Sunday, May 22, 2011

Raina bikes!

Raina has been working on riding a bike for quite a while. She first got her bike from Gary and LaVerne's neighbors in the spring of 2009. We fit it with training wheels anticipating she could figure biking out in no time. She was a bit hesitant at first, but pretty soon she was quite happy to ride on her bike although she had a major preference to lean on one of the training wheels which effectively made it a tricycle.

Two years later we got frustrated with the training wheels and pulled them off. We took Raina to the Ross school parking lot and tried to teach her to ride. No luck, Raina struggled to balance and was generally scared to ride on her own. However it had become the standard this spring for Raina and Lola to come home from school and play outside. The most common activity was for Raina to ride her bike around the driveway and for Lola to scoot around on her big wheel (legs are a tad short to reach the pedals). With the training wheels off, Raina was forced to ride unassisted. Really what this meant was that she sat on the bike and walked it around. The space is too small to really ride a bike. But after a week or so, she showed that she could glide for a few seconds. It was time to go to the Ross again.

She waddled her bike up to the lot and positioned for her first run. She kicked the ground a couple times to give herself a little speed (just like on our driveway) and stepped on the pedals reeling off 5 pedal strokes before needing to steady herself. After 3 or 4 more times like that she was off and away biking around the whole parking lot without stopping! Raina wished her mom could see it - which was a wish I was able to grant with my trusty rusty cell phone. Even more I was able to catch Krystal walking onto the playground . . . I'll try to post the video later, it is taking forever!!

Next up: bike around Creve Coeur Lake Park!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rebecca, our newest tree!

Eric and I moved into Casa de Whompton nine years ago in late March, and we received two free trees at Earth Day.  We planted and named both and waited excitedly for our trees to thrive.  Fred, the American Sycamore, has grown almost as tall as the oaks and maples nearby; we love him dearly.  Raina said this morning, "Mom, sometimes I go over and gently give Fred a hug."  Me too, Raina, me too.

Ed, the White Ash tree, is not a success story.  He was mown over by the lawn-mower man.  So was Red, the Redbud, and the next Redbud tree we planted.  (Planting trees that look like little sticks was not a hugely successful formula.)  However, the second redbud survived its lawnmower attack -- now it has three bases rather than one central -- and we learned from the previous setbacks and implemented a new strategy.

The newest tree, our Swamp Oak, is surrounded by mulch and a tomato cage.  (I believe the tomato cage to be the secret.)  The girls and I have diligently watered it every day and hoped and hoped and hoped that it would take to its new home.  I'm excited to report that it has grown an inch and sprouted seven leaves!  Raina is logging its growth and it seemed only fitting that she get to name the new tree.  Her initial suggestion of "Water" was a poor choice but she thought long before coming up with the winner of "Rebecca."  Here's hoping that Rebecca thrives next to our swamp and that she has a long happy life with us.

Lola has a sweet side.

Each afternoon at daycare, Lola helps tuck in one of her friends.  She walks over to his cot, gives him his lovey, covers him up with a blanket, pats his back, and reads a book to him.  For all the anger management issues she has as a two years-old, she also has a very big heart.