Monday, June 20, 2011

The Post Man was Naughty

Saturday morning we were enjoying the sun on our morning porch with amazing Amélie.  She loves the morning porch and she's always very busy there.  This particular morning, the morning porch was turned into a treetop kingdom complete with Disney princesses who were skipping around and visiting each other at their palaces.  Of course their music was playing in the background on the iPod.  Every once in a while, Amélie would shout out "Beast is happy" when "his" song came on or when the iPod switched to Annie, our ears were blessed to hear a resounding "Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow...." - all on key and man, can she hold that last note! Reminds me of her mommy and her "Aunty Brentny."  For breakfast, we had animal dominoes with chocolate sauce that had been baked on with the pink princess hair dryer.  They were "yummers."  One observance didn't make too much sense though - the yellow school bus that was parked on the far side of the porch.  It was covered with Mardi Gras beads like it was chained up.  Greg and I decided and that it must have been an MPS bus that was perhaps being detained for reasons unknown to the media.

Recently, Ashli decided that Amélie had developed a mommy filter.  Her frustrations are not alone - I often hear all of my children and their spouses question whether their children are listening to them. They share their frustrations of parenthood with me and my job is to just keep encouraging them to continue doing what they're doing.  They are all very diligent and "on-top-of-things" parents and I know they are making progress in training their children.

Case in point . . . after Amélie had spread all of her Disney princesses around the porch, she reached into the box and found a plastic figurine of a postman.  She was obviously a little confused about this guy because as she was looking at him and thinking, you could see that she didn't recall him from any of her favorite Disney movies.  She quickly decided that he must be an invader and was up to no good because she held him up to her face and said "now you have been very very naughty and you have to have a time out."  She found a chair from the playhouse, took the chair to the very edge of the outer kingdom and sternly put him on a time out.   I think she thought he was at least 15 years old because he had to endure about a 15 minute time out.  She came over to him a couple of times and said "when you are good, it's your time out."  I know that she was trying to replicate her mommy's words to her when she isn't taking her time out.

Naughty postman!

So just a reminder to my kids . . . don't get discouraged.  They are listening to you....they are listening to everything and soaking it in!  It's just their job to make you think they aren't. I know this because I used to feel the same way and yet every so often, I have heard my words coming out of my children's mouths just as I heard my mother's words coming out of my mouth.  We joke and say things like "I've turned into my mother" but that's mostly a good thing.

Speaking of my mother . . . she was a very particular grandmother just as she is in everything else that she does in life.  She wanted the girls to have a perfect dollhouse that would last so when they were little, she asked my sister-in-law's father to build a dollhouse.  The dollhouse now lives in our attic and comes out just when the time is right.  Saturday was the day for Amélie to become the new landlady of the dollhouse.  I loved watching my girls play with this house.  I loved watching Lindsey play with this house......and now it's Amélie's turn.  Talk about The Circle of Life . . . how cool is that?  This is serious stuff!

A perfect palace for all of the princesses.

Beast is happy!  He's dancing with Belle.

 "Play is the work of children." Friedrich Froebel."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Wonder if Squirrels are Overworked?

I'm feeling very lazy today.  I worked yesterday at school (yes, yesterday was Saturday) and then I came home to find  Greg cleaning out the garage. All I could think to say was "Heavens to Betsy...."   He said, "You don't have to touch any of this!"  He actually said it with a straight face.  In any event, I eventually was pulled into helping because I'm an organizational freak and I love the feeling of being ruthless with "stuff". The garage can now house two cars.  We spent the required amount of time admiring our work before realizing it was nearly time for the long overdue "date night" that we had planned.  We were so tired, we curled up in front of the TV and watched Out of Africa instead of going out like we had planned.  And we actually stayed awake for the entire thing.  Have you ever seen that movie or read the book?  If not, you should.  It is a beautiful true story.  It inspires me to go someplace quiet and calm and exotic and grow my own coffee beans.

That brings me to our awe-inspiring son.  I have this kind of love you/hate you relationship with technology but one of the things that I love are my frequent texts and emails from my kids.  Hardly a day goes by that I don't get a funny text or a tear-inducing picture that frequently involves one of our grand kids.  We are all rarely in the same time zone and we aren't often all together under the same roof, but technology brings us close every single day.

Not long ago, I got a picture (text) of a big burlap bag with ETHIOPIA printed on it  from Ty.  Ty has always been my curious guy - the one who used to ask me 50 times a day why and follow up each answer with another why.  He used to frequently drive me nuts with his questions but I don't think he ever suspected.  God blessed me with a mother's poker face nearly every day.  Add to that the fact that I walked around with Mister Rogers' lyrics swirling around in my head and I thought for sure I would scar him if I didn't go head-to-head with the question/answer sessions.

"Did you know.....did you know....did you know that it's alright to wonder?"  

(Click below to read the lyrics and to hear Crystal Gayle singing it! By the way, if you are the parent of a preschooler and you don't have some Mister Rogers on your iPod .....shame on you - purchase a download today - makes the job of parenting SO much easier with the lessons to be learned!)

In any event, I've always been in awe of Ty's ability to "wonder" and to just plow forward even in a situation where it wasn't encouraged.  Back to the picture of the burlap bag - Ty has evidently begun wondering about the process of how coffee gets to his French press and is also a little peeved at the cost.  He's been wondering so much that he has started roasting his own coffee.  I knew he was working on something the weekend of his sister's college graduation because I kept hearing these little buzz sessions between him and Greg.   But I was so busy, I didn't bother to get details.  I now realize the details are that he ordered a 50-pound bag of coffee beans from Ethiopia and he is going to roast them all, grind them up and drink them.  I hope at a greatly reduced price.....but does it really matter?  He wondered and he now knows. What a kid!

I am also assured that he and his incredible wife are nurturing this sense of wonder in their adorable offspring too and this makes my heart leap!  Do you wonder how I know this?  They all took a walk last night and these are the pictures they sent me from their walk:

Have you ever seen such a site?

Is it THAT  hard to collect food?

The snap of the camera must have awakened him - what adventure will ensue?
I was on the other side of the lake when Ty was standing with his family wondering about this squirrel but I know that a lot of smiling and laughing and questioning went on.  And I'm sure Ty will chuckle about it for days with that infectious laugh that I have grown to adore over the years.

So even though Greg and I were tired last night after a hard day of garage cleaning labor, our life must be better than the life of a squirrel AND when we're tired, we have a bed to splay ourselves out on instead of a tree branch!  Although tree branches are not all bad...............

"It's our insides that make us who we are, that allow us to dream 
and wonder and feel for others. That's what's essential. 
That's what will always make the biggest difference in our world."
-Fred Rogers, Commencement Address at Middlebury College, May 2001