Monday, July 6, 2015


Rachel has been begging to have her hair cut. She has a LOT of hair and it is long and thick and heavy. We had four inches cut off this spring and then had it trimmed up several more times, but her hair still hung in a curtain to just below her shoulder blades. Now, after years of admiring and enjoying her long locks, she is just plain tired of it. For the past few weeks Rae has asked daily when she can get her hair cut. She points out other little girls with shorter hair. She comments on how cooler and easier to care for short hair would be. Every time I ask how short she wants her hair, she shows me a line just above her shoulder and says, "Here. The same length all over." The long awaited hair appointment was this morning and Rachel hopped out of bed excited about it. We decided to take Before and After pictures.  Here she was, just before we left.

Then we were off for a hair cut. Rae had a huge grin on her face the entire time our friend Talaia was working on her hair. She was SO ready for a new look! And I must say, it is adorable.

And she is one happy kid!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Library Challenge

Our local public library is under renovation (which is a very good thing!). That means the usual summer library programming has been cancelled. To make up for that, the library has offered a series of Family Challenges in different themes and we have had a lot of fun meeting them. We seined in the creek for the Alfresco challenge, had a breakfast picnic in the rain for the Early Bird challenge, caught fireflies for the Night Owl challenge, tried some new foods for the Chef challenge, and went to a musical for the Maestro challenge. Every challenge also includes time reading and we have most definitely done that!

This week the girls haven't had summer art classes, so we have tackled a couple of challenges at once. The Good Citizen challenge encourages to explore our own town and it has been interesting. We visited our local history museum and had fun looking at old photographs, a one room school classroom, dolls, antique fire trucks, old cash registers, a turn of the century kitchen, a scary looking dentist's office, and all sorts of strange and intriguing items.

Today we went downtown to explore the shops there, including some we had never been in. We browsed through the stuffed animals and puzzles at the drug store, watched a quilting machine stitch a quilt in the quilt shop, said "hi" to a friend learning to knit socks in the yarn shop, wandered through a gift shop, and found some bargains at the used bookstore. We looked at the displays in the windows of the shoe store and jewelry store and medical supply business. We had interesting discussions about why you would need to go in the offices for hospice or insurance or home health care businesses. It was all quite interesting.

Once we were back in the car, we played a game that was part of the Unknown Destinations challenge. Each girl had a penny and flipped them to see where we would go next - two heads meant turn left, two tails was turn right, and one of each meant we went straight. The girls loved it! We meandered around, turning corners randomly and giggling. We hit a dead end. We ended up on a dirt road going who knows were. We crossed the same bridge three times. It was such a silly way to tour the town. As we headed down Main Street and the little shaved ice shack came into view, the girls started flipping coins furiously until they finally managed to come up with two tails so we would have to turn in to the parking lot. We had had a fun afternoon, so I indulged them. The library challenges sure have been fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kitty Love

Rachel is a cat lover. So am I. But Steve hates cats and Katherine is allergic to them, so having a pet kitty is just not an option for us. We used to enjoy interacting with Granny and Poppy's cats, but both of their elderly kitties died this spring. Rae and I were going through kitty withdrawl when Granny suggested that we volunteer at the local animal shelter. That sounded like fun, so all three of us went through training. Now, once a week, we show up for the delightful job of kitten socializing.
We remove a few kittens from their cages and then we spend time petting them
and holding them
and playing with them.
The kittens are impossibly cute.

And ridiculously fun.
We laugh a lot, because it's impossible to be in a bad mood when you have kittens chewing on your shoestrings
or getting tangled up in yarn
or wrestling with each other
or trying their best to look big and fierce.

Even just watching the kittens sit quietly is good therapy for us.

Our time at the animal shelter has become one of the best hours of the week.
We're three generations of cat lovers, getting out kitty fix.

Friday, June 19, 2015

She Did It!

Katherine received an important piece of mail this afternoon - an invitation to be a member of the South Central Kansas Youth Symphony! All her work at auditions has paid off! She was one excited girl...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tennis Time

The girls are taking tennis lessons again this summer. They both really enjoy tennis. And they get themselves up, fed, and dressed and walk to the tennis courts by 8:00 every day.
Katherine's group is still working on skills. They've never played an actual match but their coach promised that tomorrow they will learn to keep score.
Kate watches everything and listens intently and plays hard.
Her swings are faster and more accurate all the time.
And she's left-handed, which always makes things more interesting.
Her coach is encouraging her to try out for the tennis team when she's in 7th grade.
Kate is quite intrigued by that idea.
But for now, she's happy to hang out every morning, practicing swings and serves and just playing for fun.
This is Rachel's third year of tennis lessons and I must say, I am impressed.
In the past, tennis for Rae was mostly chatting with her classmates and picking up stray balls and trying to spin her tennis racket on the court.
There is still a lot of ball collecting, of course, but this year Rachel comes to lessons to actually play tennis.
She's one of the youngest kids in her group, and certainly the smallest, but she doesn't seem to notice.
She's there to listen and learn...
...and whack the ball!
She works hard.
And practices her swings.
And hits the ball when it comes her way.
And both my girls think tennis is their favorite sport. Tennis is fun!

Saturday, June 13, 2015


This morning we went to Chaplin Nature Center for some time communing with nature. We took a short hike through the woods...
...and across quite a lot of mud (it has rained a lot lately) a sleepy little creek. The naturalist handed out seining nets and dishpans and told us the best stuff would be buried in mud and sticks and leaf litter. Then he turned us loose in the creek.
After scooping up a net full of muck, we brought our haul up to the bridge where pans of clear water were sitting. We'd put the net down, spread out the mess, and watch for anything that wriggled.

We found tiny fish, miniature clams, teeny little crayfish, damselflies, blood worms, and water bugs,
Once we'd rescued all the critters we could see, we took the nets back to the creek and dumped out the muck. Then it was time to seine again.

And again.

 And again.

It was glorious, muddy fun and the girls would have happily played all day.                                    

We were filthy, stinky, and tired by the time we went home, but we certainly had fun!                    

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way