We got the letter on the Monday before the Wednesday start date: Annika was assigned to Mrs. Merrell’s class! It was exactly what she’d hoped for, and although a lot of her friends were scattered to different classes, she was thrilled to have her friend Raina in the same class (and as we found out the first day, actually at her same table — yay!). She said she was nervous, beforehand, which she really hadn’t been the previous two years, but it turned out fine, and I was pretty pleased with her classmates (I like the ones whose moms I am friends with, ha!). We were on time this year, unlike before — who knows how we managed that! — and got her established in the room before she told us to scram. Heh. Afterward, I let her skip swimming just this once and took her and Lukas to get ice cream in Willow Glen. All in all, a good first day, and hopefully a very good year ahead.
—After a few happy months in Miss Penny’s 2-3 year olds class, Lukas was moved to Ms. Mita's classroom (the 3-4 year old class). He liked it OK, but resisted tracing letters, because he wanted to play — too bad the older you get, the harder the work! Heh.
—The Monterey “Baquarium”: On one of Annika’s last free days before school started, we went down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we all had a blast once again — there’s never a bum day at what Lukas calls the “baquarium.”
—Annika "texting" Vilma: Missing her friend, and looking forward to the day when she’s old enough to text (which she has decided is when she’s ten), Annika built herself a new cardboard iPad and for several days, carried it around with her, “texting” constantly, laughing at Vilma’s replies, and showing it to me so I could join in the fun. I’m saying it again: I don’t think we actually need to buy electronics for that kid; the ones she makes are plenty good enough!
—The Incredibly Social Weekend: We usually need a week’s recovery time between guests, but it just worked out calendar-wise that we had our friends Mike and Angie and their baby and their dog on a Friday night (swimming, grilling, chilling) and the Carneys on Saturday night (same deal). The kids loved having both a baby, and a large, chill, old dog around, and of course Grace and Sean are some of their most favorite playmates, so this was pretty much their favorite weekend of the whole month.
—Back to Sharks Ice: Annika’s friend Olive had her birthday party at Sharks Ice, and BOY, was it a nightmare to get Annika to go — she was freaking out that everyone would be better at skating than her, and she’d have to use the buckets, etc. (and I mean FREAKING OUT, crying and screaming for HOURS). But at a certain point, R. and I decided, forget this — she’s going. She’s got to get over this freakout, and the only way out is through. So I took her, and she verbally abused me throughout the drive, our arrival, the pizza, the putting on of skates … and then got out on the ice and had an absolute BLAST. She and Cayli did a lap of the end zone with the buckets, then ditched them and headed out into the rink, where they stayed until they got called back in for cake and presents. Amazing.
My sister came to visit for a week, and we did all the usual family stuff plus a couple of outings:
—Bowling bowling bowling: A random thought on Aunt Lesley’s part, we just packed up the kids after school and took them bowling. They had SO MUCH fun, hoisting and tossing those 6-pound rocks (usually with a cringe-inducing thud about 8 inches from the foul line)! The kids used bumpers, which these lanes put up for individual bowlers instead of for the entire group, so the adults roll without them. Anyway, it was so awesome that we went the next day with Daddy, and bought everyone discounted passes that let us play up to three games per day, including shoe rental, until September 7 - whaaaaaaaat? So we went twice more with Aunt Lesley, and then a half dozen times with just me and the kids or the four of us once she went back to NYC. Got our money’s worth, and rediscovered our old favorite pastime that we can now do with the kids — yay!
—Chuck E Cheese: Another semi-random outing, because the kids are always up for Chuck’s, and Lesley hadn’t been in years. We played an amazing amount of skeeball, Operation, and “kids basketball” (Lukas’s favorite game), among other things, and earned enough tickets to buy a good prize for each kid.
—Lukas, playing with an empty Spider-Man Pez dispenser I bought him at Lucky: [Excitedly:] “Spider man, can you catch dat bad guy?” [Gruff, flat:]“No. I'm a Pez."
—“recordion” — Lukas’s take on “accordion”
—Lukas w/ small metal play cooking pot on his head: "I'm a pot head!”