Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Retailers and Food Store Guys

I hate that the minute the 4th of July is done, the seasonal aisle is loaded with Halloween Candy. Halloween comes and is promptly replaced with Christmas stuff. We have to look at it and walk by it and think about it for two LONG months. Then when the middle of December hits and us moms are finally in the mood for Christmas, everything is just about gone. In fact, my favorite craft store already has it all on clearance, and has replaced all of those aisles with garden ornaments and wind chimes. WAIT!!! I haven't even made my Christmas FOOD yet and you're stocking the spring stuff??? SHEEEESH!!!

Food store people. I'm wondering if you all had a meeting that went something like this...

"I know! Since the people are making twice as much food, recipes that stress them out, they have family in town, presents to buy and wrap, limited time...all of that. Let's take all of the things they would need and scatter them all over the store in different places! Would that be fun? Then they have to search and search for things like vanilla, and canned pumpkin."

I curse you. Curse. You.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One-of-a-Kind Stockings

For several years, I’ve been discontented with the stockings we’ve been using for Christmas. They’re mismatched. Some hang one direction, one hung the opposite. It bugged me like crazy. Every year I look through the stockings at the store and then do nothing cause I can’t ever find anything I can’t live without. And then a few months ago, as I was walking through Hobby Lobby, I passed some Christmas fabric that I loved. So the wheels started turning and before I knew it, I had purchased enough fabric and lining for 5 stockings, trim, buttons, bells, thread.
Then, as I was walking to my car, my brain was thinking,
"Oh boy…why? Oh why did I do this?"

Here’s why:

Left to right:
George, Sassy, Honey, Link, Me

I didn't make the stockings for the dogs. But yes. They get something from Santa too.
There are some sad little dogs out there that never get anything for Christmas. Nothing. Ever.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Christmas Elves

A few years ago, we got some little Christmas Elves from my SIL for the kids. Two little boy elves (since then we've adopted a little girlie elf too). They came with a little container of magic ‘snow.' These days, it looks a lot like glitter. The elves are supposed to magically arrive at your house at some point during the month of December. The snow is sprinkled around them and then they hang out at your house until Christmas Eve. They are also supposed to ‘do’ things. Like the kids might wake up in the morning and discover that they elves got out all of the flour and stuff to make cookies. Or they might have made a mess of the toys, etc. And etc. They are supposed to be keeping an eye on the kids and then they give a report to Santa when he comes on Christmas Eve and he takes them back home to the North Pole.

Our naughty little elves are something my kids talk about for weeksWEEKS before Christmas. It is a double-edged sword. The kids LOVE it, but it’s a little annoying. I really do have to be in a certain kind of mood.

Last year, when Christmas Eve arrived, one of the elves was missing. We couldn’t find him anywhere and the other two went back to the North Pole without him. Of course, a couple of weeks later, he surfaced. He’s been hanging around our house ever since. When the topic came up a few weeks ago, the kids started speculating about when the elves would come, what would happen, and stuff. The other day, tucked under the front door, was this letter:

Somewhere in your house there hides our little Elfin friend
We’ve missed him this entire year – but soon we’ll see the end
To being far away from him and wishing we were whole
For then on Christmas Eve we’ll fly him to the great North Pole
Please tell our little Elfin friend that we are on our way
We’re planning and preparing and we’ll be there any day
On Christmas Eve, while you’re asleep, we’ll here the reindeer paws
And down the chimney we will meet old jolly Santa Clause
He’s going to ask us how you’ve been throughout the time we’re here
And we’ll have taken notes of all your actions while we’re near
“Are they naughty – are they nice?” Jolly Santa Claus will say
And if you’re nice he’ll leave you gifts to open Christmas Day

Also included with the card was that little extra ^^note. It says:

Dear William, Colin and Sarah,
Please leave him under the tree so we can find him.
See you soon!!!
The Christmas Elves

Soooo, Link booked it upstairs, retrieved the elf (which he now refers to as Elfin) and promptly placed him under the tree. He’s been there for a few days. Waiting and waiting.

And waiting.

Oooh! Lookie here! What will the kids find when they wake up tomorrow?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What? Really?? A New Post? Yesssssssssss!

My seven year old - George - has perfect pitch.

Yes I'm boasting. Well, cause it's really cool. You know, to be born - like you're brain wired naturally - to have perfect pitch. And, cause I grew him which means that somewhere in my dna, there's a tendency for that. Even tho I don't have it.

So, what is perfect pitch, you might ask? Well, hang on. Here's the story.

We were at a 'thing' where Colin found a tuning fork. He bangs it on the floor and holds it up to his ear and announces that it sounds just like a low 'c.' What? Then we realize that the tuning fork is a 'c' and I'm a little excited. At home that night, with his back to me, I started playing a few notes on the piano. One at a time, and asking him what they are. He pegged every single one, people. And no...he wasn't humming up a scale to figure it out. He just knows. Since then, we've also discovered that if you ask him to hum a certain note - he can pull it right out of his brain. "Hum a high 'e.'" He can do it.

Apparently only 1 in 10,000 people are born with natural perfect pitch. There are people who learn to do it, I guess. But, it's difficult. I sing and play the piano and a couple of other things. I couldn't hum a specific note or name any notes to save my life. I was only blessed with the ability to carry a tune in a bucket.

We waited to start Link on piano until he was about 7 or 8. Wanted to make sure he was reading and stuff first. George promptly began picking out all of Link's songs on the piano just from listening to him practice. He started reading really early too, so we got him started in lessons when he was 5. He learns fast. He adds things to his songs. He sits at the piano for long periods of time, picking things out, testing chords, studying the keys. It's fascinating. I'm NOT kidding you guys, he can't figure out how to do some very basic, human, normal things. But he can do this. He now works on the stuff his teacher gives him, teaches himself how to play songs that he likes - like music from The Legend of Zelda, or he decides that he wants to play Link's music. Link doesn't really like this, btw. But I remember my sister freaking out when I played her stuff and it was rude. ROOOOOD! So, I have just lightly and cheerfully encouraged Link to not care. So what if his little brother can play the same stuff, but never looked at any of the music?

Here's the wikipedia definition:

Absolute pitch (AP), or perfect pitch, is the ability to name or reproduce a tone without reference to an external standard.[1]

The naming/labeling of notes need not be verbal. AP can also be demonstrated by other codes such as auditory imagery or sensorimotor responses, for example, reproducing a tone on an instrument. Therefore a musician from an aural tradition, with no musical notation, can still exhibit AP if allowed to reproduce a sounded note.[2][3]

Possessors of absolute pitch exhibit the ability in varying degrees. Generally, absolute pitch implies some or all of the following abilities when done without reference to an external standard:[4]

  • Identify by name individual pitches (e.g. A, B, C#) played on various instruments
  • Name the key of a given piece of tonal music just by listening (without reference to an external tone)
  • Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass
  • Sing a given pitch without an external reference
  • Name the pitches of common everyday noises such as car horns
I've tried playing a chord and asking George to tell me what the notes are, but he can't do that yet. And, I hadn't considered asking him about car horns and stuff. Apparently, he wanted to learn to play the Hungarian Dance. So, the piano teacher got a copy of it for him to learn from. But he promptly informed her that it wasn't in the same key as the one he hears on Donkey Konga. Hmmm. So - he's teaching himself to do that instead.

Things that come to mind are the character in Good Will Hunting - who was a math expert cause he could just see the numbers and figure it out. Or - the kid from August Rush - who could hear music in everything around him. I'm still boasting, btw.

Here are a few famous people with perfect pitch:

Julie Andrews
Mariah Carey
Nat King Cole
Bing Crosby
Celine Dion
Ella Fitzgerald
George Frideric Handel
Jimi Hendrix
Michael Jackson
Frank Sinatra
Barbra Streisand
Stevie Wonder

Mmmhmmmm. I'm smart enough to not assume that he's going to be famous or anything. But I know he's got something special going and I think it's fantastically, amazingly, and incredibly awesome.

Now if we can get the rest of his brain to catch up ...