Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What is a smile worth?

Now that trash day has carried away the wrappings, things are calming down a bit in the farmhouse. We had three different Christmas celebrations, one with just the four of us Christmas morning, one with my parents, sisters, and nieces/nephew that afternoon. We had a third when Mark's brother John and his family visited on the 26-27th.

Between Santa, family, and friends, the girls did very well on their lists. I'll have to get some follow-up photos, since I stuck more with video that day. Next time...

Right now, I have a story on my mind from bath time last night. Each of the girls took LOONNGG, luxurious baths, with a shampoo at the end. I admit, they are old enough to do their own hair, but we both still prefer it this way, so...what the heck! I was rinsing Mae's hair, and she was clowning around a bit, when all of a sudden her face broke into a huge grin.

"Yes!" she cheered, "I was trying to get you to smile!"

I was smiling at that moment, and I realized in retrospect that while she had been clowning around, she had been looking at me rather intently.

What had she seen? My lips pursed and unsmiling, intent on my task, or even a bit of a scowl since she was dragging things out and it was time for me to be fixing dinner?

Thank goodness she is persistent! She made my evening.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Program

Last week we had our Winter Program at Sierra Elementary. Sadly, it is quite possible it will be the last. The budget problems in the district are so dire, we may end up closing schools. There was definitely a bittersweet tone to the evening for all who are involved enough to understand this. Unfortunately, I think there are many who are unaware despite all the public discussion. Which, in a way, is even more sad.

Moving on to happier things! Here are the first graders, singing "Over the River and Through the Woods" and "Joy to the World". Mae is toward the right, in a dark dress with white sleeves. Abigail is toward the left in a red dress.

We took some pictures after the show. For once, the girls were cooperative, smiling and posing.

Maybe even a little TOO cooperative...this last shot was THEIR idea!

Where are my shy little babies now?

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Sweets and the Sting

This season marks the second time we've participated in the Auberry Library Gingerbread House Construction Fest and Marshmallow Feed (I think they have another name for it, but it doesn't immediately come to mind). The girls were much more self-sufficient this year--yet another blow to my mommy neediness.

But I could share in their pride at the finished product!

Meanwhile, not to be outdone by my rural room mothers post, Mark HAD to demonstrate his ability to defend the home fort by shooting from the back porch. So...if any cans come to attack us, they'd better beware!

I feel safer now.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dear Santa

I asked the girls to write a wish list for Christmas. As is usually the case when I give them an open-ended sort of task, I was surprised by the results.

They didn't really look like lists. No, Sir!

They looked more like mosaics.

Here's Abigail's list:

I know it's hard to read...some print from the back shows through. I wish I had splurged on a FRESH piece of paper, but NOO-oooo. Next time. But could next time possibly be as special?

Here is the translation:
  • I would like a puppy that follows you everywhere I go (note: this is apparently a robotic dog)
  • I would like a doll house with and when you ring the doorbell the eyes open up and say “Come in”
  • I would like glow in the dark scorpions
  • I would like my very own cook book
  • I would like a clock
  • I would like some seeds
  • I would like some dolls
  • I would like my own dishes
  • I would like my very own kit with band-aids in it
  • I would like my own shopping basket
  • I would like a toy fish bowl
  • I would like my own radio
  • I would like some finger puppets
  • I would like my own laminator
  • I would like my own toy BB gun
  • I would like some stamps
  • I would like my own place mat
  • I would like my own TV Set
  • I would like my own Vacuum Cleaner

OK, now here is Mae's:

And the translation:
  • I would like the little puppy dog that follows you wherever you go
  • I would like my own shopping basket
  • I would like Hello Pony that has a diaper
  • I would like my own Rodeo play set
  • I would like my own Jenga block set
  • I would like my own cook book
  • I would like doll house that when you ring the door bell the eyes open up and say “Hello, come in”
  • I would like my own place mat
  • I would like my own picture frame
  • I would like my own candle
  • I would like my own pack of flower seeds
  • I would like a pirate ship and a bag of pirates beside it and make them loose
  • I would like a necklace with a clover
  • I would like my own pack of erasers
  • I would like my own movie: Lady and the Tramp 2 (but she meant 3)
  • I would like my own rocking horse

Clearly there was some cross-talk going on. Abigail was definitely the leader, tackling list-making with gusto. Mae was a little more free-form, happy to ride on Abigail's coat tails and ideas, although she threw in some of her own uniqueness (think pirates and rodeos).

I was struck both by the simplicity and creativity of their desires. Certainly there was some commercial influence--the dollhouse and toy dog seem to be something very specific, so I"m sure they've seen an ad.

But so many of the others...a placemat, a pack of seeds, my own kit with band-aids. I was touched by the simple nature of these things. Are they really representative of what these kids crave?

And then there is the puzzling presence of a few larger items: a laminator, a vacuum cleaner, my own these really excite my little girl? Does she see them as grown-up trappings and want to speed things along by getting them now?

Here's my wish list:

Please, Santa, keep my precious babies young for just a while longer!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Views from The White House

Every day I look out the windows of this house and take pause...there is always something to appreciate. I love the view out every window. And I love the fact that my kids will grow up with cattle grazing right outside the fence line, and think that's normal. Of course, they don't just graze. They play, they poop, and mate. Which makes for pretty in-ter-est-ing dinner conversation. One morning not too long ago (but before I lost my camera), I noticed this little guy, settled down for a nap right by the fence. He was less than a week old.

He napped so hard and so long that when he woke up, mama was clear on the other side of the house, nowhere to be seen. They called each other and circled around in the same direction, keeping each other just out of sight. Finally they figured it out. I watched the whole three-minute drama, and the happy reunion. And to think...some people just get to see this stuff on TV.

Inspired, I also took a picture out one of my favorite windows. Although I realize this picture is less than compelling, you'll have to just take my's great in real life! In addition to housing my scraggly basil plants, this window looks out over the ridges up into the high Sierra. They are now full of snow. The sun rises over these ridges, to the left in the summer and to the far right these days. That sight never ceases to bring me joy.

Are there really people who DON'T love mornings?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rural Room Mothers

So...the other morning, I'm standing around chatting with some other moms after we've dropped our kids off, and the conversation turns to in what kind of guns we own, what kind of recoil they have, and so on. Does that strike you as funny? It did me! It also got me thinking about other things that make this environment so different from suburbia:

- Any given day, but ESPECIALLY on weekends, you can hear gunshots ring out in our valley. And no one thinks twice. And usually no one calls the cops. Because there are a lot of things that need shooting up here!

- On "Bring your Pet to School Day", there were chickens, kittens, rabbits, goats, a pony, a mule, a miniature donkey, and of course, dogs. In fact, there were so many pets, they split it into two days: dogs and non-dogs.

- The school parking lot is predominantly filled with trucks

- 70% of the homes are heated with wood (I can't recall where I saw that data, so take it with a grain of salt, I guess)

- Nearly ALL the homes have a travel trailer. Many look like they are occupied. Hey, just a few months ago, that was US!

- There are many multi-generational families here. Now we are part of that, too.

Don't you just want to move here now?