Saturday, February 27, 2010


Handy Man didn't have to work this morning, so in an unsual turn of events, I have no real explanation for, we didn't wake up unit Drummer Boy was knocking on the door to drop off Buttercup at 9 am. We were both sound asleep.
She stayed and played until about noon. She and Pappy discovered a new swinging game that she remained interested in long after Pappy's arms had given out.Swing low, sweet Butter cup!
She says Gramerly like Mamalee. So cute.
1st Lt and Ceece are still sunning themselves in Cabo somewhere today. Rae-rae picked up Bean and Bugg at their Oma's and brought them by to get Bugg's nite-nite and carseats. Bean told me his Oma fixed him eggs, but she didn't know how to fix them like I did, so, he told her.
I said, "What did you tell her?" He replied, "Put a little butter in the pan, mix the egg in, add pepper." Too funny.
Speaking of eggs, I thought we were past strange eggs when the girls got into the egg laying habit. Obviously not. We found this teeny tiny one. Bugg said it was a princess egg. I don't know if it means fit for a princess, or there is a princess growing inside.
Either way, she thought it worth smiling over.

We had a big time coloring this afternoon after building with Michael. Rae-rae and Bugg were creating moats and castles, while Bean and I did battle illustrations. I put an alligator in my picture and when Bean asked me why I said, "Remember what they used the alligator for at the Battle of New Orleans?"
I couldn't believe when Bugg piped up " We fired our canons till the barrel melted down," At which point we all joined in, "so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round." Bean goes, " Oh yeah, that's when they put the powder in it's butt." Uh,huh, that's the story.
He wasn't terribly interested in writing or coloring for a long time. Now he is. I'm very pleased at his detail. Do you see the green alligator with bumps on the left, just below the halfway mark? There are two American fighters powdering it's behind while the Redcoats look on. They are fighting all over those green hills. There's a black cannon, and a flying cannon ball. Just above the cannon ball is a Redcoats head that was in fact, knocked off by said cannon ball. I told Rae-rae that a picture like this will land my five year old in the school counselor's office. But, it is what it is - war ain't pretty.
Then he did a picture of a big whale and a whaling ship with Bean himself as the captain. He colored in the whales head to show three hundred gallons of oil. A happy afternoon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Ol' Mother Hubbard

Long ago and far away on a cold winter's evening, an anxious ten year old walked the floor, waiting to hear the news of a new arrival. Kaye was expecting the end of January, so this day had been a long time in coming. Finally, the phone call came announcing a new baby girl, my first niece, seven pounds and thirteen ounces if I remember correctly, though I may not-it's been forty years.

I remember the first time I held her and how precious and delightful, looking for the world like a little China doll. I was instantly smitten and loved her dearly. For most of this journey, I've continued to find her precious and delightful and still love her dearly.

Kaye was 11 when I was born, and was very much a mother to me. I had always spent a great deal of time with her and Pete, and continued to do so. Kaye and I are about as different as two people can be. We laugh and say Kaye chased her kids with a wash rag. Her house was always neat as a pin. Nary a hair out of place on her wee cherubs. I spent a lot of time with them through their childhood and then, when baby girl was about ten, I got married. She loved Handy Man Pappy and would visit us often and spend the night. We liked to spoil her. She slept between us and everytime she came over, I fixed her a coke and homemade fries.

One of my favorite memories was taking her with me to my Papaw's in Corbin when she was maybe 6 or 7. I gave her a break from being tidy. She didn't comb her hair, or brush her teeth until it was time to go home. Umm, yes, it was more than a day- or two.

I made her prom flowers and took all of her pictures through the teenage years. She always knew to me she was the beauty queen.

I was estatic when she hooked up with a fine fellow to spend her life with.

My heart was broken for her when months with no baby turned to years.

Then, I held my breath for nine months until I walked into the hospital and saw that wide-eyed boy in her arms, my joy for her nearly rivaling that of my own children's birth. I was amazed at baby two, incredulous at three, and out of words when Baby Boy entered the world last May.

She is exactly the kind of mom I knew she would be. I've not known anyone as devoted to her kiddos as she is.

Interestingly enough, she also is a neatnik, and now it's her kids who come to my house to be spoiled and get messy.

But the relationship is far from one-sided.

Together we share foundational beliefs that hold us together, otherwise, we're quite different. I trust her to share a side I might not have considered. I know she will know when life's a little harder than I'm able to handle, and remind me I'm loved and appreciated. I know she trusts that I only want the very best for her and hers, even when it fits differently than her ways.

What I didn't know when we had Ol' Henry, that every single last thing I did for him (thinking he'd be the only one after so much "getting with child" trouble) I'd have to repeat it all three more times.

Which is why I was scrubbing a wash tub in February and Handy Man and I were dragging out cords, and heaters, shoveling snow etc. so Baby Boy could have his tub pictures at relatively the same age the other three did. The things you do for love.

Happy Birthday Ol' Mother Hubbard.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Buttercup and Tumbledown Elves

On Saturday, Buttercup came to visit for a few hours.

Before Bean and Bugg left on Wednesday, one of the tumbling elves was dry enough to try and both the kids, along with Handy Man, 1st Lt. and I got a big kick out of watching it turn head over heals down an incline. I had them all finished by Saturday and was anxious to see what Missy Buttercup thought.Rae-rae had stopped by to pick up some eggs, so Michael, Rae-rae, Buttercup and I raced our men down the couch cushion. Good activity for lots of laughs. After several races, Buttercup decided she would try sliding down the cushion. Then she found a bucket and it was time to play peek-a-boo.

Are you ready?

I'm about to disappear under this bucket.

She is such a dolly and quite talkative for 17 months old. She's come to expect scrambled eggs when she visits. Already having had mango and graham crackers, I only fixed her one egg. She ate it while I was fixing some for her Daddy. When I turned around from the stove she was holding her plate up to me, saying, "Please, please." So I fixed her two more and she ate most of them. The words I remember her saying are please, help, up, pizza, Addie, doggie, mommy, daddy, thank you, what's that, bubble, bottle, ball, and book.

Crafty Wednesday

Ol' Mother Hubbard is thinking she might want to give homeschooling a whirl. I'm thinking mayhaps she's a tad bit daft, but I'll support whatever decision she makes.

I visit a lot of blogs of folks who homeschool and a new book called Joyful Movement was getting some press. Since this month is the Ol' Mother's birthday, I thought that would make a good gift.

I found it at a rather bohemian site titled A Child's Dream Come True, of the type for which I am a sucker. As you might know, it had a special of free postage and gift if you spent so much money, so I took a few minutes to peruse the site, and, well, spent so much money.I thought Bean would love this little transport vehicle for playing army and the little tumbling elves were too adorable to resist and could be played with various age poopies.
Bean is always interested in anything that causes his Handy Man Pap to break out the tools. Together they put the little cart together and hooked it up between two chairs.

While Bean and Pappy-O were busy gluing, Missy Bugg and I were making cookies. The adorable little apron she's wearing is one Pappy brought home to her from a lady who makes them where he works. We'd both forgotten the apron, until about half way through, when she shouted,
" Oh, no!" " I forgot my baker." She then proceeded to find it, put it on, spin around and declare,
"Now, I'm beautiful." Being beautiful is an important ingredient in good tasting cookies you know.
I didn't know if Bean could stand the supense long enough for his little cart to dry, but he did. Soon he was busy moving weapons to strategic locations down the mountain. He soon began to play with the weight, figuring out some interesting cause and effect with balance. Hmm, exactly what I hoped he would do.
Miss Bugg is enthralled with overseeing a military manuever. I erred in thinking the baking and fashioning of tumbling elves would distract my wee Bugg from the excitement of the moving cart. No such luck. Bean had to reluctantly part with it for a bit and hand over the reins to his sister. She's not much into military. So, Pap was stationed in the mine, deep in the mountain, and once the princess sent her gnome to dig, Pap was to help fill the cart with jewels for a tiara. After many, many trips into the deep dark mine, there were enough jewels for a stunning tiara fit for a Princess Bugg.
Handy Man says they put at least fifteen miles on that tiniest cart in just a couple of hours.
Sometimes, things just don't work out no matter how wonderful the attention, or best laid plans. Other times, it's even better than you could imagine. So much fun, learning, and pretending.
Thank you Lord for such a sweet evening!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow on Snow

Well, perhaps not all. Okay, I'm over the whole snow thing. We are out of school AGAIN! As anyone who knows me well understands, I don't work efficiently (or contentedly) without some order to my days. You know like if last week on Friday afternoon I'd known I'd be off work for the next five days, I would've filled those days right up. But this day to day, not having clue one how it will go, drives me batty. Some would argue I'm a half a bubble off plumb already, so it's not pretty here in Snowville. It is physically kind of pretty.
This tree served as our Christmas decoration, then, if you recall, moved outside to hold pinecone birdfeeders. The birds have since stripped the tree of all seeds. Now it serves as cover for the little juncos and wrens, when Arwen comes dashing by their feeder, terrifying them.

Why did I leave this eggplant on the vine all winter? I have no idea. Guess I just like how it looks.
I fell going to feed the girls yesterday. We've been shoveling around the gate, which created a tiniest, iciest slope, that my feet attempted to go up, then came back down really fast. I had a scooper of scratch in one hand and an egg carton in the other, so well, back to the not so pretty scenery. I'm fine, the egg carton however did not survive the fall. I tell this story because I had just given Arwen her dog food outside the pen with some tasty real meat and fat bits. I had no sooner hit the ground when she forsook her gourmet lunch to prance all around me, until she saw I was able to get up and function. She is a sweet girl.
Do you know the song In the Bleak Midwinter by Shawn Colvin?
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow on snow...
I used to love that song.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweetest Day

As I sat down to eat my blueberry pancakes, lovingly prepared for my Valentine breakfast by my favoritest Handy Man, I spied yet another present outside the window. Won't they be glorious in the garden with some thick vegetation winding all around, making a wonderful hiding place inside the foliage? I need that visual as winter has seem to settle in for the long haul.
It was a sweetest kind of day. I made dumplings and two of my favorite dumplings with 1st Lt. in tow, and a good friend, came to join us.
My friend brought the most adorable wee book about blue and red and green happy bugs, invaded by a big, black, unfriendly bug they manage to rid themselves of rather quickly. I've thought of it several times and smiled, remembering Bean, hanging on each word, and asking for clarification about anything he didn't understand. Then he gave reading it a go.
He and 1st Lt. have finished Huck Finn, so Treasure Island was chosen for their next read. That was 1st Lt.'s favorite book as a boy. Bean asked me to read the first chapter. You can't get one unknown word or phrase past him without giving an explanation. Not that I want to. I work all year on trying to get my fourth grade students to stop, make connections, and try to ascertain from context the meaning of word. If that fails, at least ask. This grandboy of mine is going to have a whopping vocabulary.
I bought a little Snow White slap bracelet for Missy Bugg. I didn't realize she'd never seen Snow White. She was quite smitten with the princess.
Saturday I spent with Mom. Since the shot for her knee, she is getting around a bit better. She only coughed once the whole time I was there and no shakes, not as much swelling. It was comforting to see her a bit improved. I gave Handy Mans's Mom and her some little Jiffy Greenhouses and seeds. Both are lovers of growing things. Tis the season for hope.
A favorite saying, "Who plants the seed beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God."
I also bought some for my self. I am ever impressed by the possibility within a tiniest seed.

After Mom's I stopped by for a visit with Ol' Mother Hubbard, to give Miss Linee her birthday present and a valentine for all. Miss Linee seems so grown-up for two. She is so very adorable, as they all are. I spent a lot of time with her Mama when she was two. Of all the poopies, she reminds me most of my niece. I can eat her up with spoon-precious.

More snow today. The chickie girls are not amused.

Friday, February 12, 2010

On Snow in Winter

Care to sit a spell?
I like snow. I like winter. What I don't like is snow days. Someone in our state, in their infinite wisdom decided to test our students the first week of March on standards it takes until May to cover. Take out a full week now of instruction, and I'm feeling a little hysterical. It looks as if the first of the week might find us home again.

I'm a planner and I feel a little frustrated at having to erase and re-plan, over and over again.

Plus, I love being home in June to grow the garden and the gramerlings, let the chickies out to de-tick the place, etc. I am not looking forward to trying to keep a classroom of so-done kids engaged during the first of summer
So, enough snow, okay.
It is pretty out.

I love to watch the bluebirds that make this nest box their summer home.

I've fallen and I can't get up!

The pussy willow is more confident than I that spring is just around the bend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yes Girls, More Snow

I was trying to decide the best time to let the girls out today. I knew they wouldn't enjoy that wet falling snow. When it slowed a bit, I checked the weather. Seems it's about to get uglier with a big drop in temp and pick-up in wind.

So, I put on several layers and braved the elements.
To soften the blow of what they were about to find outside their door, I made them some warm oatmeal, egg shell, apple cereal. Of course, Arwen needed a treat, so she got warm oatmeal as well. I poured it back in the container. She likes opening her own packages.

Yes, you are pitiful.
After setting my captive pooch free to open her breakfast, I shoveled snow from in front of the girls ramp and put down two flakes of hay. They aren't so intimidated by the snow these days, so out they ran.

King Silver thinks he is personally responsible for checking out the contents of the hay flake. I don't bother spreading it around, as I wouldn't want to interfere with his job. Might call the rooster union on me or something.
Our most beautiful chicken-Owlie, has some sort of chickie girl psychological disorder. She is in the nest box-asleep, most of time. When I get her off the nest, she runs around, chattering constantly, wolfs down grain like it's her last meal, poops, then heads straight back to the nest. She isn't there to lay any eggs mind you, just sleep-Diva. Was it necessary to mention the pooping part you might ask? Yes, because she could have an egg stuck in there, and I'd have to go get it. Not a job I relish, so we're always happy about the poop.
I'm going to name this girl Stubborn. She is still brooding an empty nest, as we don't leave any eggs under her. If you set her off the nest, she just sits there.
Silver has nicely distributed the straw for a nice dry spot for Arwen when she returns from gallivanting in the snow. She won't go in her house. So everytime the weather distributes something wet and or cold, I put out some more hay. The girls snarf of the seeds and Arwen beds down on it afterwards.
I hope you have a warm place to climb in on this very wintry afternoon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bean's Turn

When Mr. Bean was too sick to visit, he inquired as to if he'd be able to come another time. Last time he was here he asked to see OL' Yeller. Handy Man Pappy dug through the archives, but was unable to locate that movie, so I lined it up in our queue on Netflix.
Why is a word pronounced "Q" spelled like that?
Anyway, it came Saturday and I picked Bean up last evening after running an errand for Kaye.

It's easier to capture him in conversation than pictures, as he chatters all the time. Watching a movie with him is more like watching a sports event where someone is explaining every little detail. I am, however much more invested and interested in what Bean has to say, than any game.
Sometimes he's talking to hear the sound of his voice, but mostly he is thinking out loud and making connections about every other thing he sees and hears. Since I feel like I spend most of my teaching time trying to get my students to do just that, his chattering is music to my ears.

In the movie, Yeller is giving the family cow the business, running her back home. Each time Yeller runs up to her Travis yells, "Bust her again." This brought up what would happen if the cow were really busted and her guts came out.
Bean "You aren't allowed to say guts at school. You can say brain or heart, eventhough they are a part of the body and guts are parts of the body, but guts are messy and gross. I'm not a doctor, so I don't much about brains and hearts."

Bean "Grandma, do you know what we say when someone is doing what they're not supposed to at school (snicker, snicker)."
Gramerly " No Bean, what do you say."
Bean We say (big laugh) "You are going be in deep doo-doo if you don't stop." Except when I say it to "P" I mean she really IS going to be in deep doo-doo.

I was trying to explain to Bean about what a Jack Ass is, as that is what the main character has in the movie. I then said, "Bean, some people prefer you don't say Jack Ass, or actually use the word ass outloud at all, so it probably isn't a good idea to talk about Travis' Jack Ass at school.
Bean " Well, on Dirty Jobs, Mike was on a job and said, "That is one big ass burner."
Seriously, it is so hard for me not to just laugh right out loud, but he continued,
" So, I think if you just say it in a sentence like that, no one will get upset."
Gramerly " Well, you might be right, but sometimes it's best to play it safe and just not say it all, or like maybe if you are in the shower or something.
Bean " Well, can't you at least say it to your own family like your mom and dad and grandparents.'
Gramerly "If they don't mind if you say it, then you can."
Bean "Do you mind?"
Gramerly " You can say anything to me that you need to say."
Bean " Grandmas are awesome."

Fess Parker is Jim in Ol' Yeller and of course the beloved Davy Crockett in Bean's favorite movie. I said something about in real life and Bean declared, "Oh, this is real, it's just when Davy was a lot older and after Polly died." Oh.

He is reading. I bought him some of those awful early readers, where a poor soul tries to make up a story with just you know like seven words. We read several in addition to several I read with a bit better storyline. I can't believe he's already reading.

At night he wants to read all of his Sweet Dream cards. It's like a deck of cards, but with an old reproduction of a picture with children and fairies and angels on one side and a sweet poem or quote on the other. He always picks out angels ones to read first, because I like angels. He has several cards memorized already, so he "reads" those to me. Then he sleeps with his favorite under his pillow.
He is a delight.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just a Wee Bugg

I pick up Bugg and Bean from daycare on Wednesday afternoon. On occasion, as yesterday, I only picked-up one. Bean was home sick with strep throat. Though I hate for them to be sick, I really enjoy the rare occasion of having them one on one. I hadn't spend time with just Missy Bugg in a long while. Upon arriving at the house, she immediately asked for a movie, then spied her tea cart. She quickly changed her mind since, in her words, "My tea cart is waiting right here for me."
Bugg is quite skilled at flattery. Everything I do is her favorite. She frequently tells me, "Gramerly, oo da best!" So, it's a delightful few hours.

The first pictures here are of her dancing in her princess costume a couple of weeks ago. The next ones of our tea party yesterday, and her new hair cut.
This is Princess Aurora, in case you weren't sure
Isn't she a vision?
Shall I twirl again?
Here I think she looks like she's about to belt out Animal Crackers in my Soup, or On the Good Ship Lollipop.
Whew, I bet you are tired from all that dancing. Care to join us for tea? Oh, first, the haircut.
All her blondie hair is gone, at least in the back.

"May I pour you a cup?" "Look Gramerly, I stop when I get to the top."

Hmm, there's a drop of cream left.Now for the sugar.You have to lick off the sugar.
Honestly, I did not know that little mouth would open so wide. Dee-wish-us!
Let's just slurp some off the spoon.
Oops, there's some on the saucer.

Though practicing best tea time manners has not yet become part of our afternoon party, she can swig, er drink from a cup too.
Miss Bugg is a most entertaining little guest.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Molting or Mange

Well, it's a good thing I was well read on chickie girl behavior or I would have thought for sure my girls had mange. No, they are molting. Some are, some just look like themselves. Poor Cheeky has no cheeks anymore. She looks like her face has been shaved. They are still laying well, as we continue to get about a dozen eggs a day.
Pap's girl has a big chunk of feathers missing off her back.

Chickens can be so peculiar. Owlie sits on the nest most of the day, but doesn't lay an egg. One of the Gold Wyndottes is broody. Even when we take the eggs from under her, she won't get off the nest. It's too cold to be having babies.
Snowy's feathers are missing here and there.
I saw Mom and Kaye over the weekend. Mom got a shot in her knee. It was still sore, but she was hoping a few days would improve things. She still is having a tough time. Despite their efforts she is carrying a lot of water. All those steroids to breathe give her the shakes.
Kaye was doing well. She walked with the walker to the bathroom once. They are still after Pete about her liquids and diet. Of course the food on the dialysis diet is a horrible diet for a diabetic. He surely gets A for effort.