doing twirls around it.

Ice skating will be AWESOME!
Ice with bucket!
I made it off the ice without a tumble, but everyone eventually landed pretty hard. Athena is lucky, not having far to fall (still only 39 inches!!!). Erik scored a really impressive bruise on his hip. We headed back to the ice on Sunday with the Lendvays and unfortunately, Karen fell again, this time breaking her arm. None of us saw her fall, and she snuck away home before we realized how bad it was, but sent her off to the ER for x-rays soon after we got home. Looks like she gets six weeks in a cast. :(

We're closing the year with New Year's Eve at CKP Manor. Hope this little catch up finds you all well and may 2016 be full of more consistent updates!


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