Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quite a girl

I've got quite a girl, that Chloe. I can hardly believe how grown up she is. Having a kindergartner sure has aged all of us.

She is my best helper, it is well known. Where ever I am, Chloe is right next to me. If I am doing something, she always wants to help. I need to be better about letting her help more often, especially in this stage of wanting to help.

I run every morning on my treadmill in the garage and my big helper "babysits" the other kids. What a sweetheart she is to do it (although after a few months now, she is kind of getting tired of it, bless her heart). To help get her more excited about it (and to help my thighs shrink), I told her that I would give her a quarter every time I run (about $1.25 a week). We don't normally pay our kids to help out around the house, but momma needs to exercise and it would cost way more to join the gym again, or pay someone else to watch them. And most 6 year olds aren't required to "babysit" as a normal chore around the house. We'll see if it works. The money is totally worth being able to exercise. (Of course I am just in the garage for emergencies and believe me, there is an "emergency" every few minutes from Chloe and/or Mitch: "When are you going to be done??" "I'm hungry." "Lexi hit me." "I need to go potty.")

Always wanting to do everything I do, Chloe has recently started asking if she can "go running" too. I don't let any of the kids on the treadmill, ever, so she asked if she could run around our cul de sac instead. Genious!

Tennis shoes, running shorts and her "exercise shirt." She runs a few laps on sunny mornings. Quite a girl.

I hope she'll always have an interest in exercise and staying fit. Boy does it get harder and harder to do as I get older.

We were at the SuperMall last month and we passed a rock climbing wall in the middle of the mall. Chloe has recently taken an interest in the small, wimpy rock climbing walls on nearby playgrounds, and she'd been a good helper on the shopping trip, so we impulsively decided to surprise her and let her try her hand at climbing this bigger wall.

Can I just say how impressed I was? There was no hesitation at all. She acted as if she had been climbing for years.

She took off like a flash and didn't slow down.

She climbed all the way to the top (I swear in record time) and hit the buzzer. Quite a girl.

While she may be a great climber, she had no idea how to descend properly. Oh well.

Chloe is becoming quite the reader and there is nothing I like buying more for my kids than books. You can never have too many books. (I can't say the same about stuffed animals...)

Last month, her school had a book fair that she desperately wanted to go to. She and I made a special date out of it, just the two of us. She was excited to show me her school and the library, and I let her pick out a few books.

Just in the last few week, she has wanted to read to herself at bedtime instead of being read to. She'll go into our room and read herself 2 or 3 books while we read to Mitchell. I listened to her one night and she was doing amazingly well. Quite a girl.

They were doing face painting just outside the library. Chloe chose a unicorn.

Both of the Papa's in our family have four wheelers. We were just in Tri-Cities over Memorial Day and Chloe got to go four wheeling a few times and loved it, as she always has. This go around, she learned how to drive one all by herself (with an adult on the back, of course). She was so proud of herself. Quite a girl.

This past Friday was her last day as a Kindergartener (the fastest school year ever, let me tell you). For their last day, they went on a field trip to our local Zoo. She was so excited to go. She loves packing a lunch for special things like this. Lets hope she gets excited about doing it EVERY DAY next year. (I'm exhausted just thinking about it!)

Everyone was told to wear their "Pat On the Back" school shirts to the zoo (one size fits all, yes). What a cute bunch they must have been walking around the zoo in matching shirts with big hand prints on the back. I was sad not to be able to chaperone but I have my own little zoo in our home and I would have been of very little help to anyone taking them all with me.

I did get to pick her up after school and watch her run from the kindergarten wall one last time. I think I was more sad to see her leaving kindergarten than I was to see her start. Quite a girl.

To celebrate her completion of kindergarten, I took her to get her hair cut. Here is the "Before" shot. She has gorgeous, long hair and I was so sad to have her cut it. I can't grow my hair very long and even when I try it is scraggly and blah. Hers is thick, shiny and gorgeous. I love to see nice looking hair being put to good use. And it's fun to be able to do a lot with it. But the last few months has been a struggle- she can't brush it well anymore with it so long and there is lots of tears and whining (and Chloe is worse!) :)

She has been begging to cut it short and I finally agreed to let her have a change.

And a change it was... half way done.

The finished product. Wow... I now have an official, grown up little 1st Grader. Where is time going? Maybe the shorter hair makes her look younger...

All her pretty hair in clumps on the floor- it made me sad seeing it all lying there.

With a little brushing and straightening, I decided it was super cute and a fun change, especially for summer. And when I did her hair for church today, it was amazing- no tears or whining and she was done in record time. Maybe I can live with this. Quite a girl.

Chloe brought home this award on the last day of school- she read 5,000 minutes (well, 5,105 minutes total, actually) this school year for the STAR reading program. I desperately want my children to enjoy reading, like I do, so we were very diligent about reading every day. Chloe could be read to all day every day if we had the time. She never puts up a fuss to read or be read to. This was an award I was very proud to see her earn. Quite a girl.

Now on to the Summer Reading Olympics challenge- we're aiming for Gold! I think we may just get it because I have quite a girl.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Puppy Update

By request (and I've been meaning to do it)- a puppy update!

We finally did come up with a name for our beautiful pup.

Meet.... Violet! From the beginning, we really wanted to stick with a flower name, if at all possible, to go with Daisy. There are lots of options using flowers, but our favorite was Violet. We call her Vi, too (cute, huh?)

We have also sold all of the pups! We have been pup free now for 3 weeks (besides our own). It is always fun to have them, but we are never sad to see them go. 12 weeks with them is plenty at the end. Above is the last 5 pups we had. I thought it was so cute that they fell asleep in this "dog pile." They did it often.

In the middle of May, my little sister Catherine drove up from Idaho to pick up my parent's pup and take it home. She spent a few days with us and we loved having her. Here she is helping to give Jimmer the pup his first bath (Ben did most of the work, let's be honest).

She did do most of the blow drying, though. All nice and clean for the long ride home!

We love having visitors, especially Catherine. She is great company for me and a great play mate for the kids. Come back soon!

Everyone gave Jimmer kisses goodbye. We'll see him soon, though.

To try and sell the remaining few, Ben took the big kids up to Cabela's sporting goods store south of here in Lacey one Saturday late in May. They parked out behind the parking lot of the store where puppies are notoriously sold numerous weekends of the year. The kids had a great time, Ben said.

They attracted lots of attention with these pretty little pups.

But of course, the rain came and they moved the kennel and the sign in to the van to keep dry.

The kids stayed busy (and dry) watching a movie in the car.

But it was a successful trip- 3 pups were sold on that day alone.

We are loving having just Violet now with all the other ones gone.

Ben spends as much time as he can training her. If you can see in this picture, Ben is using one of his hand signals to train her (a flat, open palm, hand in the air means "stay").

In the last week or so, she has become way more energetic than she ever has been and gets very excited when anyone comes outside. This has resulted in her jumping up on people more. She is much bigger now, too, so if she jumps up to greet the babies, they get knocked around a little. Leah does not love that, as can be seen above.
Lexi got her to sit, though.

Puppies are cute and can be so much fun, but oh my, they are a lot of work. Here is our lawn, or what is left of part of it. This is where Violet (and Daisy) love to lay for naps and they have worn the grass right off. And all the white things are a bucket that Violet chewed to bits. Puppies are chewers and many things have fallen victim to Vi in the last few weeks. Sometimes when I look out into our backyard, I wonder if we've had a storm of some sort. Our lawn is often strewn with chunks and pieces of random objects that are no longer whole.

We purposely did not do anything with our yard until all the puppies were gone. We are now working at getting our lawn in order and back in shape, and to help do this we have put an invisible fence up to keep Vi out of our garden/flower areas and only on one chunk of the lawn. We buried wires and put this shot collar on her (the green and blue thing around her neck). When she gets near the off limit area, the collar will beep to give her a warning and if she tries to cross it, it will give her a shock/zap to the neck. We tried it out the first night and it definitely worked. The only problem is- someone keeps chewing the collar off her. This has happened 3 times. We don't know if she's chewing it off herself, or if Daisy is doing it for her. One or both of them is also chewing the wire as well. It is SO FRUSTRATING. We just can't have nice things!

When the collar gets chewed off, it doesn't work (obviously) and we kennel the dogs to keep them from further chewing the wire until Ben gets home and can fix the shot collar (again). The kennel is the one place that Vi can't really do any damage. It works as a time out, if you will. Some days I want to keep her in there ALL the time... :)

But most of the time, she is fun and we love having her. (MOST of the time...)
She is a beautiful pup, though. She's growing like a weed and hardly looks like a pup anymore, until you compare her to Daisy. She'll be full grown before we know it, and hopefully trained and as mellow and sweet as Daisy is. If not, we'll have ONE MORE PUP up for sale soon! :)

Rock Sale

We've been out of town for the past 2 weekends and while we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation, we knew that we needed to spend the next few weekends getting lots done. Last Saturday was a non rainy day, so we took full advantage of it by working outside in the garage and yard. The kids love playing outside, which works out great, and by 10:00 a.m. were playing with the other kids in our cul de sac.

A few minutes into their playing, Chloe ran up to me and asked if they could have a rock sale. Um, what?? Chloe has wanted to have a "sale" for a long time- she constantly asks to have a lemonade stand, but who is interested in lemonade on a rainy, 50 degree day?

I first said no to the rock sale, but the kids were all very persistent and excited about it and I eventually caved. With permission, all the kids started gathering up rocks and hauled them down to the end of the cul de sac. They quickly found a small table, a chair and made some signs. They were much more prepared then I thought they would be. I was actually quite impressed.

Here is the sign they made, which they taped to our street sign. It says:
"Rock Sale
$1 or more"

I love the "$1 or more"- I assume the "Or more" part means that you have to pay at least a dollar per rock, and they are hoping you'll give them MORE than a $. Who can put a price tag on dirty, plain, back yard rocks?

The happy sellers

They even brought down games to play while waiting for customers, and a drink.

Sometimes they would all be gathered around the table, other times they'd be close by playing with their toys. But every time a car would drive by, or someone would walk by on foot, all the kids would gather together at the table and yell "Rock Sale, Rock Sale. $1 or more! Rock Sale, Rock Sale, $1 or more!" (Quite catchy, really).

I was actually quite embarrassed by them selling rocks on the street. I mean, really- if you're going to sell something, at least make it something people can use. But selling rocks kept them happily busy and entertained for over 5 hours. And I need to keep reminding myself that kids will be kids and they need to be able to be creative and have fun, even if it embarrasses their parents.

But the most shocking news of the day was that they made $7. What? I missed the first few sales, but was present for the last one. A 8 or 9 year old boy came walking down the street with 3 $1 bills clutched in his hand and seemed very excited to be able to purchase some very plain rocks. He handed his money to the sellers and started picking out some rocks. Chloe and all her friends started to tell him "Ok, you can pick out one or two rocks" and I quickly jumped in and told the kids that for $3, he could take as many rocks as he wanted. He graciously took just 3 rocks, visited for a minute, then left.

When the sale was over, I helped the kids split up their earnings evenly. I guess the good thing about selling rocks is there is no supplies to buy, so everything made is pure profit. Smart kids.

And these two non-sellers stayed entertained by "walking" Daisy. How many 1 year olds does it take to walk a dog?

Good thing her leash is long so that both of them can hold on to it. And as they walked her they'd say "heal, heal" just like their daddy tells her.

Anyone need rocks? I've got 2 great salesman and a great pile of rocks to choose from!