Christmas Card 2017

Merry Christmas! The 2017 Rausch Family Christmas Card is here!

ESCAPE from the MAZE PLANET! It’s a text adventure where you play as Fruckles, a lovable alien pet who helps Kiddo and Sweets make decisions along their adventure.

Can you escape the maze planet? Will you turn around in shame? There’s more than one way out, so feel free to play over and over again.

View our 2017 Christmas Card here.

South Dakota State Legislature Swearing-In

On January 11th, Holli, Ian, and I tripped to Pierre, SD, for the Swearing-In of the Speaker of the House. Why would we make this 4 hour drive through the frozen, South Dakota nothingness? For the Missouri River? Nope! For Val Rausch, newly-sworn Speaker of the House, of course (It is EMBARRASSING how long it took you to answer. I practically had to spell it out for you. Actually, I literally had to spell it out for you; that’s what writing is.)! It was a pretty momentous occasion for the Rausch family, and I’m really glad it worked out for us to be there. The travel could have been nicer. It was a four-hour drive up and a five-hour drive back, thanks to fussy babies, blowing snow, and meals. Still, not many people can say, “My dad is the South Dakota Speaker of the House this year!” In fact, exactly three other people can say that, which makes us an exclusive, related group.

I’ve always loved the tradition and trappings of the State Capitol. The architecture is ornate, the ceremony is thoughtful, and the people are still South Dakota friendly. We sat in the galley, at least until Ian became a little too boisterous for the company we were keeping. Then he and Holli took respite near the rotunda, so he could blow off some baby-steam. After the swearing-in, we got an exclusive pass into the Speaker of the House’s executive office, complete with granite desktop. (Gee, I wonder where he got that idea.) We also met the Speaker of the House’s secretary, took some of the Speaker of the House’s business cards, and wrote on the Speaker of the House’s whiteboard. To top it off, we got some Speaker of the House cake, which isn’t actually made from Speakers of the House (unforch).

I put the photos up on Facebook and in a Flickr album called Val Rausch – Speaker of the House – ’11 – ’12. I also put the videos up on YouTube, in a playlist called South Dakota Legislature Swearing-In.

Ian’s New Language

I remember when my cousin, Stephanie Rausch, was born, and Dan, her older brother, was excitedly telling me about her cognitive development. He was fascinated with his youngest sister and was gaining great insights into her brain. To her, “out of sight” meant “out of existence”. If you were to leave the room, it was as if you disappeared; if you were to duck behind the couch, her little brain couldn’t imagine that you simply weren’t visible. Instead, you were gone entirely.

I didn’t appreciate it then, but that’s fascinating to consider. To draw that line from infant thought to adult thought is a quantum leap. We “know” the person behind the couch is still there, but we have remarkably little evidence to that fact. Yet, as adults, it makes complete sense. I saw him duck behind the couch. Why wouldn’t he be there? Somewhere in our development, this logic goes from incomprehensible to self-evident.

Now, these years later, I’m in close proximity with a growing, thinking child, and I find myself excitedly observing him with all the enthusiasm Dan had for his sister. Of particular interest to me, and the subject of this post, has been Ian’s development in language.

I am not a child psychologist, so all speculations and conclusions are my own and are based on very little observation and absolute no credentials. Take them as that.

Buckle up; this will probably be boring and wildly speculative.

Continue reading “Ian’s New Language”

Family Relations

The Miles Family

A lot of family events have taken place this summer, so I’ll highlight a couple of them here.

Marissa Smiled Alot

Marissa Gregg, my lil-sil, graduated from high school in May. Thus begins the long, arduous, painful process of learning how much alcohol you can tolerate. I mean, “college”. Holli and I travelled down to help with the celebration by arranging plates of cake in neat, ordered rows. I’ll be honest, helping to run the graduation party felt a little like being part of The West Wing or Studio 60 or Sports Night. You’ll just have to trust me on that one. Still, everything went well, and there was plenty of soda and sub sandwiches for everyone.

Bryce and Lindsey Cut Trees and Changed Diapers

Even with the economy the way it is, and their work schedules, they were able to make it out to our area just before July 4th. It just so happened, that was the weekend we all helped out Grandma, so it was a mini-reunion. While it involved a lot of hauling branches, stacking wood, painting, cleaning, and just general grunt work, we still managed to discuss Bryce’s unique work frustrations and to give our cousin, Tom, some girl advice. Plus, Bryce almost sold a monument.

We didn’t get to see Lindsey nearly as much, seeing as she was spending time with her family, too. When we did get to see her, it also gave us a chance to meet the newest member of her parents’ family, a dachshund. The dog was cute, made cuter by the tiny diaper she was wearing. Why was she wearing a human infant’s diaper? Because she was menstruating. Oh, good. Thankfully, the diaper had a tendency to come off, so we all got a chance to help out with putting a human diaper on a small, struggling wiener dog.

It’s always good to see them, and it’s a shame that we can’t see them more often. If necessary, I could become a world famous serial killer in the Sioux Falls area, allowing Lindsey the chance to crack her first big case as she explores the underworld of The Queen City, Sioux Falls (which would allow them to move closer). The offer’s out there. I’m willing.

Everybody Carried Something

If you were, for whatever reason, in the Sioux Falls area around July 4th, we probably asked you to help us move. The first day of moving was greatly aided by fellow L&Ser, Dave Haan, and his daughter, and uncle Kevin, whose truck was the greatest benefit. We actually managed to get a lot accomplished, just three guys with a truck and a morning to kill. That night was a major second round of packing, using the boxes we’d just unloaded, and saturday the parents came down with a trailer. On Saturday, everything was moved in in time for lunch. Clockwork, people. That’s what it was like.

Molly Watched Baseball

I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from my cousin, Molly Brass. She was in Lennox for only a couple more days, and she wondered if we could get together. It had just so happened that Holli and I were going to be attending a Canaries baseball game and were able to get an extra ticket for her. So, we watched a little baseball. Mostly, we caught up, learning about the inner drama of working at a museum. Apparently, she sees Mark Walberg, like, all the time.

After the game, we came back to the house we were then renting and showed her around. Then we talked again until she had to leave. It was great to see her, especially all the way from Boston. If she didn’t have her parents in Lennox, we probably would only see her at reunions. If Jenny Brass keeps this London stuff up, that’ll be what happens to her. Hint, hint.

David, Houa, and Brenna Rode The Mexican Train

Holli and I decided to have a little house-warming get-together with friends, and, at first, it seemed that we would be hanging out alone. Then we got word that Mike and Sonja could come. Then David and Houa were coming. Then Brenna Proczko was going to be in town. Before we knew it, it was a hopping party once again.

We played board games (barf), gave tours (awesome!), and ended the night with dominos, which Mike and Sonja brought.  The game of dominos rounded out our night (well beyond when Holli usually goes to bed) as it takes about twelve rounds to finish. However, it was good fun, no one was seriously injured, and the police gave us a warning instead of a second strike. Mike and Sonja left and the rest of us tried to get connected to the Internet.

The next day, Brenna showed and narrated over pictures of her honeymoon to Iceland and England. I believe she has at least a portion of them up on Facebook, so if you’re friends with her, you can check them out. Otherwise, just know that they were awesome, and we saw dragons and waterfalls, they bought really expensive lobster bisque. Holli went to work, then David and Houa headed back, then Brenna and I talked for a while, and then she headed back, and then I was all by myself, and I pictured what it would be like to meet a dragon, and then Holli came home from work.

(I didn’t know how to end that. Just know that it was awesome seeing Brenna and David and Houa.)

The Miles Family Reuned

It has been ages since the last Miles Family Reunion. They used to occur quasi-regularly, but then my great-grandmother died, and things became much more sporadic. Now (hopefully) there is a revival in place. This year’s reunion was held in Maple Grove, Minnesota, which is in the Twin Cities area, Minneapolis-side. Holli and I drove up on Friday and checked into a Venice-themed Holiday Inn. It was one of the nicest Holiday Inns I’ve ever slept within.

The actual reunioning took place at the Acorn Shelter in some national park or whatever in the area. The plan for the day was as broad as “eat and talk”, and that’s exactly what we did. Eventually, food was cooked and then consumed. Holli joined a substantial volleyball game which I helped to coach. “Cyber Fox” made impressive progress against “Cyber Wolf” (the copy cats), until Coach Faletti went in to help his team. How can I compete with that? I can only yell so loud. Holli ended up with a fairly bruised forearm from that game, an injury painful enough that she “couldn’t drive home”.

Eventually the evening came upon us. Holli and I hit up Target and met up with everyone at the hotel. The kids went swimming whilst the adults sat around and talked. Then a tornado was spotted, so Dad and I had one last drink while everyone cowered for their lives in the hallways. When I see bad weather, I say, “Lay your head upon my sweet Crown Royal,” and drink up. Or, at least, I did this one time.

The next day we attended mass at great uncle Dick’s church, which was much more “modern” than I had assumed. Great uncle Dick told me a number of times about how he almost made the trip to our wedding. Afterwards, many enjoyed a chicken dinner, but Holli and I had a long drive home. We stopped a couple of times to kill vagrants, but it’s still a long drive. I think Amber and Jill did a great job getting the family together.

Hopefully we can keep the family reunions going. Just as long as I don’t have to do anything.