—Super Bowl Sunday: We kicked the month off in style with a mini Super Bowl party at our house — just us and the Carneys. The kids played and ran around and watched stuff on the living room TV (the book cases etc. were finished JUST that week!! So we could move the couches back in there), while we grownups drank beer and ate amazingly bad-for-us food and watched the game on the movie screen. It was the most fun SB Sunday we’ve had in years!
—Vilma’s Valentine party: Another little impromptu party at Vilma’s, with us and Alana’s family invited after school on the Friday before. The kids are all at a really good place, where they’re actually playing instead of just fighting over dumb stuff, so all seven of them had a good time while we moms drank coffee and talked.
—Valensauce: We talked Mike & Heather into hosting Sauce on Valentine’s Day, and while Sauce is never not fun, this one was one of those where we never quite got it together; the kids did not go to bed (and woke up at the stroke of 6:00 a.m.), our drummer became incapacitated way, way early; and there were various other momentum-killers that kept putting us off our rhythm. Time for a do-over — without the kids, next time.
—Preschool search 2015: This month, we made several preschool visits, trying to find the right one. I narrowed it down to three, and took him with me on tours. The first one was great and wonderful … and had an 18-month waiting list. The second was kind of meh — it was OK, but not markedly different from AppleSeed, which Annika is ever more vehement against. The third, Discovery Years, seemed like a good fit — clean and bright, with warm & kind teachers, and a huge outdoor play area with a big, clean sand pit, lots of natural shade, and stuff to climb on. After R. toured both alone, we agreed that was the winner for now; it’s not very “academic,” but for his first little while in preschool, it was a good choice. He’ll start MWF, 9-3, on March 2.
—Potty training: We finally, FINALLY got some traction with getting this kid trained. He is willing — and loves to earn his Oreos as a reward for #2 — but he will almost never think to go on his own. He’ll stay dry all day if you remind him he needs to go. Someday we’re just gonna have to put him in underpants and deal with the consequences, but for now, this is real progress.
—Lukas and the muddy puddle: After some rain over a weekend, we went to pick up Annika on Monday, and there was a giant puddle of water on the blacktop. Annika, Vilma, Vaatu, Niamh and Lawson all skirted the puddle, but Lukas ran right to the center of it, splashing in with both feet. He got himself soaked to the waist, and the other kids got splashed if they went within 15 feet of him — I tried to stop him on approach, but he was too fast, and after that first splashdown, there was really no point, so I let him play, the little maniac. He loved it!
Annika’s name was drawn from the jar at long last, so one week this month was her very own Superstar Week at school. She had to make a poster over the weekend (All About Me), on which she listed and illustrated the arctic fox as her favorite animal, “gymnastics” as her favorite thing to do, “ice skater” as what she wants to be when she grows up, and “home” as her favorite place to be (awww!). She did 100% of her own work for the other things: the estimation jar (121 sequins in a baby food jar), the sneaky sharing clues (the superstar brings a sharing item each day, with three clues — she wanted to stump the class every time, and almost did — one kid guessed correctly one day, which made her cry after school), etc. The cutest thing was that she (well, I) brought Lukas in for her sharing one day; the clues were that he “could be noisy,” was “smaller than me” and was “from California.” LOL! He was shy at first, when we came in — all those kids, sitting cross legged on the carpet! — but soon warmed up and even did some singing for their entertainment pleasure. On Friday, to help her with the comedown from being Superstar, I took the two of them to an ice cream store in Willow Glen; it was rainy, which, since we were the only ones in the place, was apparently the perfect time to spend an afternoon eating ice cream.
Our friends Anne & Kevin — Grace & Sean’s parents — invited us to share a vacation house in Tahoe with them over the girls’ winter break (Presidents’ Day week, aka in California, “ski week”). So we dug out our old ski stuff, borrowed and bought gear for the kids, and drove to what Lukas kept calling “Ta-HOE.” There was a truly unnerving lack of snow — 60-degree days, continuing drought, and nothing but a dusting way high on the tips of the tallest mountains, and only a few resorts had even any manmade snow. But we did find some of that manmade stuff, and the first full day, the kids got to do some inner-tube sledding, which was a thrill for them. We signed Annika & Lukas up for these half-hour one-on-one ski lessons (ski rentals included — it was a great deal for an intro lesson!), and they both did GREAT. We were really surprised how well they both took to it — Annika didn’t even get mad and stomp off and cry when she (inevitably) fell! Next time, we’ll get them a half-day lesson (assuming there’s any snow, ugh). The next day, we went up to Northstar and rode the “gondolon” (Lukas’s phrasing) up the mountain, where they had a snow play area — we threw snowballs, the kids made snow angels and a snow fort — it was fun! Then after lunch, Annika and I and Kevin and Grace went ice skating at Northstar’s “village” while Anne & Sean watched and R. and Lukas went back to the snow play area. Once again, Annika really got it — no buckets, no quitting when she fell, just a lot of hard work and smiles. We were out there for two hours without complaint from her! We none of us got any sleep (Lukas on a pallet in the room with R. and I, Annika and Grace sharing a double bed in the same room with Sean, who can be a fractious waker), but it was a really good time with friends, and we’re looking forward to trying it again.
—Lukas, when I find “Uptown Funk” on Sirius: “That’s our JAM!!!”
—Girl Scout cookies, per Lukas: “thinamints”
—Annika, re: the song “Turning Japanese”: “I imagine the guy singing this looks like Vilma’s dad. With sunglasses up on his head.”
—Lukas, asking me to send a pic of him with a toy to Uncle Jake: “I want to show Uncle Jake my stretchy awien!” [alien]
—Lukas, telling the same story over and over like a drunk at a dive bar: “When I was a wittle boy, I swipped on a weave and fell down." [slipped on a leaf]