Friday, February 22, 2013

We Are Going to See Matilda on Broadway!


Molly and I are reading Matilda right now and she is loving it! Yesterday afternoon, I read aloud to her for about an hour and a half and she wanted me to keep going but it was time for her to go to dance. Matilda is a Roald Dahl book, also author to many other books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox just to name a few. I forgot how rich with vocabulary Dahl's books are. While reading to Molly, I'll have my phone out so we can punch in words that are new to sometimes both of us to look up their meanings.

Both Matilda and Lavender were entralled. It was quite clear to them that they were at this moment standing in the presence of a master. Here was somebody who had brought the art of skulduggery to the highest point of perfection, somebody, moreover, who was willing to risk life and limb in the pursuit of her calling. They gazed in wonder at this goddess, and suddenly even the boil on her nose was no longer a blemish but a badge of courage.

Skulduggery, isn't that a great sounding word? It's one of the many words we looked up. It means dishonesty. Dahl really does know how to tell a story.

So last week I was reading a teacher blog and he had posted that Matilda was coming to Broadway. It had been in London in the West End, but now it was opening on Broadway in March. After a little bit of searching Youtube watching and listening to some of the songs, I knew I had to get tickets for Molly for her birthday. A few weeks ago, Molly told me that she really didn't want anything for her birthday because she had everything she needs which of course makes me want to get her something special. I try to get the kids gifts for Christmas and their birthdays that are more experiences than things. For Christmas this past year, the boys went to the Knicks game with their uncles and the girls got to go see Annie. For Mother's Day last year, Chris got me tickets to see Wicked in New York with the girls and my mom. They will long remember the things that we do together rather than the things that they get for Christmas or birthdays.

So after watching the youtube videos, I showed them to Molly and asked her if she wanted to go to New York for her birthday present. She was ecstatic! She sat at the computer and watched the videos. She tried to match the songs to the part of the book we have already read. She found some videos that have the lyrics and started singing along. She would pause it every once in a while and ask me a question. Why did she sing that Romeo and Juliet are stupid? I've heard of them, but I don't know their story. So I told her. She asked, "What does revolt mean?" So I told her. I asked her, "What do you think this song means?" She told me. She sat there and read the words as she listened to the music and she was completely engaged with matching the songs to the story.

At dinner, Matilda was part of our dinner conversation. Chris never heard of the author Roald Dahl and then we started naming some of his books. We have a number of his books but I couldn't find Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I remember reading The Fantastic Mr. Fox to the boys. Shannon remembers reading The Witches. I remember reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach with my second graders many years ago. We all remembered his stories.

Without stories, we are all just eating machines with shoes.


Molly has already watched this video many times trying to learn the songs.

This is author Richard Peck. I heard him speak once a number of years ago at a children's literature conference.

I am a mother that reads to her children.

107 days until Matilda on Broadway...Molly has already started counting the days.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mind the Gap

Friday I usually check my emails and date book for practice schedules and games that we will have for the upcoming weekend. I'll write it all out on a paper and tape it to a kitchen cabinet so we don't forget to be somewhere. This past weekend we had one basketball game, one soccer game, four basketball tryouts, and one birthday party. On Saturday, we had some things in the morning and some things in the afternoon, but there was a gap in our schedule in the middle of the day where nothing was scheduled. This gap of nothingness should have been a good thing. Usually it is go, go, go, but we had this gap of time in the middle of the afternoon and it almost caused me anxiety. I don't think I ended up doing anything really productive during this time. I didn't read a book. I didn't read with Molly. I didn't help Ryan with his project due on Tuesday. I didn't throw in wash.  I didn't clean anything. I didn't food shop. I can't even tell you what I did do. I can't remember. 

When I go to New York to visit with family, there are times we will go into the city. We take the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station. When you are standing on the train platform, there are signs that say, "Mind the Gap." You'll see them on the train as well and you will also hear an announcement while you board the train to "Mind the Gap." The gap they are talking about is that space between the train platform and the train itself. They want you to watch your step as you enter or exit the train and not fall in the gap. They want you to be careful, cautious, wary of the gap.

When I think of the word gap, it usually is used in a negative way, something we need to be cautious of: The gap between the train and the platform, a gap of time in a resume, a gap in education, technology, communication. These are all negatives.

This past Saturday, I had a gap in the schedule and it caused me anxiety. Instead of embracing and enjoying this non-scheduled time, I was paralyzed as to what to do with this gap of time and so I didn't accomplish anything.

Then on Sunday morning, as I was getting ready to go to church, I threw my back out. I've done this before. The funny thing about having a bad back is that it can hit you when you least expect it. I wasn't lifting a heavy box, I wasn't moving furniture, I wasn't picking up a kid. I bent over to pull off my pj pants to get dressed for the day and instead of going to church that Sunday morning, I sat on the floor of the bathroom because I couldn't move. Chris got the kids ready for church, he got me my phone, handed me my book, poured me a drink and there I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom reading my book because I couldn't move. After taking some meds from the last time this happened, I was able to crawl to the chair in my room and there I sat for the rest of the day. 

A few days earlier, my sister-in-law on Valentine's Day posted a question on facebook asking what are some of your favorite romance movies. It didn't take long for her friends to come up with a list of great movies, When Harry Met Sally, American President, Moonstuck, Up, Lady and the Tramp, Officer and a Gentleman, and the list went on and on. So now I found myself having a huge gap of time. What was I going to do? Mind the gap. Embrace the gap. I sat in my chair and I read my book and I watched movies that I haven't seen in a long time. I watched American President. I watched You've Got Mail. I kind of forgot the storyline of You've Got Mail, Meg Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, an independent children's bookstore owner and she is put out of business because the big, super bookstore, Fox Books, opens up right around the corner. Nowadays, forget about finding an independent bookstore. It's hard to find even a "super" bookstore.

Anyway, on Saturday I had a few hours that were unscheduled and I didn't utilize it and this made me anxious. We are so programmed to have every minute scheduled that we don't know what to do when there is nothing to do, well, at least that's the case with me. On Sunday, I was forced to "mind the gap" so I embraced it with movies that I haven't seen in a while and a good book...and there was no anxiety.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lighthouses, Valentine's Day, and a Kicked-up Leg

I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but when I saw this book in Target, I was drawn to it. There is something about a lighthouse that I just love, their towering height, their beacon of light, they are like welcome mats to the ships trying to make their way to the safety of the harbor. Words that come to mind are strength, guidance, safety, beacon, but also adventure, risk, challenge and adversity.

I bought this book about 6 months ago and it's been in my "to be read" pile ever since. I also bought my mother-in-law books for Christmas. She was having trouble with her back and she was kind of homebound for a while, so for Christmas I bought her books and seasons 1 & 2 of Downton Abbey. She called last week to tell me that she started reading The Light Between Oceans and was loving it. So I finally pulled it out of the pile and started reading it.

Here are a few of the lighthouses that we have visited over the years.

Assateague, VA

Folly Beach, SC

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Mountak, Long Island

Outer Banks, NC

Outer Banks, NC

We were in the Outer Banks a couple of years ago for Chris' cousin's wedding. We had time during the day to go site seeing. While we were at the top of this lighthouse, a wedding was going on down below.

This was a small lighthouse right outside the wedding reception hall. A couple was getting married right in front of it. The long dock in front of it was the bride's aisle. 

This is the print that Chris gave me as a wedding present almost 19 years ago. It was hanging up in our first apartment when we got back from our honeymoon. It's not a lighthouse, but I'm pretty sure that a lighthouse guided her love's ship home safety to her.

Blossoming out of my heart and into my, my treasure from the sea. My devoted, Valentine, home at last and forever kissing we'll be. My joy, my love, my beloved sailor never ever leave me. Oh, but alas, how strong Horatio, my captain, the call to wander the sea?

I love that her one leg is kicked up. Have you ever watched a movie when the girl is being kissed and one of her legs goes up? Gets me every time!

Seems appropriate since Valentine's Day is this week.

Monday, February 4, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

A few weeks ago, I wrote that our little neighborhood collected money for books in memory of Mrs. Hwang for the school library. After many emails and discussions with the school librarian, we were able to finalize our list and I was able to order the books. The first box arrived today. Some of the books I have already read and some I have not. I can't wait to read the have nots.

Here's the first bunch of a total of 36 books ordered in all.

Right now I am reading:

This one is also one of the titles being donated to the library.

The Nealons have read 21 books toward our goal of 40 books by spring break and 160 for the year.