Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garden Fair Week!

Greetings from the Ohio Rain Forest!  (The amount of rain that we've had each day has been about an inch or more.  We're getting ready to set our oars to water.  In fact, I do believe that Noah may have floated by just a bit ago.)

I've decided to put a McLinky up on Monday for a Garden Fair.  I thought that there would be folks out there interested in what everyone is growing.  Seedlings?  Put them on.  Plants you love?  Let us see!  Something you have no idea what it is?  Post the photo and maybe we can tell you!

No green thumb, but you saw gorgeous flowers/plants elsewhere?  Take a photo and include them.  We'd love to see them.  If they aren't from your yard, but are at a public place, perhaps you would be interested in listing the location.

I plan on having the McLinky up through Friday.  We'll re-run this in August, when we are celebrating our harvests.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The back pack and lunch pack have been laundered.

The "flare" has been returned to K-'s back pack. (AKA all of the buttons and "jingly things" that hang off of it.)

The pencil box has been cleared, cleaned and returned to the back pack.

The art shirt has been cleaned, dried and returned to the back pack.

Y'all, summer has officially begun.

Smiles in my day:
- K-'s Kindergarten graduation ceremony. So wonderful. So glad that they have it for the kids!
- K-'s teacher gave me a beautiful planter for our front porch. She wanted to thank me for everything I had done throughout the year.
- K- got the teacher that I requested for her for next year! She has several friends in there, including her good friend Z-, C- and B-. She is so excited!
- My mama's birthday was today (6/3) and my brother Billy's birthday is tomorrow (6/4). We had cake for them tonight. My brother is taking leftover cake into work tomorrow to share with the guys. He's excited to take it in to share.
- K- received some money for graduation, so we took it down and bought a savings bond with it. (The grandparents gave it to her. It's not like we sent invitations out soliciting for donations.) She had a fair amount in her pig and I thought it best to teach her that saving it with a savings bond was a good thing.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Movin' on up!

Baby girl,

How proud we are of you! You have finished Kindergarten! You've done a lot of things this year! Let me give you a list of just some, in no particular order of importance:

1. We walked to school probably about 85% of the time. We had that nasty spot in the winter where the snow was up to MY hips and sidewalks weren't cleared. However, you've skipped to school, ridden "Sparkle" the unicorn hobby horse, we made friends with Mr. Jim, met and made friends with B- and her family and we've navigated construction obstacles for the last two months. I have absolutely loved walking with you! We've had such great talks and observations about school and nature. We've worked issues out along the way. You know, the school stuff. "This one said this, this one said that . . ." It was wonderful time that you and I were able to spend together.
2. You learned to read. Boy, you are good at it! You love to write stories, too!
3. We learned that school lunches are not a good thing for you. Jamie Oliver would absolutely be beside himself. Once we figured out just what you wanted, everyday you went off with 1/2 of a turkey sandwich, pretzels, yogurt/fruit or veggies and your Klean Kanteen filled with water.
4. You have perfected the ability to sit, listen and not wiggle.
5. You learned to snap your fingers.
6. You are still one of the few kids who hasn't lost any teeth. That's okay. For what pain and suffering you've gone through with them, it is just God's way of making sure that we get the mileage out of the fillings and root canal.
7. You've made some wonderful friends. You amaze me. You can walk into a room full of kids. You'll go to play with some. If they won't play with you, you'll move on to someone else. You don't care if they are short, tall, boy or girl. You are thrilled to play with anyone.
8. You have become quite the teacher's helper. In not a bad way, Mrs. H- says that if she wasn't in class one day, you could easily run the class. She said that you are very helpful and know absolutely everything to be done.
9. You learned that sometimes school hands out a few hard knocks. You had M- with the need to physically harm you, and Z- with the power of manipulation to talk you into the bad choice of breaking up all your crayons. With M-, you learned that it was a two way street. You needed to open up your ears and listen to his request for no help. Though his struggling was difficult for you to watch, you finally got the hang of it and now both of you are friends. As for Z-, you learned the hard lesson that you shouldn't allow your friends to talk you into doing something that you know in your heart is wrong. You paid the price and replaced the crayons. I'm happy to say that now you and Z- are friends again, too.
10. You've shed your color blindness. When you first started school, you would describe children by their hair and clothing. Just recently, you were talking about a friend that "has brown skin." It makes me sad that now you see color, when before you didn't. However, to you it is just different skin. That's all. I want you to stay just like that.
11. You've never cared for the gym teacher's whistle. I'm not surprised. Extreme high pitch is something you've never done well with. You've learned to work through it and now you are fine.
12. You've learned about another food allergy-- peanuts. You saw how careful I was with everything that I sent into class and that never once did I send peanut butter to class for lunch with you. Of course, the day that I did bring peanut butter was for the zoo. Wouldn't you know, A- was in our group! We kept him safe, so it was all good. Still, it made you aware that some children can't have what everyone else can because sometimes it can make them very ill.
13. You love Junie B.
14. You are a rule follower. If there is a rule, you know it and will obey it. In fact, you never got your "clip moved" even once this year. That's great!

Please don't think that this list is all the lessons that you learned. This is just a small sampling.

You are a great kid! You have learned so many incredible things this year. You are such a fantastic student! I can't wait to see what First grade brings!



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Such sweetness.

There is a boy, D-, who has just been loving on K- all year. He thinks that K- is better than sliced bread, a bag of chips and all that.

I may have shared the story of leaving one morning, and K- was particularly clingy. D- came up behind her and hugged her and told her that she could let go of me and he would be hugging her so that she would still be hugged.

Oh, make my heart melt.

There was a day during the canned food drive that K- was so excited to line up her donation for the day that she dropped her back pack and lunch right where she was standing so that she could get her things up on the table. She scooped up her back pack and standing behind her was D-, holding onto her lunch for her.

Right up until construction season started (the week before spring break), D-'s mom would drive past us walking. She said that it was the highlight of his morning to see us walking to school.

If D- is sick, K- prays for him. In fact, he had been out for several days. We walked up just as they drove up and she waited to see if he was in the car. He was and they both hugged and hugged. After that, they walked hand in hand all the way to the school.

A few weeks ago, it was D-'s birthday. We had gone to Amish country the weekend before, so we bought him a chocolate lollipop with sugar balloons on it for K- to give him.

Today D- felt the need to share.

I always call K- after school to see how her day was. She told me about this box and heart necklace that D- gave her.

Folks, it is the sweetest thing.
Bless his heart. He ran across the parking lot and said to K-, "Here is your necklace." My mother-in-law said that she said, "Oh, okay!" She didn't realize what it was until she opened it in the car. They had cleaned out their cubbies today and my MIL thought that it was one of her necklaces that got left behind.

From K-, "It is a heart and you know what that means, Mommy! D- loves me!" Okay, I don't doubt that he does love her in as much as a 6 year old boy can love a girl that equally shares his passion for Star Wars. We've had the no boyfriend talk with K- and she is good with that. I mentioned that it was a lovely love-from-a-friend kind of gift.

She was delighted. I was happy for her. D- is a very good boy and very respectful. I think that he is a wonderful friend to pal around with. I'm thinking that D- and K- need to get together a few times over the summer to play.

I look at them right now. All of the kids, actually. They all stick up for each other. They love on each other, particularly in K-'s class. I fear that all too soon that will end. I don't want it to. I don't want all that petty funky school crap for K- that I had to go through.

For the time being, we'll take being friends with boys and girls alike as a good thing.

Smiles in my day:
- Though K- had a very rough time unwinding for bed, it appears as though she is now sound asleep.
- The opportunities that our school system offers. The school sent invitations out to all children in K - 5th grade to attend a co-sponsored program by our school district and the local zoo. There will be free admission to the zoo, a free back pack and school supplies given, entertainment, face painting and a couple of local mascots there. Since we let our zoo pass lapse (but we picked one up through the botanical gardens), it will be nice to visit the zoo one last time before summer ends!
- Chatting with some fun, regular customers today. (Not that the non-regulars were a bad thing!) It warms my heart to see repeat customers. It confirms that what we are trying to do is a well received thing.

An aside:
This evening as Hubs and I were watching TV, the local homeless shelter called. This was the homeless shelter where we were volunteering when I was pregnant with Bailey (and before that, actually.) For the first time ever, they were phone banking for donations. I made a pledge of a fairly nominal amount, knowing that they could feed a handful of people with that donation. Still, when I got off the phone and told Hubs who it was, he was stunned. Our Christian run homeless shelter needs help. They are very well run with impeccable books. However, the economy has been in the dumper for quite some time. More and more people have needed to seek their services. I would like to at least double the amount that I pledged to them. Would you consider praying that not only do they get the funding that they need, but to also allow us to help them out in a generous way? It sounds like a weird request, I know. They are really good people doing wonderful things. Though we haven't been able to continue our volunteer work with them on their campus, they hold a very special place in our hearts. Please consider keeping them in your prayers for us.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: A good lesson in a sparsely populated public pool.

We had a really great weekend. Much time was spent involving sprinklers, swimming pools, bottles of water and a lot of sun exposure.

Folks, SPF 45 tamed it, but didn't completely keep from sun tan.

Anyhow, we were able to spend Sunday with my husband's family. My sister-in-law was in town to run the local 5.25 run (Hey, Janeen! We looked for you!). The run was in the AM, after which we went to a local diner for breakfast.

I've never sat at the counter. It was a great FRESH food diner and the food was wonderful. K- had a pancake the size of her plate.

At any rate, after the run and breakfast, we took the girls to swim for a while. They had a great time playing together. It was a small housing development public pool, so it wasn't overrun by folks. It is where my brother-in-law's parents live, and they even came down to visit, and brought snacks and towels.

We were all sitting talking about this and that and I was keeping my eye on K- and the girls. The girls have a bit more swimming experience than K-, but with 3 seasons of the local university's swimming lessons under her belt, she does just fine.

Still . . .

They ended up with floatie raft thing. It was inflated around the outside rings, but the inside rings weren't inflated. K- was on it. They were laughing and having a great time. They ended up at our end of the pool, about 8 feet from the edge and I noticed my niece putting the float over K-'s head. I could tell that she wasn't doing anything maliciously and clearly, she was just playing.

K- yelled. She went down. Arms were flailing. The float got moved and K- was okay.

Rinse and repeat a time again.

I could tell that it was exhausting K-.

I could see her face. She was getting terrified. I knew that my niece couldn't see it, though. Again, she was just playing. My daughter wasn't.

I don't even know what we were talking about, but I got up and stepped onto the top step of the pool. I didn't yell. It didn't even occur to me to yell. I think that my starting to come into the pool fully clothed made my niece stop and look strange at me long enough for me to ask K- if she was okay.

Y'all, two more seconds and I was diving in. I didn't care about the clothes.

I brought K- over to the steps. "Are you okay?"


"Were you scared?"


"You were yelling. Were you yelling Mom?"

"No, I was yelling no. She didn't listen to me!" (My niece was giggling so much that I don't think that she actually heard K-.)

I praised K-. I told her that she did exactly everything right. I told her that all of her swimming lessons really helped her. Still, the incident scared her and will be with her forever.

Still, can I tell you how badly I wanted to have her sit in my lap and how much I wanted to cry right then and there? Family was there and would have thought I was a nut. We sat on a lounge chair and talked some more. She snuggled up next to me. I hugged her. I kissed her head. It still brings me to tears, though.

A similar incident happened to me when Hubs and I were dating. We were at a local water park. We had these thick foamy floats to slide down from one "puddle" to the other. The last one, big enough for 3 people, was a bit deeper than the rest. Hubs went down, then I came down after him. I got caught up under his float. He knew I came down. So did the "puddle guard," but they didn't see me. The more I pushed up to get out from under the float, the more he pushed it down. He thought it was the flow of water, not me. With one last push, I gave everything I had and flipped the float from out from under his arm. "Where have you been?" "Stuck under your float!"

It sounds like an old story we've all heard this time of year. It happened so fast. It really did. There was no life guard, so it was up the the parents on the perimeter of the pool to keep track. My niece truly meant no harm at all.

We've been gifted a public pool pass. This incident just confirms that I will not be sitting pool side leisurely reading. I will not be paying attention to others and chatting it up while my child is playing in the pool with others. Oh, I'll be talking to people, I'm sure. I will keep a constant eye on K-, though. I've decided to make an unwritten list of rules. Feel free to add to them.

1. Life guards are NOT babysitters. I understand that life guards are there for safety, but it is YOUR responsibility to be watching your child/ren. They are your back-up, not your primary. It is up to you to tend to their needs, be mindful that what they are doing is safe and to keep tabs on them.

If you need to go to the bathroom, pull the kids from the pool and take them with you. They probably need the break anyhow. None of us want them depositing waste (liquid or otherwise) in the pool anyhow.

Need a snack from the pool side snack bar? Take the kids out and have them sit in the chairs. Seem unreasonable? Too bad. Your sight won't be 100% on them and it is up to you to monitor them.

Need something from the car? Don't send the kids (the younger, though you can figure who is old enough in your crowd). Weird folks like to watch lovely young children, and not in a babysitting kind of way. Pull the kids from the pool and have them come with you. Is it a bother? Maybe. Are they safe? Absolutely.
2. Floaties in public pools are dangerous. I know that the kids are sometimes irritated that they can't bring their favorite floaties to the pool. I now understand why. First, it can give a false sense of security to a swimmer that may not be that good. It may give the parent/s a false sense of security as well. Secondly, someone can get caught up underneath in just a millisecond and no one would know. You cannot see them. The noise of a public pool setting would make it so that you couldn't hear them. Keep the floaties at home.
3. Don't run around the pool for a reason. Bare feet, flip flops, Croc's or otherwise. It isn't a good idea. Kids and people alike can slip and crack their head. They can knock an unsuspecting person in. It isn't good and not safe.
4. No food in the pool. That's just plain gross. Believe me, I saw kids eating while at K-'s swimming lessons. Going in with a pretzel in hand may not seem like a big deal, but they lose track of what they are doing and can choke. (Not to mention mooshy food floating by.)
5. If your kid is sick, stay home. None of us want it. Sadly, the public pool is basically like a giant petri dish with a little bit of chlorine added. Keep that in mind.
6. Don't take more children than you feel you can reasonably handle. Each child does not need to take a buddy along. There will be plenty of kids at the pool to play with.

I'm sure I missed a lot. Feel free to add. Any public pool pet peeves that you would like people to discontinue?

Smiles in my long weekend:
- Spending a lovely day with Hubs' family.
- Working on the yard with Hubs and getting him in at the first crack of lightning. Sure, he had decided to ditch our boating plans for Memorial Day, but that wasn't such a bad thing. Turned out that it came in a lot sooner than we thought. The dust from the ball fields left us in a haze of dirt. It was bizarre.
- Weeding today, though it feels as though it will never ever end. Well, it will when the snow flies. (I'm not completely complaining, but I guess I am.)
- The last week of school.
- Simple, summer food meals.
- K- making a car out of a box from a case of Sam's Club toilet paper. She put her stool on the inside, taped cups on for lights, plates on for wheels and buttons and had herself a grand ole time.
- I managed to get K-'s Kindergarten binder done, though I confess the need to purchase a larger binder. When she was in preschool, they gave a binder every year of all kinds of things that they had done and papers she had. I want to continue that through the years. I had kept a basket of papers on the end of the kitchen table. I went through it periodically, though not as often as I would have liked, to weed out the non-keepers. In her binder, I always begin with the class picture that year. I have all of her interim reports and the matching report cards. She has certificates in there, too. I put a select number of art projects throughout the year (folded, but still . . .), as well as a number of papers. I'm not a scrap booker. Sorry, but it bores me to tears. The binder with plastic sheets may not be as fancy, but it does what I need it to. I left a few pages blank so that I can add in the last few days of her year. I can't believe I actually got it done! I didn't think I had the plastic sheets for it, but I found them squirreled away in an awaiting binder.

Have a wonderful day!