Friday, February 29, 2008

Go See Missy!

Oh, my goodness. I am SO tired! We spent the night in Portland last night, to attend a Missy Higgins concert. Missy is a very talented singer/songwriter/musician from Melbourne, Australia, and is doing quite well, apparently. We were fortunate to find out a few months ago that she would be in Portland and my husband got tickets. Todd discovered her music several months back and got me hooked, as well. Missy released her second album a few days ago in the U.S. and we were able to buy it at the concert. If she comes anywhere near your town on this 2008 tour, I highly recommend her. She has a stellar band playing along with her. The guys are very professional and talented. (Hey, Cate - her keyboardist is from New Zealand!) Her music is kind of rocky, with some ballads and a bit of folk/country here and there. Fresh. Honest. I love it. My kids even enjoyed it, although concerts go a bit late for them. Which is why I'm so tired. Well, we all are but we'll recover.

The only warning I have is that the band opening for her (at least for a few concerts) is kind of loud. Nice guys but their guitars gave me a headache. Next time, I'll bring earplugs for all of us (I usually do for concerts, just forgot this time.) Missy's band wasn't nearly as loud, fortunately!

The Portland crowd (the place was packed to standing room only) was a great audience. They usually are, we have found. Ever polite and encouraging. I've never met anyone rude at the concerts at this particular theatre in Portland.

Interestingly, the young lady sitting next to Alec asked my husband why we were out on a "school" night with our kids. My husband said, "This IS school!" You know, culture, etc. She thought that was great! I do, however, feel badly for keeping my 7 year old up until nearly 11 pm but once a year isn't so bad, is it? We bought ice cream sandwiches on the way home and ate them in the car (we were really hot from being in the balcony of the theatre and, boy, did that ice cream taste good!) Carmen was a bit difficult, as I knew she would be, but she "gets" it, know what I mean. She listened to the music and when Missy spoke, Carmen laughed on her own and seemed to connect as well as a 7 year old could with the 24 year old singer. But Carmen was too hot so we went downstairs a lot to cool off and get water. Finally, Todd took her so I could sit and enjoy the latter part of the concert, which is when Missy played my favorite songs - I had so much fun! My kids always look at me amazed when I "woo-who" and shout and clap (at the appropriate times, of course) during concerts. I am not shy but I'm not obnoxious either. Honest!

For my Aussie friends - there were Aussies in the audience on the first floor and at some point when Missy was speaking, I heard them shout, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!" - something like that. We laughed because I have read a comment from my friend, Paula, who mentioned this very thing and it was fun to hear it in person! What fun people you Aussies are!

O.k. time for bed. It will be interesting to follow this young woman's career. May she stay true to herself and avoid the evils of the media. I sure hope so.

(Missy's web site is:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Life's a Monopoly

We are going Monopoly-crazy around here lately. My kids have each decided to make their own monopoly-type game and are really enjoying themselves.

Carmen decided on a fish theme, as she has recently gotten some guppies as her first fish to care for (you can read all about that story on my HSB blog, if you are anxious for the details. Mama guppy has that pregnancy "glow" - due date is early March). Carmen has worked hard on her game and it's a lot of fun. She spent today making more cards for her "scale" and "fin" parts of the game (aka "chance" and "community chest" in the regular Monopoly game). She also searched our bead box (doesn't everyone have a bead box in their home?) for beads that were remotely fish-related. She came up with a star shape for a starfish, a whale and 3 different colored dolphins (she calls them fish and who am I to argue). I let this be her school today and yesterday but, shhhh, don't tell her she's learning while she works on this. She asks when she needs help spelling but she also looks at fish books for correct spelling of words and fish. When you "got the bait" that means you get sent to jail. You get the idea. I played the game with her yesterday, before she had completed it, and I got sent to jail 4 times. She, however, won the money that gets put in the middle 5 times. Personally, I think she rigged the game.

Chad was inspired to make an auto-themed game since he's into collecting pocket-sized cars (I don't want to use a copyrighted name here) so he has "stop" and "go" and properties related to the auto world. He used a ruler to count and measure evenly and make straight lines on his board (something he doesn't usually care about, straight lines I mean). He and Carmen spent all afternoon at the diningroom table, working on their boards. I love to see these two siblings working together, bonding, as I know it's important to Chad to be liked by his little sister. They have never really been very close until the fish entered our lives. A real blessing.

Alec began a navy-themed game with battleships and all but soon lost interest. That's fine. At least I can walk through the kitchen again, as that is where all this begin a few days ago. I have a big roll of unprinted newspaper which is great when you need really big paper and my kitchen was strewn with paper, pencils, rulers and kids. I love it when they get really involved in projects. I especially love it when they finish a project. Does this happen in your home? Really great ideas kind of fizzle out about half the time around here. Is it my fault or is it the natural course of things. Don't know. At least two children have enjoyed the latest great ideas. And with games, you can play them again, which is a plus. Some projects take up a lot of room and then you don't know what to do with them.

My advice - the next time you need or want a project for whatever reason, perhaps making up a game about whatever you are teaching or interested in would go over well. I can't take the credit for this - it was completely my kids' idea. I love that even more.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Here We Go Again

February 13 is a special day at our house. Carmen was born! Our youngest will be 7 on Wednesday. It is both a blessing and a curse that her birthday is the day before Valentine's Day.

Consider this ... we have to spend the 12th making Valentines because the 13th is busy. And we hide our Valentine cards from each other until the 14th. Waiting 2 days is a long time for the youngest ones but we manage. And it seems like we always put up streamers and balloons in red and white because of the holiday. This year, I told Carmen we could use any color she wanted to decorate, thinking she might be tired of the same old, same old. But, no, she's fine with the status quo. As well as the heart-shaped cake she always gets. Maybe routine is comforting to her. And this is just fine with us.

When she was born on the 13th, I did get a few people remarking about a "13th" birthday but if you don't have any trouble with that number (we don't - it's just a number) then it's no problem. I do feel badly that she'll always have a birthday tied to a holiday, like me (I was born on Mother's Day - no fair!) But what can you do about it? Nothing! What you can do is make sure your husband buys you flower and/or candy for EACH special day. No skimping. No combining holidays. You can bet I'll educate her on that theory!!

I know I've posted about her birth before but it's so fun to write about, here it is in a nutshell.

On the 12th of Feb. in 2001, I thought I was in labor so we went to the hospital. At 11:00 pm, my nurse practitioner sent me home to sleep. The next morning, I was REALLY sure I was in labor but my n.p. wanted me to come to her office to make sure. We had already called the hospital but didn't go there due to her orders. But I didn't want to deliver at her office, either! So we went and parked by the river, timing my contractions and watching the river traffic. My contractions were 6 minutes apart, consistently. I was told to wait until they were 5 min. apart. Can you tell we weren't clearly thinking? At noon, Todd said, "Let's just go home and have lunch," to which I shouted, "I don't WANT to go home!" He immediately motored it to the hospital (2 blocks away) and when we walked down the hall to maternity, I had my first hard contraction (I hung on to Todd). A nurse said, "Where have you been - we've been calling all over for you?!" I was ushered into the "pink" birthing room and had Carmen less than 2 hours later. Whew! I dare say it was the easiest birth of them all. We also laugh about the fact that all three of my kids were born in the "pink" birthing room, not that it was ever planned that way. We got the room they gave us. And when we were in on the 12th, they had put us in the "green" room, so we just figure Carmen was waiting for the "pink" room to be available. Are you familar with the photographer, Anne Geddes? Remember the "baby surrounded by pink rose petals" photo? That photo is directly across from the bed in that room and I've spent a lot of time looking at that cute baby!

So, Happy Birthday Carmen Vashti! You are the feminine bright spot in our boy-filled home. You have a quirky sense of humor that I adore (and that you inherited, I'm afraid!) And the belly laugh and giggle to go with it. I look forward to watching you grow into the girl/woman God's wants you to be.