Saturday, May 31, 2008

Come to Looking Into all this week and see beautiful

Flower Power at Looking Into


Singular Saturday

For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meet Big Papa and Blurper

What I found in the backpacks on Monday.

This week your only assignment is to make an insect project. The directions are attached. Please make sure your insect has the following:

6 legs
3 body parts: Head, Thorax and Abdomen
2 antennae

And what we finished tonight.

Describe your insect

Color: clear
Shape: Small barrel
Size: 3 1/2 inches
Movement: Walk
Sounds: blurp blurp
Insect's name: blurper

Color: brown, red, yellow, white
Shape: long tube
Size: 11 In
Movement: Walks
Sounds: "Slived eulb" ["Blue Devils" backwards in honor of Duke University, where my dad got his masters degree and to acknowledge the North Carolina head of the bug]
Insect's Name: Big Papa

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Perfect mommy

An opinion-editorial by Abigal Jones in The Boston Globe this month taught me two things:

  • There is a new book out called My Beautiful Mommy, which according to the piece "helps parents tell their young kids why mommy, who just came home from the hospital in bandages, will now have a new nose and a thinner waist". I kid you not. It's available on Amazon for $19.95.

  • In her column Jones writes that "everyone knows what a 'mommy makeover' is" leading me to think really? I don't. She fortunately writes in the next line "in case you missed it: liposuction, tummy tuck, and breast lift, with or without breast implants". Thank you (sincerely) Ms. Jones. I had missed it.
Why had I missed it? Because when my kids poke my gut, the gut they were formerly residents of, and say "Mommy you are fat", I declare, in no uncertain terms that my belly is that way because of them.

I earned this body I am in. I have earned every wrinkle, every sag and every lumpy bump on it.

But the op-ed author makes an even more important point and I've seen it. It is in those moms who wear the same clothes as their teen daughters. Last summer I saw one mom of a teen boy who walked by a group of youths, was noticeably ogled, and puffed up like she was Miss Sexy as her son looked down in horror.

The point is are we really not going to let our children have the spotlight? Are we not going to let them be more beautiful or handsome than us when it is their time? I'm not writing that we shouldn't enjoy our bodies and dress as we want, but do we really want to be compared with 16 year olds?

I am getting older so my children can enjoy being young.

We should be proudly aging. We should be proudly showing our intelligence and skills, not fake skinny waists. We should be promoting books like My Mom is Great by Gaby Goldsack.

    [Thanks Theresa, Kendyl and their awesome daughter Meg for telling me about this book at the playground then tracking down the title when I couldn't remember it and scanning the cover for me! You all are great].

    So let's go be great. Great as we age.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Memorial Day, 2008

    Part of our town Memorial Day observation in the cemetery included a high school student reading from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address -

    It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    To Remember

    Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

    I have always loved Memorial Day. Especially during high school. For four years that meant marching in the town parade. My freshman year I played piccolo. Sophomore through Senior years it was as drum major. I loved marching in front of the band, calling or whistling orders, and conducting the music.

    The parades always ended in cemeteries where a trumpet player from the marching band would play Taps in honor of those from the US military who have died in war.

    I have something to admit that I'm not proud of.

    I have no memories of the cemeteries. Of hearing Taps. Of ensuring that our high school band was a respectful presence for such a solemn occasion.

    I partly blame the general folly and silliness of youth. But I was also young during a relatively peaceful time. While I grew up under the cloud of nuclear armament and USSR as the constant enemy to be kept in check, I don't recall knowing a single person my age who joined the military. The horrific consequences of war were in the flat photos in out-of-date textbooks or in the hunched shoulders of old men leaning on canes standing next to graves with flags. They weren't in real people I knew.

    Now I have children who have only been alive during war. I see young adults who should be starting their lives instead begging outside the homeless veterans shelter. My friend's godson died in Iraq when he had been there barely a month.

    So really the only song I can play this week is Taps. Because I can't remember hearing it when I stood in the cemetery. And I need to remember it now.

    Share a song, even if it isn't related to Memorial Day.

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    How Teri can tie skirts and squirrels as well

    Here I was thinking I was the only one who could write a piece about squirrels and skirts. Apparently not very well either since Jen in Michigan didn't understand that I was misunderstanding my daughter's request that I twirl in my skirt. I was hearing her say squirrel. Clearly an example of how my writing isn't all that great. Sorry Jen.

    So who could also write a piece about skirts and squirrels? Teri of The Road Lester Traveled. This was her reply to my post:

    I have kids I don't even know stop me and ask me to twirl my skirt! (And since I never wear pencil skirts, they are rarely disappointed.)

    My son found a baby squirrel in a parking lot while out Home Depot shopping with his dad once. This was when he was about two. He came home and said, "MOM! We found a squirrel in the parking lock!" (Yeah, he said "parking lock" with such conviction.) They had brought the baby home in one of his father's boots that had been in the truck. His little eyes were still shut. We raised that little guy (whose eyes never opened, so we named him Mr. Magoo) and although he had a cage, we never kept him in it. He just ran around the house. (And no, we weren't on a farm.) At one point, daddy got tired of having a squirrel in the house, so he banned him to the garage. It got too cold, and he wasn't accustomed to it, so he was dead in the morning. (The squirrel, not the dad.) At least that's my theory.

    Oh how I dreaded telling my son that his squirrel was dead. He got up, and I knelt down and said, "Honey... I have some bad news." He just looked at me with those wide blue eyes. I said, "Your squirrel died in the night." He stood there and thought for a minute and then said, "Now we have to go get another squirrel who is NOT dead!"

    That's my squirrel story.

    And that only proves why I adore Teri. Please join me in worshipping that skirt-twirling-blind-squirrel-loving gal.

    My life is better having her around.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Squirrel in the bedroom

    "Mama! I see a squirrel in the bedroom!"

    Huh? I think.

    My 4-year-old daughter nearly falls over in glee if my work outfit for the day involves "tip toe shoes" (what she calls heels) and a skirt (she's given up on me putting on the green sequin dress I wear for super formal weddings).

    Last week, after leaving her in her bed for a few more minutes of warmth under the covers, I hear hollered from her room:

    "Mama! I see a squirrel in the bedroom!"

    Huh? I think while putting on a straight pencil skirt with my black tip toe shoes.

    Keep in mind we hear squirrels scampering on our roof. We hear them in the attic although let's pretend that isn't happening. But - oh no - there is a squirrel in my baby's bedroom.

    "WHAT?!" I yell as I try to keep my skirt on as I rush down the hall, tripping over those tip toe shoes.

    The blond curls pop out from under the covers.

    "Mama, I want to see you twirl!"

    Oh. Of course. I pull my outfit together and spin around. But the pencil skirt doesn't flair out.

    Little lady looks very disappointed. The look says "what is the point of wearing a skirt if it doesn't twirl?"

    But at least there wasn't a squirrel watching me twirl.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    A most empty act

    Am I the only one who saw this?

    May 13, 2008

    Bush Says Gave Up Golf In Solidarity With Iraq Dead

    Filed at 11:18 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of Americans killed in the war in Iraq.

    "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf," Bush said in an interview with Yahoo and

    "I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal," he said.

    Bush said his last round of golf was in August 2003 when he was informed that a truck bomb had wrecked the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

    "They pulled me off the golf course and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do," Bush said.

    (Writing by JoAnne Allen; editing by Todd Eastham)

    President Bush has got to be kidding. Giving up golf sends the right signal? How about never getting us in Iraq? How about getting us out?

    That will send a better "signal".

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    They All Ax for You

    On Friday little lady and I followed two large yellow school buses as they drove 80 first graders to the local zoo for their annual spring field trip. Going to the zoo leads me to think of various zoo songs:

    We're going to the zoo
    Zoo Zoo
    How about you
    you you?

    or that classic

    Happy Birthday to You
    You live in a zoo
    You smell like a monkey
    And you look like one too

    Or this one. One of my favorite tunes from New Orleans. I have the Rockin' Dopsie version in my head.

    They All Asked For You (although the proper New Orleans way to pronounce "Asked" is "Ax")

    I went on up to the Audubon Zoo
    And they all axed for you
    They all axed for you
    Well, they even inquired about you

    I went on up to the Audubon Zoo
    And they all asked for you
    The monkeys axed
    The tigers axed
    And the elephant asked f'you, too

    Sing that while you peruse the photos below. 'Cuz the gorilla axed for you.

    [And once again I cannot for the life of me figure out how to insert a photobucket slideshow into an existing post. So please go to the next post.]

    Any musical animals for you this week?

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    They All Ax for You - The Photos

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Today it is


    12:37 pm weather update: blue skies and few clouds. It is turning into a beautiful, sunny day.

    Singular Saturday

    For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    MIB: Missing in Blogging

    Hi, I'm SMID. I really miss blogging.

    I miss reading your blogs. I literally have 3-4 posts of my own per day brewing in my head. But the days, and now evenings, are getting fuller and fuller and I don't have the energy or time to put it all down. Or read your wonderful writing. Or admire your photography.

    What in the world am I doing?

    I'm getting to do some terrific things at work right now. In about a week I can tell you all about it.

    Did you know that manatees are the most endangered marine mammal in the United States? {His hand is blocking the boat that sits at the top of the diorama with the bottom jutting out to show how manatees are struck by boats.}

    Or that some bats can eat half their body weight in bugs in one night?

    Did you know I help make awesome dioramas?

    And my little men are playing baseball.

    Lots of baseball.

    Tons of baseball. [Team photo by Jenn in Holland. Of course.]

    And little lady is making friends with the other sisters in the playground next to the baseball field.

    But we get home at 7:50 pm, not having eaten dinner, finished homework, bathed, or talked about the day. By 9:30 pm they have crashed and I want to follow suit.

    I have a friend who only sleeps four hours a day. She has four to five hours additional hours - after work, chores, everything - to do so many things.

    Maybe I can train my body to go on four hours of sleep.

    But I'm going to bed first.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    We were outed

    One of the pure joys Jenn in Holland got to experience while visiting me was the ho-hum life I live. Seriously - she was part of school drop-offs and pick-ups, baseball practice, driving to work, grocery shopping, preparing for soccer games....

    But the best thing I dragged her too? The preschool fundraiser.

    Now Amazing Guy had one of the best excuses for not being with us at the preschool fundraiser. He was with the boys' cub scout troop as they spent the afternoon at the minor league baseball stadium, participating in a clinic, watching a game and - get this - spending the night camping in the outfield. That last part didn't happen because it was too cold. But Amazing Guy was doing his duty.

    So I took Jenn in Holland to a preschool fundraiser. At least it had wine. And peanut M&M's.

    And people who kept asking us how we met.

    The best reaction came from a couple I didn't know. They asked us how we met. Our usual response went something like this:

    Me - "Should we tell the truth?"

    Jenn - "You live here. Say whatever you want."

    Me - "We met through blogging."

    The fellow of the couple went slack jawed and stared. As Jenn put it "you could see his brain working and he was trying to figure out what to say next."

    It took a very long time for him to figure out what to say next. I don't recall his response but to his credit he did keep talking to us.

    And I couldn't imagine a better reason to be outed as a blogger. With Jenn in Holland.

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    A bit sick of it

    So while I wrote last week that I was very happy to have rediscovered the Housemartins, I'm a bit sick of them right now. There are two problems with the Housemartins CD I've recently been given. One is that it starts to skip during the 6th song and nothing plays after that.

    The second is that it is stuck in the car CD player. No other CD will play. I've listened to this CD repeatedly for weeks. Especially since it is little lady's favorite set songs right now.

    It's a bit too happy in the van right now. Poor Jenn from Holland had to listen to the Housemartins all weekend in the van.

    I'm lucky she didn't skip into the airport yesterday.

    Music Monday at Soccer Mom in Denial

    Is there a song you are a bit sick of? Have you driven away a dear friend with a song? Do tell...

    Friday, May 09, 2008

    Show and tell

    Back in February, when word started going around my sons' elementary school that I was going to The Netherlands for the weekend I got an email from one of their teachers.

    Apparently the school had International Month in May. Each class was assigned a country to study for the month.

    His class was studying The Netherlands. The teacher asked if I could pick up things, free or inexpensive items, for her to use in teaching the class about Holland.

    I didn't do a very good job.

    So I brought in an expert.

    And you should've seen my little man beam during the lesson.

    Because he's cast under her spell too. As is the entire class.

    The teachers loved her too.

    So if you are looking for an expert to talk about The Netherlands with first graders, call Jenn in Holland. She'll have them eating out of her hands.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Rain on Colbert

    Did this not make you fall off the sofa?

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Spelling test

    Every week the boys have to study seven words and two challenge words for their Friday spelling test. Each night around dinner time I will quiz them on the words. Without prompting a four-year-old assists with a sentence to provide context. The brothers spell the words without even listening to her which means I am hearing her sentence at the same time as the spelling. Quite a combination of words, letters and singing.


    "Come downstairs right now!" offers up the younger sister.


    "We run around the house."


    "A cow says 'moo'."


    "I found some money that is yours."


    "'How do you measure a year in the life?'" (yes, she really sings this from Rent)


    "Wants upon a time ago..."


    "Along long time ago..."

    And for the challenge words:


    "Never, ever do that!"


    "Please stop!"

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Get up off our knees

    Get up Off Our Knees - The Housemartins

    [special kudos to Flower Child for reminding me how awesome the Housemartins are!]

    Famines will be famines, banquets will be banquets
    Some spend winter in a palace, some spend it in blankets
    Don’t wag your fingers at them and turn to walk away
    Don’t shoot someone tomorrow that you can shoot today
    Time to end the praying
    Listen what they’re saying

    Get up off your knees
    You can wag your finger till your finger’s sore
    Shake your head till it shakes no more

    Paupers will be paupers, bankers will be bankers
    Some own pennies in a jar, some own oil tankers
    What may sound like tomorrow could be ours today
    There’s no more need for sorrow if we get off our knees to pray

    Time to end the praying
    Listen what they’re saying

    Get up off your knees
    You can wag your finger till your finger’s sore
    Shake your head till it shakes no more

    Countries will be countries, borders will be borders
    Some have lost their folks at war, some have given orders
    What may sound like tomorrow could be ours today
    There's no more need for sorrow if we get off our knees to pray

    Time to end the praying
    Listen what they’re saying
    Get up off our knees

    What I just loved about this song, as a high school junior - and again as a soccer mom driving a van with her kids screaming this song from the way back - was how it dared people not to hide behind their religion but to get up and do something. To not think "oh, because I prayed the world will be better."

    Or worse, to think that a particular religion or belief is better. No one person, no one religion, is better.

    Let's agree to believe what we need to believe to get through the day. But none of us are better than anyone else. We're all in this together.

    Get up off your knees

    Is there a song that gets your social justice juices flowing? Did you reconnect with music you hadn't heard in a long time? Do tell....

    And be sure to visit Looking Into all this week because Flower Child is taking us to Miami with her photography. You don't want to miss it!!

    Saturday, May 03, 2008

    Taking Care of


    Singular Saturday

    For more Singular Saturdays go visit Jenn in Holland.