Friday, June 17, 2011

Double Digits

She's all smiles and freckles.
She plays a convincing "Boston Citizen #8" - Here having just been killed at the Boston Massacre.
She adores her new cousin.
She's got friends as nutty as she is.
She's all smiles and freckles in our tiny backyard.
She has sisters as nutty as she is.
She's all smiles and freckles even as the middle child.
She causes me to have "big eye envy". Gorgeous eyes, really.
Even in the garden, she all smiles and freckles. Makes my heart skip a beat with the Twins shirt. She's my kind of girl.
Oh, and she turns 10 at 5:30 this evening.

Girl, you make this mom all smiles. And I am pretty sure I know where the freckles are from.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Queen For A Day



That mantra still rings in my ears from a couple years ago when my oldest was learning about the six wives of Henry VIII and their fate.

Recently, daughter #2 learned the same chant and grew in her knowledge of the first "beheaded".

She was assigned Anne Boleyn to research. The full assignment called for a report with a bibliography, a poster board with pictures, props, a costume and a presentation in front of the class and parents.

Not quite sure how this was all going to go down, I was in the end so proud of our "queen for a day." She pulled it off very well. She read, outlined, wrote, re-wrote, memorized, practiced her oratory skills, gave input on the costume I sewed for her and delivered a wonderful address in front of her peers.

Most importantly, she asked great questions throughout this whole process which showed she understands some of the complexity and seriousness of the situation of this particular queen. She is still naive about some facts or parts of Anne's situation, which I am fine with. In time and with maturity she will come to understand more and form an even better opinion regarding her life and choices.
For now, our queen for the day showed poise and perseverance through a lengthy assignment and finished her school year well.

This mom is proud.

Some Summer Organization

This is the purse I carry.
It's from Title Nine and its called "Pocket-on-a String"! I am crazy about pockets. They serve me well.

This is an inside view. (Not really my purse, the contents there are private. Wait, I'm a mom, very little privacy anymore.)
You might not believe it by looking at it, but it really does carry all my essentials and everything a girl needs.

I get a lot of flack for carrying this little thing over my shoulder. Particularly from close friends who carry everything plus mini versions of kitchen sinks (aka hand sanitizer, wipes, towelettes, lotions, etc) with them in their giant shoulder bags.

I just like my purse lightweight, small, easy to carry, compact, simple.

Anyway, there are some things that do not fit in my purse or my budget for that matter.

I do not have a smart phone, i-phone, i-pad, blackberry, laptop, photographic memory, or other device with which I can easily access on-the-spot needed information.

When I am out and about with the kiddos, I often wish I knew the exact opening hours of a store, the directions to that museum, or how much the event we are attending will cost us. Yes, I do planning and research at home beforehand. But, life throws its curve balls and we often have to make adjustments on the spot. So, I sometimes find myself driving around wondering how to spend this next hour, where to go, is it even open yet, and how much will it cost me?

The nice thing about this state of affairs is that I am forced to be creative, trusting, and resourceful.

The not so nice thing is that I can often waste gas money, "fun time" spending funds, and usually add calories to my daily intake (which I try to keep in a certain range healthy for my body type).

To be better prepared this summer, I came up with a solution that I am currently working on and one that I think will serve us well.

It's archaic by today's standards.

But, I drive a van with rust, a huge hole in the front bumper, windshield wiper fluid that won't squirt, a driver's side lock that won't lock automatically, air conditioning that has two modes - full blast or off, and temperamental sliding doors.

This method will fit right in.

I started with a small 4 x 6 photo album housing pictures from my freshman year of college. I began to take out the photos so I could just use the book and oh, the memories. And the questions. Like, why I am so excited to be hugging that stuffed orangutan? Did that goldfish we named Lou really mean that much to me that I had to frown like that as we flushed him down the toilet? Who lent me that gorgeous black velvet halter dress for the dance with what's his name? How much did my roommate's boyfriend love her that he sent her the biggest bouquet of roses I have seen to date? Was that huge white fluffy bow on top of my head really necessary? Really?

Memory lane was fun and a little scary. I realized the little 4x6 book was in fact too little for my plan.

Instead I found an unused 3 ring binder and some clear plastic sleeves. Now I am researching all the fun places around town and making a document that I will print and place in my binder. This will be my companion in the car for our outings. It will be that inspiration for us all when we have a beautiful sunny day at our disposal to do with as we wish - one of the huge perks of being a homemaker.

The sleeves will also carry any membership cards I have since I often keep these at home in a separate place, but sometimes forget to grab and put into my pocket purse.

Coupons to certain locations, directions, monthly events and such will also be included.

My hope is that with this information in one location, it can be easily accessed when we need it and encourage us to explore more of the cities and surrounding areas.

We'll have more experiences like this: The sun has risen, rooms are in order, breakfast devoured, morning chores completed and we get into the car, pull out the binder and start flipping through the pages.

Is it open? Yes!

Do we know how to get there? Yes!

Does it cost us anything? No!

Let's Go!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Ambitious?

Summer officially graces us at 3:40pm tomorrow.

The last of the kids will be out of school then.

Yikes! What to do with all this free time? Well, I have been thinking a lot about it and have started to compile information about fun outings and activities for all of us to do together. More on that later.

Inevitably though, I look back at the summer and wish I had somehow established a way for each child to grow in an area or two; for each one to pursue something they care about with more depth; for the summer to have had not only hours and hours of imaginative and fun play but also something in the end that says, "I did this. I made this. I learned this."

Also, we have weather to contend with. Sometimes gorgeous weather like today, but sometimes rain or blazing-record shattering heat like yesterday. When its not so nice outside, it is helpful to have a purposeful project to fall back on.

And, we have long road trips coming up - hours and hours and miles and miles of time to spend on something productive.

Lastly, I need a really good response for "I'm bored."

So, just a few seconds ago I came up with this. I think I will run it up the flag pole and see what kind of feedback I get. It may have to be tweaked, but I think it is good as it stands. I will even commit to doing it myself just to be fair. And, I really want to grow too.

Pick a Project
  • sew a garment (find a pattern, buy the materials and notions)

  • sketch, paint and display a picture; study an artist and copy a painting

  • write a book, type it up and illustrate it

Pick a Place

  • anywhere on the globe

  • find books and websites about this place

  • write a report and print out a map

  • tell us about it!

Pick a Person

  • any person in history or modern day

  • find a book about this person or read his/her autobiography

  • write a report and print their picture

  • tell us about it!

Pick a Poem

  • find a poem you like

  • memorize it

  • write it out, illustrate it

  • recite it for us

Pick a Recipe

  • choose a recipe from one of our recipe books

  • buy the ingredients

  • make it and decide when and with whom you want to serve it

I plan to propose it to my husband, then the girls, then remind myself its really okay if it is not all accomplished by Labor Day, when our summer officially ends.

Yikes, did I say "summer ends"? What is the matter with me?

I am going outside right now to enjoy it.