Monday, August 17, 2009

Then and Now

Or...maybe it's Now and Then. Blogger uploaded my pictures in the wrong order and I'm not gonna fuss with it! Anyhow, I've been sifting through some older photos over the weekend. A few weeks ago I signed up for a photo editing class at And I've been having a lot of fun ever since going back and seeing what I can do with some older pics I had. But what amazed me most is how much the kids have grown in just 10 months time. Especially Megan. Wow.
Here she is just last week:
And here are two images (I couldn't pick one I liked the best!) from my September/October 2008 file:

Look how much she's grown! I mean, she was a BABY. And now look at her. Where did my baby go?! She only had enough hair for two little sprouts on top. Now she has two full pig tails with ringlets. And that little sideways sippy cup. She hasn't used a sippy cup in months and months. (except at grandma's house) How did I let her get so big?

Here's Jake last week:
And here he is about 10 months ago:

He looks pretty much the same to me. Just maybe a little more mature. I guess maybe he looks bigger all together in the top pic.
Jake turned 6 on Saturday and Megan turns 3 next week. Sometimes I sit back and in the world did I get to this place?! But I say that in a good way. Jake asked me the other night when I was putting him to bed: "mommy? Do you wish I was 7?" I said, "no way! I want you to be just how you are right now. I want to enjoy you being 6. I want to love you each and every day just how you are. If we skip to 7, I will have missed a whole year of being your mommy. I don't ever want to do that." I'm not sure he got exactly what I was saying, but he just smiled and gave me a big hug. I really, really ♥ that boy.
School is going pretty well so far. No homework yet, but I think probably by next week that will start. I'm anxious to go to back to school night on Thursday. I've talked to the teacher several times already, but I really hope to get a better feel as to how the class will be structured being that it is a 1st / 2nd grade split class with only 9 of the kids being 1st graders. It's something that I guess is becoming more and more popular as California's Budget Crisis continues. *ugh* That's an entirely different subject. We did find out last week though, that there would be NO field trips AT ALL this year. What a bummer! Even if parents pay, even if parents volunteer to drive/carpool. No field trips what so ever. *boo Governator!*
Megan and I are still working on our scheduling. She still really needs a nap most days. So it's I get her up at 6 so I can put her down for a nap at 11:30 just to yank her up again at 1:45?? Or do I just let her stay up till we pick up Jake? So far I've just been letting her stay up. But man, by the time we get home she is just SO done and ready for a nap. I guess that's probably a good thing.
So that's it for now. Off to check on Jake...he's swimming at the neighbors house.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adjusting to school life again!

First day of first grade. Jake sitting at his new 'real' desk and checking out the goodies his new teacher left him. I love how in the background of this picture you can see the mom giving her kid a good bye kiss. So cute. :)
This year Jake is actually in a 1st/2nd grade combo class. I wasn't too sure how to feel about that. People told me: Oh that's a good thing, that means he's smart! or They would never put him in that class if they thought he couldn't handle some 2nd grade curriculum. While that all would be quite flattering, and it's not that I think he's not smart, (he is) it's just that...well I don't think those are the reasons he was put there. I don't really have an answer though! :D He's actually only 1 of 2 first grade boys in the whole class. It's kind of like they hand picked the best, well behaved kids from the kindergarten class. Anyway, he seems to really be enjoying it after just two days. We'll see what happens when he starts getting homework next week! Yesterday he told me how great his teacher is and how she is sooooo nice, mommy! The brief moments I have talked to her she seemed very outgoing and high energy. I hope she stays that way. It's always easy to be enthusiastic in the beginning of the year for teachers, parents and students!

This picture seems to sum up how Megan is dealing with all this back to school stuff. Which basically means she's going a little crazy trying to adjust. She completely flipped out yesterday morning while we were trying to get out the door. Which I'm pretty sure she did the exact same thing last year too. And then yesterday she kept asking...can we go get my brudder? when is Gake coming home? And today: I miss my brudder! The time difference between just a few hours in kindergarten to 2 and a half extra hours in 1st grade is such a big deal for her. She completely gets that something is just not right. And she and I haven't quite got into a groove yet. Yesterday she went with no nap at all and by the time we picked up Jake this afternoon, she was in total meltdown mode and crying for no particular reason at all. I'm definitely going to have to find some sort of activity for her to do. The pre-school program here is kind of a joke. It's 68 dollars a week for two days for 45 minutes each. It seems ridiculously expensive to me. And what do you learn in 45 minutes? I couldn't even leave her there and do the grocery shopping in that time. As soon as I left I'd have to turn right around and go get her. So I'm thinking of finding a gymnastics class or dance class that, even though the sessions will still only be an hour or so, it's cheaper and she'll still be getting the socialization that she desperately needs and the physical activity too. I can teach her the pre-school stuff myself.
The extra time during the day is strange for me too. Yesterday I didn't quite know what to do with myself either. Today I went out and started doing some yard work. (! I know !) I really do not like yard work. I worked up quite a sweat (which I'm positive I'm allergic to sweat) pretty quickly so I told Megan to go get her swimsuit on and off we went to the pool. It was nice to just be the two of us. She and I had the entire big pool to ourselves so I pushed her in her floaty about 5 or 6 times up and down the length of the pool. I really love swimming. I have zero athletic ability and can't swim better than cat, but I still love it. I think I'll do the same thing again tomorrow. I didn't get half of the yard work done.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ranch Life

We spent Saturday night and all day Sunday up at the ranch. I haven't talked about the ranch much lately so I thought I'd do a little photo run down of the stuff that goes on up there. Most of the building work is done and we've already had several hunters, though this is the slow time of year. Mostly because it's smokin hot and no one really likes to sit out in the woods covered in camo when it's 100 degrees. Anyway, this weekend was mostly just maintenance, feeding, fence fixing, etc...
We got there around dinner Saturday night. Usually the guys have the cupboards stocked full, but they were pretty bare this weekend. We ate too rare for my taste steak, canned peaches and super hot jalapeno laden beans. Mmmmm. Not exactly gourmet but...

We got up Saturday morning, Pete did a little work down in the cabins and Jake went hunting with his BB gun. This blue bellied lizard was his first victim. (oh yes, there were more casualties)

After lunch we headed out to the big pen (aprox. 1,000 acres fenced) to feed, and to set up a water line to a natural spring.
First Pete filled up the back of the buggy with a load of sweet potatoes. Pete gets these 'cull potatoes' from a farmer down in the valley. Twice a month he gets about 7,000 pounds of potatoes for FREE. The pigs love it. But the smell I was smelling right about now was not good, not to mention the 'potato dust' that was being thrown all over and the flies. It's a dirty, stinky job. Thank goodness I was just a passenger.

There are several places within the fenced area that are set up for hunters with tree stands, automatic grain feeders. They also put out the potatoes around these areas. It obviously lures the animals to where the hunters are, but 1,000 acres is huge, so the food needs to be spread out. We headed to several of these spots and left some potatoes.

Water is also a huge issue. It's kind of tough to tell from pictures, but the land here is very harsh.

Especially this time of year. The property basically goes straight up and down hill. There a ton of brush and oak tress. It's really rugged terrain. When this project all started 3 years ago, there was basically no water on the property at all except a small creek that only ran during the winter. Pete had a tractor guy come up and dig a pond which is about maybe 2 acres wide at its fullest point and serves as the ONLY water in the entire 1,000 acres for all the animals. It also sits at the lowest point of the property, making it quite a trek to get down to. About a year or so ago, Pete and his friends actually found a natural water spring way up on the side of a mountain. The plan is to somehow pump water out of that spring and into the creek (to keep it running year round) and get it up the hill so the animals don't have to go that far for water. Also pigs don't sweat so they need water to wallow in and keep themselves cool when it's super hot. (we actually found 3 dead sheep yesterday. We're pretty sure they were not getting enough water) Yesterday we drug a 720 foot long plastic pipe all the way to the spring. I guess the guys will be working on that project soon.
After checking the fence, hauling the water pipe and feeding the pigs in the pen, we headed over to the breeding pens.

They have 3 breeding pens set up next to the main house. Two are for pigs and one is for turkeys. Pigs are breeding inside the pen too, but these ones here are pure bread and are in a more controlled environment. Pigs can actually be somewhat cannibalistic and eat their babies. I know, gross. But it's true. So keeping these ones here gives them a better shot at surviving, especially since the conditions in the big pen can be pretty harsh.

Aren't they ugly? These are pure European pigs. They long snouts and to me they look like anteaters. They are mean too. Pete had to do a little fence mending as these guys started rooting around and tried to make a hole in the fence.

Here he is feeding the turkeys. These turkeys were not raised in my garage so therefore I like them at least 50% better than the ones I did raise. I really hated turkeys last year. And I'm still holding a turkey grudge.
Oh and one last thing...Jake's 3rd casualty of the weekend...a Blue Jay. Close your eyes if your timid or are fond of Blue Jays. He made is daddy proud.

So after all this we were all hot, tired and really stinky. We packed up and went home. We stopped in town for dinner. Luckily the Denny's in Patterson is used to ranchers coming in all dirty and stinky so we fit right in!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hello! Well here I go again with some randomness. First this picture is of (of course) Jake and our buddy Will. Will is 2 years younger than Jake, but seriously he's such a cool little kid. He loves Jake something fierce. He's one of those kids that's just hilarious to watch. He gets SO excited about things. So excited that he can't form a rational thought, his eyes get all wiggy and he visibly shakes. Hmm I realize now that I read that back that the description sounds a little funny. But trust me, it's cute and entertaining. We're going to go hang with Will and his little sis tomorrow morning. Now with school less than a week away it seems we're totally swamped with stuff to do. Park tomorrow, a lake picnic Saturday and then another lake picnic Monday. Haircut and new shoes Tuesday. 1st day of school Wednesday. I'm feeling a little unprepared for the start of the school year. It seems like the jump from kindergarten to first grade is quite a big one. You go from 3 and half hours of school to 5. I have to prepare a lunch for him now. And then there's Megan. Do I put her down for a nap early and then wake her up when it's time to go pick up Jake? Or do I let her stay up and put her down after Jake gets home? And speaking of lunches....gah. I hated lunch when I was in school. Knowing me I'll make him a PB&J every day and knowing him he'll toss it. Because that's exactly what I did when I was a kid. As I kid I didn't care, but I'm sure my mom did. You don't want your kid to go hungry. Why am I stressing over this? I turned out fine, right? Moving on...
Also in preparation of school, Jake has been practicing his sight words, numbers, writing, etc... The other day it took him a full hour to write the numbers 1-30. And he still didn't get them right. He loses focus and then everything is just mush. Needless to say, we've now been practicing A LOT and he has made a huge improvement. Mush has now somewhat solidified like this mornings oatmeal. It just took him a minute to get going again.
Oh, here's another question....So Wednesday is the first day of school and his birthday is Saturday (the 15th). I'd like to have an actual birthday party for him this year, like you know with friends and party favors and all that fun stuff. So do I go ahead and send him to school with invites on Wednesday for a party on his actual birthday that Saturday? OR do I wait till Monday of the next week for a party on the 22nd (that Saturday)? I'm thinking the 22nd is the better date. Also, what do you do at a party for a 6 year old boy? I'm guessing Pin the Tail on the Donkey is so..... I don't know....1984?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pouty McPouterson

This is Jake's new nickname.
Is this just a six year old boy thing? He's been so bent out of shape and pouty about the dumbest things lately. And it's not just the pouty sad face either. It's the pouty sad face plus the slumped shoulders and the turtle neck and ape arms. Are you getting the picture?
Man it's bugging me. The other day I'm telling Megan how happy I am that she's cleaning up and she's doing such a good job. And Jake says "I'm not doing a good job??" *ugh*!! It's not that I said he was doing a bad job, but he's all mad because I didn't tell HIM he's doing a good job. Do I really have to tell him every single time?? Pete says yes, I do. I mean I say it to Jake 98% of the time because he really is an excellent cleaner upper and Megan is SO NOT so I feel like when I see her actually doing something, I need to praise her for it. Then he gets all pouty because I didn't say it to him. Sometimes I'm like...really? no really? we're getting upset for this?
And it's not just the jealousy of his sister. McPouterson also comes out when the next door neighbor says the kids can't play (understandable), or when we've run out of cereal, or when I ask him to clean up his room, or when I tell him he needs to drink water instead of juice. I mean, I guess all these things would require some amount of poutage in the kid world. But do we need all the dramatics to go along with it?
I realize there is no solution to this. I'm just venting. McPouterson gets old real quick.
In other news...
This weekend a very good family friend of ours got married. Heidi is Pete's best friends sister and he's known her his entire life. It was so nice to see her totally in love and starting a new life together. She called me Wednesday last week to ask me if I would help take pictures at the wedding. Her aunt was the main photographer and I was kind of the back up. Wow, wedding photography is hard work! I was physically sore from it the next day. We won't talk about how out of shape I am...but it was mostly due to the heals I was wearing! Don't wear heals if your working a wedding! I won't be pursuing a new career anytime soon. It was really fun though. And I realized just how much I like taking pictures of people. Portraits though. I found it hardest to get those great candid shots. Maybe if I had a sneakier a big telephoto so I could hide in a corner and zoom in on people.
Anyway here is a sample of some of the shots I took. They're not the best or anything, but they're a start. I was mostly just following her aunt's lead and letting her do all the posing and such.

I think you can click on it to make it bigger.
Anyway, it was fun.
It's almost time for school around here. Jake starts next Wednesday! I think now that the pouty face is making a regular appearance I'm ready for someone else to look at it! HA! Just kidding. I'm also going to see if I can find some activity for Megan. She's going to be 3 at the end of the month and I think it's time for her to get social with kids her own age. I feel so bad for her. She really never plays with anyone her own age. There are a few kids at the pool we've met, but there seems to be an unnatural amount of BOYS here in the neighborhood! So I'm thinking of finding a ballet or gymnastics class for her.
Anyway, I guess that's it for now.
Can you believe it's August already??