Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Killer Balloons From Hell

I am not sure why they are drawing killer balloons from hell in Art class, perhaps a lesson on the Dadaists:

Honestly, I do not understand where the killer balloons came from, and why they are attacking the peace and beauty of these lovely gardens?

Personally, I have always been a little distrustful of balloons anyway.  Although they seem delicate and happy-go-lucky, they are ready to pop at anytime, not unlike Jacks-in-the-box which have always freaked me (and the boys) out.  The balloon there in Z's drawing is particularly threatening, teeth bared, growling "I'm hungry!" menacingly  as a bee buzzes innocently...

Oh, wait.  They are Venus Flytraps, aren't they?

Oh, well, nevermind...

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

OK, so at lunch Nick wiped his hands on his shirt ...
Bill says, "Please don't wipe your hands on your shirt, Nick."
Nick's reply? "Well, I didn't have a towel, and shirts are cloth, and towels are cloth, so I had to use my shirt." (duh)

Ah, his first syllogism...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Battles Scar (or The Memorial Day Post)

I offer this epic battle scene from a war N made up:

Yeah war is hell, no matter when (the future perhaps), where ( a galaxy far, far away) who ("gunnermen") or why (I asked him and he said "'cause the skydiver guys were bad", there you have it).

It's terribly difficult to teach about war.  It is inherently illogical, unethical, wrought with pain and sadness and injustice, and yet it has been so essential and compelling in our development as humans.  I know, as the boys grow older, as their understanding of History expands, it will begin make more sense to them, although, honestly, it never really has to me.

One of the Magic Tree House books we read nightly to the boys was set during the Civil War.  As I tried to explain slavery and racism I was so very sad that I had to show the boys how very weak and unjust Mankind can be.  Nick kept asking why.

On Memorial Day perhaps that is the ultimate question, and I do not have an acceptable answer.

My thanks to the Vets around the country, especially those who are silent in their graves, torn, violently, from this earth in defense of family and freedom.

Why?  I don't know boys, I just don't know...

From Marci's Bill's "things you don't expect to hear from the backseat yard..."

(During a game involving wiffle balls, racquets and a soccer net.)  "No that's not fair, and it has to be fair." 

They may not understand the rules, but they understand that it has to be fair...

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Last Take-Home Folder

The last week of first grade is careening cartoon-like down the road at us, papers flying out its happy convertible top, "Wach ot sekoND Grad!!!" soaped on the windows, a mixture of sadness and elation on the faces of the twenty-six kids who rode it all out together.

The teachers have been very good about it; talking about second grade, counting down the days, explaining, comforting, trying to hide the tears in their own eyes as they dry the tears of their beloved students.  (Don't think I don't know, you two, you love these kids.  It's what you do.  Thanks.)  But, I do sense a melancholy from the boys  this year.  I think they are beginning to understand what it is like to mourn perhaps; that feeling so sad, yet wistful, tender, sweet and painful.  I've known it all my life it seems.

Of course there are celebrations, but there are lasts as well; the last trip across the street to the public library, the last gym class and assembly, the last "trade book," the last page of "wall words," perhaps the last day in class with a cherished friend, the last day with a trouble-maker, the last hug, the last look around in the classrooms that so fully occupied their time and attention.  Their last "special," the last card trading frenzy on the bus, the last lost hat, the last page of homework, the last take home folder, the last....

Wait!  What?

No more I am Thankful booklets, no more play ideas, no more heartwarming share days, no more mystery items, no more befuddling nonversations.  Is this the end of arbitrary backpack finds, magnetic dogs, and coats-of-arms?  And what on earth am I going to do on Mother's Day?

No more interviews with ghosts and ghouls:

No more books about insects:

 No more whimsical Wednesdays:

No more "squiggle" drawings to look deeply into the souls of these little boys (or just be silly):

No more blog fodder,  I'm in trouble. 

(Not to worry, I've got a plan:  camping.  Yep, if I lock'em up in a camper of a rainy afternoon, throw some pens and pencils and crayons at them, I should get some pretty good stuff.  I might need some handouts, though.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I think Z made this, but I can't be certain:

It would make a good quilt I think.  It is actually an unfolded "fortune teller" which Z likes to make, often, a lot, all the time, constantly.  Another clue he made this.

(Yes, we are going to spend the summer working on getting the z going the right way.  Oh!  Zack is the one who does that so I am fairly positive he made this.)

I have mentioned before that everyone else's blog is better than mine, in fact, to prove the point I listed several on "The Better Bloggers" list to the bottom right of the page over there, I am not really sure why.  One of the things that these blogs and, oh, so many others, do so well is clearly illustrate what their purpose is.  I'm not so good at that.

There is a joke that goes something like:  "Did you hear about the guy from the Midwest who loved his wife so much he almost told her."  Yeah, I am a little like that.  I don't tell my wife often enough that I love her.  Or my Mom.  Or my brothers or in-laws.  I do, mind you, love them, let's make that clear.

Here's the weird thing; I tell N and Z I love them constantly.  I also use the American Sign Language sign for "I love you," which is really cool, and you might remember the Three Pats thing I do as a code.  Honestly, I think I practically assault them sometimes with it.

Here's the other thing, I truly believe love is a verb, ask anyone who knows me.  So, I show others affection by doing things for them, observing their desires, anticipating and acting upon their needs.  However, kids aren't yet as capable as adults at recognizing that gestures and actions, cooking and cleaning, coaching and cajoling, teasing and pushing, sacrificing and rewarding are all sure signs of the love we parents have for our kids so, I tell them.  A lot.

Although it has gone unstated, and perhaps that has been my mistake here, this blog is and shall remain a manifestation of my love for these boys.  In the attention I pay them, in the thoughts I write about observing them, in the school folders I carefully mine, in the stories I patiently listen to, and in the all the priceless, dear mistakes they make, love is the  divine and driving force.  They know I am paying attention to them.

I like to write and had for a long time considered a blog, but, all the ideas I had for one seemed showy and about me, or opinionated, even arrogant.  I needed something simple and real, so I looked down and there it was, "I love you, Dabby Peedles" and I understood.  The answer was there at my fingertips (or toetips as it were).

I have considered changing the introduction to my blog to sort of better explain what I do here, but I guess I just want you to figure out that on your own.  In fact, just the other day I wrote something so crappy and sappy I nearly gagged on it.

An inherent flaw, or a least difficulty, with blogs is that every new post is the only one some people may have ever seen, so if I get snarcastic (snarky and sarcastic, go ahead use it), philosophical or silly, it may be all that reader thinks I do.  They may get a sense that I am making fun of or trying to profit from my children's mistakes.  They may find me sappy or, pedestrian or simply dull.  You don't build on a blog, you just sort of try to be clever and hope beyond hope that a newbie might look a few other posts, follow the links, etc. to find out the total story.  It all sort of discredits the adage about only getting one first impression, here, it seems all I have are first impressions.

(If you were new today you would wonder what the following is about even though I have been doing it now for months.  I can't explain it every time but it must seem odd for someone new to these parts.)

From Marci's ...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...

Zack: " Did you know that basically everything is made in China?"

Honestly, he said a little too matter-of-factly for my liking...

Monday, May 21, 2012


Well, it was fun doing the Mother's day post, the Blogarena post and the one-hundred (and one) post, but now it's time to do what we like to do best here at ihopeiwinatoaster:  examine nonsense.

One of the dudes from "Baseball Catastrophe" is back in Z's new (yet still untitled) comic strip.  This one is called "boweling" which I am very glad has nothing to do with a colonoscopies:

I pretty sure it's the guy who lost his head in the first strip and this time he's tearing it up, literally, at the local bowling alley.  Mind you Z has never been to a bowling alley, I suppose that's our fault, but, he's imagined a pretty good one here; you can practically smell the stale beer and smoke, your rental shoes are sticking to the floor, and the balls the hitting the pins with a loud "boom".  And in all honesty, I have been in several bowling alleys that seemed on the verge of crumbling at any moment.

The official report shows the cause of collapse as "a blunt, heavy object which hit the ceiling with intense force near the strike zone in lane seven."  You can see it there in the third frame, if you'll forgive the unavoidable pun.  It was a pin, probably the king pin.  Neighbors were awakened by the telltale "srack" of a ceiling loosing integrity up to three blocks away.

The report goes on to state "there was a slight panic, however, it took the structure five minutes to completely fail and all occupants managed to escape the building through a teeny-tiny door."  With a "skack" and a "boom" the whole thing came down.  You can sense the relief in the last frame as formerly-headless dude sighs "fuh" (phew).

"It is not known who threw the offending ball and the incident is a suspicious accident still under investigation," the report finishes.  Look, there he is in the seventh frame smiling at his evil handiwork, he looks like an arsonist at a fire, giddy and guilty.

Thank God there was a surveillance tape.

From Marci's "...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

"We can figure it out because we have good brains.  Your brains are full of old memories and stuff, but ours are newer."

My brain is full of stuff at least... 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Post-Hundreth Post Post

I screwed up.  I was supposed to compose a cutesy 100 things post (it's apparently a blogger rule), last time.  I know, I'll never make it in the blogarena now, will I?  I stupidly decided to do a heartwarming piece about the love our boys have for their Mom instead of telling you 100 things you don't want to know about me.  Bad Blogger.

I actually gave this some thought.

Even though I rely heavily on images on ihopeiwinatoaster, I've always been a word man- so here are one-hundred words I like, and why.

Deciduous- It is so tasty.  It drips like an Ohio forest after an early summer dew.
I like the word pickle- something crisp and crunchy and something you must get out of.
Coffee- It's just a cool-lookin' word.
In the middle of saying the word atmospheric you float, just for a nanosecond.  It's a scientific fact.
I am in awe of the word awe, three  lowercase letters do all that word does. 
Poop- because I am big guy with a little boy's soul.
Pooh- because stuffed bears make little boys happy.
Does it get any better than the ultimate "mash-up" word praise?  Pray and raise, perfect.
Avocado always alludes me when I see it in print.  I seem to think it is a place, every time.
I love the perfect posture of the word honor.
I think hairbrainage is a great word, if I may say so myself.
Ditto dumbf**kery.
Grace is another perfect word, somehow grateful and race, together.
Ohhh, transcendence, that's a good one.  Not this thing, but this better thing.  Cool word.
Mayberry (Yeah, place names count) It's a place and a way.  It's where we're raising our boys.
Radish is a pithy little word.
Artichoke, who'd eat that word?
I've always wanted to use the word ichthyologist in a sentence but I can never remember if it is birds or fishes.  (Nailed it.)
The word gobsmacked, well, gobsmacks you right in the forehead.
Pie, Pie, Pie... there's a song we sing every time someones says 'pie.'
Contrary puts a contrarian look on your face.
The word snowfall soothes me, and it looks like snow on bushes and trees.
Anachronistic suggests spiders but it means something scarier: I got old.
When the boys were two I understood the word toddler.  I miss those little guys.
The word loneliness is a lament, another mash-up, lost and only.
The word jubilation is an all out party.
Today- look to this day.  It is that simple.
I grew up Ohio, "it's round on the ends and high in the middle."
I have always envied the German language its straightforwardness, see zeitgeist.
Onomatopoeia slushes, sloshes and pops around in your mouth.
Sticky gets stuck on your tongue.
The word stifle is as nasty as it sounds.
Kabob or kebob is funny any way you spell it.
I can smell chrism whenever I see the word.
Actually, actually was the first polysyllabic word the boys put to everyday use.
I think a broad lexicon is as important as it sounds. 
Meander wanders around in your head for a while, doesn't it?
Faith, hope, and charity.  I secretly feel the greatest is hope.
I have sometimes been called a lunatic.  I never much minded, it sounds like fun.
I have never really understood the word righteousness; is it something we want or not?
Holy has a big-ole wide-eyed "oh" in the middle of it.  Yep.
Shallow is too deep for me.
Sometimes I get tired of the word command shoving a hand in my face.
Shortsighted seems long.
Is sober a good thing or not?
Provocative has its hand on it's hips and seems so sassy.
The truth positively drips off of the word altruism.
Peach, dripping down your chin suggestively.
Discombobulate is a mess of a word.
For some reason wed makes me want to weep happily.
Sacrifice got a bad rep somehow.  It is actually a good thing.
Let's face it, dammit gets the job done.
Beginning is slow to get started and end is so final.
The boys know how to say ethnicity, and I always say "God bless you" when they do.
The word blessed has been usurped, as in "we are so blessed to have... "  It is a meaningful word that's lost its way.
I like to capitalize Theatre. Yes.  With that spelling.
Showmanship is a braggart of a word.
Who the hell decided Wednesday was the way to spell that day of the week?
Home builds a little nest for all those round letters.
I'd have coined the word aghast, ghastly and agape at the same time.
Destinesia, n.- to reach one's destination and have no idea why you are there.  (I made that one up, but feel free to use it.)
MacGyver is a useful word.
Joy wraps arms around you every time.
Christmas because Xmas is a woefully inadequate substitute for the "Mass of  Christ."
Trippingly does not off the tongue come well.  (Not unlike that sentence.)
The word sap seems simple enough, and yet, is it life-giving or life-draining?
Addicition adds misery and hopelessness, sorrow and loneliness.  I've seen it.
Serif- because no good font should be without.
I rely heavily on Dude and cool, like two old hippie friends that you just can't ask to go away.
Vim and vigor, pals for life.
Flabbergast is a brilliant, ridiculous collection of letters.  I always see the two circles of the b's as wide open eyes flashing in astonishment.
Kangaroo always bounces through my mind.
Oddly, boomerang comes back to itself.
I love how literal disarm is.
Bazooka, bubble gum and tank exploder, 'nuff said.
Can I use a prefix?  I choose non- because you always know a word is headed for trouble when you see that before it.
Artisan caresses better than artist.
Is sloth onomatopoetic?
You can't get anything past occasionally, it's a bulldozer of a word.
Pray is a verb, you know.  So is love.
Extracurricular is full and is excruciatingly difficult to spell.
One word is a taste, a smell, and a color:  honeysuckle.
Buttress holds itself up.
Kindergarten should be just that, a kinder garden.  (I know it means children.)  Plus it looks like an ink blotter exploded.
Lilliputian is way to big, but who is willing to tell it?  Wouldn't want to hurt any feelings.
Mush is soft and round and... mushy.
Tobacco is both poetic and tragic to me, nostalgic and angering.
Encourage is a formidable word, it is also a verb.
Courage is a noun, though, I've always found that interesting.
The word metamorphosis becomes itself.
Stew is a concept, a melding.  I love that word.
Egalitarian seems like a fair and balanced word.
Mom does everything three letters can do, softly and gently.
Nick- (in alphabetical order) because it means mischievous freckles and irresistible smiles.
Zack- because it means spontaneous dancing and happy dimples.
Dad- because it now means infinite love.  And I miss mine and, someday they'll miss me.  I hope I hear it for a very long time to come.

That might be one-hundred and one, but who's counting...

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Post-Mother's Day Post

Gifts of candy and roses and jewelry and datenights and cupcakes and perfume do not fly through our door on Mother's day, although I always pick a thoughtful card.  For that matter gifts of grills and steak-o-the-month clubs and new tractors are not very likely on Father's Day either.

Well, N and Z are single-handedly going to change that (with the help of a particularly aggressive campaign at the elementary school to bury moms in glue and paper.).  Yeah, they brought home a grocery bag full of gifts, including some very impressive tissue paper flowers, some cards, a little booklet, lots of other stuff and these:

Some of you may not know that I have a child-to-grownup decoder-ring that I utilize when the child is not making sense. I'll need it here I think.

Nick's list is Top Ten "Why mom is grat (great)"

(I don't know what the hell those raspberrying hearts and the peace sign dudes are about.)

1.  "she loves me"
2.  "she helps me"
3.  "she reds (reads) books with me"
4.  "she helps me take showrs (showers)"
5.  "she wachis (watches) t.V wis (with) me"
6.  "she makes cupcaks (cupcakes)"
7.  "she is cind (kind)"
8.  "she is crase (crazy)"
9.  "she wars glasis (wears glasses).
10. "she helps me with home work"

Zack's is "why my mom is great"

(I thing his singular heart adornment is very sweet, and tasteful.)

1.  "she gives me hugs"
2.  "she is nice"
3.  "she go's (possessive go) to work"
4.  "she gives me kisses
5.  "she loves me"
6.  "she is the best"
7.  "she helps me with homewo... rk"
8.  "she waches (watches) tv with me"
9.  "she bas the bishies (she what? oh, does the dishes)
10.  "she bas (got it, does) the wash"

She sounds wonderful, don't you think?

Happy (day-after) Mother's Day, Marci.  You are loved.

(She really is cind and crase.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Blogarena

(It used to be the blogosphere, I changed it.)

When I first began spewing words out in to cyberspace I didn't yet understand what I was getting into.  I, uh, well... I came unprepared.  Didn't do my research, no scouting, no designer or adviser, no clear purpose, no vision.

It shows doesn't it.  Honestly, all the other blogs are better than mine.  If I'd had any idea how many blogs were out there and how good they could be, I would never have begun.

(Whispered aside: I'm going to cleverly just write their names and then you won't be tempted to go off to their blog when I 'd like you to stay.  Deploy evil ploy.)

I'll never be as good-hearted and noble as  Rachel.  She delicately preaches a way of life free from the technological devices that crowd our thoughts and steal our attention.  She's funny, too.  Yeah, she's all that, but does she have, Hap?

I think not.  Sure, she can write beautiful prose and lovely poetry; she may be fighting for a principle long unaddressed; she may believe in kids as strongly as I do, but hey, she doesn't have a yellow happy-faced Fweelie named Hap now does she?

I'll never reach the level of artistry that John Willey (if that really is his name) exhibits. Curse you LEGO-movie-making, sensitive-prose-writing, hilarious-story-telling, seemingly-really-nice-guy.  I'll bet you ain't got nothing like this:

Yep, Four Arms.  I know, not even fair fight, right.  John may have strangely poignant and well produced little  LEGO movies, a heart of both gold and humor, oh, and a really slick webpage, but I have an "alien divenger" (as N called him).

I'll never have the courage to write like brilliantly irreverent unnamed dude (I swear his name is not on his blog), so poignantly and frankly.  I spewed coffee laughing when I read a post of his recently.  I do however have this:

See, mind-blowingly irreverent content.  I can only compete with his clever and moving and really, really funny stuff by presenting...  Dildoboy.  (Spew-worthy enough, D&B?)

I'll never be as wholesome and sweet and, damn her, so very readable, as Julianna.  Whose blog both reminds me of my youth and helps me in surviving theirs.  She's got an incredibly clever montage of musical lyrics to tell her story and her observations are always spot on.  Hey, but, I've got this...

A table of fruit... my blog sucks.

I'll never reach the longevity and insane diversity of  Mr. Cactus, whose been "blogging from the right side of the dirt since 2003."  Oh shit, he probably coined the word 'blogosphere,' now he'll hate me.  He's posts are rarely long and pack more content than any of my long-winded, blah, blah, blah, blahbitty-blah blogs.  I'll never touch this guy with stuff like this:

Although it is pretty unusual, a hand-painted mushroom paper plate (they're rare), one week of his posts make any fungal retaliation futile, he's that good.

I'll never, ever be as funny as this crabby old fart is.  His cutting satire and use of diverse tools and styles is simply unprecedented.  I have laughed 'til I cried reading him.  He makes fun of young people these days and his blog should win a Pulitzer, or the blogarena equivalent.  His diatribes should be required reading for high-schoolers, scoot over Mr. Clemens, there's a new old guy in town.  This old dude writes on the intolerable way young people act, dress and behave these days and he doesn't hold back any punches, in fact he is holding roll of quarters in his fist, but, I ask you; does he have to put up with this kind of disrespectful hairbrainage?

I know, right!  Damn kids these days.  Rant all you want Mister Uber-cool-wrinkled-hand-on -the-zeitgeist old dude, I can show some outrage here, too.


Well, fortunately you will never see these good blogs, and don't go trolling for other blogs around the blogarena, some are just awful, trust me.

Wait, why are the bloggers names up there highlighted with that click-here orangy color?  Dammit, who did that?

Wait, I just hit publish, oh crap...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fweels of Change

These guys are new around here, I don't recall their odd body type or fluorescent pigmentation.

Wow.  You know I've just now given this a really good look and it is freaking oddawesome.  I am not sure if those are feet or wheels, 'fweels' I guess.  They seem to have descended from cats or bears, I'd guess.  Perhaps they are mythical characters representing the prime elements of meteor, vine, dog poo, water, lightning and blood, I think.  I am not sure why Water is mooning us there front and center.  Wait, do they have tails?

They're a smug lot, aren't they?  Sadly, they eat cheery one-eyed angels.  You'd think an angel would have something more profound to say than "Ouch" when meeting his previously unforeseen end at the fweels of a invasive, Mythical band of...  WTF?

Oh, my...

Wait, maybe that's a ghost and not an angel.  Well now it all makes sense...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I am digging this guy:

You might remember him flying his jet in my very first post Ain't It True.  This time N drew him.

I really like this color palette, the blues and turquoises, a little red to rosy his cheeks, accent the sun and draw attention to the flowers he is holding.  I am not sure why he is wearing Paul Revere's hat and I have never been able to truly trust people in bunny slippers, but, I really do dig this guy.  (He strikes me as Swiss, as if he's preparing to yodel about his missing suspenders and his ironically large buttons.)

Here's the thing; there is more to it than just Bluedude.

Bluedude is what I get for not having much to do in my truck (he was drawn on the way to church on the little black sketchbooks the boys have in the backseat). 

Bluedude springs from imagination of a happy kid and an idle mind.  Giving kids nothing to do is probably one of the greatest gifts we can give.  Filling their days with endless practices and the like denies them the time they so urgently need to do nothing.

Bluedude is happy, nearly all the boys protagonists are happy, it's only the bad guys who frown.  Happy faces = happy boys, in my mind.

Bluedude is the result of something big; the time and energy we have put into making them feel safe and happy, nourished and nurtured, loved and respected.

Bluedude is officially my mascot, his arms forever wide open, silly hat on his head, flowers in his hand, a smile on his face... and bunnies on his feet.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


This was the focus of attention for several hours over the last couple of days:

Yep, it's a boxful of paper plate bunnies.  A deformed sun is hanging in the sky, the grass is a brilliant crayon green and, the roof ceiling is blue.

That's all I got.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

The boys were singing some Dylan while they colored today:

"Knock, knock, knockin' on Evan's door."

Oh, Evan's door, I get it...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Coats-of-Arms (or The Art of The Sneakyteach)

It's a real thing, I just call it The Sneakyteach.  You do it all the time, I do it all the time and schools do it all the time.  Basically The Sneakyteach is where you render knowledge under the guise of something else, like, say... fun.

They boys made a terreirium terarium (I'll just bet you they can spell it) in first grade recently.  They thought they were shoving dirt and leaves and and seeds and bugs (mail-order insects, I kid you not) into a clear plastic box mostly for fun. Yeah, The Sneakyteach.

As they got their hands dirty, their devoted and adored teacher kept imparting facts and hints at the science to come.  Asking hard questions like where does the energy come from, photosynthisis  (damn, I thought I nailed that one) photosynthesis, ultimately the Sun?  They talked about temperature, gauging, I suppose, graphing perhaps.  They spoke of volume and weights and they estimated.

They also giggled, said 'yuck' a lot, looked at each conspiringly thinking they were the ones getting away with something, and they absorbed the information so easily and naturally the learning went unnoticed.  It's like they 'punk' our kids.

When I was kid, math was taught, that's too kind a word, perpetrated upon us, by rote.  Pages of worksheets, chalkboard problems, mass recitation of our 'times tables,' and a lot of calloused fingers and bruised psyches (and an arbitrary abacus, as I recall).  It was hard, and, well... stupid.

Not these days, it's a much kinder and gentler math, with number lines and little drawings of hands and sets and circled answers and "show you work" and happy face stickers and probably lollipops, rainbows and silly bands... no I am not bitter, I am glad for them (little shits).

I am not always there, mind you, I cobble together what is happening in first grade from their less-than-accurate summations of the days' events, usually grunts and long-winded tales of recesses and lunch, rarely anything about the actual learning.  But I do see what comes home and I help them with homework, which usually ends up being them telling me how they're supposed to do it.

These came home the other day along with the assignment to make a family coat-of-arms as well.  These are their personal ones:

I am, of course, obliged to take a closer look at these and encourage you to do the same.  Click one to enlarge it, thanks.

There were four "scattegories" (I straightened that out), a favorite activity, food, color and a free space, anything at all; N chose "camping under the stars with a giant fire" there, bottom right, and Z drew the cats, Crackhead and the other one.  The gratitude I have that they chose those two simple, beautiful things is deep.

Baseball for Z's activity and N went with Skylanders (if you don't know what that is forget I ever said it).

Favorite foods is fairly obvious, a pizza for Zack and fruit for Nick, although I can't remember what he told me that black and brown fruit is, there aren't many things that look like, well, that.

In Z's favorite color space he drew what looks like very mild cartoon cussing and N did some arbitrary "green stuff;"  a truck, baseball glove, undetermined sport racquet and what appears to be a briefcase; things we all associate with the color green.

And there in the center, self-portraits.  And, yes, they both do have freakishly large hands and ears.  And, yes again, they both smile a good deal of the time.

This is like the gold standard of The Sneakyteach.  What a great way to take a look into these kids; what a great opportunity to have the children look inward; and what a great way for us to judge their self-worth.  Oh, and they are really cute, too.

 Think about the follow up assignment as well, a family crest of sorts.  Here we touched on some big themes like ethnicity, religion, geography and genetics laughing as they cut and pasted, colored and absorbed, and tried to say 'ethnicity,' which always sounds like someone sneezing to me.  And they had a blast doing it.

It sure is a different learning landscape then when I was in Mrs. Mays' First Grade class in nineteen-hundred-and-sixty-eight.  I'm glad about that.  I really would have preferred The Sneakyteach to The Pound-it-into-your-head-'til-it-hurts-teach I suffered.

Well-played Ninja-teachers,well-played...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

They Don't Know That I Know

I found out, finally, where they get their ability to keep going and going and going:

Yep, pre-paid energy cards.  This one apparently good for eight hours and two minutes.

This is how Z can dance perpetually through breakfast and dinner and lunch here at home, they must sit at school.  How Nick can wiggle constantly and get up early, very early, every morning.

This is how they can stay up an hour after bedtime, talking and giggling, gossiping and plotting, dreaming and hoping as their mother and I struggle to remain cool in our mutual states of exhaustion and befuddlement.  This is how they remain so vigilant at Wii and continue to read and play ball and...

Honestly, they do sometimes exhaust us.

I am looking into where they attain these cards.  Is it at school, during the constant card trading that happens on the bus?  Is there a web site?  Were they issued at birth and I can't find the stash?  That's what I think, I hear they run out in their teens and end up sleeping late and being generally lethargic, I'm looking forward to that.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

"Not very many Ninjas wear underwear."

I did not know that...