Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Kate!!!

It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since we flew to Philadelphia and held our little peanut for the first time. She was and is a gift, and I love her so much. Ten things will not begin to describe the things I love about my Katie-bug, but I have to try, right? So here no particular order...and definitely not all-inclusive.

1. She has an amazing bond with animals. In fact, I'm quite sure she speaks cat. Her "cheetah-tiger" growl will raise the hairs on the back of your neck(she made a poor, unsuspecting little girl cry at a softball game with her awesome growl), and she prefers to be called "Kitten". Our animals seem to gravitate towards her.

2. She is an acrobat. I am still constantly charmed by her uncanny ability to fold herself into the tightest of spaces. Once she gets there she's happy to hang out there for long lengths of time. I think she would be happier if she could spend her life confined to a box, her knees up around her ears.

3. She is an outdoors girl. She lights up in the summer time, when she spends time digging holes, making mystery substances in the cooler with mud and water( seriously, her last concoction grew mold), and diligently harvesting walnuts from our tree with a hammer.

4. Speaking of fun outside, she is a gardener at heart. Of course this pulls at my heart strings. She loves helping me in the garden, and derives great joy from watching sunflowers grow taller than she is and scouting for peas and tomatoes that she can eat right there on the spot.

5. She has a voice to die for. She has been able to sing like a bird, on key, since before she could speak. She won't sing on cue, so my favorite thing is to catch her and eavesdrop.

6. She is a marvel. I hate to say that her autism is something I love about her, but I sometimes wonder...who would Kate be without the quirky little autistic things that make her unique? I'm not sure I'd want to know. I love the look she gives me when I say something sarcastic. She doesn't get it--just thinks I'm dim. Or the times she puts on her hunting muffs so she can enjoy pop bubbles without the sound. Or her awesome Napolean Dynamite boots.

7. She has come so far. Kate now practices negotiation all the time. Where a year ago we would have had a breakdown, now she often says, (when I say "bedtime in 30 minutes"), "How about 40? What a skill for her. I'm so proud!

8. Speaking of coming so far, she has developed some serious empathy. Since this is something autistic people sometimes never develop, this Momma is so proud.

9. She has such a fun relationship with Little Worthy. I know this was no accident--Worthy was sent to our home so Kate could have her own little shadow to boss around. Their relationship is symbiotic--Worthy loves being bossed around just as much as Kate loves to boss, I think.

10. Kate quotes keep us constantly entertained. One of my favorites: "I know how to make fry sauce. First you put in the ketchup, then you put in the mayonnaise. You mix it all up together until it's the color of white people." Priceless.
Happy Birthday Kate! I love you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thanks, Dad

I am proud to be your daughter and am, once again, floored by your ability to thoughtfully and succinctly express yourself. One day I hope to develop just a smidgeon of the writing ability you have. Thanks, too, for your humble morality. I have learned so much from you. I love you.

A copy of My Dad's letter to the editor:
Dear Editor:

Jim Redd was my personal friend from the time we were toddlers until the end, and when he was available, he was always my doctor. He cared for my aging parents, he delivered my child, he doctored me through injuries and sickness, always with competence and that signature good humor. We shared a passion for things ancient that took us in different directions starting in the 1970s, when he was a young med student and intern interacting with wealthy doctor-collectors, while I was in the army reading about archaeology and in graduate school studying it. But our friendship always trumped our disagreements, even when his lust to possess collided with my hunger to study and preserve. This is a huge tragedy and something deep down inside me wishes that our places were reversed, a wish no doubt shared at this moment by many of our neighbors.
But, after all is done and the recriminations and anger have settled, we will be right back where we started, faced with the same hard questions (government be damned—this is about us, our personal decisions and their consequences):
--Are we a better people if we teach our children to respect the law even when they disagree with it, or should we teach them to hold it in contempt and only obey the laws they agree with?
--Are kids better served by being taught to gut and dismantle what’s left of our battered archaeological record, or to understand why it’s protected, to be respectful and protective of it, and to try to learn from it?
--Will we love and protect this land, or treat it like a vacant lot in the South Bronx while “outsiders” struggle to protect the land from us?
--It’s always satisfying to rant about big government and to retch in reaction to the whining of self-righteous “environmentalists” (whatever they are) and archaeologists like me, but how many of us in our heart of hearts, if we had the power to decide (oh yeah—we do have that power), would choose to dismantle all protective regulations and open this land up to uncontrolled assault by anyone to do anything they please to it?
And finally,
--Unhampered freedom is wonderful in the abstract, but in a real world, if a hundred people wish to protect something and one person wants to tear it up, who should have the power to decide, the one or the many? In the absence of responsible government, no one has stewardship, and anyone can impose their decisions on anyone else, regardless of consequences. The tyranny of the majority is preferable to the tyranny of anarchy. We have laws protecting the archaeological record from random destruction because a large number of American voter/taxpayers believe it should be protected, and have exercised their rights in a representative government to get laws past to accomplish that. If we don’t like those laws, what should we do about it—flaunt and disobey them, or exercise our rights as citizens to try to get them changed?
Out of respect for Jim, let’s not use him as an excuse for behaving like Neanderthals.
Winston Hurst

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Moogie Boo!!!!

It's Morgan's birthday today. Of course, as any Mom will tell you, there is no way to put in to words how much I love this girl. But I'll give it a go. Here are 10 things I love about my baby...not no particular order.

1. She is so good to her little brother and sister. She's a good example, and they love it when she plays with them and reads to them. LW cried real, silent tears when she left last week for a few days.

2. She's a drama queen. In a good way. It's so much fun to watch her light up when she is on stage.

3. She's a good friend, and she's good at picking good friends.

4. She has a zest for life. It's fun to watch her get excited about all of her firsts, like driving. (Not that her Mom is ever going to let her drive, but she can get excited, right?)

5. She has a special bond with her Dad. He loves to take her to movies, especially the ones Mom isn't too keen on watching (ah hem. Star Trek. ah hem). She gets music suggestions from her how many teenaged girls can claim that one?

6. She is thoughtful. A few weeks ago I came home from a trip to get my thyroid biopsied. I was tired, tired, tired. Not only had she responsibly taken care of her siblings for two days, but she had spit-shined the house for me. It was such a relief to come home to a clean home and happy kids, I cried. Thanks, Moog.

7. She's my friend. Okay, so a lot of the time I have to wear my Grouchy-Mother-Of-A-Teenager hat, but sometimes I get to exchange it for the Giggle-With-My-Daughter hat. Or my Watch-A-Classic-Chick-Flick-With-My-Daughter hat. I love those hats.

8. She is always trying to learn new things, or get better at the things she knows how to do. Lately she's been spending a lot of time creating art. And she has decided to learn how to cook, which is nice for those of us who get to enjoy her roast and potatoes.

9. She's a tradition-girl. I love the way simple things make her happy, just because that's how we have always done them. Like the family barbeque we had for her birthday a few days ago.

10. She makes me proud. I look forward to watching her continue to make good choices and enjoy her life.

I love you baby girl!