Showing posts with label Charlie Brown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlie Brown. Show all posts

Sunday, December 2, 2012

3rd year, 4th Christmas

          I have so many memories of Christmases – before Roland, after Roland, childhood, on and on and on.
          This year we will be celebrating twelve years together.  Half of them with financial struggles and at least three with sub for Santa.

          When I first moved in to our first house (Roland and the boys had already been living there for six months) it was September of 2001.  In December our family was targeted as the “twelve days of Christmas” recipients.  And that was fun and I felt very welcome to the area.

          Our first tree was an artificial Charlie Brown – the kind that gets used in a window display as part of the winter scenery – but not necessarily Christmas.  It is what would be used in a window selling skis or snow blowers or something – an insignificant tree that blends in to the background – the absolute smallest tree that I had ever encountered during my lifetime.

                                                It was flocked but much smaller than this one
                                                Maybe the second to the smallest - but skinnier

          (Apparently it was so small that I did not get a picture of it – and as it was so pathetic, I cannot even find anything on the internet that will match it.  I did not get my first digital camera until Jenna was three; maybe that’s why I can’t find anything)

          We had purchased two gifts for each of the boys.  We opened our gifts in the back room where we had placed and decorated our tiny tree.

          When we had our second Christmas, Ooki  was living with us.  It was the first time he had celebrated the holiday.  We showed him how to decorate the tree.  We had a large unwrapped gift for each boy.  Roland and I woke them up at like 5:30 or six.  It was too early for all of them – even Randy.

          Our financial struggles were really bad the year I was pregnant with Jenna – it may have been the worse for us – though we were still in the same house another five years – so maybe not?

          The experience that touches me the most (as I still cry when I tell it) is the year we were assigned to bring potatoes to the family dinner.  All month I had been trying to save up with any spare change – I had made a jar and labeled it “the potato fund” (or something like that) and asked each of the boys to assist Roland and me with our attempts to fill the jar.  (I don’t think we ever reached a dollar as Tony would take more than he would give)

Two days before the dinner there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door to find this Nephite  (he wasn’t dressed as a Nephite, but seemed to have that same stature as he filled the entire door frame) standing in my doorway with a bag of potatoes.  He handed them to me and told me that his mom wanted me to have them. And then he was gone.

My tears were (and still are) of gratitude, but brought concern to the ReliefSociety president who came by to drop off our sub for Santa gifts. She asked why I was crying and I explained.  The worse part of it all was I didn’t know who the Nephite was.  But she figured it out and told me and I was actually kind of embarrassed that I hadn’t known.

My mom called just as the RS pres. Left.  She told me that I didn’t have to bring potatoes if it was going to hurt us financially.  And I started crying again.

Randy was excited about all the gifts beneath the tree – while the other two were embarrassed over the very idea that we were a product of charity.  I was a bit embarrassed that there were so many gifts – way more than we had had the first two years combined.  There were even presents there for Roland and me.

Someone had donated an overgrown bag (like the kind you see Santa carrying) full of oversize shirts (Roland was on the heavier side back then) although none of them wrapped.  We did have wrapping paper, and so I went through the bag, sorting shirts, wrapping some for Roland and some of them for me (as some of them felt nice on my pregnant belly) 

And then when we lost our first house and moved into the smaller one (where we live currently) the ward we once belonged to followed us over with more sub for Santa gifts – mostly for Jenna.  They also supported our two boys who were out on missions.

We have been in this house for three years now – but this is our forth Christmas.  Last year Randy proposed to Carrie.  This will be their first Christmas as a married couple.  This will be Tony and Rochelle’s first Christmas as mom and dad. Our first Christmas as grandparents – though we won’t actually be seeing them – unless they fly in for the holidays.  They have been here once this year already.

Jenna's very excited for Christmas this year.  She's already made several drawings depicting the holidays.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Throughout the years I’ve written down a child’s interpretation (most from four year old minds) of what things are. Here are some of them:

Four years old, looking for a specific shade

Which one is “antler” brown?

On mortar:

Why are there grey lines
on grandma’s house?

Popeye looks just like Charlie
Brown, but he’s a smoker

On Saturday’s warrior video:

“It’s a happy sad show.  But
some of it is boring.”

“Are you sick because you’re
building a baby?”

tiger skin

snow snakes

Potato Paper

Why does the potato have trees

First corn dog discovery:

“There’s a hot dog inside!”

Egg Slobber

Adult complains about the small
amount of money that may accompany
a huge mound of paper work

“Well you are lucky.  I do
paper work at school all day long
and I don’t get paid anything”

The cave is scary
because it has teeth

 “If you look closely, you
can see feathers in the moon”

If you watch too much TV
you’ll get diarrhea

“I am so mad, I feel like a rhinoceros
that swallowed a rock”

“How do they get sunflowers
to grow inside of bagels?”

Trying to explain her first vomiting experience:

“My mouth broke”

Chucky fried Chicken

On Snowball Snacks

“I don’t really like the brown
part; I just like the skin.”

 “This cereal has no flavor”

It’s a twinkle twinkle little star

Set up for Easter egg hunt:

 “Where the Easter Eggs grow”

No matter who answered the phone:

 “Is this the number for
Grandma June’s House?”

Identifying Chewbacca

Han Solo’s lion

“Mama!  Mama!  God just took my picture!”

 Grape bones

“Mama! Mama!  Kayla ate the baby Jesus”

When Fival falls overboard my
niece is genuinely concerned:

“Does Fival ever get to see his mom
and dad get married in the temple?”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Really Great Theatre Teacher

         Jenna LOVES to sing, and dance, draw, learn, explore . . . I have wanted so badly to enroll her in dance lessons, or music lessons, art classes , etc.  I have even considered sports when she has shown interest – but it was always out of reach financially - even on those rare times when it looked like the class itself might be in reach, I knew that the costumes (or uniforms) would get out of hand.

          Last summer I had the opportunity of enrolling her in a peewee theatre class taught by a gal who had instructed children’s theatre in New York.  Jenna would have an opportunity – not only to act, but to sing, to dance and perform and hopefully make new friends.

          The play is never done in its entirety.  The instructor has been given only six to eight weeks to rehearse before putting on the show. 
          We met for eight weeks initially.  One hour per week.  Realizing that she would need more time, she made arrangements for the children to do their dialogues on a Saturday at her home.  I thought that was so awesome of her to be willing to do the extra work.

          So the first play was “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.  Six parts and seven children showed up – four being girls.  And the “Charlie Brown” has two girls with speaking parts.  Four boy parts.

          Two girls were asked to split up lines for Lucy.  Jenna chose to read for Schroeder.  The youngest of the cast was asked to read for Linus – and actually sounded just like the cartoon character.  That night the parts were cast for Linus and Lucy.  Who in the world would she get to play Charlie Brown?

          None of the three boys seemed like the right candidate.  The four (going on five) year old had been cast as Linus leaving a boy who was not so fluent in English, and one who appeared to have ADD as he was all over the place or hiding behind his mother.  I understood what had possessed his mother to enroll him, but was seriously wondering if he’d be able to pull it off.

          The not so fluent was cast as Snoopy – and the instructor saw great potential with casting our ADD as Schroeder.  He was fabulous.  Knew all of his lines.  Stayed on page.  I was actually very impressed.

          Jenna had read for Schroeder and Sally – and because Sally was the only girl’s part left, Jenna memorized her part (actually she had started memorization on all of the parts except for Charlie Brown)

          After two of the girls dropped out (they had attended the first night only) the instructor thought she could split up Sally’s part among the rest of the cast and asked if Jenna would be interested in playing Charlie Brown. 

“He’s the main part!” I told Jenna.  Her enthusiasm did not match my own.  How could she possibly play a boy?  She didn’t.  We made Charlie Brown a girl.  Instead of dreaming about a little red-headed girl, we changed Jenna’s line to say that she liked a red-headed boy

But then it was realized that Sally’s part was needed.  And so the instructor asked a neighbor to take her class – she learned her lines and dance numbers and songs in just four weeks.

There was no costume expense – it was whatever is in your closet.  I liked that. The shirt that Jenna wore was one we had purchased the prior year as I had enrolled her in a dance class and the instructor provided us shirts to make jagged edges for the “George of the Jungle” number they’d be performing.

All of the class members pulled it off.  Unfortunately Jenna didn’t get to sing and dance as much as the other children (it wouldn’t make sense for her to sing “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”) and she never got to learn her solo because of the time frame.  But she did a beautiful monologue and she actually did very well.

Her professionalism was surprising as she was truly sick that night.  Not a contagious sick necessarily.  She had just eaten something that hadn’t agreed with her.  And the drive to the school only added car sickness.

She had puked twice on our way into the school – did an awesome performance – and then made a b-line to the garbage can to heave up some more.  Poor child really had nothing left to throw up.

School House Rock was announced for the next production.  Excitedly Jenna made her approval known.  But because of the location of the school and my inability to see at night, I said I didn’t think I would be able to keep her in.

I was so touched when the instructor offered to come get her and drop her off.  I could take her – that was no problem.  But my house is not on the way home to the instructor’s house (hers would actually be on the way to mine) and so I made arrangements to drop Jenna off at the school and meet her instructor near her house after class.  It worked out well except for one day when I gave the instructor the option of keeping Jenna home or asking the instructor to drive out of her way to drop her off – she chose the latter.  And I feel blessed.

The class hours had been extended to an hour and a half a week instead of just one hour. School house rock didn’t seem to have any specific roles except for Tom – the teacher (also played by a girl) – though they all had speaking parts and solos.  And the attendance had gone from five to fourteen.  My husband filmed most of it as I was laughing so hard I couldn’t seem to keep the camera still.

The last play that they did was “Alice in Wonderland”.  They had moved to a high school much nearer to my home (as well as the instructors) and I have been excited about that. But because of earlier schedule conflict and lack of funds, Jenna did not participate – although Jenna and I went and saw it the same week Randy and Carrie were married. It turned out really cute. 

All of the children wore black with quick costume change on top. The instructor had allowed three different girls to play Alice – one at a time during various scenes.  The costumes were a bit more elaborate than whatever was in the closet, but still kept simple.  The kids pulled it off rather nicely.  I was impressed.

I promised Jenna that we’d put her in the next show – Wizard of Oz.  Am looking forward to attending classes again.  It appears that they will rehearse just six weeks (nine hours) though before they put on their final production.

Friday, April 6, 2012

What's so Odd about That?

I googled Odd Facts and came up with list after list of odd facts – but not all were “facts”.  I questioned some of it like “Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street were named after the cab driver and police officer in “It’s a Wonderful Life” – I could not find any evidence that confirmed that.  Henson said he was not there when they named the characters, but even he believes that it’s just coincidence.

Then I decided I needed something to back up all the facts that I share.  Hey, but just because you read it on the Internet doesn’t make it true.  And just because you learn something in school doesn’t mean it will stick. 

For instance, my peers and I learned about the solar system almost every year that I was in elementary school.  (I personally saw no purpose for it.)  We were taught that Pluto was the smallest planet.  Today we are told that Pluto is not a planet at all.  It seems that the International Astronomical Union decided has debated the issue.  Whatever.  (Again.  What was the point of learning about it either way?)

So here are the facts that I found back up for (and more than one source at that)

Odd Facts

Charlie Brown's father was a barber (as well as Charles Schulz’s father)

Betsy Ross was born with a fully formed set of teeth called natal teeth

Bingo is the name of the dog on the CrackerJack box.

Butterflies taste with their feet

The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up when the creator, Frank Baum, looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z, hence "Oz."

A group of kangaroos is called a mob.
A group of unicorns is called a blessing.
The first Santa icon (the one we all know and love today) made his first appearance with Coca-Cola in 1931.

John Wayne’s birth name is Marion Morrison.  His grave remained without a marker for almost twenty years.

Warren G. Harding was elected President on his birthday.

The Baby Ruth candy bar was actually named after Grover Cleveland's baby daughter, Ruth.

Walt Disney’s original name for his mouse was Mortimer and not Mickey

4 Odd facts about me:

I can drink 1-2 quarts of liquid (soda, juice, water) and keep it inside of me for a few hours.  But if I have just one teaspoon of milk, I have to go the second it hits my bladder.

Wind wipes me out – even if I’m inside and am not even aware that it’s windy. I am literally so out of it that I feel drugged.

I can touch my nose with my tongue.

I am allergic to most Christmas plants.  Amazingly the tree is not one of them.

An odd fact about my husband:

 He can drive in any element and not notice how bad it is.  He will drive towards the sun glaring through the window or with an inch of snow on his windshield and not even be fazed by it.  I think that’s incredible!