Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yes, Sensei!

Andy got his orange belt in jujitsu this week. I am so proud of him for sticking with it. He's now progressed from white to yellow to orange so this is a big deal. Sure, he's a long way from black belt and everything, but he's making serious progress and we're all proud, mostly Andy. I will admit I never really got the martial arts thing. Sure, I was a huge fan of the Karate Kid. I mean, who doesn't love "wax on, wax off" and then he beats the mean bad guys? That's just classic (although, digression, we watched it recently. The show overall holds up and I love that Elisabeth Shue is built like a real woman, likely bigger than Ralph Macchio, our hero. I suspect if this were filmed today that they would find someone more petite which is a shame because she really rocks the roll).

Anyhoo, we started taking martial arts because Andy was feeling scared. He told me that a new kid was starting in his class last year and he was really worried, "What if Pablo hits me?" "Um, why would he hit you?" "I don't know. What if he doesn't like me?" I talked to some friends and realized he was feeling anxious about school so I wanted to find him something to help him overcome some of those anxieties. This has been a great fit. His sensei works with them on lots of confidence building exercises like using their voices and walking tall, that kind of stuff. He's also been working with them about bullying, explaining that with their training, it's expected that they will use their skills for good and to protect other kids and keep them from being bullied. I think that's been pretty powerful for him, too, to think of himself as a protector. It's really pretty cool.

Margaret was desperate to do jujitsu with her brother. Frankly, she's usually willing to anything her brother does. But we went for about a month and she just couldn't get the swing of things (i.e. let go of my arm). I tried just about everything. Mrs. Sensei tried everything else. But we're going to take a break. It's for the best.

Two other things are interesting - Bjorn starts his new job in a week. He's super excited. It's in a field he likes and an industry where he can really excel. And two, we booked our trip to Paris for the spring. We have been talking about going to Paris together since before we got married. I can't wait!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The one with the dentist and the clubhouse

Andy at the dentist. Apparently he needs to do a better job of brushing the back of his mouth and teeth. As you can see, he wasn't thrilled to get this news. 

This one brushes fine, but she grinds her teeth, bad. They don't give mouthguards to kids and the hope is she'll outgrow it. Considering Bjorn and I are both teeth grinders, I don't think that's likely. 

Celebrating Mom and Dad's birthday at Al Beirnat's. Oh, and Christmas, too. We had fun. 

As a kid, we had a cabin in the backyard that we played with for years, until it finally fell apart. It was fantastic. We played Little House on the Prairie out there and just about anything else. I'd been looking for one for our yard and finally found a good one at Costco. Poor Bjorn did not realize it would take 10 hours to put together. 

I love this picture. Barrett and Andy look like little puppies or goats sticking their heads out to look at the instructions. 

The completed house. A great idea except then we had to hoist it over the fence to get in the backyard. It wasn't as bad as building a boat in the basement, but it wasn't great planning. 

Here is the house in the backyard complete with a girl in it. Meg and I have since put some petunias in the flower basket. It's seriously adorable. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The one with the missing kitten (also flu B)

Last weekend I woke up to my daughter in my bed. No surprise, she usually makes it to our room sometime in the night. What was unusual was I woke up to her throwing up in my bed. This set up the great Bennett Pukefest of 2013. More on that in the bit. Today's drama involves a kitten.

For Christmas, Santa brought the kids gift certificates for two kittens. On December 27, we picked up Donner and Blitzen (Thunder and Lightening in German). Blitzen is black with adorable white whiskers and white sports on her feet. Donner is also black but with black whiskers, some white hairs on her body and a crook at the end of her tail as if it's the top of a bumper car. They're both simply adorable.

After losing two cats in six months, one to a mystery and one to an asshole in a car, we wanted to keep them inside this time instead of inside/outside. That worked for a while until they got out and realized that outside was just way more fun than inside. Since then, keeping them in with the doors open, garage doors opening and kids coming in and out has been like trying to keep sand out my bathing suit while on the beach -- impossible.

Yesterday the kittens got out just as I was hustling to pick up two play dates to take them to the planetarium (which was totally awesome, by the way. I highly recommend). So I let them stay out. We wouldn't get gone long and surely they'd be ready to come in when we got home. That was true except the kids let them out...AGAIN (obviously there's a design flaw in our system). Before we went out to dinner, we had Donner in but not Blitzen. I wasn't terribly worried. Except when we got home from dinner about 11, she still wasn't home. And now there were thunderstorms and/or tornadoes on the way. Damnit.

I looked outside in the mist. Bjorn looked outside. He even went and checked out neighbor's feral cat trap that once caught our bigger cat, Perry. Nada. At 3 a.m. when the thunder and lightening hit (which looked like strobe lights there was so much lightening), I  went out again. I opened the garage hoping she would come home. Nothing. Then at 7 this morning, we got up and still no cat. We walked the creek looking for her. And I started to really panic. Bjorn ranted that this was a horrible mistake and all our fault for letting them out in the first place and that she had surely been eaten by wolves or coyotes or bobcats or teenagers or fire or thunderstorm. CRAP.

I started texting my friends. I posted something on Facebook. As the morning went on, I texted the picture to more people, widening my circle from beyond the block to neighboring blocks. My friends were incredibly sweet, posting pictures and sharing the text picture with other neighbors. And then a miracle happened. SOMEONE HAD RESCUED A CAT LAST NIGHT. My friend called and said she didn't know what it looked like but a friend of a friend's daughter went to a sleepover and found a kitten that they brought home (and likely hoped to keep). Then she called a minute later to say they'd dropped the cat off at her house and could I please hurry as she had it cornered in her garage. The kids and I hauled over there and sure enough, it was Blitzen. She easily came to us and we took her home. Unbelievable. The power of a good neighborhood and social media. So awesome.

Turns out a slumber part of sixth graders came across her, likely by the creek behind our house, and "rescued her." They brought her home and loved on her until the daughter's mother said, "Oh, hell, no" and the kitten ended up spending the night at another neighbor's until we found her. Seriously. Amazing.

Blitzen wearing a cat "harness" that we put on her in the hopes that she won't lose this collar. She is not enamoured, as you can imagine. 
Also amazing, the fact that we all had the flu last week, including Mark who moved to college. We lost several kitchen bowls that served as "puke buckets" during this time. Stay klassy, Bennetts. Stay klassy.