Category Archives: Family Fun

Summer Solstice Serendipity

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Christina being her spontaneous, carefree self splashing through the Georgetown Waterfront Fountain.  I just loved that she ran through without a care in the world!  This is the free spirit of what it means to be a child.  As parents we have to remember to say YES more often because children know the secret to understanding how to embrace the simple exquisite pleasures of life!  A simple YES created a moment of JOY and a lifetime memory.  Who cares that you didn’t have any clothes to change into.  “I’ll just walk around and dry off!”  ~ Christina

 

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It is a happy talent to know how to play.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Always jump in the puddles! Always skip alongside the flowers. The only fights worth fighting are the pillow and food varieties. ~Terri Guillemets

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 Whoever wants to understand much must play much.  ~Gottfried Benn

 

National Poetry Month – A Poem In Your Pocket – Where the Sidewalk Ends

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For each day of National Poetry Month – Carry a poem in your pocket and share it with family and friends.  Today, I share with you one of my favorites…

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstein

Looking for poems to put in your pocket?  Visit poets.org.

 

April is National Poetry Month – Dear Poet Project

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In the spirit of Rainer Maria Rilke‘s Letters to a Young Poet, in which Rilke replies to letters from a young military cadet and aspiring poet asking for his advice, the Academy of American Poets is inviting students to engage with poetry by handwriting letters to some of the poets who serve on the Academy’s Board of Chancellors.  Please share the information below with the students in your community!

Any young person is encouraged to participate! Here’s how:

1) Read some of the poems written by the Academy’s Chancellors. Here are some suggested poems to read and respond to:

Latin & Soul by Victor Hernández Cruz

Cherry Blossoms by Toi Derricotte

Broadway by Mark Doty

[Where do words come from?]    by Vénus Khoury-Ghata,    translated by Marilyn Hacker

You and I Belong in This Kitchen    by Juan Felipe Herrera

Fall by Edward Hirsch

A Hand by Jane Hirshfield

Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye

Nothing in That Drawer by Ron Padgett

This Bridge, Like Poetry, is Vertigo    by Marie Ponsot

Comet Hyakutake by Arthur Sze

Fast-Speaking Woman by Anne Waldman

2) Compose a one to two page handwritten letter sharing your questions and thoughts about the poem with its author. (Be sure to include your age and grade, along with a return address if you hope to receive a response).

3) Send your letter to:

Dear Poet Project c/o Academy of American Poets75 Maiden Lane, Suite 901

New York, NY 10038

Select letters may receive a reply from the poet and be featured on the Academy’s website, Poets.org!

Source:  http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/619

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

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Yesterday was National S’mores Day.  Christina and I wanted to celebrate by trying to make s’mores for the first time.

This was our first attempt:

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We cracked up as we realized they looked nothing like the picture on the box.  The jumbo marshmallow we used practically exploded.  We thought we could fix it by putting the other graham cracker on top, buy the marshmallow just oozed all over the sides of the crackers!

We decided to divide the jumbo marshmallow in four sections and use one section per s’more.  Mission accomplished!  They were so yummy!

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Social Networking Media MaNiA!!!

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It seems that the big promotion for electronic communication is that is was going to simplify our lives.  I don’t know about you, but with all of the avenues to be socially engaged, I have become completely overwhelmed.  Perhaps there is a 12-step meeting for Social Networking Media Addiction (SNMA).

As I consider my options, I realize that there are a few things that I can do to try to manage the influx of information from so many sources.

1.  Deactivate the email notifications to my social media accounts and my blogs.

2.  Schedule time during the week to review the activity on my social networking media accounts so that it doesn’t consume so much of my time.

3.  Deactivate my email account on my phone.  I can check my email on my desktop when I get home.

4.  Deactivate e-newsletter subscriptions.  The newsletter will be on the website which I can search for on Google at another time.

5.  Deactivate the email notification of telephone voice messages.

Based on today’s level of engagement, it would seem that these strategies are a bit extreme.  Perhaps I have a secret desire to become a recluse.  Maybe, but I would like to feel more in control of the amount of information that I am exposed to each day.  So I may implement a few of these strategies to see if it helps me to manage the social networking media mania more efficiently.

The long-term goal is to free up more time to spend with family and friends.  I am looking forward to enjoying their company and being in their presence.  I need more human connection in this season of my life.

I’ll share my progress at the next SNMA Meeting.

Peace and Love!

Michelle

Busboys and Poets

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I Speak With Conviction

The rhythm of verse

Filled with passion and purpose

Expanding your mind

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012

After five years of  hearing about all of the exciting activities that are hosted by this venue, I  finally experienced an open mic event at Busboys and Poets!  There are four Busboys and Poets restaurants/bookstores in the Washington metropolitan area – two in Washington DC, one in Hyattsville, MD, and one in Shirlington, VA.  I ventured out to The Village at Shirlington, VA to get a feel for the venue and experience this icon for myself.

It was my first time visiting The Village at Shirlington,  an urban village, hosting an eclectic collection of restaurants and entertainment options, but quaint enough to be home to thousands of residents who enjoy the convenience of so many amenities just outside of their front door.  I loved strolling through the neighborhood as I made my way to Busboys and Poets.  The village has this rich, bohemian feel and I can easily see this becoming a favorite place for me to just BE!

I want to share an excerpt from Busboys and Poets website – there is no way that I can explain the essence of this venue any better.

Busboys and Poets Tribal Statement
 
Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
 

Those of you who have gotten to know me, can understand why I felt instantly welcomed and at ease when I arrived.  The ambiance was soulful and engaging.  The place was full of energy and just had this amazing vibe that enticed all of my senses.  I can see that I will be coming back to this location as often as possible.

This Monday Night Open Mic was hosted by Shelly Bell.  She was absolutely AWESOME in creating a fun, energetic and welcoming atmosphere for poets of all levels and experiences.  She encouraged the audience in being supportive of each artist that approached the stage.  This was my sneak peek – I like to check things out before I step out there.  I am planning to visit the other locations in the area and I am so looking forward to sharing some of my work at the next Open Mic Poetry event!

I have to share the history of the name “Busboys and Poets”.  I am always intrigued about how things came to be.  The website educates us by sharing that “the name Busboys and Poets refers to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1920s, prior to gaining recognition as a poet.”  Mr. Hughes would feel very, very welcomed at any of their locations and so will you.  If you are in the Washington metropolitan area, make it a point to stop by  the nearest Busboys and Poets for a meal, share a poem, hear a discussion – or just relax in the space and just be YOU!

Peace and Love,

Michelle

The Back To School Scavenger Hunt

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The faint of heart need not enter this race to check off the most important TO DO List ever created by man – the anxiously awaited Back-to-School Supply List.

This year’s winner for “What Do They Need That For?”  - 24 GLUE STICKS

25 children times 24 Glue Sticks – 600 Glue Sticks???  All I know, is that there’s going to be a whole lot of GLUING going on!

Each year it’s the same thing, hoards of parents and children converge on the local super store and scavenge in the front of the store where the bulk of the supplies await the hustle and bustle of mad, crazed parents and children in TWISTER positions trying to grab the items they need to cross off of their lists:  1 subject notebooks, wide ruled paper, college ruled paper, two-pronged folders with pockets (red, blue, yellow, green), colored pencils (SORRY ALL OUT), crayons, highlighters (chiseled edge), etc.

As a seasoned parent, having been a participant in this scavenger hunt since 1997, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.  Grab what you can in the bulk shopping section and then take your cart and stroll to the office supply section and learning tools section.   Here you will find the multiplication and division flash cards, post-it notes(yellow), scissors (5 inch, pointed tip), pens, pencils, eraser tops, that may have run out in the bulk shopping section.  You can actually breathe in these aisles because so few people know about this option.

Oh, and don’t forget the tissues, clorox wipes, hand sanitizer and plastic sandwich bags (go figure…).

NOTE TO PARENTS:  Pay attention to the details.  Have you noticed the detailed descriptions of the required items?  Please don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong color notebook, folder or post-it notes or the wrong size item.  The worst thing you can do is have your children be the odd ball with the wrong school supply item.  You will get absolutely no credit from your children if you come back from the hunt with the wrong items!

I don’t know if it was my look of determination, the large number of items in my cart (with four children your cart fills up pretty quickly), or the wisdom that was radiating from my silver/gray afro puff, but I had several parents stop me to ask about certain items.  We live in a very culturally diverse community, and I never stopped to think about the need for a school supply translator.  It was a pleasure to be able to show families what items the lists were referring to and where in the store that they could find the items.  It must be my gift of helps, but I had a fun time helping others in the hunt.

This year, since I finally joined the world of smart phone owners, I was able to download my daughter’s school supply list off of her school’s website!  KUDOS to the elementary schools for providing the lists so that we can take advantage of the TAX FREE Shopping Days this weekend.  The only things that I was not able to find on her list was the colored pencils, and black marbled composition books.  Oh well, on to the next super store.

As I was emptying all of the bags, I realized that the parent’s school supply scavenger hunt loot is equivalent to a child’s trick-or-treating loot.  The thrill of it all!

Thank you to the high schools who sent out an email about the TAX FREE shopping days but don’t require their teachers to post school supply lists on the website.  Instead, I’ll have the pleasure of having to shop for my high school students’ supplies after school has started, when the scavenger hunt frenzy has increased to its greatest climax because NOW demand is greater than supply and they needed the supplies YESTERDAY!

This was the first year that I shopped alone, with lists in hand.  I have to say – that shopping without the children and being able to call home to clarify a few things was quite the pleasant experience.  I think I’ll may make this my new tradition.

Happy School Shopping!!

Peace and Love,

Michelle

Exquisite Haiku: A Weekend of Firsts

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First time at the beach.

First amusement park visit.

All with my best friend!

by Michelle Lynn Thompson

08/2/2012

Reflections on Motherhood

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I am enjoying my Mother’s Day weekend!  On Friday evening, I had the pleasure of picking up my oldest daughter from her college dorm and helping her to get settled in her first apartment.  She just completed her first year of college.  She called me yesterday to share  that she was blessed with her first job which will help her with her summer expenses.  It is a blessing for me to see my young adult children embracing their independence.  I felt such peace and joy sharing in her new adventure.

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On Saturday, Christina and I attended the Mother-Daughter Tea at church.  We had a lovely time, hearing about the history of tea and the importance of taking time to BE with one another.  We are much too busy, taking tea gives us the chance too slow down and communicate face to face.

On Sunday, I was treated to breakfast in bed and a wonderful card from my three youngest children.  Ha!  Now I know that they can cook a decent breakfast!

In church, we celebrated the newest mother, the mother with the most children, and the oldest mother.  Our oldest mother was 103 years old!  I pray that God will bless me to be as healthy and beautiful when I reach 103 years old.

My oldest son, called me this evening to wish me Happy Mother’s Day.  It was great to hear his voice and hear his plans for the summer.  He just completed his third year of college.  I am so excited to watch him find his way and hear how he is creating a life for himself.   I am thankful that he made the time to give me a call to wish me Happy Mother’s Day.

I am so thankful that God chose me to be my children’s mother.  They have been a blessing to me.  Through their individual interests, I have grown and explored so many areas of life.  I look forward to seeing what they have to share with me as each day goes by.

I wish every mother and every mother figure a wonderful Mother’s Day!  Enjoy the rest of your day!

Hugs!