Friday has been Carrie's favorite day for quite a while now. Last year at her old school she had show and tell on Friday, as did Jacob and Pearl, her favorite classmates. This year she goes to a school that only has classes Monday-Thursday. On Fridays Pearl goes to school, I go to work, and Carrie stays home with Marcia. So this year Friday is her super-favorite day! Marcia says this year she likes Fridays a lot too.
Carrie is an awesome helper, especially in the kitchen. She loves to cook and set the table. She feeds the pets. Last Friday she shucked corn for the whole family, and we had a lovely Shabbat dinner.
It's the last week before school starts in Houston, and Marcia took Pearl and Carrie horseback riding again today. This time the cowgirls shed no tears. They rode through the forest. The rancher let them feed and groom the horses. You may recall that this was on their list of challenges made earlier this month. Do you think Carrie is proud of herself?
Pearl's latest pet-endeavor involves the lizards in our garden. She catches one every morning, keeps it as her pet all day long. It stays in a plastic "habitat" she got from Target. She names the pet and then renames it. Often her cousins Sarah and Max are the honorees in these monikers. She lets the lizard watch Dino Squad with her. And then at night, she lets it go free.
For the last month of summer vacation, Marcia got an idea. She got the idea from our friend Annie's SprogBlog. Annie tells about her children's amazing hikes and feats in the wilderness. Annie believes that achieving a big challenge over the summer helps a child start the new school year with greater self-confidence. Makes sense, right?
Marcia read to the girls some of the stories about Aidan and El. Then she asked Pearl and Carrie to come up with a challenge for themselves. Pearl said she wanted to learn some tricks in skateboarding. Carrie said she wanted to try to ride a horse. They both want to improve their swimming. Carrie wants to go camping in the living room. Pearl also wants to "climb to the top of the Grand Canyon."
Except for the Grand Canyon one, all the suggestions seemed within reason. So as I go to work each weekday, the grrrls are blazing trails all around H-town. Watch out for them!
Carrie is into racing. She has special shoes that help her run fast. She takes Nemo vitamins every day. She has her super powers, and when in need, her beloved blankie helps her weather the hard times. Nevertheless Pearl has been known to overtake her in these contests of speed.
Carrie is not easily thwarted, however. She knows what it takes to be a champion. That's why she begins each competition with this announcement: I will race you, Pearl, but only if you will let me win.
My mom and dad (a.k.a. Gram and Pop, although Carrie calls both sets of grandparents Nana and Papa) spent a few days in Houston this week. My mom was here for her checkup at M.D. Anderson. She got an excellent report!
Mom also was the one who arranged for us to meet Nat and Alex Wolff and see them in concert. My mom rocks!
Mom and Dad got to meet their newest grandson, Cody. He did not eat either of their shoes.
Dad read Pearl one of her Magic Tree House books. She's really into the time-traveling adventures of Jack and Annie. This is her first chapter book series. Carrie showed Dad that she hasn't yet destroyed the ark that he built.
This is David Reagler, my dad. He turned 85 this week. Also this week my cousin Rick sent me this photo which was taken my his brother. It's one of my very favorite pictures of my father. I've always wanted a photo of my dad just like this one! Thanks, Rick! Happy Birthday, Dad!
Photo by Howard Luther.
This year both Pearl and Carrie wanted to run in our neighborhood 1K race. Pearl faced the event with great fear last year, but this year she seemed more at ease.
Carrie was thrilled to get to run this year. She has admired Pearl's ribbon all year long. She wears it like a necklace some days and believes that because of this medal, Pearl is a hero. That's what Carrie wants to be when she grows up, a super hero! So she has had this race on her radar for quite some time.
Carrie felt confident she would win in the 14 and under age bracket. Marcia waited for her at the halfway point turnaround. Carrie was walking by then and cried when she spotted Mama. Marcia asked her, "What's the matter, Carrie?" Carrie shook her head sadly, saying, "My super powers failed me."
Despite this setback, Carrie crossed the finish line in due time, and received a ribbon. It was exactly like Pearl's!
I've always appreciated Marcia. Well, almost always. But this past weekend the appreciation was manifold!
Up until now, I've been the solo parent for no more than a single night. This weekend Marcia went to an unofficial college reunion and was gone four days. Yes, readers, FOUR DAYS! [Insert violin music here.]
At the same time, my G-dmother, who lives in Dallas, was celebrating her 75th birthday by doing her bat mitzvah. Much of my family was attending so I loaded up the kids and drove to the Big D.
As you might already know, the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony is traditionally a coming of age ritual. The adult bat mitzvah has become more common in recent years because most of Judaic history was not as Equal Opportunity as today's Judaism. Aunt Elise started studying Torah a year or two ago. Her children, her grandchildren, her brothers-in-law and cousins and all done their bar/bat mitzvah, and she decided that she could do it too. And so she did.
The service was very beautiful. The musicians played guitar, flute, and drums, the singers were all women, and the songs were more like Debbie Friedman compositions, rather than the traditional cantorial style. And although Aunt Elise, through date of birth and luck of the draw, got the most boring Torah portion ever, she somehow still managed to deliver a poignant, thought-provoking, and moving sermon. Congrats, to my wonderful g-dmother!
As for solo parenting, the challenges were many, but nobody got hurt. At the hotel, my brother told me in the first hour that one his goals for the weekend was to give his kids (four of them, twins Pearl's age and twins Carrie's age) as much pool time as he could so they'd be comfortable in the water before starting swim lessons next week. That sounded good to me so I quickly adopted this goal for our family and spent many hours in the water.
The benefits of this plan were (at least) two-fold. Not only do the girls seem ready to become starfish next week, but they were also SO tired by bedtime that they didn't even miss Marcia. At least they didn't mention it.
That, friends, was my Marcia Appreciation Weekend. On Monday (Memorial Day) we were all happy to be reunited in H-town.
Photos by David Reagler (a.k.a. Dad/Pop)