Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Going to see Santa Claus

One of our favorite family traditions is Coreen's annual visit to see Santa Claus at St. Clair Square. Coreen is 31 years old, spending her days in a wheelchair.
Some years when we've gone to visit Santa, she has not said a single word the whole time. This year was different. She talked excitedly the whole day.
"I am going to see Santa. It is crowded here. I'm hungry. I've been GOOD." It was such fun to hear her have so much to say.
Three of her nieces and nephews joined in the fun. Bree, Bella and Drew all joined in -- first lunching at Olga's -- then heading to center court to visit Santa.
Drew and Brianna jumped and danced as they waited in line. Coreen had a nice conversation with Santa. Isabella, who just turned one, was not happy meeting Santa at all. She started crying almost immediately. It was pretty funny to watch -- but not to poor Bella.
It was fun to spend time with some of the grandkids, and three of my grown kids. But the day belonged to Coreen. And it was a good day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Helpful hands - homeschoolers learn on the job

It was cold today. But not too cold for my four Tuesday homeschool helpers. They arrived in the morning and spent most of this frigid day outside, in the barn, working on the farm.
We started out by picking up a load of grain -- around 20 50-lb bags -- at Rural King. Michelle, Hannah, Jonathan (the birthday boy) and Kristie helped unload the bags of grain, and eventually fed the grain to the llamas and alpacas.
They caught Eagle Eye -- and we spent part of the time beginning her halter training. She wasn't happy with the plan. She leaped and twirled, sort of like a ballerina who just got a jolt of electricity. She even made a feeble attempt to spit on us. It was pretty funny. Little sputtt, sputt, spit! What a riot.
We had a load of hay delivered from Jeff and Frank. It was carefully placed inside the barn to be used over these next cold winter days. I also put out three big round bales for the three groups in my barn -- the big boy herd, the little boy herd -- and the girls/babies.
We had a delicious lunch of spaghetti, provided by Becky in honor of Jonathan's birthday. It warmed the tummy and heart.
We loaded four cans filled with fertilizer -- to be used in the spring on local gardens.
My homeschool helpers are such a great addition to this farm. My barn has never looked so good -- when Michelle took it upon herself to sweep/move all that loose hay from the middle of the barn into nice, organized spots inside the herd areas. Wow. It is impressive.
In the photos: Some of the critters by the big round bale; Eagle Eye gets some lead training; Jonathan is in charge of keeping the brake on the truck -- as Jeff unloads a big bale.
Thank you to my helpers -- you made a cold winter day a productive day of fun and learning at the farm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"L" is for Llama

So the phone rang last week. It was my favorite 4-year-old farm helper, my grandson Andrew. "Grammy, we're talking about the letter 'L' at school. Will you bring a llama to school?"
Who could resist such a sweet request?
So today, Ben and I loaded up Vision and Pebbles, two wonderful public relations llamas, and headed for the Chesterfield Presbyterian Church Preschool. We got some help when we arrived from my great farm helpers -- Jonathan, Michelle and Kristie.
It was barely 30 degrees -- so they let us bring the llamas into the school building.
My grandson was both shy and proud. He came up and held tight to Vision's rope -- and stood up front while we told the preschoolers all about llamas. They all had a chance to come up and pet the llamas, if they wanted -- and everyone left with a small bag of fleece and a coloring page.
We even donated a copy of "Is Your Mama a Llama?" to the school and read the story to the kids. They knew most of the rhymes already. Their teacher mentioned that they had recently read "Llama, Llama Red Pajama" another good llama book.
Of course, my all time favorite is "55 Grandmas and a Llama."
It was such a good day . And "L" is definitely for LLAMA!