Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fall In To The Gap

We have been preparing in these last two weeks for the departure of RJ2's top middle tooth. We've been reading lots of books on the subject, featuring many favorite characters. Although RJ2 has lost two teeth, we have had problems with holding on to them for any length of time. (Tooth #1 was lost under the sofa for a while. Tooth #2 went 15 miles down the alimentary canal.)

We pondered when the day would come, as the tooth had bucked out about as much as one can.


Today was the day, and she wasn't happy about it!

"Her tooth came out!!!!!" yelled CJ, from upstairs.

We all ran up and started to ask where it was (and to look on the ground, figuring it was going to be lost on the floor). Fortunately, CJ had been playing with RJ2 at the time and noticed that she ran into the upstairs bathroom. RJ2 only uses the upstairs bathroom for her shower, these days, so she clearly had another agenda.

Sure enough, RJ2 had thrown the tooth in the trash.

Those storybook authors really don't talk about what happens when the tooth literally falls into your hand. What do you do? Of course, we have been prompting her to give the tooth to a grown-up when it falls out. In the stress of the moment, though, all logic escaped.

We were all very happy to see this tooth come completely out, as its hanging out was becoming a difficult sight to view. It's now in the tooth fairy pillow, awaiting proper placement tonight.

And the girl with one less baby tooth is all smiles!

There is a hole in my mouth now.
It will fill up. Do you know how?
A brand-new tooth will take its place.
A brand-new part of my old face!

from My Loose Tooth, by Stephen Krensky

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What To Do When Your Tooth Is Loose

"My tooth is loose."

From the picture above, you'd think that RJ2 had already lost a tooth. But, no. That is the gap in between her loose tooth--the middle right one--and the one next to it. That gap continues to widen, and that middle tooth can't be holding on by much.

What do you do when your tooth is loose? Plenty!

When she's not in extended-school year, RJ2 has enjoyed playing the electronic keyboard. She knows the tuba part to the "Veggietales Theme Song" but she won't let me play the Larry the Cucumber's vocal line on top of that. I'm sure she'd rather do it herself, and, with enough time, she will play that by ear, too. She also enjoys listening to the "built-in" songs (at fast tempos!) and setting the "voice" to all percussion instruments.

It has been fun to listen to her sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" this summer, because she learned what it was like to sing it in a round. When Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins were here a few weeks ago, they sang it that way around the kitchen table. RJ2 was captivated hearing all the voices, although she had trouble participating. Now, she sings what appears to be a disjointed version of the song, because she's singing all the parts! ("Row, row, row your Merrily, merrily, merrily, Row, row, row," Etc.)

Still wiggling.

RJ2 has been reading consistently, just not enjoying the new library fare I bring home. But, she is refreshing the home library classics by substituting familiar characters with real people and changing up the plot lines. (Mrs. Combs, Gigi and Cici have become common subjects in the Little Critter books, along with CJ and the cousins.)

We're also trying to keep up on her word cards from Kindergarten, to stay fresh before the launch of the new school year (all too soon, really). And, we sent off a card to her babysitter who is working at a sleep-away camp and requested mail.

With weekends in the pool, time visiting favorite kid websites, listening to music and story CDs and helping bake treats, RJ2's summer has been busy and fun. But no matter how many books we read about loose teeth, this one isn't coming out too soon.

Or is it?

(I know you're hardly waiting to see what that gap looks like when that tooth finally does pop out! A blog post for another the future....)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Trying to Try

Summer can often be a time of relaxation. I discovered a bit of that during the family beach trip this year. But, since we've come home, it seems we're on a faster pace than maybe even during the school year.

RJ2 is in extended school year, mornings, Monday through Thursday. CJ is in afternoon theater camp Monday through Thursday. We get 40 minutes for lunch in between travel time, and that zooms by. When we all do get home, there's an hour or so of wind-down time before dinner prep and the close-of-day activities.

I'm really glad to have the time to spend with each of the girls individually. But it does go fast!

At the start of the week, CJ had requested to play Monopoly. She loves Monopoly in all forms. Started with the Junior version. Advanced to the "regular" version last year. Played Pokemon Monopoly at the beach house. She even designed "Summeropoly" herself (which highlights activities she loves to do with her cousins in the summer) and transferred it, this summer, to a "real" game from a make-your-own Monopoly kit. (And, no, Mom is not allowed to play that version!)

So, we played Monopoly yesterday. But, not the regular form of the "regular" game. We played the "Speed die" form! We had two hours to play, and Monopoly can be a really REALLY long game with just two people. Still, I reluctantly said OK, and CJ launched into the directions (which we didn't quite follow to the letter, because it was new).

At the end of two hours, she had racked up $1500 in $100 bills, all of the railroads, many properties and a "yellow block" covered with houses and two hotels. Despite my attempts to dwindle her reserves and make deals for key properties that would allow me to conquer, I mean, build, she had me beat.

As for the "Speed die," it may have sped up the pace of the game in the beginning and definitely created some new move opportunities, but, in the end, we still hadn't finished after two hours of play. We did agree, though, that it was a fun time and a good game.

* * *

CJ and I have an ongoing discussion about the difficulty of change--embarking on new "projects" or changing what you have done all along to something slightly different. She has such a new project on her plate right now, and it's been hard to get started, even though she is fully capable of not only handling it but thriving through it.

I said that she isn't the only one who struggles with change. Probably more than half the world has a tough time with it.

She quickly brought up yesterday's "Speed die" game and my attitude about playing it. Can't say she's wrong. I didn't like the idea of Mr. Monopoly showing up on a die face and requiring me to consider a property purchase I didn't want to make, or having me advance to the next property space and pay the property owner what was due when my "regular" dice didn't put me on that space!

I may not stamp my feet and stammer "No!" any more, but reluctance over trying something new, even subtle, is still reluctance.

But, back to CJ, now that I have tried "Speed die," I am in an informed position of having an opinion. (And, I'd still rather play without it, even though the "on the bus" feature is cool!)

As RJ2's book that we read nightly (Todd Parr's The Okay Book) says, "It's okay to try new things." Chocolate-covered ants, "Speed die" Monopoly or .... ?

We have to try, though.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Summer days bring the opportunity for special mornings out. RJ2 is in extended school year and CJ now has mornings free. (Afternoons are filled with theater camp--this week, writing and producing a TV commercial!)

This morning, I had to visit the dermatologist for a quarterly checkup. (Good news is that I'll be moving to 6-month visits in October instead of quarterly visits. Woo-hoo!)

As CJ and I waited outside the opening elevator doors at the doctors' office building, a man was inside the elevator waiting to exit. When he saw CJ, he smiled and said something to the effect of, "I'm the father of all girls. Those were great days."

I'm sure he was referring to her tie-dyed shirt and freshly washed hair at 8:30 in the morning, escorting mom on her summer outing.

Making up for the stay in the waiting room (CJ even got the boot from her seat at the fish tank when the tank cleaner came to do his job!), we headed off to Krispy Kreme. It's always a good time, especially when the "hot" sign goes on as you're watching the glaze spill over the 9 o'clock donuts!

We enjoyed one "hot" one, because you can't NOT have a "hot" donut at Krispy Kreme, even when you want something else. We each had this month's flavored donut, the lemon Kreme pie donut: a lemon-cream filled donut, dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a lemony pudding squiggle. YUM!

CJ made a rest room stop, and a woman at the next table, who had likely been listening in a bit, struck up a conversation with me, as if she had known me for years. This was rather interesting as my bloggy friend, Kara, was just sharing on Facebook that she had had a similar experience happen to her and her daughter just yesterday with an older gentleman. I felt bad for this woman, who shared her struggles in keeping close with her daughter and family in another state. She apologized for the intrusion into my time with CJ, but I said it was not a bother at all. She was sitting in front of a box of 8 donuts, and I was glad that she left not having eaten all of them in front of us.

It all made my morning out with CJ just a little more significant.


Monday, July 12, 2010

We LOVE the Beach!

There's just something about going to the beach. This was the 9th year my folks hosted the reunion at the beach at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The girls can only think "When?" as in When do cousins arrive? When do we leave? When can we walk to the beach? When can we swim in the pool?

I always anticipate the first journey to the water's edge: making the short walk from our beach house, onto the boardwalk, and up and over the bridge on the dune to the hot sand and that first dip in the Atlantic. This year, it was a warm welcome!

The surf was quite lively, which made for great times for the kids and slightly tense times for those life-guarding on the coast.

It wasn't all that long ago when they were so afraid of the ocean that they wouldn't venture in at all! Now, with board fastened to wrist, it's hard to get them out. (Note CJ's new profile picture.)

But, the temperature of the water did change for the cooler.

My niece appears to be smiling, but she's actually rather upset that she got caught in a cold wave!

Fortunately, there were lots of opportunities to enjoy the beach outside of going in for a dip.

R led the sand castle-building.

CJ got to be a sandy stegosaurus.

We had one 24-hour rainy period, which was a nice break in the week, actually. The kids were all too happy to play games, Pokemon Monopoly being one of the most popular of the trip.

The littler girls--who are getting all too big--had a doll fest on the top floor and a 2nd one on the bottom floor.

RJ2 earned the new title of "Dog Whisperer"

Card games enjoyed a resurgence, especially solitaire and a shorter-form game called Dutch Blitz.

Grandma taught CJ how to shuffle and "make a bridge."

Last year, we ventured out for a nature trail experience. Since some of the group didn't get a chance to go last year, and those of us who did go didn't finish out the full trail, we decided to go back.

We actually managed to miss a trail marker on the trip back to the cars, so the kids got a lesson in what to do when you get "lost." Two of the three grown-ups took the trail in opposite directions to figure out which way we needed to go. Upon reuniting, we explained to the kids what a great opportunity we had just had in learning about how easily mistakes happen on the trail, even one as well-marked as this one.

We started out again, only to make the exact same mistake. "And just in case you missed the lesson the first time...." (We laid branches in the place that looked like the trail to close off the alternate route.)

Plenty of other silly stuff....

Cups, for instance.

And plenty of the same old thing--

Like delicious family-cooked theme dinners, topped only by ice cream bar treats, special desserts and very special coffee....

Late-night cards with Mom and Dad, complete with strange iPod mixes and yummy chocolates....

Colored-day clothing and late-night tie-dyeing....

Saturday morning check-out breakfast in which everything goes, including the last night's leftover pizza and ice cream, deli meat, cookies, cereal, salsa, whatever....

Volleyball on the back court. Wimbledon on the TV court ("Hey, who turned on the TV?!")....

And sisters on the beach....

For the most part, it was as if the sky were smiling down upon us.

And a grand time was had by all!

New Blog (sort of)


Announcing the "new" blog: "JWalking: The Blog"

For almost two decades, I have sent out a family Christmas newsletter under the title JWalking. As with most family newsletters sent out around the holidays, JWalking features the happenings of the family over the course of the year. Folks have enjoyed it; we produce over 100 a year, now. (Taxes our printer every December.)

My blog in this place has needed a major jump-start for a while. (We've gone from moldy to downright rancid!) My pondering has led to the decision to make this a family blog rather than the mixed-up writing blog that it has been for more than two years.

So, if you continue to want to read about happenings at the J household--in the sporadic fashion that things tend to get posted here--this is the blog for you! (Followers, feel free to leave if it's not for you. No offense taken.)

My Bible study blog continues at In-Between Time for those of you who wish to follow me there instead. (We're doing Jonah all summer. Join in any time! We're on the slow boat to Tarshish....)

If I'm led to start another writing venture, I will let you know.

Welcome to "JWalking: The Blog"! A post about this summer's beach trip can't be far behind....