Tuesday, September 6, 2016

August 2016

Family fun
—Afternoon at Anna & Ella’s:
We were all invited over to the twins’ house on a Saturday to hang out and swim. It was good to get to know their parents, and all four kids had a blast on that very low-key afternoon.
—Back to School swim party at the twins’: This was only about ten days later, the day before school started for everyone — an actual party at Anna & Ella’s, which was another chance to kind of get back into the social swing after a summer off. Lukas spent most of his time on the trampoline, and I spent mine talking to some of my favorite mom-friends.
—Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: We put those season passes to good use with a weekday trip down to SC for some boardwalk fun. The big headline this time was Annika riding the Big Dipper (the old wooden rollercoaster); she was terrified, and I don’t really feel good about how I persuaded her to ride it — she’d said maybe, on the way down, but HELL NO once we got there … But anyway, it’s always a good time walking around eating dippin’ dots and whatnot.
—The Rio Olympics: We watched thousands of hours of Olympics coverage, to the neglect of every other kind of entertainment while the games were on … the kids loved gymnastics and the equestrian events, and the swimming was very exciting; Annika watched Katie Ledecky’s swims in slow-mo and took actual notes on her form, which the then taped to a piece of construction paper and put inside a Ziplock for reference outside in the pool. Love her focus!!
—Lazy days: Most of the month that wasn’t spent on school prep (e.g. the hellish trip to Target for school supplies, the shoe store, etc.) was given over to our usual stuff: swimming, bowling, playing around on screens (Annika’s heavily into something called Roblox), and watching Octonauts (Lukas’s new discovery, of which we all heartily approve).
—Parade of Broken Appliances: First the ovens died, then the washing machine, then the freezer. So we worked around (sending out the laundry) and did without (no more ice cream), until after a solid month, the oven got fixed — we celebrated restored oven functionality by baking these amazing Finnish cookies Annika had discovered a recipe for; still waiting on the other appliances. Ugh. 
—Brownie sleepover:
Annika’s troop had its first official event, a sleepover and cookout at R&R’s magical wonderland of a house. They actually slept in tents in the backyard; I had to sign up for a 2-hour volunteer shift, part of which included setting up those tents, but otherwise Annika was on her own with the girls. She loved it, and now wants to go camping with her troop. I’ll … send marshmallows. Have fun kids. 
The Empire Strikes Back: Lukas finally decided he was ready to watch Empire, so we set it up in the movie room the day Annika was at her Brownie sleepover (she was actively against seeing it herself, thus the choice of showtimes). He loved it, wasn’t scared, and now has new stuff to yell when he runs around pretending to be a stormtrooper.
—Play dates: Lukas is fully committed to the playdate lifestyle, asking for one at least once per day. He had one with Lawson (in the two hours between Kinder/TK dismissal that first week) and one with his TK classmate Manir — his good buddy from preschool — whose mom I love and get along with really well. He fell apart at the end when it was time to leave — exhaustion plus just really not wanting to stop playing — but the during part was awesome!
—Wacky Wednesdays: We had to move Lukas’s swim lessons to Wednesdays, because obviously he can’t do Thursday mornings anymore, so it’s going to be a very, very tight turnaround getting from school to AVAC by 3:15 for his lesson (hers is at 3:30). Should be fun. 
Third grade and Transitional Kindergarten!
Astonishingly enough, Annika started third grade, and Lukas started TK. She got the “cool” teacher, a young guy named Mr. Dinh (who, it turns out, kind of stresses her out by being a loud talker but! redeemed himself in other ways, including the optional Pokemon Friday lunch trading card sessions). Most of her runnin’ buddies are in other classes, but she is back with Niamh this year, and her BFF Raina is in her class, so it’ll be OK. Lukas is loving the otherworldly-good Miss Bingham, and she has highest praise for him so far. He has been reunited with preschool pal Manir, whom he runs to and hugs in line every morning, and is making lots of other friends (most of whose names he doesn’t know yet, ha!). He comes home with a half dozen scrapes, bruises and scratches every day, so I guess he’s having a fabulous time on the playground as well. It’s looking like a good year for both — although we found out at Back-to-School night that Mr. Dinh is going to be taking parental leave (he has a newborn daughter) starting in November. Boo! But I mean, excellent for him and I support it and all that. Heh. 

—Me, sifting through forms & permission slips:
"Hey, did you wanna join the Green Team at school?"
Annika, with the levelest look I have ever seen on any human face: "No. I'm not gonna spend my recess digging through the garbage with gloves on."
Me: [thrilled beyond measure that I haven't passed on my Overachieving People-Pleasing Joiner gene] "OK then."

July 2016

Grandparents’ visit
So G&G came for three weeks this summer, straight from NY (where they are fixing up the Long Island house for sale). It was the usual mix of Lukas & Grandpa rowdiness, Annika & Grandma sequestration, afternoon swimming, too much screen time, and a couple date nights out for R. & I, except for two things: 1) G&G’s anniversary dinner, in which the six of us went out to celebrate 56 years for the guests of honor (the kids held up much better than expected — a gift all by itself!), and 2) Grandpa getting vascular surgery five days into the visit to repair a blockage before it could do any damage to the old guy. It went extremely well, and Grandpa only spent a single night in the hospital before coming home to recover with ease — couldn’t have asked for an easier experience (at least for those of us who didn’t actually have the surgery!).
Family fun
—The Glorious Fourth:
We had a great 4th of July weekend, featuring a spot of bowling, a lot of time in the pool and grilling out for nearly every meal, a day visit from everybody’s favorite Tom, and on the 4th, a short trip to see our local parade with R.’s work friend and his family, plus that evening, an awesome fireworks show, where we were joined by the cousins & Uncle Paul & Aunt Amy.
—Gilroy Gardens: We needed to make use of those season passes we bought, so we cleared a weekday and went again. Another fun trip for all! Annika sure does love that one roller coaster … :-)
—The abortive trip to Marin: Our friend Ian had a book reading & signing at a bookstore in San Rafael, and we were invited over to their house after to hang out and eat dinner. And everything was perfect … until we got stuck in absolutely insane traffic on the way up, and yada yada yada, three and a half hours later, still on this side of the Golden Gate Bridge, we called it — turned around and came home, feeling horrible about missing everything we’d planned with our friends, but with no prospects of getting there before sundown. Ugh. Hell of a day. 
—Brownie swim party:
Annika’s Brownie troop had an informal get-together at the twins’ house (Rachel & Rebekah) for swimming and whatnot, so she spent a crazy town afternoon there, after having really not seen her friends since school let out.
—Pokemon GO!: This mobile game has more or less taken over the world, and our lives — good thing it really is so much fun! When we finally figured out what we were doing, A. and I really started to get into going on walks and to parks to hunt the little critters. We even got to go Pokemon hunting with Paul and Alyna, when their family came over to visit G&G.
—Mom & Annika time: While she’s still out of school but Lukas hasn’t finished at preschool yet, Annika and I did a bunch of just-us things, e.g. bowling w/o her obsessing about Lukas getting a better score than she did; going to the tea party restaurant and the new coffee shop near the house (for crepes and coffee); seeing Secret Life of Pets in the movie theater, and spending a couple of hours at two different paint-your-own pottery places — the kind of thing a younger sibling couldn’t really handle yet. 
—Goodbye to Discovery Years:
At the first of the month, I turned in our 30-day written notice, withdrawing Lukas from preschool. We have high hopes for TK, and it’s just time to do this; his teacher was very sorry to know we’d decided for certain to take him out, and spent the rest of the month making a fuss about it, but the deed was done!
—Mornings with Lukas: On another note entirely, Lukas has turned into quite the morning cuddler/snoozer; he’ll sneak into our room verrrrrry quietly in the morning and climb into bed with us. Some mornings, it’s nice, and he’s sweet, and he’ll give lots of kisses and sometimes even go back to sleep draped on top of one of us; other mornings, he’s the frickin Tasmanian Devil and rousts us both out of bed, grumpy and angry at him for disturbing our rest. You just never can tell with this one. 

—“I like Rusty Rivets because he can fix anything, just like you!”
-Lukas, to Daddy

—“Lukas did that. He says it's his booger army. —Annika, with the most perfectly deadpan eye-rolling comedic delivery of all time, when I catch sight of some stuff wiped on a wall in the bathroom.

—“You’re a monkey, Lukas!” —Grandpa
No, I don't like bananas!” —Lukas, indignantly defending his honor

 —“Why does Batman have to verse Superman?” —Lukas asking the age-old questions

Thursday, September 1, 2016

June 2016

Second grade is over!
—The second grade picnic, and a limo ride to Chuck E. Cheese:
The second to last day of school was the day of their class “picnic,” which this year was held at Parma Park. I took Lukas with me and walked with the class to the park; it was hot, but the kids had a bomb-ass time (Lukas had Lawson to play with), so all was well. Then, when we got back, it was time for Annika to go with her pal Niamh in a limo to Chuck E. Cheese’s for lunch — a treat Niamh had won in a raffle back on Dandy Day in October, which included inviting four friends along (her friend Alana was one of the others). We got pictures of their departure in the white stretch limo — it was hilarious, and she loved it!
—On the last day — which as always is a minimum day — we hung around for a bit saying our good-byes, and then went to get ice cream in Willow Glen (per our first-and-last-day tradition). Lukas is so much less sensitive to dairy now (I want to say his allergy is officially outgrown, but of course I’m scared to actually do that) that I was going to let him order real ice cream (but he wanted a Dole Whip, so that’s fine). Anyway, we were sitting outside to eat, and a girl — about 12 years old — nearby was talking with her mom about her karate class. Lukas jumps out of his seat, strikes a pose in front of her, and declares: "I'm a real ninja!” (to the general hilarity of all). It was a good last day! And only three days till … 
Hawaii 2016!
With the dance recital week not a factor this year, we planned our trip for as soon as we could — school let out on Thursday, we took off for Hawaii for two weeks on Sunday. This was the year Lukas was finally a real swimmer (and we were confident enough in his abilities that we could let him do it, heh). The fact that he didn’t have to cling to one of us, or be watched like a hawk anymore, opened up a lot of things for us. And it was glorious! Most days, we spent at the beach club, chilling in our cabana, going out to swim, building some crazy sandcastles, etc. Annika and R. went snorkeling every day (and she did a lot of free-diving in the channels); Lukas even got a set of fins and goggles, but he’s not quite ready to go out there yet. I rented a two-person kayak one day, and Annika and I went pretty far out, just paddling around and looking at stuff. But several days, we went up to Hapuna Beach, which is north of where we stay, and is one of the best beaches in the world. It’s unprotected (no reef), so there are waves — the kids both did some boogie-boarding and bodysurfing, with mixed/very sandy results), but most of the time, we would just jump around on the soft, soft sand and go out to jump and float in the chest-high waves. The water was so warm and wasn’t at all rough, despite the scouring wind up on the beach; the only real downfall of Hapuna is the complete lack of shade (except if you get there early enough to get a spot under the kiawe trees … which is a whole other kind of problem). On those days, we either brought lunch or got food in Kawaihae, the little town just north of Hapuna, when we quit beachin’ for the day (absolutely delicious fish tacos, burgers, etc.) and pick up some fish to grill for dinner, too, at a place that sells the day’s fresh catch. We cooked at home a lot, but went out a lot too; Lukas would order “chicken fenders, french fries, lemonade, and ketchup” from any place we went, while Annika managed to get some variety in her orders. We decided to take a chance on the luau again (having skipped it last year), and it was a MUCH better experience this time: Nobody was scared, everybody could eat what was on the buffet, the kids behaved themselves, we actually got to enjoy the show. Victory! Once again, we visited some units in the condo complex that were for sale, and almost talked ourselves into buying one … that story is not over yet. Eventually, of course, the trip was over and we headed home … only to end up spending NINE HOURS in the Honolulu airport (some mechanical problem with our plane). They moved us around a bunch, gave us vouchers for dinner, and eventually we got settled in the Magnum, P.I.-era wing of the airport, from whence we finally departed. We walked through our front door at about 5:30 on Sunday morning (Father's Day, lol), and didn’t get ourselves righted for a week, time-wise — but the kids did OK (thank all the large and small gods for Apple mobile technology!!!), and it was worth everything it took out of us. Aloha till next year!

“Betsy — the one with a face helmet, that wears green and black.”
—Lukas describing the Star Wars character Boba Fett
—“cheft hat” —Lukas’s take on “chef’s hat”
—“legendary nut” — Lukas describing a kukui nut that still had green on it

Sunday, August 21, 2016

May 2016

Annika’s things & whatnot
—Raina’s birthday party (which was very exciting and important but was back in May and I’m writing this in August and I can’t even remember where it was … Parent of the Year!). I gotta write this stuff down. LOL.
—The school Art Show: Annika flat refused to go this year, because, according to her, “It’s really crowded and noisy and I only have two pieces in it and it’ll take forever to find them anyway.” All true, so … OK then.
—Minecraft takes over our lives: For reasons I can’t fathom, Annika got into Minecraft at last, and it swiftly became the Most Important Thing Ever. She plays it for hours at a time if we let her, she has insane emotional breakdowns if something goes wrong (one time, I had to FaceTime Mason to get him to fix whatever it was, RIGHT AWAY — and bless ‘im, he did), Lukas even started “playing” (although his verson, so far, is mostly just “placing fire” everywhere), etc. She watches endless hours of YouTube videos of some Irish or Australian clown called Dan TDM playing Minecraft … it is nuts. NUTS. But ok, whatever.
—Spring talent show: Annika DGAF about this last year, but at pretty much the last possible minute this spring, she decided she wanted to be in it, and recruited Raina for her partner. Entirely without any adult input, she decided they should do a dance to the Cotton-Eyed Joe. The girls made up the dance and practiced it every day at recess, she chose the costumes (an “Annie Oakley” cowgirl dress we found on Amazon), she delegated to Raina the task of finding boots and hats (which she did, admirably), she got R. to edit down the music and send it to the sound organizer — and on the designated night, they charmed the socks off of the whole crowd as a dancing duo. Yee-haaaa!
—Annika stays home alone: A milestone of sorts occurred when, having been kept home sick with a vicious fever from the spring choir concert the night before, Annika stayed at home alone while I took Lukas to school the next morning. She was fine, everything was fine — and of course now she wants to stay home by herself all the time. Heh. I only let her when I know I’ll be back within 20 minutes, and that limit is really only because I fear judgment — she’s perfectly capable of managing herself, and there’s not any crime to worry about, so.

Lukas Life
—A friend at Little Gym: Lukas makes friends wherever he goes, but apparently this girl Payton at Little Gym — whose name he carefully pronounced as “PAY-ton,” with the articulated “t” — was special. He’d just beam when he saw her, wanted to be her partner in all the activities, and would run around with her after class, announcing to all that they were “BEST FRIENDS!”
—The Octopus ribbon: Lukas is now an O-Fish-Al Octopus at swim lessons! He was really excited, of course, and but then the next week, he was like “ … so, how come I didn’t get another ribbon?” Ha!
Family happenings
—Golfland: The kids had been wanting to go to mini golf, so one hot Sunday we tried to get out there ahead of the crowd and the sun … and failed at both. We were right in front of a large and EXTREMELY rude, boundaryless kids’ bday party, constantly rushed, constantly having to tell the kids to wait and to stop hitting balls while we were still on the hole in front of them, etc. Annika & Lukas were hot and didn’t handle it well … and eventually, R. and I were in pretty much the same mood. Note to self: Don’t do it like that again.
—Daddy’s birthday: The focus, as far as the kids were concerned, was the cake we made for R.: the chocolate one with raspberry jam filling and a dark chocolate glaze. They also made cute cards for him, and mostly behaved! Yay!
—“Sleepovers" in each other's rooms: In large part (I think) due to Annika’s fear of being alone in her room, the kids started having “sleepovers” in each other’s rooms. At first, they’d go back and forth, and sometimes use the futon mattress under Lukas’s bed (which is a pain to push back under there!), but eventually it settled into Lukas bringing his blanket, his bunny, and his “ossie” (a minecraft ocelot) and settling down on the floor in Annika’s room. It works pretty well, except when it doesn’t (fighting instead of giggling & talking), so we only let them do it on non-school nights, and R. always puts them back in their own beds, sound asleep, when we go up ourselves.
-The first pool weekend: We had our season opener this month, just before Memorial Day weekend. Fired up the heater, hauled out all the swim stuff, found the pool toys, and got out the bar tools — ready for the summer now! The great thing is, Lukas can really kind of swim now; he doesn’t cling anymore, and you don’t have to worry the whole time that he’s going to sink under. It is SO AWESOME.
—Bowling summer pass: The bowling alley has this awesome deal for the summer again — $26 per kid for up to three games per person, including shoe rental! thought Labor Day weekend — so we bought one for everyone and started going once or twice a week. Annika’s competitive streak surfaced, which was kind of a bummer when she got upset if Lukas got a higher score, but man, do I understand! It’s a lot of fun for us all to go, though, so we’re looking forward to that all summer long. 
“This is the ghosties' secret lair - where they work on their bodies to spook people out!"
—Lukas, explaining things
“Mouses are from haunted houses."
(us): “No -- it's ‘mice.’"
"Mices are from haunted houses!” —Lukas, the morning he spotted a dead mouse in the pool, from the upstairs window

“That’s Luke Skywalker’s lair!”
The sand people “are friends with Dark Vader.”
“Look! It’s Luke’s igloo!”
“Obi-Wan Kenobi is Chewbacca.”

—Lukas watching Star Wars

Sunday, May 15, 2016

April 2016

Family Fun
—Gilroy Gardens:
What a great discovery! During Annika’s spring break — the February week is actually “winter break,” whatever that is — R. took a day off and we all went to this family amusement park. It was so, so much fun! There were a couple of mild but rough-riding rollercoasters that Annika loved, and lots of kiddie rides for Lukas, so we ended up staying past closing time, and buying a season pass.
—Daddy to Vegas: Work sent R. to Las Vegas for 48 hours, so the kids and I turned in early the night he was away, and Annika camped in Lukas’s room while I stayed up way too late watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.
—Chuck E Cheese w/Anna & Ella: Also on spring break, the kids wanted to go to Chuck’s and invite friends, choosing the twins to meet us there. Once again, Annika saved up her tickets for next time, and Lukas bought some cruddy thing or other that he was very happy with. :-) Good time all around. 
Annika’s stuff
—Anna & Ella sleepover:
Yet another entry in the Era of the Sleepover! Annika went as primarily Ella’s guest to the twins’ sleepover and had a great time; she never wants to leave when I show up to fetch her, which says a lot to me.
—The school multicultural faire: Annika got a bee in her bonnet to represent Finland at the multicultural faire, so I parachuted into the event already in progress (I didn’t go to a single meeting … whoops), borrowing Finland stuff from the Finnish family that moved to Sunnyvale (the Vaisanens put me in touch with Heli, the mom), making a “national costume” per Annika’s vision (white shirt, white skirt, blue apron made from a pillowcase, burgundy tassels with yarn pom-poms I made myself, braided hair) for the International Fashion Show … and R. and I repped his heritage for three hours with Finn Crisp crackers and butter while Lukas partied at Kidspark. Exhausting.
—Tori’s party at Pump It Up: TBH, Annika didn’t want to go and I wouldn’t have made her; Tori is kind of a bully. But it seemed like not many people were going, so I suggested she go … and since Sydney was going, she agreed. It was the night of the Multicultural Faire, so … yeah that was a long night. But it ended up being fun for her, so we had that going for us. 
Lukas’s stuff
—Steele’s bday party:
Lukas’s friend Steele (I think it’s funny that two of his best friends at school are inanimate objects: Cole [coal] and Steele [steel], heh) had his birthday party at Pump It Up, and of course Lukas was out of his mind with excitement! It’s still such a cute big deal for him to go to his own parties, and not as Annika’s plus-one at her parties. :-)
—The allergy wanes: It’s not an event, just an observation — Lukas seems to be outgrowing his allergy at last! I’ve fed him cheese, he ate regular (homemade) cupcakes with real buttercream icing at Steele’s party without any reaction, he can apparently eat milk chocolate, etc. I’m still not ready to feed him eggs scrambled in butter, but it’s definitely milder, almost to the point of vanishing. YES!!!!

—X-ray swing fighters:
Lukas’s take on “X-Wing Fighters” 

March 2016

Family Fun
—The most important movie night:
We finally decided both kids could handle it, and they were both begging for it … so we closed the drapes, covered the entryway, and fired up the movie screen for Star Wars. Wooooooooo!!!!! Both kids loved it, neither were too awfully scared (although I think they missed the burnt skeletons at Aunt Beru & Uncle Owen’s place), and now they want to see all the rest of the movies! Yes!!! A new generation learns the ways of the Force!!!
—Aunt Lesley visits: My sister came out for a few days on her spring break, which included Easter Sunday; she dyed 36 eggs with us, and witnessed the hilarity of our annual egg hunt the morning after the Easter Bunny came. It was great having her here; the kids love their “Aunt Weswey” (Lukas’s rendition). 
—Theo’s party at Happy Hollow: Eleni’s younger brother Theo, who is in kindergarten, loved hanging out with Lukas at our house, so he invited us to his birthday party at Happy Hollow; we all went, including Aunt Lesley. Annika had a blast running around with Sydney — including riding the little roller coaster for the first time, and Lukas spent over an hour in the giant play structure (climbing ropes, big slides, nets, passageways, etc.). 
Lukas Life
—Lukas goes to Little Gym:
That boy needed a place to spend some of his maniac energy, and to do flips and jumps somewhere other than our living room, so I signed him up for Little Gym on Tuesday mornings. He LOVES IT, loves it loves it! Yay! Kid Fearless, that one …
—The Dark Side: Lukas got into some serious behavior issues this month, including 1) sneaking down stairs to steal candy from the pantry in the middle of the night, and lying about it, and 2) wiping poop from his own butt on the living-room furniture. On the plus side, it’s clear that Hershey’s Kisses don’t trigger his milk allergy, but on the other hand: NO. So he lost his treat for two weeks, and his allowance for one, and we have started to lock the pantry at night, among other things. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

Action Annika
—Monterey Bay Aquarium field trip:
The second grade went to the MB Aquarium, and she requested specifically that I *not* go with them as chaperone. I am still not sure why, but I am trying to encourage her independence, so I agreed. She had a great time, wasn’t worried or scared at all … so, I guess it was a good call!
—Sleepover at Sydney’s: Speaking of independence, it’s apparently the Era of Sleepovers; she was invited to Sydney’s, and once again had a blast. The only thing I really worry about, now, in re: these parties, is what I always worry about anyway: head lice. Hahahah! [but really] 

February 2016

We went to Tahoe with the Carneys again on Annika’s spring break, and this time there was a big nasty storm forecast for the Thursday we’d been planning on driving up. So we went up on Wednesday instead, and got a hotel room for the night. The kids handled it well, and woke up to a couple of feet of fresh snow! Woooooo!! We got to the cabin, moved in, got groceries, and the other family arrived late that afternoon while we were out at a snow play area (with sledding, snow tubing, and a big field in which we built forts and furniture). The first full day, we put all the kids in a 3-hour ski lesson and we adults made a couple of runs … just a couple, because nothing was groomed, and we were all afraid of breaking a leg, but it did feel good to do it again after a 10-year hiatus (the last time R. and I went was … 2006?). The kids didn’t love their lesson, but it was still worth doing. The next day we all just hung out in the cabin and played for hours in the backyard — epic snowball fight, making a sled run, flopping down and making snow angels, etc. Then we had to pack up and head home on Sunday, another surprisingly easy drive home after a great trip. Excellent vacation with friends!
Annika’s busy life
—Girl Scout cookie sales:
OK, now this is real. We had to get inventory, make the pitch to customers, get Daddy to take boxes to work (he ended up being the real hero of sales, selling out his inventory nearly every day till the end), and take our turn at booth sales (one outside of the Lucky near us, one at the Safeway farther away). Annika loved booth sales, and I tried to stay out of it, only being the responsible adult presence and letting the girls manage themselves — it worked surprisingly well, and we sold quite a few cookies; the girls did very well against their troop goals.
—Orca ribbon: Annika got her Orca ribbon at last — the shiny black one — and there are now only three levels to go until she, in her own words, “graduates” AVAC’s program. Go, little mermaid!!
—Grace’s birthday: Annika was of course invited to Grace’s birthday party, at Rockin’ Jump, which is just a warehouse with a mess o’ trampolines. She LOVED it, of course, and now wants to go there all the time.
—The Journey of Orthodonture begins: Three appointments this month, the first two for measuring and insertion of spacers, and the final one for the insertion of the expanders (upper and lower), which she’ll wear for four months. Annika took it all like a champ, even though some parts of it were clearly painful. Each time, I took her for ice cream after school to make up for it. I have to turn the key to expand the expanders a little bit every evening for two weeks, which is just … ugh. It makes me feel so bad to do a thing that hurts her, even though it’s for the long-term good. Poor kid — and a little tiny bit poor me! Next appointment is six weeks away. 
Just bein’ social
—Super Bowl Sunday:
We had the Carneys over again, cause last year was a good time — and so was this one! The game was fun, the kids got along, we ate a bunch of crappy food and drank a lot of beer. Murica.
—Lukas’s trio: The Girl Scout troop went ice skating, so I had three little brothers over to our house while the girls were away: Lukas, Eleni’s little brother Theo, and Brianna’s little brother Brandon. Within about three minutes, they were all playing Star Wars, and the afternoon included a ton of popcorn, an hour of dot-painting art, and numerous high-speed laps around the pool. They all had a blast, but by the end I wanted to have a large Scotch and go straight to bed … 

Quotable Kids:
—Powerful Blue Panthers:
The name of Annika’s basketball team at recess. They like to wear blue headbands.
—bazombies: Lukas’s take on the undead
—play Star Wars with me: What he wants everyone to do, all the time.
—windmills = wing fighters: He saw some windmills, and called them “wing fighters,” aka X-Wing Fighters. Heh.
—“What is this world called? Truckee? I think that's because there are lots of trucks there. Little trucks, like Crusher's trucky that he loves.” Lukas making sense of the name of the town we were in on the way to the Tahoe cabin, incorporating Minecraft, observation, and Blaze & The Monster Machines.
—robot dinosaurs: AT-ATs (Star Wars)
—“Why does every single superhero have to stop a train from a broken track?” Keen observation in re: world-saving tasks performed by the superheroes in his picture books.