Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day One at Lilliput and the Lake

Doesn't that sound like an adventure? Lilliput and the Lake. The first stop upon decamping from the van: guinea chicks in the garage. They have to be kept safe and sound for the first months, because the wide world is a dangerous place for chicks.

They are quick as lightning, and can fly already at 3 weeks old.
So you can't let even one wing free, or they Take Off!
Which does not make for much of a view of a guinea chick. This one is an anomaly - it is light gray, while the typical color is dark.
Next up: playing ball with Gulliver. Or, as Phoenix calls him, Goal Over. (See that ditch between the crops and yard? Copperhead station! Dun-dun-duuunnnn... That's where the guinea nest was hiding.)

Ready Gulliver?
Go get it!
Now sit still for a snuggle. But slink away when I bring out the camera. He doesn't like papparazzi. But Isabella, our Dog Whisperer has a friend for life. She sits still and gently strokes and soothes every dog in the neighborhood.
At the end of the day we walked back to the lake. There were ducks to feed, Redneck and Mo-Squawk. There were koi fish to marvel over - "Cool" fish, thank you Phoenix. There was an adult-size treehouse to clamber into. It was misty and overcast, and just right for wandering around.
The kids stomped out onto the dock, and like creatures from the deep, the koi slowly swirled into sight. We were enraptured. The first ones were brought to the lake over ten years ago by my grandmother, who had special-ordered them. They are all nearly two feet long, with color patterns in orange and white, and grey and white. Plus one frilly koi with ruffly fins.
They are so graceful and peaceful. And somehow, the kids were not bothered at all by the knowledge that they would later be swimming in the same water with those "giants."
A wonder.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home again hippity hop

Ah, how I wish it was only a hippity hop. That is one long ride from Atlanta to eastern NC to Atlanta. It was my first solo trip with the brood, and it was fine, but challenging. Let's move on. :)
So! Like a bullet, the zippy blue van took us on a journey to Washington NC!
A journey full of wonder: dogs, cats, guinea chicks, a snake, gnats, geese, ducks, "cool" fish (koi) and more dogs. These children rated their days by how awesome the critters were, wherever we visited. Well, and the other kids they played with too, of course.
Since I'm still recovering from the drive (oh, that drive), I will start with a quick look at Pet Number One: the kitty Felix, and my bro Isaiah's. We stopped overnight in both directions, since he lives near Charlotte, the halfway point of our trek. He has a Dog and a Cat and a fridge full of juice and bottled water. Oh yeah, and a candy jar. Delighted nieces and nephews, yes, they were.

Hi Felix! I like how you nipped at their hands when you were all done being snuggled. And then hid in the tree. They l-o-v-e-d you, and want a kitty now. Thanks Felix.
Let's play grab your toe, Uncle Zayah.
Hahaha, that's so funny! (actually, it was)
Thanks Zay! We couldn't have done it without stopping in to play and visit with you.
Next up, our first day at Lilliput "College" as Jadyn calls my Mom's little house. It will involve many creatures. Be there.
Night night...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Friday review

We have wrapped up two weeks of swim lessons, and it's time for the Friday review. Well, I suppose it has morphed into the Saturday review. I have started 2 posts this week that then went by the wayside. Life interrupted, that's my motto. How many tasks and conversations are begun and never ended? That many.
The highlight of swim lessons for Cole, is the end of each lesson. Two turns jumping off the high dive. Cannonball!
And the respectable splash caught on camera, so he could grin at himself.
This is a Big Deal for Jadyn - jumping off the medium diving board.
(Mommy, I'm scared, but I'm doing it anyway.)
And a Big Deal for Isabella, jumping (stepping, really) off the medium board. Not a word from her, just a resolute look on her little face.
Since the girls were both late bloomers when it comes to swimming, this year was a relief. They didn't flinch at any of the instructions, and both followed the instructor's directions. They are good little swimmers now, and not a tear to be seen. Hallelujah.

Here's your obligatory Phoenix update. He has been practicing his faces.
Sad face...
Scampy face...
Better-watch-out-mommy face.
Monday we head to NC for the grandmother visit, so it's countdown time! Woot, woot!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer project(s)

Good morning and a happy Friday to to all...
I have been working on two projects, one big and one small. The small one is something I am taking to my Mom, so it is a surprise. But I will show you one small corner, like those puzzle games, and you will say Oh la la! We had another girls' night out at the painting place...

And this little sweetie will be going to live at Lilliput Cottage with Mom. Admittedly, she is not a guinea hen, but... Mom also has two white hens residing at the farm. They are named Hickadee (thank you Phoenix) and Carlita (thank you Isabella).
As for the large project, it has been my nemesis for a while. I almost wanted to get rid of it, just because it was tired and worn out. But it is so useful, because it holds all of the kids' art supplies, summer workbooks, paper and coloring books. It is part of a dining set that belonged to Rick's aunt: we used the table until it got broken on our 7th move, and we are still using the chairs, though I have painted them black. So it has a history, and just needed some tlc. Summer mojo to the rescue! Add a little inspiration from Nadeau, and the beautiful way they re-vamp older pieces, and voila!

And after...

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Catching up

I've been away from my desk this week, kids.
Phoenix was at a VBS camp each morning, and the big kids had swim lessons.
So although I was running around hither and yon, I was doing it with one less child, and some days that makes all the difference. Particularly when it is a Loud Boy Child that has been off-loaded for a few mornings. Now, this year you might note that the VBS class was a legitimate class for 3 year olds, and you may also note that it was NOT at the church where I previously committed an inadvertent VBS felony. Or something.
Speaking of which, can you believe that in a church the size of that one, with SIX entrances and exits, every time I walk in that building I bump into my girls' former teacher, from the vigilante year? It is just weird. Hundreds of people, maybe even a thousand attend there. And each time I see her and wish I could fall through the floor, she grins and waves like we are at a reunion. Good grief.
But never fear, in a metro area such as this there are always other VBS locations that have not heard our fair name, nor met our brood. And Phoenix just tried one out. It will do nicely for next year, just nicely.
In other family news, the big kids are one week into their life lesson of being strong swimmers. Life lessons, that is what the swimming instructor calls them. I picked up on it, and have repeated it every day. Character-building, that is my other term. One can never be TOO good of a swimmer, right? Though after 3 years of lessons, my kids are questioning this. And asking about next year. I remain noncommittal.
See you soon...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Sincerest Form

Here is your flattery shot of the week. Phoenix is bound and determined to Be Like Daddy. I promise Daddy does not own a pink mower. But he does mow without a shirt. And that is classified. Unless you live nearby. He has his own fan club. Kind of not kidding.

Phoenix and Daddy have been working on a project with their "bangers." It will be finished soon, and is very exciting to us. One more piece of our DIY puzzle.
Phoenix also likes to imitate the girls, and on this day has let Jadyn dress him up. Suddenly his surfer cut looked like a bob. Uh-oh. But he still roared and threw things at everyone, so he did not make a very sweet girl. It did not last long. But it makes me giggle.

PS For the friends that felt a little bad for the snake in Birdadette's Birthing - my brother and mother have 4 dogs that live on the land, as well as numerous hens and chicks. Copperhead venom is fatal for many pets, and this was a 3 ft snake, so...
This took place within 10 feet of the house, where my brood will be visiting in 2 weeks, and there are often small children and cousins around the fields. Otherwise? They are very live-and-let-live kind of people. In fact in the midst of telling this story, Mom made it clear that they see plenty of harmless snakes all the time, and they "like" them. This is the woman that found snake eggs and the mama in her mulch pile and moved them elsewhere! No offense intended by the demise... :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Birdadette's Birthing

Good Morning all!
I am a little revived and have a little story for you.
All it took was one call from my Mama, and her request that I write about it... and bam!
Now if you are not up to speed on Mama and her hobby, check out my earlier post. Charmingly and alluringly entitled Mama and the Poultry Palace, it will get you up to speed.
Ready? OK.
The moment Mom heard we would be coming back for a longer visit, she started speculating about her hens, and whether or not they were tending their nests, and whether or not the kids might get to enjoy guinea babies during our visit. And this morning I got the call.
Mom is a proud parent of 10 newborn guinea chicks, that she has rescued from the jaws of death!
She awoke this morning to much squawking and screeching from Birdadette, who had been nesting in a nearby ditch. Daring to hope the chickadees had hatched, Mom hurried over to check on them and get them incubated. She saw the freshly-hatched chicks, and the irate mother hen and hurriedly gathered the babies into a basket. As she set them up under a heat lamp, she heard the mother still squawking and making a scene. Mom hurried back to the ditch, only to come nose to nose with a large copperhead making its way into the nest!
Guineas are known to attack snakes to protect their nests, and Birdadette had been doing her best to keep the snake away from her babies. There was one hatchling left, hidden, and it was rescued before the snake could get it.
Mom kept a gimlet eye on the snake while my brother Jeremy got his shotgun. I can attest to the size of that bugger, since he just sent me a pic - yowza!
At last sighting, Birdadette was flaring her wings back and screeching at the snake carcass, and all the male guineas had gathered around and were pecking it. Vengeance is mine, squawked the fowl.

And that's your Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom tale of the week.
On a lighter note - yay! Baby guineas! The kids are so excited...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Answers and Meanings

Sometimes the answers to those life mysteries are simple: fluke. ant poison. done deal. Thank you for your appreciation of the mysteries! I had to pop in and reassure ya'll (yes, I am tired, I will not repress the accent) that the ants did not on fact carry me away. It was a close thing. Even now, I hesitate before saying they are almost all gone. Please please please don't jinx me.

Now I am here, and lo I am weary tonight. This summer fun thing is kicking me. I get that the meaning of summer for children is Fun! Ultimate Fun! Fun Every Day from dawn to dark! And I have truly tried to keep us moving and funning. Even though for Moms the meaning of summer is No More 6am wake-up! No More packing lunches! No More 6am wake-up! (If we're lucky :))
But I will tell you right here and now that you can pack 12 straight hours of awesome fun into a child's day and at the 13th hour when you sit down for a minute, they will ask you "What are we doing today? Can't we go somewhere fun?"
Hence the lo and the weary. I called my Mom and said we are coming to visit for a month, and what I meant was "can I drop them off for a month?" And she only hesitated a moment before saying "Come on! Stay as long as you want!" Bear in mind that her little cottage is a one bedroom, one bath... and I'm not sure I will be the one getting the bed. But we will go in 3 weeks (hurray!) and we will stay a few days. (Hi friends!) And I will hope that she greets the van as she has done before: with her Camp Lilliput t-shirt on, a whistle round her neck, and a clipboard.
Let's go Campers!
Time for an energetic grandmother to step in and whip up some F-U-N, ultimate please.
With this thought I will leave you, before I depress even myself with my low energy.
Answers and Meanings? What a title.