Thursday, October 29, 2009
Medieval Cookery. I poked around a bit, but nothing really grabbed me. Instead, I made sweet potato and apple tzimmes.
Tzimmes is a very old and traditional dish for Rosh Hashanah and has been around in some form or another since at least medieval times. Since it was for a big crowd I ended up doubling my recipe. I didn't want to run out and I could always take the leftovers home.
Nate and a few of his friends created a game and holiday information booth. They (though really it was just Nate stuck at the table) had a few games set up like chess, backgammon, Fox and Geese, and bocce ball. He was very happy to run through his speech when he had his rare visitor. And it wasn't his fault that his booth didn't attract a whole lot of notice. Bocce ball was popular but he was competing against jousting.
Then again what do I know.
It was, however a fun afternoon. The kids enjoyed the food, I got bring back a little less than half of my tzimmes (woo-hoo, part of dinner is done!), and I even learned a little bit about life in medieval times.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
One of the things they have been studying this year is heraldic coats of arms. They learned about the meaning of each and every aspect, from color to what the different images mean. Nate was intrigued by the whole thing and asked if my family had one. I was able to show him not just one, but three different ones. Sometimes there is an advantage to be of UK origins.
Which of course leads us to Nate's Coat of Arms. The students were assigned the task of developing their own coat of arms using all that they have learned so far. They also had to write an essay about their design and why they chose the element they did. The assignment was due this past Monday and it was pretty much what Nate did this weekend. He had the whole thing planned out about a week ago, we just needed the time to pull it all together.
My Coat of Arms
Clang! Smash! Cling! In the heat of battle, vibrantly colored shields help protect and identify knights. It was near impossible to till the difference between men in their suites of armor, so their solution was to paint something personal on their shield. They named it a Coat of Arms, which soon was used to identify royalty, and families. Soon everybody had one including some peasants, because very few people could read, plus they were fashionable. Even though there are a lot more facts about the Coat of Arms to write about the Coat of Arms I created.
My edged shaped shield incorporates the pall decision’s design on the front. The raguly heraldic lines represent difficulties I’ve encountered, like learning how to bike. I selected the color blue to represent truth and loyalty. It reflects me because I am loyal to my friends and family and I try to be truthful one hundred percent of the time. White stands for peace and sincerity. I try to be peaceful, and solve things with words. I’m also sincere about everything I say. Maroon resembles patient yet victorious in battle. I’m patient but I always get everything done that I do.
The caduceus represents balance of two items or subjects, and has a medical interest or occupation. That resembles me for I’m great at balancing two projects, and I want to be a Biological engineer when I grow up. The falcon stands for not giving up until finished. I definitely never give up, and I always finish a project even if I don’t do it on time I still get it done. A peon or spear head shows being ready for challenges. It reflects me for I usually am ready for tests and things like that.
The Coats of Arms has helped identify people and places, and has even be come fashionable proving to be very useful Doing what I did on this project has taught me a lot on the subject of Coats of Arms and I hope I’ve taught you something too.
The hardest part was the two falcons. Nate was very nervous about how he was going to make them. We ended up finding an image of a falcon in flight and used it as a guide. You can see what I printed out for him in the picture here of the shield in progress. We found the image and I flipped it to create the two mirror images. I lightly penciled an outline on the shield to act as a guide and Nate painted the birds.
They came out fantastically well. He was extremely proud of his creations and I am too. It really is his work. After I made the rough sketch I walked away. I know I do a better job when there is nobody around and it is his project and not mine. The color selection and brush stroke patterns are his work and his work alone.
So my hat's off to you Mr. Nate.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
It was far warmer than last weekend, but still we had the gun metal gray skies overhead. I got Max and Rebecca fed, dressed and at the picture spot roughly on time. Well I was 10 minutes later than the coach requested, but a good 15 minutes before out actual time slot. I didn't knock myself out because I had a gut feeling that the pictures were not going to happen.
And I was right.
We then hung around for a bit for our scheduled game. After about 45 minutes and no real change in the number of players our coach threw in the towel. Five players are needed to be on the field and we only had four.
Jake's team had far better luck. Most of his team mates showed up and they were able to play, even though the heavens opened up with a deluge of rain. I was able to stay nice in dry by having Larry back up to the field. All I had to do was lift up the back hatch and flip over the seat- instant seat bench. Definitely one of the nicer aspects of having a minivan.
Meryl joined me in the back and we had a great time watching the game. Max, Rebecca and Nate entertained themselves by playing in the adjacent field and getting completely soaked.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This is my first load, it came to only ten pumpkins. That was all I could safely cram into my shopping cart. All totaled I usually end up getting 18.
I wait and wait, biding my time as Halloween nears. I refuse to pay the high prices at the start of October and the dang things rot if you buy them too soon. The children start to get antsy come mid-October, but I tell them not until the last week and certainly not before a certain dynamic duo's birthday.
This year it's been a bit tricky, I haven't noticed the big bins of pumpkins at my regular haunts. I had to go a little further afield and pay a little more than I would have liked. But they had dropped in price by a dollar, so my annual game of chicken is working out.
So there was a great deal of celebration when they came home from school and saw the pumpkins arrayed on the front steps. The rest of the week I'll be stalking down the remaining eight and seeing how low the prices will go.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I was able to dig up the outfit he came home in from the hospital and the the very first hat the hospital staff placed on his head. What was particularly nice was that I had found pictures to go with a fair amount of Nate's big first time events, including his first Halloween.
He was just eleven days shy of his first birthday, but he had been walking for quite some time. We reused Jake's first costume for Nate, a cute little dinosaur/dragon. Jake, at all of four years of age, was in his rhinoceros costume. The two of them were utterly adorable together, the rhino and the dino. I have a fair number of pictures of them seated together, but this is one of my favorites, the two of them toddling off across the lawn.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I bought this plant way back in June for Jake's Bar Mitzvah. I loved the colors and as an added bonus it was labeled "water wise."
And boy they were not kidding.
I think I only watered them two, maybe three times this summer. They just kept on blooming. The plants are starting to look a bit seedy now and the blooms aren't nearly as profuse, but I certainly got my money's worth.
It will be interesting to see how they fair this winter. I'm hoping for the best, but I won't be surprised if they go belly up. Either way, I'm buying these again.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Interestingly enough he was just talking to me today about our trip to the Outer Banks. He loved having the beach so close by and he wants to go again. It was fun being able to play in the waves and build sand castles as the mood struck.
It looks cold in the picture, I could have warmed it up, but it was cloudy and fairly early in the morning. I try to resist doing too much to my pictures. It's tempting to keep tweaking the picture to make it better, then ultimately the heart of the picture is lost. But that is just my opinion, of course sometimes a picture just begs to be played with.
Anyway this is not about me and my pictures, but Max and his.
I found it stuck inside his folder today while looking through his backpack for any handouts. It is hard to tell from the picture, but it is a series of pages you flip up. Each page gets progressively larger as you go through the book. The book itself defines all sorts of weather related terminology. From blizzard on down to wind, it is all neatly defined with a small illustration accompanying the text.
I love Max's spare little drawings. Rebecca would have drawn things in a much bolder fashion, but that is not Max.
I think Max did a terrific job.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
They love to wrestle each other under my feet, odd noises emanating from them as they try to flip each other over and suck on each others' ears. Then they are off for, what is to them, a well earned nap.
When they go outside one will wait for the other before going down the short staircase to the lawn. I'll see then stop at the top of the stairs looking back towards the other as though to say "Come on! Lets go!" Of course all bets are off if they spy a squirrel or a deer in the backyard. Then it's a pell-mell race to get to the intruder, barking all the while.
Mind you it's not all sunshine and roses.
But most of the time you can find them nosing about the lawn together, perfectly content to just be in the now.
Like today. After a week of nasty cold, wet weather we had our second sunny day in a row. It was glorious outside and the boys enjoyed the sunshine while I tried to find something colorful and autumnal to photograph.
The leaves were a bust (which wasn't too big a surprise), but then I looked at the dogs. At first both were looking at me as I got down to take their picture. Then something grabbed their individual attention and I got this fun series of pictures of them looking in opposite directions. Normally they will look in the same direction, but not this time. I'm just glad I caught them in the act.
Monday, October 19, 2009
It was a long day and I'm bushed. We ran the gamut from a dental appointment, to soccer practice, and a football game. Of course they were spread out all over the county, but the timing worked out just fine, I was on time if not a bit early for each event.
Tomorrow I have a lighter load and hopefully I will have a bit more pep at days end.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Instead of cake for breakfast they had to settle for brownies I had made earlier in the week. I did not bring in the planned sugar cookies to share with the classmates. I decided I needed to kept my germy self at home and not serve up a batch of scratch made sugar cookies with a touch of H1N1. Instead we'll make them this coming week.
Admittedly I was feeling much better on Thursday, but I was still not well enough to bake them a cake. So Larry and I stopped by a local ice cream shop and picked up a basic 6" round ice cream cake. We got lucky with our timing and the girl behind the counter was able to pipe their names on top.
Their joint party was today.
We have gotten this twin party down to a science. Max invites a bunch of boys and Rebecca invites some girls. We tried to invite their soccer team, but between my being ill and there being no practice or games since the Friday before last we were only able to get one teammate.
For the most part the kids separate out with the boys hanging with the boys and the girls sticking together and that is the way it should be. We try to avoid double invites because I feel kind of bad when parents have to come up with presents for two kids. Mind you we do have a few exceptions. One of the boys invited rides the same bus with the dynamic duo and brought presents for both of them.
As always it was a huge hit with our guests.
The girls did not spend much time in the bouncy tent, but that was understandable considering the how very very active the boys are. Instead they hung around indoors both downstairs and that was fine with me.
About halfway through the party, we decided to was time for our big activity, cup cake decoration. This was such a bit hit last year that we decided to bring it back this year. The kids loved getting to decide chocolate or vanilla frosting and picking out which of the sugar pieces to use. Throw in some sprinkles and you've got yourself a party.
And that is exactly what we got. In fact everyone was having so much fun, nobody wanted to go home. The hallmark of a really good party.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tonight we celebrated Max and Rebecca's arrival in the world with dinner out at the restaurant of their choosing. We all had a good time and after wards we had an ice cream cake at home. This weekend we will have their actual party, but that's enough about them now. I'll write about their birthday party next week. Instead I'm sharing with y'all a bit about way back then.
I had already been down this road before, but it was the first time carrying twins and that made all the difference.
As twin pregnancies go, mine was text book and very easy. At the end of pretty much all my appointments my OB would declare me boring and send me home. I kept myself well hydrated, which prevented the dreaded swollen ankles and pre-term labor. From the front I looked like another other pregnant women. But from the side...
I was huge. I carried them straight out in front of me. From about six months on I was endlessly amused when I was out and about from the audible reactions. At first people would ask if I was due very soon, they would gasp when I would airily reply that a still had a few couple of months to go. As my due date drew near I grew larger and larger, strangers quickly cottoned on that I was carrying twins.
During the last month of my pregnancy we had all sorts of family members stay with us to help me out. The funniest moment was when I drove my brother to the airport. He had extended his stay with us and needed to get his ticket reissued. I tagged along in case he needed any extra cash. As I waddled up to the check in desk and the strained smiles turned my way very clearly told me that they did not want me to board their planes. There was an almost audible sigh when I declared my intention was not to fly, but to help straighten out my brother's ticket.
They were born on a Monday and my OB gave a little cheer when I showed up right on time. She thought I wasn't going to make it through the weekend. And it turned out it was a close thing indeed. I was 5 cm dilated before anything was done. Clearly Max and Rebecca were getting evicted that day.
And come they did. They both had full heads of hair, black for Rebecca and blond for Max. Ironically Rebecca had the longer hair- a punkish little hairdo. While Max, ever he good boy, had a far more conservative mop that ended neatly just above his shirt collar.
Happy birthday my littlest ones, it has been a very fun filled eight years and I wish you many more.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Jake is, yet again, taking band and one of the courses requirements are attending outside activities. As a result I'm always on the look out for something a little bit different that is, ideally, free. The Richmond Folk Festival this past weekend certainly filled the bill.
Together we poured over the list of performers, listening to music samples and reading the short bios. I wanted to listen to some Zydeco, but Jake wasn't at all interested. Instead he wanted to go see Bob French's Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. Jake loves Jazz, but I pointed out to him that he has written quite a few papers on Jazz performances already and it would be a good idea to branch out into other musical genres. So in the end we settled on Jorge Negron’s Master Bomba Ensemble. And by happy accident it turned out the Jazz band would be appearing on the same stage after wards.
So I present to you this week's artist- Jorge Negron’s Master Bomba Ensemble:
They were great fun. What was really nice about their performance was that the group realized that to some extent this was an educational experience. Mr. Negron explained in between songs the differences in style and where each style originated in Puerto Rico.
I really enjoyed the interplay between the drummers and the dancers. It is one of the very few musical forms where the dancer calls the shots. The infectious rhythms of the drums, the graceful motions of the dancers (both male and female) and the blending of the voices result in a wonderful audio and visual experience.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I love Edward Gorey, his drawings are beautiful and the accompanying texts are wonderfully twisted and lyrical. I've read one description of his writings as Dr. Seuss for grownups. He dark and demented humor is not to every one's taste, but I adore his books. There is a wonderful meter that somehow presents the most macabre stories in a cheerful tone.
One of my all time favorite stories is the "Ghastlycrumb Tinies" in Amphigorey, a strange tale of children meeting their respective doom alphabetically. I read it to Nate and he was delighted. Jake stopped by and wanted to know what was going on so I handed him Amphigorey Too. When I last checked they were happily paging through the two books.
Max and Rebecca are far too young for these books, but the older two are ready. Now they will learn where mommy gets her sometimes dark sense of humor.
Monday, October 12, 2009
At Costco today they had some lovely looking raspberries. They smelt luscious and I just had to bring them home.
A few days ago I baked some long promised brownies for the kids. They love my brownies which are dense, a little bit gooey and oh so yummy.
Together, with the help of a bit of heavy cream, they made a lovely little dessert. I'd offer to share, but I don't think I can spare one bite.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
He immediately bounced back from strep throat and had just finished his antibiotics on Wednesday. Everything seemed to be just ducky.
But his good health was short lived.
He seemed a bit under the weather yesterday, but I put it down to late night homework and football practice. He did seem a bit more easily upset than normal. He was able to go off to school and I really did think much about how he was feeling. There were no obvious signs of distress and he didn't say a single thing. However it was a very sick boy that dragged himself home.
So after dinner we made our way to the local walk-in clinic to get his nose swabbed. We got the same Doctor that Jake had two weeks ago and, as an added bonus, the other Doc was the mother of one of Nate's classmates. I got the full dish on what was going on in school and the flu. It turns out a fair number of kids have it and it is almost a matter of time.
At least we caught it early and it looks like he didn't get it from his brother, but from school.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
I drove Larry's car the other day and this song popped up on the iPod wired to the sound system. Since then it has been rattling around in my brain.
I have been dimly aware of Leonard Cohen, but this song really opened my eyes. I find it to be utterly sublime and it makes me weak in the knees.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
The picture of her is from our trip to the outer banks. We spent most of our time on the beach in the morning hours, which was great from a photographic stand point. I loved the lighting then, the tips of the waves would sparkle without the hard flat glare in the afternoon that washed everything out.
The pose she struck was utterly unconscious of the camera. I think I was just hitting the beach and she didn't know I was there. She is so naturally graceful as she played in the wash of the surf. Her subject matter is also something that can dance gracefully in the ocean.
The Rainbow Fish. A book I'm positive she has been exposed to at least once in school. The colors are similar, but that might just be coincidence, pink, purple and blue are Rebecca's favorite colors.
Her fish is a bit stouter with much smaller fins, but is none the less cute.
But that's not all.
The little fish has a bit of a surprise.
You can see how the tail of the fish has become the ice cream bowl. What I particularly like about the project is how well the colors work. As I already mentioned, purple and blue are among her favorites, they also work well in depicting glassware. The striations of the tail fin dovetail neatly with the base of the glassware.
Rebecca had noticed I had her picture out today and was obviously very pleased and proud of her creation. I think justifiably so.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
She hated practice and would only participate if I threatened to withhold the post game snack from her. Games at best were grudgingly attended. She was only in it for the snacks.
One time she decided, while on the field, that she was done. As she stood there, arms folded across her chest, the ball came to rest by her feet. She ignored it. Ultimately another child came by and booted the ball away.
We had her sit out a season, there was no sense signing her up if she didn't want to play. She still had to go to all of her brother's practices, sitting on the sidelines nearly bored to tears. As she watched them play and attended the end of the season parties she started to change her mind.
Now she is a little go getter on the field, running to get the ball and not at all afraid to get into the thick of things. She is turning into a fairly good defensive player and goalie. She still doesn't like practice, but now she is having fun during the games.
Monday, October 05, 2009
moar funny pictures
Over at AMCGLTD Scott linked to an amazing story about a polar bear that decided to pop in for a visit.
The pictures are incredible and you really get a sense of exactly how big those bad boys are. And just for the heck of it I threw in a caption for Scott.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
The kids love to climb inside and hide. The cushions are on the top layer and make for a cozy little spot. The only rule I have about the box is that you can not trap anybody or anything inside.
Today Rebecca and Nate decided that Dell had to join them in the box. At first Dell was on his back and all you could see were four paws and a snoot. He was very happy to be inside the box and the center of attention. It was so utterly charming I had to get my camera.
Of course my getting up and going inside perturbed Dell and he was no longer paws up when I returned. But, it still made for a very cute picture.
Friday, October 02, 2009
Larry found this and sent it along to me and the kids.
I love it. I always been a fan of They Might Be Giants and this is so delightfully nerdy.
My inner geek is dancing along.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I found Rebecca sound asleep on the couch, I didn't even see her when she came downstairs. She must have been woken up bythe noise from all the rain. I thought she looked so cute there asleep on the couch, I just had to take a picture before I carried her back upstairs.
I was really pushing the limits of the camera's natural light setting, but I did not want to use the flash or turn on any more lights. I improvised a tripod and gave it a go. I'm pretty pleased with the resulting photo. It's fairly grainy, but I think it adds to the feel of the picture.