Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Best or The Most

I went on a run today.
I'm not a runner. I like Yoga and Pilates. And visiting with people. That's my talent: I like to visit.
But I went running.

Along this particular trail, there is some encouraging graffiti. It is this graffiti that makes me want to run/walk this path over and over.
Thank you, anonymous artists for the random shouts of affirmation. I hope you did not get in trouble by the City.

While I was running and walking and processing, I started thinking about the question, "Do I want to give my kids the Best?"
By this I mean the best schools, the best opportunities, the newest clothes, the most strategic positioning for the best of friends, the best allowance, the best guidance, the best bedrooms, the best game for the best and latest video game thingie, the best cell phone, the best advice, etc.

This question is usually a no-brainer: YES I want to give them the Best to my abilities.

But today I kept coming up Silent at my response to my own question. Disturbing, indeed.

Maybe I don't want to give them the Best. Maybe I want to give them the Most.

Let me define my terms.

I don't want them to go to the Best Schools.
I want them to go to the schools that offer the most diversity, the most creativity, the most challenge (socially and academically). I want them to have friends that have the Best Stuff and the Worst Stuff. I want them to feel familiar in settings that have the Best to the Worst.

I want them on sports teams that lose and win. Like, lose all season. Then the next year, win some.

I want to give them presents that they love and for them to label those presents the Best Stuff. Then I want them to grow tired or embarrassed of that Best Stuff and change its name to the Worst Stuff.

I want some of their friends to be Horrible. Then some of them to be the Best.

I want the Most Feeling, the Most Talking, the Most Hating and Loving as possible out of their growing up.
I can't give them the Best. I'm not sure I can give them the Most out of life.
I can give them the Best and Most out of me as a parent, and then hope from there.

Still trying to answer my own question...I don't want to give them the Best today.
I want them to be the Best that they are with the Most we can arrange.

And no matter what, let's all:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

We Are Trying To Be THAT Family

You know THAT family, the one that hikes?

And spends time outdoors?


In nature?

That's who we are trying to be.

Just chillin'...sitting the rocks...

Just talking to the people passing by...making some friends...

Our little Honey Badger found Daddy's Gator Ade while he was off with the big kids:

Mmmmm...white cherry flavor...

She LIKES it:

One afternoon down. Now we have to see if we'll do it again...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Learning To Speak EIGHT Year Old

Henry turned eight the other day.

He is blessed and cursed with having his birthday in the Spring...blessed for the weather and for the gift of life; cursed to have unpredictable weather for outdoor parties and a birthday around Spring Break when all your buddies are out of town.

We are learning Henry's language though, and in this phase GIFTS are more valuable than TIME. Funny, he doesn't want to "hang out" with us and watch the video of the day he was born and blow a candle out of a cupcake.
He wants us to bring him lunch from a drive thru, check him out of school and take him to Toys R Us for three hours (specifically) so he can shop for Beyblades without his sisters around. Oh, and he wants a lot of money to pay for all the Beyblades.
All this instead of family time or a party.

We learned that as Spring Break progressed, he wanted to buy more Beyblades and have a different friend over to spend the night each night. Basically, he DOES want a party with gifts, he just wants it to last ALL WEEK.
Who doesn't, right?

Oh, and he wants a pet fish.
Everyone, meet Kevin:

We had a small family meal party so he would at least have a candle to blow out (addressing my issues, not his).

Svea helped me turn a bundt cake shape into a Beyblade stadium, then we tried to make beyblades out of Oreos and Reeces cups and Trocadero triangles. Looked silly, but tasted yummy.

Here he is "battling" Beyblades with his grandfathers. Just so you know, only Henry can win. If YOU win, he starts over or changes the rules. Just like any eight year old would do.

Happy birthday, Henry! Thank you for teaching us your language, incorporating Beyblades into every conceivable facet of life, inviting Kevin into the fold, and helping us have the best Spring Break yet.
Love you, buddy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"The Wonderful Butterfly and Emily" by Svea

Svea's recent work of literary genius begins with a song:

I love Alabama
The people so how kind,
the world so how beautiful.
The stars so how bright.

Earth, so wonderful
The moon so light
God is in heaven watching us all night.
Don't give up, the world is counting on you.

Now for the story:

One day, there was a girl named Emily. She was 26. She was a scientist. One day she was outside and she saw a butterfly.

Then she got a jar out of her backpack. She caught the butterfly.

She went inside.

She fed her the rest of her life.

The End!


Playing around with ink in Drawing class and out came this pointe shoe.

Sno-Biz Fridays

Going to Sno-Biz on Fridays is the way I have Pavlov-trained our kids, alerting them that the weekend has BEGUN.

Svea is related to Uncle Brad and refuses to smile at a camera now. Mary, behind her, meets us there when Svea finishes dance class.

Sweet Corinne The Third Child has to miss any chance of an afternoon nap and instead has to eat huge mouthfuls of Svea's Barbie-flavored sno-biz ice until she leans back into a sugar coma while watching Tom and Jerry on the big TV. I'm just glad she's not standing in the chair...

On the Microphone

Experiments in Charcoal

We were given an assignment in Drawing Class a few weeks ago to come up with a narrative about a chair. Then we were to illustrate it using charcoal (vine, compressed, or charcoal pencil). We were allowed to smudge and blend, but not correct mistakes with white charcoal pencils (found this one out after the fact).
The chair's story had to include creating an interior space, also.

I took one of the kids' chairs - Corinne's favorite wooden one - and put it in a tree outside and drew it from the inside.

Chairs should offer a place to rest, right? Or a helpful, safe boost in inches when trying to reach something, right? Corinne decided they were for dancing and balancing. I decided to have a heart attack.
She also decided she could use the chair to climb onto the dining room table and dance there for another view of the room. Again, heart attack.

I walk into a room and immediately start sizing up the chairs and what the chairs are close to that might become her end goal. I've gotten quite skilled at this, actually.

As any anxious parent does, I've already begun predicting what my NEXT source of heart attacks will be: Trees.
Heaven help us when that sweet girl discovers trees...

Here's my attempt at charcoal (above). This was the first time I have ever tried to control it, and it was much harder than I imagined. All other times, I've used it in drafts where mess-ups and smudges were okay. Charcoal pencils, which offer more control, give me the willies because of the noise they make on the paper.

One girl I sometimes sit near has MAD SKILLS and control with charcoal.
In her drawing, her chair was positioned against a brick wall next to a small table. On the table were books and a journal - things that represented rest, contemplation, and time for herself.
She said she had not had much time to be alone, rest and read and she was longing for that in this drawing.
I want all that for her too, and maybe throw in a good, long hand massage...

Are We Seriously There Yet?

Ohhhh, Svea dances with Corky Bell Studio...and she loves her new glitter dress even though it's scratchy...

Henry, as in HRE not HGJ.

Henry is named after my dad's dad, Henry. Most called him HG. My siblings and cousins and I called him Papa J.
He was precise and particular, and for awhile was an architect. I didn't know him well in that phase, but I like to imagine that for a good portion of Papa J's life, he spent most of his energy organizing the space around him.
I suffer from the same condition, as does my son Henry.

Therefore, as his first etch-s-sketch project, he designed a living room:

Long live the attention-to-detail-furniture-rearranging gene.