Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'cause all you need is a pretty song

I've probably mentioned on here once or twice or somewhere in the twenties that I'm really loving this spring thing so far. We're getting out almost every day, all short sleeved and lemonade drinking and flower picking, talking a mile a minute and taking too many pictures. I'm rearranging the songs on my iPod so we're not driving down a newly-leafy tree-lined road with the sun toasting our arms and have something sullen and wintry come on. That would be disastrous, right? Absolutely.

Here are a few of my favorite springtime bands, just off the top of my head: Beulah, Olivia Tremor Control, The Beatles (they have something for every day), Summer Hymns, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Belle and Sebastian, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Built to Spill, Pavement, Boo Radleys, The Kinks, Animal Collective, The Zombies. I'll try to put together a mix of songs later today, if you'd like.

We're on our way to an American Girl craft party for Allie (don't we have it so good?), but you should tell me what you like to listen to when the sun comes out and makes everything lovely and new again. Can't wait to hear it.

(I'm all excited because I just found out about this, too. Music Festival! In Raleigh! About darned time!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

star prints and red dwarves

We made sun prints of the winter constellations. Tomorrow, if our #1 star is out, we'll make some more for spring and summer.

In other news: If you haven't read Sweet Juniper's Don't Blame the Dwarf! yet, you must go & do that right now. (Do that *now*, unless you are my children. My kids would read it, then promptly tie their belongings up in a kerchief, ready their hitching thumbs, and make a sign that said "DETROIT." They'd spell it right, too. Anyway, Naked Joe doesn't even do a drunken jig near the greatness of the pro-Nain Rouge counter protest. And the fliers? Mon Dieu. Merveilleux.) There is so much genius in that post that I'm left without adjectives to describe its absolute perfection. Also, I have a little lutin envy, I think. There are no harbingers of doom in Raleigh, except perhaps our crappy hockey team. Maybe I'm just missing my's a cryptozoologist's dream. (Seriously, even apart from the fact that we were downriver from the Mothman. Just sit outside the Wal-Mart in Raccoon Lick, KY, and see if you can identify whatever's Rascal-ing across the parking lot.)

(That reminds me of one of our last trips back to visit family. We were somewhere between the Tennessee border and Lexington. A road sign beside an exit read "Museum of Appalachia," and it was pointing up the hill towards a Super Wal-Mart. Since I was too busy giggling to take a picture, you'll just have to take my word.)

So. You shouldn't still be here. You should be reading about evil red dwarves. Meanwhile, I have to pay attention to my kids. Allie just asked what would happen if a Victorian lady would go outside without a hat, and I told her people would throw rocks at her. And she would have to wear a hat made from those rocks.

Must undo that now.

(Clarification: Today's theme at our house has been Life Was Unfathomably Difficult in Victorian Times. It began with Craigslisting a Playmobil Victorian house, middled with my husband suggesting we add this guy to the Playmobil family, and ended with tales of unreasonable stoning, chimney sweeps with brooms for hands, and ridiculous reasons for the pull in the bathroom. Now you know.)

(Recommendation, kind of related to this post: Buy Beasts! and Beasts! Book 2. A multitude of great artists and their interpretation of mythical critters, nicely put together. I love these books a lot.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Listful: Spring

1. Warmth
2. Green
3. breezes
4. baby goats
5. turtles crossing the road
6. the smell of grills being fired up
7. March Madness, until UK loses
8. driving with the windows down
9. morning jogs
10. swings
11. having school outside
12. minor league baseball games
13. outdoor concerts & festivals
14. hiking
15. going to the drive-in
16. stargazing

I love spring. I'm so happy that the long, dreary winter is finally past that I want to skip everywhere I go. I want to paint the house yellow and green and sparkling blue. I want to cover this blog in glitter and glue flowers all over it. I'm downright unbearable in my glee for the warmer weather and an end to sorry, trembling, naked trees and crunchy dead grass.
So far, spring has been full of outside birthday parties, drive-in movies, trampolines, face painting, critter catching, bird watching, inchworm wrangling, picnics, drives, happy music, and milkshakes. And it's only just started. Isn't it swell?

*I really, really like the word "listful." I think I'm going to use it too much this week.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ol' Naked Joe

"Mom," Allie whined. "We didn't see any leprechauns today!"

It was 9:00 pm on St. Patrick's Day. I felt like I had adequately fulfilled my holiday obligations by that time, with the now-gone day spent crafting and decorating, reading Irish legends, poetry, and blessings, hunting clover, and other shenanigans. (This is the one time of year I allow myself to use the word "shenanigans.") It was time to send the kids to bed, and time for me to do nothing. I was pretty excited about that.

Allie disappeared upstairs. Noises followed. Sounds of digging around, stuff falling, something being torn up. Definitely not the sounds of a kid sleeping soundly. Allie soon reappeared, and she needed my help.

"It's a leprechaun trap, but we won't call it that. They won't get in it if they know it's a trap." She pushed a box at me. At one time, it had been a long, narrow USPS priority mail box. The end was hacked off, and she had plans.

A half an hour later, the box had bars made from pipe cleaners, was painted green, and bore glittery signs saying "Leprechaun House! and "Home Sweet Home." On the back of the box was a sparkly crowned fish, because now the box was a pub named "The Happy Herring." The Happy Herring was full of candy in shiny wrappers, and, once it was put in its place on the floor, surrounded by fake grass, birds, and plastic ducks. If it were real, I'd probably be at the Happy Herring every night.

"How will it get in? If it can get in, can't it get back out?" asked Allie. She's quick.

"Weeellll, it will get in pretty easily, but once it eats all the candy, it'll be too fat to escape." My ability to lie under pressure is one of my greatest gifts as a parent. (I'm kidding.) (A little.)

"You're right, Mom!" Allie yelled happily. She had more questions, I had more answers, the bars were tweaked, more candy was added, prayers were offered up to St. Patrick. Really. Allie was finally satisfied and bounced off to bed. I was troubled and had to make a quick trip to the store to get leprechaun supplies. I was hoping to find doll house miniatures and doll clothes, but of course they didn't have any of that, so I had to get felt to sew the leprechaun clothes, stickers, and little cheap gifts.

The tired and definitely unpleasant lady at the check-out looked at me like I was crazy. "You KNOW St. Patrick's was today and there's no reason to buy leprechaun stickers now because it's NOT like they're on sale, RIGHT?" she barked at me.
"I have to fake a visit from a leprechaun and have stuff for our leprechaun trap," I replied, like it was the most normal thing in the world. She didn't say anything.

(I can't sew. Obviously. Thankfully, leprechauns make shoes and not sportswear, so it was convincing craftsmanship.)

Three hours later, I had made a leprechaun shirt and pants, eaten or thrown away most of the candy, and printed a letter from an angry leprechaun. (I would like to apologize to the Irish and to leprechauns for my terrible, no-good Irish/pirate/something-I-saw-in-a-movie-once accent.) The bars were stretched out on the Happy Herring, and there was leprechaun barf inside. I could go to bed feeling clever and also slightly ridiculous.

I was woken up too early the next morning by three giddy kids, all talking a mile a minute about the destruction! and the clothes! and the letter! It was fantastic. I sat in the floor in the morning sunshine, laughing with the kids over "Naked Joe" and his letter, and was grateful for kids who can still believe in slightly crazy, magical things.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Swap!

Here's the package I mailed to my swap partner on Monday. It's for a homeschool group's spring swap, and, in giddy anticipation of SPRING!, I had a blast putting it all together. Each little package had a theme (spring = getting outside, being young, make new things, etc.) (uh-huh!) and I had ridiculous amounts of fun wrapping it up and adding birds and clouds and grass. I'm sure it arrived looking like a more hurricane-ravaged version of the pictures I took, but was pretty swell going out the door. **Enjoy, Heather!**

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We are having a lovely, sunny, lucky day, having found eight four-leaf clovers, made two Crois Brides, and dripped gold glitter glue across three rooms. I hope you're having a wonderful day, too. I'd like to share the kids' new favorite Irish blessing:

May those who love us love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping!

Yup. They're still laughing over that one. Wait until they're old enough to appreciate limericks. Hoo-boy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My youngest daughter found one of those books of birds and their songs on our last trip to the used bookstore that we adore. It's a swell (if a little, umm, noisy) book with nice illustrations, and she fell in love with it immediately. She even chose to spend her own hard-earned (because it's work to be so cute) money from her grandparents on it. She's hugged it and slept with it and pushed those little buttons overandoverandover, picking her favorites and giggling at the one bird that says "RRRRALPH! RRRRALPH! RRRRALPH! Chkchkchkchkbrrrrrchk!" Really. It sounds just like that. She and her sister mimic it endlessly, chasing each other around the house screaming "RALPH!" and sitting on the back porch, hoping to call whatever bird that is to our backyard so they can laugh at it.
It's not too painful, really. If all else fails, I know they'll have a future in this: