Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's too much.

Much too much help with packing for our vacation.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

These are things I have to say?

"Ainsley, let your brother out of the kennel."

It's been too long since a 'funny things said around here' post.

Some from Hannah.

Me:"I love you Hannah."
Hannah: "Well, that's good to know."

"I think he must have a spyglass?" Who? "Santa Claus, of course." (she was listening to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town")

This one's from a few months ago. Hannah decided she wanted some fish. We already have enough of a zoo around here, so Matt said "It's not a good time right now." She climbed on his lap and gave him a big hug and some kisses. He said "Are you trying to buy fish with hugs and kisses?"

*Blink* *Blink* "Yes."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a life.

Spring is here, which means I'm not. I'm outside milking, planning, planting, playing. Since I try to only do computer stuff when my kids are otherwise occupied (sleeping, mostly), and during those times I'm usually otherwise occupied (sleeping, mostly), not a lot of blogging is getting done.

This morning, my husband has taken the kids to the cattle auction with him, and it's raining outside, so I get a bit of free time inside. Looking around my house makes me think that I should be using this free time for something besides computer time ... You can certainly tell we've been busy outside by looking at the inside.

I've pored through the snapshots from our last week, and here's what I have to offer.

Coming back in from milking to find the girls in a brown bath.

"Guess what we discovered, Mother? Bath water is hot enough to melt chocolate chips!" You don't say.

Superhero puzzles.

Picnics completely orchestrated by kids.

Telling stories of fairies in the dark.

Discovering Parcheesi.

Making masks.

Hanging laundry.

Decorating a playhouse for Grayson.

And a whole lot of playing on scooters and bikes, horse riding, egg gathering, running (Hannah wants to run a marathon when she's older now), pretending, and cooking.

What a life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Outdoor Challenge - garden day.

Today was a garden day. Planting while the pirates serenaded me on their harmonicas,

and searched islands for buried treasure.

Some of you have asked how Bella is getting along with the other dogs. Butterfly fell in love with her immediately. Since she is about half the size of his head, it took her a bit longer to warm up to him, but now she has and she rules the roost there. Cygnus has been less friendly and we've had to monitor that relationship, protecting her at times and letting them figure things out at others when we're able to step in.

Today, finally, they hit it off. Cygnus watched that little dog dig for all she was worth to dig out a vole. She wasn't able to kill it. He was. Now they're a team.

Whatever works.

Are you playing the Outdoor Challenge?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Of dead rats and eyeballs.

The dissecting began tonight. Ainsley's first words this morning were "When is Daddy goin' be home to dissect?"

It was a longish day.

When Matt got home, the girls had the craft table cleared and set up for dissecting. He'd told them he'd do one of each of their specimens tonight (they each picked two from the magazine). Hannah picked her cow eyeball and Ains picked her rat, and they got started.

Did you see that? Over there on the left hand side? Here's a close-up.

Damn, he's cute! Sat there through the whole thing, giggling and pointing and trying (unsuccessfully) to get his hands on innards.

I wasn't sure how the girls would go from the idea of dissecting to the actual act of dissecting. We were ready for them to sign out as soon as they realized that they'd have to cut into these things. Not hardly. They are their Daddy's kids.

They were so excited to see the body parts that they'd learned about through computer games and board games.

This first time, they were simply interested in organs (below is Hannah inspecting the small intestines) and the bones ("Can I pull out the bones?" said Ainsley - definitely their daddy's children).

But my husband, he's very knowledgeable and one little question would lead to lengthy answers and even diagrams drawn on the paper table cover.

Which led to Hannah abandoning the rat for her cow eyeball

and Ainsley explaining things back to him - in hilarious three-year-old fashion - with her own diagrams.

Luckily, he realized what was happening and sucked Hannah back in with lungs and a heart. Not often you get to type that sentence out. ("I'll look," she said, "but I won't listen. That's boring and I want to do the eyeball.")

He had them being really hands-on (not that he could stop them) and they loved handling the different organs and cutting them open to look inside. It was really fascinating and I wished that Matt could have kept talking as in-depth as he had been because I was learning a lot.

But it was time to move on to the eyeball. Talk about fascinating. Matt explained to Hannah what different parts had malfunctioned in her Grandpa and Great-Grandpa's eyes which was cool. We learned so much about how the eye works by taking it apart, consulting the eye dissection pamphlet, and handling the different parts.

It was perplexing at times.
And required some up-close inspection.

It was fun.

"Now I want to do the snake!" said Ainsley.

Not tonight. After clean-up, it was time for dinner. During dinner Ains got busy making .... something.

What is it? "It's a spaceship for Donald Duck. It's a swirly twirly spaceship so he can get around."

That's all I got.

It was a science kind of a day - plus we went outdoors.

If I had to classify most of our days around here, I'd say they were artsy kind of days, full of dancing and singing and crafting and pretending. But not yesterday.

Yesterday had a very scientific feel about it. It started out while I was milking the goats and Hannah asked me how the goats make milk and if we fed them chocolate, couldn't that make them make chocolate milk? Makes sense, with the way I explained it to her.

Then we came inside and while I made macaroons, she and Ains made their own special candy using anything that looked like it would be good. Cinnamon sticks, sugar, chocolate chips, salt, candy sprinkles, soy sauce, lemon juice and baking soda.

Lemon juice and baking soda.

That was science right there. Bubbly candy!

Then, as I was doing dishes, I hear 'Let me move it farther your way. Now get on it. We're balanced now!' - on the teepee poles.

Then playing a new game that we just got.

And then again and again. With Ainsley putting lungs on feet and noses on shoulders and kidneys on knees. Lots of giggling.

Gray putting a screwdriver in every screw he could find around the house.

After dinner we opened the big ol' box we got from Home Science Tools.

That was exciting.

Those, my friends, are dissection boards. Dissection boards. I don't dissect. I tell myself I'm morally opposed to it, but it may just not be my thing. I certainly feel morally opposed to it. So the cow eyeball, crayfish, and snake that are sitting in bags on my table? The girl's father can help them with those.

But we got other things too. Things like scales and weights.

And so much more. A portion of our homeschooling budget, well spent.

It was rainy, cold, windy, and snowy. SNOWY. Apart from chores and horse riding we didn't get outside much. But I'm participating in the Outdoor Challenge, so I'll document what we did do. There was dog training to be done,

and pushing around wheelbarrows.

Very important, that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Outdoor Challenge - Kite flying.

Lisa at 5 Orange Potatoes is doing an Outdoor Challenge this month. Here's ours for today.

You'd think that in an area like ours, with the winds we get, that kite flying would be a common thing. It hasn't been for two reasons. 1) It's *too* windy. If the kids wanted to fly something in most of our winds, I'd have to tie a rope to my kids and end up flying them while they flew their kites. and 2) When the winds are just right, which isn't often, our kites are all torn up from trying to fly them in high winds or dragging them across the ground in no winds.

Yesterday, for the first time in three years, we hit it just. right. Perfect wind, intact kites.

After a little trouble finding the right spot - Ains got her parrot stuck on the one power line -

we hit wind gold when we moved to the goat field.

The hawk kite did well, but the ladybug kite - that one was designed perfectly for the wind we had.

We ended up getting it all the way to the end of the rope. It was exhilarating!

When we were ready to come back in, we pulled the kites down and Hannah's baby goat got curious.

He actually got brave enough to touch it, but never got brave enough to go nose to nose with Bella.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You noticed that, did you?

I'm so used to her now that when I posted the Easter basket picture, I didn't even think about her being in it, but lots of you noticed it.

Meet Bella.

Well, that's not Bella - that's the picture of Hannah's dream chihuahua that's been taped to her dresser for the last year as she's been saving money.

This is Bella.

My little girl has been saving money for a long time. At the rate she was saving, she was going to be at her target amount by the end of the summer and I was happy with that timeline. Then I saw an ad for a chihuahua looking for a new home because the owner had decided she liked Hawaii better than Utah and couldn't take the dog with her. The chihuahua was nearly a doppelganger for Hannah's dream dog (a bit longer and skinnier), 6 months old (so not quite a puppy, not yet an adult - I was very happy with that), perfectly house-trained, raised with a 6-year-old girl. Perfect.

We went to go meet the pup and see if she would be a good fit for Hannah. We didn't stand a chance once they set eyes on each other.

A match made in heaven.

So Hannah stood there, with her little can of money that she'd saved, prouder than I've ever seen her. She counted it all out for the owner, then told her that she was paying Mother and Father back for the rest, which I handed her.

By the time we got back to our house, Bella had decided that Hannah was her very own human and hasn't seemed to suffer from any detachment issues from her first family (which had been in flux for a few months as the owner decided where she wanted to live and had had various friends caring for her puppy while she had gone on her trips). If Hannah leaves the room, Bella's right there with her.

I wasn't sure how this would turn out. I've never liked chihuahuas much. When I thought of chihuahuas, I always thought of short, chubby things like this...

or barky, yippy, snappy things like this...

and I've always had the idea that they're not too clever. I like clever dogs and, well, not to denigrate Cygnus because he's a lovely, loyal, loving lump of a dog that I adore, but he's not that clever.

This dog's gotten under my skin, though. She's got longer legs than I pictured chihuahuas with, the sweetest personality, and a steel trap mind. And she's yippy. But we're working on that. We've already fixed a possessiveness issue she had and we've been working on the 'perfectly house-trained' part of her. Not as perfect as we'd been led to believe.

She came with a kennel, a dog bed, a jacket, a purse (leopard print even), and a bag full of fancy shampoo, conditioner, and ... wait for it ... doggie body spritz. I kid you not. And then she moved here. To a farm. And we've had snowy, wintery weather since two days after we brought her home.

I think she's been wishing that her ancestors had never been brought this far north.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter came and went.

With the first proper Easter baskets I've ever done.

Not quite proper - there were no chocolates in them. Felt bunnies, tattoos, some Chinese candies that the kids love, fabric for spring outfits, but no chocolates.

The bunnies were a huge hit -

I didn't have fabric for a spring outfit for Gray, but I needed a filler in the basket, so I put in a scrap of fleece. It was his favorite thing. He carried it around for two days.

Then we colored eggs...

And did an experiment that's been waiting a *long* time for us to get enough pop bottles for.

My sister came over and we did eleventy-hundred Easter egg hunts with all of the kids in our living room (because of the springtime snow). After the seventh hunt, the adults gave up and the kids hid the eggs for each other.

It was a lovely day.