Monday, September 29, 2008

Budding musicians

The other night before bed Elijah was humming to himself. Then a thought struck him and he looked at me and said, "Mama, when I'm a grown-up, I can play Tai-chow-sky on the pany-o." :) :) :) I assured him that yes indeed, when he is a grownup, he can learn to play the piano and then he can play all the Tchaikovsky he wants.

Noah knows and can hum the opening line to Beethoven's 5th, and part of a piece by Mendelssohn. Elijah sometimes puts a name to pieces whose name I don't know, and I have to check to see if he's right. He usually is. Both boys like to "play instruments" while they are listening to music. They have decided that the broomstick is a cello, and a shorter stick has been labeled a violin. Both instruments are "played" with mixing spoons. Occasionally arguments erupt when Elijah decides that he would like to trade instruments, but Noah is not ready to do so; then I have to intervene...but this is an ongoing issue, Elijah deciding that he would like to "trade" toys whether the other children are willing or not. *sigh*

Perhaps one of these days I'll get a "real" instrument for the kiddos to play. Elijah would really like a triangle. Seems to me like a triangle would be pretty much indestructible, right? Indestructible is nice. Come to think of it, we do have a harmonica somewhere--I put it up during naptime one day, and never got it back down. Hmmm, now where did I put it?

Actually, come to think of it, maybe the pretend instruments are better than "real" ones, as they can play along without interrupting what we're listening to! I mean, the music to which we are listening! Sometimes correct grammar just sounds so awkward. Anyone want to suggest a better way to end that sentence?

Changing subjects--I have recently learned that several family friends (and my sister-in-law!!!) are expecting little ones. Congratulations once again! All are due I believe next spring.

For a while I felt like I had a house full of babies, with my own two and the two I watch; but now they are all getting so big! There aren't really any babies in the house any more. The older two are preschoolers now, and the little ones are fully toddlers. The littlest one just turned a year old this month. But I did get to babysit a really-truly baby for a few hours on Friday--she's 7 months old. That was nice. :)

Okay, this might be a bit disjointed? But I'm off to bed. I meant to go to bed early tonight. :( I would like to wean myself off of emoticons but it's hard.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This saddens me

I don't know why I'm trying to post when I have to leave in fifteen minutes, but this really struck me (in a sad way) and I felt like I ought to share it.

Take a look at the box on the left--survey respondents were asked to pick adjectives that describe blacks. Notice where white republicans fall on this graph (the red squares). They are the least likely, of all white political groups, to apply positive adjectives to blacks, and among the most likely to think that negative adjectives apply. Note that less than 15% of white republicans think that the word "law-abiding" applies to most blacks! That's right, 85% of white republicans think that most black people are NOT law-abiding! Yikes!

This makes me wonder how many white republicans actually *know* any black people. I would have liked to see that question in the survey--how often do you interact with black people, and on what level?--and to see how the answer to that question correlates to the adjectives chosen.

But to a certain extent, your familiarity with black people ought to be irrelevant--surely any charitable American would be willing to assume the best about people that they don't know?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Okay, three posts in a day--this has to be a record. Anyway, the other day Elijah was playing with dominoes, and after a while he announced "I made 'lion'!" I took a look, and sure enough, he had carefully lined up the dominoes to spell: LIEAN. Which does say 'lion' if you think of it as LIE-AN. I thought this was very cute. :) Oh, and he had it backwards, reading from right to left.

So far he is self-taught--I really should get my act together and teach him some proper phonics. I started the book "Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons," but stopped when I realized he was not even close to being able to do the writing sections. A couple of months later I thought about the book again, and realized, duh, who says we have to do the writing sections? We can just skip them. Now it's just a matter of remembering to do it with him (at an opportune time, like when the other little ones are napping).

Okay, that's really all for the day.

Oh yes, the wedding

It has come to my attention that I have failed to post any pictures of my sister's wedding. Unfortunately, since I was in the wedding, I was unable to take any pictures, and the other expert photographer whose pictures I usually "borrow" was also in the wedding (that would be my sister. :P)

So the photos I post will be borrowed from several sources. For now I will just post this one, borrowed from Anna:

Above we have: Leah (my brother Caleb's wife, and the groom's cousin), Haley (best friend of bride, and married to groom's brother James), moi, Mercy, her new spouse Mark, Carl (groom's brother), James (also groom's brother, and spouse of Haley), and John (also groom's brother). The groom has a lot of brothers, six in fact.

The wedding was lovely and of course Mercy looked beautiful. She was a bit stressed out before the wedding though. I was not at all stressed out before the wedding, but I was stressed out after the reception when we all went outside to take pictures by this lovely pond, which you can see behind us. I was stressed because Elijah found the pond quite fascinating and didn't want to stay away from it. It had steep banks, down which he wished to venture. You can see him eyeing the pond again in the picture above. Just before this picture, he went out on a bridge over the pond (also behind us in the picture--note the highly inadequate railing) and leaned way out over the water to drop fluffy seeds into the water (cattails maybe?) and I couldn't do much about it because I was supposed to be posing for pictures. Fortunately a few other people assisted me in keeping him from plunging into the depths.

Oh, and as we left, Noah got into a nest of fire ants. I have been dreading fire ants ever since I first heard about them. But my imagination was worse than the reality. Once I got them all brushed off of him (and out of his clothes), he was fine--they didn't seem to cause him any lasting pain. The bites I got weren't too bad either. I am much relieved. :)

Okay, several children are waking from their naps, so I should go. Perhaps I will edit in more pictures later.

Plastic bags are yucky

Here's a slideshow about plastic bags, and the impact they have on our environment and our economy:

I've switched to the reusable bags that you find selling at most stores nowadays for $1, and...they are so much nicer! I love the big handles that I can put over my shoulder. I love that they're strong enough to hold two gallons of milk. I love that they are big enough that three of them hold a week's worth of groceries (well, that's if I don't put the milk in bags). I like the flat bottom that enables them to stand on their own when full of groceries. They're so much nicer, that I wonder why everyone doesn't use them all the time. Oh wait...maybe it's because they are always forgetting their bags at home, like I do. :) Seriously people [Mom], they cost a dollar; you should give them a try.

Note: the ones at Walmart for $1 don't have the hard bottom that makes them so much more supportive--so pick some up at Kroger or another store, where they still cost $1 but have the hard piece in the bottom.

Of course, the bags you find for $1 aren't exactly the ultimate in reusable bags--the best ones are the ones made of heavy-duty canvas, that you can run through the washing machine. But those are significantly more expensive...I've seen them at the farmer's market for $10. Maybe someday I'll be able to afford them. I bet they would last forever.

I hope that in my lifetime, plastic grocery bags will go extinct, so that the bags I crochet out of them will be a novelty item. Someday I'll tell the stories to my grandchildren. "Gather round, kids. Once upon a time, people brought their groceries home in these flimsy, ugly plastic bags. They hardly held anything, and wouldn't stay upright in your trunk, and sometimes they would rip and send your groceries rolling across the parking lot. And they had to put these warning labels on the sides, because sometimes babies would suffocate in them." "Eeeeewwww!" reply the kids. I can just see it, can't you?