Monday, February 28, 2011

Things aren't quite so awkward now!

Well, it's Spring, so to speak. At least spring in the sports realm and so we've started baseball practice. I don't mind going to the kids' practices, really. It's a good time for me to just be forced to sit. That's good for me. Anyhow, Bubba is doing Little League this year and there's this boy on his team.... we'll call him Sport. Now, Sport has been on the same soccer team as Bubba two years in a row and now they're on the same baseball team, which is quite amazing, since our small town does have quite a few teams to choose from, but somehow they keep ending up on the same team. Which is fine because this boy is a really nice boy. However, it gets a little awkward for the parents. See, generally, you take your kid to practice and you just kind of watch them, and as the season progresses you may start to chat with other parents, but in a rather superficial way because you know that you probably won't see them again after the season is over. But then, if your kids are on the same team the next year, it gets a little strange because you kind of know these people, but a lot of times you don't know their names. It's like, "Oh, that's Sport's mom and dad!" And then, you talk a little more, but it's just terribly awkward to say, "Oh, and by the way.... what's your name?" So, tonight I see Sport's mom watching practice and I decided I just needed to sit down and talk to her because the way things were ending up, out boys will probably be on the same teams forever. So, I did and we had a great time chatting. She's a very nice gal and I now know everyone's names and ages and all sorts of pertinent information so I don't feel like such a dork anymore when I see them. It's a very good feeling.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's really a good thing I never became a nurse!

Years and years ago I wanted to be a nurse. I played doctor with all my dolls and stuffed animals when I was growing up. I probably got a new doctor kit every Christmas and birthday. The dream didn't leave me as I made my way through high school, so when I applied for colleges I went to one with a good nursing school. Didn't hurt, either, that it was right on the beach in San Diego. But I digress. So, I applied myself to my studies, met my homegirl Buttercup in Anatomy Class (she was my lab partner, too, and between discovering the ovaries on our cat dissection causing our professor to shout out, "Don't pull those out, those are the ovaries", and having major crushes on all our pre-med lab assistants, we had a great time and built an enduring friendship) and completed all the course work to be admitted to the nursing school. So, we started our clinicals and after being in the hospital a couple of times, passing out when they were putting in a hep-lock and enduring all the other indignities, Buttercup and I decided to drop out of nursing school. Just like that. One day we were walking from class to chapel and I looked at Buttercup and said, "I don't think I want to be a nurse anymore," and she said, "I don't either, let's quit!" So, we did. Just like that. Shocked the heck out of everyone - classmates, professors, everyone. We were pretty good students and had a good time together. No one expected us to just drop out. But we did. Just like that! Which was a good thing because....
Last night when Duh-duh comes up limping and I ask him what's wrong and he says his leg hurts and I ask him to pull up his pant leg and show me and he does and I see a soft-ball size lump on the inside of his knee, I almost passed out. That's not a hyperbole, either. I've passed out before, many a time. I know the symptoms. I felt nauseous, I got those cold prickles and I immediately went to the bedroom and laid down. This was a job for Daddy!
So, I was ready to take the kid to the ER, but Daddy, the rational engineer in the family, said that it's not bruised, he's not screaming in agony, let's just ice it and wait till tomorrow. So, that's what we did. The soft-ball size lump is gone, but the knee is still pretty swollen. So, we're icing it and wrapping it. He's walking on it fine.
Oh, how did he get it? Wrestling with his brother. Who is 15 lbs. heavier than he is. And only a year older, if you can believe that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blogging Slow Down!

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. Being a very classic introvert, when things are going on in my life, I do not express them. And, lately things have been going on. Nothing really tragic, but just stuff that's been weighing me down and I feel like a) if I blog about them I may come across as a big, fat whiner, and I don't want to do that; but the biggest reason is b) that a couple of the things that are weighing me down have confidentiality issues attached, or it may seem like I am gossiping and revealing information that I shouldn't be. So, there you have it. Hopefully, in the next couple of days I'll feel a little more like blogging.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day

Who's your favorite president? I don't have one, really. I do have a favorite president's wife. Well, I have several favorite president's wives. My first favorite is Abigail Adams. She's the wife of John Adams, our second president. She was amazing. A feminist before her time. But, she wasn't the ugly, ratcheting sort of feminist we have now. She was beautiful, gracious, highly intelligent and completely comfortable with that. She didn't feel like she had to prove something in the world of men. And the letters she and John exchanged while he was gone so much of the time building this great country of ours are just incredible. My second favorite president's wife is Grace Coolidge. Grace Coolidge? How'd you come up with her? Well, actually, it's because I saw a portrait of her when I was in Washington D.C. You may have seen it - it's the one with her in a sleeveless red gown and a big dog at her side. It's beautiful. Not that she was really beautiful, but... there was just something about that portrait that really attracted me. I'm afraid I can't put it on my blog because.... well, because I don't know how to, but you can find it on the internet, if you're really curious. So, that's what I have to say about President's Day. We're taking the day off of school today. I have tons of things to get done - one of my major tasks to is to shovel all the clutter out of my bedroom and into a large dumptruck headed for the nearest landfill. They say that the master bedroom is supposed to be a sanctuary, mine is like a jungle with paths winding through it created by machetes. So, that is my plan. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday as well!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm the Rocketman....

Today was the perfect day for a rocket launch. It was sunny and crisp, the air was fresh and clear from the recent rains and there was only a very slight breeze. So, we went out and launched a bunch of rockets. I'm in charge of our youth group at church. Our church has a very small ... very, very small youth group, but that's ok. They're good kids and we built rockets a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. And, today we launched them. They all launched pretty well, but they're kind of heavy and there was too much delay between lift off and when the recovery system popped out so most of them just nose dived and ended up like this....

But we had a great time, had lunch together (here's my little homeboy, thinkin' he's a middle schooler) and enjoyed a couple hours of fellowship!
It was the perfect day for a rocket launch.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cat naps!

Ok, I'm going to share something with y'all that very few people know. I love cats.
Oh! You knew that already. OK, then!..... I've loved cats all my life. Hmmm, you knew that, too. Well, that's ok. I guess it was all my posts and gratuitious pictures at the end of other posts about my cats that gave it away. Anyhow, one of the things I really love about cats is their ability to nap. It's quite fascinating. One day we caught Socksie sleeping on top of the cucumber trellis.
It's kind of hard to see her in this picture, but she's up pretty high and we couldn't figure out how she got up there.
And she got pretty offended when we woke her up. Cats are always good at being offended.
Another thing I love about cats is how they stretch after they get up from a nap.

Look at these stretches! Aren't they exquisite. I wish I could do as thorough a stretch as she does. I think it would take care of a lot of my chiropractic problems.
And then, after such a good stretch. She settles down again for another rest.

Ahhh! I love cats. And I'm not the only one in our family who does, either!

Like mother like daughter!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Humble Apology

Someone said once in a song or a movie or something, "Love means never having to say you're sorry!" Know what I have to say to that? "HA!" Whoever said that obviously has never been in a long-term relationship. And if that's his philosophy, he never will be in a long-term relationship.

Yesterday was a bad day. Yes, even when you're "Livin' the Good Life", you do have bad days. And yesterday was one of them. It didn't help that I was feeling, um.... er... um.... hormonal. That kind of really puts me on edge. But Bubba was in rare form. You know, after yesterday's performance, I decided to enroll him in Harvard Law School post haste because he can argue every point with vigor and passion. Anyhow, we started off the morning butting heads and it didn't ever let up. The whining, the arguing, the fussing, the "it's NOT fair!"s, and then the expectation that even though he just made my life miserable I should let him.... have snack right before dinner (What? I can't? NO FAIR!), watch tv, play computer games, do this, that and the other. So, as I collapsed on a chair and sent up a prayer (which was better than my usual way of coping which is going to the pantry and getting chocolate chips), I heard God say, "You need to apologize!" Of course, I say,"That's not fair! HE'S the one who was being horrible all day. Yes, I was snappy and short with him, BUT it was HIS fault!" "Yes, but that is no excuse for your behaviour toward him. Apologize!" So, I did. And no, the heavens didn't open up. The "Hallelujah Chorus" didn't resound. It wasn't a tender moment with tears (I'm not that type anyway). But, it was a genuine apology with no "buts", as in, "I'm sorry I was short with you, but....". It was just an apology with a "will you forgive me?" at the end. And he said, "Yes. God bless you, Mommy!" and that was it. But, it needed to happen. Because love means always being the first to apologize.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exploring the Wilds!

Eight and a half acres with a creek running through it. Now... what would you do with that? I'll tell you what we did!
We climbed trees.
And we tramped over trails and through green tunnels. And we sat on bridges and looked for things like tadpoles and fishes.
And we wacked sticks in the creek and looked for evidence of beavers (that would be gnawed on logs) and listened to red-tailed hawks squawk and learned about the three species of willow that grow along the creek banks.
We also played catch with oak galls and heard stories of bobcats and skunks.

That's what we did with eight and a half acres with a creek running through it. What would you do?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

They really are cute, aren't they?

This has been a tough week. It's been hard to homeschool; I have had a lot of back-talk and attitudes and tantrums. My allergies have been out of control. Yeah, I know, whine, whine, whine. Sorry. Anyhow, we've been working on Valentines today. I try to have the kids make Valentines for their grandparents and include a picture in them. So, I took pictures today and they turned out really good.
This kid has been getting taller and taller. A couple years ago the pediatrician said he'd be tall because he had big hands and feet. Well, I think the pediatrician's going to be right. She's been growing, too. And she's going to be 5 years old in about 3 weeks. I have no idea how that happened. I can still remember looking at her when we picked her up from the hospital. She's was this skinny little thing with all this dark hair. And now look at her.
This picture really makes him look grown up, doesn't it? Maybe it's because I just combed his hair and he doesn't have his usual rooster tail sticking up.
I guess what they say about counting your blessings is right. When things get tough, it helps to gain a little perspective and realize that, as much as they tire me out, they really are pretty cute, aren't they?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You'll Shoot Yer Eye Out!

I know that Christmas has come and gone and we're on full steam ahead toward Valentine's Day, but I just have to share this funny story from Christmas. I kind of forgot about it amidst all the Christmas/Disneyland and subsequent recovery period, but as I was sitting here thinking about what was happening in my life and if any of it was worth sharing (and not coming across as being a total whiner because this week has been pretty whine-worthy, actually) it occurred to me that I hadn't shared the bbgun story. It's hilarious.

OK, so it's last November and Hubby and I are trying to decide what to get the boys for Christmas. Then, he has this great idea.... how about bbguns. Well, I have no problem with that. They are getting older and I think it's important that boys know how to shoot a gun. We are NRA members, afterall. So, ok, that's settled. We're getting the boys bbguns for Christmas. December comes along and we think, "Hey, why don't we set the stage for this a little and show the kids the great, classic Christmas move, 'A Christmas Story'." Yeah, that's a great idea. They'll see the kid with the bbgun and think to themselves, we want a bbgun and then on Christmas day, what a surprise.... it's a bbgun! OK, so our little plan is working great. However, they don't seem to enjoy "A Christmas Story" as much as we thought they would. Maybe they're a little young still. Well, whatever. We're still pretty excited.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. The boys unwrap their presents and Duh-duh gets this look of horror on his face as he unwraps his bbgun. "Is it a real gun?" he asks? "Yes," we say. "I don't want that!!!!!" he says as he pushes it off his lap. Bubba was equally unenthusiastic. Not quite the response we were hoping for. Anyhow, we pack the guns up and take them with us to Grandma's house, thinking that maybe we would be able to talk them into shooting them.

So, afternoon comes and we decide to go and try out the bbguns. We set up our target.... And started shooting.

Bubba is the only one we could convince to come out to the back with us and he stood there for the first five minutes like this. It was pretty funny!
But, then, I guess, after he saw Grandma shooting, and his cousing shooting, he decided it wasn't all that bad.

After the first couple of shots, Bubba decided that this whole bbgun was really a lot of fun! He's actually gotten to be a fairly good shot and begs Daddy to go out on Sunday afternoons to go down to the river and shoot. Duh-duh never went out that Christmas day, but to his credit, a couple of weeks ago he shot the gun down by the river with his dad and his brother. So, I think both boys will learn to enjoy shooting bbguns and so far, no one has shot his eye out!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Sunny Saturday is a Good Day to....

Climb a tree...
Play ball out in the street with the neighbor kids....
Prune the Japanese Maples.....

Give yourself a bath in the sun....
A sunny Saturday is a great day for doing just about anything.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Art Class

Last summer, in a moment of extreme insanity and overconfidence in my own abilities to keep things running efficiently in our little homeschool, I decided to add a Fine Arts component to our curriculum. I wasn't sure where to start, so I ordered a very simple curriculum called "Harmony Fine Arts" and started in on it. Well, nothing against the curriculum, which is a wonderful and very user friendly curriculum, I dumped our Fine Arts program about mid-autumn. It was just getting to be too much. We'd do all our core subjects in the morning, and then try to fit in a half hour of Fine Arts after lunch and I was just completly wiped out. However, the boys did not like this. Especially not Bubba. Because for all his energy and complete boyishness, he loves art and music.
So, after Christmas we started up a modified Fine Arts program, and I won't bore you with the details of how I tweaked our schedule, but I did tweak it and it's going pretty well. We do Fine Arts on Fridays now, two days a month we do music and two days a month we do art. Today was our art day. I got this really cool art book, and I apologize for how it downloaded. I took the picture right-side-up, but somehow, it downloaded sideways, and I really have no idea how to even begin to correct it. Anyhow, it's another one of those great Usborne books.
Today we studied Hendrick Avercamp, a Dutch painter.
The book has a 2 page spread with some highlights of the artist, his life and artwork and then a painting. Avercamp was very well-known for his winter scenes. So, we discussed Avercamp's life, studied the painting, did a little narration about it and then went on to the applied portion of the lesson. After the information about the artist, the book then has a little artsy lesson on how to do something similar to how the artist paints.
Today's lesson was doing a winter scene in water color. It gives pretty detailed instructions and pictures.
I would have like to have taken some pictures of the boys doing the actual artwork, but... well, while I would like to say that they sat nicely, listened to instructions and then applied their hearts and minds to doing their best work, I'm afraid I can't say that. Rather they fought and argued about whose paint set was whose, and there were many outbursts of, "He's touching my paper.... he's spilling my water.... that's my paper-towel.... MOMMY!" So, needless to say, I did not get any pictures of that. It's amazing that I even do hands-on activities anymore since it always erupts in abject chaos. But, I did get pictures of the finished products and they turned out pretty well.
I love water color paintings anyhow. They really turn out pretty and they're cheap!
So, that was our art lesson for today. Hendrick Avercamp! The Dutch painter. He was deaf, too.

Oh, and just for fun.... here's another gratuitous picture of my cat. She's stalking a visiting cat who happened upon our backyard this afternoon.
And here's a few gratuitious pictures of my winter garden.

My peas are blooming. The snails haven't gotten to them yet.

And here's my broccoli. I think it might be getting close to harvest time!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Listening to her snore!

I don't think there's anything more precious to a mother than watching her child sleep. All the expression is wiped clean from the face, except one of peace and rest. I make sure, every night, that I check on the kids before I go to sleep. One reason, I do it, for sure, is to make sure they are covered up and comfortable. (Although I should always check Duh-duh's mouth for gum. He slept with it in his mouth the other night and woke up with it in his hair, his pillowcase and all over his arm.) But, another reason I do it, is because no matter what went on during the day, it is all erased when I see them sleeping. They look so vulnerable as they rest and my heart reaches out to protect them. They look so peaceful and secure, and that makes me glad to be able to provide for them a home in which they feel peaceful and secure. And then I hear Missy Lou snore... I don't know. It is just so cute. It's such a precious little snore. I know it's probably because she's got allergies or needs her adenoids out or something, but still... it's very endearing!