Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We went to Nardelli's this evening. As soon as we walked in, Norah tensed up. "Can I see the menu? What are you going to get me? Can I help you choose? Can I go up there with you to order?" She fired these questions at me so quickly and she was so anxious to get something good to eat, she was hopping from one foot to another.

What Norah didn't realize is that I was already holding her meal in my hand, pulling her dinner out of the bag it was in, actually, as she asked these questions, too quickly for me to get a word in edgewise. It was her favorite meal, too; a hotdog from Frankies that we had ordered and picked up five minutes before on the way to Nardelli's. (She had had her head in a book reading on the way, so I guess she didn't notice we stopped at Frankies or she had forgotten about it by the time we got to Nardelli's.)

Anyway, her dad and I knew there was nothing on the menu at Nardelli's that she would like to eat, so we got her the hot dog and then went to Nardelli's for ourselves. Looking into her anxious, little eyes, I told Norah, "Norah, We love you. We know what you like. Your dad and I have already taken care of you. And, you should know we will take care of you by now..." As I said that last bit, I realized something about God...

He loves us. He knows us. He is taking care of us. And, perhaps more than anything, we should know this by now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I thought of my dad today, felt bad for forgetting my promise to him to put pictures of my kids on here everyday, so grabbed my camera and took some candid snapshots of the girls. I tried not to worry about how neat and tidy the shots were.

Norah happened to be doing handwriting at the time. I told her, "Smile for Grandad."

Avril was watching a movie on Norah's computer. She had climbed up on Norah's bed and was sitting on the edge of it. (Norah sheets were in the washing machine/ dryer.)
It was a gorgeous summer day, but I didn't feel like being outside. I made good use of the afternoon in another way, by mending Norah's quilt and quilted pillow sham. Several of the patches have been pulling apart and this has been happening, with some of the patches, for at least a few years now.

The way I mended her quilt was incorrect, technically... I was supposed to use a seam ripper to pull all the layers of the quilt apart and then mend the particular patches from underneath and then re-assemble the whole quilt again to make it look just like new, but that was way too tedious. So, I just tucked the edges of the offending patches under, held them together tightly and sewed them up.

If you look closely, you can see just how incorrect my way of mending really is. But, I don't mind having a patch work quilt that looks a little more rugged. Patch work quilts, like kitchen table tops, can look even better with imperfections, I think. I am just glad Norah's quilt is in one piece again. When I presented it to Norah and she saw the difference I had made, she was genuinely impressed and just showered me with praise and thanks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My soul is a dancer.
I've seen her.
He's made her lithe
and graceful,
fearfully beautiful.
She dances now
while I worship
or pray.
And one day
after I am old and gray,
I'll dance with her
through the streets of heaven
in the courts of my king.
But, until then I'll worship
and pray
and practice new dances
to dance with her on that day.

-Veronica Boulden

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I took Norah to see an adaptation of The Jungle Book at Library Park in downtown Waterbury.

This was her first live play and she was a little embarrassed when the actors came toward her in character, but she settled into it all after several minutes.

She posed for a picture with the cast afterward.

On the way to the Jeep she said, "They were really good, really confident. I mean, they just kept going and going and they didn't have to say, 'Um.' even once!" and she also said, "I really liked it. I think I'd like to see it again."
Library Park, Waterbury, CT -

This park is located right behind the public library downtown Waterbury.

There's a big, open field, a walking path around the perimeter that's really bumpy because of large roots growing up under the asphalt and a performing arts stage.

We walked the path and it offered a beautiful view of the old train station.

The pool at Washington Park opened today. I took Norah swimming there for an hour or so this afternoon.

The crowds weren't too big since it had been raining earlier in the day. Norah made fast friends with two other little girls and they played by racing each other swimming, jumping in at the same time, seeing who could jump the farthest, who could swim the farthest in one breath...

I loved playing at the public pool in the summers when I was a kid. I have the best memories from those days. I was happy that I could watch my kid doing the same thing.

We'll go back soon, definitely.
I keep this and a few other "how-to" type books with Norah's art supplies.

The other day, Norah brought me this book and asked if she could paint this parrot. I said, "Yes. But if you really want to paint a parrot that looks like this parrot, you know that you have to follow the directions." To this, she cringed a little. I told her, "You should follow them at least once... until you have some real experience and you are sure you can paint a parrot... Once you've done it once their way, you will probably come up with another way to do it." To this, she brightened.

Note: Up to this point, Norah has told me she wants to paint this or that... but once she is confronted with paint and an empty page, she has never had the patience necessary to draw the picture in her head before painting it and if she draws it, she will paint everything so fast that her colors blend and the whole thing becomes a brown-grey mess. This has always been frustrating to her.

She had to draw the parrot a few times before it was the one she wanted. Then she had to paint one color, wait for it to dry, go back, mix paints and paint more colors and then wait for those to dry, etc. It took her three days to do this project. But, she followed directions and did this entirely on her own. I only helped to keep her space neat. I am very proud of the patience she showed. I think she's learned the important lesson that some projects take longer than one day to complete, but they are worth the wait.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Norah's participating in our library's reading program again this summer.
Lakewood Park, Waterbury, CT -

Lakewood is that park with the huge pavilion.

This park has lots of parking. Lots. The lot is so big, there's actually a full sized basketball court with lights in the middle of the parking lot.

and there's also a court with a wall (for tennis?) But, I was thinking kids might enjoy a game of wall ball here.

You are supposed to walk up these stairs to the beach and playground because you aren't supposed to park up at the top.

There's a nice, flat hill for looking out over the water.

There's a small play ground.

There is a large area for picnics.

There's a beach, a swimming area roped off in the water and there is usually a lifeguard on duty at this park.

Town Plot, Waterbury, CT - This park has lots of monuments and memorials, etc.

There are at least two lighted tennis courts and basketball courts...

and plenty of parking.

There's a large sprinkler with nice, green grass and benches all around.

And there's a simple playground right next to the fountain with swings.

Important note: This is not the same park as Town Plot Park. That's an entirely separate park down the street from this one.

Fairlawn Playground, Waterbury, CT - This park is also smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. Several houses actually face the park. There are a few parking spaces that line the street on two sides of the park, but I could see how parking might be an issue on really hot, busy days in the summer.

This park has one of nicest play structures I've seen, with really interesting rock walls, etc. Right next to the play structure is a simple splash pad and a gazebo for parents to keep in the shade.

Unfortunately, the splash pad has been vandalized with spray paint (and it's not even the colorful, interesting graffiti). I think there's a special place in h*ll for people who defile the places where children play.

The whole park, including the basketball courts, was surrounded with a nice, little fence. You can't tell from my photos, but everything is really close together so it feels very secure. There are several nice, open patches of green grass around, too, big enough for at least a few family picnics on a sunny day...

So, we may spend an afternoon here this summer. Our park has all the same stuff, technically, but this park might offer moms a change of scenery and kids an opportunity to enjoy climbing up and down all those interesting rock walls.

I saw another Camp Wanna-Huga-Squirrel billboard on Meriden Road today! Norah's going to this. I am going to volunteer (if they'll have me.) Are your kids signed up yet?
Sloping Acres Park, Waterbury, CT is right in the middle of a neighborhood, practically in a few residents' backyards. It looks like it may have been built on land that was designed to be a culdesac, originally.

It was hard to tell I had found the park since the sign was obscured by vines until I got up close to the entrance.

There was a lot of trash on the street where you are supposed to park and near the entrance around the trash cans.

But once you came through the gate (to the right of the trash cans in the above photo), it was pretty tidy...

aside from the large piece of plywood mounted to the play scape. I assume one of the original pieces to the play scape broke and this is to substitute. This is probably better than whatever damaged or broken piece it replaced, but to a mom with little ones it just screams, "Splinters!" and makes her nervous.

And it was pretty pleasant and clean...

except for the neglected bath house that had been broken into and vandalized.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Norah did a narration of the Magic Tree House book Knight at Dawn today. I wrote down her words as she retold the story and I'll type it out and print it some other day. (It's really long.)

Next, Norah drew a scene from the story using a book I bought her at the thrift store 1-2-3 Draw: Knights, Castles and Dragons. This helped her draw the knight on horseback and the castle. She was thrilled to be able to draw the pictures in her head.

Knight at Dawn is one of almost thirty Magic Tree House books that Norah has collected and the she reads over and over and over again. I am thinking of asking Norah is she wants to make a "collection" of these "book reports." She could do a narration of each story, draw a scene from each one and collect all her work in a binder. If we end up doing this, I'll take pictures of Norah's work and let you see how the collection goes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011