Friday, July 31, 2009

Camelot = Paradise for Emma and Jessie

Soon, school will be starting back and everybody gets busier. Granny and Granddaddy jumped at the chance to have granddaughters (my and Judy's nieces) have a night on the town plus a sleepover.

Judy and I were thrilled to be invited along for part of the festivities: supper at Pizza Cafe and a rousing play session at Camelot Park in Pinehurst.

Jessie (left) and Emma (right) end up behind bars! Who'd have thought it?

Do they look "tired" to you?

Emma says, "You take the high road and I'll take the low road."

Jessie thinks Camelot is perfect for enacting fairy tales.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!"
This picture is to show you the Camelot Playground rules and regulations. But wait! If you look closely you'll find two cleverly hidden intruders!

"Yoo hoo. I'm upstairs! Be down in a minute."
"I'm in the belly of a Stegosaurus, a Stegosaurus, a Stegosaurus. Say that three times fast."
Gymnastics, dance, and play go together nicely.
This Cinderella keeps losing BOTH slippers. You would, too, if you were as active as she is!
For those of you who don't live in the North Carolina Sandhills or aren't acquainted with Camelot Park, it is the ultimate dream playground for kids-- adults, too, actually.
Whether children are there more for hide-and-seek, fitness activities, or imaginative play, Camelot is perfect for all that and more.
You won't find a better designed park anywhere, in a small town or big city. And with pine trees all around the perimeter and interspersed among the play equipment, it has more shade than any park I'm familiar with.
Well, back to the important stuff. Jessie loves performing stunts. She's as agile as can be.
Emma thinks this is a pretty good home-made version of a mechanical bull. And it's free!
Good thing Mama and Daddy weren't here to see this dare-devil routine.
The girls couldn't leave without a few slides on that old favorite, the spiral slide.
We were all pleased that with all that flipping, spinning, bouncing, and jiggling, neither girl lost her supper! (I just had to say it)
It was finally time to leave this fun make-believe playhouse and head to the warm, inviting coziness of Granny and Granddaddy's REAL house.
As they say in the movies, "A perfect end to a perfect day."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cole Family Hits Town: Babies Perform Admirably!

Last weekend was a glorious one for our Moore County family, as our Deep South cousins (plus one aunt and one uncle) journeyed up to inspect Brianna and Claire, the newest additions to (and editions of) our family.

Lindsey cradles a content Brianna.

Brantley says, "Brianna, I can do that, too."

This is the best part of the tour of Stephen and Amanda's house.

"Look, everybody! Claire's not crying!"

"What'd you say your name was again? I like the way you hold me."

"Yes, we can share Claire. . . if we have to."

Great-aunt Caryn has waited patiently for her turn. Great-aunt sounds "old" but Caryn's my "little sister."

"If you paid me enough I'd give up teaching first grade to hold her all day."
Great-uncle Steve knows every trick in the book to make or keep a baby happy.
"If you don't like this view. . ."

". . . maybe this one is better!"

After our entourage of 12 "took over" Golden Corral Friday night, we did "home visits" Saturday, then reconvened at Dugan's in Pinehurst, where we "took over" again.
An after-dinner stroll through the historic village was relaxing for the babies and grown-ups alike (yes, Brantley and Lindsey are grown-ups, too).

10 of us made it into the picture. Steve snapped the picture, and Stephen was keeping an eye on our vehicles-- from a convenient rocking chair.
We gathered one more time back at our house and Great-grandparents Jack and Thelma stopped by to get in on the fun and to see the Georgia folks. Last visits up here had been for Jennifer and Amanda's weddings, which seem oh, so long ago.
Stephen shows that Baby Brianna is developing some muscle and expanding her repertoire of stunts. Soon she'll be showing off for cousin Claire. "Can you do this?"
After all the passing around and fruit basket turnover, somehow the right babies end up back with the right mothers. Amanda and Jennifer are generous in sharing these precious girls, but enough is enough! "COME TO MOMMIE!"
It may be as long as Christmas before all of us are together again, but last weekend's memories are sweet enough to keep us charged up for a while. Now to get ready for a fall visit from Uncle Buddy and Grandpa Loyd! Can't happen soon enough!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tellers of Tales, Singers of Songs

By a stroke of luck, I received a call in mid-July to see if I could help with Moore County Library's Summer Reading Program on short notice. I was delighted to accept, and was able to do a Wednesday story hour at the main Carthage branch, then a Thursday story hour at the Vass Library.

Beyond storytelling itself, I tried to create an atmosphere of being in another time and another place, where telling tales an singing songs were the main entertainment. This T-shirt was perfect for that message.

I came prepared with an arsenal of my own favorite books, mostly folktales. These were chock full of time-tested and proven favorites from 33 years of teaching plus five years at Camp Cherokee.

I've always had a special place in my heart for Richard Chase's Jack Tales and Grandfather Tales. From them I read "Soap, Soap, Soap." Some of you blog-readers will know that one.

There were 63 children, parents, and caregivers at the Carthage library. Most have been regular attendees at the library's summer story hours, so they were well-mannered and expectant.

Uncle Remus was introduced to me by my mother, who also inspired me to read character voices dramatically. So it was quite natural to share the favorite Br'er Rabbit story of all time, "The Tar Baby."

"Well, Brer Rabbit," say Brer Fox, "I expect de best way is ter skin you. Come on, Brer Bear, let's get started."
"Skin me," say Brer Rabbit, "pull out my ears, snatch off my legs an chop off my
tail, but
please, please, PLEASE, Brer Fox an Brer Bear, don't fling me in dat

Naturally, my companion Chipper accompanied me both days. Not only does he love to meet new people, but he can't pass up a good tale.
I had never been in the Vass Town Library, but was very impressed with the facilities, which seemed to be either a former department store or lodge meeting hall, judging from the wonderful chandelier and some of the decor.

The crowd was equal in size to that of the first day. There was scarcely room to wiggle, and believe it or not, most children didn't! They've been well-prepared to be polite listeners.

One story that I read both days was from a new favorite book of mine, The Adventures of Molly Whuppie by Anne Shelby. Molly is like a female "Jack," and finds her way OUT of trouble as easily as she finds her way INTO it.
Well, that tickled Molly Whuppie so good, she laughed right out loud. She started laughing, got her tickle box turned over, and could not quit. . . . Finally the giants heard her. Now that's one thing about a giant. They cannot stand to be laughed at. . . . So they went to investigate and found a girl up a tree.
"Are you laughin' at us?" they asked her.
"I reckon I am," Molly said, laughing so hard the tears streamed down her face.
"Are you the one caused us to lose our meat and job our chins with forks and fight?"
"I reckon I am," Molly said, laughing so hard her sides hurt.
"Well, we aim to kill you," said the giants. Molly quit laughing.
That's another thing about a giant. first little thing that goes wrong, they're talking about killing somebody.

Special drawings for free books were held both days. Julie Brown, at the right, does a grand job running the summer program.

This young reader hung around afterward to have his picture taken with Chipper. I told him how much I liked his Cherokee T-shirt.

His brother wanted his picture taken with Chipper, too. I told him I love all the Indiana Jones movies. Which I do.

Julie assured me that she wants me on her regular schedule next summer, and I couldn't be happier. If the same children come just about every time, they should get to know Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear, Jack, Will, Tom, Molly Whuppie, and a whole host of other characters mighty well!

One Week Later

Although I've had to "borrow" some of these pictures, they're all recent and that's what some of my readers/viewers are clamoring for.

Tuesday night, Amanda, Stephen, and Brianna came over for burgers and fries in honor of Stephen's birthday. Stephen's such a good sport he doesn't even mind if Brianna tries to upstage him on his birthday.

Thursday, Judy took Thelma and Elsie to visit with Claire and Jennifer. Claire was a happy camper for them as they took turns holding her adoringly.

Now, for the main attraction. This wasn't the first time Brianna (left) and Claire (guess) met, but they were a little more aware of each other this time. Let's see what they're thinking.
"I'm not speaking to HER until SHE speaks to me!"

Nah, that was just a joke. These too are going to be inseparable cousins-like-sisters all their lives. Here's what they were really talking about.
"Pssst. . . . Does your milk ever taste like onions?"

This weekend these glamour girls get to meet Caryn, Steve, Brantley, and Lindsey, up from Georgia for a quick tour. It'll be love at first sight. It'll also be another blog post!
Thanks for all the warm fuzzies regarding my blog, whether through comments on-line, e-mails, Facebook, or in person. I'm glad you all care about my family, too!