Saturday, November 27, 2010

In no particular order...

Due to more technical difficulties, I can't move the pictures for this blog so you get to view them before the script, which I wrote yesterday. And the photos are out of order and before the explanations, but here it is anyway:

Ah well, apparently it takes 9 days off from school, for me to find time to do a little update on our life. I guess I'm no longer blogging, just recording some little moments for our family. Here are a few highlights in photos. We are at the tail-end of a luxuriously long Thanksgiving break filled with play and friends and family.

We flew out to Colorado to see the CU-Georgia game with Rob's family, and hiked in the flatirons on the side. It was a trip in memory of Rob's mom, a Georgia fan who had always said she wanted us all to go to the game if the two universities faced off in Boulder. (Rob and I were married in Boulder and we both attended CU for our undergrad years and Georgia for our masters.) The game happened on Ann's birthday, and it was a treat to squeeze in a Colorado trip in the fall.

Will lost his first tooth and plotted to stay up and "trap the tooth fairy" so that he could see if Rob or I were really the tooth fairy. Thankfully he succumbed to sleep. So the tooth fairy lives! Luckily Will never asked us point-blank if the tooth fairy was fiction, because I don't think I would have lied about it. Perhaps Will realizes that he may profit by letting this little fairytale survive. (And an update, now that I'm finally posting the blog: Will lost tooth number 2 tonight. So the toothfairy's going to be working late again.)

Rob built an elevated fort for the kids, while they did some side hammer-nail-and-wood projects of their own. We call it the tree house, even though there's no tree attached, and it has brought new life to playtime in our little backyard.

Will is loving kindergarten and has started doing writing workshop on his own time at home. He is working on a book, using invented spelling, about a mouse named East, who is named after the direction and who likes to carve pumpkins. Owen, always inspired by his big brother, has also become a writer of letters -- and he's written two pages of his own book about a mouse named East, who as it happens, also likes to carve pumpkins.

And Owen, in his 3-year-old class at Wynnton, was a proud Indian at his Thanksgiving program and feast. He sings a sweet version of a little song called "I am thankful" that'll melt your heart. (At least if you're his mom.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prescribed fire party!

A month since my last post -- I guess that's testament to the fact that I can't handle teaching four mornings a week and blogging simultaneously. I'm loving my new little gig as a pre-k teacher between that and shuttling Will back and forth to kindergarten each day, I feel busier than ever.

Still I can't bid goodbye to August without marking a couple milestones in photos. (Due to some technical difficulties, you'll be viewing photos out of order and before the rest of the text because old "blogger" is being stubborn for me right now and won't let me move pictures or even cut and paste text.)

First, Will sets out for his first day of kindergarten (where he has settled in happily with a great teacher):
And Will's sixth birthday party. When he told Rob and I that he wanted a "prescribed fire party," we couldn't help but laugh to ourselves. But it turned out to be a pretty cool concept, since Rob happened to have done a prescribed burn a couple days prior to the party and had access to a "fire engine" that normally lives in another part of the state. I held my breath and invited Will's entire kindergarten class, but only one of them came (perhaps because I seemed like some kind of nutcase with our prescribed fire party theme). With a few longtime friends, it made for a perfectly sized party.

When Will wrote his list of party plans, the first item on his agenda was "Bring the team." So luckily Rob's co-worker Trevor came to assist.
First we did a little tour of the wildlife of the Chattahoochee Valley in our living room that included a stuffed wild turkey and red-tailed hawk, a deer skull and a gopher tortoise shell -- plus some photos of fire-dependent species from red-cockaded woodpeckers and fox squirrels to indigo snakes and pitcher plants. Then the party-goers got to watch Rob light some pine straw on fire with a drip torch and douse the flames with a flapper and a backpack sprayer. And the kids took turns spraying water from the fire engine hose. Finally, Rob deployed an expired fire shelter and we played "see how many party guests can fit under a fire shelter meant for one."

Now Owen's already plotting a batman birthday for next July, and, well, that just doesn't sound as fun.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My sabbatical from regular blogging

After three solid years of keeping a semi-regular blog of our life with Will and Owen (attempting at least a few posts a week), I’m going to take a partial sabbatical from blogging.

Next week I start working four mornings a week as a pre-k teacher and I’ve decided to direct most of my energies toward teaching for a while. I’ll still post here and there as inspiration strikes, as a way to keep friends and family updated on the quirks and highlights of our lives and as a way to preserve those memories for our immediate family. Will and Owen’s baby books are mostly empty, thanks to my negligence, so we’re counting on our printed version of the blog to stand in as our personal scrapbook of life with young kids.

The blog will stay connected to the Ledger-Enquirer website, but I’ll feel free to stay silent for days or even weeks at a time. A day may come when I’ll settle into teaching and realize that blogging is an addiction, and resume the regular posts. In the meantime, thank you so much for reading. I hope you’ll continue to check in on us now and then.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Penpal storytelling

Today's Ledger-Enquirer includes a story I wrote about an e-mail story-telling project that my friend Grace and I launched with our oldest kids, Will and Ella after Grace and her girls moved north of Atlanta. For young kids, we found, collaborative e-mail storytelling is a great way to keep a friendship alive and to keep children inspired to create stories in their minds and enjoy the adventure of authorship.

Another great way to inspire children as writers is to help them find contests and publishing opportunities. Here are a few resources:

Scholastic sponsors an annual Kids Are Authors competition for children in grades K–8 to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books. Grand-prize winning books are published by Scholastic.

Stone Soup is a literary magazine that publishes stories, poems and illustrations by children ages 8-13.

PBS Stations hold local PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contests from January to March each year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pizza chefs

Whenever I make dinner, assuming there's no raw meat handling involved, the kids are welcome to join me in stirring, chopping, mixing, kneading. Often they're off playing instead, but if they wander into the kitchen with an urge to cook, I try to welcome them.

It works especially well when I happen to be working on a "Friday Night Pizza" recipe, which I've been making here and there -- and not necessarily on Friday nights -- ever since I read Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" a couple years back. It's a perfect recipe for two young cooks since it makes two pizzas. We split the dough in two and let them do their own kneading, and they each get to roll out their own pizza dough and spread sauce on it. (My short-cut for pizza sauce now is one 15-oz can of plain tomato sauce with a teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano mixed in. It's just enough to cover two pizzas.) We added carmelized red onions, red peppers and fresh basil, oregano and of course cheese to our pies, and Rob later sauteed some chili peppers, garlic and extra onions on the side so that he and I could enjoy the kind of pizza that makes you break a sweat.
Here are a couple pictures from our kneading session. The camera was not cooperating; hence the ghostly chefs.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Sometimes I've just got to quote my little guy. Here's a few from this week.

While trying to get Rob to come over and play with him on the other side of the pool.
"Daddy, I want you! I need you! Give you to me!"

For no particular reason:
"Mommy, I like every people in the world."

"Mommy, when I grow up into an adult I will still be Owen."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The beach in sepia

Yesterday, we returned from a full week at St. Augustine beach, where we had a pretty wonderful time with Papa and Aunt Alicia and friends. It's kind of a tradition for us now to turn the camera settings to sepia and capture the kids on the beach for a while. Here are a few shots, plus a sand burial and a deck dance with Papa in full color.