Sunday, November 30, 2014

Finishing Up The Break

It was raining Saturday morning, so we stayed inside. The kids were good about playing together, and M-lady got up to get them some breakfast. I joined before too long, and eventually headed out to run a couple errands shortly after lunch time. The kids opted to go with me, and were good during the runaround, including a trip to the grocery store.

We picked up the house a little when we got home, and it had dried up enough outside that I spent some more time with Buster practicing riding a bike at his request. He's definitely got the hang of starting and riding, but still tends to bail out rather than stop the bike. I'm sure he'll get better at it, though. I pulled down my mountain bike and rode up and down the street with him a couple of times.

At about 5:00, we had some guests arrive for dinner. Friend D and Y are hard core Magic players, and are looking at moving in a couple weeks to a newly purchased house. Consequently, they offered Bud and Buster their extra Magic cards, which they brought over and number around 15,000 cards. The kids were absolutely delighted.

After dinner, both kids had an opportunity to play some Magic with our guests, and had a really good time. I managed to stay busy so didn't get a match in, but enjoyed myself as well. We said goodnight to our guests at about 8:00, and started the bedtime routine.

Today, the kids were up early, looking at the new cards. The rain was pouring down, so the kids and I spent the morning and early afternoon getting started on sorting cards. Laying infrastructure and putting some basic tabs together, as well as sorting about 1000 cards, took us until about 3:00pm.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon playing on the computer and doing piano practice. Dinner was fairly simple, and I spent a little time watching TV with the kids while M-lady ran an errand. All in all it was a pleasant day to wrap up a fun and satisfying holiday weekend.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Nice Thanksgiving Holiday

Apologies for the lack of posting. Every night I seem to be busy with other things. In any case, the kids have enjoyed being home from school this week, and we've all been enjoying Thanksgiving at the end of the week.

On Tuesday, Nanny J arrived in the morning to watch the kids while M-lady and I headed to work. The kids had a good day, and were excited when Nanny J baked a cake. I picked the kids up from TKD in the evening, and we had a quick dash home where Ama and Agu were waiting to take care of the kids in the evening. M-lady and I headed out to a concert (Fleetwood Mac!) while the kids spent a fun evening watching Dancing With The Stars with Ama and Agu.

On Wednesday, M-lady worked from home in the morning, taking a meeting and then calling it a day. I headed into the office until after lunch, arriving home a bit after 2:00 to start the vacation. We rested a little bit in the early afternoon, and Ama and Agu and Aunt O and family arrived a bit after 4:00. We had our Thanksgiving dinner starting a bit after 5:00, with a non-traditional menu of ribs, potatoes, corn, and some other bits. The kids had fun playing together, and all in all it was a very enjoyable evening.

On Thursday morning, Ama and Agu arrived at about 8:00, and we packed up and headed off to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It wasn't very crowded, which was nice, and we got to see the open sea feeding as well as a number of other exhibits that we sort of glossed over last time due to the crowds. We had a nice time, and headed towards home again after about 2:00. Buster was adamant on getting a small stuffed octopus, so he spent some of his allowance on that. The kids got icees on the way out, and we had a pleasant drive home.

We spent some time shooting family pictures for our holiday card when we got home, and got some decent shots. I took a nap in the later afternoon, and then we did a 'movie night' style dinner, watching TopGear episodes before getting ready for bed.

Today I got up really early (middle of the night, really) to hit Home Depot for some Black Friday deals, and was home again and back in bed by 5:30, before anyone else was up. M-lady got up with the kids at about 8:30 to make some breakfast, and I joined them for a little while before heading back to bed. M-lady joined me, and we napped until lunchtime.

I got lunch for the kids, and we played some video games before I started doing Christmas decoration prep: I pulled down the boxes of decorations, and got the lights strung up on the house in the afternoon while the kids played outside with friends. I was anxious to get it done today before predicted rain over the rest of the weekend.

We headed out to Five Guys for dinner, and Buster ate his entire hamburger for the first time. After a great meal, we headed home, and the kids took turns playing Starbound, a Minecraft-like sandbox game, until it was time for snack and bed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Return of M-lady

Ama and Agu arrived Sunday morning at about 8:00, and I headed out around 8:30 for a bike race. The kids had a good time, and Ama and Agu made lunch for them, which they finished up shortly before I returned. When I got back, Ama and Bud were playing mini-table tennis on the playroom coffee table, with Buster judging.

After they wrapped up the game, Ama and Agu took their leave. The kids and I watched a little TV as I let my legs recover after the race, and then we walked over to their school so they could play on the playground for a while. I played a little bit of tetherball with the kids, and they ran around for a bit. We got home a bit after 4:00, and the kids spent a little time playing outside before coming in.

M-lady arrived home around 5:30, and we were all happy to see her. After she got cleaned up we had some dinner together, and she presented us each with books collected from her travels: a Skylanders book for Buster, an Asterix book for Bud, and a TopGear book for me. We were all pretty happy. M-lady fell asleep a few minutes later, victim of jetlag, and I got the kids ready for bed.

Today, M-lady took the kids over to Ama and Agu's in the morning, and I headed off to work. The kids had a fun morning, and went for a hike with Ama and Agu. Nanny J picked them up in the early afternoon, and M-lady and I got home around 5:00. We had an early dinner, and all watched TopGear together before getting ready for bed. M-lady managed to stay awake a little later, and tucked Buster in while I hung out with Bud.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trophy Pride

I took the kids to school on Friday and dropped them off again. They were pretty excited for their last day of school before their week-long Thanksgiving break, so they were good about getting up and getting out the door.

The evening was a bit challenging logistically. Nanny J took the kids to piano, where they were met by Ama and Agu. When Buster was done with his piano lesson, Nanny J brought him north, and I met them halfway to TKD. Buster and I managed to grab a quick bite for dinner, and then make it into Buster's TKD belt test. Meanwhile, Bud went home with Ama and Agu after his piano lesson, and had dinner and spent the evening with them.

Buster did a great job in his test, performing his techniques well and answering his question quickly and accurately. He was also very patient as the test went on for well over 90 minutes. As they were giving out awards at the end, Buster and I were both really excited that he was given the 'Best Student' award.

Bud received the award a long time ago, and got a patch for his uniform. Buster, however, was awarded a trophy, which he brought back to me proudly. We grabbed milkshakes to celebrate on the way home, arriving at about 8:30.

We thanked and said goodnight to Ama and Agu, and then I got the kids going on the bedtime routine. It was a little late when they got to bed, but it's the start of a week-long vacation, so I wasn't too concerned.

The kids checked in with me at about 8:00 this morning, and I got them some breakfast before heading back to bed. I let them play video games for a while in the morning, eventually getting up and joining them at about 10:00. We played together, had a snack, and got a little bit of work done around the house before lunch.

Buster continued to be excited about his trophy, and carried it around most of the day. Fortunately, he held onto it pretty tight, and didn't drop it or smack anything with it. He talked about it quite a bit, though. It's the first trophy either sibling has received, so this is a new thing.

After lunch, we ran out to get groceries, and the kids had fun playing outside for a little while (Buster took his trophy out for a bit to show the neighbors). At about 5:00 the kids and I headed out to have dinner, and came home to do the 'movie night' we'd missed previously. We watched a couple of shows, had some popcorn, and started wrapping things up at about 8:00. The kids were good about getting ready for bed, and turned the lights out just a little bit later than usual. We're all looking forward to having M-lady return tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dropping Off

Buster joined me in bed again shortly after 7:00, and we got up around 7:30. The kids were good about getting going, as usual, and we got to school in plenty of time. I asked the kids if they wanted to do a drop off today instead of having me park and walk them to class: they were excited about it, and I think it was Buster's first. The drop off went smoothly, and the kids headed off to class.

Buster had a 'button party' at school today. Apparently the class gets a button put in a collection jar each time they're particularly good. The class had accumulated 100 buttons, and thus the party. They had popcorn, watched a movie, and generally had a good time. Bud's class is apparently about halfway to a party this year so far.

I picked the kids up from TKD, where they were working out hard and doing a good job. Tomorrow Buster has his belt promotion test, and I think he's ready. We had a nice chat on the way home from TKD, and then did a quick evening routine. The kids had dinner, I looked at homework and Thursday envelops, and the kids did some quick piano run throughs. That did end up taking us to almost 8:20, so I was only able to read with Buster for a few minutes before we turned the lights out. Bud and I watched a little more Top Gear together, and both kids went to sleep pretty quickly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just The Guys

Monday was fairly straightforward. I took the kids to school while M-lady worked from home in the morning, and Nanny J picked the kids up from school. The kids were playing outside in the fading light with the neighbors from across the street when I got home, and as they'd finished their homework, they had time to play a bit more before dinnertime.

I ran out around the time the kids were coming in to have dinner with some friends, and I got back in time to say goodnight to the kids. M-lady put them both to bed, and got some snuggle time with each.

M-lady took the kids to school the next morning, and was home in the afternoon for about an hour when the kids got home from school. She headed out at about 4:00, catching a flight to London to see some shows. The kids did their standard afternoon routine, and I picked them up from TKD. We got home around 7:00, and did a fairly efficient evening before I put the kids to bed.

Today, Buster crawled into bed with me at about 7:00, as he often does, but snuggled with me more since M-lady is gone. We got up at 7:30 and did the standard morning routine, and I took the kids to school. I picked them up again at TKD in the afternoon, and we arrived home at about 6:45. The kids had done a good job on their homework, and while Buster was a little slow in the shower, the rest of the evening went smoothly. Bud had a little extra homework (writing a paragraph) which he did on the computer, and we printed it out before snack time.

I put both the kids to bed again, and they were good about going to sleep.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekend Summay

We had a fun weekend together. On Friday, the kids did the usual school and piano lesson, and I got home a few minutes before they arrived with dinner, and got set up for movie night.

M-lady accompanied her sister to the Oprah Winfrey stadium tour date in San Jose, so I had the kids for movie night to myself. Interestingly enough, we continued to watch the Life series, with the version narrated by Oprah. We had a pleasant evening together, and I got the kids to bed before M-lady returned later in the evening.

On Saturday, M-lady left fairly early to head back to the Oprah event. The kids let me sleep a little bit, and I got up to get them some breakfast before too long. After getting dressed and playing for a little while, we headed over to the library to pick up some new books, and then got groceries on the way home.

We had some lunch, and M-lady was home in the mid afternoon. Shortly after she arrived, we had a snack and then loaded up in the car to drive up to San Francisco to see the latest Cirque Du Soleil show, Kurios. We had a great time at the show, which really was very good. We had dinner at the show, and headed home afterward arriving near bedtime.

Today, I headed out early for a bike race. M-lady did breakfast and piano practice with the kids while I was out, and I had lunch with the kids when I got back. I was pretty tired, and rested a bit in the early afternoon. Buster had a birthday party in the later afternoon, and I went to the park with Bud to kick a soccer ball around a bit while M-lady and Buster were out.

When we got back from the park, Bud spent some time playing outside with our neighbors, and came in around the time M-lady and Buster arrived home. We had a nice dinner together, and the kids helped me pick up a little bit. We had guests come over around 7:00, and I entertained while M-lady got the kids ready for bed. I was sorry to miss bedtime, but look forward to hanging out with the kids more this week.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Short School Week

The kids have been back at school yesterday and today, and Nanny J returned from vacation as well, so things are somewhat back to 'normal'. The kids have a very short week at school, however, which means their homework load has been pretty light this week. That makes the evenings a bit more manageable.

M-lady has taken the kids to school the past two days, and I've picked them up from TKD. They've generally done their homework in the afternoon, with a little bit of follow up in the evening after dinner. M-lady's been doing piano with them after dinner, and the bedtime routine has gone smoothly, if a few minutes later than usual.

Bud's shoulder seems to be recovered, and he's been playing soccer again at school (happily). He's back to working out at TKD as well, and seems to be well on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More Vacation

The kids had Monday and Tuesday off school, so we were able to sleep in about 30 minutes each morning. On Monday, M-lady took the kids over to Ama and Agu's, where they apparently had a really nice day. Ama and Agu took them to a park for a hike, had a special lunch at McDonalds, and spent the afternoon with treats and TV. The kids were pretty happy about their day and gave me the rundown when I got home around 5:30, relieving Ama and Agu.

M-lady arrived home before too long, while the kids were playing outside. We had a nice dinner together, and the kids did a quick piano practice before bed.

Today, we were all up by about 8:00, and I got the kids ready and had them pick up a bit before the cleaners arrived at about 9:00. I stayed home with the kids today, and while I worked, the kids entertained themselves by playing games (board and video), running around outside, building Lego, and reading. I helped Bud work on his Erector set a little bit, which has been off to the side for a while. We had a nice lunch, and I was able to play with the kids here and there for a few minutes at a time.

M-lady got home around 4:00, and took the kids to TKD at about 4:30. They had a good time, and arrived home again at about 7:00. We had dinner, practiced piano, and got cleaned up and ready for bed. I read stories with Buster before we turned out the light at about 8:45. He seemed pretty happy with his four day weekend, and was looking forward to heading back to school in the morning for a short week.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sparse Posting

Apologies for the sparse posting this week. Things have been fairly busy.

The kids had a good day at school on Friday, and Ama and Agu picked them up from school and took them to their piano lesson, where M-lady met them. I got home and had dinner started by the time they arrived. We watched more of the Life series, which was pretty fun.

On Saturday, M-lady headed out to ballet in the morning, so I got up and fed the kids. We hung out, did a quick piano practice, and then spent some time playing computer games together. M-lady arrived home in time for lunch, so we sorted that out before I ran out for a quick errand to Home Depot. When I got back, we all got dressed and headed out to Bud and Buster's piano recital.

The kids did a pretty good job, and Bud played the intro and bow music, as well as playing last in the concert. After the show, we came home and relaxed for a short time before Bud and I headed out to see Big Hero 6. While we were out, M-lady and Buster had a good time playing Skylanders together. Bud and I really enjoyed the movie, and we picked up sushi for dinner on the way home.

Today, I got up before anyone else was up and headed out to a bike race. M-lady and the kids had a good breakfast together, and the kids played on the Xbox together for a bit during the morning. I got home around 11:00, and we all had some lunch after I'd showered.

I took a short nap in the early afternoon, and the kids had fun playing together. After I got up, we headed outside, where the kids spent the afternoon playing in the yard with the neighbors while I worked in the garage. Buster had fun with my old RC10 remote control car, although the fun ended when one of the wheels broke. We eventually came inside at about 6:00 when it was pretty dark out.

We had a good dinner together, and since the kids had already done piano and didn't have homework, we watched some How It's Made shows together before bedtime.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Getting Along

The kids have had a good couple of days. We're still without Nanny J, so each day is covered a little differently, but the morning routine is the same. The kids have been both getting up early, probably due to the time change, so it's been easy to get them going in the morning and get them to school.

Yesterday Ama and Agu picked the kids up from school, and watched them for the afternoon until M-lady and I arrived home a bit before 6:00. The kids were running around screaming in the living room, having a great (and loud) time with Agu. They've become very good about doing their homework in the afternoon, so the evening routine was straightforward.

Today, M-lady picked them up from school, and then took them to their later TKD class. While they were out, I got home, dropped off our ballots at the local polling location, and then got started on cooking dinner. It was ready about the time they got back, but between showers and dinner there wasn't a lot of time left for piano before snack time. Both kids are working on recital pieces, and doing pretty well.

I watched some more Top Gear with Bud before bed, which was a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Halloween and Weekend

The kids dressed up in their costumes on Friday before heading to school. It was scheduled to rain all day, so the kids had their costume parade in the covered hallways, apparently. M-lady was on hand to take some photos before gathering Buster's costume and heading for work.

The kids had a good day at school, and Ama and Agu picked them up. M-lady got home early to take them to piano, and from there ferried the kids over to Aunt O, Uncle C, and Cousin C's house. I met them there (with dinner), which was gobbled quickly as we set out with a fairly large party for Trick or Treating in the neighborhood.

We made it farther than last year, and the kids were more courageous about approaching doors. They got a pretty good haul, filling their candy buckets, and we got back to Aunt O's by about 7:30. The kids played for a bit before we packed up and headed for home, where the kids were allowed to eat a couple pieces of candy at snack time before getting ready for bed. We arrived home too for any Trick or Treaters at our door, unfortunately.

On Saturday, M-lady got up and got the kids some breakfast before heading off to ballet. I was up a short time later, hung out with the kids, and played some Magic with them. Eventually we got motivated and get ready to go to the grocery store, but M-lady arrived home just before we headed out. The kids opted to stay home, so I hit the grocery store on my own before lunch.

Bud had some homework to do over the weekend, so spent a little time on that, and we cleaned up a bit in the afternoon before starting to cook dinner at about 4:30. At 5:30 or so, Bud's Friend N and his family arrived for a dinner party. The kids had a great time together, M-lady and I enjoyed the company, and we all had a good dinner.

On Sunday, the kids were up early due to the time change. M-lady got up a little before 8:00, and I got up a few minutes later. I headed out pretty quickly to a bike race, and M-lady got some breakfast for the kids. They were off at the mall for a quick errand when I got back, and arrived while I was in the shower.

We had lunch together, and then puttered around again before Aunt O, Uncle C, Cousin C, Ama and Agu all arrived at about 2:00 to celebrate Aunt O's birthday. The kids had fun playing together, although Buster removed himself after a bit to play on his own. The kids were excited to share the ice cream birthday cake, too.

After our guests took their leave at about 4:00, I headed out to pick up some dinner so we could do a proper Movie Night, which we hadn't had the opportunity to get to this weekend. We watched more of the Life series, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Due to the time change, I stopped a bit earlier than I had intended, but it gave us time to shower and clean up before snack time. Bud helped me get the trash and recycling out to the curb, and I had a good time chatting and playing Magic with Bud before bedtime.