Friday, April 24, 2015


Archer is having a great school year thanks to Mr. A, the teacher in the school that every kid hopes to have once he reaches fifth grade. And it's things like this that add to Mr. A's appeal...

Mr. A currently has a styrofoam container with a clear plastic lid on top and a bunch of eggs inside. Fifteen or twenty eggs, different shades of brown and white, just waiting... Archer reported that they were hearing cheeping coming from the eggs. Archer says that when the chicks are ready to hatch, they start cheeping, and wake each other up. On the day he told us about this, there were only a few cracks in some of the eggs, but none had hatched. The next morning, I went with Archer to school to drop off some paperwork, and there in the hallway was the styrofoam box with clear plastic lid and SEVEN CHICKS! They had hatched overnight and were crowding around each other and the rest of the unhatched eggs, cheeping and climbing around, the fluffiest cutest things you could find in an elementary school hallway.

At dinner that night, Archer reported that another five had hatched during the day. He told us about how Mr. A showed the chicks how to drink water ("you have to shove their face down in the water so they know what it is, then they'll drink it"). This spurred a conversation about how the chicks break out of their shells. And Elijah was the expert. He demonstrated, he told us how it's done, he said they lean their heads back "like this!" as he tilts his own head back. Then they move their head forward "really quick, and just BREAK the shell like this." "Then they just push the shell away" he says, stretching his arms out above his head, like stretching when you first wake up in the morning.

I asked him if he knows that because he remembers when he broke out of his shell. "You used to have a beak, you used it to break out of the shell, then the beak fell off, like when your baby teeth fall out." He agreed, and then smiled and said he was never in an egg and that's not what happened, then didn't quite know if I was joking or not. I told him he knows all about it because he used to be in a shell and then he broke out, just like the chicks. In the end, I'm not sure what he believed. But there is a little chance he might have believed it. I wonder how long we can keep that one going?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Loads of Art

Spring Flowers by E

 Love from Shelly 

Giant Easter card

A Collage of Paint by E

Self Portrait 

Thanksgiving Tradition 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Secret Plans

There's nothing like working together towards a common goal to unite people...

Dad managed to orchestrate a day of lefse with Grandma and me. We didn't even fully know his plan until the moment when he had managed to hand off the rolling pin to me and the stick to Grandma and then he disappeared. And there we were - Grandma in charge of turning, me in charge of rolling, Dad in charge of catching us in the act.

It was a precious time, thanks Dad, for scheming to get that all put together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Endings

Recently I took Shelly to a special show at the movie theater. There is a ballet company that, four times a year, broadcasts their shows live to movie theaters around the world. As they perform in Moscow or London  or Paris (where WERE those people?), ballet lovers around the world enjoy the show. When I asked Shelly if she wanted to see Romeo and Juliet, she didn't hesitate for even a second, "yes!" she said eagerly, almost jumping up and down with the thought of it. I secretly wondered if it was a good idea. Romeo and Juliet... Well, we all know how that ends.

On the way to the theater I asked if she knew what the story was about. The thing about ballet is - well, you know - there's no talking. So unless you have an idea of the story line... She said she's seen it before (what?). "Remember, you got it from the library for us Mom." Oh yes, GNOMEO and Juliet. Animated. Garden gnomes. Battles across the hedge between the suburban yards. Gnomeo and Juliet.

I gave her the three minute plot summary of ROMEO and Juliet (she of course already knew all that). I left out the ending. Still wondering if I was doing the right thing, taking my young, beautiful, innocent ballerina to see this tale. We loaded up on candy, popcorn, and a gallon of sprite before heading in to find our seats. We immediately recognized other people we know from her ballet studio. And we settled in for the show.

I only leaned over to explain one or two points to Shelly as we sat there in the dark, enthralled by the beautiful dancers. The show was almost three hours long. Fortunately there was an intermission, but it just kept going and going. A couple more whispered explanations. Finally, the whole thing drew to a close. Tragedy, tears, it was over. An introduction to an Unhappy Ending.

As we walked to the car and I asked Shelly what she thought, she said "It didn't have a happy ending." No, it didn't. "But I thought there was always a happy ending." It wasn't a Disney kids movie where everyone lived happily ever after. Not all stories end that way. "But I thought it HAD to have a happy ending!"

Such is life. I'm still wondering if I did the right thing.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Funny Little Thing

This morning as I was going through the thousand library books on our shelf, I spied two bunnies out the window. They seemed to be friends. Except then one jumped straight up in the air, and landed in the same spot it had jumped from. The other bunny (facing the first bunny, their noses almost touching), suddenly reached out with its front paw and hit the first bunny right across the face! A bunny fight! Or something! The jumping bunny immediately turned and hopped a few steps away. But before long they were face to face, or should we say nose to nose? By this time, the kids are all crowding around me trying to see what I'm describing. Again a bunny hop, straight up in the air. Are they fighting? Are they friends? We didn't see anymore hitting, they both went back to nibbling on the grass.

Now follows the discussion, the kids quoting what they think the bunnies are saying to each other.
Archer "You did it wrong you fool! Not like THAT!"
   "Quit showing off, I can jump higher than that!"
      "Quit fooling around, we're here for breakfast, then we have to get to school!"

And your thoughts? What did the one bunny say to the other?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Counting the Happy Stuff This Week

Today I sent the kids off to school with hugs and kisses and picked them up later with smiles and "how was your day?"
I ran four miles and it felt really good.
I took frequent breaks from my work to chase E around and we laughed until our tummies hurt. 
We had leftovers for supper so I didn't have to cook and barely had to clean up.
There was no homework. 
Archer and I played two games of chess, we each won once. 
Elijah Graham and I played checkers and he made up a rule and claimed, "That's Bampa's rule!" That means the end of any debate over whether or not its a real rule.

Grocery store trip where I told the kids they could each pick one thing for supper. We came home with fizzy grapefruit juice, cheesy potato chips, and watermelon. No one complained about not liking supper.
Bedtime, finally, after a long stressful day and I'm instructing the kids to brush teeth, change into jammies, pick up their toys and "Eli you're getting on my last nerve!" "I want to TEAL your last nerb!" That was it, the icing on the cake, I told him he's a nerb, he called me a nerb, everyone went to bed laughing.

Lunch at the office and catching up on whose kids are doing what now (talking? almost crawling?). A visit to HC.
A nice chat with the other moms as I waited through Shelly's ballet lesson.

A quick run when there was a lull in the activity.
A beautiful painting of Flower Forks to remind us that warmer weather is not too far off.
Our last Cub Scout meeting, casual, getting ready for the ceremony next week, a sense of things closing and new things opening. All of the boys had to have an interview with the Cub Master to make sure they know everything they're supposed to know. There were lots of high fives and Scout handshakes as each Scout passed the test.

A strange game with E where we played with chess pieces some game with no rules where he jumped over my pieces then knocked them off the board. Lots of talk of attacking and capturing.

First thing - a run with Dad, OUTSIDE, because we're having a heat wave and its 25 out there! (Yes, I got too hot during the run.)
Archer had a friend over and it was a pleasure to listen to them as they played game after game on the Wii. I know video games are bad, I know the kids should get outside more and have more physical activity. But those two boys were having fun, lauging together and just generally being friends. And that was nice.
Shelly helped me make a bulletin board for motivation while I run, she's so creative and it was great to see her at work. Then we went to the library together where she checked out 10 books and finished the first book within two hours of getting home. Way to go, girl!
Mashed potatoes - we spent four hours in the kitchen turning 24 pounds of potatoes into mashed potatoes, everyone chipped in and we all had a good time in the process. Now movie night, cause we missed it last night. And maybe we'll even sleep in late tomorrow morning. (Yeah right, who am I kidding?)

Six miles on the treadmill, felt good to do it but I'd wanted to do more...
Clean up everything cause we're expecting guests, felt good to get the house in order.
Tea time with Mom and Dad while we watched E entertain himself with the plastic food from the plastic kitchen.
Wonderful family meal thanks to David's superior cooking skills, yum!

I did this little experiment over the last week to see how much I could come up with to be happy about. I have this bad habit of complaining about all the annoying things that happen in my day, but thinking about what I was going to list here did help me change my focus and feel better about the passing time. Yeah there were still those tough things, work, housework, squabbles between the kids. But my focus was different, and that was nice. Perhaps I'll try it again this week...

Monday, the sun is shining, I have a loving family, I have lots of things I'm looking forward to this week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Horticulture Lesson

E and I were taking a close look at this blossom, I asked if he could see the bumps on the petals 

"Yeah. That means when the bugs go in there that just CLOSES UP and the plant EATS them." He's clenching his hand in a fist.

How does it eat them, does it squish them? "Yeah it just quishes them and then they go in there and they're the food. ALL plants eat bugs. They just do that!"

He's now discussing spider aliens with Archer. I asked him about this when he came running past me. "The aliens are in the game, but one climbed up and he got close to Archer's person and Archer killed him when he climbed up. (And he runs off to Archer.) I telled Mom the aliens are in the game." Ahh how little I know. I'm so glad I've got E to explain the world to me.