We kicked off Spring Break on Friday with a trip to the movies with Grammy.  We shared popcorn and saw previews for upcoming movies. I think out of all of them, The Jungle Book looks scary and sweet.DSC02739I must say this is the first animated movie in a long time that I liked. We …all three generations…of us could like this, at all different levels. And for me the pro-girl (female bunny character), urban (train rides and hamster tubes) and rural (carrot farmers) setting, arctic shrew mobster guarded by polar bears, and the “free spirited” hippy type animals that don’t wear clothes were all entertaining. There was a twinge of Richard Scarry in the animation as well.DSC02737I even loved the elephant doing yoga with Olivine loudly whispering…”look mommy, it’s you!” And no, she didn’t mean the elephant..she was referring to the yoga pose of downward dog.

If you need something to do, can get into a matinee screening in the middle of the day with an empty theater, I recommend this one.  And then call me up….so we can chat about the undercurrent of issues around prejudice, class, and racism, and this movie’s timely relevance to our current issues of power in this country…so good!

A Teacher in the Making

This is what I saw in the bedroom after dinner:

DSC02734There was one highly motivated teacher and two younger siblings as the students.DSC02730I watched as the class became inattentive and giggly. Some would call that “off task,”DSC02731which in turn made the teacher anxious. He just wanted them to do what he asked, which was some incredibly difficult math. DSC02732It’s like a theatrical, kid friendly, rendition of the jobs  Joe and I hold as teachers. It requires thinking on your feet, being flexible, and admitting your own mistakes. A combination of talent, courage, and joy in learning.DSC02733He even presented the math lesson in multiple formats: numbers, sentences, and then resorted to true or false. All of which was over their heads, but they still kept trying.DSC02736Suddenly, teacher Paul was saved by the bath bell. The students left smiling because they did earn stickers. I even overhead the teacher say that once they earned six stickers, they could have a piece of candy.

I guess I will be staying tuned for the next class.

His World

When my oldest isn’t playing baseball (multiple times a week) he is drawing and imagining on paper. This is inspired by Candy Land. I love his brain.DSC02708Some days the creativity intersects with homework. This is his “made up shape or solid figure.” The name makes me laugh. I don’t have that sort of creativity.DSC02719Then there is the dinosaur diorama and typed report he has due. After a trip to the craft store and a clearing of the kitchen table, he took over.DSC02720After covering the inside and outside of a shoebox, measuring and gluing along the way. He labeled the back and eagerly worked on his river.DSC02723He then spent time drawing out the dinosaur the chose to feature in his report: Triceratops.DSC02725Soon after, he needed a break. So he called his friend Mario to see how his report was coming along. The conversation quickly fell into this random quiz of facts going back and forth about lengths of specific dinosaur, period of time they lived, or predators and prey of dinosaurs. DSC02728He added details and abandoned a T-rex on the hill in the background (he became overly frustrated at his inability to draw it accurately). There need to be more diorama projects and less worksheets.


Storytelling runs strong in my veins. It’s why I keep a journal, love to read biographies, and am enamored to see the craft in my children.

After Olivine draws a picture I try to record what she has narrated to me as the story. Some days there is so much insight.

I call this one “little sister fantasy” as she draws a house with her brothers outside of it. How does she even know what running away is?

And her signature looks like “Olivine-wow” but it actually says “Olivine-mom.”DSC02714Here is highlighter with marker and pen:DSC02716And some boredom expressed about the days where we drive the boys to and from school:DSC02718There is also a growing fascination with tape, because she has found the drawer where I keep it. A little bit of singing about “money and momma.” Then some sadness in her voice to tell me her daddy is at work and clearly missing from the picture. Another added dimension is the letters to indicate who each person is. The scribbles are her own attempts to write her sentences before I came along.DSC02712Then there are memories. Make believe or not. I am unsure. She remembers a time when it was mostly daddy and not so much mommy. I didn’t take offense. I am guessing this is her way of processing what I know to be an on-going transition.DSC02711I love these peeks inside her brain and thinking. I love that everyone looks happy.

When I notice the printer has once again been emptied of blank paper by our little artist, I drag out the felt board and let her go to town. She can tell stories in this space as well:DSC02709I am drawn to listen to the detail about the girl combing her hair, or the turtle who is carrying her babies, and the kitty eating its sandwich so nice. And when I inquire about the fire she explains that is how the girl with the hat is heating her coffee. Ingenious!