If I could go back in time and have a little talk with 2006 Natasha I would tell her to NOT put hardwood floors in her new house. I would tell her to go ahead and do the colored concrete she really wanted and not be talked into the hardwood decision. Unfortunately I have no time machine, so I have hardwood floors. Don't get me wrong, the floor is gorgeous. It's incredibly beautiful, it's also incredibly fragile. (it wasn't supposed to be, but that is another story) It gets dented, dinged, and scratched at the slightest touch. Living with this beautiful floor means living very, very carefully. It also means not sweating the small stuff, life happens and a hardwood floor is going to look lived on. I have come to terms with all that, and me and the floor have made a separate peace. I could not, however, be okay with the damage done to it by my cleaning ladies. They are very aware of the fragility of the floor and are usually really careful. One day one of them used a Magic Eraser on the floor to scrub some spots. The Magic Eraser took off a layer of floor finish leaving scrub marks all over. I will make a very long, frustrating story short - the entire downstairs had to be refinished. Sanded and taken down to the wood, refinished. It's kind of a nightmare. It took them a week to do the work, we had to send the dogs away, had no kitchen access, etc… The inconvenience level was pretty high. In the end it all worked out, we got through the week of work (Steve proved his adaptability and ingenuity by putting a ladder to the upstairs window and going in and out of the house that way) and the floor looks like new. It is most likely still as fragile so I'm not giving up on my time machine wish.
From hospital bed to half-marathon in 6 months. That's the goal Steve set for himself and that's what he accomplished this weekend at the Oakland Running Festival. He ran as part of TNT and raised money for cancer research (read about that here) and got to reap the benefits of being part of a training team and the support of coaches. TNT is an amazing organization. There is no way for me to truly understand what this journey has been for Steve, I am on the outside looking in and all I can do is marvel at what he's done. I was there at the end of the race when he crossed the finish line and I cheered, and I cried. It was the proudest I have ever been in my entire life. It is no exaggeration that Steve almost died last September. He came so close, and today he was so very far away from that. He did all this, he made today happen. I have a picture in my head of a very sick Steve in a dark room in the ICU, and now I have a picture of him running in the sunshine full of life and hope. I like this new picture so much more.
We proved with our first dance party that teenagers love; dancing, food, and a place to just hang out together. We also proved that we could throw a really great party, so Dagny, and I, decided to do it again. Since it was just before Saint Patricks Day I went with a green theme for the food and decorations, (you know how I love a theme) and I thought it all looked, and tasted, great. So did all the kids, they loved everything and had an amazingly fun night. Nobody more so than Dagny, which makes all the work so very worth it.
If you have never heard of Garfunkel and Oates you should go look them up right now. Watch all their videos, (most of which are NSFW) laugh out loud, then come back so we can talk about how funny they are. Steve and I got a chance to see them live at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, funniest night ever.
What do you do after your team wins the World Series but it's been way too long since baseball season? You go to FanFest, the most fun you can have at the park without a game going on. You can explore every corner of AT&T Park, listen to the players reminisce about last season and speculate on the next one, hang out with all the other Super Fans, and start counting down until opening day.
a very excited Giants fan
Buster Posey in the interview booth
the view from the press box
checking out all the cool memorabilia
seeing what the view is like from every different angle
I like having 4 years worth of blog post to look back on. The whole 'blogging as a chronicle of your life' has definitely worked for me. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with the blog in the future and I have some exciting ideas. Stay tuned.
Are you ready for some rugby? Dane sure is. He spent the off-season working with a personal trainer and he is coming into his second rugby season bigger, stronger, faster, and more experienced. I have watched my fair share of rugby at this point (not just youth games, we even watch professional matches on TV) and I think it is a beautiful game. It is extremely physical yet it doesn't glorify the violence. Crazy, I know, but that's rugby and Dane loves it. Even though I live in fear of him getting seriously injured, I think I love it too.
Why would someone put a comb on a rope? Steve did it because he was tired of his children "borrowing" his comb and never putting it back. If you are tired of people stealing your comb I highly suggest the comb on a rope solution. Drill a hole in a comb, thread the rope though, attach to drawer. Instant comb protection. This ingenious idea brought to you by a frustrated father and inspired by his comb-stealing children. Patent Pending.
We take our earthquake preparedness very seriously here in the Bay Area.
Eventually this is going to happen to us.
We live right next to our very own fault line.
Steve has been working hard updating all of our earthquake supplies. He stocked up on everything from water to extra clothes. He refilled first-aid kits and packed emergency backpacks. When we went to the California Academy of Sciences and saw the earthquake exhibit we felt at least a little bit ready for a disaster. There are websites with lists of what you should have in your disaster kit and lots of places that will sell you one pre-made. If you don't have any disaster supplies, go get some. It feels good to be prepared and it definitely helps you sleep at night.
As a general rule Steve is a pretty private guy. He doesn't talk about himself a lot and he is not one to put his private stuff out there. I am the one who does the sharing and I feel that I am usually judicious in what I say. Even though this is a personal blog I don't put out super personal things about Steve or my kids. Some stories are not mine to tell.
Steve has a personal story he would like to share and he is going out of his comfort zone to tell it in hopes of raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You can read his story in his own words Hereon his Team in Training page. Unrelated to his cancer, in September Steve spent a week in the ICU after a large blood clot in his leg broke apart and he ended up with multiple pulmonary embolisms. This was not his first (or second, or third) experience with PE's but it was definitely the most severe and with the most lasting repercussions. One of those being that he will be on blood thinners for the rest of his life and that means he can no longer play soccer. Soccer was his social and physical activity, without it he was sad, and I think, a little lost. He was searching for something that could fill that void and that is where Team In Training entered the picture. TnT helps people train for races and in return the participants raise money for cancer research. It's really that simple; you train, people donate money, and together you fight cancer. Steve has been in remission since 2009, his life was saved because of cancer research, Team in Training has given him a way to pay it forward. When he first signed up he wasn't sure he could be a distance runner, a half-marathon was quite a challenge. He started running in November and he has gone from barely being able to do 2 miles to running 9. That 13.1 miles is now a reachable goal.
I am his cheerleader and his biggest fan but I also am in charge of his fundraising. If you would like to support Steve and cancer research you can do so on his TnT page.
I don't usually take pictures while Steve is in the hospital
but I'm glad I did because it shows how far he has come.
The very end of the year and the beginning of the next one are some of the best weeks for our family. In addition to the fun (and stress) of the holiday's, and accounting for the need for a few days of sleeping in and doing nothing, we have time to do all kinds of fun things. This year was a stay-cation so it is very lucky that we live in such an awesome place.
We started out with our annual trip to the Dickens Fair. I realized that in all the years the kids and I have been going Steve has never been able to join us. His first time there made everything new and interesting for me and I experienced the whole thing in a completely different way. Steve had a good time and I think it was fun for him to see all the things we have been talking about for so long.
For Christmas Steve game me a museum membership so I can go to all my favorite museums free all year long. (one of the best presents ever) We took advantage of my new member status by spending a day at the Legion of Honor. We saw the Treasures from the Louvre exhibit, which was amazing, and then wandered through the galleries for hours. That is my idea of the perfect day.
We try and go to the Academy of Science a couple times a year and the holidays are definitely our favorite time to be there. They have special seasonal exhibits (snow and reindeer) and an hour in the humid rainforest makes the cold outside not seem no bad. It's always good to visit Claude, the albino alligator, (I swear I have never seen him move) and Dagny could (and does) happily spend hours down in the aquarium.
For a week we had a little Frenchie guest. Chuck came to be puppy-sat, and since he is not housebroken (yikes!) we spent lots of time outside with him. We found out that when you walk one or two dogs people stop and chat, but when you have four dogs people think you're crazy.
There was also lots of movie watching, both at home and in the theater. We saw Les Miserables and The Hobbit, (again) and AT&T decided to give us free HBO so watching that took up a lot of our time and made everyone happy. One of Dagny's Christmas gifts was a shopping spree, so she and I hit up the mall and all the cool stores in downtown Walnut Creek and Dagny ended up with a new wardrobe. (those after Christmas sales were just too hard to resist) We rang in the New Year at home with tons of food and watched the ball drop. Now vacation is over and Steve is back at work and Dagny and Dane are at school and we can all start looking forward to spring break.