The Life and Times of Monkey, Buster, and Yessa

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The Young and The Wrestlers October 30, 2009

Filed under: Buster,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 3:00 am

As Yessa draws nearer to her third birthday, it is great fun to watch she and the Buster play more and more together.  Just in the last two months, Yessa has started playing alone and creating stories, and talking through those stories out loud, which, in turn, has made her a more interesting playmate for the Buster.  He’s got to have someone who will be able to craft the story with him.  In addition, it’s rather novel for him to be able to tell someone what to do, since he is very used to being “guided” during his play with Monkey.

Today they were very engaged in wrestling and giggling and playing chase for awhile.  Then, they switched over to making Megaboys out of legos, and acting out scenes with those.  At least once I know their megaboys had fallen into hot lava, but they managed to escape.  They also had to fight off a bionicle, the one with a spinning blade hand, so that was quite a battle.

Good times, good times…


The Dynamic Duo



Pixie Magic

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 2:47 am

Monkey is often creating stories and plays and magical plans in her head, and today we at down together and typed up one of the plays.


Title:  Pixie Magic
By:  Zoe Gemignani


Princes’ Parents:                                     Pixies’ Parents
Dramadessa:  Queen Mother                    Little Feather:  Mother
Dramaderra:  King Father                        Little Wing:  Father

Children: Flora
East                                                           Carol
West                                                          Connie
North                                                         Keena

Princes’ Stepbrother:                                Pixie’s Stepsister:
Dramadessent                                           Pollakneeuh

Children of the Wedding:

Scene 1:  A moonlit picture in the Spring

The Princes are out for a moonlight walk.  Suddenly they fall.  Then they rise to see four beautiful girls.  One has the beauty of three kittens.  Another has the beauty of four birds.  The third has the beauty of little squirrels.  The fourth has the beauty of a swan.  (The fourth is Flora.)

And the beautiful girls arise to see four handsome men.  One is so handsome he’s like a dream.  Another is so handsome it is hard to be seen.  Another, the third, looks like four horses adrift on a lake.  Last but not least, the fourth looked like two graceful swans afloat on a lake. (The fourth is East.)

Scene 2:  The battle against Dramaderra and Dramadessa and Dramadessent


The battle rages on.  The first person is out:  Dramaderra.  Bam, bang, crash, Dramadessa is out.  BIf, bam, crash, a piece of glass falls on Dramadessent.  He is injured.  But suddenly, Pollakneeuh rushes forward.

Scene 3:  A beautiful wedding


As each sister prepares for her groom, Flora and Pollakneeuh say, “We can hardly wait.”

Meanwhile, in the other dressing room, the grooms East and Dramadessent say,

“We can hardly wait.”

Suddenly, a bell rings.  It is time for the wedding.  The men are all ready, and so are the women.  They rush, but suddenly, Pollakneeuh stumbles.  She falls, but Dramadessent sees and helps her back up.

They rush to the wedding.

Diiiiiiing, doooooong, diiiiiiiing, dooooooong.

Then, soon after, two of them said,
“We think we are going to have babies.”

And suddenly one had a baby.  And then the other.

The second had a boy.  The first had a girl.  The girl was named Agnos, and the boy, Con.

The End

Soon to make another title of the next book series:  The First Year and the Last, by Zoe Gemignani.
Illustrated by Zoe Gemignani



She dictated it, and I typed it up exactly as she said.  It was incredibly difficult to not laugh, or even smile, at some
of the lines she created.  I wouldn’t have laughed for the world, though, because she was deadly serious, and very
interested in putting it all together.
The thing that intrigues me so much is that though the overall story isn’t complete as far as plot goes, she has created
some lovely ideas, and goodness knows she has always had a way with names.
For those of you that don’t remember, or might not know, when Zoe was two, she created a spouse for herself named
Nimnafin.  He was a purple crayon, that we still have.  When we went on trips, Nimnafin had to go with us.
Where will her imagination lead us next?

Let Halloween Begin! October 25, 2009

Filed under: Buster,Lucia,Monkey,Uncategorized,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 11:49 pm

We borrowed Lucia to go try out the Haunted House presented by the youth at our church.  Monkey went through 2 times, Lucia once.  Buster would have gone through but could not get Yessa to let me go, and she wanted noooo part of it, so he’ll have to go through next year.  They all had good fun trying out their costumes in preparation for the true holiday next weekend.

Despite the mixed reviews of the haunted house, they all pronounced it a good time since they had some snacks to choose from at the end, and there was plenty of time for crafty coloring and playing on the playground.

Little Lucia Red Bird

Little Lucia Red Bird

Monkey choosing a tidbit from the gut of the beast.

Monkey choosing a tidbit from the gut of the beast.

"Darth" checks things out.

"Darth" checks things out.

Yessa did not care for people in masks--at ALL!

Yessa did not care for people in masks--at ALL!


Piano Lessons

Filed under: Monkey — mommie2zs @ 7:08 pm

Monkey had been asking for piano lessons for quite a long time, and when we started this “Academic Year,” I decided to investigate the options.  Ms. Marsha, who leads the K-1 Singers group at our church, that Monkey has been involved with, and she also organizes the singing at the nursing home we do every other week, is also a piano teacher.  She offered us the option of coming over for a practice lesson so we could see what the process would involve.

Monkey loved the sample lesson, and has had several piano lessons now.  I suspect she loves the music piece of things, but also loves the individual attention from Ms. Marsha, whom Monkey called “A Musical Genius.”  Ms. Marsha teaches in a very individualized, active fashion. Monkey not only plays the piano, but she also gets to play all sorts of children’s instruments, including a thunder maker, which all three kids got to try out last week.  Ms. Marsh has her composing music already, as well as giving Monkey the opportunity to show off her skills for the other kids and me.

Here are two comments from Ms. Marsha about Monkey and why she enjoys teaching her:

Jennie, I have never heard a child speak so eloquently and soulfully about music–It is truly my pleasure to be able to teach and work with (Monkey.)  I’m certainly looking forward to it!


It is such a joy working with (Monkey)–Today, as she played the “duet” with the CD (the one you heard) on the black keys, she mentioned that it sounded like Chinese music–That is true, since the pentatonic scale that the black keys form is often heard in Eastern music.  Every student doesn’t hear that.  I love her creative and fun-loving spirit. I hope she is enjoying playing the piano at home.

Here are some photos from the Solo Concert Monkey gave at her last piano lesson for the two youngest and me.

October Piano "Recital"

October Piano "Recital"

Mnkey and Ms. Marsha

Monkey and Ms. Marsha

Unlike Friend Erin who tries to be very balanced about her children on her blog, not me.  I look forward to recording all the amazing wonderful things about our kids over the years, so when they read back over this blog when they are grown, they’ll be able to see all the fantastic things people said about them, and how much joy Buds and I took in them and their individuality.


Camping Adventure

Filed under: Buster,Monkey,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 2:09 am

On October 2, 3, 4, 2009, we went camping with 8 other homeschooling families at Cunningham Falls State Park in Maryland.  It was our first time camping since Chris’ birthday when we were pregnant with Monkey, so a long time ago.  Our wonderful neighbors went on the great American Camping adventure this summer, and it was “sponsored” by REI, so we got to borrow their cool tent and sleeping bags and air mattresses, an air mattress from Friend Erin, a cooler from another neighbor, and we were ready!  We supplied the children to this grand adventure, that was about it.

The IKEA tent we provided, and Jenny and Brendan's REI "cottage"

The IKEA tent we provided, and Jenny and Brendan's REI "cottage"

Buds worked from home on Friday morning so I could pack us up.  And it truly took all day to pack us up.  Washington’s Army packed up much more quickly than we did.

We got set up at the campground on Friday night by 6 or so.  It was a little rainy, and Buds was very frustrated with the fire making.  We learned later that our camping neighbor, Brian, takes a blowtorch on camping excursions, so I think that will be on our camping packing list.

I’m trying to type this post up several weeks after the event, which is not good because my memory is not what it once was.  So, rather than write specifics about our time, I have to write impressions:

First night:  I started griping about the cold before we had even settled into bed.  “Buds, we are going to be freezing.  Buds, we are going to be freezing.  Buds, can you do something about the cold?  Buds, the children are going to be freezing.”  Buds is more of a mind to wait and see how things go, but we did all end up being freezing.  And–good to know–Friend Erin’s air mattress will comfortably sleep 5 people if all of them are more interested in surviving by huddling into one small pile than in turning over or having feelings in their limbs.

Second day:  Beautiful hike up to a waterfall, hence the name Cunningham FALLS State Park. Monkey has always been a mountain goat, but this was only the second time the Buster really got to strap on his crampons and go for the gusto.  I thought Yessa and I would sit and watch from the other side of the little stream, but she was not having that.  We were off and up the rocks shortly after the first three family members.  It was a gorgeous day, and such a feeling of accomplishment to climb up the sun-warmed rocks.  Buds and Monkey walked back with our camping friends who had walked over from the campgrounds, and the two little ones and I drove back.  We stopped at the store for more firewood, and also purchased the largest Ice pops I have ever seen.  Of this variety, except they were as tall as Yessa.

Much of this day was spent playing on the rocks behind the campsites.  Louisa, who organized the trip, made sure we were by these great rocks, and the children loved them.  We also played lots of Star Wars using the plastic T-ball bats I had brought with us.  Buster had seen another boy in our group with a light saber, and that become a dear wish for on the drive home–to stop and acquire a light saber.

Buster with the dual light sabers, a la Darth Maul

Buster with the dual light sabers, a la Darth Maul

Monkey and Yessa and I also spent a lot of time with a fellow Brownie whose mom, Laura, had planned ahead and brought supplies for the girls to complete two try-its while we were camping.  The girls dug in the dirt, made Girl Scout Stew (made by Girl Scouts, not of them), pretended to be different parts of a storm, came up with different ways to use bandannas, and practiced knot tying.

Buds made a fantastic fire that night, which was great, except that we all gathered at someone else’s campfire for s’mores and campfire songs.  Yup, we truly sang around the campfire.  Laura had the “Wee Sing” campfire songs book, which I thought was impressively prepared of her.  After that grand time, we returned to our campsite, where the remnants of the perfect fire still smoldered.  Then we settled into our snuggly beds–rearranged by Buds and the children during the day so they wouldn’t have to listen to me gripe and moan and shiver about the cold again.

Everyone slept great.

Sunday we had a group picture, ate breakfast all together, then each family packed up and went their own way.

All but three of the camping adventurers.

All but three of the camping adventurers.

We made a side excursion on the way home at the Catoctin Furnace. The remnants of the “Iron Master’s” house are also still there, and we enjoyed talking about what the house must have been like in all its glory.

The abandoned "big house" at the Catoctin Furnace

The abandoned "big house" at the Catoctin Furnace

One final stop at Party City for a light saber and we were on our way home.  All three kids fell asleep at some point, indicating how fun-filled the weekend had been.

And, as is our way, Buds and I spent much of the drive talking about how we could make camping easier the next time, and what we needed to purchase to do it all again–except without having to raid the neighbors’ homes this time.


A “Typical” Week

Filed under: Buster,Homeschooling,Monkey,Yessa — mommie2zs @ 1:20 am

Though people might not actually care, I tend to imagine that people wonder what we do with our time, so I thought I’d post our schedule for a pretty typical week.  These are the things we do outside of our home.

Monday: Monkey has piano lessons.  From October through February, I generally have a meeting with Christine, my co-chair for the UUCF Auction.

Tuesday:  We have playgroup at church.  Monkey has Odyssey of the Mind.  We eat lunch at Costco, then zip over to Monkey’s  swimming lesson.  Depending on the week, I have a meeting at church.

Wednesday:  Spanish Class, then, in the afternoon, depending on the week, we have Girl Scouts or we sing at a nursing home.

Thursday:  Monkey has swimming lessons.

Friday:  I have a meeting with my boss about the HR happenings at Juice, and the homeschool group we love has a park day, but we seldom make it to that.

In a typical week there will also be several hours of playing with Lucia, a couple play dates with various beloved friends, Buds is working all day, I try to have at least two nights a week where I go out with a friend or work in the home office, and finally, we arrive at the weekend.  We love Fridays because we know Buds will be arriving home and we get to spend the next two days with him.  We all love that.

At home the kids spend time playing legos, playing on the Wii, playing on the computer, studying on the computer, reading with me, looking at books on their own, watching me do laundry or clean, watching or helping with cooking, and making up and acting out stories.  Really an amazing variety of things, and the days just fly by.

What do I hope we all gain from this, these weeks of lots of activities, and then long stretches of time at home together:  I hope the children keep their love of learning, and their love of our family.  Simple wishes, but so powerful, and worth all the time we have to give.


What the heck are you doing? October 18, 2009

Filed under: Homeschooling — mommie2zs @ 4:26 pm

Inspired by my friend, Erin, who blogs about her crew here: Bonnie and Clyde, Buds helped me set up this blog to talk about the kids and the adventures we have as a homeschooling family.

First, the title to the blog refers to each of the children:  Zoe’s nickname is “Monkey,” Zachary is often called, “Buster,” and my sister-in-law, Kathy, once remarked that Noa might say “yes” more often if we had named her, “Yessa,” instead of Noa, and the rest is history.

Second, the title of this first post refers to the reaction people would have more often if they were being completely honestly when told we are homeschooling.  But, because most people won’t ask that question (Except for my brother, George, who likes to shock people), I wanted to make sure those we care about, and who care about our children, have a way of checking up on us without having to feel like they are asking too many questions.

And finally, another friend, Jennifer, has made the amazing opportunity to move with her family to Croatia to delve into her family’s roots.  Reading about that process has inspired me to try and live the big life I so crave, while also being present and mentally with these people right here with me.  Read about Willy’s journey at:  Touching Up My Roots.

Phew, that’s a lot to ask of one little blog.

So come share in our journey and see what the days and weeks and months bring us as we grow and learn from these small beings we are blessed to call our children.

Our first family camping adventure

Our First Family Camping Adventure to Cunningham Falls State Park.  Post about that adventure upcoming.