Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poem of the Month: "Pied Beauty"

Here's the poem of the month. Just in time for Thanksgiving. It's Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Pied Beauty." I love this poem because of the sound, but also because it's sole purpose is to praise an unchanging God for creating all of the variety and beauty in the earth. 
1.  Opportunities    2.  Family    3.  Faith

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;        5
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:        10
                  Praise him.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Power of Writing, 5 Year-Old Style

So Mister and Sweetie were spending some quality time in their room on Saturday for writing on my computer screen. Yes, that's right. 5 and 3 and they wrote on the computer screen. In return, they lost computer privileges and all pencil and pen privileges for 2 weeks and they spent some time in their rooms thinking about it (a.k.a. allowing me to cool off a bit). 

After around 15 min of quality room time, I see that a note had been slid out from under the door of Mister's room, his first note ever to me, written with a little stub of black crayon he'd found in his drawer:

Translation:  Mom please (ples) lt (let) me get at (out) d d d (he couldn't write "dear" he said) mom, to mom

Did you know that most American people have a negative connotation of writing? Deborah Brandt conducted an extensive study about people's experiences with reading and writing (in her fabulous book Literacy in American Lives). She found that most people grew up with reading being a positive thing--mom and dad reading books at bedtime, getting books for presents, etc. But for most, writing was a negative thing--they'd been punished for writing on a wall or in a book, they'd gotten judged and graded by their writing prowess from an early age. A lot of literacy scholars say this is because writing has great power for changing power relations in an individual's life and in society. When you write, you speak out, you have a voice, you can effect change. The powers that be know this and try to control writing (oftentimes through schooling). 

So here's my son, playing this all out for me. I'd punished him (rightly so) for his writing. And now he's trying to use writing to change his situation. So I don't know what a good mom would do in this situation, but I did what any good literacy scholar would do. I let the boy out. Go, Mister! Write up a storm (just don't do it on my computer screen again!!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"The Happy P Family Moves to the Desert"

In honor of our 4th anniversary here in the lovely desert of the Southwest, please enjoy this little story, told in the manner of one of our beloved kids' books, The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country.

We are the P Family.
See the empty townhouse?
The P family is moving from New England to the desert. "How exciting!" say the P Family members. Here is the P family's new house. It is a FUN house. It's has its own colony of mosquitos breeding in the green pool water in the back. It has its own hive of bees living in the front column. It has its own lovely green carpet. What a FUN house.
A New Game: Let's Play Find-My-House!
There are a lot of fun new games to play in the Southwest. This one is called find-my-house. Mommy and Little Boy P have gone for a walk. Now which street and house is there's?
This way? Or was it this way?

New England Words/Southwest Desert Words
The Northeast and the Southwest have the same words, but sometimes those words have different meanings . . .

Northeast Words
Winter Mountain hiking

Mexican food
Old house

Local History--Man with a Gun Home invader

Southwest Words
Fall Winter

Mountain hiking

Mexican food
Old House Local history--Man with a Gun

Home Invader

Counting Game
If the P family moved into their home on Halloween and they just had their 4th Halloween in their home, how long has the P family lived in the desert? You're right. FOUR WHOLE YEARS.

Look, the yard on the FUN home looks a little greener!

Look, the carpet in the FUN home looks a little less green!

Look, the P family leaves the desert in the summer to go camping with their new friends!
The P family is going to be OKAY in the desert!

1. Memories of fun adventures and places in the past, 2. Anticipation for fun adventures in the future, 3. Old friends and new friends

Monday, November 3, 2008

Haaaappy Haaaalloween!

We had a good one. Hope you did too! Here are a few pics of the kids (a.k.a. Bumblebee Transformer and Batgirl), our pumpkin-carving exploits, and our Halloween barbeque/games/spook alley.

1.  The candy (and the melt-downs that accompany too much of it) almost gone!   2.  New/borrowed Thanksgiving books     3.  Piggy-back obstacle courses