Monday, April 27, 2009

I like snow as much as anybody.... probably even more than a lot of people. But I was not expecting this...

 ...when I woke up this morning. I'm wishing winter would wear itself out and spring would stick around for awhile!

This, I think, is the confused robin who keeps trying to build nests on the front porch... only to have them blown to the ground within a few hours.

It's a persistent little bird though, it's started (and had blown down) at least 10 nests so far!

Blaze was NOT a happy camper this morning... I think he's tired of the snow too. Check out his back hoof... if Tucker had gone a step or two closer he would have been kicked.  It looks like Tucker is (wisely) in the process of making a quick u-turn... 

Hopefully the sun will come out soon, and bring spring back with it...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Colorado spring

I think the pictures say it all.

Woodstone Prairie - April 18, 2009

Woodstone Prairie - April 23, 2009

I love it when the robins come back each spring... They usually nest close to the house each year, usually in one of the trees in the front yard.

For the past couple of days I've been finding pieces of dry grass, horse hair, and bits of weeds on the front porch and looking up into the trees trying to find where they are building their nest.

I should have focused my search a little closer to the house... right under the front porch roof.

That's the zoom in shot...'s the zoom out shot. Five nests-in-progress, all lined up in a row.

Now I'm trying to decide if we just have an indecisive robin, or if there is suddenly something extremely attractive to robins about our porch!

Here's a picture for Granny...

 The two little dogs on duty... "guarding the perimeter".

Absolutely nothing gets past those two!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

still snowing....

Although it looks at times like it's lightening up a bit...

It's so beautiful out there I took my camera with me the last time I went to the barn...

It's still coming down pretty good.

Here's dd#2's old car... almost buried in snow. (We have it because we are supposed to be selling it for her. 
Anybody want an older Geo Tracker convertible? It's got four wheel drive and would be great for days like today!)

The animals were snug in their stalls when I first went out... They are all three peaking out the stall doors, but I don't know it you can even see them through the snow.

Then, as I got to the barn Tucker left... this bad weather has him even more skittish than usual.

He had to lift his legs pretty high to clear the snow...

Poor Tucker, knee deep in white stuff, and looking pretty miserable.

The trail from the barn to the house. I've already shoveled this trail, right down to the paving stones, three times since this storm started. Looks like it's about time to do it again.

Back in the house again, the fire felt good. (the logs laying in front of the fireplace are drying... they are so wet and snowy from being outside, I'm drying them a little before I put them into the fire.)

Snow day - homeschool style

Because of my kid's disabilities, they do best with a very predictable structure to the day. School is a very important part of that structure. We mostly follow a 4 day school week in our homeschool. I organize the lessons so each week's lessons can be done in 4 days. That leaves one day during the week free for field trips, doctor visits, or getting together with friends. If we have a stay-at-home kind of week, we just take Friday off and work or play outside... It's a good system for us, and seems to give us the right balance of work time and play time.

Well this week, despite spending Monday afternoon with our homeschool group doing this, we somehow ended up done with the week's work by Thursday afternoon.

And then it started to snow... and rain, and snow some more, then thunder and lightning while it snowed, then finally it settled down to just snow!

I could tell we were going nowhere yesterday, and playing outside wasn't happening, so I had to fill our regular afternoon school time with something... preferably fun and interesting... to keep us from from feeling as snowed in as we were (are). 

So we spent a couple of hours doing activities from our Story of the World history curriculum, then finished the afternoon reading one of our math stories and experimenting with the concepts it introduced.
In Story of the World we are learning about ancient Egypt... So after listening to the chapter again (we have the book on CD, and we listen to each chapter a couple of times before moving on), answering questions about they heard, doing some map work, and taking a quiz (my kids are so funny, they LOVE little quizzes...), we sat down to make sock monkeys.

Yes, it's probably a stretch to consider sock monkeys history, but since the Nubians brought the Egyptians gifts, including monkeys, when the Egyptians conquered them several millennium ago, and the idea came right out of our SOTW activity book... I'm counting it as history!

The kids worked hard for a long time filling and sewing their monkeys.

M's level of concentration was amazing.... he had to really think about what he was doing.

When the monkeys were done, we read one of our math stories, "What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?". M already knows what right, acute, and obtuse angles are, and R understands what a right angle is, so they had a good frame of reference for learning about the Pythagorean Theorem (M) and introducing square numbers (R).

I made a small version of the knotted rope used in the story, and M worked at using it to make right triangles, then later was able to determine the length of the long side of a right triangle using the formula he'd learned.

R worked at using pattern blocks to make squares, and then learned a little about square numbers. (I didn't notice until I posted these pictures, that R changed clothes between sewing and math.... I wonder why she did that?)

It was beautiful outside...

... and we were warm and cozy inside... it ended up being a great afternoon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grandma stuff...

Meet Fancy Nancy (aka R, our oldest grandchild) isn't she gorgeous?! (The little cute guy behind her is K, her youngest brother... more about him later) 

I'm pretty sure there is nothing cuter than a six year old all dressed up!

Here's the Fancy Nancy book, just in case you're out of the little girl literature loop.

Rivaling 6 year dress-up cuteness, is 2 year old excitement over pottying.

My grandson K (the little batman sitting behind Fancy Nancy in the picture) is 2 and learning to use the potty. I happened to be talking to his mom yesterday morning while he was sitting on the potty. When he was done she let him talk to tell me what he'd done. The conversation went like this:

K: Gama?

Me: Hi, K... how are you?
K: I poop

Me: I'm so proud of you! What a big boy you're getting to be... (etc. etc)
K: Bye

Me: Bye, I love you

K: wa you

Well, after that conversation K decided that talking to Grandma was part of the whole potty process... so my phone rang a lot yesterday. The phone calls all kind of went like this:

Me: Hello?

K: Gama?

Me: Hi baby, what's up?

K: I poop

Me: That's wonderful! I'm so proud of you! (etc. etc)

K: Bye

Me: Bye, I love you

K: wa you

(20 minutes later)

Me: hello?

K: Gama?

Me: Hi K, how are you?

 K: I poop

Me: That's wonderful, you are getting to be so big! I'm so proud of you... (etc. etc)

K: Bye

Me: Bye, I love you

K: wa you
I do love being a Grandma! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

good news~bad news

Good news first...
  • It took almost 6 days of soaking and wrapping, but Blaze's hoof seems fine again. Woohoo!!
  • Tilly seems fully recovered as well, so I'm DONE with barnyard nursing for awhile.
  • The cool new three wheel bike I ordered for M is in town and ready to be picked up. If dh is able to put to together without too many problems, M should be riding by tomorrow!
Now the bad news...
  • M's illness has taken a new and scary twist and I'm having to 1:1 him to avoid an admission into the hospital. (Of course there are no empty beds in the "good" hospital, so that would either mean spending days in an ER psych cell room at the good hospital waiting for a bed to open, or being transferred to a "bad" hospital... shudder, shudder)
  • The one on one supervision is 24/7... yes, even through the night... so I'm not sleeping much.
  • I'm already stupid from lack of sleep (unfortunately, it's a very short trip for me to reach that point), and there is no end in sight.
I'm off now to find some caffeine...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. The good thoughts and prayers are very appreciated... Over the course of M's illness we've had a few incidents in which we could have lost him. The incident on Monday was another of those... Thankfully he's ok, and I've made some med adjustments that will hopefully get us back on track again.

I'm still "one on oneing" M during the day, and staying close (right across the hall) at night. He's sleeping well enough that I'm feeling pretty comfortable letting him sleep alone, which is a good step...
 In answer to Steve's comment... Yes, there are probably nursing services I could hire to provide some in home help, but they are extremely expensive. (Insurance wouldn't cover it.) Even just respite (specialized child care) is $20.-$25. an hour. A trained mental health nurse of some kind would be even more.  So unfortunately, in-home help isn't an option. Judging from the past, M's need for 1:1 will not continue for a long time...

M's new bike is here and all put together, so yesterday we went on a long bike ride. (Well, the kids rode and I walked... I really need to get a bike!)

It was such a pretty day, the sun was warm and there was no wind. It was a great day to be outside...
The kids at our favorite park... Isn't M's new bike cool? Even with his problems with balance he can ride it!

The bike trail passes close by what had been a pioneer home back in the 1880's. I liked the way these gnarled old cottonwoods looked.

I can only imagine the changes this tree has seen...

When I turned around from taking the pictures of the cottonwood, I found this little group of deer watching me...

They are on private (not park) land. The building you see behind them is the added on part of a very old (probably pioneer) home. You can just see the peak of the roof of the original house through the tree on the left.

The kids rode for about an hour and by the time we got home we were hot and tired... but it was a wonderful way to spend a spring afternoon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Legislation!

Year Of Law School Now Mandatory For Nation's 25-Year-Olds

March 11, 2009 | Issue 45•11
WASHINGTON—Under the provisions of a bill approved by Congress and signed into law Tuesday, every 25-year-old American, regardless of prior life commitments, is now legally obligated to enroll in a full year of study at one of the nation's accredited law schools. "This new measure gives us the means to compel 25-year-olds to simultaneously placate their parents, impress their friends with complex-sounding legal jargon, and effectively avoid any real-world responsibilities for another full year," said Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN). "We can think of no better way for our young people to squander their postcollegiate aimlessness." Congress is reportedly seeking further legislation that would provide for an additional nine months of grumbling over LSAT prep, and up to five years of whining about paying off student loan debt.

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LOL, Happy April Fool's Day!

I found this article in The Onion and thought it was especially appropriate since I just happen to have a 25 year old who is graduating from college in a couple of months (double major, political science and history) and making plans to head off to law school. I guess she should prepare for a crowd...  :)