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Preview: the little dog laughed

the little dog laughed

Staying-at-home with Naomi and staff.

Updated: 2014-03-18T01:21:15.067-07:00


Tail End


N: ...blahblah...last three weeks of summer vacation.
H: Three weeks!?! But I want to go back to school now!

I reported that conversation to office manager at the kids' school and she informed me that school cannot start until she's done with her paperwork--so Hannah's now offered to go in and help with paperwork. She really wants to get back to school.

j (from the backseat of the car): I just read something without trying to!
N: Wow, that's awesome! That means you're really getting to be a great reader.
j: But.... I don't want to know how to read.

I don't quite know how to convey how devastated he sounded.

My summer home renovation project is nearing completion. That's another post though.

Start Somewhere


Future Astronaut, originally uploaded by nrbp.

Today in the car I asked if anyone knew what had happened 40 years ago today.

J: Me! Me! Pick me!
N: Yes, John, then.
J: Men walked on the Moon.
j: (tuning in) What? Today? Why didn't anyone tell me? I would have wanted to watch that on NASA TV.

So Many Parentheses


(image) Wedding photography (speaking from my vast experience, hah!): fun, but a whole lot of work. I enjoyed myself for the most part (I love taking pictures), but it was hot (ceremony was held outside, high-noon, no shade) and I was close enough (through ties to most of the folks in the wedding party) to the center of activity to get pulled into some of the tensions. And I came home (tired) worried about my performance--doubting, in particular, that any of the shots of the ceremony had turned out well.

I didn't feel like going through the more than 1200 images I had had to scramble to store in 3 different places (long story with 2 heroes: my over-packing and my knight in shining armor, John). I knew I had some wonderful shots (a child mid-laugh; the bride's reflection in a mirror; the groom biting his lip; the bridesmaids scolding one of the flower girls in unison--this is where I shine), but those weren't going to be enough if I had botched the shot of the bride and her son walking down the aisle, the exchange of vows, the kiss--the things one hires a wedding photographer (one who knows what she is doing!) to document. At lunch, a friend went on and on about how beautiful the ceremony had been; I couldn't remember anything beyond how unusually fast my battery was draining and how that (stupid) guy's head had been in the way when I was trying to get a shot of the ring bearer handing over the rings.

(Figures, the one and only time I was without my camera over the weekend a family of river otters went swimming by.)

However, one does what one has been paid to do. And one discovers, to her utter delight, that things could be worse. I'm no wedding-wizard, to be sure, but there's not much I wanted that I didn't get (and I'm confident the bride and groom will be very happy).

(Given the right set of circumstances, I'd even be willing to do this again.)

With excitement like this, who is needing enemas?


First: name that movie! We watched it with the children last week and they loved it.

Second: Hey! I know! I should blog more! Or, well, at all.

So. Summer. Here we are again. The kids are out of school. John is not teaching, but, as Jonah pointed out the other morning, "Dad's not really getting a summer vacation, is he?". University politics and budget woes don't take a break for the summer.

I am about to shoot my first wedding. A couple of friends asked me if I would do this for them some time ago and the big day is Saturday. They are getting married at a neat spot, right around the middle of nowhere somewhat East of here. We are camping out there Friday night; the kids are beyond excited; I need to get camping and camera gear together.

Other summer plans? No travel. Possibly some more short camping trips. Swimming lessons for the kids. Painting the dining room. Cleaning the barn. Blogging.

Suddenly, it was Inauguration Day


We moved the television downstairs yesterday so that a couple of friends and I could watch the inauguration from the comfort of the living room couch like civilized folk. [Incidentally, I've been wanting to paint the salvaged piece of furniture we are using as a TV stand up in the bedroom for some time now and this proved to be the perfect opportunity. Also, the paint color? New Hope Grey.] I'm a sucker for pomp and for circumstance and for peaceful transfers of power even when we haven't been waiting for this day for so long; it was moving, delightful, fun.

Do you think "tis the gift to be simple" was meant in part as a tribute to the outgoing president?

I think all of the classrooms at the kids' school kept their televisions on until 10am (that's 1pm DC time). When I asked Jonah about watching Obama become president today he said that yes, they had, that he watched Yoyo Ma play the cello and that he liked getting to watch TV while they were doing their work. "Then," he told me, "we got to watch the workers tearing down our old playground. That was FREAKIN' AWESOME!"*

Heavy equipment scooping up pea gravel and yanking out metal structures; he will not soon forget what he saw on the day Barack Obama became president.

*For the record, that is not an expression we use in this household. When I relayed this story to his teacher, knowing she'd find it amusing, she said: "That's public education for you."

Election Season


Winter :: Super Tuesday 2008 :: California PrimaryH: Dad, who did you vote for?J: Well, I don't have to tell anyone who I voted for, but did you have someone in particular you are hoping I voted for?H: Ummm, yes, but I can't remember her name.Spring :: Partisan Politics :: It comes down to one or the otherThe kids and I are sitting at the table working on some project or another; NPR is on in the next room.NPR: Blahblahblah Barack Obama blahblah.j: Barack Obama. I like that name. (pause) What is Barack Obama?N: Hannah, do you know who Barack Obama is?H: He's a man who wants to be president.(long-ish pause)j: But I thought only womans could be pregnant.Summer :: Convention :: Brainwash with careIn a speech at the Democratic National Convention, the phrase "Barack Obama is right, John McCain is wrong" is repeated many, many times. Jonah latches onto this and fits it into just about any conversation--whether or not it has anything to do with the topic at hand. I limit our exposure to the Republicans' convention for fear of what he might pick up from it.Fall :: The End Is Within Sight :: We try to focus on the issuesScene 1: In the car, on the way home from Hannah's soccer practice.H: Mom, how can you tell when a country wins a war?N: ... Um, well...j: When all the army guys in the bad country are dead, then the good guys win!N: Oh, it's more complicated than that. Lots of people who aren't part of the fighting die in wars too. And sometimes, the leaders of the countries who are fighting talk to each other and find a way to stop fighting before everyone gets killed.H: John McCain thinks we should keep fighting the war in Iraq, but Barack Obama thinks we should try to end the war.j: Oh! So that's why they say Barack Obama is right and John McCain is wrong!Scene 2: A table in Jonah's Kindergarten classroom where I am volunteering. M is the youngest son of a Mormon family at the school--his mom has a "Yes on 8" sticker on her Suburban; C is in fierce competition for the title of Class Busybody; K is another girl in the class.C: M, you have a crush on K.M: What's that?N: Hey, C, we don't need to talk about things like that at school. You can save that for home. Let's focus on our work guys.Pause while everyone gets back to their coloring.j: Girls can marry girls you know.C: Why would they want to do that?!?j: Because they love each other very much.C: Oh. But they can't have babies.N: Well, they can adopt babies and be a family.Election Day :: We vote :: It's the start of something newI love taking my children to vote with me, especially as they are becoming more politically aware. Four years ago, I held Jonah (wasn't he the most adorable little thing?) while I voted and Hannah stood next to John; afterwards, they picked up leaves from the huge tree right outside our polling place. This year Jonah sat at my feet reading his Lego catalog and Hannah stood right at my left elbow, reading along, making sure I voted for Barack Obama; afterwards, they picked up leaves from the huge tree right outside our polling place.In the evening, we printed out maps and colored them as the returns came in; we listened to coverage on the radio then switched to the television to watch Obama's speech; my brother-in-law, teering up, told Jonah "Oh, you have such an exciting life ahead of you".[...]



Pretend that back in November of last year I said I wouldn't blog again until we'd put a Democrat in the White House. Pretend you've been waiting all year long for me to start blogging again.



Long overdue, this is. The tooth got so loose she could turn it backwards in her mouth (gross. shudder. ew.). Then she finally pulled it out one day at school. The Tooth Fairy left a gold dollar.
(image) The other middle one's loose now and one of the bottom ones is very, very loose.

That's all for right now. We're busy with stuff and life. All of us healthy.



Hannah has another loose tooth, her third. In the car the other morning she took a break from wiggling it to inform me that "When this tooth comes out, the Tooth Fairy is going to bring me $2!"

Really? How do you know that?

"Well, when I lost my first tooth, I got 2 quarters. Then when I lost my next tooth, I got a dollar bill. Every time I loose a tooth, I get twice the amount of of money I got for the last tooth. So I'm getting $2 for this tooth."

I almost almost asked her how much she figured she'd get after she lost her, say, 12th tooth. But I don't think I want her counting that far ahead (though I was curious whether she could figure it out--she keeps surprising me with her intuitive grasp of arithmetic).

What she doesn't know is that the Tooth Fairy grabbed that dollar bill in a panic when she remembered--on her way to go wake Hannah up for school--that she hadn't taken care of the tooth the night before.

History: A Conversation on September 11, 2007


Tonight at the dinner table (John was at a late meeting, so he missed out on this):

H: Mom. It's September 11.

N: Yes.

H: Do you know why today is a sad day?

N: Yes. Do you? (thinking: It's been kind of a long day, I don't know if I can do this conversation. And, please, please don't ask me what this has to do with the war in Iraq.)

H: Six years ago, in 2001, planes crashed into buildings and people died. Lots of people. Mom, why would a plane crash into a building?

N: Well, there are people who think that Americans are awful people and some of them decided together to get on big airplanes--just like if they were going on a normal trip--and when the planes were in the air, they went into the cockpit and told the pilots to let them fly the planes or else they would kill the pilots. That's called hijacking. And then they took over flying the planes and flew them right into the biggest buildings around because they wanted a lot of Americans to die.

H: Those people should go to jail!

N: Well, Hannah, they died when they crashed the airplanes into the buildings. And in one of the airplanes, some of the passengers were able to overtake the hijackers so the plane didn't crash into a building, it crashed into a field instead.

H: So, the people on the plane died, but it didn't kill any other people?

N: That's right. Some of the people on that airplane were very brave. (thinking: Man, my daughter's sharp!)

H: That's good! It's sad for people to die, but it's still good that more people didn't die. It's too bad that airplane couldn't just land like this--she makes her hand swoop down and land gently on the table--on the field.

Jonah's been listening to this exchange, wide-eyed.

j: But why would the guys want anybody to die? Why would they fly airplanes into buildings?

N: You know, we don't really know why they did it. They were angry and they wanted everyone to know how angry they were and they thought that killing people would be a way to show how angry they were. But we don't really know what they were thinking or why they did it.

H: Kind of like the dinosaurs: we have ideas about how they died, but no one knows for sure how it happened. But we do know that it did happen and the dinosaurs are extinct now.

Argiope aurantia


Argiope aurantia, originally uploaded by nrbp.

This Yellow Garden Spider has been hanging out right next to our back door for the past couple of days. She's impressively big. Makes me thankful I'm not afraid of spiders.



I just noticed: all of August I only posted here once. I don't know that I can say very well why that is (well, aside from laziness). I've a list right here next to me of things to blog about. Who cares, really, if they all happened last month (or, uh, the month before that)?I sat down last night and turned the TV on and realized I haven't sat down and turned the TV on in the evening in well over a week. It's been perpetual motion around here. Everyone's back in school, and suddenly we've got soccer practice twice a week. We had a terrific and lovely visit over Labor Day weekend with dear, dear friends; I found myself part of a project with a very short deadline; the washer of my dreams was delivered to my back porch and I've been washing everything in sight. Plenty to keep me busy and make me forget to take some time for myself, sit in front of the TV, read one of the books from the ever-growing stack on my bedside table, post to my blog.I'm keen on keeping my feet planted firmly on the ground and I don't dream of being in another place, but I do crave solitude, quiet enough around me that I can listen to and feed the ideas that tickle me and time to linger in thought so deep I find it hard to be roused. The act of mothering is one that demands absolute presence; it's at odds with the way I usually want to be.It's easy for me to shrug away from that kind of tension by making excuses as I complain, by pointing out that between the exuberance and frustrations of raising my children, there's no room for anything else. Harder is to face the lack of balance head-on; when I do, I start to feel like I am seeking out the very thing I'd like to avoid. I get crankier because thoughts won't stay put, I have to set down the book I'm reading mid-chapter, I snap at my children to give me just one minute. Could it be that I should embrace the tension instead? Not push against it, but let it stretch me? See where that leads?[...]

And So It Goes


I was surprised to see eggplants at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, surprised that it's suddenly turned August, that the academic summer is just about over, that we're at the very end of the string of days that seemed to stretch out to the horizon way back in June, that I'm looking back on two months full of doing and of blissful not-doing.

We had a parade of family through our place last week: my mom and my youngest sister spent the night with us on the way home from a soccer tournament near San Francisco, then my other sister was here helping her fiance move into what will be their first home (Em will be joining him here in January). I'm still not sure how it got to be Thursday evening.

Tomorrow we're off to the county fair where Hannah and a bunch of kids from her school will be performing fiddle tunes on the main stage. We'll look at animals, eat cotton candy and caramel apples and wave goodbye to summer from the very top of the ferris wheel.

Bring On The Strawberries


Somewhere, somehow--I have yet to get a straight answer on this one--Jonah heard the expression "open a can of whup a**". Except he didn't really have any idea what he was saying. He didn't really know how to pronounce it either.

j: I'm going to open a can of roopah!
N: What? Did you just say "can of ..."?
j: Roopah! I'm going to open a can of roopah!
N: ....
j: Mom, what's roopah?
N: Roopah?
j: Roo. Pah. B.
N: Rhubarb? It's a vegetable that thinks it's a fruit.
j: !!!!

One day he was my sweet blue-eyed, blond-haired son, generous with the hugs and kisses, the next he was threatening everyone and everything in sight with a can of strange, vaguely toxic foodstuff.

Where We Were


Just about every time I've sat down to work on the blog this week, I've started out with "So...Where were we...?". It's summertime and I'm feeling scattered. John's teaching, the kids have a couple of hours of scheduled activities every week and I've got some commitments to keep--it's not that we have no schedule, it's that the schedule changes so frequently, I feel busy all the time and I want bedtime to be at 7:30 just like during the school year. 8 o'clock then. OK, OK 9. What are you kids still doing awake at 10:25? I can't quite bring myself to take off my watch and dive headfirst into summer, but it's clear it has swallowed us whole.So, where were we?Much of the last 2 weeks has been unseasonably, record-settingly sunny and warm. Mid-70s at the coast (some 10 degrees above average for the season) and well into the 80s at our place barely inland. Acclimated as we are to very small variations in temperature (high-40s in the dead of winter, high-60s in the height of summer), this is sweltering. Especially when our power went out over the weekend and it was just too hot and sticky and stuffy to do anything but seek relief at the beach. Our bedrooms, without the fans we've usually got running on warm days, were unbearable even after nightfall so we camped out--to the children's immense delight--in our playroom downstairs.Every time we go to the beach, the kids act like tourists who have heard tell of a wonderland of waves and driftwood and seashells and crab carcasses and dead birds and sand but who did not believe that such a (sandy) paradise could truly exist. It's the most incredible, fun place they have ever been--even when we go twice in one week. These children of mine are easy to please. I'm grateful for the way they remind me to be open to the adventure and awe of it all.Then they bicker all the way home from the beach, there's sand tracked all over the car and into the house, wet, sandy clothes need to be washed, I listen to the news on the radio while I make dinner: the mood can change so quickly.Thank goodness I took my camera. More on flickr, of course.[...]



We dogsat for some friends over the weekend and while our cats were less than impressed, the kids (and John and I) really had a good time with Sandy. He's a young chocolate lab/springer spaniel/all-American mix that our friends got from a family who had not paid much attention to him. He was well-fed and healthy, but he had lived outside in a pen all of his life. He's affectionate, sweet, gentle and very eager to please, but, as his owners put it, he doesn't speak much English.

We reminded Jonah of this as he was trying, rather ineffectually, to get Sandy to settle down some after they had been playing. Resourceful child that he is, Jonah immediately tried "Ça suffit, Sandy!" Turns out the dog doesn't speak much French either.

Headed To The Alps


(image) About a year ago, I wrote about how much Jonah and I have enjoyed watching the Tour de France together on TV every year. We're doing it again this year, of course. Jonah asks to watch the race and he'll sit there, absorbed in what action there is, for a good half hour at a time. I'm not exactly sure what the appeal is for him--guys riding bikes day in and day out is really not all that exciting--but it delights me to no end that he's so into it (perhaps it's just that we watch so little sports on TV that he's desperate).

Part of the appeal for me is watching the countryside go by, especially when the race goes through parts of France that I know well. Tomorrow the riders pass within 2 miles or so of the last house my family lived in in France; I wish I could be there.

But then I wouldn't be here:

Next To Godliness


I think it's time to clean my kitchen windows.

More summertime pictures over at flickr.

This Is The Week That Never Ends...


(Yes, it goes on and on my friends...)

Last week was just too much, wasn't it? What with a holiday smack in the middle of it and the days all disguising themselves as each other--Wednesday was Saturday, or maybe even Sunday, Thursday was Monday--by the time the weekend rolled around (at least, I think it was the weekend, but really, who knows anymore?), I'd lost track. And it's taking us far too long to recover. I blame Jonah, whose summer cold and cough have keeping us from getting much sleep the past few nights.

Today in the car:
J: I was about to ask you if I should buy a NY Times today for the food section.
N: But then you remembered that it's not Wednesday. It's Tuesday.
....long pause....
J: Today's Monday, right?
N: Oh dear.

Aside from that, we've been having a very nice, rather luxurious summer. The last 2 weeks of June were taken up by visits from my family. My parents and sisters were in town for a couple of days right around Jonah's birthday.

(image) After he blew out his candles, he told my dad: "Having you all come for my birthday is my best present." Yes, my sweet little guy turned 4.

The older of my sisters stayed on for a few more days, joined by her fiance and a friend of theirs. Steven (the fiance) is moving to the area next month for school, so he and Auntie Em were scoping out places to live and checking on job prospects. The kids love them; we are very excited to have them so close!

John's pretty much settled in his new office. Fewer books, more view.(image) The building's slowly filling up; there's a little more academic-style hustle and bustle every time I go in. We've moved lots of books around at home, but there are still booooooxes of them out on the back porch...

John's teaching a summer school course right now and by the end of it, summer will be just about over. Before then there will be more low key trips to the river, bike riding, fiddling, the county fair, lots and lots of reading and I'll finish up at least a few of the posts I've started and then abandoned. (image)

Happy Father's Day


Alternate Skate Park, originally uploaded by nrbp.

Time Enough


Because so many people asked me so nicely, I took pictures at Hannah's school's 8th grade graduation last night. There were 10 graduates, all of them handsome, interesting kids. I took lots and lots of pictures: individual portraits, shots of families, candid shots while everyone was getting ready, group shots and then pictures during the ceremony. (Next year I'm making myself a press pass that says National Geographic on it so the local "newspaper" photographer will stay out of my way.)

I'm a sucker for pomp, for circumstance, for rites of passage anyway, but last night's ceremony was particularly sweet and wonderful. It didn't feel at all like a sudden, final spurt of sentimentality and goodwill and best wishes the way this type of ceremony often does. Rather, it was a clear expression of how nurturing this school is, how every student is taken seriously, how tight-knit and close the community is--not just on the last day of school, not just right before a crop of kids are sent off to high school and the great big world beyond, but every single day. It's no surprise that everyone knows everyone else and that they've all grown close over the years; this is a very small school in a tiny little town. What's striking is the teachers and parents wanting something and working together to attain it, the students responding by involving themselves in making the school what it is.

I've had a bittersweet feeling at the top of my throat all day long. It's Hannah's last day of Kindergarten and like her teacher--who waved me off with an "Oh no, please don't make me cry" when I thanked her for a great year--I'm one gulp away from tears. Sifting through the 608 pictures I took last night isn't helping much. In a few short years, that'll be Hannah and her friends all dressed up, laughing, nervous, excited, that'll be John and I and the other parents swelling with pride, still wondering where the time has gone.

Career Paths: A Pair of Dialogues


The other day in the car, Super Dog* was shooting at something through his window (with an entirely imaginary gun, of course).
N: You know, Jonah, I don't really like you shooting when you're in my car.
j: I'm not Jonah, I'm Super Dog!
N: Yes, right, Super Dog, please hold your fire until you're outside playing in the yard.
H: But we have to get the bad guys!
N: How can you even tell they're bad guys?
j: They just are.
H: They were born that way.
N: They were? How do you know? Were you born a good guy?
H: Of course!
N: But how do you know that?
H: Mo-om, I'm going to be a space veterinarian when I grow up and veterinarians are good.
j: Yeah, space veterinarians take care of animals in space. They are good guys.

*For the past, oh, year or so, both of the kids have been spending much of their time being superheroes of some kind or another. Jonah is usually Super Dog, a dog with super powers--my favorite being the power of bandaging--and a cape and who can fly (and who has an office under our diningroom table where he grades papers). He made this super-character up long before we learned of the existence of Krypto the comic book character and animated television series, but they've pretty much become one and the same. Hannah is all kinds of super, sometimes an animal, sometimes just Super Hannah, always with an inventive array of powers. Together, these superchildren of mine keep the world safe from bad guys.


Yesterday on the way home from school.
H: Hey! O [H's best friend] and I decided that we are going to be forest rangers instead of space veterinarian surfers when we grow up.
N: Oh, that's great.
H: Forest rangers take care of the forest and protect it.
N: What do they protect it from?
H: Fires. And...[pause]...lumberjacks. If lumberjacks cut down all the trees, the animals won't have a habitat any more. O and I can still help animals when we are forest rangers.

Just This Side Of Dizzy


Another busy couple of weeks around here. Not so busy that I feel like I'm hyperventilating, but enough that I'm left inarticulate by the end of the day.While the kids are both at school, John and I have been packing up books and sorting piles of papers in his office, getting ready for the big move to the shiny new building. It turns out it wasn't ready to move into in May after all--surprise, surprise. Word on the street is that people start moving in next week. Not that I would actually know how close the offices are to being ready because I walked right into the building and took a look around despite signs posted on the unlocked doors telling me that the building's not yet open to the public.Although I hate hate hate packing, it's been nice, really nice, hanging out with John for a couple hours everyday. We work well together, and we've got enough time that we aren't having to rush the job. We keep slowing down just to chat or to laugh over book titles or to read out loud years-old to-do lists one or the other of us wrote up. And anytime is a good time to take a coffee break.The conundrum of what to do with all of the books (6 boxes so far, probably 3 more by the time we're through) that we need to bring home is vaguely stressful. Our house is full of books already. The living room has at least one bookcase on each wall, there's a bookcase in the playroom (kid's books), one in the dining room (cookbooks and food writing) and bookcases in the bedrooms. A colleague suggested putting a bookcase behind our couch, not knowing that our couch is already in front of a bookcase. Getting rid of piles of books--the obvious solution--is just not going to work. Neither of us can stand the idea of letting books go, even books we know we will never look at again. Besides, who would take the books we don't want? No one, that's who. If John builds a new floor-to-ceiling bookcase in the living room and we juggle categories around (our books are sorted: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, reference, textbooks and ordered alphabetically by author's last name), we may be able to avoid having to cover up one of the windows. Anyone visiting here any time soon better brush up on alphabetizing skills. I'm just saying.On Friday night John and I were invited by an artist acquaintance to a preview of her current show (with 2 other artists). For such a small, rural county, we've got a rather lively "art scene". There are a whole lot of local artists and plenty of galleries and giftshop/galleries and coffeeshop/galleries that take themselves very, very seriously. This show is at one of the few places that takes itself seriously and deserves to be taken seriously. So, we dressed up a little and we left the children--people kept asking us where they were--with the family I lived with while I was in college. In particular, we left them with the family's youngest daughter. She's in highschool now, and learning to drive and taller than I am, but I used to take her to preschool; leaving my kids with her was kind of surreal. I'd like to see someone try to paint a picture about that.[...]

Tuesday Talk: Principal's Office


I know, I know, it's not Tuesday. Three day weekends throw me off schedule.

I'm standing in the school office and I can hear the principal talking to a student (at least, I'm assuming it was a student, I hope it was a student and not a teacher; it could have been several students, I guess).
Principal: Was biting him the right thing to do?
[If the student responded, it was too quiet for me to overhear.]
Principal: Was biting him the right thing to do?
[Again, I don't hear a response.]
Principal: Was choking him the right thing to do?
Parent Standing Next To Me In The Office: What does she expect the kid to say? Yes?
Me: Well, it seemed like the most reasonable thing to do at the time...
Principal: Was hitting him the right thing to do?

School Days


The school year is winding down here; hard to believe Hannah's just about through with Kindergarten.(image) Last week was the Spring Concert. Music is very important at Hannah's school (one of the reasons we chose it over some of the other terrific schools in the area). There's weekly music instruction in the classrooms for the lower grades and then a whole range of electives: a choir, an Orff ensemble, a tiny band, a teensy jazz band and a solid strings program--Suzuki violin starting in Kindergarten for the kids who want, and a serious string orchestra from 4th grade up. Hannah and her class sang together and her Suzuki group played some Twinkle Twinkle Little Star variations. For a school that doesn't have a very big pool to draw from (120-ish students in K-8), the concert was really quite impressive.

Another thing we immediately loved about this school was its setting. It's all Little School In The Big Woods right there in the middle of nowhere; evergreen-covered hills all around; cow pasture on one side and goats and horses on another.(image) Today the school was locked down--yes, locked down, no one leaves the classroom--while a mother fox and her babies (cubs? kittens?) were evacuated from under the school's tool shed. What's not to love?