Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crickets, Frozen Graduates, and A Christmas Surprise

So the past week has been an interesting one on many levels. So much has been happening, and most of it doesn't even have to do with the upcoming Christmas holiday. Here's a quick general recap of recent events.

DS has the past three months been participating in a 6 weekend workshop put on by the computer science department of the local university. He has had an absolute blast with this workshop. First, they used a program called "Alice" to learn to do 3D animation. Then they used Legos and a robotics kit, called the "Cricket," to program their creations to do a whole host of different things. He has been quite amused by telling people that he now owns a cricket....only to then tell them after their stunned looks that it is not an insect but a Lego robotics kit. His most recent creation plays "Jingle Bells" and rings an actual bell at the end of the song. Very cool!

DH on Sunday graduated with his master's degree in electrical engineering. I'm so proud of him! He graduated with his bachelor's degree in computer & electrical engineering way back in 1997, so it only took him another 11 years to get here but he made it! The graduation ceremony was on campus at 2:30pm on Sunday. Normally they have the graduates all march around the campus, around the engineering fountain, and then into the Hall of Music (where the graduation takes place). Sunday was different. With the air temperature hovering at around 5 degrees and a strong wind creating a windchill of -20 (yes, that's negative 20!) degrees, they marched those graduates, clinging desperately to their mortarboard hats, directly from the armory across the parking lot and into the Hall of Music as quickly as possible. Those were some frozen graduates!

Today the kids and I were doing a lot to prepare for Christmas. We made & they decorated 2 dozen sugar cookies. We baked a birthday cake for Jesus. I made 2 batches of chocolate fudge. Then we needed to clean up the area in front of the fireplace in order to hang the stockings. Now if you recall, this summer we did a major overhaul on the flooring in parts of our house. This caused many things to get moved about into places where they don't belong. Unfortunately, since this project lasted past the start of the school year, many things did not return to where they belonged until today. So the kids, DH, and I all pitched in and cleared out this area so "the stockings could be hung by the chimney with care." Now I don't know about all of you, but I have learned over the years with my kids (especially with my elder child) to never really be surprised by what I might find when cleaning......whether it be what I find in the laundry, hiding under beds, or, as tonight, hiding in piles of things needing to be put away. The strangest object found this evening? A microscope slide labeled "blood"----containing who's blood you might ask?----my dad's. Who does it belong to? DS----the child who does not deal well with blood, shots, needles, etc. Like I said, you learned to just never really be surprised at what you might find around here any more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do Angels Wear Cowgirl Boots?

OK, so I haven't posted in a while....it's been crazy-busy here. Between DS with his swim lessons, Cub Scouts, and computer science workshops, and DD with her piano lessons, church musical rehearsals, Daisy Scouts, school musical perfomance, piano recital, and finally the church musical performance last night....it's been a madhouse of activity. I'm glad that after this week we will have 2 weeks to relax a bit & catch our breaths. Now for the 3 major activities of the past week....

DD's school performance on Thursday went well. She was very tired (she doesn't do well with late nights....she will actually ask to go to bed early sometimes!) and I could tell. No smiles up on stage, glaring at the child next to her when he didn't do exactly what he was supposed to do....but she sang & did the motions. The amusing part of the evening was when the kids were supposed to sway back and forth to the beat of one song. Now how the music teachers ever thought they were ever going to get 120 first-graders to all sway in the same direction, I don't know....they were all over the place. DD decided to take matters into her own hands with the fact that the boy next to her was going the wrong way. So when she went towards him as he swayed towards her....BUMP! She made him go the right way (and yes, it was obvious she was being deliberate about it!). Luckily she didn't knock him over.

Next came DD's piano recital on Friday. She has been taking lessons since March and this was her 2nd recital. The first one was only about 6 weeks after she started lessons and did not go so well. It, like this one, did not start until 7pm and her turn to go didn't come until about 7:45 (bedtime!). Well, she wouldn't go up and play....until we finally convinced her to do it if I went up there and sat next to the piano. Then she did quite well. Now 2 weeks after this she played in the school talent show.....in front of over 700 people and did quite well (without me!)....but it was also at 9:30 in the morning! So this time around her piano teacher knew to place her much earlier in the recital.....she was 4th on the list. DD had also requested that I play one song as a duet with her, so we played that one first. Then I went back to my seat as she played her other song by herself. She played beautifully! A much better experience than her first recital!

Now on to Sunday's church musical performance. DD played an angel in the musical. The performance started at 6pm (a much better time for DD!). She was very full of smiles....for most of the time. She did very well with the singing & choreography. She was so excited to get to wear an angel costume....the satiny dress, the beautiful wings, the sparkling halo, the added glitter in the hair (which I'm sure to find in her bed linens for a while now!)......and at the last minute I did remember what footwear she had worn over to the church building! Luckily I caught her and had her remove that footwear because.....I really don't think angels wear pink cowgirl boots!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Say What??

mondegreen: (noun) a word or phrase resulting from the mishearing or misrepresentation of a statement or song lyric.

Occasionally my kids will say something that will stop me in my tracks. I will ask them to repeat it so I know if I heard them correctly. Usually I have heard them correctly even if they have not used the correct words. This has happened most often with song lyrics. We have all done it.....misheard the lyrics and sung the song to our hearts content....only to discover later that we were singing the incorrect words! Well, it has happened again.

Every year I hang a count-down ribbon for each child that they use to mark the days until Christmas. It is a tradition started by my parents for my brother and me that I am now carrying on with my own kids. My parents would tie candies to the ribbon, and each evening we would remove one candy (which we would then get to eat of course!)....until Christmas Eve when the last candy was removed and the bell at the bottom of the ribbon was rung, signaling the end of the wait for the arrival of Christmas. We have put a new spin on the tradition this year. Instead of tying candies to the ribbon, I have tied clues (and to make it fair, DS gets 1/2 of the clue and DD gets the other 1/2 so they have to work together to solve it). This way each evening they have to solve the clue to hunt for their candy. Well, to make it a little more interesting, I used the theme of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for the clues. This brings us to the mondegreen part of the story.....

The first clue (to go along with "the first day of Christmas" line of the song") was: On the first day of Christmas.......the candy hid in a tree. After a bit of thinking, the kids quickly figured out where the candy was hiding. According to DS, it was hiding in the "coat tree." OK, this to me was a little chuckle-worthy, because although I know some people may actually call it a "coat tree," I grew up referring to it as a hall tree, while DH tends to call it the coat rack.....thus DS' combination of the two, resulting in "coat tree." But wait, it gets better! So a little while later I heard DD singing. She loves to sing, and sings well. But as she was singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I noticed that she had put her own spin to it.....her own mondegreen. DD sang, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.....a portrait in a pear tree." Umm....what was in that pear tree? Yep! A portrait! I asked DD and that is exactly what she repeated. So I explained to her what a partridge is.I also explained that she is not the only one to have ever misheard the lyrics of a song (I didn't want her to be embarrassed or feel bad about it). She even got a chuckle out of it. But I must admit, I have been wondering.....just whose portrait was she picturing in that pear tree??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tastes Like Chicken.....Or Does It???

Thanksgiving was busy this year....which explains why it is December 2nd before I have gotten around to posting this. But the holiday provided amusement as well as busy-ness. When she was little, DD used to eat turkey. Then she suddenly decided she didn't like it and there was no changing her mind....and no way was she even going to try it again. Well, on Thanksgiving this year she decided to try it. She slowly took a bite...ever so tiny of a bite....then her eyes lit up and she said, "Hey, I like it!" She then proceeded to eat the rest of the bite I had given her, ask for more, and eat all of that as well. We had our "big Thanksgiving meal" at my parents' house for lunch, which is when DD tried the turkey. So, of course, we had left-overs for supper there that evening as well.....and DD requested even more turkey. At supper she made the comment that she was surprised at how good it tasted and that she was surprised she liked it, stating, "It doesn't even taste like turkey!" That, of course, got my attention. I asked her that if that didn't taste like turkey to her, then how did she think it was going to taste? She replied, "I thought it would taste feathery." Obviously no one has explained to her about plucking the bird before it's cooked and eaten! She wasn't done commenting yet though....she went on to say, "I also thought it would be really gross since it comes from inside the turkey.....you know, where all of the gross stuff is!" Of course my dad decides to pipe up at this point and ask me if he needs to explain about chick....I stopped him before he got the whole word out. DD eats chicken and I don't want her to stop eating it if she gets too many details about it (I stopped eating it for a long time as a kid after getting the "privilege" of helping a family friend get some "fresh" chickens ready for frying once). I also wouldn't let him explain about hamburgers. So next time you all eat turkey, be glad it doesn't taste like turkey.....you know....not "feathery!"