Things and Such

This would appear to be my semi-annual check in at MotherMe. So much has happened this last year, some really BIG BIG stuff, but it’s so Big that I haven’t been able to really process it all in my own head, let alone put in writing. I’m going to work on that this summer, though. That (and a decent garden) are my goals over the next four months. Stay tuned for details (and for now just know that it’s great, and does not involve me being pregnant.)

In more recent, less-Big news, we just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Florida. It was a very lovely trip, shorter than usual (one week instead of our typical two) but wonderful nonetheless. We stayed in Summerfield this time, with a one-day jaunt to Orlando. The girls and I hung out at Wonderworks and hit up a Shake Shack (our first time) that day while DH attended a conference. The rest of the trip we stayed close to Nana’s house and her community pool. Weather was lovely, we met my brother’s sweet girlfriend, we played a lot of Tripoley (which is a super-fun game), and the girls binge-watched Pokemon episodes on Netflix. We flew YNG-PIE instead of driving, since it was a shorter trip, and even the flight was nothing-to-complain-about. S11 turned to S12 over the trip, and received a typewriter from Nana, much to her delight. She also received a phone* from her ultra-cool parents.

 

*Disclaimer: she actually received a photograph of a phone, with the promise that the actual phone would be waiting for her back in Ohio when we returned. This is because her parents are, while ultra-cool, also ultra-disorganized, and couldn’t get it together enough to have the phone activated or even packed in their luggage in time for this trip. However, as of this writing, she does have a real, live, activated, working cell phone, and is over the moon about her new connectivity.

Like Rabbits

Periodically I will think to myself, “Where has the time gone?  What have I been doing?”  And sometimes I will look here at this blog, hoping it will trigger my memory. Except it doesn’t, because I haven’t written anything in practically four months.  Apparently I have done nothing in all that time.

Nothin’ ever doesn’t change, but nothin’ changes much.

(I was just looking for an excuse to reference those lyrics, by the way.  OK Go is totally my new favorite band.)

Speaking of music, we had a little recital in June here at the house, with the new piano.  O8 and Nelya’s son, T8, played violin pieces.  I accompanied O8 on one of her pieces, and then Miss Tina played a duet with her on the other.  Our friend A9 played a few pieces on piano, as did S10 and I.  It was lovely, though a little nerve-wracking for me.  I wish my hands didn’t shake so much.  Maybe that’s something you just have to get over by doing it enough times to become immune.

But the biggest news is that we now have two bunnies.  S-then-9 got a rabbit back in March, named Bullseye.

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He was a lovely mini Rex but was, as we later discovered, rather elderly, and only lasted about a month.  Just long enough to get attached, it seems. He passed away the day after her 10th birthday, which was quite the bummer.

We found O8’s rabbit, Holly, at an ARBA show in Akron in early April.  She has a hilarious personality and is incredibly friendly.  We love to play soccer with her.

 

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Holly plays soccer

In May, just before our annual Kalahari homeschool trip, we found S10 a new bun at a breeder/4H leader’s barn in Meadville.  This was another mini Rex, but black instead of blue, and a doe.  S10 named her Ebunny.

Umbreon?

Unfortunately, when we went to the 4H -health and tattoo clinic in early June, we discovered that she was, in fact, a he.  S10 felt that she had to rename him/her, so now we have Umbreon (because everything is Pokemon these days).

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I totally see the resemblance, don’t you?

So that’s been fun and exciting, and 4H has been a good activity for all of us.  The kids are learning how to be responsible for an animal (always a good thing) and are also learning a lot about rabbits.  S10 now claims that she wants to be a rabbit breeder when she grows up.  Or sooner.

Piano

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When I was about 12, I briefly studied piano with a creepy, bearded guy (not that the beard made him creepy, but it’s the one thing I remember about him, other than his bizarrely long, nicotine-stained fingers and the fact that he had this absolutely awful pedophile vibe). That did not last long, because we moved to another part of town where cheap piano lessons were not to be found (mostly because I was busy doing other things, like speech team and band, but possibly also because I didn’t want to deal with another weirdo trying to look down my shirt while I poked out a scale on the keyboard). I loved the piano, though, and kept playing throughout the years. But I am mostly self-taught, which is not always a good thing. In some instances – piano perhaps being one of them – it is advisable to have a teacher to critique and guide and encourage you.

S9 started taking lessons from a wonderful, non-creepy teacher last March.  Shortly after she began, I happened to mention my own small experience with piano, and the teacher happened to mention that she had another adult student, and it just became obvious that I should become her student, too.  Aside from a desire to improve my meager skills, it seemed like a good example to set for the kids, who are being forced to endure their own music lessons.  I am such a horrible, mean mom, making them do something so awful as playing music.

So the teacher and I started last June.  We began with some easier classical pieces that, after several months of work, I can say are no longer being absolutely butchered at the keyboard but are now, instead, only slightly maimed at each playing. The first pieces were Bach’s Gavotte from the Third English Suite and Beethoven’s Fuër Elise.  At our teacher’s Christmas party I played a version of Peter, Paul & Mary’s Gone The Rainbow.  In late December, I started working on Mozart’s Fantasy In D Minor.  I even accompanied O8 at her violin recitals the last two weekends.  Nevermind that my hands shake uncontrollably when I play in front of people.  If we are never uncomfortable, we are not learning or growing, right?

I still have my childhood piano.  It is a modest spinet, not a super-high-quality instrument, but she’s served her purpose without complaint over the years, and it’s hard to part with her.

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My childhood piano, a Nancy Hart spinet by the Grand Piano Co. We just call her Nancy.

But on Christmas Eve, my husband took us out to choose a beautiful, marvelous new piano, which was delivered two days later.  So now we have not one, but two pianos in our living room.

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Our new piano, a George Steck. We call him… wait for it… George.

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I love that, at any given moment of the day, someone is usually playing something on one of the keyboards.   Even O8, who is not interested in piano lessons at all, plays daily.

There’s no moral to this story, other than perhaps you’re never too old to learn something all over again.

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And that music is for everyone, even cats.

El Destroyo

I was going through some pictures from my phone and came across these ones I took back in April.

The uninitiated among you might just see an ordinary cardboard box here. But you would be deceived.  Ordinary mortal.

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This is actually S-then-8’s Super Fighter Warship Plane.  The military should really consider a few of these.  They are both Sharkproof AND Bombproof:

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Shock Proof AND High-Turbulence Proof:

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not to mention Dangerous, When Sounding Siren:

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Please note that there is a hefty fine for theft of property:

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As if anyone would steal it though, since it’s:

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Just in case, please:

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Look at all of these features! I mean, really. Wouldn’t you want to just push a button for “Repairments and Maintenance?”

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There are security features galore:

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and defenses if an enemy dares try to get close:

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And when all else fails, there’s always the “El Destroyo” button as a failsafe.

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Genius.

Perfect Day

Not trying to brag or anything, but today was pretty much a perfect day.  It was so nice that I want to write it down so that, later this winter, when we’re stuck inside and miserable, I can look back with jealousy fondness on these past few gorgeous hours.

First of all, the weather.  Can I just say that Ohio weather is like Longfellow’s There Was A Little Girl?  Because when it is bad, it is horrid.  But when it is good, it is very, very good.

beautifulSecond, the girls are doing an archery camp this week.  My husband wanted to check it out, so he drove them in this morning.  That meant I had two hours in the house.  To myself.  I drank my coffee while it was still hot.  I dawdled on the computer.  I putzed in my garden.  I had a shower.  Bliss.

At noon, I picked the girls up from camp and we took a picnic lunch over to a local park for a few hours.  They played, I knitted.  Then we went for a little hike.  We followed the Yellow trail and found a zillion wildflowers.  They picked some to give to their music teachers.

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Next, we went to lessons.  At violin, O7 played without a single complaint.  She was excited to show off her new violin and tell Miss Tina about all the fun things she did at Suzuki camp last week.  It was like a different person had come back from Columbus with me.   She even started a new piece, Étude, which is a big deal in Suzuki method.  Students work on one piece for many weeks, even months (years, in our case) before moving on.

At piano, S9 trotted through all of her pieces as well.  She is close to finishing one of her books and is really doing well with nuances like dynamics and tempo.

Later, we grilled things for dinner and ate out on our beautiful deck in the perfect weather.  It was just the right amount of breezy: enough to keep the bugs away, but not so much so that you had to hold onto your napkin.

Funny how such an relatively uneventful day can be so sweet.

My Modern Family

S9 (she’s now 9, you know!) just informed me that she can’t relate to certain things I experienced as a child because, as she says:

“Because I’ve spent my whole life in the modern world.”

 

Just Like That.

Today we were supposed to go to our weekly swim lesson, but there was a bit of a snowstorm last night.  All the local schools canceled for the day, so the swim teacher decided to cancel lessons, too.  I don’t blame her, except that today was going to be our last swim lesson.  As we were talking on the phone, we both realized at the same moment that we wouldn’t have a chance to say goodbye in person.  The girls had even made little cards and I had knitted her a little doll-sized purple bikini.  When I would knit by the pool during lessons, Julie would always come over to see what I was working on.  And she always asked if I was working on her bathing suit.  So I felt I pretty much had to make her one.

Anyway, it turns out that we have a credit for today’s missed lesson, so we will not pay for April but we are going to have one more lesson a few weeks from now to use up our credit.  So I am glad we will have a chance to say goodbye to Miss Julie.  But I am still a little bit sad.  Just like that, we won’t be going to swimming anymore.

Meanwhile, yesterday S8 signed up for her own email address.  It is time for her to start learning how to use the internet.  She sent her first email to her daddy, then one to her Nana.  I was #3.  I might not have ranked that high had she some other addresses to choose from, but I figured that was enough to get her started.  And just like that, my daughter is now digital.  This morning she woke up and said, “I have to check my email.”

This afternoon, I went to get my driver’s license renewed.  They expire every four years.  I remember getting the last one and thinking, “wow.  2013 is SO FAR OFF.”  Now, I have a new license with my older face and short hair, instead of the old one where I wasn’t yet 40 and had hair down to the middle of my back.  They kept my old license, so I will never see that version of myself again.  Not that I spent time looking at my driver’s license picture, but still.  It’s just weird to think I am not ever going to be that person again.

It’s not that I mind changes, it’s just that they’re so abrupt.  And there’s no going back.