June 5th, 2008 § 0

I just kissed my first-grader goodbye for the last school morning. When I pick her up this afternoon, she’ll be a full-fledged 2nd grader. I did my best to hold the tears in until I got home. There’s something about this particular transition that heightens the nostalgia ante for me — both Kindergarten ad 1st grade have a certain “beginning-ness” about them, and I’m finding myself more and more having to acknowledge this new phase in my child’s life — something that’s not quite a beginning anymore, but more like a work in progress.

This past weekend, during her dance recital, I was awestruck by this brilliant, beaming, self-assured, graceful young performer. I was equally awestruck by the chasm now separating her from the teeny tiny beginning dancers that were her only a few short years ago.



and now:


This growing up thing, it’s been happening like lightening right before our eyes. And if I don’t clear the tears that mourn the passage of time, I might miss out on being able to bask in the beauty of the masterpiece in progress.


You go, girl!

New hat

May 29th, 2008 § 0

What do you do when it’s 50 degrees and almost June?  If you’re Mommy, you rejoice in the lack of heat and humidity.  If you’re an insanely cute 7-year-old girl, you figure out how to knit yourself a new hat.

In-progress pics –



Back (the needles add a certain je-ne-sais-quo, don’t they?):


Jake’s visit

May 25th, 2008 § 1

Our one-year-old nephew Jake, child model extraordinaire, recently graced the walls of The Children’s Place in a life-sized posterboard.

Ever so coincidentally, he also managed a solo trip to visit us in Evanston for the day. Ah, what a wondrous day it was.

It started out with the cousins hanging out together on the lawn…


A light game of soccer ensued:


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May 25th, 2008 § 0

… speaking of back in business

May 24th, 2008 § 0

A collection of saved gift funds, income from an extra side job or two, a nicely-timed Canon instant rebate and the promise of selling my original, entry-level Digital Rebel on E-bay have allowed me to trade up for a Canon 40D with only a modicum of guilt. Ok, a little more than a modicum. It’s really, really nice, and I’m still trying to convince myself that I’m responsible enough to have it… 🙂 Hopefully I’ll become well-acclimated in advance of our summer road trip, which promises lots of fabulous shooting opportunities.

Some of the first quick trial photos from my few minutes in the yard today:


May 24th, 2008 § 0


Healed and back in business!

Grammar bandits

May 23rd, 2008 § 0


No offense, Andrew, but if I weren’t already married, these guys would be on the short list…


May 16th, 2008 § 0

Oops — life has clearly been getting in the way of blogging.


Haven’t had a chance to report the good news, wherein the orthopedic doctor reported that Alli’s break was not a major one and that she would only likely need to wear a cast for 3 weeks.  I thought Alli was going to give the guy an actual kiss, she was so ecstatic.  While sitting out of some activities has been hard and brought a few tears, I think she’s been not so secretly enjoying her special status, being allowed to use the computer to write at school, and having to hunt down space to fit more signatures on the cast.  Andrew and I are both more than a little surprised at the lack of whining and frustration with an itchy or claustrophobically unaccessible arm.  My only lingering parental trepidation is how freaked out she’s going to be with whatever cutting machine or device they have to use to get the cast off.  Fifty bucks says that generates a bigger reaction than the actual broken wrist.


At any rate, here we are nearing the endpoint (visit anticipated to produce cast removal is this coming Wednesday), and it seems like only days have passed.  Alli is running around like some form of crazed superhero, making us tread new ground as we do a complete 180 from our traditional role in encouraging her to embrace risk.  This parenting thing, it sure requires one to be nimble.

All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better first broken bone experience.



May 5th, 2008 § 0

So the short version to accompany the previous post is that Alli broke her wrist falling from the rings on the playground at school. There’s a slightly longer version that involves Mommy deciding whether or not to become “one of those parents” who makes a fuss about having more adult oversight and enforcement of safer playground rules as well as a harder stance on “bullying” (or maybe “pre-bullying” as it applies to first-graders), but I’m going to save that until after I’ve processed it a bit more and gotten past the protective “my kid got hurt” phase.

Alli is handling this whole thing so much better than either Andrew or I would have ever predicted. I feel in many ways so warmed by her sense of confidence in herself and her resilience, and it makes many years of trying to shepherd her through and out of a very alternate universe (one in which she would break down at the prospect of being touched by a fly, literally) feel so worthwhile. In many ways, I think Andrew and I are now having to find our resilience as parents, and expand our vision and expectations of our own child to meet hers. I also think that maybe having an actual reasonably serious injury has made her realize that it wasn’t nearly as bad as she had envisioned, and she’s now running around a bit like a superhero, flaunting her sling as a sort of badge of honor. I swear, something about her even LOOKS tougher.

Today was the 2nd annual “Blessing of the Animals” at the Unitarian church. Last year having been Roo’s turn, this year Alli carted both Max and Ziggy (the latter of which is most clearly in need of blessing at this stage of the game) with great enthusiasm and pride.


Nothing beats watching a girl in a sling push a cat stroller that has serious steering limitations with her one good arm, crashing into things left and right because it’s more important that she not accept anyone’s offers of help.


Inside the sanctuary, this scene by the chalice cracked me up:


Although not as much as this picture from a neighbor. After catching up with them on the lawn with the cats and Alli’s slinged self, we heard about their gerbil who had broken its front leg and actually gotten a cast. The best pic ever award goes to:



April 17th, 2008 § 0

Alli and Zig

We picked Ziggy up from the vet Monday morning. After a weekend of IV hydration, he was a teensy bit stronger. After a few more days at home where we (translated: me, the only Bernstein who can cope with needles) give him daily subcutaneous fluids, he seems to be at least reasonably comfortable, able to eat, purring in spades and moving around without falling down so much. It’s clear that he is suffering kidney failure and that this isn’t going to be getting better. We simply have to monitor him day by day and assess what we think his quality of life is. It could be days, weeks, even months.

As often happens in this world, I think the child here is leading the way: in processing all of this, Alli has expressed a desire to celebrate Ziggy’s life. She’s working on plans for a “100th birthday party” (or whatever his 18 human years translate to). During our first burst of actual spring weather this week, we took him outside for a bit to let his fur feel the wind and to accommodate Alli’s request to get a picture of her and Ziggy together. It was a wonderful moment, and we got to see sparks of the “old Ziggy” peeking through.

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