Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hearts of Palm

Hooray for Costco carrying one of my favorite, unusual veggies again!  I was so delighted, I bought eight packages... that's sixteen bottles :)

Other things to share:
This week's Objectivist Round Up.

Cute antics:
• mentioning that these technological bad guys in the video game were "nasty, old brutes".
• after explaining how sad it would be if the bad guys died he informed me, "That's a sarcastic voice you know."
• and giving me the material to post this Facebook status:
I'm all giggles.  I was pretending to select one of my son's ribs to either tickle or eat and he said, "No. I don't want a sister."  Hmmm, so does that make me God? We're not getting into how he became Adam!

We had a nice family hike this week too!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Reposting: The Idiom Dictionary

It's been over a year and I figured I could go for a recycled post this week!  I am glad to report that my son's Idiom Dictionary is now well over one hundred pages long and growing and creating delight every week :)  So... here's what I wrote originally and I'll post some of the newer pages at the end!

It doesn't take much scanning to get a feel for how many idioms we use.  So, it's quite understandable that children, who are learning the regular meanings for words, get confused when we throw in idiomatic expressions.  Often without realizing that we're saying something quite complicated, we'll pepper the conversation with mystery.   While idioms are particularly challenging for autistic kids due to their varying adherence to concrete thinking, learning idioms is a challenge for every kid and... a fun parenting opportunity too :)

Enter the idiom dictionary!

Every week, I scan one of the sites and pick an idiom that refers to a concept within my son's conceptual grasp.  For example, I'll pick something like "back to square one" and skip things like "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".

I write it at the top of the page and write a description along with an example at the bottom of the page.

I search google images for something that can illustrate the idiom and make the idea stick in my son's head.

That's it.  It takes all of ten minutes to do a page and you gradually have a richer and richer dictionary.  (I'm up to something like 50 pages.) I tend to leave a print out of the newest page at his place at the table or somewhere else he'll run across it and I love to hear the glee with which he reads them.  He seems to think people must be kidding if they're saying such silly things, but he's learning!  I occasionally print out the whole thing to share and it's less than two dollars to get a quick binding at an office store.

So, a few examples:

It's easy to see how much fun these can be and how easy it is to personalize them!  Cameron found the elephant ears quite amusing along with seeing pets he knew coming coming out of the sky :)  I've been quite impressed with the usefulness of the tool too.  Frequently, the lessons or component parts of idioms can be used as reference tools for a variety of otherwise unrelated explanations.

Here's to more fun parenting... and hoping I don't feel the need to put my real kiddo in the dog house too often :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Fun Center

I must say a day of family play including miniature golf, bumper boats, and  go karts was... fun, but wearying!
Hiding out in the miniature golf buildings to block the ball
Reveling in driving his own bumper boat

Other things to share:
Cute antics:
• contemplating all the delightful things he'd do if he could buy jail in Monopoly
• after convincing Andrew to play a game, he commented "Seems like we need an iPad". (The observant boy went to get it himself.)
• proposing in a bargaining voice that he'd make his lunches, but only if I read to him. (Um, that's his responsibility.  Was that supposed to persuade me?  He tried again with something closer to a polite request when I didn't respond to the "threat".)
• and a sweet moment regarding his athlete mentor...
I was just talking about play dates that he has with kids his age and he interrupted and started talking about his athlete mentor (Jordan).  
I said, "Jordan's different, Jordan's..."
Cameron filled in "a cool kid!"
(There you go, 16 year olds that are willing to give roller coaster rides are more cool than any peer!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Harry Potter Love

I've been reading a review copy of the expanded edition of Values of Harry Potter (which was sent to me by the author for free) and, at the same time, I've been reading the fifth book with my son (for the second time).  So, that makes it at least four solo reads of the full, seven-book series and almost two full reads with my son and, after all that reading, I'm inspired to just make some comments about why I love this series so much.

I connect with this series on a basic sense of life level.  This is a story where the heros are passionate about their values.  From smaller values like sports and pets to major ones like life and loved ones, the story is clear that values are worth fighting for.  There is no doubt that the characters are making very real choices and living the results.  This is the kind of universe that I most enjoy in fiction and can easily relate to my life.

Humor.  One of the great joys of this series is how beautifully the characters are crafted and that allows the reader to interact with them on a powerfully emotional level.  So, when I mention humor, we're not talking about superficial gags; the humor in this series is delightful and powerful too.  For example, I hated Professor Umbridge with every ounce of my being and couldn't have been more gleeful when she had to deal with the catastrophic results of the prankster twins  decision that her latest power grab deserved "a bit of mayhem" in response.
"The upshot of it all was that Professor Umbridge spent her first afternoon as headmistress running all over the school answering the summonses of the other teachers, none of whom seemed able to rid their rooms of the fireworks without her.  When the final bell rang and the students were heading back to Gryffindor Tower with their bags, Harry saw, with immense satisfaction, a disheveled and soot-blackened Umbridge tottering sweaty-faced from Professor Flitwick's classroom.  'Thank you so much, Professor!" said Professor Flitwick in his squeaky little voice.  'I could have got rid of the sparklers myself, of course, but I wasn't sure whether I had the authority...' Beaming, he closed his classroom door in her snarling face."  -Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This scene is so powerful because readers know deeply how vindictive Professor Umbridge has been through multiple uses of her administrative power as well as how consistently gentle and agreeable Professor Flitwick has been as a teacher / peer.

Finally, I love the stories.  They are so inventive and beautifully woven together.  The good is really good and the bad is really bad.  It's not that there aren't characters that are mixed, but the choices that each character makes are highlighted throughout the story and the good guys win.

I have read several supplemental analyses of the Harry Potter series and I would most recommend Values of Harry Potter (Amazon Option) for gaining more from the books.  The essays each address a different aspect and are easily scanned for your area of interest.  In this newly expanded edition, I especially liked how Mr. Armstrong noted the two marks that Harry started life with, his scar and his mark from his mother's love.  Armstrong noted that we, as readers, could watch Harry struggle with the choices between these two marks as he grew i.e. between evil impulses from his connection with Voldemort and pursuing positive values like love.  Especially in book 5, when Harry is most strongly tempted to allow anger and frustration to rule him, he chooses a different path. It was pleasant to delve deeper in the psychological aspects of these novels while enjoying reading that remains easily accessible. As one of my other favorite fictional characters would say (Anne of Green Gables), this book offers a fun analysis without any "high falutin mumbo jumbo".

So, here's to a series where there's so much joy that it overwhelms the sorrow, where the laughs are strong, and where chocolate warms the soul.  This is definitely a series that bears re-reading and offers powerful lessons each time.

I love when he reads over my shoulder to make sure I'm getting it right.  He knows these stories well!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Watching Superman for the first time!

Wow, talk about some gaping plot holes, but it was solid fun for snuggling anyway :)

Other things to share:
This week's Objectivist Round Up.
Cute antics:
• doing a "Make em Laugh" dance at his athlete mentor's house (Inspired by Singing in the Rain.)
• commenting on the competitors in his video game, "They always want me to perish."

• after another goofy action, informing me, "I was just trying to be hilarious."
• commenting, "These are soldier worms and I love dropping concrete donkeys on them."  (I thought there was some serious imagination wackiness going on, but they're apparently "real" characters in one of Andrew's iPad games.)
• giggling to himself and telling me he was playing the "laugh out loud game".
• listening to me propose a whole scheme for packing him off to the zoo before responding with a smug, "I will not participate." 
• insisting on wearing his winter coat to breakfast everyday (This is a pet peeve for Andrew who finds the daily drip / wipe of the puffy coat aggravating.  I have washing the thing on my list today!)
• greeting his playdate buddy with shrieks, circles running, and bizarre bits of sentences.  The buddy did the same thing, so they must be making sense to each other at least.
• playing Monopoly against himself... somehow one player always winds up with 90% of the property and money :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Objectivist Round Up

Welcome to the April 7, 2011 edition of the Objectivist Round Up.  After having enjoyed a delightful week of friendship and celebratory times, I thought this quote on Thanksgiving just hit the spot.  There is so much joy in sharing and appreciating accomplishments.

Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday. In spite of its religious form (giving thanks to God for a good harvest), its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers’ holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. Abundance is (or was and ought to be) America’s pride—just as it is the pride of American parents that their children need never know starvation.
“Cashing in on Hunger,” The Ayn Rand Letter, II
Victoria Genther presents We're Now Taking Orders for the April 2011 Edition! posted at The Undercurrent Blog, saying, "Order the April 2011 Edition of The Undercurrent! Last day to order is April 11th, so get your copies today."

Becky Rhoads presents Twead #10: The Truth About Obamacare posted at The Lucidicus Project, saying, "Our 10th Twead is on Sally Pipes's book, The Truth About Obamacare. Check it out!"

Shrikant Rangnekar presents Atlas Shrugged Movie: Ten Million Dollar Questions posted at Shrikant Rangnekar, saying, "This post includes a review of the movie, a comparison of the three Ayn Rand Movies and ideas for selling the novel to Atlas movie fans."

Joseph Kellard presents Bridge Renaming Ceremony Attracts Hundreds - Long Beach, NY Patch posted at Long Beach Patch: Latest Articles, saying, "My article on a bridge renaming ceremony in honor of a hero: A World War I recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor."

Joshua Gregg presents A Separation of Economy & State posted at Persona Non Grata, saying, "I am new to Objectivist Round Up and am excited to submit my first article blog. Enjoy."

Miranda Barzey presents 101 Reasons to Go to ATLOSCon posted at Building Atlantis, saying, "You have no excuse not to go."

Ron Pisaturo presents Exposition vs. Drama posted at Ron Pisaturo's Blog, saying, "This essay compares one scene, viewable on the Internet, of the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1 (The Strike Productions 2011) to the corresponding scene in the source novel Atlas
Shrugged by Ayn Rand."

Rational Jenn presents Tattling and the Virtues posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "I realized that sometimes I use tattling incidents as a way to help my kids redirect their attention from what others are or aren't doing and back toward what they are (or should be) doing. It's an opportunity to help them know to do what they know is right even if others aren't."

Edward Cline presents Ashes for Allah: New Calls for Censorship posted at The Rule of Reason, saying, "Politicians, generals and pundits do not become overwrought about the burning of bibles, Torahs, or other religious documents. Only about Korans. This is because Islam is always in the news, in some form or another, and that is because Muslims are always being “provoked” by the least criticism of them and their creed to throw bloody tantrums. Islam is another “culture,” another religion, another “way of life,” and by the criteria of political correctness and an affinity for dhimmitude, it must be protected from all forms of offense."

Ari Armstrong presents Fast, Cheap, Healthy Eating posted at Free Colorado, saying, "This longer post discusses how to buy good food economically."

Paul Hsieh presents Hype Vs. Reality posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, "The gulf between ObamaCare hype and reality is growing even wider, as these recent news stories illustrate."

Julia Campbell presents salmon with creamy roasted poblano sauce posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "A wonderful creamy sauce of roasted poblano peppers on top of baked side of salmon and summer squashes!"

Diana Hsieh presents Update to Explore Atlas Shrugged posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I'm updating my "Explore Atlas Shrugged" website for the release of the movie this month -- and you can help make that happen!"

John McVey presents OTI post #4 - The Law of Identity posted at John J McVey.

Benjamin Skipper presents Why I Love to Cook posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I thought my central purpose in life was already pretty clear to begin with, but further thinking has directed my intents more narrowly. The methods noted in this post, such as examining one's daydreams and childhood, might help others clarify their own purpose in life."

Scott Connery presents Tea Party Leader Calls for Compromise?!? posted at Rational Public Radio, saying, "If the Tea Party is going to be of any value, they have to stick to the principle of small government. If Amy Kremer gets her way, the Tea Party will become just a marketing campaign run by the Republican Party."

David C Lewis, RFA presents Renting Vs. Owning: A Twist | Twin Tier Financial posted at A Revolution In Financial Planning, saying, "Which makes more sense: buying a home or renting an apartment? I discuss the implications of both and why buying isn't always the best choice."

Kate Yoak presents Why do we blog? posted at Parenting is..., saying, "There are as many good reasons to blog as there are good bloggers. Mine is to pull out of the moment, detach from the doing and remind myself of the principles that are important."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of objectivist round up
using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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