binary girl: the secret blog

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shh!

old photo catch-up

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

things no one asks you if you’re a male engineer, 1 of a series

December 30th, 2014

Since I joined BrightRoll, I’ve been hosting our bi-weekly all-hands engineering demos, where each of our five engineering teams presents their demos for the last sprint to the rest of the department plus anyone else in the company who is interested. (I was actually tasked with re-imagining them, since everyone involved hated how they were going… I think they’re in a really good place now, from the feedback I’ve gotten!) That means that each week I work with our A/V techs on setting up the presentation itself, the remote sharing, etc.

So, at the holiday party, one of the newer techs who I’ve been working with for a few months asks me: “Are you like, the [admin] of the Palo Alto office?”

Really?

My response: “No, I’m the [eng manager guy 1] or [eng manager guy 2] of Palo Alto.”

He looked stunned. But someone please explain to me the rationale behind thinking that an admin runs engineering demos?

staycation

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.

The world’s nicest mom said she’d color this.

December 29th, 2014

The world's nicest mom said she'd color this.

He REALLY likes what we got for Tyler.

December 29th, 2014

He REALLY likes what we got for Tyler.

Feeling too hot, literally. :(

December 29th, 2014

Feeling too hot, literally. :(

A day out!

December 29th, 2014

A day out!

Holiday party goodness!

December 19th, 2014

Holiday party goodness!

Swagger.

December 19th, 2014

Swagger.

Sweet as heck shirt that Tom got me because he’s rad!

December 19th, 2014

Sweet as heck shirt that Tom got me because he's rad!

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

December 19th, 2014

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

rain and drought

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…

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…

December 15th, 2014

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

My short people.

December 15th, 2014

My short people.

Puppy face!

December 15th, 2014

Puppy face!

Two of a kind

November 23rd, 2014

Two of a kind

Robin Hood!

November 21st, 2014

Robin Hood!

A bunch of dorky people and a CEO

November 21st, 2014

A bunch of dorky people and a CEO

katie becomes…. goth?

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