Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Badge

Hello Readers, 

You may have noticed a new badge on the right hand side of my blog.  This badge links to the "Top Mommy Blogs" page and I would like to become a member of that mommy blog group.

If you have the time, please click on the badge....each time you click (but only once each 24 hours) counts as a "vote" for my blog and will help me to become a member of the group.

Thanks!

Another Christmas Concert

Last night Baby Boy had a Christmas concert.  I have to admit I either didn't know about it or I forgot about it until I got the reminder email.  The concert was a service at the school's church dedicated to the Christmas story.

Before the concert we dropped the children off in the church library so that the teachers could dress them in their costumes.  Unfortunately Baby Boy was crying and his teacher could not calm him down so he didn't participate in the concert, instead he sat with us in a pew.  He sang along and did the actions with the songs.   

Chippy was trying to climb into the attic this morning!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Batman P.J. Pants

I made the younger boys each a pair of Batman pyjama pants.  Baby Boy chose the fabric (thank goodness it was on sale) and I made up a pair for each of them.  They love them!  I like the fact that they actually fit....I customized each pair.

If you check out the photo you'll see that I added labels in the back of the waistband.  They say "Made with love by Mom".  The labels aren't there so much to give me credit as to help them determine which way to wear the pants.  The pants that I sewed for Baby Boy and Little Boy earlier do not have tags and it's difficult to tell which side is the front until he puts them on and they don't feel right.


Spelling Bee

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of watching Big Boy in his school spelling bee.  You may recall that I was nervous about him participating in a spelling bee a few months ago (http://janiceljlj.blogspot.com/2014/10/spelling-bee.html).  He participated in his class bee and moved on to the school bee as one of the top six.  That was worrisome...due to the structure of the spelling bee he only had to spell a single word ("window") to place in the school spelling bee.  I was worried that this would make him over-confident for the school bee.

The school spelling bee had the top 6 spellers from each class from grades 2-5.  Big Boy is in grade 2 and I knew it was unlikely he would place well in the spelling bee.  My only hope was that he would get at least one word correct so that he would not be devastated.

Parents were invited to attend the spelling bee but only about 10 were there.  All of the classes from grades 1-5 watched as well.  I was surprised that it was exciting.  I was nervous with anticipation for Big Boy and relieved when he got through a word.  Other children were very dramatic when they won and lost.

Big Boy made it through 2 rounds.  In the first round, only a handful of kids were eliminated (about 5).  The second round was a blood bath.  The words were much more difficult and a whole crowd of kids left the stage (about 20).  I was so proud of Big Boy for making it through the second round!  He was eliminated on his third word, along with approximately 15 more children.  I left after that round, but it's my understanding that the handful of kids that remained went another 4 rounds.

The winner of the spelling bee will move on to the city championship and the winner of that will go to a national spelling bee in Washington, D.C.

Big Boy was not happy with his performance.  He was crushed that he spelled a word wrong.  I explained how proud we are of him and he's coming around.  I think he has developed a taste for the competition though....he is saying that next year he wants to study more and win.  


Chippy is hanging out near the baby pictures today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Madeline's Christmas (and some Elfing)

On Sunday I took the two older boys to see Madeline's Christmas by Main Street Theatre.  Main Street Theatre has temporarily moved to Talento Bilingüe de Houston and I love this location.  There is ample parking and it's closer to our house.  Also the stage and theatre arrangement is traditional making it easier for the kids to see the stage.  Too bad it isn't permanent.

The show is really good.  It's a musical that elaborates on the story in the book "Madeline's Christmas" and the cast is large and enthusiastic.  They actually have all 12 girls in 2 straight lines!  The performers are all adults.  There are a couple of long-winded songs but for the most part it's an interesting and entertaining show and both of my boys enjoyed it.  Little Boy was worried that the show was over each time the curtain closed to allow for a set change.

Elfing

I thought this was funny so I'm sharing it.  I'm on Google+ but I never quite figured out what to do with it.  I don't have many "circles" and I don't have the time or inclination to develop another online social network.  That being said,  it's there in the background when I use other Google programs.

Yesterday when I was sending out some photos Google+ invited me to use their facial recognition software to automatically recognize faces to help with labelling pictures.  I thought the program would want me to register faces of my kids, but it had picked up Chippy's cheeky grin and wanted to register his face!

Anyways, here is what Chippy was up to today....



Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Concerts

Last week Little Boy and Big Boy had class Christmas concerts.  They go to different schools (one goes to public school and one to Catholic school), and the two concerts could not have been more different!  

Little Boy's was on Tuesday.  I arrived 35 minutes early and it was impossible to find a decent seat.  I ended up in a back pew where I could not see much at all.  The concert consisted of pairs of buddy classes performing songs.  Each pair had exactly 7 minutes to perform.  We were encouraged to pick up our children directly following their performance to allow them to either watch the rest of the show or go home. 

The concert ran remarkably smoothly and ended right on time.  There was no M.C. or other introduction for the classes so you had to watch carefully for your child.  I actually missed the first half of the first song that Little Boy sang because I could not see his class - they are so short that I couldn't see them because of the audience members in front of me.  I had to get up and walk down a side aisle to take video and pictures of the concert.  I could not hear his class singing at all - the background music was loud and his buddy class overpowered the younger kids.

Each class in Little Boy's concert sang hymns or other Christmas tunes and did actions along with the words of the song.  Little Boy's favourite song that he performed was "Happy Birthday Jesus".  He's been practicing it for weeks.  Baby Boy picked up on the song and has been playing with his Fisher Price birthday cake (http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/products/Servin-Surprises-Birthday-Set) while loudly singing "Happy Birthday Jesus" ever since the concert.

Big Boy's concert was not held in his school but in a local high school.  The auditorium is large and 2 rows of seats were reserved at the front so that parents could sit and watch their children perform.  This was a good idea but a bit of an administrative nightmare - after each class the M.C. organized a changeover of parents in the front 2 rows.  Parents were also treated to photo op at the end of each class performance with the M.C. counting loudly backwards from 10 to remind everyone that they had to clear the stage area for the next group of parents.

The musical selections at Big Boy's concert were in sharp contrast to Little Boy's concert.  The songs were largely Christmas pop songs or Mexican Christmas songs.  Some of the songs were completely inappropriate for elementary school children.  For example, the dance team performed to "Chandelier" (i.e. the "1-2-3 drink" song by Sia...check it out on Youtube if you like, I was going to link to the video here but it's too weird for me...and I'm a child of the MuchMusic generation who loves videos!).  

Even more surprising than the musical selection was the concert format.  Each class went on the stage in costume - some very elaborate.  Once the class was on stage, 2 M.C.s would give an intro to the song in English and then in Spanish.  Then the song would blare from the theatre sound system at a volume that made it impossible to hear the kids at all.  We could see their mouths moving and they were all performing complicated dances but we couldn't hear them sing.  

Big Boy's concert was very long - nearly 2 hours.  Some of the parents wanted to leave early and tried to go into the school hallways to pick up their children from the holding rooms.  Security guards promptly sent them back to their seats.  I understand that there are safety reasons for controlling who has access to the children but forcing people to stay at the concert created a hotbed of crying toddlers, irritated parents, and overtired kids.  We left the concert nearly 2 hours after bedtime but fortunately none of our boys were melting down.  We stopped for ice cream on the way home.  Because of this après concert treat the boys didn't get to bed until nearly 10:00 p.m. on a school night!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rosenberg Railroad Museum

On Friday, Baby Boy and I drove out with friends to the Rosenberg Railroad Museum in Rosenberg, Texas.  Here is a link:  http://www.rosenbergrrmuseum.org.  Rosenberg is south west of Houston, just past Sugarland on the Brazos river.  It's a sleepy little town with a charming old-fashioned look.  Most of the old town seems dedicated to antique shops and touristy-eateries.  A few blocks in is the Railroad Museum.

Rosenberg Railroad Museum is an open air museum on a large, grassy property next to the train tracks (imagine that!).  It features an 1879 rail car from Canada called the "Quebec" ...our tour guide told us it was built for the King of England but I note that the Rosenberg website references princes.  The museum also showcases: a caboose that you can climb into and wander through; a very large model train in a dedicated building; an outdoor bathhouse; the old Rosenberg jail; a museum room with exhibits; a playground train; and an education building.

We were at the museum as a group activity and the first thing our group did was explore the train playroom.  It is in the education building and it's a room filled with train tables, tracks, and trains for the kids to play with.  After free play the kids were treated to a story, some songs, and playtime with rail cars that they carried in a line.  The rail cars are brilliant - painted bottomless boxes that the kids stood inside and then lifted around their bodies (like a person in a cartoon wearing a barrel) - I plan to steal the idea for a birthday party.  Then the kids made a craft - a snow globe!  It is the first time I've seen that as a craft and I was impressed.

After the craft we were divided into smaller groups for a guided tour.  Our tour guide was interesting and enthusiastic but the kids were getting tired and hungry so we broke off of the tour after seeing the enormous model railway and the Quebec car.  The kids had played in the caboose when we first arrived so I felt like we hadn't missed much.

For lunch we ate at the diner across the street from the museum.  It hit the spot.  We shared onion rings and I had a B.L.T.  It's a soda shop and they mix the soda the old-fashioned way.  I had a Coke to try it.  It didn't taste different than standard Coke to me, but it was not very fizzy.

After lunch we drove home where Baby Boy refused to nap and was terribly behaved for the rest of the afternoon.

Chippy Catch-Up