binary girl: the secret blog



Archive for the ‘special k’ Category

the goings-on!

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

I’ve started updating much less frequently than in the past, mainly because I feel like both kids are old enough that writing about them is a possible intrusion on their privacy. And, I am CONSTANTLY WORKING. So, in ye old tradition, here’s a listicle!

– I am finalizing a proposal for a panel at the Grace Hopper Conference (in Houston again this year, in October), about redefining the technical interview. I am pumped.
– Max is doing incredible with his reading. He literally sounds out everything, and is already well past where Katie was when she entered Kindergarten — probably a side-effect of having an older sibling, but it’s incredible to watch. He writes these adorable journal entries at school that are practically short-stories in length (so much better than his “this is a cat” lazyman entries of a few months ago).
– Katie’s reading is great, too! She’s already a grade level above, and her motivation continues to grow as a side-effect of being able to unlock more and more information. Her math is also astonishingly good. This is all great, because we’re now investigating some pretty serious testing for her, and it relieves me that she won’t be struggling academically on top of everything else going on.
– I am working way too much and I miss seeing my family. But it won’t be like this for always…

the rare public post

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Looking back over my recent forays into bloggery, it occurs to me that most of this stuff is locked down (with friends-only copies going to Livejournal, which I can’t believe I still use, although the flow of posts there is ridiculously diminished compared to the days of yore pre-Facebook). So, boom! A public post!

I have, as usual, been concentrating on myself as a parent, and the quality of my interactions with both K and M, as well as B. We’ve made some changes at home (mainly between Brandon and Katie’s interactions) which have had the side-effect of mellowing K out a bit — she’s been better across the board in staggering ways. I can’t decide if part of it is that my commute is so much less intensive (seriously, I went from a ~45 min drive to 10 min, it’s amazing in nearly every way) so I’m present to support B more or what, and I am probably jinxing things in every possible way, but I went from such abject panic about our situation at the beginning of the month to satisfaction that it’s making my head spin.

Here’s a little quizlet from FB I gave the kids over the last two days:

1. What is something I always say to you?
“Sweetie bean, you’re my sweetie bean.”
2. What makes me happy?
I’ve got a good one, “I care if you die!”
3. What makes me sad?
“I don’t care if you die!”
4. How do I make you laugh?
Saying “Maxie is a sweetie bean” and then you tickle me!
5. What was I like as a child?
I don’t know!
6. How old am I?
I don’t know? 20?
7. How tall am I?
30 inches tall.
8. What is my favorite thing to do?
Play video games! I mean, make your children happy!
9. What do I do when you’re not around?
Punch your nipple, that’s what I think!
10. What am I really good at?
You are really good at work!
11. What is something I’m not good at?
Saying “nipple”.
12. What do I do for a job?
Work. You sit at your desk and look at stuff on your computer.
13. What is my favorite food?
Holy Toledos! Tacquitos!
14. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Get Legos!
Answers by: Max; 5

1. What is something I always say to you?
“I love you.”
2. What makes me happy?
Seeing me and Max getting along and brother and sister stuff.
3. What makes me sad?
When me and Max fight.
4. How do I make you laugh?
By tickling us and doing silly jokes.
5. What was I like as a child?
I think you had glasses and dark long hair, clothes, shoes, books, and a school.
6. How old am I?
7. How tall am I?
You never told me this! Thirty inches?
8. What is my favorite thing to do?
Be with your family and do stuff with them and play games with them and tickling them and cuddling with them and loving on them.
9. What do I do when you’re not around?
Go to work.
10. What am I really good at?
Making people happy.
11. What is something I’m not good at?
12. What do I do for a job?
13. What is my favorite food?
Mint chocolate chip.
14. What do you enjoy doing with me?
Cuddling with you.
Answers by: Katie; 7

When I talked to them, I found it weirdly satisfying that they replied in ways that make me think that they think I’m not so bad. I spend so much time teeth-gnashing about whether or not we’re totally messing them up that it’s good to know that in their minds, we’re not totally the worst. :P

so big! (inevitable passage of time edition)

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Max started pre-k on July 13. Originally, we had wanted him to go to the same school that Katie did for pre-k, but getting into that place is nigh impossible even for people who have been on the wait-list for multiple years (us) and who have priority through work and sibling (us). They give first priority to city employees no matter when they apply, so that, combined with the fact that they’ve pushed back the starting date of kindergarten a month over the past two years, means that there hasn’t been space for him, and we weren’t willing to wait anymore.

The place where we ended up sending him has been amazing so far — he really enjoys being one of the big kids, but not the biggest, and he’s soaking up information like a sponge. Right know he’s smack in the midst of obsession with Jurassic World (the lego version mainly), as well, so everything is about dinosaurs and Jurassic Park and the like. (He and Katie have been playing through the Lego Jurassic World video game and it’s spawned two of his worst tantrums to date, because he loves it so much but also gets SO incredibly frustrated by it.)

He is not a baby anymore, which I am having a weird time coping with — like, I like it, but I also sort of abhor thinking about his age because I feel like he’s still a baby and he’s very nearly 5. That is firmly NOT a baby. When I went to Maine over the 4th of July weekend to visit userinfosilsbycarr (B made me), Brandon took him to get his first not-by-Grammy haircut and they did the sort of cut which made him look like a full-grown young man as opposed to my little beeble. However, he is still my most physically affectionate and cuddly human, and for that, I am hugely grateful.

Katie is almost through the bulk of summer camps! We made the critical error of having her do different camps every week, so on Mondays she’s having some adjustment issues. Happily, we’re almost through them, though, and she has learned so much. She is reading at a fairly good clip, and worked on things like programming, flying a drone, and going to a marine biology camp and coming home with mud from the bottom of the bay painted on her face like she’s a warrior.

She is a lot more focused in her normal activities, as well — she was awarded a patch for perfecting Form #3 (Greenfields) in taekwondo, and is doing well in gymnastics, too. She can kick-turn and do all of the strokes for swimming, and we can take her to a pool without floatation and know that she won’t immediately perish, which is exciting :D I also can depend on her for a lot more at home, including getting herself ready for things in the day without totally getting distracted (especially if I give her a good reason for doing so — dessert, or screen time, or whatever), and she is trending towards being a driver of positivity in her relationship with Max (except when she’s really tired, and then all bets are off).

Yahoo is pretty demanding, but the kids really are my port-in-a-storm. I’m working hard on being patient with them and in general, I am rewarded. I am happy to be a mom to such awesomesauce little folk.

i hate zoos

Monday, June 29th, 2015

For Father’s Day, we went to the SF Zoo, which was a great day — we parked far away because we got there when the parking lot was full, but had a good walk there and enjoyed the park, doing things that we hadn’t done before (the carousel and the train) and spending a lot of time using the play structure. Which was preferable to me, actually, because I generally hate zoos, and hate watching wild animals in enclosures of any types. (The petting zoo and the bunnies/guinea pigs, etc, I’m cool with, because those enclosures are like their real life places o’ housing… but man, lions? Elephants? Bears? Barf.)

However, there was one moment which sticks out for me because to me, it was fairly horrifying. You know those videos that people take and post online of their child at a zoo (or other place) where they are laughing as an animal lunges as their child through the glass partition? We were all standing at the grizzly enclosure, watching the bears through the thick glass walk towards the water for a dip, and Katie was standing at the very far edge, close to the glass, holding a closed container of cotton candy. Where she was standing was where the edge of the land and the beginning of the water connect, and one bear was walking that way, looked up as it approached, and then tried to just… bite her face off. It hit the glass instead, and didn’t make a sound (that we could hear), and the response of Katie and Max was laughter, but I was completely dumbfoundedly horrified.

I hate zoos.

yet another update

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

I think I am pretty much terrible at blogging these days. Honestly, the issue isn’t everyone moving away from LJ, although that certainly led to me being less constant… right now my life is so dang busy that I just don’t have time. I should actually be working right now, while the kids are in tae kwon do with Brandon, but I am burnt out enough that I figure taking a break isn’t such a bad thing. :)

My commute now that I’m working at Yahoo has gotten significantly longer, which prompted us to get an electric car, since I can use that to sail by a lot of the commute traffic in the HOV lane. Since I just got it this weekend, I don’t have the stickers yet (you need plates first), but I was so frustrated by 101 today that I used it anyway and shaved 10 minutes off my commute — and I didn’t get in it right away or use it the whole distance because I was feeling pretty guilty about doing something that’s probably illegal (although I’m not 100% sure, since it IS an electric car). It is incredibly adorable AND super peppy, which is such a change from my minivan! I didn’t sell the minivan, though, because it’s also VERY wee (a two-door Fiat 500e), and ironically, the van broke down the day after we bought the Fiat. (It’s all fixed now, though.)

In other world news, I’m healing fabulously, and recently apparently became the co-president of Women in Technology at Yahoo, which is exciting! Woo! My team is amazing (as usual) and I’m building relationships with the engineers who are on the teams we integrated with, who are all fairly great people. Max moved into the family class at TKD so the three of them are all taking it together (I’m not allowed to do that sort of exercise yet, it’s 45 days out and I’m still restricted to “walking”).

I went to the Mama’s Night Out fundraiser for Unravel (the pediatric cancer charity that Jennifer’s mom, Libby, started), with Ava. It was fun but sobering. I feel lucky to have motivated people in my life who are trying to make change in the world so that our kids have it better than we do.


my baby! and mother’s day

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Today I have time to write a blog post because Max has officially moved up into the family class at tae kwon do, from the Mighty Monkees, where he was a white black belt. They let him start that class months early because he was so focused, and the same thing now. I am so proud, he looks adorable in his little blue uniform.

Mother’s day was pretty great, even though I was concerned going in because Katie woke up vomiting on Saturday morning. We had They Might Be Giants tickets for that night, so I stayed home with the kids and sent Brandon with his friend Greg … partially because I wanted at least one of us to get to go, and partially because he’s been so helpful, taking care of me and the kids when I was recovering. Happily, Katie was nearly fully recovered come bedtime, and better the next morning.

The kids made me breakfast (cinnamon rolls and strawberries, and coffee), and then gave me their gifts, which were mostly handmade and adorable (and they also each gave me a mini Build-a-Bear), as well as chocolates and some stuff from Lush. Then, I went to Marin and spent the afternoon with my mom and sister at the mall, where I spent too much money on a dress for the Unravel fundraiser on the 29th. Finally, I brought my mom back to our house, where she and my dad (as well as our friend Blaise and his three kids … his wife is in Korea right now) all had delicious steaks made by Brandon.

We are pretty much the most routine people ever right now… Katie knows what days are and are not TV days, Max loves Legos and asks me every day if he can have more (he can actually mostly build them himself now which is both good and bad for me ;) ), Nicky and Ash are old and annoying/jerky (in that order).


kid-inclusive valentine’s day

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

We had a little shindig at the house yesterday to celebrate Valentine’s day, by inviting a bunch of friends over with their kids and having a LOT of beef wellington. (Brandon hasn’t made it in a LONG time!) We invited my boss Jason and his wife, and their three kids; Tom, who works on my team, his wife, and their two kids; Sonya, who works with Brandon, and her husband and two kids, and Ava and Shane, our besties, and their two peanuts.

The first, most important, thing that I did for the day was to order a huge bounce house, which was (as always) a hit. Brandon took Friday off to ostensibly work on cleaning, but that turned into him spending all day hitting up all the different shops around to make his menu… smashed baked potato appetizers, filled puff pastries, cheeses, and wine; I took care of the kid appetizers; and then the tenderloin and other assorted food items that are required for making beef wellington. He also developed this special cocktail pear martini with honey liquor that was frickin’ delicious, nom nom.

We also had bubbles, and sports equipment, and the hot tub (with a huge number of small people in it), and the people that we invited all seemed to really enjoy each other’s company, so it’s definitely something I would consider doing again. It made me feel extraordinarily fortunate to have all of the fabulous people in my life that I do. <3 (Bonus: my three-day migraine finally ended by the end of the day! And the puppies, who were at the kennel overnight, were so excited to see us today that when I took a spontaneous aggressive snooze on the couch today, Ash decided to sleep on me while Nicky slept next to me. Puppy love.)

okay, that is enough brain injury for one lifetime

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

This morning at 7, Katie woke up with the classic signs of a migraine: pain in the front of her head, light/sound sensitivity, and nausea. So, I gave her some motrin, put her in our darkened bedroom with a vomit bucket, and tried to get myself and Max ready for the day while Brandon walked the dogs and then helped me with her. She nearly immediately started vomiting, though, and I called the doctor’s office to ask them if there were any rescue meds for migraines when they asked me if she’d ever been diagnosed with them.

“No,” I said, “I’ve had them since I was young and she’s showing all the signs I’d expect. But… she did have this fall yesterday…”

They told me to try giving her some tylenol since an hour had passed, and to push fluids in case she was dehydrated, but she was conked out. By 11, though, Brandon told me that she was vomiting every 30 min and he decided to call our pediatrician. He took her in and at noon they decided that she needed to get to urgent care.

After it turned out that this urgent care didn’t have a cat scan machine for kids, they sent her to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Result? Katie had a concussion from a fall that happened at around 3pm the day before, and she hadn’t shown signs at all until she woke the next day. (Before I tell you what happened, please enjoy this blog/lj post about the last time Katie decided to injure her brain, during which I believed briefly that my kid had died right in front of my eyes.)

So at Stafford Park in Redwood City, they have this thing that is essentially a fixed zipline. In order to get Katie or Max high enough to hold on, we have to almost put them on our shoulders, which we have done numerous times. Katie asked me to help her, and the first time I did, she yelled at me (Katie screams primarily via yelling) for holding on to her too long. Since she is kick-ass at monkey bars, I thought she knew what she was talking about, so I put her on, and pushed her one way (and she hit the end pretty hard, so her body sort of flew to the side, making it clear to me I needed to be less pushy). I then pushed her more softly the other way. Then I pushed her back the first way again, and she suddenly was face-down in the tanbark. She was PISSED AS HELL and also crying, because she was hurt and she told me that it was my fault she’d fallen because she’d told me to stop and I hadn’t. (This could very possibly be true, but I was behind her so if she did, I simply didn’t hear her.) So, I was holding her on the ground, she was crying and telling me she hates me, and I could see that the bridge of her nose was red, and I checked her mouth to make sure she wasn’t hurt and I even thought for a second that I should check her eyes but she was totally alert and unlike the way she was the last time she had a concussion.

We went home, and the kids hung out and played and Katie ate a great dinner (considering the fact that it was a fish dish that neither of the kids liked), and she hit the hot tub, and had a bath, and was totally normal except that I could see a little bruising on her nose and I was actually worried that Katie was going to end up with a couple of black eyes. She freaked out about that, a little, until I showed her how concealer worked and said that we could use it if we needed to. And then she went to sleep and slept all night.

So, the moral of this story is: your kid may not show signs of concussion for more than 15 hours after the injury, and that will make you feel like twice the jerkface parent because a) you were part of the reason they got hurt and then b) you jumped entirely to the wrong conclusion about why the heck they were crying and hurt.

(In other news, Max was again stellar in helping — gold star for Mr. Blondiepants. And Brandon got to take care of his most favorite patient, and go with her to two hospitals. The hardest that I had to deal with was the guilt, the guilt, helping her this morning while she was hurting, the guilt, and then trying to entertain her tonight when she wasn’t allowed screens, books, or much of any activity, to let her brain rest. Oh yeah, and the guilt.)

Also, while he’ll probably never read this, shout-out to my boss, who was trying to convince me constantly today to go to the hospital with her and B. (I declined because I wanted to be able to get out and get Max easily, and because I just started crying when I thought about how this was, ostensibly, my fault. Jewish+Catholic guilt, yo, it’s the stuff.)

old photo catch-up

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Breakfast of champions.

Super strong!

Birthday shenanigans: expanding the portrait wall

The dogs do not trust the selfie stick.

Max selfie

Katie selfie


Monday, December 29th, 2014

I don’t think we’ve had a really good staycation in a while, so this holiday break was definitely welcome. and unexpectedly wonderful. I appreciated the opportunity to not really have things planned out with the kids — even their TKD, swim, and gymnastics classes were canceled for the most part, so having unscheduled time with them was great.

Things we did included:

– Brandon and Katie took their TKD belt tests. They’re both yellow-white now, and Brandon was invited to the Black Belt Club (provided that his parents approve of this). Hee. Katie is actually doing much better in class now that Brandon is there with her, and he has an opportunity to work out himself with either a coach or another dad, so he’s not stuck to her side the whole time.
– Katie and I went to The Nutcracker with my mom, sister, and Riley. The Nutcracker itself was fun. The stuff that came afterwards is covered in a post that barely anyone can read because it’s locked down, yo.
– Random nighttime drives around to look at lights, with hot chocolate and cookies, in PJs. The first time, we came across a street dubbed Candy Cane Lane (Dewey St. in RWC) and we ended up going there purposefully a second time! (It’s a smaller version of the insanity that happens in San Carlos on Eucalyptus.)
– We went to Happy Hollow with Casey. The kids were totally amazing that day and it was a super fun time. :D The kids totally adore Casey, and I loved having time to catch up with her.
– We took the kids on the Niles Canyon holiday train, because our friends Carolyn and Peter were amazing enough to coordinate it so we could all sit together in a caboose! Both of them really enjoyed it, even though they were pretty maxed out by the end.
– Jordan, Elyssa, and Lexi came over; having a day with old friends is always wonderful.

Christmas itself was awesome. The kids were amazing about the presents they gave each other, and us, and the ones they received; it was a little more difficult when we went to my parents’ house later, because having all four cousins together made it a little more grabby-grabby (but not awfully so).

Overall, I think the best gift we gave each other was being together for the week; I got to learn more about their personalities and I finally settled into a more adept version of myself as a parent by the time that it ended. It’s hard sometimes to realize just how big they’ve gotten, because they still feel very little to me, and having time to “turn no into yes” and experience more of what makes them individuals is rewarding.

Feeling too hot, literally. :(

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Feeling too hot, literally. :(

A day out!

Monday, December 29th, 2014

A day out!

Katie, without prompt, explained Hanukkah to Max and I tonight. <3

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Katie, without prompt, explained Hanukkah to Max and I tonight. <3

rain and drought

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

We had a big storm last Thursday, and a bunch of cities around and including ours had severe flooding. I hadn’t realized just HOW LONG it has been since we had some good rain until Max asked me, as we drove, what the noise he was hearing was — the sound of rain on the car’s roof. He asked again when he heard it on his umbrella. In three of his four years, our winters have been dry enough that he honestly wasn’t used to the sound of rain hitting surfaces around him.

One of my favorite childhood memories is of California’s rainy winters, spent inside and warm. When Caroline and I were young, we would empty the floors of our closets and set up little hidey holes inside, with pillows and blankets, and hide in there reading and listening to the radio. I also used to spend much of my winter vacations sitting in front of the fireplace and Christmas tree, reading and lounging around. I look forward to Katie and Max being able to read themselves, so they can do the same (Katie is on the cusp!). It also motivates me to clear out some of the kid cruft in our house (like, hey, diaper table in Max’s room) so we have a warm reading nook. :)

stuff that has happened since my last post…

Monday, December 15th, 2014

1: BrightRoll was just acquired by Yahoo, so I’ve been acquired twice now. One of the VPs who was part of the acquisition of Danger by Microsoft is a SVP at Yahoo… so I guess he’s following me around? :D
2: Katie got her first report card! It was not anything unexpected, and her teacher has really connected with her, which I feel fortunate about. The best part of the feedback was that she’s apparently a very good integrator, so she understands concepts and then explains them to kids in her class who are having a hard time with them using real-world examples. I like the idea that she’s helping other kids learn.
3: My children are ridiculously old. It’s funny that I can still remember when 6 and 4 seemed impossibly far away for either of them, and now they’re well on their way out of those ages. Relatedly: I got rid of all of my cloth diapers and I’m okay with that.
4: The kids seem to think that our money is communal. Katie said taking coins from the change pineapple (not a jar, but a pineapple) to put into her own piggy bank isn’t “stealing” because “it’s the family’s money”, and Max has told me to get “lots of jobs” so they can buy as many presents as they want for themselves.
5: Working with the kids on holiday stuff is so much easier now that they’re older. Decorating for both Halloween and Christmas has been much more communal, but it also means that I can see that the kids need to work on their boundaries (not touching all the ornaments but instead waiting for me to give them ones that won’t break) as much as I need to work on my patience (I literally can only decorate the tree with them in 20 minute intervals before I am so agitated from the near-misses that I’m going to explode). Their independence working on projects (mainly for Katie) means that things like building gingerbread houses goes much more smoothly than it has in the past, and the result is more of their own work vs. something we mostly did for them.

Otherwise, I really like my job, and my family and husband, and am generally smiley! WOO!

I had leftover dye after my touch-up…

Monday, December 15th, 2014

I had leftover dye after my touch-up...

My short people.

Monday, December 15th, 2014

My short people.

katie becomes…. goth?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Last week, Katie came home with holes in her leggings. I asked her what had happened, and she told me she used scissors to cut holes in them, to show people she “had lived a dangerous life.”

I know that there are important times as a parent when your kid comes to you with ridiculously childlike, adorable comments, and you want to be moved to laughter, but you realize that your 6-year-old is deadly serious and that you have to NOT choose this as the moment that you teach them that their upper/middle-class life in a suburb is decidedly not dangerous. So, I did the responsible mom move and choked down my snort as I told her that I understood that she wanted to go for a new look. She looked at me, deadly serious, and said, “Mommy, we have to go and get me dangerous clothes. This weekend. This is not a choice. We have to.”

Things that I learned in the last week that “tough girls” do:
– they don’t care whether or not their clothes are pretty, they just wear what they want
– they wear dark colors

Originally, I decided to take Katie to Hot Topic because I read her desire as a cross between goth and punk. However, Hot Topic has turned almost entirely over to character clothing, and while I literally teared up that she immediately honed in on Sailor Moon (one of Jenna and my favorites from college), while Max whimpered into my leg that the Walking Dead bobble heads were scary, nothing they had was the right size. So, I took her to Justice for the very first time… remembering that moment when I first saw the store from across the way, at The Children’s Place, and never imagined my wee babe would be old enough to shop there.

Katie immediately honed in on a mannequin wearing distressed, paint-splattered jeans. They were cute, I have to say, but I believe this would qualify as the very first time that: a) we tried something on in a dressing room for a reason other than “for giggles” (we had to see if they actually fit), and b) I have bought my kid something marketed as “premium denim.” Then, she picked out this army jacket that was the couture version of the (real) army jacket I wore like religion in high school. MY KID HAS HIT MY HIGH SCHOOL STYLE AT 6. No lie, I teared up right there in the store.

Eventually we did hit The Children’s Place, where she also bought camouflage leggings, black studded leggings, a vinyl black laser-cut skirt, two black sweaters (one with jewel buttons and one with “Love” in multicolored embroidery), and a black shirt with a Santa skull from the boys’ section (where I had to explain to her that buying from a certain section of the store doesn’t make you look like the gender that side is marketed to).

Since then, she has also asked me to paint her nails black (although she asked for shiny), and described herself as “goth”, which I am sure she got from hearing me try to describe her style to a sales associate. Based on the fact that she still has epic tantrums, I think she’s far punkier than goth. :D

My fashion plate

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

My fashion plate

Current status

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Current status