Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do You Suppose They'll Want Dinner?

We began the day hustling out the door, some of us school books in hand, others of us cookbooks, one of us a hockey stick and one of us a Hello Kitty purse loaded down with a sticky shiny collection of lip gloss.
Our time at the park included a bit of basketball, scootering, castle building and sand arranging, street hockey, science and a smidge of math. 

We drove home with TobyMac's new album providing the background music which wasn't exactly in the background but rather was rattling the windows of the minivan. The four children seated 'round me in the car were belting out lyrics which were only a little louder than reports of growling bellies.

Home at last, we all lit upon the fridge and emptied it of all leftovers after which Molly, lucky duck, left us to take her nap and Kate joined me for a bit of porch learnin' while Cole and Meg held down the fort inside with their own studies. 

Kate and I were just about to begin our last subject of the day, when Molly fresh from sleep found us and decided that I did indeed look able enough to read a chapter of Charlotte's Web and hold her on my lap while scratching her eternally itchy back. The chapter ended with Charlotte and Wilbur the pig wishing each other the kindest of goodnights over and over and I gotta say, I was a bit envious of the pig.

School over for Kate, art class to begin for Molly...insisted Molly. I made a palatte of the colors requested and added a few extra to encourage total opportunities for creativity. Pouring perfect little puddles of color on my good dinner plate, I grinned thinking that the mini-artiste would deeply appreciate my efforts. "Did I ask you for yeyyo?" "I did not ask for yeyyo." 

The temperamental artist created this...

"It's yo wedding picture. Dat's Daddy in da brown and you wiff da face thingy. I'm sorry I didn't make you as corr-ect-yy as you are." Correctly pronounced in the slow, careful syllables of a child who often  unleashes a too-big-for-her word that her brain understands but her tongue can't yet perform. "That's lovely," I said from the bottom of the basement stairs where I'd run for a moment to see to some impatient laundry. 

Somewhere along the way I read a recipe that suggested tossing some lovely tomatoes into the oven to roast slowly for 5 hours at 275˚, but I didn't have a whole five hours and the recipe was for larger tomatoes and I turned the oven up a bit higher than the recipe instructed and so I ended up with very tasty, if a bit overly roasted, tomatoes.

They'll be great in just the right recipe I'm sure, but exactly which recipe I'm unsure. I'm also unsure where this day went. I had so much to get done and none of it necessarily involved roasting tomatoes.

Now I sit typing and listening to two little girls squeal in the background and an energetic boy throwing a ball against the house outside and another young girl shuffling the remainders of her school papers. I'm trying to disappear into the scenery because shortly someone is going to realize that they don't smell dinner cooking and they don't hear dishes clinking and soon I'm going to have to treat with reality the question I've been ignoring all day... What's for dinner?

Maybe they'll stay busy enough not to remember dinner. Maybe we can just skip it tonight?
Cause, I'm pretty sure I don't have dinner prep in me. I left that piece of gumption somewhere between the hockey game and Charlotte's Web. I wanna read a book that doesn't involve talking animals, just for a bit. I wanna sit on the porch and gaze lovingly at the long shadows that promise fall. I wanna eat sushi.

Surely they don't want dinner.

Do you suppose they'll want dinner?


Does a pan of almost burnt roasted tomatoes and garlic count as dinner?

Come on, really? 

Easy meals for nights like these:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finally Four!

Molly Joy here. 






That's right! 

Can ya beyeeve it?

Me eedder!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Homeschool Yearbook

Today we finished our third day of school for the year. I have, on each of the three days, forgotten to take The Picture, the one that marks the beginning of each school year. I remember fondly the very first picture of the very first school year with my very first students and their very first, very new, very green (with morning sickness) teacher.

This year those same students look like this...

and this...

and our entire class has expanded to this...

Our year promises to teach one student a bit of algebra, another a greater appreciation of classic literature, a smaller one will learn how to identify important elements of a story, and for the smallest...she wants to finish learning how to "wead a book"!
As for the teacher, we ALL know that she (as usual) will be the one who'll learn the absolute MOST!

Best wishes for a super school year from The Wright Academy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Our Bookstore

I don't know how the folks at Barnes & Noble feel about our gang claiming ownership of its most wonderful store a few towns away from our home. We take a deep breath when we pull open the tall heavy doors so that the scent of brewing coffee mixed with freshly inked pages doesn't rush past us without our appreciation. We enter the store on the children's side because we really do feel a deep kinship with the miniature chairs and benches there. The bookstore employees usually just turn the area over to us completely as soon as we arrive and it's just as well because we really do have things covered. We know where all of the books are, all of the toys, and all of the places that a three year old can hide, and just how many steps it takes us to reach the bathrooms.

If you were to join us for a romp through the local B&N, you'd likely find Kate reading a book or two to the children of complete strangers or playing with a group of young children at the Lego table while their wary parents look on in amazement trying to figure out where this young girl with the big blue eyes has come from. And wonder they do, because her father and I are usually a few aisles away with ears perked but with eyes on our own sort of books.

After you witness "Story Time with Kate", you'll probably move further into the store to find a growing boy deep in concentration seated in a chair that has not, over the years, grown with him, previewing a book which has piqued his curiosity or maybe he's reading a book that he already owns, but didn't want to stop reading even if it was for a visit to the bookstore.

Often on these trips I will overhear an adult ask one of the children for a book recommendation. Megan once helped a grandmother who had asked her for some ideas for her granddaughter whom she thought to be Megan's age. I was amazed later to see in the grandmother's arms in the checkout line, most of the books Meg had suggested.

Should you wish to locate Molly while you are shopping, you should look in the fairytale books or you could look toward the reference computer, placed in various locations throughout the store (including the poor tired one in the kids' section) to assist customers in locating specific books they seek. You'll find Molly perched on a bench she's dragged over to the computer typing away: M-O-I-I-Y, over and over again. She doesn't realize she's typing "I" instead of "L" yet, but don't tell her when you see her, we'll get it all straightened out later.

Before leaving our bookstore, we generally purchase something. Today it was this...

You're going to want to buy something too, I'm sure. It's just the kind of place it is, it just makes you want to bring a bit of itself home with you. We try never to disappoint!
"When I get a little money, I BUY BOOKS. If there is any left over I buy food and clothes."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Little Crowds of Seconds

It's past noon and I'm still in my pajamas. I've needed to get to the grocery store for days. We are out of eggs, bread, shaving cream, cereal, chewing gum, toilet paper, shampoo, coffee creamer and mozzarella  cheese.

Yet, here I sit, having the best morning, the very best. My personal space is constantly being invaded, my ears are full of a steady barrage of chatter, and very frequently a small hand with purple fingernails gently, kind of, takes hold of the extra skin on my cheek or my chin and draws my attention quite literally to the work at hand.
There's so much to do away from this place, here at the end of her elbow, but NOWHERE more important.
Where else could I learn that she's going to finish her work in "a crowd of seconds," or that she's getting a very firm grasp of her numbers, or that when a marker is getting dry it is "running out of action."

Sitting on a step ladder, left over from yesterday's projects, she leans over now and then as she switches colors for a kiss on her barely fleshy cheek not caring that I'm still sporting my fresh-out-of-bed look and smelling of coffee, she cares that I'm still seated at her side, cheering her on as she proceeds from dot to dot to dot.
We're both showing off what we know this morning, this little one and I. She, showing her growing pencil and marker skills as she draws steadier and steadier lines from one number to the next, I showing my growing knowledge that these little moments during these little days are what build a mother who is attempting to build little people.

Just as Molly hasn't always known the proper way to hold her pencil, I've not always known how to hold on to these "little crowds of seconds". As I watch the lights turn on in those big brown eyes, I'm so terribly thankful that every now and again, a light flickers in my own education as well!
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~Henry Ford

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cantaloupe Craziness

It is impossible for me to eat a cantaloupe without hearing my mom's joking voice...

"Can't elope today, my dad took the ladder."

Get it? "Can't-elope"...cantaloupe.

Anyway, in the time it took me to tell you that joke, you can create a gourmet cantaloupe snack for you and your gang. It can be as fancy or as simple as you like and either way, you need only three ingredients: a cantaloupe, a lime, and a drizzle or two of honey.

Cut the cantaloupe in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half into three or four sections and cut off the rind making sure to remove all of the green parts.

If you want to get a little fancy, grab your vegetable peeler and peel the cantaloupe into thin ribbons. If you don't want to go to all of that fuss, simply slice the melon into as thin a slice as you can manage with a sharp knife. (If you really want to go bare bones, cut your melon into chunks.)

Arrange the cantaloupe ribbons into a mound on serving plates. Half the lime and squeeze a small bit of the juice onto each serving of melon, follow with a drizzle of honey and a conservative dusting of grated lime zest.

We enjoyed this today at room temperature, but served chilled would also be an excellent choice.


This simple treat received the coveted "Do Over" distinction here at The Wright Place, here's hoping you and yours will love it too.

Crazy Cantaloupe from Great Food Fast
{Printable Recipe Here!}

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Many Faces of Molly

Hands down the busiest toy box in our home is The Dress-Up Box. It is not unusual to see a child in three or four costumes in a given day. The given day pictured below was a bit of a whirlwind, however...
8:33 am

 8:40 am

8:49 am

I've learned a thing about all of these dress-ups: It's gobs fun to dress up and flounce about within the walls of your own home, but...'s pure adventure to be allowed to take your imagination with you when you go out into the real world (and it certainly makes waiting in the check out line lots more bearable!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic Obsessed? Oh My YES!

"ABSOLUTELY NOT. You will NOT be staying up again tonight to watch the Olympics. Before you start rollin' those eyes at me, let's review the times you've been to bed the last many nights: 10, 11, and last night when you went to bed at 9 but didn't get to sleep until 11. I'm your mom and my job is to help you stay healthy and part of staying healthy is getting enough rest, so up the stairs all of you."

I followed them all up the steps, all of us huffing and puffing at one another. I tucked them in, listened to prayers, and then headed back down the stairs...alone. My Man was at a meeting and was not expected home until very late, so I had the entire night and couch to myself.

With a drink and a book, I headed toward the couch and snuggled into the welcoming cushions. I flipped on the TV and as we have for every evening in the past week, tuned in the Olympics. I'm never sure which event will be on each night, but I'm up for watching any of them, I love to hear the stories of the athletes, love to see the determination, love to see the triumph of lifetime goals attained.

This night would prove extra rewarding it seemed, as the women's all-around gymnastics was to be the sport for my viewing pleasure. As I watched the first young lady fly twisting and tumbling over the vault, I remembered watching Mary Lou Retton do the same thing when I was a young girl. I remembered the excitement of being glued to the TV beside my sisters, holding our collective breath as the pressure built until the final scores of the evening were tallied.

As I watched the second gymnast launch herself over the vault, a felt a sudden loneliness there on the couch and then a deep sense of urgency made my heart beat just a bit faster. Rising from my lonely perch, I tiptoed to the bottom of the stairs and whispered loudly, "Meg...Meg, come here."

"What Mom, is everything ok?"

"Yes, is Molly sleeping?"

"Yes," she said, peeking into Molly's room.

"Quietly get Kate and Cole and come down here."


The four of us hit the couch for the next few hours and enjoyed a steady diet of swimming and gymnastics. Finally, at 11:30 or so, I roused a sleeping Kate who hadn't quite been able to stay awake for the medal ceremony, and sent them all to bed again, this time grinning.

There were a few consequences resulting from our late night. The expected bleary-eyed children at the breakfast table and the, also expected, extra cups of coffee for the leader of the late night gang. The most amusing result of our Olympic experience was...

...this interesting wardrobe selection for scooter riding in the 90 degree summer heat!

and for bike riding...

(I hope she's not headed inside to change into her beach volleyball outfit!!)

Enjoy the rest of the Olympics!
We certainly plan to.

Friday, August 3, 2012

...and Sometimes the Bear Gets You

Things just don't seem right.

My Dad would probably say, "Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes, the bear gets you."

I've been two steps ahead of the bear all week, today he got a chunk of me, and as it goes, of one of my kids too.

It's been one of those situations when you want the very best for your child and the very best is so obviously right there in front of everyone's face, except not everyone seems able to see what's best. Perhaps they see best, but aren't seeking after it as hard as you I we are.

We've been at it for a few weeks now and the roller coaster ride of, "Yes you can," then "No, you can't," has been a bit tough on the belly and the nerves and especially on the child.

There comes a time, it seems, to just walk away...even though it's not fair.

I tell the kids all the time that life's not fair and that they shouldn't expect it to be. That's another thing my Dad said often as I was growing up and encountering life's curve balls. I wonder if it was as hard for him to watch when I was experiencing such issues as it has been for my kiddo and my Man and I today. Probably.

I wanna stomp and jump and kick my feet and yell, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" and "Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!" but such words aren't allowed in this house and even when I go out into the yard, someone always follows.

That's the thing, they are always gonna follow and this isn't going to be the last time something is unfair. I might not be right there to tell my children how to respond, I'll not need to be, they're learning now, for better or worse. This isn't a dress rehearsal, there's no student teaching here, we're running live  24/7.

As for this current struggle, good will come of it all. In fact, it already small ways. I've watched siblings gingerly ask after the one involved with great care and deference. They've made bits of allowances for the tender hearts among us. They've sympathasized with us and have been disappointed with us and for us, which hasn't been easy because the "us's" have been pretty prickly within these walls.

Molly, as always, cheers us on...

"Mommy, your da best mommy ever!"

"Well, Molly I don't know about that. Mommy makes lots of mistakes..."

"Oh...I know dat Mom, don't worrwee, nobody's pur-fect."

And don't we know it!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
~Rom 8:28~

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