Friday, May 25, 2012

new friends

Oh goodness, as my kids would say.  We picked up our chicks this morning and the fun has begun!  Staring for hours at our 4 new babies just a day old, still with their egg teeth.  So sweet and fluffy.  Sleeping and chirping.

About a year ago, we were having trouble with the neighbors and decided to give our chickens a new home while we let everything settle a bit.  My son cried when we dropped off our chickens with the family that wanted them so badly.  I promised that we would get chickens again.  This time, we picked Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, known for being quiet and friendly.

When we got them home and settled into the bathtub with their heating lamp, they just flopped down and slept. Which is what chicks do often.  When we got our first chicks a few years ago, that startled me.  They would be running around and just stop and fall asleep.

These 4 are sisters now, cross my fingers they're all hens!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

life is messy but colorful

I've collected a bag of things I've wanted to tie dye for a year.  It's been in the garage and then moved to the laundry room and finally to the kitchen in an attempt to jump start this project already!  This whole tie dying thing is messy.  I let my kitchen table be the tie station for about a week before I got up the nerve to start mixing the dyes.

My hands are still blue and pink and my fingernails remind me of those plague disclosing tablets you get from the dentist.  You can see the outline of my fingernails in deep red which shows all my hangnails and cuticles that need attending. I think the next thing on my to-do list is a manicure!

But, the end result is pretty beautiful and colorful which is the whole point.  My kids have hidden under their stained and worn play clothes a rainbow of colors that make me happy.  I definitely think they're better than plain tighty whities.

I found these linen napkins on sale and decided that I needed some color in my kitchen too.

Now, even the most simplest of meals will be special.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

glorious fruit

This year I'm very hopeful we'll be harvesting fruit from our garden.  Most years the late frosts have all but wiped out our apricots, peaches, cherries, grapes and apples.  But this year, being so mild, our fruit is growing bigger every day and even if there's a light frost I think they'll be okay.

These apricots are my babies.  I kind of have a soft spot for them.  Only two other years have we harvested these beauties and only a few at best.  This years there are so many that I'm pretty stoked about it.

The grapes are pretty hardy.  We've gotten grapes every year.  I love how just a few weeks ago the leaves just started emerging and now we have small bundles of grapes on the vine.  The only problem with the grapes is that the birds love them too.  When they are about ripe, the kids go up and get them before the birds.  But, I'm happy to share a little too.

Do you see these adorable little peaches?  Our peach tree is only 3 or 4 years old and we haven't gotten anything from it so far.  Cross my fingers and hope that we can get some peaches this year.

What kind of fruit trees do you have and how are they doing this year?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

a day of learning at the river

This river is the heart of my town and I think that is why we like to go there.  The other day when we decided to get out of the house, this particular place is where they wanted to go.  "You know mom, the place by the river with the bridge?"  The spring and fall are the perfect time of year to try all the places close to home because it's not so hot outside.  Although it was pretty hot there that day, we hustled to the water where all the shade was.

I think best parts of homeschooling is the freedom we have.  We're not restricted to our home and we can get out in nature any time we need a change of scenery.  The kids are just so happy to be out and about on an adventure and we don't know exactly what we'll be learning but moments always present themselves.  Like for instance, we found this garter snake by the water.  It didn't move away, I think because it must have just eaten something.  We just watched each other for several minutes before it got scared and moved on.  We came home and identified it and learned about what it eats and it's habitat.

Another topic that came up during our walk was the seasons.  Being outdoors gives my kids all kinds of opportunities to ask questions.  We've been to this particular place in the winter when the river is frozen over and we've come here in the fall when the leaves are turning a rainbow of colors.

My boys, I love them so much (and my girl too).  This picture I took of Eli to show how he dresses himself.  Not really how he dresses but how proud I am of him for his independence. His shirt is inside out and his pants are backward but he couldn't care less. And really, I couldn't either.  I'm not one of those fussy moms who has to have my kids looking perfect all the time.  I'm lucky most days if I can get them dressed before breakfast.  And some days I just aim for lunch.  Another benefit of homeschooling is that we don't have to rush out the door in the morning.  The earliest we have commitments is about 10am and that's just fine with me.

Do you love clouds?  I love clouds. Once, when my son was getting treatments with an osteopathic doctor, she was helping him with strategies to deal with stress.  Having a learning delay can be very stressful and while I was talking with her after the appointment, she told me a strategy she told him to let go of stress.  She said that whenever he felt overwhelmed to take a deep breath and blow his worries to the clouds.  "They will take all of your fears and anxiety," she told him.  I thought about that when I saw these clouds.

We are savoring these last weeks of spring, enjoying the birth of our vegetable garden and looking forward to summer when we will have to head up to the mountains to escape the heat. I'm exhaling big time right now.  Life is good.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I am grateful for.....

little notes that Amelia has left around the house for us, beautiful reminders of how much we are loved and missed.  Ditto baby!

my friends who remind me that I'm not alone.

my great aunt who I spent time with this weekend.  She'll be 89 this week.

my husband who is my lucky charm.  He's calm, cool and collected.  Something I'm not at times. 

the ying and the yang.

spring because I feel like cleaning out everything.

life experiences that help me feel more confident and alive.

boys because they are so funny.

I'm joining Lisa today for some gratitude. What are you grateful for??

Saturday, May 5, 2012

desert hiking

As promised, no heavy stuff today, just some everyday happy stuff. 

We went hiking in the desert and found some really cool things.  My camera battery ran out just as we started hiking.  Otherwise, I could be showing you amazing tuff formations or the views of a snow topped Mt. Rose through the hills or the beautiful rocks.

It was a good day.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Big, small

I could tell you about all the small, every day things going on in our life right now but somehow that doesn't seem appropriate.  Sometimes, talking about the squash sprouts or my knitting doesn't explain our life right now, or the life changing things that have occurred in the last few weeks.  It's been awful  and brilliant all at the same time because so many good things come out of a challenge.

I don't however wake up on a Monday morning (as in last Monday) and say to myself, "My world will be turned upside down over the next few days, let's get started!"  Actually last Monday, I was just thinking about how I was going to manage with three kids, soccer schedules and basically keeping it together while my husband was out of town for the week.  It's my job to try and keep it all together.  Even though I feel like I fail miserably sometimes, I'm up for the task, in a serious kind of way.

Some things have been brewing actually.  One big thing is Amelia's soccer team that she's been on since kindergarten has been turning into a negative experience rather than positive one.  I guess that's all I'm willing to reveal for the sake of everyone involved but something, everything was going to reach a fever pitch by the middle of the previous week.  Amelia, Jonathan and I made the very hard decision to quit the team in the middle of the season.  Not really an easy thing to decide especially since we didn't want to leave the team hanging, so to speak.  She's known these girls for so long, since kindergarten.  They've hung out almost every week for over 7 years.  Big change.  Amelia was relieved but I was a bit emotional about it.

Another thing that's been brewing is the on-line charter school Solomon has been attending this year.  Now, I wouldn't actually admit this but because we're friends I will tell you that I was really at a loss with Solomon last year.  He's been struggling with a learning disability and I thought I needed some support.  Quite the opposite happened.  Although we got some really good reading help for him, he was prodded and poked for the first few months and that really annoyed me.  But, I had to think about the end result and if we had to endure some pain for two days a week of work with a speech pathologist, I was willing to get through it.  Then CRT week came.  I thought we were prepared, I thought my son's special needs were to be taken in to account through his IEP (goodness, I wouldn't recommend going through that process).  I thought that he was going to have someone read him the test but we walked into a room full, (FULL, twenty kids to be exact) who needed the test read to them.  And there was no way my son would/could sit there for 2.5 hours that day and the next and feel any better about himself.  (I found out later that during the reading comprehension part, the passages wouldn't be read to him but the question could have been)  The "special ed" teacher was a mean, crotchety woman who didn't make me feel at ease whatsoever.  At that moment, a large gong sounded in my brain and I had to do what any mama bear would do.  I politely took my son, walked out of the classroom toward my car and drove him away from that place.  I don't consider myself a rebel.  I can be quite the conformer when it comes to obeying the law.  But I just couldn't put him through that and risk throwing all the work away that we've been doing to restore his self confidence because of mandatory state testing (geez).  We got kicked out of the school the next day.  Consequences folks.

The last big doozy hit on Sunday when Jonathan was home but, I was pretty well spent by that time and didn't take it very well at first.  I'm okay with it now.  You see, something I haven't told you about is that we've been working really hard at getting ourselves debt free.  I once again have to be a bit vague here only out of privacy and that it's embarrassing and humiliating.  But, that all came to a head over the weekend.  But there was a so very much good (I mis-spelled that god at first.  Very appropriate) that's come out of it.  We are closer to our goal and I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I think I might see some double rainbows there too.  It's been hard this last year while on this journey and if we make it through the next few weeks, I'll be very happy.

Have you ever heard me talk this much?

The pictures that I took here were taken yesterday just before Jonathan and Amelia hopped into the car to head to San Francisco, to spend the night at his mom's house, to be taken to the airport, to board a ship, to cruise down to Central America and then off to the Galapagos Islands.  I am truly humbled that my mother-in-law is giving my daughter this experience.  Thank you Nancy!  Sigh.  My, my, my Amelia is growing up and I can't stop it.  Luckily my husband isn't going.  That would be totally unfair.  He just called and said he safely dropped his mom and Amelia off at the airport.  He said he was a little sad, which means a lot because he's an engineer and they don't generally show their emotions.

Big changes here.  Next time I'll tell you about our sprouting squash plants okay?