binary girl: the secret blog



Archive for the ‘love’ Category

Biking the coast!

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Biking the coast!

Originally uploaded by alibee09

many happenings!

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

+ I got a promotion, yay!
– Katie woke up sort of incoherently crying this morning. She came to bed with me, snoozed for about 15 minutes, woke up crying again, and then went to the bathroom and vomited. :( So, she’s home sick today with Daddy (although she’s much improved now, hurray!)
-/+ Nicky has been also vomiting nearly every day, so the vet looked at him and was worried that he has lymphoma. His blood work came back super good, though — some old liver enzyme values look better, and his red blood cell count is in the normal range, so he doesn’t even look like an IMHA dog! She thinks that the problem might be from his teeth, which need major work, so he’s going to be spending our tax refund for us getting that taken care of.
+ Kiddos have been amazing this week so far. We’re going to have special One-On-One Dinners With Mommy on Thursday and Friday, and I’m excited, except for the fact that both of them are telling me they want me to take them to Johnny Rockets. Save me.
– Sister’s dog is super ill. :( Hopefully we’ll find out more tonight.
+ Got a haircut!
– I’m an idiot and accidentally registered my car as PNO when I thought it was my bike. Correcting this mistake is proving to be a huge PIA.


Monday, April 1st, 2013

Easter was fantastic. A bullet list:

– I learned that you should read the dye kit instructions ALL THE WAY TO THE END. I couldn’t figure out why our eggs looked SO bright but also like they were peeling. Turns out that pure vinegar eats away the outer membrane a bit, oops.
– My parents, sister and fam, and Ava/Shane and fam came over. It was a lot of kids but also perfect. We started with bagels/lox and mimosas before our egg hunt, to keep us from eating each other’s faces off.
– It was supposed to rain all Sat and Sun. The only rain we saw was Sat night, Sun night, and some sprinkles in between. Score!
– I chose to hide non-filled eggs to alleviate the fighting. It worked great — except that I accidentally reused a “golden egg” from school so everyone who didn’t find it (Riley was the lucky one) was jealous. It didn’t award any special favor, but kids… fight over everything.
– I hid 40 eggs and a ton of packets of goldfish crackers and they found virtually all of them in under 5 minutes. The look on their faces when they opened an egg, found it empty, and decided “Meh, let’s keep going,” was great.
– We then took the eggs and performed “magic” on them and they all turned candy-filled! Ava then left most of hers in my garage because she’s bad people.
– We had a delicious brunch of matzah pancakes and bacon. It was fun to cook with my mom (she did pancakes, I was in charge of bacon) while everyone ran around like crazy people outside. Every now and then a fight would erupt or someone would get hurt and I would interviene. (Katie is SUCH A SCREAMER when she gets hurt and is a little tired. She also won “most hurt” award with a bloody nose — at which point we put a movie on.)
– Nap time! Max and Tyler conked out, A/S took their kiddos home for a bit, and the big girls played dress-up and argued a bit. They are very sisterly. :)
– At the end of naps, everyone got to decorate bunny cookies that Caroline made. Watching the kiddos DUMP sprinkles on their bunnies was great. :D At this point, A/S and their kiddos returned from beyond (aka their house), but neither of their kids wanted to decorate.
– I never realized how incredibly verbal Max was for his age until he was interacting with Storm and Tyler. That boy, man, he’s a talkytalk. As is his sister.
– Dinner was lamb, broccoli a la the oven, and artichoke bread from Arcangeli Grocery in Pescadero. ALL OF IT WAS AMAZING. Somehow, Katie ate two servings of broccoli, a ton of lamb, barely any of her cookie, and was still starving when everyone left (ate a string cheese, banana, and yogurt). Max also ate a bunch of lamb and demolished his cookie. Both enjoyed some hot tub time with their dad after everyone left while I cleaned up.

It was great. The kids were super stoked about their gifts (both from us, their grandparents, and their aunt/uncle), but more than that, they were excited to be spending time with their family, as was I — It was definitely the connection I needed with everyone given the difficult behavior we’ve been facing recently. And having my extended fam there (A/S) was frosting on the bunny cookie.

Best. Family. EVER!

itzhak perlman

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Brandon’s coworker had tickets to see Itzhak Perlman at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco on Sunday night, but had some unfortunate event that she couldn’t get out of and offered them to him. He mentioned it to me, telling me that he thought since I’m a violinist, I might have heard of him, and might be interested.

UNDERSTATEMENT. This guy has been famous for the violin nearly as long as my parents have been alive (he made his debut on Ed Sullivan in ’56), holy crap was I! We booked a babysitter and called it a late Valentine’s day present to ourselves. We got there early enough to grab a salad from their cafe (surprisingly delicious) and then sat in our nosebleed seats of doom.

I wish, wish, wish I had brought some sort of long-distance opera glasses, because from what I could see from above of his hands, I was totally blown away. Watching him is ridiculous because he is SO in tune with his instrument, and he ended up playing some horrendously complicated pieces (Dance of the Goblins by Antonio Bazzini OH MY DEAR LORD) flawlessly (or at least, without any discernible flaw in my ears). Here, watch him do it in Russia.

I wish I could just bottle up the amazement I felt watching him. At the end, Brandon and I decided that we should absolutely start doing some duets to inspire (or scare) the kids a bit (he plays piano) and I also felt badly for my violin that I never would play it as well as someone who is truly talented. But! I can do better for it than leaving it in the closet. :D My favorite parts of the evening were after he’d finished the three scheduled pieces and chatted with the audience, although some of their rote laughter made me flinch (oh ha ha ha, he called Gershwin “unknown”).

Also. WHAT IS UP WITH COUGHING AT THE SYMPHONY? Every time there was a pause between pieces or movements, everyone started coughing or clearing their throats. I don’t know about you, but when I cough, I can’t usually hold it until a convenient pause in the performance — it sort of has to happen right then. I assume that people are worried after ~7 minutes that their voices will freeze up so they need to exercise them? Or something?

I earned two awesome dirty looks — one for cheering for him with my voice at the end (old fuddy duddy shot me a sweet mean look for going “wooo!” although I certainly wasn’t the only one), and another for jokingly telling B during the time when Perlman was choosing his next piece that we should yell “FREEBIRD!” To that lady, I shrugged and said, “What, it would be pretty funny!”

Anyway. Perlman. Superb.

five days with the inlaws!

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

My in-laws came for a five-day visit, which went amazingly well. Even though I was looking forward to coming back to work because I needed some “off” time, I already miss the kids a lot. I know that I’m not necessarily cut out for stay-at-home parenting at this point, but I think, had I started with them when they were younger, I might have been a prime candidate.

On Saturday, we started out the day with gymnastics, and then took the kids home for lunch and naptime, when Grandma and Grandpa showed up! We caught up briefly, and then grabbed some pizzas because all the adults were going to go see Eddie Izzard in SF doing a test run of his show. Brandon bought the tickets for me for my birthday, echoing three years ago, when we saw him for my birthday before Max was born. We got to the city early and found parking in front of this guy who insisted on screaming after Brandon’s dad, “IT’S THE BARN GOD!!!!” because he was wearing a red plaid shirt. So, we went with the Barn God and his wife to St Francis Fountain, a diner right near the theater, for dessert and coffee before the show. At the show itself, I saw Eddie walk outside and squeed to Brandon, then squeed some more when we sat down in the third row!!!!111one The show was amazing. I love Eddie Izzard almost as much as I love Ricky Gervais, leading me to believe that I have a thing for atheists, seeing as my favorite comedians (including Brandon) are atheists. Or maybe I just like smart guys. (So, by the transitive law, atheists must be smart.)

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard at the Brava!

It’s okay to be jealous. I’m jealous of me, when I see this pic, and I was the one who took it. :D Eddie talked a lot about religion and politics, and it was very interesting to see the work-in-progress version of a show of his vs the large, arena-style show that we saw last time; I prefer the smaller version, because of the intimacy, and I don’t mind a couple “off” jokes. Also, the crowd around us was fun to talk to, including the lady and her tranny husband showing us pics of their adorable baby. :D

Sunday started off with a huge late breakfast courtesy of Brandon, and then I took a bike ride. It was cold, by the time I got back my ears were totally numb but I felt pretty awesome for having ridden two weekends in a row in the frostiness. (I actually then ordered my own version of the gear of Brandon’s I’ve been borrowing for these cold rides — arm warmers, leg warmers, and then a beanie for my head/ears.) On my way back, I passed the school, where B had taken K/M and the grandparents for some play time; by the time I returned it was time to get Max down for a nap. Brandon and his dad then headed out to work on the boat (they needed to replace the tires and move it to a new storage facility), then they returned and we had huge steaks and I tried a new method of broccoli that was well-received by everyone, including the kids (WUT). We also watched movies and Katie played some (her favorite thing right now).

Monday was chockablock full of activity. It started with the kids’ visit to the dentist, where both kids got a cleaning. Katie was super good (she was very princessy) and Max cried, which I expected, but he was also very good. Max has some decay on a front tooth that I need to watch, and Katie had her first x-ray taken, where you can see her adult teeth and her six year molars lining up. I was extremely pleased with both of their performances — go kiddos!

Katie’s teeth

After the dentist, we went to pick up Grandma and Grandpa (also known as “the short grandma and grandpa”), and then drove to San Francisco, where we met Grammy and Grandpa (also known as “the big grandma and grandpa”) at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. First off: never go to this place on the weekend when you could go on the weekday; it was SO much more manageable, although still very busy, without the huge crowds. We started off by directly going to the rainforest, where Katie dragged us upstairs as fast as possible because she HAD TO SEE BUTTERFLIES NOW OMG. And, she was very quickly rewarded — we had butterflies landing on the stroller, in our hair, and then quite suddenly, one came down on Brandon and he handed it to Katie very carefully. The blue morpho then sat on her finger for — no lie — 20 minutes. She looked like the Butterfly Whisperer, walking around nonchalantly showing all the other incredibly jealous kids the butterfly that had chosen her. (Katie has this pretend game where she pretends to be a princess and effects this disinterested, far away gaze, which she was doing there as well.) Max was very clear that he wanted to only look at the butterflies, not touch them, but he was very quiet as he watched them intently. Quite a few landed on both Grandmas.

butterflies! we are totes holding them, for real!

After the butterflies (round one), we spent some time in the aquarium, where Katie played with Big Grandpa around the jellyfish, and Max spent time with the Grandmas and Little Grandpa looking at lots of different fish. At the big reef/scuba tank, Katie played patty-cake with someone cleaning the tank while Big Grandpa sat with Max and talked about what they were seeing (Max was fairly entranced). Then, we had lunch, which again was only manageable because it was a weekday — I can’t imagine trying to do lunch with that many people on a weekday, considering how crowded it was. We then went back to the butterflies for round two, where I managed to catch two blue morphos (it wasn’t really catching — I sort of put my hand in their way and they landed on me) and then try to hand them to Katie, who missed her butterfly friend and now had the expectation that butterflies just routinely hang out on people for half an hour at a time. No dice, though. Max and I found a butterfly sitting on the ground that I managed to pick up, but none of them wanted to transfer well. On the other hand, both Grandmas were butterfly magnets.

Next stop for us was the earthquake exhibit. Last time I did the earthquake simulation was close enough to post-1989 quake that it scared me and made me cry; this time, it didn’t, but I didn’t exactly think it was amazingly fun, either. :) Max was a little scared, and Katie demanded that we ride it again (but we decided not to, this being the only exhibit with an appreciable line that we didn’t want to stand in again). The pictures from the exhibit were hilarious:

earthquake house #1

earthquake house #2

We then went to see the dioramas and watched the rays for a long time (another thing Max was totally into) while Katie went down to the eel garden, which has a portico that looks up under the rays, to wave to us. The kids made a few purchases using the rest of their holiday gift money — Katie got a bag of colored rocks and a cartoony toy penguin (to accompany the butterfly purse that Big Grandpa bought her in honor of her Butterfly Whisperer status), and Max bought a baby and adult Emperor penguin toy. Then we all separated to head back to our house, and hopefully get Max a little nap on the way. The rest of the night was spent with all the grandparents, and eating some delicious Sancho’s fish tacos and other assorted Mexican deliciousness. :D

I must add that we — six adults — managed to lose Katie twice and not realize she was gone until she was farrr away. Once was in the rain forest (which is a closed environment so she wasn’t really going anywhere) and the other was in the cafeteria. Stellar parenting, yo. (Also, my heart… it cannot take losing a kid anywhere. I’m lucky I’m still alive.)

Brandon woke me up at 1am to tell me he was heading to the ER because his stomach had been extremely painful for a couple of hours. As I am chronically exhausted and had been woken up, my reaction was not what I would call “normal” — I said, “Okay, honey, tell me if you need anything,” and then went back to bed. (Really? That was what I decided was the appropriate response to my husband telling me he’s driving to the ER?) Around 2, he returned, as it turned out the pain subsided (B doesn’t go to the ER ever, so it must have been pretty awful), but they had him on the lookout for appendicitis or gall stones or something. Anyway, we had been planning on getting up early the next day in order to go to Coyote Point/CuriOdyssey at the same time Katie’s class was taking a field trip there, but there was no way in heck that was going to happen — we’d get like, 4 hours of sleep. So, on Tuesday, we slept in and then had a breakfast of leftover steak in eggs (at this point I hadn’t realized that I didn’t tell B I was trying to cut down on meat, and he hadn’t seen my post about it) and then we called our neighbor Lindsay to see if she wanted to go there with us.

I packed up lunches, we met Lindsay, Ellie, and baby Brandon there. We had a really fun time doing All The Things, and it was great having Lindsay, et al, there, because Ellie and my two kids play together brilliantly and were being very awesomely kidlike and imaginative together. Watching the three of them was making my heart warm. :D After a picnic lunch and a little more time playing, we went home, where I put a snoozing Max to sleep and then promptly climbed into bed for a nap while Brandon hung out with his parents.

Oh, we managed to lose Max at Coyote Point — he wandered down the hallway towards the bees/spiders and I had no idea he was gone until someone who worked there told me. Really? REALLY?

When we woke up, we went to Old Port Lobster Shack (a new location to us in Portola Valley that was TOTALLY EMPTY when we arrived, and still very barely crowded when we left) and had delicious lobster/seafood-based food items, and blueberry beer and blueberry soda. Yummy. Oh! And frozen yogurt afterward!

Wednesday was our last grandparent day. We spent it at Happy Hollow, which was completely empty as it’s winter and was a weekday, so we went on a bunch of rides, had lunch, went through the zoo, then we went home for a nap. The grandparents came to swim class (and the kids did really well), and then we wrapped it up with dinner at the Patty Shack, where Brenda had her fill of delicious onion rings. :D

The time off with the kids was challenging, overall; Katie is somewhat obstinate and talks back a LOT (I didn’t realize just how lippy she was until I had the opportunity to get very angry about it repeatedly), and Max is no angel — he is extremely verbal now and will get angry at Katie and tell her that he’s going to “bite yo in da face” (he’s never bitten anyone), or they’ll get into ridiculous arguments that lead to screaming and crying on both sides. At the same time, a lot of the problem is my own patience and desire for down time, and both of my kids are extremely mommy-centric so coming by that down time is difficult (I am thankful for the Sunday bike rides!). I spend a lot of meals surrounded by kids, with one wanting to sit in my lap while the other hollers for my attention, so it was nice having grandparents to divert that attention somewhat. (Also, my MIL is amazing at getting my kids to eat their full meals — I’ve never seen Max pack it away like that before).

On the other hand, I love my kids fiercely, and having all that time with them and my parents, husband, and in-laws was splendid. A+++++++ would do again!

happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

It only took Katie talking about my bday this morning to trigger the response in my husband that today was, in fact, my actual birthday. Ha!

A bunch of fun stuff we did:
On the 29th, Brandon and I went to see Book of Mormon with Ava and Shane. Shane managed to score tickets because he’s an American Express card holder, so my mom came out to watch the kids and we went to see it. Katie was hilarious — as soon as my mom showed up she was literally trying to shove us out the door, and repeatedly asked, “WHEN ARE YOU LEAVING?!” Suffice it to say that my kids love my parents. :D Getting to the Curran was a little difficult because Union Square was MOBBED thanks to the holiday, but we managed it and got to the theater in time to get B a drink (he literally orded an appletini because he’s JD from Scrubs, but they didn’t have the stuff to make it so I ordered him a Cosmo “up”. My husband drinks like a woman) and scope our seats.

We sat in heaven.

Blurry date pic.

The show was REALLY REALLY GOOD! I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. The production was also amazing, really high quality. I feel like between this and Avenue Q, I’ll have a hard time going to many “standard” musicals in the future… but at the same time, I had so much fun at Jersey Boys when I saw it, so I think that I will always love all types of musical theater. :D

After the show, we headed back to get my mom and kids and we all went to a local restaurant called the Patty Shack for burgers and the like. The kids were super wonderful and it was nice spending time with my mom afterward. Oh, and we had ice cream.

For New Year’s Eve, our neighborhood did an updated version of a progressive dinner with appetizers and drinks. Three families hosted, and we were one of the three because I had invited Dina (and fam) and Ava (and fam), but our garage door is broken so B needed to clean our the garage into the house to facilitate the installation of a new door later this week so another family very graciously hosted. We brought the makings for Brandy Alexanders and a brie en croute, and a ton of sparkling cider that no one drank. It was AMAZINGLY FUN, loud, and the combination of kids and families was perfect.

Max is a dragon with a taco (see this book). He’s also wearing our neighbor Ellie’s dress, while Ellie wears a princess costume (next pic).

The girls as princesses.

The overall theme of New Year’s and the surrounding time off were feeling super fortunate for the amazing friends I have, and my kids reaffirming to me what fantastic human beings they are. I said something like this on Facebook, but I’m routinely bowled over by how intensely I love them. Popular media prepares us pretty well for the idea of romantic love and relationships (even though you come away with unrealistic expectations), so I love my husband hugely, but at the same time, I hoped one day to love someone that way and had an idea what it would be like. On the other hand, nothing has prepared me for the all-encompassing, heart-rending adoration I have for my children as not only my kids but as amazing human beings. I’m so lucky to have them in my life!

Today is my birthday! Katie woke up and instantly went, “WHAT IS TODAY?” Me: “It’s my birthday!” K: “I HAVE TO WEAR A DRESS FOR YOUR PARTY!” When I told her that I wasn’t going to have a party, she literally looked completely baffled. Like, why the heck wouldn’t Mommy celebrate her birthday with a bouncy house?! Max figured out how to give real, honest-to-goodness kisses a couple of days before Christmas so he peppered my face with them this AM. Brandon is putting together a couple of things for later this week for me, and I’m at work for the day.

Life is sweet!

Christmas! and gratuitous pics from Kinect Party

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

This holiday was really, exceptionally awesome, even though it rained like cats and dogs three of the four days we were off. :)

Saturday we had gym class, and a playdate with Jonathan and Sophie and their family, where I learned that horribly, offensively bad wine cannot be saved with mulling. I tried — with two different bottles of horrible stuff I got via Groupon — and no matter how good it smelled, it still tasted HORRIFIC. Happily, we had lots of other good stuff (chili queso, and a delicious tomato pie that they brought), but… woof. Katie introduced everyone to her new favorite game, Kinect Party, which she calls “Dance Party” and via which she figured out how to spam my Facebook feed with priceless gems such as:

(lots of pics, #1)

Sunday, we went back to the gym for a birthday party! And then we played more Kinect Party while Daddy spent what was supposed to be one hour and turned into … four hours working on tires for the boat and getting new ones for his car.

(lots of pics, #2)

Monday, it was actually nice out, but all I remember doing that day was making a green bean casserole for dinner at my parents’ and helping Max take a nap. On our way up to Marin, we got snagged in terrible holiday traffic, and spent 45 minutes on 19th Ave in San Francisco from the entrance to the park through to the bridge — and there was no apparent reason for it, but Katie talked the ENTIRE TWO HOUR DRIVE. NONSTOP. And when we tried to get her to be quiet, she came back with quips like, “You worry about you and I’ll worry about me,” “You can’t take away my voice,” and “I get to choose how to act.” The fact that Brandon didn’t get out and walk (he would have probably gotten further than I was driving, considering how slow we were going) still amazes me.

At my parents’ house, we enjoyed time with my sister and her family, her MIL, and my own parents. The kids all played together great and my dad was hilarious at entertaining them with “magic lights” that they could control with their voices. My dad had unearthed a bunch of video tapes of my sister and I as kids, including: holiday orchestra concert (oh dear), Alison’s swimming meets (I was pretty cute but I was not very fast, a point my dad felt the need to narrate the entire time we were watching the video), and Alison and Caroline Do A Puppet Show For Twenty Minutes With Paas Cut-Outs. Oh, and Alison and Caroline Sing On The Deck, and then Alison and Caroline Have Friends Over For Dinner:

(alison in ye olden times)

The kids powered through dinner fairly well, and then we opened presents, which was awesome — we got my parents canvas family portraits, the boys got RC robots and scooters, the girls got these dancy robot things and clothes, and lots of other things. Josh seemed stoked that I a) remembered to bring his gift (last year I LEFT THE WHISKEY ROCKS AT HOME, like an idiot) and b) that it was what he wanted (thanks, Caroline!). :D B got lots of t-shirts, I got a scarf and lots of earrings and some new mixing bowls and a great cookbook.

Oh, and yesterday I found four stocking stuffers that I forgot to bring. D’oh.

The kids fell asleep on the way home, even though Katie was valiantly trying to, at 10pm, keep her eye out the window for Rudolph. So, I put out food for Santa and the reindeer after we tucked our small ones into bed.

Tuesday, Katie came into our room to ask me if Santa had come that night. I sent her back out to check, and she was SUPER STOKED to return and tell Max, who was cuddling beside me, that Santa had left them BOTH a Lalaloopsy doll! We went out to the tree, and on the way I acquired them both some chocolate milk. Then we powered through the presents.

(lots of pics, #3)

I was sort of boggled about how quickly all the presents were opened, even though I handed them out one at a time to each kid. They spent a really long time playing with them afterward, though, which means, to me: success! Then Katie asked again for Kinect Party and they also watched The Lorax. When Max went down for his nap, Brandon and Katie went out to get some cream at the market and had lunch together at Johnny Rockets, and Katie bought Max a Toodee doll that she spied in the market. (For some reason, the doll was stashed with the eggs. So, when Katie declared, “We should get that for Max,” Brandon responded, “I’m not sure that’s for sale — it might belong to someone.” She replied, “No, Daddy, look, it still has the tags. Let’s take it up front and scan it and see how much it costs!”) We rounded the evening with dinner at Ava and Shane’s house, complete with some Brandy Alexanders.

So, to sum up: kick-ass long weekend. My family and friends rock.

damnit child!

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The one present I had bought Brandon that he didn’t know about, I was so excited about that I confessed. So, I bought him something else small, and it arrived today… but I thought the box was the cover for my new phone (ordered on the same day).

I opened it in front of Katie and she wanted to know what it was, but Brandon was right there, so I said, “don’t tell Daddy, okay?” “Okay.” [open] “Ooh, new green oven gloves!”

*head desk*

weekendery — mostly devoid of content relevant to the events of last Friday

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Man, I am so over being sick! However, I seem to be recovering from (yet another) illness (just a cold) and we did lots of fun stuff…

Thursday Brandon and I left work early, surprised the kids at school (including a napping Max, who was for a moment completely turned around by seeing Mommy instead of a teacher), and took them to see Santa at our local mall. Neither of the kids cried, although Katie wouldn’t look him in the face, and we got a sweet photo out of it. Katie told Santa she wanted a Snow White dress and slippers, and then they talked a little about leaving a carrot out for Santa. We spent the rest of the time at the chocolate store, riding the elevator, at the kids’ clothing store, and then at Trader Joe’s, and then we went home and decorated a gingerbread house. The day was totally awesome.

Friday was date night, which was very difficult considering that I woke up with a fever and stayed home. I’m glad I did, though, because it made it easier to completely avoid people talking about the horrible, gruesome events in Connecticut — even it if was splashed all over social media. Knowing that the kids were staying in school through our date, instead of me going to get them to hug the snot out of them, did not improve my mood. We actually almost missed our reservation for dinner, too, because of a fatal accident on the highway near our house that had both freeways and all surface roads backed up for miles — except we sneakily took a very back way and ended up at the restaurant early enough to have a drink at the bar. Then, some teachers bought us shots because we were “funny” and… well… we had a fun dinner :P (I also got a new phone that day — Samsung Galaxy SIII!)

Saturday was the normal gym class business, then we were lazy around the house until we went to a holiday party that night, which we were late for because Max slept an insane amount. I had to wake him up, finally, and got it on video (you can see the moment where he switches from very blearily opening his eyes to recognizing me). Then he and Katie had a bunch of fun and conked out. Sunday was also lazy (but I finally started to recover), and culminated in a) Max smacking his head into the sofa and giving himself a huge bump, b) Max later taking a nap that went so long I woke him up at 5:15pm, c) Katie and Brandon wrapping presents together, and d) Max helping me make dinner, which we ate by the Christmas tree.

All in all: stellar weekend.

my husband rocks

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Brandon rode 100 miles in the Stanford Cancer Institute Canary Challenge this weekend. Some facts about his ride:
Distance: 99.5mi
Elevation: 8,055ft
Moving Time: 06:50:50
Calories: 4,374

Katie has been sick since the middle of last week and was SUPER sick on Sat/Sunday, but she still pulled it together enough to meet him at the finish line. There was a carnival-type event being held there, complete with bouncy house and face painting, and it was HOT, but the kids were great listeners and followed me around well. Every time we stopped somewhere, K would sort of fold in on herself, practically laying on the ground (she did lay down inside the bouncy house), but she also loved the live music and danced for a few minutes. She was also awesome about the fact that I realized, via Life360 tracking, that Daddy was super close to the finish line right as she was sitting in the face painting chair, and she, Max, and I scrambled over there to scream him though the end of the ride:

The best part about it: Katie took off after B, ran to him, and hugged his leg FIERCELY. She was very proud of him. Max, who skipped his nap so we could be available to leave quickly to head down to the race site, was also in great form, and both kids passed out in the car as we drove to Pescadero (way too long of a car ride) to get some garlic artichoke bread for dinner. When we got him, Max glued himself to Daddy for the rest of the night.

I’m super proud of B. He has a tendency to go all-out in everything he does, and this was no exception, but he was sick for a week and a half before the ride and still kicked ass. I mean, the dude rode ONE HUNDRED MILES FOR CHARITY. I think he raised over $1200 (because he donated some of the money he raised to other people on his team so they could get free bike kits). :D

“faster, mommy! go go go!”

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Yesterday, Brandon and I took a spontaneous day off of work to take my parents and our kids out on the lake. Our thinking:

1. Grandpa had the day off — woo!
2. It was a Thursday on the week of Labor Day, so the lake would be abandoned (hopefully).
3. The weather is still rockin’.
4. If the grandparents were there, it would be easier to deal with two newbs on the boat.

Overall, the day was a fantastic success. We only saw three other boats on the entire lake!

We started a little later than last time because my parents weren’t due to our house until 9; at 10, B and my dad went to try to get a portable toilet for the boat and to also fill the tube/donut with air at a gas station. The rest of us piled into my car and got real donuts and some ice, and then we all met at the boat, at which point we started down towards Anderson Reservoir. However, 101 was completely stuffed to the gills with traffic, K started talking about how she HAD TO GO POTTY (which was amazingly annoying to me because we had asked her four times before that and she promised me she didn’t… so we made her hold it until we go to the second marine store — the place B and my dad went didn’t have any toilets in stock) and wouldn’t stop asking for more donuts (when they ran out of donut holes she started telling me I had to share mine). We stopped at the second marine store, K opted to jump in the truck, and the ensuing quiet meant Max passed right out, which was amazing timing because it meant he had his nap in before we even got on the boat and was thus, way less fussy.

We ended up on the lake around 12:30, starting out doing a slow ride up the lake (I sat in the front with K and M, who were fascinated), and then anchoring and having some sandwiches that I had made everyone that morning. Trufax: everything tastes better when you’re on a boat. :D Katie and Max took their sandwiches and ran back and forth between my mom and I (in the back) and Grandpa and B (in the front), gabbing and talking about how we were moving and being on the water and looking at the goats on the hills. Then we tossed the donut in (it’s actually a two-person donut so it looks somewhat like two tires melded together and covered with canvas) and Katie, Max, and Brandon got acclimated for a little while before Katie was demanding that we start pulling them with the boat. I had them going fairly slowly for a while but Katie was yelling “faster, Mommy! GO! Go faster!” and eventually got them up to a speed that had a wake behind us as well. However, we weren’t going QUITE fast enough, and the front of the donut flooded, leaving Max with a face full of water. He demanded to come back into “the big boat” and we pulled K and B alone, with her yelling “FASTER!!!” nearly the full time while B tried to get them outside the wake. They eventually flipped, and she came back into the boat. Brandon then took a turn by himself, until he flipped off, too. (I was just getting started with torturing him, however. MWAHAHAAAA.)

Now was my Dad’s turn — he was on the donut for a good long time, and flew in and out of the wake like an old pro. I took a turn with the kids, then Brandon and Katie took more turns (and flipped out once again), I got a turn at waterskiing — and Brandon actually tried to pull me, and did a great job! We finished up with me driving Brandon, at which point I pulled out all the stops and tried to see how many times I could get him off the donut. Once he actually hydroplaned across the water — and laughed the entire way. It was great to hear him honestly chuckling out there as he flew back and forth across the wake.

Anyway, the end result: the kids were both amazing on the boat; having my parents there was a must because they helped an incredible amount and were also super fun; my back hurts like a mofo from waterskiing but the exercising I’ve been doing since last time meant that physically, I felt much better on skis this time than last; Brandon loves the donut; Katie also loves the donut; Max is sorta iffy on the donut because he’s scared of water in his face; doing these things in the middle of the week means that the lake is more deserted. :D

brandon flying off the donut
Brandon flying off the donut!


thanks, honey

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

IM from husband when I told him I was nervous about a presentation I was giving:
You will be good!
And charmingly akward!
Awkward. Man, that word is awkward to spell.
You’re like a female Hugh Grant with no english accent and better teeth and a non-horsey face.

totally content

Monday, August 20th, 2012

This weekend was pretty fabulous. Saturday, my husband decided to randomly train more for the century he’s riding at the end of next month for the Stanford Cancer Institute so he left early to meet us for a housewarming at Kristin and Andrew’s house (covering 37 miles in just under 2 hours, go honey!). When I got there with the kids, K was passed out but Max was stoically still awake, so Brandon planned on jumping his sweaty self in the pool with the littler kid… except that Max conked out on the sofa while I sat in the car with K. Unfortunately, she woke up prematurely and, as is her nature, this led to an epic meltdown which somehow ended when Brandon started watering the lawn with a hose — I dunno, all I know is that I looked out the front door (I switched off with him after half an hour of enduring her shenanigans) and she was running around naked while he sprayed her with the hose.

The rest of the party went swimmingly, and we came home to have K’s first successful diaper-free night (she’d had an accident the night before… but she woke up in the middle of the night this time, woo!). Then, Sunday, I attached the trailer to my bike for the first time and we all went to B’s work for his work picnic, which included carnival games, tons of food trucks, face painting, hair tinsel (I have blue and K has pink), and balloon animals. Both of the kids were extremely hot and overtired when we left (this time the trailer was strapped to B, because the ride home is much steeper and the only way I can keep him at my pace is to handicap him) so they had an EPIC MELTDOWN which ended as I sang the ABCs to Max from behind the trailer and he passed out. Katie helpfully narrated the ride as we melted (it was HOT, B was wearing a black long-sleeved jersey and somehow didn’t melt off his bike). When we got home, B went to get the dogs from the groomer while I made food for the kids, and then we sat in the hammock while they played in the back yard.

I felt extremely content and recorded this:


Monday, August 13th, 2012

Today is Brandon and my 6th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we took Friday off (our daycare/school had extended hours, meaning we could be footloose from 8am to 11pm) and invited my dad to come down with us and take the newly-repaired boat out on a local reservoir. Luckily for us, my dad was SUPA STOKED (he grew up boating, married a Hawaiian surfer beach babe, and thus Caroline and I also grew up boating) and showed up at our house at 7:15, meaning that he helped get the kiddos ready by waking Katie up (who was extremely thrilled/excited, as compared to her normal “how dare you wake me!!!!11one” attitude) and brought them to school with B while I readied boat things and the cooler.

We then headed to the supermarket to get lunch foods, then to the marina, where we loaded the boat. Off we went, stopping at a local gas station and talking to some other people who were reservoir fans on our way. Apparently, wake boarding is the “new” thing that people do on bodies of water, making my waterskiing talents something out of the past. I’m so old skool.

Anyway, at the reservoir, we learned about another thing that has changed since we last went boating (a dozen years ago): there’s an invasive mussel quarantine on most bodies of water, meaning that your boat needs to be inspected for ANY evidence of having been in the water, and if there’s water on it, you instantly fail and go into 5 day quarantine. Since we haven’t taken the boat out in 12 years, we thought we were fine… except that there was a very small amount of water in the engine compartment from when they tested it (with a hose) after installing the new engine. Happily, my dad and I had been talking to the inspector and he said we’d made him smile and, as an anniversary present, he was going to let us through if we mopped that water up. (It helped that our bilge was entirely empty, showing that really, we hadn’t been in any body of water.)

Boating was awesome. We also decided to do a little waterskiing, since there were three of us and no kids; first Brandon took a turn, and tried an insane amount of times, to the point that my dad was super impressed with his dedication (and his arms were about to fall off). Then, I got in. I waterskiied a LOT as a kid, and was fairly good last I tried, but it had been a long time and I told B that it would be a miracle if I got up on the first go. Then, unbeknownst to me, my dad said something similar to him.

Of course, I got up on the first try. :) The difficult part, for me, was that I could not stay up as long as I used to, and got very tired very quickly; however, I could navigate as well as I could in ye olden days, so I flew back and forth across the wake a few times to try to impress my husband. :P Afterward, we all ate lunch (B volunteered that all food must taste better on the water, something Caroline and I had decided many years ago) and then did a little more skiing. Brandon wasn’t able to get out of the water (but he got close), I had another go, and then we headed in to dock, got the boat “banded” (where they put a band around the cinch on the trailer so you can prove you’ve not been in any unquarantined water and can forgo the inspection the next time), then headed home.

After saying goodbye to my dad, B and I changed into some fancy clothing and headed to Chantilly, a local old-school French restaurant. I had scallops as an appetizer and duck for my entree; B had carpaccio and lamb. All of our food was FANTASTIC. We had Grand Marnier soufflé for dessert, which was also amazing, and our waiter was hilarious and gave me a hug and two roses at the end. :) Then we went to pick the kids up.

Six years (of marriage… 8.5 of relationship goo), two kids, two dogs, one kickass marriage. My husband is my best friend and one of my most favorite, loved people in the world. In the words of the super old grail dude in Indiana Jones: I chose… wisely!

free movie!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

My work has really been bringing awesome back lately; yesterday they rented out a movie theater for a preview screening of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, and allowed us each to bring a guest AND gave us each a $12 voucher for food. It was FANTASTIC. The movie was great, as was the opportunity to see it with my husband and a bunch of people that I really like. (I happen to work with a lot of great individuals.)

Afterwards, B and I went to a local bike store to redeem some groupons and I ended up with a new pair of bike shorts, a new cold-weather jersey, and a convertible windbreaker. I was going to try out the new shorts for a brief ride afterward, but my parents were coming to have dinner with us so instead, I tried to make our house somewhat presentable. :D

Watching my kids interact with my parents is a rare treat. I don’t really know how to describe how special it is to see people who I love so much enjoy each other, but … it’s great. My dad was helping Katie with the slide in our backyard, while my mom played with Max, who called both of them by their names for the first time (“Gama and Ganpa”), as I sat there and marveled at how sweet it was. :D (I was also immensely exhausted, as was Brandon, because the previous night, the kids didn’t sleep a consecutive two hours, and we were essentially awake from 3am on.)

some guy in the game room is laughing in a way that sounds like a crying woman

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

On Friday and Saturday, I attended a Railsbridge event at my workplace that was aimed mainly at women, and it was AWESOME. Not only was my teacher engaging (and he happens to be a coworker, which is great), being at an engineering event where the majority of the participants were women was incredible. It was one of the only times I knew I could talk to another woman and ask her what she did (or where her interests lie) and have it actually be more than marginally related to either my own career path or my skill set. Totally empowering.

The event even had childcare for free, which I took advantage of, and the woman who came down bonded instantly with K and M to the point that my little barnacles willingly went with her, leaving me time to do my thing. These are the same people I need to nearly trick in order to get out of school without tears (Max will usually be led away for food, Katie has this whole production of asking me to stay a dozen times before she acquiesces to pushing me out the door). It was incredibly freeing to be able to participate in the class without feeling guilty that they were upset or needing me, somehow.

I’m totally gonna organize one of these events on my own. I want to do it again! Maybe the hubs will even come (given that childcare thing!)

Sunday was difficult to start; we went on a long bike ride (7.5mi each way) and the kids fought in the trailer nearly the entire ride. On the other hand … Brandon and I got out for a long ride, which felt good from an exercise standpoint (and a “family thing” one, too). At one point, we started riding as fast as we could in the hopes that the wind noise would either divert the fighting/screaming or at least drown it out. The new plan: I will take the ride alone and then come back and B will take one kid, and the next week that kid switches. Who knows if it’ll happen, but it was so wretched riding with that kind of fighting going on. The day perked up, though, when Caroline, Josh, Riley, and Tyler came over… my sis and her fam are good stuff.

Edit: I need to add Todd’s response (from LJ) so everyone can see the amazingness:

Ooh, wait–I know this one!

You take K in the trailer, and leave her at the end of the bike path. You come back for M, and do the same. Now, you can’t leave K & M together, or one of them will eat the other, so you bring K back to the *start* of the bike path. Take B to the end of the path, where I assume he gets along passably with M, and then you make a final return trip to fetch K.

I’m pretty sure there’s a chicken in there somewhere, but I forget where that fits into the puzzle…

because I fancy myself amusing

Friday, June 15th, 2012

From Twitter last night (started while I was sitting with Max in his room, attempting to put him down for the night):

alison b ‏@alibee
I had both kids alone all night… fed and bathed with no fights. Now B is alone with K for five min and she’s screaming. What the heck.

alison b ‏@alibee
Clearly I am the Superior Parent. CLEARLY.

alison b ‏@alibee
I need to make myself a Superior Parent medal or tiara or sash or cocktail.

alison b ‏@alibee
Ack, B is attempting to (unknowingly) best my superiority by sending K to me talking in a British accent, saying things like “toodley pip”.

alison b ‏@alibee
Brits totally say “toodley pip”, right, @dakegra?

mother’s day

Monday, May 14th, 2012

In anticipation of Mother’s Day, K&M’s school had parent’s night out on Friday, so Brandon and I decided that we would use a Groupon that we had for a local eatery and then hit the movies. Brandon’s bro and our SIL were also arriving that night, to stay with us for the weekend, so we arranged to meet them at the movies.

Dinner, at the Redwood Creek Grill, was … meh. I feel like that in the two times I’ve been there, the place is poorly prepared for the kind of business they would expect to get in downtown RWC. First time, even though we got there close to dinner opening, they were out of shortribs. This time, we both ordered them, but our portions were of vastly different size, mine was warm but B’s was half-cold, and they were sauced a TON (which put B off to the point that he didn’t even eat his). However, service-wise, they were great; they gave us each a free glass of wine and gave B a coupon for a free entree at a later date. On a Groupon.

Then, we went to see The Avengers. I had been having back problems earlier that day, and I had taken a muscle relaxant, so … apparently that, mixed with the wine, meant that I was literally unable to not doze off during the movie. This makes me slightly irate at myself because I really wanted to see the damn movie! :P

Afterwards, Aubrey and I went home, while Derek surprised Katie and Max by showing up with B at PNO.

The next day we did our typical stuff; gym class, lunch, and then we spent the day hanging out outside and enjoying the sun (and hot tub). I was still nearly comatose (I am not sure if it was from the meds from the day before or the fact Max woke up four times or what) so my wonderful husband and BIL/SIL let me take a nap. Love those peeps. Then we made ribs and it was nom. Aubrey gave me a massage (she’s a licensed massage therapist) that was in turn totally agonizing and great. :) We ended the night with Thor (which I managed to stay awake through).

Mother’s day was AWESOME. It started out with me sleeping in (hurrah!) and then breakfast of bacon, scramble, and fruit salad. Then we went on a bike ride down Cañada Rd (5.7 miles each way), half of which is closed to non-bike traffic on Sundays; I was on my new bike, K&M were in the trailer behind Brandon, and Aubrey and Derek rode our mountain bikes. The ride was super windy but totally awesome, and we even took a little side-tour to the Pulgas Water Temple because K&M had both conked out. (Disgusting bit: there’s a reflecting pool in front of the temple and I was like, wtf, there’s something that looks like a stick floating in the pool. Turns out… no, it was a dead squirrel floating there. Since it was floating in water it looked all normal and perfect, except that it was underwater. Somehow, I find this scene incredibly disturbing and I’m annoyed at myself for having investigated it.)

conked out

Originally uploaded by alibee09

When we got back to our cars (I totally went all out and sprinted up the hill on the way back and was feeling great about myself until Derek showed up, riding circles around me… damn competitive bikers being in shape and stuff!) we found that one of B’s rear windows had been broken out. Since the door was still locked, and my car behind him was totally unscathed, we think that a projectile from the freeway was responsible, but it was still a bit of a bummer. So, we all drove the cars back to our house, dropped his off, piled in mine, and headed out for a late lunch and some froyo for the kiddos. Then it was back home, where we played more, and had fun with Grammy and Grandpa, and had delicious fish tacos for dinner.

Katie and Max LOVE Derek and Aubrey. It makes me ridiculously happy when my kids feel comfortable and affectionate towards people who I also love and feel comfortable and affectionate towards, mainly because it means those people get to see the side of my kids that I do. Katie and Max also LOVE my parents. So last night was weird in that… they were happy being held by other people, and I almost (not quite) enjoyed a meal without someone in my lap!


I am so happy to be my kids’ mom. They’re the best thing I ever did… well, besides marrying the pretty awesome guy who helped make ’em. :D

My new ride: Trek Madrone 3.1

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

My new ride: Trek Madrone

Originally uploaded by alibee09

fun times!

Monday, March 12th, 2012

This weekend was very enjoyable.

Friday, B and I had date night, while K and M enjoyed “movie party”, aka late night at their school. We had a very delicious dinner with two friends at an upscale restaurant near our house, and I made friends with two random tables of people because I love talking to strangers. (One table had their two-year-old and I walked over to compliment him on his awesome behavior. It turns out two tables worth of people had refused to sit in our section of the restaurant because they anticipated poor behavior out of him, but he was pleasant the entire meal; the other table actually offered us their redwood play structure because their kids, 10 and 12, had outgrown it!)

Saturday saw Brandon heading out to work to do a release, so Katie, Max, and I hung out for a leisurely breakfast and then went to K’s gymnastics class. M was ENTHRALLED by the entire event and, every time K did something, would point her out and enthusiastically say her name. (His communication has developed leaps and bounds recently, to the point where we can have yes/no conversations when he’s out of eyesight because he’s answering affirmatively in the appropriate manner — meaning he means it, and I can understand it. :) Plus, he can nod in an adorable, if over-animated, way.)

B ended up meeting us at gym class, and we were all planning on heading out to Mommy’s Secret Location together, but Max fell asleep on the way home to consolidate cars. So, K and I headed out together while B took M up to SF to see Grandpa at work.

I’ll insert photos later tonight but we ended up going… to the farm! The weekend before, we’d seen a number of people riding horses near our house and K was enthralled, so I thought taking her pony riding would be awesome. We started petting the goats and the baby goats (one of which kept jumping up on K to try to eat her hair), then took a train ride through a little ghost town. When we got back, we did some playing on a big play set and bounce house before heading over to the pony ride. Katie was really funny about the pony and declared that he “wants me to have a really long ride! He doesn’t want me to get off!” as we walked around the little paddocky area. I asked her how she knew and she said he told her, so I asked her what his name was and she declared, “Chestnut!” (That’s the name of her big stuffed horse; it turns out the pony’s name was Cookie.) We ended up getting an extra turn by asking the nice helper dude (as compared to the jerky helper dude who was also working), which Katie thanked Cookie for. Then we headed back to the goats and spent at least 30-45 minutes feeding and petting and playing with them. (She was super into the goats and loved petting them, holding them, and generally being around them. There were two pregnant ones, one that was a week overdue and ginormous, and she thought she needed to make sure it had enough to eat; plus we watched some goats have “milkies.”)

We finished off with ice cream and then headed to Trader Joe’s, where she helped me do a little shopping before heading home. She really loved having alone time with me, and I loved it, too! That night was spent lounging around after our exciting day and I cuddled Max to make up for not seeing him for most of it. (Today K was telling a teacher about the farm and she said, “They had two jumpy houses but Mommy said I couldn’t use one because it was for birthdays only and it wasn’t my birthday.” It’s hilarious what they remember from trips like this.) That night, I had a Google+ Hangout party with a bunch of friends and stayed up FAR too late, laughing my head off with folk who live very far away.

Sunday morning, we decided to head to the place where we have swim classes for open swim. We spent about 2 hours there, and as we drove to the market, Max passed out in the car. (I was surprised he’d managed to stay awake long enough to hit the swim because he was giving me strong “need nap” vibes beforehand, but since he’d missed the farm, I didn’t want him to miss the swim fun. He had a ball, too, so I’m glad!) So, we hit the grocery store, B headed in to shop, and then we all went home and K took a nap while we waited for our friends Valerie, Blaise, Jonathan, and Sophie to come over. The rest of the day was spent outside, and then we made some pizza for dinner and hung out until bedtime. The time change made the day feel very abbreviated but it was still very fun.

Anyway, tldr; LOTS of kid stuff this weekend, a great date, it was awesome, both kids were amazingly well-behaved on the whole and I was stoked about how happy I felt the entire time. :D