Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My girl

My poor girl is the youngest and smallest swimmer each time she is in a swim class. This makes me so proud of her! Yet, it can be difficult for someone who hates losing, and hates failing. We dont think she is failing, we think she is amazing. However, I dont hand out free compliments for nothing. If I say, "That was a lovely dive baby, it was perfect," then why would she keep trying to improve?

"Mama, watch me dive okay and tell me if its good. Give me a number." We do a scale thing in our family, 1-10. I think we have registered a zero or two also...

"Okay baby go ahead." She sort of dives, but more or less lands once again like a cat on knees and hands. She comes up and hopefully stares at me from the side with her goggles so tight her eyeballs bulge. "Honey that wasnt very good. I would give it a 5 for effort but a 1 for performance."

"Oh. Why???"

"Because you flopped again." She gets out and comes to me drippy wet to wrap her arms around my middle. She has tried and tried today. "You will get it baby. I will help you some more."

"I am the smallest. Will I be better when I am not the smallest?"

"You are already better. You are amazing, just need more fine tuning and as you grow yes you will be even better." She tries again and this time, its at least an 8. Myself, the lifeguards and several watching/waiting children jump, yell and clap for her. I think it was worth being honest to see the happiness in her face when she finally got it. She will continue to struggle and work on it, but will put such effort into it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Garden and worms

My Nikon is still broken. My husband told me how to fix it, and I know it will work. And a few minutes ago I thought, I could fix my camera, or blog using the pictures on the other camera. You can see what I chose. However, the other camera isnt quite as good (I am SO grateful to have it all the same...) and so some of these pictures are not great. I am learning photoshop (thanks mama) but am not very skilled yet so basically, be glad I am here hanging with you guys!
This is poetic no? I am excited and pleased and happy with my garden! And grateful for my wonderful husband each time I pull weeds, water, and pick food. He helped us set up a beautiful garden before he left that is largely weed free, easy to care for and has such good soil our plants are thriving. Thank you baby... We have been eating lettuce for weeks now but yesterday we had our first tomato! It was so juicy and sweet, I think I MIGHT have drank the juice off of the cutting board. We have a lot of purple lettuce too and this is the first year that I have grown lettuce from seed.
These are my volunteer squash, the plants just came by without asking, stopped, picked a spot and settled. I kindly mulched, watered, weeded, spoke with and thanked them. Oh and then I picked the squash from their vines and thanked them again! I dont have a photo of my onions but we have those too and they are great steamed together with soy sauce, eaten on brown rice.
This fellow is nasty no? I found a picture of a horn worm a few days ago online and this is identical. I am not the authority so it may not actually be, sorry about the quality of the photos. It was discovered by D, a visiting child, and he wasnt at all squeamish! His sister, brother and T and N all marveled at the creature and touched him, some were nervous the he could bite (I have heard that horn worms can) but he was so fascinating.
He wasnt on her foot at all, he was on a stick that D was holding. As soon as D offered him the stick, the worm climbed on. He had such interesting sticky feet, sort of fat little tendrils for legs/feet. He moved pretty quickly and was easily distracted by movement, happy to move to a different stick/piece of leaf. I hope that this creature and his friends are NOT eating my garden because SOMETHING has been snacking on it!

Swimming lessons

The kids are taking swimming lessons again at our local pool. This is our 3rd year to take lessons, there are 2 sessions offered and most people do only 1. We do both, because they graduate (if able) 2 levels this way. They graduated level 5 last yr (of 6 available before lifeguard training) but they havent swam all winter. So I asked the teacher to put them back in level 5, though its combined with 6. Neither is a good enough swimmer yet to have passed 6. They have the skill but their technique needs refining.
Tad is just jumping here, they can enter the water any way they like before lesson starts. There is one child in their level, and one in level 6 and they all work together.
Nathalie doesnt mind going off of the diving board but her diving skills are the area that she suffers the most in. She is getting extra help during the day for this, when we swim for fun.
A shallow dive, she has to learn to go just under the surface. Her problem? She keeps landing like a cat! On all fours, her knees and hands hit followed by her face, stomach and chest. 5 parents, 3 lifeguards and 4 other children were working together today to help her figure this out (she wont pass without it) and the level 6 boy happened upon a solution as a last measure. He put his hand by her ankles holding up a number of fingers and told her tell me what the number is by looking at it just before you dive. Keeping her chin down is the answer, and in an attempt to see the number she was able to accomplish the dive! We were proud of child I for the idea and N for being able to accomplish the task.
Tad is pretty good at the dive, sometimes he still goes in too far. He is a strong diver, but he also needs to work on form. Last year Frank taught them the shallow dive, or learned it with them. That is possibly why N struggles with it this year, he isnt here to help her remember how. He held onto her thighs and flipped her legs up in time, thus preventing the belly flop but I am not strong enough to flip up her weight.
His legs stay nice and straight, they want them together but it doesnt have to be perfect. A lot of people bend their knees (me) and thus "belly flop" their lower legs.
"I have to do what with my arms?" Tad of the teacher.
"You have to turn them in a circle and then..."It was here that she must have sneezed because he lost her.
"Oh help. I must have a breath. Why cant I reach the bottom as easy as everyone else does?"
"Because you are the littlest." Another swimmer.

That is true, she is always the youngest in her class and Tad generally is on the younger side as well. This year they have a swimmer in their age group (same age as T), but in years past they havent. They are very strong swimmers and dont seem to have fears. Caution yes, fear no. I am so proud of how hard they work in lessons. I think it is a wonderful skill to have.


I was making breakfast this morning, with my loving son. Pancakes and bacon. This punk can put away some food! But, he is also a good and willing cook. This was our conversation.

"I love you baby."
"I love you too mama. Can I have a cup of coffee now?"
"Sure. Hey baby, lets go see a lawyer and make a pact and have him sign it with us that says you wont ever leave me. Ever."
"Mama I dont think thats a good idea. Plus I am too young that will later not hold up in court."
"You are gonna leave me? Why dont you just live next door?"
"Because I will need to go find a wife, and I want to see the pyramids. I will come home right after that. When I have seen all of Africa also."
"Thats gonna take awhile. We will have land, you can just live right there. And there will be some girl there, you know some nice girls now."
"What if things dont work out and I dont marry anyone that I know, and dont want to marry anyone close by. Its unlikely she would be like-minded anyway. I want a woman who wants lots of kids, cooks well and will homeschool. A lot of other things."
"You are really gonna leave me baby?"
"Mama can you pass me the bacon? Yes I am gonna leave you. These pancakes are good. Can I have maple syrup in my coffee?"

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I watched a storm roll in, I started in the front yard where it was pretty and sunny and then walked to the back. these photos were taken in a short period of time, and you can see how gray it is out back. Then came thunder, lightening, rain and hail. It was a lovely display.



Its not hot

"Do I have to stay outside and work? It is hot."
"Its not hot punk. Its quite cool. It isnt even 80 degrees. Why dont you pull some weeds? You like to garden."
"I am tired of gardening. Can I go in?"

"Because mama, there are things inside that I need to get done."
"What things?"
"Um. Well, its just that, I mean there were... well. Mama can I go in?"
"Sure punk."
"Well... can I play a game on the computer?" Pause. "Your look is saying no to me is that correct?" Pause. "Okay. I am going in anyway."

Just photos

Here are some random pictures, I take pictures all of them time but havent been able to publish.

Nathalie was teaching school here, I like how she uses stuffed animals rather than baby dolls but the game is always called "doll babies." She will say, "I am playing doll babies school." They play safari, zoo, hospital, army, all with "doll babies." There will be an occasional regular doll thrown in and her lovey doll, Manny, takes part in most games. The favorite doll baby game in which Manny is the main character is "Manny the Genius." Manny is a old, cheap doll baby that I purchased for Tad when pregnant with Nathalie, and he gave it to her for her first christmas. Then, my best friend's son was born when N was 11 mo old, and his name is Emanuel. Thus-Manny doll or Manny the Genius.

This picture, is just because its beautiful. I was making pizza and the toppings are just so pretty!

Here we have "Science in Home School." Tad took apart an old camera and with a multimeter and some other tools, he learned how it worked, what part made what happen, the flash, turning it on and off. He spent about 2 hours doing this and Nathalie took part in the education though not taking it apart.

He has taken a lot of things apart, the first thing was a direct TV box when he was nearly 4 and he kept the parts under his bed for years.

Picture of me in the garden, I think Tad took this. We had been to the pool and I put a dry dress on top of my wet suit and somehow didnt have a good time gardening. It was hot and sticky and much of my skin was bitten by mosquitoes.

A fuzzy photo. T and N dont jump on the trampoline very much when Frank first leaves after R and R. They like to jump with him, they are now back into it. We are having such a cool summer, they spend a lot of time out there jumping now in between their chores. We do a lot of chores, and we do some school in the summer. When they have a break, they hurry to do something fun. Generally it is some sort of physical activity so they always sleep well.

My baby drivin'

Just an ol' diesel tractor...but I was high on that prairie, when mama let me drive...

Garden words

So I finally have photos! I did some work on my computer, figured out the new system. It still isnt as easy as my old system, but there are things about Windows 7 that I like better than Vista. I dont like the photo part, but there are pros and cons. I know I will get used to this system and probably dislike the next upgrade!

I posted garden photos and the compose option on my blog wasnt functioning so I wasnt able to post any words. Not that anyone comes here to read stuff, its the great pictures right? These garden pictures are from 2 different weeks, some taken yesterday/day before and some the Monday before so there has been a lot of growth. And death. A hornworm ate and ENTIRE tomato plant, and something, I think mildew, has killed off some squash and pumpkin plants. But, it could be a bore/boar beetle (Sp?). At any rate, I have sprayed the plants with some organic stuff that is supposed to dissuade pests, but it doesnt kill them. I wont use something on my garden that we shouldnt ingest.

The tomato picture that shows the green tomatoes, well those are now red! Almost ready to pick. I have had a hard time gardening in Ks until this year. Partly because I had too much on my plate, this year we lowered our goat herd numbers and chicken flock (not by choice on this last one, something in our town is eating a lot of creatures-from kittens and chickens, all the way up to full grown dogs!). Now I have time to focus on the garden, and still enjoy my livestock, keep a moderately clean house, educated children, have time to enjoy the children, sew and cook.

More pictures of Tad driving the tractor in a bit!

More Garden


My garden