Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday to Claire!

Click the photo to read about Claire's birth story.

Almost a week ago. Almost Six.

…and today she IS six!

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Not your typical Thanksgiving Day stroll

Holding the Sun

We relaxed. We explored. We walked for ages along the beach searching for shells, the soft sand squishing through our toes while the waves lapped at our ankles. We swam with the fish. We floated on the waves. We held the sun in our hands.

The Island Awaits

Do you hear that?

It’s the sound of bags being zipped, and boarding passes and directions to a beachside haven being neatly stowed in a safe place.

It’s the sound of swimsuits and snorkel gear being contained, but the giggles of a Kindergartener getting to use her Passport for the very first time not being contained at all.

It’s the soft exhale as the last item is crossed off the list.

It’s the sound of things being unplugged and shut down, left to sleep for a glorious week.

The island awaits.

Separate Sinks in the Bathroom

Dear Mr. Rasmussen,

Here’s to Eleven in 11 of 11! Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Love,

Mrs. Rasmussen

Editor’s Note: Experts tell us that the keys to a successful, happy marriage are communication & compromise, but we know the truth…and, it’s the title of this post. 😉

Be Still My Spanish-Speaking Heart

Having our child learn a second language has always been a high priority for us. It’s a non-negotiable. Learning a second language is an invaluable skill and will help her learn and appreciate English grammar on a more intense level, another thing on my Top Priority List.

Eventually, what language she learns will be up to her, but we’re starting with Spanish.  Spanish would be my preference for Claire, because it’s the foreign language I speak.  I’ve surrounded her with Spanish from the very beginning. When she was a baby, I’d sing lullabies in Spanish. I’d read Spanish books to her. Some of the “commands” I give her (“Give me your hand,” etc.), I always give in Spanish. When she got older, I wanted to do a more formalized learning setting, but she showed no interest whatsoever. In fact, she pushed back.

So, I backed off.
I stopped reading the books in Spanish.
The commands, I kept. They are a part of who we are.
I didn’t push. I knew that eventually, she’d show an interest. I also knew that if she didn’t, I’d have to let it go. She’s her own person, regardless of the fact her momma was a Spanish major.

All the push-back I got from her about Spanish made me sad, but I didn’t give up hope. I didn’t start learning Spanish until I was in Junior High, and I turned out okay.

The school we chose offers Spanish to all the kids, starting in Kindergarten. They cycle through the “specials,” so they haven’t reached the Spanish unit yet, but I knew that if it was presented in a classroom setting by someone other than her mother, my little scholar would be ALL over it.

When I stopped at the local teacher supply store to get Claire workbooks (yes, for fun…what can I say? She loves workbooks and gets her entire weekly homework packet done in less than an hour…), I browsed the Spanish section. They had a book that looked perfect.  I thought with our upcoming trip to  Mexico, and the fact that she’ll be having Spanish in school, this would be the perfect time to introduce it again.

I presented her the workbook today, and she hugged me! “I LOVE workbooks!” she screeched. “It’s in Spanish!? YAY!” This was going much better than I anticipated. She then startled me with how much she already knows. The little booger has been holding out on me! All those years of passive Spanish instruction did lay a foundation, and I couldn’t be happier.

Be still my Spanish-speaking heart.

Now this is MY kind of November weather!

I love Colorado.

Eleven Eleven Eleven

Today marks a day I’ve been dreaming about for years. 11 years to be exact.

11 years ago, I wanted to get married on 11-11, but we couldn’t, because the Courthouse will always be closed that day for Veteran’s Day. So, we shifted our plan to the 15th. (The 23rd was another option, for not-so-obvious reasons – Hail Eris! – but that was too close to Thanksgiving and would put a kink in our Honeymoon Plans. Priorities, people.)

You see, we “eloped” and the filling out of the paperwork and turning it in is what made everything legal, hence the trip to the Courthouse, and thus the reason for the 11-11 wish that wasn’t to be exactly the way we wanted it. Knowing that our 11 year anniversary would fall in 11 of 11 made it all better. No, really, it did.

Why 11-11?

I always make 11:11 wishes. Usually twice a day, if I happen to see the clock. It’s almost always the same wish. No, I won’t share what it is, but it’s like a mantra that I whisper to myself. It keeps me grounded, and it makes me smile.

Today’s wish needs to be turned up to 11.

So, whatever you’re doing today at 11:11 on 11-11-11, I hope you pause and make a wish. A date like this won’t come around again for a while. 😉

I vividly remember the day I thought I’d gone crazy, and I remember being totally okay with that.

Have you ever gone crazy? Have you ever thought you’d gone crazy? Are you afraid you’ll go crazy? My friends and I joke about going crazy all the time…but there was one day I thought it had all come to fruition.

Before we get to that story, here’s a little back-history.

It’s no true secret that both sides of my family tree include some fruit of the nut variety. I say this with kindness and love. I’m not making light or fun of those with mental challenges. It was always just a fact that some key players in my genetic past varied from a wee-bit-wacky to a little more full-tilt.

And that’s okay. I accepted that. I’ve learned enough about genetics to know that some things get passed on through the ages, and some things don’t.

So, back to the story…

The year was 1995 or 1996, and I was in college. I was nearing the end of my time there, and I’d been working so hard. The hours I was keeping were insane, but I wouldn’t have changed them for anything. I’d spend time with my friends until Midnight or so and then study until 3am or 4am and then sleep until 7am. Then, I’d go to my campus job, working for one of the Department Heads before starting my full day of classes and doing it all over again.

I was living on 3 hours a sleep a night and filling in the gaps with caffeine. Spending time with my friends was necessary for my mental health. Studying the way I did was necessary for my academic goals. Working the hours I did were not negotiable. I’d try to make up my sleep on the weekends, waking up at the crack of Noon on Saturdays, and that seemed to keep me sane.

But, unlike my time spent in the Breastfeeding-a-Newborn-Every-Two-Hours Trenches 10-years later, I loved it. I wasn’t exhausted. I was exhilarated. I was empowered. Everything was falling into place, and my plans to take over the world were coming together nicely.

Until the day I thought I’d gone crazy.

I’ll never forget it. I was taking a shower. My dorm had a shower room across the hall from my room. I had a particular stall I liked, and it was available. Today was going to be a good day! (What? Once an optimist, always an optimist.) I was about to shampoo my hair when it happened: Little tiny letters appeared all over my hands. They were little black letters. I wasn’t dreaming. I was very much awake. They were so crisp and clear. They weren’t blurry. They weren’t a figment of my imagination. They were really there. I touched them. Some of them moved around, and some of them got on my fingers.

Some of the letters got caught in the tiny streams of water from the shower and got stuck on my stomach and my leg. Some of them washed down the drain.

The letters looked so real, but my brain knew they couldn’t be. There was only one rational explanation.

Rather than panic, a feeling of peace came over me. It had finally happened. I’d finally gone crazy, and it hadn’t happened in a violent way. I’d finally lost it, and part of me had always wondered what it would be like. I wondered if I should keep the secret of my insanity to myself or if I should tell someone. Would they let me finish my degree if I’d gone crazy?

As I’m having this conversation with myself, I decided to focus on the task at hand. I needed to get my shower done, and then I could figure out what to do with the fact that I’d gone crazy.

I pick up my shampoo bottle again. That’s when I noticed something strange. The lettering on the back of my shampoo bottle was smudged. The little letters were coming off. I touched them with my fingers and they stuck to my skin like little appliques.

I hadn’t gone crazy after all…my psychosis was actually a faulty shampoo bottle label.

Or was it? 😉

I think it’s important for kids to fail.

No really. Hear me out. I’m not saying I want kids to fail all the time and never succeed, but did you know that failure and success are not mutually exclusive?

Claire has always been good at everything, right away: Ballet, Swimming, you name it. There was just a slight learning curve at some things, but for the most part, she was a rock-star from Day One.

What’s it like to not be the first?
What’s it like to be the last?
What’s it like to fail?
And fail?
And fail?

How will you know that the important thing is not the fall but the ability to get up?
Again?
And again?
And again?

Speaking of which, I’m not an ice skater. I’ve been told by my parents that I ice skated when I was 3 years old and loved it. I have really no solid recollection of that. I tried to take Claire ice skating in Beaver Creek in April (probably almost exactly 34 years later), but what ensued was not what I could classify as ice skating, per se. We had a great time laughing at ourselves, but Claire was itching to go and do and learn more, but I had no skills to teach her.

We’d said that when the opportunity arose for her to learn from a professional, we’d take it. So, Claire is learning to ice skate. I was offered a handy-dandy little coupon at the local Rec Center for her to try it out for the month at a discounted rate, so there you go.

Guess what! Finally, we’ve found something at which Claire is not the best, and I’m SO GLAD. No, really! She’s not the first across the ice. She’s not the most skilled.

She’s normal, and it’s eating her alive.

She’s learning one of life’s hardest lessons right now, and I couldn’t be prouder.

Soon, she’ll catch on and be zipping across the ice with the rest of them, but she’ll know what it’s like to fail. She’ll know what it’s like to not be the best at something. She’ll know what it really means to fall and how it feels to get up.

Again.
And again.