Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The tinkering of Mozart mingles with the
sniffles and uh-ums
of our deflated bodies.

We sip blueberry green tea and breathe
the scentless steam-
offerings to our stuffy noses and swollen sinuses.

The sun rays dance on the dusty piano keys;
promising healing notes that will come
when all is well.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

mr. ninja's picks

It's easy to spot a homeschooling family in the library.  The tell-tale clue that virtually always gives them away is the armload of books you'll see them carrying up to the checkout desk.  Our family has been no exception to this rule over the past ten years of our homeschooling experience and in most instances the boys' voracious appetites for books have been welcomed with a smile from the librarian or a kind comment here and there.  Only once did I have a librarian express with panic in his voice, after he'd checked out the seventy-fourth book, that each book had a twenty-five cent late fee.  His anxiety successfully transferred on to me and within only a few short minutes of leaving the library, I resolutely informed the boys that we would NOT be checking out seventy-four books on our next visit- that we'd be keeping the count under twenty-five-which seemed to be a reasonable enough request at the time.

To be fair, the boys aren't the only ones who piled on the books at the checkout counter.  In the search for interesting books to augment their homeschooling curriculum, I have always had a difficult time resisting the temptation to take home whatever book caught my eye. Some of the books were treasures- like the ones that made us howl with laughter until our cheeks hurt from smiling, or the sweet and tender ones, that swelled our eyes with tears-much to the boys' chagrin. It wasn't until just recently, that I realized that many of these books had been forgotten as the busyness of life placed us on a different homeschooling course than it had in the years before.  

However, as of late, I've been volunteering once a week at our favorite library in Hershey, and the task I've been asked to perform has been to shelve the books in the children's section.  In order to keep myself happy with what might otherwise be considered a mundane hour in which to spend my time (and sometimes a dizzying one at that) I've been watching for those discarded books on my cart just begging to be rescued.  When one looks interesting, I set it aside and continue shelving the remainder of the books until closing.  Then later that night or the following day, Mr. Ninja (who is currently in his magical seventh year) gets to play my guinea pig as I share these books with him.  So far, he's enjoyed this opportunity to take a break from his own reading and listen to me read to him for a change.  Which once again reminded me of all of the years that regular story time was such an integral part of our homeschooling days, and how somehow over the past two years, we had lost a part of that.

From time to time I'll be sharing our finds with you and I'll look forward to hearing your take on them.  Some might be new books that peak your own curiosity to discover them, as well.  While others we share might be old familiar ones that bring back favorite memories and experiences you once enjoyed when reading them for the first time- or over and over again.   You'll find a selection of recommended books under "mr. ninja's picks" over there in my side bar on the right.  Feel free to browse.  Later this week, I'll be sharing the works of one author we just discovered from my recent volunteering adventure.  Which now that I think of it, really is an adventure, after all.  I mean, how common is it to stumble upon carousel horses flying through the air or monster mamas scaring away bullies?

I'll keep you posted.  Promise. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

...and so they grow

On February 4,1905, my grandfather George was born.  I don't know a whole lot about his upbringing except that he had a brother named Albert, was the son of immigrant parents who eventually changed their German surname to an American one, and that he attended school until he reached the eighth grade- which for a man of his generation and class, was considered a respectable amount of education.  But as a kid, none of his background ever really mattered to me.  I was content to simply sit by his side in my grandparent's tiny one bedroom apartment on LeSuear St. and hold his hand as he lovingly smiled at my grandmother and patiently listened to her visit with their four grandchildren. 
I'm guessing this picture was taken in the 50's or '60's in Florida.

My grandfather always told me that he wanted to live to be an hundred years old.  He had always been in pretty good health and we were all pretty sure that he'd make it until he fell and broke his hip when he was eighty-nine.  He died the day after he reached his 90th birthday- which would be seventeen years ago, today.

So when I discovered that I was pregnant for the second time and that the due date would be February 5th, I immediately thought of my grandfather and prayed fervently that my baby would be born on the 4th of February, George's birthday, instead of his death date.  I don't know if the prayer I continually prayed for nine months was answered by a loving Heavenly Father who found favor on one of his billions of earthly children or if I simply willed my body to begin laboring on the 3rd, but Mr. Reporter was brought into this snowy world during the wee hours of the 4th of February, and I was finally able to rest and bask in the glow of the neurochemicals- prolactin, oxytocin, and betaendorphins, that much like Cupid's arrow, bonded me with love to my baby.
Mr. Reporter in the tub around age 1

This little baby of mine turned fifteen yesterday.  He has grown into a thoughtful, intelligent, and handsome young man that I can whole heartedly express my pleasure in having had the honor to raise. This weekend he is performing in Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Harrisburg's Christian Performing Arts Center.  He learned how to dance the waltz for the Prince's ball scene, he sang in the chorus and looked as dashing as ever in his black tuxedo with tails.  Last weekend, he performed as Gilbert in his homeschool group's play, Anne of Green Gables.  To watch him go from having a lead role in which he dazzled the audience with his charm to being silenced and relegated to only eye candy in a rather large cast for Cinderella, was rather hard for me, as his mother, to watch.  Maybe it's because I know of his talent and the gifts he has to offer.  But when I asked him about how he felt about only being part of the cast, he said he didn't mind. That he preferred the supporting roles.
The boat scene with Mr. Reporter as Gilbert, teasing Anne.

Which is really true of his character.  He is the second born child.  His older brother, Mr. Tailor, is more often than not, in the spotlight.  And Mr. Reporter just smiles at him- proud of his accomplishments.  Proud to be his best friend and the wind beneath his wings- as Bette Milder used to sing.  And just as he doesn't like having the spotlight on stage, he doesn't prefer the spotlight on his belated birthday either.  So instead, the two of us will be spending some time in the kitchen this morning, whipping up a couple of lemon meringue pies, that the family will bring over to the Craft Queen's house tonight as we all watch the Super Bowl together and quietly celebrate his birthday.
Mr. Reporter in birth order with his brothers.

Just as he'd prefer it- just as my grandfather would have preferred it, as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Other than
Super Bowl Sunday,
Valentines Day,
Ground Hog Day,
and Mr. Reporter's birthday,
there is another reason why I love February.

It is the shortest month of the year.
Mr. Hero at Boyd Big Tree Preserve, 2011

Knowing this, I can brace myself
for the inevitable cold that is yet to come
and rest assured
that spring with all of it's buzz and flurry
will be here next month.