Friday, August 31, 2007

Teddy Bear Picnic - 2007

Today was our 7th annual Teddy Bear Picnic. Last year I wrote about the origin of this tradition.
Let's just say that today was a success. There were fifteen kids ranging in age from seven to twelve. Some of them knew each other from school - some did not. They all got along great. The weather was pleasant - not too hot - not too cold -- and no rain.

And now in honor of Poetry Friday I leave you with this.

by Jimmy Kennedy

If you go down to the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For ev'ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Ev'ry teddy bear who's been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There's lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
Cause that's the way the teddy bears have their picnic.

If you go down to the woods today
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely down in the woods today
But safer to stay at home.

For ev'ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout;
They never have any care;

At six o'clock their mummies and daddies,
Will take them home to bed,
Because they're tired little teddy bears.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How I Know I'm Not One of the Cool Kids

There was an incident at a nightclub in town. Police from many towns were called in. My husband pointed it out to me in the paper. "They're talking about closing down Studio 9," he says.

"Where's that?" I ask - though it sounded kind of familiar.

"Next to Syms." He tells me.

"Oh, I thought that was a shoe store."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Locks of Love


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There are more pictures of Pippi's hair cut at the web album.

Tuesday's Proverb

"Forsake her not, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will safeguard you; The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom; at the cost of all you have, get understanding. Extol her, and she will exalt you; she will bring you honors if you embrace her; She will put on your head a graceful diadem; a glorious crown will she bestow on you." (Proverbs 4:6-9)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Why Me?"

Harry's having a rough day.

He threw a stick at a neighbor boy, and the boy needed a bandaid. (The boy is 14 and Harry was punished.)

Yesterday Harry used 1/3 bottle of shampoo to wash his crew-cut head - so he was relegated to a small paper cup of shampoo for today.

He got out of the shower and the soap looked like a modern art sculpture - and some of it had been jammed into the bottom of the lever for the drain stopper.

He got yet another lecture.

And what does he want to know? "Why do these things always happen to me?"

Why indeed.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Playing with Matches

Harry, Pippi and their cousin were put in charge of getting the campfire started. (There was adult supervision - we're not crazy.)

It took quite a few matches to get it going. One spot would light briefly, but wouldn't stay lit - more kindling needed usually. Sometimes the match would drop and not light anything - just bad placement. But they did each get a small section going.

Harry was particularly proud when a piece of crumbled newspaper he lit under some twigs actually resulted in a fire that stayed lit and helped produced our marshmallow-toasting blaze.

He was so pleased with the accomplishment that he has a new request for a Christmas present: A box of matches.

Hmmm - let me think now - should I give my seven-year-old boy a box of matches for Christmas? Uh - NO.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

When I was my father's child, frail, yet the darling of my mother, He taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart hold fast my words: keep my commands, that you may live! Get wisdom, get understanding! Do not forget or turn aside from the words I utter." (Proverbs 4:3-5)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

God's Voice Mail

I wish I knew who to attribute this to, because I think it is very funny. It was in the bulletin of the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi in Metuchen, New Jersey this weekend.

If God Installed Voice Mail...

When praying you would hear this: "Thank you for calling My Father's House. Press 1 for Requests, press 2 for Thanksgiving, press 3 for complaints, press 4 for All Other Inquires."

You might hear this excuse: "All of our angels are busy helping other sinners right now. Your prayer is important to us and will be answered in the order it was received, so please stay on the line."

You might reach a directory: "For Gabriel press 1, for Michael, press 2, for other angels, press 3, to hear King David sing a psalm while holding, press 4, to find out if a loved one has been assigned to heaven, press 5 and enter his/her social security number."

Or you might just get this message: "Our computers show that you have already prayed once today. Please hang up and try again tomorrow. If you need emergency assistance with this office is closed, please contact your local pastor."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

World Without End...Until the Last Day?

We were singing a song in church tonight that had the line "I will raise you up on the last day." Harry told me this song freaked him out. I figured it was because it said "last day" and he doesn't like thinking about a "last day."

But he told me it freaked him out because it says "last day" but we pray for "world without end". So how can that be?

Me: Ummmmm (pause) - because our world will end - but God's never will. (Phew, wasn't sure I was going to come up with an answer to that one on the fly like that)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Poetry Friday - Show Biz

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In honor of today's production of the Wizard of Oz, our two stars have written of their experience in poem form for Poetry Friday.

Show Biz
By Pippi

They were right:
There’s no Business like Show Biz.
The lights.
The laughter.
The applause.
The friends you make along the way.
No, you can’t match up show biz.
The work.
The memorization
The reactions
Your imaginations
That’s what show biz is like.
I know where I want to be.
Every part I can get,
Every song I can sing,
That’s what I want to do to.
Oh the high stage,
That’s where I belong.

The Wizard of Oz
By Harry

I am the Wizard
Who had a lizard
And a sister that isn’t wise.
My true identity is Billy
Who is silly
But not confident.
Now the show is done
I had a lot of fun.

The Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Kelly Fineman this week.

A Whopping Success

The show is over. It was wonderful. The weather was great. The sun shone. The kids were fantastic - mine and every other one of the 54 kids in the cast.

Wizard of Oz
Click on the picture to see a sample of what we saw today. I'll post more about what a great program this is for kids a little later.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thoughts on Prayer

With my new blog venture One Came Back I've been thinking a lot about prayer lately. How we are told that if we ask we will receive, yet sometimes the answer is 'no'. That we can pray to God for what we want - but that what we want should be for his 'will to be done'.

So - we can ask for what we want - and we might get it? Is this what we're told?

Then I thought of it as an analogy of a child asking a parent for something.

Let's say that a child (let's call her Betsy) wants a pony. Betsy asks her father for the pony (that's like us asking God for something). Betsy really, really, really wants this pony. She has pictures of horses all over her room. She promises that she will love and care for this pony.

But Betsy's father realizes that an apartment in the city is not the ideal place for raising a pony. And he has to tell her no.

Betsy did not get what she wants. Why didn't she get what she wants? Because it wouldn't have been a good idea. Her father (our Father in heaven) could see that, even if she couldn't.

S0 - if God knows what we need - why doesn't he just give it to us - why do we have to ask.

Well - everyone likes to be asked.

And going back to Betsy for a minute. Perhaps Betsy would really like to go to summer camp. She read articles about summer camp and has friends who went to summer camp. She thinks it would be fun. Betsy's father also thinks summer camp would be good for her. He thinks she's learn new things and make new friends. But he's worried that she would be homesick, and since she's never mentioned going to summer camp, he doesn't bring it up either. So, in the end - Betsy does not go to summer camp.

In this case - if she had asked, she would have received.

It's not a perfect analogy, I know. But it helped me to better understand a little why some prayers seem to be answered, and some are not.

God listens to our prayers, and he answers them with wisdom - even if we can't understand.

Dress Rehearsal

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Tomorrow is the big day. The performance for "The Wizard of Oz". Today was the dress rehearsal and it went very well. This is a scene from the end where Dorothy (played by Pippi) presents the "smelly socks of the Totally Wicked Witch of the Southside of Chicago - the baddest part of town" to the Wizard (played by Harry). Later the "man behind the curtain" is revealed - don't worry, Harry isn't behind a mask the whole time.

Since the performance is outside - and rain or shine - I'm hoping for sunny skies for tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

She'll Take Care of It

We were discussing some crazy laws this evening and Pippi said "they better fix all that up before I'm grown up, or I'm just going to have to go and fix it."

Go Pippi!

Trains in Love

The kids - when not at their theater workshop - have been spending a lot of time these past few days playing indoors. At first I was bothered by this because it has been beautiful out. But then I realized two things: one, they are spending the whole morning out doors and two, they are doing what they want. In a few short weeks school will start again and they won't have time to do just what they want for hours on end. So, I'm letting them play.

And what are they playing? My 10-year-old and 7-year-old are busy playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine set.

They set it all up in the upstairs hallway and play imaginative games with the trains. And what are these trains up to you might well ask? Well, from what I can overhear, the trains seem to be constantly falling in love.

There was some concern about two trains that were married but not living together - so they decided that none of the trains are married - or even engaged - just in love.

Ah - what is sweeter than young trains in love?

The Feast of the Assumption

There's something I've always liked about the Feast of the Assumption. I suppose it is the notion that when Mary died her son, Jesus, took her, body and soul, to be with him in paradise.

It's a crazy notion. But only right and fair when you think about it.

I love that Mary, who was just a girl from Nazareth when God called her for his special task, is up in heaven waiting and willing to intercede for us with her son, Jesus. Do we feel too humble to speak to God directly about something? Then we can ask Mary to ask on our behalf. What a wonderful advocate to have in high places.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

Yes, excellent advice I give you; my teaching do not forsake. (Proverbs 4:2)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good Mood Monday

If this doesn't put you in a good mood today - nothing will.

h/t to Praying for Grace.

Wine Makes You ...what?

Harry (age 7, upon seeing the red wine that my husband and I had with our dinner): Red wine makes you older longer. I mean it makes you live longer. I read it in Reader's Digest.

Good to know he's learning something from the reading material around here.

One Came Back

I'm trying something new here. I've started another blog called "One Came Back" (from the one leper -out of ten -who was cured who came back to thank Jesus for curing him.)

The purpose of this blog is a place to post prayer requests and more importantly to post about answered prayers so that we can see how God is working in our lives all the time.

The only way this will work is if I have a lot of contributors to this blog. The more the better.

Please stop by and leave me a comment so I can make you a contributor.

Also - some of you who read this have many more readers than I do. Please help me get the word out so we can really have a successful venture.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


There are times when I'm able to totally grasp the enormity of God's love for us. I can feel pure joy in the realization that God wants what is best for us at all times. I can praise Him with all my heart and soul.

These times are fleeting.

Not because I doubt His love the rest of the time. But because real life tends to intrude. And while dealing with children who are fighting or dealing with crazy drivers or waiting to check out at the supermarket, it's easy to not think about the enormity of God's love for us. It's easy to just get caught up in what we are doing at the times.

Sometimes I think it might be nice to be a contemplative nun. They can spend all their time letting their hearts and souls dwell on majestic things.

You know, though - I bet that even nuns in a contemplative order have trouble with real life intruding now and then. So the question becomes - how to think on the greater things when dealing with the little things. I wonder if there is an answer.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In Praise of Community Theater

Living, as we do, within the virtual shadow of NYC, when theater is mentioned it is often in regards to Broadway. And Broadway is a wonderful place to get an introduction to theater.

I was twelve when my father took me to my first show. We had seats front row mezzanine for "Annie". Unfortunately Andrea McArdle was no longer playing the lead role, and they had moved through a second Annie as well - but no matter, the girl I saw play Annie was just great: Sarah Jessica Parker.

In January I took Pippi to see her first Broadway show - Mary Poppins. And we had a great time.

The thing with Broadway is that - as fantastic as it is - it's also really expensive. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to make that sort of expenditure on a regular basis. We can not.

But that's fine. Broadway is not the only act in town.

We have two wonderful playhouses near us where we've seen shows on occasion. Even those kind of evenings can start to add up - expense wise.

But last night we took the kids to the theater. And for a very reasonable price - saw "Into the Woods." It was put on by a church theater group. The cast was mainly teenagers - with a few exceptions. They were all excellent - no exceptions. The set may not be as elaborate as a Broadway set - but that didn't detract from the magic of the show.

We had front row seats - which was even better when you consider that quite a bit of the action happened in the area in front of the stage - right in front of us.

Pippi and Harry are familiar with the show. We have the album (yes, the actual record kind) and recently got the DVD so they could see the Broadway performance. But there is nothing like having something acted out right in front of you. It truly is magical.

Now they'll be ready to give their own performance come Friday.

Oh - another Broadway note - I did see Into the Woods on Broadway during it's original run. Unfortunately I did not see Bernadette Peters play the Witch. (always seem to miss those original performers) But I did see Phylicia Rashad play the Witch - and she was awesome.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Poetry Friday - Follow Your Dream

Well, we're one week into rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz (Kids in the Park version). One week till the big show. Dorothy knows most of her lines - and the Wizard only stumbles over one at this point, so I think all will be well.

But, I must say, I think the songs from The Wizard of Oz will be permanently implanted in my brain. So, in order to share the wealth, for Poetry Friday, I bring you a snippet.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road
from The Wizard of Oz

Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Follow the Yellow Brick Road.
Follow, follow, follow, follow,
Follow the rainbow over the stream, follow the fella who follows a dream, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow brick road.

The round up is at Big A little a this week.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday's Proverb

Hear, O children, a father's instruction, be attentive, that you may gain understanding! (Proverbs 4:1)

Monday, August 06, 2007

We're Off to See the Wizard

Today was the first day of the much-anticipated theater workshop known as Kids in the Park. This year both children are participating, and since Pippi has had substantial roles the past two years, they looked forward to today's auditions with a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

Well, I just might have to change their blog names to Dorothy and The Wizard. Because, that's who they're playing in the Kids-in-the-Park production of The Wizard of Oz (which is like no other production anywhere - but much more fun).

It's going to be a fun two weeks! I can't wait for the show.

Just Checking the Calendar

And - yup, it's August.

So - why were they stocking Halloween candy at the grocery store?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

New Episode of That Catholic Show

A Step Back in Time

Today we drove into the center of town and went to a little park near our train station. This park memorializes the site of the first permanent printing press in New Jersey, but that was not our primary purpose for going there today. We went today because there was a Civil War encampment taking place this weekend. Reenactors come from all over the area to share some of their unique knowledge.

They do this every year - and we always try to go. Each year it seems we learn something new. Today we learned about money at the time of the Civil War. People hoarded coins and so states and banks were forced to print notes for amounts like 10 cents or 15 cents. We saw a bill worth $1.25. Each state made their own money - and it was only good in that state (unless someone was kind enough to trade with you - but then at a discounted rate.) Sometimes stores even minted their own coins and those coins would only be redeemable in that store (sort of like coupons today.) The confederate notes consisted of very large denominations $50, $100, $500, because due to the war everything became so expensive.

We learned how soldiers would line up on the battlefield - and that it's not how it looks in the movies.

We learned that many of the soldiers simply slept on bedrolls under the stars, and if it rained, they got wet.

We watched a skirmish between the Union and Confederate soldiers.

There were a lot of interesting things to see - but as my husband pointed out, it's not seeing the things that is so interesting - it's hearing people talk about them. You can see things in a museum. Having someone show you how it all actually worked is priceless.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Feast of St. John Vianney

Today is the feast of St. John Vianney - the Cure of Ars. There have been several great posts today that discuss the virtues of this saintly priest, and do it much better than I ever could so visit: Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, Father Jay Toborowsky at Young Fogeys and Barbara at Praying for Grace.

St. John Vianney holds a special place in my heart, even if I can't expound on his life as well as some others can because he was the patron saint of my high school. So, when some hear St. John Vianney, they think of a French priest shortly after the revolution, I think of high school days. Football games (Go Lancers!), school plays, and most of all the wonderful friends I made there - that are my friends still.

St. John Vianney - pray for us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Alpha Beta Gamma and so on

Yesterday, while the children were busy singing "I've got a song that gets on everybody's nerves" I decided to distract them with something that Melissa Wiley shared at The Lilting House yesterday. A way to learn the Greek alphabet in less then 10 minutes. The kids watched it. They had fun with it. And guess what - they now know the Greek alphabet. How cool is that.

It didn't stop them from singing "I've got a song that gets on everybody's nerves" though.

Poetry Friday - At the Sea Side

At the Sea-Side
By Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.
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The Poetry Friday Round-up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect