Claire gets out of school on June 13. I really cannot believe fourth grade is almost over. I was just getting the hang of it!
Olive the Cello has held up well this year so far. She's actually a half-cello. If Claire keeps eating Cheerios for breakfast and growing like a weed, I think she will move up to a three-quarters size this autumn. We shall see.
Today was the end-of-the-year strings concert. We've come a long way, baby. :)
I had the nicest Mother's Day weekend. I hope you did, too. On Saturday we went to a very sweet wedding at our church, and on Sunday morning we went to church and Sunday school and all talked about how happy we were about that wedding. :)
I spent a lot of the weekend on the back patio reading and enjoying my family and crazy pets. I think Mother's Day to me is Official Permission to Relax. I never have that "I should be doing something productive" feeling on Mother's Day. What a blessing.
Last night we went to The Luggage Room, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Pasadena during the spring and summer. (I don't like sitting inside there particularly, so that is why I prefer it in spring and summer. My favorite thing about California is how much we get to eat outside.)
I like to sit at the long wooden tables on the patio and eat avocado pizza (with basil and lemon zest and sun-dried tomatoes ... it is DELICIOUS) and talk. :)
Every spring, Claire goes to the Kidspace Children's Museum with her dad and gets a Painted Lady caterpillar. Then she raises it, watches it turn into a chrysalis and then a butterfly, and releases it into our backyard when it's ready.
She named this year's caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly "Noodles". :)
One of Bob's clients (who has become a family friend) owns an equestrian center in Ventura County, and she very kindly paid one of her trainers to give Claire a riding lesson for her birthday.
We weren't wanting to make an investment in riding gear for the initial lesson, so our friend also borrowed riding pants for Claire (you can see from the pics they were too small for our tall 10-year-old, but they're stretchy and did the trick) and a helmet. Claire already owned the t-shirt. :)
We spent a very nice afternoon out at the center last Saturday, and horse-crazy Claire is now more (rather than less) horse crazy. :)
I rode when I was Claire's age, and I was so impressed with her lesson. Her trainer was so thorough. He taught her how to approach a horse (not timidly), how to walk around a horse (the instinct is to give the hindquarters a wide berth as you walk around behind a horse, but you need to keep your hand on his rump and stay in close so that if he does kick, it has no power), how to groom a horse, how to pick hooves, put on the bedding and saddle ... Claire was in heaven.
By the end of the lesson, he even had her trying to post to a trot. It was fantastic.
Bob and I are investigating riding lessons closer to home (there is much to consider), and Claire is holding her breath. :)
(I'm sorry for the poor-quality phone pics. I got there, turned on my good camera, and realized I'd left the battery plugged in and charging at home. I almost cried, I was so disappointed, but then I thought, don't be a baby.)
She loves her fourth grade teacher, Miss Free, who is also her auntie (my sister's husband's aunt).
She is learning to play the cello.
She is in advanced math (Bob's genes).
She misses her Grandpa B., Bob's father, who passed away two weeks ago. She dearly loves her Grandma B. (Bob's mom) and her Grandma and Grandpa B. (my parents) and is so blessed to live pretty close to all of them.
She is recently into watching old reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy.
She wears a retainer to spread her palette, and will be getting braces in a bit.
She takes good care of her guinea pig (Guinea Weasley) and her fish (Zip and Maggie).
She really wants to take horseback-riding lessons, and begs us for another dog or a baby sister.
She is alternately introspective, extroverted, goofy, blunt, giggly, shy, intense, emotional, thoughtful, determined, and FUN.
She is growing in her love of God and is working hard at making wise choices every day.
She loves her cousins, her school friends, her church friends, and her pen pals.
She never forgets a name.
She is warm-hearted, affectionate, and very relational.
She is full of wonder and excitement and a million IDEAS.
I cannot for the life of me remember if I have ever introduced you to Claire's guinea pig, Guinea Weasley. Claire got Guinea last August, and she is now an integral and quite beloved part of our family.
Guinea sounds the very loud Pig Alarm every morning and every evening when she is hungry. It sounds like this: Weeee weeeee weeee! You really can't miss it. She eats timothy hay, guinea pig food, and orange slices. Did you know guinea pigs need Vitamin C added to their diet or else they get scurvy? Yep. It's true. They are like humans in their inability to synthesize Vitamin C.
I didn't know a guinea pig was the same thing as a cavy until last summer.
I recognize the seeming caprice in welcoming this rodent into our home not long before we forced another one to leave. (Permanently.) (Snap.)
That's uneven hospitality, but you know how it goes: Guinea Weasley, yes! Scabbers, no!
Today I felt good again, and went a little nuts with the thrill of it.
First, I cleaned house and did laundry, big time.
Then after school, Claire and my niece and nephew and I grabbed some icecream. We visited a little and read a little, and experimented with gummy worms.
Then Claire and I went to a plant nursery and bought a few pink flowers to put in the lonely pots of dirt on the back patio. Mostly I just wanted to be outside around nature, and the nursery seemed like a good, gentle way to ease back into it.
Then we called Bob to see if he wanted to meet close to his work for an early dinner, and he did. So we sat outside and had guacamole and fajitas and wow, the weather is great outside.
To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment ... (JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit)
I turned 46 last Friday, which as you may recall was 11/11/11.
My sweet husband surprised me with a Hobbit-themed "elevenses" party at 11:00 a.m. If you are not familiar with "elevenses," it is the meal that the Hobbits eat between second breakfast and luncheon. (They call it "elevensies".)
It is a brief, healing pause in the crisis of the day. :)
Hobbits prefer to eat six times a day: Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper.
Bob had sent out funny Hobbit invitations, and gone to an English tearoom to buy some wonderful jams and drinks and sausage rolls. His mom and my mom helped him get set up, and he made scrambled eggs and cooked bangers (sausage) on the grill, and there were two types of bacon, and scones and REAL clotted cream, and he had decorated and had games for us to play ... riddles (Hobbits love riddles) and oh, it was so sweet I could hardly stand it.
Four of us there had just read The Hobbit this year, so that made it especially fun.
Long live elevenses, and Hobbits, and sweet husbands.
"'Never laugh at live dragons, Bilbo you fool!' he said to himself, and it became a favorite saying of his later, and passed into a proverb."
"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”