Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alaina's Ultimate HP Experience

Jason and I are both big Harry Potter fans, and over the past year or so we have been reading the first three books with Benjamin.

The other day Ben thought it would be fun to act out the first book while one of us video taped. He assigned us roles, Jason being Hagrid, Janae Aunt Petunia, Alaina the baby Harry Potter and Ben--of course--the boy Harry. (Ben is actually quite good at casting!)

I got to be all the other parts from behind the video camera, which suited me just fine (this was, in fact, my idea!).


To make our production more realistic, we decided to have Alaina lie in a baby carrier that the girls use for their dolls. Alaina was a little long for it, but she didn't seem to mind.


When we'd shot the scene, Jason put down the carrier so Alaina could get out, but she stayed in. Then we started on with the rest of the show. We had to stop almost right away, though, because Alaina was crying so loudly.

It turned out that she wanted Jason to keep carrying her in the bassinet. He did this throughout the rest of the production (even though it didn't make sense in the story), and Alaina stayed very still and quiet.

The next day she brought Jason the carrier again and insisted on being walked around.


I think she not only enjoyed her part in the play but also definitely shows great potential as a future Harry Potter fan :)


Little Mamas

From the time she was about six months old, Alaina has loved dolls. Janae had several "babies" who had been pretty much neglected from the time they arrived . . . now Alaina is making things right by giving them the care they always needed,


and, of course, lots of motherly love.


Lately, though, Janae has found her own way to be a little mama--not just with dolls, but with her kitties.


Grandma made Janae some doll clothes, and she has become much more interested in her baby princesses now that she can change them into different outfits.

But Janae soon found a way to apply her love of changing clothes to her love of cats :) Now her kitties are dressing for the ball in fancy dresses, for the winter in cozy sweaters and hats, and for bed in flannel PJs.


It's so fun to watch my little mamas at work :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Some Thoughts on Turning 29

Yesterday I celebrated my 29th birthday* (*age might be off by one number . . .). The day kind of came in like a lion and out like a . . . more tamed lion. The main thing, though, is that it is now over . . . which means I am breathing a sigh of relief.

You see, I am not crazy about my birthdays (I do, of course, really enjoy other people’s birthdays, no matter what their age), but I especially dislike turning ages that end in “9.” I have found over the years that these are even worse than the round numbers that come next, marking the actual decade of getting older.

For example, when I was nearing the end of my first year of college (only 10 years ago—it’s hard to believe, isn’t it?), I turned 19. For weeks I dreaded this birthday, thinking 19 sounded so old . . . mostly because it meant I was only one year away from turning 20 (and YES, I do wish I could go back in time and slap my former self!).

The following year I actually did turn 20, and it wasn’t really that bad. Anticipating it was much worse.

The same happened when I turned 29. I was so upset about it, and worried about turning 30 for an entire year. When 30 actually came, it was rather a pleasant day—my students all signed a big card, sang to me, and even brought in a cake.

But that hasn’t happened yet, has it? For some reason I am seeing the future much more clearly than usual. Anyway, something to look forward to next year, I guess.

This year I am, unfortunately, exhibiting several signs of old age, including wrinkles, memory loss, the inability to eat whatever I want and not have it show, and—the obvious—compulsive lying.

Okay, I’ll admit it: I actually turned 39 yesterday. Which means next year I will be . . . well, we’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it, right?


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Meet Our Moose

I am the first to admit I've made a few mistakes as a parent. Not packing diapers when taking a baby on an airplane, letting Ben try on the pink stretchy pants, signing Janae up for ballet at age 2, selling the double stroller.

But all of these make me seem like the Mother of the Year compared to one mistake I have made . . . one of moose-sized proportion, you might say.

I was sitting in the living room on a windy fall afternoon, playing with 5-year-old Benjamin and 2-year-old Janae, when we heard a low honking sound. This sound is common in our house during the fall, winter, and even spring, as wind whips through our screen door.

This time, however, when I heard the wind I opened my eyes wide, looked at my two young, impressionable children, and--in a low voice--said, "That sounds like a MOOSE . . . an ANGRY MOOSE."

Benjamin and Janae opened their eyes extra wide, too, but they did something I hadn't anticipated: they started to tremble with fear.

"It's just the wind," I quickly assured them. But to no avail. From that moment on, the sound of the wind through our screen became known as "The Angry Moose."

I've tried reasoning with the kids, I've tried explaining that the moose has gone back to the forest--but The Angry Moose has remained, striking fear in my children every time (well, at least a little fear--Ben is getting pretty brave, even in the face of angry mooses).

To make the situation even worse, though, Ben and Janae have passed the legend of The Angry Moose, and the terror it inspires, down to their younger sister Alaina.

As soon as Alaina could talk, whenever she heard the sound she said, Mooo (meaning, of course, "moose") and made a frightened face.

With Alaina being so young, though, I saw my opportunity. I could set this right. I could be sure that at least one of my children was not scared of an angry moose that doesn't exist.

So, one day when we heard the wind, and Alaina said "Moose?" (her speech is really coming along!), I said--in the most cheerful and excited voice I could muster on two hours of sleep--"Yes . . . it's the FRIENDLY MOOSE!!!"

Alaina looked at me with a little uncertainty but then smiled.

Since then, I have been consistent in commenting on the Friendly Moose, The Happy Moose, the nice moose that comes to visit us. This has gone well, and Alaina and I now smile when we hear the moose. We've even started calling him "Mooska" :)

Then last week we were sitting at the table, having lunch, when we heard the Friendly Moose moan. Alaina turned to me with a big smile, and I said, "It's the Friendly Moose!"

Janae then frowned at me and said, "THE MOOSE IS NOT HAPPY . . . THE MOOSE IS MAD!!!!"

So there you have it. I've created an angry moose that will not go away, or even get cheered up.

Not exactly my proudest accomplishment. But possibly my most lasting one :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Added to My List of Favorites (and maybe even to my collection . . .)

There's nothing like a good book.

When I find a novel that

*forces me to skip ahead to the last page to see what happens,
*gets me thinking/worrying about the characters as though they were real people, or
*makes me give the book to Jason the moment it's finished so I can talk to him about it ASAP

. . . well, that's a good book.

I love it when I'm reading something I can't put down . . . and literally carry around everywhere I go in case I get a minute to read here or there. And it's not really unusual for me to feel this way about what I'm reading.

Once in a while, though, I like a book even MORE than all that . . . and then I have to add it to my list of all-time favorites. There is simply no other choice!

Until yesterday, the last time this had happened was February 2008 when I read A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Yesterday, however, everything changed when I finished The Book Thief. Yes, the universe as we knew it ceased to exist as my list of favorite novels was extended by one :)

Seriously, though, this was a good book!

The overall concept of the book is unique and artistic, the story is thought-provoking and nicely paced, even the sentences are beautifully crafted--but the depth and believability of the characters is what I found most incredible.

The back cover calls The Book Thief "the most talked-about book of 2006," so this might be old news to most of you . . . and it does make me feel a little behind the times (where have I been?), but for anyone (like me) who hasn't encountered it yet . . . it is my humble opinion that you should read it!

I think I might even have to steal the book from the person who lent it to me and become a book thief myself just to show my enthusiasm for the novel.

It is that good :)