Friday, July 29, 2011

RIP John Anderson

I just got the news that John E. Anderson passed away today.  I met him once and here is the story.

Back in 1999, it was my second day at work at The Anderson School.  I was hurrying up the steps into the cmplex with about 2 minutes to spare, to get to my desk on time.  Suddenly a crazy-looking man in jogging clothes smiled excitedly at me and waved, and gestured me over.  At first I was going to ignore him, wondering if he was homeless, insane, or had mistaken me for an old friend.  But I did go over to see what he was so animated about.

"Hi!", he said.  "I'm John Anderson!  This statue is of me!" (I looked, and it was indeed a good likeness of the guy.)  "People leave me money, Japanese tourists like to put coins here.  I give it to charity.  But today someone left me candy!  No one has left candy before!  I'm going to give it to my grandkids!"

It definitely made his day, and he was so excited that he just had to share with someone.  I was the first person to happen by and hear his story.  A nice anecdote to welcome me to the school that bears his name.  And funnily enough, in the ensuing 5 years that I worked there, I never encountered the man again. 

RIP, Mr. Anderson.  I hope that someone leaves candy in your honor today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

While the Cat's Away...

William is always trying to get ahold of Anna, Lauren's favorite doll. When she's home, she stops him and puts Anna out of reach. But the other day when Lauren was at school and left Anna on the floor, he crawled over and found her. See what happened!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Won the Lottery!

Really, Lauren won the lottery!  It was a school lottery, to go to a charter school that is much better than our local school.  The school selection process around here is crazy.  I have to take it to a "for dummies" level to even understand it myself.  So here's a timeline of some of the events (I'm condensing and making it sound easy-easy, not nail-bitingly frustating as it actually was!):

-Realize we should really think about kindergarden for next year
-Accidentally miss the deadline to apply for UCLA Lab School but think it's for the best because last year we wasted money applying to Pre-K and didn't get in
-Realize our local school is not so great, but we are so close we can walk to 2 great schools we'll not have a shot of getting into unless we lie about our address or move
-Go on a few tours of some schools we *could* apply to

-Make friends with an in-the-know neighbor, mom of a 5 year old who tells us our home school principal does not release students to permit out to other schools and tells us some other options
-Get a CHOICES brochure and apply to one magnet (they only let you do one) out of vaguely remembering people saying to do it to "accrue points"
-Tour some Santa Monica schools since Ryan works there, realize that even if we get in, we have to reapply each year and their policies could change each year so Lauren wouldn't be guaranteed future years at the same school.

-JANUARY: Start to panic somewhat, hire LA School Scout to tell us our options
-Apply to 11 schools per her list, 1 private very close by and 10 charter or public schools that take permits.  Half of them I never heard of before.
-Wait and wait

-Attend lottery drawings (Okay, Ryan did this part!  Okay, Ryan did most of this whole process, have to give credit where credit is due!)
-Panic a bit more when Lauren's name is drawn at #340, #218, etc.  (Most schools take 20 students or less and get hundreds of applicants)
-Lauren draws #19 at our top choice school, but we have to wait to see how many spaces they will have

-Tour the private school, pay the application fee, and talk to the director at length.  Really like it but would rather save the tuition money and go to public school if possible.
-Make the mistake of taking Lauren to the private school to visit.  She falls in love and then...
-Lauren is offered a space at our top choice charter school!
-We enroll her!

Funny enough, a week after that, we got an email from another of our schools informing us that they opened up another K class and now have room for Lauren there if she wants to go.  We are happy with the one where we've enrolled her, though.

I have not seen Waiting for Superman yet, but I almost feel I could make my own similar movie!  But AHHHH, we're DONE!  At least until Middle School...

Saturday, July 09, 2011

First Picnic at the Beach

William's first picnic at the beach. A pink-clad nymph danced circles around him while he played with sand for the first time.
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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

On the Move! A 7 month William update

It's hard to notice when achievements start for babies. One day they are suddenly doing something they didn't quite master the day before. But I can tell you that sometime in the past few weeks, William has gone from crawling backwards to moving around deliberately exactly where he wants to be. So now we can't plop him in one place anymore and expect him to stay there. He is very proud of himself and his new ability to search for "toys" and amusements. The toys may be my parents' VHS tapes (we just got back from a week at their house) or his sister's art supplies or any ball or round thing he can find.

He's been eating more this past week, after visiting my parents. My mom introduced him to sweet potatoes, carrots, pasta & sauce (a big hit), cheddar (extra sharp, of course)...probably some other foods I am forgetting. Today he had a few licks of my ice cream cone. He loves drinking water and he burst into tears when I filled a cup with some and dumped it on the plants instead of giving it to him.

He looks very serious in the photo above, but it's actually his "tired, ready for nap" expression. His default expression is usually bemused.
A few months ago he went through a very very chatty phase where he was hardly ever silent. I forgot to note when this was, didn't realize it was a phase. But he's more quiet now. But back when we had some plumbing work done in March, our plumber (who also has 2 daughers at Lauren's school) said that he's the chattiest 4 month old he'd ever seen. Then he went through a phase where he would babble "I LOVE you" or Eh wah woo" or something like that , in the back seat. Now he picks single words and throws them out at amusing times. Lauren was going on and on about "who is the greatest brother in the whole wide world? who is the cutest?" and right on cue, he said "BILL!"

Then last week, we were picking out a bedtime chapter book and I asked Lauren if she wanted "Ramona" or "Little Witch". She picked "Little Witch" but William said "RaMONa" and then looked at "Little Witch" and said "bad boo! Bad boo!".

He does call me "Mom" and when he cries he usually says my name. Twice he was said "Da-ee" to his Dad, but mostly he likes to say " a BOO a! a boo, a boo, a boo A". So Lauren insists that her name is now Abooa and he's trying to talk to her. =)
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Lauren: "Mommy, explain to me about money.  How does that work?"

Me: "Well, when you have currency, it is really pieces of paper that represent a promise of something.  You can exchange it for goods or services.  There are two ways to get money.  You can earn it by working--that's the hard way--or you can get it by investing it.  And for that, you loan money to a bank who in turn loans it to other people who..."

Lauren: "Ah, Mom?  You forgot the easiest way!"

Me: "What's that?"

Lauren: "The tooth fairy!  I still got lotsa teeth left!"