Friday, May 28, 2010

A Pink Saturday Celebration

It is a celebration day with Pink Saturday!  So I dug through some old celebratory photos:
















These pictures are from the annual Christmas Parade here in Williamsburg.  Yes, that is a PINK, Stretch Hummer, and sitting on top of it is the local Good Health Fairy.  No kidding.  This is our "Beyond Boobs" cancer survivor support group out in their pink reminding everyone to take good care of themselves.


I admire them for having such a good time celebrating their survivor-ship and for sharing the message too.  Don't they look like they are having a good time?


You can find out more about BEYOND BOOBS here


The following notes are from Beverly who hosts Pink Saturday


(oh and she has promised a give away in honor of the second birthday - go have a look: How Sweet the Sound )
This Pink Saturday, May 29 we will be celebrating the second birthday of Pink Saturday.  So, plan your birthday posts to visit for fellowship and fun.  I feel certain their will be lots of giveaways, pretty pink balloons and cake for everyone.


Pink Saturday is featured in the current issue of Artful Blogging in honor of the second birthday.  It is each of you that have made Pink Saturday special.


Did you know that at some point in time almost 800 different bloggers have participated in Pink Saturday?  Pretty amazing!

last day -

Today was my last day working as the assistant in the Mother's Day Out program in town.  I've spent my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings in the 2 & 3's class this school year.  My daughter Bitsy is also in the class. At times that was wonderful and at times it was challenging.

Anyway, today was my last day.  I am officially done.  I am glad and I am sad.  I loved my 'kids.'  All of them are so wonderful in so many complicated little two and three year old ways.  E- who is such a large kid I'm the only one who picks him up besides his momma.  Who wants me to write a marker smiley face on his hand for sitting on the potty even though he won't pee and who snuggles and hugs me when I add a heart and say "Miss Cailin loves you."  L- who is smart, articulate and struggling with all the power struggles smart three year olds encounter.  Faced with moving out of her old house and into a new one with mommy because mommy and daddy are divorcing she is quick to tears and anger.  She has been my baby bear for days, sitting in my lap for long hugs.  Another one who wants to be carried and has learned to manipulate her enviornment with her tantrums but knows that I will allow her a few minutes to express her anger and then say "it is time to stop yelling now."  And she listens.  X- who is a sweet darling bundle of a boy.  Who adores his momma and cried with such heartfelt sorrow that first day that it broke my heart until I realized that he adored "Cars."  On the playground he was Lightning McQueen and I was GuidoDisney Pixar Cars Character: Pit Crew Guido and he would race around the playground everyday and holler for a pit stop.  It was our connection and slowly it blossomed into a fabulous friendship.  I was almost in tears when I hugged him goodbye on Wednesday.

Today's class, Friday, is an interesting class.  We have 3 adopted kids that I know of.  One of the other kids has a dad who is working in another state so sometimes she sees him and often she doesn't.  So I brought in The Family Book by Todd Parr.  It is a really cool book, great illustrations and simple direct messaging.  I read while the kids eat snack.  Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don't.  Today they listened intently.  It was such a neat moment.  The head teacher, Miss D. put the book on her wish list for Mother's Day Out.  Every preschool ought to have a copy in my opinion.

There is another book I found myself recommending frequently to parents. It is my favorite parenting book. By Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I know my sisters would find it amusing that people actually listen to anything I say regarding toddlers, but funny enough, they do. And almost everybody who has ever read this book after I suggested it agrees, it is an amazing perspective.


I have a Bitsy on my lap. She took a late nap today and missed Korean Lessons. So now that I've processed a bit of my last day at school, I'm off to cuddle my Bitsy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Monday Morning, coffee and a book - Killer Angels

It is past my bedtime and I need to run along, but I wanted to go ahead and put this out there as it has been stirring around in my head.

My daughter read "Killer Angels" this year for school, 6th grade.  Having not read it and knowing it was about the battle of Gettysburg I decided I'd better read it in case we needed to discuss anything.  I mean, what if her favorite officer gets blown to bits or something?  It is a war novel.

My brother studied military history at the Air Force Academy so I had asked him what he thought.  "Excellent book." he replied, though he was surprised I was reading it.

This is a beautiful, beautiful book.  It was written by Michael Shaara in 1974, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for it.  He wrote it based on the letters of the men involved and portrays both the men of the Confederate Army and the men of the Union.  I find the Civil War fascinating, mostly because my parents were raised in New Jersey as was my husband.  I went to high school in Virginia, but missed Virginia history as I'd passed that year before we moved.  My brother did study Virginia history in high school and military history in college and he says that he would have fought with Lee.  That they were right.

At any rate I think this book is beautiful because it brings the reader into a terrible, horrible awful situation and offers you a glimpse at the humanity involved.  You are shown the Confederate Army without the Calvary and therefore without the necessary 'intelligence' to create a battle plan.  You are shown Longstreet, a man before his time as far as military strategy is concerned.  You are shown Lee, a gentleman first and foremost.  You meet Buford, possibly the Union's hero in this battle and yet someone I've never heard of.  You meet Chamberlain, of Bowdoin College Maine, who is a professor and academic and a brilliant soldier.

But what I truly loved about it was the Englishman.  Fremantle I think he was.  He was riding with Lee's camp and kept saying, "The Virginia's aren't American, they are English." I loved it because to me it rings true.  I moved to Virginia in 1987 from Las Vegas, Nevada.  Prior to that I had lived in a number of places as deemed by the United States Air Force.  But Virginia has its own little subculture that I think would make a fascinating anthropology thesis and it is summed up beautifully by our Englishman in "Killer Angels."  Interestingly, Longstreet seemed to believe it was what lead General Lee to Gettysburg when in Longstreet's view (according to the book) they should have withdrawn to Virginia.  There is much mention of Lee digging into a defensive position around Richmond and being called "The King of Spades" and after that Lee feeling that to be defensive was without honor and they needed to press.
I'm tired so perhaps I am talking in circles-
I love this book.  I love it because it helped me to connect to the deeper culture still here in Virginia where I am raising my children.
Please consider this book.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Its Pink alright..

well, last week I was thinking ahead.  I photographed some pink treasures, sort of a walk through childhood so to speak, but I have to be honest.

We adore nostalgia, romance and fairy tales and all around here,
but our pink this week has been of another sort...


yes, it is allergy season and how.  Everybody is a sneezing, wheezing, coughing mess this year.  So it has been a week of pink, pink benadryl, pink tylenol, pink ice pops (not too bad really) and pink books on the couch.

In the spirit of pink saturday hosted by Beverly

We'd like to offer these recommendations for the young pink lovers in your life:

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
we were introduced to Fancy Nancy through good friends.  Nancy is fabulous!  She adores accessories and all things French.  Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, the illustrations are so much fun.

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann
last year "Pinkalicious" was the favorite book of one of the kids in my preschool class.  She brought it in for us to read and I liked it so much I bought my own copy to take home.  My girls and even my boys, love this book.  The illustrations are fun and the story is silly.

This book came to us as a birthday present from our dear friend Sydney.  Also illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser and I love the queen!
  

and did you know?  Angelina Ballerina has her very own Wikipedia page!  Oh la la!
and her own PBS page! Angelina Ballerina on pbs.org

So if you are feeling sniffly, we recommend a nice cup of peppermint tea, a dose of benadryl, a pink blanky and a good book!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Morning, coffee and a book - The Help

I like this meme - I think I'm going to try to keep it going a bit.

Book Club opted to read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.  I took it with me on Spring Break - excellent choice.  At some point I became completely engrossed and sat in the bathroom in the condo reading until 2 or 3 AM because I needed to KNOW and I didn't want to wake up my husband.  That is my kind of book.

So lets see; the book jacket says: Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss.  She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy til Skeeter has a ring on her finger.  Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

The book has three voices, Skeeter's, Aibileen and Minny's.  Aibileen and Minny are both black women who work as "help" in white homes.  Skeeter, trying to figure out just what to do with herself since she didn't come home married, tries her hand at writing.  Okay, that is being a bit rough on my part, she wrote at school and she decides to try to give it a go as a profession.  She takes up the idea of writing a book about what it is like to be a black woman working for a white woman.  And that is what "The Help" is about, how Skeeter goes about writing this book and the events surrounding it.

I liked it.  My friend M said the general consensus at book club was that everybody liked it.  But I also thought it was a bit pretentious.  I mean, this is a book written by a white woman who grew up in Jackson Mississippi and she has endeavored to write two black voices.  Everyone in my book club is white.  My very articulate next door neighbor is a black woman who was a teacher here in Virginia in the 1960s.  She taught in segregated schools.  I would be very interested to hear her take on this book.  Because some how, I think if a book was written that actually had the voice of these women in might be a bit too gritty (to use M's word) for my all white book club to say they enjoyed it.  You know?  But regardless, it was a good read.  A very good read.  And thanks to Aibileen I find myself whispering into the ears of my preschoolers "Miss Cailin loves you.  You are good.  You are smart.  You are perfect."

aside:
I didn't make it to book club.  Tim was wrapping up to head out to SAPPHIRE/ASUG an SAP conference in Orlando and had a client dinner that night.  Apparently Tim and his team and the clients were at dinner at the same venue as my friends.  M sent him a beer.  So he got up and flirted with what he described as "a table of 8 hotties."  Apparently loving the opportunity to look like a big man infront of his team and clients.  LOVELY.  My husband is out playing ladies man with my book club while I look after children with the flu and do his laundry so he can pack and leave for Florida the next day.  And then S texted me as to how lucky I am.  Lucky?  Me?  Whose at book club and who is minding children may I ask?  But the man apparently talked about me in "glowing terms" and had everybody jealous, they all want my husband.  Hah!  And then to show off he bought them dinner.  No wonder they all just roll their eyes when I won't spend money.

Check it out.  I completely recommend it.

Showing off on a Blue Monday


I was hopping around visiting blogs the other night and happened upon a post that has stuck with me this past week.  The writer was describing her day, substituting at a school.  And she was in the art room that day and had the children making a craft and she said to a student something along the lines of "that is lovely your mother would like that for mother's day" or something to that effect.  And the student looked at her and said, "oh my mother wouldn't want this." and several other students agreed that their mothers wouldn't want anything they made at school.  And the writer was just so very saddened and so was I reading it.
And so,
I am taking this opportunity to show off my Mother's Day Gifts and a few other pieces that have been proudly presented to me over time:


Every day before snack the kids in M-Lyons preschool class say a thanks "may there always be sunshine, may there always be family, may there always be good friends, may there always be me" which I suppose isn't exactly thanks but it is a nice little saying and as the school isn't church run it allows for any differences in belief. At anyrate, for Mother's Day they collaborated on "May there always be Moms" and each child contributed a page. There were lots of "may there always be cars" and "may there always be spiderman" and some "flowers" my M-Lyons did "friends."

Dragon's teacher helped him put this card together:


Tiger's book mark is being used and isn't close by for a photo.


K made this lovely little box:


And just to be sure I've got my "blues" covered, here is a lovely collection of little offerings the children have given me.  They live in my kitchen:



I love my children's art.  I love the process they go through and the unconcious discovery and learning.  I've been thinking about offering pre-K art classes this summer...

Happy Blue Monday!  I am linked up to Blue Monday through Smiling Sally, she'd love it if you stopped by!

Friday, May 14, 2010

My First Pink Saturday - ooh la-la!


It is May and it is a glorious time for PINK! I noticed I tended towards pink in May starting in college - I went to a Northern Women's College - very serious about academics - and lost my sense of style up there somehow. Partly I think I spent all my money on art supplies and partly because I spent all my time either running or painting - so I lived in runners or jeans and a flannel shirt, and it was cold all the time - but still. And then suddenly it would be April and May and I would need pink. I even did a collage in Alexis Kuhr's Mixed Media class that included pink much to the dismay of fellow students!
At any rate- We've had my oldest daughter turning 12, and the table decked out in pink, and Mother's Day which brought about more pink, and I have two additional daughters and so there is so much lovely spring pink -
Let us begin with the rose bush. I have one rose bush outside in a wonderful Tuscan styled pot and it is just full of life and scented flowers this year! YAY!


and in honor of my oldest's birthday I sewed a pretty skirt- I have all sorts of bits of fabric downstairs waiting for me to pay it some attention.  This I bought for the same daughter years and years ago - and the 5 year old saw it and I agreed to make them matching skirts.  I lined it with some nice white cotton I had and then there was this white/silver sort of shiny stuff, and I thought it would make a nice edge to modernize it just a bit.  And I tried my hand at one of those fabric florets all over the clothes this season - I need a bit of practise but it wasn't too bad- and she was thrilled with her present.  She appreciates it when someone takes the time to create something for her and wore it to school immediately.

Her birthday was last week.  Today I was running around town and decided to stop into our favorite children's consignment shop "Sugar and Spice" and see if I could find a pretty top for her to pair with the skirt.  I found a darling spring sweater, and two pairs of shorts long enough for her to wear them to school, and a long sleeved but breezy top for over her strappy blouses and (this is the best part) I had over $100.00 on account from the items I had consigned from before Easter.  So I got all those plus 2 dresses each for the little girls and a pair of shorts for Dragon without spending a dime.  YES!
the little girls decided it would be fun to model their new dresses for you...
This one has smocked bunnies on it and was 1/2 off!  So charming!
and here are my three younger ones, Bitsy in the middle modeling her new dress and Dragon with his new shorts...
Happy Pink Saturday - and thanks for stopping by!  Head on over to Bev's blog, and visit Pink Saturday

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

afternoon at the marina, james river

The stomach flu has struck the local.  Oh joy.  We spent yesterday home as Dragon was running a high temperature and not keeping down foods.  He is not really eating today, just tea and saltines, but he is doing a little better so I took him and M-Lyons and Bitsy to the Marina in our neighborhood.  They played in the sand along the river and the dog chased ducks and I pulled out my pastels.  I haven't done much work in the last 5 years and found myself enjoying the application of color to paper and the thick, creamy texture.  I believe my teachers from school would have said "I was seduced by the medium" and perhaps I was; I have never been exactly sure why this is a bad thing.
The Marina is one of my more favorite places to play with pastels.  River fronts abound in this part of Virginia.  We are between the James River and the York River and I used to get out and sketch scenes from both regularly.  Here is one from 2004 that happened to be in this sketch book, I think it is one of the 'beaches' along the Colonial Parkway:
And it is "OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY" over there at a Southern Daydreamer. So I'm playing along!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nine - and a bit of a rant

So I'm breaking with my usual writing and I'm throwing in a total rant- rant- rant- rant as I type away with my cup of hot chocolate and pout.  Last fall I went to see "The Blind Side" in the theater with some girls.  I saw a preview for "Nine."  


Oh.  


Breathless.  


I mentioned to my friend that I wanted to see it for my 38th birthday - during Winter Holidays in December.  She and I and our husbands all discussed this at the preschool auction in November.  My husband planned our Disney trip to end the day before my birthday and on my birthday I was pretty much worn out.  No movie.  I tried to arrange with said friend to go see it in January and she said, "oh the guys are in charge of picking the night and arranging babysitting."  hah.  No go.
I emailed my husband this week.  I mentioned that "Nine" was coming out on DVD this week and that I'd like it, maybe for a mother's day present?
I get in from fetching my oldest from her band trip at Kings Dominion this evening and he is in his media room watching previews on Apple T.V.  He shows me that Leap Year or Leap Day or Leap something is out.  I say to him, "you know the waterfall that the ass wouldn't take his wife to see?  Let me show you the waterfall."  (That waterfall and ass bit is from the movie Couples Retreat which we both enjoyed) And I click on the preview for "Nine."  He says, "what is Nine?"  and we watch the preview.  He says "when did this come out?"  At which point I threw the remote at him and left the room.
I guess I will be buying it for myself. 
(And no, it isn't that he doesn't want to see it.  He likes Nicole Kidman.  He likes musicals.  He loved Chicago.  He loved Mulan Rouge.  He sings along with Barbie in the Island Princess for crying out loud!  He simply wasn't listening, at all.  And he doesn't know why I am upset.)






How frustrating, I cannot find an embed code to show you the trailer in case you haven't seen it.  So you'll have to follow the link... here


The day wasn't a total wash though, I got the younger two girls and myself off to the ball park on time. YES! I was to bring the team their snacks and keep the boys organized and in batting order during the game. As that man in the dog house had to work in the AM, Tiger did an excellent job as big brother and keeping track of his sisters while I kept track of Dragon's baseball team. And while our team was fielding the other team hit a foul ball over the fence behind the batter and right to me. I caught it! I'm not a ball player people, it is a stinking big deal that I caught that ball and didn't embarrass myself or my son. And then we marched over to Tiger's soccer game where he scored a goal and made a save. Go Tiger. He is quite the soccer player.

I think I'm going to have another cup of hot chocolate, maybe with schnapps in it, and begin reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" which I just borrowed from my friend Gina up the street.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Badajoz Spain, a few memories

Well that last post got me thinking about Spain a bit.  I was 9 when we moved to the city of Badajoz, Extremadura.  For anybody who isn't too familiar with the geography: get a mental image of Spain.  To the West is Portugal and  to the South is the Straight of Gibraltar.  Badajoz is fairly close to Portugal in the Southern part of the country in the province above Andalucia where Sevilla (Seville) is.  Here is a link regarding Badajoz
I need to find you a map.

Anyway... we moved there when I was 9.  We spent months living in The Hotel Lisboa just across the bridge from the original city of Badajoz.  Eventually we moved to an apartment on a street that I think was called Ramon & Cajal.  It faced the river.  Just outside our apartment was the bridge, and there was actually an ancient stone structure, like a guard tower, adjacent to the bridge and there were city walls.  Wow, I need to find pictures of all of that too...
You have to figure, most strutures in the United States are at most 300 years old.  In Spain there were aquaducts that went back to the Roman Empire.  Totally mind blowing... I played tag in Roman Ruins.  Seriously.  (okay having just read a bit about Badajoz, maybe they weren't Roman Ruins, maybe they were Moorish Ruins.  Some of them did have what looked like catacombs... )

We were there on a military exchange or some such thing.  My dad was working with a Spanish Fighter Squadron of the Spanish Air Force.  Normally when a US military family is sent overseas they are sent to a base operated by US forces.  Dad's US contacts, suprior officers were close to the Navy Base 'Rota,' which was about a 5 hour car ride south (if I remember correctly.)  Rota was not too far from Sevilla and we were able to partake in the "Ferria de Sevilla." twice.  This picture is from the first summer.  The second summer my mother made me a fabulous dress with pink polka dots all over it and I wore that, and danced.  But I only knew the first bit of the dance-

This is one of my favorite photos of my dad.  I have no real idea what he was doing.  Goofing off I think.  I have a vague memory of families from the Squadron spending a day out en el campo, and some one decided this young bull needed practice.  So in they went to practice with this fella.  And that is my dad (Ross E. Mulhare), bull fighting in Spain.

I met my friend Monica while in Spain.  She lived in the same apartment building and went to the same school, although she was a little older.  She is an artist.  She was then too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pippy Longstockings and border guards

I was thinking today that I need to spend some time pulling paperwork together and reapply for a passport for Dragon.  I had gotten the other kids passports in 2007 when Tim and K-Bear went to Korea to fetch Bitsy and bring her home.  Dragon's application got kicked back.  I missed a piece of paper in there someplace.  Anyway, I want to get it done.  Citizenship is sort of an iffy thing.  Supposedly there was a law passed in 2000 that a child adopted by U.S. Citizens was automatically afforded citizenship- but there are some questions about that.  Apparently in situations where the child is adopted prior to travel this is true, but as my children traveled and were wards of the agency for 6 months it isn't as straight forward.  So I want the passport in hand to avoid any questions when traveling.

Anyway - thinking about all this got me to thinking about my first passport.  I was 7 years old I think.  My front two teeth had fallen out and the super-sized news ones had about half grown into the open space, crooked.  I was brown from summer sun and my mother put my hair (bleached out again from the sun) into two pig tails on either side.  And for some unfair reason, my childhood smile included raised eyebrows.  So here I was, with out proper teeth, smiling a huge smile with eyebrows up to my hair line and my hair in pig tails.  I looked like Pippy Longstockings.

We'd gotten the passports initially to go to the Philippines.  Then the Air Force changed dad's assignment and we went to Spain instead.  We were in Spain about 1 and 1/2 years and then it was onto Germany (West Germany at the time) for 3 years.  My parents were thrilled to be spending all that time in Europe and made the most of it.  We traveled all around Spain and Portugal.  A little in France.  All over Germany, into Luxembourg and Belgium and Holland and took the ferry into Scandinavia.  Every time they handed over our passports at a border they would watch and try to guess when the attendant found mine.  It was almost always obvious.  They'd see that god awful photo, try not to smile, and take a quick peek into the car to see which one of us it was.  As I got older the women looked embarrassed for me and the men looked highly amused.  I wonder where that passport is now?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning, coffee and a book

While visiting my grandparents I scooped up "Chasing Harry Winston" by Lauren Weisberger off the coffee table. Lauren Weisberger wrote "The Devil Wears Prada" which I don't think I read but I adored the movie. She has also written "Everyone worth Knowing" which I like just because of the title. Anyway, "Chasing Harry Winston" was likely left by one of my rather fashionable college aged cousins or one of my Aunties. The book was described by The Baltiore Sun as "The quintessential beach read," and I completely agree. It was a perfect airplane read, and kept me entertained through delayed flight due to thunder and sitting on the ground waiting to disembark at the destination.

I love summer reading, somehow reading wonderful chic books just goes well with sunshine. I enjoyed the characters although I didn't find myself getting terribly wrapped up in them. But I cheered as Emmy, wrapped in cashmere kicked the jerk out, and was happy for Leigh when it worked out well in the end. I adored Adriana, the spoiled, rich, Brazilian.

Its a good book, perfect for the pool or the beach and not so engrossing or heady that you'll forget to look up everynow and then to make sure your precious children haven't drowned or wandered off.

Reposting a Giveaway - these books look good

Over at "Outnumbered 3 to 1" there is a bloggy book giveaway. I'm a book person and I'll admit to being a bit picky, but these look rather good to me.

The author is Joshilyn Jackson. She has written a few books

 and this is the about: The Short Version: New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson lives in Georgia with her husband, their two children, and way too many feckless animals. Her debut, gods in Alabama, won SIBA's 2005 Novel of the year Award and was a #1 BookSense pick. Jackson won Georgia Author of the Year for her second novel, Between, Georgia, which also a #1 BookSense pick, making Jackson the first author in BookSense history to receive #1 status in back to back years. Her third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, was a Break Out book at Target and has been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. All three books were chosen for the Books-A-Million Book Club.
Head on over to Outnumbered 3 to 1 and check it all out!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Girls Day Out

My oldest turns 12 yrs old this week!  OMG!

I just have to sit and stare at that for a minute.




So today, in honor of the up coming birthday, I took her and two friends out for pedicures and manicures and then off to "The Carrot Tree" for a fabulous lunch and desert.  She needed shoes so on the way home we stopped in at Target and found a very cute pair marked down to $10.00 and she and her friends had a fabulous time trying on all sorts of ridiculous heels and wedges and marching up and down the aisle in them.  We headed over to accesories and once again they were oggling over rings and earings and hats.  Mine is a very serious one, always careful not to misbehave, so I wandered away and let her get silly with her friends.  They couldn't get her to over do it though...


Now we are all back at the house and they are in the basement watching "Avatar."