Monday, December 31, 2012


We woke up this morning to snow on the ground and huge, wet flakes falling.  It was obvious that the perfect way to spend the last morning of the year was to go outside and play.  So we did!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Katherine plays almost entirely with boys at school.  She likes most of her female classmates, and they like her, but she has no patience with their girl drama.  I can totally relate to that.  I played with boys all through grade school and hung out with boys all through high school for pretty much the same reasons.  Katherine came home one day a month or so ago and announced "Chloe says she likes Chance.  I mean likes likes him.  Ewww!  That is just NOT appropriate!"  I gave a big sigh of relief, glad that she runs with a different crowd.

Most of the boys Kate hangs out with are my former students.  They are sweet, smart kids, a little squirrely, but well-meaning.  None of them are destined to be great athletes or voted Most Popular.  They talk about legos and computer games and spinning top-like toys called beyblades.  They are 3rd grade geeks.  And they have accepted my girl as one of their own.  When I see them at recess, huddled together giggling, it always makes me smile.

One of the leaders of this self-named Lego Club is a boy named Trent.  He's a skinny kid with freckles and prominent ears - adorable in a Howdy Doody sort of way.  Katherine talks about Trent more than any of the other boys.  He makes her laugh.  She's been to his house and they have long conversations about dirt bikes and dogs and what a chore cleaning your room is.  He's her buddy and she likes hanging out with him.

I helped with Katherine's classroom Christmas party last week.  When I entered the room, Kate's teacher pulled be aside and whispered, "Katherine has an admirer.  He gave her quite a nice gift today."  Then she gave me a knowing look and pointed to a gift bag on Katherine's desk.  I walked over and greeted Kate.  I casually asked about the present on her desk.  "Oh, that" said Katherine.  "Trent gave it to me.  It's an owl."  And it was.  A darling, nerdy owl.  A great gift for my darling, nerdy girl.
Trent's desk was beside Katherine's.  He was gazing at her in a dreamy, moon-eyed way.  "Yeah, I knew she'd like it," he grinned.  It was clear that Trent likes Katherine as more than one of the guys.  As in likes likes her.  Thankfully, Katherine is totally oblivious.

I am not sure how I feel about this turn of events in the 3rd grade social scene.  Part of me is highly amused that this goofy kid is in love with my daughter.  It's cute.  And funny.  Part of me is horrified that a boy is in love with my daughter.  My 8 year old!  Part of me is relieved, and very grateful, that Katherine has good friends and does not seem to be a social outcast, as I was at her age.  3rd grade is complicated, even for the parents.

I have many concerns about the social life of my girl, but for now, there are no solutions or answers.  Will other kids tease her about Trent and his crush?  How will her happy, safe place in the Lego Club change when the other boys start to see her as more than one of the guys?  How will she handle that?  Will there be a place for her in the strict hierarchy of girls?  How and when will her classmates hurt her?

For now, I'll keep Katherine supplied with legos, listen to her recess tales, and hope for the best.  I will not say a single word about Trent.  Or his owl.  I am so proud of her for finding her own place, making her own way, even if it's different from the other girls.  She is strong, stronger than I realize.  And I have to remember that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The girls crept into our room at 4:23 AM to see if they could get up.  We sent them back to bed!  They got up at 6:00 and discovered that Santa really did come.
There were lots of fun gifts, of course.  After all had been opened, we did notice a couple of themes.  Katherine, who loves owls, ended up with quite an owl collection.
Rachel's gifts were mostly pink.  Lots and lots of pink.
Katherine spent the morning putting together legos and making designs with her spirograph.  Rachel tried out all her new lip balms and insisted on me reading the names of every single bug in her new bug guide.

Granny and Poppy came over to see what Santa left.  We're all impressed that Rachel can style Baby Rapunzel's (or Barbie's) hair into pigtails by herself!
After luch, we drove to Steve's brother's house to do Christmas with that side of the family.  (Yes, that made 5 Christmas parties in 5 days!)  This part of the clan doesn't appreciate my camera, so I never get many pictures.  We have fun anyway.
When we got back home, the girls hurried off to play Barbies.  Katherine doesn't care for the dolls, but Rachel got some really fabulous accessories that she was eager to try out!
After a while, Rachel introduced Baby Rapunzel to the play.  Rapunzel enjoyed Barbie's cooking efforts.
It's been a wonderful week of Christmas, full of family and fun.  I can't begin to count all of my blessings.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve (or Party #4)

We celebrated Christmas with my parents and my sister and her family today.  We started off with my family's traditional Christmas dinner - homemade pizza.  Then we opened gifts and spent the rest of the day playing with all our new stuff.  The cousins are still "new", but all 5 kids were happy to see each other and acted like they'd been hanging out together for years.  It was a wonderfully fun, laid back afternoon.  A perfect Christmas together.
This evening, we lit the advent candles at our church's Christmas Eve service.  I so love Christmas Eve services, with all the special music and Silent Night by candlelight.  Rachel insisted on holding her own candle - a bit scary, but the joy on her face was priceless.
The girls are tucked in to bed, now.  There are milk and cookies sitting out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Party #3

Steve and I used to live in a little town in the northern part of the state.  Our church there had a big caroling party every year and it was one of the best parts of Christmas.  We have missed it ever since we moved here.  Last week after church, I was standing around chatting with church friends and mentioned that next year, I wanted to go caroling.  One of the other women said, "Why wait for next year.  Let's go this year!"  So we threw together a last minute caroling party!

Tonight, 20 of us bundled up and headed out to sing at the homes of some of our church's older members who can no longer get out much. 
None of the kids had ever been caroling, but they LOVED it!
The singing was fun and the joy we brought to some elderly people was wonderful to see.  One sweet gentleman listened with tears running down his face.  This is why I wanted to teach my girls about caroling...

Afterward, we went to the church for hot chocolate and snacks.
It was good to be with friends and even better to share the gift of music.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Party #2

We had our annual Christmas gathering with my dad's side of the family today.  It was our first gathering without Uncle Gary, so there was a tinge of sadness to the day.  Aunt Sonja was not feeling well and was not up to a trip across the state, so she wasn't there, either.  We thought about her a lot, though.  The kids were joyful and enthusiastic so that brightened everyone's day.

We had enough food for three times as many of us as there were.  Katherine had helped make the cheeseball, and I must say, he was adorable!
There were little presents for the kids, festive Barbies...
...and Pez dispensers (everyone traded around until they got the design they liked best!).
The weather was gorgeous, so the kids played outside.
Granny even planned a special activity - making an enchanted forest from ice cream cones and frosting!
And we had to have a line-the-kids-up-on-the-couch photo shoot.
We love you Aunt Sonja!  Merry Christmas!

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way