Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bike Night at the Botanical Gardens

Tiny girl rode her bike at the Botanical Gardens last night on their bike night. I took my trailer along too, just in case, but ended up walking my bike to the children's garden and back to the van, since she was determined to ride on her own, including up and down hills, very sternly pumping up the hills and very carefully braking her way down. She is AMAZING, this child. So steely, under all that pink fluff. She has definitely got a strong spirit inside. I hope she never decides to use her powers for evil.

Here they are at the children's garden playing in the fountains in their swimming suits. After this we crept back to the van at Sadie's pace, then put her bike in the back, she hopped in the trailer, and we took a ride at Benny pace. A good night. It's a pain in the bottom hauling bikes around but it's worth it -- the children love it and I do too.

Today we're off to Pennsylvania, leaving Dan here to dutifully continue his gainful employment and take care of the rabbit. I'll be blogging during the trip on my phone blog.

I finished the web site for a new project that Shez and I are launching on July 1. If you have time to help us out by checking it out, proofing it, scoping it for clarity issues, etc. it's right here: Book Arts Bash. It'll go live soon. I'm also in the process of soliciting judges, so if you tangentially (or intimately) know anyone like Eoin Colfer or Jan Brett can you let me know? Judging will be *extremely* easy and involve pulling several entries out of an envelope, picking the best one, and shoving it all back into another envelope with postage already on it, and cramming it back in the mail. I'm trying to solicit very awesome judges that will make the kids feel really proud and excited to enter.

Anyway, I'm packing up the old laptop now and washing some grapes and heading off to the farm. It is my hope that I'll have internet there. We'll see!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sadie's First Bike Ride

For some reason, this week she can pedal consistently. Last week, she couldn't. Last week would be when we bought the trailer to go on the back of my bike:

This week, she's pedaling on her own:

A short mobile-phone video of the enthusiastic bell-ringing that was going on:

So we biked to the dog park where Leroy met up with a million huge dogs and joyfully ran and played himself into practically having a seizure and having to be carried home. There's a bike path around part of the dog park so the kids could ride on smooth pavement without being in traffic. Everyone had an exciting adventure. Sadie went all the way there and back including over Hampton and back without getting tired. All are now happy including Leroy who is now a puddle on the kitchen floor.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Benny's Poem

The world is a very special place
All because of its friends and cheers
And everyone's listening to the sound of the bells
Because they have good ears

The world is a very special place
There is happiness but less sadness
For some people are very good
But some people are full of badness

The world is a very special place
Everything is fun
Everything but chores and working
But some people get it done

The world is a very special place
Because of the people all around
On Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn,
There is no life to be found

The world is a very special place
Everyone has the same Dad
His name is God, the creator of earth,
He makes us be not bad

The world is a very special place
But this has come too far
This is the end, be filled with joy,
And have fun squishing the tar

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dance Recital DONE

The dance recital was yesterday. It is now, therefore, done. :) Here are some pictures I took at the dress rehearsal:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Benny's New Enterprise

Benny has written three glorious and exotic comic books and has plans to sell them at the Colonial Place Community Yard Sale tomorrow. These each represent the first installment in three separate series he has plotted out. Their titles are:

Jefferson in the Missing Clothes
Potato Biscuits and the Big Bad Sausage
Superdog in Cinderpoodle

He figured out all the finances involved in making five copies of each book at Kinko's, decided to sell them at 20% off at his sale, and figured out what profit he expects to make. He made a sign, he's signing collector cells, and he's very very excited. I'm about to go stuff him into bed, but here are a few links:

He created a blog for his comic books. He named his press "Out of the Box Readers" because he wrote his first comic while hanging out at our co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box.
He created a web site for his comic books.

Here is the sign:

Here are the children holding up some of the products:

If you're reading this blog and you're local to Norfolk, will be in the neighborhood of Colonial Place tomorrow morning, and want to spend $2 supporting Benny's new publishing empire, shoot me an email to jackets at rpsd dot com, and I'll let you know the specifics of where he'll be set up.

And of course I'll blog about it later. :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I had a great birthday today. I am 36. I'm at a point in my life where each birthday causes a certain amount of anxiety, especially as I bounce down the jagged cliffs toward 40. This day was great, though.

I got this from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law:

Beautifully perfect -- I just love the big pink daisies. Thank you Mom and Terri!

From my wonderful husband I got this:

And a Wii!!! It was 100 degrees here and Benny was feeling too sick to go to the birthday party he was scheduled to attend, so we just stayed in the air conditioned house and played Wii all afternoon! Glorious. We got more laughs and cackles out of Wii Sports than it's decent to report, and Wii Fit is completely fun even for the kids.

I love Wii Fit. You get a little avatar that's as fat or thin as you are. Then you do games and exercises to improve your balance and strength plus aerobics and yoga. The most awesome part about it is that each member of the family has their own little avatar (called a Mii) and you compete on the games and there's a scoreboard and stuff. Every minute you spend exercising goes into a "bank" that unlocks new games and moves and exercises and yoga poses and whatnot. It's COMPLETELY RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME! You get to stamp each calendar day that you work out and you can keep track of your BMI and your balance ability and other things.

Susannah gave me some lovely perfume, Shez has a plan to take me out for a massage, I have more presents at Ahno's house, and it's all wonderful. Beyond the presents though, I am just feeling very cheered up, very encouraged, very optimistic in general.

Dan also got me this last weekend:

I didn't think I would be able to ride a bicycle very well, with my back problems. However, Benny is getting so fast with his bike that I can't keep up with him marching along with the stroller. The first time I rode this bike, Dan took me on a very easy 2 mile ride. The next morning I woke up with great trepidation, to find that my back was no worse. The next day I went on the same ride with Benny. Again, no ill effects. For the last three days, including today, I've been riding between five and eight miles, and I am *NOT* having back pain from it. This is just so encouraging because I was so worried that bike riding was going to be another fun thing (like riding horses, doing karate, etc) that I can't do because of the spinal issue. Turns out, at least AT THIS MOMENT, it is going to be fine. I've been riding in traffic, feeling good, getting stronger.

Another thing that's been bothering me was not being able to work out at the YMCA because Sadie was refusing to go to the toy room. Dan and Ahno both volunteered to work with me so I could leave the kids to go work out, but I don't like asking for help like that and they both have other things to do. Plus it makes it such a production to get 30 minutes on the elliptical. Swimming with the kids is great, but doesn't get my heart rate up. Anyway, now with Wii Fit, I feel like I will be able to work out when I want to, with the kids right there.

1. Bike
2. Wii Fit
3. I have a plan to have the YA novel revised and the "real" novel drafted by the end of the year. Between trips to PA, the kids being in summer camp, and Nanowrimo, I believe I will get this done this year.
4. Weight Watchers is working -- I've lost 4 pounds.
5. Here's one final thing that's really helping my mental health. Doing the science fair, and now working on putting together the book extravaganza for fall has been really good for me. This is a way that I can really feel like I'm stretching myself, learning new things, experiencing growth, all within the parameters of parenting my children. Of course I learn by homeschooling, but doing the science fair and the book fair are really "grown up" things that have taught me a lot and continue to do so. Working on these massive projects and helping as an administrator at the co-op has given me a new feeling about homeschooling and parenting in general.

This may get a little goofy and sappy. You have been warned.

As I sit here at the beginning of 36, I am starting to see myself as a person again, not just as a mother, not just as a homeschooler, not just inside the walls of this house. Whether it's tearing down the street in traffic on my new bike or calling NYC publicists about organizing guest authors or spending the time and attention to get my figure back, I'm not sure, but something is reminding me of the person I used to be and I'm feeling a little braver, a little more certain, more driven than I have in years.

I'm thankful to my husband for seeing me this way when I didn't, for finally making me get that bike, and always encouraging me to go big, and for repeatedly telling the kids "That's Mom's birthday present, so she gets to decide what game to play next!" HAHAHA!!!