Saturday, May 31, 2008
My husband and I had a pedagogicheskii sovet this evening on C's Kumon math workbooks. He thinks they are all too easy, with the exception of the addition one, the subtraction one, the telling time one, and the second coin counting one. The coin counting one is the only one C has worked with much so far, and it's currently in hiatus, thanks to her repeated claims that it's "too hard." I think she should be able to easily manage the beginning of both the addition and subtraction books and the rest of the coin counting book, but it may take a while to get her going. We have decided to increase the carrot offered for these more difficult workbooks. Instead of 5 pages for a dollar, we'll offer 4 pages for a dollar.
This academic focus may seem really mean of us, but C has really been at loose ends ever since summer break started. No matter how many fun activities we organize every day, it never seems to be enough. So, now it's time for housework and academics. (I told the kids yesterday that we wouldn't leave for the children's museum until they picked up the living room, and lo, they picked it up.)
Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
If one wanted to go deep into Moomin madness, the sky's the limit. There's a variety of cartoon versions from across the globe (none readily accessible in the US, unfortunately), and I've got my eye on some adorable little Moomin mugs. If you really want to go whole hog, there's Moomin World in Finland (AKA Muumimaailma), which I have to admit I'd love to visit someday.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Oh, and we got me a bike helmet today.
When we lived further north, it seemed like we would go immediately from running the heating to running the AC. This is the end of our first year in Texas, and we have found that there is a long shoulder season when you don't need either. That is delightful, but we are reaching the end of May and time is running out. Last summer we were paying about $400 a month to cool a 2000 square foot house to about 80 degrees, and I'd like to delay that as long as possible. My current goal is to make it until the beginning of June, but we shall see.
My husband got back from a five-day retreat yesterday and this morning he set up the neat remote thermometer his parents gave us. We've now got a thermometer mounted on a tree outside, and a thermometer inside that shows both the indoor and the outdoor reading. It's now just past 10 AM, the dryer's running (unfortunately), I've got just about all the lights off, we've got a bunch of windows open, the three ceiling fans in the bedrooms running, the outdoor temperature is overcast and 82.8 (I got up and now it's 83.1) and the indoor temperature is 83.5 and very sticky. The house is probably 45-years-old, very dark in spots (no windows in the dining room!), with eight-foot ceilings, decent eaves and a chunky floorplan not conducive to air flow. I'm just wondering what we do next--at what point is the air flow from outside no longer worth it? If it gets to be 85 indoors and out, do we give up then?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I don't know how far to go with this since I don't want to accidentally spawn a little child miser (a very unattractive and common type), but broke parasitic young adults are if anything less appealing.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
"We have a normal family with two kids, one mommy, one daddy, and no stepfather or stepmother. I don't want a stepmother. It's not because a stepmother would be mean, it's because I love you so much."
On a less lyrical note, a 1.5 inch long creature with six legs and long antennae that I will not describe further came into our living room to die this morning (that's not a big one, by the way). Baby D pointed it out to me and I managed to dispose of it before our cleaners got to that room. Time to call the landlord and ask for an exterminator!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The book Prince Caspian is structurally a mess, as I discovered when we read it to C after doing so well with reading the first book. It has some very good material, but the Pevensies spend so much of the book blundering around the woods that Prince Caspian doesn't have any narrative momentum. We were just as lost reading the book as the Pevensies were in the woods, and it took us much longer to get out. And what about the movie? The filmmakers did very well to streamline the lost-in-the-woods section (although all that luscious scenery helps a lot). The LOTR Jr. treatment suits Prince Caspain very well and the movie is better than the book. The added material works really well, particularly the attack on Miraz's castle. Reepicheep and his brave mice are also very well handled. I mainly regret the stuff from the beginning and the end that got left out of the movie: Caspian's lessons with his tutor and the awakening of the trees and bacchanalia that follows. I also liked the scene from the book of Aslan, Susan, and Lucy liberating Telmarine school children--there's never a good school in the Chronicles of Narnia. The close of the film is very good, too, and left me very excited that we have all these sequels to look forward to.
The very sensitive handling of Prince Caspian gives me hope that they'll do well with subsequent books. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is great, but highly episodic, so it's going to be very challenging to give it a unifying narrative arc. One option is to focus on Eustace Scrubb (one of my very favorite characters) and his development during the sea voyage. I love the description of the Scrubbs at the beginning of the book, and I hope that the filmmakers will do a good job showing Eustace's home life.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
C and I have birthdays coming up in the next couple months, and C has been bikeless for a couple months. We got her a new 16" bike at Walmart and I looked at bikes and helmets for me, too. My ambition is for us to both have bikes and go pedal around campus together.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
- xantippe (not surprising)
- homestead heritage (3 visitors, including one from San Angelo, TX, a town now famous due to the FLDS)
- bed snake for toddler bed
- twin elephants (an Indian visitor)
- pluto secret to socrates (also an Indian visitor)
- several variants of "star wars math"--it's the name of an educational software product
- esl pricer ikea wal mart (a Swedish visitor)
- gzhel astronaut (it sounds adorable--I'd love to have one)