Book Review: The Giving Tree


Hayley

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

There’s this tree that loves a boy. They play hide-and-go-seek together. They play king-of-the-forest. The way they make a crown is they gather up some leaves and make them into one.

The boy kept getting older and older and he wanted stuff the tree didn’t have. First, he wanted some money, but the tree didn’t have any money so he had to get some apples and sell them in the city.

Then he wanted a house so he had to take the branches off and build them into a house.

Next he wanted a boat to sail away. But the tree didn’t have a boat so he had to cut the trunk off the tree and make a boat.

Then all he wanted was a quiet place to rest so he sat on the stump of the tree.

First I read it to my Daddy, but if I got stuck he helped me. Then Daddy read the rest to me.

I liked that it got happy and sad. I liked spending time with Daddy while we did it.

THE END

Gifted and Talented

I’m in GT (Gifted and Talented). It is exiting, wonderful, cool, fun, and demanding. We get to read challenging books, answer questions, and discuss what we read. We read books like “The Secret Garden” and “The Phantom Tollbooth”.

In math we get to do all these fun things like finding the area of a triangle, multiply two digit numbers, and divide by thousands. Math is my favorite subject.

The GT teacher is Mr. Reinhartsen. I love GT.

My New Invention: Pop-up machine

If I could make a new invention it would be a pop-up machine. It would be tiny: about the size of a pack of gum. Inside, it has everything you could imagine. When you want something just say what you want. You know what’s even cooler? Well, you can say the color and pattern you want, too.

Plus, you can say “pop eraser” and a special eraser will pop out. This isn’t just any ordinary eraser. This eraser will erase things you popped out that you no longer want. Just tap the thing two times with the special “pop eraser” and it disappears back into the machine.

These pop-up machines are only $100. That is not much considering you’ll never have to buy crappy junk again. Plus, you can tell the machine to pop out money that you can use to pay bills. These machines last forever so you won’t ever have to buy anything else.

That would be my invention.

Our Thanksgiving

Ok, so we didn’t watch the parade and we didn’t put together a jigsaw puzzle.  And I cooked a modest traditional Thanksgiving feast…without the stuffing.  What can I say, I was craving the after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches and looking forward to the other usual leftovers we could eat for the entire next week.  I admit that since I’ve been busy with school and work, I’ve kind of missed cooking.  But mostly, I wanted to have the opportunity to spend quality time with each of the girls and have them cook with me.

Hayley loves corn and asked to help me with the corn casserole.  She enjoyed chopping the onion with the food chopper until it made her “cry.”  She also helped me make the pumpkin pie filling.  I invited Jenna to help me make the potato-chive monkey bread rolls.  She was fascinated when she saw how the dough had risen and I explained to her the process.  Skye helped me with the pie crust and the mashed potatoes, which is a favorite of hers.

Hayley asked me last week whether we were going to shoot a turkey, buy a turkey, or just have chicken.  She loves chicken.  According to her, however, turkey does NOT taste just like chicken as I told her.  Turkey is “kind of good and kind of gross.”  The girls were a bit disgusted at first by the uncooked bird, especially when I animated it for them.  Then they were intrigued by it and Skye wondered where all the organs were.  She had studied the body systems last year in school.  They were not particularly excited about eating the gravy when they discovered it actually came from the turkey drippings.

We all sat together in the evening to play Uno H2O.  It’s the waterproof Uno card game.  I don’t know why we purchased waterproof cards.  Perhaps we could use them at the beach or the pool.  All the girls were quick to understand the game and had no trouble playing independently.  They got a little competitive, but there were no tears.  Everyone really seemed to have a good time.  I think it was a great day spent together.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

I’m very pleased with the schools here and with each of the girl’s teachers. We recently just met with them for parent-teacher conferences.

We first met with Jenna’s 2nd-grade teacher, Miss Holland. She just started teaching at Fairfield this year and seems to be a good match for Jenna. Jenna told us that she doesn’t like recess because there’s nothing to do. Apparently she just stands around watching the other kids. She likes to swing, but the swings are always being used by other children. We mentioned our concern about Jenna’s anxiety to Miss Holland, who ensured that she would observe Jenna during recess. She did mention to us that Jenna has been coming out of her shell since school started and has been speaking up more during class. She is interacting with the other kids at her table and seems to be adjusting well. She is doing very well academically, and particularly enjoys math, reading, and writing. Jenna loves to read. I enjoy listening to her while she reads aloud, with her various voice inflections, and I am often surprised by her subject matter choices. She’s very inquisitive and loves to learn. Miss Holland’s only suggestion for Jenna: to color the accompanying pictures to her stories more often. If that’s her main concern, I think we’re doing pretty well. She’s in Brownies again this year, which she absolutely loves. She gets to sell Girl Scout cookies, so now I have a great excuse to buy those Thin Mints…

Continue reading Parent-Teacher Conferences

Hayley and Daddy Go To War


War!

At Hayley’s recent parent/teacher conference we were told Hayley likes to play “compare”. It is a card game in which the students each flip a card and the student with the higher card gets them both. It’s a lot like the familiar card game War. So, today, I taught Hayley how to play War. And she beat me.

Good job, Hayley. I had a lot of fun with you. You were very fast at determining which was the higher card. Mrs. Arnold is correct, you are competitive!

A Typical Saturday

I didn’t have to work Saturday, which is unusual. The rest of the day was pretty normal. We visited the bookstore and the library. Then we went to Target for some essentials we had been putting off. In the evening Kirsten made cookies. As usual, I stole some of the dough. After the girls went to bed Kirsten and I made a $5 repair to save a $100 blender. Aren’t we boring? We love us, though.


The girls at Portland Public Library

Continue reading A Typical Saturday

Kirsten: Thanksgiving

Ah, there are so many things to be thankful for. I am most thankful for my wonderful family. I love those days that neither Brent nor I are working and we can spend time together. We have such a great time together, and usually we end up going to the bookstore, library, coffee shop, or to the coast (when it’s not too cold) to hang out, talk, and read. Brent is more than my best friend, and he keeps me sane.

Our daughters are so wonderful. They light up my life and truly make parenting rewarding. Skye, Jenna, and Hayley each have such unique personalities, and our little family would certainly not be complete without each of them. I’m thankful for all the relationships I have with my family and friends. I only wish I could see everyone more often. The time passes too quickly.

I’m grateful for the opportunity for learning and growth, and for the lessons that come from defeat. It is what we aspire to be that colors our characters–and it is our trying, not just our succeeding, which ennobles them. The best lessons are usually the hardest; and defeat often counts among these latter. The only true defeat lies in letting defeat win. Continue reading Kirsten: Thanksgiving

Brent: Thanksgiving

I like St. Patrick’s Day because it’s a time to drink beer, pinch people and have a parade. I don’t like most holidays because they’re all about food and getting stuff. Aren’t we fat enough already? And don’t we have enough crap stuffed inside our about-to-be-foreclosed McMansions?

Seriously, the traditions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversaries are for stupid people and invented by marketers. I’d rather not.

Does that make me a curmudgeon? Getting together with family is wonderful. So is football. But I could do without the feast.

Skye: Thanksgiving

Turkey

One sunny day Albert Turkey was in his garden picking his vegetables for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday but it was hunting season. That meant every turkey would have to hide or they were dinner for complete strangers. He was the smartest turkey. He knew good hiding places and could predict the future.

That evening he made a Thanksgiving feast and hid it in the place he was hiding for hunting season. That night as he ate his dinner he thought about his dead wife and how she died because of hunting season. As he lay in bed he heard screaming of other turkeys and bombs and bullets being blasted.

The next morning he found babies scattered all over the place wounded. His Thanksgiving plans were always ruined.[Okay it wasn’t the best holiday ever.] He always found a mess of blood and bones outside his door at Thanksgiving time.

During the day Albert thought of an idea. He was really smart so he could spell and build. He built a fence so people would keep out. Then, he wrote “Stay out.  From:the president”. After that, he taped it to the fence and no one was ever shot again. He had the best Thanksgivings ever and had his family come over for every one. He of course shared the idea with every turkey in the world.

THE END

About the drawing: The red blobs are the pools of blood. The little turkey crying is a wounded baby. On the lower-left is Albert’s hole. He doesn’t want anybody to go in it. The light bulb above Albert’s head is because he has a good idea. In the background is the idea he had of making a fence and putting a sign. So, it basically tells about my whole story.