Walking the Trail

by Leslie

We were out on a dreary day and met a crawdad on the way to our walking trail. He was the biggest I’d ever seen!

Mr. Crawdad

He was right beside the road, closer to our house than to the trail, making his way to the stream after a big rain. He didn’t move for the longest time. Still, Bee and Jack were happy to sit still in their wagon and watch him from there.

Once we got off the road, the kids ditched their ride to enjoy the freedom of the trail. Jack ran ahead as fast as he could. Bee took her time, and stopped to investigate rocks and pick flowers.

Jack walks alone

We stopped at the brown bridge.

Jack and Bee on the brown bridge

Bee was wearing pajamas bottoms. That would have driven me nuts before. Not now. Not anymore.

Bee and Me at the brown bridge

I love walking the trail. It’s easier to be present there.

Jack and Daddy on the trail

It’s easier to feel grateful.

We were out on the trail on a sunny day while Lucy and Dave were at softball.

Jack and Julia

Jack and Julia walked ahead while Bee held my hand, letting go now and then to pick me a flower or to pick up a lucky stone and put it in her pocket.

She carried him

After a while, Julia carried Jack.

And carried him

We could hear them laughing and singing songs.

And he loved it

And so Bee and I caught up to them and joined in.

Julia, Bee, and Jack on the trail

I felt grateful.

The Book Nook

by Leslie

Some good friends of ours have both a closet book nook and a beneath-the-loft-bed hideaway. Every time we visit them, the kids each find time to steal away into one or both of these spaces. Even with the Super Fantastic Ultra-Terrific Most Amazing Mega-Fun Time Friend Party raging around them, they’ll choose to step away and tuck up in that cozy space for some quiet time alone. So, we’ve made our own.

The book nook

We moved a bookcase under the loft, added some plump pillows and soft lights, and there you have it. We considered curtains, but Jack the Rip-Downer suggested it was not the best idea. Maybe later.

Reading in the book nook

Of the books that live in our nook, here’s the latest and greatest.

Our latest, greatest book

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Jack suggests his favorite book, also by Neil Gaiman, Chu’s Day.

Saturday was Julia’s seventh?

Julia at her seventh Ribbon Festival

One, two, three, four, five, six, yes, seventh! And Lucy’s third Ribbon Festival.

Lucy at her third Ribbon Festival

Lucy performed Mary Had a Little Lamb beautifully.

She gets so very nervous about playing for people, but she retained her composure and pulled off her best performance to date. Phoebe was so proud of her sister that she stood and shouted, “You did it! You did a great job, Lucy!”

The judge had this to say.

Lucy, I must comment first on your beautiful dress! And you played beautifully, too! Your fingers got into the keys and you created a lovely tone. Your rhythm was very accurate. Think about changing the dynamics when phrases repeat. I know the music doesn’t tell you to do it, but we can do so to make our playing expressive. Your hand position looks good – keep thinking about curling your 5th fingers – they are the most stubborn. Keep up the good work and make Festival an annual goal.

Julia performed the first and second movement of Beethoven’s Sonatina in G Major.

She was on top of the world because her fifth grade science/intervention teacher came to see her play. He really made her feel special. His show of support moved my heart. I won’t forget it and neither will she.

Here’s what the judge said about her performance.

Julia,

Beethoven would surely have been proud of your performance today for its accuracy of notes and rhythms, steadiness of tempo, and security of memory.

I do think that you could have played the piano sections of this famous piece more gently. Some things you could have done with greater sensitivity, such as the diminuendo rounding-off in movement I, measures 8 and 24, and you could have done the crescendo-decrescendo better sometimes.

I couldn’t be prouder of those girls. Oh, and these two, as well.

Phoebe at the Ribbon Festival

Jack, all dressed up

Their Ribbon Festival days are ahead.

The Grimmett kids at the Ribbon Festival

But so far, this was my favorite.

Discoveries

by Leslie

I tried two new recipes in the past week and they were BOTH big hits! This rarely happens. I am a minimally skilled cook on a minimal budget, preparing meals for four kids, two parents, and one “basic” husband. Ordinarily there’s someone who isn’t jazzed about what I’m putting on the table. But conditions were perfect. The recipes were for the crock pot – my wheelhouse. I’m really quite good at throwing ingredients together and walking away until they become a meal. I had most of the ingredients on hand already. My regular dinner rotation was getting tired and we were short on snack food. Everyone was pretty hungry for something new come dinnertime.

So, the meals. Slow-Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew and Ham and Wild Rice Soup. The stew actually seemed more like soup, and the soup cooked up like a stew, but the thing about it is they tasted good enough that the kids cleaned their bowls and the leftovers were all eaten.

I’ll be making them again.

Another thing I’ll do again? Sock curls! Julia and I had seen them at Cute Girls Hairstyles and decided to give them a try.

Sock curls

Sock curls - the result

Super cute. Super fast. Super easy.

Reciprocity

by Leslie

This is Fluffy Ufferton, the most recent addition to our indoor cat gang.

Fluffy Ufferton at the piano with Julia

He loves Julia.

Fluffy Ufferton loves music

He really loves Julia when she plays the piano.

Fluffy Ufferton loves Julia

And she loves him back.

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