Today, we rode our bikes down to the neighborhood school to pick up a registration packet for Kindergarten. After months of being pretty sure that this would be the perfect year to try Homeschooling on for size for our family, we decided that it wasn't the right fit, after all. Not now. Not right when Jez will be heading to pre-school and offering Mike his days back in the studio. Not when we find ourselves blessed enough to live in the only neighborhood in town with FULL DAY kindergarten with a Kinder teaching team that have a rock star reputation to go with it... Most families in town put their names in the school choice lottery for a chance at this school. It's a 1/2 mile downhill (both ways) bike ride for us.
And the kicker: Winona is beside herself with excitement about School and Kindergarten. Today, picking up the reg packet, she exclaimed, "This is the most MAGICAL place in the WORLD."
We hadn't left the bike rack, yet.
So I picked up my Yellow Folder from the very sweet School Secretary who exclaimed that in her 26 years at that desk, she had never met another Winona-- which made said uniquely-named child beam and say, "THANK you!" as her eyes flitted around the offices and out into the hallways so she could see something... anything.
To top it off, we saw my boss's wife (a teacher at the school) as she brought her class in from recess. "Winnie! You're coming to THIS school??? I'm SOOOOO excited!!!!"
I really thought Winona would pop. She spent the entire bike ride home extolling the virtues of school and education to Jezebel, who kept interrupting with "WEEEEE! MAMA!" trying to get me to find every speed bump and pot hole on our path so as to provide the most entertainment for my wee thrill seeker.
Tonight, as I put Winnie to bed and gave her the option to go to pre-school tomorrow (Fridays are usually optional for her) she says, "No, I'm sort of done with the Friends Room, mama. I'll just go to Kindergarten tomorrow. Did you finish the packet?"
No, sweetie, not yet, and here's why: one of the questions is "What are your child's strengths?" and I just don't even know where to begin.
Birthdays are, decidedly, the best days of the year. I, Winona, am especially fond of celebrations marked by road trips,
adventures and yummy treats.
Mom's birthday weekend was exceptional on all fronts.
A weekend at the Oregon coast is good for the soul.
Hot cocoa with a view.
"If ever oh ever a Wiz there was, the Wizard of Oz is one because...because because because because beCAAAAAUSE!..." ...because he lets mommy and daddy nap....do do do do do do do. do do.
Not sure if she was forever emotionally scarred by Lucy's 6 week disappearance or if she just really likes leashes, but this kid gets distraught when the dogs are running free and not at the end of the leash. Distraught, I tell you.
She recovered quickly, determined to take the matter into her own hands.
I'm taking the leash, mom. Someone has got to care for these animals.
Let GO of the leash, mom.
Got 'em. You can thank me with ice cream.
Only now can I relax and play in the sand.
Hi Mom... 35!!!
Some may think "beach" and think "swim suits." Those people don't live here.
The sun did come out, and we soaked it up.
The trees are all twisted and bendy from the coastal winds.
Or from the magic of the tree fairies. You decide.
I'll be out here wishing SOMEONE would just FOCUS and build me a sandcastle.
300 of them, actually. 300 would be great.
I think we officially have a Julie Birthday Tradition... That's three years running and I don't think any of us see any reason to break with such a good thing.
To celebrate the idea of wishing that maybe sometime soon spring will perhaps begin to think about possibly maybe sticking around..just in case... anyway: we went to MAY FAIRE today.
It was cloudy and cold, but we danced around the Maypole, blew bubbles, played games, had our faces painted, watched the Youth Ballet troupe, ate some cookies, and pretended that it felt like spring.
Then, because the momentum was there, we came home rode bikes and did some sidewalk art. (The sidewalk chalk art is a "mother's day card" from Winnie... :) Tonight she told me at bedtime that she was my "Mother's Day Fairy and going to make all (my) wishes come true." :)
We saw Wicked today--a musical extravaganza with exhilarating stage sets and costumes--and a creative bent on a story that left me feeling jealous of the guy who thought of that (Gregory Maguire). The life, perspective and tale of Oz's witch. Brilliant.
Brilliant, too, is this idea of Wicked--Nature or Nurture? Real or perceived? What is happening or what we are told to believe is happening? If it's hard to hear, hard to look at, hard to understand, is it wicked? Or is it beautiful, and up to us, to do as Elphaba's lover did and just look at it differently?
I put the girls to bed, logged onto Facebook and learned that Osama bin Laden is dead. On a very real level of who I am, I am glad for this. I am grateful that tomorrow the sun will rise on a world inhabited by one less person hell-bent on perpetrating anger and hatred. Yet, I read "Proud to Be an American" status updates and heard the fireworks down the street and found myself crying. Sobbing. Not mourning bin Laden's death, but mourning the life we spend celebrating what I believe in my soul to be wicked: the perpetuation of Them and Us, Right and Wrong, Good and...Wicked.
It's a sobering night for me, because I have two little girls sleeping soundly in the next room who look to me to teach them right from wrong and I wish wish wish it were as easy as saying, "The guy who died was wrong. The guys waving the flags are right." But it's not that easy for me because there's a mom out there tonight who sees that waving flag as a symbol of the people who murdered her son. There are thousands of those moms.
So I'll tell them to look at things differently; to always question what they're told is True. And then ask again. I hope I can teach them to celebrate life, never death. I hope that somehow, I can get over my self-righteous, indignant, opinionated self and teach them that there are "moral ambiguities" everywhere, all the time, and to be at peace with them. Dear God, give us a generation that's at ease with the gray areas...
Some lyric's from Wicked's Wonderful:
Elphaba: You lied to them.
Wizard: Where I come from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it history.
A man's called a traitor or liberator
A rich man's a thief or philanthropist.
is one a crusader or ruthless invader?
It's all is which label
There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities.