Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new year's eve supper

I was going for a good luck theme:

La Brea Bakery french baguette
Trader Joe's spinach  + artichoke dip

cioppino courtesy of Whole Foods

deep fried fish stick things for the kids, also courtesy of Whole Foods

very quickly sauteed savoy cabbage with a dash of soy sauce and rice wine

rice pilaf with lentils, Whole Foods rice mix in a box, but hey, it works
tater tots for the kids

The kids and I stopped off at the BR for our free birthday scoops. Rainbow sherbet for the Z, chocolate for the O, and strawberry for me. So, no dessert, I think, though we do have some leftover chocolate coins.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

on 2008

I would not say it's been a year of complacency. We've had two job changes, a cross-country move, a major car accident resulting in the loss of my beloved station wagon, and an economy that is not cooperating with our wishes. But all of these upheavals are what makes life less humdrum.

We have our health. We've celebrated five years of marriage and 13 years of a life together. We are parents to two lovebombs of children who never cease in delighting us. We are repairing neglected relationships with family and friends and forging new connections as well. We have our necessities covered.

We count ourselves lucky. Although that knowledge doesn't prevent us from wishing for more creature comforts, we are allowed a little envy. After that wave passes, we emerge to see our children ready for hugs and kisses, the smell of something good wafting from the stovetop, and a stack of books on the bedside table.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

neighborhood envy

Today we crashed the playground and library of the neighborhood where we want to live eventually. It's a little posh, but then again, not too much of SF is not posh these days. The big draw is the convergence of three or four Muni train lines at the tunnel that will take you straight downtown - a beauty of a commute. Plus, the library is cozy with a separate children's room, and the playground is smallish but contained and with a bonus grassy field for running with complete abandon.

It's not to say that our 'hood is unacceptable, but having a more direct commute to the working world makes life much easier. And having a three screen  movie theater within walking distance seals the deal for us. When D-Money and I lived in Tarzana, we were a five-minute walk from the local multiplex and a quick drive from an independent movie place in Encino. In Chicago, we lived in Lincoln Square for a while and loved taking in movies at the Davis, which cost $5 per ticket - perfect. If we stayed in Chicago, we would've hunkered down in LS or headed out to Oak Park with its architectural history and - yes, you guessed it - movie theater on the main drag.

Not so much to ask for, right? Will it happen? We can only hope. And play the lottery a little more often.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

best moment of the day

Because D-Money is home for the holidays and can wrangle O, Z and I had a luxurious half hour of mama-daughter time, which we spent reading. We like Richard Scarry's books for his nearly OCD attention-to-detail illustrations and spend more time talking about the pictures than actually reading. 

I like these impromptu moments. Some nights we don't even get to reading, unfortunately. And I wonder if the kids will remember these positive times or the times when I have had it and lose my temper. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I thought I was immune to caffeine

but it's past midnight and I'm still wide awake. Granted, I took a brief unexpected nap in Z's bed earlier because she wanted a little co-sleeping time. But I'd like to think it was that Thai iced coffee at 2 p.m. I can give or take the 'bucks but Thai iced coffee, how I love thee!

At least I got one private school app done. Woohoo!

Monday, December 08, 2008

we're in an economic downturn?

I wouldn't have noticed because I'm always broke, or close to it.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

what Sundays are like.

A chicken is roasting in the temperamental oven, Z is coloring, it's close to six p.m. and O is still napping. Laundry folded and ready to be put away. Making a to-do list for the week.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

important now

[psst...the pic on the left will make sense if you read the last paragraph in this post first]

This fall I've been consumed with the whole process of finding a school for Z and O. They're spending the next, oh, six or even nine years there, so it behooves us to pick a solid one.

The public schools that we've toured are pretty darn swell. We looked at one top SF public and came away underwhelmed. It's not to say it didn't deserve its good rep, but in comparison with others we've seen, it was comparable to a host of other district schools. We have one that is our top choice - we plan on eventually moving to that neighborhood, the principal is down to earth and straightforward, the parents who led the tour we were on were also down to earth, and the kids looked like they were having a good time. So we'll turn in our app with seven choices and try to forget about the process until late March when the results roll in.

We've toured four private schools as well. They also have their strengths, and, to be honest, they will be a better fit for the kiddos in the long run. However, the admissions process is competitive, based on a number of factors including parent interviews and screening of the kids. It's more personal and, as a result, generates many feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, at least on my part. We'll do our best to provide thoughtful answers to the essay questions, be ourselves at the interviews and tours, and submit our apps, then wait for the March letters.

All in, we're applying to 11 schools - 11 schools that'll work for our family. It's an incredibly stressful experience; even though we've done our research and due diligence, what if we're completely wrong? Part of the whole torment of parenting is that feeling that somehow you're going to screw things up no matter what your good intentions are.


I took Z to a family open house at one of the private schools. It was two hours; I fully expected to stay a hour tops. But Z had a ball. We hung out in the kindergarten classroom for a good hour, took a snack break, then headed up to the library. We didn't even hit the art room (I'm starting to suspect that she, like me, likes to create in solitude) and revisited the kindergarten classroom to close the day. I rarely get to see her in action in this kind of setting, and I have to say it was pretty neat to see her pretend play with these old school Fisher Price Little People toys. We're talking the ones from the '70s, like this a-frame house that I had when I was not that much older than her. Now I kind of want to find one just to have. I know, good luck with that, right?