Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Have a Feeling

That I will be watching this view for hours upon hours in the next weeks.

That would be me on the beach watching Ben as he watches the waves roll in one after the other over and over and over and over.

Here he is watching and making waves at the Science Museum. It gives him goosebumps to watch waves.

Even manufactured ones.
Only a few things give him goosebumps. Me. Any song by U2. Watching and talking about the cycling feats atop the Alps during the Tour de France. And waves.

Soon he'll be watching the real thing.

And I will be watching him and thinking, "How lucky to be with a guy who just loves simple but majestic things like waves."

And then I will wonder, "How much longer will he sit there? I'm hungry for that sushi we talked about."

I have a feeling that Sushi Friday in Hawaii will be so much better than Sushi Friday in Minnesota.

Just a hunch.

The Chapter Book

 The first chapter book I read to my kids is "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.

It is a great one to start with for many reasons. First, Wilbur's young and innocent character is right in line with a 4 - 6 year old's mind and he asks the questions and learns about life. The answers are provided by the animals around him, much as a parent, older friend or relative. Second, the farm setting is one that is carried over to so many other children's books and one that kids can relate to with the familiar animals. But, it teaches and describes more than a picture book does. The description of the "summer days" on the farm, the fact that Wilbur loves in manure, .....My daughter interrupts**  me every time I read the word manure to remind me that I am really talking about cows' poop.

**A side note on reading with kids and their inevitable desire to interrupt.  I train my kids to lightly touch my arm when they have a comment or question. I choose when on the page or chapter to pause, then ask them what they want to say. This way, I acknowledge they have an important thing to say, but I also show them how to wait and respect me as I read to a more natural place to stop.

Back to the book, White uses the seasons well too in this book showing a natural course of a year, and all the changes that go with it.

I really like that the book does not shy away from serious topics: death, loneliness (there is a chapter called "Loneliness"), adolescence, true friendship, sacrifice, hard work (Charlotte's Magnum Opus, for example),  compassion (Fern's father letting her raise Wilbur when she begs him not to kill him).

Finally, it is imaginative. Fern's character shows how a child can just "sit on a stool near the fence" and observe all that goes on in the lives of the animals around her and be totally entertained and content for hours and hours.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade Gifts - Part 5

My good friend recently had her first baby.  This is a particularly joyful event for me because we can finally share the joys of motherhood.  This friend has been in my children's lives since before they were each born. She is one of those people who meets your kid and connects with them in all the months leading up to their birth. I would say that she creates an early and lasting bond with my children. A gift. Especially since we are not even related and she is under no obligation to do so. She just does it. It's natural for her. And it blesses me.

To honor her (and because I chose her name in a Secret Santa type gift drawing), I made her these three gifts.

This one is a 4 inch x 4 inch scrapbook.
Another friend spotted it at a craft sale and thought I would like the idea so she bought one for me. I copied it for the new mom in my life and arranged pictures of our history so far as we have shared our kids together.

It is simply made with three 8 inch x 8 inch pieces of card stock paper and a short ribbon to close it. That's it. You add the rest with your own personal touch.
The folds are what make it fun!
Here it is all opened up.
And the back.
It fit nicely into the little purse I made for her, the smaller of the two below.  (I am getting good at these!)
I intended the larger purse to be used as a quick "to go" diaper bag. As children grow, you really don't need much to take them on the road.  So I made a small clutch to fit a couple diapers and a pack of wipes.
I think I enjoy most coordinating the fabrics and materials for these projects and choosing the photos that best capture the eleven years of memories (so far) that we have shared with the children in our lives.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We spent part of the day on New Year's Eve at the Science Museum and the highlight for me was watching the I-Max movie Hubble.

I was awed by the science, creativity, time, facilities, staff, much goes into planning and sending an object into space so it can send images back to us to show us what's out there and answer some burning questions humanity has been asking for centuries.

Watching the astronauts repair Hubble was fascinating. One crew member of the last mission to repair Hubble says it is "like performing brain surgery with oven mitts."

But most fascinating were the images Hubble has captured over the last 10 years.

Like this one.  A butterfly thing in space that I wish I could remember more about, but was too caught up in its beauty to pay attention to the narration.
I was taken into "the nursery", a cluster of young stars in the middle of some galaxy with more vibrant color than I can see in the rainbow. I was shown the small "village" our galaxy dwells in compared to the "bright lights of the city" of galaxies light years beyond. This and more was amazing. I think I caught my jaw dropping a few times and I couldn't help but whisper to Maddie over and over, "Isn't this cool?"

On the way out of the theater her comment was, "I wish we had a screen like this at home."

I knew there would be a day when the 46-inch LED Samsung TV would be not good enough. I just thought that moment would come much much later.

Fort Making 101

 I wish I had thought of this earlier.

Like when I was seven. 

We made so many forts back in the day using any blanket we could scrounge up. We'd lay them across tables and chairs. The hard part though was keeping the walls and the roof, in place. We often resorted to using phone books and other heavy books like our set of World Book Encyclopedias stacked up to anchor the corners and sides of the blankets. The problem though was this. Any movement or shift of the roof caused a collapse, and stack of books falling, and most often a bruise and a good cry to go with it.

The other day it occurred to me to try a fitted bed sheet instead. Fort making continues with the next generation and this may help in their progress to build bigger, better, faster, safer, etc.

It works.

Today, I taught Fort Making 101 in an easy 3 minutes. We tucked the sheet snuggly around a few backs of chairs. Then walled up the place with blankets, now only needing to function as walls, not also the roof. No pressure on one blanket to keep it all in place. No heavy books to crash down. No near roof collapses.

That is until someone decided to throw objects onto the roof and it started to resemble the Great Metrodome Collapse of 2010.
For a minute there I thought we might need to move our efforts in fort making to Detroit.

The fitted corners held though.
I wonder what the next level, the 200 level of Fort Making will teach us?

Times Change, The Feeling Remains the Same

Just watched this video of the Nativity Story modernized  just a bit. It is worth it. 

Made me laugh since my friend and I were just earlier talking about all the social media out there and being inundated with the many ways to connect with other people.

I like simple, but I also like the clever and fun ways to find information and let others know about it.

Like this blog, for example.

If Mary blogged, I wonder what she would write.

"Joseph's working late again to finish a project for the neighbors. I have had to find new ways to entertain and teach this little toddler Jesus as he now gets into everything (the few possessions we have).  He seems to like it best when I sing to him. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star especially engages him."

Or maybe she would write:

"Has anyone out there tried this new recipe for humus? I found it at Happy to share my membership with anyone. It is one way that Elizabeth and I are able to stay in touch. We love sharing recipes. Of course, she is having trouble finding recipes anywhere with locusts as the main ingredient."

When I think this terms I know, I can picture better the human characteristics of Christ and his family. They did all we did, it just took a lot longer and they had to be much more patient with information gathering and sharing.   But, maybe they didn't see it as being patient. They filled the time with other things that needed to be done.

One thing I have been filling time with lately is researching destinations and attractions in Hawaii.

Now this is a time when all our technological advances comes in very handy.

And yet, my favorite time of day is laying in bed with a half glass of wine next to me and reading from a book all that Hawaii has to offer.