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B’s Homemade Transformer Costume for Halloween 2014

The hubs and I are so proud of B!  He wanted to make his own Transformer costume and he did.  He took boxes from our and my parents’ basements, he rooted through our recycle bin regularly and our first floor was full of cardboard, scissors, yards of duct tape and determination for 2 months.  First he made it the way he imagined.  It was awesome, but not practical for walking up and down stairs while trick-or-treating nor transforming on small front stoops.  So he redesigned it for trick-or-tricking – removed parts from his legs and attached it all to the body of the tank so he could walk freely and transform while standing.  So proud of this kid!

 

Original design with B inside

Original design, transforming from Tank to robot from the ground. B is inside.

Original design as robot

Original design, transformed into robot. Sections attached to his legs were not practical for trick-or-treating.

 

I love the rivets he added when attaching the costume together for trick-or-treating. They look like they belong on a tank.

I love the rivets he added when attaching the costume together for trick-or-treating. They look like they belong on a tank. And I think he did a great job painting the boxes with several colors to create the camo and autobot symbol.

Finally, here is a video of how he went trick-or-treating:

 

I bet you didn’t know I was a lyricist, too, did ya?

My dad LOVES music and passed that love unto me. I grew up listening to the local oldies radio station in the car; it played songs from the 50s and 60s. We didn’t get the best radio reception inside, so when my dad cleaned the house, he would sing his favorite songs, a cappella.  The thing is, he never remembered all the words. That didn’t stop him, though; he just made up words to fill in the blanks. It was quite entertaining to the rest of us!

I kicked it up a notch.  I break out into song quite frequently in this house.  I use the tunes from songs I know and like, but make up words on the spot that apply to whatever situation we’re in.  For example, this morning I needed a glass to get a drink.  I saw the dishwasher was full of clean dishes so I grabbed one from there instead of the cupboard.  You should always grab from a clean dishwasher instead of a cupboard or drawer; the one who’s job it is to empty the dishwasher will be mighty appreciative.  That job belongs to B in our house.

So I said called to him, “B, the dishwasher needs to be emptied!  I just took a glass out of it, so there’s one less item to empty.”  DING!  The lightbulb instantly went off in the lyric part of my brain (that happens to me several times every single day).  “One less item to empty” = “one less problem without ‘cha”.  I went to the other room where B was, got in between him and the TV and started singing Ariana Grande’s Problem, the part in the chorus where the guy is whispering:  “You got one less item to empty.  You got one less item to empty.  You got one less item to empty.  You got one less in the dish-waaaaaaasher.”  I crack myself UP!

And that, dear readers, is one of my secrets to making chores and lessons fun in this house.  I’ve been making up lyrics about anything and everything for decades, but I didn’t start doing it on a daily basis until I became a mom.  My mom’s favorite is one I made up to Frère Jacques during B’s first year.  My version went like this:

Are you pooping?
Are you pooping?
Ben-ja-min?
Ben-ja-min?
I think I smell something.
I think I hear something.
(Stick my tongue out with my lips tightly around it and blow 3, short times, like a fart noise.)
(Stick my tongue out with my lips tightly around it and blow 3, short times, like a fart noise.)

Twelve years later, and I can still crack my mom up with that one!

So B’s not only grown up listening to my lyrics, but also making his own.  He gets better every year, so it was no surprise when he decided he wanted to take a songwriting class next semester.  Proud mama!  On the last day of class, all the kids have the option to preform their creation and I know my attention-loving son is going to do his.  I don’t know if parents are aloud in the class that day or not, but I will be in there.  And I’ll be recording.  😀

Star Wars Jedi Training Academy Birthday Party

Throwback Thursday! Have a child who LOVES Star Wars? Here are all the details from the Jedi Training Academy Birthday Party I threw B for his 6th birthday. Still don’t know who had more fun – the kids at the party or me planning it!

You, Me & B

This sleepover birthday party was as much fun to plan as it was to attend!

After sharing how I did B’s LEGO Building Party for his 9th birthday, I realized I should also share what I did for his 6th birthday – a Star Wars Jedi Training Academy.  And it was a sleepover.  Once again, thank goodness for the Birthday Party Ideas website!  I was actually worried the boys would not enjoy being at B’s party as much I enjoyed planning it. I mean I had so much fun planning and thinking and buying; it was amazing. I did not think I was that kind of party planner. I always thought this kind of attention to detail was the talent of a girlie-girl. You know?  Like only a more feminine woman than me could plan a party.  But I did it.  And each boy said several times that…

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Last Week of Summer Camp

This week’s camp is the longest one yet – 9am to 3pm.  Monday morning B said, “WOW!  Six whole hours doing the same thing!  I don’t think I’ve ever done that before!”  Ah, the mentality of a homeschooler – I love it!  “Yes you have,” I replied.  “First grade.”  (B went to public school for kindergarten and 1st grade.)  He was so excited for this camp, acting camp, until we walked in the door.  Dun, dun, DUUUUUN!  There was a LEGO camp going on at the same time and in the same facility as B’s acting camp.  “Wha…?  LEGOs?!?!”  He stared, open-mouthed at the long table covered in LEGOs and the boys and girls on either side of it.  Then he looked forlornly at me.  “Hey, I didn’t know this was going on, either.  But you wanted acting camp, you were excited all morning for acting camp, so let’s get over to the acting side and you can play with LEGOs when you get home.”  “OK,” he replied, and off he went.  He’s so hard to please!  ;o)

He had a great time!  Auditions were in the afternoon for 2 different plays and B is happy with his parts in both (the plays are comedies).  The first play takes place at a retirement home.  B is a 90 yr old man, with dementia, who thinks he’s Hamlet.  B loves the Shakespearian language his character uses!  The second play is about King Arthur and B is Merlin!  I can’t wait to see his performances this afternoon; my parents are going with me.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Suburban Surfer

Dropping B off at camp this morning and parked beside a Suburban. The driver door opens and a boy of 6 or 7 climbs out the door and onto the roof.

He’s in PJs, slippers and a robe. He is doing all kinds of poses and stunts on the roof-  laying down, exercising, standing up, sliding from one end of the roof to the other.

I walked B up and checked him in, wondering all along how that boy’s mother would feel about what he’s doing.

Walking back to the car, he’s still up there, so I pull out my phone to take a picture. Didn’t get a chance because, all of a sudden, he says, “Uh, oh!” and starts scrambling off the roof.

From behind me comes a booming voice, “GIT OFF THERE, YOU KNOW YOU AIN’T SUPPOSED TO DO THAT NO MORE!”

I get in my car; she gets in hers.  I start up; she doesn’t. I pull out of the parking lot; she’s still there. I keep checking my rear view mirror until I can’t see the Suburban any more, and it’s still in the same space.

Why I Loved The LEGO Movie and Think Your Family Should See It, Too

B doesn’t have any of The LEGO Movie building sets, but he made Lord Business
(in the middle) and Emmet (on the right) from LEGOs he already owned.  He also
made a mini-figure of himself (on the left) and brought it to the movie with us.

B has loooooong anticipated The LEGO Movie being released in theaters.  Creating with LEGOs is one of his favorite things to do and his builds amaze the hubs and me.  More than not, we rent children’s movies but we knew that this movie had to be seen in a theater.

I have to be honest, I’ve not been thrilled with at least half of the movies geared towards children in the last 5 years or so.  They’re quite entertaining for the kids but I’ve been unhappy with plots that don’t capture my interest, character behaviors or inappropriate “bad”characters for G and PG ratings (I will never get over the fact that Charles Muntz in Up tried to kill Carl and Russell, a child!).  So, although I agreed to take B to see The LEGO Movie this morning, I didn’t have high expectations.  Man, was I pleasantly surprised!

Don’t worry; the movie was just released yesterday and I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone.  However, this movie was much more than just entertainment for my family and I want to share that and encourage y’all to see this movie, too.

During the opening credits, I was impressed that everything was built with LEGOs, including the Warner Bros. logo.  However, once the actual movie started, I viewed it as any other CGI’d movie of late.  Then a scene took place out on the open sea and while the waves were rolling, it hit me that this movie was not CGI’d; it was stop motion.  The time, patience and meticulousness in that scene alone just blew me away!  I can’t imagine how long this movie took to create but I know it had to have been made with love by people who feel the same about LEGOs as my B does.

There were a couple of characters and celebrity voices who made cameo appearances in the movie that caught us completely off guard.  I’d not seen them in any trailer nor heard anything about them in reviews and I loved it!

Like all children’s movies, there is a lesson to be learned, a moral.  And although I was aware of the lesson the movie was trying to teach, I felt the characters, the action and the humor were overshadowing the lesson and kids would leave just feeling happy and entertained, not focussed on the lesson.  And then the movie did something completely unexpected that brought its important lesson not only to the forefront, but also into a perspective that every child and adult in that theater could relate to. I have to say, Warner Bros., you impressed the socks off me with that one!

What was happening on that screen is something that happens in my own house.  I never would have gotten the symbolism and made the connection to my home if the writers and producers hadn’t “focused the lens so sharply” for the audience and I’m so glad they did.  If it happens in my home, it happens in other homes, too.  The creators of this movie so eloquently opened the eyes of us parents to see things, see our children and ourselves, through our children’s eyes.

And if this issue exists in your home, seeing this movie together will start a dialogue about it.  We saw the movie at 11am and B and I are still talking to each other about this movie at 7pm.  We’re not only laughing at funny lines or marveling at the movie sets, but we’re also analyzing characters, discussing the personality traits exhibited and listening to each others perspective on the symbolism we now realize was throughout the entire movie.  It reminds me of high school English class, dissecting a Shakespeare play, only I’m doing it with my son and we are both loving the conversations!

I hope y’all go see this movie and are as impressed as I was.  Once you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear what you thought of it, what you and your family got out of it and if this was an issue in your home or not.  You can tell me in the comments, below, or on my Facebook page.

The Sounds of Authors

I’ve told you before, here, that I am not a fan of British authors and why.  My mom recently gave me a book that she enjoyed and thought I might like reading it to myself or to B – The Puppy That Came for Christmas: How a Dog Brought One Family the Gift of Joy.  I’d never heard of it, but since I was out of library books, I took it with me on our recent Thanksgiving trip to Boston.

I picked it up Thanksgiving night when I had some time alone and started reading it.  By the end of the 1st paragraph, I realized the author, Megan Rix, was British.  @@ Yes, I actually rolled my eyes when I realized she was British.  But it was the only thing I had to read so I plowed on.  I’m on chapter 2 and we have some things in common – infertility issues, in our 40s, never considered ourselves dog people – so I’m going to continue to read.

Once I realized she was British (BTW, it is PC to call them British?  Do they prefer English?  Do I, as an American, only call them British b/c that’s what they are called in all of our American History books and movies?  Any thoughts?), I started “hearing” the words in my head with a British accent.  Does that happen to you?  It does to me every time.  I don’t mean I read every book in my head with a British accent; I just do if the author is British.  Or English…  And if I actually know what an author’s voice sounds like, I hear their voice in my head as I read.

I also read aloud to others with the same cadence and accent as an author, if I’ve heard them speak.  The first book I ever read aloud to the hubs was in 1996 on a car trip.  It was Couplehood by Paul Reiser and, since I was a fan of the TV show Mad About You, I knew how Mr. Reiser would sound if he was reading it.  It makes reading more interesting, don’t you think?  When you read about the Hundred Acre Woods, don’t you hear Pooh’s voice in your head?  I would love to get a job recording audio books!

OK, that last statement was random.  I better quit while I’m ahead.  ;o)

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