Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Goose Whisperer

This is what happens in my backyard when I'm away.

Daddy takes over, and lets the kids do things I NEVER would allow.

I've seen geese go after people and animals before, so although my kids can go up in a hot air balloon, swim in a lake where gators are sometimes seen, and shoot arrows across my my mom radar was seriously shrieking at me and the last time it happened Big Al got burned.

I'm generally NOT in favor of feeding the geese by hand especially when the baby geese are there and all of the adult geese are hissing at each other (not to mention the mess left in the yard). Blondie, however, was bummed that I showed up.

Girl Scouts in the saddle

My junior girl scout troop tried to do this camping/horse trip a couple weeks ago when it poured rain on us causing our tent to collapse. We rescheduled the horse lesson for today, and had a really good time. They divided the girls up into stations and they learned a lot about the history of horse, caring for a horse, and then riding. This barn shows a lot of GORGEOUS paso fino horses, but we rode the riding school quarter horses. The highlight of the trip (for the girls) were the new kittens born to the barn cat, and I think I got out of there without a stowaway.
T-Rex used to ride, but took last year and this year to compete in archery. She is thinking maybe she wants to do lessons again. I told her she could always grow up and be an elf (like in Lord of the Rings) and ride her horse with her bow on her back..... she rolled her eyes at me..... don't know why....
All in all a successful trip.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Straight from the kid's mouth

This morning, Blondie was going to visit another school, and I had her hurrying to get her lunch made for her return to her regular class. She asked what fruit she could take, and I told her I bought a bunch of peaches from the farmer's market and to grab one of those. She was excited, because they are the first at our house for the summer season. Off we went.

Tonight she comes in and sits next to me on the couch and says, "Those peaches you bought were gross. They didn't taste like peaches."

Me: Maybe you need sugar on them.

Blondie: Nuh-uh. It didn't taste right

Brian: They tasted okay to me today.

Blondie: Look, I'll show you they were too brown.

Off she scampers into the kitchen, and then Brian started laughing. "Are you sure you ate a peach."

And then from around the corner of the kitchen door comes a hand holding a red potato (also purchased at the farmer's market - WITH DIRT STILL ON IT. "See they were gross."
I'm not sure what her first grade teacher, my colleague, now thinks about me sending a potato for snack at lunch and then my child trying to eat it, but I guess I'll find out on Monday.

The World is a Rainbow - LaLaLaLaLaLaaaaaaaa

And so is Cheesie's school......Cheesie had her kindergarten concert today. I have now sat through this very same concert 4 WHOLE TIMES. The world is a rainbow, You got a friend in me, The big yellow school bus, etc.... I've heard ALL of the words from small children in the backseat of my car for years. Next year, I won't need to go....sniff sniff..... they're growing up. Unless I can miraculously figure out a way to have a 4 year old.....still working on that.
Cheesie is a BIG rule follower, and very precise about doing things RIGHT but that isn't limited to just her. She corrects everyone, and we frequently tease her about wearing "bossy pants." Sometimes though she wears "nosy pants." I know... I've checked the tags on her jeans... Now if I call her Bossy Pants she smacks her hand on the back of her jeans and says, "nuh - uh." Today she received her kindergarten scrapbook, and writing samples. One more week to go, and my baby will be out of kindergarten, and losing teeth in first grade.

Hot Air Balloon

T-Rex received an award for 2nd most AR points this year (I think she was 5th last year). Again, in addition to an ice cream party and a trophy, she got to go up in a hot air balloon. She could take a guest, and thought about one of her friends, but the waiver said they had to be over 18. So she told me, "I GUESS I'll take you then." I pointed out that she could take Grandma or one of her Aunts, or her teacher, and I got, "No, you're fine." I feel loved.

So yesterday we took various classes over to watch (including mine). Now even though I wasn't feeling the love, I was excited because I had missed this even with her last year and Brian went. I hate that sometimes my job as a teacher actually keeps me AWAY from certain activities that take place during the day - field trips, birthday lunches, etc.

The first place child went, and then it was our turn. We climbed in, and up we went. It was great, although not something I would ever seek to do in my down time. I asked the man who owned the balloon the heighest he had been in that balloon and he said 14,000 feet. Wow. T-Rex was all smiles, and we waved to all of the classes (Blondie, Cheesie and Brian were there too - Big Al had exams). So I think T-Rex had a great day. I love that there is such an adventurous award for reading books.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The lake house

(Our house is in the middle behind the trees, sitting low, hiding out)

The family and I went down to our lake house this past weekend. It isn't MINE really, my grandparents owned it, and when my grandfather passed away it was left to his 6 kids (of which my mom is one).... therefore I use it often. It was the place I felt absolutely peaceful and connected with my family growing up. It is tiny, and dumpy between two magnificent lake houses, but it was built with the wood from my great grandfather's barn during the depression, and then moved out and expanded upon in the 70's. We can sleep people EVERYWHERE, and only occasionally notice that there in one tiny bathroom without a shower - just a big claw foot bathtub. I love that it is dumpy and kids can come in wet from the lake, eat lunch, and head right back out without worrying about the wet seat left behind. I love that there is NO TV, or Video games, or computes (although wireless if we piggyback on the neighbors). The plan is to slowly update the house - add a bathroom with a shower, pull the paneling off the walls, etc, but it will be take a period of years and we'll do most of it ourselves. This past weekend it rained off an on all weekend - and not just a LITTLE rain, it was a downpour. The girls went through technology withdrawl a little bit (although Big Al could still text her friends), but eventually they found games to play, and books to read, and a 1000 piece puzzle to put together. We sat in rocking chairs on the porch and watched the rain, and when it let up we ran down to the water to swim. This year the water is gloriously high (no drought this year) so we don't have to worry about gators or anything else, just swim and have fun.
My uncle brought out his boat and took them all (even Blondie and Cheesie) out on inner tubes, and Big Al tried to ski. They went fishing and got stuck in a big downpour, but came back ready to leave. Even the dogs enjoyed the freedom of being off leash and hanging out. Blondie wore her life jacket because this was her first time back in the water since last year's swimteam, and I always worry a tiny bit about her falling off the dock where it is so deep. She loves the water though, and you absolutely can't keep her out of it. Cheesie didn't want to jump off the dock, but she enjoyed paddling around and building sand castles. She loves the boat though, and fishing, so she managed to have a full weekend too.

It is still the most peaceful place I know, and I hope its around for a LONG time - even if its small and grungy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tough Day

Although he didn't die in battle, he served his country, and we miss him terribly.

Tough Day. Arlington, section 58 (I think, I just sort of walk there). Please take a moment, and think about why you had the day off.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Catching up

This past Saturday I took T-Rex to camp with the girl scouts.... except it rained....a LOT. After the girls finished cooking outdoors the skies opened up and the rain came down - HARD. So the girls put on their ponchos and ate in mud puddles standing under the awning of our tent. When they finished they wanted to sit in the tent to wait it out. As I stood in the doorway telling them to stay away from the walls of the tent, the back of the tent started to collapse under the force of the rain, and even though we kept dumping it off.... the weight of the rain on the roof. It broke a pole and we sent the girls to the cars and the other adults and I spent an hour in bare feet in the pouring rain gathering up a soggy camp. We spent the night at my coleaders house and tried to carry on with our plans, but lets face it - sleeping in a house is NOT sleeping outdoors, so it degenerated into a slumber party.

Meanwhile, Brian had to take the other three to Blondie's therapy picnic. Every six months or so, Kathy has a picnic out on the green in front of her therapy clinic. The kids had a great time, and the rain held off for them until the very end. The girls played with a parachute that we brought, as well as a kite, and ate a lot of food, and listened to good music.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Brian

Today Brian hit the big 4-0. I met him in high school, when I was 16 and living in Colorado Springs. He was totally unlike any guy I had ever dated, and I will now publicly admit I probably put him through the wringer while I was in college. He joined the Navy and was in Virginia, I joined a sorority and was in SC. He toughed it out, and we got engaged toward the end of college. The day after our wedding in Savannah, GA we got in my tiny Toyota and drove across the country to Seattle (after stopping to visit family in Texas - not exactly on the way). We lived in Seattle for 10 years, he got out of the Navy, and we had 3 kids there. He found a job in SC, and we came back here so the girls could know some of their extended family (we don't get to Texas near enough to visit the other half) and we had another daughter. He is truly my partner in life, and is one of those rare men that pitches in with everything. He has changed diapers, cleaned up after sick kids (better than I do), installed flooring, held tiny little girls needing IV's, slept on couches in hospitals, chauffered kids to events, sat through endless performances (my performances and the girls'), and sat with my Mom and Dad on my Dad's last day (grieved as much as I did - but kept the girls moving forward while I was helping my Mom), and most importantly puts up with all of my quirks (I think there are one or two of those).

So, why is he crouched on the sidewalk? His new passion is photography, okay, not exactly new, but definitely rediscoverd. He took today off to go to the Riverwalk with my Mom and take pictures of the things he saw there. So on the right, are a few of my favorites that he took today (minus the little caterpillar in the top picture), and I am simply acknowledging how fabulous he is EVERY DAY! I love you Brian.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

I had a GREAT Mother's Day.... because I have a GREAT family. The day started with me getting breakfast in bed, and then receiving useful gifts - a giant coneflower and a lemon tree. I had found a bunch of citrus trees at the garden store a month ago, and started strategizing how to get one, but I have SO many trees to get rid of first. Brian, thankfully, bought one anyway, so I'll have to think about where to put it. I checked his photoblog and saw a very sweet post for me on Mother's Day, and I think that was about the best thing (except for the little girl's cards... Cheesie wrote "I like win you make the best diner ever.")

We then all hustled up to get out and go hike. It is becoming our tradition to go do something for the day, and I really enjoy my effort of trying to buy less, I like that we find a lot of things to do together. Hopefully those are the things my girls will pass on to their children - I don't want their memories to be of TV time. The little girls really love letterboxing, so we took them out to the local state forest and hiked a few miles, and found some new boxes. It was getting hot, even the dogs were tired, so we headed over to my mom's house.

Brian grilled, and my brother Colin, and sister Natalie, came over too, and we all enjoyed each other's company. That's it.... my ideal day: Get out, do something, and catch up with family. No stress, and ends with good food, how can that go wrong?

I blogged about my garden today over on Simply Dawson. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of blogging as school winds down in a few weeks. I'm not as swamped right now, but I have still have to make it through girl scout camping this weekend (praying for thunderstorms to stay away).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jumping rope

I just posted a fantastic video of Blondie jumping rope - over on the Rasmussen's link (up top) if you're interested. She actually did it MUCH better today, but I didn't have my camera (next week I promise). We have to use the type of jumprope a boxer uses (not directly attached to the handle, but instead has a little metal connector thingie. She was so proud of herself that she was doing more of the "normal" jumprope today.... SO YAY BLONDIE! GO GIRL!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Too darn busy

Giving you pictures of Cheesie with her new hobby (Brian's camera) and the pictures that SHE actually takes by herself. I'm just too swamped to blog

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Budding photographer

Brian is REALLY big into photography. It is quickly becoming a passion, although he has been doing it off and on since I've known him (over 22 years). It now seems that he is passing this love onto Cheesie. She takes his giant camera out every night and photographs different things. Last night she told me that she likes taking pictures of herself with the camera (my 5 yo has figured out the "arm reach" photos - very emo). I think the camera weighs about as much as she does.

The top picture is one that she has taken - I know.... natural talent.... the one of her is her self-portait stage. She balances the heavy camera on the canoe and then reaches up to click. The pictures below show her in action.