Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Princess and the Peas, OR, Chloe's First Halloween

For Chloe's first Halloween, we went to Mike's workplace for a bit of trick-or-treating this afternoon. She was the Princess from the story, "The Princess and the Pea" - or in this case, the princess and the peas. To no-one's surprise, she was a great hit! :-) Enjoy the pictures, and the story, which I've included below. There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled right around the world to find one, but there was always something wrong. There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them. So at last he had come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.

Mmmmm... peas!

One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightninged and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night. In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it. It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.

Faster, Daddy, faster! I am having SO much fun - if only I could walk by myself!

'Well we shall soon see if that is true,' thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses. This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept. 'Oh terribly bad!' said the princess. 'I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!'

Mmmm, this candy wrapper's good.

They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin. So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it. Now this is a true story.

Many thanks to this site for the story as used here, originally written by Hans Christian Andersen.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Billy Goat Gruff

Once upon a time, there were three billy goats who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat. The name of all three was "Gruff." On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream which they had to cross, and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll with eyes as big as saucers and a nose as long as a poker. The youngest Billy Goat Gruff came to cross the bridge first. "Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap!" said the bridge. "Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll. "Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff, and I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the billy goat, with a very small voice. "No, you're not!" cried the troll, "for I'm coming to gobble you up!" "Oh, no! Pray don't take me; I'm too little!" said the smallest Billy Goat Gruff. "Wait a bit until my brother, the second Billy Goat Gruff, comes. He's much bigger and will make a much better meal." "Very well," said the troll. "Be off with you!" A little while later, the second Billy Goat Gruff came to cross the bridge. "Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap," said the bridge. "Who's that tripping over my bridge?" roared the troll. "Oh, it is I, the second Billy Goat Gruff. I'm going up to the hillside to make myself fat," said the middle brother, whose voice wasn't nearly as small as his younger brother's.
"Oh, no, you're not! For here I come to gobble you up!" cried the troll.
"No, no, don't take me! Wait a little long till my brother, the big Billy Goat Gruff, comes along. He's much bigger and will make a much better meal."
"Very well, then. Be off with you!" Said the troll.

Just then, the big Billy Goat Gruff came along.

"Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap!" said the bridge. This Billy Goat Gruff was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned beneath him.

"Who's that tramping over my bridge?" roared the troll.

"It is I! The big Billy Goat Gruff!" said the billy goat, who had a voice as ugly and hoarse as the troll itself.

"I am coming to gobble you up!" the troll cried.

"Well then, come along! I've got two spears, and I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears; I've got besides two curling-stones, and I'll crush you to bits, body and bones!"

That was what the big billy goat said. And then he flew at the troll and poked his eyes out with his horns,and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that he went up to the hillside. There the billly goats got so fat they were scarcely able to walk home again. And if the fat hasn't fallen off of them, why, they're still fat!

* * *

Whew! Many thanks to this site for the Norwegian version of this tale, which I copied nearly verbatim. I must say, I don't remember this story being quite as macabre in my childhood, having only a picture-book image in my mind of three little goats tramping over a bridge with a little troll cowering behind.

As perhaps you'd divined from the photos, this was intended to be a post about our own little Billy Goat Gruff, who is putting everything in her mouth you could dream of. Really. In these photos: chrysanthemum, toilet paper, anything in the recycling bin. Today: the little plastic "t" that comes off when you clip a tag off new clothes, some leaves, old Cheerios hidden in various cracks and crevices, Daddy's drawings for work, and miscellaneous mystery items which will become clear as we monitor her, ah, elimination in the days to come.

She's always been one to put things in her mouth. From birth, it was clear that she wanted to have something in there, and I don't think that my resolution to avoid pacifiers lasted longer than two hours after we were alone with her (and probably much less). But lately, things have gotten out of control. I know she's teething. She's been teething incessently since our return to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. This just seems a bit excessive. She grabbed my *razor* the other day and had it in her mouth - it must have been the grace of God alone that allowed us to escape that unscathed, though I do think that I may now be qualified for the Bad Mother of the Year award. She's vomited three times this week alone clearing out dried-up leaves that I've failed to clear out with my finger (and now she's learning that if she pulls my hand away from her mouth and sticks out her tongue at the same time, Mommy can't get to her little mouth-toys!). She's not going outside again until we have six inches of snow. Do you remember such stages??? Is there an end in sight???


Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Next Vehicle

My next vehicle (click here for more). Many thanks to Ben for forwarding the site to me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

International Consortium for the Promotion of Dancing Swine

The International Consortium for the Promotion of Dancing Swine has been working overtime ensuring that their clients are properly represented in all kinds of media, but most especially children's board books. On the left, the Piggy Rockettes of Okinawa, featured in the Hiyo-chan and Tama-chan book entitled, "Guron Kurokuro Dare Kara?" On the right, their American brethren in Sandra Boynton's "Moo, Baa, La La La!"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clever Girl!

Here's a picture of our clever girl taken a couple-few weeks ago. Chloe was crawling around the kitchen floor sticking everything into her mouth that she could get her hands on, as usual, when she picked up my water bottle... chewed on the straw for a minute... then started drinking out of it like an old pro! This is a pretty fantastic development for us, as she usually refuses to drink water out of a bottle ("What are you guys trying to pull on me??? This isn't milk!!!") and her excitement over drinking from a cup is a few months ahead of that skill set. :-) In other news, I've been contemplating moving my blog to Typepad. Every few weeks - maybe not quite that often, just often enough to be frustrating - Blogger seems to get a bug and I'm not able to post, or post pictures, or upload video. It seems like an awful lot of work, though, and I don't really even know if Typepad is prone to that sort of downtime. One thing I've been thinking about is blogging a little bit more anonymously - how Googleable do I want myself, my family, and my child to be? I started this blog really on a whim shortly after we'd arrived in Japan, and now that we're back I have some thinking to do about the shape it should take in this new place in our lives. Speaking of said child, there goes another naptime...yeesh, that didn't last long.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Silly Question?

Help me out with this. It's apple season in Michigan. We picked some fantastic Michigan apples just a couple weeks ago ourselves. So why did this apple that I bought at Meijer make the trek all the way from New Zealand??? Nothing against New Zealand, mind you. I just don't see the sense in it.
Going to the farmers' markets was one of the things I was looking forward to most upon returning to Michigan, and it has not disappointed - Chloe and I will be making a stop at our local market later on today, in fact. There are lots of great reasons to buy locally, but as Chloe's up early from her morning nap (although if she's up "early" three days out of five, can I really say it's "early?"), I'll have to be brief.
  • It just tastes better than the supermarket stuff. Really, it does - it's being bred more for taste than how well it'll travel from, say, New Zealand to Michigan. Try it and see for yourself!
  • It's no secret that Michigan's economy is suffering. I just read the other day that our unemployment rate is somewhere upwards of 7%, compared to our nationwide average of just over 4%. But did you know that agriculture is the second-largest component of Michigan's economy, after automotive? Buying local supports our local economy and keeps jobs in Michigan.
  • Keeping farming profitable also allows farmers to keep farming rather than selling their land to developers, which slows urban sprawl and preserves open space.
  • An awful lot of fossil fuel was burned and pollution added to the atmosphere to bring my apple from New Zealand to Michigan. It just seems to make sense to limit that sort of trek to things that can't be produced locally. There is an environmental cost when things come so far.

My challenge to you: Check out your local farmer's market this week! Most are open on the weekends and often at midweek, too. Send me a photo and I'll post it on this blog (now is that an incentive or a disincentive?)!

If you live in Michigan and don't know where your local farmer's market is, go to this website to find out. Do it now! Then click here to learn more about community-supported agriculture. Yum!