Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Wearing of the Green

St. Patrick's Day fell on a Saturday this year. The weather was glorious.  March Madness was in full swing, with our team still in it.  (Sorry, Irish fans.  Really.)   Ideally, that should have meant a day hanging out on the patio of a pub, drinking some Guinness or a pint of cider and listening to an Irish band.  At least that's my husband's fantasy March 17th.  I'll admit, it does not sound bad.  

However, these days in the Small World, St. Pat's is a little less about the green beer and a little more about the wee lads and lasses that live in our house.  It looks a little more like this:

Shamrock stamping done with green peppers and poster paint.

N.'s version.  I think she said the pink outline was a dinosaur eating the shamrock?

Another "Irish" craft.  Paper plate leprechauns!
I tried to convince the kids that leprechauns had left this breakfast for them.  They weren't buying it.  I KNEW not having that darn elf live with us at  Christmas would come back to bite us.  They did enjoy the Lucky Charms and tiny stack of pancakes, even if they knew I made it.

Lunch.  Green eggs and ham.  I didn't go so far as to read the book to them as we ate, but I did quote it extensively when N. refused to even touch hers.  Much eye rolling in response to my "In a box!  With a fox!  He did like it when he tried it!  He would eat it in a house!  He would eat it with a mouse!"

J. gamely being enthusiastic about my green foods snack tray, and the shirt I bought him to wear for the day!

This big kid ate some pickles and cucumbers and grapes, while I tried not to get too emotional about not being along for his first haircut.  

We went outside to explore the green grass and nature, and found this salamander in our yard.

See?  Big kid.

 Lucky, lucky me.

Old but not forgotten gratitude

Completely forgot to post this as a collection of moments I was thankful for several weeks ago.  
Certainly there were supposed to be words. I think the pictures speak for themselves so I'll go ahead and post this.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

O & N

Reported by N.'s preschool teacher:
N. wanted to make a special drawing for her little brother, who was not feeling well and was going to have to go to the doctor.  N.'s teacher remarked at how kind this was, and then asked if N.'s older brother was as nice to her as she was to her little brother.  N. put hand on hip and responded "Not so much."

And as evidence of this observation, the following was recently overheard in the family room.
O.:  "N., your room smells like poop."
N.:  "No, my room smells like roses and mermaids."

O., classifying playground politics in the same way he discusses Pokemon characters:
"There's different kinds of girls.  There's the tag ones, there's the kiss ones, there's the banana peel (?!) ones, and the put you in jail ones.  But S. is always the boss of the girl team, and I am sometimes the boss of the boy team.  Oh, and sometimes they are hypnotize ones too, and make boys be on their team, but not me."

I have been reading Beverly Cleary's Ramona the Brave to O., and as we read, I felt struck by how accurately the writer portrays the anxiety, sense of injustice, and wonder in the life of a first grader.  I wondered if O. was appreciating it too.  He asked to continue reading it every night, and asked very appropriate questions as we read, so I thought he probably was.  When we finished tonight, he asked if there were other Ramona books we could read. I asked why he liked Ramona.
O. "Because she eats her boogers."  (For the record, she does not.)
Me:  Geez, O.  I was just asking a question.  Can't we even have a conversation?
O.  "Do you want to smell my butt?"
Me.  "Seriously? This is how you talk?"
O.  "What, it's manly-like!"

N., in a parking lot, hair flying everywhere:  "This is WILD wind!"

N., recent nursery rhyme devotee:  "From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is a long, long way!"

Caption on N.'s preschool drawing of her family:  "My dad. And he is bald."

N. to me before I go to her parent-teacher conference:
"Is I'm doing great?"

N., looking in the mirror after I fix her hair:
"I like my pink tails.  My hair is as gold as coins.  Do you fink the leprechauns will think it is their gold?"

O. to N. as they chase each other around the house, both barking loudly:
"I'm hot and you're the dog.  Hot diggity dog!"

O., upset at being "counted" (our discipline system that leads to time out after a third strike) for talking back:  "Wasn't that 'one' for smart mouth yesterday??"  (Why yes. Yes, it was.  And today. And probably tomorrow.  And probably until you're 23, unfortunately...)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reading List 2011

Starting over for 2012.  I was going to say nothing stands out as outstanding in my memory of what I read last year. But then I started looking over the list, and some really fond reading memories were conjured up.  Of course, it wasn't until today that I realized how patently absurd it was that I haven't published this yet, given that it is MARCH.  A draft of my thoughts has been sitting here for the last month, waiting for me to come up with the time to add some meat to my reviews, but I think I'll just go ahead with this before it becomes APRIL.

A few highlights:

Finally discovering Calvin Trillin's tribute to his really amazing wife.  Makes you aspire to live a life where at least someone will speak so lovingly and in awe of you and your life, as well as to make sure the people in your life make you this happy.  (They do.)

Wishing I still had some high schoolers to share The Magicians by Lev Grossmann with.  Sounds cheesey to call it a grown up Harry Potter, but that's the closest you can come.  Grossmann does a great job of helping you really inhabit these kids' lives while you're reading.  Just finished its sequel, The Magician King, and am even more impressed. This one was much darker, but absorbed me fully on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.  Probably a good place to be reading about a fantasy world come to life, dark stuff and all,  come to think of it.

Some really really beautiful moments of small town life in The Girls by Lori Lansens, in addition to it being a fascinating peek into what life might be like for conjoined twins.  Feel like those girls are in my own heart for good.

Finally, finally hung in with Cutting for Stone long enough to end up adoring it.  Not sure why it took me so long.

Still sad over The Dry Grass of August, a book that echoes the themes of The Help, but has its own quiet and wrenching beauty.

Listening to Room by Emma Donohoe.  Still haunted by Jack's voice, as well as the plight of an amazingly brave young woman.  Also sad and beautiful, for not quite the reasons you expect.

Lots of strong women:  Gabrielle Hamilton, who made a life in food on her own terms, Tiny Fey, the ultimate model for how to become super successful without losing your feminity, and Olive Kitteridge, who I'm still not sure I like, but whose strength and honesty I have to admire.

If there are older girls in your life you're looking to share some books with, may I suggest the Penderwicks series?  I gave the second two to my niece for Christmas, after she specifically requested books from me this year, and reported that she had enjoyed the first one I gave her last year.  (I love that I am the aunt who gives books!!)  These books have an old fashioned charm, in every good possible sense of that term.

And the full list...

Reading List 2011

When Parents Text
The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
The Hour That Matters Most
Pirate King by Laurie R. King
Save Me by Lisa Scottoline
Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The Magicians by Lev Grossmann
Once Upon a Time There Was You by Elizabeth Berg
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
The Penderwicks of Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffen
The Girls by Lori Lansens
The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
About Alice by Calvin Trillin
The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew
How I Became Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
Shaken, Not Stirred by Tim Gunn
Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders (re-read)
Maybe this Time by Jennifer Cruisie
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
Slam by Nick Hornby
Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (re-read)
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
The Case of the Missing Marquess (an Enola Holmes mystery) by Nancy Springer
Something Blue by Emily GIffin
Room by Emma Donoghue
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
Candy Freak by Steve Almond
My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares
How Did you Get This Number by Sloan Crosley