Thursday, March 28, 2013

This week in pictures

Ah, Spring. We definitely have Spring fever around our house, but the weather is not cooperating.

We caught some basketball games this past weekend,

and challenged our fine motor skills with some chopsticks and Pad Thai. What will we do when we no longer live across the street from Lulu's?

Parking outside and trekking in and out of our building morning and night sure makes me long for a garage again, especially in this weather. Put on the coats, take off the coats, lose the mittens, find the mittens, adjust the car seat straps over puffy coats, slosh in the snow and slip on the ice - all in a day's work for these downtown kids.

Izzy's morning yoga this week was a bit uninspired...

I brought these goofs a rare treat in the car when I picked them up from school on Wednesday. I think they liked it!

Who's ready for Easter? I hear it is going to feel like Spring this weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Modern on Meadow Remodel Tour - Week 14

It may have been snowing outside when we made our house tour yesterday, but it was warm inside - finally! The insulation is going up and the house currently looks like a snow cave.

What a mess! They were just finishing up on the first floor when we toured the house and were beginning clean up. I think we saw the mess at its worst.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Inside jokes

Sometimes I watch Charlie and Izzy play together in quiet amazement. In the past 4-6 months they've become playmates, partners in crime, each other's constant laugh track. They have a humor all their own and I doubt I will every understand what makes them laugh so hard. And that's OK. I don't mind being outside the joke. I love that they have inside jokes and don't need anyone else to join their fun.

I remember worrying before Izzy was born about how they would get along (I'm a worrier, it's what I do). I read a few blog posts about how you can try to foster love between siblings, I guess some brothers and sisters never connect. I needn't have worried. 

When Izzy was first born, Charlie didn't pay her much attention - she didn't do much but eat, sleep and cry - not very interesting to a two-year old. It was easy to spend time with Charlie alone during her multiple naps and things didn't change too drastically for him.

Once Izzy got to be about one, mobile, and demanding more attention, I remember some tension. Charlie didn't like it if I had to carry Izzy around, and he didn't like her to move in on his blocks or trains. But that phase didn't last long. Charlie quickly figured out that Izzy was the one person in his life that he could boss around and tell what to do. For awhile I heard "C'mon Izzy" all the time and would see him leading her out of the room by the hand. Uh-oh. He knew how to find a way to get her into trouble.

For awhile we had to encourage Charlie to be gentle with Izzy, before she could defend herself (she does that very well now). There was a phase where he wanted whatever toy she had at the moment. We made up a rule that if he wanted her toy, he had to offer her something else in return. He would offer a broken, discarded toy that he never plays with and she would gladly trade. One time I witnessed him trade her a solar powered calculator for my iphone. And that's the thing about their relationship, she is usually happy to do whatever Charlie asks of her. She watches everything he does, she wants to be wherever he is.

They are so very different - he is hard charging energy, loud and insistent. She is gentle and relaxed, content. She can be stubborn and she can get loud - and it is usually Charlie that can bring this out of her - no one makes her laugh harder.

Sometime after the practice of making sure he traded toys with Izzy, Charlie just started looking out for her in general. Maybe it was because he knew he was more likely to get a piece of candy if he made sure she had one, too, but it is now second nature for him to think of her.

If he asks me for a piece of gum, he tells me Izzy wants one, too. She can only have a small fraction of a piece and he will tear it off for her, putting the rest back.

If he has raisins or small pieces of candy, he will share with her but on his terms. He makes her open her mouth to show him she has safely eaten the previous pieces before he gives her more (the numerous times I've watched this, I always think she is going to revolt and insist on having her own share of candy to hold. But she dutifully accepts them and opens her mouth as asked, and the sharing continues.)

Sometimes he will lean in to talk to her, with his hands on his knees,  "Izzy, do you want to go play in the snow? You have to put on your hat and gloves."

Sometimes he leads her on, just because he can, "Izzy, do you want some ice cream?? Some chocolate?" He will say this without having access to ice cream, or chocolate. But she doesn't know that.

She hates to hold hands to cross the street or walk through a parking lot, but if Charlie offers his hand - she always takes it.

It isn't always so sweet -they have their toddler moments for sure. There is a certain Mexican restaurant that we can never go back to after Charlie bit Izzy on the shoulder and both kids screamed for what felt like forever. And I've witnessed Izzy pull Charlie's hair with a strength I didn't think a not yet two-year old girl could possess. There are times she doesn't want to do what he says. They don't share books very well.

But more and more, they are allies, not enemies, a united toddler front. Charlie gives her unprompted kisses, and if Charlie cries Izzy will attempt to give him a hug. It makes me smile to think of all the moments they will share together. Their experience as siblings will be unlike anything else they go through in life. I would envy them, except that my brother and I are almost the same difference in age, and I already have what they have.

This is my favorite picture of my children, taken the first time they met. I just love the expression on Charlie's face - so serious and solemn. I think his face expresses some concern about what this little person will change about his two-year old world. But I also see worry in those eyes for this great big responsibility to protect something so small and helpless. I think I knew from the very first time Charlie held Izzy that he would love her and that she was in good hands.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why I'm willing to listen to what Sheryl Sandberg has to say

Marissa Mayer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, now Sheryl Sandberg. The conversation about women and their careers just keeps gaining momentum.

Sheryl Sandberg, the current COO of Facebook, has a new book that is hitting a Barnes and Noble near you today. Her book called "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead" has received a lot of buzz, some positive, some negative. Controversy sells books, as luck would have it, and it has already hit number one on Amazon. Lean In is also an online community, launched last week, with over 40,000 facebook likes in its first week. From the Lean In website:

"The book Lean In is focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do. LeanIn.Org is the next chapter."

With colleagues at our annual Women in Medicine and Science
dinner. Do we need to lean in?
Most of the negative commentary prior to the book's release has centered on the fact that Sheryl Sandberg speaks from a place of privilege. Harvard educated, chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, and one of the people credited with putting Google on the map (and she is only 43) -  she and her husband are billionaires. Does that mean she doesn't have the right to speak up and encourage women to raise their hands and take a seat at the table? She certainly won't speak for every woman, and she has resources many working women do not.

But she has succeeded by working hard and she she learned some valuable lessons along the way (she almost took Facebook's initial job offer as is, until her husband told her she had to counter offer. I did this with my current job and still regret it). And many see her manifesto as putting all the responsibility on women, when public policy and coorporations have not done enough to enable women, particularly working mothers.

I admit I was very skeptical when I first started hearing the buzz about this book. But Sandberg is my age and a product of the same influences and messages I had growing up. We both grew up with the benefits of Title IX, and with the message that we could be or do anything we desired. And yet, Sandberg is saying women and young girls still don't fully believe that message. We don't have the confidence and self-power to embody those ideals. I'm the first to admit I can always use more coaching in my professional life. My book has been on order for a couple weeks now and should be in the mail.

Perhaps the biggest reason I am willing to listen to what Sandberg has to say, is that she seems truly compelled to share her message. I've criticized Marissa Mayer for not wanting to take up the cause for working mothers and for being a reluctant role model. And now here is a successful woman with an already full plate in her career and family - and she is putting her whole self into this process (not for the money, clearly, and it is a big risk if only for the fame). My impression is that Sheryl Sandberg feels strongly about the need for women to lean in and focus on the one thing we can control in our careers - ourselves.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

California dreaming on a rainy Sunday afternoon

This park was just across the street from our rental house in LaJolla. How I wish I could transport us all back to this park in Paradise today...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Charlie wants our old house back

When I ask Charlie if he is excited about our new house, he tells me he wants to go back to our old house. I can't really blame him. When we go over to check on the new house, it's cold and messy, and there are no toys. I'm not sure he understands that some day we will have walls, floors, heat, furniture and even toys in our new house. Most days I manage to convince him how great our new house is going to be. Lately, I've had a hard time convincing even myself.

The month of February has been a bust for the house as not much of anything has been done. The demo, framing and roofing all happened really quickly and then everything seemed to stop. I'm not sure why, except that the hvac, plumbing and electrical contractors are all on their own time and don't seem to be in any hurry. Probably anyone that has built or remodeled a home has experienced this. But man oh man, is it frustrating.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rainbows and leprechauns

It's that time again...the month of rainbows and leprechauns. I had so much fun putting Izzy's St. Patrick's Day birthday party together last year. The cake was beautiful!

We're having her baptism on her second birthday this year, so I won't go crazy with rainbows and little green men  -  but you can bet I'll do it again sometime. Such a fun birthday to have!

Check out last year's party pictures here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

In like a lion...

Were we really at the beach just a week and a few days ago? Seems like a million years. Winter has hit hard over the last week and I don't know about anyone else, but I am so ready for Spring.
I promise an update on Modern on Meadow next week. The whole situation has been too depressing to write about - nothing to report, we're way behind schedule. But I guess in the interest of telling it like it is, I should report on the uneventful and the frustrating aspects of this redesign as well as the fun and exciting aspects. It certainly isn't all a bed of roses and we knew that going in. But I'm not thinking about it today - it's Friday and I'm looking forward to the weekend.
Thanks for the comments on my post on Marissa Mayer both here and on my Facebook page (Anne Marie Slaughter herself actually read my post!). I love discussing these career-life issues and pro/dissenting opinions are always welcome. I'm still thinking about the matter and will follow up with more thoughts soon. But enough serious talk, I'm going to let Charlie and Izzy have the last word today...