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Showing posts from April, 2011

A Mother's Prayer

Dear God,
Please help my children today. My hope for them is that they learn the value and dignity of hard work, and that they learn to work with grace, cheer, and energy.
Please help them listen to my words and to respond willingly.
Please help them refrain from the evils of complaint, sulk, and self-pity.
And dear God, please help me today, to guide my children through the work that must be done. Give me the strength to refrain from beginning any sentence with "When I was a kid..." and bless me with saintly patience for cajoling my young ones into giving me the assistance I so very need from them.
You see, Lord, today I must move rocks. Literally, a huge pile of rocks. And today, Lord, my children believe in their very hearts that Spring Break means that they can play video games all day long. Today, Lord, they are laboring under the illusion that they should not be asked to lift a finger, save for the ones that carry ice cream sandwiches to their lips.
Somehow, my children…

Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

Happy Birthday, Bard Dude! We're busy hanging streamers and transforming our living room into a mini Globe Theatre so we can have an authentic party for Will Shakes today.
As for this blog? Well, I want to post, but I have nothing to say. I've run through many ideas in my head. I'd like to write about watching my son play Boulevard of Broken Dreams in his first guitar recital. Or about the Alatorre Plague that has afflicted our house for the past week and half. Maybe about how my entire life seems to consist of moving stuff: laundry, food, shoes, and for some reason furniture, since my living room chairs have an annoying habit of migrating all over and are never placed just so, the way I like them and the way I set them each and every damn day.
I could write about The Middle. My kids have discovered this show. My oldest kid is a pretty amazing mimic, so he's been repeating lines from this show all week, especially imitating Axel the teenager. I swear, Sam is the…

And Then I Hit the Brakes

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A little advice from an experienced mom.
If you've had a really bad day and you are trying really hard to regroup, and your four year old is making that difficult by ignoring every directive you issue, especially the one about staying buckled in her booster seat while you are running 201 errands, and your twelve year old is devastated and thrashing around over Barcelona's loss to Real Madrid, and you've spent too much time trying way too hard to get people who are ignoring you to do stuff, and you're pretty sure you are PMS-ing because as hard as you try to control your rage response you have failed repeatedly and your throat is sore from speaking too forcefully (aka screaming), and if you planned the afternoon poorly and realized too late that everyone will have to be in the car between 4 and 7 instead of at home eating the meal you had planned, and then the traffic is terrible again so that you are sitting tensely in the driver's seat listening to bickering and wo…

Someone's Morning Cup of Coffee

The News Hour on PBS is airing a series this week called Autism Now. As part of that series, the great Robert MacNeil is sharing his grandson Nick's story, which is an important and moving glimpse into the life of a child and family living with autism. Please click here and watch the video; it will probably be the most valuable time you spend with a screen this week.
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On the way to my pediatrician's office yesterday, I had one of those moments where I realize how much I have to be thankful for. Actually, I had several of those moments.
Lola had a crazy, weird full body rash on Sunday evening, and that, combined with a handful of other symptoms, had us off to the docs to rule out strep throat. (It has since been ruled out.) I was stressed because we were running a little late. With no traffic, I can get to the pediatrician's office in about 25 minutes, and I left the house with only 20 minutes to spare.
I had to choose between the freeway or the backroads. I chos…

7 Quick Takes: Volume 28

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This Friday, I am aware that "even children get older, and I'm getting older too..."
Let's see how quick I can make these takes. I usually experience an epic fail with the quick part, but I have very little time today and I really really want to get back into the 7 Quick Takes game, after a prolonged absence. Here goes.
~1~
The Fleetwood Mac song quoted above (Landslide) was playing on my car radio yesterday morning as I drove away from the BART station, where I had left my 12 year old son to catch a city bus to his guitar lesson. He has ridden buses before, but this was his first solo expedition. So this was my his first solo expedition. The stress and anxiety this produced for me came as a surprise; I thought I was a much cooler cucumber than I turned out to be.
The song was perfect for the occasion, and is responsible for the mistiness in my eyes that blurred the street in front of my car. I resisted the urge to follow the bus and make sure he knew where to get…

Bookends

This post is brought to you by my bookends, the eldest and the youngest of the AIRY5 Brood.
Today, my eldest figured out how to get "free" ringtones on his cell phone. Damn. I had hoped to avoid that awhile longer. What's my objection? It's the relentless acquiring of things that really bothers me. Plus, I don't trust that free part. I am waiting for my next cell phone bill to allay or confirm my suspicions.
Anyway, he got some pop song du jour for a ring tone. Today's pop music irritates the hell out of me, for the most part. But I remember being a teenager, and wishing desperately that my parents understood just how incredible my favorite songs were, wished they could appreciate the intensity, the passion, the phenomenal talent of artists like The Cars, Tom Petty, and Billy Joel. (For the record, and to hold on to some shred of respectability, I have always been first and foremost a Beatles fan. No band or singer has ever toppled them.)
I have on…

More Fun with the Math Mom

Let me be clear: I am not the Math Mom. The title does not refer to me. I run from math. Math taunts me, teases me, torments me.
I used to be pretty good at math, but then motherhood compromised my brain cells such that most of what I use them for now involves tricking children into doing my bidding. As the children get older, this actually requires increasingly difficult mental gymnastics, so my brain is pretty darn busy.
But math is important! Right? Right!
This is the Math Mom. She's great. She writes about all kinds of ways to engage your kids (and yourself) in math. Her site features articles, resources, and interactive games, and you can subscribe to her newsletter which has stories, puzzles and ideas to "spice up your weekend and help present math to your family as a toy and a friend." You can also 'like' her on Facebook, which I did, and which is how I found the very fun link I'm sharing here. It's a Frog Leap Test, and it stymied me. …

We Cannot Hallow This Ground...

Today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. To mark that day, I am posting the text and an audio file of the Gettysburg Address, originally delivered two and a half years into the bloodiest war our nation has ever known.
The Gettysburg Address delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.Now we are engaged in a great civil war ... testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated ... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate ... we cannot consec…

Because Every Kid Should Know Who Charlie Parker Is

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Let the Muppet Renaissance continue!
We've always loved the muppets around here. They come into our lives for awhile, and then for some reason, we let them go. And then, for some other reason, they're back, better than ever.
Sam's guitar teacher dropped his pick at Sam's lesson the other day, and while looking around for it, he muttered "Mahna Mahna." Thus began the first of 30 or 50 viewings of this YouTube video for the AIRY5 Family.
Next up: Muppets in Space. The Great Muppet Caper. Muppets Take Manhattan. It's been a regular Muppet Fest around here. I have been delighted by how much all of my kids enjoy these movies, from the Practically Teen down to the Tortuous Toddler. The Muppets truly are a crowd pleaser for my crowd.
My personal favorite from the past week of Muppet Inundation? This one, of course:


You never know when and where little nuggets of knowledge will emerge. Thanks to the Muppets, my kids now know who Charlie Parker is. Cultura…

Pearls Before Swine

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This past Friday, the boys and I listened to a radio show marking the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (If you are interested, you can find a link to the show here.) The program aired on the anniversary, this past Monday, April 4th.
Before you get all impressed that my kids listen to public radio, let me tell you that for the entire 15 minutes we listened to the podcast, they made goofy faces at each other, scowled at me, tickled each other, poked each other, asked random unrelated questions, and plotted their wii time. All those shenanigans had their intended effect and I set the boys free to terrorize their sisters rather sooner than I had hoped. (A maternal twist on a tired platitude: If you love someone, set them free and watch them wreck havoc all over your house.) (The grammatical issues in that sentence disturb me, but if I correct them, I lose the familiarity of the platitude. Such a dilemma.)
But I, for one, am glad we listened. We heard …

It's 10AM and the Day is Gone

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image credit: www.claymoreslinger.com/medeival_art
It's 10AM. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the coffee is strong.
So why do I feel defeated already?
From my perch on the couch, I see mayhem.
A quick survey of my to-do list: more mayhem.
An inventory of my brain: piles of mayhem.
The garage: mayhem.
The garden: mayhem. This is serious mayhem, since it will need to be transformed into a native paradise in about three weeks time if we are to avoid the curse of the busman's holiday at our annual garden tour show on May 1st.
Mayhem seems like such an innocent little word. It's kind of cute, in a way. Like "mother may I" and a polite "ahem" are rolled up into one.
But mayhem has a dark side. Mayhem is pinning me down on the couch, whispering menacing thoughts in my ear (you'll never make it), and drilling a little hole in my left heel, from whence all of my energy is draining.
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We overslept this morning, me and my homeschooled children. So…

So 2000 and Late

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Lady E is enjoying the Brain Quest app on my ipod. We have the flash card versions too, but ya' know, that e-phone-i-crack-thingee is just too tantalizing. No more boring cardboard flashcards for these kids. Bells and whistles, please. (Literally, the app makes bell and whistle sounds when she answers a question correctly.)
Today, she got this one right:
Which came first, buttons or zippers?
After she got it right, she mentioned casually: "I knew that zippers came last because buttons are like such an 80's thing."
She's six.
I think there's a joke in there somewhere about leg warmers and Amish people, but I can't find it under all the bickering, lunch preparing, failed homeschooling attempts, arguing, yelling, bickering, complaining, crying, chore-resisting and general mayhem that is my home at present.
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