Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fairy Houses

Yesterday the girls and I attended an event for building fairy houses. It was hosted by Tracy Kane, the author of a series of books about fairies and building houses for them.

Belle’s house was mostly done by me, in relatively short order, in the crook of a large pine near the pond. Here she is modeling her finished project:

Belle's Fairy Houses

She had a lot of fun digging in the dirt in front of her house building large swimming pools and fire pits and playgrounds, while Krystal worked on hers.

Krystal chose a spot on the other side of the same tree. You can see in the photo above how close we were to the pond (a not-small-pond either), and it was a rather cool and windy day for late May (see the sweaters?). The wind was quite insistent off that not-small pond, and it caused angst in the way of structural challenges for Krystal. I lost count of how many times her work would be demolished by the wind, and we were both getting frustrated.

And then I suggested a design change, and while there were still some wind issues, it came together much more quickly.

Krystal Fairy House

I don’t expect Krystal to be a structural engineer or architect, but I think she does have an eye for detail:

Fairy House Interior

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there is a couch on the left (the pine cone is the cushion), across from a TV (where she got the idea for the twig rabbit ears I have no idea, since her generation has never seen them!), a fireplace in the middle, and in the back a stone bed with a leaf coverlet.

Her big surprise though, was this:

FH Welcome

Even the photographer making the rounds was delighted with that. He said we may be on their web site by mid-week. How exciting!

FH Photographer

I think this is something we’ll do at home – both girls had a lot of fun, and I loved the creative aspect.

Advertisements

What does juvenile mean?

Tonight in the car, Krystal asked, “Mom, what’s juvenile mean? Is it jail?”

“Where did you hear it?” I asked. I’ve learned this is the best response to any question like this, as often what she means is far less benign than my first impulse to answer.

“I don’t know,” she answered. Damn, this might be a little more difficult then.

“Well, it basically means kid,” I explained. “Juvenile means for kids, not adults. Sometimes people will say something is juvenile as a way to say it is childish, in a not-nice way, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Then, because of her earlier “jail” reference, I went on to explain what “Juvy” meant, and I’ll spare you that explanation.

Krystal then offered, “Well Mary says princesses are juvenile, which is silly because one, she’s a kid, and two, they’re not, and three, what difference does it make?” all said in a rush.

Indeed.

One not-nice thing about myself I have learned in my parenting journey is that there is often a lot I don’t like in other people’s children. Girls in particular can be so mean!

For the record, it would not surpirse me in the least if one of Krystal’s friend’s parents was blogging about my mean daughter. I’m not saying my kid is an angel, but she’s mine and I hate to see how she gets hurt by both careless actions and purposeful words said by her peers. The teen years frighten me.

An Olfactory Mystery

Ah spring!

Spring deserves celebration because of warmer weather, outdoor activities, green grass, buds on trees, and all the beautiful flowers it brings!

I’ve been doing some regular running, which is through the streets near our house, all of which are residential. In the winter sometimes I run through a warm pocket, just a little blip where it doesn’t feel quite so cold for a few strides. In the spring I get a whiff of what smells like marshmallows to me.

I noticed that same marshmallow smell in our yard, so I decided to take a picture. I have three flowering plants in the “garden” (term used extremely loosely) in the side yard, but when I sniff them up close, I do not detect any particular smell. I am including a photo of the plant I think is the source, but I’m not entirely sure. One of the other flowering plants is an azalea bush, but I’m not sure on the other. Still, does anyone know what this plant is?

101_2450

And a close up:

101_2453

Whether you can identify this plant or not, does anyone know what type of plant might smell like marshmallows?

In other news — I think I am done watching American Idol. It takes up so much time during the season, and I was really disappointed with the way this year’s eliminations went. Some of my faves were eliminated early on, and I could not be more underwhelmed (b-o-r-e-d) with the winner. Can I complain since I don’t vote? Well, with their current voting system, you better believe it, because if I did vote, I’d call in one time, not set up banks of automated dialers/texters the way some do it.

Anyway, moving on…..

The Mom Quiz

What kind of mom are you? Take this quiz and find out:

This didn’t surprise me one bit!
This summer both girls will be attending the YMCA camp that Krystal has gone to the past two summers. Belle is finally old enough to attend, and I’m thrilled because 1) It’s a lot cheaper than the day care she attends now (even though she will be back there for Kindergarten in September), and 2) it means one place for me to drop off and pick up kids each day. That alone is going to add about an hour to my workday, which is a good thing!
But Belle going to camp means she needs certain things that Krystal already has. She needs a backpack big enough to carry her stuff around in all day (bathing suit, towel, sunscreen, lunch, water bottle, etc…), a lunch box, and a water bottle, just to name a few. Krystal has been getting her nose majorly bent out of shape at the new items Belle gets to pick out. So, in the store, I pulled Krystal aside to remind her of the times when she got these things and Belle got nothing, and that it is now Belle’s turn. Not surprisingly, this did not help her see the light. However, it did make me feel I’d done what I had to do, and the rest was up to her. Buying Krystal a new lunch box when her old one is perfectly good did not seem a reasonable solution to me.
So yeah, if that makes me strict, I’m OK with that.
If you would have handled it differently, I’d love to hear your ideas. And please share your quiz results if you take it!

Getting back to it is tough!

So you take a week off and suddenly getting back to blogging is serious work. And by “you”, of course I mean “me”.

I just came back from my first vacation without the kids, and it was awesome! If I have anything to say about it, it will not be the last! I flew out of town Saturday noon-time, and even just waiting for my plane to take off was a vacation. Especially since there were several families with young children in the waiting area who were dealing with loud and/or wiggly kids, and I could enjoy watching it rather than dealing with it. I also got to witness a clueless dad lie to his wife about why he wasn’t properly supervising their 2-ish year old son while she took their daughter to the bathroom, and got quite a chuckle (to myself) over that!

The friend I was traveling with arrived before me – we had a sushi dinner Saturday night, on Disney property, that I dare say was one of the best meals I have ever had in my life.

Other highlights: parasailing! This was fantastic and I wanted to do it again even before I did it once.

101_2350

My friend was petrified and insisted we go together, (I’m in front, she is behind me) but once we were up she said she wasn’t afraid and also wanted to do it again!

The adult beach was divine:

101_2386

(those are my toes)

To summarize, it was a great trip, and my friend and I are hoping to make it an annual/annual-and-a-half tradition. This was part of a group, and the next scheduled trip is December 2010, so I’m already scoping out options for child care then. My kids definitely missed me, but my mother barely survived. I’m not sure I can ask it of her again!

P.S. If you are my Facebook friend and would like to see more pictures, please let me know!

Sailing Away

I had intended to do a full post explaining my trip, but I plum ran out of time, so you’ll have to wait till I get back.

Bottom line is, I’m off for a kid-free vacation. My mom is at the house watching the kids and the dog, and I’m very much looking forward to a few days of no responsibilities for anyone but myself. I start out tomorrow with a 3 hour flight, and I am unreasonably excited about sitting still for that long, with time to read, or listen to music, or simply do nothing at all. Ahhhhh.

Once I land, my dear friend will pick me up and we are off!

I’ll be completely off the grid while I’m away, but want to wish all my mom readers a very Happy Mother’s Day! Take care of yourselves and I’ll check in next week.

Twlight Schmilight

That’s right, I’m here to talk about the phenomenon known as Twlight, meaning the series of books written by Stephenie Meyer.

WARNING: This post will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books and plan to, you may not want to read further. Also, if you have no interest in the series you may not have any interest in the rest of what I have to say. Consider yourselves warned.

When I first heard about “Twilight” I assumed it was for teenagers, and had no interest. Then a bunch of women I “know” on a message board I frequent started talking obsessing about it, and I paid a little more attention, even though I was still not particularly interested. Recently, my dearest friend started reading the books and she could talk of nothing else. She would go on and on about how romantic it was, and how Edward is the man we all wish we could have, and how the books  make you feel like you’re 15 again (she meant that in a good way, believe it or not). And so with that kind of endorsement, because who ignores your best friend when she can’t let go of something, and who doesn’t want to feel 15 again? Wait, who doesn’t want to feel in love with the perfect man? There, that’s better.

So I bought “Twilight” which is the first in the four-book series. It’s a quick, easy read, and I enjoyed it. I won’t tell you what it’s about, since I assume if you’ve read this far you already know. But let me tell you some of the questions I had as I was reading it (and the following 3 books).

Why the hell are the Cullen “kids” enrolled in school? This never rang true for me. Everything we learn about the Cullen family, in this book and the subsequent ones, says there is no way they would be mingling in a school. Since vampires don’t age and they appear to be school-aged, the cover story should have been that they were home schooled, if that was necessary. When I mentioned that  to my friend, she said, “But then how would Bella and Edward meet???” Well, that’s not my problem, that’s the writer’s challenge, but there are plenty of other, more believable ways, they could have met. One possibility would be to accelerate Bella’s job at the sporting goods store (which doesn’t happen till “Eclipse”, I believe) and since the Cullens are such avid “hikers”, they could meet there. Just an example, but I think something that kept in character with the family would have made the book that much stronger.

Please, tell me, what is the attraction between Bella and Edward? I never felt it. Bella thinks Edward is the most beautiful creature she has even seen, and she is mesmerized by him physically. I think we can all agree that an attraction can occur. But the love? I don’t understand how (or why) she fell in love with him. Or he with her. He was attracted to her by the scent of her blood, which he had to overcome just to be around her. Okkkaaay. But tell me again how this translates to the “can’t live without you” love that supposedly grew between them? I know I am the minority, but I never got the Edward-love. Some of his behaviors were outright cruel and abusive, while others, later in the series, struck me as parental. I don’t feel he ever saw Bella as an equal partner. They don’t ever talk to each other! And don’t even get me started on the way he treated her after their “first night”, which occurs in “Breaking Dawn”.

Let’s talk about Jacob. I loved Jacob. I always thought Bella and Jacob made a great couple. Bella even said, more than once, how Jacob was her best friend, and being with him was as easy as breathing. Hello??? Sounds like love to me! And love with a lot more substance than watching someone sleep! (which is all Edward and Bella ever seemed to do together) Jacob and Bella had shared interests, common family values and an attraction. All Edward and Bella had was the attraction. My friend could never understand how I could feel that way about him, but knowing I loved him said that I would be happy with how it was all wrapped up in the end.

Friend – I AM NOT HAPPY WITH HOW IT WAS WRAPPED UP IN THE END! I hated hated hated how the whole imprinting on Renesmee happened (which I saw coming a mile away). I thought it was creepy and gross, honestly.

My last big bone of contention was Bella’s desire, very early on, to be transformed into a vampire. OK, I know this is fantasy people. I get that. But c’mon! Bella is by all reckoning a bright, sensible girl who loves her family. And yet she is willing, even eager, to toss everything aside, at age 18! to join the ranks of Edward and his family. It reminded me of “The Little Mermaid”, which is another story I’ve always hated because it has a woman giving up her home and family to be with a boy she has decided she loves because he’s cute!

Other issues: Alice’s insistence on throwing birthday and graduation parties for Bella, even though she is clearly uncomfortable with that. Is that what a friend does? For that matter, Bella’s reluctance to have any attention on her just seemed weird. Edward bribing Bella to marry him, even though she is 1) only 18, and 2) has some very good reasons for not wanting to marry so young.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had thought of this story and written it. Stephenie Meyer is clearly a gifted storyteller and hit a niche and will never want for anything the rest of her life. I enjoyed the books, as light entertainment, right up until Bella got pregnant in “Breaking Dawn”. After that I had to force myself to finish the book.

Have you read the series? What did you think of it? What is so great about Edward? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me nor not. Just know that I won’t be changing my mind!