Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sowbug by mngamojemo

I have crunched your body raw and found it foul.
Noble mulcher, wood-louse.
I have caught you in glass bottles
and seen you crawl free, your orange-pulp feet
on glass which has no friction.
Sowbug! You have filled my trailer with grey life,
and sought escape.
Non-invasive force, you do not even deign
to touch my scraps!
of water through your tail,
crustacean needing all that you have left.
Pillbug! You who rolls but cannot funnel. You who snaps
into a pellet, whose shell is gunship grey.
You who are mistaken for the sowbug,
who must live in damper places.
You who I have seen alone and flicked
and made a marble of.
Sowbug! Who swims the air when logs are lifted.
Born of shrimp and crab, land-creature.
Science does not care to know you.
Sowbug, Pillbug, grey and humble,
I have felt your soft feet creep
across my childish hands.
I know that you have rythm,
native swimmer, living in the dark
but out of water.
I have jarred you with a scorpion for days and seen it starve.

I took this hippo

And turned it

into this Giant Isopod

It's a relative of the roly-poly sow bugs, so of course, it has to roll up too.

It is a Christmas present for Lizbeth who has been begging me to make one for months since she saw these pictures and these

Here's a few more pictures for good measure

Awwwww, isn't he cute?

One of the things I like best about doing projects like this is that I start cutting and sewing with hardly any plan at all, and at the end, it looks better than I imagined it. The shape of the final project is heavily influenced by the shapes of the pieces I have when I cut the original apart at the seams. About halfway through this bug, for instance, I was still thinking of the part that became his head as his bottom, and I was considering making his legs out of fringe or cording. I started out with just ten legs, but decided that he really did need all fourteen after I saw how sparse ten looked. It was about 3/4 of the way through that I made the final decision to give him a marine isopod tail because the hippo's nose was just about the right shape.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Note: This is another post that never went live. It's some facebook posts from 2011.

Karen Stay Ahlstrom
When I woke up this morning, I thought it was a shame that I couldn't leave part of my consciousness in bed and pick it up later after at least some of me was rested.

I hate it when I can't get back to sleep.

I told Lizbeth last night that Princess Elizabeth had a problem. She didn't like using the toilet, and Queen Karen didn't like changing diapers. "What could help Princess Elizabeth use the bathroom?" I asked. Her answer, "Elephants." plain and simple.

Karen Stay Ahlstrom Is drinking chocolate syrup straight from the bottle. It's been that kind of day.

The beans we planted in preschool are really trying hard to grow. I feel bad that I have no intention of potting them properly.

I just skimmed a bunch of beekeeping magazines looking for pictures for my preschool lesson next month. It's amazing how much I don't know about beekeeping. The amount of information, biology, history, mythology, etc is amazing -- not that there's stuff I don't know. :)

in the spirit of Mike's recent doodle video, this is what we're doing to instill a love of math in our child.
Elizabeth makes a dodecahedron

Here's the butterfly we saw pump up its wings yesterday. Sorry the video is so terrible. Click through to my account to see more videos from the last few months.
Newly Emerged Butterfly

This butterfly came out of its chrysalis moments earlier. Its wings are still crumpled. The video is terrible because of the plastic and mesh, but I thought Grandma Kathey might like to see.

Last night after clipping her toenails, I played This Little Piggy with Lizbeth for the first time in a while. At the end, after giggling at my tickles, she said, "That was funny!" Then, to clarify, just in case I wasn't sure, she said, "The wee wee wee one was funny."

Lizbeth has found that if she stands over the heater vent, the air flow is just strong enough to lift her balloon to about chest height.

The other butterfly also chose that moment for its virgin flight. It sat there with trembling wings and got itself ready, then launched and flapped and fell to the bottom of the habitat and fluttered pretty uselessly for a while. Now it's sitting still again, probably getting its strength back for the next attempt.

As I carried Bridget into the front room this morning, I glanced at the butterfly habitat and saw a brand new butterfly with crumpled wings climbing up the wall. It must have emerged moments earlier. We all watched as it pumped its wings full of blood and tested its tongue and legs.

The first butterfly emerged!

Lizbeth was being a bit too quiet playing by herself in the basement, so I went to check on her. It turns out, appropriately, that she was looking at her quiet books.

Bridget laughing as she plays with Lizbeth's birthday balloon.

Bridget now rolls from back to front when trying to get something out of reach. Crawling is not far away.

I really don't like it when Peter works Saturdays. It means I don't get a day off either.

Lizbeth opened all her presents and left them strewn around the living room. With the balloon on the ceiling, that meant that everywhere Bridget looked, there were fun and enticing things that she wasn't allowed to grab and eat. Under the circumstances, I think that her frustrated tantrum was pretty justified.

Oh yes! It's a Totodo movie! Oh oh yes! Yes! A Totodo movie! Hooray! With Satsuke and a cat bus! Oh yes oh yes! (that was pretty much Lizbeth's reaction when she saw the DVD we got for her birthday.)

I also tidied up the front room, kitchen, bedroom and office. Then I wrapped Lizbeth's appalling stash of birthday presents. I think I'm just about ready for her party tomorrow. I need to decorate after she goes to bed tonight. We'll bake the cake together in the morning.

Just started the sixth (and last) load of laundry for the day. And since I started out with three loads to fold and put away, I feel like I've accomplished a lot.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar card game Lizbeth got for Christmas doesn't have a cocoon card. This was a problem till we realized that we have envelopes just the right size to slip a caterpillar card into. And if you hide a beautiful butterfly card behind it as you do, you can make it magically appear!

Had just gotten Bridget to sleep when the phone rang. Now she's wide awake.

The serpentine belt fell off Peter's car again. This changes our plan for the evening. Sigh.

We had a great playgroup today at the McDonalds playplace. Thanks for suggesting it Laura.

Magnetic toys unite!

Lizbeth made these octahedra all by herself. She was so pleased, she brought them to show me with a big Ta-da!!

Our house is tooooooooo cold!!!!!

(the furnace man came and jury-rigged a fix. He'll be back tomorrow with the right part. We're warming up now.)

I took page 72 from the January Ensign and posted it on the refrigerator next to the kitchen table. Now at every meal, we sing the Latter Day Prophets song and point to the pictures as we go. My 3 year old daughter Elizabeth loves this game and after 3 days can name several without help and repeat the others with prompting.

The furnace fan seems to be broken on a very cold night -- 9 degrees and falling

After a few days of experimental babbling Peter and I agreed that when Bridget said, "ma ma ma ma ma" when I got home tonight, she really meant it.

Trying to give Lizbeth more autonomy in the toilet training saga, I told her to go all by herself while I did mom's bills. She ended up diaperless playing with refrigerator magnets 10 minutes later when the poo arrived. To her credit she was *trying* to clean it up when I found her... Sigh.

Told Lizbeth the story of Abraham's servant finding a wife for Isaac. At the end she asked what the girl's name was. When I told her it was Rebecca, she was impressed that it's like Grandma Becky. I told her that Grandma tries to be kind and helpful like Rebecca. Lizbeth excitedly added, "and she gets me water!"

Lizbeth is sure that Joseph Smith got the brass plates from the wicked Laban

In discussing the trials of having a child in Lizbeth's particular phase, Grandma Kathey said, "It will get better." which I then revised to, "it will get different."

We got Lizbeth so excited about going to Sunbeams today that when we took her to the Primary room for Opening Exercises she threw a screaming fit that took a half hour to calm down from. And half the ward heard it since she screamed all the way down the hall to the Sunday School class I have to teach, and where Peter was waiting with Bridget. Then she screamed all the way back to Primary. Sigh. Then I had to give a lesson about how happy people in th New Testament were when they learned that they were going to be parents.

My anxiety level has been especially high the last few weeks. All my doctor has to offer are stronger meds that would require weaning Bridget -- and the fight that would result from that decision would give me more anxiety and guilt than the meds would fix. Any ideas? it's generalized anxiety that doesn't have a focus? it's just like a loud noise yelling in my brain -- very distracting. I'm not worried about anything in particular, just generally on edge. It makes it hard to be patient Lizbeth, attentive to Bridget, and productive around the house. With effort, any given moment, I can use breathing exercises and positive thinking to squash it back down, but it's work, and by the end of the day I'm mentally very tired. I'm even open to the idea of weaning Bridget, but she has never in her life been willing to drink from a bottle or cup, and I don't know how to make her give it enough of a try to start making the switch.

Lizbeth: Oh! You're getting a cup for me? And now you're getting a cup for you...rself
Me: Yes I am, and that was even grammatically correct.
Lizbeth: and now you're getting a cup for Daddy's self.

Due to the series of partial thaws followed by hard freezes in the week or so since the last snowstorm, most of the driveways in our neighborhood are sheets of ice. Peter worked hard to clear ours before driving over the snow, so it's been clean and dry for days. Our next door neighbors on the other hand have been chipping at it with a long chisel every waking hour for two days straight now.

Post office says they have no record that they were supposed to hold mom's mail even though I have a copy of the email receipt they sent mom when they placed the hold.

Karen Stay Ahlstrom Wishes there was a law requiring every piece of plastic packaging, including bags, to be marked with recycling information. If it's not recyclable, it should should be required to put that info on the package too.

Bridget has a stuffed toy piggie that is essentially a pink ball with a darker pink nose stocking out of one side. She loves this toy, especially chewing on the nose. I do not believe that she likes it because it looks like a *pig*

Sometimes when Bridget is tired, she's too agitated to nurse. She will whine and cry and arch her back and rub her eyes, but she won't settle down and nurse. I've found that if I Rub her cheek with one of her minkie blankets, she will immediately calm down, relax her body, turn her head and open her mouth. It's like magic.

just found out why I couldn't find any Discovery Toys sets at the toy stores I was shopping in. They're sold at parties like Mary Kay and Tupperware. Are any of my friends consultants? Does anybody want to invite me to one of these parties?

Peter got time lapse video of the caterpillars pupating last night

Shut my bedroom door to have some privacy while I changed my clothes. Lizbeth then had a fit just outside, pounding and kicking and screaming for "mommy car" to come out. When that didn't work she started yelling that "Bridget car wants you!"

Caterpillars. Notice three chrysalises hanging, one fuzzy hanging, and one that fell down and is sitting upside down with his head in poo.

Somehow, one of the caterpillars got knocked loose, and fell down into the webbing and poo at the bottom of the cup. He's still in the J shape though, with his tail sticking up in the air--poor guy. I'm pretty sure he's the one that was annoying the third caterpillar last night so I guess he deserves it, but still...

The last two caterpillars hung themselves up last night. They spend about 24 hours hanging upside down with their head curled upwards in a kind of J shape before shedding their skin.

Something like three jars of strained peas just emerged from Bridget's digestive tract looking virtually unchanged from when I spooned them in--though it smelled much worse.

The third caterpillar is hanging upside down ready to pupate. One of the other caterpillars has been annoying him for more than an hour now, poking his spines to make him wiggle.

Lizbeth woke up this morning, came upstairs and said, "I think I need to sit on the toilet." Then she went and did it all by herself!

Lizbeth's Sunbeams teacher said she did well in class today (her first time in the 3 year old class at church rather than nursery) but that she had a lot of energy. Another source told Peter that every time they sang songs Lizbeth wanted to get up and dance.

Trying to get a sluggish Lizbeth to go downstairs, I told her to keep moving. As she slowly crawled along, she said, "I'm keep movinging"

One of the caterpillars pupated overnight. Since he hung himself up overnight 24 hours earlier, I have high hopes that we'll see the one that hung himself up yesterday morning shed his skin today. I just hope it doesn't all happen while we're at church. He did shed his skin this morning, but he did it quickly during one of Lizbeth's 20 minute potty trips.

New Year's Day party at Brandon's went well. Lizbeth and Joel had a water fight (thank you autocorrect bubble on top of the post button) in the unfinished part of the basement. And later decided that what she really wanted was to lock herself in Peter's office and watch the Cars movie ALL BY HERSELF.

Looking back on the last year, it was definitely a good one. Highlights included welcoming Bridget into our lovely new home, spending lots of time with family on both sides, and having Peter feel secure and happy in his job.

At game night, they were pleased with my gift of Set (thank you Peter for going back for it). We survived Castle Raveloft. I sat out of the round of Poo taking care of Bridget. But their Hollywood Blockbuster game hates me and I lost in an increasingly improbable string of bad luck.

Lizbeth must be allergic to their house since each time we've gone she gets mysterious hives--this time on both wrists.

Bridget, who gets scared and cries when Mama growls or Daddy has a barking cough was just plain terrified of the monster three times her size that could not get enough of her smell. Luckily, she fell asleep fairly early in the night.

We had a great new year party at Dan's house. Lizbeth was gleefully terrified of his English Bulldog, and kept exhibiting prey behaviors like running away screaming then falling on the floor and lying on her back with arms and legs curled up to protect her vitals.

The caterpillars are not tiny caterpillars any more. They're big fat caterpillars. And one of them is hanging from the roof ready to shed his skin and turn into a chrysalis. Hooray!

Lizbeth is watching Peter play gemcraft and asking about the monsters. "Are those squorpions?" she asks.

Thinking about new years plans. Wondering ig it'd be ok to take Lizbeth to a friend's party with the intention of plopping her down in front of a tv to watch movies till midnight or so instead of getting a babysitter so she can go to sleep. Then I remembered that we do that every Friday night.

Lizbeth says: I'm a very friendly Lightning McQueen caterpillar. Brandon doesn't think he's a bug. But Mater came and the bug jumped on top of him and the bug flew away and the cars were so happy! Yeeeesss! Lightning McQueen has jumper legs so I think he's a grasshopper bug! That's so funny! He he! That's really good choice.

When I said good morning to Lizbeth today she said, "It's a great morning!"

Lizbeth yelling from time out: Mama! I need to be good to you! Daddy! I need to be good to Mama.

I exchanged some luxury socks at Nordstrom's for a Hello Kitty necklace and lip balm. Driving to the next store Lizbeth started crying, "I don't want this in my hair!" I turned around to see that she had managed to smear all the lip balm all over her face, hands, hair, and the window. If I hadn't been driving while handing her wipes to clean it up, I would have gotten a funny picture.

Last night I got out my New Testament picture file to show Lizbeth pictures of the Holy Land to explain where Grandma was going on her trip. After those pictures were portraits of the Savior. Lizbeth looked at a few and said "That's Jesus! He's nice."

Lizbeth says race frogs

Christmas turned out well. Lizbeth LOVED all her presents, and said so many cute happy things about all of them that I can't remember what they were to write them down, but my heart is full to bursting.

Grandma Becky gave Lizbeth Gramdma Fawnie's milk glass cat candy dish for a keepsake. Lizbeth said "I never seen a cat so best!"

Merry Christmas!

Had a great Christmas Eve dinner with the Holts. Not all the presents went to the intended recipients, but they got to the right people anyway.

Done wrapping presents. Peter seems to have a way to go yet.

Ran out of tape. Using Christmas seals from Grandma Helen's copious stash to hold the wrapping paper on.

Stopped in at Savers to see what they had left on day-before-Christmas-Eve, and to my amazement and great, what they had were the kind of toys and games I'd been searching for at toystores for months, and at thrift store prices! Somebody loves me!

Lizbeth saw me reading the Ensign magazine and said, "Where's Jesus? Where's Jesus?" Each time I showed her a picture of Jesus, she giggled in delight.

Lizbeth picked up a random Christmas card and "read" it aloud to me in the sweetest little voice. "For Baby Jesus. Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus!"

asked what Lizbeth talked about in Primary today. She said, "I was sad." When I asked why, she said,"I wanted you." I reminded her that she knew I would always come back for her when church was over, and she said, "Thanks Mom."

The Fed Ex man brought us a box this morning that said, "Live insects Open immediately." Lizbeth is now the proud owner of five tiny and very hungry caterpillars. She has been reciting Eric Carle, requesting caterpillar stories, wrapping herself up in Chrysalis blankets, and dancing as a beautiful butterfly all day. I hope the little guys survive all the love she has for them. Thank you Grandma Kathey

Peter sang, "Mary had a little lamb, she also had a bear..." and Lizbeth responded, "Her little lamb said baa baa, her bear said GRRRR!"

While we were chatting with Santa, Peter arrived, coming to my rescue with an extra stroller. We went back to the craft station to get our purchases gift wrapped, feed Bridget and retrieve the kitty before finally getting home.

I finally got her to move by telling her she was being disobedient and that time out was just outside the door. Then, we spotted Santa holding court in the direction I was hoping to head, so Lizbeth ran over and sat on his lap.

Lizbeth followed me through a toystore pretty easily, but once we got to gymboree she planted herself in front of the TV and refused to move. Meanwhile, Bridget is hungry and tired but won't eat in gymboree, and my arms are so tired from hauling her around without a stroller that dragging Lizbeth out is not an option.

Then we went to do crafts, where Lizbeth burned her mouth on spiced cider, and left her stuffed cat behind.

A mall employee took us in his golf cart back to our car, but Lizbeth didn't realize that the zip up vinyl walls wouldn't support her weight and she fell out of the golf cart head first while I was trying to load the stroller.

The carseat hit upside down and flipped over before coming to rest with a very startled but unharmed Bridget still strapped securely inside.

Went to the Riverwoods mall to find another toy store and do Christmas crafts. Half way to the North Pole store, both front wheels fell off my stroller pitching Bridget and her carseat out onto the cement.

Currently kitty obsessed Lizbeth asked to sing some Christmas songs today and then asked me to sing like a kitty. Inspired, I pulled up YouTube and now have a daughter obsessed with jingle cats

got up to feed the baby and fell back int bed. Worried that today might be a vertigo day

The other day, I was helping Lizbeth sew a felt gingerbread man, but we got interrupted before adding beads and buttons for face and trim. Later that evening I found her making off with said beads and buttons and was about to get mad when I found that she had been stitching them on by herself and doing a pretty good job too.

Two days of comfort nursing, a day of sleeping 19 of 24 hours , and a day of nursing strike make for a very uncomfortable Mama. I finally gave in and pumped out more than 20 oz this evening.

Enjoyed Utah Lyric Opera at the Orem library Messiah singalong last night. The tenor was fabulous, but the surprise joy of the night was the trumpet player in this number. His tone was amazing.

Tonight in her story, Princess Elizabeth Kitty told Santa kitty that she wanted a kitty for Christmas, and that it should be big, and sparkly, and say MEOW. Mama kitty remembered that we had just such a kitty in the playroom bucket o' stuffed cats. Elizabeth kitty thinks Mama kitty is magic

Is blessed to have the kind of husband who says: I rearranged my home teaching so you could go to the Relief Society Christmas dinner without hauling both girls along. No... Leave the crying baby here... I'll take care of her. I love you Peter!

Lizbeth sat on Santa's lap at the mall today. She asked for a snake and a candy cane. Confused, Santa asked her if she wanted a babydoll and a tea set. "Yeah" Lizbeth said noncommittally.

Bridget seems to be sleeping it off -- whatever "it"was. slept from 1:30 to 5, ate, fell asleep at the babysitter at about 8, and I had to wake her to eat again at 3 am to rellieve the pressure. She's been nursing steadily for about 30 min, but still hasn't woken up per se.

thinks last night's grilled cheese sandwiches were the best she's ever made.

wishes she knew why Bridget has been crying and moaning in her sleep lately

Bridget has finally figured out rolling from front to back and does it by herself on purpose!

At almost three years old, our daughter has invented the game of jumping rope

I found that if I blow a puff of air in Bridget's face, she'll gasp in surprise, allowing me to slip the spoon into her momentarily open mouth

Bridget likes to eat so much that she giggles in anticipation before every bite, and in delight after every bite. Of course with all that giggling she forgets to open her mouth.

Lizbeth: Aaaaaaaachoo... OH! That was a good sneeze!

Note: This post never went live back in 2009. I'm posting it now to clean up my drafts folder

Well, you can guess from my lack of posts that I've had a terrible month.

The last time I posted was around Christmas. I've been in therapy since the economic and family crisis craziness started last June, but even that wasn't enough to keep my spirits up under six months of constant stress and uncertainty. Seeing myself get more and more depressed and anxious, my doctors and I decided it was time to go back on medication. We picked a drug I haven't been on before because it's supposedly the best for breastfeeding. One real problem with it though is that not only does it take several weeks to kick in, but you actually feel worse before you feel better. It's one of the ones that increases suicides in some patients, and I got the full brunt of it. I had no energy, I felt like crying all the time, and some days it was impossible to make myself do even the simplest of tasks. I felt like I was swimming through molasses -- it was so frustrating!

One of the worst parts was that I knew there was no rational reason to be upset most of the time. I honestly couldn't trust, or often even interpret, what I was feeling or why.

The Ball Poem by John Berryman

The Ball Poem
What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,
What, what is he to do? I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over--there it is in the water!
No use to say 'O there are other balls':
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went. I would not intrude on him,
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take balls,
Balls will be lost always, little boy,
And no one buys a ball back. Money is external.
He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,
The epistemology of loss, how to stand up
Knowing what every man must one day know
And most know many days, how to stand up
And gradually light returns to the street
A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight,
Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark
Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,
I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move
With all that move me, under the water
Or whistling, I am not a little boy.
--John Berryman
Lizbeth's class is doing a unit on balls. Her teacher asked us all to send some balls to school for them to sort, experiment with, compare, etc. I thought that the teacher might want to see or use some of our other ball toys, but might not want me to send them ALL to school. So here is a sampling of our ball toys
  1. Ball and stick magnet building sets with marble sized ball bearings
  2. Mega Bloks Ball and stick magnet building set with tennis ball sized balls We also have a roller coaster for the big magnetic balls.
  3. Discovery Toys Marbleworks Marble Race Game
  4. Marble Mania Galaxy - Electric ball roller coaster for balls slightly bigger than marbles. This is glow in the dark and shoots the balls up a rocket to get to the top. Not my video, but it is the same set we have
  5. Chaos Toy - Electric ball roller coaster for balls slightly smaller than ping pong balls. This is about 6 feet tall and is fully customizable with all kinds of different ways to put it together. It's good for experimenting with to find just the right angle for bouncing balls, etc. The video is not mine, but is the same set that we have.
  6. Indoor golf holes and clubs
  7. Marble race type games for golf ball sized balls. One is wooden and the balls go around on static ramps before ringing a bell at the bottom. The other can switch which order the plastic ramps go on.
  8. Lots of Bakugan - Balls that transform into robots and Zoobles - Balls that transform into cute animals and a fun treehouse that the Zoobles can roll and play in
  9. Fisher Price Stacking and Nesting ball toy. It has ten half spheres that connect in several different ways
  10. Tumble Tower - This is another old Fisher Price toy with a bunch of marbles going through an obsticle course to get from the top to the bottom.
  11. A large collection of Fisher Price Roll Arounds balls (each one has a different moving toy inside the clear ball) and accessories Gumball Machine Here's Bridget playing with the gumball machine when it had batteries Caterpillar pull toy Ball Monster Tree House
  12. Ball and hammer toy
  13. Ball Ski Jump Chair
While I was looking for some of the older videos, I found these that show why we have so many ball toys Lizbeth gets a strike while bowling her first time Lizbeth says, "Roll Ball" Lizbeth plays ball ski jump on Mama's legs Lizbeth plays with Afterdark Lizbeth makes noises with a ball Lizbeth plays a first game And Bridget likes balls too

Friday, May 18, 2012

A, You're Adorable by Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise

A, You're Adorable
A, you're adorable
B, you're so beautiful
C, you're a cutie full of charms
D, you're a darling And
E, you're exciting And
F, you're a feather in my arms
G, you look good to me
H, you're so heavenly
I, you're the one I idolize
J, we're like Jack and Jill
K, you're so kissable
L is the love light in your eyes
M, N, O, P, I could go on all day
Q, R, S, T, alphabetically speaking, you're okay
U made my life complete
V means you're very sweet
W, X, Y, Z
It's fun to wander through the alphabet with you
To tell you what you mean to me
--Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise
One of my favorite board books is Baby's Alphabet by Jean Marzollo. It has photos of babies doing baby things for each letter of the alphabet. After reading it to Lizbeth, I thought that the only thing that would make it better would be if they were photos of her. For Mother's Day, a few years ago, I made Elizabeth's Alphabet book, and I repeated it this year with photos of Bridget. I ended up with four extra pages in one of the photo albums, so I decided to write a few sentences about each photo. In an ideal world, I would interweave the photos with the text, but it's past my bedtime already, so I'll just post the text here, with a link to the album.

Bridget’s Alphabet -- Mother’s Day 2012

Apple: We went to Roy, Utah for your Cousin Hazel’s birthday party. After the party, you, Lizbeth and Hazel went out in the backyard to play. You found some apples, and were excited to cut them open and see if there were any worms inside.

Blue : This was taken on a scorching hot day at the Salem Days fair in August. You were just a few months old. To keep you cool, I fed you tiny chunks of blue sno-cone. You really enjoyed it, but got upset when the ice melted and I didn’t put another piece in quickly enough.

Chick: We got chicks in the spring of 2012 and kept them till they were big enough to go live in Aunt Judi Moore’s chicken coop. You and Lizbeth really loved chasing and holding the chicks, especially the little black one. You also loved dressing up and pretending to be chicks.

Cousins: Here is a photo of all the cousins at the family reunion we had in Salem, Ut just a month after you were born (or all the cousins at Grandma Kathey's house in Fairborn, Oh). It’s hard to get that many little ones happy and looking at the camera.

Dresses: These matching dresses were a gift from Grandma Becky. You love to be able to dress and act just like your sister, and I love to see how you and Lizbeth like to do things together.

Dog: This is Aunt Betsey’s puppy Maddie. You have your tongue out in the panting baby sign for Dog. Both you and Maddie were too young and excitable to be allowed to play together, but you liked to make faces at each other during dinners at Grandma Kathey’s house.

Easter: This was our Easter Egg hunt 2012. You and Lizbeth got new Easter bonnets, but you wanted to wear both hats at the same time. We compromised by letting you wear Lizbeth’s old hat along with your new one.

Eat: I love taking pictures of you while eating. With the light from the window making your hair and skin shine. I was disappointed that the print came out darker than it looked on the computer.

Friends: These are our friends Joel and Dallin Sanderson. We go to play with them once or twice a week. Daddy works at the Sandersons’ house.

Frog: Another eating picture that printed dark. You really enjoyed looking at your bibs and cups and finding the animals on them.

Goat: This is one of several photos in this book from our trips to Young’s Jersey Dairy. It’s a farm near Grandma Kathey’s house in Ohio. We go there to eat ice cream, feed the goats, look at the animals, and play.

Happy: This photo was taken by Aunt Lesli when she came out for Grandpa Roly’s funeral. Aunt Lesli takes beautiful photos, always managing to find good light and get candid expressions.

Insects: We all dressed up as insects for Halloween. Daddy is a green beetle, Mama is a purple butterfly, Lizbeth is the Very Hungry Caterpillar (that can go through complete metamorphosis), and Bridget is a bee.

July 4: We were out visiting Ohio, and went to the fireworks at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (where Grandpa Jim works) in the week before July 4th. This American Flag dress was on of my favorite outfits for you.

Karen: This photo was taken on the day Daddy gave you a name and a blessing at church.

Ladybug boots: You’ve always liked to wear shoes, no matter what size they are. In this photo, you were just barely learning to walk, and decided to put on Lizbeth’s ladybug boots. They were heavy, and up past your knees, and you either fell over, or slipped out of the boots at almost every step. You were thrilled to wear them anyway.

Monkey: For your first Christmas, I bought you monkey pajamas from Gymboree. That same week, Joel got a hooded monkey blanket, and I got a brown jacket. Lizbeth started calling it my ‘monkey jacket’ and convinced me to sew a face on the hood, I also made one for her, and another for you when you outgrew the pajamas.

Naked: After a trip to the zoo with some cousins, we made an unexpected trip to Salt Lake’s Liberty Park to play in the Seven Canyons fountain that represents the mountain streams that flow into the Great Salt Lake. I didn’t have a swim diaper so we just decided to let you play naked.

Oh! I was taking my annual Mother’s Day photos of you and Lizbeth in Grandma Becky’s yard, when you gave me this adorable surprised look.

Pooh: One of my favorite baby outfits is this little Winnie the Pooh sleeper and hat.

Princess: I got this crown from the Goodwill outlet in Ohio, and you immediately claimed it for your own. You are also far more interested in princesses and dressing up than Lizbeth ever was, and this photo is a celebration of that.

Princess piggy: You really like to wear hats. It’s often not enough for you to wear just one hat, so we stack them on top of each other.

Quiet: I sometimes miss the times when you slept so deeply as a little baby, all swaddled in your blanket...

Rabbit: Here you are in a cute bunny costume.

Sunshine on my Shoulder: I love the way you’re backlit here on the yellow playground equipment.

Swimsuit: This photo was taken at the Splashpad in Spanish Fork, Ut. You didn’t really like the spraying water, but you did like being there with Lizbeth and your cousins.

Slide: I think this is the slide at the Salem Pond playground. You really like going down the slide (though climbing up is sometimes traumatic).

Tractor: Another Young’s Jersey Dairy photo. Daddy likes to point out that T is also for his Theoryland t-shirt (from the Wheel of Time website).

Train: And another photo from Young’s. I tend to take more photos when we’re on vacation, I guess. You were a little scared, but you really enjoyed ringing the cowbell as the tractor pulled the train around.

Up: This is the airplane ride at Trafalga Lehi. We had passes that let us go as often as we liked for a few years.

Vroom: Both of these photos were taken on the same day as the Apple photo when we went to Cousin Hazel Mills’s birthday party.

Web: This spider web is at the same Ohio playground as the Sunshine and Dog photos. I also I sprained my ankle walking down the stairs at this playground.

White animals: At your first birthday party, I think these were the presents that you loved most. They certainly were some of your favorite toys for sleeping with.

Xmas: This is the Santa at the Provo Riverwoods shopping destination. He gave you the Snowman bath duck.

Xmas: We went all out dressing up for our Ward’s Christmas in Nauvoo program. Nobody else dressed up at all,

Young’s: The last of the Young’s Jersey Dairy shots. You and Lizbeth thought this giant pumpkin was really neat.

Zzzz: Here you are asleep again. It really is a wonderful thing for a mother to watch a baby sleep. You’re so relaxed here, and looking cute in an outfit from Aunt Miriam Stay. You’ve always been more willing than most children to go to bed when you’re tired. It’s a good habit, and I hope you’ll be able to keep it up.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ready Set Silhouette

So I thought about how I'm not blogging much lately, and what I could have to write about these days, and I thought I'd switch off between reviews of the games I play with the girls, and the crafts we make.

Today I thought I'd start with a little game called Ready Set Silhouette.

It's based on the I Spy books from Scholastic, and has all the charming little miniatures that I love to look at. Each picture card has 8 or 9 little things on a white background. The object of the game is to find the matching silhouette card - clear cards with black silhouettes of the same objects.

We have a mini set that came from a Wendy's Kids meal. It has a little plastic box on a keychain to hold the cards, and only 12 pairs of cards. This size is perfect for playing with Lizbeth (who is three). If there were any more cards, they'd get mixed up and lost, and/or she'd have a hard time looking through them for the matches. As it is, we can spend about 20 minutes playing the game, and I can be sure that all the cards have their matches and get back into the box.

How do we like the game? It's simple enough for a three year old, but interesting enough that I don't get bored (it helps that it's essentially a sorting exercise, which my obsessive nature finds satisfying). The thing I like best is the moment when you've been twisting and flipping the card around, and everything finally lines up. There's a tiny outline of color, and then it's all black and white, neat and tidy.

The game teaches things like observation skills of course -- deciding what are the important features to look for, and then actually finding them. It also has a good spatial reasoning component because you have to twist and flip the clear cards to get everything to match.

All in all, I'd definitely reccomend this game -- though if I had a larger set, I'd probably only get out a few cards at a time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Who needs math at a time like this?

This isn't a poem, but an essay I wrote ten years ago today. I was teaching Math -- as a substitute for Remedial Algebra actually -- at Southview High School in Lorain, Ohio on September 11, 2001. At one period change, a group of students came in and said something about a plane crash and asked if we could watch TV instead of holding class. Of course I didn't do anything of the kind, and it wasn't till I went to the teachers' lunchroom at the end of that period that I got the news. For the rest of the day, I insisted on holding class before turning the TV back on, and I was very disturbed by the attitudes of the students. I wrote this essay that night, in order to have something to motivate them the next day. I also posted it to some Math Teacher websites.

As a side note to this, I was going through some old papers in the attic a while later, and found a copy of the Detroit Free Press from January 29, 1986. The Headline of the article said, "STUDENTS EXPRESS SHOCK, DISMAY AT SHUTTLE EXPLOSION" the subtitle was a quote from me, "I felt like there was nothing inside me." I was in third or fourth grade (I had the same classroom, teacher, and most of the same students for both years, so I can never tell them apart) and our teacher, Mrs. Patterson was one of those in the running for the "Teacher in Space" program. We spent weeks leading up to the liftoff, studying the shuttle, and we knew just what would happen when we watched the liftoff in class. Except it didn't. I can still close my eyes and see the trails of smoking debris arching away from the explosion. We watched the same horrible moments over and over. Mrs. Patterson had us each write a paragraph about our feelings, and some of those were printed in the paper. It was like having a flashback to that day when I turned on the TV at Southview -- except that the kids were all turning to ME for reassurance.When I went home that day, I ate a lot of ice cream and cried.

Who needs math at a time like this?

As the terrible events of Tuesday unfolded, I heard some disturbing sentiments: "I just wanna leave" "So does this mean we don’t have to do our homework?" "Can we just skip class today and watch the news?" It seems to me that students are saying, "Who needs math at a time like this?" If we are to continue to teach, this question must be answered. So who needs math at a time like this?

Rescue workers digging people out of the rubble of collapsed buildings must be able to calculate how much force they can apply at what angle in order to lift blocks safely. They must be able to predict what buildings are about to fall, and where. They do not have time to find a calculator and look up the formula for volume on a cheat sheet, and yet they know that they have to dig through the equivalent of a city’s worth of buildings piled on top of each other.

Doctors and nurses must be able to calculate how much medicine to give each person based on body weight and other factors. They must be able to figure out how many liters of blood they need, and how much of the supply has already been used. They need to order supplies, and be aware of how much time goes by between repeated treatments.

Reporters are deluging us with facts, figures, and speculations about the times, places, and the number of dead, wounded, and survivors.

FAA workers had to calculate new flight plans to get all of the planes out of the air safely. If flight 496 left Salt Lake City at 5:15 am at 2000 miles per hour, and flight 901 is heading southwest out of Detroit at 8:30 at 1500 miles per hour, and they both have to land at the same airport in Illinois, will they crash?

The passengers on the Pennsylvania plane made a horrible calculation and decided to crash in a field now and die, rather than take the chance of hitting something bigger, and killing thousands of people when the hijackers reached their target.

As the nation rebuilds, architects and engineers will draw plans for new buildings that will be stronger than before: buildings that will take such punishment, and stay standing a few minutes longer, so a few more people can escape should another disaster occur. They will marvel at the ones who built so well that the towers would fall straight down, and not sideways, knocking down half the city in a domino effect.

On the back wall of my classroom, I have a poster that reads: ONLY THE EDUCATED ARE FREE. The United States can only maintain its freedom, prosperity, and stability with an educated populace. Our economy depends on skilled and technical labor. Our government depends on citizens who are well informed about the history and current events that lead to events like this. Those that are educated can lend a hand, or a mind, to build up any community, from organizing relief efforts to preserving peace in our ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Those who are ignorant can only riot, retaliate blindly, or watch in horror as the world crumbles around them.

In answer to the question, who needs math at a time like this, all I can say is, at a time like this, who can do without it?