Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peters and the Wolves (and Ducks)

Andrew performed in the play Peter and the Wolf at his school last week.  The production is part of cooperative relationship that his school has with the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts. 

The Narrator for the play was the emeritus director of the Winston-Salem Symphony.   He is also one of the founding members of the school.  The children were accompanied by a string quintet from UNCSA.  As part of a senior project, students from the dance school choreograph the production and perform with the children.

The dancers were amazing !   They choreographed a "kinder, gentler" Peter and the Wolf.   The Wolf in the end is taken to the zoo. And since he had swallowed the duck whole, ended up throwing him up in the end.  Even the hunters were given a makeover.  Instead of traditional hunters in plaid with guns, they were NINJA Hunters dressed in black! They were cool.  One funny story about the lead Ninja Hunter.  He covered his face during the performance to make himself look more Ninja like.   That night at home Andrew said to me, "Mom, I know why the Ninja covered up his face? Because he had S-N-O-T coming out and no tissues."  The "S-N-O-T" that he was referring to so discreetly by spelling, was actually a NOSE RING! I guess he had never seen one before. 

The children each got to choose which part they wanted to play.  Andrew chose to be the Duck ("Because a duck is a bird and I love birds!").   I asked him why he didn't choose to be the bird.  ("Umm, Mom, Caroline says that the bird is a GIRL")!  I guess he never noticed that the lead ducks in this performance were girls, themselves.   His cousin, Alex, chose to be Peter.    

The performance is the culmination of an entire unit on Peter and the Wolf.  In music class, the children study the music and instruments from Peter and the Wolf.   In art, they draw the animals using various mediums.  In literature, they read several versions of the story. 

They also expand the study to research wolves in other stories (where they are usually portrayed as aggressive and villainous) and compare the fictional wolves to the wolves they study in nonfiction books. The teachers use this as a platform to talk about stereotypes during class meeting.  They write their own wolf stories in writing class, and in math they make graphs and compare and contrast the animals.  (legs, colors, fur, feathers). 

I was so impressed (as I usually am at ABES) with how developmentally appropriate the program was for kindergartners.  The school really does a great job of putting the children's needs first.  The performance was during the school day.  Each child was allowed to choose the part he wanted.  The dance moves were fun and easy enough for each child to perform.  They performed in the same place they had practiced.  There were no "stars" of the show.  All of the kids had an equal opportunity to be on stage.   The children shadowed the lead dancers in a sort of "follow the leader" fashion.  There were 2 big ducks with 6 little ducks waddling behind. 

When the performance was over, we had a little cast party in the classroom.  Andrew had so much fun showing Ryan his classroom and playing with him.  They really are best friends.  I love how close they are to one another. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy 40th Birthday, Daddy!

 Here are 40 answers (to 20 questions) in honor of our Daddy's 40th Birthday! 

We love you, Daddy!  (even if we can only answer about half of these correctly)   

A=Andrew, R=Ryan (They were asked these questions separately, so that Ryan wouldn't copy everything Andrew said.  I was surprised still how similar their answers were). 

1-How old is Daddy? 40 (A), 4 (R)
2-What does Daddy weigh? 46 pounds (A), 13 pounds (R)
3-What is Daddy's favorite food? cereal (A), chocolate (R)
4-What would Daddy do with a million dollars?  Buy a new tv (A), "He will have to give some to us, that's actually true, and he shouldn't give the bad guys money.  Nope, not to the bad guys." (R)
5-What is Daddy's favorite sport? Baseball (A), soccer (R)
6-What is Daddy's favorite thing to do with you? play anything (A), puzzles (R)
7-What is Daddy's favorite type of car? race car (A), Lightning McQueen (R)
8-What is Daddy's favorite tv show? ABC (A), Grown-up movies
9-What is Daddy's favorite movie? Ironman (A), Superman (R)
10-When Daddy was a kid he liked to: Play with his brother, Troy. (A), play with his toys, I guess (R)
11-What is Daddy's job? To go to work on Truliant (A), to go to work (R)
12-What does Daddy do at work? Make money (A), fix things, he works at work (R)
13-What are Daddy's hobbies? Be with his family (A), playing with me (R)
14-What is Daddy really good at? video games (A), driving his car (R)
15-If Daddy could go anywhere in the world, where would he go?  With us (A), Monkey Joes (R)
16-If Daddy was a super hero, which one would he be? Probably Aquaman (A), uh,  Ironman, of course (R)
17-Daddy's favorite color: Green (A), Gold and Black (R)
18-Where would Daddy like to go eat for his birthday? Chuck E. Cheese or Burger King (A) Chuck E. Cheese (R)
19-Where did Daddy go on his mission? Mexico (A), to church (R)


20-How old is old? 30 (A) 3 (R)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Serving With Little Ones

Community Service has been on my heart a lot lately.  Before I had children, I was constantly searching for and involved with community causes.  In high school, I was president of our service club and served on a community teen council.  In college, I started and ran a summer program for homeless children at a local shelter.  As a young teacher, I helped begin a free after school tutorial program for our ESL students and an outreach program for their parents.  I loved serving others, especially children.  Before I had children, I imagined that I would continue to serve in the community, serving soup to the hungry with a baby on my back.  Tutoring in inner city schools while my toddler sat next to me in a stroller.  I thought that when I didn't have to go to work each day, I would fill my days with service to others.

I am not sure what happened.  I am not devaluing the service I render each day to my children.  I know it is the most important work I can be doing right now and I love every minute of it.  I wake up every morning overwhelmed with gratitude that this is my life.  That I get to be here in this home, with this man, with these children.  I love my life.   Which makes it even harder to understand how I allowed 6 years to go by without helping anyone outside the walls of our own home or church community.  I truly believe that "Because I have been given much, I too must give."  I want my children to learn to follow the Savior's example of healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting the lonely.   And I want them to learn it by serving side by side with me and their dad.  I want to be a family that serves the community together.

I have read a couple of books recently that were wonderful and inspired me to want to do more.   I highly recommend both.

52 Weeks of Family Service does just what the cover says it does.  It shares meaningful ways you can help others as a family.  It even includes modifications for toddlers and teenagers. And Family Home Evening Lessons with every idea.

Passionaries was recommended to me by a friend.  It shares the story of several people who individually felt led to fill a need that they saw in their community or in the world. And then impacted thousands of lives. 

But before I go changing the world by starting my own nonprofit this week, I also found some neat, very simple ideas online on this blog that I love.   

Katherine Marie is challenging her family to do one random act of kindness together each week this whole year.  I love her ideas, and her kids are the exact same ages as mine! The services are very simple and age appropriate for young children.

I also have real life great examples.  I have a sweet friend who does "Friendly Fridays", choosing to do a fun service each week with her children.  She also recently hosted a community children's book drive for a local hospital.

My Sister in law holds a consignment sale and donates the profits to a community organization.  

I am not sure what I will end up doing, yet.  I am praying that my heart will be led to find a cause that my children and I can support together in meaningful ways.  I want to do better.  I would love to hear how you and your little ones find ways (or found ways, if they are older now) to serve in the community.

Mommy and Me Book Club

Once a week I host a Mommy and Me Book Club at our home for Ryan.  I have several friends who bring their little ones to join in the fun.  We are a co-op.  Everyone contributes each week to make it all possible.  They are a wonderful and creative group of moms.   I love getting to spend time with them and I love all of their kiddos.    We are half way through our Mommy and Me year and I realized I haven't shared our blog yet.  It has pics of our activities since September and all the fun we have had together.

Feel free to take a look and even become a follower if you want to see more of our adventures as the year progresses.   I have hosted a group similar to this each year since Andrew was 2.  I will hopefully start one with Molly in the fall. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ryan is a Sunbeam (and Andrew and Molly don't want to be left out)

Ryan started Sunbeams today.  Sunbeams is the youngest class in primary at our church.  He was sweet enough to sing me the Sunbeam song before we headed off to church.  

His nursery teacher, Sister Duke, moved up with him to be his Sunbeam teacher, along with Sister McNaught, our babysitter!  

Andrew listened to his little brother sing and then announced that he knew the CTR 6 song. He promised he would sing it for me if I promised to make a movie of it.  I was expecting the actual class song "Choose the Right."  Instead I got this original song complete with verses and a chorus.   (Somehow he got idea that the CTR 6 class was the oldest in junior primary and got to sit on the back row.  A faulty assumption that I was able to correct after hearing his song).

Molly heard her brothers singing and then sang her own song into her phone as well.  We were quite the musical family this morning.   And thanks to the new 11am start time, we had time to be.