like a lion, out like a lamb! I guess that is sort of how it happened, but with
a lot of ups and downs along the way. We started the month off with pretty cold
weather and snow cover and then got hit with a rather large storm. Then, by
mid-month that snow was gone--not a trace of it left. Two days later--another
storm. Just to keep things interesting, I guess. As we near the end of the
month, we are experiencing true spring-like weather, just in time for a crazy
had a potpourri of experiences this month to go along with the variety of
weather. When we first returned home from New York, the kids were spending
every day singing and acting out The Lion King. These puppets (made out of
kitchen stools) were some of the props they used for their own staging of the
they had a chance to dress up a snow-woman after the big storm. She didn't
last long, but they had fun building her! She was their first and only snowman
of the season.
had to give Pi day its due. Dave, Franny and Theo each wanted to make their own
pie! We had chocolate cream, lemon custard, and cherry. All three were
delicious! No celebration of Pi day is complete without pie!
Franny's week at Hulbert, our final event of the month was Revels Spring Sing
starring none other than Franny and Theo. They started off the show as Teaser
and 'Obby 'Oss and then took up roles in the Pace-Egging play as Old Bet and
Lord Nelson. Along with the other adorable kids in the show, they did a great
job singing and dancing and pace-egging for our enjoyment. It was a very nice
way to bring in the spring, which did finally arrive shortly thereafter.
we may have a visit from a certain bunny. There may be eggs to find. We will
most certainly be enjoying the traditional hot cross buns for breakfast. It's
been quite a month, packed full of much to see and do. I can't wait to see what
April has in store for us.
We’ve been trying to get back to NYC since… well, since the
last time we were there! I thought it might be a bit risky going in February,
but that’s when we had the free time, so we went for it! We had been wanting to
bring Theo to see The Lion King for many years. We brought Franny to see it
when she was 2.5, so we also thought this would be a good refresher for her. We had
tickets for a Saturday matinee and the plan was to leave NY right after the show. In a sense, the show was the finale to our trip and it did. not. disappoint. The kids LOVED it and we have not heard any other music out of
their mouths since then. They spent the next week acting out the show, singing
the songs, building their own puppets out of kitchen chairs, pillows, blankets
and masks. They plan to stage a full-scale production but, as usual, their plans
are bigger than any of their budgets will allow.
We spent the days leading up to the big show enjoying the
museums uptown and the neighborhood around our hotel. We spent a great, long
day at AMNH and took in the Global Kitchen exhibit, which we enjoyed very much.
We made sure to hit the gems and minerals, the dinosaurs, and the dioramas
before each kid chose his/her own exhibit to see with Dave and me. We ended our
loooooooong day with a convenient stop at Shake Shack (the first of two) before
we stumbled just two more blocks to our hotel, crashing for the night.
Next day, we ambled our way downtown to the main library
building to take a look at Christopher Robin’s friends on exhibit in the
Children’s Room. While the kids were very happy to see Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and
Kanga, they were even more happy to be surrounded by books and comfy chairs in
which to curl up and rest. After the library, we headed over to the market at
Grand Central to pick up provisions for lunch. We decided to walk back to
the library benches to eat and came across Library Way, a series of markers on
the sidewalk with quotes from beloved authors about reading and books. We spent
a good, long time stopping and taking turns reading each one aloud. It was one
of those moments when you just know you have to slow down and not worry about
which site might be closing, or how cold you are, or when you might be able to
finally sit down and eat for the first time in hours. I have no regrets!
Other highlights include a walk across the park to The Met
for a quick visit on Saturday morning, a late night (for us) trip to the NY
Historical Society Museum, where the kids had a great time enjoying the
children’s exhibits, and a couple of great meals on the UWS. We loved our hotel
and managed to get around solely on foot and subway. The weather held out for
the most part (I’ll just work hard remember it that way!) and we managed to fit
in almost everything we planned to do! Who can ask for more than that?
wanted to introduce the kids to stop-motion movie making for a while. We'd
thought they'd get into doing it with Legos, as they have plenty of them lying
around. But when Dave explained the idea to them, they immediately thought of
this magnetic puppet theater that we purchased in Prague last year. They love
playing with it, but it does get a bit stale after one or two runs through.
This was a perfect foray into movie making and they had a lot of fun with it!
As the basis for the story, they used an old Golden Book Cinderella that I had from my childhood.
They had to edit it down quite a bit because they didn't have enough film to
match the book completely. I thought that made for a wonderful exercise in
editing, which, had it been in writing, they would have agonized over.
Dave they created the title page and they added music from the Julie Andrews
version of Cinderella. They created the film in
iMovie. When they were done, they had so many ideas for another film. All of
their ideas were very ambitious and I was worried we would not have time to
leave the house for the next three months! As a compromise, they started a
smaller project around a mushroom growing kit that we broke out of the package
last week. Every morning they alternate turns taking a picture of the growing
mushroom. Later we'll put it together and see how fast they grew!
has not been the year for snow in Massachusetts. I know we should probably feel
lucky that we didn't have to deal with too much of the stuff but instead we
have felt rather lost. We don't really know what to do with ourselves in the
winter when it doesn't snow. When it snows, there are a number of acceptable
responses. One can snuggle by the fire with a great book, send the kids outside
to build a snowman so we can enjoy the quiet in the house, or go out together
for a snowshoeing adventure (or skiing, or sledding). With no snow to mark the
winter, it's like one long, five-month season of drab.
we were happy to see snow this morning, even if it was just a few inches. I
dressed early to head out for my walk while the snow still frosted the tree
branches and before everybody fired up their noise polluters (snow blowers). It
was so beautiful and quiet! I felt lucky to be able to enjoy it.
we returned home, I told the kids that I would let them postpone their
responsibilities so they could make a quick trip to the sledding hill before it
got crowded. Apparently I wasn't quick enough and there were already plenty of
kids there, but that only made the hill better for sledding! I was glad that
they had the chance to enjoy such a classic childhood experience. I hope there
will be more opportunities, but in case we aren't so lucky--I'm so glad they
had fun today!
and Theo were inspired by our recent medieval studies (inspired in turn by our
spring trip to Europe)) when choosing their Halloween costumes this year.
Franny is Eleanor of Aquitaine and Theo is a gallant knight. We’d read many
stories about knight training but our favorite was definitely A Door in the
Wall, so I
thought of him as young Robin, even though he didn’t specify. Our kids are used
to people not knowing who they are trying to depict at Halloween and it’s
become a bit of a game to them, I think. This year, people were so stumped they
didn’t even try to guess! When Franny mentioned her choice to friends
(homeschoolers, no less!) nobody knew who she was talking about. Oh well. We don’t know who those kids
with the Target purchased costumes are trying to be either!
had another pretty mild night this year but it was very quiet in our
neighborhood. That suited me just fine. The candy was all given away and we were
in by 8:00 pm. I really couldn’t have asked for a better night with my family. Now
if we could just find a good way of getting rid of all of this candy it would
be truly perfect!
The Christmas Revels is a holiday tradition for us. Last year, Franny and Theo had the incredible opportunity to be a part of the children's chorus. It was an experience they will not soon forget! This year, Theo had the unbelievable luck to be asked to pose for the promotional materials. Another amazing experience, considering the poster was painted by notable children's book illustrator and artist, P.J. Lynch. We were already very familiar with his work, having become fans of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey many years ago. We had also enjoyed many of his other books and had recently watched a dvd he made (included in The Bee-Man of Orn) about his process. We were pretty much blown away when we heard he was involved in this project.
The kids and I got busy requesting every one of his books from our library system and launched a P.J. Lynch study in the middle of summer vacation. They inhaled every one of the books I brought home, noticing differences in mood and style among the different titles, running to me and saying "Mom! I love this book! Look at this...." They tried to imagine what the Revels poster would look like. They sang the songs they learned while rehearsing for the recording that will accompany the upcoming show. I'm pretty sure they spent some time on the deck of that ship in their own imaginations. As a homeschooling parent, it was pretty much exactly what I live for--the opportunity to watch my kids engage passionately with art, literature, and music, mingled with the very real experiences of their own lives. School can do many things, but it can't do that.
The Christmas Revels tickets are on sale now. Don't miss out on what will surely be an excellent, family-friendly show (even if that cute kid won't be on stage!)
In the category of 'our lives are just too busy,' we had a hard time finding space on our calendar for a camping trip on Hermit Island. Having returned from our week in Maine at the end of August and knowing we would be traveling to Unity for Common Ground, we really wanted to combine the camping trip with the fair. But there were classes and rehearsals and RiverSing to consider. How could we fit it all in?
As homeschoolers, we like to travel mid-week and off season. At a spot like Hermit Island, you just can't beat the chance to have the place to yourself. But all of our commitments were getting in the way! Oddly, we had a three day weekend completely free on the calendar. So instead of the crazy juggling we were going to have to do to go mid-week, we bit the bullet and hoped for the best.
We arrived at night, just as we had before. But this time we weren't as lucky. Every ocean front site (and many inland sites as well) was taken. After driving through every area, we finally found a site that had ocean access. No view to speak of, very open to the road, and it was right next to the public path to the beach. But twenty steps away? A gorgeous stretch of sandy beach. We weren't thrilled, but we took it.
And you know what? It was lovely. Because when one is that close to the ocean and falls asleep to the sound of pounding waves and can spend the entire day doing nothing other than gazing across the ocean and maybe counting a few boats, nothing else really matters. It's hard not to feel lucky. You'd really have to want to be miserable if you couldn't sink right in.
So... I learned a little lesson. I learned how to settle for good enough--nearly perfect. I work so hard towards perfection so often. I waste a lot of time when good enough is right there for the taking. This will be a journey for me, I'm sure, with much falling off the wagon up ahead. But I can try. So I will.
I had a little bit of a crisis last weekend. We had finally reached that part of our summer when we were free from commitments--no camps, no lessons, no appointments. I'd been looking forward to this since June, right after we came home from our trip! What could possibly go wrong? Well, I guess I froze. I'd been building up this time as our first chance to take a day trip, our first chance to do something active outdoors, our first chance to relax. The problem is that there are not that many activities that accomplish all of those goals and I couldn't think of a single one. The more time I spent thinking, the more anxious I became. The more anxious I became, the more time we lost to talking and thinking about what we were going to do.
Finally, I decided to go back to basics. We wanted to be outdoors. It was going to be a beautiful day. None of us wanted to feel rushed or hurried. So we chose a place we've been meaning to visit for many years, even though the kids had been there recently on a field trip. Even though we would not be visiting the museum on the property (which was one of the reasons we'd waited--for a time when we could do both) and we just got in the car and put all of that stuff behind us. And it was lovely. We took a nice, long walk along the water and in the woods. We found a few letterboxes. We peeked into the museum so I would know what to expect when we visit in earnest. And we stopped for ice cream on the way home. It was a perfect summer day--just what I was hoping for!