A Corpus Christi Christmas

Had had a rare Christmas week off the year, something that will only happen once a decade or so. ¬†Since she could travel this year, we decided to head down to her parents’ house in¬†Corpus Christi for Christmas for a change. ¬†The girls will stay on in Corpus for a few more days of their winter break before heading back home to Austin next week.

In Corpus, we had Kit’s parents, Kit’s uncle Bob, and my parents. ¬†We had a great, slow Christmas day with the whole family. ¬†We stuffed ourselves on ham, green beans, salad, and pecan pie. ¬†We watched Home Alone and sat around chatting while the kids played. ¬†It was a good day. ¬†People were curious and excited about my new job at Whole Foods. ¬†We also headed down to Corpus Christi waterfront for a sunny¬†afternoon walk and to let Molly try her Plasma Car on a big, wide sidewalk.

We also got to visit our friends, the Carroll’s. ¬†The highlight of that visit was Claire and Ze doing a “science experiment” from one of their Christmas presents ¬†in the Carroll’s bathroom. ¬†They overdid an ingredient from the experiment and clogged the bathroom sink, left a mess on the hall carpet, and ruined some bathroom towels. ¬†We were concerned that the kids might have gotten some science goop in their eyes or mouths, but it turned out alright.


This year, with Kit working 70-hour weeks leading up to Christmas, and me starting my new job the week before Christmas, we were overwhelmed and frankly almost did not get all the presents we needed.  We just eeked it out this year!  Basically Kit and I need up with a two-hour window on the Sunday before Christmas to focus on shopping.  We had between 3:00, when Kit was done with her work, and 5:00, when the babysitter had to leave, to talk and shop.  This was not for lack of planning.  Kit and I had been trying to do this since Thanksgiving, but we barely had time to talk about it, much less actually shop, at least when Kit was in a state where she could spare the brain cycle for it.

Anyways, Santa managed to find Claire a remote controlled indoor/door min-drone. ¬†It is¬†a quadra-copter about the size of your palm, and with practice, you can fly it around the house. ¬†It was a tough start, getting hung up on the ceiling at first and later getting tangled up in Muffin’s tail hair. ¬†But Claire started to get a hang of it with practice. ¬†Santa gave Molly a Plasma Car, which is a 4-wheeled scooter you can ride around the house or a sidewalk. ¬†It was a perfect fit for Molly, and she spent most of Christmas day wheeling around the house.

The pile of presents from each other was huge and sweet. ¬†A highlight was a hand-made book telling the history of everyone in our family, both Purdy’s and McGonigle’s. ¬†It was meant for Claire and Molly to have and read decades from now, but we all got a copy of this amazing book. ¬†There were lots of other presents, everything from Playmobil sets to fitness bands to¬†the Claire & Molly annual art calendar that I normally make.

The morning after Christmas, the girls and Kit stayed back in Corpus while I headed home to my new job and to try to restore some sanity to the tornado scene that is our house.

Molly Rides the Bus

Molly rode the school bus home for the first time today.  It was a brave step for a Pre-K kid like Molly to hop onto a gigantic, loud bus full of big kids as old as 12.  Molly was barely as tall as the lowest step on the bus.  But Molly did it with full confidence, no complaints, and no problems.

This was an accomplishment for Claire too.  Being in Pre-K, Molly gets out at 2:00 rather than 2:45.  Molly goes to Extend-a-Care for 45 minutes, at which point Claire gets out of class and picks up Molly.  Claire actually has to find Molly and her stuff, sign her out, and get her across school in halls clogged with 895 other kids, to the bus before it leaves.  This is also challenge because Molly is a bit of a slow walker.  The teachers, Extend-a-Care staff, the bus driver were all prepared for this, and they all helped make it safe and easy to get Molly to the bus.  The bus driver and Claire have kept careful watch on Molly to make sure she is alright on the bus.  I had asked Claire if she wanted me to go through the process with her once or twice, but she immediately declined, saying she could handle it on her own.  Way to go, Claire and Molly!

Molly was excited about riding the bus home, which is good because it is quite helpful for everyone.  Up to this point, Claire had been riding the bus home by herself.  While Molly stayed at Extend-a-Care, Claire did homework with her nanny Sarah.  When Claire was doing something independent like reading, then Sarah would run and get Molly, which took about 45 to 60 minutes door-to-door, including some playground time.  This was fine since I was upstairs working from home every day.  This changed when I took a new job working at the Whole Foods headquarters.  Now Sarah would have to take Claire with her to pick up Molly at Extend-a-Care.  Before I started my new job, we did some test runs.  It became painfully clear that Claire would not have the time she need to finish her homework if she was also pickup up Molly.  Claire was up late, sometimes finishing her homework, up early the next morning to catch up, and some nights in tears.  Now, with Molly riding the bus home, they can all stay at home and do homework, etc. without having to head back out into the traffic.  Everyone seems to love the new arrangement, although it leaves Sarah with the challenge of keeping Molly from distracting Claire during her homework time.

Third Kids App

Continuous Math Cards
Continuous Math Cards

This kids have inspired yet another app for me to do at my little company, Round Trip Software.

Claire has been working on her multiplication tables at school and has gotten stuck on the 3’s. ¬†In minute or less, she has to answer 18 questions of 3 times any number between 1 and 10. ¬†Looking for times to practice, it became clear that she could do this in the car a few minutes at a time if we could just find a good app for it. ¬†After downloading several iPhone apps, none did quite what she needed. ¬†So I decided to make one. ¬†My goal was to do it in Apple’s¬†new Swift programming language¬†over one weekend. ¬†It’s always inspiring¬†to set a completely unrealistic goal, I guess. ¬†Anyways, I made a very rough but functional app that first weekend and spent the next few weekends polishing it. ¬†Now Continuous Math Cards: Flexible Flash Cards for Any Level is on the App Store, and most importantly Claire uses it regularly to tackle her¬†3’s. ¬†Actually, judging from the sales, Claire is the only one using it so far. :-O

The other two apps were Bedtime Balloons (download) and Where in the World is Santa Claus? (download).