Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Katie fly helicopter later"

Katie's current obsessions include flags, water towers and helicopters. She has decided she is going to fly helicopters and talks about them a lot. Sometimes when you pick her up out of bed, the first thing she says is, "Katie fly helicopter later."

So you can imagine her excitement when we recently attended Tyler's 4th birthday party at the nearby fire station, which includes a helicopter. We weren't able to climb aboard or even nearby, but we were lucky enough to be there when it lifted off. Katie was thrilled until it actually flew away, at which point she sobbed. We think she expected to be aboard.

Tyler, the birthday boy, and Katie

Cooper was the oldest child at the party, and he relied on his past party experience and extensive fire safety facts, showing the kids how to Stop, Drop and Roll and answering lots of firefighter questions.

It's not so easy to gather 20 or so toddlers for a group photo.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First grade

Cooper's class theme is bears, and the doorway is decorated like the entrance to a cave.

Good gracious, summer flew by. Actually, the whole year. Click here to see Cooper on the first day of school last year. (He just keeps stretching out. He definitely has his daddy's tall, thin legs.)

Before the walk to school this morning

Cooper enthusiastically started first grade this morning. His class includes some of his best buddies from Mrs. D's class as well as good friends from soccer. His teacher, Mrs. B, is a mom from our school and an experienced teacher, but this is her first year working at our campus.

This year won't be as gentle as last. Moms and dads aren't encouraged to visit class as often (something writer Judith Warner would agree with) and there is no afternoon snack time. Spelling tests start in a few weeks. (Last year nothing had to be spelled correctly.)

Getting comfortable in the classroom at meet-the-teacher night last Friday

I hope Cooper loves first grade as much as I did. I loved my teacher, Miss Jones; my little school; my best friend, Sascha; all the books and reading; and the playground.

Steve went to work late a little late so he could join us on the short walk to school.

Katie starts preschool two days a week next week. Her teacher sent a handmade book in the mail a couple of weeks ago. It is a hit with Katie, who asks to read it throughout the day and is already in love with Mrs. M, though they haven't yet met.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tax-free weekend

The Morning News today ran a column I wrote about tax-free weekend. As a result I've heard from two old friends -- one from college, another from my college internship.

The college friend once had me to go a psychic for a story he was writing on psychics. I was pretty skeptical, so I don't think I was the best palm-reading client. The old building that housed the palm-reader was long ago demolished to make room for the I-35 and SH121 expansion.

The internship friend told me that her daughter, who I remember as a preschooler/kindergartner, is returning to Texas Tech for her sophomore year. I graduated college 14 years ago, so of course that makes sense, but I don't feel that old. I wonder how many years have to pass before I stop having that nightmare that I have one more math class to complete before I receive my degree but I never make it to class on time, so I keep failing.

Friday, August 17, 2007


There's been too much uncertainty in this house for the past few months. Steve & I each received some welcome resolution to two separate issues in the past two weeks. We are both thankful to everyone for their patient listening, support and help!

We're also thankful that school starts soon! This has been a really great summer with Cooper (and Katie, of course), but I think we're all ready for the seven-hour schooldays to begin again. (After talking with other moms, I get the feeling that's the majority opinion.) I try to provide the same challenges and stimulus offered in a classroom, but I'm lacking access to 18 or so peers, lots of equipment and supplies and on some days the required patience. Also, I'm not an arts-and-crafts type of person, unlike all the other women in my family. If only Aunt Mel lived next door!

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is the life (to borrow a current Cooper phrase)

I'm in a comfy chair, editing on deadline from home. I just attended a wedding ceremony between Spotty (a Webkinz frog) and Poly (a Webkinz polar bear). It was officiated by a giant chicken on our staircase.

In attendance were Katie, me, three baby dolls in various stages of dress and a small zoo of stuffed animals. Decorations included two palm trees fashioned from Cranium Mega Fort parts. Following the quick and chaotic vows, guests were served a feast of wooden and plastic food (doughnuts, carrots, corn on the cob and watermelon are resting in my lap). Behind the scenes were Cooper and his friend Cade.

The house is a disaster. Furniture is askew. You can't walk in the rotunda without kicking a toy or animal or doll or blanket (the reception was really wild). I'm doing my best to not be bothered by the mess and just be thankful that I can be home with the kids I love while doing the work I love.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cooper loves Star Wars

Cooper has been looking forward to the Star Wars exhibit all summer. He requested that we invite Uncle Noel, who shares Cooper's love of Star Wars movies, books, action figures and more. They were not disappointed. The exhibit included props from all the movies, a hovercraft, robots, models, etc. (There was also an extensive, expensive souvenir shop, which caused some post-exhibit angst, but we've all recovered from the incident.)

Katie loves ponies

Ever since our Mackinac Island adventure (yet to be blogged), Katie has shown a heightened interest in horses. "Katie like ponies!" she'll sometimes exclaim, even though we don't see a horse anywhere near. She also likes to shout, "Yee-haw!" Maybe it's the pony that Will, Holly & Conor gave her for her birthday? Or maybe it's just an innate little girl thing?

Saturday afternoon the kids and I met Noel at the Fort Worth science museum to see the Star Wars exhibit. We had to wait for our timed entry, so we wandered over to the National Cowgirl Museum. Katie sat on a wooden pony for about 40 minutes. She had perfect posture and a peaceful smile, as if to say how proud she was of her costume and horse.

This season there are lots of clothes for a pony-loving toddler. I'm going to resist paying full price at Gymboree or Janie and Jack but will check in weekly for the first markdown! And, I ordered her a pair of bright pink cowgirl boots from Target.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lake Superior

The day after all the Pasty Fest and Quincy Mine excitement, we journeyed north, to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. We stopped along the way to admire waterfalls, a lighthouse, the view from the top of a mountain and a sandy beach (the water was very cold, not at all suitable for swimming).

I loved listening to the waterfalls. I finally understood why people have those little fountains on their desks or fall asleep to the sound of water. The sound of that clear, clean water falling on top of rocks and then continuing on its path was filled with live and at the same time incredibly relaxing. After hearing a waterfall "in person," I can imagine that it would be nice to have a small reminder, even if it's man made or just a recording.

The land there is largely protected and untouched by development. The views were often breath-taking. We would love to return to the area and spend a week in a cabin on Lake Superior.

Much of the area had been improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. I couldn't help but wonder which CCC projects Grandpa had helped with -- maybe a bridge we crossed or a path we walked?