Thursday, August 23, 2007

Slave Labor

Ah, children, they're such a blessing. Smiles, hugs, silliness, occasional naughtiness and tears, surprises at every turn, more smiles and hugs. All the turmoil, all the worries and gray hairs are worth it, especially, when you start utilizing the slave factor potential.

A three year old CAN wash a car. Paul teaches Ian every detailed step in cleaning his beloved car. Of course Ian cowers by the house while Paul vacuums.

By George, I think the boy's got it! He's cleaned it to a nice shine. I can see myself!

A lot of hard work pays off with the simple pleasure of shooting water up into the air.

Psst, hey Ian, aim that hose over at Daddy...

So we're outta here for the next week. We're heading to where it's about 25 degrees cooler and the kids can play outside without bursting into flame. The beach calls to us...we're heading to San Diego. Have a great week everyone!

Elizabeth, the minute we get back from vacation, I'm checking to see if you've had that baby!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Mommy's Little Handyman

Ian will fix anything that's busted: doors, chairs, windows, Laurel (poor thing).

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blankie Love

Blankies are of utmost importance to some people, one being my little girl, Laurel.

They're great for playing Peek-a-Boo!

They can tag along to a baseball game and help clean up a chocolate chip cookie mess, leaving bits and pieces intertwined in the blankie's fibers - the makings of snack-time for later.

They are great at turning you into a ghost.


Best of all, Blankies cuddle you, making you feel warm and safe.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dissing a Compliment

Laurel, Ian and I are shopping. It's not casual shopping, it's absolutely only what we need now, only what's on the list shopping. I know there's no room for us to steer away from the list since it took us forever to get out the door and loaded into the van. Nap time draws near, and along with it, not so agreeable children.

Our cart has all but the last two items listed. Laurel sits in the cart whining, starting to show her cranky sign. In fact, the whines escalate to loud cries of "No, Mommy, nooooooo!"

Ian walks beside me. "Ian, let's stop so I can check the list one more time. Laurel, hang in there, we're almost done."

I stop the cart, but Ian wanders out into the busy aisle. He walks sideways, not paying attention to where he's going. Consequently, he almost gets hit by someone else's cart. "Ian stop, come here."

He stops. The grumpy man behind the cart goes around my now daydreaming three year old son. "Ian come here, please."

He doesn't respond. Again, another customer has to stop and wait. I walk up to Ian, direct him back to our shopping cart, and smile apologetically to passersby. I bend down to talk to him. "Ian, you need to stay by me so you don't walk into other people or their carts.

"Ok, Mommy, I'll stay by you."

Suddenly, an elderly lady walks up and says, "I was watching you. It's so nice to see a parent discipling her children."

Caught off guard, I respond, "Oh, thank you, I do the best I can."

"Oh yes, you are doing a fine job. I'm an ex-kindergarten teacher, I should know."

Laurel decides to put her two cents in, "No, no, NO!" and points at the lady. "No, go timeout, one minute!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Star Gazing

One of the things Paul and I discovered about ourselves while dating, is that we both love topics concerning space. We are so nerdy, that as kids we wanted to be astronauts when we grew up. Upon finding out that little tidbit about each other, we knew we were destined to be husband and wife.

My birthday was last week. With it, marks a special celestial event: the annual Perseid meteor shower. Being the space geek that I am, I've known this since I was a teenager. Oh, the excitement of looking up at the night sky to see shooting stars! One big problem, I've always lived in a rather big city. Too much light pollution meant for less than optimal viewing. Heavy sigh.

In my adults years, I have been busy surviving college, jobs, and major life changes. Taking time away from precious sleep to star gaze was out of the question. This year, however, was different. This year I wanted to get my little family involved in one of my past hobbies.

Last night was the optimal time for viewing the meteor shower. I checked the weather on the internet, and discovered that our area was due for thunderstorms. Friday night was the least likely to have cloud cover, so we opted for that instead.

We loaded an excited Ian and Laurel, both donning their pajamas, into the van. Thanks to previous books we've read, Ian understood the concept of looking for shooting stars and eagerly talked about it days beforehand. Laurel, not too sure of all the preparations we were taking, but very aware of what stars are, was happy to get out of the house.

We drove beyond the city limits, into the desert, hoping to find just the right spot. The van rolling over hill after hill, put Laurel to sleep. It was late, I expected that. I hoped Ian would somehow elude sleep's powerful grip. I kept talking to him, trying to keep his brain active, and it worked. My little man was still awake when we finally parked along a dark dirt road.

Since I saw a tarantula crawling along the road not too far from where we parked, I opted to view from the safety of the van. We rolled down the windows, and I stuck my head out. Ian sat in my lap, and Paul bravely stood outside. Of course the poor man had no choice, his seat faced the wrong direction.

Upon looking towards the northeast sky, Paul and I were amazed at how many stars were visible. It had been too long since we viewed the night sky's beauty. We could even see the Milky Way! Quietly, we started looking for shooting stars. Ha, quietly - NOT! Ian was too excited and kept jabbering away about the stars. As well he should, this was quite a different adventure for all of us.

Paul was the first to see a meteor streak across the sky. He commented that it was faint, that perhaps we didn't drive far enough away from the city's lights. We kept staring into the Heavens, and finally I also viewed a shooting star. Ian kept yelling out, "I see a shooting star!" Whether or not he actually did, only he will know, but at least he had fun and he definitely saw more stars than he had in his entire life.

I think I got to see about four meteors, Paul a few more than that, Ian hopefully saw at least one, and Laurel had a good sleep in her carseat. Next time, we'll have to plan ahead and drive further away from the city's light pollution.

I can't wait for next year's event. Perhaps I don't have to. There's a possible meteor shower on September 1. There's also a lunar eclipse early in the morning on August 28.

Happy star gazing!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Power of Shmooze Award: Just for Fun

Elizabeth, over at Look at Us Now!, has sweetly awarded me a Power of Shmooze Award. Aw, shucks, thanks Elizabeth! Being a bit behind in my blogging, I'm finally getting around to posting about it (she awarded this to me back on July 18). I knew I needed to get this done soon, seeing as how Elizabeth is going to pop out baby #2 any day now, she's about 37 weeks along. Thankfully, I met her through blogging, otherwise her being Canadian and me being American this might not have been possible. I've learned we have some things in common: we're both teachers (well, I use to be and will be again once my kids are in elementary school), we both love to garden, our first born are adorable boys, we'll both have two kids within the next couple of weeks, and we both love being mommies. Dare I mention that we both have times where our houses look like chaos? What can we say, we live in the moment and enjoy our kids, the dishes and other housework can WAIT!

Go visit Elizabeth, she bravely posts pictures of her beautiful growing belly. I visit daily, each time holding my breath until I find out if her sweet baby has arrived.

The definition of this award: Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly comments, happily making new friends along the way.

The rules are as follows.

1) If you get the The Power of Schmooze Award, write a post with links that schmoozed you into submission.

2) Link to this post and Mike so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3) Optional: Proudly display the “Power of Schmooze Award” with a link to the post that you wrote.

Here are my winners:

Lady M

Both of these lovely ladies do a wonderful job of sharing what's going on in their life. They also like to discuss topics that make you think, something we all need a daily dose of.

I'm also giving a preemptive Shmooze Award to:
Stella is one of my best friends for about 30 years. YES, that's right, 30 years. No, I'm not THAT old, it is just that we've known each other since second grade. How lucky am I? VERY LUCKY!!!

Stella is the person who got me started blogging, she's my inspiration. She had a year's lapse, but now she's back in the blogosphere (visualize me doing a little happy dance). I'm encouraging her to continue, to share the wonderful craziness of her life with the rest of us. Go visit her, she's got a picture of us at the baby shower we gave to another dear friend (baby #5) and her sister who completes our circle of friends of 30 years.

Happy Shmoozing Everybody!

Monday, August 06, 2007


Monsoon season usually brings us lots of humidity with thunderstorms in the late afternoon. The clouds quickly roll in, soon followed by a duststorm, lightning, thunder and rain. This year has been different. We've had gentle rainfall in the daytime. If it weren't for the heat, I would have thought it was winter.

Normally, we'd be cowering inside from all the lightning. Lucky us, there's none to be had most days, so we get to go outside and get WET!

Ian reports, "Mommy, it's raining outside," and runs to the back door.

Laurel only hears the word outside, and runs to get her shoes thinking we're heading out the door. What's a mom to do? Of course we head outside.

Silly Laurel tries to catch the raindrops in her mouth.

There's a small waterfall coming from the drain spout above. Cups are perfect to capture the precious rain. Ian choses to fill his dump trucks with the rainwater. Laurel decides it's more fun to pour it on herself.

"Mommy, mommy, pooples. Pooples, mommy!"

Ian doesn't bother with the puddles, he'd rather play in the MUD!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Rattlesnake Hoax

*Update to this morning's exciting anecdote:

So the snake dude came. Safely inside, I watched as he inspected behind the storage box. He then shifted the box and reached for the snake. What? He reached with his bare hand. I couldn't believe my eyes. He held the wriggling snake up for me and the kids to see. Then I realized my mistake. No, it wasn't a dreaded rattler. It was only a gopher snake.

In my defense, gopher snakes do shake their tails and are often mistaken for rattlesnakes. Better safe than sorry. The snake dude also told me that he has been retrieving many rattlesnakes from our neighborhood, so yes, it was good to call for help.


I'm babysitting the view of my porch from my back door. I'm standing here, shaking. My heart is racing, but starting to slow down now that I've made the necessary phone calls - first to the fire department, next to, ummmm, I can't recall the agency's name, but someone will be here soon. Soon, yes, soon I hope.

The kids and I head outside to enjoy a semi cool but humid morning. Monsoon season brings us a little relief in the heat department. I thought we would take advantage of it and enjoy the backyard. Ian grabs his big dump truck and Laurel follows me as I begin sweeping the porch.

Behind a storage box I notice the pool noodles and decide to move them and check for scorpions. Laurel eagerly waits to play with each one I hand her shortly after a thorough inspection. She runs after Ian and I bend down to pull out the last noodle. As my hand reaches for the styrofoam toy, I freeze. No, no, no, no, no, it can't be. I blink, "Where are the kids? I have to get the kids inside." The thought keeps racing through my head.

I grab Laurel like a football and hold her firmly under my arm and grab Ian by the arm. The only open door is next to the storage box the thing is hiding behind. Determined, I walk Ian and I to the door, open it, jump us both in, solidly close the door and lock it.

Phone calls are made and they should be here in about 20 to 30 minutes to remove a...

RATTLESNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now, I'm not particularly afraid of snakes, I use to own a harmless garter snake. But when they're venomous, that's another story entirely.

I'm so grateful I discovered it and not the kids. I can't stop all the "What if's" from going through my head.

*So a guy just called and said he would be right over, whew. I'm sending a huge thank you and donation to the Arizona Herpetological Association.