coffee cup image

Archive for March, 2010

Mar 30 2010

Visions of Spring

Posted by Mugs @ 10:03 pm in Family,Nature Print This Post Print This Post

Front yard and Back yard photos:

The Bunny, The Bunny, Oh I love the Bunny:

Working in the Garden:

Mar 29 2010

Egg Hunt Tactics

Posted by Mugs @ 11:08 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

My three eldest children are now too old for egg hunts, so Zeke and I walked to yesterday’s neighborhood egg hunt by ourselves. We carried our umbrellas and trudged up the hill at a five-year-old’s “slow enough for conversation and observation” pace.

The water running through the ditch was observed and commented on repeatedly. “It looks like a creek. What’s its name?” Zeke asked. Lately, he has been concerned with the naming of all bodies of water. Whenever we drive to Fredericksburg, he waits in anticipation to shout “Rappahannock River!” when we start to cross the bridge.

“It is just water in a ditch. It doesn’t have a name,” I say. Knowing this answer will not suffice, I offer, “You can name it if you like.” Thus, Zeke names it “Columbus Creek.” As we are currently walking up Columbus Drive, this seems fitting.

Next, we ruminate on the many places the water in Columbus Creek will travel. “Columbus Creek will flow into Aquia Creek, then the Potomac River, then the Chesapeake Bay, than the Atlantic Ocean.” It is very important to Zeke that I think of Columbus Creek as more than “just water in a ditch.”

Following our geography lesson, we arrive at the egg hunt. Zeke stands next to the Easter Bunny for his picture, but is not willing to sit on the bunny’s lap. Next, we observe the fenced off area where Zeke is to find eggs. The eggs are not hidden very well.

I begin to discuss egg hunt tactics with Zeke. Over and over I tell him, “Don’t run around with the crowd. Run to an area with fewer kids and look there. You will find more eggs because there is less competition.”

My goal for my children at an egg hunt is not “find the golden egg,” but “find any egg so you are not holding an empty basket at the end and crying.” This “empty basket and tears” happens every year to some meek and polite child, and I try to make sure that meek and polite child is not mine.

Zeke, of course, did not listen. He started running around willy nilly with the crowd. I then found myself yelling “Zeke…run over here! Zeke…look in the holes! Zeke…not that way!”

I only stopped because I was getting drowned out by several fathers next to me yelling possible golden egg hiding places to their children. “What am I doing?’ finally broke through my thoughts.

Thankfully, there were enough eggs per child that Zeke found plenty and I was not the Mother comforting the crying child.

Zeke and I cooled off from all the excitement at the refreshment table where we discovered orange koolaid and delicious white cupcakes crowned with peeps.

On the way home, Zeke counted his candy and ruminated about Columbus Creek. I, however, was plotting out next years egg hunt tactics.

Mar 25 2010


Posted by Mugs @ 10:05 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

In the endless school picture racket, there are both autumn and spring pictures. In the autumn, the individual pictures are taken. In the spring, the whole class picture is taken. Therefore, parents are forced to buy pictures twice. “Those are the things that upset me!” (The Mad Hatter says it best.)

Ezekiel was very excited about his class picture because children could choose to wear “Sunday’s Best” instead of the school uniform. Some well dressed children had suits and ties or pretty dresses and bows. Zeke insisted on wearing a hawaiian shirt to symbolize his Hawaiian born heritage.

This particular hawaiian shirt is dark blue with the flag of Hawaii, planes, ships, islands, and palms on it. It certainly has its own style; a style that Zeke is extremely fond of. So, a few weeks back, off to school he went in his Aloha Attire.

Yesterday, he climbed in the van and excitedly proclaimed, “I got my class picture and I’m the bendyish one!” “Bendyish?” I asked.

Sure enough, upon examination of the class picture, there stand 17 Kindergarteners straight and tall in stark contrast to Zeke who is bending at the waste, leaning to one side and hamming for the camera. “You are indeed the bendyish one,” I agreed.

Next, Zeke created a few more new words to describe some other students. He pointed to one student and declared him “schoolyish” (he was in his uniform, not “Sunday’s Best”). Another student was declared “not sundayish enough” (he was wearing jeans).

We returned to real words upon his describing which girls were prettiest as a result of their pretty dresses and bows.

I must say it bodes well for his future that he at least knows it is better to declare a girl prettiest, rather than prettyish.

Mar 23 2010

High School Drama

Posted by Mugs @ 9:34 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

Last week, Josiah, Abby, and I went to see the high school production of Pride and Prejudice. Mr Collins, as always, was good for a laugh, but the boy who played Mr. Bennet outshone them all. He had all the best lines and delivered them well.

We were there to cheer on a friend of Abby and Josiah who played a servant. She did excellent  in her part and said all her lines without a hitch. She received a resounding cheer from her seven loyal fans when she took a bow.

Having now seen a High School production, Abby is looking forward to her Intro to Drama course next year. She has been in a few skits and one play in Middle School. In one scene, she fought and died well as Hamlet.

I told her to convince her drama teacher next year to do a murder mystery. Josiah could play the piano in the background to create the mood for the scene. He is currently working on a piece by Nazareth that sounds like the music played during a silent movie.

The loudest cheer during the drama was given when the boy and girl kissed at the end. There was much hooting, hollering, and cheering. The kids attend a Christian school where hand holding, arms around each other, and kissing is strictly forbidden. Therefore, the kiss at the end was a bit scandalous and became the drama of the drama.

Mar 22 2010


Posted by Mugs @ 11:16 am in Family Print This Post Print This Post

One of my favorite childrens books is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The book explains how the brain works in a clever and funny way. One of the characters in the book is the Mathemagician. Dale has always held this title in our family. However,  he may soon have to give it up to Gabe.

On Friday, Gabe and Abby participated in the district math olympics. In each grade, there were two categories for competition: computation and reasoning. Abby competed in eighth grade computation and Gabe competed in fourth grade reasoning. Computation involves using formulas and math facts to compute the correct answer. Reasoning involves solving story problems, patterns, and puzzles.

For the competition, the children spent several hours taking tests, and then the judges graded the tests and gave out the ribbons.

When Zeke and I arrived for the award ceremony, Abby told me she did not think she had done very well, because she had done poorly on one test. So, I didn’t even have my camera out when they announced she had placed second.

Most students (upon receiving their ribbons) smiled politely, shook the principal’s hand, and stood quietly while their schoolmates cheered them on. Admittedly, we Manrys are a bit obnoxious when we win, but it took even me by surprise when Gabe threw his hand up in the air and yelled when they announced his name. He won the first place blue ribbon as well as a medal for scoring 85% or higher on each of his exams.

Math Geeks Of the World Unite!

Gabe wins first place in 4th grade reasoning.

Abby and Gabe with their ribbons.