Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Summer Vacation Begins

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to record the summer's happenings, because I'm not able to have long periods in the day to write any more.  These days are full.  I like it that way, but the pressure at night to get something written is big, and I haven't even written a thing about the beach.  It makes me feel stressed to think about time getting away from me like this,  I want to just enjoy our summer and make as many memories as we can.

I can't remember what made Monday such a perfect day from beginning to end, but I remember thinking during the day that I wish every day could be like this.

It was a perfectly sunny day, and the girls came over to my house after not seeing me for two whole days.  I had cleaned up their play area, and they loved finding things they had forgotten and just played together most of the day.  Lots of pet kitty playing going on.  I got even more of my cleaning and sorting done, as evidenced by the boxes and bins by the door.

Focus is on yarn at the moment.  It looks like I once was interested in making socks and did turn out a few pairs.  I found about 10 sets of the striped yarn balls, so I'll have to ask Sherry what pattern she uses, since she actually does finish hers.

It looks like I need a little work on my technique, although I did try on the finished sock, and it looks better on than just lying there.  I have another skein, so maybe I'll try to finish the mate.  I really do like the other pattern, and I have enough yarn for two socks, so filing that away for when I have some spare time.  For sure.

I guess I had reasons for buying all these, but they're long forgotten.  I put a bunch in the donation box for other people to worry about, and I'll do some research and see what can be made from some of these yarns.

This suede yarn is pretty, but what do you make with it?  Looks like a scarf in the picture, but I can't imagine.

I have a whole drawer of cotton yarn for making dishrags and wash cloths for the girls.  Mine are getting threadbare, and so are the Steller Way ones, so maybe I'll use some of these.  I used to get some done in doctors' offices waiting for Mama when we lived in Montgomery.

The girls like when I make them their own bathcloths.  Here's a perfect one for Kate.

Kitty Playing Knit Dishcloth Pattern

These little paws might be a hindrance with all these interesting things to chase.

Besides knitting, I've ventured back into some of the machine embroidery that I've neglected.  I think just finding a path to my machine was key in that.  I did some yesterday and today, and it was so enjoyable.

I decided to make a Fourth of July shirt for the girls since it's one of their favorite days.  There's a parade that morning and then the community fireworks that night after celebrating all evening with friends who live near the park and have a front row seat.

I saw this little flag-waving dancer and got the design.  I tested it on an old bib I had around, and it turned out really sweet.  I also didn't want to risk making shirts they wouldn't wear, so I showed it to them, and they loved, loved, loved it.

Graysen especially is very interesting in how the machine knows how to do this.  She's learned that she can choose the colors, so we made a few changes on their girls.  We thought a blue skirt would be prettier than the brown (although a little harder to remember to stop and change colors), and she wanted silver shoes.

I finished hers and will work on Katherine's tomorrow.  She will like it if Gray likes it and doesn't care what color the skirt is.  If it's not a kitty, she's pretty noncommital about it.  We did look at some patterns, and they want so many!  Look for a unicorn.  No Pegasus.  Or just a horse.  An angel kitty.  Awwww. I want that one.  I want that one!  I can't compete with all the reverse sequins and the glittery shirts nowadays, but I think it will be special for them to choose their designs and their colors.

Graysen is taking off on her reading, and you don't have to encourage her at all.  She reads to Katherine a lot, and I do miss it, but then they'll settle down with a stack of 20 books for us to read together, and I'm in my element.

Here with her Mrs. Boyles serious face.  I always have to be Jojo, the student with some behavior issues, and I hear, "Remember not to blurt, Jojo," if I forget to raise my hand.

The funny thing about this book is that Katherine knows it by heart, every word, and it's hard for her not to "read" along.  She's already recognizing words, so she might learn to read before kindergarten.  If she cares enough.  She's more into taking care of baby kittens.

This is a pop-up book from the 1980s that made it all this time.  It's all about animals eating other animals, and they love it.

She's practicing writing her address here.   Katherine is not very interested but will say STELLAR WAY if prompted and then Sno-kwa-ma for her city.  They'd much rather look at where Snoqualmie is on a map of the United State and then the world.

Second children sort of teach themselves.  I remember taking Graysen to her first day of  pre-K, and the teacher asking them to write their names.  I thought, "I don't even know if she can write her name," but luckily they just traced it laboriously for a while.  Kate has an easy name, so she's all prepared to write it in September.

We're taking advantage of the Summer Reading Program at the library, and they've pretty much filled in their first-half page.  I took Graysen to the kick-off event Friday evening.  It was just for ages 5 and older, so we went by ourselves.  She's a funny girl.  As we got near the building, she let me know she was just a little bit anxious, and I told her if it was not fun, we could just go check out some more books, and she was fine with that.

But when we got inside and she relaxed a little, it was hard to get her to leave.  There were little centers with hands-on displays, and she loved it.


And a few photos of the new four-year-old who is just excited about everything nowadays.

We did go to another library program in Fall City this morning, but it was a little difficult.  There was a very lively and funny guy from Chile who came bursting into the room with his guitalele and started singing and interacting with the children.  It was too noisy and too much for Graysen who hesitated about joining in, and therefore Katherine took her lead and was shy too.  I enjoyed the program and learned Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (Estrallita Donde Estas) and realized the ll is pronouced like a j.  There were songs about counting and monkeys and sharks and jumping up and down, and they got into it a little bit but were not sorry when they could go check out yet more books.  We'll have to find a quieter way to learn Spanish, since we promised Gaby and Dina we would work on it.

Surely that's all that's happened for a week or so.  I'm keeping the girls at their house for a few days and working on their room and doing some chores around the house and earning their keep.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Now It's Officially Summer

But I'm still wearing a sweatshirt.

We had a few warm days last week, up to 89, and we turned the fan on and talked of going to Emily's to sleep over the weekend to stay cool.

And then we woke up freezing Friday morning.  By the time school dismissed at 11:55, it was drizzling, and I grabbed a jacket on my way out.

The older kids were pouring out of the school like I knew they would.  Some fifth grade girls were crying.  Mostly there was yelling and chasing around by the boys.

 I got last day hugs from Mrs. Boyles and Ms. Kim along with Graysen.  I can't say enough how much fun this year has been for her.  And Ms. Kim is living in our apartment complex now, and there's a chance to see her a lot at the pool this summer.

I found a picture from the first day of school and took one outside yesterday.

She was just so little and just a tiny bit scared.  She and Mom were both fighting tears - for different reasons.

Look at how different now.  So tall and confident and just thrilled to be part of the excitement.

Next year, we won't have to go inside and make eye contact with the teacher before they can come out.  I loved that, though.  I got to know so many of the kids and their parents that way.  Next year, I can stand outside and see her come bursting through the front door with the big kids.  Telling her that made her grin - BIG.

And then a year later, we'll be going back inside for Katherine.  Here is her first day picture and her last day one.  It took her a while to adjust to school every day, but at the end of the year, she was a happy girl and was calling people her friends.

On the last day of Cascade View, Katherine was home with Mom and Dad getting the camper packed, so Graysen and I walked to their house.  She immediately complained of "freezing," so being the good Mimi I am, I sacrificed my jacket.  I don't think she really wanted it, but she loved the impression she thought she made of being a sorcerer.  Funny, it doesn't do that for me - or maybe it does.

 Those boots!  With shorts!  And she's just wearing what makes her happy.

When we got on the main street, a group of 4 or 5 buses came by with kids hanging out the windows and yelling and singing.  She loved every minute of that and wondered if they knew she went to that school too.  And then here came another bus with lots of her friends on it screaming at her.  She was beside herself.  It's funny the small things that make children happy.

And this made her extremely happy.  Making a Father's Day card for Ryan.  Complete with a little mask for Super Dad.

When I got her delivered, I couldn't see I was adding anything to the packing-the-camper chaos, so I said my good-byes and left.  Seeing that big camper with the paddle board and bicycles and all that stuff on top, I knew my worrying was about to kick in big time.  But I'm working on it.

I decided to stop by the garden and water it.  I didn't take any pictures, but I came home with a double handful of strawberries.  The cool weather has kept things from growing, but it's a start.  I don't think the things I love do well up here - cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers.  And, of course, not okra.  They planted a pumpkin and a cantaloupe, but those have a lot of growing to do to make it before winter.  I guess pumpkins can grow in cold weather though.

So, it's been a nice organizing Saturday, and I'm looking forward to taking my book and coffee and sitting on the balcony later on.

Friday, June 7, 2019


I've just finished my breakfast and first cup of coffee and thinking what a great day it's going to be - with the weekend coming up and warmer weather.

Then I decided to check the news.  Not even the national news.  I'm not sure I have the heart for that.  But my Facebook opened with the Snoqualmie Ridge page, and the answer to my question about all the fire trucks last night was answered.

We hardly ever hear sirens unless it's involving crashes on the interstate or going toward Tiger Mountain, but last night it went on and on.  I did check the community page on Facebook only to find out it was a fire here on the ridge and a big one.  I don't have a window facing that way so didn't look, but it was just a matter of 10 blocks or so from here.

This was the first photo, taken by someone living in the valley.

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This one was a biggie.  Just reading the comments, I think there were 10 fire trucks there and two firefighters injured.

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And what makes me so sad is that this same house burned last year and was in the process of being rebuilt.  The first fire started because of a compost bin near the house, but I don't know how this one started.

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I don't even know these people, so why the interest?  I don't know except that I feel so silly letting small things throw me for a loop when I can't even imagine how this family must be feeling.  The construction was moving along, and the windows had just been put in.  They were scheduled to move in in October.  Having lived through a fire once, it's not just the material things that are lost.  It's the trauma of being homeless and helpless, and for this to happen twice - I can't even imagine.  Does insurance even pay twice?

 My problems seem really small this morning:  Making my nearly daily call to Regions to try to close out Mama's checking account.  At least the people I've dealt with are sweet and helpful - but it's getting old.  I thought it was settled yesterday down to a 0 balance, but then this morning I opened the account page, and there is an $8 monthly fee.  I'm really going to not enjoy using my time on this.  Someone on the phone one day I suggested I just go to a branch and settle it there instead of online.  I told them that the cost of a plane ticket would be much more than the $29.10 left in the account - the one that refuses to be closed!

The only other problem I have this morning is not having enough hours in the day to get done all I want to.  I have the energy this early to get out and start painting my wicker chairs, but I refuse to do it in a jacket.  It's 48 degrees now and will only get up to 58.  I'm glad Ryan is able to go to Graysen's end-of-school picnic today.  Being chilly AND sitting on a blanket on the ground are not happy places for me.

Instead, I'll warm my half a cup of coffee and make a list of a few things I'm sure to get done.

I try to keep the door closed to the sewing room because there are way too many interesting things for kitties and children to get into, but yesterday I found these thread holders both hanging from one nail each.  All the spools were hanging on, by some miracle, but I spent some time wondering how it fell and putting up new nails.  After closer inspection, I realized that Layla could stand on the sill and bat away at the spools until she loosened up enough thread to make a fun toy.  Then when the thread catches on her legs, she runs and pulls on the thread until it breaks or causes the holders to fall.

I'll probably not spend any more time on rewinding the spools for now and just try to keep the door closed.  

I did notice this on the floor just now.  I wondered where it was.  And the bad thing is there is milk in it.

And I still have no real problems!

Sweet things this morning though.  

Graysen was sad yesterday because she didn't get to come to my house after school, but she cheered herself up by bringing Elise, Layla, and me special rocks she had painted this weekend.  Plus a picture of a duck she had painted, which is on my refrigerator.

I chose to put my beautiful rock on the table outside by the new rosemary plant that I hope will live.

Layla's is in her cat tree, which she loves so much.  Katherine spent a lot of time yesterday singing to her while she slept in it and telling her stories.  So I know that rock will be a special addition.

EDIT:  I thought this was a cute drawing of a cat's paw or something only Graysen could see, but it took a 4-year-old to set me straight.  Katherine brought me the rock and said, "I didn't know why this was called a cat, but I turned it sideways, and look!"  

The whiskers make it!

Life is good.  Elise has gotten up and is emptying the dishwasher while I waste time here, so I guess I timed it just right.  

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Days with Katherine

One thing I've noticed with just Katherine alone is that there is no time for leisurely blog-writing or reading.  It's not that she doesn't play by herself and entertain herself, but she wants you in on it too.  Calling for me to look at this or listen to this or getting in a jam she can't get out of.  But this is my focus now, and I try to soak up as many memories and hugs and sweetness as I can.

Yesterday I went to Debbie's for a nice cup of coffee and adult conversation.  They're wanting to list the house as soon as possible, and it just takes so much focus and time and decisions.  I know the house will sell easily.  They just want to take as much advice as they can to make it pleasing to future lookers.  I would buy it just because of the back yard. I should have taken pictures, but it's lovely.  It backs on a green belt.  I think that's what you call it up here.  No houses but just trees and a walking trail.  It's fenced and lanscaped really nicely with patios for relaxing and cooking.  I got an upstairs tour, and I think it's perfect.  I could move right in.  Across the street from the Win-Bins.  Nice place to garden.  A sewing room upstairs with built-ins.  I'm sure it's in my budget!

I left there to pick up Kate early from school.  It would have been sad except I know she'll be back next year, just not with the same teachers.  She has really blossomed since Christmas and is excited to be there and has a bunch of "friends."  She doesn't know all their names, but they are her very special friends.

We ate lunch and headed back to school for the Rooster Valley Carnival!  When we got there, we could find no parking anywhere, even though the church across the street had rented us their parking lot.  We parked pretty much downtown and walked about five blocks - which was the most interesting part of the day for me.  Kate wanted to stop and comment on every little thing she saw - flowers, a chalk hopscotch drawing, a puppy, a lady working in her flower bed.

Graduation was not over yet when we got there, so we wandered around and got her some popcorn and a juice box and talked to Chloe and Gracie's mom.  Here they are standing in line for cotton candy.

The girls got to bounce in 3 bouncy houses with slides as many times as they wanted to, and it was SO fun.

She's a patient little line stander and didn't seem to mind at all.

Because the reward was worth it.  Over and over.

Once she tired of that, we went to see what else we could find.  We found pony rides, and she really wanted to ride the small gray one, and we stood in line for 10 minutes without moving, and she just decided it was too hot to do that, so we found a water sprinkler to cool off and another line for cotton candy.  Twice.

Everyone REALLY wanted cotton candy.

On the way home, happy to pose with her second cc twirl and a blue mouth.  The next time she goes to school, this will be her pre-K building.

Heading down the street to find the car.  Five blocks was really seeming like a long walk for Mimi.

Yesterday was our first full day together, and we filled it up pretty nicely.  We walked Graysen to school in the early morning chill.  I miss doing that.  The bigger kids were all heading to their classes, and Graysen had a moment's hesitation from going in a different door than the usual playground entrance.  But then she saw Paige who gave her a big smile and got a hug from Lola, and she was on her way.

I sent this to Emily labeled Little Cosette.

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Kate and I then drove to downtown Snoqualmie to the post office, and the only thing of note was this beautiful rose.  I think it was a rose.  It was a sort of ramshackle kind of house - or maybe it was a shed - but it was surrounded by the most beautiful flowers.  I didn't want to go any closer.

We then headed to the grocery store.  It's been awhile since we've gone together, and I forgot how much fun she makes it.  Comments about everything!  She wants at least one of every fruit there.  We glide sneakily past the bakery area while she's admiring the apples, but then she sees the candy and nuts.  She doesn't beg or even ask twice.  Except for her popsicles.  

It was the day to fill up Mimi's snack shelf, so she chose Teddy Grahams and pretzel Godfish plus some granola bars, but she didn't let me forget the promised ice cream.  Every aisle, she would mention is in an offhand sort of way.  So many times!  When it came time to choose, she got something I would not have.

I would have chosen something less staining and cheaper, but she had a fit over these.  Loved, loved, loved them.  I guess one every other day or so won't be so bad.  Smart marketing, of course, to put that Paw Patrol picture on there.

The girls were perfect after I picked up Graysen, so it was a good day.

This morning, Kate discovered the Reading Club Book List on the table and went ahead and wrote her name on one.  I noticed that it's ages 5 to 12, but I'll let her do it anyway.  There's a Newborn to 4 one that I missed.

She gets to color in a square for every 20 minutes she's read to, so I set the time and told her to pick out which books she wanted to read.  

All of them.

So, that catches us up for a bit.  This afternoon and evening is the first Farmer's Market, but it's so cold and gray that I think we're going to skip it, especially since I filled up the refrigerator with produce yesterday.