Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Morning Books

This morning I was reading to Roses #2 and #3, and H decided it was a good photo opp.  I have to admit that I don't really like the Dora book we were reading.  But, we were having a good snuggle session on the couch, something that can really only happen on the weekends.  So that's a good thing!
Last night H and I went to my cousin Jim's 50th birthday party.  My uncle hosted the party at Somerset Country club.  It was a lovely evening.  I did not know that our nanny, Tam, who is Jim's daughter, was born at home!  During the "open mic" part of the party, where people told stories about Jim and wished him a happy birthday, Tam told the story about being born at home.  Wow!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Rocks In The House

Tonight the Roses formed an impromptu rock band, with their dad's tennis racket bags. Here they are "in the house," rocking OUT!They each made their best rock star pose. Here is Rose #1. Note the Billy Idol-esque crinkled up eye:
Here is Rose #2, pouting in her rock star like magnificence:
Here is Rose #1, patiently explaining to me that she is a rock star:

Here is Rose #3. Apparently she thinks that you play guitar with your belly:

And here is Rose #3 again, looking very cute on the couch.

She always likes it when her big sisters play with her. That is why her smile is so wide. Rock Stars In the House!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The 3-Day Closing Ceremony

Yesterday was the closing ceremony for the Twin Cities Breast Cancer 3-Day.  My sister Charity and her friend Andi walked this year.  We went to the ceremony and it was so powerful, the way that the crew and medical staff came up the dual columns, and then the walkers.  H was on one side, and he spotted Charity and Andi in the crowd:

This shot is much neater up close, but it does show the fabulous venue.  We biked down to the ceremony and got our exercise and our inspiration all at the same time.
Yesterday at church our ministers and congregation handed out $10,000 to the congregation to bless the world.  I am trying to find good ideas for my $4o.  I would really like to come up with something neat and inspiring.  Ideas, anyone?

p.s. we are so glad to hear that the Nguyen twins seem to be doing better in the hospital.  We are thinking about you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Almost 10 Years

H and I were married October 10, 1998. We were married at a turbulent time in our church's history, when a beloved minister was close to resigning her ministry. But, she stayed around to marry us (and to finish up other work). I picked one of her books off my bookshelf yesterday morning before I left for work. Almost my only leisure reading time these days is on the train to and from work. Anyway, her book, Souls Magnified, contains several of the sermons she delivered at our church. Reading those words brought me right back to a time in our lives that was so fresh, so new, and so much simpler than today.

We had no kids. No kids! We could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. And yet, I remember that I always felt busy. I don't remember why, or what I did, but I was always busy. We were on the verge of starting our married life together, and we had no idea what we were getting into. We probably still don't, and that's lucky. How could we ever have imagined that we would have three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, when we were standing so confidently, so innocently, so happily, at the altar in church? How can we know what is yet to come?

I want to say a few more things about the book and the luminous writing in it. Gretchen Thompson, the minister who married us and who published her sermons in this book, had such a beautiful way of telling a story, of making the divine personal, of tying the mystery right back to our very own everyday, pedestrian lives. To her own life. That's why I loved to listen to her - I knew she was telling the truth, talking about what really happened to her and how she made it mean something. She listened to what things mean on a deeper level than I ever have a chance to listen. Her stories leave me, left me in awe.

Gretchen disappeared hastily from our church's life. I have thought a lot lately about writing her a note, thanking her for a beautiful wedding ceremony, telling her that we are still here, still going strong. We still love each other. Thank God for that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Parent Information Night and the Student Council Debacle

Tonight was Parent Information Night at Rose #1's school. We went to hear about first grade academic expectations, and to get our questions about homework, processes, etc. answered. Rose #1 is in a solid school. The teachers are so committed, the equipment is top notch, and the parents really care. It is a school for gifted and talented kids. Rose #1 is having trouble settling down for her homework. I think this is driven by several factors. One, she is really, really tired. Her teacher said tonight at Parent Information Night that she likes to see the kids in bed at 7:30 or 8. As if! We are barely done with dinner by 6:45. So, the shame spiral starts again - working too much, worried too much about things outside my house, when really my focus should be here at home on my kids. Ugh.

Rose #1 was sick yesterday, and was sent home from school at about noon. Apparently yesterday her teacher announced that today would be the day she would select student council representatives. Each child was supposed to prepare a speech. Only one girl remembered, and she was the one chosen. (This was not Rose #1.) Rose #1 was devastated that she forgot. She was sobbing. So, I convinced her to write a note to her teacher tonight to make her best case for being selected as the student council alternate. Rose #1 asked me to call her teacher to see if I could convince her to select Rose #1 for the alternate - but - I am NOT a helicopter parent - I said no, it was her deal to figure out.

Rose #1 is timid in interesting ways. She was worried about presenting the note to her teacher. She told me that she gets embarrassed about these things. It reminds me so much of me, I can't stand it! I hope I can guide her to be more confident.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Update on the Roses

Rose #3 is potty training! She does not want to wear diapers anymore, ever. She loves to say "go potty," mainly because it gets a rise out of any grownup in the vicinity. A surefire way to get Mom or Dad to run to the potty with you, so it must be good. I believe, I really believe, that my 6+ years of buying diapers is coming to an end. Hooray! Hooray! I wish you could see her sturdy little body that looks so grownup without that diaper bulge!

Rose #2 is adjusting to 4-year-old kindergarten. She reported that her teacher yelled at the kids today. When I asked why (in an alarmed tone of voice, I am sure), she first reported that it was because Mrs. S. didn't feel good - she had a tummyache. She then allowed as how it might have been because when Mrs. S. rang the "cleanup" bell, all the 4-year-olds ignored it. Rose #2, in case you were wondering, was either in the bathroom at the time, or sitting on the rug. I am not sure if she was supposed to be sitting on the rug or cleaning up. It is difficult to decipher the goings-on in the 4-year-old kindergarten room from the point of view of the 4-year-old kindergartener. I am sure Mrs. S. could tell me exactly what was going on!

Rose #1 is getting into the groove of having homework every night. Tonight I was late coming home from work and H had Rose #1 taking an inventory of the canned goods in the pantry for homework. H, an engineer by trade, disposition, and profession, really wants Rose #1 to be adept at mathematics. I say, Go for it! I think that is great homework. We have also done things like - take a phenology walk, write a story, read aloud, be read to, etc. etc. Rose #1 and I are reading the Little House books. After a bit of cajoling - they are books about a girl, after all, and Rose #1 is the ORIGINAL tomboy - she loves them. So do I. I hope she will always remember that we read those books together.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rose #1's Homework Story

Once upon a time there was a woman who could not find a job. One day she went to a school and she got a job and she became a first grade teacher!
The end
by [Rose #1]

The accompanying picture has the principal saying: "You may have this job," in a bubble above his head. The first grade teacher is about 3 feet taller than the teacher and she has very red lips, blonde hair and masacara-ed eyes. I remarked that she looks very beautiful and Rose #1 said, "She has to! She has a job interview!"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ghost Lake Camp 2008

This weekend H was in the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, and we all went to a cabin nearby, about 14 miles out of Cable, WI on Ghost Lake. The cabin was fabulous and the kids had a great time. Here is the view out the kitchen window, looking down at Ghost Lake:We had yummy breakfasts both mornings, including Sunday. Rose #3 loves fruit with vanilla yogurt; you can see her at the end trying to spoon the yogurt into her mouth.
On Saturday night we had a roaring fire and Rose #1 read The Mitten to the kids.

The Fat Tire Festival is one of the biggest mountain biking events in the US. On Saturday we went to see H at the finish line, and it was a really neat family oriented festival at Telemark resort, which doubles as a ski place in the winter. People were there from all over the country, and we saw lots of muddy bikers. H did the 16 mile race, and I was very proud of him for finishing and for the time he did it in (1:21). There is also a 40 mile race, and those bikers ended up much muddier! I think their route got more rain or had more mud, or maybe both.
Unfortunately it rained most of the day on Saturday. We got out for a short walk with the girls, but mainly we were indoors. Huge bummer, since Ghost Lake camp has a number of boats and fishing rods! Rose #1 really wants to learn how to fish. Sunday was a bit nicer - we got out on the paddleboat - but only for a few minutes before we had to leave. We hope to go back next year for the race again.
P.S.: Congratulations to Jill and Tony on the birth of their twin daughters! We can't wait to see you guys!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rose #3: Not Ready for Prime Time Player

Well, she may not have a "first day of school" post, but here is Rose #3's saucy self, a photo from the other night when she was out playing with the neighbor kids:And, here is a shot of her in her little fleece jacket number:
Can you tell, just a little bit, from these photos why we call her "Mr. Stinkerpie"? (All in good fun of course and with an abundance of fondness?) And, by the way, I don't know why it evolved to "Mr." Stinkerpie vs. "Ms." Stinkerpie. It is one of those nicknames that just, well, fits.

Rose #2's First Day of Pre-K

St. Paul offers a fabulous program - 4-year-old kindergarten! That was where Rose #1 learned to read, so we figured: a great place for Rose #2!! Today was the first day of 4-year-old kindergarten, and we have a little tradition where Ahma and Ahgong come over to see the child off on the bus. Rose #2 was so happy to be with Ahma and Ahgong and have the spotlight on her:We went down to the bus stop and then sat on the big retaining wall for a family photo. I am sorry that Rose #1 was already at school - her bus comes about 30 minutes before Rose #2's (at the same corner, I might add):
Here is the big 4-year-old kindergartener herself. She has a Disney princess backpack (with her bus tags of course!) and I finally did get my act together to buy school logo sweatshirts (lucky since it has been about 55 degrees the past few mornings):
The bus was on time (hooray) and I had to give Rose #2 a quick kiss before she left:

And, thanks to her daddy's good photography skills, a photo of her looking out the window:

She seems so tiny, but I know she will be fine. Rose #2 - I am so proud of you, you big, big girl! You are so ready for 4-year-old kindergarten (heck, you are ready for 5-year-old kindergarten). You are going to take the place by storm!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Menus for Next Week

Quickly here so we can go to the grocery store:

Saturday Night - Pizza Party at Barb's (thanks Barb!)
Sunday Night - Maddie Kay's Birthday Party
Monday Night - MND (thanks Guppy!)
Tuesday Night - Steak and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday Night - H's class night - Spaghetti, Bread and Salad
Thursday Night - Turkey Tacos, Corn, and Fruit Salad
Friday Night - Soup Night (Sausage and Tortellini Soup), Bread, Crudites

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Second Day of School Pictures!

Since the bus arrived too early and left too quickly for any pictures on Tuesday, here is a picture from Wednesday! Happily the bus stop is just down the block, so H has been able to bring Rose #1 to her bus each morning. Rose #3 is no longer permitted to go, since each time Rose #1 leaves, she sobs uncontrollably.So far it seems that first grade is going well. The first graders have started a phenology log - in case you don't know, phenology is the study of the times of recurring natural phenomena. My best guess is that this means "season watching," but they are using the proper scientific term. Rose #1 was breathless to report that they were observing flowers and bees, which sounds more like a spring phenological observation, but maybe there is still some pollenization going on in the late summer. Anyway, I am very, very hopeful that she is in the right school, the right environment, and she will get to know all the kids and they won't tease her. Phew.

Cross your fingers for next week, when Rose #2 starts 4-year-old kindergarten. We are very excited for that, and so is she. Tonight when I told her that 4-year-old kindergarten starts next week, she hopefully said, "Tomorrow?"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School, Day One, Check

Rose #1 had a good first day at school. Despite the last minute dash for the first day bus (the RNC is in town, and I think the school district dispatched buses earlier than advertised), she made it to school, found her classroom, unloaded her backpack (last minute school supplies that I forgot to drop off on open house night) and generally settled in. Her tablemates are named Felix, Michael and Sophia. She said that some children had questions about her hand, but they did not make fun of her or tease her. I want to send a big thank you out to the universe for watching out for Rose #1, my little Bean, today. The act of putting a child on the school bus - to things unknown, to places unfamiliar - is tough. Really tough! It all turned out well.

Next week is Rose #2's big day. She received a postcard from her teacher, Mrs. Stromstad, today, saying that she was looking forward to having Rose #2 in class. This is a very smart way to get the parents on your side early! What a cute idea!

Rose #3 wanted to go to school with Rose #1 today, and it will probably get worse tomorrow. Maybe I can find a morning class for Rose #3 and her nanny to attend. Poor Rose #3. It is hard to wait to do things when your big sisters are already out in the wide, wide world.

Monday, September 1, 2008

School starts tomorow...

Tonight Rose #1 finally started sobbing - she is nervous about starting school. I was wondering why she didn't seem more nervous. I remember being nervous myself before each school year started, but I think Rose #1 has more reason than the normal new school year jitters to be afraid. She has to climb onto that school bus tomorrow, face a bunch of kids she doesn't know, and she has a different body than everyone else. I almost can't type it out, I almost can't even think of it. What if the kids are mean to her? I am not that worried about her classmates - they will all be under the watchful eye of Mrs. Swenson - but I am worried about the bus. Kids can be so horrid.

What is the right thing to say to her? I thought about saying that if she wants to wear long sleeves and hide her hand, for the first day, or for the first week or first month, that's OK. I thought about saying that no one will notice and everything will be fine. I thought about saying that anyone who teases her has a small heart and isn't worth the dirt on her shoe.

In the end, I settled on: "You are perfect exactly the way you are. We love you more than anything. There is nothing wrong with you. You are going to do a great job in first grade."

I hope that was right. I am making this stuff up as I go along.