October 2001

Harry Potter, Golden Snitch, and Football player Halloween is not Kristi's and Keith's favorite "holiday."  Neither of us particularly likes dressing up in costume.  It is the first of the Big Three Pressure Holidays. (As parents, we feel pressure to provide the costumes and jack-o-latterns.)

But paradoxically, Autumn is Keith's and Kristi's favorite season of the year.  The changing of the seasons, shortening of the days, and change in weather mean different things to each of us from our youth, but the resulting fondness is the same.  Of course, it's not quite the same in Southern California as it was in New Mexico or Illinois.  Only the shortening of days occurs here.  Still, we took what the season and the area would give us: a trip to the ball yard to watch the Padres playing baseball in October; a trip to the farm to get pumpkins, ride the train and hay ride; and a trip to the desert for a camp out.

Bradley has undergone two major appearance changes, one of his own choosing and one forced upon him by his genetics.  He has dyed his hair blond again, although this time completely instead of just the top two thirds.  And as you can see from the picture, he's gone very blond.  In the continuing struggle of "How to react as a parent," we acquiesced to his dying desire, but insisted that he pay for it (well, half of it).  After a weekend of getting just the sort of shocked reactions he was looking for, however, on Monday he got a lesson his parents could never hope to teach him: he was ridiculed at school.  Not by everyone perhaps, but by enough people that it was clear he was unhappy.  Now that's a lesson about the cost of non-conformity that is easily worth the price of half a dye job.

Brad's other cosmetic alteration was the application of braces to his teeth.  His father never had braces, but his mother did.  The goal is to get the brace work completed before starting middle school (sixth grade), where ridicule is a practiced art form.

Closed eyes: the reason why 9 out of 10 water balloon tosses end badly...
This was a big month for Doug and Dad in Indian Guides.  We had the induction picnic (where there were fun and games, and the new braves like Doug were introduced to the nation), a tribe meeting (where excitement was provided by a brush fire breaking out several hundred yards away, and the fire department showing up to put it out), and a camp out in the desert at Agua Caliente

The latter was Doug's first camp out not in somebody's backyard, and the first camping for Keith since (can it be?) 1993.  Keith enjoyed the brilliant star filled sky far away from the city, and the hikes. Douglas enjoyed staying up late, making 'smores, and digging in the dirt cliffs with tent stakes (aka "mining crystals") with the other boys.  Douglas turned into a picky eater on this camp out, which really surprised me.  I would have thought he would have been forced by hunger to try scrambled eggs and potatoes, but he held out.  Held out until the steaks came out at dinner, at which point he ate more than all the other braves.

Since when do they say Scowl! instead of Say cheese! at school pictures?
This is Douglas' school picture for first grade.  He is a champion brow-furrower and sulker.
Brad and his apropos jack o lattern Brad has tried out for and made the school geography team again this year. (The Geography Olympiad will again be in January.) He has also joined the Future Scientist and Engineer club at school.  (Asked to write a paragraph about why he wanted to join, he wrote, "My dad is an engineer, and it would be really neat to be in his shoes, if only for just one hour a week."  Didn't endure himself to Dad in the least...)  Both "clubs" have him staying an extra hour at school for extracurricular studying and projects, which of course really upsets his parents. Bradley's after school schedule is: Monday, piano lessons; Wednesday, Scientists and Engineers club, choir at Church; Thursday, Geography club.  Good thing soccer practices have been discontinued with the end of daylight savings time. 

Finally on Brad, it should be mentioned that he is really enjoying Social Studies.  Fourth Grade Social Studies is studying California, and learning about the Golden State's history, geography, and cultures.  Hard to live in a more interesting, diverse state.  He loves the subject, and is really looking forward to a one day field trip to the state capitol and various Museums in Sacramento in May.

Kristi has just about completed the Deer Canyon student directory.  This is a great volunteer position for her because it reminds her of the work she did when she was employed full time, and because it is over and done with early in the school year.  She is now at the aggravating stage of waiting for everybody (principal, PTA) to sign off on the final draft so she can get 650 copies printed up. She didn't use to have to put up with such delays in her old marketing job with Academic Press. Soon she'll be done with PTA responsibilities for another year. She is being gently pulled, however, to parental volunteer for the Geography Team.  She continues to volunteer in the boys' rooms.  Keith is official photographer for the Directory.  Each year his job is to find and shoot a new compelling angle of the school for the cover.
Bradley's class at school decided to heed President's Bush call for US children to help Afghan children by holding a walkathon to raise money.  They decided to walk the popular 5 mile path around a local reservoir, Lake Miramar. Bradley had a soccer game that day, but impressed his parents mightily by deciding the walkathon was more important.  The morning of the walkathon, however, he announced he had decided to participate in both.  All it required was that we start right now this instant.  Although this was disallowed, and he was forced to start at the same time as everyone else, he did sprint off ahead, jogged much of the way, and finished first (although it was not a race).  Whether his new found love of cross country was borne of a desire to make it to his soccer game before the start of the second half, or just to show off to the girls, is yet undetermined. 

I found great irony in the fact that the 5 mile loop walkathon became a 7 mile there-and-back hike because the last one and a half miles of path (including the dam crossing) had been closed for security reasons since September 11th.

Doug and Brad carving pumpkins in the garage. Overheard lately:
Dad to Doug (in the car with radio on): "Listen! It's Daddy's favorite band." Doug: "What's Mommy's favorite band?" Dad: "I don't know; why don't you ask her?"  Doug: "I know they don't play her favorite band on Radio Disney. She says Radio Disney gives her a headache."
Doug to Mom: "You don't have any girl sons."
Doug: If Brad gets married, then Iíll be his wife's outlaw.

Favorite TV Shows:
Doug: At home, "Digimon." At someone else's house with more cable channels, "Cartoon Network."
Brad: "Jeopardy," "Seventh Heaven," "Simpsons" when he can get away with it.
Kristi: "Today Show" after 8 am (kids are gone; it's quiet)
Keith: Arthur (on PBS)

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