Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


P1050649 (2)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Fragment: T I A Part 2

Originally posted July 27, 2008

Esmé pours rocks inside a plastic bag with no bottom. Her girlfriend had had this wrapped around her foot, and when she took it off Esmé was quite fascinated with it. She tried putting the plastic bag on her foot, too.

And girlfriend found some ribbon from a cassette tape in the rocks and was "flossing her teeth" with it. Esmé had to try that, too!
Another little girl who found plenty of entertainment in a piece of tape!
There is JOY in Africa, friends! Found amidst the rocks, plastic bags, cassette ribbon, and tape.

[Click here to continue reading]

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Fragment: T I A

Originally posted July 25, 2008

You know that joke about the employee who takes time off because he would like to attend his mother-in-law's funeral, only to ask for time off again the next month for the same reason? (The punchline is that she isn’t dead yet.)

Well, in Mozambique I don't think people would get the joke.

For starters, people refer to extended relatives as brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers. So when someone tells you his “sister” has died, it might be his cousin. And his “mother” might be his mother’s cousin. Seems sweet, but it’s a little disconcerting from an employer’s perspective when one tries to be sympathetic and keeps giving time off and funds for employee family funerals.

Remember our gardener, Antonio? The beanless guy? Yesterday he informed me that his wife just died, and he needs 2 weeks off and some travel money to fetch his son.

What? His wife died late last year – he took a month off then. Did he marry again already?

No, no. That wife was his second wife, his Maputo wife. His primary wife lived 3 days travel up north. And his son now has no one to care for him. The grandparents are dead, too.

How many more wives does he have????

Just these two. No more. Now he has no wives left.

My heart grieves for the motherless son. And once again I’m troubled by my lack of sympathy and compassion as an employer.

[Click here to continue reading]

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Fragment: What Esmé Needs

Originally posted July 23, 2008

    Here’s how it works – Google your name followed with a verb like “needs." Copy the first few results and add your own commentary.
    So here are our Thursday Thirteen for this 15-month-old bebe:

    1. Esmé needs to go date about 3 different guys and have the time of her life. Okay – I can do this, but I’m not sure Mommy and Daddy would approve until I’m a little older, say 16 months?
    2. Esmé needs her story now. Did you know there was a song by Jawbreaker about me? Neither did I! It’s not exactly kiddie music, though, so I’m not linking.
    3. Esmé needs love. Definitely! I’ve got plenty of it, thank goodness.
    4. Esmé needs to address her bank accounts. And which ones might those be? I got a piggy bank full of change – maybe I should bank it?

[Click here to continue reading]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fragment: How to Make Raisin Pie

Originally posted July 14, 2008
  1. Have a 15-month-old child.
  2. Buy a 2 kg bag of expensive raisins, since they’re cheaper in large quantities.
  3. Open the bag and use a few.
  4. Place the opened bag on the bottom shelf of the pantry.
  5. Leave the pantry door open.
  6. Discover 15-month-old in a pile of raisins on floor of pantry, happily eating away.
  7. Cry over spilled raisins.
  8. Pick up raisins off pantry floor, carefully separating them from onion skins also on pantry floor.
  9. Wash raisins.
[Click here to continue reading]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WW: Summer Days, Tea Parties, and Books

Tea Party

Nothing like starting a lazy summer day off right with a tea party, methinks…

And then follow it up with a reading marathon, since a good stack of books are due back at the library in two days and we want to get through as many as possible.  (Yes, our eyes are often bigger than our brains when checking those books out for three weeks.)

So this is supposed to be Wordless Wednesday and all, but I love reading others’ book lists at this time of year, so I figured we’d give you our summer list so far…
  • Gooney Bird Collection by Lois Lowry.  A four-story audiobook collection that is probably Esmé’s all-time favorite this summer.  Having an out-of-the-mold girl myself, I happen to be a little in love with 2nd-grader Gooney after listening to a couple.  She’s smart and different and stands up for the others when needed.  I want my daughter to have her teacher....
  • The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies.  This is a follow-up to The Lemonade War, which we had enjoyed on audiobook, so Esmé was quite ready to pick up the book and read on her own.  I wrapped up the last two chapters as a read-aloud so I wouldn’t be left in the dark. I like the series not just for “moral” lessons, but for the explicit vocabulary lessons and the fact that one of the characters has skipped a grade and deals with some of the same issues Esmé has gone through.
  • About Average by Andrew Clements.  Listened to audiobook.  If Mr. Clements wouldn’t write so many books, we would probably get through them all this summer.  They all seem to have extremely relatable kids in an extremely relatable school setting who are a bit outside the “normal” box, even in this book about “average,” and the writing is very engaging.
  • The Report Card by Andrew Clements.  The chapter book currently in Esmé’s paws as I type.  I haven’t read yet, but it’s probably a sure bet due to the author.
  • We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School) by Andrew Clements.  I’m encouraging Esmé to pick out one book on her own at the library each week, and this is her latest (and most ambitious) personal pick.  She’s a few chapters into it and won’t let me borrow it to read myself yet. The history/mystery genre is a bit different from his other books, so I’m curious as to whether we’ll like this series.
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  Listened to audiobook.  I can understand why this book seems to be really popular this year, though it is quite long.  I work with people with disabilities, and the emphasis is always on how we are more the same than different, no matter how visible the disability.  This book brings home that understanding to young minds.
  • A Girl Called Tommie by Thelma G. Norman.  We swap-read this chapter book.  It’s a throwback to my childhood that I found while visiting my parents, and I love that Esmé loved the same stories. Lots of little adventures and lessons for young girls…
  • Rush Revere and the First Patriots:  Time Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans by Rush Limbaugh.  A look into American history from a pro-American viewpoint. I’m enjoying it more than Esmé, so we’re using it as a history-lesson read-aloud.  The illustrations are fabulous and the magical time-traveling horse is downright funny.
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.   Listened to audiobook.  We’ve done studies on the Great Depression before, and this is a good tie-in from a different perspective.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Listened to audiobook.  I admit this had me concerned from the get-go – would it inspire Miss Esmé to plan a run-away-from-home excursion?  But we stuck it out and mostly enjoyed it, and it fits in nicely with Esmé’s summer art camp adventures. I was amused to see it is on Esmé’s 4th grade curriculum list (one of three novels), so she’ll get to enjoy it a bit more over the next year.
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.  Listened to audiobook.  To be honest, I swapped several times between not enjoying and enjoying the writing style of this book, but Esmé wanted to listen to the whole thing, so we did.  In addition to being about an amazing kid with remarkable survival skills, it deals with a lot of racial issues.  I do like the ending, so am glad I stuck it out.
  • The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood by Gerald Hausman. A read-aloud picture book.  We’d studied how the Flood turns up in ancient tales across civilizations, and this was an interesting illustration in point.  Speaking of illustrations, it was also a good example of interesting Native American art.
  • No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young.  A read-aloud picture book.  I like the fun storyline with two little bookworms with kid-appealing humor on each page.  And while it is a fun book, it’s even more an educational book about the many creatures who contribute to your chocolate bar, including, yes, the brain-eating coffin fly.
  • Beauty and the Beast by H. Chuku Lee.  A read-aloud picture book. I like books that tell a familiar story or fairy tale from a different cultural perspective, but to be honest, this wasn’t a particularly stand-out one except for the illustrations.
  • The Boy Who Loved Math:  The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman. A read-aloud picture book.  Let’s face it: Esmé was a crazy math lover as a little thing, but Common Core has sucked it right out of her.  I don’t expect her to be another Paul Erdos, but I’d love to spark that math love again, so I’m looking for books like this that illustrate the fun of it.
  • Simeon’s Gift by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton.  A read-aloud picture book.  A whimsical tale of music and love.
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish.  Just a fun early chapter book on Esmé’s book list that’ll make Amelia Bedelia fans smile.
  • Never Girls #1: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe.  The first in a Disney early chapter book series that fed Esmé’s fairy fetish for a bit.  Esmé read and recommends it, though it probably wouldn’t make my list.
  • Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout by Megan McDonald.  Another Esmé-recommended popular series book that I didn’t read and probably wouldn’t put on my list.  Though she keeps bringing up amphibian fact tidbits that she supposedly learned from the book.
  • Rainbow Magic Princess Fairies (and more) by Daisy Meadows.  Yes, this would be the year of the fairy series for Miss Esmé.  Thanks to her cousins’ book supplies, she is well stocked with these whenever she needs a quick enjoyable read to meet her reading quota for the day…
  • Imagination Station Books (Adventures in Odyssey series).  To balance things out a bit, I bought a 16-book set of these that also fit into Miss Esmé’s reading lineup this summer.  A bit like the Magic Tree House series with its history lessons, but with Adventures in Odyssey characters and a Christian theme.