Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dear Jack, Summer 2014

Dear Jack, 

This summer you are 1 and 1/2 years old.  

The day you were born was one of the best days of my life. When the doctor pulled you out of my belly, you immediately started to scream and cry. When I heard you, I started to cry because I was so happy to hear your voice. I was so excited to meet you. A few minutes later, your daddy brought you to me and you quieted down as we started talking to you. You looked at both of us with your big newborn eyes and as you listened to our voices, you knew that we were your family.

Now you are much, much bigger than the small baby that we brought home from the hospital. At your last visit to Dr. Nielsen, you were in the 99th percentile for your height! This means you are taller than almost all the kids in the world who are also eighteen months old. You are not only much bigger and taller now, but you have also grown into an amazing little human with your own quirks and interests and personality.
Here are a few of the things you love: monster trucks, scrambled eggs, Curious George, going for walks, pushing things that have wheels, and your binkies. There are also many interesting games that you love to play. Your dad taught you a silly game that starts when you look away from somebody, then you slowly turn your head back around until you suddenly make eye contact, and that’s when you burst out laughing. When daddy gets you out of the bathtub and wraps you in a towel, you love to play “Where’s mommy?” This game involves  looking over and around daddy’s shoulder and when mommy pops up you squeal and giggle. 
From the time you were four months old and could stand up on your wobbly little legs, you also wanted to walk. Mama and Nana and Daddy had to bend over and hold your hands so you could walk and walk and walk.  Sometimes our backs hurt from helping you walk so much. You started to walk by yourself when you were ten months old and your first pair of shoes are so worn out right now that the treads on the bottoms are almost gone and the thick fabric around your toes has become thin.  

One of the greatest things about your personality is how you love to laugh and how much you love to play games that make other people laugh with you. One of your favorite laughing games is to crawl very fast away from mom or dad when you are on the bed and we are trying to change your clothes or diaper. Another version of this game is called “The Escaped Prisoner”, which involves mom putting you on one end of the bed and you crawling over stacks of blankets and pillows to escape to the other end of the bed.  Ever since you were quite small, you have had a crazy laughing period right before it’s time to sleep. We can lightly tickle your chin or neck and you will giggle in big spurts with your eyes closed.  

You are interested in trying new things and like to explore new places and new toys. You like to play on your iPad. You push every single button as you explore each page, each app, and each advertisement. You like to find new ways to play with things, like pushing cars off of the furniture, and stacking blocks on top of random toys. You love playing with your cousins and being outside. You like daddy to hold you in one arm while he shoots baskets with his other hand. Whenever we go to the park you approach people and try to make friends.

When mom and dad first met we had both had our fragile hearts smashed to pieces by the end of our first marriages. Starting a brand new family felt like the most frightening thing in the world. We had to dig deep to find the courage to build a life together and we had to grow a lot of love and trust before we found enough courage to bring you into our family.  But, Jack, your laughter, your curiosity, your determination, your love, and even your tears have healed and strengthened us. As you are falling to sleep, you sometimes rub your hand up and down my whole arm. This little bit of quiet love transports me to a limitless ocean of peaceful joy. We are so lucky and so grateful that you are part of our family. I love your guts.



Jack and his uncle playing, "Split the Pickle."

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Loving Jack

Tomorrow is the last day of the most wonderful and perfect honeymoon I could have ever dreamed. Well, the first two weeks off work were rather miserable, because I was sooooooo pregnant. But ever since December 10th, 2012, when baby Jack Henry was born, it has been a blissful dream. Mike had to go back to work at the beginning of January, but his work is often in his home office, so we have both been able to spend a lot of time soaking in sweet baby love and also enjoying being together and being newly married. I love my little family. I love our little home.
It looks like my job next year is going to be job sharing with my former colleague and dear friend Mrs. Duersch. We will share a single fifth grade classroom. This is the exact job I have been hoping would work out. The next three months are going to be hard because I will miss Jack Henry so much. But my second graders are still adorable and it will be my final few months at Washington.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Amy and Mike Update for 2011

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Blue Panda December.

What's up with Amy and Mike? Well, I am happy to report that we have had a fun and happy year. We bought a house and Amy started teaching second grade. Mike has been learning some new programming tools. But enough boring junk.

The very exciting news is that we have become a formidable team, vanquishing enemies on the planets of Korriban, Dromund Kaas, and Balmorra. Although still young Sith, we have already demolished many of the enemies of the Empire, including a few weak and brittle-minded Jedi. With the help of our companions, Vette and Khem Val, we have yet to face an enemy that we cannot defeat.

Mike, a Sith Inquisitor, has learned the dark healing arts of Sith sorcery. Amy, a Sith Juggernaut, is a warrior who takes the brunt of all assaults. We each have our own starship and we're saving our money for our own speeders.

May each of you dominate your enemies with skill, and may the force be with you.

Love, Amy and Mike

p.s. Come to the dark side. We have cookies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Be Brave and Be Kind

My class of second graders is full of some of the most delightful humans I know. For many reasons. They are curious and adventurous and loving. They are excited about learning and exploring and simply being. Do you remember this story from a few years ago? This very small child pulled several of his classmates out from the earthquake rubble at his school. Many of the young children I know would probably do the same thing if they were put in the same situation. I want a kind and brave heart like that, too. I am grateful I am surrounded by little humans that teach me a wonderful and happy way of being in our world.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Merry December

The whole entire month of December is a Blue Panda holiday called Eat, Play, Love. Here is what pandites do in December:

Honor the religious and cultural traditions that you like best and that you want to keep in circulation. We put up a Christmas tree today and we are definitely participating in some family gatherings and gift exchanges.

If you enjoy eating and sharing yummy food, then cook and bake. Share some cookies if you feel like it. Eat every last cookie yourself if you prefer.

Invent some new holiday traditions. Have cold cereal for breakfast Christmas morning if you don't want the extra stress of cooking. Go all Martha Stewart for Christmas morning breakfast if you want an excuse to try fancypants entertaining. Eat, Play, Love is always about creating a season of joy and you know yourself best so you must decide what to celebrate and how.

Some ideas of mine: I want to read the same book as family I'll be seeing so we can share responses. Get a professional massage. Write Blue Panda a letter. Find a Zumba Party on Christmas Eve. Watch a favorite funny movie, like Elf. Have a poker night. Have at least 3 full days with nothing planned except be with Mikey. Bake cookies.

What are your favorite old traditions and what are some ideas you have to make your December perfect for you?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Five Ways to Adore Blue Panda

1. Cultivate self-awareness, compassion, humility and balance in your life.
2. Love What Is.
3. Remember that nothing, ever, is a big deal.
4. Take good care of yourself. Daily doses of laughter, music, and movement are good ways to do this.
5. Be full of peaceful love and joy.