Dear Readers,

The picture is a hay rake I saw during my last visit to Tennessee to see my daughter.

click photo to enlarge

I realize I have been absent a long time–almost a month. I have not turned on my “blogging computer” in that time more than two or three times. I apologize. All of you know life gets in the way sometimes. It got in the way very big and very unexpectedly after my last post. I have no idea when I will be back–if I will be back. I hope to be back, but I cannot predict anything.

Here is a little of it:

-Three months ago we had three pets. We now have one, and the other one we thought was lost as well. That has been a lot of stress, never mind time.

-Chic is still in Tennessee, and that takes a lot of time. Writing extra letters, sending extra packages, Skyping on her schedule and visiting. And although it is what is best right now, it is an emotional drain for us.

-Chic’s school here will be better next year, but there is giant upheaval that is causing extreme amounts of stress and time drain. Prince Charming is on the school board, and one week there were three meetings. There are meetings, interviews, etc. at least every two weeks, usually more, and private consults in between. (And I am so glad Chic is not here to be in the environment of upheaval.)

-A very good friend of ours has some serious health problems. We only recently learned the extent of the seriousness, and we know that we are among a handful in the know. Not only do we need to lend our time and support, but we want to.

What I hope is that this is like a new job with lots more responsibility. When I first get a job like that, there is often a big learning curve. It seems overwhelming, and I work late. But then suddenly, I figure it all out, and I am often bored like I was at the previous job. But I have not been bored in a long, long time. My schedule is always at maximum capacity, so extra things never fit. I might make them adjust with time, but I might not.

My life has thrown a lot at me lately that I have chosen to let take a lot of my time. I believe it is important that I do that, but the thing that has had to suffer is blogging (and Facebook). I have not even had time to get on here and do a post like this although I knew I should a few weeks ago.

I will be back when I can… if I can. But I think of you all the time. I  miss reading your blogs, but I know I cannot allow myself to do that right now or the daily things will not get accomplished. And I have a lot to tell you and show you, but now just is not the time.

Love you and miss you,

Louise

This week I will show the rest of our time at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead.

After doing some laundry (last week’s post), the girls headed to the stable. Chic was in heaven. She wants a horse more than anything in the world. Chicklet was dubious. (The one time we let her have a pony ride, we got our money back because she did not even last one circle of the ride.)

But all was well. Chic rode a pony while Chicklet rode in a pony cart. And when that was finished, they traded, except Chicklet got a tiny pony just her size. She liked it!

click photo to enlarge

Chic on a pony. Chicklet's was even smaller. (all photos can be clicked for enlargement)

The girls then moved to a big shed which housed farm equipment and many other things. They first learned about twisting hay. (Remember in the book The Long Winter when they had to twist hay to burn to keep warm because the train with coal could not get through the snow and trees are scarce in the Dakotas?) Twisting hay makes it more dense so it burns a little more slowly. But still, it took the pioneers the bigger part of a day to twist hay enough to keep warm.

They also used a machine to take dried corn off a cob and made corn cob dolls. Why people spend money on toys is beyond me. They loved these dolls so much, and realized it would not take a whole lot of effort to make more at home.

Chicklet making her corncob doll

Chicklet making her corncob doll

In this shed they also used an old coffee grinder to grind wheat. They quickly learned that the part of the day that was not used to twist hay would be consumed in grinding wheat, for the output was slim.

Using a coffee grinder to grind wheat. (In about 25 turns, they got a couple of teaspoons of flour.)

Using a coffee grinder to grind wheat. (In about 25 turns, they got a couple of teaspoons of flour.)

Next was rope-making. I think this might have been their favorite.

Chicklet twisting to make her rope while Chic holds it.

Chicklet twisting to make her rope while Chic holds it.

They each got to help the other make their own rope. The ropes were long enough to use for jump ropes.

Their finished rope was heavy and durable.

Their finished rope was heavy and durable.

After this we headed back to the stable where someone had hitched up Skip and Barnum to the covered wagon. Both girls got to “drive” the wagon across the prairie to “school.” This was great fun for all of us except our dog (“Jack” for the day). We hit at a slow time and were the only ones on the wagon.

6.DrivingCoveredWagon

The schoolhouse with a wonderful prairie sky behind it.

The schoolhouse with a wonderful prairie sky behind it.

At school, a teacher was there to teach them about school life in Laura’s day. They wore appropriate clothing, pledged allegiance to the flag and wrote on slates. They learned about the kind of lunches that Laura might have brought to school. (A slice of bread with butter, for example.) After school, we headed back to the stable and off to the gift shop where we refrained from spending too much, but it really was a nice gift shop.

Learning about Laura while dressed in pioneer clothes.

Learning about Laura while dressed in pioneer clothes.

On the way out of town, we made sure to get a picture of Silver Lake, which has been drained. We did not have time to go to the twin lakes, Henry and Thompson, but we will definitely return.

Silver Lake is now a slough.

Silver Lake is now a slough.

The last photo is Pa’s gravestone. I include it because it reminds me of letterboxing. We had so much fun visiting all of Laura’s haunts in DeSmet that after the first letterbox we found, we completely forgot about it.  There were clues to three others, and if they were still there, we were within meters of all of them, but until we were driving away, we did not even think of it. This is a really worthwhile place to go. And the fee for the homestead was minimal. Our family of four cost less than $25 to spend as much time as we wanted there.

9.Pa'sGrave

Just a note, at the bottom of these Laura Ingalls Wilder posts, I have noticed links to someone else who is a big fan and has some great posts about this place and others with a  little different perspective and pictures than I have. If you are a fan, it is worth visiting her links!

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

Last week I showed you a little of what we did in DeSmet, SD, with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. I forgot to mention, however, that Laura did not move to  South Dakota. At the time it was the Dakota Territory.

This week we are going to the homestead site. I’ve decided to break this one up because there was so much to do there.

We only had a couple of hours at the homestead. It was enough to do everything, but I would like to spend more time the next time.

The site has many building reproductions and is very informative. Some of the buildings are full of displays, but many have people to help make the experience more real and interesting, especially for children.

The first building we went to was a school house. You can tell the girls are excited. (There is nothing quite like running children on the open prairie.) Inside was a stationary covered wagon on which they could place and LOTS of displays with photos and information about the Ingalls family and their travels.

click photo to enlarge

click photo to enlarge

We then went to a dugout house and a small shanty.

Imagine six people living in this space.

Imagine six people living in this space.

The above photo is a “half-shanty” which is what was usually built for a homestead claim. When Laura moved here, there were six people in the family. The quilt on the bottom right is the one bed. I cannot imagine living in such a small space, but definitely the bright side would be that one would not accumulate as much crap stuff.

We then went to a larger house. It was a full shanty (two bedrooms were normally the next addition), and it had a large sitting room added onto it. The sitting room was larger than the rest of the house combined. The Ingalls built a room onto their house for Mary’s organ.

Nothing in this room is original Ingalls Family possessions; it just gives as idea of what it might have looked like. I was particularly drawn to the "what-not" in the corner. I remember that vividly from the books.

Nothing in this room is original Ingalls Family possessions; it just gives as idea of what it might have looked like. I was particularly drawn to the "what-not" in the corner. I remember that vividly from the books.

At this house there was someone to show the girls how the Ingalls girls made paper into decorative designs for shelves, let them play the organ, and asked them to help with the laundry. First she sent them to the pump to get some water.

Pumping water was hard work for two little girls!

Pumping water was hard work for two little girls!

They had a tough time getting the water to come and wanted to quit, but their mean Mommy made them keep trying, and finally they were successful. (Though it would have taken a LONG time to get enough water for laundry at this rate of drip.)

Success at last!

Success at last!

After that they had to get their lye soap wet and wash a dish towel on a washboard.

Chic washing her towel.

Chic washing her towel.

Next was the wringer to get out the extra water. (I was grateful the helper pushed the cloth through.)

Chicklet turning the handle of the wringer.

Chicklet turning the handle of the wringer.

Then they hung their linens on the line to dry.

Chic's linen drying on the line.

Chic's linen drying on the line.

I loved seeing that crisp, white towel drying on the line. We were not there to take it off the line, but my guess is that after it dried, it smelled so clean and fresh!

The girls were amazed at how much time all of this took.  They were beginning to realize that pioneer girl life did not involve as much play as they are accustomed to!

Next week I’ll show you more of the homestead.

My World is a weekly meme in which participants are virtual tour guides. Go check it out and see the worlds of others. Or better yet, take a look at the guidelines, and do your own My World Post!

This has been a crazy week. If you read my blog regularly, you might be getting the idea that my life is crazy all of the time anyway. This week was no different, but added into the mix was an unexpected stamping project.

On Monday the school secretary called me and said, “The principal talked to you about invitations for the Thanksgiving program, right?”

The definitive answer there would be, “No.”

Now I will admit to having conversations with people all the time about some stamping project or another and forgetting it until the last minute, but just the sight of the person will jog my memory. This time there was no memory to jog. It did not happen.

We chatted a few minutes to come up with some kind of idea. One of my questions was, “How many?” The secretary replied to me that there were “about 30.” That was no big deal. Thirty of any design is nothing to pull off. They needed to be sent out Wednesday.

I could not even begin to work on it until the evening because I was catching up on something else all day. So I came up with this card (based on the secretary’s specifications).

2008-11-06card

The coloring and cutting would take a little time, but there were only 30. I prepared enough stuff for 36 to be on the safe side and took it all to school Tuesday morning because the secretary was going to work on them as she could. When I got there, she said the number had increased to 46. I did not panic. I could easily do ten by myself to be ready for the next day. (Glad I had done the six extra.)

When I picked up Chic in the afternoon, there had been 30 new invitations added. (If you are keeping track, we are up to 76 now. Remember we started at 30?) The secretary had gotten most of the stamped images colored and was working on cutting them out, but nothing else was done. I took home the brown cardstock and stamped the leaves on it that night and assembled everything except the people (including the wording inside.) She finished the coloring and cutting at home.

Wednesday, the day the invitations were supposed to go out, I showed up with the “original” 46 mostly finished and supplies to do the next 30. It was “art day.” I managed to do the rest of the 30 between art classes. (I am fast at stamping.) When I took them back, they needed 14 more. (90 total. I started with 30 and now it was 90!) The secretary was feeling bad about all of this so decided to do a computer invitation for the final 14. Bless her.

I have to tell you things like this pop up once or twice a week every week of my life. It is no wonder I cannot get anything accomplished!

But for something wonderful…

smooth and creamy!

smooth and creamy!

When the weather is cool, we have soup and  homemade bread every Friday night. I love this about cooler weather. I have lots of wonderful soup recipes because I am the type that gets, ummmm… bored with making the same food all of the time. I am always willing to try something new that sounds good. Tonight I tried a brand new recipe that I saw on Madge’sblog. I HIGHLY recommend you go check it out. I was going to show you start-to-finish pictures, but you might remember I only have a 55-200 mm lens. I did not have time to make sure every picture was perfect, and several were not, so all you get is a somewhat fair picture of the finished product in the pot. The whole family loved it. It is perfect for a chilly evening. I just made simple whole wheat bread to go with it, and it was perfect. The soup is very creamy; I modified it slightly, but not enough to even talk about, really. Anyway, go get the recipe and make it. I can’t imagine not loving it!

One last note: Many of you know I have joined the SkyWatch Friday and My World Tuesday team. This means I am not getting to my comments as quickly as I would like, but know that I will.

Note: I wrote this to post yesterday, but forgot about the My World meme. (Scroll down if that is why you are here.) So it’s today. But I was too tired too lazy did not feel like changing all the references about “yesterday, etc.” to make sense. If something does not make sense, then think about it a day earlier… or just get over it! (I am certain many things I write/say do not make sense!)

You just might be a redneck if… you are a mom.

Since I have been a mom, it has been a rare day that I can remember to put sunscreen on all exposed parts of my body. My children are always slathered in sunscreen. Chic has red hair and Chicklet has somewhat strawberry blonde hair (definitely reddish), and they have the skin to match. Neither has ever been really sunburned in her life. I never forget to put sunscreen on every exposed inch of THEM. But since they came along, their mother gets one or two good sunburns a year. Sometimes I forget to put it on entirely. However, I usually remember to put it on; I just miss an area. Yesterday it was my neck and chest. This is the result:

no photo enhancement; this is real

It was the annual Fall Fesitval for Chic’s school. It was a PERFECT day. It was hot, even for me. (I had two snow cones.) I wore several layers and was down to the sleeveless shirt before it even started. (I was in charge of the event and was there early to set up my own portion and direct everyone else.) My arms are not burned. My face is not burned. But I completely forgot my chest and neck when I was applying sunscreen.  Those children suck out brain cells when they are inside of us, and somehow there must be an invisible umbilical cord remaining to suck out more after they leave us.

If you knew the lengths I go to with what I wear to avoid a “farmer tan” or red neck, you would understand why this is so irritating to me.

———————————————-

Card Giveaway

I will schedule a post of the results from the giveaway to go up on Wednesday when I am not here. This has been a lot of fun for me, and I hope it has for you, too!

—————————————————

Why I am So Far Behind with Blogging

In my very short time blogging, I will be the first to tell anyone that it is OK to get behind, to not post, to not visit, to not do any blogging at all because we blog about life, life is not blogging. However, I for some reason feel the need to explain why I am so far behind, and some of you have not “seen” me in 3 or 4 weeks.

Do you know that in Google Reader, when you have more than 1000 new posts to read, it just says “1000+?” Well it does. This morning it said that. I quickly skimmed enough things that I just “look at” to get it to a number I could figure out, and there were 1066 in my reader this morning. A month ago this would have made me CRAZY, but 1-1/2 weeks ago, there were 1356 in there. In the past 1-1/2 weeks, I have gotten it into the low 600’s, but more keep coming, and there is just too much going on here. This is what it is…

First, I was on a trip to Missouri. (Oh yes, before that I had guests here.) I do this twice a year for business reasons and to spend time with my family. While there, I have computer access most of the time, but the time to do anything more than check important e-mails (which is not even the e-mail address for my blogging) is quite limited. While there, we play and visit.

Chicklet and "Boots"

So I came back and put a little effort into trying to catch up, but my life is a busy one. No, I do not work outside of my home, but I have a home business. Although it is not as on fire as it was a couple of years ago, it is at the limit of what I can handle these days. Last week I had three events relating to it. THREE! I usually try to limit it to one, but things just happened that way.

In addition to the business, I teach art weekly at Chic’s school. This is all day on Wednesdays. It is my third year doing this (Chic was not even a student there when I started), and it is a volunteer position. I really like doing it most of the time, but it is an entire day every week that nothing in my private life gets accomplished. This year is better than last because I have one less class (which means most of the time I actually have time between classes to tear down and set up for the next one), and I give students art grades rather than their teachers giving them grades for my class. (Which means that I have more leverage in class for their sometimes unruly behavior. But the Kindergarten teacher has shared with me that after parent-teacher conferences, one parent is quite angry with me and wants a meeting because his child got an A- in art. I will not elaborate on this other than to say that I grade on attendance, behavior and following instructions. I do not grade on ability–which I would like to do sometimes, but I am sure the parents would really flip out over that.)

On Wednesday nights Chic and Chicklet have a program at church called Pathfinders. It is similar to Boy Scouts/Girls  Scouts, but it is co-ed. In addition to this, in order for the kids to not get home at unreasonable hours on a school night, they start early–too early for some to go home after work, so there is food at this event. Who do you think makes the food? I trade off with one other person, and last week was “my” week. (It was not really my week, but it seems I get a few more than the other. I think it is because I “don’t work.”) So last week I was entirely tied up Monday-Thursday with my business, art, and Pathfinders. I forgot to mention we have to go to gymnastics after school on Tuesdays (it is a school program, but not at the school), and do not get home until 6. You can imagine when I made the food for Wednesday night. (I didn’t. Prince Charming did it this time.)

Friday I spent the day tying up loose ends for Fall Festival. My problem with THIS part of my life is that volunteers are scarce. At the last minute we had plenty food for the event, but we never had QUITE enough activities because we just did not have enough volunteers. I personally “manned” three separate activities. Prince Charming was in charge of two. (Which meant our kids were largely unattended, so we just spent a fortune buying them tickets so they would be entertained. Now we have PILES of loot that they won… PILES. (We could do our own carnival with their winnings.)

Saturday is a rest day for us. But Saturday night, we had a Pathfinder function to attend. It is not normal for those things to happen on Saturday night–maybe once or twice a year, but wouldn’t you know it would be the day before Fall Festival?

The Fall Festival was good. I do not know the money intake yet, but it seemed to be well-attended. It is only my second year of involvement with it, so I do not have a lot to which to compare it.

The point is, I had a LOOOONG week.

But the good news is that this week is much better. NO business events. NO Pathfinders. (I do not know why it is canceled, but I will never complain about that.) Nothing other than some Halloween activities. So after I catch up with bill paying and my Church treasurer job and some organizing stuff I need to do, I will attack the blogging thing. But the best thing about getting so far behind is that I can handle numbers in the hundreds on my reader.  I can go to bed without a second thought with an overflowing reader. So I guess all this activity has had its benefits.  But I am EXTRA glad it is over (for now–I have lots of projects coming up-but I have a week “off”… sort of.)

————————-

The Dress

One last note. I got the dress. It IS pretty.  The color is nice, and it does not look horrible on me, and it actually fits in the hips (surprise), BUT, I cannot zip it up. I have always had a large rib cage, but after children, it expanded. It just will not zip. They are going to exchange it for a larger size, which IF it zips up will likely mean I have to alter the rest to be smaller. I will keep you posted. And that reminds me. Your comments on that were SO funny! I did not have time to reply (see above), but I am replying today within the comments, so check it out if you would like. (There are comments about SkyWatch in there because I do not know how to move the comments from the top to the bottom, so you will just have to skip over those.)

And check back tomorrow to see the results of the Giveaway! I’ll be posting 4 days in a row this week. How crazy am I? (Don’t get used to it!)

  After all the encouraging words I got after my last post, I almost felt like I should not have posted it!  My life is almost never that bad.  I felt a little guilty for invoking concern on my behalf.  Thank you for all your kindness, however!  I will try to keep my future whining to a minimum.

 

But first (I said, “future,” right?), I am going to explain a little  about why I posted that—without using details.  From as early as I can remember, I know I tried (potentially did not succeed) to think about the effects of my life and decisions on other people.  Fully realizing that my life is my own, I still try to have as little negative impact on others as possible.  When a decision comes into my realm, I do my best to think through every angle that might affect other people.  Last weekend, there were people, and one specific person, who made a series of decisions without giving thought to the effects on ANYONE but him/herself.  Though only one action directly affected me, several had negative effects for other people around me.  Most of the time, this person clearly was not thinking at all.  When s/he was thinking, it was certainly not past him/herself.  This type of behavior grates on me.  I guess after being on this planet for 43 years, I should be used to it and just let it roll off my back, but it is not my nature.  I did not confront said person; from experience I know it would have done no good, only caused more trouble.  So I should just let it go.  I actually try to let it go and am successful most of the time, but said person makes a habit of regularly being selfish and thoughtless in my presence, so even when I do let it go, s/he makes sure I am regularly reminded of it. 

 

    

   

  

 

Chicklet coming down a slide
Chicklet coming down a slide

 

 

 

 

Enough of that!  Chic starts school tomorrow.  Yesterday we went to an indoor pool for our last pool fling.  (The outdoor pools are closed.)  We had a wonderful time, but it is harder to be in chilly water when there is no hot sun to warm us.  By this time tomorrow (when I am writing–7:30 a.m.) I will be in a car with Chic and Chicklet making the 45-60 minute round-trip to drop Chic off at school.  Although she is so excited to go back and see her friends, I am not.  I got used to the unpleasant schedule last year, but I never liked it.  And I like having her home.  (Not enough to homeschool,  however.)  I have no idea what school is going to do to my blog time.  School takes a lot of my time anyway, and probably more this year because Chic will be in first grade, and I believe homework is going to be a regular thing.  (I don’t really believe in homework for little kids, but I will be patient and see how it goes before I say anything about it.)
Chic and friend under dumbing water bucket

Chic and friend under dumping water bucket

Now for the AWARD!  The Fish Whisperer from Picture This and Xtreme Fishing gave me this award!  

 

 

It was last week, and it COMPLETELY made my day/weekend/week!  It was such a pleasant surprise, and I am still giddy over receiving this honor!  The reason he gave it to me was because I “juggle more things than anyone” he knows and put “out a great blog with interesting stories and wonderful images.”  Wasn’t that the nicest thing to say? (I have decided to tell you more about the things I do in a later post.)  THANK YOU FISH WHISPERER!  

 

When I got my first award, I said that the rules for receiving an award from me are that THERE ARE NO RULES.  The rules for this one are to pass it on to five bloggers. I will do that because I want to.  But if you get an award from me, the rules are to do whatever you want.  Pass it on or not.  Display it or not.  Acknowledge it or not.  And I also like texasholly’s award policy.  You can find it here. 

 

With that said, below are the some of the blogs I think Kick A*s at the moment as well.  (I am not being a prude by not typing the word “a*s;” however, I keep hearing stories of the traffic some blogs start to get just by having a word like that in the post, so I am trying to avoid that.  Of course now some of you who comment—I know who you are—will put that in the comments just to make sure I get “that kind” of traffic anyway.  That is OK.  I am not going to flip out and find a cartoon to post about you!)

 

A Photo a Day by Donald Kinney.  He actually has at least two FABULOUS photos a day, but one never has comment.  It is just there, piquing my interest.  Donald is a photographer who knows when there is a good picture to be had, and makes it excellent.

 

Blind Pig & The Acorn by Tipper.   Tipper lives in the Appalachians and blogs about it.  Hers is an eclectic blog about life in the Appalachians, and it brings me into her life.  She has music, scenery, art, cooking, you name it.  I love it.  (And what’s not to love about a blog with that name?)

 

Ramblings Around Texas by Troy and Martha.    Their ramblings go far beyond Texas!  They are amazing photographers who have been (and go) a lot of places and share their adventures on their blog.  Not every post is about travel, but one can definitely travel vicariously through them.

 

Sandpiper’s Place by Sandpiper!    Sandpiper likes to take walks in beautiful, natural places and share them with us.  She is also an excellent photographer, so it is almost as if I am walking with her when I see her posts.

 

Slackwater by Don Wiley.  Another photography blog, but without label.  His photos are interesting, unusual , beautiful, whatever.  A true artist with a camera, and always something exciting (or fun or humorous or jaw-droppingly beautiful) to see.

 

My favorite thing about awards is passing them on.  My hope is that some of my readers check out these blogs and find something new that they love.  (And you may wonder why none of these people are on my blogroll.  Well, I have not updated that since my blog was brand new.  I will get to it one day.  I promise I will!)

 

By Louise Cannon

 

This picture is of Chic and Chicklet at this year’s Independence Day Parade. That has nothing to do with this post, but I thought you might like to know when it was taken.

 

Today I thought I would tell you a little about those two sunbeams in my life.  OK, one of them is more of a storm cloud a lot some of the time, but when she is sweet, she is really sweet.  At those times she makes up for all the bad in the world, not just her own.

 

Chic is 6.  In just over two weeks she will be entering first grade.  I am not a big fan of the school year in general, and especially not fond of it beginning on August 11.  I don’t care if school is out mid-May.  The pool is not open then.  It is often still cold then.  I would be much happier starting after Labor Day and going until Memorial Day (and cutting a couple of days off of the newly-lengthened Spring Break.)  But I do not make the schedule, and neither do the immediate administrators at the school, so I have to deal with it.  But this was about Chic, not school. 

 

 

Chic loves school.  She thrives there.  She entered Kindergarten reading (through no fault of my own.  I try to provide a learning environment, but my attempts at “teaching” her anything have all pretty much been dismal failures.), and left reading rather well in my opinion.  She can sit down and get through books beyond her grade level and can figure out most words.  I would say by the end of first grade, she’ll be reading “real” books all the time and all the way through.  She loves reading.  She has always loved my reading to her, which I still do almost daily (unless it’s a pool day, and sometimes even then).  And here is what she said to me this week before a story time:

 

“Mommy, I love reading.  It makes me feel like I am inside the story and living a completely different life.”

 

Really, how much happier could any mom be than to have a statement like that come out of her 6-year-old’s mouth?  That’s exactly what I love about reading (doesn’t everyone?) and exactly why I want my children to love to read.  It was definitely one of those “success moments.”  There are always rewarding things about motherhood, but most often, at least to me, they are unexpected.  This was so rewarding, I suppose, because it was a set goal in my own mind a long, long time ago, and I actually got there.

 

Here are a couple of other amusing things to come from Chic’s mouth recently, totally unrelated to the above…

 

At Vacation Bible School this summer our church was participating in a nationwide project called “Bottles of Love” in which each child was given a water bottle to drink, then refill with loose change to raise money to build wells on Navajo reservations.  They were supposed to bring change back every day, so I had Prince Charming get a bunch of change from the bank in order to fill the bottles (for both girls) about 1/3 full each day.  The first day when we were getting ready to go to VBS, I noticed Chic’s water bottle was more than half-full.  I was concerned she had found the money and used more, meaning we would not have enough for the whole week without another trip to the bank.  So I asked her where she got the money.  She replied, “From my piggy bank.”  Now let me state that she does not get regular contributions for her piggy bank.  Prince Charming and I give the girls a little once in a while, but definitely not often, and our girls do not have friends and family with pockets full of change for them.  So I asked, “Did you use ALL of it?”

  “No,” she said.  “I left a little.  I have to keep something to live!”

 

Had to admire the generosity, yet sensibility of her thought processes there!

 

Another amusing thing she said was in regard to a babysitter coming to watch the girls while I had a meeting and Prince Charming was out-of-town.  Usually babysitters are called (4-6 times a year) for our “date nights.”  So Chic asked, “Since we’re having a babysitter, is Daddy coming back for a date night?”  I told her he was not and like I told her before I had to go to a meeting.  She remembered.  Then she said, “Why do you have “date nights” anyway?  Don’t you already know each other?”

 

Chicklet is four.  She is the storm cloud, but she actually started life as a hurricane and has improved with age.  I have been known to say on more than one occasion, “She became tolerable after she turned three.”  Sounds horrible of me, doesn’t it?  But it is true.  Maybe sometime I will write about her early days, including before she was born, but for now I will just stick with the fact that the older she gets, the more wonderful she gets.  I do not ever miss the passing of time with her.  When Chic went to Kindergarten last year I was concerned Chicklet would regress to one of her former selves, but she actually got even better.  I think she was meant to be an only child.  She is an absolute JEWEL when it is just she and I at home.

 

Chicklet is clever and savvy.  She doesn’t give a rip about learning, and she will not start Kindergarten until she is six.  She has been able to roll her eyes appropriately since about 18 months.  Her sense of humor is beyond her years.  She warms up to men better than women most of the time, and she pretty much wraps everyone around her finger.  (Except her mommy.)

 

When we were in Missouri in May, some good friends had the girls over for an afternoon.  That would be the girls without their mommy, which meant Mommy could go shopping alone.  (Louise hates shopping and usually only does it when out-of-town.)  I cannot remember the details of this story, but it was something like I am telling you.  After a fun afternoon, there was talk of bringing the girls back to me.  Chicklet was astounded, and said she was going to spend the night with the friends.  The wife of the couple said, “Well, we were not really planning on having you spend the night.” 

 

Chicklet:  That’s OK, I can stay anyway

Wife:  Hmmm…  we really don’t have a place for you to sleep.

Chicklet:  That’s OK.  I can sleep in your bed.

Wife:  I don’t think there is room enough for three in my bed.

Chicklet:  That’s OK.  You can sleep on the floor.

 

By Louise Cannon