Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Riley Ernie Bernie

Last week, we babysat a 14-week-old Labradoodle puppy for one night.

I, Husband was driving it to Tennessee for a friend so we had a crate, food, treats and a list of instructions to follow. In speed reading the instructions, we "read" that the puppy's name was to be Riley.

You can imagine how many times a 4-year-old and a 2.5-year-old can squeal and call out a puppy's name in a 20 hour period. We were set on this dog's future until we carefully read the instructions before I, Husband left and realized our friend already had a CAT named Riley and this dog was to be named Ernie or something.

Henry thought Bernie was a better name since it would be like Ernie AND Bert from Sesame Street.

Little Monkeys

Henry and Svea have been very interested in the "The Jungle Book" lately and have had LOTS of questions about Mowgli, the Man Cub.

They loved climbing this tree and then screaming out, "Bagheera! Save me!!!!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Good At Our Jobs

Henry and Svea went to bed early tonight, exhausted from their long day. They truly work 24/7.
I have to say that I am very impressed by their work ethic.

They never stop.

Svea is pushing the last half of her last molar through, growing her hair long and her legs longer. She's sassy, smart and silly and almost always makes it to the potty when necessary. She loves the dizzy game, rocking before bed, putting all of her animals to bed, and most of all, her brother.

Henry is a sports fanatic, hoarse by noon from describing his world, mostly helpful in good ways and always means well (in his mind, at least). He loves eating, running, strategizing, and most of all, his sister.

At the end of the day, they are both so good at being 2.5 and 4 years old.

Thank goodness for that.

Teaching Tools

Henry's love of sports, particularly baseball and football, continues with a vengeance this Spring.

I got worried about it at one point and a friend who is a teacher assured me that he was normal. She said that kids need to be able to learn one thing, just one thing, and then everything else can be related to that thing.

I'm feeling pretty clear on what Henry's One Thing is. Here's the run down:

SHAPES - he has learned his shapes by studying the shape of the baseball field, the squares of the bases and the rooftop of home plate.

COLORS - by studying the jerseys of every single team in existence, of course.

NUMBERS - yard lines, innings, players' numbers on their jerseys.

TAKING TURNS - innings.

LETTERS - A starts Alabama. Enough said.

MUSIC - learning the fight songs and having the entire family sing them. Repeatedly.

GEOGRAPHY - "It's a long trip from our house to Bryant-Denny Stadium."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Track Meet

Henry and Svea and I went on a walk/ride the other day and happened upon our very first track meet.
The High School down the street was hosting, so we buddied up to the fence to have a look. There was a relay going on on the track, and the girls were on the high jump. We didn't make it down to the discus pit.

All of the hurdles were piled on the sides of the track to make way for the relay. I watched as parents of runners held stop watches or warm-up pants. I watched as the runners passed the baton and answered Henry's questions about why were they doing that anyway. I watched as Svea stared at the high jumpers, and honestly, didn't seem to care.
Then nostalgia got me.

I tried to tell them that their Pops ran hurdles and did the high jump and YOU KNOW WHAT: Aunt Merpha did too. And so did Mommy.
They were just silent.
I told them about practicing and weekend meets and special shoes.
Still silent.

But I kept watching and wondering if I was ready for them to do sports in school, wondering if I was ready for hours and hours of practice and tournaments, wondering if I was ready to hold the stop watch. After tearing up a few more times, I decided I was ready.

So we packed it up and went home.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wabi-Sabi Finale

The final tally is done.

Courtney's photo generated the most votes:

Did you have to lie on the ground to get that shot, or did you just stick your camera under there? Congratulations on an amazing photo, and for getting the most votes.

Based on the votes, here are the top shots by each photographer (which you have seen) but arranged in a mosaic.

You all really got the concept.

Who's ready for the next Assignment?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 15 - Final Day

One of my hopes for this on-line workshop was not only to push people to view their daily lives differently through the lens of a camera, but also to connect ways of seeing across the globe. The wabi-sabi concept is a personal favorite of mine, and was not meant to be limiting. It was meant to set parameters allowing you to get started on your photo taking, to get you over that "photographer's block" if you had one.

Some people took this idea and concept very seriously. Others, not so much. These "others" I speak of were not necessarily INVITED to be a part of the workshop, yet they sent me photos anyway. I am mostly referring to the Other Parent who lives in my house (who happens to be a very good photographer).
Luckily I have some thoughtful friends who also sent me photos, though were not official participants in the workshop.

I'd like to have a day in this Critique to celebrate all of us learning to view our days and our environments differently, some with humor, some with longing, some with joy.

Here is the free-for-all extras from the past month:

The vines working their way up, trying to get into the bedroom window.

A watercolor palette:

Favorite Time of Day:

Babs' shot of Svea and Suzana's budding friendship:

Another shot by Babs:

Celebrating Spring?

On to the humor...

And, of course:

Thank you ALL of you for being a part of this workshop!

Wabi-Sabi 14: Sandy


Meet Sandy. Fellow photographer, and fellow blogger.

Comments and Voting begin.

Wabi-Sabi 13: Allison


We are in our home stretch for this Workshop! We will have two more days of "discussion" and then somewhat of a Show on Monday to display the top votes. As of now, we may have a few tie-breakers to vote on over the weekend.

For today, meet Allison.

She comments:

"These were all taken at a park with my two sons. None require much individual explanation, but I tried to find some beauty in a fairly familiar setting for me. The first two are of my sons on the swings. I tried to give a contrast of the dirty, smudgy swings and sweet little fingers and torsos:

The third is a shot of some shadows on one of the playground poles. None are really intrinsically beautiful, I think, but I was with my sons and in a more playful mood. I was trying to give a contrast, as I've said, of the innocence of childhood and the grimy remainders of people and nature. The joy of a playground really is beautiful, but there are remnants, like dirt (and sometimes tears!) that aren't so appealing."

Comments and Voting begin.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 12: Bess


Meet Bess.


These are all along the back of our house, so I see them everyday and think of them as one big nasty bruise or cut for my son- but looking at them through wise 'wabi sabi' goggles, they are actually really nice!


I liked how the rust affected the wear on the boards.


This is in Colorado where the Hayman fire went through in 2002- over 130,000 acres burned, the largest documented in CO history. Even if you aren't a tree hugger, it can't help but bring tears to your eyes to see it in person. I have to keep reminding myself that burn is good for the forest, and life is rejuvenated through it.

Comments and Voting begin now.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 11: Stephanie


Meet Stephanie.

This is the state of my shower today. Prioritizing my day with
Liam means accepting some imperfections here and there.

I was in Palm Beach, Florida last week and found this woman alone
on the beach kind of comforting. I like her boldness and willingness to
enjoy the sun despite age or surroundings (Although, I do hope she's wearing

We have a screened porch that is my favorite place in the warmer
months. It is finally the perfect season for me to enjoy my little retreat
in the mornings and evenings. This candle is worn down from nights of
sitting and talking with friends as well as the effects of the months in

Comments and voting begin.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Wabi-Sabi 10: Stacy


Meet Stacy.

"door in Zittau, Germany (formerly East Germany)"

Zittau is an old, communist town that is in the process of re-building. There are lots of old buildings still around that are falling to pieces. This door opens onto a vacant lot--perhaps where apartments used to stand.

"dilapidated MacLaren"

After 3 years of amazing service, this stroller was hit by a car (with my youngest in it!). The beauty in the ripped rubber strip and the demolished wheel is that it took the hit and left my baby in tact.

"martyrs in downtown traffic"

This is the Martyr's Memorial statue in downtown Oxford, England. It reminds me of how the mundane reclaims even the most dramatic of earthly circumstances.

Comments and voting begin.

Wabi-Sabi 9: Carroll Lane


Meet Carroll Lane.
She blogs here.

My first picture is called "Boone's Stew" which is the name my 2 year old, Lillianna, has given the algae filled, decomposing mixture of grass, leaves, sticks, acorns, berries and flowers she cooks for our dog, Boone, in the bird bath each week. Every time I look out my kitchen window and see the birdbath, I think, "Yuck, what a mess. I really don't want to clean that out." Until I started to see the Wabi-Sabi in it. And in this particular picture, I love that in this mess of stuff dying I can see the reflection of the-just-starting-to-bloom dogwood above it.

My second picture is entitled "Gone Fishin' Gone." It is of a weathered and worn bamboo fishing pool (with the line still wound around it) on the bank of Tuscaloosa Lake. As soon I saw it, I thought it was beautiful, especially the textures of the rock, the pole, and the water side by side. Looking at all three, individually or together, give me a peaceful feeling.

The third picture is "A Hard Day's Work" and shows the value and beauty of the human body and two different stages of life. In this picture, the hand of my husband's grandfather tells the story of a long, wonderful life filled with strength, family, and love.

Voting and Comments begin.

Henry-Svea Interlude

Some quotes from the last few months:

Henry: "Oh, Mommy! Your eyes are like blueberries just like MINE are like blueberries!" (While I am explaining to him why I spanked him)

Svea: Look! The letter P! (after biting her twisty pretzel to resemble the letter P)
Mommy: Great! What sound does the letter P make?
Svea: (silence). Chocolate.
Mommy: Definitely.

Henry: (Drawing his finger in an "x" between my eyes while I'm scolding him)
Mommy: Why did you do that, Henry?
Henry: I was trying to make your eyebrows go down because you are mad.

Svea: (while in the car when I cannot reach her, holding up her finger) Look at this booger!
Mommy: (scrambling, freaking) I'm getting you a tissue, Svea. DON'T EAT IT.
Svea: (waving her finger in the air and singing:) It's alllll goooooooonnnnnnne...

Henry: Something's wrong with my mac and cheese.
Mommy: What is it?
Henry: Something's in it.
Mommy: What's in it?
Henry: I think it's a fingernail.
Mommy: There is NOT a fingernail in your mac.
Henry: Yes. There. Is.
Mommy: (It's the end of the day, people) If you cannot figure out your macaroni and cheese, I cannot help you.

Svea's Lesson Of The Month (that is, what I tell her at least 4 times a day):
I am only one person. I can only do one thing at a time. You HAVE to be patient.

I think she's getting it.

Henry's Lesson Of The Month (that is, what I tell him at least 4 times a day):
The clothes don't make the man or woman. You have everything you need. Everything.

I think he's getting it. At least for 6 whole minutes each time. And then I repeat it.