Monday, June 29, 2009

Lazy Summer Days

Usually I awaken before seven when Curly wakes up. Hubby, of course, gets up even earlier since he has to be at work at 7:30 in the summer, but usually I sleep until I hear her little voice call, "Mommy, can I get up?" sometime between 6:30 and 7:00.

She comes and snuggles into my bed under the covers and turns on the television where we get a grand total of four channels, all of them PBS. We're one of the few households who still uses bunny ears and luckily we bought one of the digital converter boxes. So she turns on Curious George and Sid the Science Kid and Super Why. Finally after watching those together we both tiptoe downstairs so we don't awaken Little Mister and I fix her some breakfast, usually a cereal bar and a banana, reminiscent of the hurried mornings before preschool when I needed a fast breakfast. When Mister wakes up he needs a change and food as well and I check the cats, dog and birds to make sure they have food and water. Only then do I feel like my day really begins.

Mornings are our free time to play, have play dates or go to the park. Several mornings a week we walk across the street and down the block to the playground, but some days we just stay home in our pajamas, playing with toys and blocks and games. The kids like to make up songs to sing to one another or to build forts on the couch. I usually do some chores, tidy the house, check my email and make myself a cup of coffee. Curly often chooses to do schooly activities; since learning isn't a chore for her but fun, she doesn't feel the need for a summer break. She'll play an addition or subtraction game, do a workbook page or practice reading on the computer. Often she'll spend a whole morning homeschooling, delighted in the mental stimulation. I remember feeling the same way about learning. Long past the age where most kids hated school, I used to look forward to reading my school books, problem-solving or investigating something I hadn't known before.

At lunch time I fix them food, usually healthy and well-balanced, although today it was only a bowl of cereal. After lunch we read a chapter of "Little House" and tuck Little Mister in for his nap. Curly Miss goes up to her room too, but she looks at books and plays quietly with toys rather than sleeping for the most part.

I use the time during their nap to work on my moonlighting jobs on the computer, write in my blog or sew. Usually there are more chores calling as well, though I do my best to ignore them. The hardest part for me is feeling like I'm trapped in the house; I can't even leave long enough to walk the dog and often I feel like I'll scream if I don't get out to go somewhere. But I don't dare leave my sleeping babes and so I stay, the quiet, watchful mother, guarding her precious children from fear and harm.

After nap, the kids have a snack and play some more while I usually do my best to think of something for supper. Since I put off this necessary activity as long as possible, I usually don't come up with anything very exciting, much to my gourmet-loving hubby's chagrin. But I'm too frugal to cook gourmet (and I hate cooking) so he has to put up with old favorites like spaghetti and hamburger-gravy most of the time, although when I do bother to cook fancier food, it usually turns out pretty well. In the summer, I usually have fresh lettuce for salads at least.

After we eat, we like to go places as a family, although the park gets a little old since we go there so much. But we rotate through other parks or the mall or downtown; in a town of our size there really aren't many choices. Hubby's job upon returning is to supervise the music practices, get little jammies on and ready children for bed. While he does this I usually sneak in a little more computer time.

For the two hours before bed-time, we like to make a snack and find something entertaining to do. I think these evenings are my favorite time of day when the long, lonely, chore-filled days are finally over and I can do something fun with my hubby. We play Scrabble or Starcraft or watch a movie or bake treats together. Although I love my kids, it seems like they are constantly demanding and constantly making messes that I have to clean up. So two hours of watching a movie, uninterrupted by anything other than a trip to the refrigerator seems like a slice of heaven. Hubby usually does the dishes while I feed the pets and get ready for bed.

As the summer waxes, I hope to add activities like the Library story hour and the swimming pool. There's the Parks and Rec program and even the fun of running through sprinklers. We'll take trips to the cabin and the lake. So each day is filled with its own schedule as the summer goes along.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

1,000th Post



Thank you to all my readers, friends and family, who have laughed with me, cried with me and most of all left comments. I know there are many of you all across the globe and I appreciate each and every one of you! It's a treat to write stories about my family and my thoughts and know that my writing will be read and enjoyed by so many of you. I love you all and here's to many more stories and pictures.

Love,
Erin

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Wedding

My little sister got married today! I want to post pictures and write a good, long story involving the cuteness of my children as flower girl and ring-bearer, the beauty of the bride, the grin on the groom's face when he saw her coming toward him down the aisle, the music we played and the joy and fun of the day. But I am tired, the pictures still live in everyone else's camera and my house is a disaster. It will have to wait.

For now my sister and my new brother-in-law are headed to Disneyland for their honeymoon and the rest of the family and friends are sitting around their respective houses in exhausted let-down.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Build-Up

Yesterday my sister called me in tears. She had a bad cold, her wedding is tomorrow and she hasn't talked to the bridesmaids all week. I decided this called for drastic action, so I packed up my children, headed down the hill and dropped them off with Mom who was frantically making phone calls and polishing silver nut dishes.

Then I went to the store and bought cold medicine and chicken soup.

At her apartment she showed me all the beautiful things she had ready for her big day and I think she cheered up, knowing she was almost ready and it would soon be here. I remember freaking out a couple of days before my own wedding and having nightmares about the color of the tablecloths.

My sis, who would rather be the life of a party than make a thousand detailed decisions was simply worn out. But the hard part is almost over and pretty soon she will enjoy the fruits of all her hard work. Either way, she will soon be married to her man and will begin their new life together, a strange thought for me as she has always been more like a daughter to me than a sister. I hope now we can begin building a relationship as friends as the age gap between us narrows.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Nutshell Library



When I was a child I would stay the night at my grandma's house and there on her high shelf of knickknacks there was a tiny box of books. I used to cuddle down under the clean-smelling white sheets in her guest room and pull one after another of these tiny books out of their box, delighting in the whimsical rhymes and fanciful stories.



Now that box of miniature books sits on my own high shelf in my little son's room and tonight I listened with delight as Daddy read "Chicken Soup With Rice" to my children. The four magical stories bring memories of Grandma's house along with the new memories we're making with a new generation of Nutshell Library readers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Drum Fever

I'm kind of a nerd. Actually I like being nerdy because it keeps me busy. For example, today after I took the kids to the music store to get Little Mister a pair of drumsticks and found out that a real child's-sized drum set costs $300 (faint), I decided it would be cheaper, nerdier and tons more fun to make one myself.



Okay, so it's not exactly ready for Ringo Starr or anything, but for a two-year-old, it works quite nicely, thank you.



And this, my pride and joy, is a real, working bass drum pedal. It took me all afternoon to make it and I'm sure it puts me one level higher in the nerd hall of fame than I have ever have achieved before.



The employees at the building supply store didn't know what to think of the laundry list of junk I needed today: bearings and chains and springs and bolts and nuts with silicone in them.



Then I came home and cut the rest of the parts out of scrap wood and there you go. Nerd heaven. I can hear you saying now, "Only Erin would make a working drum pedal out of scraps of wood." Uhm, yep. (Theatrical bow).



Too bad the bass drum is made out of a plastic laundry tub. I fantasized about Sonotube and real skin drum heads, but I think even I have a limit.



My little drummer-boy wasn't complaining when he and Daddy tried it out this evening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kitten Sleeping In A Ball

Sage is almost as big as his Mommy, I am happy to report, and twice as much trouble. So far he has snagged every one of my sheer curtains, knocked over the birdcage (on a day when I already had a migraine), eaten my spider plant and in general causes mayhem and havoc.



It's a good thing he's really cute. And he comes and jumps up on my lap and purrs like a diesel engine. If he didn't do that, I think I'd strangle him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Staying Up Late

Little Mister didn't get up from his nap until 7:00 so Daddy helped him burn off some steam before putting him to bed last night. These men in my life acted so creatively hilarious I had to get the camera out. What a wonderful memory and Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

As a treat for my husband, last night I concocted homemade chicken pot pie, even using my own original recipe! He proclaimed it "yumola" and helped himself to thirds, unusual for my picky spouse.



Erin's Homemade Chicken Pot Pie


Filling:

3 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 can diced carrots, drained
1 fresh broccoli head, florets only
1 can chicken broth
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp butter
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c. cold water
salt/pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet until droplet of water sizzles. Brown diced chicken breast and onion. Add carrots, chicken broth and broccoli. Bring to a boil. Add butter and flour and boil for two minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water and add to boiling broth. Add salt and pepper and boil until gravy thickens.

Crust:

2 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. shortening
1 stick butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 egg
water

Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar). Cut in shortening and softened butter. Add egg and enough water to create dough. Stir just enough to combine, but don't knead or over stir. Divide in half.

Roll out bottom crust and set in greased 10" glass pie pan. Add hot filling. Roll out top crust, set on pie and crimp edges. Set on cookie sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove when top crust is brown. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Other Side

Twice now, I've experienced what I call "Home Invasions" where a caseworker comes to my home to examine every detail, to interview me and my family and to determine if I am deemed of the right material to merit caring for foster or adoptive children in my home. I find the process intimidating, to say the least.

Today I found out what it is like on the other side of the coin. Let me give a bit of history. For years I have volunteered for a Bichon Frise rescue group named Small Paws Rescue. Almost since its inception I have been involved in fostering and adopting small, fluffy white dogs. We don't have any at the moment because I don't feel that special needs foster dogs and small children mix very well, but I still receive their email newsletters and watch the local shelters and papers for needy dogs.

Last week I was contacted by a National Havanese Rescue group and informed that a woman in my town had applied to volunteer as a foster home but there was no other volunteer in our area who could do her home visit (imagine that!). She contacted Small Paws and wanted to "borrow" me to conduct the home visit and fill out an evaulation.

At first I hardly felt that I qualified. For one thing I had to Google what a Havanese is. For another, I have not been active in Small Paws for years, although I have had the dubious experience of fostering a number of dogs in the past. Apparently for our isolated area I would have to do and I finally agreed to do the visit.

Next came contacting the woman, which for a sociophobe like me was about as exciting as sceduling a dental exam. I prepared for our appointment today with a mixture of apprehension and curiosity.

Armed with a mental image of the map to her house that I'd gotten on MapQuest, I walked through the cool June afternoon, enjoying the sun and the flowers in everyone's yard. I wondered, would her house be clean? Messy? Perfect? Would she be nervous? Friendly?

When I got to her house, her perfectly groomed little dogs broke the ice and we found ourselves chatting amiably about dogs and breed rescue and fences and grooming. She consoled me on the loss of Piper and showed me her immaculate house and yard. If she was anxious, she needn't have been; her house was about as dog-friendly as could be and put me to shame. There was even a ramp leading to the bed so her teacup Yorkie could join the family there. Compared to my sometimes chaotic, dust-bunny-filled domicile, her house was a haven of tranquility. I reassured her of a glowing recommendation and headed back home where I found Sage hanging from the curtain and Curly Miss trying to force Stitch out the back door.

I had to laugh to myself as I remembered the frantic house cleaning and the nerve-wracking interview with the social worker that we'd endured back in November. Did she go home chuckling to herself as well? I remember she'd had a cold; she probably went home and had NyQuil for dinner then went to bed. We're all only human, after all.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Strange Day

I'm not sure what is wrong with me: I slept ALL day. I did not even know a mother of two preschoolers COULD sleep all day. I'm not sure they should. I have a feeling I'm getting a cold.

This morning Hubby offered to take Curly to her last day of VBS. So that eliminated one needy, demanding person in my house for a few hours. Little Mister, left to his own devices, decided he could fill her shoes. I dragged my hiney down the stairs and collapsed on the couch as he decided he needed breakfast. Silly child. You actually expect your mother to FEED you?

I got him a cereal bar and banana and then headed back to the couch. He ate, then he wanted me to build him a Lincoln Log house. I told him I was playing the Night-night game. He and Curly play this frequently. "Oh-tay" he said cheerfully then my little Buckwheat headed off to build himself a house. He barricaded himself in his room to avoid the dog, of whom he is deathly afraid. (Stitch jumped up on Mister and knocked him down a few days ago and since then there has been no love for canine creatures coming from my son.)

To my surprise, he played quietly and I fell so soundly asleep that only the phone ringing awakened me in time to go pick up Curly. The phone call was my mom, evidently wondering if I had taken a vow of no-emails since she was trying to reach me via that conventional method.

She treated us to lunch, but as soon as she had gone back to work and the kids were napping, I found myself back on the couch again. Sleeping. This never happens to me. Usually I lay down for a nap and end up getting pounced on by the cats, jumping up to answer the phone, laying back down, jumping up again to get Curly a drink, laying down again, focusing on the ticking clock or the construction vehicles down the block. This time, though, I just slept.

It felt wonderful. I think I'd like to do it again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Contentment



An old sleeping bag-turned dog bed, a flannel blanket and a sleepy Beagle.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Living Your Calling

Apologies in advance for this post; I'm feeling a little introspective today. I think it mostly comes from watching "The Keith Green Story" and thinking that gosh, I'd like to live an exciting, sold-out, famous, busy life instead of a nobody, boring, nothing-but-a-mom in Idaho life. Not that I want to die prematurely in a plane crash. There are drawbacks.

As an idealistic college student I imagined my life would be full of excitement and zeal. Perhaps I'd be a missionary, teaching people about Jesus in the midst of an untamed jungle. I trained to be a music teacher and I pictured the lives of needy students that I would change. I figured a life sold-out to Jesus would be fraught with adventure, possibly hardship. Weren't we told often to "count the cost"?

Instead God called me to be a Stay-At-Home Mom. Wow. Everyone stand up and applaud THAT calling. Not only is it more common than mosquitoes, but it's ministry that goes absolutely unnoticed; there are no performance reviews and you touch the lives of a grand total of three people on an ongoing basis. Talk about your ego needing a boost!

I have a strong desire to love the unloved, to touch the needy, to show Jesus in a tangible way. But every time I come up with a scheme on actually doing it, the door slams. Teaching didn't work out. Fostering fell through. Now on the adoption road, this week we got another "no". I don't understand God's ways. From what I gathered as a ministry-trainee, God needs all the Kingdom Workers He can get. So why would He take a willing worker and stick her on the shelf?

Then I force myself to step back and give my pride and ego a swift kick in the nether regions. God is God and part of selling out to Him is accepting whatever job He gives me. He knows that becoming famous is something I desire for all the wrong reasons. Maybe the only thing I can do that really truly gives Him all the glory is something I really don't want to do. I have always believed that the ultimate goal is to achieve what John the Baptist recommended when he said "I must decrease and He must increase."

So on I plod, day after day, living the life He has called me to live, doing my best at what He has given me, being faithful in the small things. On some days I even manage to be content doing it. On days like today, I confess I'm not so successful. May grace be given.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

High Tea

For my sister's Bridal shower, my mom found a woman in L-town who hosts Victorian tea parties.



Of course I forgot my camera, but my aunt graciously shared a few of the pictures she took.

The house, decorated with antique tintypes, oriental rugs and lace curtains made the perfect setting for High Tea. We followed our instructions and wore silky dresses, summer hats and satin gloves. Curly Miss, who is to be the flower girl, attended in a little tulle embroidered dress with a pair of tiny gloves.



The tables, set with delicate blue china and silver flatware boasted real roses in bud vases and shining crystal goblets.

Here's our menu:

High Victorian Tea

Course 1:
Honey Bacon Wrapped Chestnuts, Stuffed Baked Mushrooms and Cucumber and Melon Slices.

Course 2:
French Onion Soup with cheese and French baguettes.

Course 3:
Spring greens and Avocado with homemade Remoulade

Course 4:
Fresh Fruit balls in Waffle bowl, Blueberry scones and Strawberry Cream scones with Clotted Cream and Lemon Curd.

Course 5:
Frozen, sugared grapes

Course 6:
Tea Rose Creme Brulee

The food, needless to say was all home-made, fresh and completely delicious. The Creme Brulee had real, edible sugared rose petals. We were served Earl Grey tea and Vanilla Creme tea throughout the morning. Curly especially loved the tea, accepting lumps of sugar and stirring cream into her cup with gravity befitting the solemn occasion.



After dinner, we retired to the patio so Sis could open her bridal gifts. We also got to tour the hostess's lovely home, complete with claw-foot tub, tall toilet, antique civil-war era bedroom furniture and home made quilts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Meet Stitch

I'm a dog lover. I admit it. Although I grieve for my Piper-girl, I need a dog to walk, to eat our kitchen scraps and to take camping.

I decided after Hyper-Piper that I wanted a different breed, one that is medium-sized, less hyper than a Pomeranian (Jack Russells are probably the only ones who don't qualify), young but not a puppy and short-haired. For several days I have been idly perusing the local classifieds for such a dog who is good with children.



Enter Stitch.



He was a "free to a good home" entry on the classified web site. He's a two-year-old Lemon Beagle who belonged to a family living in a no-dogs apartment. Although he was staying with Grandma, it wasn't working because she worked full time so he was home on a chain. She'd had several people call about him but wanted him to have a fenced yard, a family who would be home with him and lots of love and attention.



Enter us.



Beagles are supposed to be a bit on the shedding side (he is) and a little rambunctious (he isn't). He's really mellow and wonderful with children. In fact the little girl came along to make sure he was going to a good home with children who would love him and play with him.

No problem there. Already Curly Miss is following him around as if she was a puppy herself, calling "Here, Stitch, here Stitch!" Apparently at some point in his past there was a Lilo, which is where he got his name. Curly insists that we keep it, probably because the other little girl called him that and in the brotherhood of children, if a dog is named Stitch then forever will he be called Stitch.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Friends' Comfort

This week of grief, bleak though it was, has brought me closer to unexpected people in surprising ways. Tonight after Small Group, S, another woman in the group, sat and talked with me at her kitchen table for two hours, sharing about how her dear dog had died last year, the pain she still felt and the memories of her furry friend. She listened to my tearful stories of Piper.

There was Sh, a motherly woman who brought me this:
Mad Housewife Chardonnay

I think the comfort of a chuckle and a gift meant as much as the sympathetic shoulder to cry on, although it hits a little close to home, especially after a week of Curly Miss stepping on most of my frayed nerves. We don't drink much so it will take us a while to finish this off, but I'm sure it will make a nice treat for a few evenings after the kids are in bed.

Hubby of course, has been my mainstay. Although he didn't particularly care for Piper as a canine creature worthy of his love or respect, I think he had a grudging affection based on the amount of time he invested in her well-being as a favor to me.

In his usual succinct way, my dad shared my grief too. He has had several dogs over the years that he loved. Virtual hugs from Facebook friends showed that so many people understand the passing of a furry friend.

I appreciate all of them. Too often I hide inside what I'm afraid to let others see and I forget that in doing so I shut out the friendships that so many offer freely. Their love and comfort take the sting from grief. I'm grateful.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quick Art

One of the fun features of Photobucket is the edit program. Although not as versatile as PhotoShop, it still has a few interesting actions that will turn a photograph into an ink print, a crayon drawing or even pop art.



Just for the heck of it, I ran a few recent photos of my daughter through the editor. This one looks like the posted for a new indie band. "Now fishing near you..."



I'll pretend I can draw this well.



What do you know... my great-great-great grandmother fished on the SAME lake when she was four! The amazing part is that she even had a "Finding Nemo" life jacket. What are the odds?



This brings such lovely memories of 8th grade art class, scratching away at the black crayon covering some picture in color underneath.



There's my drawing skill again! Wow, I am good.







I love the lines that emerge in the face and form. Endlessly fascinating. Someone forbid me to use Photobucket any more. Please?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week of Bad News

Today the cat messed in our bathroom sink. As if that wasn't bad enough, the stool had blood in it so off I went to the vet again. The kids, still dressed in their Spiderman and Nemo jammies followed along, grumpy for their late lunch.

When I got home, a letter in my mailbox said that the second adoption grant we applied for is rejected.

This is the point where I want to crawl in a hole. All of this seems overshadowed by the sadness I still feel over Piper's death.

I know I should count my blessings: a nice house, two wonderful, healthy kids... I certainly don't take them for granted. But it sure seems like I have had to weather a lot of storms this week.

The vet sent the cat home with some special food and powdered medicine citing hairballs or parasites as probable cause. She'll be fine. Though if she would stop throwing up on my couch I would be thrilled. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with pets.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thrifting



Next to antique stores, my favorite places to shop include two thrift stores in town. I love digging through old junk and finding the bargain of the century, something to fix up my house or something I needed but didn't want to shell out $50 to buy.

Today Curly and I went thrifting together. With my sister's bridal shower and wedding coming up we needed some new things.

The best part of thrifting is scoring unexpected stuff. While I did find cute dresses for the tea party bridal shower, straw hats and a new shirt for Little Mister, I also found a rocking chair for $8. The one I normally sit in to use my laptop had a broken spring in the seat so I had kept my eye out, but I was surprised and delighted to replace it so easily and cheaply!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grief

Some people don't understand the deep grief that the loss of a pet can cause. But those who allow a furry creature to become a friend know how it feels when that friend goes away forever, leaving a void behind.

I had forgotten how final it feels to meet the death of something you love. I forgot the deep pain and the way you forget while you're busy doing something then suddenly you remember and like a wave the sadness rolls over you again.

I don't want to remember these past few weeks as my beautiful little Piper-dog got sicker and sicker, less able to run and jump, not so full of antics and enthusiasm. I don't want to remember the final moment when I said goodbye, as she fought for one last breath, coughing blood, and my heart was breaking.

I want to remember her as she was for most of the past nine years, full of life and vinegar. There were those days back when I was teaching at Colton, on probation and my life was falling apart. I would come home to an empty apartment and collapse on the couch in tears. Piper would come to me, subdued, not her usual bouncy self. As if asking permission, she would snuggle up to me, lay down next me and look into my eyes with her big brown ones as if to say, "I know you're sad but I'm here with you." I could not share the trauma I was feeling with anyone at the time, it was too awful, but somehow without words she understood and offered the only salve she could: her presence and love.

After we were married, Piper went with us on our 7,000 mile trip across the country. She caught lightning bugs with us in Iowa. We stopped at many gas stations to let her "go" then she rode back in the car again, perched in the back window, watching the miles roll by. She was the reason we bought a dumpy trailer instead of a nice little apartment in town. She brought out Hubby's love for me as he worked to find us a place that allowed dogs when he did not even like or want a dog at all.

During the past decade, whenever I needed to get out, I only had to pick up her leash and she was laughing up at me, jumping as high as my shoulder, eager to go with me. We'd set off down the street, Piper running to and fro, trying to catch every smell at once. She kept at bay my fear of strangers; even though she was small, I knew no one with bother me with her sharp teeth on watchful guard.

For a while I volunteered for a Bichon Frise rescue and we'd have other little dogs in the house. She put up with all of them, playing with them and letting them know in no uncertain terms that it was HER house and HER family.

The little things bring me to tears, seeing a squirrel in the back yard with no Piper rushing after it yapping her head off, chasing it with the gleeful enthusiasm and hope that after thousands of squirrels maybe this would be the one she'd finally catch. Not seeing her little face at the back gate made me tear up when I pulled the van into the driveway. Not being able to pet her soft head. Not having her around to clean up the crumbs that fall under the table.

It feels as though I have lost a part of myself; I'd become so accustomed to her being in my life. It's as though I have one fewer toes or something, some part of me that I really took for granted. Although I knew her illness was advancing, I wasn't ready for the fact that she would die quickly, in agony, right in front of me. Now she simply isn't there. She's not there barking when I'd rather she would not bother the neighbors. She isn't there to scare the cat or to come bounding in and jump up on my lap, confident that she'll receive the petting and fussing she deserves.

I know the pain eases with time. I know I'll redefine my life without her in it. I know there will be other dogs eventually. I'm grateful for the years I had her. She forgave me for the times I lost my temper with her shenanigans and the times I didn't remember to refresh her water dish. She loved me with the loyalty only a dog can have, with no strings attached. I miss her so much.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Piper: 1/1/00 - 6/9/09 RIP

Cause of death: congestive heart failure. She has lived with me since she was 8 months old.



Goodbye little girl. I'll miss you.

Roasting Marshmallows

What is more definitive camping than putting a big, fat, puffy mallow on a stick and holding it over an open campfire? Then when it's all melty and charred, sliding it off onto a graham cracker, adding Hershey's chocolate and a top cracker and diving into the hot, gooey, sticky sandwich.



There is the problem of sitting close enough to the fire to get your mallow toasted but you toast your forehead as well.



The S'mores really do taste the best when you're walking around eating them.



Or sitting and eating them.



Or standing and eating them. Heck, you don't even have to eat the whole thing. A marshmallow right out of the bag fills in the cracks while you're waiting your turn for a roasting stick.



They do tend to make the fingers a bit sticky, however.



Really sticky.



Still, nobody seems to mind. At any rate, everyone comes back for more.



I think at one point she ate ten of them before I realized what she was doing. Oh well, you only go camping a few times a year.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fishing Lessons

When we packed for our camping trip, I threw in Curly Miss's little fishing pole, knowing we'd be by a lake. She has never been fishing before so I didn't know how much success we would have, but I knew our friends would have their pole, so I stuck hers in as well.



The pole, although it didn't have any bait or tackle, did come equipped with a casting "practice fish" and Curly seemed completely satisfied with this. Because I didn't want to mess with hooks or a license, I delighted in watching her learn to cast with the dummy fish.



Of course, lessons from the older kids make up an essential part of learning to fish. An eight-year-old with his years of wisdom and experience makes an excellent teacher and mentor.



Although she went down to the docks earlier, I didn't get pictures until we went down by ourselves on the last day, after everyone else had gone home. While Little Mister napped, we went down to fish.



Curly, enchanted with the bobbing dock, insisted that we were actually floating away from the shore out onto the lake. I agreed that it felt like we moved, but I pointed out that the dock was firmly attached to the shore and wasn't likely to go anywhere.



After all of her practice casting, Curly deemed herself an expert and cast her little red fish off the dock time after time where it landed with a plop in the murky water.

A Ranger, arriving in his boat, laughed at the "fish" she caught but she was completely happy with it and crowed with delight every time she reeled in her "fish". I figured it sure beat the disappointment of real fishing which wasn't likely to produce any results any way.

For a first fishing trip, I'd call it a complete success.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Preview



This weekend we spent camping with friends from church. The kids especially had a total blast and tonight are almost too tired to see straight. I took plenty of pictures and plan to blog about it but tonight I need to unpack and go to bed. More later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Fates

Not feeling well, I determined to go to bed early last night. It was important to me to get a good night's sleep because our family has planned a camping trip with several other families in our Small Group and the likelihood of Little Mister sleeping in a tent is so low, I don't even count on sleeping at all tonight.

The trouble with wanting or needing to sleep is that the stress and pressure of the expectation of sleep immediately signals my system to go into "danger mode" and I wake up over every little thing. Such as hubby leaving the door open so the blinking traffic light in Curly's room shone right in my face. Growling, I closed the door and lay, tossing and turning in the sweltering heat of my second-story bedroom.

At last, when the big church clock struck two I couldn't stand it. Heading downstairs, I encountered Hubby asleep on the cooler living room floor. He woke up when I came through so I sat on the couch for nearly an hour talking.

I was so frustrated that it was now three o'clock and I had still not gotten any sleep that I was crying and sniffling; Hubby took pity on me and told me to go into the basement and sleep while he got the kids up. He knows how the lack of sleep bring on grouchiness and migraines, so he wanted me to sleep in as much as I did.

I agreed and headed to the coolness of the basement, calmed my ruffled nerves with a novel for a few minutes and finally drifted off to sleep. By this time I think it was around 3:30. I remember hearing the birds waking up outside as I lay there.

Suddenly I was jerked awake by a loud noise, just on the other side of the wall from my pillow. Light streamed through the windows and the blurry clock read 7:30. A workman outside on the sidewalk was running a jackhammer, breaking up the concrete on a section of sidewalk that needed repair.

WHY??!?! Why today of all days did he need to run his jackhammer? I gave up, pulled myself out of bed and resigned myself to a weekend of no sleep and whatever headaches came my way as a result. At least Hubby could get to work. Apparently the fates did not wish me to sleep last night. Those turkeys.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Privacy



Living as we do on a busy street, it bothers me that anyone can look into our open screen door. Occasionally passers-by stop and take a picture of our house. While I don't mind, I still need a little additional privacy, so I used some extra fabric to make a sheer curtain over the door. The kitten, convinced I had made it especially for him, lost no time in snagging the heck out of the bottom of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Resident of the Kitchen



One of the curses of an old house is the old pipes and water that tastes terrible from the tap. We have tried any number of things to produce good-tasting water to no avail.



So we bought drinking water in gallon jugs. We try to get the cheapest water we could find and always recycled the jugs. But we still discovered last night that we were spending upwards of $20 a month just on water.



Finally we broke down and bought a water filter. The water from it doesn't taste as good as the jugs; there is still a funny flavor. But I know we'll adjust and the $5 per filter every two months looks an awful lot better than what we were paying for the jugs, not to mention a LOT fewer plastic gallon jugs in the recycle bin.