Category Archives: family

Such is life

I need a sign that says “when life gives you lemons make kamikazes”…not because life has been sour, but because I could really use a kamikaze.  Its my current poison of choice on the rare occasion I get out with the hubby and we actually do something that involves having a drink.

Its been oppressively hot here the past week.  And, I’m in a walking boot….except at work, because I can’t do my job in a walking boot. If you are familiar with the Navy, you will understand why a walking boot is a bad idea–too much climbing on ships…walking boots and ladderwells don’t go together (if you aren’t familiar with the Navy, I’ve posted a video link from youtube of someone’s walk to work everyday from their berthing).

Anyway, it seems I have a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal. Which is fine, except if I spend all day on my feet or the kids pounce on my and squish the foot the wrong way, or it gets tangled in the blankets in bed, or the hubby accidentally steps on it. So, basically, it hurts a lot, but not so much that I’m not mobile.

What its like to get around a Navy ship:

My mantra lately is that “it could always be worse”. And this is where the kamikaze’s come in. Its “end of the school year slumber party time”. The kiddos had their last day of school Tuesday. Last time we had a slumber party they were up til the wee hours of the morning, and I’m thinking a kamikaze or two would make sleeping through Frozen on replay with a cacophony of giggly little girls much easier. Unfortunately, I also think that would be irresponsible parenting.

But one can dream.

Dear gods…I just had to give a countdown for Chickadee (whom I’ve lately taken to calling Pop-tart). She’s about bouncing out of her skin in impatient excitement.

1 hour and 23 minutes til lift-off.

Thankfully, I have a handy pot of tea here. (When do I *not* have a handy pot of tea here?) Apple and lemon balm.

My new tea infuser....I picked it up at a yard sale a couple weeks ago!

My new tea infuser….I picked it up at a yard sale a couple weeks ago!

Pardon me while I take a few moments of zen with a new blog I discovered, thanks to my bestest bestie in the whole wide world (we’ve known each other for nearly 20 years now).

(4 hours and 23 minutes and 3 pizzas later)

Well, we are back from the pool time and pizza. The kiddos are getting dried off and in their jammies. The Pirate Fairy, Frozen, Brave, The Lego Movie and the perennial favorite, The Little Mermaid are about to start rolling for the movie marathon portion of the evening. Daddy Man went to pick up ice cream and donuts for the morning.
I’m tired just thinking about it…

And tomorrow, we celebrate the solstice!


Wordless Wednesday: Sassafras Snow Candy

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The 2014 Read Aloud Project

A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh-grade books to fifth-grade kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. A fifth-grader can enjoy a more complicated plot than she can read herself, and reading aloud is really going to hook her, because when you get to chapter books, you’re getting into the real meat of print – there is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.  (source)

I’m pretty sure that most parents know why you should read with your kids, even once they are older (and heck, why we, as parents, should be reading too!).  Books change your brain.  And they change your life!  What we read matters, what we read to our kids matter.  It matters that we foster their critical thinking ability, their creativity, and their knowledge about themselves and the world around them.  It matters that we teach them to think about what they read and what that means in the context of their lives.  It matters that we expand their horizons and open their eyes, that we grow their hearts and set free their consciousness.  

So, we read together.  I stole this idea from another mom and blogger last year, and we are making a new list for the start of this year.

This Year’s Books:

The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien)–The Hubby will be out of town for work through at least September, so he’s been reading this one to the kids via Skype (we actually use Google video chat…but we still call it Skype, which makes me wonder if skyping is going to be the next band-aid or kleenex)

The Series of Unfortunate Events books 3-13 (Lemony Snicket)–Chickadee loves the movie, and we’ve read books 1 and 2.  The plan this year is to finish the series, or at least make a big fat dent in it.  10 books sounds like a lot to add, but really, they are super quick to read.

Meet Kirsten, Kirsten Learns a Lesson, Kirsten’s Surprise, Kirsten Saves the Day, Happy Birthday, Kirsten!, Changes for Kirsten (American Girl Books)–So, I have a love-hate relationship with these books.  I love the fact that they introduce different time periods through the lives of ordinary girls, for other little girls to identify with…I hate the fact that they portray the idea that they are historical but (if they do address them at all) they gloss over some very basic unpleasant realities of history (particularly for women and girls and minorities, and in relation to economics and politics and social expectations and every day life and…I could keep going).  With that being said, I had three of these books as a kid, when I was Chickadee’s age and I loved them, so its something for us to share (like reading the Little House books last year or reading the Anne books in a few years).  I consider this a teachable lesson–how do books about history “change” history as we understand it, and where should we look for more accurate information.  I also like it because Kirsten is an immigrant from the same area that The Hubby’s ancestors are from, immigrating to the same place that his ancestors ended up.  And the subject of immigration, and how our ancestors got here and what that means for us today in how we treat others that come to this country looking for a better life, is yet another, HUGE, teachable moment.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson–I’ve actually never read this, but The Hubby loved this as a kid.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg–This is probably one of the most fun ideas in a children’s book ever–who the heck wouldn’t want run away to live in a museum?

The Story of Dr. Dolittle and The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting–This is another series that I loved as a kid.  Amazon Kindle has the first two available for free (they are pre-1928, public domain books).  I think a lot of people don’t realize there are actually 12 books in the series, though the last 10 can be a bit harder to find.


HELP WANTED: Put your vacuum to good use!

unclesam I have an unusual request. I am counting on you, gentlereader of the great wide interwebz, to fulfill it. All you need to do a good deed is the internet, a camera (or camera phone), and a vacuum. It is easy, and painless, its simple, and it will make you awesome.

Let me back up a bit (I can imagine you now, scratching your head in befuddlement–I know I would be).  I have a friend (yes, really, I actually have a friend or two) from my time in the Navy (she’s pretty awesome), and my friend has an autistic nephew who loves vacuums.  Adores them. Watches vacuum cleaner infomercials like they are Saturday comics, and loves pictures of vacuums.

I don’t know a whole lot about autism, but I am becoming quite familiar with OCD (off topic, but Sharkbait’s ADHD diagnosis was expanded a bit at his last appointment)…so I’m starting to understand the nature of fixations.  From what little I do know about autism, his fascination with vacuums is a Big Deal.  Fixations like this can be a sort of…anchor in times of stress and change.  They act as a way to relax, a gateway to clear thinking.  And, many autistic persons have been able to make careers out of their fixations (people like Temple Grandin), with the help of parents and teachers. (more info)

So here’s the deal.  Its hard to just find unique pictures of vacuums.  There are only so many sales advertisements for Dyson in the paper or the mail!  We need you to take a picture of your vacuum, be it Hoover or Eureka, Shark or Roomba, even a Swiffer Sweeper and e-mail your vacuum picture* to vacuums.rock@gmail.com**.  Then, give yourself a pat on the back for being awesome and knowing that you helped a random family over the internet, for no reason other than your own compassion.   For extra karma cookies (and two pats on the back), reblog this or share it with your friends.***

Thanks!

Edited to add:  Please try to include the make and model in your e-mail.  I don’t know if how much that matters, but I know I have some readers that are outside of the US, and that often there are different brands and models available there.

vac pix8

*I think that you, fabulous readers, are indeed awesome enough that this is unnecessary, but…Please remember that these pictures are ultimately for a 7 year old boy.  Don’t send anything untoward.  Keep it G-rated.

**Rather than send all these pictures to me directly (as noted in the image above), for me to forward when I have the time to do it (regular readers know I can get behind schedule), I’ve set up an email address that they can use to check without having to wait on me (unfortunately, I’m having problems making it a link).  And yes, I have their permission to ask this on my blog (without including their personal information).  Also, I personally vouch that this is a Real Thing, and not just some random internet appeal (unless you aren’t one of my regular readers, in which this is both a Real Thing AND a random internet appeal, lol).

***To be honest, even if you don’t have a camera or a camera on your phone or whatever (or perhaps you don’t have a vacuum) sharing this will find others that do, so please, please, please share or repost!


Our Sacred Small Spaces

I wandered across a lovely blog challenge today, that I think I’ll go ahead and take up, since it seems to fit with one of my favorite themes around here!

We have a number of small, sacred spaces, where we pick mulberries and pull invasive ivy for crafts and make mudpies and pick up trash and dig for mussles and catch crabs for our dinner and forage for wild strawberries and pick wildflowers and play hide and seek and hunt for rolly-pollies and chase skinks and climb trees, where we meet Nature embodied in the nature all around us. Some of these pictures I’ve shared before, and some of them I haven’t…but here’s a look at two of our small, sacred spaces (and one slightly larger one).

The park across the street, bordering a creek and some woods:

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The beach by our old apartment (now just a couple miles down the road):

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Belle Island, a small park (not many non-locals know about it, so I figured it counted, even though its a park!) right in the middle of Richmond–on an island in the middle of the river rapids (a foot/bike suspension bridge gets you there) that has been an Powhatan Indian village, then a colonial racetrack, a Confederate storage site and Civil War prison, a steel works, a quarry, and a hydro-elecrtric plant before becoming a park:

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Where are yours?


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