Saturday, January 16, 2010


I'm sure you've been inundated with images of the devastation in Haiti and calls for help. If you haven't decided how you can contribute I thought I'd pass along some information on a great organization - The Mona Foundation The Mona foundation has projects all over the world and focuses on education.

The work of the Mona Foundation is inspired by the example of Mona, a 16-year-old high school girl who was devoted to service to humanity and who was executed in 1983 because she was a Bahá'í. Mona was a beautiful and popular girl in her high school, and her teachers and friends cried when she was expelled from school because she was of a minority Faith during the revolution in Iran.

Mona loved children and in addition to teaching children Sunday classes, she volunteered twice a week in an orphanage from the age of 12 to age 15. Mona's mother relates that the only time she saw Mona cry in prison was when she talked about “her children” at the orphanage.

The full story can be read in the book Olya's Story. She said a prayer for unity and prosperity of mankind before she was hung.

100% of all designated Funds and 97% of all funds given to the General Fund has been a policy of Mona Foundation since inception. Consider giving to their Haiti Disaster and Reconstruction Fund.

Many of us don't have a lot of disposable income at our fingertips but every little bit counts. The Red Cross has a program where you can text "GIVE" to "2HELP" (24357) to donate $5.00 to Red Cross which will show up on your wireless bill. It all adds up.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Change is hard. Most rail against it (at least initially) but when at our best we attempt objectivity and, if it's right, we embrace it. But it's still hard. And for a four-year-old it's nigh impossible.

First, we talked about the possibilities and the inevitable and finally elicited his help - and amazingly (two weeks after Christmas) he agreed to help de-decorate the tree. He happily handed down ornaments and helped clip branches. He even dragged some boughs to the curb - all with a smile. We vacuumed the area and once all remnants of the tree were gone, I let out my breath and thought we were home free. Then, during nap, I started on the mantel. I removed the figurines, ornaments and lights leaving behind a bare, mostly dead garland. Monkey stumbled downstairs, still a bit sleepy, and his breath caught as he spied my handiwork. "Mommy!" he gulped. "It's *sob* Not *sob* BEAUTIFUL *gasp* Any *sob* Mooore . . ." and my heart broke for my little boy (and his mom who tried so hard to ease this transition - and had thought we were over the hurdle).

I'm still a four-year-old at heart. Change is tough - I say no before I say yes most of the time. I have not evolved. But I'm happy to have a supportive (and patient) family and friends to hold me when I think things will never be "beautiful" again. And those who can see around the corner to the onslaught of hearts that will soon be upon us to beautify us all. I'm pretty sure we'll leave the Valentine's decorations up till Halloween. I wonder what's in store for Santa Spider . . .

Here are some photos of our BEAUTIFUL (Monkey's emphasis) decorations this year - I've never decorated so much but Monkey was so INTO it this year. I even got him his own mini-tree (that is still up - he says he'll take it down next week - we'll see). He loved every minute of it (until it was over). But he now tells me that, "You know mommy, you can't have things up forever or they won't be special." so seriously - as if he's not just parroting my words. I love the little bugger.

Mini Tree - partially decorated (he was SO excited) I put it up during nap so he woke up to it and then we decorated it.

Cute wall stickers that Monkey adores (and still adorn his room)

Some close-ups of the mantel. First year we haven't had to hang the stockings on the bannister - thanks Mark!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fifteen Birds

I think "The Hobbit" is a great work of fiction. Really, I do. But for a three or four-year-old? Not so much. But thanks to my DH (an acronym I've never used and always disliked - so somehow it works in this case. Let's just say it's got sarcasm dripping all over it when used in this story. Love ya babe!) Bilbo Baggins is now a constant companion in our lives in both animated and book form.

It all started with a simple Monkey and daddy outing. DH enjoys taking Monkey on jaunts to 1/2 Price Books to see what treasures are to be found - whereas, I'm more of the pre-read, pre-screen, put-it-on-hold-at-the-library sort of gal (mostly). Frankly, one of the scariest phrases my DH utters is, "Monkey and I picked out some movies today!" So after one such jaunt, in walks Monkey clutching an old videotape of the 1977 animated Hobbit movie. I look over at DH (and my dislike of this acronym and overuse of it in this post might give you a hint of the look upon my face). But that look of horrified incredulity had to be quickly masked since there was no taking the movie away now as Monkey was positively glowing at the prospect of a new movie that daddy liked. It was movie night and Monkey planned to be front and center communing with Bilbo.

Now, my husband loved this book in his youth (so did I) and has read the entire series recently as well. So really, there's no excuse not to remember that the story is filled with violence and packed with "scary stuff" like goblins, goblins that ride on wolves, war, dragons, huge dwarf-eating spiders, trolls, Gollum and much, much more. Granted, it has a great anti-war/sharing message - but that mostly goes over the head of my four-year-old as he focuses on the battles and bad guys.

Before the show was to begin I took Monkey's dad aside and told him in no uncertain terms that he'd be watching the entire movie at Monkey's side (no escaping to check email or read a book or pee) and dealing with all night terrors for the next week.

Flash forward many months and Monkey's nightmares are gone and his favorite part of the movie is when the 13 dwarves, Gandalf the wizard and Bilbo are set upon by Goblins riding on wolves. The heroes climb the trees to escape and the goblins set fire to the trees while singing the following truly horrific song (video clip at the end for your viewing & ear worm pleasure):

(©music by Maury Laws, lyrics adapted by Jules Bass 1977)

Fifteen birds in five fir trees,
their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?
O what shall we do with the funny little things?

Roast 'em alive, or stew them in a pot;
fry them, boil them, eat them hot?
Bake and toast 'em,
fry and roast 'em!
till beards blaze, and eyes glaze;
hair smells and skins crack
fat melts, and bones in cinders lie
beneath the sky! So the dwarves shall...

Fifteen birds in five fir trees,
their feathers were fanned in a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?
O what shall we do with the funny little things?

Luckily all the words aren't understood (yet) by Monkey because what a great song to teach your friends at preschool!

Although, I have to say the fifteen birds part is very catchy - and my DH and I sing it under our breath all the time . . .

I just hope Monkey identifies more with Bilbo and not the "bad guys" in this case. We do try to discuss why war is bad and why the dwarves should have offered to share their gold in the first place - and how selfish the dragon is and blah blah blah. But still - fifteen birds . . . is what you walk away with in your head.

Surprisingly, after all that, Monkey still refuses certain Disney-type movies at the rental store because a bad queen or monster looks "too scary" (I don't blame him - Disney scares me too) so he's not completely jaded. I hold onto the hope that on later viewings we can start to discuss the major themes more and more and not just focus on the goblins on their wolves.

Fifteen birds . . . in five fir trees . . .

Friday, January 1, 2010


I thought I'd take a little time to reflect today - so I read through my old blog posts. I started this blog on July 12th, 2008 and we've had a rocky relationship ever since. Blog, I promise I will try to spend more time on you this year - really. But in the meantime here's a look back:

Keeping Mine Small - I still feel exactly the same way I felt on this day in 2008 - but he's changing every day.

DIY for Dummies (like me!) - My adventure in making wedding bouquets.

Happy Birthday to Me - I realize it will never be "all about me" ever again.

Big Boy Bed - Monkey once again hits another stop on the milestone train.

Monsters Monsters Everywhere - I finally learn to roll with it.

A Day at the Races - More exploitation to bend Monkey to my will.

Preschool Humor - Beloved Billy Bear.

Fun Stealer - Grappling with guilt and judgement.

Santa Spider - Honoring Monkey's art.