Mom's Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

She just woke up!

Having Novali here has been a real treat! She just woke up and wants to listen to the CD, "I love you this much" and sing along. Of course, my sons will understand when I mention how much I enjoy reading to her in the car or before bed. I still remember many nights and afternoons of reading to my children; the only thing better is singing and rocking together. I invented songs with each of the kid's name in them.
Novali is completely bilingual. She can hear a story in Spanish and then retell it in English. I am amazed. Occasionally she will stumble over a word, but a quick pause and off she goes again, in either language. We're hoping she will not forget her Spanish, as she tends to use mostly English now. Sam and Andy know how hard it is to relearn the Spanish. I always admired their determined efforts to regain the language, especially having to take it at Arthur Hill High. I especially remember working with Andy on some homework! I guess they will both agree traveling back to Bolivia on their own was the best way to learn.
Must make this short. One thing about having kids or grandkids - your time is not always your own.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What color is a duck?

Valerie has two ducks - one from each Easter she's been around. They are both... you guessed it... yellow. She loves her ducks and sleeps with them at our house. Cuddly yellow ducks. She also has two yellow ducks for the bathtub. Every child must have a rubber ducky, I guess. I took her to the zoo. Favorite animal to watch .... the ducks. But, not a single one was yellow. They were brown, black, and white. Boy was she taken by surprise at first. The ducks swam, splashed themselves and flapped with stumpy wings. But they made no noise. However, just as we were watching the silent ducks, a group of about 12 preschool kids on an outing together lined up around the duck pond and all started 'quacking' at the ducks. All 12 kids yelling 'quack, quack, quack.' It was hilarious. Anyone who didn't know English would think that that was what children say when they see something interesting. Only later did a couple of the ducks finally give out a feeble 'quack'.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Godspell was awesome

The heat was unbearable today and I would rather have stayed home by the pool, but a student had invited me to a theatrical production he was in and I really wanted to attend to support this effort. I wasn't sure what to expect as we drove up to this old church building in Bay City. A 'creative' sort of place, kind of a homemade artisy atmosphere and it was clearly evident there was no airconditioning. We sat in the muggy sanctuary- turned- auditorium awaiting the beginning of Godspell. I had never seen this before so wasn't sure what to expect. And being a pretty conservative Christian I worried I would be bombarded with some strange interpretation of the Gospel. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise! Colorful, dynamic, funny, and yet such a clear dramatic presentation of the Gospel. What a treat! The music, the costumes, and creative use of stage and setting made for a most wonderful presentation. Thank you, Brandon, for inviting me. And a thank you to all the wonderful people who gave of themselves working together! Awesome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Oak Ridge Boys

Daniel and I finally did it! We went to the Chesaning Showboat and it was great!The feature entertainment was the Oak Ridge Boys - a blend of gospel/country music that was well worth the price and sitting in the rain. The tight four-part harmony with a deep gospel bass was too good to be true. We loved it and so did the crowd! What made it more fun is that rather than contemplate the cost and what else we should be doing - we just got up from the supper table and said, "Let's go!"
(Thanks to Miguel this post is short. :) I read his recent short entry of one sentence and decided I DON"T have to have some long witty or philosphical piece to write. )

Monday, July 11, 2005

Baking surprises

To my kids: Don't all rush home tonight, but I just pulled out of the oven some cunape. I only made a small batch to try out the recipe I found on the web (The truth is I had no idea how much cheese I needed - much more than I had imagined!) But they turned out! Thanks mostly to Andy for the yucca flour. So when you do come home, I 'll be ready to whip these up.
I also baked a cake that we tried at Mom's house last week. Strawberry marshmallow! Mom always has unique and tasty foods and this new recipe seemed easy so I tried it. The interesting thing about this cake is that you put the marshmallows on the bottom of the pan, then the cake mix (made from scratch) and finally the strawberries on top. In the process of cooking the marshmallows float to the top and the strawberries sink to the bottom. I opened the oven door half way through and sure enough, the marshmallows were neatly in rows on top exactly as I had placed them on the bottom. An interesting quirk. So you can make this cake for guests knowing that if the conversation lags, you'll have something to ponder - just what makes the cake turn upside down in the process of cooking?
This cake is kind of like those puzzling moments in our lives, I guess (here comes my philosophical part - sigh, sigh) Sometimes you try to do things, you follow the directions, and things just don't turn out as expected. Then we are surprised, but the questions arises. Is it okay? Well, this cake is certainly okay. And I guess we need to be ready to look at situations from differing perspectives. I'm just glad not all of life is this way, that there are certain recipes that work just like we'd hope.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

It's 8:15; It's time...

Dad's remarks broke the silence announcing it was time for the fish to start biting. It had been time 30 minutes ago, as far as I was concerned. But Dad knows best; the lake must be calm with the early evening stillness contrasting the busy afternoon of jet boats and water skiers.
The Ruler by Day began its graceful retreat appeasing sun worshippers by leaving behind a trail of strawberry jell oozing into the darkening waves that gently rock the pontoon and cradle the four bobbers awaiting the longed for tug, a signal that fish were to be caught. The waves caress the rosey gift of the sun, mixing dark blues to create a exquisite marbling effect that if painted by the most skillful artist one might doubt its realism. Is a lake dark blue and red? At 8:15 in the midst of Pratt Lake it is so. Awaiting the tog on my bobber is not that difficult when there is such grace and color to be contemplated. But wait and wait. No fish yet. Wrong place? Wrong bait? Wrong time? We anticipate and I am reminded of the poem by Emily Dickinson, "Hope is a Thing with Feathers." Hope is the bobber on Pratt Lake. There is beauty in the experience of hoping and a sense of well being in the soul.
P.S. Daniel and I had a wonderful breakfast of blue gills, a gift from Dad and one I caught.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Joys of family

I'll bet everyone thinks by the title here that I am going to talk about the family gathering for my parents' 60th anniversary. That was fun and I think everyone enjoyed themselves, but that's what generally expected isn't it?
what really is on my mind is the celebration of the 4th of July that Daniel, Valerie, and I spent at the Montegue Inn, a historical mansion on the banks of the Saginaw River that is also one the the most elegant restaurants and bed and breakfasts in the area. We picnicked and stayed to sit along the banks of the river to watch the fireworks. I thought 10:00 and 'boom' time would never come, especially once it started sprinkling and we all had to get out umbrellas. There were about 300 people there, each having staked out their territory with an old blanket, in our case a quilt made by hand by my grandmother.
What was most interesting to watch was a family settled just in front of us. Three generations, from a three year old to a gray haired couple, the grandparents. They all just enjoyed themselves, the little onces chasing around and acting like everyone else there was part of the big family. And I guess I can say we all were. We all shared chips, cookies, bubbles the Dora The Explorer chairs, and lots of smiles. But it was interesting to watch the family settle in for the long wait until the 10:00 hour. They brought card games and quiz games and everyone - no matter the age - played and laughed. I enjoyed watching that family interact. And I smiled as I remembered similar times our family shared just like that
But this 4th of July it was just Valerie, 'Gampa' and Mama - as Valerie calls me. Ahh, the joys of watching this little one growing up. She's beginning to talk, soaking up words and trying to say everything that seems important to her. As I watched Valerie this weekend, I was reminded that a child soaks up not just language, but the world itself. And, the world we present to this pliable mind will help mold the character within and perhaps even shape how this child will in turn view her place in the world.
It was fun to watch Valerie eat corn on the cob letting us help her understand she had to grab it with both hands and eat in the middle, not just suck the end like a popsicle. It was fun teaching her to let go and glide down the slide as we cheered her on - one of us at each end of the trip. It was fun to convince her raisins were not bugs but that those sweet morsels make the whole-grain Wheaties so much better tasting. Once convinced she tried to say that difficult word. It was important to see her watching me as I left the car to get the shopping cart so we could cruise through Meijer(to get her some raisins to take home). She watched me to be sure I was coming back with the cart to get her, and I watched her to be sure she could see me coming back for her with the cart.
A child watches our actions just as much as our words and begins to interpret the world. More than anything, I hope we teach each child trust - not a trust based on words, but a simple trust based on our actions. We don't always do a perfect job teaching and there are bumps along the way, but what joy it is to see young people grow up with a positive sense of the world and a simple trust in others, especially in family. That's what made our family picnic a success, not the neatly trimmed yard, the food, or the gifts and cards. That's what made our blanket neighbors 4th of July so much fun - not the spectacular fireworks display, but trusting each other. Because unless we trust each other, we cannot relax, be ourselves or enjoy those around us.