Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Swim meets ... views from the road

Wow! What a summer! It was the busiest summer I've ever had, it was good. We got to see several little towns and got to see what was on the other side of the mountians (aka Glacier Park). I will slowly be coming back to my blog as I adjust back into the new school year and the new curriculum, we're two days in... For now though, some of the views we saw on our travels to all the swim meets.

To and from the Bitterroot Valley, Montana.

To Plains, Montana.

To and from Conrad and Chester, Montana.... took the same route..... and it is just a lot of the same.

What's on the other side of the mountain?

Friday, July 10, 2009

I married a....

... a hunky male fashion model. He is wearing the classic hiking ensemble, with the shirt left open to show the fine example of his physique and the healthy glow of his skin. I know that you may think I love him for some very shallow reasons, but I assure you there is more to him than his physical perfection.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Am I Too Hard on Her?

My daughter has been increasingly forgetful. It is down right frustrating and sometimes infuriating.

Last year she was on a swim team at the local health club and she was constantly forgetting her suit or goggles, but she really didn't worry too much and most of the time she didn't even bother to tell me that she had left anything behind. At the health club their really were not a lot of kids that used the lockers other those on the team, so here stuff was usually still in the locker she used or worst case scenario, in lost and found.

This year she is on a different team. This team practices at the city pool, there are no lockers and there are just scads of kids in and out of there several times a day. This team also goes to a lot more meets. Last week my kid topped herself, she misplaced her goggles, swim cap, team suit, warm up top and bottoms, and a gigantic beach towel. It turned out that the warm ups and towel had made it into the car, but nothing else. Luckily her coach stays to the very end and got her suit and goggles back to her, but he didn't realize her cap was there too. She got a nice long lecture from both mom and dad about it and she promised to work harder at not forgetting any thing and to be pleasant about mom hounding her about weather or not she had ALL of her stuff every day after practice.

Today, I popped into the 'locker' room to tell her to speed it up a bit and saw that all her stuff was there on the bench, most of it in her bag. 10-15 min. later she shows up and I ask her if she had all her stuff, "Yes, it's all in my bag". -K- we go home to get finished packing for the meet this weekend. She shows up in the kitchen where I'm finishing making some snacks for this weekend, "I forgot my glasses." -K-, we'll go get them after I'm done here. Ten minutes later... "I forgot my goggles.... and my cap.... well, actually 2 pairs of goggles and my cap." So, today she lost 2 pairs of goggles, a cap and her glasses (she's a Mr. Magoo without them, how she forgot them, I don't know). I went back to the pool, by myself so that I wouldn't ring her little neck, and the only thing I found were her glasses (thankfully) and two hair elastics.

So now I'm feeling very irritated to say the least. I have a lot to accomplish by 2:30 so that we are ready to leave for the meet and get there at a reasonable time. I'm also irritated because we don't have a lot of money to keep replacing stuff. Really, we don't have the money to be going to all the meets, but it is her only sport and it is good for her, so we do it any way.

Punishment is definitely in order, but what. Do we skip the meet, do I make her write lines, what do I do to make her really make sure she doesn't keep forgetting her stuff? I decided on menial, gross labor. Latrine Duty. For 4 weeks. And every time she forgets an item she get another week added on. Her duties are to scrub the floor, the shower, the toilet, the sink, tidy anything that stays on the counter, and take out the trash. She has to do this every week before we leave for the meet. I made her do it today... She is already asking if there is any way she can get out of doing it. NOPE.

Am I too hard on her? Does the punishment fit the 'crime'? Being a good mom is hard, sometimes you just don't know if you are doing the right thing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


This girl right here has been keeping me so dang busy I haven't had much time to myself. As soon as I sit down in the evening I'm out, my brain quits functioning and the only sensible thing to do is to go to bed.

It doesn't phase her a bit. She gets to catch up on her beauty sleep on the way to and from the meets. This past weekend we were in the Bitterroot valley at her first swim meet with this team and this division (I really don't know what division we are in... or if that is even the right word, so whatever). It was so much fun for her and really not too bad for us parents either. Most of the families camp out at the pool in tents and RVs and the kids get to run free and get to know each other. This is pretty cool since we will be competing against almost all the same teams at all the meets we go to. Since all the meets are in Montana it gives us a chance to see more of the state and that is pretty cool all by itself. We are meeting some new people, and my kid is getting a healthy taste of friendly competition. I only have good things to say about this division (or whatever) of swimming.... I should really figure out what the 'whatever' is.

The kids on the team are really supportive and encouraging to each other. The longer you are on the team the more like a family every one becomes. My only complaint is with some of the teens need to learn how to act appropriately around the littles... geeze, around every one would be nice. And yes, the 2 on the far right will be cropped; parents were taking these photos, what were they thinking?

These girls, will stand in the shower talking for forever if no mom comes in and tells them to get a move on.... about 16 times. But they are so cute together it is hard to stay mad at them. They get to play card games and stuff in between their events... it's like a beach/slumber party.

My kid swam 4 events on Saturday and landed in the top 12 in three of her events, which means she got to swim in the finals on Sunday. She placed 4th in her relay swim (there were only 4, teams, but 4th is nice to hear) and 10th in her other 2 events. Not a bad start to the season, and it will be fun to see her progress through the summer.

My weeks seem jam packed with chlorine, laundry, packing the camper, unpacking the camper, laundry, pop up the camper, fold up the camper, laundry, hunting down misplaced suits, goggles, caps and God only knows what else. But it really is mostly fun, the weeks just go by so fast, it is hard to stay on top of keeping the house clean and the garden weeded, but so far so good. I just gotta keep on truckin'.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Busy, busy...

I haven't been around much, in case you haven't noticed. Past couple weeks we've been busy with projects around the house and my daughter started swim team for the summer, and her first meet is tomorrow, so we've been getting the camper ready and trying to remember how to set every thing up again. With summer being only about 3 months long this camping business is forgotten quickly.

I also started to develop some nasty headaches recently and my eyes were just killing me. So I went to the eye doctor.... I need bifocals... Nothing says 'spring chicken' like bifocals. I'll be waiting another 2 weeks before I get them, so I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing, reading really hurts my eyeballs.

I hope to post some stuff about the swim meet, this is such a great team. Every one in it is so nice and friendly, all the older kids helping the younger kids and every one is just having a great time. So we will be hangin' at the cement pond this weekend, it should be fun!

Hope to be posting again in a few days. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Movin' Right Along.....

... footloose and fancy free... (name that movie).

Other than my recent pity party, things are actually going fairly well.

This was the last week of my daughters curriculum (ALL of us were SO ready for school to be over).

Starting this week my husband has 2 weeks off. It is mandatory and not paid, but we are going to make the best of it. We will probably go on some local trips a.k.a. "Timmy Adventures". A "Timmy Adventure" is an outing completely planned by my husband that usually has at least one catastrophe in it. Like the one time we went for a hike to check out some old cave and I ended up sprayed with bear spray. I may just have to do some "Timmy Adventure" posts.

Art group is proving to be fun and getting me pumped up to produce some work. A gal from the group and I are challenging each other to produce something and bring it to the next months meeting. Last month we challenged each other to bring at least 1 painting to show. I was proud I had 2.5 to bring and I have painted one more since then (I'll be posting these later). This months challenge is to pick a subject to paint and to paint it 3 times using different media or technique. I'm excited, now I just need to pick my subject.

We got our garden in it looks so nice. I filled the whole garden... and last year I said I wasn't going to do a garden again, and then early spring I thought I'd only do a few tomatoes and some chard, maybe some potatoes. It is full, I filled it with chard, spinach, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, strawberries, onions, broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, and squash. I forgot the potatoes, may still do them if I can figure out the barrel method of growing them and I come across some seed potatoes.

I got my girl signed up for swim team once again, and we are all excited about that. She had to quit her old team do to the cost and worries about my husbands job security. We found a team that just swims in the summer and the cost was just a fraction of what we were paying before, so that is wonderful. So she will be swimming every morning and when we can afford the trip she will be doing meets every weekend all over Montana, all summer. That promises to be fun, we'll take our pop-up and fishing poles and make the most of the trips.

Today we are ripping out brush to put up a fence for our 'someday' goats. We started on it yesterday, and like a genius I wore shorts and a tank top. I got pretty scratched up from the rose bushes and all that other crap growing back there. I know the goats would love to eat all this stuff we are ripping out, but it's gotta be done to put in the fence.

So what are you up to these days?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thank You

I recently won a few giveaways and I think that some sincere thanks you's are in order. I really don't know how I happened to win 3 so close together, or any for that matter. I'm the girl that always enters and never wins. These were really great! What made these so special is that they were all hand made items, made by the blogger's themselves. So I wanted to say 'thank you' to the 3 lovely ladies that hosted the giveaways.
  • The first giveaway won was from Kate, she was giving away some maple syrup! yum... Her and her husband collected, cooked and bottled the good stuff. I've been meaning to take pictures of it on pancakes and document the happy faces that are chowing down on it, but it's kinda hard to take a picture when you, also, are stuffing your face. I made some very good pancakes the recipe can be found here. (I would recommend only adding 1 tsp of baking soda, not the 1 tbs. that is in the recipe.) Thank you Kate, it has been a long time since I've had maple syrup, it has been wonderful.
  • Next, I won a beautiful plate from Pam, she makes beautiful pottery and is also a home school mom. She also just happens to be the mother of Kate, who made the syrup. Thank you, Pam, for the beautiful plate. I'm contemplating giving it as a gift to a very dear friend of mine for her birthday.... but I really like it... Pam, do you have an online store that I am unaware of?
  • My daughter and I won some wonderful goatsmilk soap from Pricilla. You'll remember her, I painted her kid. Her goats milk soap is rich with a smooth lather and a squeaky clean finish. But what really won me over is her shaving bar. My legs haven't had that nice of a close shave in a long time. Talk about smooth! I also love the scent 'breath easy', if that scent and the massage bar were to get together, I might have to buy it by the batch. Thank you Patty and your milk giving gals.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Friend

I used to live in Michigan. It was bleak, and dreary, hazy and muggy, itchy and scratchy (mostly because I'm allergic to poison ivy, which is the state grass, and because there are tons of mosquitoes). I had a few bright spots in all that bleakness, two of them were my husband and daughter and the third one was my friend Jackie.

When I lived in Michigan, Jackie was quite possible the one person that actually kept me from going insane and running back to sunny Colorado. I first met Jackie at the video store she ran in our small town in S.W. Michigan. On that first meeting I thought, "She's kind of a nut case". And she got to prove it, when my daughter was less than a week old my husband and I went in to rent a couple of movies and that 'crazy lady' that runs the store came up and asked to hold my baby. I didn't know what to do, I wasn't sure it was a very good idea. Besides the baby was practically brand new; oh how that made it even more tempting for Jackie. Since I didn't know what else to do, I let her hold my baby. She didn't just stand there with her in her arms and admire her. She held my baby up close and sniffed and kissed and loved her up one side and down the other and walked off around the store with her and talked and talked to her. I looked over at my husband and said, "Do you think I made a mistake letting her hold our baby?" He just shrugged and said, "What do you think she's going to do, run out with her and leave her business unattended?" And all I could think was "God, I hope not".

So this routine continued, every time we went to get movies, Jackie would come and take my baby from me while I was picking out movies. And then it would take forever to get my baby back into my own arms so that we could go home. It took me a little while to get used to some one I didn't know just coming right up and taking my baby and giving her more loving attention than I'd ever seen a person give to another persons child. Eventually, I got used to it and started enjoying that I had a few moments with my arms free to peruse the items on the shelf. I also started talking with Jackie and I came to realize that I really liked her and that she wasn't crazy; or more like, she was crazy in all the ways I could really appreciate.

Fast forward a little over a year. I had finally quit breastfeeding and was feeling cooped up and ready to get out of the house for a few hours a couple days a week. I decided to ask Jackie at the video store for a part time job. After filling out an application and waiting a week or so I got the job. I worked there for about a year (?) and in that time Jackie and I became very close friends. Then Jackie and her husband decided to close the store. Once we were not boss and employee our friendship really blossomed. Over the next couple of years we spent so much time talking while driving the back roads of Michigan and peeing in weird random places, and laughing, crying and a good share of complaining, and comforting and supporting. It turned out that she was/is everything a best friend/bosom buddy/kindred spirit is supposed to be. We could share with each other without being judged, we could be honest with each other about everything, we could tell each other everything and often did/do, we never worried that what we told each other would end up all over town. She is an amazing once in a lifetime friend.

When I moved away 9 years ago, it broke my heart that I couldn't take her with me, that we couldn't just create our own little commune somewhere and live happily ever after. I still want that little commune and that happily ever after. But it probably ain't ever gonna happen, but I'll still hope for it.

We try to visit whenever we can, but it is just so expensive to travel 2,000 miles from one small town to another small town. I haven't seen her in 4 years. In those 4 years her husbands aorta burst and it was an extremely close call for him; she had a brain aneurysm that ruptured while she was at work, and that also was an extremely close call; she had close family that died; her husband was out of work for an extended period of time. The guilt that I feel for not being able to go out there when either one of them were sick, turns my stomach when I allow myself to think about it for too long.

She and her husband had plans to come visit us. In about 4 days she would be in Montana, visiting her son and 3 or 4 days later she would be up here visiting ME! I was soo excited, even though it was only going to be a few days. I had plans of just talking to her face to face for hours on end, nothing else we did mattered as much as doing that. To see her laugh and smile, to reach out and touch her arm, to hug her..... I've missed these things more than I realized or allowed myself to know.

I learned today that she won't be able to take that vacation after all. Corporate ass-holes have put her husband in an uncomfortable position. One that makes going on vacation seem like a very bad idea. It is a huge disappointment for all of us. It really hurts to lose the opportunity to see each other.

I plan on doing what ever I can to make it possible to see Jackie before the summer is over. According to google if I start walking now, I could be there around this time next month.... or maybe I should work on the commune thing so that they can move here and be within EASY walking distance. One way or another I gotta see my friend, it has been way too long.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Can you guess what I got for Mothers day?

Here's another hint..

That's right, I got compost. Not just any compost, but at least 3 yards of well aged cow manure...

I got it on Saturday afternoon. My husband unloaded it from the truck and I mixed it in by hand.

It was a lot of hard work.

But I like hard work...

... for the most part.

"That sure is a lotta poop!"

"Your telling me!"

Thankfully, by the time we had all the compost unloaded and I had churned (turned?) most of the compost into the garden, our neighbor saw my sweet shoveling skills and offered us the use of his rototiller.

This did a way better job of incorporating things than I ever could.... My husband cross tilled the garden and when he was done I started establishing my rows.

They are just like raised beds without the pesky wood framing getting in the way.

Plus, they're really good for doing this!..... What ever it is, it's apparently fun and makes you laugh hysterically. I haven't tried it yet, I'll put it on my 'to do' list.

But for now, I'm happy to just do this.....

It was a good Mothers day weekend.

And a special thanks to my budding photo journalist....

Who took an astronomical number of photos, of manure, chickens, manure, me, manure, hubby, manure, my butt, manure, hubby's butt, manure, plants and .... well, manure.

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Over Worked Kid....loosy goatsy.... a messy kid....

Take your pick of titles for the painting at the end of this post. The point is: I painted! I broke through that invisible barrier and painted. It is an overworked piece, but over worked is better than no work.

So how did I break through it? Well, there were a couple factors. It came to me as I was dozing off after beating myself up about not painting. I decided that I needed to work on paper that was going to be super forgiving. I also needed to just get the feel of things again, slop some paint around, keep it loose and just play. But I was having trouble finding a subject worthy of my interest, something fun and enjoyable. Then, when I thought I was done searching and was just going to give it up for the night, I came across this good looking kid, and I had to paint him.

So to start with I got out some Yupo paper

Yupo is a synthetic paper, it's actually water resistant and your paint doesn't soak into it like it would with cotton paper. It sits on top of the paper and you can get some really cool marbling effects. The other cool thing is you can also completely lift or wash off the paint (unless it's a staining pigment like some of the yellows). It takes the stress off of ruining nice paper. But if you are a 'tight' painter it may cause you more stress.

So I did a quick, light sketch of Kevin with watercolor pencil. (sorry the lighting is bad this late at night)
Then I started laying in color, things were off to a good start.

I was having fun.

This is where I left it for the night. I was happy with it, I was pleased that things were turning out so well.

Then...... it turned out I was the only one in the house that new what I had painted. My husband came home from work and thought I had painted some kind of Rorshach test. He couldn't see the goat. Fine, he was tired, it was late... whatever. But, I was sure my girl who loves goats, reads this blog daily would certainly see it when she got up in the morning.

Nope...... She thought it was some mermaids or something....

enter some frustration, and the desire to make them see what was there; I proceeded to work the painting to death. I'll agree that the above painting needed a little more work, but I went too far, I think. But I am my worst critique.... or maybe my family is...

Now, I could wipe off what I don't like and try again. But I'm not going to do that, I like to see what it was that I didn't like so that I don't do it again..... because I won't remember unless it is staring me in the face.

I want to try this one again, chill out on all the background stuff and get the focus on that adorable kid.

In any case, I did have a lot of fun (maybe a little too much with all that swirly paint) and it's just the first step of many stepping stones. I am so glad that I am moving forward again!

Pricilla and her publicist have a lot more super cute pictures of Kevin hopping all over the place and just being plain adorable, go check it out. Oh, and I shouldn't forget Abby, she is also a very pretty goat that had an adorable kid of her own.