Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

at Craven Farm (click to enlarge)

Happy Halloween!

Cal the shark

Superman Abbott

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cal the Leaf Sweeper

"Mom, can I sweep?"

"After you clear your space at the table."

Not only is Cal motivated to good behavior with the incentive of vacuuming, he also loves sweeping and raking. This particular sunny afternoon he had Superman to assist him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Prowl

Yesterday we took Abbott and Cal to the Pumpkin Prowl at the Woodland Park Zoo for the third year in a row. It is always exciting to see the pumpkins, and the costumes other prowlers are wearing, and get a little scared sometimes!

There were lots and lots of pumpkins:

Some spooky:

My personal favorite:

What's not to love about face painting?

Is it real?

This pumpkin was wild - it appeared to be two fused pumpkins:

The zoo acquired flamingos this past year, so this was a neat addition to the prowl:

If you've got a picture of a favorite pumpkin, feel free to share the link in the comments section.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am a hockey mom

Cal and Alexi



Abbott is in the orange helmet

A few weeks ago, Abbott and Cal started playing hockey. Alexi has played most of his life, and the boys are quite enthusiastic about playing too. They rollerbladed all summer in preparation. The first practice happened to occur on a weekend when Alexi was on call. Take a look at this photo to get an idea of the amount of gear I had to get on the boys alone, with no prior experience!

Here is the note left in my calendar by Alexi for the first practice:

- long underwear for Cal
- cup
- garter belt
- shin guards
- socks, secured by garter belt
- clear plastic tape over socks to hold shin guards in place
- pants
- skates
- shoulder pads
- elbow pads
- shirt
- helmet
- gloves
- stick
- walk to the door to the ice
- remove skate guards

Somehow I managed to get it all on them and get them on the ice on time, though I was sweating toward the end of the 30 minute dressing session!

And for the record, this hockey momma plans to vote for Obama!

our yard signs

Monday, October 20, 2008

Washington Park Arboretum

The Washington Park Arboretum was established in 1934. The City of Seattle held title to a 200+ acre park located in a central portion of the city and agreed that the University of Washington could design, construct, plant, and manage an Arboretum and Botanical Garden in this park.

In 1936, James F. Dawson and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm were hired to design the first planting plan. According to Wikipedia, "Frederick Law Olmsted was a landscape designer and father of American landscape architecture, famous for designing many well-known urban parks, including Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City. Other projects include the country's oldest coordinated system of public parks and parkways in Buffalo, NY, the country's oldest state park, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, NY, Mount Royal Park in Montreal, the Emerald Necklace in Boston, MA, the Belle Isle Park, in Detroit, MI, the Grand Necklace of Parks including Washington Park in Milwaukee, WI, the Cherokee Park (and the entire parks and parkway system) in Louisville, KY, the Jackson Park, the Washington Park, the Midway Plaisance in Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition, the landscape surrounding the United States Capitol building, George Washington Vanderbilt II's Biltmore Estate in Asheville, and Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario."

The Washington Park Arboretum is a living plant museum emphasizing trees and shrubs hardy in the maritime Pacific Northwest. Collections are selected and arranged to display their beauty and function in urban landscapes, to demonstrate their natural ecology and diversity, and to conserve important species and cultivated varieties for the future. The Arboretum serves the public, students at all levels, naturalists, gardeners, and nursery and landscape professionals with its collections, educational programs, interpretation, and recreational opportunities.

This statement was adopted January 4, 1996, by the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee, established by the 1934 State Legislature, representing the University of Washington, the City of Seattle, The Arboretum Foundation, the local community and a governor's representative.

Alexi took these photos yesterday as we enjoyed an afternoon stroll in the park.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cal the Cleaner

In the car on the way home from preschool:

"Mom, can I vacuum when we get home?"

"If you cooperate with putting your things away."


Monday, October 13, 2008

Craven Farm

Yesterday was the perfect fall day. We decided to spend it visiting a local farm we like.

Farm hands...

Fun on the tractor....

Corn maze...

Pumpkin slingers...

The pumpkin patch...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Music To Your Ears

Today's post features kindie music. One current favorite album is Snacktime by the Barenaked Ladies. I have actually heard Alexi listening to this album when there is nary a child in sight. Here's a sample (you can click to play and listen while reading the rest of the post):

We also love, love, love Laurie Berkner. We love her Victor Vito and Under a Shady Tree albums the most. Amazon's editorial review sums up her style very well:

"Laurie Berkner's Victor Vito is a 22-song giggle-fest for the under-7 crowd. Witness "The Goldfish," one of 16 originals on the former educator's third album, in which a bunch of fishies find themselves lathering up in the shower and pedaling furiously on bicycles until it dawns on them that their species doesn't do that sort of thing. And there's the title tune, which finds Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco snacking on a burrito with Tabasco and then tipping the hot stuff on their rice and beans and rutabagas and collard greens before Victor dives into a plate of spaghetti with Freddie...."

I often sing her song Moon, Moon, Moon to the boys at bedtime:

I'm a big fan of folk music, so I really enjoy a couple of Pete Seeger's albums, particularly Songs for Kids and Just Plain Folks. Gather Round is a wonderful collection of songs by various artists, such as The Rainbow Connection (Sarah MCLachlan), Puff (Peter, Paul & Mary), Froggie Went A Courtin' (Bob Dylan), The Lion Sleeps Tonight (The Tokens), I'm My Own Grandpa (Willie Nelson), Free To Be You and Me (The New Seekers), and more.

Finally, Hap Palmer is great. As stated by the amazon editorial review, "Hap Palmer is a master of entertaining and teaching children with music. Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet? overflows with fun songs that will have your child dancing along while he or she encounters themes such as vocabulary, shape recognition, problem solving, spatial awareness, numbers, and cultural diversity." Our favorite albums of his are Two Little Sounds and Can a Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet?

Now, on to the Seattle kindie rock scene. My friend and fellow blogger Sherri is a true children's music aficionado. She was kind enough to write on this topic at my request.

Music to Your Ears: Recess Monkey

Before I became a parent, I thought all performers of children’s music were singing purple dinosaurs, sopranos or folk singers singing childhood favorites or goofy men dressed in odd costumes. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. My daughter and I have discovered a number of amazing musicians performing music for kids that parents can enjoy too.
One of our all-time favorites is the Seattle band, Recess Monkey. Recess Monkey is made up of three teachers, Jack, Drew and Daron, who teach pre-K through second grade at local independent schools. These guys know what is important to kids: making it across the monkey bars, wiggling a loose tooth, buying a new backpack for school.
Recess Monkey writes about these events in innovative and interesting ways. The band’s witty approach shows in their rhymes (“I’m getting closer with every reach. When I cross that epic span I’m gonna give a speech” (Monkey Bars)), puns (“stop your floundering,” “when I feel crabby,” “nothing there is watered down” (Aquarium)) and observations about life (I Got A Toy, But I Played with the Box).
The band cites The Beach Boys and The Beatles as inspirations. With songs like The Pool and My Pet Rock, and an album titled “Tabby Road,” the influence is clear.
The production value of Recess Monkey’s CDs increases with each of the band’s four albums. The best way to experience Recess Monkey, however, is to attend one of their live shows. That way, you can join the Monkey Bars conga line, go Down, Down, Down the roller coaster, and maybe even meet Drew’s mom. The Recess Monkey concert schedule is available here.
If you live outside Seattle, do not fret. Last summer Recess Monkey performed around the country. Literally. They travelled from Seattle to Chicago to New York and DC then on to Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix and Portland in a little more than two weeks. This road trip is documented in an entertaining blog. The band returned more confident, more funny, and more likely to travel by air next time. While you wait for news of the next Recess Monkey tour, you can watch video of the band here.
May your minivan CD player be filled with music the whole family can agree on, Sherri
Sherri aspires to live the Lecia Phinney lifestyle. She knows maybe a little more than she should about kindie rock. Please visit her blog, SherriLynn.
NOTE: All the songs listed in this post can be heard here.