Eli Turns 8 (with accompanying soundtrack)

February 12, 2014

This guy is 8 now. He likes to say he’s part Bigfoot. Which he might be. Since his feet are bigger than mine.

It’s been a few years since we’ve done a birthday mix, but Eli had enough songs he’s obsessed with right now to fill an hour. Need a snapshot into the brain of my kid? Here you go. I’ve included links to the music and “Monty Python skits” by my own kids.

I’ll leave you to figure out which songs Eli heard on his own, and which songs he heard in our house from his mother who treats every day like it’s her college radio show.

1. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson. Yeah, ok, this song is super catchy and now I love it too. Fine.

2. Dynamite by Taio Cruz. Thank you, last year’s 4th grade talent show, for this one.

3. Something Completely Different by Henry. A Monty-Python-inspired thought piece.

4. Mickey by Toni Basil. Yeah, sorry about that.

5. Tania by Camper Van Beethoven. Good song to inspire Eli, learning fiddle.

6. Ramona’s Mustache Song by Ramona. She sang this after the boys sang their mustache song, which is number 27.

7. Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard by Paul Simon.

8. Don’t Carry It All by The Decemberists. I just blew Eli’s mind when I told him that the people singing this song also wrote Wildwood. It was a mistake on my part. Now he’ll never think I’m cool. Also, Ramona thinks this song is about cleaning up your toys. Like: don’t carry it ALL, just carry whatever you can, bird by bird, to the toy box, until it’s clean, or until you throw a tantrum and get put down for a nap or whatever.

9. Britches Full of Stitches by Eli. I share this link, telling you that Eli hasn’t been playing fiddle for that long. I love these clips for what they’ll be later, when he’s better.

10. Rudie Can’t Fail by The Clash. Eli says, “I thought this song was total nonsense and gibberish until I listened to it more.”

11. Pressure Drop by The Specials.

12. Little Red Caboose by Zuzu. I think she’s supposed to be singing? It’s more of a monotone rap, really.

13. Bad Coffee by Ed’s Redeeming Qualities.

14. I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow.

15. It’s the End of the World As We Know It and I Feel Fine by R.E.M. I already said this somewhere, but I felt like I could check of some little parenting box when I taught Eli the importance of yelling, “Leonard Bernstein!” during this song.

16. Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

17. Finale from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Eli considers this scene in Bedknobs and Broomsticks to be the finest scene in the history of movies.

18. Bonnie Tammie Scolla by Eli. Another fiddle song. Henry sings on this one.

19. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins.

20. The ABCs by Ramona. It’s like she’s learning nothing in preschool.

21. Who Shot the Bartender? by Eli and Henry. This is audio evidence of our failure as parents. Our kids think British accents, bartenders, and guns are funny. I’m sorry. (I do super love Henry’s British Lady accent, though.) (And the part where he yells, “Avocado!”) (Ok, fine, I also maybe think this is audio evidence of our parental success. It’s hard to know.)

22. Vieux Amis by Victoria Williams. Another good fiddley song.

23. Friday I’m in Love by The Cure.

24. If I Should Fall from Grace with God by The Pogues.

25. The Lovecats by The Cure.

26. Little Red Caboose by Ramona. Her version of this, 12 seconds after hearing Zuzu’s version.

27. The Mustache Song by Eli and Henry. They’re justifiably proud of making this one up.



Eli’s secret book box

March 14, 2013

So the other morning I woke up to find Eli at the dining room table hacking away at The Complete Works of William Shakespeare with a razorblade. I think I passed out.

Around the time I got up off the floor, he’d abandoned the Shakespeare (“these pages are too old”) and moved on to The New Modern American and British Poetry.

old poetry book, ready to be made into a secret book box | World of Julie

He wasn’t being destructive though. He was following the instructions in Unbored to make a secret book box.

Unbored is amazing. You should get it. Really. Someone is always reading it here. It’s a huge, huge book, with about a million interesting things to read and do. Like, you know, cut up a book to make it into a secret box.

This project was also definitely inspired by Mac Barnett’s Brixton Brothers series, which we listened to on a recent roadtrip (narrated by Arte Johnson!) (um, the book is narrated by Arte Johnson, not our roadtrip, although that would’ve been fun too). The main character Steve Brixton, who is obsessed with a Hardy-Boys-esque series called the Bailey Brothers, makes a secret book box and keeps it under his mattress. I highly recommend the Brixton Brothers series too; it’s hilarious and suspenseful.

secret book box | World of Julie

And so that is what led Eli to attack an old book with a razorblade and a bowl full of glue. Weirdly, this ended up being a hands-off activity for the grownups. Not sure if that’s related to Eli’s razor skills or the ease of the project. But he’s very happy with the results. So far he seems to be keeping cash and Lego minifigures inside — his most treasured possessions.


CATEGORIES: books, crafts, Eli

Fart Brain

December 6, 2012

“Eli, who’s that for?”

“I haven’t decided yet. But I have some pretty good ideas.”

fart brain | World of Julie


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Henry and Eli make a video

August 13, 2012

So, what do you get when you add two Star-Wars-obsessed kids, Legos, and a video camera? This. (Also: I feel the need to mention that they haven’t actually seen any of the Star Wars movies. So this is their version of Star Wars via, you know, book learnin’.)




June 1, 2012

Last week we finished up our year at our homeschool co-op. One of the best parts was that Eli got to be in a drama class that lasted the whole year. He took to the stage like nobody’s business.

They worked so hard on their year-end plays. Here’s Eli before going on as the Traveler in the Aesop’s fable “The North Wind and the Sun.” Such concentration.

And here he is right after, so happy that he did it, smiling and moving too fast for me to get a non-blurry photo.

Eli after his play



High Fashionable

January 2, 2012

Driving in the car.

Eli (age 5): Henry, you know what I don’t get about grown-ups? How come grown-ups are so hi[mumble].

Julie: What? How come grown-ups are so hyper?

Eli: No. How come grown-ups are so high fashionable?

Dave: What?

Julie: You mean like me and Dave? We’re so high fashionable?

Eli: No, I mean all grown-ups.

Julie: But also me and Dave.

Eli: No. You two are the least high fashionable grown-ups there are.

Julie: What? We’re high fashionable! Wait, what do you even mean? Ok, what could I do to be more high fashionable?

Eli: You could wear lipstick and polish your nails.

Julie: Um.

Eli: And wear a big poufy dress and high heels and no hats.

Julie: Uh-huh.

Henry (age 8): And necklaces and bracelets and earrings!

Julie: I’m wearing earrings!

Eli: Yeah, you should wear necklaces and bracelets too, though. And what’s that stuff you put on your eyes?

Julie: Eyeshadow?

Eli: Yeah. You should wear eyeshadow.

Julie: Ok, ok. What about Dave? How could he be more high fashionable?

Eli: He should wear black pants, a black shirt, a necktie, and dancing shoes. And a top hat.

Julie: So you’re supposed to look like Fred Astaire, Dave.

Dave: What you’re saying is, Julie and I should go out dancing by ourselves more often, and you all should stay home with a babysitter.

[Kids all cheer.]

Henry: [thoughtfully] And the way you could be more high fashionable at a museum would be to wear a dinosaur costume.

[Eli looks at Henry disdainfully, and with pity.]

Eli: When you go out dancing, Julie, you should make sure your dress is really poufy.


We Love Our Firefighters

November 30, 2011

So. Here is the formula for the Best Day Ever, according to Eli. First, we had a completely normal day. Then, at bedtime, I sent the kids upstairs to get in their pajamas while I cleaned up the dinner dishes. Everyone but Henry ignored me. Henry came downstairs a minute later and said, with only a teensy bit of urgency in his voice, “There’s smoke in our room.”

I ran upstairs. There was, indeed, a bit of smoke in their room, and more than a bit of a smell. It smelled like a match that had been blown out, or maybe melted crayon. Or leaking gas. The mind jumps to conclusions in these situations, and any of those smells seemed possible. I could locate nothing. I opened the window. The smoke dissipated, but the smell remained.

I should mention that Dave, who was actually a firefighter long ago, is out of town. So I did the normal thing, and called the fire department. Long story short, it turned out it was a burned out fluorescent bulb in the overhead light. Huh. Once we figured that out, the firefighters were happy to show the kids all their cool equipment. They also heartily praised our house renovations, which had nothing to do with any potential fire, but made me happy. Seriously, every firefighter I’ve ever met has been the nicest, most awesome person.

Then, of course, I said, “Before you go, we have to take a picture.” They said, “Let’s take it out on the truck!” Ok!

And that, according to Eli, is how to have the Best Day Ever.

CATEGORIES: Eli, housekeeping

Street Jam

November 17, 2011

You have to love your neighborhood when you look out the window to see your neighbor and his dad playing guitars and singing on the street (“It’s something we wanted to do, and we thought we’d better try it out here first.”) They Pied Pipered the neighborhood kids around them, and Eli happily joined in to “play” his guitar. You’ll see Eli has the moves down, but that he does not yet understand that his left hand needs to be doing stuff too.

Sorry about the massive wind noise. It was windy.




October 14, 2011

You know, I just don’t get it when our kids act like we’re the meanest parents on earth. Like we’re such horrible monsters for making them clean up their messes, or for not biting or hitting each other. Now, at least, when the boys act up, I’m going to pull this out: “Hey, remember when we let you ride on Dave’s motorcycle?”

I’m sure they won’t get it, though. We’re still uncool meanies.


CATEGORIES: Eli, Henry, Parenting
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September 28, 2011

Oops. In all my excitement over homeschooling, I completely forgot to give the children haircuts. (We fixed that yesterday.)


CATEGORIES: Eli, thirty second post
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