Friday, June 15, 2012

Play me a tune

Julia and August

We are now the proud owners of a piano. Emily has shown interest in wanting to play for a little while now. The older girls play violin and we were preparing for the youngest two to start those this year. Emily said she really would rather play piano. We had one problem, no piano.

I searched for a couple of months on Craigslist and Freecycle. There are many free pianos out there but finding one in acceptable condition is not as simple. Each time I sent a message to someone they informed me the instrument was already taken. We all prayed about it and just trusted that we would get one when the time was right.

We have learned that you can pretty much get any large item for free if you’re patient enough. People would rather give away something than try and move it or sell it. We’ve received many nice blessings this way. A king-sized-bed, hot tub, double BOB jogging stroller, wheelbarrow etc….. And so we waited.

Two weeks ago I finally received an answer to a free piano Craigslist Ad. There was no picture, which made me nervous. Adam stopped by the man’s house after work to check it out; he called me and said it looked perfect. It was older but looked nice inside. It is smaller, I don’t know much about pianos, but I believe it’s called a spinet piano.
This past weekend we were able to pick it up. It fit perfectly in our minivan after the seats were all removed. We are professional piano movers now, you know. *wink* I was a bit impressed with it when I saw it. It was much nicer than I had expected. I was told the brand was a good one too. I really know nothing about pianos, but this one is a Story & Clark.

The kids are all very excited. August and Kiley got right down to learning how to play themselves. They already know how to read music and have said the piano has been easy to learn. They have been nice enough to show their little sisters what they’ve learned so far. It still needs to be tuned, but sounds pretty good considering. We are very thankful for God’s blessing and Emily can’t wait to start lessons in a couple of months. I will now have three violinists and a pianist. I really enjoy listening to my children play music; I have always had this dream of my children playing Canon in D  for me on their instruments. I can't wait for that day. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photographers in the making

Kiley and August took a photography class this year through their 4-H club. They learned a lot about colors and subjects. They both have simple Kodak digital cameras. August is saving her money to buy a Canon SLR. We bought a refurbished one a few years ago for $400 less than the cost of a new one. We love our SLR, and haven’t had any problems with it.

Both girls submitted photographs to the County Fair this year. As you can see, the fair is kind of a big deal around here. It’s our 3rd year entering stuff. It’s great for the kids. They get to see their work displayed, they are rewarded for their hard work with ribbons and prizes and they get free entry to the fair. This year they are working at the fair 4 different days. 3 of those days they will be working at the 4-H Cake booth and the other day they are working a fine arts booth where kids can make projects and take them home. The make-it-and-take-it booth is another area where they can win something for 100% attendance. We think friendly competition is a good thing. They learn to work hard to achieve their desired prize. We also think volunteer work is very important. All of their “working” is unpaid and simply just to give of themselves and their time. It creates selflessness and teaches them more responsibility.

Oh, sorry, got off track, back to the photography. Here are the pictures they submitted. Please take into account they are still learning. I’m curious to see where they place in the judging. The last picture was not submitted to the fair simply because we didn’t realize it was on her camera. It’s my favorite. I like it so much; I’m planning on taking it to have it printed onto canvas so I can hang it in our home.
Kiley took this on her cell phone by accident. She wanted to submit it just for fun. I'm curious to see what she gets. She titled it, "Starburst" 
This is Augusts, rule of 3rds photo. She titled it, "Paradise Trio"

This is the blue jay that lives in our backyard. August had a hard time getting a close enough shot of him.  She titled it, "Blue Jay on the Fence"

And this is the one I fell in love with. August took this while we were driving on a windy day, through the hills. I want this printed on canvas.  Maybe she can submit it next year.

This weekend is going to be another busy one. Happy Fathers Day to the dads. =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This n' That

Time has been moving at an exorbitant pace. We finished school on May 18th. Since that day the girls have been rushing to finish their 4-H Record books. Record books are the documentation of all the things they did throughout the 4-H year. They are incredibly time consuming if the child does not keep up with it throughout the year. Of course, my children started out the year with the best of intentions, but never followed through. I swore last year we would not be sucked into the tiring stressful madness that is, Record-Book-at-the-last-minute; yet here we were! We had a bigger advantage than last year being that is was not our first year and we had some idea of what we were doing. Kiley and August participated in many more activities and events this year; their books contained far more than before. Their participation and areas of community service and leadership earned them several awards. Last year they only received a pin for their first year participation. This year, however, they received 7 different awards. They were very proud of their accomplishments, and of course the pins they are now showing off on their hats. The 4-H hat is part of the uniform and all awards (pins and patches) are affixed to the hats to show to others. This past weekend the girls participated in the town Rodeo Parade with their 4-H club. 

August, receiving her awards.

Kiley, receiving her awards.

Julia and Emily with their friend, waiting for the parade to begin

My mother-in-law got to hold the banner in the parade. Lucky her!

August and Kiley with their djembe drums.

The girls' best friend hurt her foot and has to wear a cast. Poor girl.

Once they were finished with their books they had to get all of their entries to the County Fair ready to submit. August planned on submitting her quilt. I wrote about her progress here. I am happy to say she did finish her quilt by working long, exhausting hours. She is sad to have to give it up for a month after she had just finished it though. I'm hoping she gets a nice blue ribbon for her efforts. 
The quilt before the quilting and binding.

The back

The final result.
All four girls submitted art/painting entries to the fair this year. Emily and Julia were so happy to be able to do things like their big sisters. They are hoping for ribbons as well. Three of the girls are going to be turning in a table setting for competition. August is doing a Cherry Blossom themed setting, Julia's will be based on the book, "Are You My Mother?" and Emily's will be based on the book, "velma gratch and the way cool butterfly". Those aren't due to be submitted until next week, so I'm sure you can guess what we are working on this week!?!

In other news, Adam and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary over the weekend. Usually we go away for the weekend, but we stayed around town and ended up working instead. The kids were all with Adam's parents so we still were able to go out to eat a couple of times and be alone for a few days. He has been remodeling a house for the past several months and he had the backyard left to landscape before the job is complete. We are all looking forward to this job being over so he can move along to the next job. I got to learn to lay sod, it was actually kinda fun, like working a puzzle. 

The yard after we weeded it but before the sod

And after, didn't I do a great job? My husband is the best teacher.

Emily and Julia are taking swim lessons for the first time. For this week and next they will learn how to not drown. We are setting up an above ground pool this summer, so these girls need to know how to swim. Plus, by six-years-old, it's just not cool to swim in a life jacket all the time. 

I have more but I'll save it for another post. This one is long enough. Have a fun week!

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