Friday, April 30, 2010

Noah sings Elmo

I suppose that most kids these days go through their obsessions. For some it is Dora, for some (like Sam) it is Thomas, for some it is Marvel ms. Capcom. For Noah, it is definitely Elmo.

The obsession started innocently enough. We had an Elmo's World DVD that Sam had received but never cared much for and one day, feeling desperate for some time with the boys occupied, Joy put it in.

Be warned - "Elmo has Two Feet, Hands, and Ears" is a gateway drug.

Both boys loved it, but Noah, who was just beginning to speak, began saying Elmo (he certainly said it more than Dad). For Christmas, he got an Elmo that he now sleeps with most nights. For Easter, he got the Sesame Street Dinosaurs DVD which features what Noah calls an "Elmo-dactoo," an Elmo flying dinosaur. But the kicker has been the song. First Noah just sang the "Elmo's World" theme song, but now he puts in everything to the song. "That's Elmo's dinosaur World!" "That's Elmo's snake World!" "That's Elmo's car World!" He even sings it in his sleep. Who knows what new turn our obsession will take in the coming weeks. Perhaps an entire singing and dancing number?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm Everywhere

Yesterday afternoon in my 4:00 class, my students were getting their presentation material off their e-mail and our Blackboard site, and repeatedly this appeared. As my students said, "Dr. Granade, you're famous!" Of course, that was only after the entire class went "Ooooooo!" in unison. I just told them I'm basically like Big Brother - they can't get away from me anywhere.

You can read the entire article on me here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Child, the Nudist

Since the weather has turned warm, we've been spending as much time as possible in the backyard. The boys are now old enough to play outside without our constant supervision (meaning we can sit on the deck and read, check e-mail, or what have you), and they run themselves silly making bedtime much easier. It's a win-win for all involved.

Earlier this week, Joy sent the boys out back and went to get her book. Coming back outside, she sat down on the deck and started to read, glancing up at Sam and Noah. Sam had climbed into his fort and was playing happily, but Joy noticed that he had no pants on.

And no underwear either.

Joy called out to him, "Sam, why do you have no pants on?" He just laughed. Joy didn't. She reminded him he really needed clothes on and they went about their day.

The next afternoon they were outside again when Joy noticed Sam making his "I've got to use the bathroom" motions. She called out to him that he needed to run inside just as Sam started to pull down his pants. "SAM!" Joy shouted. "I'm just going to go outside," he responded, "just like that time I had to go on the side of the road when we went to visit our friends." True enough, last summer we pulled off at an exit to change Noah's diaper because he had horrible diaper rash and there was no reststop for miles. Sam declared he needed to go, there were no public restrooms at the exit, so I helped him go off to the side of the road. But beyond acknowledging his crazy good memory, Joy wasn't going to give an inch on using our backyard as a bathroom and sent him inside.

I think we're going to have to make him wear suspenders and tie his pants on this summer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sam's Life Lessons

Recently, Sam has experienced an enormous outpouring of spelling and writing. He wants to know how any word he's never encountered before is constructed. He wants to understand the finer points of sentence structure. And he's even started writing, so every project that comes home from school bears the stamp: "To Mom, from Sam." (yes, I never get the love in these scenarios)

I attribute this outpouring to a late Christmas gift of the LeapFrog Word Whammer, a jet-shaped magnet for your refrigerator that allows you to create 3-letter words and have them spelled and said back to you. While Noah loves the toy because it plays the Alphabet song and he can sing along (though he tends to get stuck at E and just hold the vowel for a very long time), Sam loves that it has upper- and lowercase letters and allows him to create massive sentences in our kitchen. One night a few weeks ago, I came downstairs after putting Sam to bed and found this on our fridge:
I pondered over the meaning for quite some time, trying to figure out if Sam was thinking of a recent time we went out to eat or if he had a more existential meaning, some important life lesson he needed to share but was interrupted by bath time. My curiosity only grew the next morning when I was making breakfast and Sam marched over to his letters and added three more:
(in this one you can see the Word Whammer itself) Evidently, whatever his tip was, it shrunk in the night. Any guesses as to Sam's obscure meanings?

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Return

The past two weeks have been a bit hectic at our house. Both last weekend and the weekend before, I had conferences where I was presenting new research. So I spent the week leading up to each talk researching, writing, and getting my slides together. Add in papers to grade, two reviews to write, and a set of four programs to annotate and my family hasn't seen much of me recently, much less this blog. Most of that is behind me now (and one of the papers went so well that I was invited to submit it for a graduate student award), so back to filling you in with stories of Sam and Noah and general musicological musings.

If you need something to fill your time until then, you can see the redesign of our church website I've been finishing in my spare time the past three weeks. It isn't done quite yet, but it is at least ready for prime time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

First Day Back from Spring Break Videos

Everyone knows that students and faculty are useless the few days before a break, particularly Thanksgiving and Spring Breaks as the stretch before them is so long. But what most don't know is that the first day back from a Break can be just as bad. So as I'm trying to pull myself back together, here's a little video that I might just use in class instead of me teaching.

It would be just as good as anything I could do, right?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Listening Journals Available

Just in time for Spring Break, my students have posted their listening journals for music from 1900-1945. With this unit, we've entered into music that many are either unfamiliar with or perhaps a bit nervous about. In fact, this video sums up many people's reactions to this music, and I often play it for my students just to break the ice a little.

Music in the early 20th century certainly was full of brash experimentation, but it produced music as strange and as beautiful as any ever produced. You can find out about some of that music by digging into the blogroll on my class's main page.