Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day conversations with Hannah

Hannah and I were talking about this being a holiday weekend because I was explaining that daddy would be off work and she would be off school. First she wanted me to define holiday, so I did that easily enough and explained that work and school closed for some holidays, like Christmas and Memorial Day, and not others, like Halloween and Valentine's Day. Then she wanted me to explain what Memorial Day was...hmmm...a little tougher. I thought for a moment and told her that we'd have to double check with daddy, but that I am pretty sure it's a holiday where we appreciate the men and women whose job it is to protect the people in our country and keep us safe, and I explained that daddy is one of those people.

She looked pensive for a moment and then said, "like a knight?"

"Like at night??" I questioned. "What do you mean?"

"Noooooo. Like a KNIGHT," she repeated.

"Ohhhh! A knight," I said. A big smile spread across my face and I said, "yes, just like that, now let's go tell daddy you just said that."

I'm pretty sure that being compared to a knight made his day.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hannah's first story

When I was little I wrote ALL the time. I wrote stories about cats (named for my second grade teacher), hermit crabs (a class pet), mice, and sisters who explored together and saved the day (in one story they located a missing Santa Claus). I illustrated the stories too. Sometimes I'd create the book cover and table of contents (my early way of outlining??), write one or two pages, and then never pick it up again (this is what happened to a chapter book I was writing about a mouse who lived in the Statue of Liberty). Sometimes I'd write and illustrate newspapers with headlines that appealed to me and forecasts for the weather on Mulberry Street, where I lived. In high school I started writing terrible, overly dramatic poetry--typical teenager stuff about broken hearts (the heartbreaker changed weekly) and backstabbing best friends. I also ended up with a typewriter sometime around then, not an old fashioned one, but the keys still made a very satisfying click when punched. I loved typing and loved the clickety-clack of the keys as they gave under the pressure of my fingertips. I would sit on my bed and listen to Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, Bjork, Liz Phair, etc. and type the lyrics that appealed to me at that moment: "I tell you they're pieces of me you've never seen...". I have whole pages of lyrics mashed up from various songs.

I kept a journal too, one that I started when in 1985 when I was 5. Each evening (for a few weeks--this didn't last long, and the next time I picked it up was when I was old enough to write for myself) I would sit with my mom and dictate my entry while she wrote in her neat and bubbly handwriting. I wrote about my dog (Tinkerbell), about visiting my friend Emily, and about my daddy coming home from various bus trips (he drove).

I still have all of this stuff--the journal, every story I ever wrote, all the stories, all the journals (there must be 15), all the awful poems, some of the pages of typed lyrics, even all the essays I wrote in school. I was telling Hannah about my childhood story-writing habit a few weeks ago and she wanted to see them, so Eric dug that box out of the crawl space, and I read some of my stories to Hannah, and of course, then she wanted to write a story, so she dictated to me. Here's her first story:

Once there was a cat. She jumped over the moon because her other friend cats couldn't play music then. And then the cow decided to say, "Cat, can your friends play fiddle when you jump over the moon?" And the cat said, "No. Well, do you want to play with me cow?" And the cow said, "Yes please." And they all played together.

I love it. I found an empty journal I had bought on sale from Target forever ago, and we started a journal that night. She mostly just made lists of the things she liked, and sometimes those lists were based on things she saw when she looked around her room. We haven't written in it for a few weeks (something about the summer makes it hard to get upstairs to bed on time), but I'm looking forward to picking it up again and am wondering if she'll develop a love of writing like her mama and her mama's mama or if she'll stick with painting and drawing or pick up something else entirely. Given her pension for being the center of attention, I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up being drawn to the stage. This little star performer needs a spotlight!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mother's Day the Montessori Way

The Mother's Day tea that Hannah's class hosted last Friday was hands down my favorite Montessori event yet, and not just because I'm on the receiving end of the shebang. Well, maybe that had a little something to do with it...

The primary age classes at Hannah's school each host a mother's day tea every other year (they celebrate dad on the years in between). The mamas showed up a little after 10:00 and mingled until the kids filed in at 10:15. Hannah's face split into the biggest, cheesiest grin after catching my eye, and she cheesed at me through most of the singing as well. At one point she mouthed, "I like your necklace" and smiled even bigger (I was wearing a beaded necklace she had made me).

They sang a lot of cute songs, some I'd never heard before (like one about a kid who wants to pick papayas but mama says no because it's a work day) and some that were familiar (like You Are My Sunshine).

Then their teacher asked all the girls to find their partner. Hannah looked confused for a minute and then her partner called her name, and she walked over to stand in front of him.

They did the cutest dance! I wish I had video of her first partner dance, but I don't, just a couple of mediocre pictures.

After the dance, the girls moved out of the center of the circle and stood beside their partners, all except Hannah who lingered in front of Jack until he said her name again and pointed to the space on his right. It's a good thing she was partnered with a 5-year-old who could keep her in check! She's a bit spacey like her mama.

While waiting for them to file in I snapped a quick scenery shot. Some wonderful mamas arrived early and set up all the tables with fancy tablecloths, a fancy platter of delicious munchies, and a fancy tea pot. We each brought our own tea cups and saucers, a feat which proved more daunting than it sounds. All we have in our cupboards are giant tea mugs, and I came up empty-handed at the one thrift store I managed to make it to. My mom saved me from further headache by heading to the outlets on her lunch break and then priority mailing her findings. Thank you mama!

Hannah and I shared a table with a little girl who is allergic to nuts and can therefore only eat what her mom brings her; this means that Hannah and I had our pick of the foods on the platter and ate way more of it than we should have....yum!

Hannah's friend Ryder sat at the table next to us, and his mama snapped and shared the next two pics.
Photo courtesy of Ryder's mama

Photo courtesy of Ryder's mama
The classroom turned to chaos within about half an hour as sugar began pumping through all the children. Playground time!

Selfishly, I'm glad that this year was the mother's day tea because since they are in this class for 3 years, it means I'll get another Montessori Mother's Day tea before she heads to an elementary classroom. Wonder what they'll do for dad's day next year...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another photo mash-up and two brief urine-centric tales

No news on the name thing yet because 2 days after deciding to change baby brother's name, Eric hopped back onto the fence and leaned toward leaving it as Jacob, and now it looks like he's leaning toward changing it again...I've suggested he give himself a decision-making deadline, but I think I'm just going to have to be patient until he gets the bottom of how he feels about each name. In the meantime, Eric has been referring to him as "the boy." Once he figures it out, I'll have a post about the name (whatever it is) much like the post about how we came upon Hannah's name.

Instead of that, here's another mash-up of random pics we've taken lately...I'd love to be one of those bloggers that just post a pic every night, but I can't seem to do things in small doses....

Hannah  has been loving bathing with her baby brother! She finds it especially funny when he pees and urine spouts from his netherlands like a little fountain. 

It's crazy how different their skin coloring is!!

After a slight dress-up hiatus, Hannah paraded down the stairs last week wearing this snazzy little number--it was a fancy breakfast that morning!

Hannah found some choice dress-up items on MC's and John's porch this past weekend.

And this was taken at the stream near our house moments after a debacle in which Hannah somehow managed to fill my shoe with her urine...I don't know what happened--maybe Terrill, the only eyewitness, can explain. What I do know is that teaching Hannah how to squat to pee has been hands down one of the most challenging lessons ever, and I am very much looking forward to not having to repeat that lesson (or the urine-filled shoe) with baby brother.

That's a little recap of what we've been up to in the last week or so since my last post, exciting, right? I don't know about you, but I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next in this parenting saga...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Meeting the family

Evenings are a crap shot for us these days: sometimes baby brother sleeps through them, more often though he screams through them. The other night Eric asked if I wanted to watch a movie. I laughed and suggested we watch one of the shows that is piling up in our Hulu queue. It took us 90 minutes to watch a 22-minute episode of Parks and Recreation. We had to keep pausing it because we couldn't hear over the sound of his screaming.

Anyway, that's my excuse for not keeping up with my blogging. I'm really behind at this point and am going to take the easy way out by bombarding you with a giant photo dump documenting some of our visitors in the last month.

My brother, Chip, and his two boys came with Grammy on the Friday after baby brother was born. Clay got a big kick out of holding the baby, but Mason was less than thrilled, especially when the baby was in his daddy's arms.

Hannah pretty much always wants to hold her little brother, so when Clay had had enough, she took a few turns.

My cousin Kim came the following Wednesday and snuggled the pants off the little man. I mostly stink at picking up my camera these days, so I stole these two shots from Kim.

Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Then Grannah and granpah came to bestow lots of love on their grandchildren. Again, my camera is collecting dust so I had to borrow some of their photos for this post.

Photo courtesy of Jeannie and Brian
Photo courtesy of Jeannie and Brian
Photo courtesy of Jeannie and Brian
Photo courtesy of Jeannie and Brian
Amy came the following weekend with a giant fabric bin full of Hannah-centric crafts and helped me manage the kids and house for 4 awesome days. I wish I had broken out the camera more than once...but I didn't. There's almost always a baby in my arms which leaves no room for a camera, and when there isn't a baby in my arms, I usually race off to do something that requires two hands because I have very few opportunities to use both hands to accomplish anything, but in this instance, Amy had both kids, and I had to capture Amy in her super-aunt act!

And then pappy and grandma Sondra came for some tickles and giggles. 

I woke up sick the day that they visited with what I thought was a head cold until I woke up with a fever pushing 104 a few nights later. As a result, once again, I didn't take many photos (just the one above); however, Kim was there for her second visit and she did take pics, and she shared, so I'm off the hook (again)!

Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
Photo courtesy of Kim Banzoff
There have been lots of other visitors too (Laura!!), but I didn't take pictures. I suppose it's good that I've been living more in the moment rather than running to find a camera and capture it, but I'm still bummed that I've missed shots of baby brother meeting some very important people!!

*You may have noticed that I haven't referred to baby brother by name in this post. That's because we are currently in the process of changing it...but that story is a different post altogether! More on that later. In the meantime, his face in that last picture is a prime example of why Eric doesn't think he looks like a Jacob and wants to change it.