Tuesday, June 30, 2009

AHHHH...SUMMER LOVIN'

"LOOK, MAMA! LOOK, SAIA! COME SEE!"

"What is it, Bubba?" she yells back as she rushes over to see what he's pointing at in the tree.

"Look! Right there!" he says excitedly. "Do you see them?"

"What? Where?" she says.

"Right there. It's a mama ladybug carrying her baby. Isn't that cute?"

"Awww," she says. "So cute."

[Uh....yeah. Not quite, kiddos.]

Friday, June 26, 2009

THE GREAT VEGETARIAN PROJECT

Alright, it's been officially declared.

The boy who's been wavering for the past 3 years or so about whether or not his eating meat conflicts with his love for animals has put his foot down once and for all and decided that he is, in fact, going to become an "herbivore."

"An herbivore, babe?" I ask. "Not a vegetarian?"

"What's the difference," he's asks.

And after explaining to him that that meant he'd be eating only plants, algae, and bacteria, he quickly warmed up to the idea of full-fledged vegetarianism and the concept of not consuming any animal products AT ALL (now called veganism).

After a little more discussion about what all that would entail, and what exactly those sacrifices might be (like his two glasses of warm leche every morning, his hard-boiled eggs, his yogurt, and a complete and utter overhaul of his current wardrobe), he easily transitioned into a much more comfortable place and settled on lacto-ovo vegetarianism, which means, essentially, that egg and milk products are acceptable because you don't have kill a cow or a chicken to get them.

And really, once they found out that they didn't have to cut out mac 'n' cheese, PBnJs, bean and cheese burritos, or cheese pizza, they were ALL. FOR. IT!!!

Having successfully recruited his sister into the cause with little to no effort whatsoever, he calls out at me through the rearview mirror and asks me if I'll do it with him, too?

And it's not like it's a huge stretch from where we're at already. The kids and I mostly eat fish and shrimp with our meals anyway. It's mostly Mommy, our die-hard Texas/Okie girl, and truly a hardcore carnivore, who would literally just burst into a pile of ash if we pulled the meat proteins from her diet. So, it looks like it'll just be the three of us officially kicking off The Great Vegetarian Project.

[Aside: to make this an easier transition for all, I'm thinking I'll also be consuming their daily allowance of red wine and sweets.]

So then I tried to explain to them that it's more than just a one-meal thing. That it's a commitment, and I don't want them to take it too lightly. I want them to understand, as much as possible, the why's and how's (apologies for the inappropriate use of greengrocers' apostrophes, Brian!). And I want them to be (somewhat) serious about their reasons and the choices they're making, so that it becomes a lifestyle and not a fad. So that it means something.

So, we'll see how this goes.

Dropping them off at school this morning, he demanded a bowlful of steamed veggies for lunch. Normally we pick up Mickey D's happy meals on Friday afternoons.

The true test is about to be borne in 3...2...1...


Thursday, June 25, 2009

TO JUMP OR HANG ON...

Overwhelmed. Always happens after a vacation or after someone comes to visit. So much to write about, so many pics to organize and post, so much to do to get our lives back into routine and get the house back in order.

Where to begin. How to catch up. It gets me every time.

The Texas clan left on Monday morning. Mommy returned from her work trip on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to tackle the massive, but really trivial task, I know, of documenting the excitement of our past week, half-heartedly thinking about getting back into the workforce, mourning the loss of a decade with my curling iron and YouTube videos, and all the while still stuck in the middle of this feeling like I'm standing on the precipice of a great chasm.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

BOB VILLA, I AM SOOO NOT

Okay, so I decided yesterday to pick up a garden bench for our back deck on our way home from school.

It didn't need to be anything fancy. I was even surprised to find that I didn't really care all that much about the design or color. I just wanted something functional. [Did I really just say that? Outloud?] A place to sit to have my tea on the weekends. A place to put my feet up while Mommy bar-b-que'd and the kids played in the yard. Just really getting tired of Amy and I always have to put out the folding camping chairs every time we wanted to sit outside. [God, I'm suddenly feeling ancient.]

And, yes, we do have our patio furniture, but our patio is downstairs, below the deck and out of the sun, and really just too chilly to spend any quality time. And the bbq pit is upstairs because, well, it just makes the most sense for it to be right off the kitchen. But the deck up there is not big enough for the patio furniture we already have. Hence, my dilemma, people.

Man, the layout of this house is really screwy. Good thing we're renting.

Anyway...I wasn't gonna pay an arm and a leg for something I don't really consider to be a centerpiece anyway, but that, apparently, is the going rate for such a bench at Target or Costco or Home Depot. $149??? Are you kidding me? And that was the low-end model. It's a bench, for pete's sake. An aside. An afterthought.

That's just ridiculous!!!

Enter Big Lots!

Hatehatehate the store itself. It's like a combination of a dollar store and a flea market, but with even less help, less organization, zero aisle elbow room, and no beer kiosk (that would be the flea market, not the dollar store).

But wouldn't ya know, they had exactly the bench I needed. And for only $40 bucks! What a friggin' steal!!!

So, this little old man, Larry, helps me out with it, and as I'm loading the kids into the truck I can hear Larry grunting and huffing and puffing from the back. Certain he's about to keel over, I rush over to help him and proceed to direct his every move. "No, sir, if you just try tilting it this way, you can usually get another 1/2 a foot of room back here." "No, no...there...now try turning it to the right...no, the other right..."

He was not happy with my particular brand of generosity. Amy loathes my innate need to direct, too. But it's really only because I have a better spatial sense than most, and can almost always get the leftovers to fit perfectly into the tupperware, and it just drives her crazy that I'm always right about these things. I mean, I can see why, but still. It just is what it is. Accept defeat already.

[And yes, once he stopped fighting the inevitable, it actually DID fit in there just right.]

Meanwhile...

I've got the monsters grabbing their crotches with both hands now because they've had to pee for the past half hour. And, luckily, we make it home just in time for the kids to zoom into the restrooms while I prop open the front door and open up the back of the truck.

"Now what?" I think.

And yes, 4" heels and all, I grab the 6' x 4' box by those plastic strings and not so delicately maneuver it out of the truck and onto the driveway. Then up the stairs. And up the walk. And up more stairs. And into the house.

"Wow, Bubba, look at Mama!" she says.

"Mom, is that heavy?" asks Chago, as he munches on an apple.

And then it's up a few more stairs. And out the back sliding door onto the deck where I proceed to drop it onto my toe. [Yes, my shoes were fine. Thanks for asking.]

"Now what?"

Locate one of Amy's box knives and rip the box to shreds trying to get it open. And then, to my pleasant surprise, it's in a bezillion pieces. Tiny pieces. And I'm thinking that $149 one that was all put together is looking pretty good right about now.

So, I spend the next hour wrestling with the various pieces and parts, and get it (mostly) all put together, except for these "support" brackets that are supposed to go at the bottom of the seat somewhere, but as I couldn't find the holes and have not charged up my Ryobi, looks like we're just gonna be living on the edge with that one.

Hey, it's done...enough. Back off.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

NOT YOUR TYPICAL WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY

I know Well-World Wednesdays are usually chock full of those up-to-the-minute, at-your-fingertips, what-you-can-do-to-save-the-planet-today eco-tips that you just can't live without. So I apologize in advance for switching gears on you like this at the last minute. If you find your day just simply cannot continue without your weekly dose of reuse/recycle advice, head on over to DailyEcoTips.com. Here, today's post is about a slightly different way to help save the world.

-------

So, I received a deletable forward (you know the kind) from a friend yesterday that I actually wanted to forward this time.

But didn't.

And I wasn't quite sure why.

Well, no, that's not entirely true. I didn't forward it because the kid in the picture was black. And I had that moment right before pressing send of 'Am I perpetuating the stereotype of just another black kid in trouble by forwarding this email?'

And then I was stuck. In a proverbial damn catch-22.

Because by not forwarding the email, wasn't I further perpetuating the belief that everyone who is not black is subconsciously racist, however slight, and that by not forwarding the email wasn't I just trying to prove (to no one but myself) that I wasn't, dammit? And if I did forward it, how many of those people would misinterpret my intentions and find it as equally offensive as those little people wrestling YouTube videos and then think I was making some sort of negative commentary on the plight of the black man in America?

F*ck!

So, do I forward? Do I delete? And what does it say or not say about me if I do either?

And the really shitty thing is, the reason I wanted to forward the email in the first place got totally lost in my obsession over prejudice. And I can't help but wonder how often this happens to people on a daily basis. And not just with regards to race, but in situations involving people with disabilities, and people of varying socioeconomic statuses, and religion, and homosexuality. How many times have people stopped themselves from doing the right thing because our hypersensitive, politically-correct-on-steroids society makes them second guess their actions, anticipate the potential misinterpretation of their actions, followed by the inevitable backlash for those actions, and so they just. don't. do it.

If the boy in the picture had been a white saggy-pants skater boy (yes, I do realize that's just another stereotype), would I have forwarded the email without thinking twice?

Yeah, I think I would have.

And that just pisses me off. Because the reason I wanted to share it in the first place was for the same reason it was sent to me initially. Because if everyone had a parent like this, someone, anyone as invested as this woman is (or appears to be) in their child's learning that there are consequences for your behavior (although, I'm not a big fan of public humiliation), well, then this world really would be a better place to live.


And that's all there is to it.

But have it. Comments are open.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

THE SPACETIME CONTINUUM IS NOT UNDER THE BED

My mother has been sending us those classic books for kids for a couple of years now. They've already zipped through Call of the Wild (twice), 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates, Heidi, The Swiss Family Robinson, and on Sunday we just finished Arabian Nights.

So, last night we started H.G. Wells' The Time Machine.

And it didn't even occur to me how difficult time travel would be to explain to the kids.

Not so much because they don't get the going back to the time of dinosaurs or forward into tomorrow -- because the Magic Tree House series and Harry Potter have already lain that groundwork for me.

But the first page, the opening paragraph, was 3 scientists and 2 academicians sitting around the dinner table discussing the intricate complexities of two-dimensional objects versus three-dimensional objects, and why the existence of a fourth dimension (time) is just an unfathomable layer to comprehend, let alone experience first hand.

And when we got to the bottom of that first page I looked at Saia and then over at Chago, and I said, "Ok? All clear?"

Blank stares.

So I take out a sheet of paper and draw a line. Then draw three other lines to show them a square. Pick up the paper and turn it around. Let them hold it. And explain to them that the square has length and width, but no depth. It's two dimensional.

Then we get a box, cut and paste the square onto the top of it. Now the square has length and width and depth. Now it's a cube. Now it's three dimensional.

And now we tack on the simultaneous existence of this cube a minute ago, its existence right now, and its existence a minute from now to get to the fourth dimension. [And yes, I realize this is a very simplified version of the temporal theory of the 4th dimension as opposed to the spatial theory, but as the former is applicable to the story we're currently reading, it's probably best to keep the two entirely distinct from this point forward before my head just up and explodes in a totally 3-dimensional way all over your face.]

And then I saw their eyes twinkle...for just a minute. And then they lost it. And it was just out of reach. Like the first time I read A Wrinkle in Time. Like reading Contact for the third time and still not completely grasping it. Like watching Quantum Leap and trying to figure out what minor thing he may have done that irreparably changed history, and, consequently, the future (man, I miss that show!).

And, no, they don't get it entirely, of course, but they do get that it's HUGE. And they get on some level that although the spacetime continuum is intangible, it is at the same time all around us in every moment. That they are tiny, miniscule, but still relevant organisms. That the universe is limitless, seamless, and flawless. That life is infinite. That opportunities are boundless. That the power lies in the trying. That nothing is an impossibility. And that all progress is borne of the words "why?" and "what if?"

Okay, maybe they didn't get all that in one sitting. But they will. You just wait and see.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

HOW A PUBLIC PARK AND HOT DOGS BEAT TOURIST ATTRACTIONS EVERY SINGLE TIME

So, our crazy visitors finally arrived at 2am on Friday night/Saturday morning after finally escaping their own personal hell with the rental car counter third shift. Kids all tucked in and a bottle of wine later we realized it was well after 4am when we finally decided to call it a night.

Then we got up at 6am with the monsters (and by we, I do mean me), who'd already broken into the guest room and accosted the visiting children (who do NOT, by the way, typically get up at 6-0-0), made everyone breakfast, and got them out of the house and back on the road to visit their family for a few days...all before 11am.

What a freakin' whirlwind.

The rest of the day was, per usual, mostly errands and shopping.

On Sunday, though, we actually made it into the City so that Mommy could play golf with Laura, but the kids and I never miss an opportunity to get into San Francisco to wander around.

But we hadn't gotten two blocks away from the golf course, though, when the kids spotted a playstructure near a cute little residential lake and begged me to stop.

THREE. HOURS. LATER.

I was finally able to convince them to, you know, insert a little variety into our day, and so we hightailed it down to the wharf.

Circling the area, like, 12 times trying to find on-street parking because, please, there was no way in hell I was gonna pay $20 for a garage on a SUNDAY when it was already 5:30. Come. On. But we totally lucked out. Totally scared shitless some poor little tourists on their segways who cut the corner too quickly, but totally snagged a spot less than a block from Pier 39. Totally.

So, we layered up and off we went in search of the perfect bread bowl of clam chowder.

At least we WERE in search of clam chowder initially -- that is, until the monsters saw a hot dog stand and, fickle children that they are, left me with a granito on my tongue as they unanimously decided two gigantic ketchup and mustard smothered hot dogs sounded like THE best meal in the world in that very moment.

Whatever!

But then, of course, that introduced the matter of cash on hand. And, really, who carries cash on them anymore these days? Well, my father probably still does. In that little pocket of his wallet that he used to call a rat hole, out of which always emerged what seemed like hundreds of dollars just when we really really really wanted something at Six Flags or Astroworld or the monster truck rally.

But certainly not me. I'm all about the plastic. The hot dog vendors...not so much.

So, now, in the middle of the tourist whirlpool that is the wharf district, we now needed to find an ATM machine. And I made the mistake of saying it out loud. So that Saia could hear. And worry. Because that's what Saia does.

"So, Mama, we don't have ANY money?!" she cries out.

"Shh, baby. Not so loud. Yes, we have money, just not on us."

"But then where, Mom? Was it stolen?" she asks, furrowing her brow even further.

"No, honey, it's in the bank," I try to reassure her. But explaining the world's financial structure to a 6-year-old while gripping both their hands, conscious of where my purse is at all times, steering them away from the vagrants, and then back the other way to avoid the crazy cab drivers, and nevermind the bezillion people hanging off of the street cars all at once, was not my idea of a teachable moment.

But after two separate attempts, we finally find a working ATM at the back of a t-shirt shop called After the Quake, and as I'm inserting my card, she starts in on me again.

"So, Mama, did you get that card back from the robbers?"

"No, baby," I say, being cautious to look around me as I punch in my pin and wait for my money to be dispensed.

"Well, did the bank give it to you?" she continues.

"Yes, sweetheart, remember we talked about this? I got replacement cards for everything that we lost."

"Stolen," she says.

"Yes, okay, stolen, Saia," I say, getting a little more irritated now, and glancing over my shoulders to ensure that no one's watching, no one's waiting, no one's lurking.

And then the cash pops out and Chago yells excitedly, "Look, Mama! Money, money, money!!!"

"SANTIAGO!!" I hush-yell through gritted teeth. "Hush up, please!"

"Wow," he continues, still thoroughly amazed, pointing and hopping up and down. "That's really cool how that machine just GIVES you all the money you could ever want and you didn't even have to pay anything to get it!!!"

[Yeah. Right. That's just how it works, son.]

And sometime after rejoining Mommy and Laura for a so-so meal and a surprisingly tolerable 1/2 carafe of red table wine at a neighborhood pizza joint near The Presidio, the day finally comes to a close.

And tomorrow they start their 6-week summer program at school, and Mommy flies out again for another week of work, and I get to go back to my Starbucks "office" for a couple of hours a day...until our visitors come back for the weekend.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

INVASION OF THE PEA POD SNATCHER

It's his new thing.

He went from not eating green beans or sugar snap peas or snow peas, or any other kind of pea/bean in a pod to suddenly deciding that they were the greatest thing in the world...

...so long as he could skin it.

And it's odd to watch him do. A little creepy and cannibalistic somehow. (Him doing, not my watching. That's just a sickness.)

But I guess if the price I have to pay for getting him to eat his green veggies consistently is a little scooping up of their unsightly and freshly skinned carcasses all piled in a neat little mound in the middle of his plate, well, hell, so be it.

It could be waaaaay worse. And you know it.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

WELL-WORLD WEDNESDAY (ON THURSDAY): YOGURT CONTAINERS

Got this one from my new favorite site, EcoTips. Much preferred it to the suggestion that I crochet the fucking vegetable netting into pot scrubbers.

Whatever.

I mean, more power to ya if that's your thing and all, but seriously?!? Crochet the plastic netting??? That's like asking me to use leaves when I go potty. Puh-lease! And also...

No. Thank. You.

Here's the extent of my conservationism, people:
  • where possible keep them for storage
  • use them for filling with fruit squash or juice before freezing to make popcicles
  • schools may want to use them as craft materials or paint containers
  • use in garden as pots for seedlings or covers
  • cut into strips and use as plant labelers
  • puncture the bottom of 2 pots, thread a string between them, and then kiddos can use them as a (really really) cheap makeshift phone
Or better yet, stop buying the little individual serving size containers and only buy the larger one which can be better re-used for future food storage.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

THE SAIA AND CHAGO SHOW: EPISODE 8 - THANK YOU, MRS. DALY

In which the monsters make a very feeble and hurried attempt to express their affection and appreciation for their beloved Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Daly.  Maybe we'll try this again in the Fall when they get their new 1st grade teachers and begin to realize how very good they actually had it. 


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

SAIA WITH AN EYE

So, this is about a month overdue, but in sorting through my pics I realized I'd never posted it, and as I don't really have anything else I feel like I can actually put forth today, here it is.

Saia was playing in her room.  There are no boxing rinks, skating rinks, trapezes hanging from the ceiling, or anything else that should cause the child such significant harm, but lo and behold, one average totally uneventful Tuesday afternoon, I hear her shriek in pain.  One long, loud, shrill ear-splitting cry.  Immediately followed by, "Go tell Mama I'm hurt," which at some point became their private code for this is real, stop laughing, and find me an adult with a first aid kit.  But which is also a clue to me that if they can actually mutter those words, then they're probably not gonna need an ambulance.

But he dutifully comes tromping up the stairs, "Mama! Saia's hurt! I can't see if she's bleeding 'cause she won't stop yelling at me, but you better come quick!"

So I fly downstairs and swoop her into my arms and press my hand over her left eyebrow, which seems to be what she's clinging onto, and pull her into the restroom.

When I remove my hand, it's covered in blood, and Chago, who's not really known for his tact...or secrecy...or tolerance for pain, squeals at the sight and juts out into the hallway.

"What, Mama?" she says in between her crying/breathing/gasping.  "Is it bleeding?"

"Oh, no, baby, it's just one of those areas that tends to bleed more than it really means to."

"Like my head?" she asks, referring to the time he "accidentally" pushed her down the stairs and cracked her head open on the banister last year.

"Uh...yeah...kinda like that, honey," I say, recalling how nervous I was about that injury then, stuck between whether to brave the emergency room and risk her contracting TB or something worse, and putting my faith in liquid adhesive bandages, while sitting in a little pool of blood and hair and tears.  Ultimately, having only months prior successfully nursed the exact same injury on Chago (from the exact opposite cause -- i.e., her flinging him down the stairs), we decided to take care of it ourselves, and she appears no worse for the wear.  With only that little sliver of scalp still and forever hairless.

So, off we go to the kitchen for the standard ice pack -- frozen peas.  And I get her all cleaned up, and get all the blood cleared away, and realize it's not as huge as it appeared to be.

And out came the liquid adhesive bandage.  Some disinfectant, a little antibiotic, and we sealed it shut forever.

And the cold washrag on her head helped a little.

The ice cold glasses of apple juice helped just a tad more. 

But it wasn't until I broke out the blender and made the girl an oversize homeade smoothie with vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries that she finally broke...

...and smiled.

Monday, June 08, 2009

MY LITTLE EGGS...OR ARE THEY CHICKENS? NO, WAIT, THEY'RE EGGS...NO...

Found out from our kids' teacher that they were two out of only 5 that scored 100% on their Kindergarten review test at the end of the year.

100%?!?!  

I don't mean to sound shocked.  I mean, I personally have always known they were rocket scientists.  But with the kind of year we've had, and all the trouble they've gotten into, and the constant distractions they've been for one another, and the screaming and the crying and the pulling their own hair out over their math problems and reading comprehension questions and money and time...

I'm just so proud of them.  For retaining it all.  And actually digesting it.  And then being able to regurgitate it on command.  That's just skill, baby.  That shit can't be taught!  I would have KILLED, or at least maimed irreparably, for that talent when I was in school.

And so I'm faced once again with one of those moments where I look back and realize things obviously weren't as bad as I perceived them to be.  Or maybe they were, and it actually was my perpetual insisting that got us to this point.  Or maybe it just comes naturally to them and they survive and thrive despite, and maybe even in spite of, my helicoptering.  Or maybe their teacher fudged their scores to make herself look better.  Or maybe it's just time for Mama to take a very very very long vacation.  Or some Prozac.

Friday, June 05, 2009

LURKING AROUND MY OWN LIFE

Having trouble writing again.

Feeling stuck since the break-in.

But all my replacement credit cards, debit cards, gas card, and even my driver's license began to arrive yesterday, so I guess I should feel whole again.

But I don't. 

Not really.

And I can't put my finger on it.  I only know that when I go diving into my purse for the Purell or wipies or lip liner or glasses that I just knew was there a week ago, only to find it's not because I keep neglecting the repacking of my new purse, I relive last Thursday all over again.  

And yes, of course, I know it's silly to let it linger as long as it has.  And yes, of course, I realize how very lucky we are.  And yes, of course I know how much worse it could have been.  But it doesn't take away the sting, and it doesn't lessen the violation, and it doesn't decrease my anxiety that all my information (and our children's) is still out there...somewhere, despite my best efforts to mitigate the damage.

But I feel a little like a ghost around here.  Like a shadow of myself.  Lurking, lurking, lurking. Ignoring calls from the insurance company.  Ignoring calls from friends.  Ignoring invitations to get together with real live people.

And I want to be done with it. And I need to start writing again.  And I have a lot -- a whole lot of ridiculousness that happened just this past week that I'm really dying to get into the blog.  And I want to.  Because I need to.  And I will.  Soon.  Maybe not today.  But soon.



Thursday, June 04, 2009

KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION AND THE NEVERENDING CELEBRATION

Two hours of sleep. Up late finishing the DVDs for the Kindergarten parents of photos, music, and artwork collected over the past year.  And it was perfect.  Perfect.  Right around 2am.  When I went to validate and burn it, and it told me it was a gig too big.  A GIG!!!  

An hour-and-a-half later, cutting out nearly all of the cool transitions, some funky menus, a really nice credits screen, and a ton of pictures, and I finally, finally, got everything to fit.  And no, it wasn't nearly as great as it was an hour ago, and yes, it looked more like an insurance sales PowerPoint presentation at this point, but my eyes were crossing, I was seeing spots all over the screen, and was seriously battling repeated bouts of narcolepsy every time I ran through the slideshow, so it just was what it was.

GRADUATION CEREMONY

Took them to the mall yesterday and they picked out their own graduation outfits.  All on their own.  And I just stood there, for about 4 minutes, watching them debate fashion versus comfort, and I was getting all teary eyed in my proud mama moment.  And then, of course, they knocked over a display of shoe shine kits all over the walkway and we were all on our hands and knees for the next twenty minutes trying to wrangle all the boxes and wrestle them back into the perfectly stacked cube, but for those 4 minutes, man, those precious 4 minutes, they were just amazing little human beings.

But they did manage to stay clean this morning. And they were so nervous and so excited, and it was all just so adorable.  

Their names were announced one by one.  They lined up on the risers in their red caps and gowns -- caps and gowns, people.  At 6 years old.  It was almost too much to bear.  And I wanted to cry.  Was about to cry.  But again with the pressure to cry, and the tissue boxes being passed around before the ceremony had even begun (oh annoying assumptions), and then the kids, of course, both asking if I was gonna cry again, Mama, when was I gonna start to cry?  

But in between climbing on top of the rickety classroom chairs in my sundress and heels to try to get a better shot over the baldspots and big hairdo's in front of me, and ensuring I was making appropriate eye contact with both of our children throughout the event (you would've thought it might've occurred to someone to, I don't know, MAYBE put them a little closer together), it was just a little more than difficult to try to find that moment in which I could step back and realize that these little creatures that we'd worked for a year a half to have, that I carried to 40 weeks, that I lay on bedrest for 4 months for, that I breastfed for 2 years, that we fed and nurtured and groomed and loved, and have somehow miraculously managed to get to this point without any major injury or loss of limb, that 6 years (over 1/6 of my life) have zoomed past, and that we would never again be here, right here, in this moment, watching those exact faces, with those bright and shiny eyes, with those toothless grins, and, what is that? jelly? is that strawberry jelly on his cheek?  Oh, for crissakes!!

But yes, we were inevitably choked up at several points during the ceremony, none of which happened to be during their extremely loud and overly ambitious renditions of Proud to be an American and We Are the World.  And let's just nevermind the inappropriateness of kindergartners singing about "starting again with just my children and my wife".

THE RECEPTION

The reception was in the same building, just as crowded, ten times as loud, and so so so so stuffy.  And guess what?  Yes, that's right, the damn DVD player didn't even work, so we couldn't play the freaking slideshow I'd stayed up all night finishing.

And then they wanted to take pictures.  With each and every one of their little friends, like they were never gonna see them again.  Like they weren't gonna spend the next 12 years with these people, hating them, loving them, dating them, and breaking their hearts.  It was beyond silly, but cute and adorable, too, and really just about driving Amy past her breaking point.

So, we snapped a final shot of the monsters with their favoritest teacher in the whole wide world (We do love you, Mrs. Daly!!), and headed off to celebrate the rest of their very special day.

Yay! Kindergarten down.  Only twenty-two more years or so of schooling to go!!
  
LUNCH IN BERKELEY

We then dropped Mommy off at the tattoo shop to finish up her latest arm piece (pic to come later) while the kids and I ravaged a local bookstore, and then it was off to Jack London Square for lunch and a stroll along the marina.  The food itself is never all that fabulous, but being by the water always, always calms me, gives me a sense of peace, centers me.  And yes, it IS all about me.  I AM the Mama!!!!


ONTO THE MOVIES TO SEE 'UP'

And Mommy was sooooo not having it.  It had been a full day already, as far as she was concerned.  And after being gone from her building for two weeks, and checking her blackberry every two seconds, she was already starting to get the shakes.

So when I mentioned going to a matinee as part of the neverending graduation celebration, she just curled her upper lip, threw on her sunglasses, and said, well, if there's anything showing at 4.  It was, of course, already 3:44.

I quickly whipped out my iPhone [background music: dun-dun-Duuun-dun-dun-dun  *theme from Mission Impossible*], clicked on my Fandango app, which immediately zeroed in on the closest cinemas to our current location.  Adeptly scrolling down with only my right thumb as I reapplied my makeup in the mirror with my left and announced our choices: 'Night at the Museum 2' or 'Up?'  I began to rattle off times, 5:15? 4:45? 4:30?  Nope, nope, nope, she shot down.  Guess there's nothing at 4, she smirked?  It was now 3:50.

But I was undaunted. And the smoke began to emit from the speakers of my iPhone as we zipped and zapped and scrolled and searched.  And then...there it was.  'Up' at 4pm, and only two minutes away.  Mwuah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!!!! Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVELOVELOVE my iPhone?

From there it was a dead sprint from the truck to the ticket office, to the concession stand, to the restroom, to our seats.  And we still had time to spare!

The kids laughed and laughed.  Particularly whenever there were potty jokes or tooter sounds.  And I cried.  At least 4 times.  It was such a sweet movie.  All about living your dreams.  No matter what.  Taking chances.  Finding your next great adventure.  And about true love transcending everything.  Age, and loss, and death.  

And I looked over at Amy, three seats down, with the loves of our lives between us, having reached such a momentous milestone today, with tears in my eyes and my heart overflowing, and a truly happy and knowing smile on my face.  

And she was asleep.