Saturday, March 31, 2012

It's all downhill from here.

This week marks the 8th year Stella has graced us with her presence. The kid lives life to the fullest. If you don’t believe me, just consider what she asked for her birthday, and her explanation to accompany this reuqest…. “I can already ride fast, going down step hills on my bike. I can run and skip fast. I can ski downhill fast. Now I want to learn to roller skate down the hill fast.”

The first time she said this, my expression no doubt, went flat. In fact I regretted even asking her what she’d really like for her birthday. She repeated her birthday wishes about hills, speed, and roller skates several more times over the past weeks. But I’ve come to realize that trying to protect this free spirit for the rest of her life will just make us both miserable. So Stella, right after you write that thank you card to your aunt for your ’cool’ birthday gift. Go ahead. Roll on. (I'll be trying to channel my inner Napoleon Dynamite just watching you.)

Thank you Aunt Betsy, for the protective gear included. That makes it a little easier to let her go “wooo-hooo-ing” down the hill.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Visitor Welcomed to Belgium

I wish I had a greenback for every Flat Stanley we’ve hosted here.

Who’s Flat Stanley you ask? You’re joking, right?
Sounds like a Bob the Builder tool doesn’t it? It’s not.

The basic principle of The Flat Stanley Project is to connect students with a willing participant in another location for the purpose of education. Flat Stanley travels to far reaches of the globe, returning with information about the areas visited. The project essentially begins by sending out "flat" visitors from a classroom, through the mail. Kids then talk about, track, or write about their flat character's journey and adventures.
We’ve welcomed numerous Flat Stanley’s to our threshold over the last 10 years. So many in fact that when we return to the US next year I want a written exemption from this project!

Our first Flat Stanley project was done in the early 2000s, when we took photos in Williamsburg for our niece. I have no intention of digging those up for you here. But I did saunter across these….

Flat Stanley in the Netherlands
 Flat Stanley in London

 Flat Stanley in Spain
 Flat Stanley "Bear" in Guam

Nowadays, there is a Flat Stanley website, aps, and of course, Photoshop J
But we prefer to do it the ol’ fashioned way. Pack that ‘kid’ up and schlep it too as many new places as possible!

 Personally I absolutely believe in this project when it’s done well. There are all too many kids in the United States who, for one reason or another, never have the opportunity to step foot outside their own hometown or state. We’ve come to realize, in our travels that it’s really important, on so many levels, for people to know and understand that the world is bigger than their own backyard. This is just one small step in that forward direction for kids and we’ll support 1000 more Flat Stanley projects if asked. (Ugh. That would be a lot though and I might actually have to invest in Photoshop then.)

I digress. Hopping down from the soapbox, let's move to the introduction shall we?
We’re quite thrilled to welcome the newest Flat Stanley project to our doorstep.
Meet “Flat Brooke (hint, in Arleigh's hands)….Here’s a shout out to Brooke and her class!
Welcome to Belgium Brooke!

If you’re wondering, Flat Brooke doesn’t eat much and is fairly quiet, which is helpful in a house with 4 kids and 2 dogs. She is an efficient traveler and is easy on laundry, so she’s a nice guest to have around.  She is anxious to visit a bit of Belgium, and of course, try the waffles. Who wouldn’t love that? 

Here is a welcome message to Flat Brooke from each of the kids.

Arleigh – teaching the days of the week via a song (the only song he really loves to sing these days)

"Hello Flat Brooke. I will sing a song for you in French. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Saturday then Sunday...."

Emory- wanted to be sure she knew that soccer is a big deal here- but it’s called football!
"Hello my name is Emory. I am 6 years old. I live in Belgium."

Addie- quite the hostess…

Stella and her French tutor took a minute as well….

..."Welcome to Belgium Flat Brooke.  My name is Stella."

I promised updates through the blog, so stay tuned for the adventures of Flat Brooke over the next two weeks until she returns to her classroom back in the U.S. of A.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kiss My Stinky Feet

Ok, Ok, I know. I’m lagging on posts. With good reason though. Promise. We’re undergoing a computer overhaul. The entire system. So I’ve been asked to hit the “hold” button on photos for a few days. That’s just enough time to let me work through a photography class and set up some shiny new things on the newly revamped system. So, hang in there, and please stop back.

In the meantime, posting a conversation between Arleigh and Emory that occurred yesterday.
It’ll warm your heart and you'll feel the love around here, but don’t expect anyone to kiss your feet.

EMORY: OOOOOwwwww!!! (screaming at mega-decibels) “That hurt!”

ARLEIGH: Saw-wee! I didn’t mean to ‘tep on ‘ur foot.

EMORY: You should kiss it.

ARLEIGH: I don’t wanna kiss your foot. But I’ll kiss ‘ur cheek.

EMORY: You need to kiss my foot to make it better.

ARLEIGH: I don’t want to kiss ur feet. They aren’t nice and they ‘mell funny.


ARLEIGH: Er, I could hit you on the cheek, then kiss ‘ur cheek. Then ‘ull feel all better!