Tuesday, October 31, 2006

halloween (4 of 4) what is emily?

This was all sort of an after thought to the kids costumes, but it's still a fun costume. I made the crazy rainbow circle skirt and the silver shrug (this afternoon, just in time for the school parties). The socks are part of my new signature look (knee socks). The wig is made out of foam. I saw it at Walgreens and had to have it--the rest of the outfit was built around that ridiculous centerpiece. Somebody gave me the scarf for Christmas last year. I'm wearing my light-green lowtop Chucks, though I had originally planned on wearing rollerskates--big white clunky rollerskates--but I know we don't have the money for another trip to the ER this year...so Chucks it is.

Some say Rainbow Brite, some say Clown, some say Polly Pocket Hair (that was a first grader), some say Moron. I'm good with any of those.

Happy Halloween. Enjoy the slew of costume posts! Posted by Picasa

halloween (3 of 4) the pirate

Aaaargh! Y0, ho, ho and a bottle of brass monkey. Moses made a fine, fine pirate.

The hat, you know about (if not, scroll down a little ways). The shirt is a resized women's shirt; the pants are resized girls pants (they should be capris, kind of rouched at the bottom, but they are just short of normal length on him--I took in the waist), I got them both at Goodwill. I made the vest out of the same faux leather as the hat and bought the skull scarf (tied at waist) at Walmart. My brother gave all the kids one of those Nerf swords ages ago. Aargh. Posted by Picasa

halloween (2 of 4) the mummy

Okay, I know he's my baby, but this kid could not be cuter. Ollie decided a year ago that he was going to be a mummy and he stuck to it. The costume needs little expanation: I ripped strips of white fabric and safety pinned it to a white sweat suit; then wrapped some around that darling little noggin. Posted by Picasa

halloween (1 of 4 ) the lifeguard

Halloween was saved! Only the boys had pink-eye. While the school nurse they had to be on eye drops for 24 hours, the doctor said less...and I went with the doctor. They got dressed this morning in costumes for school; had parties (I'm a room mother for the second graders...we had a rockin' party); went trick or treating downtown after school; and now they are camped out in front of the TV watching Moster House in a sugar coma.

And now, I bring you: The Lifeguard

I printed out the red cross and lettering on cardstock, then used an exacto knife to make the stencils. Phoebe helped paint a lot of it. I bought the sweats, tanktop and whistle; found the visor and bag at Goodwill (I added a ribbon and clasp to the bag to make it a fannypack); and used halloween makeup for the zinc on her nose (they only sell newfangled CLEAR zinc now). Needless to say, she was the only lifeguard at school, and such a cute one at that. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

because what you want at the end of a 5-day weekend...

...is for everyone to go BACK TO SCHOOL, not get pink-eye and all stay home. BUT, if they do all get pink-eye and have to stay home, what you want is an early a.m. doctor's appointment so they can be on eye drops for 24 hours and go back to school on Tuesday...Halloween...so they can wear their SUPER costumes, which they've been looking forward to for WEEKS, not get a 3 pm doctors appointment which leaves you wondering if Halloween must officially be cancelled and how in the world you will explain that when they FEEL just fine. But as it turns out, things don't always go your way, now do they?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

what happened today?

This morning, in good fun, Mo ran into the living room to hide from Ollie. He zipped behind the chair next to the book shelf. While trying to get behind the curtain he somehow got his feet tangled up in a cord. What cord? The cord to the old boombox stereo/cd player thing which came crashing down upon his head. What was on top of the boombox stereo/cd player? A stack of cds and silver salad bowl full of....cacti! These also came crashing down on his head. As he stood there screaming (and rightfully so) I came running to his aid in what? Bare feet!

So I scooped him up, extracted him from the fray and we sat on the couch. I rocked him and nursed his goose-egged head with cactus prickers sticking out of my foot.

Good times.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

since we're all so into the world series here....

Last night we were watching the game and more than anything I was listening to the organ. What I remember about going to Cards games as a kid really has everything to do with ambiance and little to do with sport.

I remember how hot it always was...St. Louis Sticky. I remember driving downtown, circling around for parking. There were only a few reasons we ever went dowtown: VP Fair, St. Patrick's Day Parade (and I think I went to that with my friends' families, not my own) and Cardinals games. So, it was very exotic to be among the big buildings and see the seedier parts of town that were as foreign to my life in Glendale as going to the moon.

I remember how as we got closer to Busch Stadium the crowds grew. So many people in red and white waiting at the light to cross; vendors hollering and selling caps and shirts and pennants; laughing about the Bowling Hall of Fame across the street; passing the big statue of Stan the Man (is that even right? how would I remember that?); handing over my ticket and pushing through the turnstile; and then starting our ascent around the outside ramps and escalators of the stadium to find our seats--the energy of those thousands of people, the worry that I might loose sight of the back of my dad's head as I followed my parents through the sea of fans.

There was always a last minute stop at the bathroom, which involved waiting in a long line, and being advised not to sit. Then meeting up with my dad and brother back outside and heading for the stands. We'd go from the wide open exterior of the stadium into a dark, enclosed hallway, as we went under the seats and then BAM! We'd come out the otherside into the blinding light of the stadium. The brilliant green field, huge lights, tiny seats across the way, advertising banners for Lou Fusz and Schnucks, but everywhere...EVERYWHERE was Budweiser.

The lynch pin memory of Cardinals baseballs games, for me, was the Budweiser song. Sure the call to "Charge!" is good fun, and the Mexican Hat Dance with it's claps of crowd-participation is nice, but the Budwesier song--King of Beers or Here Comes the King, I'm not sure which is the official title--is the end all be all in Busch Stadium organ music.

I kept waiting to hear it last night to no avail. I sang it for Paul and he didn't recognize it at all (Cincinati fan, whaddaya expect?). I searched around on the web and found that it's played at the end of the seventh inning (Take Me Out to the Ball Game is played during the stretch) so the commentators were probably yammering and cutting to commercial so I missed it.

It's such a great song. It's jaunty and catchy and I can just picture the Clydsdales pulling that wagon full of beer with a dalmation on the seat (is there really a dalmation or am I getting confusded with fire trucks?). I love that song. I found it here so you can hear it too. Melanie gets to hear it live tonight at Busch Stadium III (not the Busch Stadim II of my memory, but we can't stand in the way of progress, now can we?). So whether or not I can hear it on the broadcast I will sing it and clap along with myself.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Corporate Pirates

I already wrote this post once--Blogger, what's wrong with you?!--so I'm not as enthusiastic as I was a half hour ago when I started. Grrr. But here goes.

My kids used to be way into Captain Hook and Peter Pan, but mostly Captain Hook. That fell out of favor about a year ago. But they have a renewed interest and I KNOW it is because of the Pirates of the Carribbean marketing. They see Jack Sparrow's face on everything, think it's cool (and that he looks like Paul), and want to buy it all.

If you scroll down this blog a bit you'll see that Mo is going to be a pirate for Halloween. His birthday is four days later and he is having a pirate birthday party. We went shopping for party supplies and I told him he could get anything piratey as long as it doesn't actual say Pirates of the Carribbean on it.

Perhaps I'm kidding myself here. I know PotC marketing is the main reason he wants anything to do with pirates...that we've bought into it. But I feel like I'm sticking it to the man a tiny bit by not literally buying into it but by crafting our own piratey goodness.

We delievered the invitations last night. Since he's turning six, Moses was allowed to invite six friends. They are all from Sunday School or Kindergarten, but most of them are from both. There are four boys and two girls.
These are Frostie Root Beer bottles. The kids got to help empty those bottles, which was a party in and of themselves. I tied a red ribbon around them, cut skulls out of fun foam, wrote names in sharpie and hot glued them together.

I printed invitations on cardstock--I took a photo but it was too blurry to read. They said this:
A party awaits you if you know this:
They way to the cove of the Dread Pirate Moses
You'll find riches & booty & treasures galore
Just follow the map and knock on the door

Then it gave the party information. For "where" it simply said "x marks the spot."
I made the treasure map in Paint on Windows XP. I always thought Paint was pretty useless until I actually tried using it. I imported clip art and drew the rest with the program. According to the map the pirate ship with the X is our house. It is at the intersection of Shipping Lane No. Nine and the Mouth of the Chestnut River (aka the corner of ninth and chestnut); just east of the Steeple Volcano with cross on top (church); and due south of The Island of Learning (school). I converted paper grocery bags into 8-1/2 by 11 sheets with a paper cutter and ran them through the printer. Then I used a candle to burn the edges and blacken it up a bit.

I haven't actually planned much for the party yet. I think I'll go to Long John Silvers and snag some of their hats for the party guests. Ben Franklin is selling pirate hats for $4.50! I figure for the cost of a basket of clams I can grab eight hats and then alter them a bit. Should be fun. And I get to eat a basket of LJS clams. Yummy!Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fair Weather Fan

I'm first to admit that I'm a total fair weather Cardinals fan. It's not that I follow another team or another sport until the Cards start doing well. It's just that I generally don't give a rip about sports.

My whole family is way into Mizzou football--I'm the only one who didn't graduate from MU and as I said sports in general are not my thing (unless we're talking gymnastics or figure skating and even then, only every four years). This whole state is ridiculous about the Huskers but it I can't get into it.

I have, however, been following the Cards, thanks in part to Melanie's obsessive postings. It's nice to give a little hometown shout-out and show a little hometown pride. I love St. Louis. It's a great city. I miss it. I enjoyed going to Cardinals games when I lived there -- maybe one a season, no more than that, sitting up in the cheapseats. So, yes, I am excited that they are in the series. I have watched portions of the last two games. I really hope they win.

But really all I can think about is this: Albert Pujols.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Striking A Bargain

We went to the museum yesterday. It was wet and snowy and awful out and the kids were getting a little cagey at home. So, we went and saw the I-Max movie about bears, which the kids loved. I liked it too but I'm still a little haunted by Grizzly Man.

Then we did some crafts and looked at case after case of taxidermied animals--because this is what the Hastings Museum consists mostly of -- taxidermied animals and not just mounted deer. Oh, no. We're talking stuffed polar bears posed to be ripping open stuffed seals. This was all put together long before there was any taboo about clubbing baby seals. There's a stuffed mama seal and stuffed baby nursing seal--actually in the act of nursing. Phoebe a year or so ago put together that someone had to have killed that baby. Yup. It's fascinating and awfully creepy.

But this is not the point of my story.

The point of my story is that we were in the children's activity area which has a groundwater exhibit (where water runs through a chute that looks like a river surrounded by farmland and you can set up houses and crops and then put in dams and flood it out, filling up irrigation resevoirs or just knock down the houses and race little boats), a frontier cabin (an actual cabin that someone donated. It's the size of my bathroom and a family of eight actually lived in it), a teepee and an archeological dig. The dig is dionsaur bones burried in this rubber fake sand. You put on a big hat and use brushes to push aside the sand and find the bones. It's pretty cool.

After we'd been in that room a while and the kids had already exhausted each exhibits intended purpose, Moses started filling up one of the archeologists hats with the fake sand. Another boy saw what Mo was doing and decided to do it as well. This boy had already taken off his shoes and dipped his feet in the groundwater exhibit, not to mention climbing on top of it and generally running amok. So he sits down and starts filling up another hat.

The mom says, "Just don't put it on your head."

"Hmmm..." the kid thinks, "that's sounds like a good idea." And, of course, starts to raise the hat up, but so far has not started tipping it. From now on I'll call him Billy.

"Billy," she says in a louder but not threatening voice, "I'll give you a dollar not to pour that on your head."

Billy's eyebrows go up--interested--but keeps raising the hat.

"I'll give you two dollars to not do it!" She says more excitedly, getting out of her chair. "Come on, Billy, please....two dollars!"

As he very slowly starts to tip it he says, "Make it five and you've got a deal."

Now, to her credit, she took the hat out of his hands and dumped the fake sand back atop the fake dinosaur bones. But I am 100% convinced that if he had stopped, she would have opened her purse and given him $2.

You should have seen the look on Mo's face. It was part wonder that this was even a possibility in the world. She was going to give him money?! And part wariness--like he knew there was something strange and not quite right about that. I thought about asking them what they thought about that later, but since Phoebe's going to sit with this kid in class on Monday, I thought I'd just let it go and talk about it if they brought it up. They didn't.

I just keep projecting the outcome of that strategy into the future. How much can you pay a kid not to drink and drive? Not to get his girlfriend pregnant? Not to drop out of college?

Phoebe is taking piano lessons and she is supposed to practice five times a week. Her teacher said if she gets all her practice in, "Maybe your parents can give you a reward." Of course I said, "Phoebe, you know what the reward is for practicing the piano? Knowing how to play the piano!" Maybe I'm stingy. I don't know. But I hate the idea of teaching kids to what they should not because it's their job or it's right or anything noble like that, but because they'll get a dollar or a candybar or something....ugh.

The otherside of the museum story is that I sat there and let Moses dump the hat full of fake sand on his head...because he's five and it's fake sand in the children's room at the museum and what do I care? But Billy's mom is probably writing on her blog on about those sloppy Dunbar kids and my parenting skills, or lack there of. Maybe I can give her a dollar not to say bad things about me.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fun for Everyone

1. That's An Enormous Amount of Paper
Get a phone call from Dwight Schrute or have Dwight call your friends.

2. Get Lost in the Time-Suck of Youtube
Watch clips from Big Train, a British sketch comedy show that we scheduled our lives around when we lived in Cambridge. See The Artist Formerly Known As Prince take down a herd of jockeys or watch Chaka Kahn and Bee Gees in the utlimate showdown...or this one (and this one) just for fun. Really, just watch any Big Train clip.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Day In The Life

Awoke to mix of snow and rain outside
Got two boys who peed their beds (yes, they are a little old for that and no, it doesn't happen very often) into the bath
Stripped two wet beds
Made coffee
Made three breakfasts (cereal, juice)
Made two sack lunches (whole wheat pasta with bacon bits, butter and parm, yogurt, wheat thins and juice)
Drank first cup of coffee
Welcomed next door neighbor Annie who walks to school with us
Supervised the putting on of coats, shoes, backpacks, hats & gloves
Poured second cup of coffee for the walk...

Walked Annie, Mo & Phoebe to school with Paul
Returned home with Ollie
Started laundry (see wet beds above)
Collected hampers from bedrooms and sorted for more laundry
Went to K-Mart for a lamp, clock and gloves
Took Ollie to public library for story hour
While Ollie participated in story hour I looked through crochet & yoga books, went outside with librarians to see where new drive-up book drop was being installed
Went home
Made Ollie lunch

Walked Ollie to school
Returned home alone!
Wrote letter to Nebraska Library Association Trustee Citation award winner to tell her she's won; Wrote letter to person who nominated said winner; filled out registration and cut check to pay for award recipient's meal at award luncheon
Wrote letter to Friends of Hastings Public Library and cut check on behalf of Nebraska Library Association in honor of a board member whose term has ended
Chatted with Paul on his lunch break

Went to yoga
Experienced bliss

Returned home
Ate some chicken while looking through November issue of Martha Stewart Living
Checked Email
Tidied up living room
Tidied up kitchen

Walked to school to retrieve children
Walked home with Phoebe, Moses, Oliver and friend who I watch after school, Zip
Supervised the unpacking of lunch boxes and backpacks
Made snack for four
Played one round of Uno

Zip's dad picked her up

Paul came home

Went to Library Board Meeting which I chaired because board president wasn't there (suddenly wierd spacing on the blog tht I can't fix!)

Came home to eat dinner Paul & Phoebe had prepared: salad and applesauce

Welcomed the Vonderfecht kids who came over for 10 minutes before weekday school at church Walked the six kids to church, divided them up into three different classrooms
Went to Walmart
Put my name in at Costcutters for a haircut
Went to pick up new frames and contacts while I waited for haircut
Got call from the treadmill company and wnet back and forth for a half an hour about how my treadmill has never worked right, how I've already replaced the electrical board, held for forever, determined it's the power cord (which she tried to charge me for--not happenin'), confirmed address that new free power cord will be sent to--all while standing in the optical department of Walmart
Went back to Costcutters and tell them I won't be getting my hair cut
Picked up glasses
Bought coffee (Starbucks Sumatra) and breakfast treats (apple turnovers!)
Talked to J and C in the bread & coffee aisle, they just got a call (while in Walmart) that J's mom had a stroke
Drive home
Tidy up kitchen
Tidy up living room

Picked up kids from church
assembled lamp and hung clock purchased this morning
Supervised lego clean up and piano practice
Quizzed Phoebe on spelling words and math fact flashcards
Made boys' beds, including top bunk--worst job ever

Read one chapter of Caddie Woodlawn to the kids
Doled out meds and supervised toothbrushing
Kissed kids goodnight

Watched tonight's episode of LOST which I taped, while eating Haagen Dasz coffee icecream
Freaked out over appearance of Boone; rejoiced at appearce of Hurly, while Paul tried to pretend he wasn't interested and had important stuff to do on the computer, but after asking "what happened?!" ten times he gave up the ghost and watched with me.

Brushed teeth

Read one chapter of All Quiet on the Western Front in bed (again with wierd blog spacing, sorry)

But most importantly, today I wore my new favorite socks with my old favorite shoes and jean skirt. Perhaps, I looked like an eight year old, but I was very pleased with myself.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 13, 2006

Aaaaaargh! How to make a 3-point pirate hat

I didn't know if I could pull it off, but the pirate hat is done. Now, I just have to make the rest of the costume.

Crochet BeanieUse geometry to figure out size of doughnut hole to cut out of faux leather. I admit, my calculations were a little faulty--you'll see the back section folded over on itself, but whatever.Cut same shape out of cheesey stiff fabric that no one will really see to help it hold its shape. It turns out you can see it a little bit--but, again, whatever. Sew these two pieces together. I just laid one on top of the other and top stitched once around the inside circle and once around the outside.

Sew the edge of the hat to the inside circle--a little bit tricky getting the bulky crochet under the sewing machine foot, but it worked.Pin together the three points and stitch just enough to hold it in place.
Posted by Picasa And Voila! This boy will make a smashing pirate come Halloween.

like i need another reason to love the pumpkin patch

two words: paying gig

Next Sunday I have a gig at the pumpkin patch. Who knew such an option existed in the world? The pumpkin patch owner heard me play at Kool-Aid Days (another very prestigeous gig!) and called me up. Nice! Two hours of music, probably on the front steps of the barn (inside which are face paints, a fake goat you can milk, and old fashion board games) if weather allows. Fifty bucks and the whole family gets in free.

Being a small town singer-songwriter has it's benefits.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Have a Nice Flippin' Day

All three of my kids experience the same power trip in a very unlikely place--dissing the Walmart greeter. When you walk into Walmart there is a greeter, usually a nice older person in a blue vest, who...well...greets you and offers the kids a Walmart smiley face sticker. At some point several years ago Phoebe told me she didn't want the sticker. I asked what she thought she should do about it. She mulled it over and said, "Should I say 'no thank you?" I thought that sounded like the perfect thing to do. It's wierd that kids have to think through and learn this stuff.

The next time we went to Walmart, Phoebe geared herself up in the van. "I'm not going to take a sticker today!" When we walked through the anti-theft gates the greeter said, "Would you like a sticker?" and automatically started pulling the yellow circle from its backing. Phoebe looked up at her and said, "No, thank you." At this the greeter stopped, looked suspiciously at my child, and looked questioningly at me. I simply smiled and we walked on without a sticker.

I can still picture her little face as we walked on through the store. She was so proud of herself!

Imagine being four and realizing, maybe for the first time, that you don't have to take whatever a grown up wants to give you! Imagine discovering that you have power over what happens to you and what gets stuck to your jacket. Imagine the realization that there is an option that lies between throwing a fit about something and sitting back and taking it. You can calmly look a grown up in the face and say, "No, thank you." And guess what? They have to put their stupid little sticker back in their stupid blue vest pocket!

It was all over after that. There was no way she was ever going to accept a sticker after that. Moses followed suit and when Ollie got to be a little older, he also became a Walmart Sticker Refuser.

There were times when the greeter didn't hear (as I said, they are usually older) or didn't pay attention and the kids would have to repeat themselves. They were always polite as they mustered up the courage to be firm. "I said, 'No, thank you.' I don't want a sticker." But, there were times when the greeter said something that I'm sure seemed very benign to them...something like, "Sure you do, sweetheart." and started to adhere the smiley face to the kids' chest.

Oh, no you didn't, Greeter! You're harshing on my kids' naural high.

I quickly became as offended as the kids did by this. They have a right to refuse a sticker! If it was me, I'd be pissed if some stranger walked up and stuck a sticker on my shirt. Personal space! Hello?!

Today our greeter had some nerve. Ollie and I walked in and without even asking or looking at him really the greeter stuck a sticker on him...but honestly, I wasn't paying much attention. He kept a brave face until we were out of range and then he howled. He didn't want a sticker! She didn't even ask him! She just stuck it on his jacket and he doesn't want it! He ripped it off and thrust it at me. I folded it over on itself and put it in my pocket.

I debated going back and confronting the greeter. Can you imagine? They would think I was so nuts....but Oliver would think I was awesome. Instead I offered him my sincerest empathy. It was a rude thing to do. I'd be mad too. I don't know why she didn't ask. Next time, we'll make sure you don't get a sticker.

What a twisted little world I've created for myself.

hell has apparently frozen over

Well, wonders never cease. This morning I sat down and used geometry. Willingly. Because it actually served a practical purpose in my life. I should write Mr Sharpe, whose class I nearly failed (but then I would have to have gone to summer school and miss CIT year at CAMP so I pulled myself together enough to pass with a D+).

I'm making a three-point pirate hat for Mo's Halloween costume. I crocheted a skull cap and bought some faux leather for the big brim. I'll cut a big circle out of the leather with a smaller head hole in the center (like a doughnut), which I will then hand sew onto skull cap. Confused? I'll post pics when it's complete--assuming that my master plan actually pans out.

But I needed to know how big to cut the head hole. I can measure the circumfrence of Mo's head with a measuring tape. It was a matter of figuring out the radius or diameter of the circle. I knew pi was involved, but how?

Paul called his Mom.

It turns out c=2(pi)r

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Autumn in Nebraska

Hooray for the low-tech goodness which is the pumpkin patch. We went on Sunday--before the weather turned sour and fall-ish for sure. We didn't even get pumpkins. There's too much to do to take time out for the hayrack ride into the field. (In NE it's "hayrack ride" not hayride. I stopped asking why and now I just go with it.)
There's nothing like sliding down a fiderglass sheeting slide built into the side of a hill on a burlap sack; or jumping off a diving board into a huge pile of hay; or going down a slide into a swimming pool full of corn; or feeding goats and sheep pellets you buy for a quarter from a gumball machine; or riding monster trikes around a dirt track; or zooming down a zip line in a wooden crate; or getting lost in a corn maze (no joke...I got a little panicky). Not to mention the kettle korn and home made fudge. Good times. I love Nebraska in Autumn.

 Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 06, 2006

the bastardization of holly hobbie

I bought a lunch box just like this one at an antique store in Idaho Falls about eight years ago. I've collected lunch boxes since high school (when I carried them as purses) and I remembered Holly Hobbie fondly from my youth. But I couldn't remember who Holly Hobbie was. Was she a character in a book? Folklore? What was her backstory? Where did she come from? All I knew was that she was a patchwork pioneer girl whose face hid behind a floppy blue bonnet and that her image, usually in profile and sometimes with a needle in hand or bent over an old-fashioned sewing machine, graced lunchboxes, colorforms, needle/patchwork wall hangings and bedsheets.

I asked about her at the antique store, but they didn't know. A search of their library books on collector's items yeilded no answers.

In about 10 seconds on Google this morning I found this quote:

"Holly Hobbie, the charming girl in the oversized, blue chintz bonnet, is a character, who personifies childhood innocence. It was named after its author and creator, Holly Hobbie, and introduced as a character design on a few greeting cards in 1967 by American Greetings Corp.

Holly’s engaging smile and friendly, country girl appeal hide a deeper wisdom and strong, optimistic outlook on life —one she is quite happy to share with others. In a rustic, early-American setting, Holly Hobbie, her brother, Robby, and best friend Heather, share friendship and happy times together."

It's sort of depressing that Holly Hobbie was invented by a greeting card company during the late sixties and that she was not an actual pioneer girl popularized in my youth.

But not as depressing as the following images:

That is the new Holly Hobbie. What does THAT girl have to do with Holly Hobbie?!?! Childhood innosence? Rustic American setting? Friendly, country girl appeal that hides a deeper widsom? That girl is NOT Holly Hobbie. She's not even a girl. She's 18, as are all dolls marketed to six year olds nowadays. That girl did not sew those jeans herself, like I always imagined the real Holly Hobbie did her apron. That girl doesn't cross stitch! And nobody but 13 year old boys would want a picture of that girl on their bedsheets!

I shudder sometimes to think of the world my daughter is growing up in. Where Holly Hobbie wears capris and a newsboy hat and says, "Math is hard, let's go shopping." And marketing companies try to sell her slutty Bratz dolls and t-shirts that are supposed to be cool and funny and sassy with slogans like "spoiled rotten" or "life's too short to do my homework."

They're probably going to reissue the Little House books with Laura in a haltertop french kissing Almanzo on the cover. Or cut off Anne Shirley's braids for a chunky layered bob and show her in the urban condo she shares with Diana Barry instead of lving at Green Gables with Matthew and Marilla, because kids don't need parents--according to the maketing companies--and certainly not OLD people.
And then I'll just have to lay down and die.

I am thankful I don't have to live the hard and oppressive life of a pioneer wife. I'm glad that I'm sitting at my computer right now typing a blog I can share with you all instantly instead of dipping a pen in an inkwell and sending a letter by train or horse. I am thankful to have a cell phone and a refridgerator and a gas furnace. I'm glad I have my own pair of capri pants and newsboy hat. I'm glad that even in a small city in rural Nebrska the pastor's wife can get away with playing guitar and singing in public her own songs that are not "christian music" and be outspoken and left to do her own thing. Believe me, I know I've got it good.

But there are sometimes when I would like a time machine; when the modern world makes me feel like I was born at the wrong point in history; when I want to just move out to a farmhouse and churn my own butter and raise self-reliant, capable, confident & moral children who know God's love for them, without having to battle the culture around us constantly and on every little seemingly inconsequential thing, like Hollie Freakin' Hobbie.

End rant.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Spiderman Shoes Be Gone!

Thanks for all the comments on the last Spiderman Shoes post. I'll just keep reporting on my crazy parenting ideas and you can keep your own running tally of my children's future therapy bills.

In the spirit of "choosing your battles" I chucked the Spiderman shoes altogether. Walking to school in socks, making Moses wear his crocks instead...nothing was helping. Everytime we left the house I was mad because of Mo's shoes. Phoebe and Ollie would be out on the porch or in the van, I'd have my keys out, purse on the shoulder, one foot out the door and there Moses would sit--shoes in hand with tangled laces--nowhere near ready. I went to K-Mart last night and bought some $9.99 velco sneakers.

I told Moses I had the solution to our problem as I grabbed his old shoes and tossed them way into the back of the closet. He looked at me confusedly. Then I presented the generic white, yellow and blue velcros. His face lit up. He knew immediately what it all meant. A smile crept across his face and he said, "Great idea, Mom." I love that kid.

Kindergarten is really hard. When Phoebe was in Kindergarten, I thought it was her....or me...or something about our relationship. Things just went awry. I remember thinking, "I have to live with this child for 13 more years. We're going to kill each other." It made me frustrated and it made me sad. And then poo hit the fan with the shoplifting debacle--good land--I didn't know what to think then. But, summer came and whatever phase that was ended and all was well. She's a gem.

Now Mo is in Kindergarten and we're facing a lot of the same problems. Poor, Phoebe! It wasn't her! It wasn't me! We don't have a crazy dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship! It's just being five. It's just Kindergarten.

All of a sudden these kids are shoved out of the nest. They're eating lunch without direct supervision. They're out of the house all day. They're brains are bursting with letters and numbers and how to play nicely on the playground and how to line up when the whistle blows and going to the bathroom without Mom in case some emabarrassing situation arises and being in charge of carrying important papers home and...you get the picture. It's a lot of new independence and a lot of new responsibility.

So, I chose NOT to deal with the Spiderman shoes anymore by taking them completely out of the equation, but I did take on another battle: the cleaning out of the lunch box.

The deal is when Pheobe and Mo get home, they are to: 1) take their folders out of their backpacks and give me their papers and 2) take their lunch boxes into the kitchen and clean them out. I don't mean rinse them or scrub them, but take out the reusable sandwich box and drink container, take out the spoon and put them in the sink. This is important so that I can throw them in the dishwasher with the dinner plates and have them clean for lunch the next day. Otherwise I am giving containers half-full of fermented orange juice a quick rinse and refilling them--or dealing with salami that's been at room temp for 24 hours--yuck. I'm just not having it. I also don't like the morning rush-around (I think I've mentioned this). I like to have clean lunch boxes and food containers waiting on the counter for me to fill them in the morning.

But guess what! Moses does not empty his lunch box out....not without being asked (read: nagged) repeatedly. Usually, I just go do it myself. This is one of those things (just like the shoes) that is not a big deal. It is a small deal, really. It's a lunch box, for Pete's sake. But, multiply that small frustration by every morning of every school day stretching into the future every year that he brings his lunch. So, I figure let's grab the bull by the horns, learn the lesson and have a pleasant morning together before school.

This morning I was prepared for a meltdown.

Wednesday morning I got his lunch box out of his backpack from the day before and cleaned everything out only to fill it right back up again. And it made me mad. And it made me want to nag him and lecture him and repeat for the millionth time why he needs to clean his backpack out. Then I caught myself and realized that it would make more of an impact if something actually HAPPENED if he didn't clean it out....because I like to enjoy my time with those kiddos.

So I told him that I could no longer clean the lunch box out for him in the morning, or the evening for that matter. This was his job. It was his lunch. And if his lunch box didn't get cleaned out I guess he couldn't take it to school. I guess he'd have to get hot lunch.

That sounded fine to him.

Then I asked him if he had $2 to buy hot lunch.

He did not have $2. I asked him how much he would get on Saturday for allowance. He said $2. What a lucky coincidence! I said, "Hmmmm...I guess you'll have to pay for your hot lunch with your allowance money if you don't clean out your lunch box." He said understood. He said he would try to remember.

When he got home yesterday I did everything but straight-out tell him to do it. I asked him if he'd done everything he needed to. I reminded him that I needed the papers from his folder--so he reaches into his backpack, PAST the lunch box, to get the folder. Before bed I asked if everyone had gotten all their jobs done. Everyone, Moses included, was sure they had.

I wouldn't say I felt nervous about all this, but I prepared myself for the worst. I imagined what kind of fit Moses might throw. I imagined how I would react to said fit.

Morning came. Phoebe set her alarm 10 minutes early so she'd have time to make her own lunch today. I sat back and had a second cup of coffee--what with no lunches to make, why not? I put $2 in an envelope and put Mo's name on it. I waited.

It wasn't until 7:55 when Moses was putting on his backpack to leave that he realized. He turned to me with wide panicky eyes and said, "OH NO! My lunchbox!" And I smiled and said, "I realized that this morning. Look, I already put Saturday's allowance money in an evelope to take to school."

No freak out. No meltdown. No nothing.

I'm sure that will come on Saturday when I, with a flourish--of course, hand out allowance to the other kids. That's when it will hit home. Hopefully. Hopefully he'll get it. With my luck, he'll just keep racking up a huge debt--be weeks in the hole. My little endentured servant--hot lunch comes from the company store, boy! God save us all. But when he gets fed up with me and decides to run away from home, at least I won't have to help him put his shoes on.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Dunbar-Magallanes Wedding

Thanks to Melanie, I now have the new obsessive time suck (and EXTREMELY helpful tool), Picassa, to publish photos much more easily and in cool collages like this! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

just in time for halloween

I am listening to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova on cd. I borrowed the audio book from the library, ripped it onto my pc and uploaded it onto my mp3-player. I read pretty much non stop, but almost never listen to books. The problem has always been that I'd put it on in the house during naptime and then try and get work done--like lugging laundry baskets, washing dishes, whathaveyou--and I couldn't hear the book playing on the stereo in the living room. Then I'd have to rewind and blah blah blah. But, the mp3-player fits right in my pocket, or when no pocket is available in the handy mp3-player cozy I crocheted for it (because that's the kind of nerd I am).

On Saturday it was gorgeous out--in the 80s. The kids and I did a six mile bike ride, if you can believe that (!) -- a seven, five and four year old riding six miles with Dairy Queen, very UN-coincidentally, as the turn around point. When we got home Paul took them up to the Platte River to catch frogs and splash in the tiny trickle of a river. We've worked out a nice trade off a system so Paul and I both get some freetime. So, I sat in the warm backyard by myself, rocking in a rocking chair, crocheting and litening to The Historian. I got tired (what? how?) of crocheting and decided to go the grocery store so we could raost weenies and have s'mores for dinner. And you know what? I just got up, mp3-player in my pocket, grabbed my keys and went out the door without missing a word of the novel.

It was very surreal to walk through the grocery store, under the fluorescent lights with the high shelves full of neon packaging while listening to this particular book.

It's about Dracula.

A thing I do less than listen to audio books is have anything to do with horror at all. Paul and I made an agreement to not watch horror movies anymore about seven years ago (I remember because the deal was sealed after we watched Blair Witch when we were living in Idaho). We've maybe watched two or three since then. And horror novels....? Simply unappealing to me. I read a couple Steven King in high school, simply because my brother loved them and owned them all and I thought I should see what the fuss was all about. Scary? Sure. Creepy? Yeah. Well written? Uh-huh. But not my cup of tea.

But I am really enjoying The Historian. It's about an academic who gets drawn into researching the historical Dracula. He thinks it's crazy. But strange events keep happening around him, pulling him into a world he had no intention of joining. It's narrated in a story within a story form, which is brilliantly done. A father is telling his daughter (the main narrator) about his past exerience researching Dracula, often by quoting his academic advisor who first told him of Dracula. It switches between those three voices.

I seem to be the perfect audience for Kostova. I love literary novels. I'm not normally interested in horror and niether are her characters. So we all get slowly, slowly drawn in together. The father and daughter move all over Europe, so there's a travel logue element as well. And it's all set in the world of academic research--kind of like Posession by A.S. Byatt in that respect.

It is getting continually scarier and creepier. It's so well done -- if she'd started in straight away with neck bites and bats I would have rolled my eyes and turned it off. The story is so compelling I can't wait to put in on. And the last few chapters have been so exciting I felt like we must be reaching the climax and end of the novel--and then I realized I'm only on disc 9 of TWENTY TWO!

So, there you have it. An Ocotober book suggestion: The Historian by Elizabether Kostova.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rehersal Dinner

The Happy Couple
Gus & Jean

Everyone standing around watching the pinata proceedings.

I made those cool "car lot flags" with fabric scraps--sewed them onto yarn.

The mother-of-the-bride preparing to be blindfolded for pinata whacking.

Rachel (L), Jean's college friend, flew in from the Philippines to be a bridesmaid.
Wera (R), who attended Jean's high school as a foreign exchange student flew in from Germany to be a bridesmaid.

The lovely Emily Jones, high school friend from Indiana and a huge helper-outter.

Alex, Margie, Kelin (bridesmaid) & Elpi (bridesmaid) -- all Hastings friends.

We had pizza, wings & beer; smacked around a pinata; then lit some tikki torches and hung out by the fire--a very laid back and very fun backyard rehersal dinner.