Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Swimming and Other Activities

 We have a whole week behind us on swimming lessons and just starting the second with one more to go.  I can see a world of improvement, especially with Graysen.  I'm not a judge of good or bad form, but she is going from one side of the pool and back and looking like she's supposed to. 

Last week, they had classes with at least  5 other kids.  I'm not sure what they could actually learn in 30 minutes that way, but they did get a little more confidence in themselves.

Last week was hard on me, because we had so far to walk, and this "condition" of mine with the weak muscles and aching back made walking agonizing.  Once we got there, we can hardly fit ourselves on the bleachers because of the number of parents and other kids - half of them wet.  The air was so hard to breathe, and my camera fogged up immediately.  Then when we left, the girls were wet and cold, and I was ready to get off my feet.

This week, private lessons start at 9:10, and since it's earlier we had our choice of parking places in the little swimming parking lot.  Nice bonus.  Also when I went out the door, there was just one person on all the bleachers, so I sat where I wanted and didn't get wet or too warm.

They like their teacher a lot.  He has just the two of them, and they are doing whatever he tells them with a lot more energy and confidence.  

When we get home, Graysen takes a shower, and they both put all the wet things in the laundry room so I can dry them.  I love that they're so much help.  They want to earn tickets to trade in for money so they can buy a Calico Critters piece - a treehouse or something.  

Yesterday, after reluctant math practice, Katherine mopped the kitchen and bathroom floors, and Graysen swept the front porch.  

The most fun was the simplest - trimming the hedges  - those straggly little sick boxwoods that insist on coming back and pretending to be a hedge.  Looks like we won't be getting any landscaping done this year.  They started off trimming some barberry (I think) bushes along the walk beside the apartment.  They have sharp thorns and will stick in any part of your body that gets near.  They, along with Carly, our neighbor, did a pretty good job but got too fond of it.  I had to take their scissors away finally!  I was never sure it was safe enough for them, although they're 8, 9, and 10.  I had them cutting on different bushes so there was no chance of cutting each other but I was still nervous until they were done.

A few more pictures.

Reading in the backyard at home.

An art class at the Snoqualmie Library.  A little too crowded to really enjoy and not the right paper for transferring the design so that it tore and wrinkled coming out of the water.  But they learned a new concept and enjoyed doing it.

More reading

I love so much having the girls over every weekday.  They teach me so much and make me laugh a lot.  They are vegetarian and parents vegan, and I'm getting more and more familiar with what they want to eat and what they don't.  No more corn dogs and hamburgers, although Burger King does have an Impossible Burger that we all like.  I needed to cook some chicken yesterday and apologized for cooking it so they could smell it.  Katherine said, "I just feel sorry for that chicken."  

They did a dinner theater for me yesterday where they served snacks and reserved me a seat and did interpretive dancing to four songs.  I love their imaginations.

I believe the last one was Romeo and Juliet, some version.  They found a piece of navy fabric with stars in my sewing room and used that for the backdrop and used a flashlight for the lighting.  It kept them busy for a long time, and I love to hear them laughing and chattering and sometimes fussing over their productions.

I wish I were younger and in better shape.  I've started taking some Advil for my painful left knee and using ice packs for my back..  It has made a big difference.  I still can't stand or walk any amount of time, but at least I'm not in pain, and I think I've worked on my sleeping schedule to be more like a normal person.  I'll be back bugging my doctor on August 1st to see if she has any new ideas.    
Meanwhile, I'll try to leave early enough on swim mornings to get a close parking place and keep the ice packs ready..  

Monday, July 10, 2023

I Hear It's Summertime Somewhere

 I wrote this last week and was going back to correct typos and just never got to my computer.  We have had some beautiful days since then.  It starts off really cool, which is fine with me, and then warms up to about 4:00 when the temps start falling.

Emily took the girls swimming one day, knowing it might be too cold, but it turned out to be nice.  Her goal is to only go when the sun is shining on the pool and get out when the sun goes behind the trees and cools things off.  

They had the pool to themselves for a while except for a group of young teenage boys who wanted to be rowdier than they were but thankfully were conscious of the little girls and toned it down.  It looks like Emily is ordering them out here.

The girls did fine as long as their noodles were nearby, and Emily was able to get out and relax a little. 

This was July 5th, I think, before it got warmer.  == After a long wait and a few warm-ish days, I thought we could put away sweaters and certainly coats, but here I sit on the front porch in a fleece jacket at almost 2:00 in the afternoon.  I'm only out here because the girls are all playing at the park across the street, and I cannot stand not watching the intersection where they cross.  It's one of the safest corners in town with a good view both ways and no tricky vegetation.  Cars drive too fast on this street, and I worry that they'll be chattering to each other and forget to make eye contact with the stopped driver.  I know they're old enough, but they are still my babies, and I'll watch them as long as I can.  They're almost ready to walk from their house to mine.  They want to walk downtown to the Swirl for their weekly treat, but I don't think this summer will be the time.  Besides cars driving down the street, there are always motorized bikes and scooters sneaking up behind you - and some of these kids are not watching for people.

Today was the beginning of the first real week of activities, and we did fine this morning.  It's so hard to keep them at the table to talk to them about what's going on this week, but we have to have regular meetings and write things down, or we'll forget half of what we need to do.

They filled in their library paper for minutes read, and we talked about what books we were going to get to read to each other and which ones they can read alone.  They spent way too much time decorating their little notebooks with stickers and playing with my new "tiny timer".  Its big enough to allow them to keep up with how many minutes are left on whatever they're doing.  

I'm loving Graysen's new haircut.  Emily originally cut 10 inches off to contribute to Locks of Love, and she had a long on the front, shorter on the back haircut.  She then took her to Great Clips, and the man kept cutting until he had what Em called a "Buster Brown" cut.  It's hard to get used to her with short hair, but I think it's cute.  She has enough fullness or whatever you call it so it doesn't look limp, and it's so easy to wash and dry.

Katherine thinks she'll be ready to donate hers when it gets long enough, probably before she's 10.

I stocked up on snacks and lunch things and hid a lot of them.  Itt\'s too easy to graze all day and ask for food every 15 minutes.  Meatless meals are so hard for kids.  They're used to eating a lot of vegetables, so lots of fruits and some carrots and English cucumbers are on the menu this week.  I had a little cheese pizza for them, pretzels, carrots, cucumbdtrs, nectarines, and bananas.  I saw where one of them had taken a few bites from an apple, but I wrapped it up for later today.  Nice surprise for the afternoon.  

I got all these fruits and vegetables plus a few more from Amazon Fresh, along with whatever else I needed.  Sometimes I just don't want to get out and go to Safeway.  I've heard people worry about the produce, but I've always had good luck with mine, and I think the prices are comparable.  

Except for this orange.  I hope it tastes better than it looks, but I have my doubts.  (It was fine.) The other things that I've tasted are great.

Emily brought over a bunch of food - leftovers mainly - but the best watermelon, a little thing called a Yumi.  And it was very yummy. 

I asked the girls what these were - chickpeas?  Lots of giggling, and they said, "Capn Crunch for a snack!"  

They do well eating fruits for sure.  They love them all.  Except cherries, of all things.  I had a nice treat because of that.  Vegetables - they try everything, but you never know who is liking cucumber this week and who isn't.  

Vegetarian friendly.  It's hard not to have a hamburger or hotdog every once in a while, but I did find gluten-free corn dogs that they think they like, so we'll try that soon.  They love the Impossible Burgers from Burger King..  So do I.  They taste like the real thing - maybe even better.  I think they're $10 apiece thought, so we don't do that very often.  They're so big  they can usually half one if you add some fries and a milk shake.

Graysen's new soccer league is going to involve three evenings a week and a tourney about once a month out of town. That and swimming lessons every morning for three weeks are going to present a challenge.

 We won't get much done around that, but we'll try to do some fun things.  We're going to walk up to Ri9o Bravito downtown for lunch one day.  They've found some meatless goodies there and love it, and I'm sure I won't have any trouble finding something good.  The Swirl, the frozen yogurt place, is on their list of places to visit too.

This was our visit last week.  We kept having to put it off, so when we finally did go, it was a treat.  

I can't keep up with what they get - 2 or 3 flavors plus toppings.  I don't usually get one, but it was so hot after our walk that I was tempted by this one, and I can't even remember the name of it.  Blackberry something, I think, and those are Boba Balls in it.  So delicious.  I wished I had gotten a full cup.  I never thought I would like something made from tapioca starch!  I might try bubbla tea in there one day, but that yogurt was extra good.

Katherine showing off one of them after a morning of painting.

I have to stop now, or my Saturday morning will be gone.  There are probably still typos left.  

I'm enjoying sitting here with the door and windows open listening to the birds.  Just last week, I had a fire, and this girl showed her appreciation.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Soccer Camp Week

 Yesterday was the beginning of soccer camp, and it was quite confusing.  Soccer is from 9 a.m. to 12:00, and Ryan took them for the first day, and I picked them up.  They overslept and got off to a late start, and it was hot, and there was a lot of negativity and a few tears.  Some little boy had apparently injured both of them, and they were mad with him.  The little boy was pointed out, and he was small, maybe 2nd or 3rd grade.  I did hear the coach yell to him as I drove up - "Good tackle!"  

The only picture I took.  It's quite a motley crew from the looks of this picture.  Katherine and Graysen are on the left side near the coaches.  Katherine in the dark green shirt is definitely not happy.  Graysen has in the pink shirt and is feeling okay and laid back.  One of the younger coaches has a team that he wants her to try out for.  He thinks she's pretty good and would thrive with that group.

The weren't in the mood to go to the library and picnic.  They only wanted to go home and recover from this heat - up to 79 degrees, I think.  If they only knew how hot it gets in other parts of the country.  We didn't have long after lunch before they had to leave for basketball camp - a 3-day deal at the high school, which is not as far as we had to drive to soccer, but they really wanted to go to the local library and get some more books.  Graysen wants to get them all, and Katherine hesitates to get more than 1 or 2, like she has to pay for them!   Ryan took them to basketball, and I was off duty then.  It sounds like they did better there than this morning.  

Today I've taken and picked up soccer girls, and Ryan and Emily will get them to and from basketball.  They sure don't want to go.  It's cool and cloudy, and we're pretty  content.  They're sitting on the floor talking in low voices with some little set of animals.  I think I can take that better than the singing and dancing they like to do.   


I either got interrupted or went to sleep, probably the latter.  I can't get enough sleep, although I stay up most of the night and want to sleep during the day.  

Today - Wednesday - I had almost full duty for soccer and basketball.  They had a much better day than yesterday.  They put on sunscreen, but their faces were so red and hot.  The only problem they had was than I didn't take lunch for them to eat in the car.  

After lunch, they had a couple of hours, but Carly wasn't home, and they were disappointed with that.  

They ended up being loud and wrestling and just waiting for time to go to basketball.  I had never been to the "new" high school.  It's a few years old or maybe was just finished last year, and it's so big and nice.  They got out like big girls and said they would figure it out so I didn't have to go and climb those stairs.  I sat in the parking lot a few minutes and didn't see them, so I came home.  

Two more days of soccer, but basketball is done.  They really seem to like it.  We have such interesting conversations in the car.  Today we got on the subject of what to do if you get lost. They have little phones that are limited to getting and calling a few people, so that is good if they're stranded somewhere.  Oh, we passed by the middle school where Graysen will go year after next, and this is a new concept for them.  They asked if you had to give the bus driver your address every day, like the driver took everyone to his house.  Then Katherine asked how the "commercial buses" worked.  How does she pick up these phrases.  They sound so funny coming from here.

We went over different ways to get help if you're lost in an unfamiliar place - just stay there!  I usually always have them in my sight, but the day is coming soon when they're going to want to walk around with their friends.  Ugh.  The most dangerous thing around here are the bikes and scooters then preteens and teens ride - on the sidewalk.  Someone my age got knocked down in front of the school, and the kid never even stopped.  It really scares me that they come up behind you silently and might say "On the right" or "on the left" but I usually don't hear them say anything. 

Life is dull right now, but I like it that way.  I'll look for the last pictures I have and see what they are.

This was one of those lazy days at the park across the street.  I sometimes sit on my porch and keep an eye on them, but that day I took a bottle of water and just sat in the sunshine an watched them.  They have so much fun here and don't need a thing.  Carly's Mom Linda brought over little sister Ida who is 2 years old, I think.  She's just running everywhere and curious and has that cute little beginning-to-talk voice where she repeats everything she hears.  Graysen especially is crazy about here.  She wants to be able to babysit in a few years.

Graysen needed to take some time to take some pictures of the birds to send to her dad.  They look like they were watching the girls examine the big worm on the sidewalk.

And the Cascade View Wax Museum that the fourth grade did.  They did such a good job creating their costumes and making their backgrounds.  They all were supposed to stand still like statues until someone pushed their buttons.  

I was impressed.  I knew Graysen was doing Helen Keller but didn't hear her talk.  The only video I got was near the end when she had repeated the same thing for 2 hours over and over and was clowning a little.  They were tucked into the different classes and in the halls, and with all the parents and kids, it got really stuffy.

The dress was perfect, and she was one of the few who didn't have to read their speech. I work on the video tomorrow.

 Likewise friends Harper and Isla did a great job.  I didn't get pictures of all the outstanding citizens

George Washington even fanned Noreen and me with the Declaration of Independence.  

The neighborhood twins as Einstein and maybe another Einstein.  I can't tell.  They walk down my sidewalk every morning just at 8:55 bouncing their basketballs, and they gave me a preview that morning.

Noreen's Anthony as FDR.

Noreen and I walked to the school and visited the wax museum at our leisure - and got really hot!  I know the kids in costume were sweltering.

A few random pictures I found.

Gymnastics Recital one Saturday morning.  It wasn't a competition, just a demonstration of skills.  Both girls got 1st place in their group.