No Harm Done

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

News Flash

Posted at Jo's Boys.

"The French government recently announced a raise in its terror alert level from Run to Hide. The normal level is General Arrogance, and the only two higher levels in France are Surrender and Collaborate. The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country’s military capability.

It’s not only the French that are on a heightened level of alert:

Italy has increased the alert level from Shout Loudly and Excitedly to Elaborate Military Posturing. Two more levels remain, Ineffective Combat Operations and Change Sides.

The Germans also increased their alert state from Disdain to Dress In Uniform and Sing Marching Songs. They have two higher levels: Invade a Neighbour and Lose.

The British are also feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from Miffed to Peeved. Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to Irritated or even A Bit Cross. Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from Tiresome to Bloody Nuisance. The last time the British issued a Bloody Nuisance warning level was during the Great Fire of London in 1666."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another Public Service Message

Dear Readers, it has come to my attention that I must dispel the rumor that my home is immacculate at all times.

After comments made by a couple of friends recently, it appears that pictures I've posted on my blog over the past two years have caused some difficulty for others.

I do like things to be clean and orderly.

And it is true that I despise clutter.

But please do not assume that my house looks this clean all the time.

Readers, I am the mother of three boys. Three very active and, at times, very messy boys. It does not take much time for them to deconstruct the peaceful environment I've tried to create.

Last week, for example, M. treated us to a dinner out at Red Robin. As we waited for our meal the kids entertained themselves by doing the activities on the back of their placemats. Unbeknownst to anyone, Brogan slipped four crayons into his jeans pocket so he could bring them home and color. Because, you know, we don't have any crayons at our house. (sigh.)

Saturday morning, I pulled a load of laundry out of the dryer and it was rainbow-colored!

And so was the inside of my dryer and the lint vent. Ugh!

All week long, I dealt with the waxy mess in my dryer. Dirty laundry stacked up as I washed and rewashed the ruined clothes, trying to save them. I scrubbed the inside of the dryer again and again, trying to remove the wax. I ran load after load of wet rags through the dryer in an attempt to get any hidden wax out. By Friday, the rags I put in the dryer finally came out clean.

But by then, after a week, I had a lot of laundry to do! So Saturday and Monday were spent washing and drying laundry. As a load came out of the dryer, I'd add it to a pile on the lowboy in my bedroom. I created a mountain of clean laundry, and only when every item was clean did we sit down to fold and put away.

Here is the beginning of the pile, two loads in. I think I did six loads of laundry when all was said and done. You'll have to use your imagination to picture the final pile.

My house is not always perfect. Your house will not always be perfect. As long as neither home is a haven for rodents, bugs, disease, I'm okay with that.

Has It Really Been Nine Days Since I've Posted?

Wow, they flew by!

Recently we had a craft day for the children at our church. On Saturday morning, the social committee set up stations all over the gym. The children visited the stations in any order they liked, but they could only visit each station once.

Brogan and Colson went, and they had a grand time. Colson visited the cookie-frosting once.....but never left. He spent the entire time frosting (and eating) cookies and being smothered by a couple of motherly high school girls. Brogan frosted cookies too, but also made a puppet, painted wooden crafty figures, and made a door-hanger.

On Sunday morning, at the beginning of the church service, pictures from the craft day were shown in a slideshow on the screen at the front of the church. It was clear that the event was a hit, and there were many pictures of adorable children coloring, cutting, and gluing!

And then Brogan's picture flashed on the screen:

Yes, that's pink frosting smeared all over his face and fingers. His mouth is stuffed so full of cookie that he cannot close his lips.
It was the only photo in the slideshow to get a laugh.
That's my boy!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Translation, Please?

Hat tip to the Well Trained Mind forums.

Friday, March 09, 2007

MOM My Ride

A parody of the tv show "Pimp My Ride."

It's funny because it's true......

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Two months ago, Brogan's snail disappeared.

One morning, Dot's shell was laying on the bottom of the tank, empty. We assumed she'd outgrown it and was in hiding while she waited for us to buy her a new one, but Dot never returned to take up residence in the new shell.

I've cleaned and emptied the tank twice in those two months, and Dot. Is. Gone. We should've named her "Houdini." I've been watching my counters for the past two months, expecting to find a dried-up snail somewhere, but Dot appears to have gone dark. (Rest in Peace, Dot.)

So this weekend, we trooped off to the pet store to purchase another snail. On the way home, the kids called out possible names for the new snail: "Elvis!", "Speedy!", "Slimy!", etc.

The boys didn't like my suggestion of "Es-car." They just gave me mildly-annoyed, quizzical looks.

"Yes! Es-car!" I said, "So when we see the snail moving across the tank we can say, 'Look at that es-car go!' "

Nothing but groans from the peanut gallery. Sigh....

They ended up going with "Calvin." Our new snail is named after neither the former president, nor the great theologian. Nope! He's named after our favorite cartoon six year-old.

Welcome home, Calvin!

(Please stay alive!)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

For Ajamu

My parents sent Braden the sheet music for several songs in the Star Wars movies. Braden learned Darth Vader's theme song especially for Ajamu.

Ajamu is Braden's 3 year-old cousin who loves Darth Vader. For nearly a year Ajamu has called Darth Vader "Hoo Haa!", because of the sound that Vader makes in the movies.

Here is your "Hoo Haa" music, Fatty! Enjoy!

Monday, March 05, 2007

This Boy Will Never Date

This was a banner day for Braden. I don't know that he realized it, but I did.

Today we met with the orthodontist for our first consultation regarding the braces-that-are-to-come. The good news is that he won't be needing any appliances today (although they did offer.) The bad news is that he will be starting treatment sooner than hoped, and that we will very likely have two children in orthodontia at the same time.


During lunch I played a new CD by Kristen Chenoweth. After a few songs, Braden asked if we were listening to the soundtrack from "Wicked." (Sidenote: If you have never heard the soundtrack to this Broadway show, run, do not walk, to Best Buy and pick it up!) I was impressed, and explained that this wasn't the "Wicked" CD, although Kristen Chenoweth is the actress in "Wicked," so that was why he recognized her voice.

The capper, though came during Braden's haircut. He had been shaggy-haired for several days, and I was impatient and admittedly distracted in my hurry to get his haircut over with. I wasn't paying attention when I put the on the clipper guard. It wasn't until after the first swipe with the clippers and I saw a flash of blindingly white scalp that I realized what I'd done.

I'd used the wrong blade guard.

I had just given my son a partial reverse- mowhawk.

Can you see it? The picture does not capture the striking whiteness of his scalp. The stripe went from the nape of his neck clear up to the crown of his head. There was no way to hide this. No way to blend or camoflage it. Oohhhhh..... I was so ashamed! Poor kid!

I froze in horror and stared at his scalp and tried to figure out what to do. How do you fix this without giving the poor boy a buzz-cut? A buzz cut would be acceptable in July, but in March? Puh-leaze!

I threw a hat on Braden and we raced to a walk-in place that Mrs. G. recommended. The kind lady there neither laughed nor mocked me. (Bless you!) With a straight face, she told Braden that it wasn't so bad, and that I'd done the best thing by not trying to fix it myself.

Twenty minutes later, Braden left with a passable haircut. Closely shaved on the sides, and longer on the top. I think it makes him look... taller. We drove straight to swim team practice, and I stuck around until the other boys on the team started commenting on his haircut. By the time I heard him tell them, "Yeah, my mom was trying to cut my hair....." I was almost at the door.

It occured to me on the drive home that Braden, with glasses, braces, a thorough knowledge of show tunes, a love of all things Star Wars, and a mother that should never, ever be allowed near his hair, is doomed. Perhaps I have not given him the best foundation for life.

I am going to start praying for his future wife now.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Night at the (Living) Wax Museum

Have you ever had one of those times, maybe in high school, maybe in college, when you had so many things to get done you sorted them by due dates and accomplished them in order? "First my biology paper. When that's done I'll attack the calculus assignment. Then, when that's done I'll start that Western Civ. essay." (Right. Like I've ever taken calculus.)

Anyway, my life has been like that since Christmas. One project or event after another. Everything got put off until I could no longer ignore it. The final event in a long string of activities - the pinnacle event, if you will - was the "Night At The (Living) Wax Museum" event.

A fellow homeschooler and I organized the evening, and we each not only had to make sure everything was ready for the evening, but also help our children finish their projects.

The concept of the event was this: Children were to pick a historical figure to research and then create a tabletop display. On the night of the Museum, the children dressed up as their figures and posed in front of their displays. (Like wax figures) Next to each child was an "ON" button. When an adult pressed it, the child was to come to life and recite a short biography they'd written about their character.

The kids did a fantastic job, and it was such a fun evening. We had Davy Crockett, Nikolas Tesla, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Ronald Reagan, and the entire Ingalls family!

Braden and Brogan each did a great job on their projects. Braden was King Richard the First (Richard the Lionhearted), and Brogan was Theseus (who slew the Minotaur).

Here they are posing. they had to remain absolutely still until someone pushed their ON button - no small feat for Brogan!


Brogan is hard to understand on the video, but when his button was pressed he said, "I am Theseus. I killed the Minotaur and saved the children." He narrated the story of Theseus to me, and I typed it up to put on his display board.

Here is the text of his narration:

The Minotaur was half-human and half-bull. He lived under the palace in a maze. A maze that you couldn’t get in or out of. Actually, you could get in, but you couldn’t get out of. The maze was under King Minos’ palace.

The Minotaur ate humans. Kinos Minos didn’t want to feed the Minotaur his own people. So he told Athens, “ Send seven boys and seven girls at the same time to feed the Minotaur, or else we will destroy your town.” Every year, Athens sent him 14 children.

Theseus didn’t like this, so he went to kill the Minotaur. He sailed on a boat.

King Minos’ daughter, the princess, wanted to help Theseus, so she gave him a sword, some woolen string, and a torch. She let him into the labyrinth.

Inside the labyrinth. The torch helped Theseus fight and see. He tied the wool to the door, and let the ball roll down to the center of the maze. He followed the yarn. The yarn led him to the center of the maze. He found the Minotaur. They fought and fought and fought until the Minotaur died.

Theseus followed the yarn back to the door. He got out of the maze. He rescued the children and then brought them back home!

King Richard I (and Batman)

Here is the text of Braden's report:

Richard the First

Richard was born on September 8, 1157 at Oxford. He was the third son of King Henry the second. Even so, he was essentially French, like most of the family. English was not his first language, in fact he didn’t speak much of it very often. His first language was French. He had a big family: four brothers and two sisters! One of his brothers died as a boy. He was a handsome man with good political and military skills. He did have a questionable sense of responsibility. He, like his brothers, often questioned his father’s authority.

Richard and his brothers tried a revolt against King Henry the Second, their father. They wanted their brother Henry the Third to be the king. The revolt failed, and Richard was the only brother still fighting at the end. Richard’s father put Richard’s mother in jail because she helped her sons to revolt. Richard refused to fight the king face to face, and begged for a pardon. He was only 17 years old. He pledged his service to the king.

He became king in 1189 after his father, King Henry the Second, died. Shortly after he went on the Third Crusade with his ally, King Phillip the 2nd of France. The crusade proved a failure almost from the start because he quarreled with his allies, Phillip and Leopold V of Austria. They both left, and Richard was alone. However he captured the area of Acre and executed 2700 prisoners of war.

He came within sight of Jerusalem on the crusade. He tried to conquer it and could not. He refused to look at it because God would not deliver it to him. He eventually made a truce with Saladin, the Muslim leader of the Saracens, and Richard’s main adversary in the Crusades. This resulted in Jerusalem staying in Saladin’s hands and Richard going home.

When he was returning home, he went across Austria and ran across Leopold V of Austria. He was captured by Leopold and placed in a tower. Legend has it that his friend and assistant, Blondel, wandered through Europe humming a song. He stopped at a tower in Austria, hoping it would give him shelter. While he rested, Blondel began humming the song. From above he heard the next line of the song. Blondel had found Richard!

Duke Leopold agreed to give him back if the people paid him 150,000 marks – over 3 million dollars today! The British people paid it, despite the discouraging attempts by Prince John. This showed how popular Richard was.

Richard returned home to England. He made peace with his brother John, who had been trying to get the throne.

In a French village, a peasant uncovered some treasure. The lord said it was money from his vassal. Richard, in turn, said he wanted it. The lord said no, so Richard laid siege to the village. The story goes that he was riding too close to a castle wall without full armor. A bowman saw him and was taking aim. The story goes that Richard paused to applaud the bowman. The arrow hit him, and he refused to get treatment for it. He later died from the arrow wound.
Richard died on April 6, 1199, without an heir. His brother (nicknamed John Lackland, because both his father and his brother, Richard, refused to give him any land) became king.

And finally, if you're still reading this, here's the video of their recitations. You'll have to tilt your head sideways, though, because I'm a dork and forgot to tilt the camera.

Friday, March 02, 2007


A real blog post is coming soon. I promise.

Along with an explanation as to why I haven't posted in over 2 weeks.

BUT! This video was too funny not to pass up. I saw this on Manolo's blog, and knew I needed to post it here.

These darn shoes are very popular here, and while they are cute on teeny, tiny people (i.e. toddlers) and are tolerable when worn at the pool, I'm always surprised when I see people in businesses sporting them.