Aug. 20th, 2007 03:49 pm
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So here's this evening's relaxing schedule for the last day of summer...

  • 4:00 pm: Sherilyn drops Kate off for soccer practice at Eureka School.
  • 4:10 pm: Sherilyn, with Robert in tow, arrives at Excelsior School for Class Assignment Night to volunteer (serving pizza to 1000 parents and kids).
  • 5:10 pm: I drop Josh off for his lesson at Tricks Gymnastics.
  • 5:30 pm: I pick up Kate from Eureka. Note this is at another school in the same district, likely also having a Class Assignment Night, so parking will be ... interesting.
  • 5:40 pm: (hopefully!) I arrive with Kate at Excelsior.
    • collect Robert
    • feed pizza to Kate, Robert, and myself
    • visit first, fourth, and sixth grade lists, posted at various places on the school campus, to copy down each kid's teacher names, room numbers, and known classmates
    • Kate and Robert find restrooms and change into their gis
  • 6:15 pm: I drop Robert and Kate off at Granite Bay Karate.
  • 6:40 pm: I pick up Josh at Tricks.
  • 7:00 pm: With Josh, I pick up Robert and Kate at GBK.
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Sometimes I wish I were in the 21st century. Because then I'd have a digital camera and could post pictures to the internet and there'd be a base on Mars.

But anyway, on Monday Kate and Robert both passed their belt tests -- Kate is now a yellow belt and Robert is orange (second and third ranks, respectively -- they have purple, blue, green, brown, then black after this).

Kate had set herself the goal of getting a yellow belt before the summer was over, and now she has... and man is she a joy to watch. A nine-year-old with a cumulative ten years of experience in gymnastics, soccer, and ice skating, she's pretty coordinated and strong, and when you add brains and attention and enthusiasm... well, she's basically the whole package, as far as I can tell...
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Walking home after walking with Robert to school, I noticed the thin-crescent Moon (only because it happened from my vantage point to be brushing the tips of some trees as I walked, and my eyes picked up the relative movement).

Hey, cool. So I called Kate to come look.

Then I had a thought. Ducked my head inside to check my screensaver -- okay, about ten degrees north-north-east of the moon -- then went back out and peered till I found it. Fixed my eyes on it, lowered my head to be pressing ear-to-ear with Kate, and moved us till it was right at the tip of a convenient tree's top branch. She stared for a moment, then announced that she saw it, then bounced and bubbled with excitement when I told her what it was -- there are, after all, three, not two, solar system objects you can see in the sky during the day.

Time off

Aug. 16th, 2005 07:41 pm
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For the first time in I don't know how long I'm taking several days off from work without a specific plan to go anywhere for most of it.

That said, it's not like we're not actually going anywhere... just that we're still sleeping at home, and doing different things on different days.

I was surprised -- I listed a bunch of places we could go, and the Chabot Center was at the top of both Kate's and Robert's lists. Pleased, though, as I could hang out in planetariums all summer, had I my druthers.

So - this is what we're doing for the rest of the week.

Wednesday - Chabot Center
Thursday - Railroad Museum, then Kate's soccer practice 4-5:30
Friday - K&J to moms group, R with me to buy a bike; bookstore in the afternoon; K&R skating lesson at 5:15
Saturday - Gaea blockade almost certainly happening 12-N where N = { 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 }; if N < 3, perhaps another outing
Sunday - Nothing planned; I'm leaving it open in case (among other possibilities) Joshua decides he wants to go to the zoo

Other stuff, scheduled tentatively:
Kate wants her training wheels taken off (Thursday afternoon)
Robert, board game (Thursday during soccer practice)
Robert needs a bike (Friday morning)
Bookstore run (Friday afternoon)
Viking Hobby run (Friday, with bookstore)
Ladder purchase at Home Depot (Saturday morning)
All three kids and I need our hairs cut (Saturday morning)
Miscellaneous english, math, and science games (evenings and weekend)

Other possible stuff we might alter our schedule to accomodate:
Game with Dave and Carrie / playdate with their kids
Sacramento Aviation Museum
Discovery Museum
Sacramento Zoo

I'm glad to see the kids didn't put the Discovery Museum or the zoo as their top requests -- we've been to them the most, and kids like repetition/reinforcement, but we've done enough of both of those places that I think this week is a good opportunity to do something entirely different.

So. Tomorrow, at the Chabot Center: Read more... )
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Last night when I got home, I found that the six circular magnets on the whiteboard had been spaced around the board, each one with a circle drawn around it and a label. Yellow was 'Sun', orange was 'Hete', blue was 'Sky', red was 'Fire', green was 'Grass', and purple was 'Monntan's Maguste'.

Off on the side Robert had written 'Mountain' and drawn an arrow to the purple magnet's label.

Love my kids. :)
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Sherilyn can't journal about last weekend because she wasn't home, so I will. Read more... )
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A ball game, a three-year-old chimpanzee, mondo shopping, WD-40, a star party plan, McDonalds, vomit, homework, plans down in flames, all in the same day. Read more... )
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My father was 38 years older than me (less 27 days).

Robert's 30 years younger than me (less two months and a few days).

My dad died the year Robert was born - I was thirty. So when Robert is the age I am now, I'll be as old as my father was when he died.

This year I'll become a greatuncle.

And the first presidential election in which I could theoretically have run will be held this year.

Okay, so I may be stretching the significance a bit. :)

When I went to get Josh from his crib this morning, he played and delayed a bit; Robert showed up in his door and said "Happy birthday, Dad." Josh stopped playing, looked up at me, and said "Hahee buhday, Dad." Katie called "Happy birthday, Daddy" from her nest as I left Josh's room with him.

There are far, far worse things than growing older.
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I think I have what Katie had last week. At least I assume so... on Wednesday afternoon I suddenly got an attack of the dizzies. It stayed on for a couple hours and started being accompanied by some nausea and cold sweats, so I called it an early evening and went to sleep for twelve hours at the motel.

Woke and still felt iffy -- got to the office and felt worse after about two hours there, so I made my apologies and drove home, with some difficulty. Got home, collapsed into bed, and have been there more or less since.

Had Katie not had similar symptoms a week ago this would probably be spookier -- I've had flulike symptoms before but never have they just been primarily dizziness. The rest of me feels almost fine, in fact I feel very close to normal as long as I'm lying down and not looking at anything. But my appetite is very low and my stomach does occasionally knot. When I get up and walk around I break out in cold sweat after a few minutes.

I'm also noticing that my dimorphic vision is really hard on my head today -- I don't want the bother of taking my contact lens in and out while I'm sick, so I'm just walking around with one eye useless at distances further than about a foot. Normally when I do this I just ignore it and can do things like read a computer screen by only paying attention to one eye's input. But not now -- I have to type while keeping my left eye closed.

But Katie's been very reassuring. I quizzed her yesterday about her bout with this, and she confirmed she'd been dizzy too -- and in fact this explains why she wanted to spend the whole time lying down, to the point of fighting me when I tried to get her to sit up (to drink water, for example), not even wanting to get up to be cuddled, and whining a lot at intervals. She acted pretty much just like I feel.

And tonight Katie made me a couple get-well cards. "I hope you feyul good", said one. She drew herself and her mom and dad on each card -- three stick figures, one with long hair that curls at the end, one with long straight hair, and one with just a pathetic little scriff of hair on the top. :)

Of course, the ominous part of this is that Katie's sickness lasted six days, with most of the fever and vomiting in the latter half. I've had it now for just about exactly sixty hours, and since the dizziness is abating a bit (and fever hasn't shown up yet) I'd sure like to think I was over the worst of it...

But the cards helped. Anything that releases endorphins, in fact, appears to help out a lot. I plan on being in a good mood tomorrow. (Poor George, though.)
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She came into our room Sunday morning at 6 AM just to throw up at me (she brought in her bucket, wailing constantly, sat on the side of the bed next to me, and threw up into the bucket).

Five days of fever are a bit concerning -- not to mention sleep-depriving. She only slept from midnight to 6 AM the last two nights; guess you don't really need as much sleep if your whole day is spent lounging and doing nothing. She ate almost nothing -- one bite of a given thing (rice, pear, chex cereal, toast) was her limit -- though she drank a lot and whined a lot about hunger.

She had to do quite a lot of wailing each evening before consenting to swallow her Motrin. I think she was concerned it wouldn't stay down, which was a valid concern, but when she's running a 104 degree fever it's generally a better idea to put some medicine into her even if it only partially absorbs.

But she's feeling better. She got out of the house and walked with me down to the corner and back yesterday afternoon, and while she's still conversationally quiet and moving slowly, she's a whole lot better than she was. This morning she's -- not quite energetic, but much better, behaving almost normally. (But her appetite is still low.)


Mar. 26th, 2004 09:27 pm
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Katie was sick yesterday and today. Running a significant fever most of the time.

She's not what you'd call a stoic. Something hurts, she wails. She was wailing about stomach pain at intervals all day - generally she'd be reclined on the couch, more or less comfortable, watching TV, but whenever she heard anyone move around in the kitchen, she'd wail. So we didn't take it all that seriously, given that the wails were more to *communicate* that it hurt than just *because* it hurt -- not that she wasn't really uncomfortable, of course, but it was a bit exaggerated for effect, I think.

Around dinnertime her previous dose of Motrin had pretty much worn off. She was wailing. I came over and gave her another 2-tsp cupful. "Waaaaah," she said. "Auuuuuurrr." I tried to prop her up. "Auuugh," she protested. "Gnnnnuh. I'll do it. Just stay heeeeeeeuuurrrggh." Okay, I stayed. She worked herself up to sitting. "Yaaaaaagh!" she howled. "Nice shirt. Auuugh!"

Blink, blink. "What did you say?"

"I said 'nice shirt'. That's a nice shirt, Dad. Waaauuuugh!" she howled again.

Surreal. Just -- just surreal.

She zonked out around 8 PM tonight -- her fever broke after she fell asleep, so hopefully she'll be better in the morning.
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The following is verbatim, as written out longhand by Katie, who just decided on her own to journal Robert on Saturday:

Robert did not doo his foot prit. He went to his room he got on his bed and srtdid to plae with his lagose and got off his bed and plae with his lagose and wet to his floo and srtdid to plade lagose ther and sdot to go to the bathroom and wet to his room and plade with his lagose and plade and bildid his lagose and bildid evine moor and sdand up and sdrdid to tok then sat dan and loot be hinde and recht inside his lagoe box and bildid moor and sdrdid to tok and bildid a itrsdig thig and recht in to the lagoe box and sdrdid to sig and plade with his lagose.

It's amazingly phonic. ("Itrsdig"!) And pretty durn ambitious for a five-year-old, I think.
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Robert and Katie got into one of their actually very infrequent fights last night -- she was curled up on the couch and he wanted her to move her feet. It escalated to him shoving her feet off the couch, causing her to decide to get off the couch completely, sit on the floor, and bawl. No one was hurt, of course, other than bruised feelings.

I came in and calmed them down (not having seen it, I nevertheless am pretty sure the escalation was gradual, with Katie jerking her feet in a not-quite-kick to get him to stop sitting in proximity to them, him complaining with increasing volume, then pushing them when the dialogue just didn't work), and we all talked about conflict resolution and manners. (I did talk a bit, but mostly listened.)

Near the end, when everyone was calm and sitting on the couch, Josh walked over to me, and quite deliberately shoved himself up against my leg, then stepped back and said 'Hey! That hurt!' (Beaming with his own cleverness.)

I was unfortunately way too amused to be properly horrified at him. :)

I went back in there later, and all three kids were nestled on the couch comfortably. On the floor in front of Katie's spot on the couch there was a whole pile of pillows, on which she was resting her feet. "Robert built this for me!"

Robert got a big ol' daddy-hug.
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It's a few hours after Sat morning cartoons. I'm downstairs. I hear outraged shrieking from Robert's room.

I enter. Robert is sitting in the corner, pouting. Katie is sitting on his bed, pouting.

Dad: "What's going on?"
Robert: "Katie won't listen to me!"
D: "What did you say?"
R: "That commercials are only there to make money."
Katie: "They're not just to make money!"
R: "Yes they are! And --"
D: (interrupting) "Well, they're not just there to make money. What happens is..." (pedantic explanation of how companies make products, then want to sell them, advertise so people will want to buy them)
Katie and Robert listen, occasionally interrupting with observations. I get most of the way through. Then, out of the blue, Katie puts her chin on both fists with an expression that's melting from a hrrumph to a cry.
K: "I want a Glow-a-Lot Care Bear!"
R: "But the commercial is only there to make money! It's not as good as it looks in the commercial!"
K: "But Kailey has five Care Bears! And I don't have any! (starts crying)

It went on from there...
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Sherilyn and Katie (age five) are putting together little craft-project Santa heads. Katie is sorting out two googly eyes for each santahead.

Mom: "I have six santas left. I have eyes for one of the six santas. How many more eyes do I need?"

Katie (instantly): "Ten."

Sherilyn and I just stared. She doesn't usually let on how bright she is.
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Katie isn't very good at accepting compliments (I wonder which mother, er I mean parent, she gets that from?) After I tucked her in and turned off her light, I was telling her how wonderful and special she was, and she put on her big Frowny Face, hid her eyes, and shook her head "no". I presented, as evidence of her wonderfulness, that she is learning to read so well -- and as she couldn't deny this accomplishment, she changed the subject away from the embarrassing reading proficiency to something that she could be more comfortable not being good at, and asked to do some math before going to sleep.

So I started quizzing her on her addition facts -- with a little hidden puzzle.

When I ask her an addition question -- "what's four plus three?" she closes her eyes, and I can see her visualize four things, and three things, and count them -- she moves her lips as she counts: "(one) (two) (three) (four)... (pause) ... (five) (six) (seven). (out loud) Seven!" So I started asking her addition facts in commutative pairs: 4+3, then 3+4; 6+2, then 2+6; 2+4, then 4+2.

It took four pairs, but she started answering the second one of each pair right away -- not *quite* immediately, which would have meant she'd just figured out the game was "each answer is given twice", but rather after a second of thought, which meant she was remembering the previous fact, and had figured out -- on her own -- addition commutativity. With the third successful commutative recognition -- "What's six plus four?" (shut eyes count count count count count count (pause) count count count count open eyes) "Ten!" "Good! What's four plus six?" (think think big grin) "Ten!" -- I laughed and grinned, hugged her, told her "You figured out the secret!" and she, forgetting completely her policy of denying her own cleverness, was beaming and giggling as I kissed her goodnight and left.
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Katie had a moment of pure genius yesterday.

"I have a riddle. What is it?"

It took a moment. Then her parents and brother burst out laughing.
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Josh pointed and pulled, indicating he wanted juice from the fridge. "Okay, okay, I'm getting it." I pull out the juice, bring it to the counter, grab one of his spillproof sippy cups.

"No!" he tells me. "No! Cup!" Wow. He really said "cup". New word.

He's not finished yet. "Awanna cup!" I'm boggled -- diction may be a bit vague even for a two-year-old, but that was a real sentence.

So I pour him a bit of juice in a cup and he eagerly goes to his high chair. Context: normally, when we give him a real cup, he gets only a swallow or two at a time, and the balance of the juice or milk is in a second cup on the table, away from his high chair, to refill as needed. But I didn't pour the second cup yet.

He looks at the cup and the juice. "Nother cup!"

"Did you say "another cup?" Him: "Yeah!"

I've been saying all along I think he's been speaking in sentences, and he just has unclear diction. We'll see if more starts to clear up this way over the next few weeks.

Speaking of a few weeks, Katie has suddenly made a leap, thanks to the marvel that is her kindergarten teacher. "Ccccc... (pause) Uhhhhh... (pause) Llllll... (pause) Uhhh.... (pause) Rrrrrr. Ccccccuuuuulllluuuurrr. Color!" Without help. Two weeks ago she couldn't put a two-letter word together even if she knew both sounds.

Her biggest difficulty at the moment is with the letter H, since she pronounces it 'huh'. So "he" is still "huh-ee" and she doesn't recognize it. She's also listening to, but not yet using independently, the rules Robert helpfully informs her of -- "the E on the end doesn't get sounded, it makes the vowel before it say its name. Except the letter R, because R is so strong and big that the other vowel can't see the E."

And on the topic of Robert: "Hey, Robert. I'm making two boxes of this stuffing mix. One box says to use one and two-thirds cups of water. How much water do I need to make two boxes?" Promptly: "Three and one third cups." (blink) "How did you get the answer so fast?" "Well, one and one are two, and two thirds and two thirds is four thirds, and that's more than one, it's one more third." And he was telling me what would happen on the next page of Harry Potter more or less through the whole evenings' reading, because he'd read and memorized it the day before.
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Just some additional comments on my wife's recent entry.

We had quite the gaming accident at Viking. I bought Hero 5th Edition, Fantasy Hero, Fire and Ice (latest Ars Magica hardback supplement), and the Robin Laws' 'Strongholds' (Penumbra d20 -- support Atlas Games!).

Haven't had too much time to read Hero or FH yet -- but it doesn't look like anything really major changed, just some fixups here and there. More package deals and examples and all good foo. Sometime I'll actually run FH -- never really have yet, except for an aborted attempt a decade ago.

On Sunday we played a clever snake puzzle game, and then Talisman, with the older chitlins while Josh napped. (We didn't finish Talisman.) Then later that evening Sherilyn creamed me in a game of Carcassonne.

Monday was a nice day off -- I did some cleaning up of stuff, and got an actual full game of Talisman in with Robert -- by luck, I got to the Crown first, and won, and he was amazingly cool about it, and wanted to play again immediately. Perhaps he realizes how random the game is and there's nothing wrong with losing.

Katie is starting to do more reading on her own -- better at sounding out words (which is partly the confidence she gets from kindergarten). She has the same teacher as Robert did, and frankly this lady rocks. She called me Monday afternoon (apparently she was calling all the parents) just to ask how we felt Katie was doing, and to let us know that in her opinion Katie was terrific. I still have a lot of guilt over not pushing early reading as much with K as I did with R, but the teacher suspects her enthusiasm and intellect will get her reading within the next month, and I think I agree.

Sherilyn and I have been watching a couple episodes of first-season Andromeda each evening that we've been home lately; we've seen the first eight now, and they're a lot of fun -- good story arcs, good pickup and continuity of previous shows, some cheesiness but enough intensity that the cheese doesn't overwhelm the flavor. (It has sucked since middle of second season, though, since they got rid of the writer who created the show and actually had vision -- and it looks like Tyr has left the show now, which just drops it further into rock-suckage.) In its first incarnation when Wolfe was writing, it was much better than Firefly -- it's like the Firefly characters wanted to be the Andromeda characters, but lacked all the colorfulness. Eight eps of Andromeda shows a lot more about these people than the twelve eps of Firefly. (And Alex Lifeson wrote the main theme song! How cool is that?)

I can even make a geeky char-to-char mapping...
Read more... )
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"Katie, turn around slowly."
"Because there's a hummingbird hovering about two feet behind you."

Sometimes life has moments of utter coolness.


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