June 2013


On Sunday morning Chris was mowing the grass when Brad, Sarah, Eli and Henry pulled into the driveway, and this set off a series of events that culminated when Chris and Melissa got to observe Everett when he spontaneously decided to read (without assistance) about the Neurosciences Center at Chris’ work.

A few years ago Melissa and Everett got to know Sarah and Eli during story time at the downtown library. Since then Chris and Brad became friends, and Henry was born last year, and all of us try to get together when we can even though they moved to Miami several years ago. For the past two summers they have been housesitting in Milwaukee and this allowed us to spend a fair amount of time together. This summer the closest they could manage was Chicago for a couple weeks, and we are thankful that we could all get together for a day. Their arrival on Sunday morning provided Chris with an excuse to quit mowing and start relaxing. The group of us stayed at the house for a while and talked while the boys performed dental surgery using Play-Doh.
Then we went outside and made bubbles, then chatted some more and had lunch, and finally decided that we should head to the pool. This was one of the first really hot days we have had this summer (though according to our friends this was borderline cold weather by Miami standards). The pool was at capacity and we got in just before a long line formed at the gate.

They stayed until about 3:45pm, which left us 15 minutes to go to Henry Marx’s graduation party and congratulate him. Afterward, Chris and Melissa got ready for a fundraising dinner for Chris’ work while Everett stayed at the Marx’s house and played with neighborhood kids the rest of the evening.

On Monday Chris came home around midday to eat and finish mowing the lawn. During lunch Everett picked up a magnet that we received at dinner the night before and spontaneously decided to start reading.
This is the first time this has ever happened, and we were both very proud and excited, especially considering the subject matter! We will try to keep encouraging this over the summer, along with learning to ride a bike and swim.

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Today something happened that I knew was coming, I just wasn’t sure when. For the first time Everett figured out that a lot of people can see the pictures of him on the website, and he asked me not to include one because it’s embarrassing. For the record it’s a picture of him eating an ice cream sundae on his birthday. As many parents know, a child’s definition of “embarrassing” is a moving target and could change dramatically over time. I’m also curious to find out how he will react when he learns to read and he discovers how much of his life is described here. In the meantime I do want to honor his requests, though I’m not sure exactly how yet. I could start redacting the site to remove anything he doesn’t like, but I can think of several reasons why this probably isn’t a good approach. Another idea is to restrict access to the website so that only friends and family can see it. A third is to explain to him the social media movement, and point out that these days people divulge so many details of their lives that disclosures about any single person might not generate attention, especially when it’s not on Facebook. We are open to suggestions about the best way to handle this, and we are certainly curious how other families handle these situations.

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Everett turned five this June. Frankly, I’m not sure how this happened. The years are going by so quickly. He had a three-day birthday celebration this year.

Part I: School Celebration

The custom at Everett’s school is to bring fruit salad and sing happy birthday at about 10:30am while the birthday child walks around the room. First they hold a globe and everyone sings “The earth goes round the sun tra la la”, then they show pictures of themselves from each prior year of their life.
We had to plan this on Thursday June 6th because on Friday the Wauwatosa Fire Department was bringing their fire safety house to the school, and this would take up most of the morning.

Part II: Home Celebration

Everett woke up Friday morning at 5:15am and appeared at Chris’ side, which has never happened before (that we know of). We convinced him to go back to sleep, and then all of us overslept for school and work. Everett was allowed to open one present at breakfast: a dragon puppet from Noni!
And yes, the dragon went to school with us. We left on the bike at about 7:45 and barely made it to school in time. While we were on our way Everett asked “When it’s summertime, can you not go to work?”

For his 5th birthday Everett got to chew his first stick of gum. At some point our dentist told him that he can’t chew gum until he is five. He must have been thinking about this for a long time, because that was near the top of his list of things to do. He went through every stick in a pack of gum (bubble gum flavor!) in about 24 hours, sharing a few with other people.
Chris came home from work for lunch and opening presents, and that evening Everett wanted to invite Mary and her family over for Balistreri’s pizza, salad, cake and ice cream.

Part III: Birthday Party

Everett’s birthday party was on Saturday June 8th at Swiss Turner’s Gymnastics Academy. He got to invite 11 friends for about an hour of guided gymnastics activity including jumping in foam pits, jumping on a trampoline, navigating an obstacle course and spinning the parachute.
After gym time the kids came up to the party room for cake, ice cream and presents.
It went really well! He had asked for a dragons and knights party. For his birthday cake he wanted a chocolate and vanilla dragon cake with green icing. Chris looked at many designs on the internet, and was considering one in particular until the prior weekend when he found out that Everett’s friend George also wanted a knights and dragons party, and Lynette made George the exact cake we were considering. Hmm, can’t have that. So Chris experimented with other designs. He was going to make a serpent out of Bundt cakes, but Melissa pointed out that this was more like a Chinese dragon and we wanted more of a European dragon considering the knights theme. We eventually converged on a novel design with bits of both. Around the time when we were debating how to add fire breath, Grandaddy decided to go out in search of dry ice. His original motivation was how much fun he heard that we had recently with a block of it, but as soon as he got some we began to figure out a way to incorporate it into the cake. We propped open the dragon’s mouth and added dry ice and hot water. Voila! A fire-breathing dragon.
After the party he wanted to go to Café Hollander for dinner. Despite all of this activity during the day he couldn’t fall asleep until after 10pm. Perhaps too much of a nap during the afternoon? Or perhaps too much sugar and chocolate? Good times nonetheless!
Happy Birthday Everett!


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