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Babysitting -- Mostly

February 25-March 1, 2015
Written February 26+

Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,
This is a grandparents' diary.  We  will be reporting on our four-day babysitting job with Ava and Sam.  Every grandparent likes grandkid memories and this is how we do it -- a diary in our long line of diaries (16 years and counting.) 

After a quick (and non-emergency) stop at one of our most-frequented Fresno locations, Kaiser Medical Center, we headed out on the three-hour drive to Los Gatos.  This drive is pretty boring, but at least there was no fog and we never have to worry about snow. Do you believe that people actually live in climates where snow is a months-long problem?  Why? 

d150225_02_firstgame.jpgGabby's house was as welcoming as usual and within minutes Gigi and I were drafted into a game of Bingo with Sam and Ava.  We never remember who wins or loses, but there is always fun.  This will be a good stay, I'm sure.  (They always are, actually.)  We will be alone with the kids from Thursday through Sunday, when Gabby and Mamal run off to Dallas for some sort of family business meeting.  They get a break and we should get a workout.

Kids nowadays have busy lives, and Sam and Ava are no exceptions.  We have seen them at swimming lessons, soccer lessons, and now we watched tennis lessons.  Ava is only five, until Saturday, and Sam is just three years old.  I'm not sure the technical points of fine tennis are getting across, but it was clear they had fun.
The class started with calisthenics and a running lap or two.
From there it was a check of equipment, socializing, and celebration after a good hit.

They had fun.  We had fun.  A good start.  From here it was a noisy pizza dinner and off to bed, tired.  (Me more than the kids.)  Tomorrow?

Thursday was a completely "normal" day.  Gabby delivered the kids to school before she and Mamal ran to the airport for the flight to Texas.  That meant Gigi and I had pick-up duty, Sam at pre-school and Ava at her after-kindergarten daycare.  From there it was play at home, dinner, some quiet time, baths, and bedtime. 
Pick up at school
Play at home and then dinner
At the end of the day, I'm not sure who was more tired, kids or grandparents.

Friday morning, Marianne took Ava to school before visiting with one of her long-time friends, Adrienne.  That left Sam and me on our won, so we started with a bagel and muffin at Noah's Bagels.  From there it was exercise at Oak Meadow Park, a local favorite.
Boys out for breakfast and some park time
After Sam and I collected Marianne and Ava, we all had lunch at home and it was off to the big event of the day: The San Jose Children's Discovery Museum. We had not been there before and we were impressed with the wide range of kid-friendly activities.
Lots of things on Woz Way
The kids' favorite?  The vegetable store and kitchen, just like at home!

Saturday.  Rain.  Even in California.  Good for the skiers and farmers, but a bump in any plans to take grandkids to parks.  No matter, we'll have fun just hanging around.

d150228_02_breakfast.jpgBoth kids woke up about 7.  Sam wandered out to find Opa and then just wanted to be held.  When he wakes up, he does it slowly.  Nice for Opa and Gigi.  Meanwhile, Ava was in her room, reading and telling stories to her dolls and secret friends.  Eventually, the offer of Gigi's palachinta pancakes got the kids up, dressed and ready for the day.

d150228_04_opahorse.jpgOn our rainy Saturday, ready for the day meant indoor play, something the two of them are actually quite good at.  Sometimes Ava bosses Sam, and sometimes Sam takes over, but they have remarkable problem-solving skills when situations arise between them.  Today, they had the added advantage of joining up on a session of Opa-is-a-camel, an activity that caused lots of laughter among the riders and a few groans by the camel.  They do give me exercise.

Once I was completely worn out, we shifted to bingo, lunch, and a bit of TV-time.
Then came one of my favorites: quiet time.  This means Ava goes to her room and continues telling stories to her dolls and friends.  Sam walks off to his room, looks at his trucks, mumbles a few stories for HIS stuffed animals, and then crawls up into bed for a peaceful rest.  He no longer gets a "nap", but he does seem to enjoy quite time like his big sister, and then he falls asleep anyway.  Meanwhile, Gigi quietly reads and shops on-line while Opa follows Sam's example and falls asleep, just a bit.

With the rain and hail still coming down, we made our out-of-the-house event a dinner out.  We chose Mo's in Campbell because they offered a chance at a second breakfast.  Pancakes are great cool weather comfort food!
Full and comforted, we headed home for baths, story time, and bedtime.

I wonder if Ava and Sam will remember the fun of our rainy Saturday, but I'm sure Gigi and I will.  Thanks to Gabby and Mamal for giving us the chance, and thanks for raising such fun kids!

d150301_02_startday.jpgSunday.  I started with diary-time at Starbucks, a common practice.  This also allows the house to wake up on its own schedule.  Everyone needed to prepare for a busy day.

d150301_10_ready.jpgThe big day-event for the kids was a birthday party.  Since they would be surrounded by their normal gang of friends and parents, we dropped them off and enjoyed our own lunch date.  When we came back, the balloon lady was just starting, so we waited and met some of the other parents and even a grandparent or two.

After all this excitement, we needed to prepare for mom and dad coming back.  We fed the kids, once the candy and cake wore off.  They both needed baths to wash off sticky frosting.  When Gabby and Mamal came through the door, it was all hugs and kisses.  Nice.

On Monday morning, everything returned to normal.  Mamal went off to work and the kids got in Gabby's car for school drop-off.  Gigi and I headed north for a week on our own, but that's another story.

John and Marianne

PS: House projects.  We always seem to have house projects.  Here is our record of the current  effort, a small update to our laundry room.  We want to remember this stuff, even if it's not of general interest!
Beginning: Cheap, mismatched cabinets.  Exposed piping using up precious floor space. Generally ugly.

Demolition and placement of pipes, vent, and new electrical circuits back into the wall.

Next, the wall was closed and the cabinets went in.

All we need now is paint and the counter top -- tasks planned to be done while we are babysitting.


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