Friday, December 31, 2010

All Her Siblings

Gaz has been telling me about her imaginary sisters, all of whom tend to copy her. They all have powers, from tales and legends, and can transform into other creatures to be adaptable (anything from carnivores to dung beetles, apparently), and they are trained in karate. In fact, they helped train Samurai Jack.

Their names are Anna, David, Book, Computer, Electronics, Weather, and several others where it became apparent she was just naming her sisters after things in her field of vision.

I'm not sure exactly what their purpose is (other than surviving and training superheroes), but I'm sure I will be told shortly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You'll Never Guess

Every so often, Gaz will stop and kind of knock the side of her head.

I used to ask what she was doing. I don't anymore, because the answer was always the same.

"Thinkin' 'bout Gelflings," she would say, in a weary and resigned voice.

Well, all right, then.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Additional Stories

I have been informed that I must blog a bit more about our further adventures of the day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

I took the day off so that I could burn some vacation time to get below the five-day limit for carrying over. One of the things we decided to do was to get some passes from the library, and one of them that Gaz most wanted to go to was the Nature Museum. So I checked that one out, and we went today.

A good time was had, but not always as the people intended. The museum is good stuff, particularly notable for its butterfly sanctuary, a big room with hundreds of butterflies. We were just looking at the first few exhibits on rivers when someone announced that they had a snake available to be touched in the other room, and we went to see. Gaz sat down with the rest of the kids, and listened to them talk about the corn snake (named Pumpkin for its pale orangey color, like pumpkin pie filling) (which led Gaz to comment that nobody would like snake pie) (except maybe a coyote or another snake predator), and she answered many of the questions the presenters asked. When one of the boys described a snakes movement as wiggling back and forth, she volunteered "I believe they call it 'slithering'," even. And she was first in line to touch the snake, and she petted it very politely and without the least bit of fear.

Of course, much of our time was spent in the Learning About Trees room, where the kids almost uniformly try to nest and care for these giant robin eggs (and steal them from each other, and house them in places other than the giant model "nest" and so forth). And Gaz, of course, got into the whole game. At one point, she and this other little girl were caring for the eggs, and they started talking about how they were dinosaur eggs. And then Gaz put her ear to one and said "Listen, you can hear them fighting!" The girl's mother asked who was fighting, and Gaz replied "Godzilla and Mothra!" The connection being Mothra and her eggs, of course.

Well, the mother didn't know who Mothra was, which kind of speaks more to our own disconnect, because I didn't realize there were still people out there who didn't know who Mothra was. Well, I had to step in and straighten the whole thing out, by admitting to her parents' geek cred. I have no idea what the mother thought at all that.

Those were the two that stand out in my head. There's possibly more, as she's always coming out with little sayings and phrases and observations, but at the moment, that's all I can summon up.

And She Hasn't Even Seen Sprockets

So, we're watching a little TV before bed, after a long day at the nature museum, Gaz holds up the cute pink monkey stuffed animal we got her and said "Does anybody want to touch my monkey?"

George had, of course, just taken a drink, so she had the most studied, suppressed smile on her face as she tried to keep from laughing or spitting liquid up her nose or something undignified like that.

Me, I just touched the monkey.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Homemade Tree
Sending our love to all our family and friends, in all the various places you wonderful people are!

Here's a picture of Gaz showing off our new tree--totally homemade and awesome. I think we're going to do this every year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letters and St. Nick

Can you tell I've got a bit of time off work?

In last week's homework (for which she must practice writing a letter--upper & lower case--and then draw a picture of a thing that begins with that letter), E was for Earth. It was originally "Evil," but there was editorial disagreement over how one would draw it. I suggest a mean face, but Gaz insisted that would be too easily confused with "angry." Earth is much easier to draw.

Today, F is for Ferris-Whee-at-Navy-Pier. I've been trying to talk her into at least writing out "ferris wheel," but it seems that if she can't write out the whole thing, she won't write down any of it. Since she drew in a huge crowd all around the ferris wheel and popcorn stand, I'm guessing it will just have to stay untitled. We had nary an argument about getting the homework done, or sitting down to the homework, or anything at all homework related, and for this I am infinitely grateful.

I hope you all have had a happy St. Nicholas Day! Gaz got a chocolate snowman from the German market, new paints, a bracelet, and many stickers, some of which she took to school to share with her class. Mrs. K. was so excited that Gaz wanted to share her shoe loot, because she celebrates the day in an appropriately German fashion at her house too.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Gaz has six (SIX!) teeth coming in right now. All four six-year molars and the two lower incisors. I have tried to explain to the molars that, really, they can wait a bit, but it hasn't worked. The two on her left side are almost totally out. The others are lagging a bit (the top more than the bottom), but I suspect this has something to do with her chewing more on the left side than the right.

Her irritating habit of wanting to bite my fingers suddenly makes sense. Again.

You would think that since she's infinitely more verbal than she was last time we went through this that she would let us know early and often when her mouth is paining her, but just like in the good old days, crankiness is the first and most reliable sign of mouth discomfort. Now that we have chewable pain reliever stuff at least she doesn't fight us on that. She doesn't trust any medicinal liquid, and I don't blame her. Most of them are nasty.

As noted in my earlier post, pictures are indeed uploaded. And now that I have adjusted the link to point to the latest set, you can even find them.

In other news, Mark has introduced Gaz to Ultraman. Her geek/nerd culture education continues apace.

In other, other news, I just heard Gaz announce to Mark that "Now I'm going to label you!" Whatever this means, I should probably supervise.

ETA: "Mommy, I just labeled Daddy and he's worth two nickles. We can buy him with just one dime!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photos Soon

Now that I've found my camera cable, I'm uploading pictures. I've mislaid some from the summer (I've just upgraded my laptop, and while I know all the pictures got copied over to here, I forget where I've put them), but the more recent ones are included. Of course, probably half of them are of interesting clouds, but the majority of the remainder are of Miss Gaz being wonderful and photogenic.

The upload is currently in progress, but within an hour they should be available, I'd think.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tooth Addendum

She also lost her second tooth (lower incisor) just over a week after the first jumped ship. The others seem like they're sticking around for a while, so I don't expect we'll have another gap just yet. This is good, because if she lost the top two right now, she'd look like a brawler.

She's also got a new molar that's almost entirely free. It's pretty close to the existing molar. I'm trying not to fret about how close these new teeth are coming in.

Report Card, etc.

I know, my post titles are so exciting.

One thing that is actually pretty exciting is the report card we just received. Gaz aced everything that's been introduced except shoe tying, but with some direction she's already showing she *can* do it. It's more an issue of how attentive she is at any given shoe-tying attempt. I filled out the authorization form for gifted testing (which isn't mandatory, but since our school has a gifted program we don't have to strain ourselves to get Gaz tested), and so that will take place at some time in the near future. Mrs. K. says she thinks Agatha will do well with that, and I know we will soon reach the stage where she needs more challenge at school. Now that she's got a better handle on the social and time challenges that full-day school pose, she's probably going to be chronically bored by the end of the year. Mrs. K. also gave us a tip on a young author's contest that either the school or CPS overall does, so we'll see if she might want to do that. She tells some killer stories.

Another bit of excitement has been with some local friends, Lis and Todd, who were expecting their son Gabriel in early December. He decided to beat the holiday rush and made his grand appearance this week, and is now enjoying the full-service care of their local NICU. I got to see him on Thursday and he is tiny, pink, but he nurses like a champ. His only problem is that every time he has his paci, he stops breathing and forgets to start up again. While he's really not as sick as many babies I've known, this is still quite the problem. If you're in the habit of thinking good thoughts for the health of babies, they would not go unappreciated.

Gaz, of course, is totally stoked to get to hold Gabe as soon as humanly possible, not to mention cousin Grady, and the impending Rizen girl (whose name, I am relatively certain, will not be Charlie, much to Papaw's chagrin).

I am daily amazed by what my girl can do, and what she chooses to do. She picked out one of her animal cards to give to Gabe (a strawberry poison dart frog, which Lis noted Gabe somewhat resembles right now), and lent him a book (the board book version of "The Monster at the End of This Book") so he can hear stories while he's in the hospital. She already has plans to teach all the babies about her favorite dinosaurs and impressive words. She's definitely a helper. Maybe not so great at helping at home, but at least she's an able assistant for just about everyone else.

Perhaps I should make her a "Minion" shirt. That would make a pretty good hand-me-down for when she's old enough to graduate to "Mad Scientist."

I know I am way, way, WAY behind on uploading pictures. Part of the problem is that I have misplaced the cable for my camera. When I do find a bit of time to do stuff like that, I have ended up spending it searching for that damn cable. One of these days, I will find it and I will then have to spend a year sorting and tagging everything. But I'm running out of places the cable could be hiding, so it will probably surface soonish. I hope.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Remember the Tooth!

I've been quoting the Dune movie a lot lately because Gaz lost her first tooth! It was very very wiggly on, I think it was Tuesday, and then we were brushing our teeth and she spit out foam and sait it was pinker because there was blood from her tooth, but I noticed a little something in the sink wash, and after splashing some water to rinse it off, it was, in fact the tooth!

Gaz wasn't in pain, she didn't freak out, she thought it was actually really cool. Now she has a little gap in her lower smile, but she'll soon have brand new adult teeth making their appearance.

First she teethed early, now she's losing her baby teeth early... I shudder to think about her wisdom teeth!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Gaz has been collecting ZuzuPets, those toy hamsters. Beastly things, but she adores them and the little toy environments they come with.

She's got a new exercise wheel, so we have the whole habitat out in the living room, and Gaz has been bringing in all her other toys. The My Little Ponies are all in the kitchen area of the habitat.

George just walked in, saying "Oh, my goodness! It looks like a pony party in the hamster house!"

I think that could be a euphemism for something, but I'm not sure what.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rainbow Metal Girls!

Tonight I brought up the idea of whether Gaz might like to act. She's been watching Justice League Unlimited on DVD from Netflix, and she loves it, and frequently she likes to get up and act out Wonder Woman's parts. So asking her about whether she'd like to get into acting seemed a natural choice.

She got very excited about the idea, but she had very specific conceptions about the roles she wanted to do. I told her that all sorts of roles weren't always out there; she normally had to do what people had available. But, I said, if you really want to be a superhero girl, you could always do your own movie.

So we've spent the past few minutes talking about what sort of video she might like to make. We've mostly talked the basics, and she seems to want to shoot it all right now, but I told her, if you want to do it right, we have to plan out what the story is, what we're going to shoot, who we're going to shoot it with, what we're going to say, etc.

We've determined that she wants to be a Rainbow Metal Girl, that there's more than one of them, but she wants to be Red Metal Girl (on the ROY G BIV rainbow scale), because that costume can have some pink in it. We've decided that the Rainbow Metal Girls should have powers based on metals (iron strength, lead density/toughness, mercury quickness, etc.), and that they should be seen eating dinner in the video. The main action, according to Gaz, should take place against invisible zombies that only the Rainbow Metal Girls can see (though we may have to make a special effect so that the audience can see them sometimes). Beyond that, it's still in development.

I am reminded of Axe Cop, which is a webcomic written by a hyperactive five-year-old, now six, as told to his nearly-30-year-old artist brother. I fully intend to put Gaz down as co-writer as well as lead actress. I hope we can recruit some of her friends as actresses, but that is a fair distance away; we haven't even designed the superhero costumes yet.

Ideas and suggestions are welcomed, by myself and my co-writer, who has approved this message.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Library Card!

So Gaz has her first library card, and in fact her whole class took a walk to the local library, where the kids heard a story while the parents had a library tour, and then everybody got to check out books.

We got the usual suspects: a couple of Mo Willems books, a book on sharks, a book on rollercoasters, one or two things I'm forgetting, and the prize of the collection: two books starring CAPTAIN RAPTOR!

Captain Raptor! Hero of a thousand missions for the planet Jurassica! With trusty blastopack on his back and webcaster pistol strapped to his hip, he protects the spaceways for dinosaurs everywhere!

Yes, it's pulp sci-fi kiddie stories with high-tech dinosaurs! And I gotta say, there's something just glorious about an allosaurus jetting through the air via rocket backpack! And it gets Gaz, in her own words, "all geeked up!"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

Okay, well, the tantrums are still occurring at random intervals, along with the moodiness, but I hope it's beginning to even out. The transition is difficult, going to full-day school, and G's freelance gig has been heating up a lot lately, so that good ol' Mommy doesn't have as much free time as she once did. And believe me, Daddy is no substitute whatsoever.

However, that told, Gaz is still doing funny things. We occasionally play all sorts of odd musical bits, here and there, and she latched on to the opening bit of Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge" (check it out in your online music source of choice).

The opening has Mr. Mothersbaugh going "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, yeahyeahyeahyeah!" And Gaz adapts that rhythm to whatever she wants.

"Salty peanut, salty-peanut, saltypeanut!"

"Macaroni, macaroni, macaroni!"

"Hello Kitty, hello-kitty, hellokitty!"

So that's hilarious.

We also have this elementary school program called "ROBERTO" which stands for Read Or BE Read TO. And we read to her nightly. The requirement is 20 minutes a day, but it's not uncommon for us to run 30 minutes, and last week we had two nights that stretched to 60 minutes. So that's good, right? Problem is, I'm hoping her teacher doesn't actually check what it is they're being read, because she'll see a lot of issues of "Batman: The Brave And The Bold" (which is a pretty fun kids Batman comic) and "Tiny Titans" (which is like Muppet Babies only with the Teen Titans, so more like PreTeen Titans) along with the usual Seuss and Disney and Kipling (Gaz loves Kipling's "Just So Stories" for some reason).

Tonight I read her an issue of the Scooby-Doo comic she had me buy over the weekend, and finished up with the wonderful "Bats on the Beach." That's a good mix, I think. But then after I turn out the light, Gaz wants me to tell a made-up story, and while I can do that, I'm pretty tired myself, so I do what I've been doing the past week or so: I tell her about comic book characters. She's heard the origin stories of Superman, Wonder Woman (a favorite), Batman and Robin, Green Arrow, Green Lantern... what little I remembered of The Flash, and Martian Manhunter. On the other side of the fence, I've told her about Spiderman, the Fantastic Four, and tonight I explained The X-Men.

Oh, the X-Men. She'd caught a glimpse of a little sketch of Wolverine over my shoulder when I was looking at a comics blog, and she asked who that guy was, so I had to explain mutants and Professor X and as many of the X-Men as I could recall offhand before I started to describe Wolvie. She was really impressed with his healing factor, and she loved the idea of an unbreakable metal skeleton, but she got really tickled when I explained the claws. However, despite thinking they were really cool, what she wanted to do if she had Wolverine's powers was to jump around really high! And she'd want Nightcrawler's teleportation, and Jean Grey's telekinesis power (I didn't explain to her about the whole Dark Phoenix thing becuase... you gotta leave room to grow, right?), and so on. This girl is gleefully investigating the whole nerd culture thing, and she's not even into her second hand worth of years. I love it.

I suppose I should investigate Wikipedia to refresh my memory on some of the superhero origins for tomorrow night... we'll see how that goes!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

School, etc.

Jeez, now that Blogger has stopped telling me about all it's fab new features, I can finally type something! Not that I will be typing a long something, though, because I'm about to fall over. But first things first.

Gaz is finally in school. (Check out her back-to-school get-up! She picked it out herself, as you can probably guess.) I got her registered with little trouble on the 2nd (the third attempt being the charm), and classes started this week. It's somewhat shorter days this week, which is a drag on many levels (one of them is Gaz's lunch period is so short that she's not eating most of the food I send with her; that's one drag that I am especially frustrated over), but it's a massive adjustment for everyone. I'm still not sure how *I* feel about this school, but I don't think it's monstrous. Gaz's teacher *does* have some strange, trollish teeth. . . . But anyway, I'll be happier when Gaz is less keyed up all day and night.

Gaz loves school. She sins excited songs every morning as we walk to school, and the stretch of sidewalk that takes us to school has one section where someone once drew a Batman symbol on the wet concrete, so we even get to geek out in a DC Superfriends manner twice a day. She enjoyed gym today, and is looking so very much forward to art class that she has plans to bring in a special piece of painted wood to give to the art teacher, whoever she is. She's in class with one of the neighbor girls, which is more fantastic than I can begin to describe. They get along already, and now not only do they get to spend more time together, we have an easy connection for getting Gaz to and from school in the event of some kind of emergency or schedule insanity. We love the neighbors anyway, and now they're even super useful. What could be better than that?

We have had some difficult sleep this week (Gaz woke me up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning to ask me to tell her a story, and to ask for a drink of water, and to ask for company on a bathroom trip . . . ), and my girl has been much more short-tempered with everyone and clingy with me. I know this is just a transition thing, and I am trying to give her all the extra support she needs to keep on being her big, crazy self. We'll get through this. We did okay overall with preschool and weaning; we can survive the kindergarten adjustment.

But how am I holding up, people ask. You would not believe how well I am doing right now. I've got so much editing work that I have been desperate all summer for school to start up again. Working from home and being the stay-at-home parent at the same time has been nothing short of hellish for me* and has resulted in many weeks where the dishes overtook the kitchen and started singing medleys about overthrowing the slovenly human oppressors. (You who have mechanical dishwashers: you are lucky, lucky creatures who darned well better appreciate your modern luxuries.) We're managing to maintain appropriate levels of apartment hygiene, but clutter is another story.

So no, I'm not at all upset by the start of the school year. It's making life tolerable again.

But once more, I am frustrated by the needs of work interfering with my spending time with Gaz, especially now that she needs extra cuddles and reassurance to get her past the stress of full-day school. I try to spend the time from after-school to Mark's arrival home and dinner time with her, scheduling my work day for before she's up and while she's at school, but she's been waking up quite early. We're having to do the other hard transition of less me at bedtime and more Mark, and she's really used to me being the one who gets her settled in more often than not for most of her life.

I am very far behind on blogging, uploading pictures, replying to email, visiting relatives, and who knows what else (apart from the dishes; I know how miserable the dish position is on any given day). I have no idea when I will be digging out from under the backlog, but between Gaz and work both needing me and everything that had to be done for school registration, I have been completely tapped out. I do hope to get more regular with the blogging again, but anything longer than your average Facebook status update or Twitter entry is difficult for me right now. Please be patient (and send patience. And coffee. And scones. And sleep!).

* And specifically: exhausting and cranky-making

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wedding Gaz

So, this weekend, we're up north in Gurnee for Auntie Lis's wedding, and Gaz is Flower Girl, and she's intensely excited. Oh, and Mommy is co-Matron of Honor, as well, but that's incidental.

We came up yesterday, and were up really late. This after Gaz got up at the crack of early. But we got her some peanuts and snack food to carry her through until her late dinner, and she had pizza, which ended up all right.

Today, so far, we went to the hotel pool while Mommy went to get her hair worked on (about 7 or 8 hours before the ceremony, which seems weird and too early to me, but I'm not a bride or bridesmaid), then had a bath to actually CLEAN her, and then went out for lunch. She wanted Chinese, so we just drove around Gurnee until we found a Thai place, and Gaz said that would work just as well. Turns out the owner/operator of the place used to live in our neighborhood in Chicago, but moved north for better school districts when her kids got old enough to hit high school. We had a nice talk with her, and Gaz practiced her chopstick technique.

Now we're just hanging until Mommy comes home. It's pretty low-key, but we just worry about the major things, and frankly, the Flower Girl's preparation is only minimal. And me, I need no preparation, as I'm only audience.

So that's the weekend.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Red Red Red RED!

Gaz loves her new art class at the Old Town School of Folk Music (the happiest place on earth in Lincoln Square). She loves it so much that I'm still not quite sure what all they did besides something involving the color RED. She exploded out of the classroom chanting RED and has only kind of stopped (mostly while eating her post-class snack).

We've got plenty more to do today, so I better get to it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Serpentine

We've recently gone through a couple of months of having to watch Barbie in A Mermaid Tale repeatedly, so when she said she was ready to trade that in for something with dinosaurs, the grown-ups were quite relieved. Barbie was better than some things she's watched (this subject will get its own post one day), but dinosaurs are something we can all enjoy equally. Thanks to Netflix, we got rid of Barbie and ended up with Prehistoric Planet. It's fun little show, and I never get tired of hearing Gaz go on about the old ornithocheirus. She's really into pterosaurs when she's not obsessed (as most kids are, I guess) with T-Rex. Though for the latter, we can probably blame Sue, or rather, our fondness for the Field Museum.

The reptillian fun hasn't just stopped with the constant viewings of dino-drama, though. I picked up a Step Into Reading book on snakes, since we had just been talking about the old family pet (a sweet little corn snake named Biscuit). While I was at it, I picked up a more herpetologically involved book for myself because, amongst other things, I've always been mystified by snakey taxonomy and was hoping to figure it out for once.

What I didn't figure on is how much Gaz would flip for the many color photos in my book, or what her tolerance for mommy stumbling over long Greek and Latin words that don't mean anything to her (and sometimes me) would be. She is in love with the eyelash pit viper and was quite disappointed when I told her they're venomous. But two nights in a row now, she's fallen asleep to me reading random snippets of squamate biology, ecology, locomotion, and evolution. But I am only allowed to read the pages that have photos. Is any of this actually getting through to her, or is she just dozing off to the sound of my voice? I don't know. But I do like that I am able to share something cool about the world with her, and I think snakes are pretty darn cool.

I don't know exactly where this attraction comes from (though the grass snake featured in the kid's book looks like the Utahraptor from Prehistoric Planet, we agreed), but I am so pleased that she is interested in learning about the weird looking creatures and isn't afraid of them. Of course, we've only seen one very tiny garter snake out in the wild, so she might change her tune when she sees her first enormous black rat snake. (Okay, maybe that's just me.)

Still, this all has me thinking about the logistics of getting another corn snake. I'm not sure our landlords would go for it, but when we're ready, I've got a game plan in my head. It would be nice to have a reptile around again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goodbye, Blue Sky

Yesterday was the big end-of-the-year party at Gaz's school and now we're kicking off our summer vacation by lounging around in pajamas far later than we generally could on a Thursday.

I dropped Gaz off at the usual time and ran back home to finish making the snack Gaz has been promising her friends and teachers all week ("apple smiles," which are apple wedges with cream cheese and mini marshmallows arranged into a mouth-like configuration). I got there just in time to start up the video camera and record the singing portion of the party. Gaz, naturally, was the one who announced the performance and somehow, despite her height, ended up being in the middle of the front row. She apparently spent all her ham points then and there, though, because later when the kids wanted to take pictures with her, she was suddenly very shy.

The kids got little preschool diplomas and a copy of the book "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More," which was a big enough hit that I had even heard the chanting at home. My disk ran out of space part-way through the stuff distribution, so I have no video of the chaos that ensued once all the food was unpackaged and set out (and there was TONS of food--our neighborhood knows how to throw a serious party). We had three tables full of food, and about 1/3 of that was cookies, cupcakes, and donuts. Gaz only had one cupcake, and only fought me a little when I insisted that she start with some spaghetti. As I expected, she completely ignored the apple smiles.

Gaz had a moment after a while where she was suddenly upset and tearful, but not well able to explain why. She's gotten really attached to school and the routine and especially her teacher, Miss Monica. So I let her dance and helped with clean-up for a while. At long last, I coaxed her away from school by telling her of the present from Nana that I'd been holding for just such bribery: her very own pair of Twinkle Toes shoes. They light up a dark hallway like the sun and she loves them to pieces. For most of the afternoon yesterday, she wore only underpants and her new shoes.

And so we have said goodbye to Blue Sky Classroom. I'm sure we'll be back to the community center again, especially if we are able to make use of their after-school-care services in the future. It's a little bit sad, but we're working on things to keep us occupied. We've got phone number for play dates and I've rounded up a couple of friends to invite to Gaz's birthday party. I've blown it with respect to finding an appropriate day camp program (most are for 5-year-olds and up--so close!), but I'm sure the Old Town School will not fail to give us something to provide a bit of structured fun.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bonding with Cousins

Gaz played with her third-cousin here at the parents place today. Also yesterday. Cousin is equivalent in age, and they have a good rapport. Heck, yesterday, she pitched a total fit when asked to leave their house. But she was pretty good today; Gaz gave her one of the Polly Pockets dolls she recently got, and cousin gave her some Barbie jewelry, so they could be best friends forever.

It's good when Gaz bonds with her family. She's got first cousins who she doesn't see very often, but they're not entirely compatible; we always see them together and they have their own sibling dynamic and none of them are directly equivalent in age. She loves them, but doesn't relate to them quite as well. Third cousin, though, it was like gangbusters.

I don't know that I ever connected with any of my relatives like that. I get along with everybody, but I never entirely bonded, as friends. There's a few folks I would have enjoyed getting closer to, I suppose, but everybody's so spread out these days. Ah, well. Even still, it was really cool to see them getting so close.

Actually, me and third cousin's father, my second cousin, we got to talk a lot while the girls were playing, and honestly, I'm really glad I got to talk to him. Perhaps I will be bonding with relatives after all.

But this blog isn't about me, it's about Gaz. So she got to do a lot of things this trip; it's been a very successful father-daughter trip out to the parents. I think we've gotten along pretty well, even through a couple of melt-downs. We've gone through worse, and I think she's pretty pleased with how it turned out, as well. We'll be able to tell tomorrow, though, once we got back to LWG and Gaz tells her story of the weekend.

PS: we went to a Chinese buffet place for dinner, and one of the waitresses really took a liking to Gaz and third cousin, even tickling them when they were playing. Gaz seems to have that effect on people; she kept showing off her Polly Pocket and her jewelry and just smiling like an angel. She's awesome like that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The new DVD we got for Gaz from Netflix has a bunch of new dinosaur species in it. We were looking over some of the names in one of the special features, and found "Postosuchus," which we wondered if it was pronounced "pasta-succhus".

Which led Gaz to say in a very disparaging, almost scolding voice "There was no pasta in the Triassic!"

She ain't wrong.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dental News!

Last week there was a collision at school, and Gaz's mouth took the bulk of the damage. The teachers weren't at all worried, but Gaz very animatedly explained how it took THREE times of rinsing her mouth out for the bleeding to stop. She did have a little cut on her lower gum, right under and around one of her two front teeth there, and upon closer examination I found that the tooth was loose. The dentist said that as long as she wasn't in a lot of pain and the site didn't look dramatically swollen or otherwise infected to just keep her on soft foods over the weekend, apply NSAIDs as needed, and check back with her if we were concerned.

Well, yesterday I checked her mouth again, and the tooth is even more wiggly than before, but completely not painful to the Gaz. It looks like she's really getting ready to lose her first baby tooth. I could probably go check the archives and see if this is in fact the Very First Tooth that is working up to escape velocity, but I've got to fetch her from school soon.

She's very excited and has already told us both that the wish she plans to make on this tooth (with inflation, I guess kids now get money *and* wishes in exchange for teeth) is for a pink lollipop. Just what a kid needs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

But she's not a Virgo...

Today our wonderful Aunt Niki sent Gaz a book of 201 experiments to do with science. It was already annotated with her own notes, but she added a bunch of helpful (and aesthetic) post-its bringing Gaz's attention to specific experiments... post-its which Gaz methodically removed and stacked in an organized fashion before G was able to see what she was doing.

It reminds me of when she and her class colored the paint-spotted dog pictures from a story they'd read, and Gaz put the right colors in the right places, exactly as it had been in the book.

That kind of precision and methodical attention to even insignificant details is, I understand, supposed to be a trademark of Virgos, which both G and I are. But she's, like, a Leo, I think. I have no invested interest in astrology, mind you, but I do love to think what people who DO would think about this. Can astrological signs rub off?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's been an up and down day. We went shopping, which went well, but the temperatures are very high today (forecast was 86, but it read 90 earlier), and we got a bit cranky. But we relaxed and were having a good time by the time Mom came back from helping out Auntie Aaaiii. Gaz started playing with her balloon in the fan air currents and basically playing balloon, as you do.

She squeals and bops and runs around, and then goes "Man, I'm good!" She frequently tells us how fast she is, or how strong, or how clever she is. And she is darn good. I just worry that she'll keep tooting her own horn as she gets older, and get a rep for egotism. But maybe I'm putting too much thought into it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


It's been a bit of a cranky week, for no reason we can easily determine, but last night we had good old Uncle Greg stay over, and she got to see him off this morning. She wouldn't go over and give him a hug, but when he was standing on his way out, she threw her arms around his knees and said "If your legs were Jell-o, I'd eat them up!"

I'm sure it was meant fondly.

Jello Legs! Sounds like it oughta be a nickname of some sort. "Hey, there, Jello Legs, you seen Google Brain around?" "Last I knew, she was going out to the store with Fan Hands."

... Like I need more nicknames in my life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Elder God Pajamas?

So, we're picking out pajamas today, after a lengthy day out at the zoo and a decent evening and lengthy bath, and she goes "Okay, we'll get the Mystery Pants" i.e. these pajama shorts that aren't connected to any pajama top that I know of "and the Cthulhu shirt."

"We don't have a Cthulhu shirt!"

She started mumbling something about ancient evil that I think she remembered from when we read the box for Loveable Carl Cthulhu. We eventually picked the shirt with the jaguar with glow-in-the-dark eyes, but I was amazed and entertained by her attempt at Lovecraftian foreboding, even if she was half-giggling the entire time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heard at Dinner

"Boy, doing the same thing a whole lot sure can wear you out!"

Yes, yes it can.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Watching a movie this afternoon, Gaz starts burrowing behind the couch cushions.

Me: "What are you doing?"

LWG: "Are you trying to hide?"

Gaz: "Yeah, but it isn't easy!"

Saturday, May 8, 2010


For a number of years, Gaz has made up songs when she feels the urge. Tonight, after a decently long day and a watching of this Barbie mermaid movie we have through Netflix, she's been singing in the bath. It's LWG's turn to give the bath, so I've only caught snippets over the past half-hour, but a few:

"'ll try to win it for Malibu, you'll go crazy for Malibu..."

"'ll surf for a million years..."

"...then you gotta curl, oh, yeah..."

Now she just needs to work on rhyme and meter, and she's got a career.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gaz v. Science

Today at dinner, after I came up with residual static as the reason the very slick Old Maid cards were sticking together, Gaz proceeded to explain my explanation right back at me. Then she asked "Is that scientific?"

Why, yes, yes it is. Just like when you told Mom about how the sun isn't a planet, it's a star made up of gasses that melt together and create heat and light and energy. That is indeed scientific.

She said she's good at science, and we opined that she should see if her first science fair went well, whenever that happened. I proceeded to tell her we've got a number of friends who actually work in science, so if she ever needs project ideas, we have aunties we can go to. I was particularly thinking of Auntie Nikki, in part because she was recently at a science fair, and she loves science! (and reads this blog), but we would take ideas from anyone!

Anyway. Science is good!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Incidentally, happy Cinco de Pie-o!

We had pumpkin and strawberry cream (which, the filling was actually banana).

Hope everyone's Cinco was excellent!


So, the other night, we're doing the cool-down in the bed, waiting for Mom, and we're goofing off and she laughs, and then tells me very seriously (albeit smiling-ly) "I screamed with laughter!"

"People also say 'shrieked.' 'I shrieked with laughter.'"


It's much better when she learns words as opposed to what she's learning on the playground. No, not sex and drugs ... poop jokes!

We've got a playground friend who is friendly and enthusiastic and a fair bit bossy; it's only just recently that Gaz is beginning to stand her ground. But anyway, once they were on the tire swing, and I was pushing them around, as one does on the tire swing, and friend starts telling a joke. And it's always something like this:

"I've got a joke!"

"If it's anything like your others, I don't think that..."

"Who put the poop in the toaster and put the toaster in the potty?"

"That's actually pretty disgusting..."

"YOU DID!" (pointing at me and shrieking with laughter)

And it goes on like that. It's not even jokes, just an excuse to talk about disgusting things and make fun of Dad, basically. Which I'm up for, that's fine. But somebody's got to play the straight man, I suppose, and I'd really rather have, like, an actual punchline. Heck, even a banal, Carrot-Top-like observation would be fine. But maybe I'm spending too much time sabotaging our small appliances in disgusting ways. If you ask Gaz on the playground, that's all I seem to do.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tantrums and Behavior

Gaz has been taking me to the park just about every other day. We have some friends we see there, and she always makes friends when she goes to playgrounds, anyway, but it's good to see some regulars.

What's interesting, though, is how she's been reacting to time to go. I usually have us rolling just before seven in the evening, but sometimes she kind of throws a fit. Sometimes I have to coax her out from under the playground equipment, and I almost have to pick her up and carry her away.

Other times, she's ready. Like, most recently, I said "we have an hour, and I'm setting my watch timer." So, when the last few seconds counted down, I held the watch near her, and when it beeped, she looked up, and immediately took off down the path toward home. Her playmate looked all confused, I had to shout after Gaz to have her say goodbye, and then she was booking it so fast, I had to chase after her.

I don't know why that is. Sometimes, she's ready to go, sometimes she's too engaged to want to stop what she's doing. I suppose that's true of anyone, but with a smaller child, the mechanics of it are so much more out in the open.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Star Wars Ice Cream

So, as we often do, we're talking Star Wars, and playing nonsense word games. And somehow, the conversation got to making a Chewbacca out of ice cream.

"And then you could eat all of him," she says, "especially his eyeballlllllssss!!!" She really drew that last word out. Then she pauses, and continues in a sprightly tone. "I tell ya, they're quite delicious."

Of course, if she had access to an ice cream Luke Skywalker, she'd eat his stomach. "I would destroy him and eat him!" she said repeatedly.

While trying to get into Blogger and tell you this, she would not stop pestering me. Even now, she is trying to lick my feet to gross me out (it's working!). But knowing that people on the internet are going to be reading what she's been saying, she wanted me to tell you all she wanted to eat your brains, because she's a zombie. And, like a real zombie, she has no shame about it.

That's my girl!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photos, Life, and Bloggy Help

I'm in the process of uploading many photos. Don't look now--it will probably take all night. I haven't labeled or tagged any of the pictures. Since it's been so long, I figured that people would just rather see them first, clever captioning be damned. So that's what you get.

My potentially exciting news, which I am still partly waiting on (very impatiently, as I was to have heard something in "late April," only we're just about out of April) is whether or not I'll be starting law school this year. If not, I am determined to get in next year. I'm on the waiting list, but I was hoping to have some kind of definite idea by now. (As it turns out, there might not be any definite idea until the start of the Fall semester, but I sincerely hope that I know one way or the other before then.)

Other than my schooling, I'm also having fits about Gaz's. The CPS is not really the most functional organization in the world. I applied to some magnet/cluster schools, but we're languishing on waiting lists there too. Registering at the local neighborhood school is also a frustration, as we can't accomplish that until August (when Gaz gets these two ridiculous vaccinations that the CDC doesn't even complain about until you're over six), and looking into after-school care (assuming that in the fall I will either be in school or seeking employment) at the community center has also been frustrating for many little reasons that don't bear whining about on the Internet. Suffice it to say that I feel like we're in a Joseph Heller novel, but with less war and more children and bureaucracy.

Which brings me to my final point alluded to in the title. Mark has finally consented to blog those little things that slip my mind before they can get posted. Gaz says some amazingly weird things constantly, but with all the LSAT preparations, I am not retaining the adorableness as eloquently as I once did. So hopefully you'll be seeing more frequent posts in the near future. Just as soon as he accepts the invitation. (Mark, if you're reading this right now, that's your cue to go click the link.)

And now it is way past my bedtime. Enjoy the pictures, once they're up!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We're here!

I promise! Life continues in a lifelike manner for the Rizen-Mitchell conglomerate. I've been incredibly busy, but (fortunately for you) I've caught a debilitating cold. While I'm useless on other things, I'll try to catch you all up. I apologize in advance for the disjointedness. I've had little G home all day, though, so I am at least not hopped up on anything stronger than Cold-Eeze and Halls.

The holidays were spent with the Mitchells, and we took Auntie Aiiiiieeeeee along with us. There are photos up on Flickr documenting the fun that was had there (and even a bit of the un-fun that was had on the long and snowy drive back north). Gaz received many awesome presents, including a veterinarian play outfit that also does duty as a nurse's outfit. Specifically, she's the nurse from Curious George Goes to the Hospital, only I can't remember the name right now.

School is school. She loves playing with her friends, having gym time, and exploring the science area in her classroom with tweezers (don't ask me!), but she hates circle time and sitting still. Some mornings I have to remind her about the other cool things she gets to do in order to charm her out the door. The psychotic cold and the many layers she has to wear every day for our seven-block stroll are also part of the problem, I think. Finding a place to stash the snow pants at school is also a treat for me, but Gaz likes changing out of snow boots and into her little pink mary janes.

I just received a valentine last week that was completely written by Miss Gaz. It said "Happy Valentines Day" and "I love you" and her name and something that is either "SOLO" or "5010." It's my favorite thing in the world.

She's putting me through my crafty paces the past few days. Over the weekend she asked me to make her a mailbox, which we all ended up helping with but I take credit for the design and drawing the template. Then today, after receiving a Batgirl costume in the mail, she decided that the box would make an excellent Batmobile. I made a steering wheel, dials, and buttons and taped the box just so. Of course, now that that's done, I'm looking at it and the roll of black duct tape we've got hanging around, thinking that maybe Mark needs to give it a makeover tonight.

The Mommy Report is also a thing in progress. I'm not pregnant, but I've got some stuff going on that might bear an announcement in the future. Suffice it to say I've got good reasons for not being more bloggy.

And on that note, I am going to sleep through dinner now that Mark's home.

Oh, I just uploaded some new-new photos, even more recent than Christmas! Also, there's this:

It starts with Gaz singing "Yo Ho Ho, I'm ready to go!" to herself (because she hasn't figured out the difference between pirates and Santa yet, go figure), then hijinks until the teachers try to take control, at which time Gaz rats out another little girl. Precious.

One of these days I will have time to edit down the rest to tolerable-sized pieces. Right now it would take days to upload the files I have. It's a project, and it's cute. You'll just have to forgive me.