Saturday, January 24, 2009

My house is quiet

Truly, my house is quiet and the only sound I can hear is the tippy-tapping of my fingers on the keyboard as I write this post. Even the dog is quiet outside - and that is saying something. So before it ends, and oh, will it end, I want to squeeze in one more thing...a nap. A quiet, Saturday afternoon nap. Sounds lovely doesn't it?

Before I head off to my just out of the dryer clean sheets, I want to pop in here to mention our January Sale at Full Circle Baby! There is just one more week left of a HUGE Baby Wearing Event and Get Yourself Organized SALE. That's what you get when the Owner can't decide which type of sale to have - one really long sale title. I've put all the baby carriers we stock on sale - Becos, Mobys, Maya Wraps and Zolowear. Plus, all those great organizational items like cute little wet bags and the eco-friendly diaper bags by Fleurville (these are made out of recycled water bottles - so cool!) are on sale too. So get yourself on over to Full Circle Baby while the gettin' is good and before the sale ends too!

Happy Weekend!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Some little things

little things that made my day - 

a morning phone call from the guy i love just to say hello, i'm thinking about you.

a girl who finished all her school work before most of us were dressed for the day.

a girl who swept the kitchen floor without being asked to do so.

puckered up kisses from a sweet two year old.

a friend who made me dinner so i could stay out of the kitchen.

watching girls take their time to do a good job with their history record book daily page.

expectant parents who were grateful i took time to explain cloth diapering and baby wearing to them.

seeing my girls cozy up in pjs i made for them.


I had fun reading this list of things accomplished in life on some different blogs, so today as I turn 38, I thought I'd answer them too. It's a fun way to find out something you may not know about someone if you feel like it, do it too and let me know!! The items in the list in bold are some of the exciting and not-so-exciting things I have done.

1. Started your own blog - um, that's obvious isn't it!
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world - - my Grandparents used to live really close to DW!
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (it was in a Kindergarten play!)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child - no, but I was adopted as a baby.
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort (I lived in Ohio as a young child...lots of snow!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (Amish cheese is the best!)
36. Taught yourself a new language (Hola! Es mi feliz cumplianos
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (I got sea sick though....)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - does in a pool count?
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - not me but I was there! My twins were in "Iron Jawed Angels".
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - Full Circle Baby.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - more than I want to remember!
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle- I'm not sure it was "speeding" though.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (this is what Manly Man calls "kill it and grill it" - but I don't do the killing)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life - Miss Abbey's more times than I want to recount. She used to put every tiny thing in her mouth.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (missing my Memom, Gokey, Grandma N. and Grandpa H.)
94. Had a baby - a few time over, lol!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Ranch - The Camp (Part 2)

After a nap and a snack, we are ready for a walk around the Camp where the Camp House sits on the Ranch.  Everyone said the Ranch is a perfect place to nap and they were right!

A couple of doe have wandered close to the Camp to take a peek at us. Hello deer!

The desert shows signs of color and life even in the winter time. 

See - Abbey found some flowers!

At the Ranch Camp, our camper looks lonely all by itself. The sounds of the desert can be alarming (and a little freaky) at first and especially at night. I was convinced there was a six foot long snake laying outside our camper the first night. As I watched it lay there in the moonlight I couldn't figure out why it wasn't moving. Was it moonlight bathing? Please just move on I prayed. I clutched my pillow tighter as Manly Man made his way toward the camper and stepped on the "snake". Turns out it was a water line....

Allie looks worried while Grace makes coyote calls and they answer back. Please stop Grace!

This is why every guy and girl needs boots at the Ranch. ouch...

The sun ends the day with a beautiful sunset over the Ranch House. So pretty.....

The fire ring at camp glows and warms us while the air turns chilly. The hunters return from the afternoon hunt for dinner. The Ranch cook serves up homestyle fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and corn. 

Manly Man enjoys a Shiner as Jessica stays warm by the fire and close to Dad (just in case the coyotes come back!).

A full moon shines over the ranch camp as Family Weekend comes to a close. Everyone heads to bed to snuggle under warm blankets.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Ranch - The Tour (Part One)

Our weekend wanderings put us just miles from the US border to Mexico on The Ranch. This was only the Girls and my second trip there and we wanted the full tour this time out. So we loaded everyone in the 'Burban and Manly Man (my new name for Jeff after this weekend because at the Ranch he's definitely rough and rugged - it's rather appealing) set out on the Ranch roads. Mind you, these are not typical roads. Most are just paths through cactus and brush - yes, you can get thorns in your tires (don't ask how I know this). Some of the roads are dirt or caliche (which is like a mineral cement). When caliche is dry it is hard as cement, but when it is wet - it's not pretty let's put it that way.

I love this picture of the cactus and brush along the fence that borders the Ranch.

Almost everything on the Ranch is parched, dry and brittle - especially in the winter.
Here's Manly Man driving us, giving the full Ranch tour. He's getting the music just right for our tour.

Once "Is Anyone Going to San Antone" was playing we set off along one of the main Ranch roads. It was very overcast that day due to a cold front. The wind blew so unbelievably hard that morning and ripped our awning right off the camper - along with the jalapeno lights (a little bit of the redneck riveria).

We arrive at a blind where Jeff took the girls hunting earlier that morning. I stayed snuggled up in the warm camper with my little side-kick and heater, Abbey. They all get up at 4:30am for the morning hunts to pick their blind assignments. That's not my idea of fun, but the girls enjoyed spending time with their Dad. Melissa shot a gun for the first time - she missed her target but that's okay. They enjoyed the wildlife viewing the most (lots of deer, pigs and a few rabbits).

The girls that didn't get to go hunting that morning had fun climbing the ladder to take a peek inside the blind. The guys keep themselves quite comfortable actually.

Back on the "road" again.

This side of the Ranch has a new fence. See the bend in the fence near the pole? That's where the folks from Mexico have gone over it as they enter our country. I can't even fathom what they must go through and what life must be like to want something so bad as to walk through the cactus and brush all that way to a new life.

There is more of the Ranch to come!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekend Wandering

We'll wander around through the desert cactus and brush this weekend. Where the thorns and all things prickly become like magnets attracted to humans. There will be camper sleeping and snuggles under warm blankets. Cocoa for breakfast and other times too.  

Happy Weekend! We'll share pics when we get back.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's in a day

We've homeschooled for two years now and finally I can say we have found our groove. I didn't believe it when others told me it would take this long and to just give it time. They said the girls would need time to decompress from their public school education and experience . While I can still see hints of it in them as they do their daily school work, they way they work in a phrase or two of "in public school I would have to raise my hand" or "in public school I would have to wait for the teacher to explain this to everyone". There are also bad habits we corrected, like how to write properly and to make the letters correctly. Handwriting is something they don't spend much time on in public school...and why? Because they aren't tested on it!

Handwriting is my focus each and every morning because if someone can't read what my girls have written then what is the point? Communication skills, girls, communication skills...I sounds like a teacher...

The school days fly by and just this week Allie (4) started her own handwriting practice and she loves her school work. I waited until she showed interest in what we were doing before offering her own books to her. I am so glad I did, because it is a joy to watch her learn instead of a chore to make her do it.

Isn't Miss Abbey cute as she joins us with her water colors?

I have an idea each day of what we will accomplish, but not a fixed schedule. I am not a schedule person and I like flexibility. This doesn't work for all homeschoolers, but it works for us. I see learning happening in everything my girls do each day. From making their own breakfast (measuring, adding, learning to be domestic), to tackling math problems on paper. It took awhile before I saw growth in their knowledge, but I know now that it was always there.

A typical homeschooling day for us includes handwriting practice, math, language arts/literature and history. Once we finish a year of history we will then switch to science. Extra activities we do as we are able to - like ballet, gymnastics, soccer and soon art classes. Amid it all there is still laundry and dishes and laundry and more dishes.... It's a good thing the girls are learning to be domestic, right?.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2009! We had a quiet Christmas at home with our girls this year. Santa was very good to them! Some of their favorite gifts were: a wooden kitchen complete with baking set, felt cookies (an etsy find!) and a kitchen timer - for Abigail(2), the Barbie from Diamond Castle with a dress to match and a wooden castle - for Allie (4), and Waldorf dolls - for all three older girls. Abbey loves setting her timer, then when it goes off she comes running singing "It's ready! It's ready!". Very sweet. Allie is all about princesses and Barbies. She dresses up daily and is incorporating Abbey now in her dress up play. They play together well flitting and twirling around the house.
Santa came early for myself and Jeff bearing a new Nikon camera which I love. He also found us a new to us Suburban - which is so sweet! I love all the room we have now and it's so funny when we all ride together in the Durango. We seem so squished! It's kind of like a watching a clown car unload when the girls keep piling out of it.

The girls hand made each other sister gifts this year and the only thing we bought for those was a hair brush. Allie gave Jessica a gift set that included homemade hair detangler spray and a new brush. We made the hair detangler by mixing together in a recycled squirt bottle 1 cup of distilled water, several drops of lemon and tangerine essential oil (sunshine scented!), a tsp of aloe vera gel and a capsule of vitamin E. We decorated the bottle and called it "Beautiful Hair Detangler". It really works - Jessica's hair is super shiny and best of all, not tangled.

Other sister gifts included a Go Fish -fishing pole set to Abbey from Jessica, hair bows and a beaded braclet set to Grace from Melissa, and a felt i-pod holder for Melissa from Grace. I enjoyed the one-on-one time with each girl as they created their gifts this year. Having our sewing/craft table permanently set up makes it so easy to craft with them.
I gave Jeff (my Good Hearted Man) a new blog! He's still learning but I know there will plenty there once he gets going. This guy can cook! I can say I knew him when .......when he could only make grilled cheese sandwiches that is.
Cheers to 2009!