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6 posts from June 2009

June 26, 2009

The skinny envelopes are the ones

that rip at your heartstrings.  The ones you receive after waiting weeks on end, imagining countless outcomes in your head?  The letters that you fear terribly (but since it could be good news), you run to the window every time you think  you hear the mail truck drive up?

Yes, that has been me for the past three weeks. Scared and nervous over a letter that is really not for me.  Silly, really, because in the end, I will be nothing more than a chauffeur at best.  The knot in my stomach started forming on the ninth of June, well, really the 5th...

It was the end of the year party for the children's church choir (yes, the one Cait was so nervous about joining last September, but ended up loving).  It was a two hour long affair with food, drinks, and, of course, music.  Cait was having a great time with a friend and when we came to pick her up, the choir director begged us to stay and eat leftover ice cream and strawberries (well, okay, twist our arms!).  She mentioned something about Caitlin and her singing, and we started discussing how things had turned out.  She had known that Cait might be nervous, and seemed happy with her progression throughout the year.  So much so, that she mentioned a local girls' chorus was having auditions the following week.

Cait was worried she couldn't do both, but I reassured her the two choirs were on different days.  Then she worried about other issues, while I fretted it was too late to get an audition.  Did I bother to think about how she would be the day of the audition?  Um, no.  Bad move, in hindsight. I emailed the address on the website, secured an audition (a group setting, it turns out) and voila, we were in...well, for the audition.

I relayed the information to Cait and she seemed more worried than I expected.  In fact, she was downright nervous by the time we arrived.  It got to the point where I actually agreed to leave, provided that she let me listen to the choir director speak.  The more I listened to him talk, the more I was so excited about the opportunity she was fearing.  He was so NICE, and funny.  He had a way of talking that instantly relaxed me, and I would have gladly auditioned had they asked (no worries on that end!). 

The auditions started, and she wanted nothing to do with it.  I decided we could leave, and she freaked...suddenly not knowing what she wanted to do.  I stopped to let the lady overseeing those waiting for auditions know that we were going, and she thoughtfully said we could wait to the side, have Cait sip some water, and see if she didn't feel better...if not, no worries, there was always next year.

So, we wait we did.  The first set of auditions ended, and miraculously, Cait was ready.  Nervous, face a bit streaked, but almost determined.  She came out after the longest 10 minutes of my life and admitted, "It wasn't so bad!".  Whew.

Then came the waiting.  The director mentioned that we would learn of their decision by mail.  I had all but given up, and simply assumed the worst.  Then today's mail came, and at the bottom of the pile (did the USPS lady KNOW?), there was the skinniest envelope I have ever seen.  I was tempted to tear up without reading, and recycle without further thought.  Instead I opened it and confronted things as my worst fears


turned into a dream come true!  "Congratulations!", the letter practically screamed, as I became a bit excited and overwhelmed.  Poor Cait was happily chatting on the phone with a friend, and I am fairly sure, thought I had lost my mind.  She did it!  I was so ready to leave that day and let her not try, and she pulled up all her gumption and nerve, gave it a shot...and made it. Nope, I couldn't be prouder. 

June 21, 2009

It's all about Dad


And that's the way it should be, right?

Peter has oodles  of excitement awaiting him tomorrow.  Breakfast in bed, church (it does get exciting when the priest catches folks answering their phones during the homily!), brunch at a new favorite restaurant, and a hike in Las Trampas.

I tried to recapture a spirit of things past, and opted to "help" Nicholas make his card for Peter.  Given he spent most of the time in the kitchen eating strawberries, and I was 20 feet away, well, you get the idea.  I had lost interest in scrapbooking and card making  in late 2005.  I was able to find catch the holiday spirit and managed two years of homemade cards but couldn't get the same excitement for regular cards.  Thankfully, now that we have the office mostly organized to my liking, I am finding a renewed interest.

IMG_0907 The girls often make their own cards for folks as they are then able to add special messages, and it's a good way to catalogue their drawing/writing history.  I love looking at cards from three and four years ago to see how their writing has matured.  They each made a cute card for Peter, and both are hidden away until the appropriate time.

While I am not sure it's my best effort, based on the card, the girls tried to convince me today that I am "the craftiest person in the Dinoia household".  Hmmm.  It started off as "craftiest person we know", but that honor ended up going (very rightfully) to Auntie Shannon. I am quite happy with my new title, and though the card isn't terribly sparkly, I think it has inspired me to try my hand again at stamping and perhaps a little scrapbooking.  The only problem is that I probably need some new supplies..hmm...if only someone I knew had a catalog or new items to lure me back in.IMG_0314

Since it is Father's Day, I should probably add a note or two for the Dad-guy, affectionately known as that since Caitlin's birth.  It has been a crazy, crazy year.  Heck, it has been a crazy, crazy life since 1998.  Peter became a father and a federal agent within weeks of each other.  Things happened, he started traveling, we started moving, and here we are three children later and many states away from our true home and about to celebrate his 11th Father's Day.

It's hard to know what to say here as I don't want to embarrass Peter, lest he never read the blog again.  However, without a doubt, I think the past year has been the best year yet.  The reason is irrelevant, but the outcome has been magnificent.  I have seen more sides of Pete than I knew ever existed, and without a doubt, could not ask for a more loving and understanding husband or father for my children.

Love you, Beaker!

As we were getting ready to leave for a postprandial trip to Cold Stone & Target, Peter remarked how he "just couldn't get the blueberry stains" off Nicholas' hands.  He washed them for over half an hour to no avail.  I was so worried he would instantly guess what was up, thank goodness for my messy fruit lovin' boy!

June 18, 2009

Coming Soon...

the newest Salty Dog!  We are so very excited for Shannon, Mark & Sandy, who will welcome a new addition to the their family on 29 December or so. We are not sure what else we can say, except how happy we are for them, and that they have several babysitters waiting in the wings! We also hope we can somehow help with their new wee one in as many ways as they have lovingly helped with ours over the years.

We love you guys and many, many congratulations!!

June 11, 2009

More Pictures Coming...

Picture The photo printer is acting up and not allowing me to upload photos and/or videos, so alas you will have to accept just this one*, and wait just a bit on the rest.  It has been so incredibly busy with the last few days of school (cue Pete getting terribly sick yesterday, miraculously healing, and now sick again), and last-minute straightening and tidying, that I have not been able to do much else (at least blog-wise).

Oh, except enjoy the company of Little Guy.  He is 15 months old now, walking, talking (Baba still for Bailey), waves, does a special good-bye, blows kisses, and, yes, still eats everything in sight.  Since adding his squinchy face to his repertoire, he has gained even more admirers (especially of the female sort), and there is oohing and aahing everywhere we go.  Of course, it helps that he has two extremely devoted siblings, who I would love to think have helped a great deal in shaping the little person he has already become.

Speaking of said siblings, one is finished with elementary school tomorrow.  At the crack of 11:45 a.m., she will be a sixth grader, officially part of the local middle school.  The past week has been chock full of activities:  a Teacher/5th Grade kickball game on Monday, Slide Show & Breakfast for parents & 5th Graders on Tuesday, Field Day today, and tomorrow??? Actually, I think they just finish cleaning up and have a small party...whew!

What Caitlin doesn't know is that we will also have a special celebration at home.  It's not so much the  passage to Middle School (as frankly, I think it is a bit hyped up), but all that she has accomplished without being at one school the entire time.  In fact, next year will be her 5th school in seven years.  She complains a bit from time to time (who wouldn't?), but overall has handled the back and forth and side to side with aplomb.  She has really applied herself this year, and from what her teacher said the other day, she is going to get a very positive review regarding her reading and comprehension.

Math was not her favorite subject, but given how advanced and rigorous the standards are here, she really pulled it together and should be fine next year.  She will get a small boost from a two week math camp starting next week (also a nice intro to the middle school), and I think will enjoy the "Classroom Shuffle" of sixth grade. 

I am not sure what else to say.  I honestly didn't expect to find the slide show emotional, but thankfully they made the entire array from 5th Grade photos.  Oh, and the bonus:  I just had to look for the purple sweater she managed to wear every day to school (Shannon, that and the Razor...two gifts that keep on giving!).  And, yes, I shed a tear or two.  Heck, she jerked my heartstrings just walking into the multi-purpose room with her friends and waving wildly, as though she had been part of the crowd from the get-go of chubby-cheeked first days of kindergarten.

So, tomorrow afternoon we will finish our organizing for our visitors, and prep for grilled burgers, a Cold Stone Creamery cake (if one can be quickly had), and, drum roll, a new digital camera for Caitlin (ssh, she doesn't know about any of this!).  She has really gotten into taking videos and photos, cameras have come down in price, and it should distract her from bugging us about a cell phone for a while (no, she won't be getting one anytime soon).

Oh, the visitors?!  Silly me, Grandpa Kirk and Dibby are headed here tomorrow.  Heck, I can see Grandpa now, tossing and turning, hoping he packed that last little thing, while Dibby grabs a few precious pre-plane winks.  Tomorrow is the beginning of a two week visit to CA and the West Coast.  They start off here, meander up through California, explore the majestic Oregon coastline,  and will finish the trip with a visit to Dibby's son, Cooper, in Seattle.  It should be exciting for them, and we look forward to the daily photo updates they have promised!

*from the dedication page of her yearbook, many thanks to the parent volunteer for this page, and oodles more to Mark Talbott for the awesome photo (also used in the slide show)


June 08, 2009

Look Ma, no cavities!

IMG_0844 Which is exactly what Nicholas meant yesterday when he said, "Hey, ya, medoo bedoo!".  Well, that is vaguely reminiscent of his speech.  His first dental appointment was yesterday and he passed with flying colors.  His teeth are in great shape, gums look good, two year molars are on the way, and he managed to impress the dentist and the hygienist with his eating habits. 

What could it be?  It could be the lack of juice (their eyes lit up), "Really, he doesn't drink juice?!"

Nope, not a drop.  He can slurp down a Mango lassie IMG_0848(2) (yogurt & mango) and have the occasional Jamba Juice Pomegranate smoothie (we share), but he does not drink juice on any sort of regular basis.  Only water and his milk of choice.  I (personally) don't see any reason to give it to him.  None of my kids like juice, and frankly, given how they like water, why start a bad trend?

I was then explaining how he eats fruits in natural form, like apples.  He started gnawing on them at 9 months or so (biting one Pete was eating), and kept going.  He can now eat half a regular-sized apple in one sitting (yes, skin and all).  It's a natural toothbrush of sorts, and he is getting the benefits without the sugar.  Needless to say, the dentist was thrilled and both she and the hygienist immediately wondered why they didn't think of it before.  Far better than diced apples, as he never bites off more than he can chew and thus, not so much choking hazard.

IMG_0851 Then again, we didn't really ponder it, just sort of happened.  Sure glad it did, though, as always helps to have a positive dental visit (makes up for the flailing and screaming in my ear).  Oh, and the flailing would be the reason we don't have pictures of him in the chair.  I waited til we were finished as the iPhone camera doesn't like movement, and my still camera battery was dead.  So, you will have to be satisfied with the little guy enjoying the waiting room post-visit (and "brushing his teeth").  Oh, and I just thought the last picture was too cute...it's his new 'grinny' face, and he loves to snort with laughter when he squinches up his nose.

June 03, 2009

Recognize anyone?

Anyone who has visited recently knows that Nicholas has a very heavy schedule of, you know, baby things.  Eating, sleeping, occasional playgroup and a weekly "can't miss" Kindermusik class with Miss Lindsay (it's not just a Southen thing anymore) of Eastbay Kindermusik.

Miss Lindsay is apparently the Mary Poppins of the East Bay.  I love music and sing loudly to my 80's pop hits when I am 1000% sure no one (okay, cat excepted) is within driving distance.  Miss Lindsay is pretty much the complete opposite.  Actually, she reminds me of Caitlin, as I think they would both sing their way through their day if they could.

She is very good at what she does, though, and what I thought might be a one time course has turned into a regular gig for us.  Even Grandpa Kirk stopped by a class and helped toss the parachute.  The only issue thus far was that Nicholas happened to (occasionally) decide to take his nap 5 minutes before class started. 

Miss Lindsay, however, offers a generous make-up policy and three weeks ago let Nicholas make up his Tuesday class on a Friday.  Little did we know  a photographer would be there shooting pictures for the website.  Now Master Nicholas can be seen in all of his cuteness here, and here.  And what does he think of the class (other than it helping his smug little mug get splashed across the 'net)? 

Absolutely loves it.  Claps, sings, shouts, smacks (the drum) and hugs (he is known as Mr. Congeniality) his way through it.  We sing to him a lot at home (A LOT), so I wouldn't call it necessary...but he just digs it.  So, find yourself in the East Bay for a while, and have a toddler?  Look up Miss Lindsay and the Kindermusik class, I doubt you will regret it.