June 14, 2015: To Infinity and Beyond!

I owe the title of this week’s blog to Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story. But I dedicate it to Theo, who finished first grade this week! We are so proud of him! Navigating a traditional classroom isn’t always the easiest thing for him to do, but he made it through, and I’m pretty sure there is just nothing this kid can’t do when he sets his mind to it! Click here to read more of an update about Theo’s end of first grade.

Meanwhile, Sam was navigating his own school changes. I clearly jinxed it when I said in the blog last week that I hate change when it comes to my kids, and that I’m glad we’re in a steady place. Sam’s preschool ended up having a major (and very unexpected!) shift in leadership this week, and I’m trying to think positively about it. The director was unexpectedly replaced, and with no warning (even to her!). I just went in to pick up Sam and was abruptly informed that there was a new director effective immediately. The atmosphere was very tense, and I was not left with a good feeling at all. In fact, I was kind of a nervous wreck. I looked very hard to find a good preschool for Sam, and I have been very happy with where he’s at. More importantly, he is thriving!

But, I called the previous director that night and talked to her, and I’m feeling slightly more at ease now. She will be staying on as a teacher, so I’m hoping this change in directors will mostly just be an administrative change, and that the school will continue to run in the way it has been. It’s not that I don’t think there are other good ways to run a school, but the way they have been running it works just fine, and the kids are all used to it and do very well with the routine. It’s a really neat group of kids—they are kind and friendly, and the staff there really encourages kindness and manners and teaching the kids to treat each other respectfully. I would like to see that focus continue, and I hope that it will.

Plus, the meal situation has been a godsend for us, so I hope that will continue. The school serves a hot, family-style meal to the children every day. You can pick your child up before lunch, or you can opt to have them stay. Because eating is such a battle with Sam at home, I opted to have him stay. So every day at noon, he comes in from outdoor play, washes his hands, and sits down with his classmates. The children pass the plates and bowls around and serve their food, and they all eat together. Even tiny Sam, with his delay in motor skills, very carefully holds the bowl, takes a spoon, and dishes out his food onto his plate before passing it along. Then he uses utensils, just like all of the other kids, and eats his meal. Then he throws away his plate and napkin and puts his cup in the dirty-dish tub before going to get ready for his nap. And when he wakes up, he again sits down with a small group of children and dishes up a small snack to eat. That’s two “meals” per day that he gets where he’s not spending his time fighting with me and Chris about it, and it has done him a world of good. The new director has made some mutterings about possibly changing up how meals are done, and I hope she will rethink that. It’s been hugely beneficial for Sam, and I’m sure he’s not the only child to benefit from it.

Anyway, there’s not much we can do but wait and see. The new director did make it a point to tell me just how much she liked Sam on her second day there, so I’m hopeful that she will be a good fit with him in the long run. And I’m very glad the previous director will be staying on as a teacher, because she is very kind and warm with the children, and Sam really responds well to her.

While all this was going on, I wrote a book. On carpentry. I’m pretty happy with it—I have gotten some fun interviews with carpenters that I’ve been able to include. (Friends are a wonderful thing! One interview was through a friend of mine, and another was through a friend of Chris’s. I’m waiting on one more that I hope will come through, too.) But, I’m about 3,000 words short on the book (which is supposed to be 17,000 words), so I’ve still got a bit to do. Chris is going through it and trying to embellish for me, because I’ve stared at it for so long and hit a wall! This coming week, I’ll be working on another 17,000-word book¾this one on technical innovations of the Vietnam War. Let’s hope I can find more to say about that than I have to say about carpentry!

As for Chris, he’s still plugging away on his giant project, which is now scheduled to end sometime in the fall. But he got a nice bit of news this week: He gets to go on a team-building week in the fall. And I no longer feel at all guilty about leaving him on solo-parenting duty for two long weekends with the boys, because he’s going to Switzerland for a week! Yes, Switzerland. I’m going to Phoenix in the middle of summer, and he’s going to Switzerland in the fall. (Oh, and he gets to fly business class there and back, which he tells me is quite sumptuous.) Yes, I think this is a fair trade now… J

Speaking of Chris, our eight-year anniversary is this week, so I wrote up a little blog post about it here.

This was a busy, busy weekend! On Saturday, I spent the day with my friend Amber. We took BART into San Francisco, saw Jurassic World in IMAX 3D (highly recommend if you like a good action movie!), and went to lunch at our favorite spot, Burger Bar. I may have found a shake to top the nutella one: This one has vanilla ice cream, coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur, chocolate sauce, and chocolate whipped cream. Mmmmmm!

The excitement didn’t end there, though. Amber’s car battery had died in the BART station parking lot, so when we got back to it in the evening, we set about jumping it. Chris had a set of jumper cables in the trunk of his car (which I had taken for the day to leave him with the van), so we read the instructions and hooked them up. Except we didn’t know what an engine block was, so we had to call Chris and Amber’s stepdad and get them to tell us what an engine block is. Now we know, and we successfully jumpstarted her car. Strong like bull! I was very impressed by us. 😉

On Sunday, we did yard work all day long. Twenty bags of mulch, people! To read more about it and see the pictures, click here!

And so wraps up our week! Theo starts day camp tomorrow, Sam continues school under the new regime, and I try to write a book on the Vietnam War. I think I will be ready for a break next weekend, when Chris and I will leave the boys overnight and go to his company’s annual benefit concert. Shhhh, don’t tell Theo! We have simply told him he’s missing “a boring corporate fundraiser.” The only part of that statement that’s a lie is the “boring” part. It is a charity event, and it is corporate. But it is not the least bit boring—it’s a blast! We’ve been looking forward to it all year. It’s a kid-friendly event, but it’s just honestly so much more fun without young children that we’re going it alone. Stay tuned next weekend to hear who the three mystery performers were! They usually have pretty good bands. I’m crossing my fingers for Bon Jovi, who played it some years ago, but who knows. I can think of a few others who would be awesome, too. We’ll see who we get!

Before I leave you with this week’s image gallery, here’s a cute video of Sam doing his favorite pastime, which he engages in several times a day. He likes to run laps around our house to get the dogs to chase him. Even sweet old Luna gets in on the action sometimes! It has resulted in a few bonks and bruises, but he so loves it that I don’t have the heart to enforce a “no running” rule!

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