Sunday, May 31, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

Today's Snapshot Sunday will be a bit boring for most, but is tearful for me. The house is shiny and sparkly and ready to go on the market. Three years of my life have been lived in this house. Two of the most important people in my life have begun their lives in this house.

I'm leaving the house where I gave birth to two of my children and came into my own in so many parts of my life. I'm very sad to be leaving it.

I've also spent the last two days scrubbing it. I'm very glad to be leaving it.

And I'm very sad to be leaving this tub. I tried to talk my husband into bringing it with us but I didn't get too far with that...

How it began.

Other Snapshots from around the blogosphere:

Heart Rockin Mama
West Coast Girl

Comment if you have a Snapshot Sunday and I'll add you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


at our old house tonight, while I was cleaning in the kitchen and the girls were sitting in the hallway.

Hannah showed Ains her necklace and said "My grandpa gave me this necklace. It means a lot to me. He died in the Great War of Possachossa."

Ains replied. "Mine Gandpa killed by shark." After a pause in which her sister didn't sound impressed enough, she added "And a tiger. And a cawkadile. Mine Gandpa very dead."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Our move sped up unexpectedly with the availability of my father to help move the 'big stuff' (which quickly turned into 'everything in the house') over the weekend.

This has made my internet access patchy as we're not set up here at the new place until June 8. Posting will be sporadic for a few weeks. Also, I've added two new links to Snapshot Sunday, so check those out.

The birding here has been a bit more ... in your face than at the other place. Ainsley walked out on the porch yesterday morning and left the sliding door open about a foot. Hannah, who was sleeping on the couch, woke up to a barn swallow flying over her head. She had a smile on her face all day and Ains was thrilled because she got to use her bug net to catch the bird and put it back outside. Catching it wasn't hard - we just stuck the net over the bird as it sat at the window.

Later in the day we went into the pasture to measure out Hannah's running track and saw some killdeers running around yelling at the dog. I thought that we might be lucky enough to see them playing at having a broken wing and sure enough, they did. Then I turned around and saw the cutest thing - about five little baby killdeers running around in the grass. Five inches tall, four of those inches legs. We called Cygnus back and got out of there before he saw them. I need to try to get a picture of them. Soooo cute.

We've also gotten to see American Avocets at a little pond near here. I wish that I had the ability to easily add pictures from this computer. One more thing to figure out in the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

How it began.

Check out these other Snapshot Sundays. Comment here if you want me to add you!

Heart Rockin' Mama
Arizona Sunshine

Added since Sunday:

Friday, May 22, 2009

How unschoolers learn about reproduction.*

*Please note that this is not how unschoolers learn about reproduction.

Yesterday morning, when Hannah was making pancakes, she asked for help flipping some of the smaller pancakes. This is what I saw when I looked at the grill.

That and this:

Of course, I just had to make up a few more and turn it into an object lesson.*

Two people met and fell in love.

The inevitable happened.

And they had a baby.

It's like finding the Virgin Mary on your griddle, but this one teaches you a sex-ed lesson. Or something.

*Again, this object lesson didn't happen with my kids. It is just for my blog. In fact, I never pointed out to my daughter that the first pancake looked like a fetus. I did not want tears as soon as the fetus' umbilical cord fell off or her sister ate the head. I also never pointed out to her that the second looked like sperm. We'll have that conversation another day.

More food as body parts posts here and here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kiddy goodness.

H: Mother, try my food.
S: Are you sure? I don't want to eat your delicious dinner.
H: Of course, please do. It would please me greatly.

H: (After I said that I thought my hair looked nice) Be careful, Mother, or the water nymphs will throw you clear up in the sky like Cassiopeia. That's what they did to her when she was envious.
S: Envious?
H: Um, no. Vain. The nymphs were envious. She was vain. But Andromeda wasn't vain. She just got put in the stars because her mother was vain and her father couldn't kill the sea beast himself.
S: Oh. What was the king's name? I've forgotten.
H: Carl. It's not Harry. That's not a very kingy name. His name's Carl.

The girls are playing their magical creatures game at the table right now. All of the sudden I hear Ains squeal gleefully "I got the HANUMAN! Yay!" Hearing that little voice say hanuman makes me smile.

Meet Dora and Boots.

But, shhh... they're taking a nap.

Once Hannah started pretending, at around 18 months old, she hasn't stopped - sometimes for days at a time. She would bounce from pretend to pretend and we were expected to keep up. If she looked up from a bowl of water that I'd just put down for the 'puppy' and I said something to the 'puppy' but she was now a horse, that could be very bad.

Now that she's older and her pretending has gotten more sophisticated, her sister's starting to pretend independently from her. This means that while sometimes she's Boots to Hannah's Dora, she's more often somebody or something completely different than Hannah is, which means that I have to pretend two completely unrelated storylines at the same time. It can be challenging, but so much fun.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Perfectly Ugly Storm.

We had a fun day today. Packing, playing, walking, pond exploration, bike riding, egg gathering, tea party-ing. All day. Until 5 pm. Then the perfect storm hit.

Outside, the wind picked up and dust was blowing everywhere. We had to come back in the house but Ainsley still had a ton of happy energy. So did the puppy. Teeth and skin collided, and a tired 2 1/2 year old burst into tears. To make things simpler, the puppy was sent onto the porch where he promptly decided to try and maul one of the kittens, sending Ainsley into a panicked, screaming tornado who couldn't hear her mother yelling at her to get out from between the puppy and the kitten. Her kitten was in danger and her mother was asking her to leave it to the puppy.

I was so scared that the puppy's heightened excitement would lead to Ains getting bitten and was trying desperately to detach myself from a clinging, crying one-year-old who I didn't want anywhere near that situation so that I could save the kitten - and I was tired, hungry, and frustrated with the ever-constant wind and that my daughter couldn't see that she should immediately obey me because mommy just knows best. I yelled. I yelled loud and I yelled mean - it can't even be written off as an 'I was so scared for you' yell - and I broke my little girl's heart. She doesn't cry often, but when she does, she means it. It's a whole body sob because she just has so much sorrow that her whole body shakes with it. Tired, over-excited, thirsty from our long walk, and scared of a puppy's teeth but willing to risk it for her kitten, and then mommy yells directly at her. This made a good day into a bad day for everyone involved.

When their daddy got home, he took them to the store so that their energy and my energy could disengage a bit and they could calm down. I'd not only terrified Ainsley, I'd scared Gray and Hannah. As they were leaving Hannah turned and said "I know you were cranky and mean, Mother, but I forgive you. Ainsley will too." Good lord.

Matt told me after the shopping trip that they worked it through with him, talking about it, and what they remembered was that "Mommy had a bad day. She got angry and it was a bad day." It was one hour. ONE HOUR in an otherwise beautiful day. But they remember it as the whole day.

And this is why four out of the twenty books I kept for our temporary moving bookshelf are parenting books.

I'm not one to post in detail about hard days, but this wasn't a hard day. This turned into a Bad Day. One of those days different from the times when patience is thin, tempers flare, and family members have to remind each other to 'be peace'. One of those days when you look in your child's tear-filled eyes and think "I suck." I've only had a day *this* bad one other time since I began parenting, but this time was worse. Then it only affected my one child but today it affected all three of my children. I do indeed suck, if only for tonight.

Everyone's asleep but me. Matt played with Ains while I cuddled Hannah to sleep and then he went to bed while I nursed Ains. She woke up as I laid her in bed, took my cheeks in her hands, kissed me, and then went unconscious again. I think Hannah was right and she forgave me. I hope that she has forgiven me. I'm sitting here going over what happened, what triggered that reaction in me, how to handle myself and the situation better next time and reassuring myself that I am not my mother. But it's cold comfort to say "At least I didn't hit her" when she remembers the violent voice and demeanor.

I'm reading portions of Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves. I'm crying over the damage I did to my child and the damage that was done to me as a child. And then I'm going to bed and we're going to wake up tomorrow and start over. I'm going to take what I learned today and that will make it less likely to have such harshness occur again. I'm going to forgive my parents a little bit more and I'm going to try to forgive myself.

Tomorrow it will be back to happier posting - maybe even the fun stuff we did today - but tonight this is my reality.

What to do while mom packs.

Build farms.

I got boxes for packing from the recycling center. I was a bit .... optimistic when I picked out some of them. They were too big. You couldn't lift them after they were packed. (I didn't discover this until I'd very proudly packed two of them full.)

So I gave them to the girls to play with on the porch. They ended up making stalls and hallways and a farm kitchen.

Here's one of the ponies. (Very dark in her stall.)

And here's the other.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

How it began.

Snapshots into other lives -

Darcel (Welcome, welcome Darcel!)
West Coast

If I've missed you, let me know in the comments and I'll add you in!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Astronomy and constellation resources for kids.

I made up this post for a friend who had kids getting interested in constellations and somehow it got saved instead of published. I'm so sorry, girl! Here it is.

Hannah got interested in constellations by pulling an intriguing looking book off of the kids' book shelf. It was a thin black book that I'd picked up at a thrift store because it looked like an interesting book to have laying around. The previous owner had copied the pictures of constellations throughout the book and cut them down into small squares, so when Hannah picked up the book the constellation pictures fell out. When she went to pick them up, there were lions and heroes and swans and bulls and princesses laying there - a whole lot of pictures that just *had* to have stories behind them. She asked for the stories and the rest is history.

We learned about all the constellations and a bit about planets, the moon, and the sun. For example, this little fact about the moon blew my mind - "Before life began on Earth, the Moon was as close as 14,000 miles away and filled a whopping one-quarter of the night sky. ... The Moon is slowly escaping from its orbit around Earth. In fact, it moves away from us about 1 inch (2.54 cm) every year." (From Marc McCutcheon's book listed below.)

Here are the resources we've used and loved. Some the kid loved, some the mother loved. I didn't list anything that we didn't find useful or intriguing.

I hope these help! And I can't wait until it's warm enough to hold our star party...

Books -
Star Gazing, Comet Tracking and Sky Mapping by Melvin Berger
40 Nights to Knowing the Sky by Fred Schaaf
The Stars by H.A. Rey (author of Curious George books)
Zoo in the Sky and Once Upon a Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton
Stargazer by Ben Morgan
The Space Book
by Marc McCutcheon
I'm looking for two other books that were recommended:
The Kids Book of the Night Sky by Ann Love
A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll

Web resources -
Sky View Cafe
Kids Astronomy
Star Child (NASA's website)
The stories behind the constellations
Ian Ridpath's Star Tales

Podcasts -
Slacker Astronomy
Astronomy Cast
365 Days of Astronomy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And breathe...

On Monday we were able to get confirmation on our move. We'll be moving within a mile of my husband's job and (hopefully) selling this house. This is a good move for so many reasons and a sad move for several other reasons.

What this has meant on the home front though, since the best time to sell houses is spring, is that we have to get this house cleaned out fast. Very fast. Add to that a massive sewing project that needs to be completed and you have a recipe for ... well, it's been hectic around here.

Some frustration, some fun, some boredom, some ingenuity, some forgiveness, some patience, some long bouts of giggling, some reading, some just hanging in there.

Playing with magical creatures.

Gathering eggs, playing with kittens, throwing toys for the puppy.

Red Fish and My Little Pony.

Trying on mommy's boots -

and even making it a few feet.

Pirate movies. (we have pirates living here now, dontchaknow)

Lots of bath play (too windy outside for pools).

Embroidery while mother sews.

A trip to the big city for needed supplies, with a stop in to see a cousin.

Other cousins visit us here.

Making art ('tis what we're calling any messes that involve any type of arty supplies these days).

Collecting flowers, squealing over new birds.

Eating rhubarb.

Breakfast this morning, and we start all over.

I may need to do dishes today.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snapshot Sunday

How it began.

Kim's here.

Sunnymama's here.

Arizona Sunshine's here.

Heart Rockin' Mama's here.

West Coast Girl is here.

Kyre's here.

I Candy's here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dumb and Relatives

Mother: We can go to the store, but first we need to feed the animals.
Hannah: (with great frustration) I want to go to the store first. Animals are DUMB!
M: Really?
H: (backtracking quickly) Well, I'm not saying their hair is dumb or their bodies are dumb, but they can't use their voices to talk, so they're definitely dumb.

Times like this are when you're glad you taught your kid different meanings for one word. You get to laugh inside.

Ainsley has a mini-obsession with her AuntRia. Seriously lurves her. We've been getting some great stuff out of this. When trying to explain the word 'trust' to Hannah, I hear Ains pipe up from her car seat "I TRUST AUNTRIA!" Or when discussing the best way to fix Hannah's hair, we'll hear Ains yell from the hallway "AUNTRIA'S HAIR PITTTTTY! DO AUNTRIA'S HAIR!" Or if a tractor is driving up the farm road, Ains will bounce at the window yelling "AUNTRIA'S COMING, AUNTRIA'S COMING!!!" AuntRia, she heard you say you were coming to visit. Will you come visit already? Thank you.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Raspberry filled donuts, courtesy of Father. At 6:30 in the morning.

Taping up, labeling, and moving the last of the (seemingly never-ending) boxes of books. All are in Library Thing now! My id there is ReadingNiamh if you want to scope out my library.

Digging and hoeing in the little garden. Mother does chores. It's so nice to have the kids to occasionally be able to be outside with me while I chore now. Can't wait until summer when we're only inside to escape the heat.

Rediscovering a forgotten toolbox.

Having a tea party. (Do you have Jones Soda where you are? Fantastic stuff.)

Oatmeal and bacon.

Card games.

Drinking flowers. (Better than eating out of toilets.)

Hello Kitty.

Sweeping and laundry for Mother, kittens for the littles.

Dandelions, rolypolys, digging, exploring.

Dancing, spinning, tutu-flipping.

And it's barely noon. This is what happens when the day starts at 6:30 with raspberry filled donuts. Beautiful.

An OLM inspired post. These are good every so often to recognize the OLM in your own daily life.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ainsley eating out of a toilet.

Ainsley came back from a grocery store trip with this unique candy -

It's a little plastic toilet full of pink sugar. That you get out with a toilet plunger shaped lollipop.

You can't make this stuff up. But I wish you could.