July 29, 2011

Beach Bums

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer
Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now you're set
And on the beach you'll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get 'em wet

                                                                            - Nat King Cole 1963
                                                                (Those Lazy,Hazy,Crazy Days of Summer)


A few days ago we went to Bear Creek State Park with some friends to play at the beach.
It was a hot, hot day.



I, of course, didn't have my camera with me because I took it inside after I had forgotten in it my van overnight. So, these pictures were taken with my phone. You'll just have to squint a little bit.


Here is Maggie with her friend, Adaley. These two are going to be trouble together someday I am afraid...



We brought our beach toys with us to test them out before we get to Lake Michigan in a few weeks.



It was a good thing we went to the beach. Annie wasn't too fond of the sand at first. And, she screamed when we went towards the lake. It was a little murky, but she acted like the water might kill her.



The sand toys were a hit though. I can't wait to see how much fun the children are going to have on the big beaches in Michigan!



The children immediately started building their own lake. Or murky, muddy hole. It's all in the eye of the beholder.



Some thought went into this, and they all worked together to build whatever it was that they built.



Adding the final touches of grass and seaweed.




Beautiful, isn't it? Well, the girls are pretty beautiful.



Here is our friend, Janae, out in the water with the kids. She just had a baby and is in a bathing suit. She is my hero.
She was also more willing to go out and play with the children than I was. Which was great. I stood on the beach and took pictures.



Like I mentioned before, the place was packed full of people. It was a hot day. There were lots of interesting folks there...



All I can say is that old men in bikini bottoms doesn't do it for me. Or anyone else for that matter. Really, even young dudes in speedos kind of grosses me out. How is that even comfortable to wear? I think when it's hot outside, modesty flies out the window... along with normal swim trunks.

Anyway, we had a fun time with our friends and look forward to the next time we get to play on the beach, which is just a few weeks away!





July 27, 2011

Attempted Burglary

Yesterday morning, as the children and I were scurrying around the house trying to clean up, I sent the little ones outside to play for a little bit. (I find it completely impossible to clean floors with Ben, Peter and Maggie around.)
As I was downstairs, folding laundry, Ben came running down..."Mom! Mom! There's something laying underneath our van!" My response was, "Leave it there, it's probably a toy or something." Well, because Ben is such a good listener, he ran out and came in a few seconds later carrying the item that had sparked his interest, which he had found laying under the back tire of the van. It was a Garmin. Someone else's Garmin, because I don't have one in the van. 
Now, this sparked my interest, and I put the laundry folding aside to go and check out our van. As I walked towards our vehicle, I also noticed something else by the back wheel. My camera case! YIKES! I had left my camera in the van overnight apparently. I opened it up and, thankfully, everything was still intact. But, how on earth did it end up outside the vehicle?
As I approached the passenger side door, I noticed a coat hoot, which had obviously been jimmied with and which, I'm sure, had been used to unlock some locked vehicles. It was pretty apparent that someone had been in our neighborhood breaking into people's cars.
I opened up our unlocked van door to find our van in a complete mess. The glove compartment was opened and emptied out. Everything was thrown all over the place. Our pool bag was dumped out on the floor and the car seats were knocked over and unlatched. Was the burglar looking for old french fries? Anyway, the only thing missing was all the change we keep in the ashtray in the middle console. He probably got away with about $1.50 for all his effort.
But, the big question is, what happened that made him panic and drop all his goodies under our car? He had, in his possession, probably over $500 in merchandise. Something must have spooked him. Whatever it was that happened, I'm certainly glad that he didn't make off with our things!

I called Adrian, told him what I found, and we decided we would try to return the Garmin to it's owner first. I typed in "Take me home" and the Garmin told me where to go. It was to another house in our neighborhood, but I couldn't quite tell where it was at. We were headed out the front door, Garmin in hand, when my next door neighbor appeared in his driveway and I yelled, "Hey! Guess what I found underneath my van this morning!" and he yelled back, excitedly, "MY GARMIN!"
Wow. I was so glad for him! We exchanged stories. He told me how the police had come to his door at around 2am, telling him that there had been a string of car burglaries in our neighborhood and that his truck door was ajar. He went out to find that his Garmin had gone missing. Supposedly, the police spotlighted the area, but didn't see the goodies that were stashed under our van wheel.
Now, this is where the real excitement happens. I guess one of our neighbors has a surveillance camera in their driveway. They caught the thief, on camera, breaking into their car. They called police right away (at 1am?), to tell them there had been a break-in. The police showed up and they showed them the evidence. The police later found the guy, some 20-something year old kid, at a 7-Eleven store just a block away....

Moral of the story? Crime doesn't pay. Especially for this kid. He probably ended up with only a few dollars worth of change, to now face numerous accounts of burglary. Stupid.

I did kind of wonder what he thought, though, as he was emptying out the contents of our vehicle. I had some super old tampons in the glove compartment, which he had opened and then thrown onto the seats. Did he really think that there might be something other than a tampon under the wrapper? And, what did he think might be hiding in our pool bag? Or, under the car seats? I still think he might have just been searching out for some old, crunchy french fries. You know, to satisfy the midnight munchies.

Now the kid faces criminal charges and we get to fill out police paperwork. Lovely.

July 21, 2011

Germans Do It Bigger

Our good friends, Tim and Shannon, live in Germany. Yes, the country of Germany. Although we miss them dearly, and are anxiously awaiting their return to the United States, it's been kind of fun to have them in Germany. Mainly because they send us chocolate.
Yum. German chocolate.

Periodically, usually around Birthday Season and Holidays, we hug the UPS delivery person for bringing us a package from Germany. Why? Because we know there are some confections wrapped up inside for us to eat.

So, yesterday, when the postman delivered a package to our front door from Germany, we were shocked. No Birthday's. No Holiday's. Could we still be fortunate enough to find chocolate inside?

You bet. What wonderful friends! Chocolate was indeed nestled inside some baby clothes. (Thank you Shannon for the baby items). And, thank you for the goodies. Some candy for the children and some chocolate for Adrian and I. Or, maybe just me? I don't know... I've already opened the package and I'm not sure I can stop myself from eating it all.

Anyway, chocolate from Germany is divine. There is something so totally different about it from American chocolate. It's sweet, but not too sweet. It's creamy. It's silky. Yes, chocolate can be silky. And it's addictive. I have a really hard time not eating it all at once.

Chocolate bars from Germany are also huge. Or, maybe it's just the ones that Tim and Shannon send us. Regardless, I've come to believe that Germans just like to do things bigger. Like chocolate bars.

Check it out. This is the latest piece of chocolatey goodness that we've received.



Now, this is, believe it or not, almost life size. This confection was huge. A big, huge chocolate covered graham cracker. A graham cracker on steroids. It puts our itty, bitty Keebler Grahams to shame.

There were layers of chocolate that I had to bite through. Layers of rich, silky, melt-in-your-mouth delightfulness.



The Germans call it a "Butter Biscuit". I think it needs a more appropriate name. Like "Monster Graham" or "Mongo Choco" or something...

Have you ever watched an episode of the cartoon Kipper? You know, he and his friends (Tiger and Pig), really enjoy biscuits. And, I never got the gist of why they were desirous of biscuits. But, now I know. They must have been eating these Butter Biscuits! Totally makes sense. I'd take them along on every picnic I had too!!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about here, you're missing out on some seriously good cartoon watching. You gotta go, right now, and check out a Kipper video for your kids from the library.

Thank you again, Tim and Shannon, for surprising us with a wonderful gift. We miss you tons. You are definitely worth more to us than even the best chocolate from Germany. So, hurry and get back here! Just don't forget to pack an extra bar of Butter Biscuits for me!

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

These boots are made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do....
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you...


That song was just a flashback to my middle school years in the choir room. Mr. Beeck used to have us sing that. I wonder why?

Anyway, the good news this week is that Annie is finally up on two feet and WALKING!!!! Yay, Annie!

We are pretty sure that she could've been walking already for weeks now, but she is just really, really stubborn. I wonder where she gets that trait from?
On Sunday afternoon, after a full day of crawling on cement and little pebbles, Annie decided that she should try walking. So she did. On her first attempt she walked 50 steps without falling. She then started pivoting, going up inclines, down inclines, around obstacles, standing on one foot and hopping, doing jumping jacks... just kidding. She hasn't quite done the one foot and hopping or jumping jacks yet, but I think that is next on her list of things to do.

We sent out the message to our family. ANNIE IS WALKING! It was wonderful news to share.

So, here is a little video that Joanna shot of Annie walking. This was taken last night at church while I was in choir rehearsal. If you tend to get motion sickness, you might want to drop a Dramamine now before you view it.



video

July 15, 2011

Mushrooms

We're growing 'shrooms in our backyard. That's right. We are hip and cool...

Actually, these mushrooms are growing all over the place by the end of our wood pile. And, we really don't want them there. But I guess it's a moist and happy place for them to be.
I'm a little afraid the children are going to try and eat them, so I keep knocking them over and smooshing them with my shoes. I don't think they are probably edible. I don't really care to find out if they are edible, because then my children might start eating every mushroom they see growing somewhere.




When I was a child, the only place that I saw mushrooms grow were in cow patties. It made them pretty undesirable for me to eat for many, many years. I can still envision cow pattie mushrooms out in the pasture.
Thankfully, I'm pretty sure the FDA doesn't let people harvest cow pattie mushrooms to eat.

I've told the girls that the fairies live under the mushroom caps. So, maybe I shouldn't smoosh so many. They might start to think I'm a fairy killer.


We've had so much rain lately, that I suppose the mushrooms will stick around for a while... That is, until it gets hot and dry again here.

July 14, 2011

Hail

Crushed ice was falling from the sky yesterday afternoon.
I've been wondering if we could bypass all these rain storms in Colorado lately without suffering the effects of hail. Apparently not. Bummer.




We were driving home from the pool yesterday afternoon when the rain started. Adrian was riding his bike home. He was glad, then, when the van pulled next to him just as the hail started. He jumped in the van and we drove up the street with his bike hanging out the side doors.
This weather has been crazy!




As soon as the first hail storm ended, the rain would pick up and the hail would start in again! I told the children to go play in the rain at one point, because it was just falling in sheets. Straight down. Our gutters in the street couldn't handle the torrent of rain. They flooded the bottom of our street... but they were so fun to splash through!




I couldn't bring myself to look at our garden afterwards. We had three separate showers of hail and, although it wasn't huge hail, I was afraid it would do a number on our plants.

This morning, our friends Bob and Dixie came over to see what the damage was to our garden.
Now, you know these are good friends when they are concerned about your garden! I went out to see what was left of our beautiful veggies. It wasn't quite as bad as I had anticipated.


Our cucumbers were a little wimpy this morning. But, they weren't shredded to pieces like a few years ago. I think they will make a comeback.



Some of our tomato plants were shredded at the top. But, I think having our garden at the side of our house helped shelter them a little bit. It could've been worse. Only a few limbs were broken off.



First of all, doesn't my cabbage look fantastic? They are about ready to pick. I don't know exactly what the difference is this year from last year, but I'm loving it!
Anyway, the cabbage have little hail dents in them.



And my zucchini leaves have loads of holes in them. If anything was destroyed, it would've been okay for the zucchini to go. I've already picked a ton of zucchini and am beginning to feel like this plant is a weed!!! But, alas, I'm afraid that it has escaped death.




Our pumpkins, however, didn't fare too well. They line the back yard fence, and obviously received some good hail damage. It makes me so sad, because they were doing so well! I don't know if they'll be able to pull through or not...

Hopefully this will be our one and only hail storm for the year. At least our roof wasn't shredded and windows weren't broken this time. Always something to be thankful for!

July 11, 2011

Cravings

Pregnant women have cravings for certain things during their pregnancy. True or False?

Well, I used to believe that was all totally untrue. Just something that pregnant ladies made up so that if they wanted to have chocolate ice cream at midnight they could blame the caloric intake on "cravings". I used to believe it was untrue, until I became pregnant. Then, the strangest thing happened.... I would become unbelievably hungry at the oddest hours. Like midnight. And I would hunger for absolutely horrid items, like frozen pizza and caramel brownies.
Unfortunately, for Adrian and myself, during my second pregnancy we lived in an apartment directly across the street from a grocery store. If I wanted a Tombstone pizza at 1:00am, all we had to do was get our shoes on and run across the road to the market. It was no wonder then, when Joanna was born, that she weighed in at a whopping 9lbs. 5oz., and Adrian and I had to do some serious post-baby dieting to fit into our clothes again.

I've run the gauntlet with food cravings and aversions during my pregnancies. There never seems to be an "it" food for me, because my cravings have been different each time I've been pregnant. From frozen pizza and caramel brownies, to crushed ice, Spicy Nacho Doritos, Bean Burritos drenched with pico de gallo and ranch dressing, celery sticks, french fries, peanut butter and watermelon. When I list them all off like that, it sounds disgusting. But, just remember, I've never craved them all at the same time.

Food cravings are strange, because sometimes you feel like you'd do almost anything to just get to eat that one thing. When I was pregnant with Sam, my love for crushed ice was intense. And it wasn't just any crushed ice, it had to be the crushed ice that came from the hospital ice machine. You know, the kind they give you when you're in labor. The little, teeny ice pieces that are super easy to crunch and don't hurt your teeth or give you a brain freeze. I had easy access to the ice machine, and it was a bad thing. That is probably one of the reasons I had to have a root canal after he was born.

With Maggie, my love for Spicy Nacho Doritos was pretty intense too. Even my friends knew that if they came over to our house, I would most definitely have a bag opened. And, most likely, I never offered to share with them!
With Annie, my craving was a bit more healthy. I ate celery like it was milk chocolate. I couldn't get enough. One day, I ate almost a whole bag of celery before I stopped myself. Now, I have trouble eating the stuff, unless it has peanut butter on it.

This time around, my food of choice has been watermelon and peanut butter. Not together, like a watermelon and peanut butter sandwich, but seperately. I think it's mostly because both of these foods are easy access. It's a lazy woman's pregnancy craving. I don't have to do any work, other than open the lid to the jar of Skippy, or get out the big knife and slice into a fresh watermelon. It's easy and refreshing and the children like it too!

So, now that I've bored you to death with a long read about my food cravings, please feel free to enjoy the rest of your day. And, just remember, if you're out and about and have the chance to stop by our house.... bring a watermelon with you!!!!

July 8, 2011

Swim Team

"Don't mess, don't mess, don't mess with the best 'cause the best don't mess. Don't fool, don't fool, don't fool with the cool 'cause the cool don't fool. Don't mess with the best, don't fool with the cool, don't bite my apple, don't shake my tree... 'cause I'm a BEAR... don't mess with me! GRRRR!!!!"


Joanna joined the swim team this summer. It's been challenging for her, but she has determination. She wasn't about to give up. And, I'm glad that she has kept with it. Her swimming is improving and she's met some nice little friends.  
They meet every morning, bright and early, to practice for an hour. It's a tremendous workout. The swim meets are on Fridays. They start before the sun comes up at 6:30am and last until about noon. It's an exhausting morning.  


Her team is the Bear Creek Bears. They are a little team compared to some other swim clubs, but I'm glad for that. I think it has given Joanna a chance to improve without feeling pressure to be a champion swimmer.

This morning was her last home swim meet for the summer. It was hot and humid. I almost thought about pretending to be on the team, just so I could get in the pool.



Here she is, ready to dive in! I'm pretty sure that I could never hold that position at this point in my life... unless you told me I'd receive chocolate in return. Then, maybe I'd give it a try.




Joanna swam the freestyle, the backstroke, the breaststroke, and a relay. Her coach told me, "Her backstroke is so graceful. Now, if only we can get some speed behind it!" Too funny!




I love how their heads bob up and down in the water when they do the breaststroke. I really wanted to get a picture of Joanna coming up for a breath, but they all turned out a little out of focus.




This was Joanna's last race of the day. It was the relay race. Our team came in last, but they all did really well. I was proud of Joanna!


Now, the rain clouds have moved in and the thunder is bellowing outside. I guess it's off the library and then back home for naps. I think I might need one more than anybody!








July 7, 2011

Annie

Our littlest, Annie, refuses to walk.
At first, it was no big deal. She is the baby after all. Except for the fact that she won't be the baby in a few months. Which means, she should be embracing toddlerhood right now. She should be walking!
After all, she just turned 16 months old.


She really hates it when we try to make her stand up. Adrian thought maybe if he gave her chubby legs some support that she would try it.
Never mind the fact that she climbs onto everything and cruises around furniture in the house. She can even zoom around the baby pool in her little floaty... just don't try to make her stand up on dry land and walk.



She gives you a look of desperation. Please, someone, come save me from this torture!


This is what happens if you try to hold her hands and make her walk with you. She throws a fit and refuses to let her feet touch the ground. It's pretty effective against walking.

I'm not sure if this little girl is going to be walking before summer ends or not. I know that one of the main reasons she doesn't have motivation to walk on her own is that there are lots of people around (aka older siblings) to carry her wherever she wants to go. 

For now, apparently she is content with being the baby in the family. And, I suppose that is okay. Because, really, don't we all wish, just a little bit, to be taken care of by others?

Maybe tomorrow I'll pretend not to be able to walk and see if Adrian will carry me around everywhere.
I'll let you know how that goes...

July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th!!!

I hope you are having a wonderful time celebrating Independence Day!

Here are a few snapshots of what we've been up to...



Yes, that is Adrian, building yet another picnic table. We are both relieved to be getting rid of the wood and actually putting it towards something useful!
So far, he has made 3 large picnic tables, and one small one for the children. I love them!



I made red, white and blue jello salad. I had to. The children love jello and it just seemed like a fun, festive thing to do. We ate some for lunch and we still have another bowl ready to share with our guests at dinner. J-E-L-L-O!





I made some fruit kabobs. This is the only way that I can be sure my children will share fruit with our guests. We've been eating about a watermelon a day lately. They love fruit! It turned out pretty cute, don't you think?



Can you guess which vegetables are from our garden? Only the broccoli and yellow pepper are from the store... the rest we've picked in the last few days. I think composting has worked!




Joanna's swim team had a bake sale today, so we made cupcakes for that and for ourselves. Chocolate chip cookie dough, fresh strawberry (actually made with our strawberries!), and banana split. I also made a lemon meringue pie.


Now, we are just waiting for our guests to arrive so we can fire up the grill. After dinner, it's off to see the fireworks! I can't wait to see how the children will react!

July 1, 2011

Peter

My little boy, Peter, thinks he is a ninja.
He is four years old.
He honestly believes that he is receiving "special training" from his friend Daniel, who we see at church on Sundays.

A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors asked Peter if he attended karate class because he was practicing his blocking skills.
He replied with, "No. I attend a special ninja school."

They sit on the bench together and whistle as people walk by. That is their way to "act cool", so nobody suspects that they might be ninjas. (Is this bad to be giving out their ninja secrets?)
Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Regardless, Peter is one tough little cookie. I think he probably would make a good ninja. He can definitely fend for himself. And, if little boys are anything like little puppies, if he ever grows into that big noggin' of his, along with his big hands and feet, he might just be a giant someday.

Last night, my tough little guy was out playing football with his older brothers. His face collided with Sam's head. (Sam has a big, hard head too... so that wasn't good at all.)
This is what happened...




I should've realized that it was bad when Adrian said to me, "Now, it's not as bad as you think. There wasn't any blood..."

His poor little eyelid was puffed out like a balloon. It make me think of Rocky Balboa. We put some ice on it and I gave him some Tylenol. The girls fussed over him, even offering for him to sleep in their room so they could attend to him.
And, what did Peter do? Did he cry a bunch? Nope. He's a ninja, and he's tough. He soaked up the attention and went about his business.

This morning, when Peter woke up, this is what he looked like....




His eye was completely swollen shut!!! Joanna came running into the bedroom to announce, "Mom! DAD! You've got to call the doctor!"

Well, I did call our pediatrician. They seemed less concerned about it than we were. We're keeping the ice on it, giving Tylenol for pain, and watching for any blood in the white of his eye.
I think the icing has helped the swelling some. As the day has progressed, his eye has become less swollen and more black and blue. He is going to have one heck of a shiner though, just in time for the weekend.