Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miscellaneous

I have no theme or clever captions today, just a couple of pictures and a few thoughts to share. I can't be witty and clever *every* day! I took the above picture last week when Johanna, Sam and I went to Sam's Club. Sam loves going to Sam's Club - he calls it "My Club" and begs to go there just for fun! Or maybe it's for the pizza and Slushee lunch I usually get them.
Here is Micah working on his science fair project - the classic volcano eruption. We made two volcanoes (water bottles and salt dough) and compared a small top eruption to a larger top eruption. I don't know how valuable the exercise was, but it's done and, for us in the Shaw household, that's what counts. We're more of a socially scientific family - give us a good history or literature or civics project and we're all over it, but regular old science? Not so much. John actually breaks out in hives when it's science fair time.
So, Micah finished and today he presented for the judges. Tomorrow the parents will gather for the awarding of prizes. We don't expect to garner any attention, but we will be just as proud as if Micah had a blue ribbon.
We'll also tell him that only nerds win science fairs and he's much too cool for that. That won't do any lasting damage, will it?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lullabye

"Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
And I
Will be"

Billy Joel

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Micah's Birthday Party

Two weeks ago, just before the plague took over our house, Micah had a birthday party with three of his best buddies. This was a real Minnesota party - ice skating at the local park. The guys all had a good time skating, eating cake, playing video games, etc. With only three guests, the noise and chaos was kept at a minimum, thereby keeping my sanity at a maximum.
This picture (above) cracks me up because Micah is gamely showing the book and movie from Mom and Dad while the rest of the horde checks out the vastly more interesting sets of Pokemon cards.

Here is the Lego set from Grandpa and Grandma C. - a big hit with Micah and with Sam. He also recieved two more books in the Percy Jackson series from Grandpa and Grandma S.
If you have a ten-year-old boy, you probably know what all of these things are. If you don't have a ten-year-old boy, don't worry about it. Suffice to say, Micah got many gifts he liked and had a fun birthday party. What more is there to say?


Friday, February 12, 2010

My turn

Well, yesterday was finally my turn for the stomach bug which we've been sharing for the last two weeks. I really thought that I had managed to avoid it, but, no, it came and got me yesterday. It got me good...er...bad.

Tuesday and Thursday of this week, I was the substitute Kindergarten teacher at Micah's school. This subbing has confirmed for me what I have suspected all along: I am not cut out to be a Kindergarten teacher. The kids are sweet (mostly) and the teacher left good directions, but - wow! - those kids are exhausting. At least now I can definitely cross "Kindergarten teacher" off my list of things to be when I grow up.

But this does mean that I was around sweet little Kindergarteners just a little while before I was ill and I worry that I spread my germs to them! Nothing I can do about it now, I suppose, but worry. And pray.

Yesterday, I was thankful again for my children as they turned into my nursing staff. They fetched glasses of water and heated rice packs in the microwave to warm my chills, fetched lotion and delivered tissues to my bedside. Unfortunately, my nursing staff had some rather noisy altercations with each other in the meantime, but I smiled to see them all sweetness and light when they came to help their patient.

So, this morning, I'm up at our usual time for school but the kids don't have school. Their teachers have a workshop day, so everyone is home except John who is already up and out to a breakfast meeting. I'm waiting to see how I feel before jumping into the day with both feet, and thought I'd use the time to catch you all up on the fascinating details of my illness.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Como Zoo

Last week, friends from South Dakota came our way for a few days of vacation. They were disappointed to find just as much snow and cold here as they have there (we're not exactly Key West here), but we made the best of it by going to the zoo!

I know. Zoo? Minnesota? February? Well, you do what you gotta do out here in the wild. If we let snow and cold keep us from going places, well, the winter would seem even longer than it already does! So, bundle up, kids, we're going to the zoo!

The first place we went into was a tropical rain forest and my camera got so fogged up that I could only get these cool bokeh shots with it. These are gorgeous blue orchids.

This is a mean-looking, hairy ape.
Oh, are you looking at me? Sorry, Mr. Ape. I'm sure you're beautiful on the inside.
The primate house was a big favorite with all of the kids. This guy (girl? It's hard to tell from here.) sat right up by the glass in an attempt to intimidate us.
It worked.
None of the grown-ups would go very close but the pre-school set walked right up there!
The orangutan next door seemed a little more friendly and Z submitted to being checked for vermin so the orangutan could have a snack. That's Minnesota nice!
Just kidding! There's glass there. Fooled ya', though, didn't I?

"Hello, pretty lady. Come here often?"

This was the only moment when Z and Sam were both still for the same fraction of a second and I caught it on film. I'm good.

I think the parents were more interested in the animals than the kids were. The kids were mostly interested in running down the long corridors of the animal houses. But this wore them out so it all worked out in the end.

Minnesota zoos are specially equipped to handle winter-time visits and we had quite an enjoyable visit!

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Study in Contrasts

I love Victoria magazine. I was sorely disappointed when the magazine went defunct a few years ago and was elated when it came back into publication last year.

For me, it is pure escapism. It pictures and describes life on a different plane from my experience. It's like a sci-fi/fantasy epic - escape into another dimension.

In the January/February issue, Catherine Calvert, this year's writer-in-residence at Victoria, wrote an essay entitled "January Musings." In this essay, she wrote things like, "The quiet in the house echoes the quiet outside..." and "...January is a stretch of peace when one lives in the moment, forced by weather and whim to sit still..."

Huh?

I missed that particular January.

My whim may tell me to sit still but my kids' basketball schedule, music lessons, play dates, birthday parties, my husband's meeting schedule, my church's event schedule, and my own activities pull me out of anything close to a semi-recumbent position.

But that's okay. Victoria grants me a glimpse into another life and I take a voyeur's pleasure in it. Some day I'll write blog entries about how I sat and watched the wood fill up with snow, how I traced faint bird tracks across the drifts, and how the crackling fire was my one companion.

And then I'll wish for noise and chaos and laughter and running feet on the stairs. Well, at least a little bit.

"Winter...is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour." -John Boswell

"All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them." -Erma Bombeck