Monthly Archives: February 2009

Advance Australia Fair

Last week Emma Kate and I worked on a Geography project. She was initially assigned to Austria, but taking matters into her own hands, she reminded the teacher that Austria really sounded a LOT like AustRALIA . . . “where my Mom is from!” Her teacher asked her if she’d rather study Australia and Emma enthusiastically agreed. I felt like I hit the 1st grade geography project jackpot — how easy was this gonna be? Emma and I spent a week looking through old photographs and then reading several of the childrens’ books we have on various animals native to Australia. I was impressed that she not only knew where to find these books on the shelf but had apparently found other books (novels) that mentioned Australia and read those too. The child definitely knows how to research. We put the poster board together and she proudly toted it off to school for her presentation — naturally she scored a 100% (that’s my girl! 😉 

Today we brought the posters home again and Spencer was looking it over while Emma gave her presentation to the captive sibling audience yet again. At the end of it Hanna said “wow, that picture of the bridge sure is pretty.” And Spencer said,”So what is that? A Sea Pig?”

For anyone who feels compelled to sponsor a trip, no donation is too small.

Is it just me?

So we take the kids to pick out their valentine’s day treats (that is, treats that they would purchase with their valentine’s day money from the grandparents).   During a recent movie, my beloved wife informed me that I would need to come up to speed on the Jonas Brothers as well as “Camp Rock” as the girls knew about it and would be into it.

Upon separating into two teams – girls with dad, boy with mom – to pick out toys, the girls and I made our way to the girly toy section.  Whilst there I decided to take a look at the ‘camp rock’ toys.  What I saw did not impress me.

You be the judge of the blurry pics below, but this is exactly what I saw.

Wait a second.

What does that say?

What in the name… of all that is holy….

Kids, forget Camp Rock.  Let’s look at the barbie dolls, shall we?

Not to be outdone….

Wait a minute.  What does that say?

Score one for Women’s Equal Opportunity.

That’s it, kids.  Valentine’s is officially over.  You can buy a loaf of bread with your goods.

Actually they bought some other toys that Daddy did not freak out about.

So I ask again, is it just me?

If you have a small boy in your house

chances are you have a box that looks something like this:

For further insight into my life, simply analyze the contents of this box. It pretty much says it all. And yes, those are super hero glasses in there with the light sabers, the wall-e robots and the lego ships (I believe the 4-seater one was actually designed by Emma — she’s a dark horse in the world of lego design).

American Girls meet Valentine Chic

I realized 2 things the other day —

1. If my girls were ever going to have any outfits for their American Girl dolls (other than the 1 change of clothes they currently own) I needed to find a way to circumvent the $25 – $45 price-tag associated with AG couture.

2. Anything I sew for my girls can be miniaturized with some creativity and little to no up-front expense.

A quick trip to the AG website confirmed that they missed a surprisingly obvious money-making opportunity and did not release a “valentine outfit” per se (although there were several deemed perfect for valentine luncheons). Our bank account thanked them and I opened my cabinet of fabric leftovers to see what treasures I could find within.

Here is the result . . .

The girls were very happy with their “2-of-a-kind” creations and I had so much fun with it that I’m already planning their easter dresses. I have so many pieces of material left over from the things I’ve made the girls over the years, I think I could dress these dolls to the runways of Milan and back again . . . or something.

I should add, Spencer was equally enamoured with his gift and although it required little creativity on my part, he is a boy and was not at all hung-up on the fact that I didn’t sew him a Mario figurine or hot wheels car. He did, however, insist on equal billing at the Valentine’s Day photo shoot.

What did they learn today?

For those who do not know, I sometimes adjunct teach – CIS 101 – basically intro to Microsoft Office.  Each semester yields a new set of students, a new set of challenges, and of course a new set of headaches.  But in the end it is generally worth it.

I am always interested in the final exam – specifically because I make it a ‘What have you learned’ essay. . . and I usually find myself laughing and/or crying at the results.

Here are just a few highlights of the latest class. . .(Some are Power Point slides, some are pics from a Word doc)

Yes, I learn them have to do it.

As you can see, I am rather strict in my views as a professor.

You aren’t the only one glad it’s over. . .

It really is THAT bad.

A LOT of prayer going on in that class.  A LOT of prayer.

And finally , an excerpt from a Word portion of the test:

Thankfully the last sentence saved that particular paper.  Fortunately for my students I am only an English minor, so I don’t get to count off for those mistakes.  (Sigh)

When I was your age . . .

Last week, on the way home from school, my oldest started yet another round of the game I’ve come to view with both humor and dread — I like to call it “Mom, how old were you when . . .” (Can you see why the mere title is enough to strike fear into the souls of parents everywhere?)

The item in question this time around was none other than the elusive cell phone, although you could insert almost any topic of tween relevance (if that concept doesn’t make your head explode) in it’s place. The “when can I” topics can range from the expected (ear piercing) to the hilarious (drinking coffee) to the downright terrifying (dating!) and the conversations typically go something like this one did:

Hanna: So mom, when can I (insert subject for today . . .) get a cell phone.

Me: When it’s either necessary or you can pay for it yourself — and by IT, I mean the phone bill — whichever comes first.

Hanna: There are some kids in my class with a cell phone.

Me: That’s nice. (note: I happen to know there is ONE and considering she is 8 and has an IPhone, I’m fairly confident we hold vastly differing parenting viewpoints.)

Hanna: I wish I could have one now.


Hanna: Mom, how old were you when YOU first got a cell phone?

Me: (smug smile) When I got married.

*silence . . . & tumbleweed*

Hanna: Oh.

One day when I feel guilty I might tell her it’s because we didn’t actually have cell phones back then “when I was her age,” possibly followed by a story about walking to school barefoot in the snow — but we’ll see.

What have you made today?

One of my sewing friends recently drew my attention to the fact that we both have a pile of unsewn material.


No, actually it was more of a realization that we can’t justify buying any MORE fabric until we actually sew what we already have. So to that end, I present my most recent completed projects . . . more to follow . . . I hope.

I’m currently working on about 3 more projects — it’s now become a race against time to get them sewn before the kids outgrow them!!

You would think . . .

So last week I took it upon myself to pick up the kids from school as my bride was not feeling well.

I too was suffering from a bit of a headache and just the typical irritations one acquires during temperature fluctuations and the like, so upon picking up the kids I informed them that it needed to be very quiet in the car, and that the 327th question asked in the space of about 2 minutes was the last question that was to be asked of me until we arrived safely at our destination.

What they did not know was that I had a secondary mission to deliver a rather large sum of money to the dance studio as a costume deposit, which necessitated an alternative route to the homestead.

It wasn’t until we were WELL off the beaten path that the conversation that picked up between the three travelers behind me.

“Hey look at those houses – man those are big – and new too.”

“Wait a minute…”

“We aren’t supposed to go this way….”

“Maybe dad went the wrong way….”

“Well he SHOULD know where he’s going…”

“Maybe he forgot….”

“Wait… this is the way to dance…”

So much for the no questions request.