Thursday, May 31, 2012

Toga! Toga!

Last Friday, I interrupted my frantic cleaning of the house (in anticipation of the arrival of my in-laws) and the packing of my suitcase (for my trip with Henry to Baltimore), to attend Henry's social studies Toga Party / Project Presentation.

I'm so glad I did.

The event was a great deal more organized than I had imagined.  Each child had his/her own area in order to display their poster, table-top display and personal Roman shield.

 Henry was wearing a toga that his social studies teacher put together with a knot and a few safety pins.  

I made note of how she did this, because yesterday morning, Henry announced that he needed "clothes pins" to hold together his toga and that he needed these items the next day.

I don't own any clothes pins.  Our laundry room is in a closet on our second floor and there isn't room to hang a clothes line - not to mention that with Henry's pollen allergies, we don't ever hang clothes outside to dry.  My Thursday was just as busy as my Friday and I didn't enjoy running around town looking for clothes pins - but run around a look for clothes pins, I did.

I was perhaps not a great sport about this, but really, what mother would be a good sport about hunting down last minute items because her 11 year old son CAN'T REMEMBER TO TELL HER ABOUT THINGS EARLIER THAN 24 BEFORE SAID ITEMS ARE NEEDED!?!

Sorry, I had to vent.

Ironically (or should I say annoyingly), the boy didn't even need the clothes pins.  He needed pins that could hold clothes, that's true, but the real phrase was "safety pins," and not "clothes pins."


This is what happens when you parent 6th grade boys.

I had a good time walking around and checking out the other children's Roman projects:

One child had a volcano complete with smoking, dry ice.

Another child had created a good poster about Roman jewelry and perfumes:

The children were all huddled around each other, dying of embarrassment:

but they shouldn't have been.  The projects were all well-done and they did a good job of answering any questions.

I left just as the other 6th grade groups were coming outside to mock their friends. 

Ah, middle school....

do you miss it?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Another Belated May Day

Our elementary school held it's May Day celebration a few weeks late (again) this year.  Is it because of the rain that plagues us each spring?  Is it because the administration knows that when there are only two weeks left of school, parents are trying to get all the loose ends finished and they get some sadistic pleasure out of watching us drop everything to come watch our children dance around in the dirt?  I don't know, but what I DO know is that instead of getting to the grocery store and bank or cleaning my home in anticipation of my in-laws arrival on Saturday, I was sitting under the burning sun and using my telephoto lens to watch my children "dance" around a may pole.

I know that I should be enjoying these moments because they will be over quickly - and I do, while I'm there - but I also can't help but wonder if the African Animal Day, the May Day Celebration, the Greek Toga Party, The 3rd Grade Breakfast and the Egg Cup Launch could maybe not be scheduled all at once at the end of school year.  Could we not have a few of these events during the long, miserable winter months?

It's just a suggestion.

But back to that telephoto lens I bought for my film camera back around 2003... what a great purchase THAT was!  

Josie's class sat in the front row and if I angled my camera over the man in front of me's right shoulder and zoomed past the six or seven heads that were in front of him, I could take some fabulous photos of my youngest child and her friends.

The children sang, they danced and we all listened to the school band play a few songs.

Next, the third graders and their kindergarten buddies came up to decorate the May Pole.

Whoops!  Got a head in there!  

Josie's class headed up to flag pole after it had been decorated:

They each grabbed a ribbon and danced to some toe-tapping country music.

And then they sat back down under the blazing sun to watch the rest of their school perform:

It was almost impossible for me to get a picture of Georgia.  Below is the best I could do, and it's really a good picture of Georgia's friend, Margaret, and not really a good one of Georgia:

The third graders "danced with sticks."  Their dance reminded me of the stick dance scene from the movie, "Bride and Prejudice."  

Oh!  Haven't you ever seen "Bride and Prejudice?"  It's the Bollywood version of Pride & Prejudice and it's wonderful.  Go rent it now!  I'll wait....

it's vitally important that you are be able to picture Georgia's stick dance.

After the third graders were finished, I stayed and watched the fourth graders do their May Pole weaving:

And I watched the fifth graders do their sword dance which ends in their making a six-pointed star.

The African Animal Presentation immediately followed May Day, so I high-tailed it to Josie's classroom right after the performance finished, but I took a moment to see the poetry projects in the gym first:

Georgia's above and Josie's below

I'm so excited that school is coming to an end.  I absolutely can not wait until summer vacation.  I can not wait to sit by the pool and read, to go to the beach, take day trips and just relax.  I won't miss the school projects, making lunches every morning or talking Henry off the ledge when he has too many homework assignments....

Two more weeks!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Elizabeth's partner, Sean, (my partner-in-law?) has started his own blog:

to chronicle the events surrounding the birth of this little guy:

Ahhhh.  So cute!

I think it's great to read a parenting blog from a man's perspective - don't you?

Check it out - you can click on the above link or click on my blog list link on the right hand side of this blog.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moogli's Professional Debut

This morning at precisely 10:30am, Josie presented her buffalo Moogli to the first grade.  

It was the first grade Africa Animal Presentation where the children sit at their desks and answer parental questions about the animal that they have researched and recreated.

Josie did not have her facts memorized and therefore, read from her fact sheet.

Moogli seemed very pleased with his debut:

I walked around and ooh-and-ahh-ed the other children's work.

My favorite was definitely Anna's hippos:

It was a genius idea to portray these hippopotamus' half-way under water.  There is nothing more impossible than making a heavy clay animal stay standing up on small, clay legs.

Case in point:

This poor clay cheetah had an accident on his way to the school building.  But don't worry!  The child who created the cheetah had an entire back story about how her cheetah was injured by a falling tree branch and now would have to rely on her pride to bring her food.

Good save, Elie!

Many children went the model magic clay route:

But some got very creative with paper mache and pipe cleaners:

Another favorite was the following paper-towel roll Ostrich:

You can't see the head, but it had googly eyes that were absolutely adorable!

The boy who made this snake told me that he used pizza dough to make the eggs - very  interesting!

And this was TWO baboons - a mother carrying a baby - and not one giant lump:

Not all the children made animals;  some first graders chose to make posters instead:

They were all creative and interesting and the kids got a kick of making their project and then presenting it to their parents.  

Moogli is probably on his way home now.  Instead of returning to the grassy plains of Africa, he will be living in the comfort of an air-conditioned, New England home. 

I hope he likes his new digs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Prinses and The Pae (and Other Assorted Cuteness)

Sweet Josie is my third and final child to learn how to read, and like her brother and sister before her, learning how to read has opened up a world of fun and possibilities for Josie - including the creation of her very own book.  

Josie asked to use the computer the other day and I - currently living under the weight of about 2,000 middle school homework projects (more on this later) - was thrilled to allow her the opportunity to get out of my hair for awhile.

Over an hour later, Josie returned to the kitchen with this:

Her very first masterpiece:  The prinses and the pae.

Josie has great creativity, good artistic skills, is amazing at coloring in the lines and choosing eye-pleasing fonts.... but perhaps she's not so great at spelling.

I liked how Josie deviated from the usual telling of this classic story.  Josie's princess was not sore from a bad night's sleep on a lumpy mattress, but she was, instead, suffering from a horrific case of bedhead.

I suppose this particular prince is fond of bedheads on fair maidens!  What luck!

I love it!  

But wait!  There's even more cuteness to come!  

Josie came home from school with this a few days ago:

Her beloved older sister ever-so-kindly pointed out that the word "chocolate" was spelled wrong and that liking a certain color isn't really a good reason to love somebody.

Nothing like an older sibling to rain on your parade!

But don't think that Josie is the only cute-spewing Elliot.

Georgia herself had a moment of loving sweetness.  

Behold, my mother's day card (an assignment from Georgia's third-grade teacher):

All this loving is saving me from the dreaded nightmare that is the last three weeks of school.  Can I tell you how many projects / papers / tests / final exams / art projects / essays / pasta salad-cooking assignments that I am currently monitoring and supervising?

Yes, you did read that correctly.  In addition to all his homework, Henry has to make and bring into school a MAIN DINNER DISH on Friday.  I'm not sure what this middle school is thinking.  There are 8 other months that some of these projects could have been spread out among.


Henry will get through them, Georgia will get through them, I will get through them and then it will be summer.

Until then, I will read my new favorite book and admire the many reasons that my oldest daughter loves me.  That should help.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Evening At The Fair

It's Town Fair time!

We live in a very small town in Massachusetts and once winter hibernation ends (sometime around May 1st), everyone is eager to get outside and visit with all the neighbors we haven't seen in months.  The Town Fair is just the place to catch up on a little gossip and reintroduce ourselves to the great people outside of our usual soccer-hockey-lacrosse hemisphere.  

Oh, and the kids like the rides.

Henry went off with friends again, so Gordy and I only had to interrupt our socializing to move Georgia and Josie from one long ride line to another.

It was a BEAUTIFUL evening.

This year we didn't go on a single "kiddie" ride.   After twelve years of watching our children spin around in circles on miniature fire-trucks, it was novel to skip the little kid area altogether and concentrate on only the big rides.

Josie wore her soccer cleats so she would be an inch taller and be able to get on some of these older rides.  It's hard to be a short-statured, seven year-old when height is the only requirement for moving past the baby section.

We always start out at one end of the fair and work our way to the other.  When the weather is good, the lines tend to be very long - this is bad for the children (who hate to wait) but good for the adults (more talking time).

We did spot Henry among a gaggle of boys, while we waited in line for various rides.  I clandestinely took photos of him just to amuse myself.  

This is a great opportunity to show my sister, Elizabeth, the middle-school boy uniform that I frequently talk about:  athletic shorts, hoodie sweatshirt and black sneakers.  

Every Single Day.

Henry did join us for one ride.  He got separated from his group and took Josie's place on some spinny type ride with Georgia.

We got to the front of the line and found out that Josie was too short to ride and luckily Henry was around to take her place, so I didn't have to go for a spin.  I don't mind spin-rides but I was happy to sit this year out.

Gordy to Josie to wait in another long line for a polar express roller coaster.

Henry high-tailed it away from his mother and sister once the ride was over, so Georgia and I got in the line for the famously scary Rock and Roll attraction.  We met up with four of Georgia's friends who were happy to keep her company.

Georgia is not usually scared of rides, but after a bad experience at Canobie Lake Park last summer, she has suddenly gotten more apprehensive about the unknown.

It didn't take her long to relax and enjoy the scenery from way up in the sky.

Once the sun goes down, all the lights switch on and the fair becomes crowded with the town's high schoolers.  When the children were really little, Gordy and I would volunteer on Friday night and take tickets at an assigned ride.  We'd have dinner first and then work the 9-11 shift.  I'd say the best year was when we worked the bumper cars and the worst was the year we were forced to collect tickets under the ferris wheel (high schoolers like to spit from the top).

We haven't volunteered in a couple of years.  Our children are now involved in sports that keep us away from the fair on Saturday and Friday night is usually the only time we are free to attend.

I prefer bringing the children on Friday night.  I'm glad that they get to see all the rides lit up and flashing.  It's fun for them to see friends they haven't seen in months and to try rides they were too scared to try the year before.  It's a Town Rite of Passage to say that you finally rode the Zipper!

... or the caterpiller coaster (depending on your age!).

We headed home around 9 o'clock.  It was way past everyone's bed time and we were all pretty tired.

We stopped for ice cream on our way out.  


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