Internet and almost 5

The internet is like the ultimate magic trick. I post these pictures:

and what you see is the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, the woman cut in half, the happy product of family love for an upcoming celebration. What you don’t see, thanks to the internet, are the mirrors and rigged set up. What you don’t see are the toddler sized fistfuls that were gouged out of the cake while it cooled on the stove and I foolishly took my eyes off of it for 3 seconds. What you don’t see are the finger smudges on the perfect white fondant or my little helpers jockeying for position who almost pushed the cake off the table. You don’t see me biting my tongue off so I won’t scream at these adorable eager faces, “Please leave the kitchen! Birthday cakes are not about fun or about you! They are about me having one chance to show off and to create something and take a perfect picture! Birthday cakes are the mark of my success as a mother, so back off!”  No, No. Like any self-respecting magician I twirl my handkerchief and flourish my wand and it looks awesome.

Because text is a terrible medium for conveying tone and meaning, the above may read as cynical and a wee bit desperate. I promise it’s not…Ok fine. There is a smidge of cynicism and desperation but nothing a 3 hour nap won’t cure. Honestly, I’m grateful that when I look  back at these pictures, I’ll remember how much I rocked throwing this together last minute in the middle of packing my life. No plan, just colored drops beckoning from the Joann’s self. I’ll remember how she danced around the table and how carefully she placed each drop that I gave her on its pink frosting spot.

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I’ll remember this face and how she blew out each candle individually, but what a triumph for the girl with no diaphragm strength to speak of. She bounced in her chair, literally, because she was too excited to sit still. She clapped her hands and shouted, “Yay!” with her gravely voice.

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Opening presents is a total family affair at your house too, right? We will remember the process and the birthday parade, even if we forget the presents.

Smoke and Mirrors (read internet blogging) has a place. It allows me to capture the stuff that is worth remembering and letting the terrible day I was having fade into its proper place. Genuine and real, but trying to let the icky stuff go. Sigh.

So speaking of remembering…trains of thought collided in my brain one evening and resulted in the coolest art project/useful craft/cathartic way for me to say good bye to my childhood (it was quite the collision). We collected pictures of letters, numbers, and random things from our favorite places all over the city. I’m going to laminate them and put magnets on the back to make a perpetual calendar for the new house.

Layna 5th Birthday

There are not many words for how happy this makes me.  “Goodbye” suddenly has purpose and beauty.

 

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Filed under crafts, Food stuffs, Holidays, life the universe and everything

Milk Bucket List

I told the kids that they needed to start a check list of all the things they want to do and places they want to go before we move. Finally after nothing was done, I started the list on my phone. When they told Daddy about it, he said we should call it our milk bucket list. In preparation for this post, I asked him what he meant (as I had forgotten) and he couldn’t remember either. But it is the title of the to-do list in my phone list app so there you go.

Bucket lists are fine. I don’t generally keep one, and as a rule I think most people do it wrong. But done correctly I think they can be worth while. It’s when people put completely unattainable, truly impossible things on their lists that I get annoyed (ex. climb Mt. Everest – 37 year old dedicated couch potato who doesn’t actually like nature). If it is something that either is a life long dream that you are committed to accomplishing (learn new language) or an easy check-off-the-list, fun addition to your life experience (attend underwater hot yoga class) (<—does that exist??? if it does, I’d so do that)…you should add it to the list and then rock it hardcore.

We have started on our list. Our milk bucket list.

The Children’s Discovery Museum. Generally I’m not actually a fan. It is a great place for exploring little bodies but highly stressful for the adult tasked with keeping eyes on those bodies. Collectively, though, we all love the water room. Tables and fountains and Lego dams and machines and hundreds of plastic balls. Oh and the piece de résistance? Rain coats with ears.

My girls found their happy places. Not shown are their other happy places: Layna making me a smoothie and salad at a pretend Jamba Juice and Naomi working her magic in the pretend vet office. Since I’m short on picture space, I’ll just tell you about my little man. He loved everything, and that’s something that I love about his personality…he genuinely has fun doing anything, from the toddler room to the more complicated science floor. He is a life saver on outings like this and is my favorite nine year old, hands down. Baby girl was content to push all the buttons and wear all the hats:

Next we went to the Dinosaur Park. It is known throughout the land and is The dinosaur park. Here’s why…

A triceratops skull that is probably 30 feet tall! And the rest of the park (totally enclosed by a fence, by the way. The designer must have been a parent of munchkins) is themed accordingly.

Fun was had by all…Except when Little little girl went down the huge twisty slide and it turned her around so she came out head first and then landed on her head. But otherwise it was a lovely day and turns out weekday mornings around 9 are the perfect time to hit up parks if you want to be alone.

We have more to do before we move and I’ll be toting the camera everywhere (for another project we are working on). Now back to packing the kitchen.

 

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Magic happened.

We did it. We went to this place. And it was magical.

I’d like to share that I only have a sum total of 123 pictures from the whole trip (and I’m in quite a few!). Proud of me? Awww, shucks…thank you. So rather than give you a play by play of the entire day (because I’m considerate like that) here are a few of my favorite things that happened (in no particular order):

You may notice that Corra is not in either of these pictures. She wasn’t a fan of larger than life characters all up in her business until after they had wandered away…then she was all about the photo op.  Layna on the other hand…she loved them!

This guy is probably my all time favorite thing that happened. Quick tangent: www.touringplans.com will allow you to make a custom plan and schedule for your Disney trip to any of the parks. We arrived at the park and were there with the rope drop crowd to maximize our day and follow our plan. Around 11:15 my husband (whom I had declared “master of the plan”) realized the plan had fallen apart and was just a handy checklist of what we wanted to do. So he re-evaluated and mathified and made sure that fast passes happened and we accomplished everything and then some. He saved my sanity. No shock there, but the man is my favorite of all the things.

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My little sisters came to play with us and it was epic. Churro eating contest to see who could eat a whole churro without licking their lips, tea cups after snarfing a turkey leg (Baylie actually did snarf it), and impromptu flash mob dance parties of three during the parade. Again I say, epic.

This is how we Disneyland in the morning. And this is how we Disneyland at night. Perfect.

Also on my list: Build your own light sabers. Dole whips (not the floats so much, but yes please to the straight stuff). The most amazing fireworks show I have ever seen, hands down (I mean, at one point they made it snow!). Accidentally catching the night time parade from an awesome spot. Corn dogs. Learning that my six year old princess loves roller coasters (especially the second time round). Watching Disneyland grow larger and more magical as I looked at my kids’ eyes get bigger with every step.

Suppose this means I have to start packing for real, huh?

ps. Waiting for Garyn to build his light saber, I told Corra we were going to go to the Matterhorn Mountain. She was so excited and she squeaked, “me hug it?!” and then “me knock it down?!?!” I told her, “No baby, you are still a little too small to knock down the mountain.” Then she said, “Daddy?” — “nope” — “DooDa, NoMi, Layna?” –“nope” –[thinking hard for a minute] “Goofy?” — “Yes, love, Goofy could totally knock down the Matterhorn” –[big smile].

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dude.

Hi. My name is Lindsey and I’m a bibliophile. I have a book problem. [scattered applause]. It’s been 3 days since I last bought a book and about 27 minutes since I last read one. [more applause]. It’s nice to be here in such good company.

Dude. You know your love of books has crossed the line into “problem” when you realize you have 8 weeks to pack your whole life to move across the country and one of those weeks is dedicated solely to packing kids books. Not all books, not really even most books. Just non-essential children’s books. Wait, what? Yeah we are moving from Las Vegas to North Carolina…to a house we’ve never seen in person, in a town we’ve never been too, in a state we’ve been too twice for a total time of less than two weeks. Yay the internet! But I’ll back up.

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In about 2 hours these papers will make us the legal and lawful owners of this place:

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(Yes, that is a swing on the porch.)

What the picture doesn’t show you is the 4.6 acres of beautiful North Carolina that will eventually become our new Angry Dwarf farm. It also doesn’t show how perfect for our family the actual house is or the tree back down a lush path that will host our first tree house (with swing) or that the soil ph is amazing for growing blueberries or the brush in the back that will entice fireflies to come play every summer or the plot for Naomi’s butterfly garden. Not to mention the woods that will house our pigs and the back lot with room for bat boxes, apple trees, and blackberry brambles. And bee hives! Did I mention the bee hives!?

So yes, I figured with the New Year and the new house my husband and I gave each other for Christmas (and the lovely messy adventure it will bring),  it was time to get back blogging. I’ve missed it.

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P.s. When it occurred to me how much I hate assimilating new stuff after Christmas, I got the brilliant idea to give our kids a trip instead. The picture is terrible and I promise our kids actually are excited…In T – 9 days and counting…we are going to Disneyland! [Squee!]

 

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[untitled]

I’ve been writing and rewriting this post in my head for about a month now…you think I would have come up with a title. Here’s what I’ve got. A few years ago before we moved, I had the most perfect running buddy. She is a for-real runner. She pushed me to the point where I was knocking out 10 miles a go without flinching. Good conversation is a powerful thing, people. Anyways on one of our last runs I said, “Hard doesn’t happen.” At first I thought that idea was unique to my season in life, my exact situation as a stay at home mom of little (sometimes maniacal) human beings who also happens to be co-farmer of a small urban farm thing. Nope, it doesn’t matter where you are at in life, unless you find a way to make “x” thing you want to accomplish not hard, it won’t happen. Well, blogging for me right now is hard.

It’s not really the little helpers, that are 1) trying to type for me using their feet as they color on the white wall above the computer with a blue sharpie or 2) demolishing my bookshelves/sewing table/bathroom as I’m tied to the keyboard trying to finish a post. (As I typed that Layna ripped open a sewing pattern and Corra sucked on a spool of thread before throwing it across the room). Sleeping kids doesn’t help because the baby one sleeps in the same room as my computer.

That would be hard enough, but like it said, it’s not really that.

It’s the fact that I don’t need to share like I did, it’s writers block and photo block and feeling like I’m being redundant. I don’t ever want to fake this or contrive something to meet a deadline I’ve inflicted on myself. There are still events and drama and life and awesome things happening (new goats with no ears are coming in a month, Layna is turning 4 in two days, we finished our physics class with homemade dry ice root beer, etc. etc. etc.). It’s just hard, and for me hard doesn’t happen.

If I wasn’t Mormon I’d be a strange amalgamation of eastern religion/philosophies with some serious Taoist underpinnings. I’m very sensitive to how things feel and fit into my day and I’m not one to force things (see also my homeschooling methodology/philosophy). Blogging has slowly gone from something that was effortless and naturally something I just did, to something I have to schedule in my planner and fight to make happen. And it’s not a fight I’m winning. Obviously.

I’m going to miss this space I’ve claimed here on the internets and the respite from the guilt I feel about not keeping a journal (blogging is a totally legit alternative). Writing is good for my soul and maybe the absence will be so keenly felt it will magically just start jiving again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take a break and come back fresh and the fight won’t feel like a extra thing glaring at me from my to do list.

Of course this post is mostly for me, because I’m weird and need definition and official declarations. Viva le Structure! Wait, What? (I like to think this side of me perfectly compliments the hippie flower child of the previous paragraphs, a yang to her yin, if you will). Actually, I just kind of live in conflict most of the time. Hippie is passive aggressive and EconomicsDegree resents her something fierce. What I’m trying to say is that I am taking a small leave of absence from Comfy Posy and my Farm Blog. Hanging my “Gone Fishing” sign. And my “Be Back in an Hour” sign. Thanks for reading. Knowing that there is someone on the other side of this, listening and laughing at my foibles makes it so much more fun and worth while.

Keep Calm I'll Be Back by filippobassano

 

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Duct Tape and Rubber Bands

There is a big, long story of how it came to be that me, my good friend Denise and our other good friends Ty and Kim found ourselves teaching physics to a squirrely bunch of 8-12 year olds.  That story is interesting but not nearly as interesting as this class has turned out to be. First off, a group of 22 high energy homeschool kids with varying backgrounds and experience levels, requires certain considerations. Team dynamics, project difficulty, etc. and I know I’ve learned a lot and should I ever teach a class like this it will be even better. And it’s super hard for me to accept that there are things I couldn’t foresee and that everything takes practice, especially when you are doing something that’s never been done before. Wait. You already knew that? Oh.

We wanted to do physics challenges where the kids would get some very hands on experience with different principles.  Also fun. We wanted them to have fun. So each class is a different challenge with a set objective, prefaced by a short, flashy demonstration that is usually chosen because there are some freaking awesome things you can do with physics! Our whole goal is to expose the kids to the joys of science so that hopefully they will leave more curious about the world around them.

The duct tape challenge was first on the list, as a good simple introduction to the whole idea of a physics challenge class. Kids were put into teams and each team was given a roll of duct tape. The objective was to see which teach could build the tallest freestanding structure.

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But first there were three demonstrations to show some important principles: Synergy, Friction, and Balance. After those they got to work. It was pretty cool to see them stretched a bit out of their comfort zones and have to figure out things like getting it off the roll in the first place (one person holding the tape and the other person running across the room with the roll was a very popular method), dealing with the inherent floppy-ness of duct tape, and the ever looming stickiness problem.

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Most of the teams ended up abandoning any plan they may have had in favor of the “stack of tape wads” method (see left), however, the winners (right) did not and their design ultimately was the tallest by a long shot.

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They did have some stiff competition from this tower in the center of the left picture, but it didn’t stand up for the requisite minute.. The kids seemed to have fun and my little girls were much happier supervising construction than they were playing with the other littles.

Next up was rubber band cars! These taught us, as teachers, probably the foremost rule that one should internalize about the modern class room: if it looks easy on YouTube it probably is stupid hard in real life. Also axles that don’t buckle is kind of vital for a vehicle of any sort.

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Denise started with examples of force and differences in air pressure.

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We watched some videos then turned them loose on a table full of stuff. Two of the teams (out of 8) ended up with cars that could go a few feet.

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Ultimately though, it was a lesson in how sometimes things just don’t work and that little details make all the difference. The kids were very good sports and most of them stuck with it even in the face of abject failure. As a side note, I really like all the kids in our group and hopefully there will be many more cool things in store for us with these families.

Next up is the Egg Drop and Popsicle Stick Bridges and my musings on kids and the need to play!

 

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Bubble Dancing

Family lore holds that it was my Grandma and Grandpa Ballard who started the treasure hunt tradition. Every year one of the kids would find the first clue in their stocking and it would lead to a big-ish present for everyone. Or sometimes we each had our own, depending. The year I remember the most was finding a new-to-us Sega Genesis in our bath tub! We have carried on this grand tradition (because you know how I feel about traditions, Traditions!) One year it was a book I wrote and illustrated, last year it was the Love Sac (epicly sized bean bag chair thing). More and more I’ve been trying to move away from stuff and more towards experiences, so when I heard that on the High Roller  kids 12 and under are free and they were running a family deal I squealed. And did a happy dance.

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Each kid got a pair of binoculars and a juice, but since we were the first ones to be there we got our own bubble. That was the best part! It was a 30 minute ride and we did one complete revolution. The view was really nice in the morning, but at night it would be spectacular (but super crowded, which would be not so nice).

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We weren’t sure how the Littles would do (especially Layna), but they all loved it. Corra poached drinks from everyone else’s juice and Layna death gripped her binoculars and danced a lot. So yeah, good times were had by all. There were screens that showed fun trivia, how high up we were, and also played music, so we had an awesome dance party in our bubble.

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Sorry this is kind of the only option for camera angle if I want to prove that we were both at an event. Until I teach Garyn how to use my beloved camera, you’re stuck with the couple selfies. We had so much fun and Garyn has already decided that we will ride the High Roller every six months at least.

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Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything