Sunday, June 27, 2010

She's Crafty!

So. Mimi took the Mighties Saturday night, with a promise to bring them home late Sunday afternoon. Delirious with the infinite possibilities that a child-free night/day offered, I racked my brains for what to do........Work? No, too obvious. Clean the house? No, too responsible, besides: have you met me? Craftiness? Ah, now you're talking my language! But which to choose? Make picture frames? Knitting? Dig up that baby blanket kit? Or maybe the towel bag thing I had been wanting to try......

In the end I settled for an evening of mindless TV-watching and knitting (thanks to an NCIS marathon and a project I need to finish by the end of July). After a very restful night's sleep, I started in on the towel bag project. Essentially it consists of attaching a smaller towel to a beach towel in such a way that when turned inside out, it forms a bag in which the towel and other sundries can be carried. I thought it would be a fun way to trick the kids into carrying their crap to the beach/pool. Am I not the best mom ever?

I found the initial instructions online here, and made a few modifications. Namely, I used 2 hand towels instead of one because I wanted the carrying straps to be longer. Also by using a folded hand towel for the pocket, as opposed to half of a hand towel the final product has the bonus of another pocket. I am really happy with how they turned out! I've included the instructions below in case anyone is interested in making one:

1 beach towel
2 hand towels

Step 1:
Make the bag: Fold 1 hand towel in half, right-sides together, and pin to the WRONG side of one of the narrow sides of the beach towel, centering it. Sew along the right side, bottom, and left side of the hand towel, leaving the top open.

Step 2:
Make the handles: Take the other hand towel and over about 1.5-2" of the long edge (again, right sides together). Do this on the other side as well. Sew both seams, cut away excess fabric (in the middle), and turn straps right-side-out.

Step 3:
Attach handles to bag: Pin one strap to one side of the hand-towel bag about 1/5" in from the seam, being sure to pin the RIGHT side of the handle to the WRONG side of the bag. Attach the other half of the strap to the other side, again about 1/5" in from the seam. Do the same with the other handle on the other side of the hand-towel bag (DO NOT attach the handle to the beach towel!). Sew.

Step 4:
Fold the towel: Lay the towel out, RIGHT SIDE up, and fold the long way in towards the center. Starting from the bottom, fold the towel up in lengths approximately equal to the length of the hand towel bag. Once you have folded it all the way to the top, grab the bottom corners and invert the bag.

Et Voila!

Now grab some sunscreen, your shades and a trashy magazine and head for the sun!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

High Jinx

When the kids finished their swim lesson last night Miss Angie said they could jump off the diving board, as usual. As NOT usual she gave them the choice between the "low" board (the one they usually jump off) and the "high" board, which they never jump off of because it is about 4 times higher than the "low" board (which is pretty darn high to begin with; if they hung from it their toes wouldn't touch the water below). Clearly she had been smoking crack, because no SANE person would encourage mere babies to jump from a height of 1,000 feet to their most certain deaths, water or no. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME MISS ANGIE? ARE YOU???? Not that I was worried, mind you. My children are sensible people who understand the limitations of their fragile bodies, not to mention the frailty of their mother's mental health.............yeah.

Jack was the first up the ladder. No hesitation, just up, out to the end and.....SPLASH! His goggles came off with the power of the impact, but it didn't even faze him. Did I mention they are the youngest kids in their class?

Ava was next. I made her promise that she wouldn't try to dive in (as she has been diving off the "low" board lately). "O-kay mooooooommmmm! O-KAY!"

And then Cate. Cate, who for most of last summer refused to go anywhere near the low board, and had to bribed with promises of sugar-coated goodness to get her to give it a try. She climbed up the ladder, walked out to the end of the board and jumped off. When her head popped out of the water she screamed "That was AWESOME!!"

I couldn't be prouder, despite the residual anxiety that kept me up until 1am this morning. Now let us all light a collective candle and pray that they don't develop a predilection for bungee jumping.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

Yes, they actually played it.

You know what I love?

Students who email me asking "I got XYZ on the exam, can I still pass your class?". Sweetie, all the points are listed in the syllabus. Do the math. And if you can't do the math? Then, NO, you can't pass my class.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Our Small World is Getting Bigger

Last night the kids had their closing program at school. Mrs. Barillier's class did a number called "It's a Small World" in which each of the children dressed up as a different country and said hello to the audience in their country's language. My Hawaiian fans (I'm talking to you, mom) should note that Hawaii was included as a different country. I thought about making a scene, but then decided against it. For the sake of the children. Years from now when they claim I don't love or care about them I will bring up this very incident as proof of my love for them.
But I digress. Jack was Germany, with a cute little leiderhosen costume, complete with hat. But not complete with shoes. I thought a pair of hiking boots would look good, but alas he has outgrown the pair he has. Then it hit me - Sandals! With socks! Nothing says GERMAN like sandals with socks. Am I right? When it was his turn he marched to the center of the stage and bellowed "Guten! Morgen!" like the good little Aryan boy he is.

Ava was Ireland, and wore a white dress with green polka dots and a big green shamrock, with a green frock coat over it. The best part of the costume though was the beribboned yellow daisy headdress. Again, we weren't sure what to do about shoes, but then I remembered that last St. Patrick's day Auntie had bought them all Leprechaun socks, so we put those on her and let her go shoeless. Perfect. She skipped across the stage and sang "Magen Go Brach!", which I think was supposed to be Irish (Gaelic) for "hello", although I think "hello" is actually "dia dhuit" in Gaelic. But what do I know?

Cathryn was France, and the costume they sent home consisted of a purple knitted tam, which I'm guessing was supposed to be a beret, and a painter's smock. Yeah.....NO. I riffled through her closet and found a navy-and-white striped shirt, a ruby pleated school-girl skirt with suspenders, blue knee socks, and this time we actually had some appropriate shoes - blue leather t-straps. I splurged on a real beret ($6.50 on Amazon!) and her costume was complete. Et Voila! She pranced out to the middle of the stage, put her fingers in her mouth and whispered "Bonjour?".

Other countries represented were Italy, Mexico, Japan, America, and of course, Hawaii. But let's not start that again.

Afterward we all went out for frozen yogurt, and about half the class showed up - INSTANT PARTY! The kids all sat at a single table and chattered away while the parents took advantage of the relative quiet to eat our yogurt in peace. A lovely end to a lovely day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

One Man, One Vote

We were sitting at the dinner table this evening when the phone rang. It has been ringing a lot these days, as the local and state-wide elections are tomorrow. We've stopped answering our phone, instead letting all calls go to the answering machine and only picking up when we recognize the voice on the other end.

So the phone rang, we let the machine get it, and after a pause a crackly voice comes on the line, introducing itself and hoping that it wasn't bothering us. "You are! I'm making a list of all the people who call us and I'm not going to vote for them" growled Brian. "Is that a stranger?" asked Jack. Brian explained that yes, it was a stranger and they were calling to get our vote in the election. And then we were off to the races.

"What's a vote?"
"What's an election?"
"Why do the strangers want our vote?"

"Remember in church how you talked about everyone having a vote?"

Blank stares.

"When you vote for someone it means you are choosing them. The person who gets chosen the most wins"

Blank stares.

"Voting is how we choose our leaders."

Blank stares.

"OK, let's pretend. Let's pretend one person in our family is going to go to Ice Cream Street to get ice cream for everyone."

"Is this for real?" asks Cate

"No, it's pretend. Who should go to Ice Cream Street?"

"Auntie Kate!"
"I want to go! I never get to go to Ice Cream Street!"

"Cathryn. I said this was pretend. And I meant someone who is here right now: Cate, Ava, Jack, Mommy or Daddy. Anyone who wants to go raise their hand."

They all want to go. No surprises here.

"Okay, but only ONE person can go. How do we choose? Here's how: we vote. Everyone who wants Ava to be the person to go, raise their hand (Ava and Jack raise their hands). Everyone who wants Jack to go, raise their hand (Jack raises his hand). You can only vote once, buddy"

"Unless you're from Chicago" says Daddy.

"Everyone who wants Cate to go raise their hand" (no raises their hand, not even Cate)

"You know, you can vote for yourself sweetie"

"I want to vote for you and me to go together mommy!"

"That's sweet, but that's not a choice." (Although I suppose the ones who really change the world are the ones who see the options that haven't been offered)

"OK, so Ava has 2 votes so she wins. Ava gets to go to Ice Cream Street. See how that works?"

"I never get to go to Ice Cream Street! You never let me do anything! I hate voting!"

"I vote that Cate should get a time out" says Ava.

I guess 1 out of 3 isn't bad.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Found this little tableaux in the living room this evening..........can you see the bunny? Here's hoping the lions won't either.........

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My good news for the day, week, month, year: I officially have tenure! Woo-hoo!
Time to break out the paint and gussy-up my office. They'll never get rid of me now. Or, as my more seasoned colleagues like to say "Now you can never leave."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Girl

I've been meaning to post this picture I took of Ava:She's wearing a top I made for her from a vintage pillowcase. I took the picture with the Hipstamatic iPhone app, using the John S lens and Ina's 1969 film. I love the vintage look of this picture and I think it captures the spirit of my carefree girl perfectly. She reminds me so much of my mom.