Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Just Sit Right Back And You'll Hear A Tale...

So join us here today my friends,
You're sure to get a smile,
From two lovely cast-aways,
Here on Mermaid Isle.

Sometimes everything goes right. Everything. It stands out in your mind because it is foolish to believe that everything will go right all the time. It is equally foolish to believe something will go wrong all the time. This 4th of July holiday, everything (everything! **) did go right. We were sun-kissed. Marshmallows were roasted. Fishies were caught off the dock on twin Barbie fishing rods. Babies skinny-dipped. Ice cold beer sweated refreshing condensation cooling off hands and bellies. Turkeys were slow smoked on the barbecue. Cousins reunited. Aunts and Uncles doted. A gaggle of sisters cackled. Grumpy and grumpier shared some jello mold complete with finely grated carrots. Pre-schoolers practiced their drawing skills welcoming the masses with sidewalk chalk--many a flag were drawn in creative fashion. There were lawn games. Kayak rides. There were puppies. Boy, were there puppies! There were bonfires. Sparklers. There were two engineers. They put their educations to work blowing up a small portion of our nation to celebrate it's Independence. Boat rides. Tube rides. Omlettes in a bag. Bottomless glasses of refreshing black iced tea. Red, white & blue themed cuppycakes. A parade. Lots of Tootsie Rolls. It was a great time. And it came complete with something outside of the prototypical 4th of July holiday...our very own Mermaid Island. Mermaid Island, you ask? Yes. Mermaid Lagoon if you prefer.

We purchased an inflatable raft--not super fancy, but the only one available at the sporting goods store in the small town of Spicer, Minnesota. We didn't know when we bought it that it was the perfect habitat for mermaids. I mean, we should have guessed, but we just didn't. The inflatable raft has 4 backrests, cup holders and the center has a mesh floor where lake water can come up and refresh tootsie-wootsies. And it was christened Mermaid Island by our very own mermaid fan club! Enjoyed by big kids and small kids alike, it was a fun destination upon Lake Andrew last weekend. We're looking forward to future adventures upon the Isle!

King Triton and his mermaid daughters, perhaps?

Oops, King Triton turned Pirate and had to walk the floatie plank.

Zoe plotting with 'big' cousin Ellie on ways to trick the evil Beth! Epic yarns are spun. Little girls are in awe of big girls.

The baby mermaid loved the lagoon in the middle of Mermaid Island. Or maybe it's a cenote.

Happy Baby. Happy Mama.

Happy girls. Happy life. Happy 4th of July! Viva Mermaid Island!

**Disclaimer: Everyone's idea of things going just right are very subjective. Addy did not think everything went right. In fact she puked in the porta-kennel placed in the quietest, darkest room in the house during the firework display. There were also mosquito bites. Quite a few of them actually. And Zoe found her first 'spider' attached to her skin--now she knows about woodticks.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sweet Dreams...

'til Sunbeams Find You...

I'm a big, BIG fan of the warm, sunny, summery day. Today is grey. Cloudy. Sprinkle-y. And I am a BIG BIG fan of today, too. Chad is learning how to cook beer today, so with a house filled with girls, we did what girls do best... girled it all up!

We began by powdering our noses with twice-sifted flour. The flour sifter was a big hit. We added some (lots of) butter, baking powder, a great portion of heavy cream, a half cup of dried fruit rehydrated in fresh squeezed orange juice. Add in two pre-school handfuls of white chocolate chips, some egg, an eggwash and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar and we made the most DELICIOUS scones.

We then had some fun in the drizzle in the backyard harvesting 'young' dandelion leaves... which we have in plentiful supply. Our salad. Bring down Chad and Suzy's childhood kiddie table. Set kiddie table with teapot filled with pink lemonade. Add a vase of silk flowers. The vase is a Duluth Creamery half & half jar we found digging up the front yard. Use the fancy paper napkins (they have balloons on them in place of the plain white ones). Chop up carrots, edam cheese, mangos, wash some blueberries, toss the backyard salad and you have the makings of a princess-tea party luncheon.

Oh...not without the proper vestments, we don't. Raid the dress-up chest. Add tiaras, beads, boas, gloves, remove gloves, plastic high heels, three layers of lipgloss. Almost ready. We need fancy music. The perfect soundtrack is our 'Carla Bruni' station I've created on Pandora*. We sit down to our meal. Use the timer on the camera to snap a picture. Eat and drink with pinkies up. Take turns pouring the tea. Obsessively. Call one another 'dear'. And 'darling'. Dab at our mouths with the corner of our napkins. Discuss juiciness of blueberries. Ella Fitzgerald croons in the background..Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me.
Okay, brain. Try to absorb every nuance. To remember. To cherish. To dream a little dream of this. And to repeat it on the next girly grey day.

*Note* Holy moly, I've hit a gold mine for days like today with the Carla Bruni station on Pandora. I highly recommend it... it's been a montage of awesomeness for a rainy day... Carla Bruni, Regina Spektor, Marissa Monte, Louis Armstrong, Etta Jones, Norah Jones, Feist, Ella Fitzgerald, Zee Avi, Ingrid Michaelson, Meiko...and on. And on. PERFECT!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mama Monster Mania

Honoring the Mother Within
The Ballerinas at Mother's Day Tea
Mother's Day Loves from Zoe
Mother's Day Loves from Mauren

Today is Mother's Day and really, what day isn't? Without our mothers, none of us would be here. Today I work on honoring and respecting the mother in me. This is my fifth Mother's Day. My first as a mother of three magical children, each an enigma, wonder and delight. Today I revel in the mundane, in the small joys, the repetitive tasks, the hugs, the homemade cards (pictured above). I relish that my five year olds cannot correctly pronounce the 'th' sound and so they say with sincerity and love 'Happy Mudders Day, Mama'. Today I let my cup runneth over with love and joy. Today I put my 'to-do' list on the back burner and enjoy simply being with those that have made a mother out of me. And at this very moment, I delight in that they are all napping, allowing me this time to extoll their virtues.

Mother's Day at our house began on Friday afternoon with the preschool 'Mother's Day Tea' performance. The girls were both front and center, with their bff between them for a ballet dance and several songs. Their teacher, Ms. Jodi, introduced the festivities with a poem that I will include below that had every parent in the audience weeping before we laid eyes on our adorable children. I am so proud of how far my girls have come since their first Christmas program.

The air of celebration continued last night with what I hope becomes a Mother's Day tradition . Chad and the big girls surprised me with an ice-cream cake from Dairy Queen. I convinced the crew that dinner should consist of the icecream cake and a huge pot of stove top cooked pop corn smothered in real butter--surprise, surprise, no dissenters(this is also a long-time Tillman family practice, so nice to reinvent that!). We all cuddled together on the couch, ate our completely unhealthy dinner and watched 'Mary Poppins'. The girls were enthralled and Chad and I both realized we'd forgotten most of the movie but the songs. What a delightful night.

This morning I slept in until 7:30am, took a bubble bath and blow dried my hair in the breezes off of our superior lake. As we walked to the nearby baseball fields to try out the new kites Mauren and Zoe received as Easter presents from Grandma Reenie, the girls skipping ahead of us, Addy tugging Chad here and there to smell the smells--I patted the popo of the bundle strapped to my chest and took deep breaths of pure content. With two kites out, and intermittent breezes alternately sending our kites soaring and allowing them to float down and be caught by the girls the world seemed so right. So perfect. The girls and I spent another hour in the ball field as Chad walked Addy around the 'hood. My girls need no fancy toys to have fun. They have one another and boundless imaginations--the perfect recipe for magical merriment. Charlotte drifted off to sleep and for an entire hour I watched as the girls used sticks to dig up mounds of baseball base-run dirt and 'planted' gardens of dried tansy flowers. They picked bouquets for eachothers' birthdays. They invited new alter-egos 'Canda' and 'Salis' to join in their fun. The dugouts became their houses and they curled up in their benchwarmer beds giving no heed to the sunflower seed shells that got stuck in their hair. They ran the bases, but not in your typical baseball style. They made up a new game called 'Run. Freeze. Walk. Freeze. Dance. Freeze. Skip. Freeze. Ballet. Freeze. Jump. Freeze. Gallop. Freeze' and took turns being the 'caller' and the base rounding participant. And their garb today? New sundresses from Auntie Bekki atop non-matching pants and long-sleeved tees.

Amid the play Charlotte awoke and enjoyed pulling at the grass and the tails of the kites. She got up on her hands and knees and took four forward crawling 'steps' and had a look of pride and joy on her face. She has since repeated that several times...soon there'll be no stopping her.

Today I am content with who I am. I am content with the Mother within me. It is a work in progress and I grow and learn along with these beings I've helped to create and nurture. I'll leave you with the poem Ms. Jodi read:

If I Had My Child To Raise All Over Again

"If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d build self esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love."
Diane Loomans

Happy Mother's Day to the mother inside of you, the mother at your side and the mothers next door!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round...[No Longer Such] Babies, Right Round...

...Like A Record, Babies, Right Round, Round, Round...

Or maybe you spin me right round like the way the earth rotates on it's axis.

This week and next are dedicated to the theme of "Constellations, Space & Our Solar System" at Mauren and Zoe's preschool. And I love it! I am simply bursting, brimming, my cup is runnething all over the floor and I don't care... I am impressed! Mauren and Zoe came home from school yesterday just filled with so much knowledge. With a couple of geeks for parents, it'll likely be difficult for all our 'apples' to fall far from our nerd trees. We spend a lot of time talking about science concepts at home, but we've not gone into a lot of depth when it comes to the solar system.

Some reportings on the day's learning:
-The girls know the creation myths about the constellations of Hydra, Ursa Minor and Leo. They also 'mapped' these constellations.
-Each girl was able to design and create a myth story about their own constellation. Mauren's is called 'The Magic Carpet' and Zoe's is called 'Ariel, The Mermaid' (they probably owe royalty rights to Disney for creating these constellations!).
-The girls now know that the Moon is a trickster. It seems like she makes her own light, but really she just reflects the sun's light back to us.
-The girls can act out the elliptical path the earth takes around the sun. They know the sun is our 'star' and that it is very hot. They know we are the 'third planet from the sun' and can recognize the names of the planets when I list them, but not recite them...yet. They also can act out the path the moon takes on it's path around the Earth. And they know that this path is called an 'orvit'...I tried to convince them it was called an orbit, but doubt remains...their teachers are pretty smart, I don't know mom, you might not be right about that.

I've long enjoyed how filled with wonder, enchantment, imagination and ideas my kids are upon spending a day surrounded by other kids and nurturing teachers at their school--and today I am filled with wonder at the capacity to learn my kids each have.

Our weekend homework project is to create a model solar system. This should be interesting and I think it will be best to divide and conquer so each girl doesn't overly influence one another's interpretation. I'll update our progress on our attempts at [mildly] intelligent designers next week. Is this project the gateway to dioramas and science fair projects? Already? Bring it on!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On Monster Creation...

You Make Your Own Monsters...

On the subject of monsters I have come to the conclusion that monsters are not merely born, but created. My wee-monster does the 'Monster Mash', her little arms and legs pumping as you hold her aloft and dance to the music, but she is not yet a real monster. Monsters, it seems, are truly a representation of nurture, not nature.

I do, however, have two monsters that have been created--not in my own mold, but I think sculpted and formed due to both interior and exterior forces. My girls each have a twin sized bed that they share with a hoard of stuffed animals and dolls. The animals are afforded well over one-third of their sleepytime real estate. Twice per day, I spend time righting animals, organizing them, fluffing pillows and straightening bed coverings. It has always been important that certain animals and dolls be placed on the pillows of my monsters and the other ones could be stacked and stuffed to keep guard over them while they sleep. However, two weeks ago, my monsters proved my notion of 'the way things work' to be wrong. They proclaimed the day as 'Giving Day'. It was like a national holiday in our house. Each girl took turns giving their precious, important items to one-another. It was a major swap of personal possessions. I was apprehensive, I admit, at first. I thought they would want to trade back, that they would not remember whose teddy bear was now whose. But I was wrong. I'll ask as we clean up the chaos that is their world at the end of the day... now whose flamingo beanie baby is this? Mauren will say, "It's Zoe's now, because of Giving Day."

Hopefully, the spirit of their 'Giving Day' will prevail when we begin a household purge of unnecessary personal belongings this month.

In the meantime, if you've yet to create your own monster, you may do so here:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mr. Golden Sun? Actually, Mom....

Mother Nature is a Funny Girl!

Yesterday I worked up a sweat in the back yard, ice chipper in hand and a baby strapped to my chest. The sun was radiant, the steady trickle of melting snow was accompanied by the dripping sounds of water in the gutters and the thud, thud, crack of steel on ice. It was glorious! Just a week ago we experienced some of the chilliest weather of the season, and beginning tonight we will go back to a more wintry winter. But, boy, was yesterday a nice treat. Vitamin D galore! The girls even ate their sack lunches outside at pre-school yesterday.

And although today is grey and soggy (Mauren's interpretation of 'foggy'), I'll remind myself in the long days of winter that are sure to follow that the delights of springtime are AWESOME and worth the wait. And even if the weather isn't so great outside, I have this picture above the couch in my livingroom created by Maurnie that makes me smile each time I glance at it. Can you tell what it is?

If you guessed a Rainbow and a Sun... you'd be half right. The multi-colored arc is, indeed, a rainbow. But the orange circle with many appendages is a scary bug walking on said rainbow! Have a great day--sunny or soggy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars...

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star... How Zoe Wonders What You Are

"Mom, what is a star?," Zoe asks.
"What do you think a star is?," I sidestep.
"I think it is something that glows in the sky...but how does it stay up there? Why don't they fall?," she returns.
"What does your brain tell you about that?," I reply.
"I think they have gravity."
"I think you're right."

So, what is a star? By definition, a star is a "massive, luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity." does a being with only four and a half years under her skinny little belt know so much?

Today I ponder those sparkly orbs in the night sky. The definition of a star aside, a star is an evolving mystery in the life of a child. One of the first lullabies a little one will hear, one even dads feel comfortable singing, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a thing of dozy, calm, cuddling sounds. As baby grows, little fingers reach as high as they can above their little ears, opening and closing, stretching and clenching as she acts out the song even before she can sing along. Then comes the awareness that those little white twinkle lights, haphazardly hung in the expanse above the house is what a star is. Next comes the bedtime routine of reading stories and peeking out the window for glimpses of the Evening Star. 'Star Light, Star Bright...the first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, Have this wish I Wish tonight.' Summertime meteor showers arrive and stars are something to look for from the plaid blanket laid out in the back yard--only these ones don't stay still (oh and they aren't really stars, but you know...) but the little girls just wriggle and giggle and then get bit by mosquitos so there is no wishing upon a falling star tonight. A star becomes a landmark, a spot on a map on the way to follow Tinkerbell to Never Never Land...go past the second star to the right and go straight on 'til morning. A star is magic. A star inspires wonder...and then you're 4 and 1/2. And a star is a ball of plasma, held together and held in it's location by gravity. Thankfully, at this magical age, science and magic seem to co-exist pretty well. And members of all ages and stages in this household, lift our fingers up high over our heads, stretching them, clenching them, as our mismatched voices join together to sing to our newest family a diamond in the sky...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Shiny Happy Baby Monsters...Holding Hands


Do da loo do do, do do do do do... (can you hear it?)
Do da loo do do, do do do do...

Shiny Happy [Baby Monsters] Holding Hands
Shiny Happy [Baby Monsters] Laughing....

And this is my life. And I love it. Life spins like the record on the juke box-- (I can even remember juke boxes having records...of course, they were in 1950's themed restaurants, but still...). Today I embrace all the baby monsters in my life and I've let them out of the box and into the world wide blogosphere. Do you think the blogosphere is really spherical, or more like a giant spaghetti monster in the sky? Hmm...

Oh, I was planning to get to a point! Welcome to my blog! You have stumbled upon an environment created to explore, react, relate and respond to the experience of sharing my home and the path of my life with a horde of monsters. Some of said monsters are the alter-egos of my children. Some are imaginary and live by the billions behind my couch(minus the 3 that were slain last night with cardboard swords). Some of these are monsters that lurk in the dark corners of my mind. Some are furry, some are stinky--and some wear princess dresses, plastic pearls and tiaras.

More tall tales, fairy tales and life experiences of the Pierson household will follow. But for now, enjoy a little Michael Stipe and his experience with monsters...