Saturday, June 27, 2009

See, I told you.

Those eyes.
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Those eyes!

I can't thank Karen enough for capturing 'those' eyes. The light from them makes my world shine.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Learning while wet

She has a hard time remembering numbers, she needs things in her hand or in front of her eyes to help it stick. So today she played in the water. She splashed and dumped and slopped like a three year old but she also got it - finally got it - 8 ounces in a cup, two cups in a pint, two pints in a quart, four quarts in a gallon. Then she took her pencil and worked out problems. She could SEE that you need to divide to find some answers and multiply to find others. It made sense to her. A gallon is divided by 8 to find out how many pints it would take to hold that much liquid. A cup is multiplied to see how many it would take to fit inside that 2 gallon pot.

She plans to spend time later this week measuring out how many tablespoons are in a gallon. I think we'll do that outside where the splashing will water the flowers.

Learning and keeping cool. I like it. More importantly, she likes it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rock band 2, time flies and an ostrich bone

Bella wants to buy Rock Band 2 with her birthday money. Holy.... She's just turned 11 and is not too rhythmic but makes up for it in enthusiasm. Guess who will have to play and sing with her? The things a momma will do. Ish.

Speaking of Rock Band - I was serenaded by singing and playing last night until the wee smalls by Boo and friends celebrating their high school graduation. Boo or 'Jofuss' as his brother, Nate, named him on the day he was born - at home weighing well over 11 pounds. My baby sister's baby who has been through hell and walked back in his short 18 years is moving on to the next place in his life. Where has the time gone? How could he be so tall and witty and preparing to take on the world - well college anyway - in a few short weeks? He will leave Peter at home to take care of their momma and dad and the cats when he takes wing and flies off. Peter is up to the task. Nate has trained his brothers well and they're following in his footsteps. They sing, they pay music, they analyze the world, they care deeply about important things. Anne and David have done a fantastic job and continue to do so.

Spending a few days in Madison always does me good. In addition to enjoying spending time with Anne, David, Nate, Joseph and Peter we once again had the pleasure of strolling around the Dane County Farmers Market. What an amazing experience. I question each time why there's nothing like it anywhere in my state. Imagine another place where the grounds of the state capitol are given over every Saturday in the warm months to a huge farmers market. Our growing season is longer but we have nothing to compete with the wonders of the market. (I can't add photos today but I will when we get home.) The fellow with the 'bee hat', every type of cheese you could imagine, flowers everywhere, the fantastic fresh produce. Did I mention baked good of every shape, size, and sort? Amazing, freaking amazing. But the coolest find belonged to David and Bella. The 'ostrich sausage' booth had eggs you could look inside, really good sausage (per david) and ostrich bones for sale. Smoked Ostrich bones for sale! We bought an 'xtra small' one and brought it back to Maggie J who had to stay in the bathroom while we went to graduation. She was stunned. We gave her a bone as big as her whole body. It's a hoot to watch her drag it around.

Of course there's the added benefit of being with 'my kind'. I saw two cars with my all-time favorite bumper sticker 'a bleeding heart is better than none at all'. Two! I think I belong here.

I've always heard the old saw, 'the older you get, the faster time goes' which has proven to be true for me. Bella is 11. She can swim fantastic distances, writes a good story, has very few nightmares these days, trained in Red Cross rescue the past two weeks and is planning a near future making big money babysitting and as a life guard. She earned special kudos from her instructor, Cheryl, from Cheryl's boss and our old friend, Mitch and from Adam, her swim team coach. A 52 pound girl who can 'rescue' a 10 pound brick from the bottom of the deep end of the pool and follow the proper steps to bring it back safely to the shallow end is something akin to a mouse pulling an elephant from quicksand. Where did that 26-pound, frail, pale wisp of a frightened four year old girl go? I only turned around and she's 11 and accomplishing miracles.
She pulls away and rolls her eyes when I want to hug or kiss her in public but still wants a lap and a snuggle when we're alone. That's good enough for me.

Monday, June 1, 2009

But it's free...

I ought not to have opened the door when he knocked. But I did and he came in with a brown envelope and an earnest look on his face. Our neighbor down the way. Thank goodness he left his 'concealed weapon' elsewhere. I invited him in. Another mistake. Frank wanted to give Isabella the vinyl pool he had 'sitting in the shed'. He made a point of mentioning he was thinking of offering it on the local internet buy/sell/trade/give away site for $50 but his wife suggested he give it 'to the folks down the road with the little girl.' What was I thinking? What was Gman thinking? We said "Well, Isabella would enjoy having a pool this summer." Mistake #3. Frank asked Gary to drive down in a day or so and he'd help him heft it into the back of his pickup.

Now the pool pieces and liner have been taking up space in our garage for several weeks. With a bit of encouragement (yeah right) from Bella and me Gman agreed to think about where it might be level enough to put it. The last several days have been fraught with efforts to level a spot, figure out how to get power to that spot, actually make the spot level (which is a serious challenge when you live on a hillside) and begin the effort to erect the pool. Isabella, of course, wants it up in time for her birthday which is less than a week away now. The water will take days to heat up enough to be comfortable for the six girls who will hopefully attend her celebration.

Downsides and difficulties thus far: We've spent a bundle on sand, boards...oh and those two vinyl repair kits we've had to buy. We haven't yet purchased chemicals or the floaty things our girl is imagining will decorate this anticipated cool summer play place. The kid is a competitive swimmer. A four foot deep viinyl pool isn't going to allow much real swimming. Our young friend Joe, who is conveniently staying here with his new bride Desi, has sweated and dug and concreted and leveled and worn himself out. Gman is exhausted.

Upsides (or upclines for those of you who are long time readers of the Belle Banner) include: Isabella now knows how to find out if someting is level and to make it level if its not. She identified two butterflies and one moth while supervising our efforts. Isabella has bestowed 'an entire summer of swimming privilege' to Joe for his hard work. Exhaustion has made Gman far less cranky.

No water has been put into the pool. It isn't even ready to be set up quite yet. But I do know one thing. When someone offers you something 'free' it pays to think long and hard about what it will actually cost.