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    Stage fright? No way!

    April 29th, 2011

    Tonight was daycare’s annual Spring Sing fundraiser. It’s a benefit with auctions, dinner and child-provided entertainment. Proceeds go towards the program. Child participation is optional, and really driven by their attendance at the event (ie. if you don’t come, your child won’t perform). The event is 6-8 (or 9 if, like me, you chatted up other parents), so a bit late for little people, but since G decided a while back that he won’t go to bed before 9:30, it was a welcome idea to go. And so we did. Which meant, you guessed it: G got to perform.

    I was envisioning G being the child on the stage that would run, like a maniac, back and forth. When asked to participate would give his little mischievous grin and say “Nooooooo!” I was expecting this. As was S. Instead, we got a child that stood in his spot (up front) of the stage, waved his hands, (occasionally) sang in tune, and performed. In front of about 130 adults.

    Color me surprised.

    I don’t expect that this lack-of stage fright will last to next year, but hey, who knows? Meanwhile, enjoy the pre-school performance of “Coconut Soap”. G is the peanut in the orange T, just a little to the right of center. (And, yes, if you don’t have any children within this age group, this will be torturous to experience).

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U8FVQlgWlo]

    I only packed the Flip for this. I’m sure had I brought the dSLR that G would’ve behaved exactly as I expected… because I would be waiting with high-quality equipment. Instead, you get pixelated video πŸ™‚ Oh, and pardon the shakiness in the middle. I had some kids in the audience that decided this would be a great time to need to get past me.


    Foto Friday

    April 28th, 2011

    How we spent our Easter Sunday.

    G played hide and seek with me

    … and his baby:

    He gave it hugs

    and milk

    “I no spill it, Mama. I no spill it!”

    He changed it’s diaper

    and poked it’s belly-button

    Meanwhile, S2 made faces at Daddy

    And I got to stay in my pajamas all day. It doesn’t get much better than this!


    Gene Simmons, the third

    April 28th, 2011

    We have another K.I.S.S. fanatic in our household. Following his brother’s footsteps, S2 just can’t keep his tongue in his mouth much either… unless I’m trying to take a picture of it that is.


    Raccoon: 6; Us: 0

    April 24th, 2011

    The above would be the score of battles between us and (what I am now picturing as a mean, vindictive) raccoon over the freshly laid sod in our back-yard.

    For about a week now we’ve woken up to find the sod on one side of our yard rolled up and tossed around like carpet, and some of my strawberries turned up. To alleviate this problem S and I have tried:

    1. ignoring the problem. This worked for 1 night where I guess said raccoon forgot where we lived
    2. putting red chilli flakes down. This made him mad and in retaliation he turned up more of our yard upside down
    3. putting a radio out there turned on (softly as to not disturb our neighbors) onto a talk radio station. As we discovered the next morning Christian talk did not inspire him to be a better critter. Instead he’s relying on us to turn the other cheek
    4. insecticide to kill the grubs he’s after. We’re only 2 days into this, but clearly it’s not an over-night win

    So at this stage, not only is this dude getting a gourmet meal every night, but he’s succeeded in keeping us indoors, as the insecticide is not something I would expose the kids to. S is ready to spend the night outside with a hose at this point. I keep telling him that all that’s going to do is get us a 1) dug up yard; 2) a husband with a cold and a major crick in the neck who would’ve slept through that night’s attack; 3) yet again a fed critter.

    The funny thing is that I used to think raccoons are cute. Now all I can picture is a scroungy, wet, beady-eyed critter, that is foaming at the mouth and wringing its little paws on how to make our lawn worse off.

    Next up, some friends have offered to loan us their watering scarecrows. I can’t wait!


    Welcome to the Bunny Farm

    April 23rd, 2011

    Ensuring that both my sons have equal reason to seek therapy πŸ™‚

    Happy Easter everyone!!!


    Our backyard: from drab to fab

    April 19th, 2011

    We had our back-yard redone. We’d been talking about it for awhile, but since it wasn’t an indoor space we needed to address, it was never high on our priority list until the rest of the interior stuff was done. However, since the space within the walls is finally where we want it to be, I started eyeing the forest of gloomy bushes in the back of our house. The boys are getting bigger, and I’d love for them to be able to play outside on our own property.

    When S and I talked about the back-yard this January, we had agreed, that our goal was to meet with a few landscape architects and come up with a design for the yard by April.Β  And then gather up the cash we’d need to make it happen. I’ll spare you the long story, but we got lucky and met our landscape guy at a Home & Garden show. Initially he came to bid on doing the stamped concrete work, but we then found out he can do it all, and since we totally clicked, he had a great portfolio and a price that couldn’t be beat, he was hired… and we decided we actually DO the yard, and not just the design.

    So here is the before:

    Dark, overgrown and you could’ve used some of the dips as barricade trenches in a battle.

    And here is the after:

    Different huh? We likey!

    My favorite feature is the chalkboard wall S put together. You can see it at the edge of the far wall in the overhead shot. I’ll let S write a post on that one separately though, since it’s totally his baby.

    And look. We apparently have a view. Who knew?

    Next up? Furniture. But that will have to wait until after we recover from Uncle Sam’s extended arm this tax season. Meanwhile, G is loving running back and forth on the deck unobstructed by chairs and tables. He’ll be a sad boy once the furniture comes in.


    Sleepyheads

    April 15th, 2011

    This morning I woke up to the soft snoring sounds of this duo:

    The only thing that would be missing to describe an average morning for us these days is the other half of the bed. Where I would be sleeping, half-reclined, with S2 snuggled under my arm.

    G’s been coming in, in the early mornings, carrying his friends, and last week, even a pillow (as if we didn’t have enough). It’s not that restful of sleep for us (especially S) since he still thrashes around a lot and does things like … sleep sideways. S has to constantly wrestle him back on the bed so he doesn’t fall off. Observe his well stretched arm cupping G’s butt — it’s his sleep state of protection.

    I’m shocked that with all the photos I took this morning and my flash going off they didn’t wake up. But they’re sure cute though, no? Even with all the crusty nose boogies πŸ™‚


    Foto Friday

    April 15th, 2011

    Use the force, Luke! Use the force!

    Taking care of his crack-berries πŸ™‚

    … while of course S2 supervises

    Woa! Did you see the size of this pot?


    Good-bye Yahoo!

    April 14th, 2011

    Yahoo!, it’s not you. It’s me. Well… Ok, it’s a bit you too.

    I don’t talk about work much here. For the most part this is not intentional, but I do try to avoid it when I can. That’s right: I can dish the goods on spit-up, but I won’t subject you to the gruesome details of my professional existence πŸ™‚ However, this is a memorable event and as it’s had such a huge impact on my life, it’s worth talking about.

    After 9 years at Yahoo! I’ve decided to move on. I handed in my resignation on Monday, and while I took a big sigh of relief about it, I also find myself choking up a tad too. I grew up here: both professionally and personally. I started a year and a half after graduating from college. I got engaged while and Yahoo, married while at Yahoo! and I had my two kick-ass kids here. Neko was named by a Yahoo! (I had a contest for the best name. Winner was supposed to get a cookie, but I forget if he ever did. If not, hey M, I owe you one!) I owe this place a ton. The most important of which are my two boys. Without Yahoo!’s generous infertility coverage, I’m not sure our family would be what it is today, and for this I will be eternally grateful. Of course there is also my career. I’ve had a remarkable run of working with top-notch, bright and fun people. I learned a lot from them, and they shaped my career goals and what I do today.

    As much fun as it has been though, over the past year, perhaps longer, I started feeling dis-enchanted. I’m struggling to get behind our leadership’s vision, especially when I find it to be unclear, or some elements of it’s “implementation” to be contradictory. I believe in this company and I want to see it succeed so badly. But I don’t believe that the right people are there to make that happen. Or perhaps they are, but aren’t taking the necessary risk in making it happen. My main frustration with leadership, however, wasn’t our execs. It was with the management within my team about two levels above me. I’d like to think I have a strong moral compass when it comes to approaching problems. I hate seeing us go cycles and cycles implementing the wrong thing because it was easy for someone. We only end up having to fix it later, or apologize for a mediocre product. So in all the issues I raised, escalations I requested, I felt little support, and that was frustrating. Then there was the role I played in this. I felt like I was outgrowing what was before me. I was ready for more, but with the organizational structure and projects it was difficult to get the proper exposure I needed. I got comfortable and a bit lazy because I was so comfortable. My management’s response was to give me more work, and while this is one way to address re-motivating me, it wasn’t really the shake-up I needed.

    Of course a month ago I got that shake-up. It was following Yahoo!’s latest re-org. I was reassigned to a new product (Ok, this is a good challenge) and a new role (hmn… thank you, but no thank you). The new role was not at all what 1) I was good at; 2) actually wanted to do. It took me from being a Product Manager, to being an Engagement Manager with responsibilities of project management, and eventually evangelism (read internal sales). From a strategic role, to a tactical role. While I’d filled in for my project manager when he was away on vacation, I never really enjoyed that element of the job. I could do it, but I simply didn’t like it. The analogy I gave S was the following: just because I can clean my house, doesn’t mean I’d enjoy a position in janitorial services. Ok, the new role wasn’t THAT bad, but I really, really didn’t enjoy it. It had even less opportunity for growth, and was no-where close to what would keep me on track for my ultimate goals of world domination. And hey, when you’re spending 65% of your waking time at work, you better believe in and love what you do. I wasn’t. Not anymore. It was time to find something that would get me back to happy.

    So… 7 weeks of job hunting, 29 applications, 17 phone conversations and 3 in-person interviews later, I have a new place that I will call home. I’m excited. I’m going back to Product Management (hey those 3 weeks away were hard!). Smaller, privately-owned company. Commerce. Oh, and did I mention it’s closer to home? It’s a 10 minute commute door-to-door. Color me EXCITED!

    Walking out of work that day after I announced I was leaving, I choked up. I’m sure on my last day here, as I close the doors behind me that last time I’ll cry (hell, I’m tearing up now just thinking about it). It’s a bit like breaking up. As I said, this place has meant a lot to me, and I will continue to wish it well. I’ll even consider coming back for the right opportunity in the future. But I’m excited about my next move. It’s a kick in my butt to get my career progression back in focus. Wish me well.

    – bleeding purple


    Mr. Sweet Potato

    April 11th, 2011

    S2 had his first taste of non-milk this week-end. Yes, I caved. No, I didn’t want to, but he kind of pushed my hand.

    He’s already been staring intently at us eating. He grabbed my plate twice in the previous weeks and pulled it towards himself, dipping his hand in various cuisines. If he had more control over his hands, I know he’s be redirecting my silverware away from my mouth and into his. Last week I even decided to split the difference, and sat him in the high-chair, and fed him some breast milk out of a spoon. My hungry little camper was excited to no end. He opened his mouth for that spoon as if he’d been doing it all along. Of course he was pretty disappointed with the contents though: he gave me this saying “Why’s this a big deal? My other way of taking in this stuff is far more efficient, and fun” So yes, there have been signs of solid food readiness.

    THEN, last week I got a request to start adding more milk to his bottles. Mr. Chunks apparently has been sorely disappointed by the insufficient 20oz of milk he’s been consuming between the hours of 7am and 6pm. He has been busting out some crocodile tears when his bottle is done, and would like more milk. While “yes” I likely could work to make that happen, it wouldn’t be without some added stress on my end. I could go back to pumping at 2am every morning, start taking Dom again, use my emergency stash for the extra, or just go for a bottle of formula each day at daycare. None of these options appealed to me, and I had to ask myself if they appealed to me any more than starting solids.

    So, after some soul searching, and much grumbling, I conceded. I went to my local grocery store, bought 4 over-priced Earth’s Best Organic Sweet Potato stage 1, and went in for “the test”.

    S2 didn’t really go for it. He didn’t care to open his mouth at the spoon like he’d done the week before. He didn’t really know what to do with his tongue as much. I was pleased. I thought to myself “Maybe he wasn’t really ready. Maybe this is my chance to pull back and wait another few weeks”… but then the reasonable part of me remembered that try #1 wasn’t exactly under the best of circumstances. 1) he was tired, as I was pushing up right before his nap-time; 2) we were rushed for time, since we had a long list of things to do afterward. So, I tried again on Sunday, and he did fine. Dang it! I decided to have Ms. J try again today, and do best 2-out-of-3.

    The result? Food wins. So I guess I loose. We’re now into solids.

    I don’t really know how to excuse my reluctance. A part of it is driven by reading that the closer baby starts taking solids to 6 months, the better. So I’m thinking 5 months, minus 3 weeks for him being born early is more like starting at a 4 months, which is definitely NOT something I wanted to do. However, I think at the end of the day it just comes down to him growing up. With G I was so excited for him to get to the next milestone. Now w/ S2 I’m the opposite: I don’t want my little duder to be growing up so fast. But clearly he’s not the patient type so I need put on my big girl panties and deal.

    Meanwhile, in a “if you can’t beat them, joint them” effort, here are some photos (and video) of S2’s new chapter in growing up.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYm9I8QEkmI]

    P.S. The sultry stylings of my voice is courtesy of a new cold I was lucky enough to acquire last week. Time for me to start up that 1-900 business, huh?