Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SO I remember how to do it in 5 years...

I taught Maryna to parallel park yestereday in anticipation of her road test sometime this week or next. Maybe she's just a fast learner, but she had it nearly perfect from her 2nd try onward. If it helps anyone else, here's what worked for us:

1. Read this before hand (f-bomb warning in the last paragraph or so)http://lifehacker.com/the-right-way-to-parallel-park-step-b…. Have it open on your phone or print it out. Also watch the long-ish video in the comments here.  And watch this.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0uAFVeDUjs.

2. Go to a mostly empty parking lot and pull through into a space so you are facing out. "Parallel park" into the open space to your back right, imaginging that there's a car to your right.

I had Maryna read ME the step by step directions while I did the first parking. We talked about where those 45* marks to the front left and rear right would be as well as the middle of the windshield and rear window.  For me in the driver's seat, it meant whatever I saw directly over the side mirror (front right) or whatever was in the back passenger mini-window.  FInd a reference point. (Bringing a small post-it note to mark those spots on the windows would have helped a lot!!!)

You're going to do that first step (crank and reverse) until that thing that was 45* to your front left or back right is right in the middle of the front or back window.  You are now at 45 degrees. DONE.  Then back up to clear, then crank the other way and back up until you're in the spot.

3. After she "taught" me, we switched spots and she did a few in the empty parking lot, working our way zig-zagging down a row of parking spaces.

4. Then we went to a parking lot with a few cars and practiced pulling up next to a parked car and then parallel parking into the space behind it, following these directions.  This let her practice getting that ideal starting spot: parallel to (not wonky), and about 3 feet away (not too close, not to far) with th back of the cars lined up.

5. Then we hit the streets and parked behind a few cars**. 

6. Eventuallly we found some spaces to try that had just one open place between two parked cars.

**We'd watched a video where the instructor pointed out that a road tests will almost never ask you to park in a single space between two cars...usually just behind one with at least 2 spaces clear behind it, so it was a good place to start our practice.

That was it. In about 90 minutes of practice, she nailed it consistently. Of the 20 or so times we practiced following those steps, she only had 1 that was a total wonky job b/c she started out too close to the reference car and 2 times (both early on) where she was a little far away from the curb but we could easily see that it was because she started out too far away from the reference car. Once she got the approach perfected, she got it right every single time. WAY easier than either of us had anticipated. I hope this is helpful to anyone else teaching their kid!

Friday, March 03, 2017

Bragging on a kid day:

One of the best best things about the vacation last week (Luquillo, PR) was spending a few hours alone doing a "walk-and-talk" with each kid. The grocery with one, the beach with another... it was un-interrupted time connecting with the kids and Rob that is just so hard to carve out at home.

Katie is my "first" (despite no longer being my oldest) and is the kid I have the most intuitive understanding for. In some ways this is bad--I tend to assume I know what she's thinking or feeling and when I'm wrong that's a mess! But most of the time I can just tell what's going on with her and what she needs in return.

She's incredibly strong in her convictions, brave and curious in her questions, kind and generous and compassionate with everyone she meets, clever but easily frustrated and discouraged when it's hard or less than perfect until she manages to push through, and always anxious and worried about something. And a voracious reader and craft-dabbler.

(In other words, she's all the good things I try to be and all the things I try to overcome in myself).

Friday, February 10, 2017

Random Aug-isms

"Mom, what date is today?"...
**some counting to self after he gets the answer**
"Hey mom?  Do you want to know what my countdown is for...?"
Sure, buddy.
"..  It's none of your business."

Mom? Can I snuggle with you in your bed? ...
Mom? Can I get on top of the covers? It's too warm.
Mom? Can you take your arm off of me? It's too heavy.
Mom? Can you get this arm out from under me? It's distracting.
Mom? Can you just...move a little further away from me...?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Jorge is 10!

Celebrating Jorgie-bear turning 10 today! He's passionate and determined, creative, funny, and smart. He's the source of most of my gray hair, but someday all of that passion will be better channeled and won't mean daily arguments (right!?)(RIGHT???) He's a loyal brother and the most confident and outgoing kid I know. Happy Birthday, Captain!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

48 hours...

We're 48 hours into Christmas break and I'm ready to ship all three littles off to a relative for the rest of it.  My gracious they are loud and annoying and break things quickly. There is never a break from someone whining, someone demanding more.  More time, more interaction, more referree-ing, more help, more attention, more reassurance, more rounds of the game, more space next to one of us, more more more.

I'm all out of more, guys.  I'm exhausted and burnt out and grumpy.  I'm poured out and empty. I have nothing left to give.  And yet there they are.  Take. Take take take.

I have worked so insanely hard and constantly for 4 straight months with no breaks and now everytime I peek my head up, there's a child (or four) ready to suck whatever little bit of energy I had ready to offer. I love them so much but oh my gosh I need a real actual break.  Grades are due for the undergraduates this week and graduates January 4 and I will be grading stuff a few hours each day until then.  Coincidentally the kids go back to school January 3.  I'm eyeing January fifth for a full-fledged guilt-free nap-day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Every kid has a few words that are said in their own unique way.  Some of those are super persistent. We still have breakfrest and go to resternots, and draw a lot of triangulos.  Perhaps my favorite of August's are volocanos.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Silver Medal Mama

Snuggling the boys at bedtime tonight, one on each side, I sighed. "I feel like the most loved mommy in the whole world."

Jorge snuggled in closer.  August cocked his head.

"Mmm...probably not in the whole world.  Probably the most in this half of the world, though."


"I mean, Europe and Asia are really big. There are a lot of people there."

"So...you think there are mommies out there that are more loved than me?"

"Maybe, like, one.  You are probably the most loved in like three-quarters of the world."

"Hm.  Well, ok. I feel like the most loved mommy in the whole world."

"But you probably aren't.  Probably second most."