Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SILLY for sure!!

Blossom is doing a GREAT job with reading. She needs lots of encouragement and FUN to make it a happy experience. Today she read Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers, Lesson 85 out of 128 lessons. It is working on the sound that "a" makes in words like 'ma' and 'car.'

She read the following list:
  • art
  • cart
  • dart
  • mart
  • part
  • tart
  • start
  • chart
  • quart ("breaks the rules")
  • smart
After she finished the list I nonchalantly asked her if there were any other words that she could think of that would fit with this list of rhyming words. She looked at me kind of terrified (wouldn't that be horrible to have to think up MORE words to read?!?!) look and said tentatively, "uh, nooo?"

I said, "Well, let's start at the beginning and se if we can find any, ok!?"

We started with "a," which was already used for the first word, art. Then we tried "b" - and I told her that Bart is a name. She wrinkled her nose and thought that wasn't a very handsome sounding name. "C and D?" Well, we already had those in the list. "E?" I asked. She tried to see and sounded it out... eart? short e, long e, with an a, without an a. I guess no eart. So, I suggest "f." She says, "Fffffffff" looks at me, says, "aaaaaarrrrrrttttt." She looks back at the page and says "ffffff" -- "aaarrrtt." "FART!!!!!"

Oh, you have NEVER heard the shrieks and squeals of a silly six year old girl who is over the moon silly with any and all bathroom words. Crazy girl!


Have we talked about the personality traits of the treekids? Just in case we haven't I will acquaint you with some of the character traits that make up my princess. OH, MY! I already started!
  1. Princess
  2. Diva Wanna-Be (of this definition: a glamorous woman)
  3. Fashionista
  4. Dramatic
  5. Helpful
  6. Impulsive
  7. Short-tempered
  8. Impatient
  9. Knows What She Wants (and WHEN)
  10. Picky
  11. Stubborn
  12. Silly
  13. Fun
  14. Sweet
all of these, among others...

At the festival on Sunday, a few of these traits came to the surface and in FULL Force!

Knows what she wants:
Blossom wanted to ride the ponies with Branch. NOT FUN without her. Didn't matter that Bump was riding... he had an adult. She wanted someone else to ride with her without an adult. Blossom wanted someone to be like HER. It also has come to my attention that she wanted to ride a different horse! Sheesh. (As an aside: Blossom's current knows what she wants "thing" is to only wear bare feet or microfiber tights. NO SOCKS. Socks are the devil. If the day/outing requires closed toe shoes, there is a melt down. Then, she decides on a pair of tights and sweats it out ALL day in those tights just so that she doesn't have to mess with the devil of a pair of socks. Yes, we have tried many many many kinds of socks and they are ALL horrible. Drama - which leads me to...)

Pulling out all the stops. Tears and all when she is wanting her way! Of course, she WAS a wee- little bit frightened. This was her first pony ride, after all! The ponies were just about to start walking when she was beginning to think that she ought to just get off and get outta there! Thankfully, the gal in charge got the show going right away and my little drama princess had no escape route!

Turns out the ponies got to going around the post and she wasn't so scared. She watched and saw that they could only go in circles and they were not going all that fast. In fact, it really was quite similar to a carousel ride! But, her impulsive (and often impatient) nature could not allow her to be still, and just wait to enjoy the fun. I saw that she really wanted to get off and was thrilled that she wasn't able to bail this time!

My little Blossom was enjoying the ride after telling me how much she was going to hate it. But, she didn't want me to know that she was loving it! So, she was trying her hardest to avoid making eye contact with me. She did not want me to KNOW the reality of her her newfound pleasure! I caught glimpses of the joy when she didn't see me, though!!

Half way through her ride, she was giggling but still trying to keep her straight face. It got to be quite silly! But, what made it so much more silly is that later in the day she continued to beg to go for another ride and tell me how much she absolutely loved the pony ride. She was asking to go again when the lines were 20 minutes long instead of 3 minutes of waiting. No thanks! Waiting 20 minutes when there were SOO many more things to do... sorry Charlie! We only did the pony rides once. Maybe some other time we'll see some ponies to ride!

Giddy... Up, Down, OFF!??!!

At the Chuck Wagon Gathering and Children's Cowboy Festival children under 60 pounds were able to take a little pony ride.
We thought Bump would love it!
We were a little bit wrong.
But, Pops tried his best to show him it would be fun and that he really would like it.
See? Horsey has soft hair... and Giddy Up the owner hollered!
Daddy, Get me OFF of here!
Now, look here, son.
This is a saddle horn and you can hold on to it if you want. Just like that.
Yep, there ya go. Around and around and around a few times more.
By the end of the ride he was loving the pony and was mad when it was over. Sigh. Kids...

(Blossom, too, is under the 60 lb. mark - her ride up next!)

Monday, May 30, 2011

RV Life: Gifting

Living a new life in an RV has made a few gift-giving opportunities! As Pops and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary this weekend, we went the "practical yet, funny-haha hardy harhar" route! I am pretty certain that this is the appropriate type of gift for the 12th anniversary anyway. I was sweating bullets over the possibility of "china," "crystal" or "clocks." Pleased that we can stick to the appropriate gifts on the list!

As we learn to best use our new home and care for the facilities, we have found re-newed humor in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. In particular the phrase, "$h!++er's Full!" is a current favorite.
Pops is thrilled with his new gift to help him with his task of emptying all of our tanks.
"Sewer Hose Support" is what I so lovingly offered up as an anniversary gift to my beloved. I really love him just THAT much!! Pops really prefers practical gifts it seems, anyway.
So, maybe you don't live in one of these recreational style homes. Maybe you've never had the opportunity to spend a weekend in one of these beauties. Maybe you have, but never helped out with the task of emptying the tanks. So, you might be wondering what's the big deal and why wouldn a person need or want one of these things!
Well, you see - we have to dump many tanks! Our rig has 6 holding tanks. We have one tank to hold fresh water (we don't ever "dump" this one!) and our other five tanks are for waste.
  1. Black 1 holds hmmmmm, sewage, toilet water from the full bathroom
  2. Gray 1 holds waste water from the shower, the sink in the full bathroom and the washing machine
  3. Galley holds waste water from the kitchen sink.
  4. Black 2 holds the sewage from the half bathroom
  5. Gray 2 holds waste water from the sink in the half bathroom and from the little sink in the outdoor kitchen.
All told, that is a LOT of waste water to dump! We really try to conserve water so that we do not have to dump all the time and so that we are good stewards of our earth. We are definitely on the front side of the learning curve, but getting better!
Anyway, most of the time, the sewer hose goes down from the trailer connection, runs across the ground and over to a sewer connection. Most times, the sewer hose has to go back up to make the connection to the sewer pipe that is in the ground. This means that the waste water will sit in the pipe instead of fully draining out.
So, with this hose ladder, the hose angles away from the rig at a gentle decline. If you do not have one of these little devices, you have to pick the sewer hose up near the trailer and gently maneuver it so that the hose empties completely. This can be tricky since the hose is expandable!
Let's just leave it at this: Pops is happy to have this chore simplified!

Happy Anniversary Pops! In case you didn't before, you know I love you NOW!
Ch!tter's Full!

Fun Day Celebration

It may have been a non-traditional way to spend our 12th Wedding Anniversary, but what else is new, really!?!

We spent our anniversary, May 29th, by taking our children to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City! The museum was hosting a Chuck Wagon Gathering and Children's Cowboy Festival that we thoroughly enjoyed exploring - but, more on the outdoor festival later...

There was so much wonderful art to explore, western objects to view - from Native American headdresses to rodeo buckles won years ago, an old west town to visit. There was so much to do that we didn't see even half of it all and ended up buying a membership in order to go and visit several more times!
I was exploring parts of the museum while pushing Bump in the stroller. We were trying to avoid the heat for a while. Pops and the big treekids were still outdoors at the festival enjoying various activities.
While I enjoyed my time in the museum, Bump was at the short end of the rope and was not as thrilled with the art as I was. SO, I didn't take very many photos there. Just one more reason to go back for another viewing!
After we left all the fun in Oklahoma City, we headed to Arcadia on old Route 66 to visit Pops! Pops discovered Pops while with a co-worker last week.
They have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of different varieties of soda pops available in their cool cases.
We had to stop and have a look and we let the kids all choose a bottle - and everyone insisted on different kinds so that we could try all different ones and sample each others'!
Pops is interesting. It is basically a "C-Store." You can pump gas, go inside for a cold beverage and a snack or stay and have a bite to eat in their little cafe.
The thing is, though, there are a LOT of beverage choices! Soda Pop in all colors, sizes, flavors...
I think that it is plenty difficult to choose a soda in a regular C-Store. And the treekids have the same difficulty. Then we take them in a place like this and say, "Hurry up!" I had to say it or we would have been there for HOURS reading all the bottles. The bottles are arranged by like kinds... Colas together, Root Beers, Birch Beers, Sasparillas, Cream Sodas together, Orange Sodies together, Cherry Pops together, etc...
It was just so overwhelming. We are going to go again - not on the weekend. We are going to go again - not when working people are off work. We are going to go again - when it might be just a little bit quieter so we can have a little fun choosing sodies and maybe stay for lunch in the cafe! I'll let ya know how THAT goes... And next time? I'm gonna find me one or two or three of
Maybe I ought to stick with one. It doesn't say what flavor it is!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dancin' the Night Away

When we were back in Nebraska (on Mother's Day, actually!), we followed Pops' dad to the ballroom where he played his tuba for a polka festival! Fun was had by all!

Bud and Blossom preferred slipping and sliding in the shoe slick by the great big fan...
Grandma and Branch enjoy each other's company swirling around the floor... (Branch was quite a successful little dancer at the polka. She hopes to learn the waltz, next!)
Grandpa plays his tuba with his bandmates...
Pops and Bump sit near the band for a spell...
Until Bump passes out and Pops can just enjoy watching the swirling and listen to the music...
It was a fun evening! We are off to a polka dance tonight... Grandpa has hit the road with the band in a big polka bus. We are only slightly concerned. He is very attached to his cows and farmland so, he won't be gone long! I hope to have some better pictures of all the fun in Oklahoma Style Czech Polka Dance Fun!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

RV Life: Basements

...are good places to wait out a storm. 5th wheel travel trailers do not have them "for real." They are often advertised as having a pass-thru basement. Their basement is a storage area under a part of the living space. Ours is quite spacious. We could cram and squish all six of our bodies (fitting a wiggly dog would be questionable) into it if we took out our stored items. Currently, we are storing the following items in our "basement" (links to show an idea of what I am talking about!):
  1. HP Wireless Officejet Priner/Scanner/Fax and INK Cartridges
  2. Cordless Drill Battery Charger & Battery
  3. A Small Round Laundry Basket with Winter Coats Inside
  4. A Medium-sized File Tote for Filing Paperwork/Bills
  5. A Small Cardboard Box with Pre-Purchased little Gifts (keeping these a secret for now - my treekids DO read!!)
  6. A Basket holding Water Bomb Soaker Balls, a Playground Ball, Wiffle Balls, Jumbo Plastic Bat, etc.
  7. A Storage Tote with Pops' Dirty Workboots and Folded Sheets of White Packing Paper (we have plenty after unpacking several boxes... and we lay them out on the floor in front of the door when it is rainy and muddy so that we can just fold up the paper and toss it instead of constantly mopping up mud! The shoes lay there drying out and then get clapped free of their mud out the door and put away! Smart Smart!! Pops' Grandma used to lay out newspaper in this way, so we are copying! But, I digress...)
  8. A Pampers Cruisers Diaper Box Full of Hand-Me-Downs (in sizes 5-6X) Taped and Ready to Pass on to a Cousin
  9. Five Folding Tailgate Chairs w/ Bags
  10. One Rolling Carry-On Sized Suitcase
  11. A 3 Wheel All Terrain Stroller - taking up more than its fair share of space! But, I love this stroller, so I "sacrificed" bringing other things to have it along instead of a space efficient umbrella stroller!
{{{{{I hope to load a photo of the "basement" and its storage here later}}}}}

So, we have ALL that stuff in our basement. It wouldn't take long to empty it out, but I think that an in-ground basement with a solid structure above is a better shelter in a storm!! Stillwater has a few locations available for public storm shelters on the campus of Oklahoma State University. We chose to hang out Tuesday evening at one of them.
I figure better safe than sorry, eh? So, while the storms brewed and billowed, we picked up some Super Sonic Supper and headed to the Storm Shelter. We met Pops, who was coming from the other direction.
(oh, how a boy loves to make faces in a photo...)
And, YES, my ol' Bark joined us... as did about ten thousand other dogs, cats, birds, etc - we even got to ooo and aaah over two little four day old corgi pups. Cute little pigs were they! We are all fortunate to be safe and sound. Our home on wheels has held up well in wind, hail and rain. Some of the people in our general area (within the surrounding hour or two) have not fared so well in the past week. Pray for them as they find shelter and as they heal their wounds and hearts after losing family and friends. It is my prayer that God keep you and yours safe!