Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Princess Tea...

Brown Eyed Gal went to her first birthday party last weekend "A Princess Tea." A little girl in the neighborhood was turning three. She enjoyed decorating her wand and princess hat with stickers and sequins. She had a cup of tea (sherbet punch) and she watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A fun time was had by all the little princesses! 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Learning from Each Other

Labor day weekend and many children are going back to school next week.  My boys are in a year round school and they have been in session since the week after the Fourth of July.  It is amazing to see the changing dynamics of their relationship, now that they are both in school.

My second grader loves to quiz his Kindergartner brother as we drive around in the car. 

"What's 2+2?" "What's 4+4?"

"4" and "8"

"Right... What's 20+20?" "What's 40+40?"  

He goes through all the addition facts coaching his brother about how to add by tens.

The other day I noticed them sitting together at the kitchen table and my older son was doing alphabetizing of his spelling words and he was showing his brother how you look to the second letter if two words start with the same letter- (like acrobat, applause).

He seems to love to be in the expert teaching mode... and then the tables turned.

I had put them to bed and my older son called to me.

"Mom, my brother learned something at school and I don't know if it's true or not."

His kindergartner brother had learned in a book that a baby fish is called a fry. 

"Let's look it up," I said.  

We found a table on the internet that listed all the animal names and what their babies are called. We found out that a fish is called a fry, or a fingerling.

My kindergartner was beaming because he had taught his older brother a fact that he didn't know.

The next morning at the breakfast table, my second grader was practicing his spelling words and he was having a little trouble getting "appreciate" right.  

His kindergartner brother piped up, "You just need to stretch it out A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-E."    

"Take the attitude of a student, never too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new"  Og Mandino

Photo Story Friday here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Mom's Grassroots Campaign!

It's Haiku Friday!

Presidential Year
Vote for me, I'll set you free!
Mama Mania

Having a big extended family with diverse political views, I usually try to stay quiet about my own leanings... but with four kids, the price of gas, and mortgages tanking everywhere, war, candidates bashing one another... What's a mom to do? 

I decided to take action.

Vote for me if you want the voice of a real mom struggling with today's challenging family issues. 

Storytellin' Mama Election 2008!!!

Key issues:
-Starbucks vouchers
-Naps for moms
-Redistribution household labor
-More spa days

It's WFMW over at Rocks in My Dryer. (Post originally published on Wednesday 8/27)

What works for me is to take a political breather and joke a little about the intensity of an election year.  I realize it's no joking matter and that things will be heating up soon enough.

Tip of the hat to the Wine Commonsewer for the fun presidential link.

I'm republishing for Haiku Friday to get a little more fun out of this post!
Disclaimer: This is not a job I am remotely qualified for, or would ever want! I admire any person who would sacrifice and give their best effort to serve this country in such an amazing and huge capacity! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Best Legs in a Kilt Contest...

My husband hamming it up!

My husband's co-worker and friend!

Showing a little leg!

Fancy moves!

And the winner is... this guy!!

My husband wins 2nd place!

A motley crew!

The bagpipes, of course!

2nd place and 1st place winners!!

My husband continues to embrace his Scottish and Irish heritage. Our local Irish store, Flanagan's Celtic Corner had a "Best Legs in a Kilt" contest Saturday night. My husband, the second place winner received a $25 gift certificate for the store and enjoyed the fun and company of some other displaced cronies! 

*Photos courtesy of Tony Graber.

*More Ruby Red pictures go here!
*More Silly monkey stories here!  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Moment of Quiet...

Last night was movie night at our kid's elementary school and my husband decided to take the boys. Both my girls were asleep by 7:45 PM. The dogs were lazy and sleeping.

The T.V. was turned off. There were no blaring video games. The phone did not ring.

The house was completely quiet. I realize how much I miss the quiet.

My life is mostly on sound overload. Our main room is tiled and sound reverberates off the tile. Children laughing and crying. Our beagle baying. 

The television, the radio, the Wii game system and the computer competing to fill the room with sound. 

I usually catch my quiet moments in the bathroom, but this is not guaranteed as a child may bust in at any time, or sometimes driving in the car when one child or another has fallen asleep in between drop offs and pick ups.

I can hardly remember a moment recently when it has been quiet in the house.  

I sat on the couch and enjoyed the moment of quiet. I drank a cup of tea alone in the quiet.

I read a magazine and a book I had started a while ago with no interruptions. No stops and starts. 

A blissful night to be remembered full of moments of quiet.

And then the moment was over...

The gang arrived home, the boys full of stories about the movie and the friends they had met.

The dogs decided to wrestle and growl in celebration.  

My husband began to practice his Piping Chanter (he's learning to play the bagpipes).

The quiet transitioned into a noisy night full of the many sounds of this lovely family.

Also to be remembered.

For more stories that make you smile go here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Buggy Love continues...

Today Storytellin' Boy found a new bug we had never seen before.

Conversation as follows:

"Mom, Look at this bug I found. Isn't he cute? I think he's just a baby."

"You better be careful about picking up new bugs, it might bite you."

"This one doesn't bite, and I know what kind of bug he is."

"Really, what kind?"

"He's a Tickle Hopper.  When he walks on you it tickles, but when he hops it doesn't.  He's called a Tickle Hopper. Isn't he adorable?"

"Yeah, adorable."

"Do you know what Tickle Hoppers eat?"

"No, I don't"

"They eat giggles.  Someone giggles and the bug breathes in the giggle and then his tummy is full. Can we keep him?"

Why not. Last week it was two Praying Mantis, some Flying Green beetles, and about a bizillion caterpillars. I guess we could add one little Tickle Hopper to the mix! 

More photo stories here!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Splish Splash I'm having a Blast!

While my brothers and sister swim...

I have my own personal pool...

My water play table is just the right size for me!

For more Wordless Wednesday go to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Bad Poetry Day...

No, I didn't make that up... Today is a very minor holiday- Bad Poetry Day 

In celebration here is one of my own poems:

Ode to a Library Book

Transporter. Personal Time Machine. Thick pages of story.
Narrating me away from stripped hearts and accusations.
You travel past the dingy hall, yellowed by a smoker's haze

Improviser of the written word, you are chosen from many.
Words read aloud reverberate against a wall of silence,
surprising the little me who picked you from a tattered shelf.

My small self in a crumpled dress, library card in hand.
A Wrinkle in time, The boxcar Children, Anne of Greene Gables.
Your worn pages transport me towards childhood's passage.

I hide under a pillow with a flashlight and M&M's.
Living among horses, Indians, and carriages.
Loud voices, empty eyes, but bravery and time travel fill mine.

Father has bloodied mum's lip, but I'm already gone.
Lost in battles of fables, myth and legend.
flying alongside dragons, I make order out of chaos.

It's another August evening, the warmth of families in the air,
but I never want to come home. Hide me in a small corner.
Surround me, soothing voice of fibber, fabricator, reciter of tales.

I wrote this for my writing class. It is a work in progress and I plan to revise it. Reading has always served me as an escape, especially from a tough childhood. 

In the Fall, I will be taking my third class at The Writers Studio.

This upcoming session, I plan to concentrate on writing poetry. This has always been an interest of mine and I'm excited to have a chance to focus on language and imagery in a more compressed way. I hope it will give me a chance to explore poetry more in depth, as well as enhance my fiction writing.  

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.
-W. H. Auden

Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
-Rita Dove

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Bug Loving Boys...

My Bug Loving boys
Butterfly, Caterpillar
Praying Mantis too!

Backyard Wonderland
Imagination Alive
A Bug Catching Dream!

Storytellin' Boy and Lil' Expert have been spending every spare minute out in the backyard catching a variety of bugs in their large butterfly catcher.  They have collected five or six caterpillars, a giant praying mantis, and a variety of beautiful moths and butterflies.  We keep them for a few hours and then we release them back to the yard. 

The above book they received for Christmas last year, Take Along Guide Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies by Mel Boring.  Both boys have been pouring over it to identify the critters we've found in our yard.  It has great illustrations and a lot of fun facts about different insects. For each bug the book identifies what the insect looks like, where to find it, and what it eats.

A couple of days ago, Storytellin' Boy found a butterfly that was beautiful and perfectly intact, but no longer alive. He found it in the parking lot of his sister's preschool.  

He brought it in the car and he said, "Aw... Poor little thing.  I'm going to take him home and put him in a butterfly graveyard." 

He placed the butterfly carefully on a napkin.  He questioned me about what had happened to the "poor little guy." He continued to talk about the colors of the butterfly wings, they were a vibrant blue and black.   He wondered if the butterfly's family might be missing him.  I believe he may have even shed a few tears in the back of the car for this little butterfly. 

It sounds a little dramatic, it's all part of nature and the life cycle after all, but it was moving to see my son's respect and care for nature and his sensitive side. He decided to keep the little black and blue butterfly and placed it on his dresser where he keeps his most important treasures.

A long time ago, William Wordsworth captured the mood of my kids chasing bugs and butterflies:

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey--with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.

By William Wordsworth, 1801
It's Haiku Friday!  More poems here and here!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sitting Pretty!

These red hand chairs were part of the decor of our modern hotel!

A great friend and a kid-free weekend in Palm Springs!

Thank you so much to my husband and his mother for watching the kids.  I felt so refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle the world after my weekend away. It's been over a week and I'm still feeling good. I hope to make taking a break with a friend a yearly tradition!!

For more red pictures go to Ruby Tuesday!

Monday, August 11, 2008

When Grandma Comes to Town...

Grandma and the Gang!

Grandma and the Girls!

My husband's mother, Grandma K has been in town for two weeks. We've had a great time and a definite highlight for my kids are Grandma's Chocolate Chip Pancakes.  A treat they look forward to whenever she visits. She made them Saturday for breakfast and Sunday night for dinner. The kids were in pancake heaven!

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix
3 cups mix
2 1/4 cups milk
three eggs
3 tbsp. oil
pour batter hot grill 350-400 degrees
sprinkle with chocolate chips
       serve up with whip cream or powdered sugar

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bad Hair Day!

This morning Lil' Red found a jar of vaseline left out on the counter.

After two shampoos her hair still looks like this!  

*For more Wordless Wednesday pictures go to 5 Minutes for Mom 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Not Dancing With the Stars, but it's Pretty Darn Cute!

Kids dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music.
- William Stafford

Go here for more Silly Monkey Stories!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I've Cleaned Out My Purse and I'm Headed For The Price is Right!

I'm on a Palm Springs weekend getaway with my best friend from high school and I decided it was time to buy a real purse.

I found a great black purse at the Palm Springs Outlet Mall.

Back at the hotel I decided I had to clean out my old purse/diaper bag and don the new purse for a fun night out.

For several years now my diaper bag has also served as my purse. Besides the usual purse contents, I found some surprising items as well... one baby sock, playing cards, outdated invitations, restaurant towelettes, pictures of my children, and the list goes on.

My friend thought I would be a great candidate for The Price is Right since I found so many strange and unusual things in my purse. In the original show, Bob Barker was always pulling ladies from the audience and giving them 100$ if they happened to dig in their purses and find the objects he requested.

I love my new purse and I am so happy to now be organized and have a lighter load!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Winners...

It was a lot of fun participating in the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival.

It was great to here about the wonderful and diverse books that you are all reading.

The Novel Winners are:

Kite Runner- Claire from The Roach Chronicles

The Bean Trees- Jaime C.

Lovely Bones- Kyra from The Adventures of Me

Thank you for playing along and visit me again!!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button