Friday, June 25, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

Monday was Robby's first day of Kindergarten! Our daycare has an accredited Kindergarten program and Robby moved into that class. This will be Teacher Susan's fourth year teaching Kindergarten and she comes highly recommended. Transistioning him into the new class now will give him a few months to acclamate to new schedule before the curriculm starts in the fall. There will be twenty or fewer kids in his class so he will get a lot of individual attention. He turns five next month, making him one of the younger kids in the class.

Our school district only offers Kindergarten two half days a week and one addtional half day every other week. Driving him to school, then going to work, then picking him up at school and taking him to daycare, then going to work, then picking him up at daycare just doesn't fit into our schedule. At our assigned public school, some Kindergarteners didn't attend one single day last November due to holidays and teacher in service days. I am really disappointed in our school district for cutting Kindergarten to make the budget. I can think of so many things that should be in line for elimination before Kindergarten hours.

Robby woke up so excited and said, "Mama, did you forget today is my first day of Kindergarten?" He has a new backpack his grandma bought him this weekend and is so proud. John and I dropped him off together this morning. His classroom is in a historic old building and so charming and inviting. It's simply a great place to go to school. Robby is LOVING every second of it. He actually was upset when it was time to go home yesterday aternoon.

At his first birthday party I remember thinking that if I didn't give him his cake, he wouldn't be one and I could hold on to my baby just a little longer. I had those same feelings this morning. If we don't get out the door, he won't be a big school kid and I can hang on to my preschooler a little bit longer. It's gone by so fast and these little moments are the big milestones. I want to slow it all down so I can cherish them as long as possible.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Squeaky Cheese

For Father's Day we headed out to the Oregon Coast to explore. We started out at Cape Meares Lighthouse. It's one of nine lighthouses on the Oregon Coast. There is an amazing view from this lighthouse. We saw a bald eagle perched on a rock just offshore who later was tormenting seagulls along the cliffs. This is one of the shortest lighthouses. It sits atop a high cliff bluff at 217 feet above the ocean.

You may notice some of the glass panels look milky white. That's because in January someone shot the glass panels and damaged them and the light itself. It will cost half a million dollars to repair the lighthouse.

The lighthouse keepers washed the glass panes and polished all the brass every single day.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1963. Seven of the nine lighthouses on the Oregon Coast are still in use though. Today, an automated beacon with a GPS is used. (See the picture of the ugly concrete building below.)

This is a "modern lighthouse". Not so pretty.

Close by is the Octopus Tree.
It's estimated to be 250-300 years old. The debate rages on if it is a result of nature or if Native Americans formed the tree this way as it was growing for tribal rituals. I think it's really got an octopus inside of it.
Next we headed to Tillamook, Oregon to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. John and I have been here several times over the years and really enjoyed it. We wanted Robby to see them making the cheese and have the best soft serve ice cream we've ever eaten.

They've changed to visitor's center since we were last there. It's a lot more self-guided tour like. You can still look down at the processing floor and see vats of cheese in the making and cheese blocks moving along conveyor belts. Robby really thought this was cool. After looking at the processing floor, you can sample cheeses they make. God I love cheese.

Squeaky Cheese (or cheese curds) are always a favorite. They have a ton of them and they are cheap here. If you don't know why they call it squeaky cheese, try some and discover the squeaking sounds coming from your mouth as you chew.

They no longer have soft serve ice cream there. Once we picked ourselves off the floor from that disappointment we noticed they have every kind of ice cream Tillamook makes at their new ice cream stand. We each got ourselves a cone and sat down to enjoy. Tillamook makes a great tasting, quality ice cream. I highly recommend it.

We headed back home to have dinner and get ready for Monday, the first day of Kindergarten!
It was an amazing day and one of the best Father's Days I can remember in a long time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Typical Morning Conversation

Robby: Dad, there's a spider in the car.

John: Is it a big spider or a little spider?

Robby: If it was a big spider I'd be talking a lot louder.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coming Around Again

I have not posted in 6 months! How did this happen? I blame a WET spring, LOST, one of the best Survivor seasons ever, moving my mother TWICE and a general laziness on my part.
Mom and I took Robby fishing this past weekend for the first time. It was free fishing weekend in Oregon and we went to the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery. They hosted a fishing clinic on Saturday. Kids got to fish for free. Robby had to go to seven stations to learn all about fish, water safety and taking care of the watershed. The kids four and under got to fish in the big bins and the kids five and older got to fish in their stock ponds. Robby got two rainbow trout and was so excited you could actual feel it in the air around you.

Yeah, I caught two fish, Mama. I'm super cool!

He was so proud too!

I was amazed once again at the parents I saw. Twice Robby was pushed by an adult so that they could get in front of him. It reminded me of the Easter Egg Hunt a few years ago where all the adults rushed out to "help" their kids find eggs. Adults were grabbing eggs with two hands and most of the kids (including mine) didn't get to pick up one single egg and put it in their basket. Aren't these things supposed to be about the kids having fun? I don't get it. Those fish were not going anywhere. A grown man who pushes a four year old boy out of the way so he can see a trout before him deserves to be punched in the face. Period.
I remember catching my first fish. I caught four catfish! My great grandfather was there, as well as my grandparents. It was just outside of Parks, Arizona where my grandparents had an acre of land where we would spent our weekends escaping the heat of Phoenix. My grandma got an old curtain rod and hung them out on it so I could hold those four catfish up for a picture. I can still see that picture in my mind. I was wearing a striped shirt and I didn't wear glasses yet. My hair back in a ponytail. I remember how my grandmother looked taking that picture. She told me once to be still and NOT MOVE while she was taking my picture or she would CUT MY HEAD OFF. She meant cut my head off in the picture, but I took her literally. She never took one single blurry picture of me in my life as a result of that.
Robby got to share catching his first fish with his grandma just like I did. That should fill my heart with a sense of happiness and wonder at the circle of life. It does fill my heart - almost completely. I admit, part of the day I spent reflecting on how my grandmother missed this moment. She missed it not because she is dead, but because she has chosen to miss it. I tell that little girl inside me she missed it because she is sick. Dementia is so cruel not only to those whose brain it consumes but to the people around them who lose them and are robbed of those last years together. I tried to stay in the moment and be grateful that I got to spend the day with my son and my mother, but that little girl with the ponytail kept thinking about how her Nanny should be here to see this too.