Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Ladies, and gentlemen, meet your newest Student Leader...ship ... Team-person.  Or trainee.  Or something that starts with T.  I don't know what it is, but Bethelle is her new class SLT!

Honestly, we are excited for her.  I may not know what the letters stand for, but the SLT group at her school is basically an elementary form of ASB.  She and one other student represent her class on this council.  They plan spirit days and discuss student ideas to improve the school.

A couple weeks ago, when we knew even less about SLT than we know now, Bethelle came home from school and told us that she needed to write an SLT speech and would we help her.  Naturally, we wanted to know what an SLT was.  She wasn't really sure, but she wanted to be one!  So let's write a speech!

With prodding, we did manage to get the essence of the group out of her.  Here is the speech that she and Nick came up with.  The video is dark, and it's just a practice-run, but it'll give you an idea of the winning performance that was given the next day.


There's bus stop style,
 and all American style.
 Here's my new hair style,

 and a party we attended, French style.

We Did the Puyallup

Some of my readers (if I have any left after my recent hiatus) will not know how to even pronounce today's post title.  For others of you, those four words brought on a flood of memories.  When I think of the Puyallup fair, I remember myself in lines for rides where I was exposed to more of the world in less time than maybe at any other time of my self-sheltered life.  From those lines I saw fourteen year-olds smoking, thirteen year-olds making out, and more skin than is usually visible in western Washington.  I recall specifically being sixteen, standing in line with my best friend, and being hit-on by a thirty-something in a red tank top with more body hair than I knew could be grown by one person.  

The Puyallup fair was the location of my first upside-down ride.  I stepped into a car at the Zipper without realizing that those cages flip all the way around.  I was quickly terrified.  The Zipper has been my favorite ride ever since.

But I was attending the fair with my family well before thirty-somethings would have thought to hit on me.  At that time, it was all about the collections and the animals, the food and the shows, the flower displays and the record-breaking pumpkins.  Thankfully, this is the stage to which I have returned.
One Wednesday, the kids played hooky from the afternoon of school due to dentist appointments.  By the time they were over, the sun was enough to convince me that the last hour of the school day was not terribly important.  My parents were already at the fair, where my mom demonstrated tatting (a dying form of lace-making), and we joined them.  When we arrived, my dad had scouted out the displays and shows that he thought we would most enjoy and gave us our own personal guided tour!

One of our favorite activities was watching this little six-man circus.  There was no flashy technology or even slights of hand; just honest tightrope walking, stunt bicycle tricks, ladder stilts, and over-acting. Perfect.
 At the end, the actors shook hands with any kids who wanted to say hello.  Mine jumped right up to go talk to them.  I love their bravery.  To me it means that they are perfectly at ease with themselves.
 I kept Pierce strapped in the stroller for most of our visit, but he did get out a bit.
 I let the kids go on just two rides each.  Getting into the fair had been a reasonable price, but the ride prices these days are out of control!  Children are multipliers, so one ride for four people cost twice as much as getting us all into the fair in the first place.  I felt that two rides was a generous offer!  At those prices, why was the ride area packed with people?!

First up was the classic, tall yellow slide with potato sacks.  I always loved that one.

For her second ride, Bethelle wanted adventure and thrill.  I told her that we would not be leaving kiddie land.  She found the fastest, scariest ride that kiddie land had to offer, and Rigby bravely joined her.  Every time they passed by us, my parents and I watched Rigby's face.  At first he looked scared, the next pass he looked sick, but pretty soon he just looked excited.
 This picture is fuzzy, but it tells a story.  Curie's second ride was a tame roller coaster.  The ride attendant put her in a car with the sweetest, quietest, most angelic little girl.  That little girl sat on the ride like a pleasant statue while Curie screamed the whole time.  She was happy, but screaming.  You can bet that I apologized to the girl's dad as we got our girls off the ride.  I'm still sorry about that.
Overall, I'd say that the fair was a parenting win.  Really, it's a prime place for whining kids who want everything in sight.  Nick and I have really tried to drill gratitude and acceptance into their heads.  I could see them wanting rides and treats that they would not be getting, but they made great efforts to act appropriately.  Even without gluttony, they had a great time seeing crafts, petting animals, watching shows, and sharing a cotton candy.

And the good news is that we should have at least six more years before hairy old men start hitting on my daughter.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Nick (Go Dawgs!)

Nick's birthday was in September.  Over the years I have learned a couple things about presents for Nick: 1) he prefers experiences to things and 2) if you're going to give him a thing anyway, it had better be Husky related.

Also, he prefers that his cake not have any actual cake in it.  Enter, Dairy Queen.
Note for next year: ask DQ to double the mint flavor.

When we sang to Nick, the kids were seated around the table.  As we began the usual song, they each pulled a new Husky hat off of their hidden laps and put them on their heads.  Nick loved it.

Here they are, being put to good use.

Happy birthday, Nick.

And Then School Begins

The first day.  They're always a little hard.  It means a change from the freedom of summer, but then again there is a certain kind of freedom that comes from the re-establishing of routine.  Bethelle is now in third grade and attending a new school, so there was a real excitement to it.
 I'm really proud of her for not only being willing to try the new place, but for her confidence to just jump on the bus and walk almost blindly into a new routine that she would have to figure out as she goes.  She has a gift for unassuming bravery.
 Kindergarten started several days later, but on the same day that Bethelle began school, Rigby had an appointment to meet his teacher.  She talked to him in a gentle way, but was actually testing him.  As they talked, I sat on the other side of the room, quietly filling out paperwork.  Rigby was awesome.  He was confident but respectful.  He could do all of the skills that she asked him to do.  When he read everything that she had near her for him to read, she got up and went to another room to find a harder book that would take him closer to his limit.  When it was over, Rigby knew he had won.  We walked to the car and he said, "My teacher is getting a really good student."  I would pay a lot of money for him to have that kind of confidence.
 On the actual first day, Rigby was pumped.  He was ready.

When he got home we had this little conversation:

Me: So?!  How was it?!  Was in awesome?
Rigby: Well, I kinda had a bad day.
Me:  You did?  What happened?
Rigby:  Well, the whole time we just played and learned stuff.  (frown)

Clearly I had set the wrong expectation somewhere.  After talking with him later, he explained that the only "learning" that they did was about the rules and where the bathroom is and how to walk in a line and put the caps back on the markers.  This was not quite what he was going to school for.  I think he was looking for the mysteries of the universe to be unfolded and for ways to really shine.  It'll come, my baby.  You're the man.

Curie's Fourth Birthday

It has become almost tradition to celebrate Curie's birthdays on Anderson Island.  Her big day is always within a few days of Labor Day, so it just makes sense.  I hope we can maintain the tradition when she starts to want friend parties.

Her actual birthday had been unremarkable.  It consisted mostly just of this treat
 followed by this make-over, as a gift from Bethelle.  Really, I'm speechless about it.  Curie was happy.
 It took her months to decide, but ultimately Curie asked for a lady bug party.  Aren't these clever?  As usual, they are an adaptation of something that I saw on Pinterest.
 We had hotdogs, presents, and cake at the lake park.

 All four grandparents came plus Troy's three boys.

 She was pretty excited about all the presents.

 And they were all pretty excited about the cupcakes.

 Happy birthday, Snugs.

Anderson Island 2013

I took the kids out to Anderson Island for our last summer get-away of the season.  I grew up going to AI, and it never really changes.  I love seeing my kids doing the same things that I remember doing and playing on the same playground where I played.

I'm not sure how this happened,  but it was pretty awesome.
 We had a few guests while on the island.  Grandma Patsy brought her new kayak out for a dip.  No, Pierce did not go for a ride.
 But everybody else did.
 This slide lands in a shallow swimming area for kids.  Too deep for Pierce, of course (a bathtub is too deep for Pierce), but perfect for the others.  Pierce is curious and a climber, so he loved to get up into this position.  We finally nudged him down, thinking that would be the end of the climbing.  He loved it!

 Who would not want to grow up here?  When we are out of baby season, I may come every nice week in July and August.

 See what I mean?  Classic Piercy.

 The lake park had this little bridge over nothing.  Pierce loved it.  He spent most of his time over there. It was so funny.  It was a little ways away from us, but he was safely away from the water and not bothering any of the other people at the park.  Just look at him lounging on that rock!  What a crack-up.

 More swing pictures...

 I can't remember who took this, but I'm sure they were under four feet tall.

Thank you, Anderson Island.  We'll be back.  Often.