Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Festival of Books

Last weekend we drove into LA for the LA Times Festival of Books held on the UCLA campus. Thousands of Angelinos show up for this free event. It was unusually warm, but even with the heat and the crowds we still had a good time. Two large children's stages were set up with a full schedule of performances and readings (Prince Caspian from the new Narnia movie read a few chapters to the crowd). Little S enjoyed the performances of the Doodlebops and the Shushybyes (pictured below).

Little S working at one of the craft areas where kids could make their own books. We're working on proper scissor handling - it's been a slow process.

After the festival we went to dinner with our good friends Chris and Nicole who were in town.

Funny girl

I love finding traces around the house of where Little S has been. For example:
The paper towels were brought from the kitchen into our bedroom, they were stretched a good 6 feet across the bedroom, and a few choice ones were torn off for Baby Doll (yes, that's her name and no, she never has clothes on) and Huckleberry Hound.

And then there are the purses. Anyone who knows Little S knows she is OBSESSED with a good purse. She unloads the purse of anyone who comes to our house, anyone she sits with at church, and even purses of strangers she meets on the street (at the bike races a few weeks ago I found her sitting on the street curb next to a lady with a cute dog, starting to unload the lady's purse!). She will remove every last penny or scrap of paper and she is usually hoping to find some gum along the way.

At home, this translates into her using any vessel with handles or handle-like components as a purse. She loads them with small toys and other found objects and leaves them all over the house - hanging on door handles, stashed in corners, etc. Or, she'll drape one over her shoulder, and as she's headed toward the (locked) door say, "Bye mom, I'm going to school. See you later!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kid Music

Little S and I tried out a munchkin music class at the local community center today. It was LESS than inspiring - the majority of the "music" class was spent coloring!! Arrgh.

I've seen ads for the recently released kids music CD by They Might Be Giants called Here Come the 123s. Word on the web is that this music is parent and kid friendly, unlike most children's music.
TMBG also does a FREE Friday night podcast of a different kid song each week. Find more info on the podcast and a link to download a free song immediately HERE at GeekDad via Wired Magazine.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tribute to Mother Nature

Happy beleated earth day.

We celebrated earth day at Primary Activity days this week. We played a matching game about how long it takes pieces of garbage to decompose in landfills (styrophome is 100 million years to eternity - scientists aren't sure; banana peels are 3-4 weeks). Then we took the girls and their recyclables to the recycling center and with the money from recycling each girl purchased reusable grocery bags to take home. Top it all off with McDonald's sundaes and it was a pretty good activity!

I think Little S and I will try the activity pictured below as part of our earth day festivities :)
Nature box idea and pics from here

On a related note, I came across this blog - Unplug Your Kids. Some of the ideas are cheesy, but I like the links to other similar sites.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mother's Day Poem

I was going to save this for a Mother's Day post, but since we're on a TRIBUTE theme this week, I thought the following poem would fit in nicely today - I first came across it over at martawrites.

The poet laureate, Billy Collins, wrote "The Lanyard" as a tribute to his mother (a lanyard is like a boondoggle - think of that scene in Napoleon Dynamite where Deb tries to sell Nap. a boondoggle from her Ca-boodle at his front door).

Watch Billy Collins read the poem HERE - much better than reading it to yourself!

The Lanyard

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past --
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

- Billy Collins

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Think about it

My friend Becca's most recent post, titled "Thinking About Stuff", is SO fantastic, I want everyone to read it and be inspired by it (she is a great writer - fun to read). Her entry, which is a tribute to the stuff with which she and her little family have made do, reminds us that a simple life is a good life- happiness is not about the objects around you (or not around you).

A little background: Becca and I met as undergrad students in the art history program. We traveled together through England, France, and Italy on Art History study abroad and then completed our master's degrees in art history (throw in a research trip to New York and many other fun grad school memories). She is a brilliant gal and is married to a brilliant guy, Shane, who is at Yale Medical School. They are a power couple and I feel lucky to count them as friends.

Be inspired as you read it - I was.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Loving Lars

I watched Lars and the Real Girl last night.

Loved it! The film is unique but not weird; sweet but not sappy.

Ryan Gosling is fantastic; one of his older cast members called him "the hope of the future for our business." I couldn't agree more. I want to she him paired up with Claire Danes in a movie - what a couple they would make!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pulled an All-Nighter for:

Yup, that's right - all-nighters are not just for college. In order to REGISTER Little S for our desired preschool, an all-nighter was required. With only 4 spots available in the class for her age (which starts in Sept), we had to be at the front of the line when registration opened at 8:30 this morning!

Our friend who was also committed to getting his son in the same class drove by the school at 7:30 last night and called D to tell him that another guy was already in line - "better get over here ASAP if you want in!" (We were planning on going over at midnight - boy, were we wrong!) D was third in line. By 10:30 pm there were 10 people in line. At 11:30 pm, D and our friend had 2 college kids that work for them come and sleep in line to hold our place. Then I went over this morning for my shift from 6:30 to 8:30am.

Mission Accomplished - we're in! Only hurdle left: get Little S totally potty-trained by the last week of August. (We're almost there.)

Here are some of the funny remarks from parents standing in line:
"What if the person at the front of the line is registering quadruplets?!"
"I've never even done this for a CONCERT! I was considering Zeppelin this summer, but after last night, I'm not sleeping outside for any tickets."
We were discussing how we might produce a cool documentary on the lengths parents will go to for their kids - some good and some bad. The scene this morning would have been perfect for such a show...We all acknowledged it was so silly, but no one was willing to walk away from their precious spot in line!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A New Cousin

Over the weekend we visited with D's family to celebrate the birth of the newest grandchild - Kai David. 11 cousins were together to play and swim and eat lots of cupcakes (with record heat - low 90's - the pool was a hit with the kids). Above, Marina is holding her new cousin.
Little S getting suited up for the pool.

Matthew, John and Maika (who love playing video games together) are happy to finally have another boy cousin around.
Aislinn's attempt to wear ALL of the swim gear at once.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Thump-Thump Song

We love Regina Spektor in our house

This song is a lifesaver!! Little S calms down whenever it's playing. If she's throwing a fit in the car, this music immediately soothes her. (Thank you to my little bro who gave me this CD last Christmas)
She calls it the "thump thump song" - I think because of the heavy base and piano during the "he-ar-ar-art" part.

Little S's other favorite song on the album:

I had to include this version of the music video of "On the Radio." It shows little kids loving the beats of this song as much as Little S! She goes around the house chanting "on the radio, on the radio, uh-oh" just like the kids at the end of this video.

ps- there will be NO high school musical playing in our house! (I will not even privilege the production with capital letters) I know some of you guys out there are big fans, but we just will not get on that bandwagon yet.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Vintage Kids Books

The past few weeks, I've been reading Little S one of my favorite vintage kids books: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey- first published in 1948. She's been eating lots of blueberries lately, so she's especially interested in the storyline. It is one of the stories I remember my mom reading to my sister and brother and I over and over - I loved it!

Side note - I recently came across this unique website run by a hip mom who loves vintage kids books!

Weekend festivities: today we visited the newest cousin born this week into our family. Little S and 10 cousins partied together today. I'll post a few pics soon.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Last Week in Review

We were busy last week - many activities and photo opportunities. I am just getting around to posting the highlights.

Grandpa was in town for a few days. These 2 had a great time together!

D wanted to plant some spring blooms for Family Home Evening on Monday night. Little S had a great time playing in the dirt with Daddy (Mommy and Gramps just watched and gave moral support :)

We celebrated the end of spring break with our same Tar Pit friends from the week before (Chanel, Cass and kids). We all went to the county regional park where my lil' sista is a ranger - 1000 acres of hills, lakes, trails and play equipment; as well as countless water fowl for the kids to chase after. We loved the play equipment that is on a little inlet surrounded by water and enjoyed a mini-picnic, too!

The week finished off with our town's annual bike race. Downtown is blocked off as the race course and we walked over to watch the men's final race with the kids.

Colin and Blake raced in the kids heats Saturday morning - Colin won his 3-year-old division on his bike with no peddles and was the crowd favorite. They make the kids races as official as the adults - the guy on the motorcycle (whose official title I do not know) rides in front of the pack!

Colin and Lucy waiting under the umbrella for the next lap.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Not Your Grandma's Quilt

I've been researching the fascinating world of quilting instead of actually starting my quilt project (but hey, that's how I roll). For me, half the fun of any project is researching it to death and then diving in.

The world of art quilts is most intriguing. My tiny local library had a 500 page art quilt catalogue full of works by contemporary artist-quilters from all over the world. Pictured above is the work of Joy Saville. (My own project pattern, called "Turning Twenty", is terribly rudimentary compared to these masterpieces, but I enjoy the eye candy, nonetheless.)

I L-L-Love the work below by Japanese artist Noriko Endo, titled Autumn Walk - its reproduction in my book is much more vibrant and detailed than what was available on the web.

Finally, I came across a great little book about kaleidoscope quilting - a technique with which I will definately experiment after Little S's quilt is completed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Quilt

A few years ago, I would have told you that I would never, ever quilt. Well, I still don't consider myself a quilter, but I am going to attempt to make a twin sized quilt for Little S to use as her beadspread when she moves out of her crib. The idea came when my friend (an avid quilter) said to our other quilter friend, "I love a home with quilts in it." It made me think how nice it would be to have on each child's bed a beautiful handmade gift from their mother.

I'm going for a wild color scheme. I'm not using Amy Butler fabrics, but you can see some wild quilts that are my inspiration from Amy Butler site.

I think I'll use some leftover fabric scraps to make this cute project, also from Amy Butler.