Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Lily and Rosie celebrate post game.
 Lily has a love and passion for one sport and one sport only.
She is a volleyball girl.
I asked her what she liked about it, and she told me that all of her friends are on the team, she is improving a lot and it's fun. All true.
Lily is not one of the stronger players, but her skills have improved a ton since the beginning of the season.  Her fabulous coaches have spent many, many one-on-one hours working with her and it shows. The thing is, the team is very good. They are chock full of sporty girl volleyball talent and win their games more often then not. As a mom, I was worried about the other girls getting frustrated with Lil when those inevitable shanks and flubs occurred, but I was happily mistaken.
There was never a time, throughout the entire season, when Lily didn't receive 100% volleyball sisterhood support. It was an enormous relief to watch her teammates enthusiastically cheer her on... each little mark of improvement was celebrated. It was awesome. As I watched her last game of the season, I realized that she was playing much differently then the beginning of the season. The girls are taught to call the ball... they yell "mine" when the ball comes to them. During those early games I would get so nervous when I heard Lily's wobbly little "mine."
But on Saturday, Lily's "mines" were clear and confident... and as it turns out, she definitely owned each one. Only six of our players were able to make the game... the minimum number, so everyone played the entire time, no substitutions. Those six girls were on fire... they showed tremendous teamwork and trust in each other...good sportsmanship at it's 5th grade best.
The coaches and parents were proud of the girls, the girls were proud of each other, it was great... then before school on Monday morning Lily receives this email...
"We are the League Champs with a winning record of 24-6!"
Congratulations to the the 5th grade girls Silver Knights- you ladies are inspirational!
Wishing you best of luck at tournament! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Photos are Fine if the Artist is Dead.

Henry... annoyed at the museum's lack of arms and armor.
Mural by Joan Miro (1893-1983)

Lately, Henry has been very interested in medieval kings, princes, knights and their arms and armor.
 (not so much for queens and even less so for princesses- go figure)
Anyway, I thought the boys would enjoy seeing the weapons and armor exhibited at the Cincinnati Art Museum... the same impressive suits of armor and intricately decorated swords that I visited in my youth.
Alas, it was not to be.
When we arrived on the art museum scene, I learned that the exhibit of my memory was taken down and safely tucked away, "only recently" according to the information desk lady. She did agree with me that the weapons and warfare exhibit of my childhood and beyond, "had been displayed forever" and would have been of huge interest to the boys.
Jamie and Henry were disappointed in this news. But then the information desk lady quickly redeemed herself when I asked her about photographing art work. 
 "If the artist is dead, it's fine to photograph."
The boys loved the cool simplicity of this rule. 
Jamie found this painting on his own...
I know this artist, he's famous and dead... take a picture!
We happened to be visiting on George Washington's birthday. And the artist who painted this portrait of George died in 1801.
Fine to photograph.
Happy birthday George, 280 years young today!
Feeling presidential, we thought it was only fair to say hello to President Lincoln the next day. 
Henry asked if he was "really this tall in real life?"
Abe was a tall fellow... but not quite eleven feet.

Happy belated 203rd birthday to you, Honest Abe!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bless this Spider Plant.

 Lily was given a class assignment where she was asked to write a blessing for a living thing. She choose to write about her spider plant.

I think that it blends science and religion quite nicely.

Dear God,
Please bless this spider plant. 
She removes 98% of carbon monoxide from the air. 
Please keep her safe and healthy so that she can continue to do her good work in filtering the air.
Thank you for this plant.

And then she took the plant to school so it could blessed in person. (er, in plant?) 
This was a very exciting event in the life of her spider plant but not without it's hazards. 
Although she was blessed, she came home a bit frazzled around the edges, to which Lily noted...

"It was a hard day for her... she isn't a plant that's used to traveling."

God bless all spider plants everywhere.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I dated a shoplifter...

My husband is a truly terrific. 
An awesome husband, a fantastic father...first grade soccer coach.
A family man. A straight arrow.
However, he revealed something to me the other day that I found a bit surprising...

"I had a girlfriend when I was in the second grade. 
She was a shoplifter. She stole some men's cologne for me. It was really nice... the bottle was in the shape of a light bulb."

I can't believe my husband dated a seven year old shoplifter.  It begs a couple of questions...
What sort of a seven year old girl is capable of shoplifting cologne?
Just how impressive a little dude was Karl in 1972 to be the benefactor of such crime?
Where is the cologne thief now?
And finally...
Was the light bulb bottle concept appealing to anyone other then 7 year old girls? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wonder Woman at the Baptismal Font...

Q. Why is Mary dressed as Wonder Woman casually lounging about the baptismal font of Knox Presbyterian Church?
 A. She is being intentionally and dramatically super heroic...to make a point about everyday heroism.

The youth in our church, under the remarkable direction of their fearless youth leaders, led the church service on Sunday and did a fabulous job of it. The focus of the service was "heroes." 
A few of the teenagers gave speeches about their personal heroes and some of the different heroic acts that they have witnessed from their fellow church members. They spoke from the heart- it was very inspirational and gave everyone in the congregation hope for our future leaders.

Mary and a couple of her friends, did a short skit instead. 
Their skit was inspirational in a different sort of way. 
It was a little surreal to see Wonder Woman Mary strutting about the pulpit during the "Time with Children" break during the service. While it seemed like she should feel a tiny bit out of place, she was quite confident and a bit brazen (as any superhero should be) as though she just parked her invisible Wonder-plane in the "first time visitor" parking spot while she ran into Knox to deliver a quick message.   
Wonder Woman and her Superhero friend Batman told the children that they were a bit weary of doing good deeds and saving the world and asked the children in the congregation if they could help them be undercover superheros- they all happily agreed.
As an aside...Mary's little sibs were extremely proud of their superhero big sister... you can see Henry, eyes up and riveted, in the red choir robe to the far right.
Here the kids are agreeing to be heroic in their own way....
"We will! We will! We all promise to be good and faithful undercover superheroes- you can count on us!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Little Brotherly Advice on Girls...

 My motley trio, Jamie, Henry, and Rosie, getting ready to deliver their Valentine roses to their friends and teachers at school this morning. 

Rosie couldn't wait to carry her flowers...
("I need to hooooold them, now!") 

But then used the pretty flowers as a tool to wack her brother in the head as he climbed past her to get to his seat in the van. 
I think that Rosie's roses were the only flowers used as nunchucks on this national day of love. 
Jamie loves Valentines day...for the past two years he has given each of the girls in his class a red rose. 
(He absolutely insists they be red, in his opinion, any other color rose is "kinda lame.")
He puts a lot of energy in building up his flower delivery event before February 14th, reminding all of the 3rd grade ladies...
"I'm going to give you a red rose on Valentines Day."
He very much wanted Henry to follow in his cupid footsteps but Henry isn't quite as comfortable with this open display of affection...
"Maybe I'll just give roses to my teachers, I don't want a girlfriend.
 I might want to be a priest when I grow up." 

(Henry, the young Presbyterian, has been exploring his options in the priesthood lately.) 

"Dude, you don't have to marry anyone, just give the girls ONE FLOWER on this ONE DAY because it makes them so happy."

And that is the very sound big brotherly advice from Jamie (age 9) to Henry (age 7) on this Valentine's morning.

Have a fantastic day- and be sure to extra kind and extra gentle to those you love, on this day especially.    

Friday, February 10, 2012

Who's your Llama?

Our Lily has a love of  llamas. 
She doesn't know any on a personal level, but admires them from afar and thinks of them as very useful creatures with big soulful eyes.
Lil just turned eleven and thought that a llama party would be the best way to celebrate her big day. She decided that she wanted to raise enough money to buy a llama, not for herself (phew!) but for a family in Peru who would be more able to host and appreciate such a beast.
She planned a llama slumber party and asked her friends to make a donation to Heifer International instead of giving her birthday gifts. Her friends agreed that it was a great idea and gave generously to her llama fund. She was able to meet her goal of  $150 to buy an entire llama, (not just a share) and had $20 to spare. 
So she shopped on the Heifer website for the "cheapest livestock" and was able to add some chickens to her birthday llama.
 Rosie enjoyed (but was not so skilled at) playing pin the tail on the llama with the cool middle school girls. Please notice behind Rosie, the completely awesome llama by Karl G aka cool dad + creator of mighty fine llama silhouettes.   
These were the little llamas who came to us from Peru to serve as party favors. We found them at Lily's favorite place to shop for cool Peruvian llamas, Ten Thousand Villages.
The girls made their own llamas from yarn,  Popsicle sticks and googly eyes... it turns out the googly eyes are really essential in defining the personality of popsicle stick llamas.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Walk in the Woods.

With a week of extremely mild temps, Karl, and I took three little bears + schnoodle for a walk in the nearby woods.
As the caboose, this was my view for most of the walk.
Except for the times when the two youngest bears, who on each others very last nerve, needed to complain about each other. Then this was my whiny view... you can see how troubled Karl and Lily are by the their stress.   
 The setting was beautiful- much like the "autumn" background at the Sears portrait studio- so I did my best to get some photos of the kids experiencing some woodsy fun. 
"No... I don't want to have a nice face- I will show you my sad face instead" said Rosie happily, my least cooperative little bear. 
I tried to take a happier photo of Henry on a mossy log.
"Nope- don't feel like smiling. This is my not happy, not sad face, the best I can do right now" said  my tiny bit more cooperative medium size bear. 
There's the happy face I was searching for!
Thank you Lily, my most agreeable and biggest bear cub of the afternoon.
Somehow, I did manage to get all three cubs plus Papa Bear, looking pleasant at the same time... well, schnoodle-bear is distracted, but the rest of the team looks happy and relaxed in the real life Sears Portrait Studio. 
And so goes our two sister bears on their way home.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mommy's Mug Shot.

"Mommy" by Rosie age 3

"And so this is YOU!"
Rosie declares, holding up her whiteboard marker sketch.

"You look like a worm- but your grumpy face is really a smile!!!"
young artist at work