Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Public Speaking...sort of

So my boys have been working on memorizing a poem to perform in front of an audience. This was our first attempt at this kind of memorization and public speaking, and they have been pretty nervous about it.

A few weeks back, they each picked a poem (or 2) to practice. We kind of have a thing for Shel Silverstein, so they all gravitated toward his books. They've got good taste. And very mature. Although I haven't quite sold them on the merits of Walt Whitman...yet.

Well, I told them they were going to have to stand up in front of an audience and recite.

And then I said it would happen "soon."

About a week later, they started to doubt that I was going to follow through on this one little bit of the lesson. Likely with good reason, seeing as how I had no real plan for finding said audience. Obviously this has not been my finest homeschool teacher moment. I'm sure there will be worse ones to come, though, so I'm not sweating it.

In order to salvage the lesson and not chalk it up as a complete mommy fail, I am counting the world wide web as the audience.

And so, without further ado, I present to you our poems:

Mr. N, reciting Shel Silverstein's "Hippopotamus Sandwich"
Mr. W, with both "Snap" and "Skating" (he liked the shorter ones, so had to pick 2)
Mr. L, performing "The Worst," also by Shel Silverstien
What he whispers at the end is "who is standing right behind you." He got a bit caught up in the drama of it all, I think.

Our main goal was NOT to sound like this:
It was actually much more difficult than you would imagine.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Mary : Does everyone who dies become a ghost?  
Archibald: They’re only a ghost if someone alive is still holding onto them.
(The Secret Garden, musical)

My Octobers are haunted.

October has been my favorite month for as long as I can remember. There are still deliciously sunny days that let you know that you have just left summer behind, and they are so much sweeter knowing they won't last. The nights are crisp with autumn's chill, just right for sitting around a fire. Everything seems to smell and taste of apples, cinnamon, and pumpkin. And those colors?

And as if that weren't enough to make me love this month so much, it all ends with one giant costume party. I'm like a little child when it comes to playing dress up. Seriously. I think one day a week should be designated to dressing in costume. It never gets old.
Perhaps my favorite thing about October, though, is that  October made me a mommy. I love celebrating my little men, and the fact that their birthday falls squarely in the best month of the year is the icing on the cake.

Even though I'm already in love, October woos me again year after year. *swoon*

But my Octobers are haunted.

Two years ago we were balancing the amazing weather, food, beauty, birthdays, candy, and costumes with watching my mother die. I'm not going to lie. There were some pretty rough days. On the whole, though, we managed to create some wonderful memories, and no celebrations were interrupted or overshadowed by funeral arrangements.

In fact, we had arrived back home after the Halloween parade, had changed into pjs, and had the kids all tucked in bed for the night before the phone rang with the news that she had gone.

"Well," I thought, "she gave me October. Thanks for that gift, Mom."

I didn't realize it then, but she also took October.

Every leaf.

Every cool breeze.

Every sip of warm cider.

Every costumed child.

She's there. Haunting my Octobers. Casting a little shadow of sorrow and memory over every glorious day. Sometimes it makes me cry. Sometimes I get mad at her. Sometimes it makes me smile, albeit often through tears. And sometimes I am grateful for the painful memories, for they make the good ones so much sweeter.
Sometimes I think she might just have planned it that way. She is forever engraved upon my favorite time of year.

I miss you, Mom, you crazy old witch. I expect you to keep on haunting my Octobers for many more years.
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