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Showing posts from April, 2014

The flu

Last week Grace was struck by the flu.  It put her out of commission for an entire week.  It is very hard to keep one child on a schedule when the other child is sick in bed watching videos.  While Grace rested, Lilah took full advantage of her week to pursue her interests.

She began a letter writing project.  She made a list of her favorite products  and wrote letters to the manufacturers in support of their product.  So far letters have been sent to Duct Tape, EOS, a toy manufacturer in Singapore, and Hasbro.  Duct Tape wrote a lovely personal letter back to Lilah and included stickers of Trusty Duck, their mascot.  We are hopeful the other companies will write back as well.  

Her letters were formatted, edited and accompanied by a beautiful envelop.  She was proud of her work.  

She took time to try a new cupcake recipe.  She modified her icing recipe, a recipe that she created, and she tried her hand at piping melted chocolate.  

I took some time for myself and attended Lee Binz’s web…

Giving Back

I have a wall decal that reads “Give yourself back to the world each day.”  It is a daily reminder that we have an obligation to share our time, our talents, our good fortune and our presence with others in some way, every day.  

The evening before Easter Sunday was the perfect time for us to visit the shelter and serve.  Together with my two sister-in-laws, and our friends, we served homemade coleslaw, homemade macaroni and cheese, corn bread, sloppy joes and dessert to about thirty residents.    

The third grade religious education class at church colored bookmarks that were given away with each meal.  

This is one of our favorite ways to give a bit of ourselves back to our local community.  It is in giving, that you truly receive.  

Plastic Paradise

We alone cannot save the world.  Sometimes it feels completely and totally overwhelming thinking that we must at least try.  How does one family or one person make a noticeable difference in solving problems that seem insurmountable, like the the amount of plastic floating in our oceans, collecting into a mass that has been labeled “Garbage Island”?

We first came to know Garbage Island two years ago when Lilah was participating in Destination Imagination (DI).  Her team project was to raise awareness of the shark finning industry in the effort to bring outrage and activism against it.  They spent countless hours researching the ocean, the marine life and the horrors of shark finning.  They held a movie screening of Sharkwater and because of this, one family we know made the decision to become vegetarian.  Through their research, they not only learned about sharks, but the plight of the sea turtle and the marine birds that feed off the ocean and its inhabitants.  One Pacific Northwest s…

Motherhood is Sacred

Last Friday night we attended The Living Stations of the Cross at our little church by the Sound.  As always, the teens did an outstanding job, even if for many it meant putting themselves on a stage they would rather not step onto.   I looked at these children, most of who I taught in Sunday School when they were either in third or fifth grade and I realized that they are, in the eyes of the church, all grown up and capable of making their own decisions and formulating their own understandings and faith formations.  

There are a few things that Grace knows for sure.  She knows for sure that her love of music runs deep.  Being able to play in church every month as part of an adult band has taught her skills she could not attain by playing as a piano soloist.  She knows that she wants to become fluent in sign language.  She watched with awe and wonder and curiosity as a family we know signed with their children.  She still has a passion for weather, especially severe weather, and she si…


“Our respect for a well read person  is praise enough for literature.”                                                                         T.S Eliot

At our last book club meeting the group discussed the heroine Coraline and how she compares to other contemporary heroines.  Of course the main characters from The Hunger Games and Divergent came up.  After a tremendous amount of thought, I decided to let Lilah read these books, so long as she talks about her feelings while reading with me.  I thought she would be so happy, but as is the case with parenting, our children often surprise us.  She is not overly eager to read them, she just wanted the opportunity to read them.  I told her to let me know if and when she is ready.
I have been giving lots of thought to what would be a fantastic high school book list.  I am not looking at traditional books lists because I think that some book lists are really not relatable to a 14, 15, or 16 year old.  Take for instance Animal Farm.  If the child…

Writing Group: What Spring Means to Us

Our Friday writing group continues to be an evolving group of girls who share a common interest of writing.  We have had one friend leave us for life on a farm in New York State, one friend join us via Facetime all the way from Alabama, and another friend, who was part of the original group, come back and share her writing time with us.  
Recently, Grace looked back through her journal which is close to being complete.  She has one year’s worth of journaling exercises, many with artistic representations accompanying them.  She has several complete stories and essays.  Likewise with Lilah.  
This week we used a new resource, Art For Kids, to help us draw a baby chick.  The drawing became a springboard for some of the girls to write about what spring means to them.  One girl wrote a poem, another chose to work on a story she has in progress, Lilah made a list, and Grace wrote about a spring day she shared with a friend.  I love using every opportunity possible to incorporate art a…

The Piano Guys: Sheer Brilliance

As part of Grace’s 13th Birthday, she was given tickets to see The Piano Guys in concert at UCONN’s Jorgensen Center.  I have been to many concerts ranging from opera performances to U2, Michael Jackson to The Grateful Dead.  Some just stand out more than others.  This was one of those nights that our family will never forget. As Grace put it “It was so much more than even I was expecting...” 

Grace is their biggest fan.  She has been working on perfecting her version of Waterfall for months. It is the song she saves for all her volunteer performances.  This song is special.  It is her song.  Jon Schmidt wrote it when he was 17, and Grace will remember it as the anthem of her teen years as well.  When Jon played it, Greg and I got chills and it brought tears to my eyes.  
The Piano Guys have many of their own compositions, but they also fuse contemporary music with classical music, like Frozen’s Let It Go with Vivaldi’s Winter or One Republic’s Secrets with Beethoven.  I think it is she…

Enjoying the Process

The flip flops are put away.  The skirts, shorts, tee shirts, and tanks are packed away for whenever winter decides to loosen it’s vice like grip on Connecticut.  We are back to our routine, a slightly more rigorous routine as we push through to accomplish a few things before the weather improves and we would much rather be outside than inside doing mapwork...
Book Club - We had our second meeting to discuss Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.  I love that this group of kids each brings a unique perspective to the conversation and we really did not need the structure of the literacy circle to keep the group on task.  They just seem to really enjoy talking about books.  I love seeing Grace’s booklist grow and grow. Our next selection is because of mr. terupt by Rob Buyea.  We just finished a fabulous audiobook version of The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier.

Wordly Wise 3000 - Grace began this workbook and she loves it.  I was a bit surprised since we do not do much with workbooks, but sh…