Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Henry's Monster

We have been continuing our five weeks of summer learning. We are on week 4, currently: Dinosaurs! Typically, what happens is Audrey finishes her work pages before Henry and turns hers over to draw on the blank sides. Henry rarely finishes before her and, therefore, almost never gets to make his own creations. Today was an exception... :)

It's unfortunate that I can't describe to you the stages that this picture underwent to reach its current appearance. It was certainly a process and Henry had a story that went along with it. I'll do my best to relate his narrative with fewer adult interruptions than happened at the time. I will also skip over the part where this drawing started out as a man (and the part where he wasn't wearing pants, and the part where his pants were see-through)... he morphed along the way.

That little dot (under the left side of his face) is his hun. She's far away. The three even smaller dots (under his tail on the right side) are his children. They're far away, too.

He's a pig-man.

Audrey: Here are his brains. (Proceeds to color the peach-colored squiggle above the eyes.)

No, this is his brain. (The brown squiggle at the right corner of his mouth.)

Audrey: Then what is that? (Pointing at her contribution to his drawing.)

That's his blood.

Audrey: Ewww... skin-colored blood!

He's crying because he's bleeding. (Proceeds to draw the open mouth. He pulls his own mouth into a grimmace and says:) He's crying like this.... what does a monster sound like when he cries?

Me: What does a monster sound like normally?


Me: So, what would it sound like if he was crying?

Raa-haa-haaa-blaahhhh... Grrrr-hoooooo-hoooo-oooooooooo!

Me: Where are his teeth?

Right here... (starts drawing teeth.) He has a LOT of teeth. His teeth are sharp. He cuts things with them, like a knife. (He makes a sawing motion with his hands next to his teeth. I ask him what he cuts.) PEOPLE!

Me: Well, that sounds unfortunate. What does he do with the people after he cuts them?

He eats them!

Me: Does he cook them first?


Me: Well, that's something, at least.

People and pigs are afraid of him because he eats them.

Me: So, he's a pig-man and he eats pigs and people?

Yes! But he doesn't eat horses because he thinks they taste yucky.
His hun and children are monsters too. (Are they far away because they're afraid of him?) Yes. 
He's sad because he's bleeding... Graaaaaa-hooooo-hooo-hooo!! Grrrrrrrrr! Aaaaaggghhhhooooooo!

And, yet another motherly adage is proved: This will only end in tears... Apparently, monsters don't listen to their mothers either.
It took quite a bit of wheedling to get him to give me the picture so I could scan it. I'm glad he let me.. so I could share a little bit of my son with all of you. I think he's hilarious!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Paper Nostalgia

When I was fairly young, perhaps around 10 years old, one of my sisters introduced me to paper dolls. The ones that came with outfits that could be traded out to my heart's content. Of course, I also learned that I had to cut them out myself. Not an easy task for someone of my age. Since this was my first experience, I was concentrating so hard on getting the clothes cut out perfectly, that I cut off the the most important feature of the delicate paper creations: the paper tabs. I discovered, to my dismay, that the clothes would not stay on no matter what I tried as long as they lacked the little tabs. I don't recall what happened with those dolls; perhaps the tabs were cut out and then taped on, or maybe I tried to play with them flat on the ground. Either way, the lesson was very much learned.

I've been thinking about paper dolls lately. I've wanted to give my daughter this experience as well. Well, not the exact experience. She wouldn't have been able to cut out those dolls to save her life. But, I wanted her to experience the joy of something so simple, and even a bit vintage, as a paper doll.

I did some looking around and, while there are a lot of paper dolls out there, not many of them appealed to me. I finally happened across some on Pinterest, and the link led back to here and here. These dolls are delightfully vintage, and wonderfully printer-friendly. Some brilliant person was able to take Hallmark's vintage wrapping paper and convert it into a digital format. Well, I knew a good thing when I saw it and immediately printed them out on card stock.

I think it took me nearly two hours to cut all of the dolls out, but they turned out super cute and my kids love them. That's right. Kids. Plural. Wee Willie was perfect for Henry, with fireman, cowboy, clown, baseball and football players and several other outfits. Dancing Debbie was a no-brainer for Audrey, with such outfits as cowgirl, jester, gypsy and countless fancy dresses.

At first, I cut out just a few outfits and gave them to the kids with the promise of more. I alternated new outfits between the two of them, and it didn't take long for them to wait anxiously at the door for the next new outfit. I also gave them envelopes to keep their little dolls safe.

The kids have been playing with them for several hours. I figure that in and of itself is worth the time, effort and printer ink.

And, perhaps, one day, they will feel nostalgic about paper dolls, themselves, and introduce their own children to them...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In Which I Risk Creeping Out My Husband or Making Him Love Me More

I saw this fantastic idea on Pinterest (of course) months ago.. I was thinking to myself, how awesome would it be to do this for our anniversary?? Unfortunately, Ben was gone for our anniversary, so I decided to do it today, for no reason whatsoever. It was much more fun that way, anyhow.

There are some actors that do the crazy face really well... and then there is Nicholas Cage. That guy can pull a freaky face, I'm telling you.

So, I found this picture, printed it out on card stock (because I'm cheap), and cut out this greatness:

Then I put tiny sticky notes on his chest with little comments on them about how crazy-in-love... infatuated... much I adore him. In case you wanted to know, this is what they said:

I LOVE you...

If we weren't married, I'd stalk you...


Crazy for you

Sometimes I look like this... inside... when I think of you

Our love can be creeptastic!

When you turn away, I do this... not really, but yeah

Tell me you love me... no, really... TELL ME...

Then I put them in strategic locations that brought out the stalker humorous quality of his face:

Yes... yes... I put them in the pants pocket of his army uniform... because I'm a stalker awesome.

He still hasn't found two of them. If he reads this blog any time soon, he'll have spoilers as to where they are.
He laughed when he found the first one and I took a picture of him.

This is his "crazy face"... I'm not sure whether to be disappointed.. or relieved.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Learning: Worksheets and Ice Structures

I've been striving to actually use some of the Pinterest ideas I keep pinning. I've even tried some of the recipes.. but we won't talk about those... no, really. Until I find something super impressive, we shall not speak of it. WE SHALL NOT SPEAK OF IT!

Anyway. I've had some real success with the kid pins. About a week and a half ago, I found a pin that linked to a website that has five weeks of summer worksheets. Five weeks! So, I printed them all out and we've been working on them. They're really cute and each day only has four pages, so my kids don't get overwhelmed or bored. I especially like how I feel like a successful and responsible parent because I'm not letting my daughter forget everything she learned in Kindergarten during summer break.

If you'd like to check the worksheets out, click here. I used the Pre-K for my 4-year-old and the Kinder for my 6-year-old. I suppose I could have used the 1st grade pack for her, but I wanted her to be fairly independent while I was working with her brother.

So far we've completed one week and one day and the kids are still enthusiastic about it, so I'd call that a success.

I was feeling so positive about it this morning, that I actually had the wherewithal to remember a fun little science experiment that I found on Pinterest weeks ago. I think I may have pinned it from 3 or 4 different places and I know this idea isn't new, so I don't suppose I have to give anyone credit.. right? Plus, I'm too lazy to figure out where it was.

All it takes is ice cubes and salt. (And paper towels if you want to keep the mess to a minimum. We were doing this indoors at the table.) When you pour salt onto an ice cube, it raises the freezing temperature (which comes in handy if you want to make ice cream) and another ice cube placed on top will stick!

So, I let the kids experiment with how much salt it takes to make the cubes stick and they made their own little structures.

Yes, they're still wearing pajamas...

Audrey got the hang of it quickly and made her own little version of Stonehenge..

This is what learning looks like:


Finally, at the end, I decided to try and see how many ice cubes we could stack before the tower would fall. It took my steady hand to get the tower higher than three cubes.

We made it to seven ice cubes. When I tried to put on the eighth, the whole thing toppled. By then the ice cubes were really melty and much colder than normal due to the salt. Burning cold! We all washed our hands right after we took this last picture.

I liked this science experiment because it was simple and we had everything we needed right there at the spur of the moment. Maybe when they get a little older, we can talk about what is happening to the ice on a molecular level, but for now, it was just fun to build something with a new material.

Science is fun!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Battleground: Shower

When Ben and I first got married, we thought it was hilarious to play pranks on each other in the shower. I'm sure it had a lot to do with being so young and immature. What can I say? We did a lot of growing up together.

It started out pretty simple. One of us would stand on the toilet and peek over the shower curtain at the showeree and stare like a creepy stalker. Then gales of laughter would ensue when the person in the shower would startle or let out a squeak of surprise. It didn't take long before the one in the shower would splash water on the peeper.

This quickly escalated into the one outside the shower filling a cup with cold water and pouring it on the one taking the shower and running away cackling. Of course, while it was funny to play the prank, it was near infuriating the be the target.

I think the pranks stopped shortly after this next story:

I was taking my shower and at the moment before Ben attacked, I had been closing my eyes, turned toward the shower head, washing my face. When I finished and opened my eyes, there was a hand reaching around the shower curtain at me. I screamed and skittered backward. Well, I tried to skitter backward, but slipped and started to fall. Two strong hands gripped me, slippery as I was and steadied me. Next thing I knew, my husband had come into the shower completely clothed and hugged my shaking, dripping wet body. He was laughing mainly out of surprise over my reaction as he apologized several times. I was quick to tell him that he was getting wet standing in the shower with me. He said he didn't care. Even if I had known it before, my husband's love and concern for me and my safety was reinforced in my mind at that moment.

As I've said, the pranks pretty much stopped at that moment. The creepy peeping and general silliness still show up occasionally. We're both okay with that.

Though, Ben's concern for his showering wife hasn't abated over the years.

This morning, I was just about to get in the shower when I beheld a spider racing madly around the bathtub, trying to get away from the steaming water. Pathetically, it tried to hide under one of the kids' rubber ducks, only to realize that it was too big to escape that way... too big. It's long legs were sticking out from the bottom of the duck, disturbingly.

I did the reasonable thing: I screamed, stark naked and completely safe from the spider who was unable to escape up the slippery tub walls. I vaguely remember trying to cover my exposed body.. like the spider was looking or something. Well, it probably was, but in more of a "AAAGH! A NAKED GIANT! RUN AWAAAAY!" kind of way. That would be scary to anyone, really.

Ben came to my rescue, of course and used the shower attachment to wash the spider down the drain. I thought it was too big to fit, but Ben got it down eventually.

Love: reinforced.

Shower trust: bruised, but mend-able.

Ben said the kids even knew what was going on. "Mom must have found a spider in the shower."

I really don't scream very often.


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