Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sweet age

I love 4. I love 3. TR and QT are at great ages. I want to bottle these days up so I can sip these memories forever.
TR will be 5 soon and I can see why 5 is such a milestone. At 5 TR is clearly a kid. The baby days are behind us. I don't think there is any baby fat on her. She is made of steel. Our conversations are full. I can speak to her as I would an adult. She understands and does not need things broken into baby explanations.
This stage of 4 is full of sweetness. She expresses love with an open heart. I am glad we have managed to raie a kid who feels confidence in expressing that she enjoys people.
We were at gymnastics and I heard her ask a coach why he had left the floor. She told him she had been looking for him because she wanted to play. He told her that he would come play if her class had free time. She looks people in the eye and is not shy when speaking to adults. She does not have a fear of adults.
I remember being a little shy of non-relative adults as a kid.
Age is just a number to TR.
QT is a bit like me. He is more reserved but for some reason when he encounters men or teen boys he tries to fight. I have discovered that lots of men appreciate a fighting boy. They will engage. When he puts his hands out to use his spiderman webs, most men respond and put their webs out too. Apparently spider man is popular among boys of all ages.
I love watching TR do her gymnastics. We are at the phase were the skills are clear. When she first began it was strength building and I could not see the fun stuff. Now the girls are on the bars, the beams, doing handstands and doing things that are familiar to my eyes.
It is fun for me to see her talent.
It's only Tuesday but it's been warm so I have taken the kids swimming at the club. We saw another parent who has kids at TR's preschool. We knew that a few of TR's classmates had a membership at a club nearer to the preschool, so I was surprised to see a parent at our club.
It was quite interesting to see women, laid out in bathing suits with their kids in the pool, before 4 pm on a weekday. I thought L.A. was the place where such leisure lifedtyles occurred.
I saw quite a few kids from the school that did not admit us. A huge reason I liked the environment of that school was the pool and the tennis courts. I figured a kid would not need to leave the school. I guess the kids who have access to those things don't want that access. The club is about 5 minutes from the school, so it's convenient.
When TR got in the pool she was swarmed by all of the boys. They were asking her question after question. They wanted to know her name, if she was in preschool, if QT was her brother, asking her multiplication questions. They then started splashing water at her and telling her their own life story. The boys all seemed to be in kindergarten and 1st grade. They were in the baby pool. TR was giving them orders and QT began splashing at the boys who were splashing at TR.
I guess her new face, interested them. It was kid chaos. I knew if Mr A had been there those boys would have behaved differently. I think it will be fun summer. The kids were crazy but they were all having fun. Next time we go, we will stay longer so the kids can mingle.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Summertime

The A family finally joined a private club. Since we'll be saving our country club school tuition costs, we figured we'd take those savings and join the club. Today was out first day using our membership and we enjoyed it. It felt a bit like we were on vacation. Mr A and the kids went swimming while I worked out. Mr A and I had planned to work out together, but child care had ended by the time we arrived. We will work out earler the next time.
After our activities we had lunch. The lunch was great. They used an outdoor propane grill and it was a nice day. It felt like a picnic.
The gym has sweeping views and I enjoyed working out and seeing how beautiful the bay area natural landscape is.
I thought back to when Mr A and I shared one car. Sharing a car was easy, especially since we only had 1 parking space. Having more disposable income has not changed our relationship. We have been all in without regard to our income, our cars, the city we lived in, our housing. I love that our relationship has not been built on possessions or a requirement of material success.
It's nice to be able to offer our kids nice things like club membership but its better to give our kids two parents who are in it for each other.
I still have my Fresh Prince of Bel Air idea. On one of the shows, the Bank's flashed back to when they lived in an apartment. When we lived in L.A. I always pondered moving to a house in Bel Air and how our kids would react to the house and what they might remember.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Champions Inspired Us.

I hope to post a video of TR doing a floor routine. I do not know how to get the video off of my phone.
We had a fab time in Los Angeles. We were there to watch the NCAA women's gymnastics championships. It was great! TR was so inspired and she has been committed to perfecting her handstands. She has gotten so good that she can now walk on her hands.
We stayed at Hotel Palomar. The hotel brought milk and cookies for the kids, plush kid robes and they put their favorite toys on the bed. They asked Mr A what characters the kids liked. The hotel also brought each kid a gold fish in a fish tank. Hotel Palomar is within walking distance of UCLA, and it might be the hotel we stick with when visiting L.A.
QT had a great time as well. He did not remember his nanny, but he enjoyed playing with her. When Mr. A tried to pay her for watching the kids, she refused the money. He paid her anyway. TR was so happy to see her nanny. She sang a song saying how much she loved her.
Visiting reminded me how much I loved living in L.A. and it made us realize that we would have had to make 3x what we do to have an equivalent lifestyle. The traffic in L.A. is too bad to live outside of the city. If we weren't going to be in the city, there was no need to be in the area.
I was inspired to continue building my business(es). It is nice to be able to live it up on vaation and return home and live. We also realized that it is expensive to feed a family of 4 on a 5-day vacation.
Mr A and I went to a Beverly Hills spot on Friday night. Two other couples joined us. Mr A gets VIP treatment when he goes. When we arrived, chairs appeared and those chairs were whisked away when we left. It is great!
We took the 101 highway home. That route adds about 2 hours to the trip but we thought the kids would enjoy the views of the beaches. They slept and then ignored the views. We had dinner at a restaurant on the wharf in Monterey Bay. Then we got back on the highway and finished the drive home.
The drive was great. It was fun to make stops along the coast. We stopped in a small town outside Paso Robles and saw a Spanish Mission that had been in existence in the 1700's when California belonged to Spain.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Get Away

Many moons ago while in my youth, I wanted to have enough work in L.A. to keep me traveling between the bay and L.A.
I am at that place, but I am too old and tired to be up for that work travel.
Fortunately for me, the kids inspire me. Mr. A and I planned a trip to L.A. and had to include a couple of extra days to allow me to do work scheduled in L.A. We booked a luxury hotel in West L.A., we scheduled meet ups with the kids L.A. playmates and even a date night with babysitting by the L.A. nanny.
I scheduled TR a hair appointment at her fancy salon. I took her to a salon in Oakland and she was disappointed. Her hair was washed, styled and she was done.In L.A. the salon is attentive and caters to her hair the entire time she is there. They work on her head at least two hours. She gets multiple treatments, oxygen for her hair, and steam.
We also scheduled a hair appointment for her doll at American Girl store.
QT was 2 when we left so his L.A. memories are not as deep as TR.
I still miss our L.A. lifestyle. I felt young in L.A. There was excitement living in a fast-paced city. Here in the bay, we live the lives of what I imagine older surburban families live. We have yards to focus on, house stuff, 10 miles to gymnastics, backyard projects, water bills. In L.A. I felt options. The possibility of moving or staying kept a window open. Here I feel permanence. I enjoy our bay area life. It isn't as exciting and we aren't within 5 miles of everything, but it feels good to be in this phase. It is amazing that we are in the same state. 370 miles makes a huge difference, in weather, people and life. I don't think I would want to grow old in L.A. proper.
So while I no longer consider work travel desirable, I do like the idea of my kids still having access to the city where they were born and lived.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

At Home with the A's.

In 1992 I clipped the below photo from a magazine. I was a teenager, but I liked the image and I saved this photo. The picture now hangs by TR's bed.
When TR climbs the rope at gymnastics, I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to keep that photo. Was the photo a note to myself to preservere or was it an idea of my future daughter?
Mr A (mostly)finished our sand box. Here are some photos of the area after a trench was dug, and tarp laid, and the kids playing. Mr A wants more sand to cover more of the tarp.
When I saw the photo on pinterest, I asked for a tire and sand. I had no idea I was signing Mr A up for a laborious and costly project. The kids love it! I have no idea why TR chose to put her swimsuit on. The kids gt their goggles and had a day at their backyard beach.

beutflpearl's Mommy files album on Photobucket

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kill 'em dead!

When I was dating, I never had one of those breakups that resulted in bad feelings, lawsuits, threats, accusations any drawn out drama. During one break up, I exited dramatically but lawyers, police and repairmen never needed to be called in.
In my world you acknowledge the junk is not working and move on. I cut my losses knowing that if I hung on, i would have bigger losses. One guy owed me $40. I got $20 back but accepted the loss of the remaining $20 as a lesson learned. No one needs to die over the conclusion of a relationship.
This woman I had working for me and who I had conclude her assignment, lost her mind and attempted to extort me. I offered to pay her 25% for work she partially completed. Instead of countering she went straight to extortion. In her attempt to extort me I discovered that she thought my billing was unethical and she called my business illegitimate. Is this what it's like to break up with a woman?
If you work for someone and spend the entire time thinking the person is scamming, that will impact the working relationship. Had she not been convinced I was a crook, and silently acquiesced to the crookedness, things would surely have gone better. I kept wondering why after a year of her always being paid, she seemed to behave as if I was going to steal the next check.
After she attempted to extort me with threats of sinking my ship and destroying my career, I explained to her that I practice with ethics because 1) I am ethical and 2) I already know when people get mad the first thing they want to do is call the bar and tell them you something to destroy your career. I told her, her silence had no value to me. She can do and tell what she wants. I am not the one to extort. She said she was willing to destroy her own career in order to destroy mine. Really?! I am grateful I responded to the 2nd red flag. I thought she was in destruct mode and she is.
The first red flag was this summer. I told her I would deposit X dollars on a Saturday. Her bank closed at 2 and we told her we would put it in on that Monday. She literally lost it. She had her husband text us and pretty much acted as if we had robbed her. I suspected she feared I would not pay her and now I know she thought I was scamming folks and she was waiting to be scammed. When she sent the unauthorized email, I felt it necessary to immediately end our working relationship. I felt her dissatisfaction was leading to recklessness. Now that she has sent me emails letting me know how she viewed my business, I know I was correct to end things immediately.
I tell ya! I personally think black people are trained by systems to 1) think anyone who has success has earned it by ill gotten means and 2) kill at any conflict. Instead of countering an offer, she jumps off the deep end.
I can't believe this woman spent her time working for someone she thought was a crook. She also seemed to think I lack a brain and that Mr A turned me against her. Knowing her thoughts of me explains so much. She didn't know me. She was wrapped up in her perception of me that she did not realize that I don't dwell in foolishness.
I just feel like women often try to compete with men by being a man. Women will see you as weak if you do not personify what they think a business man is. The innate power of womanhood goes unlearned and unrecognized by women, who think they have to be men or hide their feminity, to make it. Men don't hide their masculinity so why would a woman hide.
I am that nice attorney, who feels I don't have to be nasty to you. I let my research and my work, whip on you.
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Little People

Mr A took the kids to fly a kite before school.

On the ride there, TR told Mr A that he is the favorite father at preschool and all of her classmates want him to be their father.  She then told him that she wants him as her father and does not want o share him.

I think TR should give me a shout out for choosing Mr A to be her dad.  I was looking out for her before she was born.

 I enjoy watching TR interact with her daddy.  I missed having that dynamic, so I have a huge appreciation for that relationship.

QT signed up for gymnastics again.  We signed him up for the last session and he refused to go.  He likes gymnastics but he doesn't like having a gymnastics coach.  He prefers soccer, football, baseball or pretty much sports with ball.

TR and her teammates are all moving to the next level.  The level one is supposed to lay 1-2 years but her class finished in 6 months.  They have a great group of girls.  They are competitive and drive each other.  There is a level 1class that started at the same time as TR's class and they are still struggling through level 1.

I  am super excited that she has advanced to level 2 and at only 4 years old! I am realizing that she really is talented.
I have to figure meals out. I have to time it so she doesn't get hungry during her 2 hour class but not so close to start time that she can't perform. Apparently gymnastics moms make dinner and the kids eat it in the car. Not surprisingly most competitive gymnastics kids i have encountered has one non-working parent. Now I see why people need money for this sport. If you can swing the class fees, the lifestyle necessary to support the activity is expensive.


TR

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dreams

I have probably blogged about this before but I am okay to be redundant.
I am watching Million Dollar Listings Los Angeles. I used to love looking at open houses in the ritzy part of town. Folks seriously knew how to live.
While all of those extras are not necessary, I would love to be able to afford to own it. I guess that is why certain things are status symbols. You don't need it, probably can't use it but you have it to make an announcement about yourself.
For me, one of the great things about having kids is it returns me to certain passions. I get comfortable very easily, but I want to offer my kids certain things and that drives me. Before I had kids, I planned to have a business that allowed me to be home with them and now that I have the kids, I have been able to balance spending an amount of time with them, that makes me feel good about how I spend my time.
Some times I have to work and miss moments with the kids but mostly, I am here.
Outdoors
I pinned this on Pinterest. Today Mr A brought home a tire. I think the tire came off of a fire truck. It is huge. His friend who is a fireman took him someplace to get the tire.
We plan to get TR an outdoor play house for her birthday sorta like Dr. McStuffins has. She can move some of her toys out there. Mr A wants to get the kids a dog. I don't really want the responsibility a dog will bring, but Mr A wants his kids to have a pet and I think it is important that he get to give them that gift. There are some things that are my parenting dream and he supported that, in spite of his reservations.
Lemons to Lemonade
My mother and I usually go o the Farmers Market before dawn. We discovered that merchants go early and buy everything, so we get there earlier than the merchants. Today I bought a bunch of beautiful lemons. They were only $.25 each versus the $1 each at the grocery store. I made fresh lemonade. My dream has been my famly having access to fresh lemonade and fresh warm homemade cookies.
Flowers are on the table, lemonade is ready, the patio doors leading to outdoors are there. I just have to get. The cookies baked to fulfill my vision.
I have been buying closed daffodils at night and letting them bloom for morning. My mother showed me the location of the flower Mart, so I can get a wider selection at lower prices. I am excited about having fresh flowers throughout our home.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Arts Section

Mr A picked up the piano my mother gave us. The living room feels so warm and cozy with it here. It is the piano my grandmother bought for my mother, when my mother was a kid. I have an appointment to get the piano tuned and I will be finding a piano teacher so the kids can take lessons.
My mother is an accomplished musician. She plays multiple instruments and when she was young, she used to travel the nation playing the organ/piano for well-known pastors. Though my mother is a school teacher and used to be aprofessional musician, she said she lacked the patience to teach her kids to play piano/organ. One of my music teachers, learned to play by watching my mother. He was the first person I ever heard ask her why she did not teach us.
While I was taking piano lessons, my mother color coded the piano keyboards to teach me chords. It was working well. My eldest brother who was also an accomplished musician, took the colors off and told me that isn't how he learned to play. I was probably 6, but in my head, when I play in G, I still play by that color coding. That is no joke!
My goal is to remember and reteach myself some chords.
I am very excited about the piano because I want my kids to develop their creative sides Today QT sat on the piano and played and sang a song. I love it! Then TR "wrote" a Poem and read it. She got out her notebook, wrote the thing, and then recited it like she was on stage at a spoken word night. The poem was about Mother Goose. The attitude was "Love Jones".
I am totally okay to raise artsy kids. I hope they feel the confidence to pursue their interests.
I am always trying to figure out a business that does not require me to have professional license. I don't expect to make money from our school. That is my heart project.
So, in the arts section of our home, we now have a piano, acoustic guitars, easels and paints. Having talents makes a person feel good. At least I feel great when I do something creative. I think the true arts get neglected. We get fed Hollywood 'art'ists. I think if more people spent time exploring arts, we would realize the 'stars' Hollywood has been giving us have very little talent. They entertain but we get no art.
In other interesting things.
I don't think Mr A and I push our young children to be any certain thing. My kids are now 3 and 4, so my focus is on allowing them to have a love-filled and fun childhoods.
There is a mother at gymnastics who is determined that her 4 year and 3 month old child will be on the competitive track. She has been following TR's coach around. The mother has the 4 year old is in class with 8 year olds, 2x a week and the mom told me she was stressed because they won't let her 4 year old in the pre-team.
The mother was upset because when the girl was evaluated, the child was told to hang on to the bar and touch her toes to the bar. Her mother says the girl was not taught that skill in her class. I told the mom, it was not a skill but strength. The coaches tell her to take the kid to the park to play to get her strong. So instead of listening to what seems like the wrong answer, she is focusing on skills when you need strength first.
Some folks have it great. If her 4 year old not being allwed in pre-team is big enough to cause her stress, she has it great !
TR loves gymnastics but ballet was the activity I was pumped about. I could see myself being frustrated if Debbie Allen wouldn't let TR in the advanced kid class. We never got to try out for Debbie Allen's Dance Academy, but I was pumped about it. The crazy thing is I was hesitant about DADA because they required 4 year olds to take 4 classes a week. That would be 4 hours. I thought that was torture on a child. Now my 4 year old is in gymnastics 3 hours aweek and she will move to the next level and will be there 4 hours a week. It is the same thing! 4 years old and having 4 hours of class.
But TR loves it, so right now that many hours is tougher on me than on her.