homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No mere mortal can resist

Holidays are a time for reminiscing. On Thanksgiving, you might recall Great-Aunt Whoever's famous cranberry relish. Easter might perhaps find you telling stories of The Year We Found The Nest of Baby Rabbits*, or maybe at Christmas time you get all misty-eyed thinking of the magic of your childhood.

Or, if you're a child of my generation, maybe at Halloween you log on to YouTube and force your 11 year old stepson to watch the full version of Michael Jackson's Thriller with you. And then he gives you that lovely blank "what planet is she from, this is the most boring piece of crap I've ever seen" look.

Sigh.

I still think it's a classic. And I still think that these people are cool. Brian and Sandy Lundmark became international Internet stars by dancing to Thriller at their wedding reception. Heck, all we did was crack ourselves up trying to dance to ABBA's "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do".

But I digress.

Come on...line-dancing zombies and an homage to mid-20th-century horror films. How can you not love that?


*Oh, and just for the record, it was actually The Year The Cat Found The Nest of Baby Rabbits and Slowly Ate Them on The Front Sidewalk and Totally Grossed Us Out...but that's another story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hide and Seek

Theo's been having fun with I Spy books for a few months. I have, too. It's a game that really isn't age-specific, and it can be a fun way to pass the time, especially on a rainy day like today.

Last week we received a promotional copy of a HIGHLIGHTS FOR CHILDREN magazine, and Theo fell in love with the Hidden Pictures. Since I am both cheap frugal and all about instant gratification, I Googled and sure enough, found more fun for free! Not only can you print hidden-picture pages, but they have a large selection of interactive ones as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Time for a little self-love

No, not that kind.

October 18 is 2007's "Love Your Body" day. If real change happens when people act locally, acting on a personal level is a great place to start. We can sit around and complain about media assaults on body image and self-esteem, or we can look a little closer at our own actions, feelings, and attitudes.

How often do you bond with girlfriends by bitching about your weight, or make embarrassed excuses at parties for taking second helpings, or think to yourself If I could just lose X pounds, he'll love me/I'll be more popular/life will be grand? Have you not forgiven yourself for not looking the same as, or better than, you did before the baby? Is your self-worth tied to the size tag on your jeans?

Honey, it's not worth it! Not only does negative thinking make you feel and come across as unpleasant and a bit depressing, but life is to be lived. Now. Not five, or fifteen, or fifty pounds from now.

Here are some great resources, and food for thought.

Shape of a Mother - a website for sharing, and demystifying, the post-pregnancy changes to women's bodies.

Jessica Weiner - a self-described "actionist" whose message includes the admonition to stop talking the Language of Fat.

The Good Body - a book of frank, personal, and often poignant essays dealing with self image as it relates to physical appearance.

Also, to celebrate the day and the beautiful variety of shapes and sizes and weights of women, a quote I just love:
"...confidence...is very sexy. I believe it's better to be with a woman who has a big butt but thinks it's a small butt than a woman with a small butt who thinks it's big."
Tom Arnold, "How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years"

Speaking of body image, I saw a T-shirt in the infant and toddler department recently. Lovely little pink thing with sparkly letters, which spelled out: "Does this diaper make my butt look big?" It was funny, but then...it wasn't.

Go look in a mirror. And if you can't bring yourself to smile, at least try not to frown. It's a step.

Friday, October 12, 2007

He won! He won!

Yup, Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here's the email that was sent to supporters:

I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change--the world's pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis--a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.

My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.

Thank you,

Al Gore

I'm off to read the articles...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why this will not become a knitting blog

I enjoy knitting--from the first calling of the yarn to the meditative process to the final bind-off. I'm fascinated by what others can do. I love watching a project come together.

But, I often get frustrated and shelve projects. Sometimes indefinitely. It's difficult for me to knit at all with two very busy little guys, especially when the youngest has the kitten-like notion that I'm dangling all of that yummy yarn just for his amusement and that I want him to grab it and pull/run/etc.

Also, I tend to download, photocopy, or otherwise obtain patterns and neglect to write down the source. I've noticed that it's good knitblog etiquette to reveal your source: after all, readers may think, "I must knit this! Where can I find the pattern?"

So, um, I'm a lazy knitter. So what. I enjoy it. And after a long and sometimes hair-pulling time, I have finally finished my first sweater...a gift for my babygirl niece. Yay me!


Nope, sorry. I have no idea who designed it. It came from a library book...best I can do.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Learning everywhere

"Look, Mom! I made a T!!"


Attaboy!

Now, um...let's eat this before it gets stomped into the carpet, shall we?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Paint!

Painting has always been one of Theo's favorite pastimes. I picked up some new paints this week as a treat for him...and we took the easel outside to enjoy the weather.

It all started well. Two sides, two boys, plenty of supplies. Wonderful activity.


Cayden showed some impressive initiative and resourcefulness. He was having trouble reaching high enough, so he found something to stand on. (Yes, he did this himself. Smart boy!)


Of course, paper only holds limited interest for true artists. It wasn't long before we were painting the equipment...


...and ourselves.


Ah well. It was water-washable. Thank you, Crayola! I'll save those fancy art-store paints for another day. Like 20 years or so from now.

And, as a follow-up to an earlier post, may I present one of the day's masterpieces.


This was done completely without prompting...and, as you'll note from the letter order, completely without help. I'm incredibly proud of those two facts. (And, obviously, these two boys!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Speaking of putting pen to paper...

Theo has made "T"s forever. Once I showed him how and explained that "T is for Theo", he really grasped on to it. Well, kinda. He draws the letter and identifies it everywhere, but would also say, "This T is for Daddy"...so I think he kind of figured "for" in the sense of ownership and not in the sense of "symbol representing a phoneme". (Ugh, speaking of phonemes, I haven't even begun to explain TH to him!) He also knew how to draw and identify "O", but the interest and understanding were about the same.

Over the past few weeks, however, he has shown a growing interest in letters--especially where names are concerned. When I wrote his name in sidewalk chalk recently, he asked about the other letters and I helped him learn to make them.

A week ago, we made a craft project at the library and without prompting, he wrote his name on it. The letters don't appear in a left-to-right sequence...more like a floating conglomeration, but they are all there and they are all identifiable.

This week, he is asking about other letters. He is making letters using popcorn, string, sand...whatever he has at hand. He started playing with a cool Fisher Price gizmo for building words (using examples to copy and match). And today he attempted to sing the alphabet song for the first time.

As with most things he's done, this is almost entirely child-led. And I am so excited! It's one thing to sit a kid down and say, "Okay, I'm going to teach this to you now." It's another thing entirely to watch the interest light up their eyes and be there to help them discover things that they want to explore.

Cool.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Milestone!

Theo's not much for drawing. Most of the time, his idea of fun is to hand a crayon to someone else and dictate what we are to draw for him.

Smart kid. Knows how to delegate.

About three weeks ago, he suddenly started producing his first drawings of people. It was a simple formula: giant circle, eyes and mouth, and two long legs...inside the circle. Interesting, and consistent over many, many samples.

This past week, he handed me a picture he'd drawn of me. Little round head with facial features, long legs (outside the head, now), long arms, fingers and toes, and hair.

It tickles me to no end just how quickly he progressed.

Alas, no pictures to truly illustrate this story, as the scanner is on the fritz. (Actually, it's on the floor, awaiting repair and serving in the meantime as a chair/stepstool for Small People Who Don't Understand "keep off of that!!")