Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Say cheese!!!!!

Smiling for the camera
Haven't been posting as frequently lately. Been taking lots of photos, and playing around with Photoshop and Flickr mostly. I have a lot of fun participating in the Flickr group pools.
Two in particular that I enjoy are Color My World Daily and FUTAB. Here's a few photos that I've taken for the different themes that they have. It really improves your photo taking skills in that you have to try to compose particular shots, or colors, or other themes that they may have. There are also many groups that help you with techniques. I've been quite addicted to it lately! The kids have joined in the fun and have taken some photos for A Little Perspective, which is photos by kids. Check them out if you haven't already. You can look for particular groups that might interest you ( I looked up cottages for mom and found some neat groups), or nature journaling, ATCs, artists groups, photoshop groups, portrait groups, starting photo businesses.....you name it, it's out there, or you can always start your own group. You can look up types of photos by tags. You can tag your pictures with descriptions and then look them up and see what else is out there. Explore is really fun to check out also. It has pictures in it based on interestingness. That's what I've been up to and of course the kids and I have been having fun going to parks, and hanging out with friends. Will hopefully have another post up soon!
Photo taken for Color My World, theme: orange toy
Red car - Photo by Livie
Photo taken by Olivia for a Little Perspective
Photo I took for FUTAB (Feet up take a break). Oftentimes, Violet helps me out with ideas for the themes. And she now wants to join Flickr on her own and join in the challenges. Will post links once she has that going.
It's a lot of fun, and you meet some really nice people who comment on your photos and you comment on theirs. Check it out!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Best shot Monday for Picture this

My best shot for Monday for Picture this is Olivia playing with the tether ball in our backyard yesterday. The ball had just hit her in the back and she just thought it was so funny! I love her smile in this one.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More summer fun, and.....some sadness

Waiting patiently with her little sister
We enjoyed a slightly overcast day down at Bonita Cove where Dan's company had their annual company picnic. They really go all out and include lots of fun stuff for the kids to enjoy. They have bounce houses and slides, crafts tables, bubble tubs, and they had a Mad Scientist table where the kids got to make some slime.
Olivia's slime
They have a great raffle, unfortunately we didn't win anything, but they were giving away huge plasma tvs, electric tools (it's an Electrical company), ipods and other cool stuff.
The girls got some tattoos, I forgot to take a picture, but Olivia, of course, got a Superman emblem, and Violet got a wolf and a tribal feather one on her leg. Olivia got a balloon sword.
The girls had a great time, and we got to sit and visit with some of Dan's co-workers. He works for a pretty great company.
Friday, we enjoyed dinner, a movie, and some ice cream afterwards with our neighbor friends. We had Italian food and saw Ratatouille. We all really enjoyed the movie. The kids were sitting in front of the adults, and it was so funny, watching the little ones laugh out loud (big belly laughs) and making cute comments. I don't know if it was more fun watching the movie or them!
Afterwards, we enjoyed some Baskin Robbins ice cream. Mmmmm, good ending to an enjoyable afternoon with some good friends!
Movies with friends
Sadly, we lost two more pets this weekend. We lost Speedy our parakeet and Jack Sparrow, our tadpole. I feel completely responsible and very sad for my daughter's sadness. The bug sprayer company came by and sprayed around our house. I brought in the dog, cat and rabbit. But, completely forgot the bird who was in her cage which is hanging on our patio, and the tadpole who is in a bucket on the patio. I feel so completely bad about it, and it was hard to tell Violet about it. She was very sad and we held a little garden ceremony for them both. She made a marker and we said some kind words about them. They will both be missed.
RIP Speedy and Jack Sparrow
Although Violet was very sad about them both (it happened yesterday) something unusual (or maybe not.....) Violet was very interested in seeing what happened to the baby bird that we buried earlier in the year, and wanted to dig him up and see what happened to him. We had a discussion about decomposition and what occurred to his little body, and she was still interested in seeing it. So, we proceeded to look for him, but unfortunately, could not find him. I'm sure this will lead to further interesting discussions and I will try to be prepared with hopefully useful, information if she asks (if you know of any good children's books covering this, I would greatly appreciate it....) I find it interesting that she has no fears about it and is truly interested in it. I remember being really freaked out upon finding a dead baby bird on my way home from school one day when I was in Jr. High. I always had a fear of dead things, and had no interest at all in dissection or further inspection of them. And yet, she is very interested in this kind of thing. I want to assist her in pursuing her interests, but not completely sure how I will handle it. After all, I'm only 30+ years older, now!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Drip & Dry

Drippy girl
We went to the homeschool park day yesterday where there are some sprinklers for the kids to play in. What better place to get a picture for Picture This' Thursday theme of "drip".
Here's Olivia playing in the sprinklers
Cooling off in the sprinklers at the park
and here she is drying off as she strolls along the little creek below the sprinklers.
A little stroll down the "creek"
It's a really nice park, very beautifully landscaped. I'll post some more pictures I took there on my Mailboxes blog later on.
Check out more takes on "drip" at Tracy's photography blog, Picture this.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On friendships & family

Hailey & Violet
I really don't like moving. I haven't really moved all that much, or all that far. But what I don't like about it, is moving away from dear friends & family. I also don't like it when they move away. What I do like though, is that the friends that are true, you keep in touch with no matter what. Some of my true friends came and visited this week. I have known Tracy for probably close to or more than 20 years. We lived together at one time. We got married a few years apart. We had kids very close together. In our early single years, we had a lot of fun & wild times together, went through several boyfriends together, worked together, & we traveled together. And, we have remained friends through these many years. Our families have remained very close, and we enjoy spending times together camping, going to the snow and sharing time happy times at our families' birthday parties. This week she came down with her two children Hailey and Evan for the night. They live about 2 hours away from us now. So I really appreciated her making the drive. Hailey & Violet are 4 months apart, and Evan & Olivia are 4 months apart. Hailey & Violet share many interests and get along wonderfully. With Olivia being such a tomboy, she also gets along wonderfully with Evan. Evan showed up with his sword, and you couldn't have found a smile bigger anywhere than on Olivia's face. They got along very well the whole time they were here. Violet & Hailey would disappear in Violet's room for hours, playing Nintendo, playing with dolls, trading clothes, giggling and sharing secrets. Olivia & Evan would play knights & kings with their swords and capes, play with the cars, and mostly chase each other around. We enjoyed swimming, and later the kids enjoyed popsicles. I had some long, interesting discussions with Tracy about the public school system. She teaches school at a low performing school in the Los Angeles school district. Although it sounds that my friend is doing the best she can given the guidelines she is provided by the school, and I know that she is a fantastic teacher, I can't help but feel sorry for those children that are missing out on so much in life as a result of the current processes that occur in the school systems, particularly in that area. It takes very special teachers such as herself to provide & to fit in some extra enriching activities for them to enjoy and learn from.

Popsicle Cheers!

We also spent this week with new friends. We went to a local birthday party for two little friends, a brother and sister who we met early in our arrival to this town. It was a horse-themed party, as our little friend loves them very much. There was pin the tail on the donkey, slipping & sliding and pool time, feeding the (real) horses carrots, a My Little Pony pinata, and just lot of fun playing and the mommies talking and enjoying the yummy cappicinnos that my friend made. As homeschoolers, I almost think it easier to make new friends, as you actively seek out playmates for you children by joining local sports programs, homeschool groups, and joining other group activities. We enjoyed having some fellow unschoolers over for swimming and fun. I always enjoy the conversations we have about schooling and unschooling and sharing our philosophies, experiences and ideas.

Little friend

I've been lucky to make another new friend recently, who actually lives down the street from us. Her boys are 3 & 7 and get along great with Violet & Olivia. And bonus, Dan & her hubby get along wonderfully as well. We've already had a few bbqs together, and all enjoy each other's company. She's a working mom and very involved with her boys. We've recently began walking in the evenings and I really enjoy our chats. It often takes me back to when I was working and really makes me admire how hard it is for working moms to handle all that is on their plates.

I also really, really miss being closer to my mom & dad. Instead of a 20 minute drive they are now about an hour. So, we've been unable to see them as often as I'd like. Violet is visiting them this weekend and I'll be picking her up tomorrow. I'm sure they will have a lot of fun thrifting, and hanging out together (they always do!!!)

I've received several phone calls this week from friends far away (Dani, Amanda, Jenny) and want you to know how genuinely good it makes me feel to hear your voices. Through good and bad, I treasure our friendships immensely and am thankful you are in my life. I hope my children's friendships are as dear and as lasting as ours.

To my other friends and family (those overseas as well!!!), we miss you, and wish we could see you more often. So, consider that an open invitation to come on down and visit. And always remember, we're only phone call away!

Violet & Hailey

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Swimming, cherries & bbqs!

Olivia's cherry face
Originally uploaded by mandaroo63

You know it's summer time here! Lots of juicy fruits, lots of swimming in the pool and definately lots of bbqing going on (much too hot to cook inside). It's been close to 100 here. We went up to Julian on the 4th to see their parade and it was 99 degrees there. We ended up heading out a little early, it was just too hot and not enough shade up there. But, it was a nice little parade. Lots of their historical society members dressed up as soldiers, miners, ladies of the evening, and more. Also, Ramona's rodeo princesses on horseback, lots of classic cars, marching bands, girl scouts. It was fun, but would have been even better had it been a little bit cooler. We came home and cooled off in the pool. Then, later in the evening went to the high school for fireworks. My MIL Shirley and hubby Don drove down from Chino Valley, AZ to visit with us. The last couple of years we spent the 4th at their house, but this year we invited them down so we could see our hometown's fireworks. It was really nice. There were fun activities for the kids; throwing wet sponges at other kids (heads poking out of painted signs holes), horsehoe throwing, jumpy, and even a bang up an old car with a big hammer. Violet and her friend Cade tried that one. The next day my mom and dad came down with my brother Martin who is visiting from out of town and we all bbq'ed and swam. It was a little cooler, so was very comfortable and fun. The girls really enjoyed having both grandparents and uncle Martin visiting.
Face painting at the fair
Last week, we went to Del Mar Fair where the girls had a great time riding all the rides, eating lots of yummy foods, and checking out the exhibits. It was Violet's first time on a roller coaster ride and both she and Olivia really had fun. They also went in the funhouses with all the mirrors and rocking steps and slides. We checked out the livestock animals and saw some local 4H pens set up. We went over to the photography exhibit, and I actually got a couple of ribbons for some pictures that I had put in. The kids were more excited about it than I was! It's a pretty nice fair. We left when the girls started getting tired and it started cooling off in the evening. They both won a couple of little stuffed animals when they threw darts at balloons. It was a really nice time.Violet got her face painted in some really beautiful colors.
We also went to a 2-day science camp at a friend's house where they made "blubber", created a volcano effect, made crystals, made boats out of a plastic substance tried them out in the water to see if they'd float (they didn't-too heavy), and several other activities.

Submitted to Picture This theme for Thursday which is "Fair" for more takes on the theme, go to Picture This.