Sunday, March 23, 2008

More Akemi in Monterey

Back to Real Life

Well we sure had a great trip - short though it was. We definitely got our money's worth. We were scheduled to do two days whale watching but I got a reprieve because in Ashley's estimation we saw plenty of whales on our one day out and it was 3 hours out of the day we could be doing something else. My stomach was so relieved. Theron and Ash loved it though, they were at the very front of the boat riding the waves. I was at the back wishing I had a seat belt. It took me almost an hour to inch along the wall with my back plastered against it, just to visit them. Theron was the picture of glee.

It sure was nice to have some quality family time. We really just don't see each other enough, but my goodness, that boy can talk. When he's not talking he's singing. When he's not singing he's making sound effects. When he's not making any sound at all it's probably because he's sliding on his back under the dinner table. Oh, yes, and don't think just because we're on vacation and we love your little face more than life that you can't get in trouble. We needed that quality time just to remind this little person how to sit in a chair and use actual utensils. Ashley and I are going to invent a double-stick tape seat cushion for parents in restaurants.

Here's Theron learning how sea anemones catch their prey.

We explored tide pools, played at the beach, spent a day at the Aquarium, drove down 17 Mile Drive, saw deer and crabs and sea otters and sea lions, etc... We used the hotel pool, we ate A LOT. Ahhh... We stopped to see Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita and got back on the train in San Luis. Ash and I finished the second book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy The Golem's Eye (FANTASTIC!!!!) (I thought the skeleton was SCARY but Ash thought he was funny!)

At the Aquarium

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Art and Entertainment

The recital went pretty well, though Ashley confirmed, very nicely, what I already figured - that it did sound like a bunch of amateurs, because it was. But it was still very grand. I started to enjoy it, hearing everyone all together, and I was so happy and then I lost my place and had to figure it out. Then I started to enjoy it again and lost my place a second time so after that I just gave attention to reading the music and all I really heard was where we were and when to play. We were told to come in formal dress and for some people that just meant skin tight jeans and black vans. I have itchy black clothing and adorable put-you-in-the-hospital shoes for various work events so it was no problem for me.

Then we left for vacation. We knew we wanted to go somewhere for Spring Break and Ashley so happened to get an email from the hotel we stayed at in Monterey two years ago (for a conference). They had a reasonable package going so we booked. I'll have to say I was so surprised Ashley would suggest it because then, as now, we had an ocean-facing room and while I found the sound of the waves to be absolutely dreamy, Ashley could not get any rest because to him the surf sounded like "a dumpster being dragged across a parking lot".

Anyway, then we got this great idea to take Amtrack up here. It is good and very inexpensive, but it's a LONG trip. Only two hours longer than driving and you can read or sleep or walk around, so it's better, but still long. Traveling these days with a 6 year old has a lot of advantages over traveling with a baby:

- He can carry his own bag of toys and treats

- We don't have to haul a car seat or stroller

- I know there's more but, hmm, I can't think of any right now

There are a variety of cons that mostly have to do with his mouth.

Here he is on the train being an angel. This picture was taken around 10:30. We were on the train from 10 to almost 7 p.m. Around 11 a.m. he puts the book down and says to me, "If we're not there in 6 minutes I'm going to start complaining. A LOT."

He did find things to do and one of the more entertaining things on any trip is to buy snacks at 400% markup. We went to the snack bar 3 times. I had a backpack full of treats and he did eat some, but we all know that food from home, nutritious and free, just doesn't cut it.

Anyhoo, our first day in Monterey we took a whale watching tour and saw a bunch of grey whales and some humpbacks. Of course in the Bay, close to shore, were otters and the ever present sea lions.

We did see a bunch of tail flukes but I couldn't get a picture because it happens too fast and I didn't think it was fun to stand there with a camera to my face the whole trip. So here are some whale backs. Theron thought standing at the front of the boat and riding the waves was super fun.

This is the view in front of our room where Ashley saw someone propose. We got their email to send them the picture.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Health and Welfare

Probably the only thing more fun than watching the guys eat brown rice for dinner is a mole check. The doctor said everything is fine, at least at this point, even after all those years of frying on the beaches of Southern California. Nothing needed to come off but she did offer to burn, freeze or cut off anything that was bugging me. She's great.

Theron had an appointment, too, at the dentist. Unfortunately he has to go back because he has two cavities, but he doesn't really mind so much because they have so many fun games and stuff. While he and Ash were waiting a little boy came in with his mom and Theron became the perfect host, "Would you like to come over here? They have lots of fun activities." Then when Ash wasn't looking, he disappeared and was in the treatment room interrogating the dentist, who was with a patient, about how to play the video game in the room. Anyway, we have to make two more appointments and can I just say I've probably had something done to every tooth in my head starting when I wasn't much older than Theron and at no time along the way has anyone ever offered me:
- cartoons and video games
- gas
- chocolate-flavored downers

I have to go and watch them drill his tiny little teeth - what about the mommy? I could use some relaxation.

Ashley said the x-rays showed his top front teeth close to coming through. A few days after the dentist Theron's second tooth, from the bottom front, finally fell out. The tooth fairy hasn't been by yet though because she needs to go to the bank and also she's exhausted because the time change caught her off guard and she needs 17 hours of sleep every day.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Theron and I have colds and we stayed home yesterday. Guess what was on Oprah? The episode was called The Truth About Food! How happy was I? I would have taken the day off just to see this one. It was good because our supplements were running low and I was losing some of my enthusiasm, only some, so Thank you, Oprah! Tonight we ate artichokes (fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin c) and whole wheat molasses quick bread (more iron and fiber and calcium). I watch them eat and think 'yessssssss'....

I finished Kafka on the Shore. I only think I know what happened but I really, really loved it. Now I just need to have lunch with Naomi so we can discuss. She also recommended the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. It was with sadness that I finally put Kafka aside because it requires more than one reading to begin deciphering it, and I was reluctant to start something new, but the first book, The Amulet of Samarkand is immediately fabulous and I can't believe I haven't read these before.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Obsessed with Nutrition

Recently I read a book called The Crazy Makers and now every day I've been making the guys take extra supplements and most nights I go to bed reading about nutrition. Theron grew a quarter inch in about 7 weeks (before my current fixation) and I'm obsessed with putting good things into his little body to make it stronger, bigger, smarter. Before I fall asleep I think about what he ate that day, I look it up, and imagine how it's working in his body. I'm wondering if I can get him tall enough by September to look like an actual 3rd grader. Ash and Theron just eat what I give them. Fortunately we all like vegetables and non-meat proteins, etc, so it's not really a big battle. But it makes me happy. I made a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies with a 1/3 less sugar. They look healthy and taste healthy, though I'm sure they're only "less bad" which is not really the same thing. Theron eats them, though and is willing to accept that they are "cookies".

Saturday there was a book fair at the school and Ash and I were so excited but Theron, a huge reader, was remarkably subdued. Going through the stacks I had a pang of a happy memory of book fairs past. Ash and I kept finding things we wanted to read but Theron was really only interested in the Hulk and a giant pencil with a pointing finger on it. The fair was in the little library and on the shelves we saw Big Duck's doppelganger (that's not really the right word, but I like it) - a newer, cleaner, more hair on his head, version.

Theron with Big Duck, his constant companion