Saturday, November 26, 2011

Young Patriot

Henry was asked to carry the American flag in the procession for his school's Thanksgiving mass. 
He was honored.
In fact that's just what he told me when he first told me his big news.
He said "I am honored to carry the big American flag in church."
I asked him why his teacher asked him, he told me it was because she trusted him and thought he would do a good job...the ultimate compliment for Henry. 
He was very excited to do his part but also very serious. 
And a little bit solemn.
Just as a proud flag bearer should be.
He was asked to wear his boy scout uniform, and was thrilled that he got "special permission"from the higher ups (school principal) to be out of school uniform for the day.
This was a really big deal for our little guy and he dutifully led the procession while the congregation sang "God Bless America."  There is something really adorable about a very serious 7 year old bearing the flag.
I learned that part of the responsibility of carrying the flag is that you need to be mindful of the  candles. Catching the flag on fire in front of his classmates and teachers was a scenario that I didn't consider until Henry's teacher gave him a last minute reminder to watch out for the candles.
As a mom, worst case scenario (in church, public flag burning) flashed through my mind as I advised Henry to keep the flag high and his eyes on it when he passed the candles.
He followed through and thankfully, there were no accidental fires in mass.

Henry defines himself as an American who was born in Guatemala.
It seems fitting then that he should help honor Thanksgiving, the only holiday that is distinctly American.  
This is a photo of the day (six years almost exactly) of our little guy in court. The day he officially became a proud citizen of the United States of America.
Well done Henry.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shiny Stones of Strength.

Jamie, Lily and Henry with their strength stones
Not long ago, the pastor of our very fine Presbyterian church gave each of the children a stone inscribed with the word strength on it. He told the kids that they could use the stone as a reminder to thankful for all those people in their life who gave them strength. Reverend York very recently lost his dear wife Barb to Lou Gehrig disease and told the children how grateful he was to all of those who offered he and Barb strength during her illness. He recounted how he and Barb would squeeze their own stone and give thanks to the people that they would see that day who would bring them strength and support.  He shared that whenever he was feeling scared and alone, he would remind himself of the many people who were there to help him and Barb, and thinking of those folks would make him feel better.

Along with the other children, my kids were invited to squeeze their own stones and think of those who give them strength when they are frightened or unsure.  They really like their shiny stones of strength  and I like that they have a tangible reminder of the many people in their lives who surround them with love and support.

 My family and I would like to offer a heartfelt thank you to Rev. Tom York as well as the many other people in our lives who offer us strength and remind us that we are never, ever alone.
Thank you all very much for helping us to be strong. 
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creepy Joker Turkey

The third graders in Jamie's school were asked to decorate turkeys for a Thanksgiving display.  Jamie dressed his bird as though it was the creepy Joker in the Batman movies. This makes perfect sense, because really, nothing says Happy Thanksgiving more then the creepy joker. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ninja Bats.

Jamie and Henry spent about two hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon energetically jumping off our staircase landing.
Quite obviously, they were Ninja Bats.
And after the first few minutes of leaping, they were very sweaty Ninja Bats.
Jamie has enjoyed many hours of good times from his very own set of vulture wings... a fortuitous impulse buy from out summertime visit to the National Aviary.
Henry's wings were borrowed from Turkey, our near blind and much beloved Boston terrier.
Henry didn't mind the tiny terrier sized wings and happily called himself
Thankfully, Turkey is a very good sharer and was happy to loan out his bat costume to one of his favorite kids.

If you happen to find yourself in our messy foyer-
please beware of the leaping Ninja Bats.
They can be a little bit dangerous.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pink Suit.

Rosie is in love with this outfit.

She calls it her Pink Suit and is sure that she looks fabulous in it.
She says..."it's pink and sparkly and very beautiful."
What's not to love?
She is so sure of just how damn good she looks, that shortly after she put it on that she decided that she should never ever again wear anything else. 
 Her feelings for her fabulous pink suit are so strong that I think I might need to be on the lookout for larger sizes of her beloved pink leotard.
Will she wear it to college?
I don't know for sure, but I thought it would be a good idea to photo document her favorite fashion piece while it lasted, so for fun, I took a daily photo of my- caught in a fashion rut- daughter last week.







Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Stole Your Heart and Put it in My Light Saber.

Henry- Thief of Hearts

Henry's more violent and disturbing version of "gotchyer nose"

Henry is 7 years old, Rosie is 3.

Henry- "I stole your heart and I put it in the handle of my light saber."
Rosie- "How did you steal it? I want it back!"
 Henry- "No! It's mine now, you can't have it back.
"R. "I need my heart!"
H. "You can't have it!"

Rosie (in anguish)..."My blood needs my heart- my brain needs my heart- GIVE IT BACK!"

Henry "Nope."


Henry to his little sister..."Ring the doorbell three times and give me your M&M's then I will give you back your heart."
Rosie- "Fine then."
Rosie proceeds to ring the doorbell 3 times and fork over her Halloween M&M's, only when the M&M's were in Henry's hand was she able to retrieve her heart from the light saber.
Tough afternoon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joshua Bell Superstar

Joshua B., violin superstar
While I am not musically inclined,  I very much enjoy listening to music and feel good that all of our kids have learned to play an instrument at some point in their lives.
Well, maybe not Rosie just yet, but she can already pound out a mean vibraslap...
(just in case you are unfamiliar with little R's instrument of choice)

Lily began playing the violin in kindergarten and I am so glad that she has stayed with it.
There is something about the violin that I really love but find hard to put into words.
I think its all of that sound and spirit coming out of that little spot just over the heart that I find so moving.

 Superstar violinist Joshua Bell came to town last night and Lily and I were fortunate enough to see him play in concert.

"I didn't think that you could get so sweaty playing the violin..." Lily whispered to me during the show.
Joshua Bell plays with pure sweaty passion that startled Miss Lily at first.
If I didn't see it for myself, I would have a hard time believing the amazing voice that came from Mr. Bell's violin. He played without a microphone and was accompanied only by a pianist, but sounded like a full symphony... absolutely beautiful.
A few years ago Joshua Bell participated in a social experiment where he donned a baseball hat, went incognito and played Bach in a Washington DC subway station. Thousands of people filed past him as he played an intricate piece on his Stradivarius violin worth millions of dollars. Only a handful of folks stopped to listen. A few tipped...he made about $32.

I imagine that this was a humbling experience for Mr. Bell, but I am glad that he agreed to participate.
This is from the Post news article that was written after Joshua played...

"The experiment that was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?"

Joshua B. being ignored in the subway.

Lily G. violin student.
She was practicing here, hence the annoyed "go away" look.

After the concert, Joshua Bell kindly stayed for a bit and signed programs and cd's.
Here are my two favorite (and also both very cute) violinists together.