Thursday, July 29, 2010

More swimming and a Mommy brag

Today was the end of the second session of swim lessons for the kids. There won't be any more swim lessons this year for us. They went for 4 weeks, 4 times a week.

Rico started at level one and is now in level 3. He showed amazing progress in just those few weeks.

Marielle found out today that she is now level 4!! This is a great leap! It's the hardest level up, because you go from beginning swimmer to intermediate. She says it scares her to be level 4, but it doesn't scare me...I've seen her in the water and she's doing great.

At level 1 and 2 they introduce the crawl and backstroke. At level 3, they learn side breathing on the crawl and the start of the butterfly and breast stroke.

I'm so proud of both my swimmers today!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Marielle is like a fish in the water. She loves it, she can't get enough of it. For the past 2 summers, she's taken swim lessons and now she thinks she can swim like Michael Phelps. Now, don't get me wrong, she's doing quite well but just not as well as she thinks she is doing.

Rico, on the other hand, has never been really fond of the water. We enrolled him in swim lessons 2 years ago....he hung on the side of the pool, wouldn't let go and cried in a very loud voice, "I'm gonna DIE!!!" Ok, so I gave him a bye. But, I told him that when he was 6, he had to take lessons.

I really feel that swimming is a life skill. It's too important a skill not to know how to do. Especially out here in California, where there are pools and beaches.

So, this summer he started lessons. Right off the bat, I could see that he was doing everything they asked him. The first day, after class, when I complimented him on this, he said, "Mom, I have to do what the teacher tells me". Ah, yes, I forgot about this. Rico is a stickler for following teacher's instructions. He saw the swim instructor as another teacher and did what he was told to do. He's surprisingly good. He went from level 1 to level 2 in 2 weeks and is doing really well mastering the timing of the crawl.

If he keeps up this pace, he might just catch his sister in swimming abilities.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's Raining Teeth!

The other morning, the kids were at it. You know those or the other running to me..."He pushed me", "She has my toy", "He shoved me". Well, I had had it. I was up to here with all that. I gave them both a warning, play together nice or don't play at all. If they couldn't play nice, then they'd each go to their own room to play.

Not 5 minutes later, Marielle comes in and before she can say anything, I jump on her, "I told you that you 2 had to play nice, really, can't you play nice for 5 minutes?". She holds out her hand and says, "Rico lost another tooth! He pulled it out himself!"

Now I felt one inch big and said, "Wow, great!"

He's now lost 8 teeth, 4 of them in the last 6 weeks or so. His top baby teeth are outta there! He does have one of his front top teeth coming in now.

But, I have to say, I outdid myself as tooth fairy. I decided to do something new.....I wrote a note (on the computer) from the tooth fairy. It said that although the tooth is lovely, she had more than enough teeth at the moment and he could keep this one. Then I added the money, some "fairy dust" (glitter) and put the envelope back under Rico's pillow.

He was thrilled and amazed in the morning....imagine getting money, a note and getting to keep your tooth!


When we bought our house, six years ago, there was a plum tree at the end of the yard. It gave up some plums and they were good plums, too. Plums that you don't often see in supermarkets around here...they type with purple skin and red meat.

Well, this tree was at least 20 years old and hadn't been trimmed in a long time, so come winter, I had Ralph cut it back. We cut it back pretty severely, but it needed it. The next year, we got some plums, not a huge amount, but it was growing back in, filling in with new shoots for all the trimming we'd done.

But the following year, oh, that year, we had a bonanza of plums! We ate our fill, gave bags and bags away and still had more. It's been like that ever since. This year, once again, we have a bumper crop. Our one plum tree has produced hundreds of plums!

Now, our tree is 100% organic. I feed it nothing.....nothing! I just gets water and sunshine, that's it. We never use pesticides of any kind in the back yard, not with kids and dogs and cats hanging out there, we couldn't even think about it.

I already invited one neighbor to come and take as much as he wanted and he took about 25 lbs with him. What to do with all these plums???

Well, since we'd just canned a few months ago, I called up my friend, Ruth, and asked her if she were interested in doing another canning session. Luckily, she was. We canned some awesome plum jam. It looks so pretty, because the meat of the fruit is red, it has that really purple plum look to it:

Since we just canned not that long ago, we had a routine down pat and it went really well. We were able to can 2 batches in 4 hours.

I love the idea, that, come winter, I'll have a little bit of summer around to taste!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So, Ralph got a job! That's the upside, the downside is that it is in West Virginia. So, he's off again, he started today. The kids were sad to see him go, but they are so used to Daddy being gone when he's working, they think that's the norm.

One of these days, he'll have a job where he can actually come home from work every night and the kids will think that's strange!

We had a fun 4th of July....running in the sprinklers, making floats, watching fireworks (illegal) in the night sky around our house. Really, there is no reason to go anywhere to watch fireworks, there were at least 4 illegal shows going on around us. The only problem was which way to look at any given time. These were high in the sky professional type fireworks.

After about an hour or so, the kids actually were getting scared, the booming was getting to them, so in we came and they snuggled up in my room and fell asleep.