Friday, February 27, 2009

Letting Imaginations Fly

One thing that I love about home educating our children is that they have lots of time to develop their creative side. Sometimes they amaze me with a hidden talent or interest, and sometimes they just make me laugh with some crazy idea.

Their most recent past-time has had a lot of role-playing. Daniel has a knight costume, complete with shield and sword (a la leftover bargains after Halloween!) and his recent mission in life has been to protect "his lady" (Hannah) and the children (Caleb and Abby), from the bad bad giant (a very large weed) in the backyard. He hacks away at the giant, and trims him down to size, and then grabs Hannah's hand and races her away from the bad giant and up to their castle - the play structure that Peter built. Hannah, always up for a good pretend, plays along with all kinds of fainting and flowery words, while attired in big cherry printed rainboots, muddy clothes and a delicate flower crown. It is worth the price of admission!!!

Early (as in 6:30) this morning they were emperor penguins, taking turns with their egg (a small travel alarm clock), alternately standing very still with the egg on their feet (penguins keep the egg on their feet tucked under their "brood pouch"), and racing to the ocean (Mommy and Daddy's shower) to eat up all the fish and krill they could, then "tobagganing" back (on their tummies) to the other one to trade places.

Sometimes Daniel is a soldier and Hannah is a military nurse. Here she gives him "CPR," while he waits patiently

then she writes him a prescription.

In case you can't read it, it says:

Daniel's Prescription: Daniel is going to spend most of his life in bed, so by the time he is 60 years old, he will be able to go back to war. The bad news is, that when he is 70 years old his scars can kill him.

So with all that drama in mind, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised this morning when I discovered that Hannah LOVES - opera. It is sooooo dramatic!!! Yesterday we studied the composer Richard Wagner, so I asked my dad if he had any Wagner recordings to supplement our study. (Most people think to teach art from a classical method - studying the masters, but I am not artistic. However, I do LOVE music, so we study music in the classical way - studying the masters.) So far, I've had lots of recordings to share, but I'm not that much into the heavy orchestral mode of Wagner, although I did grow up hearing a good amount of it, as my dad was a devoted opera fan for many years.

This morning I popped "Lohengrin" into the VHS after Peter left so I could nurse without distraction. Hannah was glued. So was Daniel. I could not pry them away - even for breakfast almost an hour later! They can hardly wait to watch more!

All this seems very providential because Peter and I have always joked that Daniel was destined for opera because he has the most amazing projection ability while still carrying a tune. Unfortunately for him, he is only allowed to be an attorney or rocket scientist - according to Hannah.

Oh well. Maybe I should teach them to multi-task their make-believe. ???

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hannah's Explanation of Her Photographic Memory

I was driving Hannah to ballet the other day, when we had this interchange:

Hannah: "Mommy, do you know how I remember things?"

Mommy: Eager to understand (!) "No, please tell me!"

Hannah: "My eyes take a picture of everything I see. So signs that we pass, stores that we pass, books that I read - I take a picture with my eyes. Then I put the picture in my brain. When I want to remember it, I take out the picture and look at it again."

Mommy: Wishing she had such a memory..."Oh! That makes sense." Now testing her as we pass a sign for an accountancy corporation "So, what did the sign in front of that brown building we just passed say?"

Hannah: "Hmmm. We went kind of fast. That picture is blurry."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring Cleaning Peter's Office

Yesterday, being a holiday, seemed the perfect time for our annual cleaning of Peter's office.

Peter (I love him!), is never going to be in danger of being called a "neat freak." He has a unique ability (that I unfortunately do not share) to be able to focus so completely on whatever task is at hand, that he can entirely block out EVERYTHING around him. That can mean that if he's working on his laptop at home, and kids are falling off the coffee table and landing all around him crying, he is completely unfazed until I come running from another room to help said children. In the case of his office, that means he is all but completely unaware of the stacks surrounding him.

Granted that he's got a lot in front of him. I like to tease him that he is secretly running some kind of security company because he isn't content with one, or even two monitors. He's got three of them lined up in a row on his credenza and he just moves from one end to the other - literally. It cracks me up! Now he's even got his office manager and his associate using two monitors. But I digress...

So we cleaned up the office. What that means is that I clean up as much junk as I can first. If there are new books, I shelve them and toss out prior editions if needed. Then we just sit there while I hold up things in front of him and he tells me where to put it.

In the process, I took 3 loads of trash to the dumpster, removed 13 rotten apples, 4 very sad oranges, and a stinky slab of string cheese in separate lunch bags under his desk, recovered 14 legal pads with only the front page used, and retrieved one of Hannah's paper dolls peeking out from a limb on an artificial plant.

I also found multiple brochures, texts, and materials that referenced or cited him as a contributor, author or speaker. While I hear what he does on an daily basis, it was so good for me to step back and see how he is involved in the community by speaking, organizing, writing and leading, all "on the side." Those things aren't even part of his every day job description of helping people at the end of their financial rope, running a law practice, administrating a law school, and leading our growing family. Wow. It gave me a new respect and appreciation for my busy husband. He's always doing something!

All that to say, that if he piles up junk in the process, I'm OK with it. That's what I'm good at - cleaning up after people. I'm just proud of my husband, and I'm glad to help in my little small ways. He's worth it, and I love him.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Secret Revealed

After being married for almost 7 years, Peter told me something this morning that I never would have imagined about him:

"If I weren't a lawyer, I would want to be an earth mover. I think I'd like to drive a bulldozer."

Now we know where the boys get it...