Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Muscles

After showing Natalia our scrapbooks the other day, Clayton kept commenting on how "fat" he was as a baby (his birth page includes a picture of his 9 lb. 9 oz. self being held up by the nurse next to the 5 lb. baby across the hall,) and that he's still fat. We've been talking a lot about how he's not fat, but is strong and has big muscles. A few nights ago at dinner, Connor suddenly flexed his arms and announced, "Muscles. Big Muscles." We tried to recreate it with this video, but it's never as cute as the original!

Clayton Caught a Clam!

I thought you were supposed to dig for these things on the beach. Clayton actually hooked one while we were fishing. While I was helping Caroline un-snag her line, Clayton announced that he'd caught something. It looked like he was snagged, too, but I told him to keep reeling while I finished getting Caroline's loose. Clayton reeled that heavy mollusk right up out of the water. After a few seconds, we watched it let go ever so slightly and drop to the ground. Who knew clams ate corn? It's been interesting to watch it filter dirt, sand and other lake gunk in it's cozy bowl of water in the refrigerator. We're working up the guts to steam and eat it with some butter, olive oil & garlic!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We are hosting an exchange student from Spain for 2 1/2 weeks. We have just 5 days left with her (sadly) and have just been having a blast! Caroline loves having a "big sister" and Connor walks around the house calling for "Tah-ee!" to come and play. Clayton likes her, but doesn't seem as attached as the other two. But she won his shy little self over pretty quickly the first day (not an easy task with that boy!) I must say, I was a little nervous about how an only child from another country would handle being in a home with three small children, but she has jumped in like it's the most natural thing in the world.

She has more experience with horses than I do, and we took her for a ride in the forest near our home. Partway through the ride, she ended up on my very spirited Paso Fino (with me on her very gentle quarter horse), demonstrated some amazing horsewomanship and very calmy & comfortable finished the ride with that horse doing exactly what he was supposed to. I guess I need more practice!!!

Part of me is really sad we didn't opt for the 5 week gig. But, in all fairness to Natalia, she probably will enjoy being in town with other kids her own age - not so secluded in the country! Here's a peek at some of the fun we've had with her here!

Connor and "Tah-ee" playing with the Playmobil.

Natalia is so patient and takes the time to play with the kids. She is becoming more and more comfortable around them, and they love her to bits!

Caroline, enjoying some quality girl time with her "big sister".

We took Natalia to the rodeo on Independance Day. Lucky her, she got to sit next to a real rodeo princess during the entire rodeo! She also snuggled with a little cowboy for part of the time.

The kids ages 5-10 were invited into the arena to chase calves and try to get a ribbon tied to their tail to exchange for a prize. After the run, Caroline ended up exiting on the wrong side of the arena. After I was unable to find her, I flagged down the bull fighter, who notified the announcer. Natalia said that she was very embarrased to hear her "sister's" name called over the loudspeaker in an attempt to locate her and get us back together. It made me laugh that she had a reaction that typical of a teenager in response to the antics of a younger sibling.

As you can see, there were three very sleepy children by the time the rodeo ended. Natalia was wide awake and loved it! She thinks it's more fun to watch than a bull fight.

Watching the 4th of July Parade in Crawford, NE. We busted out the Cricut machine a couple of days before the 4th, and I let Natalia design herself a shirt for the holiday. She loves horses, and I think she did a marvelous job creating a cute shirt to wear! Unfortunately, it doesn't show up in the photos!