Sunday, November 27, 2011

Parental crap boxes

Now that we're firmly established as Colorado residents - and despite the fact that we don't yet own a house - my parents managed to return the seven or eight boxes of my crap that they've stored in their basement for years.  The suggestion was innocent enough: that I might want some of my old books, which of course I did.  Then, while I was tenderly remarking about every title ("Oh my gosh - The Incredible Journey!" "This is the first copy of Little Women that I totally read to death!" and etc.), the other boxes came out.

Among other treasures we found: my letter jacket, a box of ribbons, an un-cashed check for $10 for winning a talent show in 1984, my entire cassette tape collection (which you know is awesome), 4-H record books from showing sheep, a bunch of Garfields, a slide rule... As you can imagine, this stuff is really great.

One shoebox within another larger box really made me chuckle.  It's filled with notes, passed between my friends and me in high school.  Why they didn't end up in a landfill 20 years ago is a great question, but for some reason I kept them.  What struck me most was not the banality of the things we deemed noteworthy.  Rather, it's the massive presence of handwritten words.  In the age of email and Facebook and texting, the art of writing has all but disappeared.  Handwriting is elegant.  Paper feels substantial.  And written correspondence can be saved (perhaps for that day when I'm a person of historical significance and my past writings are all cataloged).  It's unlikely I'll ever read them all, but I'm not going to toss them out just yet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Bunny is 2!

I'm not sure how it's even possible, but the Bunny turned two last Sunday!  We celebrated with her grands, my grands and her birthday buddies Aunt Jessie and Great-uncle Chuck (and family).  Fun to have so much local family, fun to actually fit 14 people around our table!

As for the Bunny herself, she's doing awesome.  According to her pediatrician, she is "perfect," though anyone who has to vacuum under her chair would probably be able to identify at least one area for improvement.  Here's her general update:

  • Her height is in the 70th percentile or so, and her weight is in the 20th (give or take).  Her tummy and thighs, truth be told, do somewhat belie the slender, fashion model build the stats would otherwise portray.  Simply said, she's super healthy.  Yay.  And if you haven't seen her, you'll have to trust me that her curly mop is both unexpected (given my serious lack of curls) and totally to die for.
  • She is also a little jabber-jaws.  She talks virtually non-stop, she's really into identifying colors and she knows the names of all the Disney princesses.  She also loves to spot our local deer, elk, birdies and ladybugs.
  • Her disposition is extremely happy.  She's all grins nearly all the time, and she makes generous use of "please," "thank you," "I love you" and hugs/kisses.  
  • The only true issue the Bunny currently has is that she is a pretty poor sleeper.  Last night she made it through the night, as she did one or two days last week... but more often than not we're up every hour or two to lie her back down in her "big girl beddie" and hope for the best.  Joker and I are pretty much always tired.
  • And back in the plus column... Probably because she has observed the Bug doing it, she's totally into the concept of the potty.  No, we're not in panties yet.  But we have already had a successful #1 and a successful #2.  
So that's our sweet little Bunny!  She's truly a pleasure and it's been fun spending so much time with her - eating lunches together, playing in the playgrounds.  She gets along fabulously with the Bug and mimics her every move. We have every reason to expect this year to be even more fun than the last.


The Bug's Thanksgiving program was today, following the traditional (and surely non-chaotic) school feast.  I was pleased to see that the rather non-PC Indian headbands are still featured on all kids, though I did miss the paper-bag-made-into-an-Indian-vest that we wore in kindergarten.  Plus, they call them "Native Americans" now.  And not only were the dreamcatchers stunning, as you can see clearly here, but the story Mrs. C told the audience about them was super charming.

Anyway, I am so thrilled to report that the Bug did swimmingly.  She sang loudly, she bowed deep and she totally kept her composure even when the Bunny shouted her name above the general din.

Anyone who was watching a few years ago wouldn't have recognized her... the Bug was the kid who completely freaked out at school programs, screaming and/or crying as soon as she set eyes on me.  Zoiks.  We had more than one notable disaster.  But now, the picture of maturity.  (Though not an actual picture... those are all of the backs of the heads of all the moms in front of me.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Last week was the first parent-teacher conference I've ever attended.  You remember: the ones most of my friends were terrified of when we were kids, but I secretly looked forward to.  I liked school, and rather took to it, at least in the early years.  And my (perhaps obnoxiously) confident self enjoyed knowing my accomplishments were being discussed at that precise minute.

Anyway, this one was for the Bug's Junior-K class.  And truth be told, I was a little nervous.  I mean, you know your kid is awesome.  But what if there's something concerning about her tendency to wear fifteen hair clips every day?  Or if her teachers worry that a dress and tights and other weather-inappropriate clothing might indicate larger problems at home.  [N.b., She dresses herself!]  Or if her lunches aren't sufficiently healthy or sustainably-farmed or whatever?  Or if I send the worst snacks of any class mom?

First off, I can't praise highly enough the professionalism of the staff at her school.  Her teachers had prepared a written report that detailed the good - and the bad - of her academics and social progress since the beginning of the school year.  And we spend a good deal of time discussing, and formulating an action plan for, the one issue they've identified. 

In a nutshell, the Bug is nervous around grown-ups.  She freezes, forgets her lovely manners, and it comes off as disrespectful, which none of us think is OK.  Lucky for her, she's still just four.  We've got time.  And even luckier, she's got a whole team who loves her and wants to help her through it - Joker and me, her teachers and the staff at her school, her grandparents and great-grands and aunts/uncles/cousins, even her friends' parents and Joker and my friends.  So she'll be great.  And it's lovely to know that the school believes this is an important social skill for her to have and to cultivate.

On the positive side, her friendships with the kids at school are at or ahead of where the teachers would expect after a cross-country move.  And perhaps less surprising to those of us around her, her academics are at the top of her class.  So kindergarten next year is all systems go, and her teachers only want to ensure she isn't bored when she gets there.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best. Gate. Ever.

After the snow had sufficiently melted at the end of last week, we took a walk around the Evergreen Lake.  There are lots of things to love about this town, and the lake is one of them: a 1.25-mile loop that the Bug hikes with ease, beautiful and right in town.  Plus, it has my favorite gate just off the path.

Perhaps it's not the most useful gate of all time, but it's definitely the best.