Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our little entrepreneur

Isn't she cute? This whole thing was her idea, and she pushed hard for it. Murray and I were less than focused on The Lemonade Stand this morning, but she made a sign (in red marker on purple construction paper - you can imagine how readable that was) I just had to fix and harangued us into making the lemonade.

As cute as she is, she's not a natural born saleswoman. A typical exchange goes something like this:
Kind Acquaintance/Family Member: Oh! Look, lemonade! Can I buy some?
Natalie: Nods
K.A./F.M.: Oh, wonderful, here's my quarter.
N: takes quarter, smiles.
Mom: Give them a cup, Natty!
Natty: fumbles with the plastic bag, drags a cup out and hands it to the customer
K.A./F.M. gushes about how good it is.
Natty: distracted by something, ignores them.
Mom: Say "Thank you" Natty
Natty (as people are leaving) yells, "Thank you!"

We had a couple role-playing practices that helped her technique. She was also thrilled to show me she was getting some dollar bills, and when it was my turn to hang out in the front yard with her, I realized that she wasn't actually making change. Then we took the opportunity to work on counting out money - how many quarters in a dollar bill? When a customer buys one lemonade and hands you a dollar bill, how much do they get back? It's never-ending humor with Natty.

The "every moment is a teachable moment" aspect of parenting I find hilarious and exhausting. Things I take for granted and feel like I always knew, I must have been taught; because Natalie has to be taught them. One of the best parenting "gems" I got out of the Family Time class we took was that often kids don't mean to be naughty, they just don't know. Crazy, huh. (Obviously, sometimes they do mean to be naughty, which is a whole other kettle of fish) That piece of knowledge has chilled me out dramatically as a mom - and galvanized me to make teaching a large part of my discipline.

Late in the afternoon her best buddy Rori stopped by to help out. Rori is an enthusiastic little thing, and she got things hopping. We had to limit them to yelling at runners just once. "They can read the sign, no need to harass them." Rebecca, Rori's mom and a great friend of mine, took more pictures of The Stand and posted them on Facebook, but I'm too tired to figure out how to link to them right now.

Stand by for Memorial Day pictures tomorrow!

First customers

Making the sign

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From the ground up

I refer to myself as "an aspiring gardener" but those aspirational days are behind me: I'm bona fide. The raised beds are made, filled with dirt and planted. The fence needs some help yet, but that will come. Here's some photos of the project:

Natty was right in there, every step of the way (except for the actual construction of the bed frames). We had a lot of fun gardening together, although she does get hot frequently and, as befits a true drama queen, has to go inside to cool down. "whew!" She says.

While she's been helpful with the garden, her heart is elsewhere. She has a "Lab" in the barn where she keeps her potions, rocks and inventions. (Like her robot dog). She has a few inventions and way more ideas. For instance: a walking back scratcher. Even though she's explained that one to me multiple times, I'm still not sure I understand it. But jump back world! Natty's going to shake things up.

Speaking of the barn - I made a call to our absentee barn whisperer and he's back on the job - Woohoo! the treacherous trenches are being filled in and the huge supports are being taken down. It's looking like the building we fell in love with again. Ironically, there are also 2 guys reroofing the front porch (it was rotten) and a  carpenter building a railing for the barn loft. Somehow they all converged on this week to do the work. Amazing. Loud. Chaotic. and Wonderful that all this is getting done. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gardening: the front gardens

The previous owners of our house - and the owners before them - were great gardeners. The front beds are full of perennials; some of them quite old. We were told by many Pomfret neighbors how special those front gardens are which does put some pressure on me to keep them from dying. (this is not ideal for a person who finds houseplants stressful: the longer they live the longer I have to worry about them dying. The alternative is illustrated in the case of the gardenia plant that keeled over a week after I brought it home. Case closed. I have no idea what I did wrong but at least I only had to worry about it for a week). 
Black thumb aside, I have high hopes for these established gardens. Surely they are tougher than me. This year I had the beds mulched first thing in the spring and I'm just watching to see what grows. (I did plant some Ranunculus in one bare patch - I had to mess with it somehow).
So, I've been excited to see what would come up as spring progressed and so far it has been great fun - full of anticipation and happy surprises. 
Here are some pictures of what is blooming right now. I'll keep you posted as more pop up. 


P.S. The poison ivy is essentially healed. It started improving the day after I wrote my "I'm miserable" blog. I guess the blog was very cathartic. Thanks for all the sympathy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring is in the air!

Watching the Buttner's field get mowedNatty's chicks. 6 one-day old "Dominicas" She's a diligent chicken farmer - guided by Murray, "The Chicken Whisperer"    Playground fun!
Sam is walking! A tiny bit. He's in that "can he get any cuter? It isn't possible" stage (but still they do).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Poison Ivy

Is terrible. I got it for the second time last week. Everyone here has their story, and everyones' story is the worst (to them). But I really do get it badly. The worst. It sucks so bad.

There is no poison ivy in Alaska. There's wild celery, which is awful if you get in the sun after you're exposed (but I've never gotten it) and there's devil's club (nasty stuff too, but no lingering rash that I know of). However, both of those are big (they can grow as tall as me) and with leaves larger than dinner plates, they're obvious so you can avoid them.

Poison Ivy, on the other hand is both sneaky and ubiquitous. I still don't know where I got it last year and, while I do know where and how I got this major outbreak, daily I'm finding more vicious glossy leaves poking their heads up in our yard. It's all through the woods, lining the road sides and hiding under the bark of a tree to emerge triumphantly a foot up.

Unfortunately I have an invincibility complex and even though I thought I was going to DIE when I got it last year, a week ago I attacked a patch growing up the house (the gall!) without sufficient protection. Now I'm so miserable I think I've learned my lesson. I had a blister flare up within 30 minutes (which is when I started washing with Tecnu - great stuff). It was manageable for the first 4-5 days, but it lingers and spreads. I feel like it's still getting worse, 7 days later. We started Prednisone early on to prevent it getting as bad as last year, but I'm still very itchy and splotchy.

Removing the rest from the yard? I've resorted to Round Up (gasp).

Murray and I have decided that New England needed a natural disaster: no earthquakes, tornados or volcanos here. Instead they have poison ivy and lyme ticks.