Saturday, June 15, 2013

She partied like it was 1999 and more from the weekend so far.

My daughter went to her cousin's birthday party.  The birthday party wasn't due to commence until about 8:30 PM due to the softball game that J and her other overnight guests had to play.

Y'all, the game didn't end until 9 PM.  It was first year kid pitch, so the balls were high and low.  Most kids walked and sweet love, it took forever.  It was almost, but not quite, as boring as watching the soap box derby.  (No offense to the derby fans out there.)  K was so bored that she went to the car to get a sweatshirt and a book.

By the time the girls all arrived, it was heading onward to 10 PM.  We had children opting (my included) to take an evening dip in the very chilly pool.  They made personal pizzas, spray dyed shirts (some, but most in the AM), played games, had S'mores and as my daughter told me, "I was on the trampoline at midnight!"

She partied.

And partied.

And partied.

She was one of the last still standing.  What time did she finally fall asleep?

5 AM.

That wasn't a typo.  It was 5 AM.  When I called to check on her this morning I said to my sister, "I'm sorry.  She got up at 5?  I'm so sorry."

"No.  She fell asleep at 5."

I think something to the effect of, "You've got to be kidding me," fell out of my mouth.  As I told LeAnne, she is an only child and she's afraid that she's going to miss something.

When I arrived, she was a pile and wanted to leave "right now."

"Babe, I'm sorry but this isn't about you.  I'm here for the family party.  We're not going to be staying into the night again.  We have to go home and help dad with work stuff.  I'm not leaving now.  We're staying and visiting with the family."

She cried for a few, but pulled it around.  Turns out that she accidentally broke a brand new birthday squirt toy of her cousin, J.  J had received it the night before.  She got two of them.  They are the long, crayon looking spray plunger tubes and she batted a flying ball with it.  It snapped and J was hardly even speaking to K.  K told me that she had been tired, didn't know what she was thinking and just hit the flying ball with it.  She wasn't lying and she isn't destructive.  J is a child of many in the house and was peeved that her new toy was broken and she figured that she wasn't going to get a replacement.  I promised J that we would get a new one and that she needn't be mad at K anymore.  I promised that I would call and let them know when they can pick up the replacement.  I had to laugh that J's sister, my niece C, told J, "Really?  That's what you are mad about?  Those are cheap and you can get them from the dollar store!"  Still, my sister and her family live on the back 5 and a distance from the stores.  Replacement and extra funding to do so isn't always done.  K and I did go to three different stores and we've been unable to find the squirter.  We will find a replacement and if cheap enough, we'll get a few.

M has been so busy at work that he named this evening, "Family Science Night," since he needed us to help him with setting up some kid experiments for his science camps over the summer.  I exploded baking soda and vinegar over the table until we got the right amount to blow up a balloon and to blow the cork off of a bottle.  We figured out why the can experiment wasn't working and after about an hour and a half of fiddling with it, we finally got a hot can to completely crush itself when instantly placed in a bowl of very cold water.  Hubs pulled my Food Saver out and will be growing marshmallows for the kids.  He'll also be crushing a can with the vacuum bag.  It was a successful evening and he was glad to have our trouble shooting help.

Rewinding a day gave us yesterday morning where K started sewing lessons with a friend of mine.  Sewing is not something that I really know how to do, so when K asked if I could teach her to use the sewing machine, my response was, "Why no, I cannot.  I have an idea of someone who can."  Yesterday, she learned to thread the machine, fill the bobbin, how to sew using the guides on the plate, and is busy trying to remember to leave the needle down when turning a corner and trying to recall that she needs to put the presser foot down before sewing.  She loved it and L even had her make a pillow for her American Girl doll.  :)  K was so excited that on the way there, she told me that she "will teach her children how to sew and her children's children."  How sweet!

Tomorrow's boating plans have been scrapped because of storms coming.  K and I purchased picnic supplies, so I'll get the Nathan dogs in the crock-pot with the baked beans in the morning, we'll go (by Hubs' request) to take K fishing and we'll have a family day with just us.  My in-law's just got back from a week in Chicago and are kind of beat and my dad is battling bronchitis and ended up in the ER overnight.  He had severe chest pain and thankfully, it turned out to be inflamed bronchial tubes due to all of his coughing.  I'll do a doorway drop of his gift, but we're leaving my mom and dad to be under their hazmat tent.  K went to work with Hubs this week and participated in their Advanced Fishing Camp.  Bless her heart, she even won an award for the "Most unusual fish caught."  She caught something that they call a "war mouth" because the inside of its mouth is camouflage in color.  Who knew?

Tomorrow, we look forward to lovin' on Dabby.  (A very tired note left behind for K one day was signed off as "Love, Dabby" and Dabby has just stuck.)  Our plans may have changed, but as long as we're hanging together, it's all good.

Have a great night!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The garden and what's growing up.

The storm was rolling in and this was our sunset.  

The yellow yarrow driveway transplant to one of our new front beds.  

The one and only lonely dianthus that came back this year.

The front path that I'm putting in.  Once the grass takes root in the in-betweens and locks the stones down (and the mud washes from the face), it'll be jammin'.  For now, my path is cut in a little over half way.  It's a lot of work, but in the end, it will be delightful.

The lime green nicotiana that reseeds itself in the very same spot at the corner of the house every single year.  

My very first pepper this year!  I tell you, using Epsom Salts with the peppers really did make all the difference this year.


The topsy turvy tomato seems to be happy enough.

For the first part of "Keepin' it Real" we present the trash cart that I broke with far too much lawn debris.  Hubs thinks it weighed at least 800 pounds (with no exaggeration) and the trip down the limestone drive did the wheel in.

See?  The good news is that the city has a "mobile repair unit" that will come and replace my wheels for no charge.  Good thing.  I was going to fashion my own since a city cart costs $50.

I tucked the hanging baskets in for the night.  We were having the big and bad storms arrive and I didn't want the baskets to launch.  Besides, I'm foster planting that million bells there and nearly killed it when it went dry.  I'm glad to report that it rehydrated nicely and my MIL won't have a dried carcass returned to her.

The top planting depression in my water barrel is working out nicely.  K gave the snaps to me for Mother's Day and Hubs gave me the marigolds for the same thing.  I grew the cilantro from seed and put that in as fluff and seeded the alyssum around it.  That should bloom shortly.  The portulaca?  That was a volunteer find!  I love volunteers!

One of the two perennial geraniums I purchased last year.  One didn't come back, but this one is doing very well.

The field yarrow I snitched from a friend's property years and years ago.  I have since split it and have another spot of the same lovely stuff.

The potentilla that the neighbor gave me.

Yellow squash coming up and I've had to place guards on them to keep the bunny rabbit gentle person or the chipmunkerson from eating them.

Part 2 of "Keepin' it Real" is the critter fence Hubs and I installed around the garden.  The pile of dirt there is from where I've been cutting the stones in up front.  I dumped it there where I planted organic soy beans that didn't come up.  I have green beans that were being beheaded and collards that are on their third planting since the tender shoots seem to be the preferred meal of some bunny in the backyard. 

Lambs ear that my sister gave me last year.  She gave me a few sprouts and in last year's heat, they didn't look so good.  Turns out, they came around and have done just fine.  I didn't know that they bloomed!

Part 3 of "Keepin' it Real" is that Earthbound Farms makes wonderful guard containers for sunflowers.  

The clematis that after a few years has decided to be HAPPY!

Milkweed thinking about blooming.

I mean, look at that.  Yum!

Last up, these are lilies that Hubs didn't take out while mulching.  His mulch job is wonderful.  Too bad 3 of my lilies met their death as a result.  

So, how's your garden growing?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tales from the Trenches: A PSA for everyone who drives.

We had gone to the Home Depot and were on our way to soccer.  We were in a rather congested shopping district and were stopped at a light.  Suddenly, I thought that water was being thrown on me.  I looked over and saw the wiper blades going on the very large SUV next to me.  (I was in my RAV which isn't tiny.  At least we weren't in the Yaris.  It would have given the entire car a bath!)

I had just been washed by windshield washer fluid.

The woman in the passenger seat looked horrified as I was wiping blue fluid from my arm and across the top of my door.

She did not open her window.

She did not apologize.

They drove away in traffic as fast as they could.

I know that they didn't do it on purpose, but I would have rolled the window down and apologized profusely for spraying someone down with blue chemicals.

Please make sure that if you have a hankerin' to wash the windshield at a stop light, please make certain that the cars next to you have their windows up first.  I have gotten over spray through the moon roof, but people don't see that open and certainly don't expect the fluid to fly over their car and 1/2 way over mine.

My daughter would like me to kindly remind everyone that if you go to a drive-in restaurant, please remember that those who are sitting in the cars next to you aren't enjoying the cigarette smoke.  She's smoke sensitive (Instant bronchitis anyone?), so she is very tuned into whether people are smoking or not.  The last two times we stopped by our local (YUM!) drive-in, we've had to roll the windows up because of smokers.  YUCK!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The yearly dilemma.

My yearly dilemma is this-- are the cherries ready yet?  I've given it a few good weeks since I first started seeing them in the stores.  The price has dropped, so I'm thinking that is probably when the larger influx of cherries are coming in.

I bought K a little bag.  Then I kindly told her that I paid almost $4.00 for them and to please eat them.

:with tears:

Aunt Donna would always call and say that they were ready and once again, I'm left to guessing.  :(

I hit another milestone today.  I had to buy my child sidewalk chalk.  Because Aunt Donna bought her multiple containers each year and the last one being some giant Crayola bucket that lasted YEARS, I haven't bought chalk in more years than I can think to say.  I had to run up to the local discount store this evening and they had some buckets 2 for 99 cents.  I bought two and brought them home.  K has been working with the dregs lately and I've known that there was a need.  She was thrilled to see the new chalk come in the door.  I made her promise to use one bucket at a time and not to grind all of it up at once to make chalk "paint."  Still, another Aunt Donna thing.  :(

I saw someone on a red scooter the other day.  Since it was toodling around here, it could have been hers.  Right before she passed away, LeAnne and I received several calls of scooter break downs.  The last big call was when my sister was on her way to a function and could not come to Aunt Donna's rescue.  She asked that I go.  Hubs happened to be home and came with me.  We hunted her down, found the old girl and the broken scooter and Hubs told me to check on the back for some switch to flip.  We did and magically it was alive!  Aunt Donna made me give her tactile instructions (she was legally blind) and she was off.

We miss her and not just because she provided sidewalk chalk and "the cherries are ready" calls.  She was a pain in the patoot and certainly as hard headed as I am.  (Geeze, where did I get it?)  However, she would give anything to anyone and had the habit of being taken advantage of.  She knew that I was one of the few in her life that would not take advantage of her and truly watched out for her.  Sometimes, the old girl was a lot of work.  Her heart was in the right place.

We miss her a lot.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

We passed the third grade!

Thursday was the last day of third grade.  Can I tell you that Hubs and I have been counting down to that day for a while? 

I should add that we never actually questioned our daughter passing 3rd grade.  The year was just so danged long!  She held her grades pretty well, being on merit or honor roll all year.  We had the D+ in math on the first report card.  We praised K for her D+ because she really did do her very best.  (It was a grade that I never thought I would praise, much less on a report card.)  I admit, it was hard for me to swallow that my daughter, despite doing her absolute best, ran into an otherwise unacceptable grade.  She didn't get in trouble for it.  We did slog with her through the entire year of math.  Sweet love.

Then came grading period 2 where her social studies dropped from an A to a C because she was being pulled out of SS for math tutoring and as such, the teacher was giving a "quick review" to the children who missed it, but obviously the "quick review" wasn't working for K.  No bother.  I told her that I would home school her in social studies and we pulled that C back up to an A.  

We've had some difficulty with K's teacher this past year.  At one point at the beginning of May, K came to me and said, "Mom, I think that Mrs. H hates me."  My only response was, "You know, we can't wait for 3rd grade to end, either."  While I'm sure that Mrs. H didn't hate K, she knew that she had several papers that were misgraded or mislogged onto the online grade system, she knew that despite how hard she was working, the teacher wasn't always willing to work with her.  It is a growing-up thing.  Just the jump from 2nd grade to 3rd grade in the area of teacher helping students was a bit sink-or-swim and K wasn't a big fan of the sinking feeling.  

They started pulling K (without consulting me or Hubs) for literacy intervention where they were pulling her out of science.  They were pulling her because her OAA score was 7 points shy of the end of year points goal (they took the reading OAA in October) and I declined.  They were shocked.  If K truly needed the help, we would sign up.  Science was hands on with a lot of experiments.  How exactly am I supposed to home school that at home with a fairly non-communicative teacher?  The tutor called and apologized for telling the children that quite frankly, they had failed the OAA reading portion when we specifically told K that she had passed the 3rd grade guarantee (the reading score required to move on to 4th grade) but that she was a few points shy of the end of year goal.  K was an absolute pile and I told the tutor that she had undone 2 1/2 months worth of self-esteem work we did in one fell swoop.  She felt horrible. 

Because of the OAA fall score, K was invited to reading pre-fall and she wanted to do it.  They are doing a bit of reading intervention and while K reads several books a week, I think that help with slowing down (they were so much about speed that I think that they had her skimming things), comprehension, and prefix and suffix concentration would be great for her.  K is a good average reader.  Kiddo does read herself to death.  Her comprehension is generally pretty good.  If they want to teach her more tricks, have at it.  

In October, there was a bit of a shake-up with the art department.  The public schools that we are in reserves the right to do a bit of a teacher shuffle after 3 weeks of school.  The population settles a bit more and occasionally teachers need to be moved.  Mr. B was moved and the kids were crushed.  All of our 531 children had their schedules shuffled in order to accommodate the replacement staff of 3 part time art teachers.  As it turns out, Mrs. J was a superb replacement.  K loved her and came home having learned things in art.  Mrs. J doesn't expect the kids to be Matisse, but as long as they take in the information that she teaches and tries to apply what they've learned, she'll rock it out with them.  Mr. B was almost like a glorified craft teacher.  K never really did anything of worth with him, so it is okay that he moved on.  Later in the year, K agreed that Mrs. J was a better choice for her.  

Mrs. C was the math tutor that helped pull K out of the math depths.  She is a wonderful Christian woman who takes her job as seriously as these children are HER children.  She e-mailed me on weekends and met with me in hallways.  She was as excited by K's progress as we were.  Yes, I gave her teacher goodies as well as Mrs. H (K's teacher) and Mrs. D, the speech intervention specialist. 

Speaking of Mrs. D, though K's IEP expired last year, she kept her on twice a month for some continued help.  K has been seeing Mrs. D since her 3rd week in Kindergarten.  When K started, she was going to see Mrs. D 3 times a week.  She has worked wonders with K's speech.  We're still battling the "r," but that is pretty common and the LAST correctable sound.  K and I were talking about it today.  We talked about the neighbor girl and I told K that I noticed E's "r" a bit more lately.  "You know, Mom, I've noticed that B (another girl at school) really needs help with her 'r', too."  I continue to compliment her on her hard work and stop her occasionally to get her to work her "r" a bit more.  K's sister was an "r" kiddo, so we weren't surprised.  J has since ditched her "r" and I'm certain that K will, too.  Mrs. D has worked so hard with her.

Mrs. H, the librarian, I credit for helping K a lot this last year.  She knows us from years of 100 Book Challenge Book Pass that K used to help me with.  It was when K was in 1st grade that Mrs. H put her reservations on K for 3rd grade library helper.  Mrs. H also attends church with us.  She helped me through those tough math moments and was there to give K an extra hug in the AM when she had her doing her library duties.  Mrs. H made sure to tell me that K will be the only library helper that she is keeping.  The rest of the girls seriously did not want to do their jobs and she is not continuing with them in the library.  In fact, she allowed K to make her choice on what she will be re-shelving this next year. Apparently, that's a pretty big deal in the library volunteer world.  K is thrilled to be a library volunteer. 
Kiddo loves books so much that to be surrounded by them is a dream for her!

As I said, 3rd grade is a huge jump.  K moved from 2nd grade (as a honor roll student) to 3rd grade having to be happy with a D+ at one point and a few C's on her report card at different times (merit roll and honor roll once) and had to be happy with that.  We had hours long study sessions where we went running (despite having a mama that does not run) down to the end of the block and back.  We drilled spelling words.  We reviewed reading stories.  I don't think that she'll ever forget the social studies test that we studied a week for that she got a 100% on.  Just ask my kiddo who invented the first sky scraper.  She'll tell you!  ;)

Grades had been pretty easy for K up to this point.  She found this year that she is a kiddo that requires studying in order to get the good grades that she gets.  At the beginning of the year, I had to ask for the teacher to allow her to bring her books home.  None of the other kids ever do.  In fact, they even asked her at the bus stop why she brings home so many books.  God bless the kiddo.

We're looking forward to 4th grade.  We're hoping for a better year.  Until then, we will enjoy our summer.  We have bridge work to do, but that isn't every moment of every day.  I bought K a beautiful diary (on clearance at Target for way cheap) and she is excited to write in it.  Every other day, she'll write in cursive.  We worked on diary writing rules the other day.  We'd like to improve her writing skills (she gets tangential and misses some connective words) and frankly, her handwriting can get pretty awful when she is rushing.  (It can be delightful otherwise.)  She's blessed with the opportunity to go to some camps with Hubs at work.  K and her dad get on very well, so it's good for her to hang with him and to be a big help.  

We're enjoying the start of our summer.  Our first day of summer?  We had a Brady Bunch Marathon!  I love that K loves a show that I loved when I was her age!  :)