Sunday, July 20, 2014

New, Newer, Newest

Oh lands! Yesterday I was busy running in and out cleaning the bunny cage and checking on the said bunnies, as I had seen a stray dog on the school road.  I heard Strider losing his mind and all the chickens caterwauling like they were being hauled to their deaths.  
I walked about and counted heads and couldn't see anything amiss, but was worried about where that dog had wandered to.  When the Handy Man got home, he grabbed the pellet gun and went for a stroll.
He came to tell me we had a new visitor in Gramerly Woods.  My very first owl sighting on our property.

 I simply cannot fathom that ten years have passed since I received the best gift of a grandboy.  We spent hours in that dolphin swing, but there finally came a day when he just no longer fit. By that time the line was long and frustrations mounting as turns were taken in that old blue swing.  So, we bought a new swing set that has seen a lot of smiles from a host of wee folk. Alas, the growing continues. What to do?  They still weren't done swinging, so after much discussion, we purchased a heavy duty swing set.  Gwanfader and Swee-Tea came out to lend a hand on the assembly.


 Naturally, we had to be sure it worked. Handy Man hadn't added the dolphin swing yet, but it is there now.
 The new bee garden has mountain mint blooming profusely.  While the honey bees have yet to find it up on the hill, many other critters were enjoying some minty goodness.
I always have lots of things I hope to accomplish in the summer, but summers now go way quicker than I do.  I did try new things, like Tai Chi and I wanted to make new recipes and have new friends for dinner.  Last night we enjoyed visiting with a couple from church. We had a nice time.


And, summer break is about to come to a screeching halt as I return tomorrow for a morning and evening registration and calendar planning in between.  We will  have one last all day Playdate to try out the new swing and haul mulch to cover the ground underneath.  
I feel blessed and thankful for the opportunity to provide the hours of play and for their safety.  It has been a good summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pottering

We will back up to earlier in the week.  Yesterday's court experience was so sweet,  I just couldn't wait to post. So many have been so invested in that adoption, I was anxious to share the joy.
Monday was joyful day too.  
Geodes are the fascination this year and the Sunday storm swished out the swamp water in the creek, 
and washed in new treasures

and a new critter to observe with his interesting saddle bags.
 In the afternoon my artist friend stopped by to do a clay project with the kidlets.

 Later, when I asked Swee-Tea to tell Gwanfader what we'd been doing, she said, "Pottering."  I like that word.
Our story at snack time were two oldies, but goodies. After seeing the butterflies in the illustrations...
 

 we wandered to the blooming marjoram in the garden to observe the dozens of flying insects enjoying the nectar.

We enjoyed a visit from our sweet friend Kate, 

who frequented Playdates once upon a time, 
 but as sweet girls do, she grew up and is now expecting a future Playdater of her own.

Once again, a little one who has long enjoyed the dolphin swing is anxious and pleased as punch to introduce Missy Toddles to the joys of swinging.

I don't know how he could be three and already old enough for pushing the new baby, but time does go on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our Day in Court

Another beautiful and unusual perfect day in the Ohio Valley for July.
Perfect in lots of respects. Today was our day in court.  The day Mr. Smiley received the Judge's signature on the official document. It was such a sweet time.  The bailiff, judge and lawyers were so friendly, and were about as happy as we were to see this adoption through.  Bean and Bugg got to sit at the table with Rae, Michael, Giddy-up and the star himself.

Waiting for the lawyer.


 Mr. Smiley was certainly troubled by all the attention- NOT.
 Having a seat and listening to the Judge ask if we were sure about this boy.
 Yes, sir. We are so very sure.  It is interesting all that happens up to this point,for the final deal to be very short and sweet.  Then lots of tears, when the Judge called it done.
 He asked for any last words and I could only say, "Thank you Lord!" He said that would do.
They have lots of stuffed animals in family court.  Giddy-up chose Turdeman (Ferdinand) the Bull as his keepsake.
 Then a second breakfast celebration.
What can I say- precious.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Well, Yes, I do have an Opinion

http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/
This was an article my daughter-in-law posted on FB. That girl is all about social media.  Me, I'm a little unnerved by Facebook.  I don't exactly consider myself a private person.  I blog about some things and there isn't much I wouldn't be willing to discuss with an interested party.
However, I do not like conflict.
I am shocked and amazed at what some folks have to say to the world.
I am not interested in stranger's opinion of me.
I don't really care for drawing attention to myself.
 I would never call in to a radio show for tickets, even if I loved, loved, loved the event or performer. I couldn't bear to have my name read on the radio, or hear my own voice. Plus, I'm not much of the squealing type, so would never have given one of those zealous responses everyone loves (especially the sponsor I'm sure).
Selfies?  Are you kidding me?  No. Way.
Still, reading this article stirred a response, something I almost never, ever do. I forsook my fb paranoia and posted this-
Spending a huge deal of my time in the classroom with children and out of the classroom as well, I feel qualified to say that the least of my concerns with a student is fidgeting. Children have always been asked to sit long periods in classrooms (centuries I believe), but one third of the class, which I find true as well in my own classrooms, weren't fidgeters, even when I was in school, way on back in the day. I do believe that could be because of lack of core development and many other changes. My students also have recess, other twenty minute movement activities, option to sit on the floor, lay on the floor, stand, whatever the child cares to do. I prepare lively and engaging, hands- on lessons, but still have students who simply can not focus, I mean not for three minutes. Here I mean mental focus, not body stillness, two very different things. I once had a student who rocked in my little rocking chair all the way across my room while he read, totally focused on the book. I've had students who had their backs to me and twisting something around, but could repeat every word I said. Not a problem for me. It is the one who very literally has no earthly idea what was just said, read, or heard that causes me to worry and seek advice and help for that student. And I do blame habits of the formative years. Way too much screen time. Way too little outdoor time. Way too much instant fun provided by the adult, and way too little time to spend having to figure out how to play with a stick or a ball. Food that has no nutritional value. The pace of life we all keep. Way too much coming way to fast for underdeveloped brain systems. Other very serious environmental concerns that affect all of us. Just like one person has migraines, and another one doesn't, these things are detrimental to some kiddos and not so much to others, at least where focus is the issue. In the same way there are good and bad doctors, actors, sports stars, there are good and bad teachers. Most teachers I have ever known, come to the parent and the administration for help when they've pulled every trick out of their bag and can't find a way to get the student to focus long enough to store the information. It is a real and huge and every growing problem. I hope young parents read these articles though, and take the need for outdoor play seriously. Your own yard not an option? Find a park. May I suggest Bernheim Forest if you are local. Free every week day and a perfect place for wee ones to just be. Sorry for the diatribe, but this is where my heart is.
And, though you already know if you have ever visited here, I put my money where my mouth is and give those outdoor learning adventures to more than a dozen kids weekly, even on my summer break.
 Auntie SuZQ made homemade, fruit filled ice pops.


Using our veterinary skills on a variety of stuffed animals.

 Feeding the real critters.

Instead of "Kissing Cousins" we have kissing chickens.

They named this littlest girl, a bantam, Hope.  She is the sweetest chicken.

Okay, so we do have fruity faced hugging cousins.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Happy Place

I love watching little kids play outside.
 The world is so very full of sad and hurting people and I am an empathetic kind of gal, so seeing so much sadness, could keep me very sad.
But watching all these little ones run and laugh and dive into all sorts of activities lightens my heart.
This picture isn't quite in focus, but you get the idea and I believe I was smiling as large behind the camera as he was in front of it. I can't help it. He is the CUTEST BOY EVER!

I'm serious as all get out when I say he's been doing this for weeks. Can you believe he is only nine weeks old.  Doesn't he look like he's much older?

He was being entertained by a new to him cousin, Prince Al,  that was able to get out for a bit on Playdate, much to the delight of his devoted little groupies.



They'd predicted a boogery 94 degree day, but it never got much above 80 and there was fabulous breeze all the day long. Thank you Lord!

When you say creek, they all come running.
Land's I think Sydlee grew a foot this summer and has been such a sweet friend to Giddy-up.






We saw evidence of visit by a raccoon. 
Found a couple critters we haven't seen before.

A leech, ugh.

And a wee water sprite who can't get her fill of mulberries.

And that, that was just morning.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Into the Deep Dark Woods

I don't remember why our little woods earned the name, "The Deep Dark Woods," but that is how we refer to it.  Giddy-up has frequently asked for a trip through the woods, but I've put him off all summer. A trip through our woods was fairly frequent in our early Playdates, but the awful ground bee experience has ever made me squeamish. In addition, Lyme disease has moved into our area, so there are ticks to consider.  I decided trips to the Deep Dark Woods would require feet totally covered, socks, long pants and shirts.  Well, the Playdates have been hot and humid, so no trips to the woods.

Handy Man has been off this week.  This has been more of a resting vacation, interspersed with activities that need doing like deep cleaning and painting. Still, I wanted to get a away somewhere, even if just for the day.  I wasn't having much luck figuring out a destination when I came across some info on a  forest not far from here that I haven't visited in  years and years.  So yesterday, we headed out to Bernheim Forest.  I knew I wanted to do it yesterday because some weird cold front moved through and the high wasn't supposed to reach 80 degrees.  Well, I couldn't, in good conscience, enjoy all that beauty without a little wood sprite who had been begging to go.
A very special day that reminded me of a "Yes" day a few years back. The day was practically perfect in every way.  I don't think a boy could have been more impressed with God's creation.
Can you see a boy in there?
Of course there was much collecting of birch bark, Kentucky Coffee Tree beans, and rocks of all kinds.


Ahh, so here is the Deep Dark Woods at last!


Woo Wee, a wooly moss beard on this old tree, perfect for rubbing.


As he walked over this stump he said, "Look, a star, only this part (pointing to the right) is missing."



 Gramerly's favorite find of the day, a so tiny toady frog.

I don't know why, but he found Pappy napping on the picnic bench quite hysterical and knew Pap needed a little tickle bee visit.



Such a cutie boy.


He had pulled himself all the way across this prehistoric creature's back.


What we have here are ice cream cones. One for me and one for you.


Lots of art work from natural products around the woods.


Wow, so very much to offer and such beauty. Where have I been?  Thank you Lord for the magnificence of your creation, and joy of seeing it afresh through the eyes of a three year old.

I must say though, a co-worker and dear friend hasn't been off my mind.  Her 20 year old son was in a horrific accident on Monday and is still in ICU, facing many surgeries and very long recovery.  Brandi and Garrett and their family continue to need and appreciate our prayers.

Wishing you a safe and joy filled holiday weekend.