Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Anna and Parsy

by Rachael, age 6

[BTW, I don't have anything to do with Rachael's stories other than playing secretary. I don't tell her what to write about or anything.]

Anna and her friend Parsy loved to have a little walk every afternoon after lunch. They always came back home with lots of surprises: sometimes flowers, and sometimes birds that they caught in cages up in trees that seemed to wave as they flew down after they picked a leaf off one of the trees.

One day they came home with three flowers and a bird. They named the bird Casey because it had Parsy's and Anna's favorite letters in it. And they called the flowers "Three Little Tulips" because they were three little tulips.

They used the bird and the flowers for lots of stuff and parties and fancy ball gowns.

One day they gave the bird to someone else as a present, and the flowers on a ball gown that was their mother's that she still enjoyed it.

The next three days, Anna and Parsy were in their room, coloring pictures, when Parsy gasped. "You know what we've just done, Anna? We gave away our best treasures that we found in the forest!"

Anna said, "We can draw picures of them and so hunting some more." So that's what they did. They drew the pictures first, and then after lunch they went hunting again, and they found again three tulips and another robin, which was the same type of bird they found the last time.

They went home and enjoyed them so much. And this time they didn't give them away.


God's calling me ... well, maybe ... hmm ...

This probably sounds pretty obnoxious, but I often wonder if God is calling me to give some sort of parenting and/or homeschooling seminars or talks, or to write a book or something someday when my kids are older.

Would anyone listen to someone whose oldest kid is not quite seven? Would I even have the perspective to say anything Wise and Wonderful anyway?

Anyway, I've felt this way on and off for a couple years, and a couple things just happened this week that made me start thinking about it again.

I was at the park and sitting in the gazebo, where there were two other women who knew each other. I made a little small talk with them. Then one turned to the other and said, "Billy was so bad yesterday at church. We were walking back from communion and he actually started to grab onto and pull at my leg! I mean, come one, he's three years old! We sent him straight to his room when we got home, and we took away two of his toys. I don't know why he acts like that ... I guess we don't punish him often enough."

Stuff like that almost literally gives me a stomach ache. That's just the "common" type of wisdom out there, especially in the Christian community. If that kind of stuff doesn't seem right to you, or doesn't work for your family, you're out of luck. Actually, no, what you need to do is rev it up a notch: take away four toys next time instead of two.

So I would love to speak to young mothers someday and be able to throw all that stuff over on its head.

The problems, though, are:

1) Do people really want to have that stuff thrown on its head, or do they prefer to do things that way, even when they complain about it?

2) Would anyone listen to anythiing I have to say? Who am I?

3) Where would I go to start giving and marketing these supposed speeches that I haven't even written yet? What do I do, just hang up a sign somewhere they I'm going to talking about how to be a good parent in my living room, and please show up if you're interested?

Well, if you have any ideas, please let me know. Oh yeah, and if you happen to be reading this and have a "parenting issue" you would like my advice/experience about, hey, let me give it a whirl! (Although most of the eight people who read this have the same parenting approach I do, so I don't know if I should expect to hear from anybody.)

Hmm, maybe this could be a grass-roots Bizarro John Rosemond column ...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I would really love a meal

I think there are approximately eight people who read this blog, and most of them live in different states (or countries!)

But ...

If you happen to be reading this, and you happen to live near me .... and you happen to be wondering how God can use you to minister to a woman with three young children (me) who often just feels exhausted (and hungry):


Lasagnas of all kinds are great. Anything casserole-y or noodle-y is Yum. And if you're one of those people who can make one of those fun salads, with things like walnuts or apples or whatever or it-seems-more-like-dessert-than-salad-but-either-way-it's-yummy ... well, bring it on over! :)

And, might I add that I am definitely NOT a snob when it comes to take-out!

Is this good?

136 words

Speed test

If that' impressive, it is a hundred percent because when I was ten and eleven I used to type up huge manscripts I had written for children's chapter books. I leanrned to type partly because my mom showed me the "position" and partly just from doing it for hours and hours and hours.

I remember waking up on Saturday morning and started to type until my mom came in my room and said I was keeping everyone awake. I think that was a Snoopy cartoon, actually! :)

Just another Stupid School story

I was in a Bible Study last year where one of the members asked us to pray for her sixteen year old daughter, who had mono.

The concern was not so much for her health (although that was part of it), but because the girl was missing several weeks of school and would have a very difficult time making up all the work.

This mildly surprised me, because first of all, I don't remember doing anything of much interest or consequence when I was in high school. Second, you'd think if that much school was missed, and if this coursework was really critical, they would just call that semester a wash (at least for the critical courses) and have her take what she needs in summer school.

A few weeks later I saw this woman, and asked her how her daughter was doing and how the "make-up work" issue was going.

She replied, without a single trace of irony or irritation, that both she and her husband, and a sibling were working hard to get all this schoolwork done. She then said to me, "We have out of town guests staying here this weekend, and I already told them, "You're each getting a few pages of math to do while you're here!"

And she was not kidding!

Need I say more? Do I really have to continue writing to explain why this is one of the most asisine things I have ever heard in my life?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Much better Social Studies

Here's some things we've been doing for "Social Studies" at my house. Of course, I don't say, "Okay, now it's time for Social Studies!" We just do it.

I bought a local map, and I've been meaning to sit down with the girls and we all write on it, in different colored markers, where church and the library and Publix and everything is, and trace the routes and stuff, but we haven't gotten around to that yet. (I can blame that on the fact that I'm still recovering from my flu, or whatever it was.) BTW, if you're impressed that that sounds like a good idea, please be assured that it wasn't mine.

If you're been reading here carefully, you already know we've been reading some American Girl books.

There's a hilarious book called The Scrambled States of America that apparently also has a game of the same name. Don't know anything about the game yet.

The book Throw Your Tooth on the Roof is not as funny, but it sure is interesting. It talks about what kids in different cultures and countries do when they lose a tooth. Many of them seem to involve mice and/or throwing or burying the tooth.

If you or your kids like looking at photos of "real people," they would like Children Just Like Me.

Oh, and here's a link to a cool online game where you put in all the states like a puzzle. The girls did this for a while one morning.

I'm sure there's a lot we're not thinking of. I guess every time I talk to the girls about how when I was their age, there was no such as rewinding a show, or skipping commercials, or even choosing to watch it a second time, well, that's Social Studies too! :)

Crappy Social Studies

I'm not sure why ... did others have this experience? ... but nearly all my Social Studies teachers were

1) Men
2) Total lazy asses who didn't appear to do anything or even know or care much about Social Studies.

Now not Mrs. Storey! She was my sixth grade Cultural Studies teacher, and she was great. I actually wrote her a letter when I was about 27, and she wrote back: " ...Of course I remember you. My little redhead, with her nose always in a book ..."

Translation: "Yes, I remember you and what an ugly little doofus outcast you were!" - HA!

Anyway, that was about it for good Social Studies. Oh, WAIT! I took psychology my senior year and that was awesome! (And not taught by a man, hmm ...) For some reason I always forget that psychology is considered the same department as History and Government.

Other than that ... mostly tons and tons of worksheets, the kind where you find the sentence in the textbook and copy the word missing from the sentence into the blank. Yeah, that's pretty stimulating.

Some videos, which even then I suspected the teacher had never previewed, and were certainly never discussed in class after viewing them. I remember in US History, multiple kids would fall dead asleep on their desks during the videos, and Mr. Stanton would take a break from reading his newspaper and go around the room whacking their desks with a ruler to wake them up. Yup, our tax dollars hard at work.

I think he did it more for entertainment purposes than because he cared whether anyone was actually watching.

Another memory from that class, let's see who can figure this one out:

There was a list of terms on the board we had to copy and define (ie, copy the definitions out of the textbook). Some blond girl I didn't know squinted at the board and then said, "What's the gee-eye-bee-eye-eleven?"

Oh yeah, and my American Government teacher, Mr. Sanford, was fired about a month after I finished his class, allegedly because he never gave back any graded work (he didn't), and a female student asked him after class if she could please see her test and what she missed. He told her that he could only do that if she came to his home and looked at it with him there!

Yup! Gotta love it!

Why bleach and I are lifelong enemies

Okay, this really happened.

For a while when I was publishing children's stories regularly, I tried to think of a way to work this into one. But then I realized it would never work because people would read it and say, "That's idiotic! No one would be that stupid!"


When I was about eleven or twelve a family at church was having a few church families, including ours, over for a casual dinner party.

We were the first or second family to arrive, and the hostess, Mrs. Obley, told us we could go all go ahead and start the icebreaker.

Now listen carefully to this icebreaker: There were several child-proof capped medicine bottles, each with a numeric label and filled with different unknown substances. We had to take turns opening them, sniffing them, and writing down on a piece of paper what we guessed the unknown substances were.

How's that for brilliant?

There was a liquid in the first one I got (yes, I'm sure you know where this is headed), and when I popped the childproof cap off, a little bit spilled into my lap.

And my denim skirt started magically growing spots all over it before my eyes!

I heard one of the women -- maybe even my mom -- say, "Oh, it's bleach!" I didn't know what bleach was, but it sure seemed like an evil and potent substance!

I remember crying a lot, and feeling embarrassed all evening, and then a few days later Mrs. Obley mailed us an apology and a gift cerficate to Kenny Karden, a children's clothing store. (I remember thinking even then that the amount of money she spent and what we ended up buying was WAAY nicer than the dinky little denim skirt that got ruined.)

What's sad to me is that I remember so vividly why I was so upset that night, and nobody probably would have guessed it, and it had nothing to do with the stupid skirt being ruined:

One of the families who arrived shortly after The Bleach Incident included a couple of my older brother's friends, who I had crushes on, and I was absolutely mortified that they would see me at a party dressed in a skirt that had huge, severe stains and splotches all over it, and think that was just how I dressed myself for that evening.

To the day I get very anxious whenever I use bleach, and I refuse to use it for cleaning, ever, only in laundry.

Okay, I guess I have Hyperthymestic Syndrome

Here's a recent news article (I heard about it first on Neal Boortz) about a 42 year old woman in California who can remember almost every detail of her life since 1976.

And I'm like:

.... yeah ....????

Because for many many years I've said I could remember everything that happened to me since I was nine. I didn't know I should be in the news. Hey, if anybody wants to call Oprah or David Letterman and report me, feel free!

What makes me different from Ms. California though (and, I guess the reason no one would give a crap about me) is that she remembers news items and headlines, which I couldn't care less about. I remember things like [really]:


In eighth grade Language Arts class, Miss Outten was my teacher, I sat behind Walter Rhee and in front of Sam Rockwell. (Whenever we had a substitute or a new school year, the teacher would call roll and say, "Samuel Rockwell?" and Sam would raise his hand and say, "Here ... but without the 'yule.'")

Miss Outten was also my coach on the girls' basketball team, along with Miss Syzmanski. {I could write a lot about basketball too, but right now I'm just discussing eighth grade LA so I'll try not to get derailed.]

When Miss Outten did a lesson on the basic structure of plot, with your exposition, conflict, complications, etc, she said, "Let's see ... what's a TV show I hate? Oh, Three's Company! I hate the dumb blond stereotype!" Then she proceeded to go through a typical [ie: the only] plotline in that show to describe each element.

Not sure why, but one day she asked us to write down on a piece of paper our name and the grade we thought we were getting in the class on our report cards next week. The next she started to say, "Well, I read what you wrote down for your grades and-" Walter Rhee (who was in the front row) mumbled something inaudible. "No! I didn't laugh!" Miss Outten said.

We studied satire later in the year. (Oh, by then my seat changed. I was sitting over by the window and next to Laura Boomer, who used to take out her mirror and brush her hair and stuff a lot at the end of class.) We had to write a satire of something and read it out loud to the class. (Mine was about how stupid most toothpaste commercials were, and I won't bore you with the content.) I started laughing in the middle of reading it, because I thought it was pretty good myself! Miss Outten commented to the class that some people would think that was a bad thing, but she didn't.

We also had to do a satire comic strip. Mine was about a dad telling a kid never to smoke pot, and then saying, "Now excuse me while I go get a beer." I remember all the comics were hanging up in the classroom and John Atkins and Bryon Garvin were playfully making fun of me because all my characters had huge heads.

Also, we read The Yearling and had to do a group presentation, and I ended up working with ... well, you get the point.


Is that unusual?? Yes, I know it's probably boring and stupid as hell, but is it something most people don't do??

I'm thinking it is unusual just because over the years people have seemed surprised when I tell them things I remember. But to me it's perfectly natural and effortless to remember that kind of stuff. Not remembering it, to me, would be like someone saying, "What town did you grow up in?" and saying, "Hmm ... well, I don't really remember ..."

PSST! Okay, you can get your nose off the keyboard now and wake up. I'm done!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The books I'm not reading

Okay, Robert is having some problems at work and is still there, at almost 11:00 pm, so that's why I'm writing so much this evening ... when I run out of things to right about, I'll probably start eating, so hopefully he'll be home before then ....

I have so many books on my night stand that I am not getting around to reading that it's ridiculous. I have heard people say they stopped reading for about five (or more) years when they had kids, and I keep fighting that, but I'm not doing a very good job.

In the first place (am I an idiot or what), I've been trying to read a Maeve Binchy novel called Firefly Summer that is over six hundred pages long!! It's so good though ... I've read almost 300 pages so far, but it's taken me two months just to do that! I'm going to have so many library late fees I probably should have just bought a copy!

Mary Hood's The Joyful Homeschooler. I think Mary lives about 30 minutes away from us. Interesting; she has five children and got a doctorate degree after they were all born, and then proceeded to write and publish at least two books! I guess she had too much time on her hands with only five kids to raise, huh! I only have three kids and I can't even find time to read her book, let alone get a doctorate in my spare time!

Anyway, I probably read about 75% of that one and am giving up and returning it tomorrow.

What else. What else.

I really wanted to read Neal Boortz's first book on The Fair Tax. I read less than ten pages ... and then it sat and sat on my night stand until I finally gave up on that one too.

Oh, and after waiting for weeks, I finally was next in line at the library to get the infamous Eat, Pray, Love! I'm really curious what I'll think of that one if I ever actually open it! People either say that 1) It was the most moving, inspiring, spiritual, life-changing thing they ever read; or 2) Elizabeth Gilbert is the most whiny, self-absorbed, shallow individual they've ever had the misfortune of having to come in contact with.

Oh yeah, and any day I'm expecting a used copy of Better Than School by Nancy Wallace! When it finally comes in the mail, I can just add it to the pile! I wouldn't be surprised if I audibly heard the book sigh as it lands ...

Another list for Cinderella

This morning I saw Rachael fervently dusting the furniture. Then I saw this written in purple marker:

(Again, she doesn't do the spacing, so I'll do it):



Actually, she did get the mail later ... but I don't remember anyone making any meals for me today! :)

Hm, maybe I'm not needed after all ...

I'm sure not one reader knows what I'm talking about, but the expression "not needed" always reminds me of that Monkees episode where Peter copies a painting and adds Mike's hat:

Bad Guy: The hat's not needed.
Peter (smiling): It's Mike's hat. It's knitted.
Bad Guy: I know that it's knitted, but it's not needed.
Peter: How did you know it was knitted?
Bad Guy: I can see that it's knitted, but it's not needed!
Peter: Oh! For a minute I thought you knew Mike!


I had a fever for the better part of about three days, and am still not a hundred percent. Fortunately, it was the weekend and Robert could do everything!

Boy did he make me look bad. The house, including the kitchen, was spotless. He vacuumed, did 4-5 loads of laundry, had the girls completely clean their rooms and the playroom, packed everyone up and picked up several things at Target ... cheez! From what I saw and heard, everybody seemed pretty happy ... a little too damn happy, if you ask me! :)

The Day I Met a Princess

by Rachael, age six

I was waiting on the porch one time, and eating cookies that my mother cooked and brought outside for me to eat on a plate.

As I picked up one of the cookies, a girl with a dress, a crown, and a beautiful wand came by and sat down on the porch next to me.

I was feeling kind of bored by then, and the princess asked me why I was bored. My answer was, "Because there's nothing to do in my house."

The Princess said, "I can fix that! Show me around in your house."

I showed her my bathroom, my kitchen, and my room, and even my mother and father's room.

The Princess picked up her wand, set a potion, and suddenly the whole house was funner.

I picked up a toy that was new and starting playing. "Thank you, Princess," I said.

"You're welcome," said the Princess. And with a sparkle of her wand and a twinkle of her eye, she was gone.

And that was how I met the Princess.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cinderella's List

I just found this, and a pen, on the table next to Rachael's bed. I don't know when she wrote it. I can probably safely assume it's a list of tasks for Cinderella.

She doesn't always space well between words, so I'll add that so it's more readable here:







Saturday, February 9, 2008

Kit, an American Girl

I'm not sure how they found us, but a month or two ago, we got a catalog for American Girl dolls at our house. The girls love to look at and tell me what they want (which is almost everything.)

Since the dolls are about a hundred dollars each, then more for extra clothes and accessories, and since they're for ages "eight and up," I cheaply decided to get the books out of the library for now instead.

So a couple days ago we started reading about Kit, from 1934.

Yesterday Rachael put on a hat and pretended she was Kit. She got on the computer and typed and printed her own "newspaper story" like Kit does.

It looks like this:

the howrs are coming

i cant wat i hop we can bild a tree hows i hop wil hav los uv fud mad by kit

The book is pretty neat, by the way. I would loved all the American Girl stuff myself when I was about eight or nine.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I hope your dreams will come true

by Rachael, age 6

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Anna Dayla. She loved her mom. She loved her dad. All that she could think about was sitting among the flowers, wishing wishes in the wishing well.

One day she asked her mom if she could go for a walk to find some sort of wishing well. As she turned a corner, she saw a misty flower forest. She said, "Maybe it will lead into a wishing well. Oh how nice it will be to sit among the flowers, wishing the wishes I always wished!"

"But oh, this is a so misty forest, I can't really get through!" But as nervous as ever, she still went into the forest, as misty as ever. When she turned a misty corner, she saw there was no more mist, and a circle of flowers, and right in the middle was a wishing well.

She ran over to the circle of flowers, sat down, and wished the wishes she always wished.

One of the wishes was, "I wish I was a mermaind." As soon as she put her head into the well and wished her wish, she had a tail. She struggled into the closest river.

But there was still one thingshe was worried about. If she was a mermaid forever, she would never see her mom and dad again.

So she went back on land, wished she was a person again, and she had legs. She ran back to her home and told her mother and father all about what happened.

She never wished that wish again, but still loved her wishing well.


It's enough to make me sick

I'm getting our paperwork together to do our income taxes for 2007 (which, by the way, was not the year that members of our family were hospitalized for months, that was 2006).



Oh yeah, and did I mention that our monthly health insurance payments are more than our mortgage?

I don't know what the answer is, but it scares the hell out of me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A house full of energy and enthusiasm

We got home from Community Bible Study this morning and Rachael immediately ran into the playroom and shut the door. A few minutes later she said, "Rebecca, look! I found something on the stairs for you!" and brought Rebecca the note above. ("Your first clue will be in the playroom. Look all over to find it.")
Meanwhile, Rebecca was drawing on the kitchen floor. She said she was doing her homework for Miss Cupcake. She wrote Miss Cupcake's name, drew a picture, and wrote and recited out loud:
Then Rebecca dug a ruler out of my drawer and told me the piece of paper was "12 long."
I think the "treasure" was some money in a box. I never actually saw it though ...
Right now Rebecca is dressed as Dorothy and Rachael is Glinda the Good Witch. (They've never even seen the movie.)
Earlier they were pretending to go to Disney World, riding rides, singing "It's a Small World" and "Toyland."
Baby Ben has been playing with his toy rocket and toy toolbox. Also opening and closing doors.
I think I hear Rachael on the phone now; she must have called my mom.
It just never seems to stop around here ... the playing, the enthusiasm, the energy, the ideas, the creativity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My favorite children's author

If I had to be on a desert island with my kids and all the books of only one author (which makes no sense, really), the author would definitely be Tomie dePaula.

You gotta like somebody who appeared on Barney, along with his sister Maureen, to read his book The Baby Sister, about when Maureen was born.

The books in his "Tommy" series are all really neat: true stories of his childhood and family. In addition to The Baby Sister, they include:

The Art Lesson
Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs
and lots more!

Then he has several really cool stories ... legends, I guess, or tales from different countries, like:

Tony's Bread
Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato
Adelita (a Mexican Cinderella story)
and others!

Then there's the Strega Nona series, which we haven't gotten into much yet, but probably will someday.

And that's not all!

There's the series about The Barkers, the Welsh Terriers (I think) family with twins Morgan and Moffat. (I believe Mr. dePaola has two Welsh Terriers by those names. Like I said, you gotta love this guy.)

And the Bill and Pete series!

Oh, and there's a really clever Christmas book about all of Santa's crazy relatives, called Guess Who's Coming to Santa's for Dinner?

And that's not all!

I'm looking at Amazon now and there are several books on top of all those that I've never heard of ... plus I see some biographies ... oh, I would like that, even if the kids wouldn't ...

I guess I'm headed back to the library -- as usual! :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Snow pictures, finally

Okay, I finally downloaded the pictures from when we had snow the weekend of January 19.
These were taken Friday evening, just as it was starting.

It wasn't a great snow, but it was a definite snow, which we sadly haven't had around here for a few years.
To me, it isn't a truly great snow unless you can't see where the grass ends and the driveway begins.

Here's Baby Ben on the back deck ...

And here he is next to the front steps.

Rachael and Rebecca filled up this tub of snow and put it in the freezer. A day or two later I found it still in the freezer, but mixed with chocolate syrup. After a few days of that, I finally dumped it in the sink.
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Pretty girls!

I thought Rebecca looked so cute when she got dressed this morning that I took a picture of her.

If you look closely, you can see she's wearing sparkly red Dorothy shoes, an Olivia Newton-John headband, and a clear hair clip on the top of her head. Her yellow purse is on the floor behind her, and she's holding a Prayer Bear that Grandma Glo gave Benjamin this weekend.

Rachael wanted me to take her picture too.
I think at that moment she was supposed to be Mia, the latest American Girl doll.
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Benjamin and his two best friends

Rachael has Lammie. Rebecca has MommyDoggie.

Benjamin has Blanket. I sometimes call him "my little Linus."
Just recently he's been wanting Blanket in one hand and Blue and White Doggie in another hand. I think my mother brought that dog to the hospital when Benjamin when he was born, although who the hell knows anything that happened during those months?

I asked Rebecca what we should name his doggie. I think she said WhiteDoggie, but then she said Spot. He doesn't seem like a Spot to me ... so the jury's still out on that one.

Before I pick him up out of the crib, he always reaches down and picks up Blanket in one hand and Unnamed Doggie in the other. Then he looks at us and sort of babbles as if to say, "Okay, I'm ready to come out now!"

Not actually sleeping, just cuddling up for a few seconds.

Over here we keep our dishes, that's where we keep the glasses ...
and here's where we keep our baby!
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Our interesting, full, unschooling day

I was just reading last night that, to be a successful unschooling family, you need to live an interesting life. Today seemed like an interesting day:

While I was getting breakfast ready, I laid several flashcards of the 220 Dolch Sight Words on the table and suggested the girls play a game together where they each take turns taking two cards that they can name.

This quickly evolved into the girls using tracing paper to trace several words onto a few pieces of paper in a sort of random design, then xeroxing it, decorating the words with markers, then setting up a store "selling words," complete with store sign and price tags.

At 10:30 am we all went to a toddler music class. Technically it's Benjamin's class, but he mostly just looks around, sometimes tries to reach the light switch, and wants to be held. When I handed him a scarf to dance with, he shook his head no. The girls like the class even though it's for one and two year olds. They see themselves as helpers.

Then we went through the bank drive-thru and to Jiffy Lube to get an oil change. The kids got to watch some Barney while we waited for the oil change. I'm pleased to see that Rachael is close to seven and still enjoys Barney and has no disdain for it. Benjamin is twenty months old and doesn't seem to have any real interest in TV yet.

Rebecca (age four) has been telling me for days that she hasn't had candy in a while, and we need to go to the candy store. Both girls brought their purses, which have several coins in them.

I know Rachael knows that four quarters make a dollar. She knows how to recognize all the coins, and how many cents each is worth. I know Rebecca also knows at least some of that.

Anyway, we head to Fuzziwigs at the Avenue. Rachael has just enough money to buy a pack of lemonade-flavored Hubba Bubba, and Rebecca has just enough to buy three big gummi/jellied dolphins. I also buy some Jelly Belly jellybeans for all of us to share.

Since it's lunchtime by now, we go next door to Johnny Rockets, which we've never been to before, for burgers and fries and flavored sodas. We all get cherry flavored soda(in retrospect, I should have gotten vanilla.) Rachael said it "too much cherry" and we were able to exchange it for a regular Coke. I wasn't thinking, and got too kids' meals as well as something for myself. Way, way too much food.

The people in the booth next to us had a German Shepherd under the table and I asked if they would mind talking to the girls about it. They were both very nice. The blind man looked to be about twenty years old and said he went blind about six years ago after surgery for a brain tumor. He said most blind people prefer to have a cane instead of a dog, because having a dog is such a big responsibility. But he said that, for him, it's been great.

When we got home, I put Benjamin down for a nap and me and the girls had "booktime," where I read aloud to them on the couch.

Rachael picked Snow White out of her Disney Treasury book. Rebecca picked a Sesame Street magazine. She pointed out to me a page in the middle of the story (of about 3-4 paragraphs) that she said she was able to read to herself yesterday. I asked her if she wanted to read it to me now, and she said no.

[I have the feeling she is learning to read but prefers to keep it kind of private for now. For example, there were two days about a week ago that she got my paperback copy of Anne of Green Gables, announced that she was going to read her book now, and then sat for about five or ten minutes looking at it. That must mean significant to her.]

Then the girls went down the the playroom while I'm sitting here typing and Baby Ben continues to nap. Rachael just drew a picture called "Stagestruck" to send to SS magazine in the hopes they will print it.

This weekend I got the Disney movie Cinderella out of the library, so maybe we'll watch that later. We watched it about a year ago and Rachael was scared of the cat. But, she told me, she's older now and maybe it will be okay.

In addition to that I somehow managed to wipe down the fronts of several kitchen cabinets and do two loads of laundry. (Although the laundry hasn't been put away yet, so I guess that doesn't quite count.) Mondays usually tend to be my most productive days.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Led Zeppelin at church today!

I'm a substitute pianist at a local Unitarian/Universalist church. Hadn't heard from them for a while, but they called this week saying they needed me for today.

It's a good gig, because it's a one-shot deal: show up, rehearse, do the service, get a check for a hundred dollars, go home and eat. They're also quality musicians over there and the director is very efficient.

Anyway, I was trying to pick what to play for the offertory, and browsing through my music cabinet, I found ... Stairway to Heaven! Aw, perfect!

Robert said to me, "No ....! You'd better check with them about that. That doesn't sound appropriate at all."

Ah, but Unitarians are different!

I had at least six or seven people approach me after the service to say how much they liked it.

Oh, what was also neat was that my mom came to hear me play. She doesn't doesn't know anything about Stairway to Heaven or Led Zeppelin, but she enjoyed both my playing and the service itself.