Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Joy

I love to collect ornaments.  Not expensive  or a certain brand but ornaments that mean something to me or members of our family.  Something that symbolizes where we've been or things we've done together as a family over the last year.
New Cardinal for the year.  Cardinals  or little red birds hold a special place in the heart of our family

BLown glass ballon ornament purchased at Balloon festival this year  (2012)

Nutcracker bought at local production of the Nutcracker.  I took my niece and daughters to watch.  Its was short sweet and fun

Elf not a shelf elf but still and elf, my youngest so wanted and elf to sit around the house this year.  This was given to us by a dear friend
The ornaments on the tree are all different and kind of go together.  They all hold special memories in them and its fun to watch the kids put them on the tree and talk about the stories that go with each one

Friday, August 10, 2012

6 years ago this week, my daughter and I were privileged to spend some time with my awesome nephew Tommy and his family at this wonderful place. GKTW where kids can be kids, and they can have ice cream for breakfast.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer school

I put my 15yo on the bus to Summer school this morning,  It was almost harder than sending him to kindergarten.  He qualified to take an accelerated math class last January and he really wanted to do it. Six months later when the class starts, the thought of spending half of his Summer vacation getting up at 6 am  and spending 7 hours in class isn't as appealing as it was.
I'm real proud of him he is my child with ADD who didn't start talking until he was four years old, wasn't reading at grade level until 4th grade and up until 7th grade I couldn't read his essays or handwriting.  He had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) up until 8th grade.  For his final report card of the year he had straight A's except for the Honors History class for that he had a B.

My oldest son and 11yo daughter both qualified for the gifted program.  They are both good kids but I've seen them waste their time and talents, they don't have to work as hard to get good grades, so they don't.

My 15 yo works really hard to get to where he is at, and is  more meticulous than my others, he has had to be. Even so I had a difficult time watching him get on the bus that was going to take him to Summer School for the day.  I was glad that he found a familiar face to hang out with in the crowd of other sleepy-eyed teenagers.  I wasn't the only one there.  there were several other parents waiting in their cars, waiting for their child to get on the bus, watching the bus drive off.

Wash, rinse, repeat....we get to do this again tomorrow and then again.  Its only for three weeks.  We can do anything for three weeks. Right?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Getting bigger and bolder

The little guy is getting more adventurous.  Flying soon?  I hope so.  Yesterday we discovered another "chick"still in the palm tree next to the nesting box.

Friday, May 25, 2012

baby (bird) update

The little bird has been in the backyard for the last week.  He is getting bigger and is starting to feather out.  The parents are keeping him well fed and doing there best to keep him safe.  Everytime one of my family steps into the backyard the give us a talking too.  We do our best to not go into the backyard but sometimes we need to take out the garbage etc.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Urban backyard wildlife

Several year ago my husband noticed small hawk like birds in our neighborhood.  After consulting a bird watching hobbyist and our friend we found otu they were Kestrels.  This sparked an interest in following and taking care of birds of prey.  He got plans and built a Kestrel nesting box placed it in our palm tree in the back yard.  That year in November when the kestrels came back to town they started taking up residence in our box.  My husband then installed a webcam in the box and we watched and shared with the world, or at least who was interested,   the lives of the kestrels in our backyard.  They layed eggs, they hatched and it was interesting to watch the the chicks grow into fully fledged birds.  This process went on for a couple of years my husband became a certified and built a pen to house injured birds of prey which he used to educate scout and school groups.  We housed red-tail hawks , and kestrels  while the wild ones flew free.  After a few years of doing this our schedules got busy income was tight and our family grew. We didn't seem to have time to take care of the birds anymore so we took down he site and returned the other birds to the wildlife rehab center that had loaned them to us.

Through the years wild kestrel continue to return to the nesting box, lay their eggs and raise a family of birds.  We have enjoyed watching them as the parents take their "kids " out for their first flights, usually around the end of May.  Last night while my oldest was in the backyard taking garbage out to the dumpster in the alley, our neighbor called over to him and handed him something over the wall, saying. "I think this belongs to you guys". It was a small very young kestrel that had fallen out of the tree, it didn't even have all of its feathers.
My son placed the little guy/girl in a bird cage, took the top section of the cage off so the parents could still get to him/her if they wanted too.  This morning my husband gave the bird a small lizard he had caught, and we've watched the parents flying and feed it through out the day.

Here is a current picture of the nesting box.  8 years ago the tree was shorter and the box was actually covered by palm fronds a nice shaded place to raise baby chicks.  We talk of trimming the tree but there is usually birds nesting there when we want to do it.
 A pic of the cage housing the young bird.  We've got it safely nestled between the citrus trees in the shade. Hubby has been putting the lid on at night so the neighborhood cats can't get in

Hopefully this video gets through okay.  You can hear the parent bird  either telling me to back off or its baby everything was going to be okay.  Either way they weren't too happy that I was there.  It amazes me how natural that protective and caring instinct occurs in the different species.  

*My husband has had several years experience in caring for injured birds of prey and working with wold life rehabilitation centers.   He is trying to keep the bird safe and at the same time facilitate the parents in caring for their kiddo.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cake BOSSing mom around

My daughter's love to watch Cake Boss on Netflix. I should know better than to let them watch it. I mean its a pretty family friendly show, minimal cussing and it shows a close, really close, family that works hard together. However when my oldest and creative- minded daughter watches it for two or more days in a row she gets an itch to try her hand at cake decorating. Last time she got the urge We tried our hand at fondant....not very tasty and met with mixed result. This time I stuck with what I knew..... butter cream frosting and good old-fashioned food dye. We didn't even use the fancy Wilton colored pastes. I tried to show her how to hold the bag and get different effects with the different tips, but no she wants to twist the bag like the Boss does. No styrofoam cakes to practice on so she worked on an empty yogurt container and cupcakes.

These are what Banana Girl (aka the little sister did with help. The pink glob on the cupcake on the left side is suppose to be an eye (I)

The results of the Boss (y) Girl's hard work.

It was fun, minimal work and it took care of the girls creative "itch"

Friday, January 13, 2012

I am full of gratitude. A couple of weeks ago my oldest returned home. He had been away from home for 2 years on a mission for the Lord through the LDS church. on someways he has changed auiet a bit in other he is still the same. He still has the same dry sense of humor that his dad my husband also has, Its a hoot but can drive me nuts.
Different in that he is very helpful he does his own laundry and will help with meals without being asked.
Regardless he left as a teen and came back as an adult I need to keep reminding my self this and am trying to give him some breathing room as he establishes a new routine.
I am happy to have him home and his younger sibling are also enjoying having around to hang on and do things with.
emotions are all over the place. Happiness to have him home, satisfaction in seeing what a fine young man he has grown into, and a lot of hoping that he is able to continue to work and that he'l have a happy life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Traditions and Themes

In a World where there is one family, four children, different brave second grade teacher willing to teach them all....
We are so lucky to have the best 2nd grade teacher for all of my children. She has the ability to work with the easiest to the most difficult child. Artistic, mathematically inclined, learning issues, she can work with them all and do it in a loving kind and gentle manner. Over the years she had her students make the same snowman ornaments for Christmas. I'm so tickled that I have a complete set now. Special ornaments for each child every year has always been a tradition. I love these sorts of traditions.

Usually this time of year the some of pod-casters I love to listen to talk about their goals for the next year. This time a few of them are talking about "themes" or what they value or trait would like to build into their character/being for the coming year. I think my themes for 2011 would have been "chaos and procrastination" for 2012 I want it to be "Finishing (projects) and Balance"
This past year I feel like I spent a lot of "putting out little fires" taking each task or event as it came along not really preparing for it. I started working part time at my daughter's school 4 months ago. No I can't seem to get laundry done or meals cooked and meal planning has gone completely out the door.

I need to be able to plan better so there is less chaos in my life.

Finishing is self explanatory. I have a lot of Unfinished projects that were started in the last year that are stuffed in bag hidden in the back of my closet. over the next couple of days I'm coin through those bags and either rip them or start to finish them.

Its been a good year , interesting but good. could have done without some of the dramatic stuff, good thing is that we made it through all the trials. I am grateful for my family, the circle of friends I have in real life and on-line. I feel that the Lord has truly blessed me.