Saturday, November 19, 2011

Magic Toenail!

So, on our trip down to the grandparents on Wednesday night, I played the soundtrack to Brak Presents The Brak Show Starring Brak for Gaz, and just tonight as she was reunion chatting with George, she suddenly brought up the Magic Toenail. The things that get stuck in her mind!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sci-Fi Songs

On the way home from a law school family thing today, Gaz borrowed my jacket, wearing it up over her head. She looked like a Jawa or a squat little gnome. She said she looked like a little Dalek, and George added “short and stout.” This led to the following:

I'm a little Dalek, short and stout;

Here is my plunger, here is my spout.

When I see the Doctor, then I shout:


Sunday, October 16, 2011


I introduced Gaz to the PowerPuff Girls soundtrack yesterday during shopping, which led to some youtube investigation (since our collection got lost along with all our other children's DVDs at the time two moves ago), and OH MAN, I HAVE CREATED A MONSTER!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


So, the other week, Gaz and I were doing the weekly shopping, such as we usually do, and we ended up taking a turn down the toy aisles in Costco. She did the usual “ooh, look at the cute Hello Kitty thing!” and “wow, Barbie laptop!” and “that's a great kitchen set” sort of business, and I was all “yeah, yeah, very nice.” But we went down the other aisle, then, and she's all “Awesome, Legos!” and “that's a cool model car” and “I want that science set, it's got a real microscope!” and … you know, I couldn't muster the same sort of annoyance.

Oh, we still didn't buy anything, I told her that up front, but I was just pleased that her interests range all over the place. I think it would have been more egalitarian of Costco to organize their toys more randomly, mixing up the science kits with the Barbie playsets, but I'm not in control of those things, sadly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Monday, Columbus Day, Gaz had the day off school, so I had to take a day from work for childcare. We went to the Field Museum with these passes George had received, and amid our various adventures, we wandered into a taxidermied-animal room with a lot of art students sitting and sketching. Well, after seeing what they were doing, Gaz asked for paper and a pen. She spent the next hour or so making tiny pen sketches on my little notebook.

At some point, we'll have to post some of the sketches, but all the way home, Gaz was on about going and finding things to sketch, and how she was going to make her room into an art studio. When I mentioned indoor still lifes, she was amazed. She didn't do anything about it yesterday, but I come home tonight to see a number of sketches of various household items. Also a birthday song to Batman, but that is incidental.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

(Posted to FaceBook during showing Gaz "The Princess Bride" for the first time)

Cristina George Rizen: Baby's first "inconceivable!" :D

  • Cristina George Rizen: And now she's fencing with Auntie Aiiieee. And now they're playing Aiiieee's guitar.

(Admittedly, the last didn't have much to do with the movie...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In Bosnia, You Get a Free Cat

Well, you get the free cat if you set out food and the cat likes you enough to keep coming around an let you pet it.This is one of the stories Gaz has related to me from one of her school friends, whose family is from Bosnia and who sometimes gets to visit. I love it, not only because it's a cool story, but because she's thinking about places that aren't here, learning that things are different and not-so-different in these distant places. I hope she gets to see all the wonders of the world, preferably on her own dime, but I would gladly use her as my excuse to do some globetrotting if I could.

Gaz has almost finished three weeks of school now, and today was open house day. I got to meet her teacher, who not only seems very nice, she's a Loyola alum. That just makes me like her more, since I have yet to meet a reprehensible Rambler. And Gaz is, in Mrs. H's own words, an angel in class. A very messy angel, though--I saw in her desk, and couldn't help but clean it out a bit. I did leave the lollipop wrapper in there, but put all the pencils and crayons in their proper place, and I located the long lost eraser. But the important things are that she's doing very well (100% on her first spelling test), she's focused in school, and she's tolerating the after-school time with the neighbors reasonably well.

It's Marathon Kids time again, and she's crazy excited about that too. She's talked one of her friends into coming with us to the kick-off. I'm not sure how well this friend will do with running a whole mile, which is what Gaz tries very hard to do, and might even succeed this year, with her longer legs and increasing stamina. I got her to run with me for a half a mile one Saturday before she got distracted by a playground

School for me is very intense and makes blogging and photo uploading even more sporadic. It's been a good Gaz day, so I wanted to get this down before I fall alseep. Which will be very soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


From G's FB status:

Cristina George Rizen
Gaz's first Star Wars RPG game was a rousing success!

  • Mark Mitchell: She got bored during the description parts, and a lot of the plan-making and such, but she did really well with the action scenes and the one segment where we asked her to role-play. We fed her some lines, but she did the performance and came up with her own expressions and reactions. It was awesome. Well, within the realm of gamer "awesome."
  • Cristina George Rizen: And since it edged into bedtime, we started losing her earlier than she might otherwise have been okay for.
  • Bill Sanderson: Hey, maybe Fletcher can play over Skype. He's been bugging me again recently to play again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More fun.

The daughter is back from staying by herself with the grandparents ("by herself" meaning no parents). Overheard from the other room: "No, I don't think we can wear swim flippers to bed..."

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Since I discovered FaceBook, I've been using it as a much more convenient posting of random fast observations and recollections. It has been pointed out that I'm neglecting some of Gaz's best bits here, and there's a segment of the audience that doesn't use FB. Therefore, let me go through and see what I can mine.


Hoarse from all the high-pitched shrieking on both sides that is an intrinsic part of Daddy-Daughter Tickle-Time. But it's good cardio.
April 4 at 7:33pm
  • Josh Dearing All is fair is a tickle war. April 4 at 11:30pm ·
  • Mark Mitchell Including a 40-year-old man cackling like an overcaffinated Wicked Witch of the West. April 4 at 11:40pm ·

Me: Wait, did you just say, "I'm a child of Death?"
Daughter: No, I said I'm the child of Death.
Me: How is that better? Why do you say that?
Daughter: Because... I... spread death? I spread Death!
Me: How do you spread death?
Daughter: I put it in a simple little bag. And then I give it to people.
Me: I gotta say, I haven't seen you do any of that.
May 1 at 8:33pm

  • Mark Mitchell Me: Are you doing this just to get me to post it on Facebook? Daughter: YES! I just want a Facebook page all my own! May 1 at 8:34pm

Wife: (upon Daughter's discussion of something objectionable) Let's not talk about that at the dinner table.
Daughter: Okay, I'll go talk about it in the other room. (leaves the table, goes into the other room, speaking is heard indistinctly, returns) Okay, I'm done talking about it!
May 18 at 6:07pm
  • Cristina George Rizen The something objectionable was omitted from this post because we already have all the future embarrassment material we need. More would just be tacky. May 18 at 7:36pm

Daughter wants me to read her the Tickle Monster book that comes with these Tickle Monster gloves. I keep saying "You're not going to tickle me" as she wiggles her fingers in the gloves.
Daughter: Come on, I have to! My fingers are hungry for tickling!
May 19 at 8:31pm

Just finished reading the Daughter an hour of collection 1 of "Thor: The Mighty Avenger." It's an all-ages book, got a bit of (non-graphic) violence, some suggestions of complex themes, but nothing up front, and quite a bit of action of the "smack it with a hammer" variety. And the art is gorgeous, the faces expressive, the framing and action just wonderful. So, yeah, a good hour well-spent, there.
May 21 at 10:13pm

That's my girl! Thanks, Greg!

She's a little less controlled on her sword-work, but we have time to fix that.

Daughter was reading parts of her homework aloud, and doing it in weird voices from word to word.
Wife: "It's like living in a Monty Python sketch."
May 25 at 6:55pm
  • Jesika Sanders Ellis I suspect she comes by this naturally ... May 25 at 6:57pm
  • Mark Mitchell Ahem. I have no idea of what you speak, madame... May 25 at 6:57pm
  • Tim McQuaide What.... Was she saying: "Ni, Ni, Ni"?! ;^)
  • Mark Mitchell No, more " soft LOUD" over and over, then she shifted to " EVERYBODY only me" over and over, and continue for pretty much anything that passes through her consciousness. That reminds me, she may be up for some Monty Python soon, but they sometimes get weird-gory, so I'm not sure about that. May 25 at 7:01pm

Gaz has been changing up lyrics lately. She sang "Bat Hat!" recently ("na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na, BAT HAT! BAT HAT, BAT HAT, BAT HAT!) and now she's singing "Pink Fluffy Death-a-Corns Dancing on Rainbows." She's pretty nuts; glad we kept her!June 7 at 7:29pm

I hate to always make these posts about Gaz, but honestly, she's the most significant thing that happens to me on a daily basis. Today we did our shopping while she was dressed as Batgirl, with the mask and everything. And she insisted on hitting the comic shop to show off.
June 12 at 11:05pm

So it's been a long and cranky day for the girls, and very tiring for me, too. But on the way home from an "emergency" dinner out, Gaz and I get to talking about Doctor Who again. She wants to be a Companion, both on the show and in real life. And she wants the Doctor as her dad. On the show only, she reassures me with a squeeze of my hand.
June 15 at 9:47pm
  • Mark Mitchell After that, the plans get a little impractical. June 15 at 9:47pm

(after a trip)
Made it in, and Gaz's front tooth is so loose it hangs out of her lips, looking like a cartoon baby mouth. I arrived and she immediately started trying to bite me. Tonight, after some reading (Marvel Women graphic collection; they also picked up a Wonder Girl collection), I asked her how her day was, she said:
Daughter: "Crunchy."
Me: "Crunchy? Is that all?"
Daughter: "And meaty."
It's all about the tooth.
June 25 at 2:04am


Also, this exchange at bedtime:
Daughter: "I'm going to sleep, but you may see me sleeping with my eyes open."
Me: "... I think that means you're just going to be faking being asleep."
Daugher: "Huh? What was that? You woke me up!"

June 25 at 2:04am


Spent much of the evening helping Gaz create a character, then for tonight's reading, it was the introductory sections of the "Star Wars Role-playing Game - Revised and Expanded Edition." West End Games version, of course. She said "It's really interesting, and it's also boring, which makes it perfect!"June 28 at 9:15pm
  • Mark Mitchell Her character is Starfire Strawberry, who is as tall as Mom and has pink hair with blue streaks. She's got good Dexterity, superb Knowledge, Strength, and Technical, and she excels at Blaster and First Aid. We figured her archetype is "Young Action Scholar." Overall, I figure she's going to be a kick to see Gaz play. June 28 at 9:17pm

Going to be an early night for me, but I had to report that Gaz was talking about accidentally washing herself with "death" today (she says she thought it was her soap, but it was a bar of death) and then she is a Dalek out to give me death. She's even got the rising-strident-voice of the Dalek delivery down.June 29 at 8:08pm
  • Mark Mitchell It's scary how much she's adapting the things we show her to her own craziness. And she's still all pink and girly. Weird. June 29 at 8:09pm
  • Char Iversen I would not want to meet your daughter in a dark alley way... June 29 at 8:14pm
  • Dillon Moorehead Davros is not pleased with the soap June 29 at 8:56pm

Today, going to pick up dinner, Gaz and I chatted Star Wars, specifically Starfire Strawberry's background. I asked about her parents, and she said her planet had been blown up! So naturally, I assumed she was from Alderaan. This makes it easier for her a) to join the Rebels, and b) to have either Mom or Auntie Aaiiee play one of her dead parents' family friends, who look out for her. Good drama, little girl!
July 1 at 7:56pm
  • Mark Mitchell There was also a thing about going to the Imperial Academy, but realizing it was evil during her first class and walking out, arriving back at her home planet in time to see it all rubble-ified. We worked that part out together. July 1 at 7:57pm
  • Mark Mitchell She also wanted to be friends with Princess Leia. I said probably not before the explosion, but I understand she makes a concerted effort to meet survivors, afterward. So, yes, Star Wars princess-meeting can be achieved, dear. July 1 at 7:59pm

Not to detract from my previous post about the wonders of AC, but the girls are now home, and Gaz is watching The Avengers cartoon (I should say re-watching) in her costume of paper-plate mask and former-Halloween-costume axe. She's an axe-wielding superhero. It's too bad that Axe Cop is already taken!
July 24 at 5:52pm
  • Mark Mitchell Kang the Conquerer: Greetings, Avengers. I have come from your future to deliver a message to Captain America. July 24 at 5:56pm
  • Mark Mitchell Gaz: That message is "die!" July 24 at 5:56pm

Things I found out during Gaz's bath. 1) we die suddenly and for no reason. 2) evil babies eat us. 3) we repeatedly turn into many things, such as tables, scrubby toys, automobiles, and lamps. 4) evil babies continue to come eat us. 5) Gaz likes singing about evil babies.
July 24 at 8:17pm
  • Mark Mitchell Also, a) at some point, we become spirits and/or souls, depending. And that's when the dinosaurs come eat us. Also b) dinosaurs eat souls, apparently. July 24 at 8:18pm

(while watching animated Thor put the smack-down on some Frost Giants with lightning)
Daughter: Wow, those guys are really dead!
Me: Actually, they could just be shocked unconscious. Frost giants are pretty tough, you know.
Daughter: (singing a sprightly tune)
They are so deaaaad
Hooray they are deaaaad
We'resohappyyou're deaaaad
Dead-dead-dead-dead-dead deaaaad
July 26 at 7:33pm
  • Mark Mitchell As I was writing this, I asked for a reprise so I could get the rythym, and she added "then the evil babies will cooome/and eat all of the deaaaaad..." July 26 at 7:34pm
  • Greg Collins Yep. They're dead. D-E-A-D, dead. Thor doesn't mess around when it comes to Frost Giants. : ) July 26 at 7:39pm
  • Mark Mitchell Yeah, but it's a kids cartoon! WE know Thor don't hold back, but the kiddies don't get to look at murder too much... July 26 at 7:41pm
  • Greg Collins Hmm. Good point - hadn't thought of it that way. Guess it could fall under the Coyote/Roadrunner syndrome... What would Thor do if he ran out of Frost Giants, anyway? July 26 at 7:42pm
  • Mark Mitchell If no frost giants existed, Thor would have to invent them. July 26 at 7:44pm

Gaz Types: frst you die, then the evl babes et yoou. then the evil cows et yor skeluten. then the evil babes tac out yor har. then yor har ets yor bran.
July 27 at 6:08pm
  • Mark Mitchell Mark again. She said this is how I'm going to die. You heard it here first, folks: my hair will eat my brain. July 27 at 6:09pm

Thing I Actually Found Myself Saying To A Six-Year-Old Tonight: "No, he's not a zombie. Well, he is dead, and he's reanimated, so I suppose he's kind of like a zombie. A science fiction zombie. Look, Kai's just this walking dead guy, and he never lets you forget it..."
July 28 at 9:44pm

Gaz and I are about to go on the birthday-party-day shopping trip, but she's too busy talking to Auntie Aaiiee (Angeli) about the evil babies, once again. Girl invents a cosmology, she sticks to it. Surprising for a 6-year-old.
July 30 at 9:37am

So, we were reading about animals in National Geographic Kids, and she tells me about these bees that landed on her arms, but didn't sting her. This sounded awesome, but then she commented she could see their mouthparts moving saying "hi." Then she spoke of these three foxes she spoke to and hugged and spoke to before they ran off, showing imagination in full force. "I swear, I must be some sort of Nature God," she says in wonderment. "Except alive, of course."
August 6 at 9:27pm
  • Mark Mitchell I just gotta love the basic assumptions of the universe she shows. Like all gods must be dead, or something. It's awesome. August 6 at 9:29pm
  • Keith Gapinski You ought to start a religion. I'd join. =) August 6 at 9:37pm
  • Dan Shike I knew your child would be awesome in such a fashion. August 6 at 10:38pm
  • Mark Mitchell As it turns out, Gods are invisible and influence things secretly, like the spirits of the ancestors (which she's familiar with because of G's Mexican heritage), so logically, Gods must also be dead, just like the ancestors. Makes sense, don't it? August 6 at 10:43pm

So, we agreed that if she wanted to, Gaz could start watching The Fellowship Of the Rings. And she did! She managed her way through the first disc of the Extended Version (longer, yes, but better, and it comes with that convenient half-way break). We had a number of pauses to remind her of names, relationships, goals, and prepare her for spooky bits. But she got a grin and a shiver from "If you want him, come and claim him!" like I hoped she would.
August 14 at 11:08pm

Second half of Fellowship went down easy this evening. She reacted to a few jump-scares (which she correctly identifies, now), and didn't really have issues with the fight scenes. It kept her attention generally pretty well, but as soon as they started talking about destiny or "no one chooses to live in the times they do" then she starts babbling or looking around or whatever. It'll come, it'll come.
August 15 at 10:18pm

Since then, we've seen The Two Towers, and this afternoon, while G sleeps off some of her icky feeling, we're looking at the Return of the King. Well, I am. There's a lot of talky stuff, so Gaz is fidgeting with a Mr. Bump cooler that's been left out. She'll get more familiar with this stuff later, I'm sure.

Hope that catches everyone up!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stop the Presses!

I finally uploaded pictures! Not a lot (I haven't taken many the past few months), but they're all good. The link just goes to the Gaz set, but if you like pictures of clouds and trees, you might want to check out the rest of my photostream.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

School and other things

School's been out for a few weeks now, but I wanted to recap some items from the kindergarten year:
  • Having volunteered a few times both in the classroom and at mealtimes, I can say that Mrs. K. did a hell of a job in light of the kids and their various behavior issues, and that she was a much more fair judge of Gaz's academic and social situation than I was (more on this in a bit).
  • The kids really don't have time enough to eat either breakfast (seven minutes) or lunch (12 minutes). I hope that Mayor Emmanuel's plan to extend the school day gives at least a few minutes more to either meal, preferably lunch.
  • It only took me most of the school year to figure out that most of our after-school meltdowns were on days when I let Gaz play for more than 15 minutes on the playground after school. She needs to run and climb and hang out with her friends, but she also needs a substantial recharge period after the stresses of the day. Now I know to show up with a proteiny snack and get us heading toward home after 10-15 minutes of play. She has many opportunities to play with the neighbor kids, so she's really not being deprived.
  • The final report card? Perfect.
I take back my grumpiness about Mrs. K. Having watched her at work, she constantly displayed more patience and demanded more correct behavior than I had expected. She didn't rule with an iron fist, more like a well-worn leather gauntlet. It was a hard bunch of kids. Some are very poor, and some clearly come from homes where they do not get much attention or affection. One little girl whose backpack I fixed continued to run up and hug me every time she saw me the rest of the school year--the wonders one safety pin will do. Some kids were clearly intelligent but lacked focus or were intelligent but obviously spent a lot of time around mean people. The children weren't mean spirited, even the the one kid who usually looked and behaved like a rabid caveman, but they clearly displayed their upbringing. This makes me all the more conscious of what I am teaching Gaz by my example.

Gaz has been promoted to the gifted class, along with a number of her friends. We are all excited and relieved. Two of the neighbor kids have already gone through this class with this teacher, so we know in advance that she's pretty tough and doesn't have much patience for silliness in the kids. I think this will be good, if difficult at first, for Gaz. She's smart, but easily distracted. With the whip being cracked on everyone, and the less-than-interested-in-learning being removed from the classroom equation, I hope she'll improve her focus and learn to reign in her own goofiness, at least at school.

Right now we're enjoying day camp. It cramps our travel plans, but she's having a great time, making new friends, and she gets to go on a field trip every week and has pool time every day, weather permitting. She keeps calling it school, though, and that's a bit strange to me. But considering that it runs identical hours to actual school, I suppose it makes sense. It's a little culture-shocky, despite its fun, though. At school she's the ethnic minority, but at camp . . . let's just say that there's not one but two Madisons in her age group. Strange that there's not more of the younger neighborhood kids at camp. We do see a number of her school friends after camp lets out, and they usually cavort together on the playground for a while.

And with that, I better post this before I forget again.

Friday, May 27, 2011


So, we're up at Aunt Emily's for the weekend, and the Intrepid Screaming Nieces (tm) are all clamoring to sleepover with Gaz. The two elder are going to be overnight with their father tomorrow, though, so they get priority tonight, while the youngest will have full run of Gaz tomorrow night. Whee!

The drive was... crazy. What is it about people on the highway that makes them bad drivers? I mean, we're all adults, someone changing lanes ought not to make the entire lane of traffic behind them stop. What are we, fresh out of driver's ed? Fully stopped in the fast lane no less than seven times (probably more) and only ONCE was there a lane closure, and no accidents or someone pulled over. I bring this up on the Gaz blog because we were not even out of Chicago, much less Illinois, before Gaz starts asking if we were almost there. Oh, no, sweetheart, we've got six more hours, because of this traffic. Time was, the trip would take six hours total, but not on this weekend!

She watched some stuff on the way up, though. A Kim Possible movie which she hadn't seen in months, and her favorite disc of Samurai Jack (the one that starts with the "Jump good!" episode). She got involved and excited about the story, which didn't help George's headache any (she's been under the weather a bit this past couple of days), but I liked the fact that she was staying interested in a narrative. That generally means a lengthening of attention span, and that's good! She was pretty quiet on the trip, though, so no gems to share.

Incidentally, we're also on FaceBook, if you're on there, gentle reader, and it's usually more convenient to share bits and pieces on there. Just FYI.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Report Card time again

And we were unsurprised by another good one. There's still room for improvement, but all her teachers were very excited about her work and her behavior. Her gym teacher thanked me as soon as we walked in the door for raising a polite kid. I am grateful that these lessons have soaked in, even if they aren't always obvious from her home behavior.

Our little Gaz is quite the athlete! She's jumping higher and farther than anyone else in her class, and Mr. S. says that she's got the natural ability to do well in sports, which is something that Pehpaw Charley has been saying for years. Ah, validation! :)

While chatting with her teacher, Gaz sat down with a dry erase board and wrote out some adorably misspelled sentences. But this is the goal: not spelling but just getting comfortable using words (that at least make sense to Gaz) to express thoughts and feelings and actions. And boy did she. I should have copied down everything she wrote, but I was also trying to carrying on a sensible conversation. Gee, and I wonder why teacher conference day always wears me out.

We're doing well right now. We've had some dramatic ups and downs this school year and some spectacularly bad days, but things are more or less leveled out. Even still, Gaz constantly complains that school is boring. She likes it, but it's really not challenging her. Many days she's got her homework half done before I get back to the table with my cup of tea. She does a good job of guessing at spelling, and she writes the best S's in the world. Mrs. K. said she plans to really advocate for Agatha to get into the gifted class (they did finally test the kids, but the results aren't in yet; Gaz said it was hard), so we'll see. Maybe soon we'll be hearing "Mom, it's too hard!"

And it's book fair time, too, so we've now moved into the world of Goosebumps and the Poison Apple series. So far she's not spooked by them, but it's hard to tell with her. She gave me one of those looks when I told her that my favorite silly song when I was a kid was "Go Get The Axe."

In not-Gaz-related, but still schoolish news, I've accepted admittance to a very fine (but not too fine) law school, and will be matriculating in August. I will try really hard to keep this occasionally updated, but after mid-August it might be more Mark than anything here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Gaz is intensely into Valentine's Day, and has been for at least a year; last year, she was building the buttons for her Box Batmobile, and she had a heart button that would tell her it was Valentine's Day, although we broadened its function to cover all holidays.

In any case, so I bought both of my ladies cards on the way home from work, and let me tell you, there's nothing sadder than a Walgreens Valentine's card display late on a Valentine's Day afternoon. But I found perfect ones, anyway. So, they, the two ladies in my life, realized I'd gotten them something, and they hadn't gotten me anything. So they "secretly" set out to make something for me. "Refrigerators!" they claimed. "Lasagna!" "Baby Poop," Gaz insists, though LovelyWifeGeorge vetoes this. "I'm right over here in the chair, people," I keep wanting to say, but I'm too amused by the whole process.

Well, at one point in this event, Gaz turns to LovelyWifeGeorge, and says "Mommy, can you cut out my heart?"


I admit, both of the adults in the room lost it a little bit there. I mean, immediately, I go to the Aztec place. I can only imagine LovelyWifeGeorge does the same.

And then Gaz follows up with "Oh! I mean refrigerator! Can you cut out my refrigerator?"

It's a laugh a minute, in this house.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Briefly: Literacy

I'm under deadline, but wanting to post this before I forget again.

Gaz is reading, with little to no help from us. Every day so far this week, her Roberto tally starts with a book that she's read aloud to us, and finishes up with what we've read to her (another visit to The Voyage of the Basset and our first foray into The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). She wrote some simple words on her homework last night (it was "extra homework for smart students only," so Gaz said) and not only did I not have to give her any help, she was off and writing before I could even offer assistance.

Last weekend she read The Monster at the End of This Book to Gabe, and I suspect she will read to him again after his baptism on Saturday. She is really looking forward to reading a story to Trixie, and also to giving her some hand-me-down dress-up clothes.

This morning I also attended the awards ceremony for the kindergarten and first grade kids, and Gaz got the only two awards kindergarteners can get: perfect attendance (in your face, winter!) and good citizenship.

Basically, we're all glowing with pride over here, and working to keep the good momentum going.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Niece!

DSC01726 ps
Originally uploaded by malicious planet
One week ago today, Mark and I got a new niece and Gaz got a new cousin. My brother Sean and his wife Hillary welcomed little Trixie into the world with a bit of drama, but that seems to be the way with these Rizen babies anymore.

Gaz is very, very excited, particularly since she just got to meet her future godbrother, Gabe, earlier in the month. She was very good about sitting calmly, and even sang to him and rocked him a little as he slept. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Until we get down to Kentucky, that is!

Or, if we could get all the goils together in one place . . .we might all develop pink poisoning, but I'm sure it would be precious.

Now, Trixie is not her standard issue nickname, but unfortunately I have a bad habit of giving Gaz multiple nicknames and using them often. I've been calling her Bee for years for no good reason, and while I have tried very hard to stop, I figured an alternate nickname would probably be safe to avoid confusion. Fortunately for me, Trixie's other auntie had the same idea! So now we can both go on annoying our respective siblings. The world is as it should be. Gaz is so pleased with the new cousin that she isn't even insisting that she (Trixie) be named after her (Gaz) anymore. Now that's love.

If anyone can spare a good thought for Trixie, she's being a lazy nurser and isn't bulking up as fast as a baby ought to. I am confident she'll figure it out sooner or later, but I'm sure she'd appreciate some cheerleaders. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011


Just gah. Gaz just came in to show me she's naked and just about covered in marker ink. It's not the kind that washes off, or dries fast, either, so she's pretty much banned from the couch for the next hour or more. Anything she touches will get marker ink on it. And now she tells me she's off to decorate her back.

I swear, that girl.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One of Gaz's Favorite Books

Voyage of the Basset

No brain for a review right now, but it's good. Gaz even dressed up as Cassandra for her school Halloween party. We're finishing up another reading of it now, and it's still good.