Gilligan, Tom Hanks, and That Deserted Isle Thing

As bedtimes were backed up this evening, and the children abandoned the street, and balls and bikes were tossed aside in anticipation of school starting in the morning, all the quiet was way too loud this evening.

It had me remembering another time that the quiet was bothersome.  When our Princess was eight days old, it was Thanksgiving Day…..and we were living in Japan.  Our little family had been invited to our friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but the wind was whipping, and the cold was biting.  We decided it was best not to take our newborn out in all of that, even briefly, so I sent my Fella and Aub on without us.  We both would probably sleep most of the time they were away anyway.

As it turned out, only one of us did.

And it wasn’t me.

So I turned on the TV.  We got some channels from the states, so I flipped around and landed on a movie that, to this day, I cannot tell you why I kept it on.

“Castaway.”

Oh my land, I wasn’t crazy about it when I saw it in the movie theater–why on earth I thought I needed to watch it on Thanksgiving day while my sweet baby slept and the whole rest of the world was celebrating without me and I was miles and miles away from my Mama and Daddy…..well, I have no idea.

And yet I did.

I’m sure I flipped away from it a time or two, but let’s face it–putting on your best shows is not a programmer’s priority on Thanksgiving Day.  So Tom Hanks it was.

And then Wilson.

I canNOT bear that scene.  Volleyballs in stores send me back to that moment, and I will tear up, no joke.  Fortunately, that’s not something you see a lot of at the getting places around here.

This summer it finally hit me why I LOATHED that movie so much.

It’s not because of Tom Hanks either.  I LOVE him.  #SleeplessinSeattle #YouveGotMail #Big #Splash #andalltheOthers #except Castaway

It occurred to me on one of our OutandAbouts.  Sometimes I’ll let the crew watch something while we are traveling in the car.  This summer they’ve watched (and I’ve listened) to more than our fair share of “Gilligan’s Island,” including one of the followup movies.  (Tina Louise wasn’t in that one–it troubled me to no end, and I was only listening.)

I grew up with Gilligan and crew.  I KNOW how deserted island life is supposed to go.  I KNOW how much people pack to go on boats even when they’re only going to be gone for three hours.  I KNOW how much food is on an island, and I KNOW that others happen upon the “deserted” isle from time to time, so there’s NO WAY AT ALL that someone would need a volleyball for companionship.

And so I’ve decided that’s it.  That’s why I cannot tolerate “Castaway” and all of its suggestions to the contrary.  I’ve seen Gilligan.  It’s ruined me for any other shipwrecked or plane crashes and the like where you wind up on a deserted island type of shows.  Once you know the truth, fiction just won’t cut it.

Tonight I’m thankful that my littles love Gilligan as much or more as I ever did.  I’m thankful for their giggles and that the sound of their laughter was the soundtrack for this summer.  As we stir ourselves in the morning and pull out the sharpened pencils and pristine notebooks and turn the crisp pages of new books, I hope that the spirit of the folks of the S. S. Minnow will prevail–love, friendship, ingenuity, loyalty, and togetherness.  And I hope that none of my children ask to play volleyball this year.

It’s still too soon.

Love to all.

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By CBS Television (eBay front back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

This morning I took my littles to their last STEM class for the school year.  It was on Robotics.  They got to build their own robots as teams, and they seemed to really enjoy it.

When we first got there this morning, we parked the car and began the trek to the building where the class is held.  As we started down the pathway, a woman–another Mama I’m assuming–was walking towards us.  We caught each other’s eyes and smiled.  I nodded and as she passed she smiled again, and then was gone.

But her smile has stuck with me all day.

I didn’t know her.  I may never see her again.  But there was something about her, the way that she carried herself, that was intriguing.

It was like–

it was like she was comfortable in her own skin.  With her lot in life.  Like she was not sorry for the joy she feels getting up in the morning.

It was almost like being a World Greeter is her  J O B.

You know, like the Wal-Mart greeters?  They are some of the most precious folks I know.  The one I know best, I guess, is Miss Mary.  I will go out of my way just so I can speak to her, ask her how she’s doing, and have her say, with her smile and unique manner, “Hello. Welcome.”  She doesn’t know my name, and whether or not she actually remembers me from visit to visit is debatable, but her welcome and her expression makes me feel as though she does.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?  If we had World Greeters or maybe Day Greeters–folks who welcome us to our life each day and ask if there’s anything they can do to help make the experience even better?

What would that look like for us to be that for each other?

Pretty doggone cool, I’m thinking.

Tonight I’m thankful for folks whose joy overflows onto the paths I walk on.  For folks who are always there when I call or let me know when they’re not, just in case.  For smiles from strangers and from folks I love.  For birthdays of good friends and songs on the radio that stir my soul.  For movie previews of books I love that have me ready to BUY MY TICKET NOW.  For classes on robots and the little people who will one day take that knowledge and do amazing things.  For friends with musical talent and texts that have me laughing for days.  For ideas of what to cook for supper that arrive earlier rather than later and for all the fixings close at hand.  Most of all, I’m thankful for people who know me and call my name.  I think I might have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.

A World Greeter.

Welcome, folks.  How can I help you find your way to fabulous today?

Love to all.

 

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So It Wasn’t a Lawn Mower…..

We had quite the excitement this afternoon around the homeplace.  So much excitement.

It would seem that a tractor-thieving fugitive was holed up in the woods somewhere behind our house.  Or in that general vicinity.

I can’t make this stuff up, y’all.

He and his buddy, who was driving the truck and trailer with the tractor on it, were stopped.  He ran.  His buddy didn’t.  His buddy was arrested. He hightailed it into the woods.

It all started with the lawn mower outside that was rather loud.  Miss Sophie announced it even louder.  It was a while before I discovered two things–first, that the alleged lawn mower was actually a search helicopter, and second, that Miss Sophie is smarter than I am.  But then again, she does bark at lawn mowers too so maybe not.

I learned a few other things today in the midst of the massive search that had our neighborhood swarming with policemen and Georgia State Patrol vehicles.  In all of this, we did not know at the time it was a tractor thief they were looking for.  We just knew they were looking for “someone.”

The first thing I learned is that one cannot homeschool when there is a massive large scale manhunt going on.  It’s just too exciting, apparently, as my littles went from window to window watching for the bad guy, giving their word that they heard someone holler, “Run, he’s got a gun!” and that they saw someone behind our house in the woods.  Which they did.  But he was a good guy.  As for the hollering, I have no idea.  I do tend to encourage active imaginations around here.  So there’s that.

I also had it impressed upon me once again that I have the best neighborfriends ever.  The three of us who were still home over this way were texting and calling back and forth and promising to walk out at the same time when we had to leave our homes.  It was actually my sweet neighborfriend who alerted me to what was going on.  When I didn’t answer my phone (long story), she came over very concerned that we’d been “gotten.”

It’s the absolute best when folks love you enough to worry if you might’ve been gotten.  I mean, really and truly, it is.

I also discovered today that I can act braver than I feel–at least when my children are around.  And I learned that my OCD about locked doors and such is only heightened in potential crisis situations.  I will not share how many times I checked the doors, but suffice to say, it was somewhere between two and aplenty.

Perhaps the most perplexing thing I learned is that raising my youngest is going to be a great challenge, and I’m getting old, y’all.  I’m tired.  And that boy…..

This evening on our way home from our day to dailies, breathing much easier because the one who took the tractor and “run oft” had been taken into custody, my little guy asked me a question.  I had told them in no uncertain terms that they were NOT TO ANSWER THE DOOR OR EVEN GO NEAR IT IF THEY HEARD SOMEONE KNOCKING.

“Mama, what would you have done if that little guy had come to the door and knocked and asked for help?” Cooter asked.  (I have no idea why he was “little” or why Cooter was asking in such a pitiful tone of voice.)

“What do you mean, asked for help?”

“Well, you said he was running in the woods, looking for a place to hide.  What if he came to our door, asking for help, looking for a place to hide?”

I looked and him, and I’m sure I looked as tired as I feel. “You mean, let him in, to stay here and hide from the law?”

He squirmed.  “Well, I mean, no, well, yes, I mean if he needs help.  And he would really be needing it, scared and looking for a safe place and all.”

Maybe we’ve had too many conversations about real life stuff around here, but that is so not what I meant when we talked about folks needing help and shelter.  And I’m pretty sure Cooter knew that.  Sometimes he tries to get my goat just to entertain himself.

So that’s when my little guy found himself in the middle of a conversation about right and wrong and aid and abetting and being an accessory to a crime.

I think he might get it now.

If only I did.  I have taught them we are called to help folks in need, but then…..oh me.  There is no such thing as clear cut black and white anymore, y’all.  Grey.  It’s all grey to me.

Tonight I’m thankful for good neighbors and folks who offer to walk the dog with you so you will be safe.  I’m thankful for folks who care if I’ve been gotten, and I’m thankful that my littles were not frightened by what happened today.  I know all stealing and wrongdoing and criminal activity is wrong, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thankful it was a tractor thief they were searching for today and not something else.  Most of all, I’m thankful for my children who keep me on my toes and help me think through the hard questions.

Here’s hoping for a less exciting day tomorrow.

Love to all.

tractor stolen in houston county, ga

The tractor back, safe and sound.  

Our Feathered Friends–A Field Trip Story

Today we took a field trip down to Go Fish for a class.  Cooter and our Princess enjoy these classes, as do I.  They do a really good job of combining learning and fun in the classroom there, and the facility itself with the amazing aquarium and fully stocked pond for fishing is one of our area’s best kept secrets.  So many opportunities for education and adventure all in one place.

The class this morning was about Our Feathered Friends.  One of the teachers asked the children about characteristics of birds that most or all have in common.  Wings, hollow bones (except for the common loon, I learned something today), and beaks were a few of the things mentioned.

Then Cooter raised his hand, and she called on him.  I was sitting in the same room but not close enough to have assessed what his response was going to be in advance.  His answer to the question about what characteristics most or all birds have was:  “They’re good cookin’.”

She and the other educator looked at each other, confused.  “They’re good cooks? Birds can cook?”

Not daunted by the misunderstanding, my little guy shook his head no, and restated his answer, “They’re good.  Cooked.  They’re good cooked.  Tasty.”

Welp.  Okay then.

The teachers and other moms in the room laughed.  I shook my head and reminded myself about who my son is.

The class clown of Zoo Crew Academy, ladies and gentlemen.  He’s here for the next eight years.  Thank you.  

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The next activity involved using different things that had been put together to look and act like different types of bird beaks–the hummingbird, the pelican, the wider beaked birds, and the tiny little pointed ones.  It was interesting as the children tried the different “beaks” to pick up “fish” from the water, or the nectar, birdseeds, or “worms” in the sand.  The children discussed which beaks were best for each type of food.

When they finished with that, the instructors, who are vibrant and fun and have great senses of humor (thankfully) and who seem to really enjoy the children, brought around two live chickens who were hatched during the Fair about a month ago.  They were of good size, though not full-grown.  As Cooter and Princess were petting one of the chicks, my girl commented that she’d love to have that chicken at our house and how its feathers were so soft like a kitten.  The teacher agreed.  “Yes, I’d love to take it home with me.”

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Our Princess kept loving on the chick, “Can you imagine?  Eggs whenever you wanted.  You’d never have to go to the store to get them.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast everyday!”

The teacher smiled and nodded.  “That would be good.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast–I’d love that.  But I’d need the chicken to cook them for me too.”

My girl didn’t miss a beat.  She looked at her teacher and said, “But that’s what your husband is for.”

For. The. Love.

The teacher laughed, “I love that.”

And so do I.

That our Princess lives a life where, if the wife isn’t able to scramble the eggs, it is just assumed that the husband would jump in and do it.

I mean, why not, right?   So thankful for the world she lives in, what she believes, and the story that is hers.

Tonight I’m thankful for the wonderful opportunities to share in the learning with my children.  I am so appreciative of the time and energy these fantastic folks put into planning a great and interesting program for the children, and I’m glad we have such an amazing place to learn just a little bit down the road.  I love that I get to learn alongside my children.  Most of all, I’m grateful for their precious spirits–wonky sense of humor and all–and how they see the world.  Their laughter is more than infectious, it’s light pouring out from their souls and changing the world for the better.

May we all share a laugh and pour a little light into the world today.

Love to all.

 

 

What Goes In…..

This morning the littles had a field trip to our local DNR Fish Aquarium.  It is a fantastic place and they do an amazing job with the classes.  It seems this year they have gotten even better.

This morning the teacher told the children they’d be learning about nocturnal creatures.  It was interesting–nocturnal, diurnal, crepuscular, matutinal, vespertine.  I learned many new terms and was even able to put my new knowledge about snails growing their own shells to use.

After a brief discussion of the habits of different creatures, the teacher pulled out little foil balls and gave one to each child.  There was an air of anticipation in the room.

Owl pellets.

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We have never done this before, though I’ve heard of them.  When an owl eats the little critters of its choosing, it can’t digest bones and fur, so it regurgitates those things back up.  They are apparently gathered and sanitized for us to dissect and try to discover just what this owl had been munching on.

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It was a fascinating exercise.  Even more fascinating was the different ways my two children took to the project.  Cooter was all in for about five minutes, pulling apart sans gloves all the little bits and guessing what he’d found.  And then–he was done. More than.  He came and sat next to me.  His sister, on the other hand, was gloved and ready for surgery.  She took great care to be gentle and not break any of the bones she might come across.  Then she carefully laid each piece on the key which showed all the different type of bones.  When they were told they could bring home their bones, she was all for it.

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Considering their personalities, this made me laugh.  I never saw that coming.

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Looking at what the owl had eaten and regurgitated was disgusting and yet, I couldn’t look away.  Our Princess found skulls and jaws and little leg bones and such.  She couldn’t wait to unearth the next part.

As she worked, I thought about that old saying–

The one about how what you put in will come back out…..

Like if you watch junk or read junk or listen to things that are negative and degrading–it will change your heart and stick to your soul and eventually it will come back out through your actions and words?

Yeah.

Never have I seen a better illustration of that than I did today.

Y’all guard yourselves.  Be careful what you’re taking in.  Because if it doesn’t sit well with you, it’s coming back out one way or another.

And more than likely, it won’t be pretty or pleasant.

May we all focus on taking in the good stuff and tanning our souls today.

Love to all.

Hairy Feet and Cool Clothes

Cooter closed the last page of his book and sighed.

“If my feet were hairy, I could have been a Hobbit.”

Oh my land, that boy.  Only 8 years old and the things that come out of his mouth never fail to surprise me.  And have me bursting out with laughter.

He continued, “I have really great clothes too.”

“Wait. What? Hobbits have really great clothes?!”

With a serious look on his face, he nodded, “Yes’m.  They really do.”

Then he added, “‘Course I’d need a tiny little knife too, to be a Hobbit.”

Before I could say anything, his sister, our Princess, spoke up,  “Nooooo.  No.” She shook her head and waved her hands.  “Let’s just leave that in the idea box.  No need to take it out of there at all.”   She looked at me, and mouthed, “No sharp knives.”

Cooter vehemently spouted, “I didn’t say sharp.  I said ‘tiny, little.’  I need one to be a Hobbit.”

“Well, that and hairy feet, right?” I reminded him.

“Yesssss,” he sighed again.

Life is hard, y’all.

The version of The Hobbit we found for Cooter to read.  He really enjoyed it.

The version of The Hobbit we found for Cooter to read. He really enjoyed it.

My little guy wanted to read “The Hobbit,” so we found a version that suited him perfectly.  He loved it all, motivated as well by the promise that he could watch the animated version once he finished reading it.  He had been quite enthusiastic until he got close to the end, when he said, “This is NOT a good book.”

“Wait a minute, I thought you loved it.”

He then shared about the demise of one of his favorite characters (but this is a no-spoiler kind of blog, so that’s all I’m saying about THAT), and it was obvious that he was trying not to cry.

I love books.  Have I mentioned that before?

And I love my children.

And I love that my children love books.

So this movie was viewed and critiqued and enjoyed tonight.  ("Mama, that's not how the book went!")

So this movie was viewed and critiqued and enjoyed tonight. (“Mama, that’s not how the book went!”)

Tonight may you all dream the big dreams–and always be yourself.  Unless you can be a Hobbit, then ALWAYS be a Hobbit.  Because hairy feet are apparently in, and they have really cool clothes. Or so I’m told.  #BilboWannabeOverHere

Love to all.

“It’s a Dalek!”

Today I took the littles to a program about “Bats and Bees: Friends not Foes.”  It was a fun program with learning, crafts, short movies, and playing in a bouncy house.

Because bouncy house is the universal word for fun in any language.

The littles were enchanted, and that made me happy.  Be kind to my children, and you’ve got my heart.

One of the crafts for the older children (of which my children were two) was making a butterfly finger puppet from a little kit.  We were trying to do the best we could with a glue stick and tape, and all of them turned out really cute in different ways.  I loved seeing how the children expressed their creativity as they followed the directions of the teenage girls who were helping with the program.

And then there was Cooter.  After coming up with a rather interesting and asymmetrical (law help my OCD) design on his wings, he gave up trying to attach them to the body of the butterfly puppet.  Instead of using one of the big pompoms for a head, he stuck a little one on the top and said, “That’s its neck.  You can’t see its head.”  And then I saw the wheels turning in his head.

With his tongue out of one side of his mouth, he went to work.  He used tape and stuck more of the little pompoms around the base of the butterfly.  Which, apparently, was no longer a butterfly.

"It's a DALEK!"

“It’s a DALEK!”

“It’s a Dalek!” he nearly shouted.  He was so excited he repeated it as he lifted it up for me to see.  “A DALEK!”

Y’all.

Bless him.

Or me.  I might need it more.

I stood there in that moment, conflicted.  Do I praise his creativity or chastise him (or at the least be concerned) that he couldn’t follow the instructions and build what he was told to?

I got no idea what I should have done.

I can only tell you I went with the praise.

That’s kind of my thing.  When you can find something to praise, DO THAT.  It really kind of makes life better.

He beamed.  He wanted me to take a picture of his Dalek to show Aub.  Because Daleks and the story of Doctor Who of which they are from are things he shares with her.  I think he’s seen all of about two episodes, but they talk about it together and he loves looking at her “Where’s the Doctor?” and “When’s the Doctor?” Search and Find books.

Together.  The best way to be.

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I also loved the butterfly our Princess made, following the directions and making it with her own twist.  I am proud of both of them.

Creative, each of them, in their own way.  I’m reminded of my Mama and her love of Ecclesiastes 3.  “To everything there is a season…..” and I recognize that there is a time for following directions and a time for being creative.  Today was a day for both, as it turned out.

Tonight I’m thankful for a good day with my littles–learning and laughing and creating.  I want to give them happy memories and today, I think we made a few.

Let’s go make it a day of finding something to praise in another and then doing that.  And wait until you see the smile that it brings–pure joy!

Love to all.