Rocket’s 5th Trip Around the Sun

To celebrate birthdays at Colette’s school, they read the story of a child’s birth and a bit about the child from each year of life. It is a lovely tradition and all the children look forward to their turn to be in the spotlight. Today it is Colette’s turn. Here is her story.

Child’s full name:
Colette Rocket Kuzda

Day and date of birth:
Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 7:45pm

Place of birth:
OHSU Hospital, Portland, OR

Weather/details about the day:
The day started off with beautiful blue skies and sunshine. You could still see the moon in the western sky. It was warm and comfortable, a perfect summer morning. But it was day one of a six-day heatwave here in Portland and we reached a high of 92 degrees throughout the day. It was Portland’s first 90-degree day of the year and the hottest temperature in almost 300 days (since September 7, 2012).

Who was present to greet your child?
Mama and Daddy, of course. Plus surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses!

Any special notes about your child’s arrival:
The day before Colette was born, we found out that she was not in a good position to be born. Instead, she was breech, which means her head was up and her bottom was down, just like you are all sitting right now. This was not great news and meant Colette’s mama and daddy had to talk to several doctors and midwives to come up with a safe plan to bring Colette into the world. The anesthesiologists gave Colette’s mama some medicine so she wouldn’t feel pain and then the doctors tried to help Colette flip around inside her mama so she could safely be born when she was ready. But Colette wouldn’t budge and so the doctors had to help her get out of her mama quickly. She arrived by caesarean section, which is a kind of surgery where a special doctor, called a surgeon, makes a little cut in the mama’s abdomen, takes the baby out, and then sews up the cut so the mama’s body can heal. Colette’s daddy got to hold her first and then Colette’s mama got to see her and she wrapped her tiny little fingers around her mama’s big finger. It was very special for everyone and her mama was so happy she cried.

This story comprises the introduction to the birthday walk. We sing a song while the birthday child walks one complete orbit around the candle (the sun) while holding the painted globe (the earth) representing the passage of the child’s first year. The narrative continues:

Please describe your child after her/his first birthday: what s/he liked to do, liked to eat, whom s/he spent time with, important family events, trips, etc.
Colette was always a good eater and she especially loved yams and asparagus. She had a really hard time sleeping on her own and always wanted Mama or Daddy to be with her. Colette loved to swing at the park and so we went several times a week. She has always loved music, dancing, and singing. She started taking Music Together when she was just 8 months old and was thrilled to be with her mama at music classes or with her Daddy while he played his guitar at home. Between when she was 3 months old and nearly two years old, Colette traveled to New York once, Florida twice, Colorado twice, and Ohio once to visit family and friends. She always seemed to like being on airplanes.

The child walks another orbit.
Please share another brief story about your child after her/his second birthday.

Colette’s Auntie Em, Didus (Grandpa), and Nana (Grandma) moved to Portland when she was almost two and so she was able to spend lots of time playing with them. Nana and Didus took Colette to storytime at the library every single week! It was their special adventure and Colette loved it. Colette was pretty much bald until she was almost 2 years old! Her love of music and dance continued. She and her mama went just about every week to see Red Yarn perform his music and bring out his animal puppet friends. Colette discovered her love of Irish dancing when we visited the Irish Festival in the spring and she still likes to mix in a smiling, bouncy jig every couple of weeks with our regular dance parties. Colette traveled to New York again in the fall and to Florida again in the spring to visit family.

After his/her third birthday…
Colette got really good at riding her strider and was the fastest kid her age in the neighborhood. She wanted to go for walks or bike rides to the park nearly every day. Colette got really into helping Mama and Daddy around the house. Her favorite ways to help were by preparing food in the kitchen and vacuuming the floors throughout the house. Colette started school at New Farm Montessori in September. She loved it right from the start! She still loved music and dancing and went to Music Together classes with Mama every week. Colette went to her first music concert, March Fourth Marching Band, in October and was dancing in the aisles by the end of the concert. Her fascination with all things medical, including doctors, nurses, flu shots, and dentists, began around age 3 and continues to this day. She traveled to Colorado and Florida again this year!

After his/her fourth birthday…
Colette loved to do things for herself. Her favorite foods were chicken noodle soup, mac & cheese, and pancakes (and they still are!). She also loved any kind of fruit and she loved sardine sandwiches. And snacks. And treats. She loved snacks and treats. Especially chocolate. Colette loved to be read to and also liked to tell herself stories based on the pictures she saw in her books. She wanted to make art every day and was especially into watercolor painting and colored pencil drawing. She and her Daddy and Mama had nightly dance parties before bed. Colette began trying to learn how to ride a bike with pedals. She enjoyed hiking and completed the 4T trail with her Daddy at least 5 times!

And now Colette is 5 years old!
Share a story about your child’s new interests or skills:

Colette had her very last Music Together class a couple weeks ago when she graduated from the big kid music class! This past year, she learned to read and write basic music notes and rhythms and she absolutely loved singing and making music with her class. Colette loves books, is beginning to recognize small words, and she is getting really good at identifying the letters that make up words by sounding them out. She enjoys making cards for family and friends and writing special messages inside. Art is still a definite favorite for Colette. The other day, she had an art project idea and then made it happen all on her own. She cut bits of paper to make a rainbow collage and then added watercolor paint to the spaces between the rainbow pieces. She is very proud of this artwork and asked to display it on the wall in our home for her birthday. The most exciting change to happen recently is that Colette learned to ride her bike! The day she figured it out, she probably went on at least 10 bike rides because she was so excited and enjoyed it so much! Colette also loves being in water and is learning to be a good swimmer. She is funny, clever, loving, kind, and quite independent. We love Colette so, so, so much and are very glad she is part of our family.

Colette at Work and Play

Mama: What kind of work did you do today, Colette?
Colette: I can’t remember.
Mama: Really? Tell me just one thing you enjoyed today.
Colette: I didn’t do anything.
Mama: Did you do bead stringing? (she always says she did bead stringing)
Colette: Oh, yeah. I did bead stringing alllll day long. Nothing else.
Mama: Are you sure you didn’t do any art work today? Or wash a table? Or learn letters? Or work with the pink tower? Or go for a rope walk?
Colette: Nope. Just bead stringing.
Mama: Did you work with anyone else or by yourself?
Colette: Just by myself. No, no – actually with Lazadae! (grinning smile and sly eyes)
Mama: Oh, with Lazadae huh? (she is completely enamored with Lazadae, as she is the oldest kid there, but I don’t know that they actually do much work together)
Colette: Yep! I love Lazadae.
Mama: What did you have for lunch?
Colette: I didn’t eat lunch. There wasn’t any today.
Mama: That’s weird.
Colette: Huh. That’s weird.
Mama: Are you sure you didn’t have pasta for lunch today, because I see some sauce on your face.
Colette: How’d that get there? That’s really weird!

Luckily, her school provides pictures and feedback about what the kids do at school or I would never know she gets up to!

Winter Wonderland

We have yet another snow day in Portland today!

This is the 5th time they have cancelled school this year due to snow and ice, but this is by far the most snow we have gotten this winter. In fact, I read that this is the most snow we have had fall on a single day in more than 40 years! We got about a foot of snow last night here in North Portland and another few inches this morning. Colette and Zakk went out to check it all out and do some shoveling this morning.

Colette didn’t believe me when I told her the snow was going to come up to her knees!

Of course, we don’t have a proper snow shovel because we don’t usually get much snow. In fact, there have been several winters where we have received no more than a dusting, if that. But not this year! So Zakk use our regular metal shovel to clear the sidewalk. And I used the same shovel on Monday to clear the ice that cancelled school for the day. If events so far are an indication of what’s to come, we’re in for a long winter!

After the shoveling, Zakk and Colette took a break to build a tiny snowman. I’m not sure why they decided to go so tiny when there is so much snow to work with, but it is pretty cute!

We went out in the snow again this afternoon and had some more fun with our friends down the block.

Zakk and Colette helped Chad and Pearl build a snow fort.

Then Pearl decided to take a snack break.

And Colette decided to join her for a “snow apple”.

Their finished fort was pretty impressive and will likely stand for days and get lots more playtime!


On our way home, we encountered a giant snowman in another neighbor’s yard.

When we got home, Colette found that Zakk had made a tiny snow hill for her to sled down.

As Colette would say, “That sounds like a goooood day!”

A Glimpse Into Colette’s School Days

Colette has been loving school so far! Her preschool has been great about sending photos and updates of her activities, which we love seeing and thought you might also enjoy.

Off To The Farm!

A couple weeks ago, we made a paper chain to count down the days until Colette started preschool. As the chain became shorter and shorter, Colette became more and more excited. This morning, she woke up and said, “Today is the day I go to my new school!” She got herself dressed, we ate breakfast, and then Mama and Daddy both walked her to New Farm Montessori for her first day. It was a bit misty on our walk there, but we were full of anticipation and smiles.

When we arrived, there were several other children and parents getting settled in too. Colette took off her shoes, hung up her sweater and hat, and then Mama helped her unload her backpack. She found the bin labeled with her name and put her extra clothes and slippers inside. She took her placemat and napkins to Mandy (one of the guides, which is what a teacher is called in Montessori schools), who helped her put them away with the other children’s placemats and napkins and then she waited her turn to wash her hands in the bathroom.

There was a lot of activity in the little schoolhouse as children were beginning to explore and say goodbyes to parents. Several little ones burst into tears at the thought of mom or dad leaving them there. Colette was quiet and observant, staying close to us. We wandered through the house, she contemplated going out to the backyard where Jeff (another guide) was exploring with some children, decided to stay in instead, and then met Jessica (the third guide). She watched as some of the children decided what to work on and Jessica helped them get started. Then Jessica suggested she say goodbye to Mama and Daddy so she could pick an activity.

Colette gave big monkey hugs, clinging tightly to our necks, hesitant to let go. She planted sweet little kisses on our cheeks. And then we walked toward the door to get our shoes and head home. As we turned to go, Colette wavered just a bit, tears welling up in her eyes. I heard her tell Jessica that she wanted Mama and Daddy to stay with her. Jessica acknowledged her feelings and offered her a hug, which Colette accepted. We waved and blew kisses and hugs from outside the window and Colette flashed a big smile, sending waves, hugs, and kisses back to us. “She will be just fine,” I assured myself.

Zakk and I headed home. It was slightly mistier now and we were quieter. I was thinking of some of the many, many moments that had led up to this point. Wondering how time can move so quickly and yet so slowly. Feeling anxious about how her first experience being away from a known and trusted adult would go for her. Feeling proud of my brave girl and knowing she will flourish in this new adventure. Feeling proud of us as parents for helping her get here. Feeling a little sad that she is growing up so quickly.

When I returned to pick her up, there were already several other parents leading their children down the steps and heading home, gathered inside the doorway collecting shoes and jackets, saying goodbyes and thank yous to the guides. I stood outside the window and watched Colette inside by herself for a few seconds. She didn’t seem concerned that she hadn’t seen her parents arrive yet. She was still exploring a bit, looking over the various shelves and tables at all their contents. She glanced up at the activity by the doorway and then over to the window and her face spread into a smile when she saw me. We waved to each other and she gently pushed her way through the grownups and out onto the porch to give me a bug hug. I asked her how it went. “Good,” she said smiling and then buried her face in my neck, squeezing me tightly.

On our walk home, she told me all kinds of tales about her morning. Most of them were pretend (“I went to a big blue mountain, all the way to the top, by myself!”), some were real (“I played with beads and put them on a string.”). She was exuberant and alternated between running and playfully dawdling. It was clear she had enjoyed her first day at school. I felt grateful and happy. And proud. So very proud.

Rojo the Llama

Today we met a llama in a tiny top hat and bow tie. His name is Rojo.
He was so calm and gentle and Colette absolutely loved feeding him carrots.

She even fed Rojo a carrot from her own mouth!

I was so surprised she didn’t freak out! And I was a little grossed out by the idea, but luckily the carrot was sticking out far enough that the llama didn’t actually touch her mouth.

A Very Happy Easter

Colette, Zakk, and I all had a great time celebrating Easter and enjoying the beautiful day. Colette seemed pretty happy with her Easter treats this morning, but she had a really hard time not breaking into the sweet ones before breakfast. If you watch this video, you’ll see just how difficult it was for her to save them for later.

We had Zakk’s family over for brunch and then headed out to the backyard to hunt for eggs. Colette got to find hers first and she was thoroughly entertaining for all of us! Here’s a peek into the fun:

She had so much fun finding eggs the first time that she wanted to do it again after her nap. So we did it again! And it was just as much fun the second time! I warn you, this video is a bit long (about 15 min). But I think it’s worth a watch. Of course, I am biased.

Hope everyone had a happy Easter!



Colette couldn’t wait to go outside and check it out this morning when we woke up, so we bundled over our jammies and went out! 27 degrees doesn’t feel so cold when your kiddo is enthralled with this stuff called snow!

We went out again later after we woke Daddy up and we all had fun running around and making snowballs.  

Snow is rare enough in Portland that it is a total treat when we get it. Especially when we have nowhere to go and can just enjoy playing and then cozy up at home!

Happy Halloween!

We have been having a lot of fun preparing for Halloween this year! Colette loves all the costumes and has been practicing saying “trick-or-treat” for the past few weeks. On Thursday evening, the businesses near our neighborhood hosted trick-or-treat and she had a great time going door to door and collecting candy. The rain might keep us from going out tonight, but I can definitely say we have made the best of it all this year!

Back in Time, part 3

Still in catch-up mode…here for your viewing pleasure are our adventures from May!

And, of course, a peek back to May 2014 for comparison…

1 2 3 4 11