Friday, July 24, 2015

Tilting at Lego Windmills

Oh Legos.

I can't decide if I love you or hate you.

One minute I'm ready to buy a bunch more. The very next I'm ready to throw them all out and declare our lives lego-free forever.

My boys, like any other boys on the planet, love legos. I don't know what it is about those little bricks and the young male psyche, but it is a match made in biological determinism. Fated. Sealed.

When Judah first got addicted a couple months ago, I was in hog heaven. I blessed the lego gods for all their technicolor glory as I watched Judah consumed with quietly building for hours upon hours. It's like I just got a free babysitter FO LYFE y'all.

But then, but then...oh my goodness, then...

There was Noah.

Little 2.5 year old Noah. Little chubby-handed, clumsy, fine-motor skill impaired Noah.

Oh yeah, and did I mention he has anger issues? Because toddler.

You add to that molotov cocktail an undying love of building architecturally unsound structures, and there you have it - the bane of my existence.

Noah puts a lego piece on, another piece falls off. He puts that piece back on, and a different one falls off. He makes impossible "staircase" structures that are prone to break if a strong breeze passes through and then tries to stand it up without any support. (Surprise, it breaks). He needs help but refuses any because "I do myself! Nobody help me!" He sometimes finally makes something completely and then runs to show me only to have it break off during his un-careful transit...

Taken 0.23 seconds before his creation broke apart.

Let's just say Noah melts down in wailing frustration every 3-5 minutes. All. Day. Long.

My nerves are very, very frayed.

So I packed up all the legos today and took out much more age-appropriate mega-blocks and bristle-blocks. Noah melted down in fury - Lego! I want Lego!!!!!

Judah, ironically, accepted it and started building with the bristle-blocks.

But Noah, chubby-handed, uncoordinated, easily-angered Noah.

Just. Shoot. Me. Now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Twenty Minutes to Eternity

This afternoon we were chillaxin' in our backyard, mellowed out in the 90 degree heat, when Judah grabs my iPhone and starts snapping away.

All these pics were taken by him (and a lot more that I didn't include) in the span of about 20 minutes. The life and times of an almost 5 year old on a random day in Summer - one day I'm certain I will want to live in these photos forever.

Noah enters the scene - the plot thickens, as always.

So many lunches and snacks get consumed on this spot.

Our shady backyard - the most used "room" in our house!

I thought I was watching Judah take a selfie - nope, apparently not.

This pool was perfect for the kids 2 years ago - they need to stop growing already!

Our new play structure - a gift from our neighbors.

Judah took a million pictures of this structure - it's like he's trying to sell it on craigslist.

One of the many pics of various angles of the structure - I deleted an album full.

The spot where Judah has an "office" and digs for dinosaur bones, and irreparably damages all his pants.

Judah kept telling us to say "Aaaaaah-baaaaah" which is kind of like saying "cheese." We cheerfully complied.

Another craigslist item for sale?

The essence of Noah - oblivious and sipping mango juice.

Judah discovers he can turn the camera on himself.

Judah attempts to do a group selfie but I end up using my longer and much steadier arm.

Me and my faithful sidekicks - every day all day.

Judah wanted a selfie with just me. Now that he's getting older and much more independent, I try to kiss him as much as he'll let me.

Judah loved the "kissing selfie" and wanted one of him kissing me. I forgot who pressed the button but I'm glad someone did.

Judah claims he will always love me and will force his poor wife to live right next door to me and have dinner with me every day. He denies, with tears in his eyes even, that he will ever move far away. But observing all the sons in the world who maintain great distances from their mothers, I'm not holding my breath.

But on this day, on this afternoon, we had it all.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

On a clear day you can see for miles

Every week, now that the Spouse is on sabbatical, we try to do one "fun" family outing.

Last week we went to the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley. It's a pretty awesome science museum with lots of kid-friendly displays, but I could tell 99% of it went right past Judah's head.

Judah stands in front of his robot - Noah could not hold still for ANYTHING.

But at least we still had fun "building" a robot and we got to spend it with his cousins (only one of them pictured here).

These kids have so much Berkeley in their genes - they would repel all things Stanford.

I can't wait until the kids are a couple years older. I can imagine us going here often and hanging out at Berkeley the rest of the day. Gosh darn it I love Berkeley.

I love the vibe of the city - the grittiness and hippy-dippyness and general love of sticking a giant metaphorical middle finger in the eye of convention and authority.

And it's also where the Spouse and I met, a thousand years ago when I was a sophomore and he was a senior. There is an amazing view of the Berkeley/Oakland/SF area at Lawrence Hall and I forced the Spouse to do something he hates - take a selfie.

I love "our" city...oh yeah, and this guy standing next to me too.

He tried to get Campanile (the Berkeley bell tower) - the location of so many early dating memories - in the middle of our shot and he did a pretty good job...but screwed up his facial expression in the process, oh well.

We went on a pretty clear day and it was such a treat to look down and see with such clarity all the places I've been. This picture is my whole adult life -from age 18 to when we moved away 2 years ago.

Home sweet home.

All the angst and coming-of-age confusion and despair. On this clear day, I saw for miles.

Friday, July 03, 2015


I finally got a smart phone 4 weeks ago and now I feel like I have SO MUCH TO BLOG.

I have taken exponentially more pictures and videos in the last 4 weeks than I have in the last 4 years. No joke. Ok, slight exaggeration. But only SLIGHT.

Am I glad for all the excess content? Not more more? Or is less more?

Jury's still out I suppose.

Either way, I better get cracking with the blog entries cuz I got way too many pics piling up.

First up: Lazy Summer Days

The kids have absolutely NOTHING going on this Summer. No preschool. No daycare. No camps. Not even some weekly soccer class. I f'd up royally this year.

I tried. I really did. I checked out various programs and possible Summer preschools, but in the end nothing worked out. None of it was worth the tears. I hate tears. Noah cries whenever he's separate from me and Judah and it takes a while for him to acclimate. 2.5 months is just not worth it.

And thank the ever merciful Lord we do have a couple babysitters that come regularly to give me sanity breaks. If they ever stop coming for some reason, wow...that thought is so awful I'm not even going to finish that sentence.

Anyway, the Summer is turning out much better than I feared. We spend a lot of time like this:

Running around barefoot in the backyard - the essence of Summer.

And like this:

Thank goodness for community pools on 95 degree days!

Noah gets initiated into the cult of the selfie.

And much to my extreme delight, Judah and Noah play together a lot. Be still my heart, I think they might actually enjoy each other's company. They might actually be friends! Best Friends even!

Their recent favorite game is "going on an adventure" together.

Judah draws a map:

Believe it or not, they fight constantly over who gets to hold this "map".

And they trudge around the house swinging their flashlights around and making notations in their notebooks. Noah often carries his Blue Baby in what he calls his "ergo shirt."

"And then we saw a spider island. But there was no water on it." - Judah the explorer 

And I spend most of my day willing myself to Cherish These Precious Moments because They Will Grow Up in a Blink of An Eye, and I Will Wish I could Go Back in Time, but I Never Can Again.

But the dishes. The messes. The monotony. The constant battle of the wills. And always loosing to the screaming toddler.

Must...Cherish...Each...Moment...RRRRRGGHHH. Mind. Over. Matter.

By the end of Summer I just might become a Zen master.