March 30, 2009

We're his people

Just go see Bolt. You know you want to.

March 28, 2009

What is a Wordzzle?

A wordzzle is a web challenge I recently discovered at Views from Raven's Nest. You are given between 8 and 10 words or phrases each week and asked to create a small but coherent paragraph using every one of them. There are a few guidelines in this post.

It struck me that this was just the kind of thing I was looking for to get J more interested in writing. So I presented him with the challenge and the following ten words: partition, imagination, salvation, mirror image, green power, highway, roasting marshmallows, serial killer, autograph and cartography. He wrote for 20 minutes and we edited together. Here is the result.

The Map Maker's Hero

There once was a very fine man who was skilled in cartography. He was riding down the highway when a magical serial killer approached. The killer made the cartographer's (whose name was Henry F. Salvation) eyes become blurry and writing hard to read. Henry was becoming poor because he couldn't do his work any more. One day, his hero, Map Maker, came. Henry asked for an autograph. Map maker said, "Use your imagination to defeat the killer." When Henry set out to find the killer, he looked to the side and saw mirror images. He found the killer roasting marshmallows. Henry used his green power to create a partition between them. He also made green ropes to to tie him up and he took him to jail. Oh yes, he took away the killer's powers. Then he used his green power to make himself see to far lands and his writing neater.

I love that he was excited to write and that I got to teach him a little about the process. For each mistake we corrected, we talked about why the correction was necessary. It was a quick, fun, and painless writing lesson which we will be able to complete each week.

I'm already a little tired of the super-hero genre, but I have to remember that he is nine and he is writing. For that I am glad.

March 26, 2009

My 9 year-old

J's self-portrait

I have already introduced M to you, so I thought I would take a minute and introduce you to my older son, J. He is a wonderful kid, a wonder to me sometimes, and wonderful at almost everything he does. He is a deep thinker who, for the past few years at school, wins the "outside the box thinking" award. He lives with his feet firmly planted in reality, but would love to have lived with the ancient Greeks. He doesn't have a many friends as M, but those he does have will be his friends for life.

Here is how I love J, from I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Josse.
I love you the bluest! I love you the color of a dragon fly at the tip of its wing. I love you the color of a cave in its deepest, hidden part where grizzly bears and bats curl up until night. The mist of a mountain. The splash of a waterfall. The hush of a whisper.
I will love you forever J.

March 25, 2009

Word of the Week

lep⋅i⋅dop⋅ter⋅ol⋅o⋅gy [lep-i-dop-tuh-rol-uh-jee]

the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths.

Also, lep⋅i⋅dop⋅ter⋅y [lep-i--dop-tuh-ree]

1895–1900; Lepidopter(a) + -o- + -logy

Related forms:
lep⋅i⋅dop⋅ter⋅o⋅log⋅i⋅cal  [lep-i-dop-ter-uh-loj-i-kuhl], adjective
lep⋅i⋅dop⋅ter⋅ist, noun

lepidopterology. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc.

Among many other things, Vladimir Nabakov, my favorite author, was a lepidopterist.

March 24, 2009

After 500 Blogs

I have discovered a few things as I have made my way among the blogs on the internet. I will be a little more selective.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Twilight was not a great work of fiction, and HSM is not destined to be a classic.

I do not want to work at home. I spend too much time there as it is. I want to work in Rome.

I do not believe your toddler really writes a blog.

I do not want to ever hear about bowels or gastric bypass ever again.

Yes, your daughter is cute, but so is everyone else's.

Holy Mackerel, if my blog is ever that boring (I do not care what you bought at Target today. I do not care what you bought at Target yesterday.) will someone please tell me.

Some other things I discovered:

If you put the title of your blog on Mr. Linky instead of just your name then people will know why you are blogging before they ever even click through to your site. More people should name their blogs "Absolutely Everything You Could Ever Possible Want To Know About ???"

I like clean blogs, so if you have a ton of buttons and info that hits me as soon as I open your site, I probably won't come back.

I also don't like blogs with dark backgrounds - lighten up.

If your blog deals with something requiring a needle, I will ooh and ahh for about a minute and wonder at your creativity and dexterity and try to figure out how you have so much time on your hands, but I probably won't get too far and probably won't go back.

I will also be amazed by your money-saving-couponing strategies. Again, where do you find the time?

I worry about scrapbookers. While you are looking at or working on your next page, what are you missing? You will have a few memories in a book, I will have thousands and thousands in my head (and stored in iPhoto).

I am glad you like your music. I like mine as well and I usually am listening to iTunes on my computer while I am surfing the net or working on my blog or updating Quicken. I think it is annoying to have to look for the pause/stop button you hide somewhere on your site. I usually just click the little red circle and close your page. Your music interrupts mine, and I like mine better.

There are a lot of Grandmothers who blog. I wonder what mine would say if she knew how to use a computer? She is 95, gave birth to 13 kids (my dad is one of ten who are still living), has over 60 grandkids and a bunch of great-grandkids. I was there when one of the ladies at the widow's table at her club in Florida announced her upcoming wedding and asked my grandmother when she would start dating again (she was 70 at the time). She looked at the woman with shock and said, "I loved my husband more than anyone in the world, but why on earth would I want to get married and have someone else telling me what to do. No thank you!" She is my hero.

Raising Readers

This is so important to me. I want the boys to be readers because both my husband and I love to read and have gotten so much enjoyment and information from books, although my tastes are much more eclectic than his. He will usually only read non-fiction and prefers books about flying. He does have quite a collection of Louis L'Amour books as well. I read anything and everything, although a few years ago I completely gave up reading books that I don't at least like within the first 50 or so pages. One of the smartest men I ever met told me this, "Don't waste your time on a bad book because you think you should read it. There are to many great books out there waiting for you to discover." The books I will occasionally talk about here are some of the ones that have passed my test.

That, however, is a little off the topic. I have, so far, succeeded in raising readers. And I taught them both to read. My philosophy on their public school education is the same as Harry Truman's: the buck stops here. I love their public school, but I believe the teachers are there to help me. In the end, the boys success or failure in school rests entirely on my shoulders. I taught them to read, but I had a lot of help. This book was part of that help:

It may be the easiest and most clearly written phonics approach to reading I have ever come across. It can be a little slow, but you should listen to my boys. They can read.

March 18, 2009

Word of the Week

au⋅to⋅di⋅dact [aw-toh-dahy-dakt, -dahy-dakt]

a person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education; a self-taught person.

Origin: 1525–35; < style="font-style:italic;">autod√≠daktos self-taught

Related forms:
au⋅to⋅di⋅dac⋅tic, adjective
au⋅to⋅di⋅dac⋅ti⋅cal⋅ly, adverb

autodidact. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc.

One of the many words I use to define myself.

March 13, 2009

Jackson Pollock and My Future Artists

This is just a fun site.  Especially on a rainy day.

Here are our creations.


I needed a flower today.


He was most proud of his "frame."


He would have filled the whole screen.

Is this art? What is Art? Here are some thoughts by people with bigger minds than my own.
Art is an elusion of our limited mind.
It only becomes art when it is appreciated by someone other than the artist.
Art is asking questions.
Can you define it?

March 12, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday M

Sonshine's self-portrait.

He is my sunshine. He wakes up with a smile and a big hug every morning. He is everyone's friend. He is the teacher's pet. He is cute as a button. He lives the world large.

One of my favorite children's books describes in beautiful word pictures how a mom loves her two very different boys. Each description matches one of my sons. Here is how I love M, from I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Joosse.
I love you the reddest! I love you the color of the sky before it blazes into night. I love you the color of a leopard's eyes when it prowls through the jungle, and the color of a campfire at the edge of the flame. A wide open hug. The swirl of a magic cape. The thunder of a shout.
Happy Birthday Baby Boy. I love you.

March 11, 2009


Many thanks to one of my favorite websites, Art Projects For Kids, for this idea for a fun and easy afternoon art project. We were rained out while strawberry picking and were starting to drive each other a little crazy. "Who wants to do an art project?" always seems to have a magical effect on the boys.

Here is the original:

Here is mom's:

Here is J's:

Here is M's:

March 5, 2009

Percy Jackson Book 5: The Last Olympian

J and I love the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan. We have read them AND listened to them in the car. Talk about great children's literature. I bought the first one for J when his teacher sent home a Captian Underpants book ... I knew there had to be better stuff out there than that. I was right. I will talk more about our favorite books for boys in another post, but this is for Percy.

The cover for the new book was released on February 18th:

The first Percy Jackson book will soon be made into a movie and the casting choices were announced today. Visit Rick Riordan's blog for more info and photos.

March 2, 2009

Happy 105th Birthday Dr. Seuss

This morning, the boys and I had green eggs and (plain) ham for breakfast in tribute to Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat and my favorite piece of Dr. Seuss trivia courtesy of Mental Floss Magazine:

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss’ editor, bet him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. The Cat in the Hat was pretty simple, after all, and it used 225 words. Not one to back down from a challenge, Mr. Geisel started writing and came up with Green Eggs and Ham – which uses exactly 50 words. The 50 words, by the way, are: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

And here is our breakfast ...

March 1, 2009

First Day

It is the first day of March, 2009.
It isn't the first day of a new year.
It isn't the first day of school.
I guess it could be the first day of the rest of your life,
but doesn't that seem a little cliche?
It certainly isn't the first day I've been Always Chasing Boys.
I've been doing that since I got married 4916 days ago.
I've been doing that since J was born 3434 days ago.
I've been doing that since M was born 2181 days ago.
It is the first day I decided to write about it.