Three Girl Pile-Up

…adventures of our homeschooling family

Month: January, 2009

Badges by Maggie

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I love the little paper surprises that Maggie dreams up.

This weekend it was badges.  Here’s how it started.  Maggie and Anna were looking for Anna’s plastic ladle, a dearly beloved kitchen implement.  Although I didn’t know where the ladle was, I told them that the day before, Howard (my dad) had rescued it from the trash.  And then they ran off, I went back to what I was doing, and didn’t think any more of it.  I knew Maggie was working on some kind of project, as she’d asked me for some safety pins.  But this is nothing unusual, so it didn’t particularly capture my attention.

Until, a little later, Maggie came back in the room with a special package for my dad.  Inside was this:

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…and yes, that’s a picture of my dad saving the precious ladle from the trash.

More badges turned up over the course of the day, including one for me:

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and one for Anna…

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…each arriving carefully wrapped in a box and addressed to the recipient.

What a big heart my big girl has.  She is not the most sentimental of children, and much less emotionally effusive than my littler one.  But a steady stream of these loving little treasures emerge from her markers and pencils and scissors and tape.  And there’s something especially magical about the way they appear entirely from her own imagination.

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A lucky, lucky day

As if it wasn’t enough to have the thrill of our new president innagurated and my parents (Nana and Howard) arriving for a two-month stay.  Here in North Carolina, we got a rare treat:  a real snowfall.

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After the girls played on the deck for a while, we took a little expedition (along with Mopsey) around the back yard, visiting the not-quite-frozen creek and climbing around on the low-hanging trees.  At one point, with the snow still falling, Maggie looked around and sighed and said, “What a lucky, lucky day!”  Indeed.

Snow was such a normal part of my own childhood, and still it often seemed magical.  I certainly spent many an hour playing outside in the snow, and even now seeing those flakes coming down fills me with memories of cold noses and wet feet.  And getting warm again as we shed our snowy clothes and came back inside.

And eventually we came back inside, too.  I made one of our family favorites–warm chocolate pudding.  With a few chocolate chips on top, just for fun.

Later in the day, we tried something I’ve never done, surprisingly enough.  In my family, snow ice cream consisted of maple syrup drizzled over snow–yum!  But the girls and I decided to try and milk-and-sugar variety, and wow, it was great!  Here’s the recipe we used:

Snow Ice Cream

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

6 cups of snow (approx.)

Chocolate chips for garnish (optional but highly reccomended)

Mix the milk, sugar, and vanilla together until the sugar is dissolved.  Collect clean snow, being careful not to pack it down.  Gradually stir in the snow until desired consistency is reached.  Serve in individual bowls and sprinkle with chocolate chips or anything else that appeals.

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The girls liked it so much that when we came home the following day, before I knew it they had made a batch entirely without my help.  The day after that, Anna burst into tears when she looked outside and realized that the snow was almost all melted, and there was no more “snow cream” in the offing.

But we sure enjoyed it while it lasted.

Now it’s time to order seeds and get ready to plant the spring garden!

Doing it her own way

Last week, Anna and I picked up some Prang glitter watercolors off the sale rack at Office Depot, and one morning I left them out (along with paper and water) for the girls to find in the morning.  Anna is a big fan of the “morning project,” loving to start the day with some art.  So, it was no big surprise to come out to the dining room and find her at it with the paints.  But was she daintily dipping her brush in the water, brushing the paint, and then touching it onto the paper?

Of course not.

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It turns out that these aren’t such well designed paints.  When you use them like typical watercolors, all the glitter stays in the cake.  What fun is that?  And the paints are actually kind of gooey, so Anna started scooping up blobs of paint she could spread on the paper.

But was I able to just sit back and let her do this?  Not at first.  My first reflex, I’m sorry to say, was, “No, no, you’re destroying the paints!  Can you use your brush?”  I need to work on this.  First of all, I paid exactly $1 for those paints, so it’s not like they’re especially precious.  Secondly, those paints worked terribly as watercolor cakes, and Anna actually found what is probably the only fun way to use them.  I think part of this reaction comes from so many months (well, years really) of intervening between Anna and one sort of destruction or another; I need to re-set myself now that she’s older, and truly that doesn’t happen so often or so fast.  And I think it will always be part of my process to learn to let go of the “shoulds” and this idea that there is a right way to do things.  Lucky for me, I have two little teachers showing  me every day that they are a million right ways, and that the path to wholeness is all about joy and mess, not so much about rules.

And by the way, I threw the paints away.  Not because of what happened that day, but because they NEVER dry.  So those sticky blobs on Anna’s paper remained that way…that is, until they migrated to the floor, and the table, and my cell phone…

Sleepover

Ack, I’m having quite a time getting back into a blogging groove around here.  Upon returning from our trip, I’ve really thrown myself into getting our lives in order–so that’s where all my spare attention’s been going.

Steve has been gone for a few days for work, and the girls and I have kept with our tradition of having a sleepover in the big bed.  Partly this is for my own ease–it’s just easier to get them both to bed like that, plus then I don’t have to get up in the night when Anna needs me.  And I’m realizing that these days of snuggly sleep together are going to pass before I know it.  Although I sometimes desperately long for a full night of sleep with only my husband next to me, I know that I’ll miss those nighttime snuggles with Anna.  So when Steve is away, the girls all pile up in the bed to sleep together.

A brief photojournal of their sleeping on Tuesday night (this is all before I joined them again in bed).

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Hope everyone’s keeping warm!

Home again.

Well, we’ve made it back from our annual trip to the not-so-frozen Midwest.  There was a second round of Christmas celebrations (we do the first here in NC with Steve’s family), lots of exciting time playing with Jackson-cousin (my brother’s three year-old), so much amazing food, and a series of plumbing difficulties that I’d rather not go into.

It’s always difficult to say good-bye to my parents, but it was softened this year by the fact that they are spending a good chunk of the winter here with us, starting in just a couple of weeks.

Although I was pretty fried by the time our plane landed, it was a pleasure to be greeted by typical North Carolina winter weather,  a sunny and “cool” 50 degrees.  It has taken me a long time to really consider North Carolina my home, though I have now lived here over eighteen years.  But I’m realizing that the seasonal rhythms of this place do feel like home to me.

I hadn’t realized how good it would feel to be back in my house, just puttering about with my family around me.   I threw together a pasta dinner, Steve laid a fire, and we finished the evening with warm chocolate pudding and reading books together.

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A good start to the new year, together in our home.

Now if I can only get the boxes unpacked and the Christmas decorations/toys put away….