Thursday, July 31, 2014


 We were recently given 6 tickets to the aquarium so we got to go with Grammy and Chappy! It was really, really cool. I wish I could have taken better photographs but it is so dark in there! We saw the hippos get lunch (their names are Genny and Button! :) and walked through the shark tunnel which was amazing, except that Tyler wanted OUT.
 The jelly fish...they were so cool. Now I have ideas swirling around in my head for a painting.
 Check out this freaky looking eel! It was big!
 One of the hippos going after her lunch.
 And a really blurry picture of a big shark swimming over my head!
 The penguins were really cool, very fast and playful.
 This turtle was the biggest turtle I have ever seen...amazing!
 James in a turtle shell
 Horsing around
 Looking over at Philly (the aquarium is in Camden NJ)
And this! How could I resist taking a picture of this sign?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Real Conversation With Katie

K: I wish I could meet Nana and Papa. I've never met them.
Me: I haven't either. Only through emails and letters.
K: I hope I get to meet them someday.
Me: Well, maybe you'll get to meet Nana, but Papa died so you won't get to meet him.
K: Uh, yeah. You'd have to ask someone to kill you so you could go see him. Or just do really dumb things. (pause) Like cut yourself in two, or just smoke a whole bunch of cigarettes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Farm Fair

New Jersey is an interesting state: it features the most dangerous city in the nation (Camden) and also the most ill-conceived traffic systems ever. Sometimes I wonder if there is a law against left turns or something, because there are so many 'jug handles'. But! There are also some gems in NJ. It is known as a the garden state, and if I have noticed anything in Jersey: it seems like you are either in the ghetto or the sticks. Weird. I chose to celebrate the sticks part of the equation, having no desire to crack the lid of a fire hydrant for my own personal sprinkler while I grill burgers in the street with my boom box blaring. So the farm fair it is!

 It is full of all manner of farm-esque activities which are our cup o' tea.
 They enjoyed pumping water. Tyler is a worker. He wants to get right in there and do it, and do it, and do it. I had to coerce him to leave the corn sheller so the poor guy wouldn't run out of corn.
 This little lady also likes to be busy. She made her shirt the day before...nice tie dye job, Kate!
 Of course there was a plethora of antique tractors. I am pretty sure someday I want to be an old lady who drives an antique tractor and shooting varmits off the porch.
 The sky was beautiful, and the weather was nice. (not hot not humid)
 The kids love fountains....always have.
 I love the carnival rides as long as I am safely situated on the ground. I just think they are so colorful and cheesy and fun. Except the one with scantily clad women painted all over it. Geez!
 We got a front row view of the Antique tractor parade. That was cool! There were about 50 tractors.
 This was an old fire pump/hose...really neat, but amazing they were able to use it at all. I am sure it was way less effective than today's technology.
 And this! This was a pretty pink Farmall tractor, Katie's favorite!
 Katie love, love, loves these photo op things! Tyler even got in on the fun, even though he usually doesn't want his picture taken.
 And of course, we had to take the always fun Look How Big This Tire Is! pictures.
 Tyler wants one when he grows up. Save your pennies, kid, or adopt a rich uncle.
On the way out, we found the kids' agricultural tent. They milked a fake cow, found out that corn makes plastic (because eating it is apparently overrated these days?) and dug around in bins of corn. It was fun!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthday Festivities and Other Tomfoolery

Sunday was the big T's birthday. I am trying not to dwell too much on the fact that my baby is turning FIVE and going to Kindergarten. Yikes! For his birthday, I made a fishing-themed cake since the boy is into fishing. I did add Swedish fish after the pictures were taken. It was fun, and turned out to be one of my favorite cakes both because of the design...and it was delicious!!

We went over to some friends for a bbq and the kids played in the yard. They had an ornamental pond which I am SHOCKED that Tyler did not fall into. He wanted to catch the koi so bad, he kept leaning over the edge staring at them. But he didn't and the kids had lots of fun! Then, yesterday....apparently life wasn't interesting enough. We had some friends over and has just sat down to get needle felting lessons(!!). Tyler took a flying leap off the couch and face-planted on the floor. I was sure his teeth were going to be knocked out, but apparently he took the brunt of the hit on his chin. I knew immediately he needed to go to the ER. My friend graciously packed up her kids and left, and we headed for the ER. They got us right in. They cleaned up the wound and put some numbing gel on it so we could wait for the doctor. And wait, and wait. I ran out of stories, and the kids ran out of patience when finally, we overheard the doctor and a nurse in the hallway: 'Get the papoose, we're gonna papoose this one.' The kids giggled because the word papoose is funny. I explained to them what it was, and Tyler looked at me with his big, brown serious eyes and asked 'Mama, are they talking about me?' I (stupidly) told him 'No, I don't think so, I think it must be for a smaller kid.' wasn't. They came in with the papoose and I will admit, I almost LOL'ed. It was such a funny contraption. Except they were putting Tyler into it. The other two left the room and they wrapped Tyler in a sheet. The doctor told him 'We're just putting you in a baby burrito.' I said 'Don't you mean a baby straightjacket?' and he laughed. I did refrain from asking if they made them for home use. Ha! So they wrapped him in a sheet, then in the papoose and Tyler hated it! I would too. The nurse held his head as they gave him 4 stitches. He really did good. They said he did better than most kids do. He was a trooper! But now, I say bubble wrap is the order of the day! And maybe a helmet.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

VBS Decorations

This year, I went into semi-retirement from VBS decorations. Except that everyone claims 'I don't know how to draw!' and so I volunteer to draw...and paint. But! The 'only' thing I was responsible for was the stage. I didn't even have to round up materials or find volunteers. This years theme is Christmas in July (could you guess?). I had lots of lovely people who helped me manufacture all of this, and we are all permanently sparkly.

Would you believe this entire thing is made of cardboard and hot glue? Except the manger...that is a pop-up tent.  I think the camel is my fave. We named him Clyde.

And the church will be forever covered in glitter and hay. Amen.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Easily Amused

James is the funniest kid ever to take selfies with. He giggles and flairs his nostrils and laughs a lot. His grin shows off his happily self-described 'beaver teeth' which I think are cute, even if they will require orthodontics later. The other day, Mom made the mistake of giving me her iPhone to take some pictures with. I believe she was hoping I would take some cute photos of Tyler and Chappy practice casting Tyler's fishing pole. I took those, and then that turned into this. Now Mom has a bunch of goofy selfies on her phone, which will make for some fun 10 years down the road when she still hasn't taken them off and we can take a trip down selfie lane.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Fourth of July Festivities

This year I didn't plan anything particularly special or even interesting for the Forth of July. I did buy a little package of assorted fireworks for our first 'real' fireworks show. Oh, and I did help the kids make Fourth of July t-shirts. The morning of, I decided to make Chicken Pot Pie, which I must say...I make a pretty tasty chicken pot pie. And it was. Katie helped me shell peas for what seemed like forever. Then she peeled carrots and made a Cucumber Tomato salad by herself. She's the bomb! And what do you do for such an occasion, when you have killed the fatted calf chicken? And by that, I mean Perdue killed the chicken. Well, you invite Grammy and Chappy of course! Because they make everything more fun. They are kind of like an instant party. ha! :)

Except that I get to here 'when are Grammy and Chappy coming over???' Tyler sat with Chappy so he didn't get too scared.

James left his perfectly good perch on the ladder to sit up close (read: move, James! we can't see through you!)

Tyler liked his spot just fine, and was the 'picker' and handed me the fireworks as he picked them out.

Katie had also made little paper sparklers/pompoms to wave, so she and Grammy formed the cheer leading committee. I got to light the fireworks, which means I got to run back and forth a lot.

This was my view of the fireworks, right behind the boy who didn't want to miss a thing!

All the while, these chicks waved their flags and cheered.

Chappy somehow kept Tyler from pulling out all the fuses as he tried to untape them.

And a good time was had by all!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Catch and Release

The boys have officially been bitten by the fishing bug. James has it the worst. All day long he asks to go fishing. He is bored, and the only thing he wants to do is go fishinggggggggg. Life is rough for an 8 year old boy. Fortunately he has an awesome Chappy who made he and Tyler bamboo fishing poles. Grammy (who is equally awesome) took them fishing and James was proud to announce that he caught a fish! With mac and cheese! Apparently Velveeta serves numerous purposes. Yesterday it was about 174% humidity which having grown up in the desert is 162% too high. My math skills are stellar by the way. All that to say that I refused to take them fishing yesterday. They had, after all, fished that very morning. Of course they thought I was the biggest stick in the mud EVER. Today was equally as hot and disgusting, but we went after dinner anyway. James had stashed a piece of cheese in his pocket for bait. I had wondered why he asked for a slice of cheese, as he normally doesn't eat it. The man had a plan! It became evident very quickly that sunnies are fans of sharp cheddar and we caught 5 or so fish in 30 minutes. Can't beat that for cheap entertainment! It was all catch and release until Katie's fish swallowed the hook. It did not fair to well with the removal of the hook and let's just say the fishy? He's 'swimmin' with the fishies' if you get my drift. Katie was a bit traumatized and kept saying how she was sad to have caught the fish because it died. Poor girl.

Other things being caught and released around here? Fireflys! There are quite a few this year and Tyler and Katie have taken to catching them in the yard and releasing the house. You know, so they can see them light up when they are going to bed. I have no qualms with them bringing in a few, but not a whole herd of them. Silly kids!

And in unrelated news, yesterday Tyler ran to me saying there was something wrong in the chicken coop. I feel a little paranoid right now because I had two chickens die in the last month and a half of unrelated causes. I ran back there to see what it was. He told me there was an egg on the floor. (These crazy birds all of a sudden decided to lay on the floor instead of the nest box so I figured it was that) When I arrived, he reached down to pick up the egg, which was actually the knee of a dismembered leg from Baby Alive poking out of the straw. It was pretty hilarious! He pulled it out, looked at it, looked at me and said 'Oh, that's not an egg. Its a doll leg.' Yep. Because that happens all the time. Baby Alive is the gift that keeps on giving. I am pretty sure there are still a few unaccounted for parts, which could show up anywhere...the compost bin, the garden...the crisper drawer...who knows!?