Friday, June 29, 2012

it's that time of year...

Every year at this time the kids are in desperate need of new running shoes.  They have started running with Mike a few times a week, and now they have the duds for it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jackson Hole

Mike and I had been waiting for the kids to all be old enough to go whitewater rafting.  They are now the perfect ages.  We went with some of our favorite people:  Sean, Julie, Courtney and Katie.

Jessica was not quite as excited about getting wet as the rest of us. 

Once we got going, our guide let the kids take turns sitting on the front of the raft.  They all took turns and got smashed with water.  Surprisingly they didn't fall off.

A few people got pushed in.  Here, Mike and Sean are pulling Drew in after he was pushed in.

The best part was at the "lunch counter rapids."  Julie and one of our guides fell out the one side.  Drew was so busy watching them that he didn't attend to staying in the raft himself.  We were all watching Julie and then we realized that Drew was floating away from the raft on the other side.

Much to his disappointment, at the beginning, Christian wasn't given a paddle.  As soon as the kids started moving to the front of the raft, he got a paddle and worked it.

It was such an adventure.

We also had some fun at the pool.

Bev tried to get some reading done for a big book report that was due.

Chicken fights are par for the course.

My kids love having such willing cousins to play with.

More chicken fights.

and some water acrobatics.

We went into Jackson Hole to see the town square.  We watched a staged gun fight.

We also watched all of the squirrels in the town square.  

That was fun until we found this little guy that was really sick.  He couldn't walk--my unprofessional diagnosis was either some sort of back or leg injury or something neurological.

We (me and the kids, while Mike rolled his eyes) talked about what to do.  They wanted to take him to the animal hospital.  I suggested that he probably just needed to be put down.  I then totally traumatized my kids by telling them that there are different ways to put down an animal.  That made Bev cry.  I went to find someone in charge to take care of it.  When I came back, they were all okay.  Apparently, with some help from Mike, they all decided that the squirrel was not injured, he was drunk, and just needed to sober up.  Christian even said that he thought he saw a beer can nearby.

Monday, June 25, 2012

looking out my window...

I was working at the computer (I was actually on Pinterest, but "working" sounds better) when I noticed our cat Tiger stalking around the backyard.  I moved over a little and saw that she was stalking a deer.  I grabbed my camera and took this picture between the shutters.  She was eating some weeds and grass in the field right outside our yard.

I went outside and walked closer.  I got really pretty close.  She just watched me.  I stopped and then she turned and walked away.

I love living next to the big field.  We see all kinds of birds, foxes and now a deer.

Our yard is fenced on all sides but this one.  Mike wants a fence and I don't.  We do get a lot of weeds from the field, but I love being able to see the kids play out in the field, and see all the critters there.  After today, I want a fence even less than I did before.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

why kids need a dad: father's day 2012

One of the first times I realized how differently Mike and I view things regarding child-rearing was when Andrew was one year old.  We were putting together his new swing set (which led to a pretty big marital disagreement--another story for another day) and I was trying to keep him out of the new soil we had just put in the flower beds.  He was drawn to the new soil, crawling around in it, throwing it and eating it.

I kept trying to get him out of the flower bed, he kept getting back in.  I was getting frustrated, and in a huff, announced that I was taking him in the house.  Mike stopped me and told me that I need to let him get dirty.  Well, I argued with him for a minute, listing all the reasons top soil was not okay for him to eat.  He then told me that I was going to raise a "pansy" and a kid that was "afraid of getting dirty."  Well, I never.

So, I left him out there.  He eventually stopped trying to eat it and stuck with just throwing it.  After we were done with the yard work, I took him in for a bath and his diaper was full of soil.  His ears had dirt in them and he had a dirt mustache.

Mike helps keep things simple.  He would take the little kids to the zoo and grab a diaper, some wet wipes, one sippy cup and a bag of goldfish.  I got anxiety that the diaper bag wasn't full of hand sanitizer, healthy snacks and sunscreen.  I learned to relax about what was in the bag.  He learned the importance of sunscreen.

He doesn't over-think things.  He will just decide one afternoon to up and take the kids fishing, or build something, or play a game.  I get overwhelmed with all of the preparation and supplies.  He just does it.

He teaches the kids to work.  I find it easier to just do some things myself.  He works alongside the kids and shows them how to.

He spends time with them.  He is not the kind of guy that looks for a reason to be away from us.  If he has somewhere to go, one of the kids is usually with him.

When Bev and Christian recently decided that they wanted some tadpoles, Mike was right on board.  While I was gone, he let them ride bikes to the pet store.  YIKES!  With their own money, they bought a tadpole habitat.  They found out that it is illegal to sell little tadpoles, so they would have to order them through the mail.

While they were out and about, they drove by a pond store and stopped in to see if they had tadpoles.  They came home with 5 giant tadpoles, that I am assuming will grow into some giant frogs.  They won't fit in the habitat, so they broke out the big aquarium.  Mike has been taking the kids shopping for supplies and food and they have been googling how to care for them.

(To each his own, I guess.  I collect cats and he lets the kids collect aquatic animals.)

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this cute idea--a little deck of cards book, "52 things we love about you."  We are pretty lucky to have him.

Monday, June 18, 2012

piano teacher

When kids turn 8 in our family, they start taking piano lessons.  Christian turned 8 in March, and I couldn't bring myself to add one more thing to his, and my, schedule.  Between Chinese and his sports, I just felt like it would be too much.  Also, he wanted to rock the guitar and drums, not so much the piano.

Well, I started teaching him a few things, and he became interested.  Then, one day in May, Bev started teaching him lessons.  She got him a notebook, just like her teacher Katie uses for her.  She assigned him songs and helped him practice.  Here we are about 7 weeks later, and they are still going strong.  (Apparently pants and a shirt are optional in these lessons.)

So, Mike and I decided last week that this can be a job for her, that she will be paid for her teaching.  Oh how I hope it continues.  

Tonight, she was giving him his lesson, and I went in to watch.  I started counting beats for him, and she shushed me, "he doesn't like the counting Mom."  Well, okay.  

I am amazed at how well he is responding to her, and just how patient she is with him.  Hopefully with some reinforcement by the parents, these two will keep it up.

After the lesson tonight, Bev informed me that he needs a Theory book and a book bag.  She is such a little mother, and my mini-me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


A few months ago, while getting on the shuttle bus to the Real soccer game, Bev dropped her iPod and it shattered.  It kept working, but the screen was slowly chipping away.

Mike found a place that replaced the screen for $40.  He now has one happy girl.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Another project for the boys while they were off track was lego organizing.  Between the two boys, we have lots of them, and they were getting a little out of control.  I also needed to regain the use of my cookie sheets.  They use them to hold their projects while they work on them.  Christian had seven and Drew had four.  I had one.  

Christian organized his instruction manuals and then rebuilt two creations.

While Drew was recovering from his tonsils, he worked on his a little here and there.

One day, Christian hauled all of his Ninjagos into Drew's room and they had a Ninjagos vs. Harry Potter battle.

Once we got Christian's all organized, he put the complete ones on his lego bookcase.  (These Expedit bookcases are my favorite.  Christian has two, Drew has one, and I have two big ones in my craft room.)

After searching through 11 drawers of Legos, we finally bit the bullet and ordered a few of the missing pieces online.

Christian earned a Lego while they were off track.  He had been following this Furno Bike on ebay.  We did some bidding and won, and it arrived on Monday.  He got it directly from the mail lady, walked in the house and assembled it right inside the front door.  

This last few weeks, I did plenty of this:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

the man cave

Whenever the kids are off track, we try to dejunk and organize their rooms.  One of the changes Christian wanted to make was to move his toy storage out from under his bed and turn it into a "man cave."  The first night he wanted to sleep there.  He got all cozy on his bean bag with his body pillow.

This is how I found him in the morning.  He decided that he would keep sleeping in the "upstairs" and just use the man cave for reading and playing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Back in January I found this treasure at the DI.  I waited for good weather to paint it.  I finally got around to it.

I finally decided on red.  Drew was happy (because he is a U fan) and Christian wanted his number five locker painted blue.  I told him it would be too much work, but that the lockers being red isn't an endorsement of the U.  It just means that Mom had a hard time choosing, and whenever she has a tough design choice she tends to go with red.