Sunday, July 27, 2014

Take a Break

 Each Playdate includes story hour, with a snack.  I have a bucket type thing with an airlock lid where fruit chews, SlimJims, cookies, etc. are stored.  Sometimes we veer off the snack bucket path for a special treat. Ceece brought cookie dough and little plastic critters to press in the dough to make our own fossils.
Our little Westerly Wind did not think pressing critters was nearly as fun as eating cookie dough, though it was an interesting concept.


 I'm able to  purchase this parchment like paper in a huge box from the school's food service. I use that stuff for everything.  When baking, just write their name in the corner and Giddy-up is sure to get this gigantic cookie/fossil that is as big as his head that he made for himself.  Dee-wish-us!
 Even a sweet smiley boy likes a little blanket time.  This grin says, "Finally, those people have left me alone for a minute."
Sometimes you just take a break when you can get one.

In addition to the swing's cardboard boxes, the mulch to go under the swing was a pretty exciting place to play as well.
Before the day was through, this pile looked like it had sprouted heads as they buried each other up to their chins.

Hmm, nearly through that last Playdate.  Maybe I'll get 'er done before the next one, in which we will start the school condensed version Playdates.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Slide Right On Over

So, as I was saying, after the cardboard had been configured 27 different ways, and the heat and humidity showed no signs of slowing as Playdate progressed, it was time to cool things off a bit. Miss Jenna said a plastic tarp, water and dish liquid spelled fun.  I was game.

Can I just say, I spent the next forty minutes holding the hose and fervently praying that this little adventure didn't land someone in the emergency room.
You learn pretty fast in these situations.
For instance, you start the baby in the middle of slide so the sled (Bean) can maintain control on the track.

Enough with the soap already, these children are air borne .

Ummm, if you are under ten, no running and jumping on the slide. You don't weigh enough and I don't want to be dashing about to fetch your mangled self from the creek when you've been shot headlong out of my yard, or worse the tree before the creek.  It is too hot for all that  business.

 Let's see, what gets you where you want to go, belly, bums, the side slide?

What my sweet cherubs found completely hysterical, I found completely terrifying.

A barrier to stop flying children from crashing into a stump saw the end to the most used toys of the day.  I would say those swing boxes served us well.
Umm, ladies and gentlemen, can we bring things down just a notch and have a story?
Thank you Lord, nothing broken, but those boxes!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


No, no rain. We would've welcomed a bit of rain for the last Playdate of summer.  Hot, hot and hot some more.
That didn't seem to slow any of the poopies down.  Since the first ones arrived before nine and the last ones left at 8:00, I'll present our last big day in sections.
The swing set was a big hit.

I know enough about kids to save all the big boxes that swing set came in. We've all heard the stories of parents who pour themselves into Christmas gifts to watch their little cherub spend the day playing with the box. Same was true at Playdate.

Baby boy began it.

I believe this was a game of "How Many People Can You Fit in the Box?"

 Gradually the boxes came down the hill and became sleds.  I loved watching them try first one thing and then another to find the best slide experience.  Giddy-up walked up that hill over and over, he was red-faced and dripping when I called them all over for a cold drink.

 My sweet little helper said it was oh so much better to have a plastic tarp, some water and dish soap. Hmm, I have all that, but that is a story for another day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New, Newer, Newest

Oh lands! Yesterday I was busy running in and out cleaning the bunny cage and checking on the said bunnies, as I had seen a stray dog on the school road.  I heard Strider losing his mind and all the chickens caterwauling like they were being hauled to their deaths.  
I walked about and counted heads and couldn't see anything amiss, but was worried about where that dog had wandered to.  When the Handy Man got home, he grabbed the pellet gun and went for a stroll.
He came to tell me we had a new visitor in Gramerly Woods.  My very first owl sighting on our property.

 I simply cannot fathom that ten years have passed since I received the best gift of a grandboy.  We spent hours in that dolphin swing, but there finally came a day when he just no longer fit. By that time the line was long and frustrations mounting as turns were taken in that old blue swing.  So, we bought a new swing set that has seen a lot of smiles from a host of wee folk. Alas, the growing continues. What to do?  They still weren't done swinging, so after much discussion, we purchased a heavy duty swing set.  Gwanfader and Swee-Tea came out to lend a hand on the assembly.

 Naturally, we had to be sure it worked. Handy Man hadn't added the dolphin swing yet, but it is there now.
 The new bee garden has mountain mint blooming profusely.  While the honey bees have yet to find it up on the hill, many other critters were enjoying some minty goodness.
I always have lots of things I hope to accomplish in the summer, but summers now go way quicker than I do.  I did try new things, like Tai Chi and I wanted to make new recipes and have new friends for dinner.  Last night we enjoyed visiting with a couple from church. We had a nice time.

And, summer break is about to come to a screeching halt as I return tomorrow for a morning and evening registration and calendar planning in between.  We will  have one last all day Playdate to try out the new swing and haul mulch to cover the ground underneath.  
I feel blessed and thankful for the opportunity to provide the hours of play and for their safety.  It has been a good summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


We will back up to earlier in the week.  Yesterday's court experience was so sweet,  I just couldn't wait to post. So many have been so invested in that adoption, I was anxious to share the joy.
Monday was joyful day too.  
Geodes are the fascination this year and the Sunday storm swished out the swamp water in the creek, 
and washed in new treasures

and a new critter to observe with his interesting saddle bags.
 In the afternoon my artist friend stopped by to do a clay project with the kidlets.

 Later, when I asked Swee-Tea to tell Gwanfader what we'd been doing, she said, "Pottering."  I like that word.
Our story at snack time were two oldies, but goodies. After seeing the butterflies in the illustrations...

 we wandered to the blooming marjoram in the garden to observe the dozens of flying insects enjoying the nectar.

We enjoyed a visit from our sweet friend Kate, 

who frequented Playdates once upon a time, 
 but as sweet girls do, she grew up and is now expecting a future Playdater of her own.

Once again, a little one who has long enjoyed the dolphin swing is anxious and pleased as punch to introduce Missy Toddles to the joys of swinging.

I don't know how he could be three and already old enough for pushing the new baby, but time does go on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our Day in Court

Another beautiful and unusual perfect day in the Ohio Valley for July.
Perfect in lots of respects. Today was our day in court.  The day Mr. Smiley received the Judge's signature on the official document. It was such a sweet time.  The bailiff, judge and lawyers were so friendly, and were about as happy as we were to see this adoption through.  Bean and Bugg got to sit at the table with Rae, Michael, Giddy-up and the star himself.

Waiting for the lawyer.

 Mr. Smiley was certainly troubled by all the attention- NOT.
 Having a seat and listening to the Judge ask if we were sure about this boy.
 Yes, sir. We are so very sure.  It is interesting all that happens up to this point,for the final deal to be very short and sweet.  Then lots of tears, when the Judge called it done.
 He asked for any last words and I could only say, "Thank you Lord!" He said that would do.
They have lots of stuffed animals in family court.  Giddy-up chose Turdeman (Ferdinand) the Bull as his keepsake.
 Then a second breakfast celebration.
What can I say- precious.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Well, Yes, I do have an Opinion
This was an article my daughter-in-law posted on FB. That girl is all about social media.  Me, I'm a little unnerved by Facebook.  I don't exactly consider myself a private person.  I blog about some things and there isn't much I wouldn't be willing to discuss with an interested party.
However, I do not like conflict.
I am shocked and amazed at what some folks have to say to the world.
I am not interested in stranger's opinion of me.
I don't really care for drawing attention to myself.
 I would never call in to a radio show for tickets, even if I loved, loved, loved the event or performer. I couldn't bear to have my name read on the radio, or hear my own voice. Plus, I'm not much of the squealing type, so would never have given one of those zealous responses everyone loves (especially the sponsor I'm sure).
Selfies?  Are you kidding me?  No. Way.
Still, reading this article stirred a response, something I almost never, ever do. I forsook my fb paranoia and posted this-
Spending a huge deal of my time in the classroom with children and out of the classroom as well, I feel qualified to say that the least of my concerns with a student is fidgeting. Children have always been asked to sit long periods in classrooms (centuries I believe), but one third of the class, which I find true as well in my own classrooms, weren't fidgeters, even when I was in school, way on back in the day. I do believe that could be because of lack of core development and many other changes. My students also have recess, other twenty minute movement activities, option to sit on the floor, lay on the floor, stand, whatever the child cares to do. I prepare lively and engaging, hands- on lessons, but still have students who simply can not focus, I mean not for three minutes. Here I mean mental focus, not body stillness, two very different things. I once had a student who rocked in my little rocking chair all the way across my room while he read, totally focused on the book. I've had students who had their backs to me and twisting something around, but could repeat every word I said. Not a problem for me. It is the one who very literally has no earthly idea what was just said, read, or heard that causes me to worry and seek advice and help for that student. And I do blame habits of the formative years. Way too much screen time. Way too little outdoor time. Way too much instant fun provided by the adult, and way too little time to spend having to figure out how to play with a stick or a ball. Food that has no nutritional value. The pace of life we all keep. Way too much coming way to fast for underdeveloped brain systems. Other very serious environmental concerns that affect all of us. Just like one person has migraines, and another one doesn't, these things are detrimental to some kiddos and not so much to others, at least where focus is the issue. In the same way there are good and bad doctors, actors, sports stars, there are good and bad teachers. Most teachers I have ever known, come to the parent and the administration for help when they've pulled every trick out of their bag and can't find a way to get the student to focus long enough to store the information. It is a real and huge and every growing problem. I hope young parents read these articles though, and take the need for outdoor play seriously. Your own yard not an option? Find a park. May I suggest Bernheim Forest if you are local. Free every week day and a perfect place for wee ones to just be. Sorry for the diatribe, but this is where my heart is.
And, though you already know if you have ever visited here, I put my money where my mouth is and give those outdoor learning adventures to more than a dozen kids weekly, even on my summer break.
 Auntie SuZQ made homemade, fruit filled ice pops.

Using our veterinary skills on a variety of stuffed animals.

 Feeding the real critters.

Instead of "Kissing Cousins" we have kissing chickens.

They named this littlest girl, a bantam, Hope.  She is the sweetest chicken.

Okay, so we do have fruity faced hugging cousins.