Monday, October 17, 2005

Halloween Bags
by Dane and Aubrey

Obviously, the kids have big dreams of big candy. I can only hope they don't come close to filling them. Maybe I can convince them to use smaller bags next year...

Aubrey was excited about the noses she made on her pumpkins (her friend Hannah recently showed her how to make faces with those L noses); Dane was excited because he proved to me he could draw bubble letters (notice the BOO!! on Aubrey's bag) after just watching me draw his and Aubrey's names in that style that night. Both kids are writing letters well these days and learning to read and spell phonetically--with plenty of room to develop, of course. (They also love exclamation points, thanks to the Schoolhouse Rock video we check out from the library. Remember "In-ter-jec-tions...?")

On Monday the duo will trick-or-treat during their two-hour pre-school class at the Mill Valley Community Center, and in the evening we'll go trick-or-treating in downtown Sausalito with friends/neighbors/fellow dental school family, Shari (married to Richard, a second year) and Brighten (16 months old). Dane will be Dash and Aubs will be Cinderella (pix to come).

Friday, October 14, 2005


BEWARE: This will read a lot like DEAR DIARY
(as if the rest of my entries haven't...)

It's been a draining couple of weeks here as we've wrestled with issues of housing, education, employment, and finances. The biggest concerns on the table had to do with whether the kids should be in "school" right now, whether our family should move to a *better* school district for Dane's entrance into Kindergarten next year, and whether we'd have a better quality of life in a small house (where no neighbors live below skipping, hopping, energetic kids) with a fenced backyard (for $500 more a month and bigger loans).

Amidst this are Mick's concerns regarding dental school, particularly his performance (second and third quarters are particularly demanding, stressful), and his lack of a consistent study group (a consequence of not living in downtown San Fran with the majority of the students).

Perhaps needless to say, the stuff to do with family and kids and moving can be an even crazier stressor to add to the mix for a dental student, and it soon became evident to me that I was sweating the small stuff. When it came down to it, I began to recognize that there were some shortcomings and shortsightednesses in my thinking; perhaps more accurately, I was being impatient.

That's not to say that the issues on my mind weren't significant or were easily remedied; it is to say, though, that I was jumping the gun. If we do move to Mill Valley (which is the neigboring town with superior school system and friendly community) we have until late next summer to do so in order to get Dane in school there. Secondly, we're actually doing quite fine here with the big community back yard (even if the need to keep floor noise down in our individual unit is a bit of a pain). And, lastly, we don't need to spend $800/month on 6 hours/week for pre-school, especially when the Mill Valley Community Center has ample programs and social opportunities for the kids for a fraction of the price (including our $400 scholarship there!). (Yes, that was $800 a month for two kids at six hours a week; this is common in Marin, but I blush to say "What was I thinking???")

I'm sure I'm missing some of the major factors and details in here, but when I slap these printed up blogs together in a notebook and reflect on them in fifteen years, maybe all the details won't matter. Maybe what will matter is that I'll recall the uncertainty around such times and the willingness one has to have to work through these things patiently and thoroughly.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Visit From Grammy Jan
(September 21 - October 4)

This'll be brief since I'm a little worn out after our visit from the Energizer Grammy. The kids had countless hours of playtime with Jan while she visited; in fact, all of our friends who met her commented on what a patient, involved, educating, loving grandmother she is. They couldn't believe how lucky we are.

To keep this entry brief (and I plan to add another soon), I'll jot down some highlights:

*Discovery Bay Museum 2x: First time spent a lot of time in the train room and in the art room, second time spent a lot of time in Lookout Cove where the kids sat in on a Spider Presentation (Jan remained as dignified as possible here) and participated in a spider web treasure hunt looking for orb, sheet and tangled spider webs.

*Navy Seal friend Jason stopped by for a day at the beach before driving north to see Kai and Bonita (Jason's mom). Jason is now on assignment until Spring.

*Three hours at Sausalito Beach on a gorgeous Indian summer morning.

*Bubbles on the porch.

*Fireman Dane and family attended the Mill Valley Fireman's Breakfast.

*Aubrey danced in a line with her classmates and twirled a lot. (Whoa. Adorable.)