Showing posts from September, 2011

7 Quick Takes, Volume 40: The Twittery Edition

Quick!  Read these quick takes.  And quick! Go visit the Mother Ship and check out Quick Takes from whence all others spring.  And quick! Click on some of the links to other bloggers playing along.  And quick! Have a great Friday! ~1~ I avoid Twitter.  I need another distraction like I need another hole to pour food into 3x a day.  But I’m curious, so I’m experimenting. ~2~ Today is my last day in a Teenager Free Zone.  Tomorrow, I will have a teenager.  Tomorrow, you all need to start praying very hard. ~3~   Michelle Norris, do you talk to your kids in that soothing, velvety voice?  Can you teach me how?  Guttural barks aren’t working so well. ~4~   Homeschooling is a ridiculous proposition, true.  But so is having kids.  And getting married.  And getting out of bed in the morning.  So there. ~5~ Answer the questions you are asked.  If your daughter asks how to make a drink “on the rocks,” tell her s

You Say Tomato

I say Boo-Yah! If you plant tomatoes in April and completely ignore them for 5 months, you might get lucky and still come up with a few! We haven't picked much from our sadly, reprehensibly neglected garden this year, but today Little T harvested strawberries, peppers, tomatoes and the last of our green beans.  And giggles and delight. Giggle seeds.  Plant 'em. * * *

Nothing Better

This is the best dressing down I've ever seen on film.  I want to be Katherine Hepburn.  Or her character in this movie.  Or a combination of the two. * * *

A Good Day

Today has been a good day.  Little T spent much of it catching skippers.  V and L built a marble track.  People read.  People even did math.  E and L and I played a raucous game of Monkey in the Middle with a big red balloon. And today is Tuesday, so it's movie day.  The kids are watching Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with Sidney Portier and Katherine Hepburn. These are some damn lucky kids!

Two Letters to Kids Who Play Soccer

The first one is not from me. This letter, which I wish I could photocopy and pass out to every parent on the four teams my family is a part of -- or at least to a few hand-selected parents on those teams, was written by Mike Woitalla, a coach with our own East Bay United and the Executive Editor of Soccer America. If you have kids who play any sport, not just soccer, you should read and share this letter, addressed to Soccer-Playing Children of America. It's really quite wonderful, exemplifying as it does all of our best hopes for what the beautiful game can be for our kids. Mr. Woitalla's words have been resounding in my head all weekend, as Rick and I split our time between four teams and three tournaments. But as the weekend wore on, and I found myself cajoling sibling spectators into their booster seats for the kajillionth time and laundering uniforms in the middle of the night and dashing to the store for more (some would say better) snacks, other thoughts st

7 Quick Takes: Volume 39

No one listened to my request to slow things down, and now another Friday has come along at the speed of light.  I'm holding on by my fingernails. Please visit the host of 7 Quick Takes , at Conversion Diary, and sample a few of the links to other Quick Takers.  And comment on them too!   We like comments, yes we do, we like comments, HOW 'BOUT YOU? ~1~ My mom gave the DVD The Way Things Go to my son for his birthday this month.  He loves it!  If you have a kid (or an adult) who likes mazes, contraptions, mechanical operations, domino tracks, etc., you just might have to get this DVD.  Here is a taste: Pretty cool, right? ~2~ Finally, an iPod game I actually like!  My son has traveled the Oregon Trail several times this week on a cool .99 game we recently learned about.  Along the way, his wife died of dysentery, two of his daughters were carried off by hawks, and one daughter died of a fever.  He has traded goods for gold-panning supplies, learned how to

We Like Those Ladies

On our way to pick up our young Picassos from their art class, Lady E, Little T and I saw three Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity walking down the street.  I told the girls that these women are "Mother Theresa's sisters" and that they spend their days -- their lives -- feeding people who are hungry and taking care of people who are sick.  I explained that Mother Theresa started the order in India, and that she did small things with great love, and that we are blessed to know about her. Little T got very excited, craning her neck to see the three women as they walked. "Oh Mama, I like those ladies!  I would like to see those ladies every day!" "I like them too, Little T." "I love them!  Cuz I would love to have all that food they give people, because I LOVE FOOD!" * * * Dear Sisters,  I promise I will teach her and her siblings to love you for much more and to follow your loving example wherever they are. * * *

Spunk and Muscles

 I just woke up from a panic dream. Little T and I were walking along a beach on a lovely summer day.  People were all around us, playing in the water.  We came upon a stand of bleachers facing the water, maybe four or five rows high, and on the bleachers was a group of students from our old school, getting arranged for a class photo.  The teacher, a woman we know and like, stood about 5 or 10 feet in front of the bleachers, with a camera, waiting for the kids to settle into position. She and I started talking, making conversation, catching up with one another.  We talked about how she just went shopping at Costco in preparation for her students' First Communion.  We reminisced about the First Communion celebrations my kids had when we were one of the school's families. Suddenly, the tide came in, fast.  The water came up to my rib cage and knocked me off my feet for a moment.  And instead of flowing back out, the water stayed in, high up on the beach, now at about the mi

7 Quick Takes: Volume 38

Whoa!  Did I just blink and another Friday rolled around?  And why does time keep speeding up on me?  Seriously, whose in charge of slowing things down around here?  I would like to file a formal request.  Here's the basic text: " HELP!  SLOW DOWN! "  I sure hope I get a response by next Friday. Please visit the lovely host of the original 7 Quick Takes and visit the links to other bloggers playing along. ~1~ Yesterday, I offered to take the kids to get ice cream cones if everyone finished their work by 1pm.  Little T looked at me in dismay. "What?   Ice cweam cones??  Why?" Her face crumpled.  She fell to crying. Huh?  I was baffled.  Until she clarified that she didn't want just the cone, she wanted the ice cream to go with it and thought it was very mean of me to just buy the cone. So yesterday, when my kids finished their work by 1pm, I took them all out for ice cream cones, and I even let them get some ice cream to put on top.

I Don't Care About Your Problems

I mean, I love you and all, but let me just say this as gently as I can:  Shut the hell up and don't tell me a single word about how your brother or sister has wronged you in some entirely-new-to-the-human-experience way that shatters all measures of cruelty, offends decent people everywhere, and shaves years off your time in Purgatory.  I don't care.  When I say I don't care, what I mean is, I would rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard, than be asked to mediate another argument for which I was not present, and which might require me to actually make a decision aka choose sides , and that's a trap I need to avoid like the Bubonic Plague.  I would rather go all Vincent Van Gogh on the side of my head than listen to the screeches currently emanating from your mouth.  Put another way, I'd rather listen to Ke$ha than to you right now.  I would rather have South Park on -- loud -- in a room with my five year old.  I would rather go de-flea the dog than be subjec

I'm Gettin' Educated

Things I've learned from homeschooling my kids today. It's really hard to define the word 'opposite' without using the word 'opposite.'  At least, it is for me. When you tell a child to go and look for something, say the movie you want to show them, it is necessary to explain the concept of looking for something because if you don't, she will just look at you funny and say: "But I don't know where it is!"   There are few worse sounds in the entire universe than whining.  Actually, I already knew that, but it was definitely reinforced today. No matter how many times you explain that a "scab" is a worker who is willing to betray other workers who are striking for better working conditions, kids will have more fun saying that a scab is dried up crusty blood, and then they will have even more fun showing off the ones they can find on their bodies.  (We are watching Newsies today.) I have no idea if my kids are learning anythi

Death and Life

My son asked me the other day how long it takes to get over the death of someone you love.  There is an inherent hope in that question, that getting over loss is possible, that everything will be OK at some point in the future.  I didn't want to answer him, because...well...who wants to tell a child that there are things you never get over?  But I answered.  I told him that you never get over a death, that you always miss a person whom you love, and no one and nothing ever can take his (or her) place in your life.  It's also possible, I told him, to go on and live a wonderful, full, exciting and happy life, to meet other people that you end up loving very much, to be joyful and to enjoy your life to the fullest.  But you don't get over death.  You don't ever go back to the way you were before a person you love dies. My other son asked me questions today about 9/11.  He asked how it was possible for a small plane to bring down a building as big as the World Trade Cente

7 Quick Takes: Volume 37

On Monday, I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find Friday, and LO! Friday has fallen into my lap. Amen. ~1~ I had a dream last Sunday night that I was buried underneath hundreds and hundreds of soccer balls. Oh, wait. That wasn't a dream...that was just my weekend. ~2~ When I was a kid, my family watched 60 minutes every Sunday night. For a long time, we've tried that here in my house, but the kids have been too little, too squirrely, too loud, too get the idea. So instead of watching it, we've been recording it and then sometimes getting around to watching it. But as the kids get older (because they do that, you know), things are a-changin'! We've actually watched the entire show three weeks in a row now, and the kids are starting to see it as part of our Sunday evening. Not all of them; some drift out of the living room and find something else to do, which is TOTALLY FINE. But I am thrilled that I get to wat

I Missed The Fish

Yesterday went pretty much as I expected.  Resistance and reading both happened.  I call it a success. And I received an unexpected gift in the waning hours of the day: Little T and I found ourselves together with 1.5 hours to kill and everyone else at soccer practices. This is what we did with our time: I watched her chase waves and squirrels.  I watched her scooter around the empty Crab Cove parking lot. I watched her play chicken with the cold water.  I watched her on strong legs and sure feet run as fast as she could across a wide expanse of lawn, laughing as she went. It is so rare that I get to do anything with just one of my kids.  This moment dropped in my lap, and I reveled in it.  Often, time with Little T feels like constant damage control, between her tantrums and her screaming, her demands and her mischief.  But yesterday afternoon, there was none of that, just mommy and Little T, being goofy and having fun.  She ate her yogurt and made me giggle by preten

Back To School

The new school year starts today!  And my mind is overflowing with grand plans to be better, calmer and more organized. Remember the start of the school year, that blank slate that promised possibility and offered greatness to anyone willing to work hard?  Remember the thrill of blank notebooks and clean pencils?  Remember the "This year, I'm going to really _____________!" declarations? That's what it was like for me when I was a kid.  Each new school year thrilled me and made me dream of how awesome my life was going to be, both with friends and in the classroom. A few decades later, and the classroom is my living room, the idealism is gone, and I don't have any new culottes in Fall colors to sport on the first day. But the dreams are still there, and today, my dream is this:  I have a dream that one day, my children will do my biding and figure out that I am right about everything, and that if they only listen to me, read great books, and clean