Monday, April 17, 2017

Delivering the Silver

Now that the girls completed their Silver Award projects, we're starting the really fun part of the process. We're delivering the items to different organizations.

Since the girls all had Good Friday and Easter Monday off school, I set-up some appointments to deliver projects. On Good Friday we visited two animal shelters to drop off the dog and cat toys. We were able to spend quite a bit of time touring PAWS, a no-kill animal shelter. The tour was supposed to take about 1/2 hour. We left the building about 90 minutes after we entered. The volunteers were wonderful with the girls. They talked to them about their Silver Award projects. They talked to them about the importance of volunteering. They took us on an extensive tour of their facility. The girls were happy to talk to the volunteers about shelter programs.

Today the brunette twin and her friend, Brynn, went to deliver comfort dolls to a local police department. The police chief asked a lot of questions about the comfort dolls. We talked to him for a bit when he heard his officers in the hallway. He brought them into his office to tell them about the comfort dolls. The girls and the officers took photos. The chief told them how wonderful it was that the troop created the comfort dolls. As we left, the brunette twin said, "That was so cool."

It's what I hoped would happen as we delivered the projects. I took the whole troop to the animal shelters as they are all interested in helping animals. When we went to the police department, I only took two girls as I thought it would be a quick, "in and out" kind of visit. The extra attention really helped the girls understand the ways their community service would help others.

We have a couple of other deliveries to schedule. This is the best part of the Silver Award process. As they worked on their projects, I stressed that they were really making a difference. Now that they hear it from others, they understand what I meant.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A different kind of Easter shoes

When the girls were little I couldn't wait to dress them for Easter. They always wore cute dresses and shoes. Sometimes they wore hats, but usually they just carried them. Now that they are teenagers, the cute Easter dresses are just a memory.

We were supposed to host Easter brunch for my side of the family. It was our turn so we sat down to write out our menu last week. The girls made plans to set the table, as it the tradition when we have anyone here for a meal. The girls create the tablescape. I am hardly even involved in that process.

I was driving to get my allergy shots when my brother Steve phoned. I'm always surprised when the phone rings in our new car. The sound of a phone ringing via the car speakers still startles me. Steve asked if we started buying food for Easter yet. I reminded him that we were making brunch, so it wasn't like we needed to do a lot of advance shopping. He said, "Ok, good. This is going to sound crazy, but what do you think about going bowling on Easter?" He explained that his family was at a local bowling alley and saw posters advertising their Easter brunch. It sounded like fun, so I said, "We're in."

We met at the restaurant attached to the bowling alley at 3:00 p.m. Easter. The food was very good. We sat and ate and talked for a while. When we were done, we walked next door to get ready to bowl.

It was so much fun. The girls bowled with their cousins on two lanes. The adults bowled on another lane. Grammie sat in the middle, in the front seat, watching it all. We laughed and bowled and trash talked.

When our time was up, I said, "Same time next year?" We all agreed that it was a great way to celebrate Easter. It was a bit nontraditional in that we were not sitting at a dining room table, but we were all together making fun memories. I hope it's our new Easter tradition.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What cousins are for

The girls giggled as they sat at the dinner table taking about the nights when their cousins babysat. They spilled their deepest secrets as they watched our reactions.

They used to go to bed as we pulled into the driveway. They pretended to be asleep when we checked on them.

They didn't eat their fruit or their vegetables. Their cousins used to eat them instead.

They ate too much candy and drank too much pop.

They watched TV shows we wouldn't normally let them watch.

They laughed and laughed and laughed as they told stories about different things they did with their cousins. They waited for us to get mad about what they did with their older cousins.

We just smiled. The girls forget that we were once the older cousins letting our younger cousins get away with everything. It's a rite of passage that they won't understand as they will always be the youngest cousins on both sides. Soon enough, though, their older cousins will start having babies. Once that starts happening, I'd bet they will be happy to spoil those kids by letting them stay up late and eat too much candy. If they don't continue the tradition, who will teach those children how to spoil the next generation?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Metal mouths

The dentist brought me back after the semi-annual cleaning to talk about the brunette twin's front teeth. She noted that the teeth pointed down and in, as if pointing towards her bottom gum. She also showed how the brunette twin's teeth didn't quite line up properly so her bite was off slightly.

We had previously talked another dentist about the brunette twin's teeth. She didn't think that the brunette twin really needed braces. This dentist agreed that the brunette twin might be fine without braces, but she suggested that we have an orthodontic consultation talk about whether or not the bite was a concern.

The orthodontist said we could wait and see what happens because her jaw might shift until she finishes growing. At 5' 8", we were rather hoping that she was about done growing. We talked about what might happen if we didn't get the braces from clicking teeth to adult jaw pain. We decided to get the braces as a preventative measure.

Today the brunette twin joined her sister in the middle school braces club. She is happy and nervous at the same time. She is gloating because she will only need braces for about a year, while the blond twin has at least a three year stint. They sat discussing how to take care of their braces and whether or not they can eat popcorn. For the record, we said no popcorn. We're not only the mean parents, we're also the people paying for their braces, so we make the final decisions.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tough horse love

Overheard at the barn...

Momma:  "What did I miss?"

Brunette Twin:  "Hampton tried to throw me. He keeps trying to buck me off."

Momma:  "You didn't let him throw you, did you?"

Brunette Twin:  "No, I stayed on. He tried to run me into the wall."

Momma: "You need to take control of that horse. We did not pay for years and years of lessons to have you bucked off. Stay in the saddle."

Brunette Twin: "I'm trying Momma."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Silver achievement

The highest award a Cadette Girl Scout can earn is the Silver Award. It's a community service project designed to create a sustainable outcome. The girls have to finish it before they move from Cadette to Senior scouts. They can work as individuals or small groups.

Our seventh grade girls were just beginning to talk about Silver Award projects. We had interest in creating toys for shelter dogs and cats. Two girls were still thinking about what they wanted to do when I attended a Girl Scout troop leaders' meeting.

The meeting was nearly complete when the Service Unit manager announced that a local Kiwanis chapter was looking to partner with a troop for a community service project making comfort dolls. These soft dolls are given out to children in emergency situations.

I brought the idea to the next troop meeting. The girls liked the idea, and it brought the Silver Award projects together. The only problem was the Kiwanis chapter wanted to complete the dolls before we had time. We talked about it as a troop and decided to move forward.

The girls worked hard to get ready for their Silver Award projects. They gathered donated items. The dogs toys required piles of denim strips. The cat toys required hundreds of yarn pieces. The comfort dolls required the forms be cut and sewed. There were many work sessions at our house and others. They worked and laughed and worked and laughed.

Today we held a Silver Award community service day at a local community center. We had two table for each project. The girls created instructions for each project that they shared with volunteers. They were gracious hostesses and patient teachers. They closed their four hour event with hundreds of completed projects.

The hard part is done and now the real fun begins. We get to deliver the donations to local police departments and animal shelters. It's really the part I'm most excited to share with the girls. I want them to see that with some creative effort they can make a big difference in a lot of human and animal lives for not much money. If they can learn that lesson, then earning their Silver Award will be a bonus.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Words describing the brunette twin

The girls had class assignment to write something nice about each student, which resulted in some interesting word choices and discussions. How many times could they say students in their class were smart or funny or nice?

We didn't know that they girls would bring home the words their fellow students used to describe them. They casually tossed the papers on the dining room table. I picked up the pages before Daddy came home and just beamed. I know the assignment was to say something nice, and the words their classmates used made me so proud.

These are the single words students used to describe the brunette twin. If there is an asterisk near the word, it means that more than one student used it.

Chill (calm)

Some students had trouble describing her in one word. The phrases include:

Good at basketball*
Nice to everyone
Great horseback rider
Kind always
Pretty hair
Harry Potter expert
You always make me laugh

The papers are hanging on the refrigerator, so we get to see them every time we are in the kitchen. It's a good reminder that we are raising wonderful girls.