Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Winter Wonderland

The boys know the world stops for Christmas, so we did our best to make things special. Yesterday we went ice skating at Seattle Center. Elliot raced around the rink. I pulled Asher around until my back ached, then we nabbed an ice rink walker called a "sled" for Asher. He pushed the contraption around, his skates churning manically like a cartoon character, of course he occasionally crashed into skaters going in the opposite direction (oops!). After lunch, we bought a bag of taffy. We were going to see the "indoor snowstorm" at Pacific Place later that night, but we were completely worn out from the ice skating excursion.

This morning, Asher and I spent an hour in bed listening to country and western Christmas songs (Asher was singing "Rudog the reindeer reindeer") on the radio. His usually frenetic body was so restful, he was so engrossed in the songs, that I took the opportunity to read a few New Yorker articles, and Dan cooked omelets for breakfast. Nice X-mas present! Joe came over later to give Elliot his old Game Boy (all wrapped up in a holiday greetings tin) because he had received a Nintendo DS. (Joe's parents were not apprised of the gift and Elliot later had to give it back.)

Snow came around noon, we drove up north for a while to see if it was sticking (sadly it was not). We had a late lunch at Chiang's Gourmet Chinese Restaurant to partake in the Jewish holiday tradition. Actually, the restaurant was fairly packed with Chinese people. Elliot's Fortune: Adversity will make you stronger. Dan's Fortune: Strive for simplicity in your dress. While we ate, we watched the snow accumulate, layering the cars outside with at least an inch of snow. Whoopee! By the time we got home the snow had stopped and kids were slinging snowballs at each other.

To top the day off, we completed an ill fated Candy Cane house project (I think we'll have to buy a kit next year). We didn't have the right materials, but it held together well enough for a while -- until we layered on more icing glue and gum drops than the roof could handle. The gummy snakes in the green frosting grass were crushed by the mushy graham cracker walls of the sad little house. The kids crammed mouthfuls of gummy frosting snakes in their mouths before I plopped the whole thing in the trash.

All in all, it wasn't too crazy of a day. A little snow, a lot of candy, a game boy for a few hours, lots of family good times.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmastime for the Jews

Elliot has been counting down the days to Christmas, I get an update daily, "only 4 days until Christmas, Mom." I asked him, "how do you know this? Is this a school thing?" But he will not divulge his source (it's not tv, not the radio). Asher has been asking, "Is it Christmas yet?" These boys have expectations about this holiday.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Karate is not just for adults

Friday night Elliot became a yellow belt Karate person. Please feel free to ask him about it. Grandma Judy bought us a video camera and we have been enjoying trying to figure it out. Here. Check out this video. Elliot is in the back row on the left hand side. He is one of the taller individuals in the cadre. Ask him about it sometime.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Honey, the best medicine of all

I saw this story and thought it was interesting. Having had a child who never saw a cold he couldn't live without, having pumped him full of too many decongestants, cough syrups etc. this little gem seemed like a nice one to spread around. It probably isn't much of a scoop--it will probably be in every free health insurance magazine in the next couple of months but none the less check out this article about Honey.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Brief, Fantastical Life of Elliot B. Thus Far (a pseudo autobiography)

I live in Seattle on North 60th street in Tangletown. I was born in 1983. I was a tailor and I sewed clothes. I won a prize for making the best clothes. Instead of money people gave us cloth for clothes, a couple of soldiers came around and took my mom's crown. We had the best dog, like Clifford but cooler. We look on the wall for photos of our dogs. In 1983 our dog died. Now we have a new dog, we don't have to feed him much, he's like a robo pet.

My favorite thing is when my friends are nice to me and when my parents give me things I like. My favorite thing is when everyone respects me. I like hot chocolate, animal crackers, cous cous and melted cheese, carrots and celery. I like exploring outside. I like exploring my brother's tomb, it has diamonds and rubies in it.

When I was a baby, my big brother kept pushing me and my mom called the police. Then he started being my favorite brother. We played games together. He gave me snacks from his lunch. When I was 13 he started doing things that were really bad. In 1983 he went to jail. We saw him breaking windows and stealing money. He was so strong as a grown up he broke the bars in jail. In 1986 he died. Now and then I wish I could go back in time to make my brother nicer. Now that I'm a grown up I don't have to think about these things because I have a nice family and caring friends.

When I was two years old, I started learning how to read and write. Now and then I think about our dog Flag.

When I was three years old, I started making friends. Although I was a little too silly. One time I came into school and my pants fell down. The lunch lady had to sew my pants back together again. My friends still liked me. We try to play together, but sometimes we're doing other works. We play games like breaking pebbles, when it's color time we color the stones into dream creatures. It has any kind of power you want it to have. Only one dream creature has all the power together. If you win the battle you get to have the dream creature.

When I was four years old the girls weren't nice, they called me names at lunch time. Now all the kids at school are friends with me. Now and then we play. We don't always agree about the same things. I really like playing with nice children. One time at lunchtime. A friend gave me his favorite cookie and I gave him my cookie. He's my only friend who likes the same things as me. Sometimes we do things that are bad like take your mothers keys and go to the park without permission. The teacher gave me a job to be a helper in the class. After the teacher died in 1987, I started teaching for her. I gave snacks to all the kids. But that opportunity is done now.

As for my personality, I am a very cool kid, I am very smart and I learn a lot. I mostly look at non-fiction library books about animals, monkey, airplanes, vikings, romans, and knights. My friend Elliot P. is the best drawer in the class. We have a club called the smart club and we learn about things. Everyday at recess, we dig a pit and put all of our library books in it. We seek information. We listen to different tunes in the sky. We learned about how fast the speed of sound goes. Sometimes people call us big brain, we've got smarter brains than other kids. I know how it feels when that happens to you. What I'm trying to say is, if you want to see me go to elliotbremson.com and you can learn about me. Just make sure you too like history. We try to encourage kids to learn.

"Snow, Snow, Glorious Snow"

The first snow of the season is always thrilling (actually in Seattle, any snow is thrilling). Joe said, "Snow, snow, glorious snow." We've had two hours of steady snow blanketing our street, so the guys are outside scraping snow off the cars and engaging in snowball warfare. Jake is wearing sandals, to each his own.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Yellow Belt - KA-RA-TE

Elliot is testing for his Yellow Belt promotion on Monday. He's been doing karate in the Little Dragon program since September and it's been challenging for him to learn that sort of discipline. But he's into it now and I think he really wants this yellow belt. The karate school sent a form home and to his teacher at school asking us to rate his general behavior, listening ability and self control. He has his moments but karate has been good for his general disposition. Good luck Elliot!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The White Stripes - Fell in Love with a Girl

Both kids really like the White Stripes and this Lego video is pretty amazing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

E + A's Holiday Wish List

I asked the boys for their wish list and Elliot had a non-stop stream of material wishes. Asher, bless his heart, has his priorities focused on only the essentials -- good food and transportation.

Apple Sauce

Star Wars video game
Remote control car
Yu Gi Oh cards
Action figures

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Holiday Time in Brooklyn - Heifer International

Now that we're thinking about the holidays, I thought we'd post this Dan Zanes video promoting Heifer International's goal of ending world hunger and poverty by helping people obtain a sustainable source of food and income. For $120 the gift of a goat can help a family start a small dairy that earns extra money for health care, food and education (and a new Wii).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Trees Are Whispering

And the people whisper
And the trees whisper
Now we wish to do something else

The cars are whispering
It's because the trees are shining
The light is shining from the moon
The stars are whispering

I was not scared in the dark

Monday is after I watched the dark
11:12 has come already

The trees aren't whispering
The wood is not whispering
The houses are not whispering

By Asher Lewis Bremson

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

My jaunty little turtle. This year Asher was steadfast in his desire to be a "turtle" for Halloween. He likes the Franklin books, so I assume this was his inspiration....Last year he could have cared less about what he wore trick-or-treating, so I really wanted to help him realize his vision. I looked at turtle costumes online, but they were all ninja or character related. I started to think, ok, I'm the least crafty mom on the planet, but maybe I'll buy a green sweatsuit, stuff it with newspaper and somehow make it look like a convincing turtle. Thank you grandma Judy for scouring the stores and hacking apart pieces from a ninja turtle costume so that Asher could look like a sweet turtle and not a sword wielding martial arts master reptile.

Elliot decided in November 2006 that he wanted to be a "Goblin" for Halloween and he resolutely stuck to his vision. He asked me as early as July if we could buy a cape for his goblin costume. No! Finally September rolled around and we were ready to purchase a cheap polyester cloak at Goodwill. He also wanted me to buy him a grotesque mask, but I told him it would be better to paint his face since masks smell, you can't see in them and it's hard to breathe in them as well. He somehow convinced Dan to buy him a mask a few weeks later. (Dan thought, he'll take it off after 2 minutes anyway). Well, he wore the mask to two houses on our trick or treating journey however after he tripped on a sloped lawn, he tossed it aside. The only problem was that he really didn't have a costume after that. He complained, "why does everyone say they like Asher's costume and not mine?" He's still brainstorming about next year's get up. I'm sure it won't include a mask.

Look at me, now I'm a real PTA mom. The mask did come in handy after all. I scared dozens of kids in my quest to sell holiday wreaths at the Harvest Howl. One mom asked me to show her daughter my real face.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Best Food Ever List by Elliot and Asher

Cheese Pizza
Satsuma Oranges ** very popular right now
Hot Dogs
Red Mill Hamburgers
Kiwi Fruit
Chocolate Milk
Turkey Ham
Turkey Baloney
Apple Chicken Sausages
String Cheese
Golden Round Crackers
Ramen Noodle Soup
Tandori Chicken
Bean and Cheese Burritos
Cappellini with Parmesean
Baby Carrots
Apple Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese (Amy's)
Peanut Butter and Jelly

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Grizzly Bear - Deep Sea Diver

Pumpkin Land

This year we decided we weren't up for an hour long ride out to the country, so we drove up to the Fairbanks Animal and Pumpkin Farm in Edmonds. Fairbanks is small, not as majestic as Craven, Remlinger or Biringer Farms. There are no hayrides or vast corn mazes and they don't push hot apple cider, kettle corn or candy apples. Fine with me. The pumpkin selection was slim, but kids really liked the animal exhibits. We saw a mama rat nursing her 20 babies, watched hatching goslings, and fed the chickens, and goats.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

7 Up

The 7 Up documentary project which started tracking a group of 7 year old kids in 1964 is based on the Jesuit maxim: "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." I just saw the 49 Up episode and I was amazed by how little difference there was between these people at age 7 and age 49. Resilience, low self esteem, confidence, ambition all seemed to be hard wired in these people. Only Neil had an extreme shift, at 7 he was bubbly and bright, but at 49 he was dour and lost. Everyone else seemed to have the same disposition regardless of their social class.

Seven year olds are sensitive about differences between themselves and others. They're competitive and hard on themselves. Social justice concerns and seeing issues from multiple perspectives are hallmarks of their development.
Child Development Tracker

Interview with Elliot about his life as an adult:

Will you have kids?
I'm going to have a big house with 7 kids.

Do you think you'll live in Seattle?
No, I'm going to live in California where it's warm. I'm going to live near Grandma Judy.

What will you do for job?
I'm going to be a race car designer. Fast electrical cars.

What will you do for fun?

I'm going to play football and play with my friends.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Veterinarian vs Veteran

Since Elliot is now reading and starting to spell, he's banging his head on the oddities of the English language. So many exceptions, so much to memorize because the rules aren't consistent. He's starting to read, he's flipping d and b in writing and in reading, but he seems to have memorized the word "and" which will help. It's so clear that he's an auditory learner. He's great at sounding out words, but the only way to tell it's short a vs long a is to memorize it.

I thought Elliot might appreciate this Ali G Show segment where Ali tortures this really patient and kind Vietnam veteran veterinarian named George Washington by his inability to understand the difference between veteran and veterinarian. Elliot thought it was hilarious.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lilly Allen + The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Hypocrisy Is the Greatest Luxury, (1992) is now a favorite around here. Elliot announced that he likes rap music, so Danny dug up this old school political rap/hip-hop cd and the boys loved it. The lyrics are clean, but the topics are complex. Their cover of California Uber Alles (Asher calls it California Uber Allison) raised a whole lot of questions for Elliot: Why was Pete Wilson was so bad? Did he ever get to be president? Why did he cut public education? What are tax loopholes? What does incarceration and malathion mean?

Lilly Allen's music is also not really appropriate for young kids, yet the boys were introduced to her anyway (many songs we skip over for language). Her songs are deceptively bright and upbeat with their bouncy dance hall / ska sound, but the lyrics deadpan cynical and streetwise. Asher loves "Lilly Awen" so I found her most innocuous video / song for his viewing pleasure, LDN:

Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else
Sun is in the sky oh why oh why ?
Would I wanna be anywhere else

When you look with your eyes
Everything seems nice
But if you look twice
you can see it's all lies

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Skywalkers

Elliot's soccer team is called the Skywalkers in tribute to the most righteous Jedi warrior Luke (or is it a Native American reference?). This season we're going to be playing some fast cats (and dogs) - the Panthers (2 teams are named the Panthers), the Cheetahs, the Barncats, the Huskies. On Saturday, Wallingford Park hosted six simultaneous games for the under eight section of the Woodland Soccer League. Elliot's team consists of six first graders and only three play at a time, so it's a tight field of aggressive, sprinting boys pulsating on the field, locking together in a skirmish then dissolving onto the sidelines and clotting together again. I won't even ask him to do t-ball next year, soccer is so much more active and strategic. Elliot takes soccer very seriously. Each time he made a goal he looked at us to see if we were watching, but didn't smile or celebrate at all. When his grandpa and Dan cheered after a skirmish that ended up with the opposing team scoring (because it was a good play) Elliot took note and confronted them after the game. I was shocked by how fast and exciting the game turned out to be. Does this mean I've become a soccer mom?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Monorail Ride

Asher and Elliot are true public transportation aficionados, to them, a bus ride is like going to Disneyland (ok, almost). A few weeks ago we had a bus adventure to the U District farmer's market. On the way home we met a 3 day old baby, a man who gave Elliot a candy bar (thanks, but it went in the trash when we got home) and an old lady who thought Asher's red crocs were the bees knees, "Oh those are wonderful. Just wonderful."

Today the boys rode the monorail for the first time. Here is Asher's account of the adventure: "We waited for it to come. We had to go on the blue one. The red one was broken. We walked onto the monorail like this. We went in the tunnel like this, swish, and when it was done the train ride was over. The train ride was fun."

All of this talk about the monorail just makes me bitter. It's been nearly two years since the city smashed all dreams of having a city wide monorail. It was so close. We need high speed mass transit if we want to be a sophisticated, world class city that isn't permanently clogged up with traffic. RIP Seattle Monorail Project.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bento Box Revolution

School is starting next week and while looking online for lunch boxes for Elliot I noticed that bento box blogs are all the rage. Bento is about reducing waste (no plastic or wax bags, certainly no Lunchables) and it's about making lunch so visually appealing that kids are tricked into eating it. Some bento lunch designs are so intricate, I can only stand back and admire. Bento is basically wacky food art that's nutritious.

Last year, Elliot barely ate at school. He'd have one bite of lunch and then run out to recess. I'll give bento a try, there are enough recipes online that something has to work. Lunch in a Box has tons of tips and recipes: Lunch in a Box: Mommy's Lunch Manifesto

Dallas Daily News: Bento-Style Boxes are Just Right For Kids' Lunches

Faux sushi: Cut the crust from a piece of bread, spread cream cheese on the bread, top with thinly sliced deli meat and roll tightly. Cut into ½ -inch slices to resemble a sushi roll. (From Shannon Carino.)

Fruit sushi: Cut the crust from a piece of bread, spread with pineapple cream cheese, add a banana, roll and slice.

Salad roll: Remove the thick rib from a romaine lettuce leaf. Top with favorite salad dressing, a thin slice of Muenster cheese, a thin slice of roast beef. Roll tightly and secure with a pick.

Sandwich on a stick: Alternate chunks of ham and cheese, separated by squares of bread. Finish with a strawberry.

Tortilla roll: Spread a tortilla with refried beans. Top with cooked chicken, shredded lettuce and grated cheese. Roll and slice. Use plastic skewers to secure.

Muffin cup: Layer the cup with shaved turkey, shredded lettuce and carrots.

Polenta pizza: Slice store-bought polenta, brown both sides in a skillet and top with tomato sauce, freshly chopped herbs and cheese; warm until cheese melts.

Alphabet pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Toss with freshly chopped vegetables and butter.

Mini stromboli: Slightly flatten canned biscuit dough. Spread with small amount of tomato sauce on half, top with chopped pepperoni, fold over and crimp edges with fork. Bake in a 350 F oven until golden

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

World Breastfeeding Week

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week. I'm no longer lactating but I'd say I'm a lactivist (of course I would never vilify or shame people who choose not to breastfeed). But I believe women should be encouraged / supported and educated about breastfeeding (it's not intuitive and it can really hurt at first). I also believe women should be allowed to breastfeed in public and everyone should just get over it! It's about feeding a hungry baby, jeez. Plus it's the healthiest form of baby food. From their site:

Initiation of breastfeeding within the 1 hour of birth is the first and most vital step towards reducing infant and under-five mortality, by reducing the overwhelmingly high neonatal mortality rate.

Also from their site, the Philippines are setting some world records apparently:

In May 2006, the Philippines, broke the Guinness World Record on Simultaneous Breastfeeding in a Single Site when they gathered 3,541 mothers with the City of Manila. This year, they created the First Guinness World Record on Simultaneous Breastfeeding in Multiple Sites when they gathered more than 20,000 mothers in more than 400 sites.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Dan! Chicken Bomb

Elliot is one of the most thoughtful 6-year old gift givers. He really thinks about the other person and he's often right on. Tools for Michael. Tea for Mom. A necklace for Britta. A monkey for Asher. A rubber chicken for Dad. For his dad's birthday he decided that a "chicken bomb" (and a dragon t-shirt) were what Dad needed.

According to Elliot, a chicken bomb is a "sweet gummy candy, it's actually healthy with nutrients and full of vitamins and minerals, with lots of calcium, and chicken hands and chicken feet on the ball." Where can you get a chicken bomb? Not at the usual toy stores, but they have them at Fred Meyer.

I did a search for chicken bomb and there is a book called The Milk Chicken Bomb by Andew Wedderburn about a troubled ten year old boy in Alberta Canada.

Pirate Camp

Ahoy! Here are Liam and Elliot in full pirate regalia. They spent the first week of July at the Dragonfire Pirate Camp on Vashon Island and did all sorts of piratey stuff.

The first day they tore up Elliot's clothes into pirate rags and as the week progressed, the rags became absolutely filthy with dirt, sand and mud. Each child was assigned a daily station -- lookout tower, cooks galley (Elliot had to make salads for the kids), sword making, looking for buried treasure (in a half buried ship). If you ask Elliot about the best part of summer so far he says, Wild Waves and pirate camp, Arrr, the best camp e'er!

Ye'll ne'er get me buried booty!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

William Steig - Psychology of Children

One of my favorite children's book authors is William Steig. After reading Sylvester and the Magic Pebble to Elliot several times, I realized how soothing the language felt to me compared to other children's books. His sentences are spare and crisp but ornamented with eccentric and complicated words like "perplexed" and "discombobulated." His stories are direct and darkly humorous; intuitive but strange at the same time. They're psychologically rich and his insights are unexpected.

Because his tone is so matter of fact and lacks condescension or smirky irony or cutesiness, it feels intimate in a way children's books rarely do, "You can imagine the scene that followed - the embraces, the kisses, the questions, the answers, the loving looks and the fond exclamations." In all of the books we've read, the characters are in danger at some point, but they adapt, survive and remain optimistic. They map to a child's sense of wonder, fears of a strange world, struggle for self reliance. His books reinforce survival and seeking out well being. Very healthy. Although he married four times.

I thought it was interesting that his parents who were working class raised him with socialist bohemian values, they felt business was unethical exploiting and to be an exploited worker wasn't shrewd. So they produced offspring who were artistic and self reliant. And Steig advised his own three children never to take a nine to five job.

Here is Steig talking about summer in Publishers Weekly:
The summer is not a time for art activity or anything related. The summer is for lemonade, flowers, walking barefoot by the ocean, lying on lawns, deck chairs, on hammocks, on porches, listening to birds and crickets and bull-frogs.

From his 1970 Caldecott Award Acceptance Speech for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

I am well aware not only of the importance of children -- whom we naturally cherish and who we also embody our hopes for the future -- but also of the importance of what we provide for them in the way of art; and I realize that we are competing with a lot of other cultural influences, some of which beguile them in false directions.

Art, including juvenile literature, has the power to make any spot on earth the living center of the universe, and unlike science, which often gives us the illusion of understanding things we really do not understand, it helps us to know life in a way that still keeps before us the mystery of things. It enhances the sense of wonder. And wonder is respect for life. Art also stimulates the adventurousness and the playfulness that keep us moving in a lively way and that lead us to useful discovery.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ice Cream

On our trip to Harrison Hot Springs in British Columbia, we dared to give Asher blue bubble gum ice cream in a cone instead of in a cup (just like Elliot). Oh, messy fun. Not really. He was distressed about the melting blue stickiness that ended up all over his body. A hot day, soft ice cream. Poor guy. I doubt he'll complain if we give him ice cream in a cup again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pancake Mountain

I just found out about Pancake Mountain, an all ages music show on cable TV in Washington DC and NYC where they have "dance parties" similar to American Bandstand or Soul Train, but the music is punk rock/indie and kids are under 10. From their site:

Pancake Mountain aims to bring back what got us passionate about music. We want to be able to tear down the barriers that make music pretentious and boring. We enjoy seeing the artist interact with their audience. We like to have fun, we love new music, and we need an excuse to act really silly and call it our job.

Metric - Monster Hospital

The Evens - Vowel Movements

Deerhoof - Spirit Ditties of No Tone

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Family Health History Tree

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Surgeon General just launched My Family Health Portrait.

Seems like a good idea. The skeptic in me thinks it sounds like big brother is watching.

Americans know that family history is important to health. A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family's health history.

Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - and even rare diseases - like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia - can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Music From Turkey

We saw an interesting documentary about contemporary Turkish music/culture called Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul by Fatih Akin (who also directed the amazing Head-On) and I became inspired to find out more about Turkish music. To know a place you must know its music. Istanbul is a mix of modern and ancient, east and west. Their music is an interesting mix of traditional folk, electronica, 60s roots rock, hip hop punk and psychedelia.

Siya Siyabend, the street band in this video are fun to watch they're passionate idealists, talking about how music is the biggest toy of all. How music brings together the guy with the laptop and junkie on the street.

It sounds like Steve Malkmus was inspired by this song, it's very similar to Baby C'mon.
Özdemir Erdoğan

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Snoqualmie Valley Railway

We drove up to visit the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie Falls today. We timed it just right and hopped on the hour long scenic railroad tour right after we arrived. Asher was ecstatic about riding on a train. We saw the diner where Twin Peaks was filmed from the train. Next time we'll have to stop in to get a piece of cherry pie in tribute to Agent Cooper.

Elliot, our keeper of family rituals, asked for the return visit, but I think it had less to do with the train and more to do with the Snoqualmie Candy Store (wall to wall candy and ice cream) that we ate at last time. The kids meal includes an ice cream, cheetos, apple juice and a piece of taffy. This time we also bought Elliot a gummy rat. He proudly showed it off to anyone who caught his eye, "This is Matt the Rat. He has an ear infection." And you're going to eat him? He held the rat all the way home and ate him before bed.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Nationwide Veggie Booty Recall

Veggie Booty, also known as "crack for babies" made headlines today with the awful news that packages of Booty on the market may be contaminated by salmonella bacteria. We haven't bought Veggie Booty recently, but it's been a popular snack in our house over the years. I'm not sure why, it tastes like salty styrofoam. It's full of salt and fat and has no real nutritional value, but it's still fun to eat and is better than a lot of junk out there. Asher's teacher notified all the parents this morning about the recall.

United Press International Veggie Booty is Recalled:

Robert's American Gourmet Food Inc. of Sea Cliff, N.Y., initiated the recall because the food might be contaminated with salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The FDA said 51 cases of salmonella across 17 states were related to the consumption of the Veggie Booty, predominately in children 3 years of age or younger.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Handa Bear

Elliot and I were playing a game, name as many animals as you can in a minute. He went first, but I was surprised at how few animals he could name. "Dog, bird, cheetah (that's my favorite animal), bee, eagle, fly, worm, bee, um.... fish, cat, bear, grizzly bear, brown bear, panda bear." Then he went in a really interesting direction. "What about a handa bear? It's a panda bear with a knife that comes out of its hand and it can cut up any intruders with just a whoosh of his hand."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Giant Pencil and the Last Day of School

Elliot was enchanted by this giant pencil at the Land of Nod, I laughed (but apparently it's not funny) and gave in to the purchase. He brought the pencil to school and I'm not sure everyone was as impressed with it as he was, but his excitement over this writing implement seemed emblematic of his academic life.

School is still a little overwhelming, but he's growing into it; he's motivated to write and learn. I don't know if it was the tutoring, the behavior plan or just maturity. I'm just glad he pulled through and ended up liking school. Yesterday was the last day of kindergarten. We survived!

A few nights ago Elliot had trouble sleeping and said he wanted to draw. It was almost 9, but I let him stay up. He sat at the kitchen table tracing a complicated line drawing of an eagle while I washed the dishes. [I'm glad I found out about tracing, no OTs recommended it to us, but it's great practice for his fine motor skills.] I can see why he likes it, he gets a fully realized drawing, something more sophisticated than he could draw on his own. His self-portrait, traced from a photograph, shows how far he's come. Congratulations Elliot!