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Time crunch

  • Laurie Gibbs and her son, Noah, 7, watch the volleyball practice of her daughter, Julia, 10, at the Boys and Girls Club in Petaluma on July 18. (BETH SCHLANKER / The Press Democrat)

Grant and Laurie Gibbs of Petaluma like to call Thursdays their “perfect-storm nights.”

That's when their work commitments collide most profoundly with the busy schedules of their two children — Noah, 7, and Julia, 10.

Grant, an English teacher at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, has been off for the summer, but he also directs the contemporary band at Elim Lutheran Church in Petaluma.

Laurie, a partner in the Ranch7 Creative Graphic Design firm, also does graphics for the church, and she creates and sells homemade desserts on the side.

So far this summer, the children have been involved in swimming, volleyball, flag football, vacation Bible school and a couple of different camps.

On Thursdays, it all comes together in the late afternoon, requiring some complicated tactics.

“We do some amazing choreography on Thursday nights,” Grant explained.

“I bring Noah over to flag football practice at 5:30. Laurie follows about 15 minutes behind. She takes Julia, stops at the Mi Pueblo restaurant and picks up burritos, drives over to Noah's practice. Julia then walks across the street to her volleyball practice.”

That's just stage one.

“Laurie and I eat for 15 minutes on the football field watching Noah's practice. Then on the nights I have to go to the church, I leave at 6:20 or so. Laurie takes Noah and the remaining food across the street to Julia's practice,” Grant said.

For parents with active children who are still too young to drive, it's a common story.

“We are a family of two working parents, working full-time in two different counties, with three kids (ages 10 to 15) going to three different schools, in Petaluma, Sebastopol and Santa Rosa,” said Anastacia Mott Austin, a social worker who lives in Cotati.

“Summer means camp, and during the school year, there are commutes to choir practice and school events,” she added.

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