Monday, December 15, 2014

Mundane Family Stuff

As if life with the Herd could ever be boring! (Could it be? Please? Just one year?)

George has his piano recital Saturday. I actually ironed his dress shirt, forced him into a sweater and scrubbed him until he shown. He looked so handsome! I was afraid he would refuse at the last minute or would make it to the stage and not do anything- but he didn't! He did great! Of course, the kids in his class are 6 to 8 years old, so it was about what you would expect for beginning students. George kept looking for us in the crowd and I finally stood to the side with the other picture-taking parents so he would see me and play. He did; he tried very hard but the "drums playing without a drummer" confused him. Still! He got up there, played and did an excellent job!

The other day, I heard "Mary had a little lamb" coming from the playroom. I walked in and CAMILLE was playing it! She taught herself some beginning piano from George's book! I am so impressed!

Joe's recital is Saturday and I've been hearing the cello more frequently now. He's beginning to out grow his half size cello and will need a 3/4ths one soon. Adam's already begun looking for one. We're going to keep the half-size, though, since George has shown an interest in it. We joke that he can't begin until he grows into it!

We took the kids to the zoo on Sunday. Santa was diving with the penguins and we knew the kids would like that. They did, although it was a creepy Santa with all his scuba gear on. I mean, really creepy. You could have your picture taken with Santa and the penguins. I thought it would be Santa in front of the tank but no, he was in the water, in front of the glass! Creepy, creepy.

It was warm and lots of animals were out. Since there was a football game going on, it wasn't crowded and the zoo keepers were able to talk to us. We learned that there will be baby penguins before the new year, which elephant is the "alpha female," how elephants talk, that all the penguins have names and more. Even the lions were out and we heard them roar! It was pretty cool!

The not cool part? The bird show, where my family chose to sit next to one of the perches so the damn birds were flying over us. Oh, then as we walked by the elephant enclosure, one of them was flinging dirt at people. Yeah, I almost got elephant dirt flung on me. Cute. Not.

The last day of school is Friday, so I'm making a list of all the fun things we can do over break. We've hit the zoo and I think the little boys want to go to the children's museum. Add a bounce house or two and a trip to visit my parents and we will have a busy break!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015: The Year of....

The past few years seem to be marked my a general upheaval in life, either externally, like a new baby or a move, or internally. (Emotional turmoil for the win!)

2013: The Year I Did or Experienced All the Hard Things
2014: The Year I Rediscovered All The Things I Love

I want 2015 to be the year I get my body back. I want to finally, this fall when Cole is in K in the mornings, to go to the gym. Get rid of the 40 extra pounds. I'd like to feel good about my body again. I NEED to do but I've made promises like this before. Can I? I'll let you know in a year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quick Takes Friday: John the Baptist and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

1. I teach kindergarten CCD once a week. (Note: Never again. Never, ever, ever again.) When they first come into the room, I have a children's bulletin with coloring activities at every spot. They work on this for a bit before our story. This week it was about John the Baptist and it had a picture of him baptizing people in the river; the kids were supposed to find the differences between two pictures.

One little boy was confused as to why John was drowning people. I quickly explained full-immersion baptism, which the kids probably haven't seen. (It's clear the children all attend Mass but our parish doesn't do full-immersion baptisms.) The group thought for a moment and then someone's eyes lit up and he said, "Oh! Like when you dump a bucket of ice on someone's head?"

It took everything in me to not burst into hysterical laughter. I mean, great connection, right? But how hysterical would it be to baptize people via the ALS ice bucket challenge?

2. George began piano last month. He likes it and is doing very well. We finally went and got him a keyboard. He practices frequently, much more than a certain older brother of his. (I'm looking at you, Joe.) Of course, this creates draaaammmma because Cole is not taking piano lessons. Cole likes to go up to the keyboard, turn it off and scream, "I DO PEE-ANO TOO!"

Keep in mind, Cole takes preschool music classes at the same place George takes piano and Joe has cello lessons!

3. Camille now wants to take piano. It's official; I coach swimming so my kids can take music lessons.

4. Speaking of swimming. I have four weeks off until the next session begins. This is working out well, since both boys have recitals, Joe has a strings concert and its generally just a busy season for us. I may pick up some hours here and there but I'm off for awhile.

5. My older two kids have several sticks of deodorant each. Cole has been swiping one and applying it. My four year old now smells like a tween boy who is having a love affair with Axe.

6. I think we over bought for Christmas- again. At least I can put some of Camille's away for her birthday.

7. I got to read a short story a friend wrote and helped her brainstorm the title. It was really fun to talk shop with a REAL writer- she's published! You bet I will pimp her story out when it goes live.

hop over to Jen's for more quick takes!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Justin and the Herd Review Movies and Act Adorable

My brother-in-law, Justin, has a YouTube Channel where he and his friend Vash "review" movies. I say "Review" because they mostly fight about the movie. (Spoilers: Justin likes them, Vash sleeps through them.) Most of their reviews are family friendly, if you want to follow them on YouTube.

Justin came home for a wedding (and Thanksgiving but, you know, mostly the wedding) and took the Herd to see Penguins of Madagascar. While I thought he should have taken them alone so Adam and I could get ready for Thanksgiving (yeah, that's what we're calling it now), he was too terrified to take four children to the movies alone. Whimp. Thankfully, Adam wanted to see the movie so he went to help out. I stayed home, made cinnamon rolls and enjoyed the sounds of peace and quiet. It was quite worth it because, well, watch the adorableness!

For those of you who follow this blog for information about CAS and speech therapy, the six year old is the one who has been in speech since he was 22 months old and was once non-verbal. I never, ever thought he would be able to do something like this! People, this is the result of hard, hard work and years of therapy and listen to how good he sounds!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mockingjay, Part 1

This post contains spoilers about the movie Mockingjay. However, if you've read the book... very little will be a surprise.

Whoa. I went to see Mockingjay with two friends last night. We had an amazing moms night out. One of our local theaters has a "fork and screen" option where you can order food and watch the movie. My friends had gone to Fork and Screen before but I hadn't. I was totally cravings red meat and fried stuff, so I had a hamburger and fries. It was a little better than Applebee's quality but totally fun for a MNO and a movie the three of us wanted to see.

And. Whoa. Some amazing stuff:

  1. Haymitch and Effie. They deviated from cannon here and had Effie take the part of Katniss' prep team. She was awesome and the banter between her and Haymitch was a much needed reprise from the very serious nature of the film. One of Effie's best lines? "You know what needs a revolution? That hair."
  2. The Hanging Tree. Why this isn't in the official soundtrack that you can purchase, I don't know. Jennifer Lawerence says she can't sing and, true, she's not Taylor Swift or Lorde but she does have a pretty voice. In the books, Katniss' singing voice is a Big Deal but not so much in the movies. Still, the took The Hanging Tree and ran with it and the effect was so powerful. It's a motif that carries through the entire movie. Listen closely to the background music when Katniss and Finnick are talking during the bombing of D13. It's The Hanging Tree! (Random note: I've had this song stuck in my head for two days and I've been humming it around the house. My four year old likes the song!)
  3. Gale. I feel like the movie rounded out Gale's character well. In the books, he comes across as a possessive jerk. I wanted to reach through the pages and smack him, telling him to leave Katniss the heck alone, the poor dear had been through enough and didn't need to pick a lover! In the movie, Gale is always in the background, seemingly protecting her. There's a brief scene when they return to D12 where they kiss but it seems like Gale knows her heart isn't into it. In fact, in the movie, it is Gale, not Boggs, who tells Katniss to be with Peeta when he wakes up. He seems to know Katniss loves Peeta in a romantic way and while it doesn't thrill him, he's resigned to it.
  4. Peeta. Someone needs to give Josh Hutcherson an award for the last fifteen minutes of the film alone. We know he's a good actor but he blew me away with hijacked!Peeta. 
  5. The rescue scene and stuff with Snow. Snow is completely revealed as someone who likes to eff with Katniss' mind. I mean, we knew that but to see the evil of this man...I also loved the rescue scene, which was different from the book. In the book, Katniss is out for most of it or hiding with Finnick. In the movie... well, watch it. It's good. Moving. Imposing. Powerful.
  6. The ending. Again, give J-Hutch an award for this acting. I was basically correct as to where they cut it but they cut from Peeta in the hospital to a speech to Peeta and... THE FEELS, people. THE FEELS.
What I wish we had seen more of:
  1. Coin as the evil mastermind she is. Okay, maybe evil is too strong... naw, evil. We learn more about her back story, which makes me wonder if she wants/hopes/is using Katniss to be a replacement for her family. And when that ends.... In the book, Katniss tolerates Coin for the sake of saving her friends and family but in the movie, it seems like Coin really likes Katniss and tries to help her. They're going to have to do some major stuff in movie 2 to make her killing Coin justifiable. 
  2. Finnick. There is no "Finnick Odair in his underwear" scene, which is so funny in the book! That makes me sad! We don't learn much more about his character and his involvment in the Capitol. I guess we don't need to but new info would have been interesting. Annie is in the movie for about five seconds, total, and we mostly see her hair. Because of where they cut it, this is to be expected but I still wish we had seem more of them together. Maybe in movie 2?
I want to go see the movie a second time to pick up some stuff I missed (follow the link above. Dandelions!) I don't know if I will have time so I guess I just have to sit on pins and needles until the DVD comes out!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Overheard: The Weaslys and manliness

I have a swimmer who says the most random and hilarious stuff. The most recent: I'm somewhere between manliness and bar mitzvah.

I just laughed. The kid in question is about six!


There's a girl who I refer to as my Honorary Fifth Child because I used to watch her in the AM before school. We carpool to CCD together and like to chat about Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Last night, the little boys were running down hallways at the school and she said, "You know, you're family reminds me of the Weaslys, minus three kids and the ginger."

I jokingly said, "Do I look like Molly Weasly?" and did a, "NOT MY DAUGHTER!" imitation.

And that, dear readers, is why our parish thinks we are nuts.

I have lost my desire....

to move near my cousins in Buffalo. I remember insanely cold winters and heavy snow when we lived in Upstate New York but nothing like this "lake effect" storm. I mean, we get nutty weather in the midwest but since there is a distinct lack of lakes in my area... no lake effect storms. We also get ice storms more than snow storms. Nothing like this!

I am not going to complain about how cold it is here, how cold my husband keeps the house or how I'm kinda glad the boys are insisting on sleeping with me all night because they keep the bed toasty! I'm thankful we don't have 70+ inches for snow!