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Cruising Along

26 May

In the very, very old news department… We went on a cruise! In March. Oops. I’m a little behind in blogging.

Mike’s dad and stepmom came to visit at the end of March. They stayed with us for a few days before the five of us sailed off on a Mexican Riviera cruise. It was a cruise Mike, Michaela and I had done several times before, but it was the first time Bruce and Lynda had been on a cruise.

It ended up working out well that we’d done the trip before because Mike and I were able to ferry our little group around with ease. We have places we like to go in each of the cities, things we like to do. Bruce and Lynda aren’t big walkers, so our trips to town were relatively laid back. We walked a lot less than if it had just been the three of us, but we still managed to hit the high points.

Mike and I sprang for a Neptune Suite, so we had this extra big, beautiful suite at the aft end of the ship. It came with extra stuff like concierge service, fresh fruit delivered to our room every day, an escort off the ship in the tender port, access to a special lounge with very fancy coffees and teas, etc. That was a nice treat. It’s going to be hard to cruise like a regular person in the future!

The cruise was only a week (good thing because as it turns out, Lynda did not enjoy cruising), and it felt so ridiculously short! We usually take 10-day or two-week trips, and I have to say, that second week makes a big difference. We don’t have any international trips on the calendar right now, but I’m counting on the next one to be two weeks long… at least!

Catching Up

17 Mar

I need to be better about posting regular stuff, not just epic weekend stuff. We do so many fun things, and Michaela is so adorable and fun and feisty, that there’s a ton to memorialize day-to-day.

That being said, since it’s been a month since I last posted, here’s a quick rundown of life lately:

Michaela and I went and saw “Aladdin.” It was an amazing performance. The guy who played the genie was so, so talented, and the sets were fantastic. The show started an hour late due to some sort of electrical problem in the theatre, so Michaela and I only made it to intermission. It was 9:30 and she was pooped and had school the next day! So we gave up our seats (which were fantastic– fourth row center) and headed up, which was perfectly fine.

Michaela and her friend Angie did a trapeze lesson! Angie got the lesson for Christmas and her mom generously got one for Michaela, too. The girls were scared at first — as anyone would be — but gave it a try. Angie ended up not being a fan, but Michaela got really into it! She kept going even after Angie had stopped, eventually managing to do a cool trick on the trapeze. When we got home, she told Mike she wanted him to install a trapeze in the backyard.

Michaela and I went to the Ramona Camel Dairy! Yup, it’s just what it sounds like. We didn’t try any camel milk, but we did use the camel soaps, and Michaela even got to ride a camel!

I was named Communicator of the Year by the California School Public Relations Association. I knew I had been nominated, but I didn’t expect (at all) to win, so I was shocked when they called my name. Speechless. That never happens. It was a tremendous honor. I’m so lucky to love what I do, and to get to help make public education better, so the recognition from my colleagues across the state means a lot to me.

We had the tile done on our fireplaces. When we moved into this house, the two fireplaces (one in one of the family rooms and one in the master bedroom) were covered with very outdated stone. We (Mike) took that off, and our wonderful tile guy came a coupe of weeks ago to apply stacked stone to the fireplaces. They look great! There’s still so, so much to do on our house, though…

That’s mostly it. We leave for a weeklong vacation one week from today. I. AM. COUNTING. DOWN.

Epic Weekend

18 Feb

Michaela had a four-day weekend for Presidents Day. Our babysitter wasn’t available on Friday, so I decided to take the day off work, and I already had Monday off, so I got to enjoy a four-day weekend, too. And what a weekend it was!

Friday, we mostly did errands and ran around. Hit Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Costco, plus the doctor’s office for some blood work (for me). Mike was working all day but in town, so when he was done with work, we had homemade pizza and then relaxed in the hot tub.

While I was home on Friday, I went into our backyard to see the state of things. We moved into our house last summer, so this is our first winter here. It’s been a really rainy winter, and our house backs onto a canyon, so I was kind of curious to see how things looked down the slope. In doing my examination, I noticed I could hear water rushing. It turns out there’s a stream in the bottom of the canyon! It sounded pretty full and I resolved that Michaela and I would take a hike in the canyon and do a little exploring.

Saturday morning, I made some yummy breakfast tacos (I’m trying so hard to get more veggies into our diet, so I chopped up a bunch of bell peppers and onions and did them in a scramble) and then Michaela and I headed out for our hike. It was a little cold, but nothing we couldn’t handle in long pants, sweatshirts, and hiking boots. We walked along the trail through the canyon until we got to our house. Then we called Mike to come out onto our back patio so we could wave and he could snap a picture of us. Ha ha!

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Sunday was another day of mother-daughter fun. I took Michaela to the Museum of What: Love Tour in Encinitas. It’s basically an old Walgreens that’s been set up to have Instagram-w0rthy booths where you can snap fun pictures. I found it to a bit overpriced (we had a 20% off coupon and it was like $45 for the two of us. We stayed for about 75 minutes.) but we enjoyed it well enough. Michaela and I went to In n Out for lunch– I was ready for it to be a nice treat, but now that we’re eating out waaaay less, I find most restaurant food to be too salty and too heavy. This was no exception.

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Today (Monday), we were able to convince Mike to come with us to do the Seven Bridges Walk across Balboa Park, Bankers Hill, and Hillcrest. It’s about a 5.5-mile walk, and I did my workout with my trainer today, so my legs are definitely tired! It was super fun to play tourist in my hometown, though. The walk is mostly flat and we did it at a decent pace, with stops to share a sandwich and get a Chai tea latte from Starbucks (for me) and cookies from Trader Joe’s (for Mike and Michaela). Mike leaves tonight to go to Northern California, so it’ll just be me and Michaela for the evening. The hot tub is calling my name!

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Weekend Fun

10 Feb

Lately, it feels like every weekend is jammed packed with stuff to do. Mostly fun stuff, yes, but stuff. It’s wonderful but can also be exhausting. We had a lot of stuff on the calendar this weekend, so I was expecting to be more of the same. But somehow, it was different.

Friday, I stood in front of Albertsons with Michaela as she sold Girl Scout cookies. I’ll admit– it was a little overwhelming. I like kids and am proud of the work I do (at work) to support them, but in real life, I do better with smaller numbers of children. So two hours with multiple children — sometimes antsy, whiny, off-task children — was kind of a lot for me. Mike texted me asking what I wanted to do for dinner, and I told him I didn’t care as long as I didn’t have to think about it. I was giddy when he showed up at the store as our booth sale was ending, took my hand, and steered us (walking, which I love) to a Mediterranean restaurant nearby. He picked out my food and ordered for me, we enjoyed a delicious meal, and then walked back to the parking lot. Mike took Michaela home (“so you can enjoy some peace and quiet,” he said). It was lovely.

Saturday morning, I dropped Michaela at another cookie booth sale and headed to the Museum of Man for Yoga in the Rotunda. I did a lovely hour-long class in the middle of the museum, which was super cool, and then picked Michaela up from her sale. We hung out for a few hours before heading the Lake Miramar to meet my good friend from college and her daughters. The girls scootered and we walked; we went out two miles before turning around and doubling back. My feet were tired, but my heart was happy. When we got home, I hopped in the hot tub while Mike was making my favorite meal: his New Mexico green chile flat enchiladas. Score! I went to bed at like 8 p.m. Don’t ask me what anyone else did because I was sleeping and not worrying about anyone about myself!

Today, Michaela and I went out to breakfast with a friend. Uncle Rich loves Michaela like a grandkid, so it wasn’t surprising when he suggested she order the Bananas Foster French Toast, which is served with ice cream on top. And then he also got her extra ice cream on the side!!! Michaela was in heaven. Rich and I caught up while Michaela basically had dessert for breakfast. Not too shabby for me, either!

Later in the day, Michaela had a friend over for a while. I went and got a massage (soooo nice!). Then we did another two-hour shift at a cookie booth in front of a local grocery store before picking up Mike and going out to dinner.

It was a busy weekend, but it somehow felt very relaxing. Here’s to more of those!

Ouch

3 Feb

It rained cats and dogs yesterday. Michaela was happy, though, because she and her friend played in the rain and jumped in puddles. They came inside to dry off, leaving oodles of water on the floor in our entry way. On our new tile. Which, I learned, is very, very slippery when wet.

I was walking down the stairs after doing a stair climb exercise (I’d planned to go to the gym, but bailed at the list minute– a bad decision, as it turned out) when I hit the tile, slipped, and flew into the air. Next thing I knew, I was sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, having landed awkwardly on my back and wrenching my neck. My right hip is badly bruised and my neck is so sore I can hardly turn my head.

I hopped in the hot tub last night and rubbed some cream on it, but every time I moved last night, it was agony. I got back in the hot tub this morning and rubbed more cream on it, but it still was intensely painful. I managed to make it to Trader joe’s to buy groceries for the week, driving extremely carefully because of the whole unable-to-turn-my-neck thing, but crashed when I got home. When I woke up a few hours later, I popped some Ibuprofen and got in the hot tub again.

It’s bad timing because Mike left tonight for San Francisco for most of the week, but at least Michaela is pretty self-sufficient. If this had happened when she was little and I had to carry her everywhere, I’d be sunk! And, as I keep joking to anyone who asks, at least I didn’t break a hip!

The Little Things

30 Jan

The lady who watches Michaela after school called me today saying she’d hurt her back and needed to go to the doctor. She’d worked out a plan to have her parents watch Michaela, but I didn’t have any meetings so opted to go grab her and spend some hours with my little burrito. I picked her up and we ran a couple of errands before stopping at Jamba Juice (for her) and Starbucks (for me). She did her homework as she drank her smoothie and then we came home, grabbed her scooter and helmet, and went to a nearby park.

Michaela scootered for a bit while I walked laps (gotta get my steps in!) and then she ran into a good friend from school. They played for a bit and we enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day. No polar vortex here!

After her friend left, Michaela opted to play on the play structure while I continued to walk laps. (Side note: This is what’s wonderful about having a responsible child who is now 9. I don’t have to watch her like a hawk; we were at the same place but doing different things, and it was marvelous for both of us.)

She wanted to go on this revolving spinner thing but a littler kid got there at the same time as her. I was so proud because she stepped out of the way and asked the boy, “Do you want to go on this?” When he said yes, she gently spun him around, being careful to not spin him too fast. It was such a sweet moment. Michaela’s big heart makes me strive to be a better person.

When we were leaving the park, the little boy’s father actually stopped us to tell Michaela thanks for her kindness with his son. She didn’t know if she should say “you’re welcome” for his thanks or “thank you” because he complimented her for being a good person. It was adorable.

I’m sorry that our babysitter hurt her back, but I’m also so, so glad!

The Eyes Have It

30 Jan

I have wondered off and on over the years if Michaela didn’t have some sort of vision problem. We had her eyes checked at Kaiser (our medical provider) and they said her eyes were fine, but it was a quick exam and something still seemed off. When Michaela started complaining about headaches and her tutor said she was concerned that Michaela holds books very close to her face when reading, I decided to take action. Fortunately for me, the action was to hit up my college roomie who is now an eye doctor!

I’m so lucky to have Way in my life for a million reasons, and the latest one is the thorough and caring eye exam she gave Michaela when we flew up to the Bay Area last weekend. I know there are eye doctors in San Diego, but I don’t trust any of them even half as much as I trued Dr. Yu. Way spent a ton of time with Michaela, carefully explained what she was doing in kid-friendly (but not condescending) language, and was just as awesome as an eye doctor as she is a friend.

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And to top it all off, after the appointment, Michaela and I went to a super cool park in Berkeley, where we were later joined by Way and Kevin and their two adorable boys. It was really neat to see our kids play together and share snacks and explore. I still can’t believe we’ve known each other for nearly 23 years!

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Thank you, Dr. Yu, for the eye care, and thank you, Way, for two decades of friendship!

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Area

11 Jan

The other night, I made roasted fish and vegetables for dinner. Michaela complained I gave her too many vegetables. When I brushed off her concern, she started to use her hands to measure the veggies on her plate.

“My hand is seven inches,” she said, holding her hand parallel to the length of her plate, then parallel to the width. She started muttering to herself. “Seven…times…three…is 21…,” she trailed off for a minute before triumphantly exclaiming “The area of these vegetables is 21! That’s too many veggies!”

I nearly died laughing, then corrected her claim that her hand is seven inches long. I totally forgot about the whole thing until we got a “happy new year/back-to-school” email from Michaela’s teacher. In it, she wrote that the kids were learning how to calculate area and that they were really enjoying it. Then it clicked! Now I know where that super random “too many veggies” defense came from!

I emailed her teacher back with the story. She responded that she’s been telling the kids it’s a very useful skill to have in real life. Apparently Michaela has taken that to heart.

2018 in Review

31 Dec

Looking back at the calendar to get a sense of what the heck happened in 2018, my overwhelming thought is, “Man! What a busy year!” Mike was out of town a ton, so Michaela and I had lots of time together perfecting our daily routine. But we also did a lot of fun things as a family, just the three of us, including hosting Nibblet, the 2nd grade class guinea pig, during spring break and for a month during the summer, going to a taiko drum performance, and getting Michaela get on the jumbotron at a San Diego Gulls hockey game. We traveled as a family to Oklahoma for a week, and to the Philippines for just under two weeks around Thanksgiving. Mike and Michaela even joined me for an overnight when I was at a work conference!

I feel like this year, I got to spend quality time with friends. We’re at the point in our lives where there’s a lot of 40th birthday celebrating, so there was plenty of that, but also two girls’ trips with college friends this year (one a baby sprinkle and one our usual annual trip).

Michaela and I had many mother-daughter adventures. With Mike being gone, the two of us did a lot of rollerskating, we participated in the 32nd annual Bay Bridge Run/Walk and our third Live Well 5K. We marched in the Women’s March. I chaperoned a weekend campout with her Girl Scout troop. And in the summer, she and I had a girls’ trip to Palm Springs, which was fantastic. I love traveling with her!

We bought a new house in August, which is obviously a highlight, but also the source of a lot of stress! Moving sucks, and our house is still a construction zone. But we have the nicest neighbors, and there are a lot of kids on our new street. They all play together, riding bikes and scooters and jumping on a trampoline that someone has in the front yard. Heck, one family that doesn’t even have kids opens their pool up to the neighborhood kids! Not to mention impromptu dinner parties and sharing drinks and conversation.

Michaela started 3rd grade after a summer of new camps (jump rope camp and Camp Cahito) plus her long-time favorite Zoo Camp. She tried glassblowing! And of course she celebrated her 9th birthday in December.

Family-wise, we lost Grandma Pat in February. Another low point was my mom’s liver cancer diagnosis, but the treatment she had appears to have been successful and she tolerated it very well. That’s a huge relief, although there’s still a lot unknown. We’re at a point where our parents are getting older, which is why it’s nice we’re able to spend time with them. Mike’s mom and stepdad came out in September and stayed with Michaela while Mike took me on a surprise trip to Mexico City to celebrate our 10th anniversary, and Michaela spent her customary week in Denver with Nana and Papa (followed by a weekend trip to Austin to meet her dad for a father-daughter trip).

On the professional front, I ended my tenure on the board of the California School Public Relations Association, was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal 40 Under 40 awards, and picked u several awards for my work from the San Diego Press Club. And on the personal front, I went to several concerns (Erasure and Morrissey– my 13th time!) and got a personal trainer and worked out with her weekly beginning in June.

I have a lot of things I’d like to accomplish in 2019:

My “40 before 40” list has a lot still to do.

Mike, Michaela, and I have talked about a family resolution that each Sunday night, we’ll make pizza and have a board game night at home.

Michaela asked that I re-up my resolution from 2018: spend less time on my phone.

I also want to continue cooking at home more and eating out less, and get back to doing yoga.

Here’s to a happy new year!

Born to Ride

27 Dec

(Much to my parents’ chagrin) we have been remiss in teaching Michaela to ride a bike. I bought her one a couple (few?) years ago, but wasn’t ever good about making time to work with her on learning to ride. We lived on a very busy street on one side, and on a hill on the other, and between that and our busy schedules and the fact that Michaela’s bike is really big because she’s so tall and therefore too big to fit in my car for transport to a better place to learn to ride, well, it just never happened.

The other day, though, I decided we should pick it up again. Our new house is on a flat street, kids ride and play in the street all the time, I’m on vacation, and there’s no time like the present. So we got our her bike, Michaela hopped on, and I walked alongside her while she tried to pedal and steer and balance herself.

Fortunately for both of us, our neighbor Justin was out in his yard while we were practicing. Justin is like six and a half feet tall and built like an oak tree. He’s also the sweetest man I know. He saw us and came out into the street, asking if it was okay if he helped. I told him yes and before I knew it, he was going along with Michaela, one hand on her back, urging her on. “Pedal faster,” he said, “It’ll be easier!” So she pedaled faster and started to get the hang of it. I took over from there and a few short minutes later, Michaela was able to ride down the street, as long as I helped her get started and she didn’t have to turn.

I was so proud of her! I ran inside and got Mike and his mom, who came out to watch and cheer her on. At the end of our riding session, Michaela was thrilled to eat an Otter Pop and I was thrilled to have a kid who can ride a bike!

Today she asked to go out again, so she strapped on her helmet and we did some more riding. She’s getting better at getting going and at turning. I think by the end of vacation, she’ll be able to do it all. We’ll just have to keep up our riding so she doesn’t get rusty!

I’ve long wanted to go on an international vacation and do a biking tour of a city, but there were two main obstacles: 1) Michaela couldn’t ride, and 2) For most bike rental/tours, riders have to be at least 10 years old. I’m so excited we can now cross one of those two things off the list!