Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Reading List

Brother Bear, like millions of other bear cubs out there, is participating in a Summer Reading Club this summer. It's extra fun this summer since he's actually reading the books himself.

Inspired by Brother Bear and our upcoming vacation to the Land of the Bears (more details coming soon), I decided to come up with a Summer Vacation Reading List for myself.

Except I can't.

Because every time I go online to pick out a few books, I'm overwhelmed with the millions of books available. Does any one else feel that way?

So far, here are the few ideas I have:
  • Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout (2009 Pulitzer Prize Winner)
  • Resilience, Elizabeth Edwards
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
But, I'm still not sure.

So, I'm asking for help from my loyal Cyber Bears. Please suggest potential books for my Summer Reading List!! Just click on "comments" and then put the book suggestions in the comments area (as always, if you are challenged by technology, just click "anonymous"). A Dear Bear Friend says about me, "you will read anything" - which is relatively true. So feel free to suggest anything other than a presidential biography.

I'll post a final reading list once I cull through your suggestions. You might even get your named mentioned.

You have until Thursday night. So get crackin' Cyber Bears!

I can't wait!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Scientific Discovery

Brother Bear has been attending a "summer camp" this week at a local university. The title of the workshop is "Young Scientific Detectives". According to the brochure, "they are the detective, and they will discover what causes the magical things that they see every day." "They will use their observational skills to uncover the secrets of the world right in front of them." This is totally up Brother Bear's alley. He has been ecstatic about this camp to say the least! I mean, who can't get excited about a little baking soda and vinegar experimentation?

Everyday when I pick him up, I ask him what was his favorite scientific thing that he learned from camp. Want to know what today's favorite lesson was? Here's what Brother Bear said:

"My favorite thing I learned was that you shouldn't hide under the table 'cause you might bust your lip and have to go to the nurse like so-and-so did today."

Now, that is some keen scientific observational detective work if I've ever seen it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A fly on the wall...

Have you ever found yourself saying, "I wish I could have been a fly on that wall!"? I know I've said it more times than I wish. I've always enjoyed the idea of being in the midst of a situation I wouldn't otherwise be invited to, and well, just watching what happens.

Until Monday night, that is.

Monday night, I watched the most recent episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8". I can't say I've been a loyal fan over the years (haven't bought a book, attended a seminar, etc., etc.), but I have kept up with the show (and the tabloids). Going into this season, I had such high hopes that things would work out. Then Monday night, I watched as they "together" announced their separation and subsequent divorce proceedings.

I realized that as a reality show voyeur, I had seriously crossed a line. I wanted out. I didn't want to be watching the train wreck anymore. These sad people sat in front of a t.v. camera and talked about the meltdown of their marriage and the potential effects on their (and their childrens') lives and I was watching the whole time. I felt so dirty!

Regardless of your opinions about their marriage and their issues, you have to agree - it wasn't quite as fun being a fly on the wall this time, was it?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An last

It is finished:
I TOLD YOU I wasn't crafty. No judgement, please.

I know you have all been dying to know what our special craft turned out to be...

Here's what it isn't (based on your guesses):
  • a turtle
  • a yeast cell budding
  • contemporary art (although, yeah, maybe it is)
  • a summer squash
  • a very pregnant snake
  • Nemo
  • a cement mixer
  • a hot air balloon (lying on its side)
  • a balloon
  • a bowling pin that is "in a family way"
  • a boobie (ahem. lovingly submitted by my Big Brother Bear)
All very good guesses.

But, alas. All very good wrong guesses.

I'm sure that the paint job Brother Bear offered only adds to the confusion. It seems that Brother Bear inherited my penchant for bold (and creative) color choices.

Okay. Enough stalling. Our incredibly realistic, artistic and crafty paper mache project turned out to be......

A Ladybug.


See the white eyes on the blue ladybug head? And the brown spots on the orange ladybug body? How can you not totally see that it is, of course, A LADYBUG??

It all went wrong when I allowed Brother Bear to be in charge of inflating the balloon for the head of the ladybug. We had some issues with proportion. Then we had some issues with connecting the head to the body, which only added to our proportion issues. Of course, given that it was a craft (and I AM NOT CRAFTY), I opted to just go with the flow versus trying to fix said issues.

Story of my life.

Thanks for playing along! I thoroughly enjoyed your responses!! It's nice to know there are cyber bears out there reading!

Next time we do a craft, I'll let you guess again. I have a feeling it won't be any time soon, though!!! I have to recover from this craft first.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I have a confession. I am not crafty. I can make a meal to serve 12, but I have absolutely no art skills. My drawings are still stick-bears and I can barely sew on a button. Mention the word "scrapbooking" and I go running for the hills.

My real problem is, I wish I was crafty. Therefore, I often find myself inspired to be crafty with my bear cubs, and then end up knee deep in craft. Literally.

Due to an extraordinary craft project our kindergarten bears are doing this week in Vacation Bible School (facilitated by an extremely crafty teacher bear), I found myself - yet again -inspired.

So, this afternoon, Brother Bear and I embarked on our first every paper mache project. He was very excited. He tore the newspaper strips while I made the glue paste. I was actually almost enjoying myself.

Then we started with the glue. After creating our "base" from balloons, we began the process of dipping and glueing the newspaper strips. Despite my best efforts to explain that "less is more", Brother Bear was covered in glue paste after mere seconds. I'm fairly certain that I'll be peeling glue off my arms for weeks. My distaste for crafts (and messiness) became more and more evident with each additional strip of paper. But, for Brother Bear's sake, I hung in there and we covered the whole thing.

Here's a picture of where we are so far:


It's becoming more clear to you that I really mean it when I say I'm not crafty, isn't it?

Any guesses as to what it is we are making?

Special prize for the person that posts a correct guess in the comments. (Please remember, this is a preschool craft, so keep it "G" folks!). I'll be amazed if any of you actually get it.

I'll post the answer with a picture of the finished project after we paint it. Which we can't do until the thing dries.

And judging by how much glue we slapped on it, that should be somewhere around October.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What We Learned Today

I'm sure you are all anxious to find out what we learned today in Vacation Bible School today. So, without further adieu, here's what we learned:

Mama Bear: Cephas (Peter's Aramaic Name) is not pronounced "see-fuss" as I had always thought but instead is correctly pronounced "kay-fuss". Who knew after my very Baptist upbringing, 2 college semesters of Chapel, 1 college semester of Old Testament and another college semester of New Testament that I would learn something new?

Sugar Bear: Since she can't exactly tell me what she learned, I'm guessing she learned that God loves her, and (if I know her like I do) that cute only gets you so far in life.

Brother Bear: Brother Bear learned that he can't marry his sister. Yep. That's right. It seems that Brother Bear told the senior pastor that he was going to marry Sugar Bear. How in the world he got to this topic when the lesson for the day was Jesus walking on water, I'll never know. None-the-less, one of the other teachers kindly explained to him that he can't marry family. Too bad. They would have made a cute couple.

See what great things you learn in Vacation Bible School?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Three Simple Words

Vacation. Bible. School.

That's right folks, It's VBS time here in our neck of the woods. And 3 of the 4 bears are participating in full force.

This morning myself and 3 of the best teacher-bears I know attempted to wrangle 27 recently-graduated-from-kindergarten bears.

Need I say more?

A dear bear friend of ours (who also just happens to be a Methodist Minister) recently posted the following as his Facebook status update (I know, I know...don't remind me that I'm still lurking about Facebook): Said Friend is loving that it is Vacation Bible School week! While there will be little "peace and quiet" there will be lots of kids digging Jesus.

Need I say more?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Up, up, and AWAY!

Last weekend, I treated Brother Bear to a much needed, much overdue date with Mama Bear. We decided on lunch and a movie. I was excited because the new Pixar movie, "UP" was showing, and Brother Bear was excited because, well, we were going out...without Sugar a movie. Need I say more?

We chose to go to a local theatre/grill combo. You know, the kind where you order your meal and then eat it in the dark while the movie is showing? (note to self: certain foods are not approved for eating in the dark). After Brother Bear figured out the waiter-calling-gizmo, we finally ordered our food and sat back to enjoy the previews. Such fun!

And then, the movie began. And the balloon that was my date with my precious, oh-so-innocent, 5 year old Bear Cub started to lose air very quickly.

The animation was fantastic. I felt like I could reach out and pluck that old crochety bear's eyebrows myself. And little Russell, well, who wouldn't want to take him home? But in the first 10 minutes of the movie, we had already addressed infertility and old age/dying. I wasn't exactly thrilled when Brother Bear leaned over to me and said, "Mama Bear, did..she...die?" "Uh, yes sweetie, she..uh..yeah..did." "Why, Mama Bear?" " see, she was sick, and..uh..God didn't want her to be sick anymore, so..uh.. he decided she should be in Heaven." Oh, and don't forget the plot line about the dead-beat dad who constantly leaves his sweet son in a lurch.

Then the dogs arrived. I know, you are thinking, but the dog in the movie trailers is so cute. You are right. He is adorable. It's the other 150 snarling, menacing, blood hounds that are so awful. Brother Bear practically hid behind my arm every time they entered a scene. I asked him if he wanted to leave, and he said no. Those were some ferocious man-eating-dogs.

And if that wasn't enough, there was a suspense-thriller-ending that was the animated equivalent of Lethal Weapon. I'm talking swords, children and old people almost falling to their death, exploding planes (with evil dogs aboard), and lighting a house on fire. For those of you that know Brother Bear, he's a regular old Smokey The Bear Fire Ranger. He's terrified of fire. So, when the fire started, he began making this noise that I've never heard before. It was somewhere between a squeal and a scream and was accompanied by tears. I scooped him up, and let him hide his eyes, all the time explaining to him "this is a movie, it's not real, everything is going to be OK."

When the movie ended, I couldn't have been more happy. I realized that the lunch I'd just eaten was still sitting in my throat from all the stress of calming Brother Bear down. I was immediately upset with myself that I had mistakenly taken him to see a PG13 movie. When I checked though, I realized that it was indeed a PG movie. The reason for the PG rating? "Some peril and action". Darn tootin'! Guess I'm going to have to go "fuddy duddy" on the movies for a while. Only G ratings from now on. My blood pressure can't take it. Not to mention my sweet bear cub!!

The funny thing was, a few days later, he was telling a friend that he saw the movie and that it was great. ??? How quickly the mind repairs that damage.

Maybe for him. But not for me!

Next date with Mama Bear: clowns.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Weight Loss Miracle!

Okay, I admit, I might be a teensy weensy bit obsessed with losing my post bear cubs "fluff". There was a layer of "fluffiness" that I just couldn't shed with Brother Bear, and now I've added another significant layer post Sugar Bear. While I try to give myself a healthy dose of grace, in all honesty, I'm still very obsessed with it.

As a weight loss veteran, I know that healthy food, sensible portions, and exercise are the key. Just because I know this information doesn't mean I actually follow through with it. Most days, I'd just prefer a magic wand (read: surgeon's fine touch) or some other equally "simple" fix. Who wouldn't, right?

Well, it seems I've stumbled across the miracle we've all been looking for. On the back page of the newspaper today there was a full page ad for the Earth Footwear "Exer-Fit" Flip-Flop. Here are some excerpts from the ad:
"our one-of-a-kind, calorie burning flip-flop"
"you can burn more calories with every step"
Cyber Bears, if I'd know that I was burning ANY calories wearing flip-flops, don't you think I would have been wearing mine more often? But now there is a flip-flop with which I can burn even more calories! I'm so in.

So, of course, I googled them and then went to their website. Apparently it's not just flip-flops. They have a complete line of "attractive" calorie burning footwear. EARTH FOOTWEAR, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE? Forget Weight Watchers, Earth Footwear is my new solution. Just watch this video, (seriously, please watch this post just isn't the same without watching it) and I'm sure you too will be convinced. But if you are a hard sell, just read this unbiased study they conducted (led by their fitness consultant, of course). Pretty convincing, right?

I can't wait to dash to the store and buy my new, calorie burning flip-flops. Of course, I'll wear them right out of the store. I don't want to miss another single calorie burning opportunity! Then I'll flip-flop myself right on over to the ice cream store.

Why not? I'm burning calories the whole way!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ode to the Crock Pot

Oh, Crock Pot, why do you get such a bad rap?
You work so hard on dinner, whilst I take a nap.

You boil and toil and make our sup
And then at 6 we eat it up!

Tacos, barbecue, and other things neat
Not stews or soups or mystery meat.

'Tis true others may laugh at our love affair,
But a week without you, I cannot dare.

I love you dear Crock Pot, you're my best friend
I'll never leave you, we're together to the end!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Still alive!

While Papa Bear is away it seems Mama Bear has no time for play (read: blogging).  My apologies to all of you loyal cyber bears.  That's right.  You have a name now!  It took me a while, but I finally came up with something I like!  Hope you do too!

I'm sneaking this post in while Sugar Bear has her afternoon hibernation and Brother Bear does some serious educational work (read: watches his allotted two, pre-approved public television "educational" shows).  I'm certain I don't have much time before I'm pulled away to nurse a bear cub or play yet another rousing game of Chutes and Ladders.  

Just wanted to let you know I'm alive (in case you were worried?).  This is the first time I've "flown solo" with 2 bear cubs, a dog, and a blog.  As you can tell, I've had some trouble getting to everything!  Something has to give, right?

Should you want to know what I've been up to this week here's a run down:  I wisely scheduled my dog's annual vet appointment this week (in my defense, I thought it would be a fun outing) and we spent a whopping 1.5 hours waiting for them to confirm that, yes, my dog is old.  Fabulous use of everyone's time.  We've taken meals to 2 friends, one of whom lives in Southern Oklahoma.  Poor planning on my part had us stuck in 5:00 traffic.  Which also just happens to be Sugar Bear's mealtime.  Niiiiiice!  Sugar Bear pooped in the bathtub not once, not twice, but THREE nights in a row.  I thought about going for a record 4 last night, but decided to allow an evening dip in a neigh-bears pool to be a substitute for a bath. (Please don't call the authorities!)  We made 1 Whipping Cream Pound Cake and a batch of Old Fashioned Ginger Snaps.  We've also enjoyed several games of Chutes and Ladders (which I always lost) and dinner by candle light.  Then we topped things off yesterday with a 5 year old tantrum that will go down in the history books.  Needless to say, everyone is ready for Papa Bear to be home.  Good thing he bounces back quickly from jet lag!  (Bwahhahahahahahaha!).

Until my creative juices return (and I get through my pile of laundry to be folded), I'm linking you to this blog posting.  Fabulous....

Thanks to those bear friends and family that have offered help this week.  Big bear hugs to all!!!!  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Boyling Point

If you haven't already heard, Susan Boyle didn't win Britain's got Talent.  Don't know who I'm talking about?  Then you've probably been hiding under a rock for several weeks.  Take a look here at the You Tube sensation that started Susan's meteoric rise to 2nd place overall in Britain's Got Talent (and 1st place in the hearts of millions).

Every time I watch this (or read an article, or see a news story...) I find myself equally thrilled, mystified and angry.

I first heard about Susan from a forwarded email.  The body of the email went something like this, "A MUST WATCH.  She is incredible!!  This is a good reminder not to judge people by their appearances!!"  I'll admit, I was a wee bit intrigued so I clicked the link.  I then watched a slightly odd, but spunky woman walk out onto stage as the fans and judges giggled and rolled their eyes.  Clearly nervous, Boyle stumbles over her answers and admits to wanting a career equal to British musical star Elaine Paige.  Then the music starts and that little Scottish gal belts out  a darn amazing rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" from Cameron Mackintosh's hit musical, Les Miserables.  

So, what is all the fuss about?  

It seems that millions of people are amazed that a short, plump, single, unemployed, 47 year old woman with overgrown eyebrows can sing.  And sing well.


Can someone please tell me why we are so amazed at this?  Have we really become so shallow that the thought of an "unattractive" woman being talented is shocking?  A friend said to me, "If she was tall, skinny, and blonde nobody would be talking about her."  I agree wholeheartedly.  Does anyone besides me find this utterly disgusting?  

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
And they turn your dream to shame

This woman couldn't have picked a better song.   I suspect Susan Boyle heard those lyrics in her head as she received rejection after rejection throughout her life.  I suspect some of us have sung them as well.

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed 
Before Susan Boyle walked on that stage, I'm certain there were times that she felt that "life" had killed her dreams.  In fact, she walked off the stage as soon as she finished her first performance.  It was almost like she knew those judges were going to reject her.  I sure am glad she decided to audition one more time, aren't  you?  It was a nice little reminder that those that make the decisions don't always get it right.

I did find the finals bittersweet, however.  Did you notice the subtle (or, not-so-subtle) changes?  Gone were the bushy eyebrows!  The gray hair?  Miraculously disappeared.  Apparently the tigers attacked in a different way this time.

As I begin to navigate the world of raising a female bear cub, these kinds of stories get my dander up.  "Beauty is only skin deep," or "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" wont hold muster when Sugar Bear meets the tigers.  And I'll admit I am terrified about it.  

There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting

This is what I hope for my bear cubs.  A world that is exciting and amazing.  A world that sees them for who they are, not what they look like.  A world with very few tigers and, hopefully, a lot more Susan Boyles.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fair Trade Off

The Four Bears Den is minus one bear this week.  Papa Bear just left for a week long trip to a land far far away where they speak a beautiful language, have delicious food and breathtaking scenery.  He promises me he will actually work while he's there.  However, he will also enjoy room service, running along a river, really good coffee, and even better wine.

Meanwhile, I reheated leftover (what-I-think-used-to-be) enchilladas after I finished fishing Bear Cub poop out of the bathtub.

Sounds like a fair trade off, don't you think?