This creature was recently spotted roaming far outside of normal migratory paths. Confused and disoriented, it was still displaying many instinctual behaviors such as crouching, tiptoeing, and scanning its surroundings through its accessory visual organ. The creature is presumed to have been blown off course by the latest South Dakota blizzard.
Christmas suspense was building. This little watcher kept a tree-side vigil patiently:
Well, mostly patiently.
We enjoyed Christmas music from family musicians old:
Daniel and Dominic sweethearts. Joseph is not amused.
Dominic and Claire love to play ‘puppysitting’
Maria as Queen of France in the January 2015 homeschool one act play competition:
Landon in his last one act play competition-his performance won a ‘best actor’ medal.
I think he’d fail the marshmallow test:
Apparently we invited a dwarf to Daniel’s birthday party:
Landon assists Maria in making a Galadriel costume.
Musician in training:
We celebrated his graduation at the end of May in a group party with five other homeschool graduates.
Here are several pictures from when he and I went out for his senior photo shoot:
I snapped this adorable picture of my Grandpa and Claire at the graduation party. So cute!
Building an enormous sand castle at the beach was Landon’s childhood dream. It was fulfilled in California, where he spent several hours creating one with the two little boys. They painstakingly carted bucket after bucket of seawater to wet the sand at a safe distance from the ocean, which terrified Dominic. Then, they had to guard the creation in progress from being smashed by the feet of inquisitive siblings coming to look.
I love this picture Mom snapped of the boys posing with their masterpiece, complete with a trench for a moat to its shell flags for the turrets. It’s a pleasantly warm memory for this cold February day.
A gate guarded the gifts while they were displayed for a short time before we opened them:
…and was on to the next one.
Note that our family is growing-a little brother coming in May. I cannot wait to hold a little newborn again. Luckily, I’m so busy with school it seems like this pregnancy is passing by more quickly than any of the others. I think it will be spring before I know it.
The countdown is on until everyone goes back to school. This is a new experience for me, since though I’ve attended college for a year, I’ve never been ‘back to school’. While I am looking forward to choir practice and the physiology class I am taking, there is a lot less freedom during the day, especially in comparison to homeschooling. So, I’m trying to make sure I squeeze every little bit of summer out I can.
I have been working as a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) at a nursing home nearby. I was in training for a month where I watched the other CNAs do their job. They can also complete everything much faster than I can, and they make it look easy. At first I was struggling to complete all my work in the time frame, but after a month on my own I am finally beginning to keep up. I’ve gotten better at working under stress, and prioritizing what needs to be done first.
It is very hard work physically, and my body had to adjust to walking, bending, and lifting so much. At first my legs would ache terribly in the last hours of the eight hour shift, but now they have adjusted and can handle it without complaint. I also had to learn how to lift with my legs after I strained my back, and started working on strengthening my (very wimpy) arms. It is definitely helping, and this week a resident I was assisting said, “You’re stronger than you look” and I have stopped pulling muscles.
As a bonus for my future as a nurse, I am becoming familiar with medical terms and medications. I get to experience working with many kinds of people, both needy and independent, some very easy to work with and others who are not. I also am around a lot of nurses who have many tips and stories to share that are helping me learn about the many different types of nursing. Hopefully, this can help me narrow down the areas I am (and am not) cut out for.
Now that I am getting better at the skills, I really like being at the nursing home. I work with the same group of people all the time, and I enjoy getting to know them. I know when I work in a field where patients come and go I will miss that aspect. With the exception of the afternoon nap time, there is rarely a dull moment. I have had quite a few very interesting experiences in my short time working there. The residents often remind me of my little brothers, since they often say very funny and unique things, and they keep me laughing. I also get to wear scrubs, which make me feel a bit like a nurse already. Landon says when he sees me wearing them, I look like ‘someone important’.
The teenagers of our local homeschool group have a casual ballroom dancing night about twice a month, and Landon, Maria and I have gone a couple times this summer. I used to go dancing with friends almost every week two or three years ago, but then I became busy and stopped for a while. Now I’m remembering how much fun it is. I’m quite rusty, but when you dance with a guy who knows what he is doing, it tends to work out as long you can keep the rhythm and hang on tight when he spins you!
Unlike a few years ago, Landon is tall enough to be able to turn me without bumping my head on his arm. He really enjoys learning new moves, and has even been watching internet tutorials to learn steps to teach me. He is beginning to know several types of dancing quite well, and is a good leader. (The man controls which steps you do in the dance, for example, when the lady turns and how fast, so being a strong leader is really important so the girl knows what to do.) Our favorite type of dancing so far is swing, and we are working on a few dramatic and tricky steps.
-also an activity hosted by our homeschool group. It has been going on for three years, but I am enjoying it most this year. Sports have never been my forte, and the first year the only way I touched a ball was if it landed on top of me. I learned in my college human growth and development class that crawling as a baby is important for depth perception. Since I never did crawl, I use this fact as a scapegoat for my seeming inability to tell where a flying ball is in space. However, there were a couple of volleyball games at the new student activities at college last fall, and among a group of non-players I was actually -dare I say it- a little bit good at it. So even though I am still picked nearly last when selecting teams, I know that a little bit of practice goes a long way. Also, I have been more consistently hitting balls this year. No telling which direction they will go, but at least I’m hitting them.
I taught ballet classes twice a week last year, and worked on and passed my second teachers exam. I am aiming to take another this October. Then I will be able to teach Cecchetti (a style and syllabus of ballet) Grade III, which is one of the first levels to begin some advanced steps and turns. I am taking classes this summer in preparation, and will also be practice teaching a few. I am enjoying that a lot, since though I taught classes twice a week last year, by spring I was missing taking classes as well.
One of my favorite things to do in the evenings I don’t work. Daniel, Dominic, and Claire usually accompany me, with the two little ones in the stroller and Daniel on his bike. We stroll around the neighborhood, soaking up the last of the sun rays. After the bitter cold winter we had, I don’t want to let one bit of time outside get away!
Last weekend, Dad took Landon and I down to Kansas. I participated in a college competition on Saturday, then traveled to Kansas City for the night.
In Kansas City, we went to an amazing museum that featured the cargo of a pre-civil war ship, the Arabia, that sank on the Missouri River in 1859. The river shifted its position and left the boat buried 45 feet underground. About twenty years ago, five ambitious treasure hunters decided to try to dig up the ship. Though it turned out to be a much bigger task than they expected, they succeeded, and what they found is displayed in the Steamboat Arabia Museum.
The museum guide referred to the ship as a nineteenth century Walmart, as it carried enormous quantities of everything used in 1859, both necessities for daily living:
… and non-necessities:
These beautiful buttons are all that is left of hundreds and hundreds of fine ladies’ dresses. Animal fibers like wool and silk were able to survive 130 years submerged in wet earth. Plant fibers, such as the cotton used in dressmaking, could not. Now we can only imagine how beautiful the dresses must have been.
Archeologists have been working on preserving the cargo of Arabia for twenty years, and they still have fifteen years until the entire collection is finished. Every artifact has to be stored in a freezer until it can be cleaned and preserved, or else it will deteriorate beyond recognition. This is the lab, where you can watch the restoration taking place right in front of you!
This is a full scale replica of the wheel of the Arabia:
Landon obliged me fifty-one cents so I could add to my collection of penny souvenirs. I’ve been collecting these ever since I was little, and I now have thirteen coins from six states!
Well, the skies were perfect last night, and John, Maria, and I watched the meteors for more than an hour and a half. We were very comfortable, laying with pillows and blankets on the fort of our swing set. (We were thankful Dad never did put a tarp on the top.) It was the first year I’ve ever been comfortable watching the Perseids. Usually I can only bear to be outside for fifteen minutes before being driven inside by blood-sucking insects, but the drought this year has reduced the mosquito population to zero.
Despite the fact we were on the outskirts of a city, there were close to thirty shooting stars total, including one of the longest and brightest meteors I have ever seen! We also saw two bats fly directly overhead. The first hovered over Maria and John just moments after I had gone inside for a moment, and it scared them so much they grabbed the blankets and ran inside!
Here is the total number of meteors each of us saw last night:
Landon (only watched for fifteen minutes): 3
Mom (only watched for fifteen minutes): 3
I’m very happy we were able to get a good show, since the next few nights look like they might be cloudy.
Well, after Ballet Recital week and Drama Camp week, (and a week for recovery), There’s quite a few thing’s I have to post about. The first is a really cool partial eclipse of the sun my family watched on May 20. The moon crossed the surface of the sun, and though it wasn’t safe to look at directly, we saw it projected through a pinhole on a piece of paper. Someone took a bite out of the sun!
Dad also got out his welding helmet to look at it:
The next piece of excitement at our house was a little baby robin who seemed to have been blown out of his nest prematurely. His parents fed him on the ground, but none of his younger siblings survived. So he hopped around our yard for a week and a half, unable to fly. When the daddy robin wasn’t around, we fed him berries and worms.
Then it was time to start Drama Camp, which went for two weeks this year since we were doing a musical this year. I was the main girl character, and I loved my costume:
Landon was also in the musical, in the chorus:
Last weekend, Dad decided we should take advantage of the beautiful weather (which will end to quickly) and take a motorcycle ride to a hilly forested area with the rest of the family following behind in the van. It was lovely, with the trees beginning to turn colors, and the whole family enjoyed it immensely. I shot these pictures: