Saturday, April 21, 2007

BEACH Homeschool T-Ball

BEACH is a homeschool group that organizes sport for homeschoolers. They do soccer and basketball and cheerleading and right now they're doing T-ball. Our friends Zoe and Phillip are each on a BEACH team, and they had games today, so we went to watch. The games were held at Woodstock City Park, right by where Providence crosses 64. A very cute little park, if you can tolerate the electromagnetic radiation from the power plant right next door (just kidding -- that was for Veronica). Don't worry, your eye will stop twitching after a few hours. HEH.

There's a very junior league that practices while the older kids are having their games. Here's Phillip at the bat (and the power plant, or whatever that is!):

Here's Zoe's team going over to play their game:

And here are Zoe, Benny, and Phillip after the game at the little adjacent playground:

All the children were very loving to each other, very mannered, and the parents were enthusiastic but mellow. I forgot how much I like to scream and holler at sporting events when I know the people involved. Back in my horse show days, we used to raise the roof. I'm glad I can go cheer for Zoe and Phillip now, and look forward to Benny and Sadie being in a "team" situation so Mommy can go show spirit and noisiness. Maybe swim team. Maybe karate tournaments. Do ballet competitions allow screaming? Probably not... hmm....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Look What We Found!

The other day we were out testing our wheels. Benny got rollerblades from the Easter bunny, and Sadie has gotten big enough to ride the scooter. So there we were, rolling along.

After a few turns and a few falls, a few things sniffed enthusiastically by the dog that turned out to be pine cones, Benny found a caterpillar. Being Benny, he picked it up immediately, pronounced it "adorable" and began to "snuggle" it. Poor caterpillar. He hinted broadly that he'd like to keep it, and I, positive that it was already dead from all the affection, agreed. With total confidence that the bug was dead, and encouraged by all the "loves" that he was giving it on the slow way home, I got out the old hermit crab house (I killed them -- long story) and we furnished it with sticks and leaves.

The caterpillar was lying on its side, completely obviously dead. I pointed this out, and he said, "He's lying on his side so he doesn't cough!" Uh, ok. The next morning, he had moved, enough to turn halfway around on a leaf. We left for our day's activities -- ballet, Ahno's house, homeschool park day, karate.

When we got home, we rushed over to the caterpillar's lair and he had begun doing this:

Maybe you can't see (hey, I can't see, and I took the picture) but he is actually swathing himself in spitty cotton. When we went to bed, he was still at it, looking like he was wrapping himself in spiderweb.

In the morning, not only was he not dead, but he was COCCOONED. He was completely wrapped up in this yellowish cottony stuff, and we couldn't see him anymore. This led to much googling and asking of how to spell chrysalis, and at the end of the very intense learning experience, we discovered that he is... a tent worm.

He is a tent worm. One of those awful things that makes a giant next in a fruit tree and kills the tree. People LOATHE tent worms, people exterminate tent worms, people hurl vile invectives at tent worms. People do not, for example, nurture tent worms in beautiful little terrariums and call them "adorable" and "snuggle" them. Except that WE DO. And in three weeks, he's going to emerge, not as a beautiful colorful butterfly or an elegant moth but as this awful, bull-headed creature the color of phlegm who will probably immediately start demanding a pear tree to annhilate.

But I bet the children will love him!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

We Have Achieved Easter

Longsuffering husband and I went to bed at 1am, after hiding all the colored eggs around the house, along with the little presents the bunny was going to bring to the kids this year. Between 1 and 7, when I finally dragged myself out of bed, Benny woke me up 4 times to let me know that the bunny had visited but that he was going to wait until morning to hunt the eggs, and Sadie woke me up 3 times to go potty.

It was a supergreat night. I absolutely loved last night. I particularly loved the third time that Sadie said, "MOMMY! I WEED TO GO POTTY!" and I came back with, "Sadie, you just went potty. You cannot have to go potty." She began to volubly sob and wail, saying, "I DO TOO WEED TO GO POTTY AND MY TEE-TEE IS COMING WIGHT NOW." I guiltily sat her on the toilet to see if she actually did. Well, she did. Guess I was wrong. Or delirious. At 6am I heard someone stumping down the stairs, and I rolled out of bed and staggered out into the hall to tell Benny that if he didn't go to bed immediately I was going to throw all the Easter eggs into the furnace and give whatever toys the bunny had delivered away to the undeserving children down the street, who were at least ASLEEP and therefore MY FAVORITE children on earth.

It was not Benny. It was no one. Or maybe it was my sanity, stumbling away into the night. What matters is that I finished the colonial Easter dress last night and here it is:

The children at Christ and St. Lukes this morning were treated to a rich experience. First they got to march in the procession at the beginning of church with the trumpets and the organ and everyone singing, "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." That was exciting. Then they had an easter egg hunt and sat and listened to the Easter story being told on story cards they could take home with them to retell it at home. Then they got to go and stand right behind the clergy by the altar during an Easter baptism of three little babies, before joining their parents for the rest of the service.

Here's Sadie getting some help with her egg hunt:

Here's Benny sorting out his loot:

No one puts together a more meaningful and engaging church experience for children than the experts at Christ and St. Lukes. I am constantly amazed.

This afternoon I'd like to take a nap, but I need to do my prep work for the Phi Bensa Zoe Academy that launched last week. What's the Phi Bensa Zoe Academy? I'll blog about that tomorrow...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Spandex and Colonial Times

In the course of parenting a lively child who is richly engaged with the world around her, you find you have to sew things. Difficult things. Spandex things.

Sadie loves her leotards. She wants to wear one every day. When she's wearing some other vile outfit that doesn't qualify as a leotard, she says, with great pathos, "But MOMMY, now I not a ballewina!" Trying to convince her that being a ballewina starts in the heart and not in the closet is... not effective. She really thinks it starts in the closet.

When she first started ballet, I bought her one leotard. Insufficient! I bought a second leotard! Also insufficient! So I dragged my sorry carcass to Hancock fabrics and approached the aisle I'd never explored before -- the lycra and spandex aisle. The aisle of the lovely leotards. I told Sadie she could pick out her own leotard fabric, and she (predictably) chose the pink. I chose some other fabric too, kind of a mottled green/gold. Here's the one I made in my fabric:

Not appropriate for ballet (pink only!) but she wears it to gymnastics.

Here's the one I made from her fabric:

I actually made two of each fabric, both identical, so now she has six total, and she doesn't seem to run out as fast. Whew. Nice sewing, mom. But, let's be honest. Do you notice what both of these leotards (and by extension the others that I made) have in common? Little flowers at the neck? Yes, I explained that to myself by saying I intended to use those flowers, to make the pink leotard more like Kelly's leotard in "Barbie and the Nutcracker." In fact, I must admit, those flowers are there to hide the hideous gapping and puckering that happened when I was doing the neckline. And let's not even pretend that these leotards fit her. They are baggy in all the wrong places. Meaning all the places. As a leotard-ist, I have fallen short of the mark.

Now I have another chance to test my sewing skills. Ahno made Sadie this dress and bonnet to wear to Colonial Williamsburg:

Awesome, right? I was so in love with the overall effect, and Sadie was so charmed with it too, that I borrowed the pattern and vowed to do the same style in all pink for her Easter dress.

Here we are on Easter Eve! I am not Ahno. I cannot do this shearing and keep it straight. I cannot do this gathering and keep it even. Yet, having set my task before me, I cannot at this hour run to Nordstrom and buy something respectable. I have to persevere. I'm sitting here with the dress done (sort of), the apron in pieces and the hat only a dull throb in my head.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I managed it...