Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Ten List for 2008

Biz Family Top Ten List 2008

10. Ella begins middle school. Ella is now off in Richmond for Middle school. She’s added a 30 minute bus ride to her morning, is playing the clarinet, and joined Odyssey of the Mind. She is beloved by her teachers and has made all sorts of new Richmond “city” friends!

9. Q-ball learns to read as a first grader -always amazing to Mom to watch the process work when a child’s brain is wired for reading. Q-ball is taking after his big sister and reading up a storm. Don’t worry though, Mommy still has loads of other kids to work with!

8. The whole Famdamily Clan met up in Santa Barbara last Christmas, with John hosting the shebang. We got to meet Finn, hang out with cousins Max, Griffin and Ally, all the uncles, aunts and Grandma Hannah. Santa gave everyone a day pass to Disneyland!! If you’re going to stand in line for hours, might as well have fun with cousins!!

7. In May, Gramdad Ethan turned 80, with no shortage of celebrating. The whole Biz family ushered in the new decade for Gramdad.

6. Ella adds downhill skiing to her sporting repertoire. After years of mom asking, she finally said yes to the Learn to Ski Program through the school. Vermont was blessed with multiple Wednesday night snow storms, so skiing on Thursdays was “Powder Heaven”. Ella took lessons each week and by the end of her second lesson, she skied a Black Diamond with her instructor!

5. Soggy summer in VT kept Q-ball in the mud, rivers and streams. Here he is demonstrating his new age past life regression, mud therapy. Now we just need to market it!

4. Mom is lured in by the title of Chief. Turns out the nomenclature is the best thing going as she begins her second career as the Chief Negotiator for the NEA teachers’ union.

3. Dad continues to stay gainfully self-employed. The economy is a bit dicey but people are still doing projects and Dad is working as much as he can. He’s almost made enough money to pay off the cool new self dumping trailer he purchased!

2. We got to meet a new Doctor, the orthopedist! Ella, after many months of casts, splints and x-rays, was finally diagnosed with a calcaneal cuboid ligament disruption. Just as she was healing, Q-ball decided to break his pinky finger so he too could meet the doctor (the schedulers figured it out and did a double appointment, probably just before reporting Dad and Mom to the Department of Children and Families).

1. We’re staying in the U S of A (sung to the tune of YMCA). Obama is in the White House! We were so proud to watch the “itty bitty” State of Vermont throw Obama his first blue state.

May the Blessing of the Season be with each of you. Happy New Year! Here’s to 2009!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ready for Middle School

Ella was entering Middle School in August and quite frankly, it scared the bejeezus out of me. Mean girls, hairdos, make-up, boys… oh the thoughts were terrifying. Round about April, the Middle School sent agents out to talk about the new “Middle School” experience and answer all our questions. Mostly it just made me queasy and swirl in a vortex of new questions. Was she going to be liked by all those metropolitan girls from Richmond? Were her teachers going to recognize her brilliance (both academic and interpersonal)? What if she got a boyfriend!!

Oh dear god I was not ready for her to grow up. I know every teacher, kid and family in the elementary school (BPMS ) but none of the teachers at the new Middle School. I felt like I was throwing her to the wolves, carrying a juicy steak.

In Huntington, the youth culture is totally naive; it revolves around Littlest Pet Shoppe, never admitting to being cold, listening to the Best of Queen, playing hard and not getting tired and crazy fashions. Can you say Hawaiian shirts and plaid pants? In Richmond, after going for Step Up day, I ask Ella what the other girls are wearing and she says “A lot of pink…” with a frown thrown in for contempt.

Ella’s teacher, way back in November, began a campaign of pen pals between the 4th graders at BPMS and the Richmond 4th graders. Ella had quickly become a pen pal to two girls because there were only 18 kids graduating from BPMS. They were writing back and forth every month as an assignment. In May her pen pal writes “I was talking to Hannah J, and she said that you are the smartest girl in the school. Is that true?” Ella shows it to me and I say “wow, that’s a little unexpected, how are you going to answer that?” She blithely shrugged and headed upstairs.

The next morning I was rifling through her backpack to make sure she had all her homework done and I found her response. She wrote “You know, I probably am the smartest kid in BPMS, but I’d rather be known as the nicest”

That’s when I realized the control that I thought I had was transitory. She was ready for Middle School all by herself. Even if I wasn’t ready, I now had to admit that she was.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The First Day of School is a big deal for our family. The night before, we pick out new clothes, lay out the outfits and pack our bags. On the big day, Q wakes up at the crack of sparrowfart. He is so excited this year because he’s going to be going to BPMS all by himself now; his sister is off to middle school. He gets dressed and we tell him how cute he looks. Breakfast is scarfed down in record time, and then it’s time for pictures.

Out on the front steps we take our FDOS pictures and the kids are adorable. However, because it’s Vermont and August, the temperature in the morning is chilly, so I urge Q to put on his fleece for the walk to school. I watch him, so big and brave, walking off to school. He waves to me and I realize he’s really off on his own at school now. He had no one to check in on him at lunch or to help him get to after school care. I sigh and then hustle off to work 20 minutes away.

When I go to pick up Q at 4:40, he is sitting with the other kids in his fleece with a huge grin and a bright red face and incredibly sweaty. Its 75 degrees and I can’t imagine he’s comfortable.

Me: Hey let’s take off your fleece and we can walk home.
Q: No thanks.

He's happy and having fun with everyone, so I decide not to make a big deal out of it. I help him pack up his gear. We take off on the walk home, the dog pulling us forward.

Me: So, did you wear the fleece all day?
Q: Yup
Me: Weren’t you hot?
Q: Yup
Me: Why did you wear it?
Q: I didn’t want everyone to see me in the shirt that made me so handsome