In honor of our 10 year anniversary that we had in August, we're leaving on Sunday for a cruise. I am INSANELY excited.
Bragging begins here: 7 nights to the Caribbean. Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica via Royal Caribbean. Leaving out of Galveston. Balcony room!
We are very fortunate to have my mom living near by, so she will be watching our kids. My mom is a life saver. M and I REALLY need this break.
So here's to 7 days with M! No kids. No house cleaning. No cooking dinner. No homework help. No getting kids ready for bed. No reminding kids what they need to be doing every 15 seconds. No church responsibilities.
I swear we could be going to a shack as long as these conditions are met, so the cruise/Caribbean part is just icing on the cake. Very delicious icing.
On Monday nights we have a family night. Sometimes we play pictionary together as a family. Each of us takes a turn drawing a picture while everyone else tries to guess what we're drawing.
Except when it's Kate turn to draw, she doesn't really draw anything. She just scribbles all over and keeps going while we guess random things. When she finally hears something called out that strikes her fancy, she will declare, "YES!" and then her scribbles retroactively become that thing.
Last night she was scribbling big arcs of brown interspersed with bits of pink and blue and white. We all called out lots of things and we weren't having much luck. Finally M called out, "Gravy!" and apparently Kate liked the sound of that one.
I'm not sure I like the idea of gravy that has pink and blue bits in it...
Yesterday when I went to pick up Scott from school, he didn't have his backpack. He went off to look for it while I wrestled the jogging stroller. First he went and checked the cafeteria where they line up at the end of school. He emerged still not having found it, so he checked the classroom. No luck. He also checked the lost and found. Nothing.
I decided to check for myself. I walked into the cafeteria and immediately saw his backpack, all by itself smack dab in the middle of the floor.
I know the phrase is a bitcliché, but Scott really would forget his head if it wasn't attached.
This reminds me of how things went after school three days ago. It was cold enough that the kids wore coats, gloves, and hats. When I picked Scott up, I told him his backpack looked a little small. Was he sure his coat was in there? The brand new coat I had just bought and that this was his first time wearing? Yes, he assured me. When we went to put his coat on outside because he was cold, we found that his coat WAS NOT in fact in his backpack. So Scott ran back to the cafeteria to get it. When he returned and started putting his coat on, I saw one of his gloves dangling off the velcro on the front of the coat. Then we determined that his hat was ALSO not in his backpack. I asked him about it and he said, "I don't know. It was in my hand when I left the classroom, but when I got to the cafeteria, it wasn't there anymore."
So basically he forgot to keep his fist clenched around an object he was carrying. (Luckily it had already made it's way to the lost and found and we recovered the hat almost immediately. We are not usually this lucky with all of his stray water bottles and such.) I wish this was a more isolated incident, but it's not. I have had to drop his forgotten backpack off at school for him in the mornings more times than I can't count.
My advice to Scott? Don't do anything where anyone's life depends on you remembering something. You know, tricky stuff to remember like the fact that your muscles need to stay contracted to keep an object from falling to the ground.
And then when we finally got all of Scott's winter gear sorted out, Claire turned to me and announced that her hat was missing too.
My parents also sort of have a cat. He doesn't have a name. Well, unless you count, "Kitty, kitty, kitty..."
They got him through a rescue organization that helps feral cats. The idea was to keep the rodent population down.
They actually got two kittens to start with and neither was truly feral. They went through a long process to try to get the kittens to feel attached to the property and to stick around. One of the two disappeared, but this little guy still comes around every evening looking for the little bit of food my mom gives him. In return, he leaves dead rats on their porch occasionally. So I guess mission accomplished. (Of course, he also leaves lizards sometimes, which my parents would rather stayed alive. Guess you can't win 'em all. Hopefully the combined effect of the bad things he kills and the bad things he scares off with his smell is a net positive.)
The cat is funny. It meows and meows and meows at you like he's begging for you to pay attention to him and come bring him food. But if you walk in his general vicinity, he switches to hissing without warning.
Fickle, fickle cat... I'm not much of a pet person in general, but I just REALLY don't get cats. Thank goodness I'm allergic so I don't have to have that fight with my kids!
Lately Kate is really excited about listening to words in everyday conversation and trying to identify the letters they start with. On Sunday this turned into trying to just identify the words we were singing. For one of the hymns we sang "Be Still My Soul." Kate got really excited and repeated a few words here and there. But then she got this confused look on her face and asked, "Why he steal my soul?" "No, Kate, not steal, STILL."
Later someone made reference in their talk to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The speaker was briefly outlining the plot and mentioned how the Nazis shoot Indiana's dad in the stomach. Kate was quite bothered by this and kept asking why they shot him in the stomach. (The gist of the explanation I gave was mostly that it was because they were Nazis. What more reason do you need?) Finally she pointed out, REALLY loudly I might add, "No one got shot in the stomach in my Barbie movie!" I think she was just trying to point out the obvious superiority of HER movie over whatever this other junk we were all talking about. I mean, who wouldn't choose mediocre writing and atrocious computer graphics over a movie where someone gets shot in the stomach?!?!?
And finally, this same speaker mentioned the idea of being in God's presence. Kate got this excited look in her eyes and cried out (again, quite loudly), "God's PRESENTS! Like from Santa!!!"
My parents have a small ranch on the outskirts of one town over. They've lived there for almost 1.5 years now. Before that, they lived in a small house on a postage stamp lot in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. It's been a big change for them and us. Up until my family moved here, we had never lived near family. It's been really fun having them near by.
It's been EXTRA fun having them live on about 50 acres. (The original purchase was almost 20 acres, but just a few weeks ago they bought a piece of the property adjoining theirs and bumped their total up by about 30 acres.) When they first bought the property, they were getting an agricultural exemption on their property taxes by having the next door neighbor graze his black angus cattle on "the back 15." Now they are moving toward raising sheep. In addition to the sheep, they have a llama, chickens, and a cat. My sister and her little family live on the property as well and they were raising a few rabbits. But it turns out rabbits can't handle 107 degree heat, so they didn't survive the summer. Oops.
Recentlly my mom asked me to take some photos of their animals and their property to put in frames around her house. So as I finish editing some of these, I thought I would introduce y'all.
Meet the Sheep
My parents have selected a relatively new breed of sheep (developed in 1995). They are called Royal White. They are a hair breed, not wool sheep, so they don't need shearing. They are primarily raised for meat.
They started out with just 3 ewes. One of the 3 was extremely friendly. She was the one with a little dot on her nose, so they named her "Dot":
The others are all really skittish, but not Dot. I wonder if she was bottle fed as a lamb. She will come up to you and let you pet her.
Dot is fun, but also kind of aggressive. If you have food with you, she will get really pushy. She will sometimes butt you with her head if she's trying to boss you around. We had to start spanking her because she would head butt Kate and my little niece Jane a lot. Dot would butt hard enough to knock the little girls down. I guess Dot thought that since she was bigger than a couple 3 year olds, she could boss them around.
Because one of the original 3 sheep was named Dot, and there was one that was very tall and one that was pretty short, the original trio was dubbed "Yakko, Wakko, and Dot."
But now my parents have added another 6 sheep, bringing the total up to 9. They sleep at night in pens attached to the old barn on the property. At the end of the day, you ring a big cow bell and they all coming running and follow you into the pens where they know you will feed them:
One of the new acquisitions is a ram. They named him "Shaun the Sheep." More than one person has been looking at the sheep and has commented that one of them looked like it needed to be milked. Then you have to tell them, "No, that's Shaun. The male. That ain't udders..."
The sheep have been a lot of fun, and before long, it will be extra fun to see new little lambs (hopefully in February)!!!
I know that prescription medications cost an arm and a leg. But sometimes I'm surprised how much some of the natural remedies cost. My sister's mother-in-law sends them a lot of natural remedies, and I remember once I commented that they were pretty pricey. "What? Are they made of gold or something?" I quipped.
And then she showed me one of the things her mother-in-law had sent:
"Metallic gold." Huh. So I guess in some cases, the answer is yes. Yes, it is made of gold or something!
While my mother in law was here visiting, we went over to hang out at my parents' house. We got a little game of Pictionary going where someone on one team wrote clues for the other team. When Claire's turn to draw came up, she got to one clue she was really struggling with: "Romans"
She tried to draw columns and people in togas with ivy around their heads. Really her drawings were great, but we just weren't guessing it. Finally she ended up passing and moving to another clue. When it was all over, we asked what the clue was that she had passed. "Romans," she said.
But the person who wrote the clues was baffled because she hadn't written that as one of the clues.
"Let me see that..."
Who knew that "subway" could look like "Romans" if you look at it upside down!
Claire's costume request this year was a duck. Largely motivated by her skill at making a duck call noise. (Hey, whatever floats her boat.):
I bought a little duck face/bill visor and some wings:
I made a feather edged tutu, bought orange tights, and made duck feet to go over her shoes:
Scott's request was to be a gecko. That's their school mascot, so it's a little less random than it seems:
We modified a dragon costume pattern to not have spines and to have more bulbous fingers. I doubt anyone knew to guess "gecko" just by looking at him, but I think we did okay. If he keeps picking obscure animal costumes, he's going to have to accept the price of no one knowing what he is!
Kate got to wear Claire's old Belle from Beauty and the Beast costume. She LOVED twirling in it:
But we forgot her fake glove things the night I took these pictures before the church party, so I promised her I would take more on actual Halloween night WITH her gloves. Pardon the poor lighting:
I picked up this necklace on clearance awhile ago at Target:
I love it! But I every time I wore it I had the darnedest time figuring out what earrings to wear. The metal was so dark that bright silvers looked wrong. And the style of the necklace seemed to clash with a lot of my black earrings. I looked and looked every time I was in a store for something that might work, and I just couldn't find anything that seemed right. So I decided I had no other choice than to make my own earrings.
I took a trip to the craft store to buy some black earring hooks. Then I took my needle-nose pliers to the necklace and removed two same-sized balls, one from each side of the necklace. Luckily, there are so many balls, that you don't really notice 2 are missing. The balls were just attached to a chain grid, so it was super easy to find symmetrically placed ones to remove. I just bent open the looped wire attaching them to the necklace and bent it closed onto the earring hook:
I love the result! Although this necklace was especially conducive to scavenging earrings off of, I bet this could be done with more necklaces. I totally need to go see what other necklaces in my jewelry box have earrings on them waiting to happen!
When we got married, I registered for several sets of flour sack towels. I LOVE them, especially for drying dishes. But it turns out that after 10 years, towels wear out. Especially when you bleach them along with all your other rags. My towels had reached the point that I had to accept them as "dead."
But I looked at those ragged pieces of cloth and said to myself, "G, you should save those! You can't fake that kind of wear and tear.":
What do you think? I think they make great Halloween decorations! I have them inside over 2 windows in the living room, in the big front window, and hanging in the sidelight by the front door. I just bought a package of black plastic spider rings, cut the ring part off, and stapled them in a few spots on the old towels.