Thursday, December 21, 2006

They grow up so quickly.....

This week we went to the toy store to do some last-minute Christmas shopping; I had to get some Groovy Girl Mermaids, you know, or Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas. Naturally I had to take the girlies with me, and my saving grace is that in Learning Express, there is so much stuff out for them to play with that it's easy enough for me to shop covertly.

This year, for the first time, we decided to let the girls choose gifts for give each other. We've kinda done it with birthdays before, but last year I think they ended up both wanting the same thing while they were shopping with me so it wasn't a surprise. This year, though, Abbie chose a very cool nail polish/makeup kit for Emma, and Emma chose a Jasmine pocket-doll set for Abbie, because she knows that Jasmine is her favorite princess.

I am so proud of them! They each put real thought about what their sister would like into their gifts. In the past, Emma has seen something she would really like and chosen it for Abbie, and then pretty much takes it over. Abbie lets her, which is entirely another issue, but you see how it goes. Typical kid stuff. They're growing up into such wonderful women-to-be. It does my mother's heart good.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Carol Fun

I recently updated my iPod with all my favorite Christmas songs, and the girls and I have been listening to them throughout the days. One day this week, Emma came to me and told me that her favorite song is "a desert song, and also one from the place to where the boys wear skirts." Er... that narrows it down....

I assumed (yes, I know what that does, LOL) that she meant one of the songs from Celtic Christmas or Celtic Christmas II, thinking that she had identified the Celtic sound with kilts. We went through every song and not one of them was the one she meant. Desert songs? For Christmas? What?

This morning, we were listening to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Music of Christmas" album, and when "Carol of the Bells" came on, both girls said, "That's it, Mom! That's our favorite song!"

As far as I have been able to translate, "desert song" means acoustic guitar in a minor key. I'm still wondering what "the place to where the boys wear skirts" means in their little punkin heads.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Presenting Thumbelina

The things I do for love.....
Last week, Emma came in and told me that she found "something like a snake" in the yard. I thought, surely the child would not approach a snake, and if she had, she would be screaming, so I said, "You mean like a big worm?" And she said yes, kind of like that. So, I went outside to see what it was, and she had, indeed, found a small snake in the yard.

I said: "Oh, look at the cute little snake!

I thought: "Dear God, they found a snake. What if it's poisonous? There are a lot of poisonous snakes in North Carolina, aren't there? I can't make them afraid of snakes. I am going to have to pick it up. What if it's poisonous? Okay, I don't think it could bite me if it wanted to, it's head is too small. I am touching a snake. Please, someone, pinch me and tell me this isn't really happening."

I did, in fact, pick up the little snake. It was a strong little bugger! They don't have any hands, so how on earth did it hold on to the grass so tightly? I had a hard time getting it - I didn't want to hurt it, and it, of course, was trying valiantly to slip into the grass and disappear.
Once I got it, I looked at its eyes, thinking "I can tell if it's poisonous by its eyes, right? How does that work again? Why don't I have a snake book?" It had nice round, yellow eyes, not poisonous looking at all. Actually, looking into its eyes, I sensed no animosity. I have an odd connection with reptiles - don't ask me why. They just like me. Isn't that a disturbing thought?

When we held it with two hands, it was quite calm. It reached up and sniffed my hair and my glasses. The girls each held it - Abbie went first, of course, because Emma wasn't quite sure she wanted to touch it. (Emma lives by the motto, if Abbie doesn't get hurt, then I might try, too.) But, once she saw that it wasn't dangerous or slimy, she held it too.

The girls named their reptilian friend "Thumbelina," and they talked to "her," and had a grand time checking "her" out. They really wanted to keep "her," but I didn't know what to put "her" in, and there is NO WAY WE ARE KEEPING A SNAKE IN THE HOUSE EVER but I didn't say that part. I told them to tell her goodbye, so they each had one more turn holding this little snake, kissed it goodbye (!), and we let it go back into the flower bed.

Honestly, it's things like this that make me so glad I homeschool. We've met Thumbelina the snake, and gotten to see a baby robin that was just learning to fly. We've had birds build a nest on our front door wreath, and seen them grow up and fly away. And let's not forget Hoppy the grasshopper - Abbie took him to preschool last year, and now every time we see a grasshopper outside, we say hello to "Hoppy." We find bird nests and leaves and pretty rocks, and bring them home. I have so much fun, I think I might be homeschooling for ME.

Meet Dumplin'!

This is Dumplin, a little Bantam hen and our neighborhood chicken. Never heard of one of those before? Neither had I, until a couple of years ago. A chicken showed up one day, and my neighbor Chrissy adopted her and named her Henny. She had a little hen house in Chrissy's yard, and pretty much free rein of the surrounding yards. She was quite entertaining, if not particularly friendly.

Then, when Chrissy moved, Henny disappeared. There were no "remains," and I think someone had her trapped and taken to a nearby farm (maybe the one she came from in the first place).

Well, Mr. Dave (of the infamous pine tree incident posted previously) decided that he liked having a chicken hanging around. He has a friend who raises chickens, and brought home two - Dumplin, and Biscuit. Biscuit has since relocated herself a few streets over - we don't know why. Maybe she got chased there?

Anyhoo, Dumplin is still here. She's a strange little bird. She doesn't like it when you try to catch her, but if you give up and turn away she shrieks. Sometimes she sounds like a duck. Since Mr. Dave works all day and we are usually home, she likes to hang out with us. We like to feed her birdseed - she eats out of our hands. We leave the garage door at least cracked, if not open, during the day so she can come in - she spends a lot of time there when it's raining or particularly windy. She likes to roost on top of our cars (which are outside), even though I am sure there are warmer places for her. She seems so cold in the mornings now - it's been getting down into the 30's at night. This morning I found her standing on one leg, trying to keep her other foot warm, I guess. I thought about knitting her a little chicken sweater, but I can't figure out how to go about it. At the suggestion of some of the very knowledgable ladies from the Well Trained Mind boards, I think we're going to try to build her some kind of nest box this weekend, so at least she has a place to snuggle in if she wants.

If you have any suggestions for our little chicken - even if it's just to tell me to leave her alone because she's perfectly able to take care of herself - I would love to hear!