Listening to: Jazz for Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle and Shake.
Tired of listening to "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" performed in a sappy sweet voice? Who can beat "Old Macdonald" sung by Ella Fitzgerald herself? On our way to and from swim lessons we've been listening to the CD's we borrowed from the library, and this CD is a hit. Kindergarten gent has been walking around the house singing "Old Mac-Don-ald had a faaarm," in his best Ella impersonation. I've been bopping around the kitchen singing, "Ain't nobody here but us chickens." This CD is a great way to introduce classic jazz rhythms to kids because the songs are real jazz, and fun for kids. Some of the songs are familiar tunes with a jazz twist, other songs were new to us. The CD ends with a classic, a family favorite here at Poohsticks, Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World."
Going to: The park for a nature hike with friends from the pool. It's so nice to meet a family who just "clicks." The kids spent nearly an hour scooping water bugs out of the pond with an empty yogurt container I found under the seat of my car. We fed the ducks and watched a great blue heron. Blue herons are a favorite bird of mine, so beautiful and awkward and graceful all at once. The herons nest in a large tree next to the canal feeding the ponds, and we found ourselves walking directly under the tree, so we stopped for a bit to watch the herons in their nests.
Playing with: Legos. Kindergarten gent discovered the Viking ship I'd set aside for a family Lego night. Loving husband pulled out the entire Lego collection and set it on the dining room table, and the rest of us built ships while kindergarten gent worked on the Viking ship. I built a way cool space ship using the foot of a Knight's Kingdom guy and the battlement of a castle, but four-year-old gent said it was not cool because it didn't have "shooters," and "That's a foot, Mom!"
"I think your ship is very spacey and good," said kindergarten gent.
He's my new favorite kid.
Reading: As an accompaniment to Jazz for Kids, we checked out these books at the library.
Jazz, Walter Dean Myers.
We've checked out Jazz several times. I think it's that cover illustration-- it just grabs the gents' attention. The text is fun, jazzy, rhythmic. It's a bit much for the fine young gents to sit through, so I often read bits and pieces selectively. What makes this book so special, and the reason the gents choose it over and over, are the wonderful illustrations. The pictures are works of art, and the gents like to page through the book looking at all of the fabulous musical pictures.
Duke Ellington (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers), Mike Venezia.
We own several of Venezia's books in his artist series. Duke Ellington is written in the same engaging style. Venezia's own cartoon illustrations are accompanied by photographs and depictions by various artists of jazz and Harlem nightlife. The fine young gents particularly enjoyed the pictures of musicians playing different instruments. Venezia's books are always a treat to read.
Decluttering: The school counter in the kitchen. I'm at the point where de-cluttering looks an awful lot more like cluttering. My school counter had piles of books, and things to give away, and stuff to put away, and things to do. My sister dropped off eggs this afternoon, and graciously took the pile that belonged to her (thanks!). When I got home I realized how messy the counter must have looked. (Remember, I am hopelessly insecure about what everyone else must think of me, as I may have mentioned before, like in this post.) So I cleaned off the counter except for the two huge piles of school things that demand more attention than just finding them a new home. That's my next task, which is why I was putting off decluttering the counter in the first place. Procrastinating on a little task is way less guilt-inducing than putting off a larger one, and thus more likely to fly just enough under the guilt radar that I won't have to do it for quite some time. I am an expert procrastinator.