Five for Friday

I don’t remember where I was when I first heard “Your Ghost”, by Kristin Hersh (with background vocals by Michael Stipe); but, to this day, that song generates some serious memories and warm fuzzy feelings. *blushes*

I’ve already talked about the power of a song, so I won’t repeat myself  . . . entirely. I continue to be amazed at the power of music and the power of a song. All week, our boys have been singing the songs on The Verve Pipe’s A Family Album. I sent off a Tweet to Kristin Hersh, wondering if she would do a kids’ album.

I was excited when I received a message back from Kristin, letting me know she recorded an album with her kids in the late 90s. The album, “Murder, Misery and then Goodnight” was not in my collection, but it is now. (Thank you iTunes!) And, don’t let the title of the album deter you from sharing it with the kids, after all the lyrics to the popular lullaby ‘Rock-a-bye baby’ aren’t exactly happy.

Psst… here’s her ‘Your Ghost’ song from ‘Hips and Makers’:

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While busy doing everything and anything, with the exception of what needed to get done, I stumbled upon a website that sells watches for charity. Have I mentioned I love watches? Have I mentioned orange is my favorite color? Well, let me tell you now, I love watches, and orange is my favorite color.

So, when I stumbled upon HopeWatch, I was so excited. This was a perfect opportunity for  me to rationalize spending money we don’t have to give to the greater good. And yes, I did rationalize the purchase, and I encourage you to check out the HopeWatch website, and ‘watch’ as they give back to the communities in need.

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When the boys started using the potty, I rejoiced in the fact that we no longer had to buy diapers. When the boys moved into real beds, I rejoiced in the fact that we no longer had to deal with cribs. When the boys were able to dress themselves, I cried.

Joe, when he was 2yrs old, holding Giraffey tight. Today, as a 5yr old, he holds Giraffey the exact same way.

When I was done crying, I was on-call and ready to jump into action, if they ever requested my help. (And, I secretly hoped (and still hope) that they would ask for my help.) I was happy this week, when Charlie asked me to help him get ready for bed. As I was putting on his shirt, it dawned on me: we are nearing the end of the ‘T’ stage.

My days of buying clothes based on their age are ending. *sigh* Joe barely fits into 5T, and Charlie is nearly maxed on his 4Ts. This is serious stuff, folks. I’m not ready for big kid clothes. Kindergarten in August – and now big kid clothes? At least Joe still sleeps with his ‘Giraffey’. I don’t even want to think about the first night he goes without it.

***

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones says, “Why’d it have to be snakes.” Indiana Jones was not fond of snakes. Me? I love snakes.

This week, we spent one evening at our neighbor’s house. The kids had a blast having a water gun fight. Truth be told, the Dads had a blast, too. While the kids soaked themselves, my neighbor ordered pizza. When the delivery man drove up with the pizza, Noreen said to the kids, “Guys, don’t squirt the pizza man.” He thanked her.

We all sat on the driveway to eat our pizza dinner, while laughing and enjoying the evening. After dinner, the kids played for a bit longer, but the time came when we had to pack up and head home. I folded the chair I was using, walked into the garage to put the chair away, and noticed a very large – very large – Rat snake. Did I mention it was very large?

The kids gathered around to see the snake, and I was giddy with excitement. Long story short (too late), Rob and I were able to get the snake out of the garage. We watched as it made its way down the front yard and start ‘climbing’ up a tree. Which brings me to another snake story . . .

Two years ago, we were (again) hanging out with our next door neighbors. Jim, Rob and I were sitting on the front lawn, while the boys played. Suddenly, these critters start falling from the sky. Literally. We were started, and we did not know from where the critters were coming. One dropped right in front of me, and it started oddly and quickly crawling towards me. I screamed and stood up, quickly.

We soon realized what was happening. Flying squirrels. Flying squirrels were ‘flying’ and jumping out of a tree. It was the oddest thing. And, when a flying squirrel is on the ground running, it looks like a bat. Again – odd. But really, those critters are cute.

We wondered why the squirrels were jumping and flying from their home, so we walked over to the tree. As we got closer to the tree, we saw the source of the scurry. A long, black Rat snake had made its way up the tree and close to the hole, where the flying squirrels lived.  Who knows, perhaps the snake we saw this week was the same one we saw two years ago. Clearly, based on its size, the snake has done well for itself.

***

And finally, today, the boys and I bid adieu to Michelle, their swim teacher. Joe and Charlie had their final swim lesson today. *sigh* Yet another stage in life has come and gone.

Joe, Michelle (the swim teacher) and Charlie

The boys and I have truly enjoyed the past four weeks, going to swim lessons Monday through Friday. From watching the initial fear of swimming change to a confidence and ability to swim to the car-ride conversations and singing of songs, we had a great time.

Both the boys and I had tears in our eyes, as we drove away from Michelle’s house one last time. However, we quickly recovered, listening to “Wake Up!” (Track 1 on The Verve Pipe’s Family Album). See?! Music has power. May your weekend be full of fun and music. Be sure to make time to sing a little song and do a little jig. Why not start your weekend off right by listening to this:

Be Part of the Band

Saturday morning, we loaded up the boys and headed to an awesome music venue in Decatur, GA. Late last year, The Verve Pipe released a family album, and the band is promoting the album by doing live shows for kids. I am a fan of The Verve Pipe (TVP) and Brian Vander Ark (BVA), and I was given the family album as a Christmas present.

When I heard the band was going to do a show at Eddie’s Attic for the kids, I snagged four tickets immediately. I admit, I hadn’t actively listened to the CD with my kids. Nor, did I ask the kids if they were interested in going to hear the band. In fact, when I told the boys we were going to hear live music, Joe, my oldest, was not too thrilled with the idea. He asked if he could stay home with Daddy. Little did he know, his Dad was also a fan of TVP and BVA.

I decided to spend a few days playing the CD in the car – frequently. Instantly, the boys took to the first two songs, though Joe was not too keen about the third song; he asked, “Can we just stay for the first two songs?”

While at a red light, I handed Joe the CD holder. My brother and sister-in-law had gone to a BVA show, and purchased the family CD for me. They asked BVA to sign the CD for my kids. So, as any manipulative parent would do, I showed Joe (and Charlie) where Brian wrote their names on the CD holder. “Have I met Brian?” Joe asked. I could tell the manipulation worked, as I watched a smile come across his face when he asked the question.

Over the course of a week, we listened to the CD in the car. If Joe was in the car, he would ask me to turn off the CD after the first two songs. And, he insisted he didn’t like it much, hoping to leave after the first two songs. Charlie, on the other hand, loved the CD. And, when he was the only one in the car with me, we listened to it over and over again. Then came the day of the show . . .

Pre-show Snack. Notice Charlie eyeing the freshly tapped Guinness.

As we left the house, Joe was still playing hard to get. You could tell from his smile, he was having a good time ‘fretting’ over the concert, still he wasn’t backing down from his ‘stay for only two songs’ request. And, when we entered the venue, Joe wasn’t impressed with the scenery. Again, tapping into my manipulative talents, I asked the waitress for some chips. [The boys rarely eat ‘junk’ food at home. Letting them have chips was my ace in the hole.] Oh, I also asked the waitress for a Guinness. This manipulative Mamma ain’t gonna pass up an opportunity to enjoy a freshly tapped Guinness, thank you very much.

Sitting at the ‘bar’ table and eating chips, the boys began to get more and more excited about seeing the band. I noticed BVA from across the room, and I pointed him out to Joe. “That’s the lead singer, Joe. He’s the one that signed your CD and came to play at Mommy & Daddy’s house.” Joe smiled. I smiled. This was going to be great.

Rob's chin, Joe, Charlie and me. Picture taken by BVA

While waiting for the show, Brian came close to where we were sitting; so, I said hello and introduced him to the boys. Brian told Joe about how he played at our house. It was neat. Brian also asked if he could snap a picture of us. “Of course!” We said.

Shortly after getting our picture taken, the guys hit the stage and started to jam. And, just like the CD, they started out with their song “Wake up!”. Joe settled in to listen, dance and enjoy, as did Rob, Charlie and I. For the record, Joe did ask – at one point – how many more songs he had to hear, but he was in no true hurry to leave. He had a fantastic time.

Some of TVP (Craig, Brian and John) with Rob, Charlie and Joe

After TVP did an encore of The Monkees “I’m a believer” [an awesomely done cover], the show ended. Joe and Charlie were bouncing around, singing various lyrics from various songs they had just heard. Rob and I looked at each other, and we agreed it was one of the best shows we had seen. How great it was to hear really good adult rock and roll, spun for kids’ ears. I wish more rock bands followed the lead of bands like TVP. Many parents want to expose their kids to music; but – are The Wiggles music? Really?

Parents – if you have kids – you must buy The Verve Pipe’s Family Album. Nope. Scratch that. If you like The Verve Pipe, you must buy the family album – no kids kids necessary to enjoy this music. Our kids sang the songs from the CD the ENTIRE drive home. [Note: the drive to (and from) Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA to our house is about an hour.] And, we continue to listen and rock out to this music. “Be Part of the Band” (track 4 on the TVP Family Album) is one of the boys’ favorite. (Yes, Joe is over his ‘two song’ limit phase.) I hope this song, among others, inspires the boys to pick a favorite instrument and do the best they can. Give it a listen:

Brian, Rob, Charlie, Joe and me

If any rock stars are reading this blog (because I know I have many rock star followers), please consider making a kids’ album. Put out some music that parents can rock to with their kids. No offense to The Wiggles, Barney and Baby Einstein, but we want to rock! And to Brian Vander Ark and the rest of The Verve Pipe, thank you so much for taking the time to write and sing to ‘the little people’. We salute you! Rock on! (Please.)