Archive | May 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend we had a little drama in the sheep pen!  On Thursday my mom and I went out to walk Domino and visit the chickens BUT Domino was not there! We asked different friends but no one knew where he was. My mom thought maybe his tag got switched and she did not recognize him anymore so she texted some FFA friends. They did not know where he was. She waited until Friday morning before she wrote to Mr. Andres and Mr. Venier. They did not know either but they would look. Soon they found him out in the big field! I don’t know how he got there but we were so happy because he was lost and then he was found! Everyday this weekend we went out to the Ag. Center but each time, we found the gate locked! My mom did not know that it is okay to climb the fence or walk around so we missed seeing Domino until today. I was very happy to see him but I don’t know if he was very happy to see me—I had to pull him along for the walk. He kept wanting to eat grass and my mom kept saying, `Mathalia, you have to show him that you are in charge; tell him it is time for a walk and later he can eat.’ Well, I did that a little bit but I also let him do what he wanted to do: eat grass.
On Friday I picked up my yearbook and brought it home to show my mom. We sat on the sofa and read it together. It was fun to look at all the pictures and remember my very fun Senior Year. I remembered Spirit Week! My mom remembered that I had two Spirit Weeks—one by myself; one with friends: I was Eliza Doolittle and Dustin Henry Higgins; I wore pink as a Senior; I wore Blue and Gold because I am an Eagle! I remembered Halloween and my Snow White costume; I remembered that I forgot to wear black on our Orchestra photo day. My mom says that it is okay—`you don’t look as sharp and professional as you do when you have a concert but we will always laugh because you forgot to wear black on that day.’ It is funny. I remembered Prom with Ian and that we were `Cutest Couple’ last year. My mom asked me if I was sad to be a Senior and to be graduating. No, I am not sad; I am happy. I am excited to graduate and start my Adult Life. My mom said that it is a little `bittersweet’ which I really do not understand but she said it is very nice to have the yearbook because I can look at it and remember my years at Big Sky High School. Yes! And I want all my friends to sign my yearbook—it will be fun the last week of classes to ask them to do that for me. 
On Saturday I got up early and went swimming. I called my mom and she picked me up from Splash Montana. We drove to the Ag. Center so that we could take Domino for a walk and visit the chickens. But the gate was locked. We were very disappointed. Then we went to Walmart and bought some new notebooks. I needed a new notebook for sermon notes and my mom wanted me to get a notebook for my adult life. She said that I can keep track of things in my adult life:  things like my choices, decisions, goals and accomplishments; and special things that happen to me—gifts from God as she likes to say. There were many different kinds of notebooks; I chose one with `Trust in the Lord’ on the cover. ``Trust in the Lord’ is perfect for every day of the rest of my life; and for every day of your life since day one,’ said my mom. 
Early Saturday morning swim at Splash.

Early Saturday morning swim at Splash.

After shopping and lunch we worked on my Creative Writing notebook:  cutting and pasting and putting my stories and poems into the two books: one for me and one to keep in the classroom for the students who will take the class next year. In the evening we relaxed and watched Downton Abbey. I left early because I was tired and wanted to go to bed.
Creative Writing notebook.

Creative Writing notebook.

On Sunday we left for church a little early so that we could check on the gate at the Ag. Center: it was locked. After church we checked again:  still locked. We were very disappointed!  After a quick lunch, we got right to work on my Creative Writing Notebook. We worked for 3 hours and then my mom took a little nap. After a little while, I decided to take a nap too. After the nap we were back at work on my Creative Writing notebook. After supper, I read my yearbook again.  
Locked gate all weekend.

Locked gate all weekend.

On Monday, I got up early and practiced my violin. My mom said that I could choose the songs to work on because I don’t have any more concerts at Big Sky. I chose Minuet 3, Amazing Grace, and For the Beauty of the Earth. After practicing, we were working on my Creative Writing Notebook; this time I had to type the title page and the table of contents. I tried to be quick because I wanted to work on my blog but we finished just in time to go to grandma and grandpa’s house for grilled hamburgers, strawberries and ice cream and games. It was fun—my grandpa was extra specially nice to me because when he `mugginsed’ me, he did not give me a card and take away my turn but he made me stop, look and think about how I should play my card. My mom said this was being generous. While we were working on puzzles, he had to keep reminding me to pay attention; he thought I was falling asleep. On the way home, I asked my mom if we could go check on Domino. So we drove out to the Ag. Center yet again; and still the gate was locked; then we drove around the back and found another gate with a note about not bothering the important research going on so we gave up. At home my mom suggested that I take a nap. Well, okay I went in to lie down but I played a trick on her and took my year book with me . . . and that was the end of any successful nap, said my mom.  
I am excited about my last days of high school. Today was a Blue day; Wednesday is a Gold Day and Thursday is a Blue Day with a very special assembly for Seniors. It will be a fun day! Graduation is on Saturday. This weekend, I was thinking about all the special people who are coming to watch me graduate and I was very thankful and excited: mom and dad; grandma and grandpa; Uncle Jeff; Uncle Jonathan, Aunt Laura, Schyler, Olivia, and Bremen!
Photos of chickens, just for fun:
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Last `Ordinary’ Week

This week is my last ordinary week before I graduate so I am pretty excited and grateful for all the interesting experiences I had in High School. At Big Sky we only have 4 classes a day, not 8 as they do at Hellgate.  That is why we have Blue Days (periods 1-4) and Gold Days (periods 5-8).

Today was a Blue Day which means that I had Painting Class the first thing in the morning. I took Art all four years which was really fun. My para-teacher, Mark, says that I have a distinct style and that he could recognize a `Stroethoff’ anywhere.  Mostly I like to draw.  I draw most of the cards that I send to people like Birthday Cards or Get Well Soon cards.  This semester we painted a picture of ourselves and we took them to the library for a little display.  Today I brought home some of my work from the semester and I brought home some of the supplies we used during the year. We have done this at the end of every year but this year is different because I am a Senior. Next year I will not be taking Art Classes. My mom says that does not mean I am finished with Art because I can enjoy drawing and painting my whole Adult life and maybe even ceramics and sculpture if I really miss it.

After Painting Class, I have English Class on Blue Days. On Tuesday this week my mom visited English class because she wanted to see how I was doing and how she could continue to help me with my reading next year in my adult life. My reading teacher is Connie and Mikayla is my peer tutor. My mom was very happy to see how hard they make me work on my reading and my thinking as I answer the questions. Connie and Mikayla do not give me the answers; they wait for me to figure it out on my own.  My mom said that she wants to follow in their footsteps next year. Connie said that it is good to read a little bit everyday. Then Mrs. Huffman came to get me for Speech Therapy and my mom wanted to watch us work on the iPAD. First I put the words in the right order for a nice sentence and then I read the sentence out loud. I spoke loudly and clearly and then we played it back so I could hear myself.  At first I couldn’t hear myself very well but Mrs. Huffman told me to use my big voice and then I tried again and spoke in my big voice. She said, `good job, Mathalia’ and I could hear myself better in the recording too.  It was fun! My mom thought that this would be a good thing to work on in my adult life too.

After English and Speech Therapy, I have lunch and then after that I have Culinary Arts which is one of my favorite classes.  My sophomore year I took Culinary Arts 1 twice because it was so much fun and because I learned so many helpful skills. This semester I am taking Culinary 2 which is a lot of fun. Last week when my mom came to visit we made fried rice. I chopped the meat and the peppers.  I also helped with cooking and with cleaning up. Then we all shared our fried rice. My mom thought it was delicious and wants me to make it again at home as part of the things I will learn for my adult life.  Sure!  No problem! In Culinary Arts 2 we have also made pie crusts, soups and breads.  I like helping with measuring, chopping vegetables, washing, drying and putting away the clean dishes and the dirty towels.

After Culinary Arts I have Voc Prep 2 or I take the Ag Ed bus to Dillards and then I walk to the bus stop and go to Prudential on Tuesdays and The Writing Center on Fridays. On Tuesday I worked at Prudential. There were no bills but I helped prepare Sales and Listing Files. I had to make lots of copies. My mom was impressed that I can make two-sided copies and that I remember all the code numbers.  Of course! I know what I am doing, silly mom!

Tomorrow is a Gold Day which means that I have Orchestra, Creative Writing, Lunch, Ag Ed. and Voc Prep 2. Tomorrow in Orchestra we will be celebrating a very successful Final Spring and Award Concert. Our Concert was Wednesday night and we played Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 by Beethoven or The King’s Speech, Symphony No.1 second movement by Mahler and Jupiter Theme from `The Planets’ by Holst. Mrs. Haarvig gave out awards for District:  I got one Award for my Solo and one Award for my Duet with David.  David will receive his Award on Friday because he could not come to the Concert. I missed him very much. She gave all the Orchestra friends their Awards and then she gave me a yellow rose because I am a Senior and will be graduating. My mom says that it was a Gold rose because Orchestra has always been on Gold Days and that Gold Days are special because I like Orchestra so much. Then we showed my slide show—the one my friend Rachel helped me make. It was fun! We played some more music and then it was all done. I am afraid that I must report that my mom was being a little silly during the concert. I wanted to tell her that it will be okay. We will figure out new and different ways for me to enjoy playing my violin.

Orchestra Class with Mrs. Haarvig.

Orchestra Class with Mrs. Haarvig.

After Orchestra on Gold Days, I have Creative Writing. In August my mom made a list of classes that I could take and I chose Creative Writing and I am so glad that I did. We read lots of poetry and short stories and I wrote many poems and a story this year. Our last assignment is to make two handmade books with our favorite stories and poems from the whole year. We have to make two books exactly the same:  one for us to take home and the other one for our teacher Lorilee.  My mom and I worked on my book last weekend and we are going to work on it again over Memorial Day Weekend. It is a big project. Wednesday night—right before the concert we had an Aerie Reading. They did not read my short story `Just Before Spring on My Street’ but I know that it will be published in Aerie Big Sky. My mom ordered two copies because she is so proud of me.   This is one of the first poems that I wrote this Fall:

My Violin is

by Mathalia Stroethoff

A vintage voyage, an old journey

Symphony recital Orchestra concert,

trip Beethoven, Mozart, Bach

Practice and Practice and Practice

to wonder worlds sing in my ear and soul.

Row bridge boat over quiet whisper water

paddle rhythm until beaching in another land.

After Creative Writing, we have lunch break. I usually like to take hot lunch but sometimes they serve something that I don’t like.  On those days I take a cold lunch. On the first day of every month I ask Wendy for the Hot Lunch Menu for that month.  I take a copy home and decide which days I want to take hot lunch and which days I want to take cold lunch. I write this on my calendar. I pack my own cold lunches so my mom doesn’t need to think about it at all. I always bring my own water bottle because I always say `no thank you’ to juice, milk or pop because they cause me to get more congested and then my left eye starts to bother me which is rather unpleasant. I hang out with teacher Mark and other friends during the lunch hour in the cafeteria

After lunch on Gold Days, I change into my Ag. Ed. clothes and take a bus out to the Ag Center Farm.  In the Fall my teacher was Mr. Andres and we studied Animal Science.  One assignment was that I had to cook supper and bring in a little in a plastic bag to show Mr. Andres that I really did cook with meat.  He wanted us to know where our food comes from. I don’t think he knew that we have friends in Eastern Montana who give us real grass-fed beef.  Yum! I also gave a pig a shot in this class! It was fun! In the Spring I studied Plant Science with Mr. Venier. We planted seeds in January and now I have beautiful tomato plants; well, they are not so beautiful anymore since we brought them home. I hope we can figure out how to take good care of them.  My mom is not as good as Mr. Venier is with growing plants. How do you like the beautiful geraniums he and the students grew in the greenhouse?

After Ag. Ed. I change back into my nice school clothes and get ready for Voc. Prep 2 or I go to work. Tomorrow I will stay at school and work at Eagle’s Nest Thrift Store. Then I will ride the school bus home which will be very nice because it is not very often that I ride the bus home anymore because I am so busy. My mom says that I will miss the school bus next year. Yes, maybe I will miss it but for now I am excited about graduation and the start of my adult life:  two more Gold Days and two more Blue Days and one day to practice and then GRADUATION! I am so excited!

Chicken Coop Drama

I can’t remember if I told all of you that after Spring Break, I bought 8 baby chicks from Murdoch’s.  They were doing very well at the Ag. Center until it got so very cold and snowy in April. My friend Lucas brought them over to his house to keep them warm and protected so I did not see my chicks for about two weeks. My mom was very worried about my not seeing them and holding them for so long. We had been going out to the Ag Center whenever we had some free time so that I could `talk to the chickens’ but we couldn’t visit them when they were staying at Lucas’ house.

So here comes the drama in the chicken coop part of my story—-I really do not think it is a very big deal at all but my mom is still telling this story to friends and she is still giving thanks about it every time she thinks about it or we visit the chicken coop . . . and this story is almost three weeks old! I would think that she would have forgotten about it by now but `No’ not my mom. She will find any excuse to give thanks.

So anyway this is the story: Sunday after church my mom suggested that we check to see if my chicks were back at the Ag Center. Okay; that was fine with me even though we were still in our church clothes. My mom came out of the coop to tell me, `Yes, your chicks are back Mathalia! Do you want to see them?’ I don’t even know if I answered that question or not but the next thing I knew she was pulling me into the chicken coop and there were big chickens everywhere and they were pecking at my church boots and I didn’t like that at all! My mom says I was scared but I was being very brave standing in the corner.  It was the chickens who were being crazy, pecking at my boots and fluttering around me flying up and down from the baby chick box and the baby duck box. She thought I was `freaking out’ but I thought she was the one `freaking out’ when she started to smell smoke from the lamp that had gotten knocked down into the sawdust. She turned off the lights so it was dark in the coop and she stopped trying to get me to hold a chick. But then she she wanted me to get out of the coop fast but I was being careful of the big chickens and I didn’t want to step on them and I didn’t want them to step on my boots so I was not fast enough to make her happy. She was shooing the big chickens back into the coop and she was shooing me out of the coop.  I did not like all this shooing but finally there was a path clear with no bothersome chickens so I could get out of the chicken coop.  My mom closed the door and stayed in there for a long time and I just waited outside wiping off my boots from all the chickens peeking at them. I don’t know exactly what she was doing in there for so long but maybe it had something to do with the little duck that was trying to get out of his box and got stuck in the hole; or maybe it had something to do with the heat lamp that had fallen down into the sawdust; or maybe it had something to do with her phone call to Lucas about burnt sawdust in the little chick box.  I really don’t know why she was in there so long but I do know that when she came out of the chicken coop, she giving thanks big time. Funny mom.

So that is the chicken coop drama.  Since then our visits have been fairly calm except for the time when a chicken got out of the coop and was fluttering around the barn and got under the porch and my mom couldn’t catch him very easily.  She used a piece of wood and got him out from under the porch so she could chase after him better. He was flying around a little so it was sort of funny for me to watch her try to catch the chicken. Finally she did. And she laughed and said, `Oh the crazy things I do like run after fluttering baby chicks just to give you new experiences, Mathalia!.’

So now my chicks are getting bigger and they don’t need a special heat lamp any more and they live with the bigger chickens.  The green nail polish has worn off their feet so we need to repaint their toes sometime. We still know which ones are mine because they are the smallest ones in the coop. I am enjoying the chickens. For whatever reason—maybe just for me—there is a folding chair in the coop so my mom opens it up for me and I sit down and she scoops up a chicken for me to hold in my lap.  Sometimes they even fly up on their own to say `Hi’ to me.  One time I had a chicken walking on my back. My mom thinks I got scared but really I was being very brave.

Prom Weekend!

On Friday we had all team practice at the Grizzly Pool. We played games in the water and then we had silly dress-up with Missoula Aquatic Club t-shirts and anything green. I wore a green necklace. It was fun! Then we had the banquet with lots of pizza and salads. I ate one piece of pizza and then Coach Dave started talking about the team. He came to the part about recognizing the Seniors on the team—this year that was me and only me! So I got to show the slide show that I made with my mom and my friend Rachel. Everyone liked to see my baby pictures and my silly sibling pictures. I will try to put it on my blog so that you can see it too! Then Coach Ellen talked about me and said very nice things and she told funny stories about me:  when I was little I used to `forget’ to say `Hi’ to Ellen after she said `Hi’ to me.  I was just teasing her. I also used to tease Coach Jake by switching lanes in the pool: he did not know that it was me who was messing with his counting! I also used get disqualified in my breaststroke races when I would wave to my friends who were cheering for me at the side of the pool; this would mess with my mom a little who was an official.  Anyway, she said lots of nice things about me and then the captains said lots of nice things about me and they gave me a really cool team picture that everyone had signed:  Congratulations, Mathalia!  Good Luck, Mathalia!  I will miss you, Mathalia!  Keep swimming, Mathalia!
Saturday morning was very normal with swim practice and paperwork and laundry after that. Then we made a quick trip out to the FFA Farm to see my chickens and baby lamb (the subject of my next post). Well, it was not as quick as it should have been—I think my mom was having too much fun that she lost track of the time because when we got back home, I had to rush rush rush to get ready for Prom:  take a bath, blow dry my hair, curl my hair, put on a little make-up, put on my dress and necklace, prepare my purse. Whew! We were only a few minutes late meeting friends. Ashley, Dustin and I sat at one table and our moms sat at the other table. I ate pork teriyaki and we had wontons for an appetizer. At the end of our meal we shared our fortune from our cookies and then we gave each other our flowers.  We had plenty of time to take pictures down by the river, the fish sculpture and the bike sculpture. It was fun to see friends in their pretty dresses and get ready for The Grand March.
Prom was really fun:  we took silly pictures in a booth with friends; we wore silly Zoo hats; and we danced the night away.  At first I was a little shy but after that I never wanted to stop dancing. Lots of people left early but we stayed until the very last song!
Sunday morning I got up at 8:00 just as my mom was leaving for church!  Yikes!  I said, `I want church.’  `Well, you slept in,’ said my mom, `because you were so tired from a late Prom night; it would be okay to skip church this morning.’ `No, I want church!’  Then my mom smiled and grabbed a piece of paper and was excited about `the opportunity to learn’ to make an adult decision:  I had to decide what I wanted to do:  do I skip breakfast and get dressed really fast?  Well, I don’t like to skip breakfast but I don’t like to skip church either. We were able to figure it out: get dressed really fast and eat a little something in the car on the way to church.  My mom was so nice to help me pack up a little food while I got dressed. We were only a little late which is a lot better than skipping church!
Next week, I won’t be so tired and I will get up on time and have breakfast as usual before we go to church. After church we went to grandma and grandpa’s house for taco salad and strawberries.Yum! Then we played Muggins.  I got `mugginsed’ a lot because I wasn’t paying attention and because it had been a long time since we had played together.  Then my mom and I went out to see the animals–see my next blog for more details.  At home I worked on my calendar and got ready for my school week:  6 more Gold Days and 6 more Blue Days and then Graduation!