Thursday, October 30, 2008


Pa-sickie has been added to the Rush Family vocabulary. Here is the video where the term originated.  It's not Magnolia, but still pretty cute.

Like many of our family phrases, the meaning has morphed. We're usually fairly healthy but this fall we have been hit hard with sickness after sickness.  So what was once a popsicle--"Pa-sickie!"--has become a fun way to talk about our plight.

Beyond building our vocabulary, we've also perfected the fine art of snot extraction and marveled at how happy our baby can be as she blows gumball sized bubbles out her nose.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jolly Green Munchkin

After practicing her pincer grip on small cubes of tofu for the last few weeks, we decided to challenge Magnolia with rolling peas and squishy avocado. She thoroughly enjoyed the addition to her dinner routine, laughing hysterically -- which sounds like a seal due to her cold -- with every bite. But, as you can see, some of her dinner did not make it into her mouth. Our little Munchkin enjoys feeding herself so much that when being spoon-fed she puts her fist to her mouth, thumb pressed tightly to her index finger, as if it is by her effort the food arrives in her mouth!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Canadian Thanksgiving Eh?

This past weekend we ventured up to Tsawwassen, BC to celebrate Thanksgiving with Brian's family.
Brian's childhood pet, Poncho, added Magnolia to his list of girls he likes to perform for and another reason to attack Brian.

Magnolia learned that sliding glass doors are fun for watching the dogs play. Trudy spent much of the visit wishing she could be on the other side of the door.

Magnolia broke out her hand-me-down Canuck sweatsuit from her cousin Ella to cheer our team on. They came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Calgary 5-4 in overtime!

Magnolia also got to spend some quality time with her cousins, Ella and Noah. Much to Ella's frustration, Maggie was definitely more interested in her beaded dress than Dora.

Magnolia also got some quality time with her grandparents. She quickly learned that Grandpa Rush has cool things in his shirt pocket. In addition to Grandma and Grandpa Rush, and cousins Noah and Ella, Maggie also got to see her Great-Grandma Batiuk, Great-Uncle Bill, Great-Aunt Audrey, Aunt Lori, Uncle Travis and his mom, Ann. It was a bit overwhelming for her at times, but like a true people-person she was all smiles...nearly. For most of the day, Uncle Travis freaked her out.

After eating way too much yummy food, including Brian's favorite, Mud Pie, made specially for him, we headed home in time for Magnolia and me to head to bed and for Brian to play soccer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cancer Princess and the Mantastics

Class Competitions...Dress up days...Royalty...Hall Decorating...Food and Penny Drive...the dance...the big pride...pep assemblies...short attention spans...

I didn't really enjoy high school -- sometimes I wonder why I chose to go back -- but I always loved homecoming; maybe its the tradition or the bringing together of the community. Now as a teacher, I find it a great time to connect with my students, albeit a challenging time to teach. I usually try to participate in the dress up days (one year I won best costumed teacher) and attend some of the events. I prefer not to chaperone the dance any more -- it bums me out to see fifteen year olds banging their pelvises together -- unless I can take tickets or work in the coat room.

This year was the best homecoming we've had in the 8 years I've been at BHS. The class halls were the most creative, the cheerleaders had the coolest stunts, the student and staff participation was the highest I've seen. There was this positive energy all week at school.

As a part of every homecoming, our award-winning dance team traditionally pulls together a group of boys to join them in their dance. I am always surprised at the mix of male students participating as well as with their varying comfort levels and abilities. This year our male staff members decided to join the action. Our dance team advisor choreographed and taught them a dance they practiced at 6:30 am before school everyday. They call themselves the Mantastics. Luckily, someone caught it all on video -- it is a must see!

If you enjoyed that and want to see a different view, click here.

During the assembly, our principal celebrated with the crowd some of our accomplishments, ending with the Homecoming Penny Drive. He called the Freshman Princess down to center court and invited any of her friends, any of her fellow freshman, to join her in support as he explained that two weeks ago she was diagnosed with lymphoma. She was released from Children's Hospital to attend Homecoming, but will return to spend the rest of the semester receiving chemotherapy. As he was speaking, students ran, first just one or two from around the gym, then a flood from the freshman class, followed by the entire student body. It looked as if the court had been rushed after winning the big game. As her classmates surrounded her, our principal announced that the money we raised through the penny drive would go to support her and her family. It was a proud moment, to be a part of this community, to see my kids respond with such kindness and support. It made me glad that I am still in high school.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Big Debate

After a month of working, we're starting to get into a groove. Magnolia is sleeping a bit better so I'm at least getting 6 hours of sleep which does a world of good to my outlook and stamina. But while I know that Magnolia is in good hands, developing relationships with her Papa and Nana that most kids never get, I do get sad that I am missing out on precious days that are so fleeting. Once I'm at work it's not too bad -- time passes quickly as I work hard to prevent any take-home work. The hardest part for me is not the being gone, its the leaving.

Each morning as I get ready, my Munchkin crawls around, often finding her way over to me to pull on my pant legs, looking up at me with her big blue eyes, and reaching to be held. How could I not snuggle for just a few more minutes even if it means being a bit late or forgetting to put on all of my makeup? Then when I kiss her goodbye and pass her off, she wails in great distress doing all she can to follow me and for that moment I believe it must be easier to be a stay-at-home mom.


This summer I found being a full-time mom exhausting. There were times when I craved a break or some mental simulation and even looked forward to going back to work -- a little. Then there was a week or so when I was getting ready for the school year while taking care of Magnolia. I don't know how moms do it, balancing a home business with taking care of their kids. I had a hard time, often ending the day frustrated and exhausted, unsure that I managed anything.
It seems like every where I go people are talking about the big debate and I don't feel like there is a clear winner. I am not talking about the Obama/McCain debate; I am talking about which is harder: to be a stay-at-home mom or a mom that leaves home to work. I think I've decided that either way is hard, because being a mom is hard.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Magnolia's First F

30 minutes prep + 30 minutes wet + 30 minutes clean up = Mom and Me Swim Class.
This September we joined our friends Emily and Keely Frazier for our first swim class. Magnolia soaked in her time in the pool, kicking and splashing, mesmerized by all the commotion around her. We learned lots of new stuff: fun songs; "jumping" into the water on command; "swimming" toward a floating toy, which she loved; going under water, which she didn't love; and reaching for toys in the shallow end, which she couldn't really do since she doesn't stand on her own yet.
Her lack of sea legs--or land legs for that matter--proved a challenge for me too as I tried to wriggle a slippery baby out of her bathing suit afterwards and into jammies without getting her all wet from my suit. I was jealous of the other moms with their standing children dressing like it ain't no thing. Usually though, my twinges of sadness about how fast my little girl is growing up kept that jealousy in check.
One of my favorite memories was when each baby had to crawl across a 3-foot rectangular piece of floating foam. I was a little nervous: "My baby is 6 months old and you're making her crawl the plank?!"

After the first little mutineer was rescued by a maternal sea giant, I seized my opportunity, not wanting to follow a braver, more succesful attempt. The seas were calm, so I gathered my wits, wiped my eyes, and placed my only child on the wobbly hatch of Davy Jones' locker. "Farewell, sweet Magnolia!"

Apparently Magnolia didn't think this was as frightening as her Mama did. This was her time to shine. I barely made it around the rectangle in time to greet my grinning speed-crawler.
My second most memorable moment was during life-jacket fitting. While all the other kids were sqirming in their new apparatuses, my Maggie was perfectly relaxed floating on her back. All that was missing was a baby-sized Pina Colada, with an umbrella in it.
In the end Magnolia did not pass the class because 1) she does not blow bubbles in the water and 2) she is too young. In a couple of months I think we will repeat the class to get the bubble blowing down before we move on to the class for 12 months and older.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Happy 7 Month Birthiversary!

Things we don't want to forget about this stage:

+ The way she cackles, especially when you do it back to her

+ How she gets really mellow and leans into it when you put your finger in her ear, kind of like when you scratch Trudy's ear

+ How she will try to stand using just about anything, including Otis, and often lets go, like in the picture

+ The way she will hold her mouth open wide, feet kicking waiting for the next bite, then rest her head on her shoulder while she is swallowing

+ Her crawling to and then snuggling with Otis

+ When I take her out of the bath and shake her off, singing "Shake your booty," and she laughs

+ How you can feel her heartbeat in her fontanel

+ Times when she gives you real hugs, her little hands squeezing you closer

+ The way she crawls toward you, laughing, when you get down on all fours

+ Knowing that she is standing in her crib just by listening to her panting through the monitor

+ The way she covers her eyes with the back of her hand while nursing

If we forgot anything we will add it here. Check out more cute pictures on flickr.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shannon's Dream

This is not my dream. It's Shannon's and she's too embarassed to share it, but this story is too important to let my wife's feelings stop me from sharing it with the world.


Shannon is in a bike race in Bellingham. And like any sensible bike-racer she has a snack with her. Well, more than a snack, really. It's Salad. In a very large metal bowl. She has it wedged between her stomach and the handle bars so she can fork it to her mouth with one hand and still be able to steer. (Oh, and just in case you're wondering, it's the kind with cabbage and Ramen noodles in it)

A while after eating a large quantity of this cabbagy goodness, Shannon's body tells her it is has absorbed all the vital performance enhancing nutrients from this coleslaw and it is ready to expel some of it.

"But I'm in a race and I have salad on my lap," Shannon thinks. "I can't possibly stop.... I'll just go on my bike... But I can't go in public! Aw c'mon, it can't be that bad; Trudy and Otis do it all the time..."

So she does. She's still not sure how it got through her pants, but it did. There it is trailing into the distance, several little dollops of Shannon poop.

When Shannon gets to the finish line she learns that one of her co-workers--one who may or may not have spoken ill of her recently--died. She had a tragic bike accident. The cause: slippage on human feces.


Interpretations are more than welcome in the comments.