Friday, January 31, 2014

Bullet Points

Is there any blogger out there who actually gets all the blogs they want to write actually written and posted? I'm with my friend Lana....too many thoughts and too little time! In the little time I've found this morning my thoughts rambling too much to put down a concise, well written blog post (though I can't claim I actually do many of those well written ones anyway). So I'm taking a page out of another blogger friend's (Amy)book.....bullet points.

  • I'm often thinking of my Indiana family and hoping they are surviving the harsh winter. Though I'm sure they aren't enjoying it, I am enjoying their pictures of snow!
  • I have an eerie feeling that Kansas, warm compared to Indiana, may be in for their own awful winter. We've had snows, about 9, this winter but nothing too serious. HOWEVER...the old timers around here have been saying this winter's weather pattern has been just like the one back in 1950something where a blizzard hit in MARCH and there was snow up to the roof of the pharmacy. I even heard a story that someone drove a Jeep from the roof of one building, across Main St. to the roof of another building over the snow. Yikes!!
  • I am really tired of 3rd grade homework! Can anyone explain to me the rationalization behind timing a 9 year old on math facts...every night? I have one who has been in tears 7-8 times, not counting the times he's been merely upset doing homework. If I don't have a (justifiable) answer soon then we are done with the whole timing thing. I get more excited than the boys on nights when they come home from school with no homework!!!!
  • I've stopped dyeing my hair as of last April. Some days I love it and some days it bothers me, though not enough to start dyeing it again. Someday I'll post on this one a bit more.
  • I miss my Indiana family :(
  • I really miss my Indiana family :(
  • I have four painting parties scheduled for February!!! Yay!! I'm loving this but unsure how to keep it going. I'm definitely not a business person at all. I know I have to market myself and "get my name out there" whatever that means. I just don't know the first step to doing all that.
  • Making smoothies filled with spinach and leftover veggies but disguised with blueberries and orange juice is an awesome way to get my kids to eat green stuff!
That's about it for right now. No exciting weather patterns to speak of in SW Kansas. Just cold (only in the 20's but cold enough) gray and drab outside. I think tonight calls for a Movie Night and banana splits to liven things up!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tis' the Season...for BASKETBALL!!

Right after football ended for Yip and Yap back in the fall, a paper was sent home from school to sign up for basketball teams. At the time the boys weren't interested, probably because they had just finished football and really weren't ready to start anything new. At the time that kind of bugged me. I started playing basketball when I was in 4th grade all the way through my sophomore year in college and then coached. DR doesn't even like watching basketball on television with me. I'm kind of intense. So, it kind of hurt my feelings when Yip and Yap didn't want to play basketball. I got over it though. No basketball meant less of me running the boys all over the place.
Fast forward to Christmas vacation...our friend, the 3rd grade boys basketball coach, was desperate for players so he asked the boys again if they'd like to play.
"Sure, why not?" they said. Where did that change of heart come from?
So they made it to one or two practices and before you know it we are spending our Saturday mornings at basketball games! Two Saturdays down and four more to go.

Yip and Yap may be the tallest on the team but graceful they are not.
They kind of remind me of two long legged baby giraffes when I watch them run down the court.

I was never much of a ball handler when I played...and neither are they. Of course DR likes to call it "amoeba ball" because no matter where the ball is there are at least 6 kids crowded around it. So, there's a lot of loose balls. I think there has been more tackles during the basketball games than there were during all the football games.

Well, it's not the NBA (thank goodness) but it's been a lot fun watching all the boys play!
Let's just hope they get a bit more coordinated in the next month! They sure couldn't get worse!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January Painting Parties!

I just have a few minutes to write up this quick post, but I wanted to share the photos of two painting parties that I led yesterday.

In the morning a class of 9 did  another grain elevator...who knew they'd be so popular?
I love this painting because it's quick, normally completed in less than two hours and it is also a very low stress painting...for the most part!

For my friend Cass, this was her first painting party and she came away friend it saying, "It was so relaxing!!" Yay! I'm glad it's not always stressful for folks!

Though they loved the sunrise, a few women decided that they'd prefer something else for the silhouette. How awesome is that!! I just love that they feel free to break away from my instruction and do their own thing!

Sue took a photo of the barn and bins at her house and painted that with a sunrise behind it. It was voted a success by her husband!
In the evening I led a class of 10 ladies (with 3 newbies!!!) quite a bit more involved. Our nest took about 2 1/2 hours with more sketching time than normal to get all of the lines of our window planned before painting began.

Everyone did a GREAT job, like always!
Thanks ladies for a great day of creativity and companionship!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Anything Can Be a Doll…Use Your Imagination!

Growing up, I was the oldest of seven children. There were four girls within about 6 years, then a 5 or 6 year break and then three boys within about four years. We always joked that my parents had two sets of children. But I was a teenager when my brothers were babies and toddlers and I remember my dad saying once how boys could make a car/truck out of anything! 

"Somewhere in the deep dark jungle," he would jokingly say, "there's a little boys pushing a rock in the dirt and going "bbbbrrrrrr" just like a truck!" 

And it's true isn't it! I've sure learned with boys that they can make trucks and guns out of just about anything. Two Legos = gun. Cardboard box = car. Of course their fascination with cars, trucks and guns just gets more sophisticated with age doesn't it? 

Case in point below! 

But I'm learning how the same principle can be applied to little girls as well!! They can make a doll from ANYTHING!! DR is often humorously perplexed by Yahoo as he listens to her play and the complex discussions and relationships that she weaves between her dolls. It's not uncommon for her to play for an hour or more in her room, all by herself, and the whole time she's talking to her dolls…or more specifically, her dolls are talking to one another. 

But this morning I realized that boys and girls are just the same….toys can be ANYTHING!! As I was getting Yahoo ready for school this morning in the bathroom, and then getting myself ready to go sub at the school today, she pulled open the drawer and started pulling out all her nail polish bottles and started a conversation!!

Yes, she was pretending that all her nail polish bottles were sisters and they were…well, I didn't follow along well enough to know exactly what was going on…but it tickled me to no end that she had no problem at all pretending that these bottles were real! Ha Ha! 

The more I think boys and girls are different the more I learn they are just the same! 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Orphan Train Museum, Concordia, KS

Over Christmas vacation DR, the kids and I took a little road trip and we found ourselves in the little town of Concordia, KS where we visited the National Orphan Train Museum. Before we visited the museum I had heard of the Orphan Train and I knew that it brought orphans from New York City and brought out west. I thought the train had only ran for a few years and only brought children to a few states out west.
In fact I learned the Orphan Train ran between 1854 to 1929. There were two main institutions in New York City that helped the children; The New York Foundling Hospital and The Children's Aid Society.

The relocation of these children was the beginning of organized foster care in America and many of children who were relocated were never formally adopted.

Over 250,000 children were relocated to all the 48 continental states. In fact it's estimated that 1 in 25 people in this country are related to an orphan train child.

With the large influx of immigrants to New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century homes were crowded and sickness and disease left many children orphans and many children on the streets while both parents worked.

Although the Orphan Train Museum was small it was set up in a way that was easy for children, who don't want to sit and read signs, to understand the concept of the orphan train. Large photos were mounted on the walls chronologically so that as we walked around the boys and I could discuss what was happening in each photograph and how the great poverty led children in need of help.
Though the Children's Aid Society did send many children out west on the trains they endeavored to teach children domestic skills and a trade as well.

What I found most interesting was that babies and older boys were the most popular children to be chosen from the trains and in fact children could be "ordered". Parents who were looking for a child could fill out a request form specifying gender, age, hair and eye color and organizations such as the Foundling Hospital who took in a large number of infants (foundlings) would do their very best to match children with parents.

It was interesting to find the National Center for the Orphan Train to be in such a little town of Concordia, Kansas but they received the records since Concordia was one of stops along the Orphan Train route.
So, I have to ask....can any of my readers say that they are a related to an orphan trian child?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Busy and Restful Winter Days

Our two weeks of Christmas vacation have been relaxing and it's been enjoyable to see, for the most part, my kids relaxing and creating at their own pace without having to rush to school or basketball practice or 4H meetings and such. I thought I'd take a few pics of the creations I've discovered the last few days.
Yahoo has kept busy prettying up her horses. One of the things that has tickled DR lately is to sit and just listen to Yahoo talk as she plays. She has these long drawn out, elborate and dramatic conversations with her toys that just leave DR scratching his head at the mystery of all ages of women!

Yip has come up with a new twist on his cardboard creations. I love the way that he used a root beer bottle as part of his ray gun.

Yap has slowly amassed a large collection of Legos. His most recent acquisition was the Lone Ranger Train that he made elevated this week.
A friend of mine just commented to me that she could see Yip and Yap both becoming engineers some day. I can see that too but I think they would bothe be very different types of designers. Their interests are just so different from one another!

Yes, this Christmas vacation has been rather restful and enjoyable.
Now, how to keep these restful days a goin' after school starts? Already this week we have basketball practice, a game, shooting sports, after school library....I need a nap!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Gingerbread houses, Year 5

The Christmas season was so busy that I didn't have a chance before now to post any pictures of our annual gingerbread house decorating day. Last year the kids decided to make one large gingerbread house but this year they decided to go back to little individual houses for each of them.

Once again we had just plenty of leftover Halloween candy to decorate with.

Wow, it's hard to believe that we've been doing gingerbread houses for 5 years now. I do believe that enjoy making gingerbread houses more than Christmas decorating!
Our "adopted" grandma Lavon came to decorate with us too. She brought tons of candy with her too. We were so overloaded with candy that I still have tons left a month later!

I wonder how many more years of decorating I'll be able to get out of my kids? I have a feeling that I may only get a couple more years out of my boys. I think they may feel like they are getting too old to do this kind of stuff.

Thanks Grandma Lavon for decorating with us!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

All of the sudden I feel a bit tiny!

Now I've never thought of myself as a small person. I'm 5'7" and wear size 8 or 10 clothes and weigh 1** lbs. :) Growing up I played basketball and toted plenty of wood, buckets of cow feed and water and such. I've got enough muscles to make me feel not tiny but here lately that's exactly how I'm starting to feel.
All because of my kids!
They are a growing. Just look at Yahoo here. She'll be five years old in two months (holy cow) and look how tall she is!! She's already past my waist and 45lbs.
Do you like here hat? That's how she goes to bed after she takes a bath! She hates getting her pillow wet.
But here's the dude that really makes me feel little! Yap!

Look how tall he is!! He's a good inch or more taller than his twin brother Yip. In our stocking feet too he's already up to my chin! Heaven's sake!!
He's only 9 1/2 years old and he's a head taller than everyone else in his class. Of course he's skinny as a rail isn't he? He eats like a horse though.

And look at how big his feet are!! They are just as big as mine! Yip and Yap both received new boots for Christmas and I can wear Yap's now! I told him to choose a pink pair but he just sneered...ha ha!

I knew that one of these days my boys would get bigger than me but I didn't figure it would come quite so soon. At the rate these kids of mine are eating (I feel like I don't buy anthing but food)  I wouldn't be surprised if all three of them would be taller than me by next Christmas!

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