Thursday, November 30, 2006

A House in the Country

Katherine drew this for homework tonight. The drawing is the result of an assignment from her reading teacher. They're reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and were instructed to draw a floorplan or a picture of the grounds of the professor's house in the country. The room at the top is the wardrobe room. You know what happens there!

* the chimney and walkway are care bear orange!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Christmas Elf

She's not wearing green, or even red, but she's working like one of Santa's elves. I can't tell who the gift is for since that wouldn't be keeping a very good secret. I'm not the best secret keeper, never have been, and probably never will be. I do try!

It's so much fun when my girls and I sit around the kitchen table together and make jewelry. I'm truly thankful that we have things like beading, and running, and playing games, that we enjoy together.

Sometimes though, the beading supplies overtake the kitchen like kudzu has overtaken the South. Those times call for drastic measures - like picnic meals on the kitchen floor! Everyone loves a picnic!

Will's Goodbye Picture

Will drew this picture this afternoon. He drew it to give to the student teacher who has been teaching in his preschool class this semester. The lines are roads. All roads lead to the big yellow thing in the middle. I don't know what he intended for that to be.

The milestone in this picture is his name. He wrote it by himself, without any prompting or help (other than"why don't you put your name on it so Miss Megan will know it's from you."), and even remembered to dot the i. Pretty cool!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back to Reality

Tomorrow's Monday. Oh Joy!

We've all been enjoying a 4-day mini vacation. It's been absolutely wonderful. The weather has cooperated and the kids have been able to spend much of their time outside - all day for 3 days*! The treehouse has never seen such constant use! David was able to get lots of yardwork done and I crossed all kinds of things off my inside list.

So, on to Monday.

*Except for Caroline who has a project due on Tuesday. Many thanks to the teacher for assigning work that would have to be done over the holiday weekend. Caroline deserves great applause for her dedication and time management efforts. She wrote out a schedule for getting her project, piano and even playtime done and got it all done without any nagging from the head nagger.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

3rd Grade - More Halloween

I love my camera! I'm sure we had fun on Halloween in 3rd grade, but there just aren't any pictures to prove it.

Actually, I remember the day well. Back then we were encouraged to wear our costumes to school and we even had a Halloween parade around the school and playgrounds. I was a nurse that day at school- I wore my blue jumper, white turtleneck and tights, and a cap that my mom made. The cap was the only thing that made my appearance any different than any other school day. Hey, it was an easy costume, and my mom had to contend with a 1-year-old!

The costume I most remember though was the one that my friend Jana wore. Her mom had made her "Autumn." I thought she was beautiful anyway and on that Halloween, oh so many years ago, she really was. She wore a red leotard and tights with a red gauze covered with autumn leaves. I remembered that costume and made a similar one for Morgan several years ago. She, of course, was even more beautiful than I ever remember my childhood friend being.

As for this year's 3rd grade class. These kids have never worn a costume to school, unless you count preschool, and have certainly never had a Halloween parade on school time. They did have a great party though, a bit more extravagant than the cupcakes and juice we would have had back in the (Yikes!) early 70's. I'm sure these kids had heard of parents and teachers having eyes in the back of their heads, but I wonder if many of them had heard of Cousin It before then. That's Katherine in the front! Totally Cousin It!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let Them Make Cake!

Last Friday, Caroline and her friend Molly helped me bake a birthday cake for Molly's mom's surprise birthday party on Saturday. The girls made the devil's food layers and,... Voila! The end result was, maybe not very beautiful but it sure was, delicious!

For those of you who know her, the cake should look familiar. It's the almost-as-big-as-a-school-bus van she drives to cart her own children and many others, including my own, around town!

Life is Good!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Swim Team Revisited

Swim season is long over for our family. We're definitely not die-hard swimmers who don suits throughout the fall and winter months. We had a great time last summer participating on the Key West Killer Whales swim team and are all looking forward to swim team next summer - when it's hot outside.

This is the cake I made for the end-of-season potluck in July. If you closely in lane #1 you'll see Katherine in her unique swim form - hanging on the lane line. You may even see Morgan's toes after she's dived into the water (Lane #4), or Caroline's backstroke in lane #3.

The cake was good, but the swim team experience was even better!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Every year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving our elementary school holds VIP Day. VIPs can be grandparents, aunt, uncles, older siblings, parents, or anyone else important to a child. VIPs are always treated to coffee and snacks in the gym before heading off to the classrooms.

Katherine's VIP was her daddy. Her class performed a Thanksgiving play in which Katherine played the grandchild who wanted to watch football. After the skit, some of the children played instruments, sang songs, read poems, and told jokes. Then they worked on crossword puzzles and a word search.

Caroline's VIP was her Grandmama. The students each read about the things for which they are thankful. Afterwards they interviewed their VIPs to find out what school was like a long time ago. Then they also performed a Thanksgiving play. Caroline was the scene changer - she held up beautifully decorated scene signs for everyone to see.

Will's class held a Thanksgiving Feast - of desserts! David and Will enjoyed the treats together. They ate yummy cupcakes, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cobbler.

Today was a busy day. Tomorrow we're staying home, thankful for a day off!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Crafty Ladies

Valorie and I have been making and selling jewelry for about a year and half now. On Saturday we set up a booth at a local craft fair. It was a fun fair to participate in because we knew some of the other crafters. There was Alice (the Mary Kay Consultant, left), Nancy (the scarf knitter, below right), Sue's sister (church dolls and ornaments), and lots of other women (and a man) selling lots of pretty things.

There were at least 5 other jewelry crafters there. It could have been horrible having so many jewelers, but it turned out fine. Each woman had her own style. One jeweler's items were very pricey, and another's were very cheap (price and materials). Our stuff is good looking and nicely made. Our prices are probably low for the materials we use. We sold enough to call it a good day and have already committed to go back next year.

There's always a danger in setting up a booth at a craft fair. Without discipline there's always a chance that you'll spend more at the other booths than you take home from your own sales. It helps to leave your children at home. The girls stayed with me for the last half of the fair, coming hungry and thirsty. They strolled the booths and found pretty things that needed good homes. It's a good thing they have me for a mother - otherwise all those pretty things that went home with someone else could have ended up in a our house! Yikes!

We did do a little Christmas shopping but not to the louder tune that was playing in their ears!

Girl Scouts

Today I took my Girl Scout troop letterboxing. To find out more about this pastime go to We followed clues from the website to find our first letterbox. It wasn't as easy as we thought it would be, but we did find the box thanks to the eagle eye of one of the scouts. Each girl stamped the box's stamp into her own notebook and stamped her own stamp into the box's notepad. Hopefully, this will be something that the girls will continue to do throughout their lives.

Pixie Chicks

Meet the Pixie Chicks! Are they not the cutest?! This picture was taken in February 2003, BW*. Morgan was in 4th grade, Caroline in 1st, and Katherine still in preschool. The girls were singing a really cool version of "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" in our church's variety show.

I'm hoping at least two of the girls will sing it again this February for the elementary school's variety show. We'll see. I've planted the seed, now let's see if it grows.

*BW - Before Will - hard to believe there was ever such a time!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In 3s

If bad things happen in 3s then I hope the next broken heart is mine and mine alone.

One of the things for which we have been thankful is that our girls have always had friends who were kind to them. We've never, until now, had to deal with any kind of meanness.

Katherine came to me this evening with a very brave face and tried so hard to tell me about it without crying. She couldn't, of course, because her heart was so full of sadness that just had to come out. It turns out that one of her friends had said something mean to hurt Katherine's feelings.

These things are bound to happen, I know that. As a mom though, it hurts so much to see my littlest girl so sad.

I know it's not possible, but I sure do wish all the broken hearts could be mine.

Goodbye Nibbles

Dear Morgan,

Isn't it just amazing how a day can go unbelievably well. You start out by waking up surrounded by many friends after a enjoying a birthday sleepover at your friend's house. You are fed hot chocolate and banana pancakes and don't have to be picked up until almost noon. You spend the rest of the afternoon at a craft fair helping the vendors by running errands and manning their booths. Then you get to attend yet another birthday party, this time for a grown-up, which could have been really dull but it wasn't. There were so many children running in and out and around the house you couldn't even count them all, and there were two cakes and no one said "no" to seconds!

Sounds like a super-fantastic-overly-wonderful day, doesn't it?

But then you go home and check on your little pet. And though he's still warm, he's no longer breathing. This is really the pits. There's nothing anyone can do or say to make it better. There's nothing anyone can do or say to make it go away. There's just nothing but sadness and hurt.

On the day your hamster died and your heart broke, mine did too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Small Children, Sharp Objects and Fire

What a great combination!

Several weeks ago we gathered with friends for a campfire dinner. While David built the fire,
the two other dads managed the archery station. All the big girls (Molly, Caroline, Della & Morgan) and
Mary took turns shooting arrows at the targets in an attempt to pop all of the balloons.

Katherine and her friend Emily wandered around checking out the fire building and
the boys. The little boys were playing nicely inside (thankfully away from the sharp objects), and the big boys ran around, often coming dangerously close to both the fire and the arrows.

So that's the kids and the dads. What were those mothers doing while this was going on? "Chatting," as Katherine would say, with her fingers moving together and apart like a mouth opening and closing. Where she gets her wit I do not know. Actually, we were chatting and getting the ever important food ready for consumption.

There were so many of us that we ate in waves. The first wave included the middle-sized kids and the dads, then came the other kids, and finally, (no surprise here) the moms ate quietly in the kitchen!!

After eating, we sat around the campfire for a long time before gathering the courage to hand out newly sharpened marshmallow spears to the 11 children clamoring at the fire's edge.
They ate all the marshmallows in 10 minutes flat without anybody being impaled. It was a good thing.

After the sugar fix, the kids dispersed. Then one by one the girls came back. They treated us to numerous skits
and songs before heading off to the warmth of the house. It was so cozy being by the fire that we just sat and talked for what seemed like hours. We were sure it was 10 o'clock, but went we started to clean up and take things inside we realized it wasn't even 8!

We had so much fun that we've invited ourselves back for another campfire...soon!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Granddaddy and Katherine

Granddaddy rocks! The kids show him how special he is all the time, through notes, hugs, kisses, and artwork.

Katherine drew this picture for her Granddaddy this weekend. Luckily, I snatched it up and scanned it before it left the house.

She's getting pretty big all of the sudden, but still needs to stand on a hill to hold his hand.

Just in case you were wondering, as her Granddaddy did, those red things in her hair are not horns, they are hair clips.

Eight is such a great age!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Race Day

Since we had to get to the shuttle by 5, we decided to get up at 4. Neither of us slept well, and at 3:45 I got up and showered. Huh?! Yes, I showered before running 13.1 miles! You can't run a race with bed head after all. The best part was that I had time to dry my hair!!!! Of course, none of it mattered since I threw my hair into a ponytail for the race anyway.

We drove over to Manteo in time to get on the first shuttle bus. One fear gone - we wouldn't miss the start of the race! We arrived at the start at 5:30, a full 1 1/2 hours before the start of the race. The highlight of being so early was that the port-a-potties were still really clean, and we didn't miss the start!

As 7 am drew nearer we headed down to the corrals. The corrals were marked by mile times. I chose the last one - 12 minute miles or slower. There was a time that pride would have kept me from stepping foot in that corral, but reality would bitten me all too quickly if I had tried to run faster than that! It would have been so ugly! I knew that I had no right to think I could even finish this race. After all, the longest distance I had run in the weeks preceding the race was only 3 miles. My thinking going into the race was that it would be a good day if I finished in under 4 hours.

The race began and I ran. I ran until I saw the first mile marker, and then I walked. Then I ran for a few more minutes before walking another minute. I continued on this way as we ran along the highway and wound through neighborhoods. The mile markers went by fairly quickly. At some we were provided water or Gatorade, and at some medical care was available.

The only true hill we had to face on the course was the Washington Baum Bridge. This was between mile 8 and 9 of the half marathon course. The bridge itself wasn't really that bad, and going down the other side was actually fun!

I ran with young woman from Maryland from about mile 7 until near the end of the race. She was a lifesaver. Not only did she not mind my sharing her watch for the timed walks and runs, but she also gave me some kind of gel thing when I became dizzy and disoriented during the race. Thanks to her the last half of the race went by fairly quickly.

The weather was cold but not awful, and periodically it would sprinkle for a little while. At mile 9 the rain was steady and by mile 12 we were running in a downpour. With only 1.1 miles to go, the rain wasn't going to stop us.

We ran through historic downtown Manteo. The town was really pretty and it would have been nice to stop and gawk had we not been on a mission. Maybe another day when the weather is cooperating. It was at this point when I saw David in the distance. What sight for sore eyes!

We had about 3/4 of a mile to go at that point. We wound through the town and to a school, and then had to run halfway around a track to the finish line. It was on the track that my legs decided they didn't really want to run any further. I think if the race had been longer and the finish line had not been in sight I would have been fine, but my mind processed that finish line and sent the message to the rest of my body, "we're done here." It was only through sheer stubbornness that I made it across the finish line.

At the finish we received a medal and a Mylar sheet to wrap around our frozen bodies. The worst part of the finish was having to bend over to untie my shoes so that I could remove the timing chip from my shoelaces. That done, I found David again and we headed over to the Gatorade and bagel tent.

I had no idea of my time. I don't even remember seeing a clock when I crossed the finish line. At that point, I just did not care. I only wanted to be warm. We had brought dry clothes to change into but with it being so wet there really wasn't a good place to change. I did manage to change out of my dripping wet shirts and into dry ones and wrap myself up in the Mylar while we watched for our friends to finish the marathon.

After we caught the shuttle back to our car, we drove back over the bridge to Nags Head. As we drove we saw the last of the marathoners still running. The last ones were just passing mile 20. By then the sun was coming out. Those people were sure to be dry by the time they finished their race.

After sleeping all afternoon we went to Awful Arthur's for dinner and ate seafood. Then we slept again until morning, when we headed back to Charlottesville. Once we were home and had hugged all the kids, we checked our times on the website. It turns out that I had finished the race in under 3 hours!!!

Away for the Weekend

David and I went away for the weekend. Ah, nice, a quiet weekend away from home, away from the kids, nothing to do but relax, you say?!

Not quite.

On Saturday, we traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina so we could participate in the inaugural Outer Banks Half Marathon on Sunday. I say "participate" because the only running had done in the 3 months prior to the race was at most a very slow 3 miles.

The weather Saturday was fantastic. Warm even. Had we been running on Saturday, we might have been too warm by the end of the race. On the way down we wondered if we should have brought hats and sunscreen and looked forward to Sunday being a bit cooler. We shouldn't have worried. Later the weather reports began calling for cold rains all day. Yikes! We weren't really prepared for really cold weather, and especially since I knew I'd be traveling at a pretty slow pace, I began to stress about what to wear! Didn't want to be hot, but didn't want to be cold either.

Good thing for me that David has lots of running tops. I ended up with four layers on top for the race and two on the bottom. I ran in capri tights which I was ready to discard at mile 5, but was so glad I had when the rains came pouring down at mile 9. By mile 12, the skies had opened up even more, at which point I told myself that I could do anything for another 1.1 miles! By the end of the race my clothes were dripping, my hair was dripping, and I really only wanted a hot shower, dry clothes and a cup of coffee.

After a few gatorades and bagel with peanut butter, we walked over to the point of the race where the marathoners would have only 1/2 lap to go, and watched for another 2 hours for our friends to finish the full marathon. Caroline's 4th grade teacher came in looking really strong in her first marathon finish. The other two people we were watching for came in a few minutes later, but after we'd decided to call it a day.

It was a great race, and a great time away. We hated leaving the kids but there was no way to take them along and still be able to concentrate on the race itself. Maybe we should consider adopting a university student to come with us for events like this.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Going in Circles

I went to the track this morning. Given the start to my morning I was thankful to be there. Will woke up certain that he did not want to go to preschool today. I was unsure he would make it either until we actually pulled into the parking lot to drop Katherine off at school. Luckily for me he decided that pumpkin bread after preschool was a fine idea. Thank goodness for pumpkin bread. Okay, with Will and Katherine dropped off, I only* had to get Morgan to school before I would be able to start my morning.

I also thought I was doomed, and would have to find another place to run, when I saw the signs requiring weekday permits for the lot I usually use when I go to the track on Saturdays. Then I saw another sign which allowed for track users from 7-11 without any permit. Yay!

So I hit the track. As I arrived there was a young (very young) male sprinter also just arriving to start his practice, and several more than middle aged women, and a few older men. We all entered the circle and went round and round, each at our own pace, sometimes passing and sometimes being passed.

As my time at the track passed more people came. There was an Indian woman in a sari who must have walked 2 miles in just her flip-flops. I kept wondering whether the benefit of her walk was doing more good than the damage she was doing to her knees and hips. There was a Japanese couple, and a grandfather with his young grandson. There was a skinny young coed and an morbidly obese woman. Everyone out there this morning was working hard. It was an amazing sight to see all of those different people all exercising together. At times it looked like a perfectly choreographed dance.

The wind blew through the trees at one point and the leaves rustled together. They sounded like they were applauding the effort below. What a great way to start the day!

*Caroline went with the 5th grade to Jamestown today. They left at 6:15 this morning and will return tonight at 6:30.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fall Festival 2006

Halloween...continued again!

On the Sunday evening before Halloween our church held its annual fall festival. In the past we've held the festival in the fellowship hall or on the back parking lot. It has always been a fun time. This year's fun was a bit different though. This time we celebrated fall at someone's house and had all the fun outside in the beautiful weather. It was great! Kids ran all over, playing games, jumping in the moonbounce, and taking turns on the hayride. The got their faces painted, and decorated pumpkins and cupcakes. After we ate hotdogs and all sorts of other homemade yummy food, there was a small fire for roasting marshmallows for s'mores. Yum!

The only downside of the whole afternoon was that Will was sick and couldn't come. Luckily though he was so sick that he didn't know or care about what he was missing.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Fine Line

I had never heard the term "helicopter parent" until our pastor mentioned it in a sermon a few months back. The term is used to describe a parent who constantly micro-manages her child's life, from the preschool play dates with the "right" children and elementary school teacher selection, to interference with the high school and college essay writing and post-graduation resume writing. Picture it. It's not a pretty sight.

Who knows how this phenomenon has evolved. Clearly it stems from worry, and wanting the best for our children. It's got to be more than that though. Perhaps it's the result of all of the absentee parenting that went on when my generation of parents were growing up. I can't help but think that with a little more guidance and encouragement earlier on that perhaps I would have known to believe in myself a lot more and a lot sooner. Maybe others are thinking along the same line and trying to provide for their children what seemed to be missing in their own lives. Lest anyone get worried that I'm parent bashing, take a step back and keep reading.

I suspect that some might consider me a helicopter parent (or worse!), though I cannot begin to imagine stepping into the college interview or worse, the job interview, to answer for my child. I am involved in my children's education, very involved. I tried not being involved and letting the teachers get to know my child, thinking that those teachers would see what we knew of our child, The results were horrible. My daughter floundered and the teachers didn't care. She barely hit the grade level expectations in the classroom despite testing higher than high on numerous assessments.

I try to walk a fine line. I'm convinced that if I'm not involved my kids will not get the education that they deserve. The kids' teachers need to know that they are exceptional learners. Learners who, if overlooked and will fail to blossom. In time, they will each, as our oldest has already done, grow enough and be confident enough to manage their own educational journeys. I look forward to the day that I can breathe easy knowing my kids have all the tools they need to assert themselves respectfully in order to get what they need from their various learning programs.

I think that as long as we remember that our job is to empower and encourage and enable our children to think for themselves, that we will also then remember that we can stop "hovering" and allow them to show us how capable they are.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Election day was always fun as a kid. The schools back then, as they are now, were the polling places. The machines were always delivered and set up the day before so we could have our own elections using the real thing. How cool was that?! Not only did it get us excited about election day, it also gave us experience using the machines so that when we turned 18 and could vote, we were more likely to do it.

Today as we drove to our local school, Will announced the he was going to vote. Being 3, he has quite a while until he'll be legal. When told he had to be 18 in order to vote, he responded, "I'm 18 now." In the blink of an eye, he will be. I hope when he can, he'll still want to vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween 2006, continued

We left the house with candles burning* in the pumpkins on the front porch. Yes, we leave the house on Halloween. It’s weird. As I wrote earlier, no one comes trick-or-treating down our old gravel road. Not a single soul. Our first Halloween at this address became the first Halloween we would visit the Lawn as well.

We met David at church and walked down to the Lawn. For an hour and a half every Halloween afternoon, hundreds of area children and their parents descend on the Lawn for trick or treating. The students who live there, and their friends, hand out countless bags of candy each year. It’s a nightmare. Really.

Unless of course you really don’t mind lots of people crushed up against you, and tiny children greedily clamoring for candy they’ll never eat. I mean, really, how many 3 year olds need Laffy Taffy or Jolly Ranchers?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a wonderful idea. I love the idea. I just don’t like being there. I love watching the kids have a good time, and that’s what keeps me going back year after year.

My kids love it. I think. They’re always slow to get into the whole asking for candy from strangers act. They tend to stand back and wait for people to offer candy to them. That does not happen very much on the Lawn. There are just too may kids who aren’t shy about asking for candy.

After we visited all the open doors, we headed back to the van. We ate at the dreaded McD’s and managed to feed 5 of us for under $10. Crazy. Will was happy with his nuggets and white milk. After that we visited Valorie who, busily working upstairs at the computer, really didn’t want to answer the door and had put her play-doh and lollipops out on the porch. The girls persisted in knocking and ringing and banging and making a nuisance of themselves, and finally Valorie came out. Lots of hugs later, we headed out to Grandmama and Granddaddy’s house. More candy, more hugs, and some piano playing by the Blue Fairy, and then it was time to go home. Katherine and Will fell asleep on the way home. What a treat!

*As we reached the top of the driveway we all noticed the wind had picked up, so Caroline ran down to blow out the candles. We didn’t want to come home to a shell of a house.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cowboy Will

Will was a cowboy for Halloween this year. He didn't want to be a cowboy, didn't want to wear a hat, and didn't want to go trick-or-treating. So he said.

He doesn't look all that unhappy in this picture, now does he? Actually, he took the duster off immediately after this picture was taken and refused to wear it again. The hat came off as soon as the car was locked and became my costume for the evening. He kept the bandana, the vest & the boots. Will carried his plastic orange pumpkin only long enough to fill it halfway with treats, and then he was done. Finished. No more, no way. He had to be carried the rest of the way. Yee haw!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Preparing the Pumpkins

Traditionally, on the evening before Halloween, the girls each design a face for each of our carvable pumpkins. This year, despite having 6 pumpkins at our house, we only carved two. Only two?! Yes, only two. We couldn’t carve three because our most experienced pumpkin face designer was gone* for the week.

So, Caroline and Katherine began their designs, each trying to design the face that would be chosen to grace the larger of the two pumpkins. Luckily for me the choice was easy. Katherine’s design really was better suited for the smaller of the two pumpkins, and Caroline’s, the larger.

After we decided which face would adorn which pumpkin, the gutting began. The girls had fun scooping the goop out of the pumpkins. They enjoyed squishing the slimy, seed- filled guts between their fingers as they scraped the pumpkins clean. Will, on the other hand, would have no part of the fun. Too messy. Too slimy. Ick! We could tell by looking at his face that he was not going to be coming anywhere near that mess!

Once the girls had the pumpkins completely scraped clean, and I had drawn the faces on each one, David stepped in with the very sharp knives. That’s our routine. I draw, he cuts. We’ve done it this way since before we were married, or even engaged; ever since our first Halloween together in 1988 (Gasp! Wow! You do the math!). We may be in a rut, but it works for us!

On Halloween night we lit each pumpkin’s candle and set out the basket of candy. The porch should have looked very inviting to all trick-or-treaters. We were ready. We had it all…the pumpkins, the mood, the candy. But no one came. No one ever comes.

To be continued…

* Morgan was canoeing on the Potomac River all week with a group from school.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Brother's Baby

That's my big brother and his baby boy. My nephew is 15 months old now and will be a big brother before he's 2! He's already got 2 really big brothers so it'll be good for him to have someone smaller in the house.

Already this little guy drives a tractor, swims in the river and rides on boats. He's sure to be a daredevil like his daddy. His mom's pretty good at keeping my brother in line, so I have no doubt that my nephew will be ok. I just don't want to hear about it when he starts going driving on the dunes. That scares me.

Wish they lived closer or we lived closer, or something, 'cause having family so far away is no fun! The girls are chomping at the bit to get out there, with Katherine saying, "When the new baby comes, can I go this time?" Never know what the future holds...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Need A Vacation?

Vacation time? Or do you just need a quiet place to live? Katherine's got just the place for you. Sweet Puppy Island!

This map is the result of an enrichment project assigned during 3rd grade map studies at school in September. Katherine enjoyed planning her island. She knew all along she wanted to create a puppy island but had to search for just the right puppy. K traced the outline from a coloring page and then carefully considered the amenities her island would offer. There's plenty of shopping and even a school. There are ferries and bridges to the surrounding islands. You can go for the day or stay and camp overnight.

Too bad there isn't a real Sweet Puppy Island. I'd like to go!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

C11 - Letterboxing Tea Party

Caroline's 11th birthday came upon us pretty quickly once we settled into the new school year. She decided on a Letterboxing Tea Party which by definition was a Letterboxing Party and a Tea Party rolled into one. The first question asked by almost all, was "What is letterboxing?" Our answer was "Google it!" The second question was "What should we wear?" Our answer "Whatever you like."

Letterboxing is kind of like going on a treasure hunt. Traditional letterboxing begins with clues (nowadays found on the internet) that lead the seeker to a carefully hidden, weatherproof box. The box will contain a small notebook and a unique rubber stamp. The seeker carries her own notebook, unique rubber stamp, and an ink pad. When the box is found, and after making sure no one has seen the find, the seeker stamps her own book with the box's stamp, and the box's book with her stamp. She then carefully hides the box exactly as it was found. That's it.

Our version included four boxes all with clues beginning from the small pumpkin on our front porch. I don't know where the boxes were hidden or what the clues said. I delegated those tasks to David who is great at hiding things and writing clues. The girls reported back that one clue was confusing - he used the term "sliding board" which baffled several of the girls. It's a good thing we don't have teeter-totter! It was fun to watch the girls running all over our yard looking for the boxes. There were a few mishaps - a headful of burrs and a few scrapes, but nothing too serious!

After the 3 groups of girls found each of the four boxes it was time for the tea party. The kitchen table was dressed in yellow and white. Yellow is Caroline's current color of choice. We set out the best china and arranged yellow roses. Each girl's place was set with a different tea cup - all from my two grandmothers' collections of friendship cups.

Caroline had filled little swans with creamy mints to set at each girl's place. They devoured tea sandwiches, strawberries with whipped cream and mints. The cakes were yellow and white and decorated with daisies. The girls drank gallons of tea and hot cider. They doctored their tea with many sugar cubes, honey sticks and cream. The best comment was "I love this. There are so many wonderful choices."

After tea, the girls made sachets and Caroline opened her presents. The girls then retreated outside to the tire swing and treehouse where they stayed until their parents collected them. It was definitely a party to remember.