Monday, September 30, 2013

Austin, TX for Grandpa Jack's Memorial Service

A few weeks ago we had a chance to visit Texas for the first time, to celebrate and remember the very full life of my Grandpa Jackson Worth Bosley (my dad's dad).  Although we always lived far away from one another and our paths didn't cross as often as I would have liked, it was from my Grandpa Jack that I inherited a childhood love of stamp collecting and learned where the countries in the world fell into place, and it was in years of correspondence to him and my father across the ocean that I learned the art and importance of writing letters.  

Family time was priority numero uno on our recent trip to Austin, but we did manage to visit a few places in our down time.  The day we arrived we had a few hours to ourselves before gathering with our family for dinner, so we went to Central Market and were completely wowed by their selection of basically every single thing.  We stopped at their amazing cafe for a snack and Gigi and the little girl in the booth next to ours kicked off a friendship by holding hands in the narrow gap between the booth and the window.  Aren't things simple when you're 3 years old?

My Grandpa Jack's wife Sandra was remarkable.  She had planned family dinners and was a lovely hostess in all things, despite the busy - and what must have been lonely - place of planning for the memorial service of her husband of many decades.  We loved hanging out with her, my dad and Emili, and members of Sandra's family who had come to support her.  

Thursday was our main sightseeing day, and after Marcos had helped Sandra purchase and install a new printer, we went out with my dad and Emili for lunch at Mr. Natural, a vegetarian restaurant in a very Mexican part of town.  Maybe that wasn't so rare for a Texan city, but us North Carolinians loved the party stores overspilling with colorful piñatas.  I was set on eating tex mex as much as possible while we were in Texas, and the vegetarian options at Mr. Natural were delicious.

After lunch it was a trip to Butler Park splashpad to get a break from the heat.  Every day we were there it was just a few degrees shy of 100, but although everyone was commenting on the heat, I thought it was amazing.  The flatness of that part of the country made for a great wind, and it was a much drier heat than I am used to here in North Carolina.  Even the high temperatures didn't feel oppressive to me, like they usually do at home.

Rose the dog loved to kiss Orion.  Below is the Capital building.  Austin has a great downtown area.

For dinner that evening Sandra took the family out to her favorite neighborhood seafood grille, and it was amazing.  Sandra was very well prepared, and over dinner she let us know of the plans for the Memorial Service the following day.  

Grandpa Jack and Sandra have been attending the Episcopalian church on the University of Texas at Austin campus, so that is where the Memorial Service was held the following afternoon.  It was a traditional service with the wafer and wine, beautiful organ and viola duets, scripture readings and people officiating in robes.  I loved the music.  Our children were the only ones there at a mid-day Friday service, and Orion lasted about thirty seconds so Marcos took him outside.  Gigi and I enjoyed the rest of the service, although in a reverent crowd it is difficult to have the only child.

My Grandpa Jack was a veteran of 3 wars, and worked many, many years for the CIA in the latter part of his career.  He was a very dutiful and responsible man, fluent in many languages, and intrigued by the cultures and people of the world.  I wanted to sit down with Sandra at length and hear stories about his life while we were there, but it wasn't the right time.  I hope we get a chance to sit down together in the future.  There's something about a memorial service to help us reflect on our lives and wonder what we're doing now that will someday be worth mentioning when we are gone.  There is additionally something about having a death in your own family to make you feel connected to a legacy of people.  I am my Grandpa Jack's only grandchild, and the only continuing strand of the Bosley chain through him and my father.  Am I representing my family well?  

Gigi and I loved leaving the church to the music of the bag pipes.

At the receiving line, Sandra greeted old friends, family and neighbors.  Orion and I were also in the line greeting people with my dad and Emili, and supporting Sandra and her family.  Gigi ate the delicious food that the church ladies had prepared and danced around, and Marcos took photos.  So many people who came by told me how wonderful my Grandpa Jack had been to them, and it made me a little jealous that they had spent more time with him than I had!

After the Memorial service we had a few hours before a family dinner party, and we headed to our final Austin sight seeing destination - SoCo!  South Congress is a really funky area just across the river from downtown.  Walking around, I kind of felt like I was on another planet.  It was late afternoon on a Friday, the place was hopping with people and live music, there was well groomed graffiti on walls, cacti plants, mist machines rigged to the overhangs at the outdoor cafes, Texas dry heat, and even the air seemed to be a unique shade of sunset pink.  We loved it.  We are nightlife people, and Chapel Hill is a slow place to live.  Austin just kept getting cooler.

But all too soon it was time to leave and join our family at Grandpa Jack and Sandra's home for a dinner with all of Sandra's closest fans and supporters.  It was a special way to spend our last night in Austin, and we really enjoyed getting to know the characters who loved and supported my family.  I am grateful for all of their continued support as Sandra is adjusting to her life sans Grandpa Jack.  I can't even imagine.  Companionship is such a powerful thing.

And that was our journey to Austin, TX!  We have heard for years that if you visit anywhere in Texas it should be Austin, and we are fans for life.  Family together time in Austin was the best of both worlds.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A few days ago we went to a very fun combined birthday party for the son and daughter of my dear work friend Lisa from my days at the UNC School of Social Work.  In a rare act of kindness, both the birthday girl and boy gave Gigi their birthday balloons as we were leaving their party, and Gigi was beside herself with happiness.  

Suddenly, a big gust of wind in the parking lot pulled one of the balloons straight off of its ribbon and the balloon was up and out of sight over the trees.  As it soared higher, Gigi crumpled into a mess of shrieks and rage at the wind, and so much sadness about her lost balloon.  She was inconsolable.  But after a minute she shared the thought that maybe the wind had taken the balloon to a different country where children didn't have balloons, or enough toys to play with, and maybe even to a little girl in India.

She was far happier with that thought than she would have been with the balloon.

I think I love the girl she is becoming.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Preschool Begins!

Last week we traveled to Austin, TX for my Grandpa Jack's memorial service (more photos to come!).  We arrived home from Texas on Saturday evening, and on Sunday was the Primary Sacrament Program that (as the Primary President) I have been praying and sweating over for the last few months.  I can't even tell you how many hours have gone into that one project - so many that when it ended I wasn't even sure if it had gone well or not.  Kind of like recognizing your own family's bad habits - it's just hard to see clearly from the inside out, once you become a thread in the tapestry.  And then in case life wasn't difficult enough, I decided to run our primary teacher training in two sessions immediately after the primary program.  It was a long, very full, and gratifying day.

Which is why I was super grateful that my mom friends in our Preschool Coop were fine with waiting until this week to kick off preschool.  Here's Gigi, ready for her first day of school, which was Tuesday.  Can I tell you how excited I am about starting this up again?  It worked really well last year to have us rotate homes and take turns hostessing preschool one day a week, and this year we're upping the ante to two mornings a week for two hours.  It requires a bit more preparation on our part (the price we pay to keep things free) but it will be so worth it.  

Last year Gigi was the youngest in the group at two and a half, and she had the hardest time sitting in her space for even a brief circle time.  It was torture (and not just for her).  Now, a year later, she just sat through her Tutu reading aloud her first chapter book and she has learned how to settle her body through circle time, easy peasy.  It's amazing what one year can do...  On top of that, last year our kids were at the level of A is for Apple, but this week my friend Kim did A is for Attribute, and taught about the 5 senses.  Can you see where I'm going with this?  Engaging with a few kids who are eager to learn, who can settle their bodies and grasp more complex concepts is fun!  

So that's our news for the week.  Gigi will also start back in with Kindermusik again on Saturday, which is the icing on the cake.  I love fall, and I love jumping back into a weekly rhythm and schedule.  We have learned the hard way that being frenetically busy does not do our family any favors, but having a few meaningful things on the agenda for the week helps us to move about engaged in life, like the hum of a bee.

And finally, a few of Gigi's hilarious creations.  With the fashion she adds to her characters, it looks like they could start a parade!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Three and a Half

On the side of our refrigerator I keep a magnetic pad of paper for making grocery lists, and I always have a page of Gigi quotes that I'm collecting and saving for the moment I have a chance to write them down somewhere more permanent.  We host dinners with friends off and on, and on one such occasion I was stuffing away the never ending eruption of extra papers and artwork lying about and I misplaced my list of Gigi quotes.  I rarely misplace anything, and it upset me for days.  I felt like I had lost a chunk of her childhood.  I remembered the gist of a few of the quotes, but because I can usually get them down word for word in the moment, I knew that my memory wasn't capturing them right.  It was so relieving to find them again a few days later.  Here they are.


After I told Gigi it was time for quiet time upstairs.

Gigi: Well, I don't like quiet time upstairs.  It's like jail!  My room is like JAIL!


During our family home evening discussion about Mormon pioneers, Gigi summarizes her version of what we covered.

Gigi: And then...  they walked, and walked and they passed the Pyramids of Giza, and then they arrived in Salt Lake City!


Me: Gigi, L-O-V-E spells love!
Gigi: Okay.  But how do you spell "djembe drum"?


Discussing the future.

Gigi: I'm going to play with my children all day when I'm a mommy.  I'm not going to clean up, or anything like that.  'Cause I love my children, so I'm going to play with them all day.


In the car, Orion suddenly starts screeching and I am driving and can't look back.

Me: Gigi, can you check on Orion?  Is he okay?
Gigi: Yes, he's just trying to sing.  Opera!


Gigi doing one of the things she loves best: yoga.  One of the great Prieto mysteries is where Gigi got her love of yoga and how she managed to learn any of the poses.  Demographically speaking I should be all over yoga, but I'm not sure whether it is really my pace, so this interest has been fueled solely by her.