Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Signs of Spring

The snow has melted off and the mud has dried up, so Spring is here. I knew it was official when I found Dan out in the yard spraying the old mud off the Suburban.

Mack took his mud killing duties very seriously.

Then lemonade stands started popping up on Main Street. Each day a new group of kids would be out with their signs and pitchers and it was like a magnet for every kid in the neighborhood. Mack and Amelia flocked to help their friends sell, then they finally talked their mother into letting them sell their own lemonade.

Really, it's Crystal Light, but who's counting? Our wagon is the perfect storefront. You can drag your offerings all over town to find business.

The kids parked on the bridge over Spring Creek and it only took a couple minutes before kids started pouring out of the woodwork.

Mack's buddy Payton went to grab his little sister, Kamri.

Then Jack and Lucy showed up.

When Mack and Amelia made their sign I thought they were going to draw pictures to give away. Instead, they invited all the kids to color their own pictures. 

Mack's attention span for selling was short-lived and it wasn't long before he and Jack were down trying to throw sticks in the creek.

This horse hair caught my eye.

And this butterfly.

It was a fun afternoon and the kids made a whopping $6.50.

My friend Julia coordinates a short spring soccer league that lasts for 4 weeks. Neither Mack or Amelia wanted to do it, but we made them anyway. No lazy kids allowed here! Soccer's very informal, just something fun for the kids to do. We don't have the resources (i.e. numbers) in town to have a very competitive league, it's mostly coached by well-meaning parents, like me. I'm coaching Amelia's team and my soccer knowledge consists of a dozen YouTube videos. I coached Mack's preschool team two years ago and we didn't even bother practicing, just showed up for the games once a week and let the kids chase the ball around. But I had to step it up this year since I was coaching 2nd and 3rd grade and the kids might actually want to learn something about soccer.

We've been doing lots of ball drills and learning about positions and trying to get the kids to actually play where they're supposed to play.

I didn't get a ton of pictures of Amelia at the first game because I was so busy trying to keep an eye on where the kids were on the field, tell them when it was their ball, encourage and cheer for them, tell them to get out of the defender's territory when they were playing forward, etc.

I was really proud of how both Amelia and Mack played. They ran hard and tried hard and Amelia was understanding better and better by the end of the game. We rotated positions every 5 minutes so all the kids got to play all the positions.

And this, my friends, is why you wear shin guards:

Mack gets frustrated easily if he can't get something right at the beginning, so I was extra proud of him for not whining and throwing fits. He was sometimes seen gawking off in the distance, not having a clue what was going on in the game, but mostly he was smiling and running.

He really liked throwing the ball in.

And his feet actually connected with the ball on several occasions. ;)

He didn't even complain about not making any goals, he just cheered when his teammates made a goal.

We had practice on Monday this week and we got absolutely poured on! I knew it was going to rain, but I'd already gone to the trouble of loading up all the equipment in my car, so I didn't cancel. It started raining about 15 minutes into practice. The kids ran for cover in the Suburban,

but it didn't take long before they decided it would be fun to dance in the rain.

Once they were all out in the rain I made them go back to practicing. We were working on goal kicks when it started hailing and kids started shivering and I had to admit defeat.

They were really good sports about it!

I was absolutely soaked to the bone. Can you say "wet T-shirt contest!"?

The kids piled back into the Suburban for Otter Pops. Hot Chocolate would have been better!

That's April in Wyoming for you!

After soccer I went over to Karla's so we could ruin our dinner and eat really luscious chocolate covered cheesecake for her birthday. (And we totally didn't share with anyone else).

Her birthday is on Star Wars Day. May the Fourth Be With You.

Yesterday, the kids called me outside to see this. Do you notice anything up in that telephone pole?

Little orange and white blob?

Yep, Patch chased a big fat bird up a telephone pole, then couldn't get down.

He cried and cried, but he wouldn't jump down onto the neighbor's barn roof. Firetail came to offer him sympathy (actually I think he just followed us over because we had food to put on the roof to lure Patch down) but to no avail.

I talked to our neighbor, who happens to be the chief of the volunteer fire department, to see if they even had a ladder tall enough to reach that high. He told me what he's told others: "I've never seen a cat skeleton on a telephone pole." He told me it might take a day or two, but cats come down when they get hungry enough.

Patch spent the night out on the telephone pole. Amelia was so worried about him getting electrocuted on the transformer box, but there was nothing we could do but wait.

Sure enough, when Amelia went out to check on him this morning, Patch had made it down onto the barn roof. Before I got over to climb up on the ladder to retrieve him, he had made it down on his own.

He's been curled up inside all morning, sleeping off his traumatic night on the high wire.

I love Spring!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Little Valentines

Valentine's Day was pretty low-key this year. We didn't plan ahead and I didn't have the energy anyway to do anything extravagant (like last year). Amelia has a couple of kids in her class with food allergies so just grabbing the candy/card combo off the shelf isn't a very good option. Instead, we got the two kinds of candies that were OK with the allergies, Rolos (no soy products) and Dum-Dums, and put them in little treat bags.

Add a cute ribbon and done.

I've been going to Mack's Kindergarten class each time they have a class party to take pictures that will be compiled onto a CD for the parents at the end of the year. The Valentine's party was no exception. The moms and teachers put together several fun activities to keep the 21 boys (!) and 2 girls busy for an hour. Among them was blowing a Q-tip through a straw and trying to hit a target:

Racing to see who could slurp up a licorice string the fastest:

Mack was pretty excited when his team won.

And, of course, cupcakes!

Mack made his own valentine box in class. It's a monster. Amelia reused her box from last year. (I can't believe it survived the move!)

Grammie sent the kids each a scratch-off valentine that revealed cool colors under the design. She also sent a book called I love You, Stinky Face that the kids got a kick out of. I sure was glad Grammie came through with something fun because I was pretty lame this year and only got the kids a bag of Lindt truffles.

We did take the kids to see Paddington at the theater in Montpelier on Friday night, but Amelia was pretty disappointed that Valentine's Day at home wasn't more special. I need to take the time to write each of the kids a special love note.

Oh well, some years you have it and some years you don't. Such is life!

Soup-Can Phones

Consistency in Family Home Evening is still a work in progress at our house. Amelia is the best about reminding us that we need to do it and she has sometimes taken the initiative to prepare the lesson.

A few weeks ago she found an article in The Friend magazine and wanted to share it for Family Home Evening.

It tells about two girls, next-door-neighbors, who love to talk to each other each night from their bedroom windows using their soup-can phones. One day, one of the girls has to leave town and the other girl is left feeling lonely with no one to talk to. The thought comes to her that she should pray and talk to Heavenly Father just like she talks to her friend, sharing all the ups and downs of her day, all the details big and small.

It was a great message about making our Heavenly Father our friend. Amelia was really excited to make a real soup-can phone and see if it actually worked. She'd been planning to do it for a couple of weeks but wanted to wait until Daddy was home.

I don't really remember making these as a kid, surely I must have, but I was tickled to discover that the dang thing worked! The string has to be perfectly straight and pulled tight, but you can actually hear through it!

Mack was more amused by trying to jump up and grab the string than actually talking on the phone. It was too hard for him to keep the string tight. But we had a good time and the kitties sure thought it was fun to chase the string around after we were done!

I'm grateful for Amelia and her sweet spirit and how she keeps our family on track.