Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Dear J2,

Happy happy 2nd Birthday my sweetest little boy, all 33 lbs of you! You are messy. You are determined. You are mostly happy and you are infinitely adorable. You light up our family with your infectious smile and every milestone leaves me feeling like we have a child prodigy on our hands. There will come a day when not everything you do leaves me in awe, but for now I beam with pride at your cleverness. 

You are truly all boy. You like playing in dirt, splashing in water, climbing on tables and running full speed ahead at all times. How do we know when you are done eating/drinking? When you dump your food/beverage all over the ground. How do we know when someone else is done eating/drinking? When you dump their food/beverage all over the ground. But when you remember them, you have the sweetest manners. Who can resist giving you exactly what you want when you are holding your hands out saying, "Please?" It is certainly not me. 

You love oral hygiene, singing, dancing and knock knock jokes. You sing Happy Birthday, ABCs, and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and you also love Patty Cake. You are also not afraid to chime in when your sister sings "Let It Go," which is still happening with alarming regularity considering how long ago that movie was. I love when you ask me to put the headphones on you so that you can listen to "doh doh" (aka Uptown Funk), and your Gangnam Style dancing could give even Psy a run for his money.

Your knock knock jokes are based solely on whatever item is within your field of vision. When I ask "who's there," you scan the room and what's usually "there" will end up being blankie, pillow, puppy, or even "more puppy." 

You are adamant about "cheers-ing" at every opportunity whether it is with a sippy cup or a yogurt cup. 

You also love food. Cooking it, eating it, chewing it, or sharing it with Carl, you love it all. You have been known to ask for seconds just so you can share them with Carl, which is much to my dismay particularly when it is the last of the macaroni and cheese and I'm still hungry. You can often be found rooting through the refrigerator for a snack. In the photo below, you decided to double fist some carrots. However, instead of eating them, you chewed them up and spit them on the carpet. I had to struggle just to get Carl to pick up the pieces. Sigh. 

Yet, your happy little face is all I need to forgive all the mischief and destruction. You are the last of the Chunglunds and your birthday has made Chunglund babies extinct from this planet. 

Happy happy birthday, sweet little boy. You can never understand just how much I love you because I cannot put it into words, but you don't have to understand it for it to be true. I love you forever and like you for always, little one.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

off to school

And so it begins. We're are more than one month into kindergarten and I may (or may not) be finally getting the hang of it. Homework, spelling tests, Spanish, cooking club, parent hours - not to mention all the extra curriculars - soccer, piano, dance. It's enough to overwhelm even the most experience parent let alone little old me. Pretty sure I am losing my mind and am "having one of those days" every day for the last month. The good thing is that Little Miss J LOVES school. Unlike her mom, she's definitely got the hang of it. We pull up by the front door, she hops out of the car, dons her backpack and heads right on into the cafeteria for breakfast. Most mornings I have to ask for a hug and kiss goodbye.

I think the most pivotal change has been me learning to accept that there will always be others influencing my child. Those outside of our familial unit. Those who perhaps don't value the same things that we teach Little Miss J to value. Until this moment we, as her parents, were her greatest influence. We have shaped her view of the world from the ground up, and not surprisingly, it matches our own. Right, wrong, fact, fiction, and that grey area in between. We have defined those boundaries for her, and Little Miss J has listened to our words like they are gospel.

My precocious little girl came home from school rather offended by some "untrue words" spoken to her during lunch. The "untrue words" turned out to be a statement about potato chips being good food rather junk food, which was diametrically opposed to what Little Miss J has been taught and so she declared them "untrue words." In my opinion, she's not wrong. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about how big of an influence I have had on my daughter that she takes my words as fact, which in this case they were, but I get the feeling that this applies across the board whether I am stating a fact or expressing an opinion.

I am pleased that Little Miss J has truly listened and learned from us, and I am proud to see her living a life in accordance with our values, but I also feel the weight of the responsibility of raising a kind child, who has all the tools to make good choices, and will be a value to our society. Whitney Huston was not wrong. The children are our future, and I am personally responsible for raising humans that don't suck. That's HUGE!

There will always be external influences and outside pressures, but even at not quite five years old, and to quote Dr. Seuss, I can tell that my Little Miss J has brains in her head, feet in her shoes and she can steer herself in any direction she chooses. We're just starting kindergarten and we've got a long way to go, but I am impressed with how well Little Miss J already seems to know who she is.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

carl rove day

On a dark and stormy night (literally, dark and snow stormy), Gus and I drove nearly an hour away to pick up a puppy, who we would eventually name after our alma mater, Carleton. We settled on Rover as a middle name, because well, he's a dog and there was the fringe benefit of being able to call him Carl Rove, which I think is entertaining regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. Carl Rove has endured being snuck in and out of condo stashed away in a gym bag because dogs weren't really allowed, a cross country road trip from Minnesota to Arizona, living in three states, and being ousted by two tiny human Chunglunds. 

One of his favorite places is my parents' cabin on Lake Vermilion. A little island where you can take off his collar and he can roam freely and take a swim whenever it strikes his fancy. As soon as we let him out of the cabin in the morning, he's immediately run down to the shoreline for a quick swim. Sometimes he's be so excited to get to the cabin that he'd launch out of the boat before we'd even docked. Since we've left Minnesota, Carl Rove hasn't gotten back to Lake Vermilion and both Gus and I feel badly about that. 

This is a dog who loves to swim and since we've left Minnesota besides the illicit swimming in the neighbor's pool, Carl Rove hasn't gotten much swimming in at all. Poor pup. Ever since we were introduced to Donner Lake by our friends, Wendy and Steve and Wendy's ever hospitable parents, and I saw all the dogs there, I have been wanting to bring Carl Rove for a swim. We finally made that happen last weekend. We shoved four adults, two kids, and the dog into the car and headed for Truckee on Sunday. Carl swam and swam and then swam some more. By the time we left, he was shivering and he had pooped so many times I had run out of plastic bags and was picking it up with J2's diaper.

After his swim, we found a dog friendly patio for lunch in Truckee. The food wasn't good, the service was even worse, but at least Carl got to tag along. Some ice cream for dessert and then we all piled into the car and headed back. Of course as soon as we got back, Carl immediately climbed the fence to swim in the neighbor's pool. Sigh. It's never enough is it? Happy Carl Rove Day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

endless summer

Summer is coming to an end. School has already started. Little Miss J is in kindergarten! It has been an eye opening experience for me, but we can save that for another blog post. Even so, we are squeezing every little last bit of fun out of this summer, including a trip to Donner Lake with our good friends, Wendy and Steve. After the last few days at work, thinking back to our fun weekend is just what I needed.

There was swimming, kayaking, American Ninja warrior-ing, game playing, and beer and wine, of course! I could have definitely done without seeing one of my clients while in my swim suit bent over trying to remove J2's shoes, and also the next morning right after I had rolled out of bed and put on a hoodie to go grab coffee, but aside from that, we had a great weekend. Little Miss J hid in the closet at Beckett's cabin because she didn't want to head home.

And even after all the fun we had at Tahoe Donner, so much fun that the kids looked like THIS on the way home ...

We can't stop, won't stop swimming! We headed over to Auntie Rachael's house for more swimming!

I love how much my kids love the water. We've got one more weekend of summer until our Saturdays are consumed with soccer, and we plan to take full advantage of it!

wordless wednesday