Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Well, I Guess It Stands to Reason...

I love me some musicals. Nothing like people breaking into song in the middle of tense and/or exciting moments. (I mean, isn't that how you live your life?)

I have passed this appreciation along to my children. We love watching all kinds of musicals, from "Funny Girl" to "The Sound of Music." We enjoy belting out along with our favorite songs.

This morning, we were listening to the "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" soundtrack while making lunches and cleaning up from breakfast. The song "Lovely Lonely Man" came on. It is sung about Dick Van Dyke's character.

"Why is she saying that he is a 'lonely man,' Mom?" Teensy inquired, "Is it because he's not married?"

"Yeah," I responded, "His wife died."

"Oh," she said, somewhat sadly. Then she added, "Was she Mary Poppins?"

"Um, no," I assured her.

Looks like I need to explain that all movie musicals are not once giant storyline.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Woman of Leisure Math

21 = Number of weekdays in October
(when I allegedly eat bon bons all day while my kids are all in school)
-1 Day of no school for the kids
-4 Days spent on elementary school field trips
-4 Days spent planning and executing elementary school PTA events
-4 Days spent shopping for and making Halloween costumes
-3 Days spent volunteering for the middle school PTA
-2 Days spent "gathering" (groceries, household supplies, clothing)
-1 Day spent visiting teaching ladies from my church
-1 Day spent volunteering in Teensy's classroom
-1 Day spent planning Young Women Camp for next year
0 Days actually spent at home, eating those bon bons

Monday, November 8, 2010

Aw, my boy...

The first Sunday of every month is typically "fast Sunday" in my Church. This entails refraining from eating or drinking for the time of two consecutive meals, using the time to earnestly pray (with a specific purpose in mind) and become closer to God, and giving the money you would have spent on food to the Church (which, in turn, uses it to help the poor and needy).

On fast Sunday, our Church service takes a departure from its normal routine and goes for a sort-of "open mike" format, for lack of a better term. Those who feel that they would like to share some of their spiritual testimony go to the front of the chapel and share what they feel and know.

Many children in my congregation like to go up, but my children are not among them. My children like it just fine in the pew, thanks. And I'm fine with that.

But something was in my Mason's heart this past fast Sunday. He wiggled against me and then whispered, "Mom, can I go?" "Of course," I responded.

And up he went, in front of hundreds of people. I wish I had a transcript of his exact words because they were so sweet. I apologize that you'll have to make due with my memory, but this is the gist of his testimony:

You know that scripture, "Jesus wept?" [John 11:35] Well, lots of kids read that scripture 'cuz they want to get it over with and everyone laughs. But...they should really think about it,'s pretty special."

Oh, my heart. That sweet boy just melted it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Sweet Day with Dad

My Michael's schedule has been so intensely, overwhelmingly crazy for the past month. I would tell you more details about his work, church and school stuff, but that would require me to relive it and the mere thought of that makes me want to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb.

I've never sucked my thumb in my life.

Anyway, in an effort to remind my children of who their sperm donor was, I suggested a day trip to Chocolate Town, U.S.A. That's right, Hershey, PA!

We hit Chocolate World first, to get some edu-ma-cation on how Chocolate is made (and a free sample, of course). Then, we went around the corner to The Hershey Story, a new museum in Hershey more about the man, Milton, himself.

The kids participated in the Apprentice Program which they really enjoyed. They had little book that asked various questions about Mr. Hershey and the inception of his companies. Every page they completed, they had to find a museum worker who would tell them a little story and commemorate their completed page with a stamp, punch, embossing, or coin, etc. The kids were really into filling our their books to get the next token and they loved hearing about the early days of Hershey.

They also got some fake front page of newspapers with their photos on them. They still can't look at those enough!

Another fun thing at The Hershey Story is the Chocolate Lab. We signed up for the "Cobwebs" class. Each of us got to make his/her own chocolate spider web (Mackenna made hers heart-shaped). The kids happily donned hairnets and aprons and really embraced the job of licking the bowls of melted chocolate clean once we were done making our webs. What good little cleaners I have!

While our chocolate webs were setting, we learned more about the different parts of chocolate and what is mixed into each kind of chocolate. We got to eat "nibs," which are the inside of the cocoa bean--in other words, pure chocolate. Let's just say that wasn't as big of a hit with the kids as licking the bowls earlier had been. It's rather bitter. Teensy's face summed it up best:

Even though Dad had to study in the car the entire way there and back, I was so happy to have him spending time with us that I didn't mind. I was just happy to spend the day with my favorite people in the world.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

When Hoarding Pays Off

My Maia is a hoarder. I mean, she hasn't been diagnosed or anything, but she certainly has extreme relationships with stuff. Everything is a treasure from which she cannot part. Everything. It's ridiculous. We're working on it, but without much success.

After school one afternoon last week when I was working on Halloween costumes, I was talking to Mason and Maia about his costume.

"Okay," I said, "so Miracle Max wears this big robe, and we have a robe. He wears this like shawl, fringe thing over it and we have that. He's got that half-bald, half-wild gray hair--check. He also wears a necklace. It looks like it might be a bone of some kind. Here's what we need guys: a wooden toy of some sort that I can hot glue onto a string to make his necklace."

"A wooden toy?" Mason asked.

"Yeah. Just something kind of big and oddly shaped that I can make into a necklace for you to wear. Like a big bead or a train track piece or something that looks a little like it might be a bone."

"A bone?" piped Maia, "You just need a bone? I've got bones up in my room!"

She pronounced this as if she had just said, "All you need is sock? I've got a sock!"
Somehow, in the brain of my twelve-year-old daughter, having bones in her room is as normal as having a pillow up there.

Maia continued, "What kind of bone do you need? I've got a mouse skull or some chicken legs..."

At this point, I think my stammering had stopped and I was able to form the obvious question of where she had gotten this heretofore unknown bone collection. "Terebithia," was her response. (All the neighbors kids call the woods behind our house, "Terebithia.")

As it turned out, no glue gun was needed. I was able to thread the ribbon right through the eye socket of some small mammal's skull. And I will emphatically go on the record stating that it was no mouse skull--I'm thinking more like a baby fox. Let's just say it was more substantially sized than any rodent I've ever seen and we only had about half up the upper portion (no lower jaw).

All's well that ends well, I suppose. Mason couldn't have been happier to add a partial genuine animal skull to his Halloween costume. Maia was thrilled to be of service. And let's be honest, here, dear friend and devoted reader, you know what she was thinking inside, "See, Mom, my room isn't full of trash. I have really useful stuff in there!"

I'm still not convinced.

(P.S. In a tragic turn-of-events, Mason lost the necklace at school after the Halloween parade before I got photos of him in his costume. Ironically, Maia took it better than I!)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good Motherin'

I recognize the horrific state of the increase in childhood obesity in this country.

So, I do my part: I serve my children veggies everyday. My kids always have a fruit and/or veggie in their lunch boxes, but they only sometimes have treats. I buy whole wheat bread and skim milk. I use ground turkey in all my recipes that say, "ground beef."

And I dumped all my kids' Halloween candy into one big stash and placed it high up in a corner shelf of the pantry--where I can freely dig through, pick at and feast from it all day long while my little angels are at school.

I mean, that's just good motherin'.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010: The Princess Bride

So, this year for Halloween, we used "The Princess Bride" as our theme. There were some other contenders, but everyone was happy with a role offered by this 80s cult classic, so we embraced it.

Here's the breakdown:

Maia is easily the most laid-back child ever to exit my womb (you like that image, don't you?). She was on board with whatever we talked about, but genuinely seemed pleased to get to be Valerie, Miracle Max's wife. She nailed the voice and memorized a few of her memorable lines. We used an entire bottle of white spray on her thick tresses and they were still quite brown. That Hunter hair's lusciousness knows no bounds, I tell you!

Mason was thrilled to choose Miracle Max as his role. He loved the balding/gray-haired wig and the wizard-y hat. He ran around smiling, with his robe billowing out behind him.
Marlee refused our other theme ideas this year because there was nothing scary in them (sorry Mary Poppins, and The Cat in the Hat--you're too tame for my seven-year-old). At first, she said she wanted to be a shrieking eel, but I suggested the R.O.U.S. instead (thinking an eel might be slightly harder than a giant rat for Mom to make). She happily agreed to be the R.O.U.S.
Thankfully, Mackenna wanted to be Buttercup. How could we do "The Princess Bride" without the actual princess bride? When I asked her which of Buttercup's outfits she wanted to wear, she shocked me. Personally, I would choose the blue dress Buttercup wears at the end of the movie when she jumps out the window into Fezzik's arms--and I'm not 1/10th as girlie as Mackenna. But she didn't want that dress. She didn't even want the red dress from the kidnapping/Fire Swamp scenes. No, she wanted to wear a peasant garb from the very beginning of the film. I tried to change her mind, but that task is nigh to impossible with my five-year-old. Farm Girl Buttercup it was.
Michael tried to put up a fight about being The Man in Black, but, thankfully, I am able to change his mind (or rather, ignore his protests). He even grew out his mustache for a few days and fashioned his sword handle out of a twisted coat hanger. I think he looked smashing.

As for me, well, it wouldn't be Halloween if I didn't get some left-over/cross-dressing role. But this was a good one and I had fun with it. I was Inigo Montoya, of "you killed my father, prepare to die" fame. Thankfully, letting my own mustache grow for a few days wouldn't have given the needed results, so my dear generous friend, Cari, hooked me up with a pseudo-'stache. And I rocked the hair, n'est-ce pas?

Here we all are, together in our glory:

Until next year...

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill