Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blast from the past

Sometimes a smell can bring you back to a certain time and place, almost like a time travel machine. The smell of baby powder can bring back an image of the first time you held your newborn in the hospital. The smell of lilac can take you back to the carefree days of your youth when you and your friends would bike ride down the lilac covered alleyways. Such smells can bring so powerful of memories that you feel yourself fully emerged in days gone by.
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A few days ago I bought a bag of nectarines that weren't quite ripe yet, so I left them in the bag to ripen up. Today I opened the bag and the strong scent of nectarine overwhelmed me. I was instantly transported back to the summer when I was 20 years old. Louisa was not quite 1 yet. I was standing on my Granny's back porch and my hand was reaching to open the door. Louisa was placed firmly on my hip. She wore a brightly colored sundress and a floppy hat that matched. As we walked in the door, the smell of ripe nectarine rushed up to meet us. My granny was stooped over the stove preparing dinner. She turned around with a big smile. Louisa wiggled in my arms as soon as she saw her Granny, and of course Granny snatched her up and gave her a big hug. Granny's little peach. I took Louisa back and walked into the living room to find my Grandad snoozing in his chair. I set Louisa down in the middle of the living room with some toys. I walked back into the kitchen and grabbed some dishes to set the table with. There was a pot of green beans cooking on the stove, and chicken baking in the oven. Granny was adding milk to the mashed potatoes. As I set the table, I could hear Louisa rummaging through her diaper bag and my Grandad waking up. I felt safe, warm, and loved. In that instant, all was right with the world. I was about to sit down for dinner with my Granny and Grandad, and share the love of my grandparents with my daughter.
In the background I could hear Hunter giggling. My time travel had ended. I was wooshed back to real life, standing in my messy kitchen. I looked into the living room where Hunter was being licked by the puppy, hence the giggling. I took one more big wiff of the nectarine, feeling that warmth for just a little longer.
Life is good now, but there are definitely days that I would like go back to when my grandparents were here, sitting in their chairs, telling tall tales and playing with the little ones.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Drew Funny

Everyone I know is always sharing funnies that their kids say. Drew says the most hysterical things, but I never think to write them down. Part of the reason I started my blog in the first place was to capture all these funny things he says. He's one of those kids that comes up with the most outrageous stuff. Or he'll bring up just half a conversation like the time he asked daddy about his other woman (you should have SEEN the look on husband's face when that came up! ) It ended up being about his motorcycle. "You remember, Dad", Drew said as daddy swore profusely that there was no other women, and then begged Drew to clarify what he was talking about. "You told me that your motorcycle is like another woman!"
So tonight we were driving to "the big city" to drop off the "other woman" at the Harley shop so she can get some new parts added to her. Drew told me very seriously that he is going to change his name. I handed out a few good suggestions like Bob and George and Elmer. He didn't like those. No, he needs a pirate name. Hmmm... what's a good pirate name? How about Peg Legged Paul? Nope. Shorty McForty? Nope. Drew wants his pirate name to be Jack. I couldn't for the life of me think of why Jack would be a good pirate name. Who has ever heard of a pirate named Jack?!
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... ya. (light bulb)
Ok, so there's a famous "fictional" pirate named Jack. Then Drew is picking out a last name and tells me that he wants his last name to be Pot.
Now my mind is racing. Huh? When has he ever heard of pot? I've never talked about pot around him before. It's not something I've really discussed with him and heck, I don't even know much about it myself.
As my mind is trying to figure out where he's heard about pot before I hear him say, "Wouldn't that be great, Mom? Then everyone can call me JackPot!" hahahahaha
(my very slow moving, and apparently trash filled brain finally processes this and yes, the light bulb goes on yet again) Ohhh! Hahaha! Jack Pot! Good joke, Drew!
So, written down for posterity, or at least to make fun of him when he gets older, is a Drew Funny.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A New Bike, An Old Puppy, and a $130 Pie

If we were playing that game where you take three things and figure out what they have in common, it would be impossible to deduce how these three things are alike. And really, they don't go together. Unless a crazy week of extreme highs and extreme lows counts.

From May 1 to May 18, Louisa's school had a reading contest. Like a lot of schools, they can only read Accelerated Reader (AR) books. After they finish the book they take a test to earn points. Each book is worth a certain amount of points. Eragon, for example, was worth 25 points, whereas Captain Underpants is worth only 4. The point leader for third grade has 360 points, but that is her total for 2nd and 3rd grade combined. Louisa has 284 total points, and that's just since December. For the contest there were two winners in the school. One boy and one girl. The prize is a bicycle. I don't need to tell you who the winner was for the girl's bike.

During the two weeks that the contest was running, Louisa got 85 points and her test average was a 94%. I went and picked up her bike yesterday and took the opportunity to boast about my little girl to the principal as he wheeled it out to my car.

On Monday we got a call from our onbase housing manager. He had our puppy! In the morning he had seen several ladies out for a walk. Low and behold they were walking a puppy that looked exactly like the one on all the posters we put up. The manager took the puppy to the animal shelter to have his microchip scanned and sure enough, it was Flash!

It took Flash a day to adjust to us again. He kind of moped around on Monday and didn't eat anything. Yesterday I went to buy him some canned puppy food, thinking he would be happy to eat that. When I came back from the store his food bowl was empty. That figures! Anyone need some canned puppy food?! He's doing good now. He's 100% back to normal, just like he never left. Still got fleas, though. The people who had him could have at least gotten rid of the fleas, if they weren't going to check and see if he belonged to anyone. I understand that if you see a collar-less puppy running around your yard, your first instinct is to take him in. But at the very least you should take him to the animal shelter to make sure he doesn't belong to anyone. Somewhere out there, there's a family that probably misses him. I'm just glad to have him home with us.

My husband's first sergeant came up with a great idea for a fund raiser. Have the wives (or whoever wants to because I guess I can't assume that it's only the wife that bakes in the house) bake a pie or a cake. Put the pies and cakes up for auction and the soldiers can bid on them. But here's the catch: attach to each pie and cake a special prize. An incentive, so to speak. The incentives were things like, first sergeant for a day, sgt major for a day, an extra 3-day weekend pass, an extra 4-day weekend pass (and those are what the soldiers wanted the *most*). There were so many of each incentive and those guys really wanted those weekend passes. I baked an apple pie (the one on the left side of the picture) but it turned out really bad and there was no way I could present that to guys that my husband works with. So I ran out to the store, bought more apples, and made another one (the pie on the right).

I knew things would get pricey, but I told husband not to spend more than $45 or $50 on anything. He didn't even have the chance. The cheapest a pastry sold for was $80. At the end there was one pie left sitting on the table, and everyone figured out that pie had the last 3-day weekend pass hidden under it. Yep, that pie was mine. It sold for $130 and was the most expensive pastry at the auction. All in all was raised a staggering $1000.02! The first sgt and his wife are very pleased and the money will be put to good use.

We've had a very up and down sort of week. I'm looking forward to the kids getting out of school on Friday and falling into a summertime routine. A long, hot, Louisiana summer...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Do This

Want to create fun fireworks in your own home? Then do this. It's an awesome website to bookmark for rainy days.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lost Puppy

Lost Puppy

Breed: Beagle

Name: Flash
Flash was last seen on Monday, May 14. Flash is a boy and weighs about 15 pounds. He is 8 months old. He was not wearing his collar when he ran away, but he is microchipped

If you have seen Flash, please call cell phone number (XXX) XXX-XXXX, or take him to the onbase animal shelter.

Thank You!

I am currently printing up about 20 of these to post on the mailboxes in our neighborhood. On Monday the puppy ran away. We have people who mow our lawn for us, and they always leave the backyard gate open. Once in awhile I forget and let the puppy out. He has always just run around to the front door, though. This time he didn't. By the time we realized the gate was open, it was too late and he was long gone.
He is microchipped, so if he's turned in to the shelter they will scan him and give him back to us. Since he hasn't been turned in yet, my guess is that someone saw a sweet little beagle puppy with no collar and took him home. Because of the fleas, the collar was bothering him so I didn't make him wear it. We didn't have a tag on the collar anyway. Just his rabies tag is on there, so it wouldn't have done much good.
Today after school the kids will go around the neighborhood and post these Lost notices. I'm hoping if someone did take him in, they'll see that he has a family who loves and misses him.
Every night I sit and look at his empty crate. I think about how I yelled at him right before he ran away because he was chewing up my sandal (that he totally ruined). I hope he knows we love him.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crafts n stuff

This week at both Drew and Louisa's schools was Teacher Appreciation week put on by the PTA's. At Louisa's school there was a big lunch for the teachers on Tuesday and I sent about two dozen little mini pecan pies. Drew's school had a week long celebration with a theme each day.
Wednesday was Hugs & Kisses day. We could bring in a gift to the teacher that represented hugs and kisses like candy or pictures or a card. So Tuesday night we made a card with a big X and O cut out of red paper. Drew made a picture inside and wrote "You re a fabylus techr".
Thursday was Apples day. We could bring in an apple of any kind. I figured she'd get enough real apples, so we got creative. We went to WalMart and scoped out the craft section. It's not very big and unless you knit or scrapbook or quilt, there's not much of a selection. We don't have any other craft stores in town that I've seen. After wandering around for 20 minutes for something, anything appl-ish, I spotted some clearance iron-on patches. I dug through and found apples and school themed ones. Now, what do I do with them? We looked around, and around some more until I spotted some cute little (clearance) chalk boards. Teacher... chalkboard... ya, they go together! We bought two of them (because if Drew is making a craft, Louisa has to as well).
I think they turned out pretty cute. Louisa is keeping her chalkboard, but Drew gave his to his teacher.
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Today is Friday and it was Flower day. Drew loves to draw and paint, so I just had him paint her a vase full of flowers. It turned out very cute. Plus we were short on time yesterday to do a big project. It was Daddy's birthday and after school we had to go to the store to get him his present. Yes, very last minute! He's so hard to buy for, though. Then we had to come home and get the little mini pizzas ready. He asked for homemade pizza for his birthday dinner. We put a fun little twist on the homemade pizza thing, though. We bought six little premade crusts (like Boboli, but a generic version) and topped them with sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and pineapple (although mine was plain cheese). Then we threw those on the grill until all the cheese melted. It was very good and made the crust nice and crispy, just like Daddy likes them! We also had birthday brownie, because we're not huge cake fans. We prefer birthday brownies, birthday giant cookies, birthday pie, birthday cheesecake, you get the picture.
Then, after the birthday stuff we had to make an "Eggonaut" spacesuit for Drew for a school project today. They were launching Eggonauts off the school roof, and each kid needed to make a spacesuit (padded protection for the egg) so the egg wouldn't break. We've all made these before either for our kids, or for our own school projects. Although when I did it in high school, we also had to attach a parachute. No parachutes for these little guys. We padded the egg with marshmallows. Lots and lots of marshmallows. It couldn't be any bigger than 6x6x6. But of course when we measured the Eggonaut suit it was 11x6x6. That figured. We cut it down to just the exact dimensions. I'll find out in a few hours when he gets home how his Eggonaut survived the fall from the school roof. I hope marshmallows were enough to keep it safe. Since we did it so late we didn't have time to test it. Bad parents! Putting off such a project till the night before.
We only have two weeks of school left. Gotta love the South for getting out so early! Then I'll have a first grader and a fourth grader. At some point do they stop growing? Because I'm really not liking this growing up stuff.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Playgroup for Two

Hunter and I have been meeting with a playgroup here on base for a few months now. There are two parts to the playgroup. One part is for babies under one, and the other is for babies 1-3 years. We usually do activities with the 1-3 year old group. Often times the two groups combine for activities such as going for walks and meeting at the park, but I have not participated in many of those yet. I have never been in a playgroup before, and although this one is very informal, I'm still not sure about playgroup etiquette.
On Monday there was a playgroup meeting at a local park for lunch and playtime. I fed Hunter at home because I knew he wouldn't eat there. Then, as I was going out the door, the dog peed in his cage. So I had to stop and clean that up. Then Hunter had a stinky diaper, so I had to stop and change that. On the way to the park there was construction that stopped us for 10 minutes. It was one of those "if it can go wrong, it will" type of days.
We got to the park an hour late and I didn't recognize a single mom or baby there. I slowly walked up to the pavilion and asked if this was the right playgroup. They were all nice and introduced themselves. With a playgroup of 40 women, I guess it's easy to not have met everyone yet. Especially when most of them seem to have babies under one. And that's the next thing I noticed. They were all little babies. No one for Hunter to play with. Moms with their babies and toys spread out on many different blankets all chattering away. You never realize how big your baby is until he's the "big kid" in a group of littler babies.
Hunter wasn't too interested in hanging around a bunch of babies, so we went to play on the playground equipment. After we played for awhile, I decided we should go back and sit and chat with the other moms. Hunter didn't like that idea. He had fun playing "which toy belongs to which baby", though. And I tried really hard to be sociable and not shy.
We stayed for more than an hour. It was a nice visit, but I did feel like we were singled out. It was more a playgroup for two.
The next day Hunter and I were supposed to meet with the 1-3 year old babies at a new place nearby called Jump City. It is a building with a whole bunch of big bouncies in it and they have "toddler time" on Tuesdays from 10-12. We didn't get there until 11:00, but I figured they would all still be there. There weren't many people playing when we got there, and if any of them were playgroup mommas, I didn't recognize them.
We paid our money and started bouncing. There was a big variety of bouncies, all shapes and sizes. Hunter didn't care for the bouncing part. He preferred to stay on the ground and play with some little soccer balls. It's a place I think Drew and Louisa will appreciate more.
That day was definitely a playgroup for two. We aren't having much luck with this whole playgroup thing. We'll keep at it, though. They have a lot of fun activities and they usually have stuff planned 4 or 5 days a week. Enough to keep us busy, if we can actually get to something on time.
Here are some pics from our bouncy playgroup for two:

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fleas! and it's no circus

When we first got our puppy, Flash, we had him checked by the vet for fleas. He was clean and clear. But he's been scratching and scratching like the dickens for awhile now. Someone suggested he might have dry skin, so I've been using this moisturizing shampoo on him. I can't believe I'm using a more expensive shampoo on my dog than I use on myself. After using the shampoo a few times, he was still scratching. Convinced he did indeed have fleas, I sat him down with a brush and looked through the white parts of his fur. I could see really little black spots moving around. Yup, fleas. Ugh!
So, I put on one of those flea and tick killer things that you squeeze down their back. I used one when we very first got him, too. I waited awhile to see if it would work, but he was still scratching and every once in awhile he would jump up and yelp for no reason.

Yesterday I could actually see the big fleas on his skin and in his fur, and I noticed both the cats have fleas. Ok, it's time to take some real action. Husband went out and bought some flea shampoo and flea collars. (yes, I know they don't actually work, but it can't hurt either)

I washed Flash last night. In a few days we'll check him and then wash him again. This shampoo says it works for up to 10 days.

I went to grab Scooter, the smallest cat, and even though he's got no front claws he can still scratch the heck out of me with his back claws. And that's just what he did. My arm has some pretty big battle wounds on it now.

Husband has given the cats baths a few times before. He grabbed Scooter with a towel and then put Scooter in the tub while holding him with the towel and washed him up. That way, Scooter couldn't scratch with his back claws.

Then it was Socks' turn. Husband did the same thing, only Socks is a little stronger than Scooter and he managed to get his revenge scratch in at least once.

Hopefully this will work because I do not want fleas all over the house. The last time we had them was about seven years ago when we first brought Socks home from the pet store. That got to be a fairly bad infestation. Don't want to go back there again.

Although it was hysterical to see the cats when they were all wet and skinny after their baths last night! Then they run around, frantically trying to lick all the water off themselves. Scooter still isn't "speaking" to me. Socks forgives easily, and Flash will do anything for a treat!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to Have a Successful Pirate Party

Yesterday was Drew's birthday. He's the big S-I-X. You know what that means... you get to do more stuff by yourself, girls dig you more cause you're older now, you can stay up a little later and eat popcorn like your dad... ya know, big kid stuff. Six years old is that passage from baby-hood to big kid-hood. A whole bunch of new options open up to big six year olds!
We kicked off this milestone by having a pirate birthday party on Saturday. This was not only Drew's first "friend" birthday party, but the first one we did at home. For Louisa's parties we have always gone somewhere like bowling or Build-A-Bear or something like that. We invited Drew's whole class and had a total of about 15 kids come. The turnout was just the right size for our house and all the activities we had planned.
To have a successful pirate party, you must crew your ship with rough and rowdy looking pirates.... Arrhhh!

Give them pirate names by having them choose a color and a type of fish. For example, Louisa Blue Angel Fish, or Andrew Blue Shark, or Hunter Green Marlin.

Don't forget about the ocean to sail your ship on. To make your ocean you need water bottles filled halfway with water. Put one or two drops of blue food coloring, depending on how "deep" your ocean is. Add the seashells, boats, fish and other sea creatures, as well as some "sand" (glitter). Then fill the rest of the bottle with baby oil, mateys. Why? Because that's the air above the water, of course! You should probably glue the bottle cap back on, lest ye be swabbing the deck when it all spills out.

When you feed your rowdy crew, there's a certain menu you must follow:
Every pirate has to have Rum! (fruit punch)
And then give them each a cup of sand with some fish that washed ashore. (applesauce with Goldfish crackers)
Pirates need their own ships to set sail on the sea. (hot dog in a bun, and you can add a paper sail to it if you wish to make it look more like a ship)
For desset, don't forget the Treasure Chest full of jewels and gold!
Husband actually made the cake and it looked a tad different than this, but his cake was awesome and he really impressed all the moms that stayed to hang out. And I got to be proud that my husband is not only handsome, but creative, too! We used Rolos for "gold" and M&M's for "jewels". I could not find any candy necklaces anywhere. I checked 4 different grocery stores and discount stores and not one had candy necklaces. Our cake still looked great, though.
For games we played "Pin the EyePatch on the Pirate". For this game, I would strongly suggest using a bandana blindfold because the cheap blindfold that came with the game was too easy to cheat with. The kids could still see through the bottom of it and they all "won"!
We also played "Musical Islands". Husband cut a whole bunch of "islands" out of brown paper and then drew palm trees and treasure maps on them. We laid them on the ground and the kids walked around them to the melodic sounds of pirate music. The rest of the game is played like musical chairs. I bought this "Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs" CD for the party, and it has become Drew's favorite. He listens to it every night at bed time.

Drew has always wanted a pinata at a birthday party, so we finally got one. This one was a treasure chest and we filled it with gold coins, tattoos, and candy. Just a note, if you put gold coins in a pinata, make sure they are chocolate ones. Kids aren't as excited about plastic ones as you might think! One kid actually started to eat it. I had to pull it away from him to get him to stop gnawing on it.

I gave the kids lots of time to run around the backyard and play with Drew's toys. Too much structure with kindergarteners, and you lose them.
The moms that stayed all chatted and had a good time. Although husband felt out of place and awkward being the only man.

A good time was had by all, and the kids went away with some really good "loot"! We were excited when we found this "treasure box" on, where we ordered most of our party supplies from. Everything was included and it saved us a lot of money rather than buying it all separately.

So now my baby is six (sniff, sniff) and this mama has to live with the fact that he's growing up and there's not much I can do about it. He's already almost as tall as Louisa is and he's definitely just as smart. I love that he's becoming such a big kid, but I miss all the cute little things he used to do.

Happy Birthday, Drew Bear! (at least I'm the only one who still gets to call him that!)