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Friday, September 29, 2017

Funny calories


Dada was in France for two weeks with a crew from work to do some training and auditing. Some of you know that he's been trying to stay low/no carb because he finds it easier to keep excess weight off if he combines that with a good bit of exercise. 

Well.

Then he ends up in France. With friends. With French food. With nice crusty buns that are tasty and soft on the inside. 

Kryptonite. 

We texted about it a little bit and this is part of the conversation about food and portions:


If you'll recall, the "inch of finger" part goes way back to February of last year when I had the flu in a bad way and Zita was recommending some natural, homemade remedies. She meant "ginger" and was hijacked by AutoCorrect. We still use "inch of finger" in normal conversations these days. 

Happily, no flu to report, and a plethora instead of tomatoes and basil. Lunch for me sometimes looks like this:



I could eat it every day. Let me know if you want tomatoes, especially teeny tiny ones. It's not fair for only the fruit flies and myself to be enjoying them!

Carrie finds a new favorite


Dada and I have known about the adorable art shop downtown for awhile, but we only recently took Carrie in to check it out. Predictably, she was scurrying from end to end and back again, flapping her hands in excitement, and cooing over many of the supplies she could test out. I think it's safe to say her Christmas wish list might have gotten a bit longer.




She was delighted that there was an entire room just of canvases. She found pens that she wanted and shelves of sketch pads and paints in all kinds of glorious colors... yep, she is her mother's daughter. If you need gift ideas for her, just let me know how much you'd like the gift card to be. 

Triskal got a puppy...


Triskal turned 11.75 on the fifteenth of September. We figured any Newfie that lives to be that old deserves their own puppy. So we chatted up a local rescue and found this crazy dingbat. Meet Bosley Underfoot. 



He must be related to me as he follows the sunny spots around the house. Muggin and Zita can sympathize.


He is supposedly an Australian shepherd/lab mix. I'm leaning more towards shepherd mix. He has four white feet, white on the tip of his tail and under his chin, black on top and tan accents, including the adorable, irresistible dotty eyebrows. 

*Dang it, I wrote this whole thing and it poofed! Gah!*

He's supposed to be a medium-sized dog when he's fully grown, but for now he's about 20 pounds of spry energy. He antelopes and pops up and chases everything that moves. He hoovers the entire floor, which is quite a change from Triskal who just can't be bothered for anything smaller than a Cheerio or an apple slice. I am pretty sure he's also related to Betsy, Hinrew and Muggin's previous dog, who was always on high alert and never missed so much as a speck of powdered sugar. 

He's gotten pretty good at "sit" and is working on "stay" and hears an awful lot of "leave it" which means my master plan to teach the kids to clean up after themselves is in full swing. No better enforcer than a teething puppy to teach "don't leave your stuff in gnawing distance". He's helped himself to a pair of Carrie's earbuds which were not completely enclosed in her backpack, several tasseled hoodie and backpack pulls, Grandmama's slippers and yard shoes when she was here visiting, a refrigerator magnet (I don't think he ate any, but he certainly enjoyed chewing it to pieces), and the towels we use to wipe the dogs' feet when they enter the house. He will sit for this process but isn't sure yet if he likes it.

It's funny to bring them both in from outside because Triskal is old and plods along, knowing the routine and the expectations. We've often joked that she should wear one of those slow moving vehicle triangles. Poor Bosley is just about beside himself literally because he's so quickly darting from one end of the deck to the other and back so that we will let him in and not forget him. I keep doing the routine with her first so he can see what is expected, but that doesn't mean he doesn't try to make a mad dash for her dish every chance he gets. He is most definitely food motivated and must have a Hoover in his family history somewhere. 

Come on over for your puppy fix! I'm sure there will be more stories to come featuring this new crazy cutie. 

Visions from yesterday

If you dislike bugs, feel free to skip down to the tree photo and pick up the conversation there. 

I spotted this fascinating guy on the railing of the deck out back yesterday during my lunch. I was afraid to get too close as I had no idea what kind of bug he was and I didn't want to be attacked. The yellowjackets swarming around all our fallen apples and walnuts were bad enough. 


He didn't move when I poked him with the tip of my knife, so I assumed he was dead and turned him around to get a better look. I texted Dada who proclaimed, "it's a flying triceratops!"

I think he might be right.


He's really cool looking, though, from that spiky armor to the long probiscous that was wrapped around his leg. He looks like he sat on a stink bug (more power to ya, buddy). He's about two inches long and I've never seen one like that around here before. Any ideas, internet?

And then there are our trees. I think I've mentioned previously how we have just about every kind of tree which can make a mess here on the property. We have apple trees, black walnut trees (below), pine trees which are tossing both pinecones and needles down at us, Buckeye trees, locust trees that pitch sharp and thorny branches down as well as a bajillion tiny leaves that stick to the dogs until they're inside, and even one Osage orange tree that launches those spider-repelling balls that are green and wrinkly and stinky and don't ever let your dog eat them unless you're trying to induce vomiting and even then I wouldn't recommend them... 



Look at all those walnuts! And we've already picked up a gajillion! Anyone want black walnuts? You may come claim as many as you're willing to carry away! Help yourself!

Work in progress

We've been in school for a good six weeks now. Interim grades have already come out. I'm back in the classroom, being read to by second graders and will start with first graders next week because Damon's old teacher could use the extra hands. The excitement of the beginning of the year has worn off and some of us have settled into the schedule a little better than others. Some mornings are fine. By Friday, some of us are not so fine and could use some... oh... I don't know... fire ants, perhaps, to get us moving more quickly.

The big kids don't have much homework to show as everything is accomplished online or in class. However, I get gems like these from our second grader:




The boys despise writing. I relish their completed assignments because they're often so funny and so matter-of-fact. 

The picture immediately above translates to, "I like SkyZone because it is literally all trampolines." I like his version way better. I especially love the self portrait of him jumping off the walls, which you can do at SkyZone as it is, literally all trampolines on the floor and walls.

The first of the papers completely cracked me (and Zita) up, though. My first thought was, "oh my stars, this is the kid who has to write an essay as part of his black belt testing this spring!" Granted, it's an age appropriate task and they are not expecting Moby Dick from a not-yet-8-year-old. I told Zita my fear and she reassured me through her giggles that he'd only need about 5 sentences and that one of them, giggling harder, would be, "I have other things to do." It very well might, at that. 

At any rate, when y'all ask about how school is going, this ought to give you a pretty accurate picture! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

First time grappling for Damon

We've decided to take a break from weapons for this karate cycle and spent some time grappling on Saturday morning. Mr. Stanford was very impressed with Damon's attempts as it was his first official grappling class. He said, "he's doing very well! Each time I head over to tell him to do something, he's already doing it!" It made me grin as I confessed that he may, perhaps a time or two, has grappled at home with Dada...

The night before...

Believe it or not, these costume pieces were actually in one of Carrie's new classrooms at the high school. Of course the boys were magnetized straight to them, to the glee and delight of her teacher and to the consternation of their parents. Now the boys can't wait to get to high school. 





And of course we had to "be bad" one final time, so a trip to Lola's was arranged. Here they are, never going to be able to sleep due to excitement for the first day OR the sugar rush...


First day of school


Naturally, this kid guessed close enough to how many Skittles were in the jar during open house that he got to bring them home. I'd say that's a win for a first day!

Here they are, after Day One, no worse for wear.


First day of second grade


Not really sure where the time has gone, but this little bugger is a second grader. As has been the case thus far, he whined and moaned the fact that he had to start a new grade. He consistently desires to return to whichever grade he just left. However, now that we have 16 or so days under his belt, he is doing just fine and loves his teacher.





Bring on the terrible twos second grade!

AND for what was probably the second time ever, he has his own pair of brand new shoes instead of a pair from a big kid!

Giving fair warning


This seems to be Liam's go-to shirt for Mondays as well as what he wore the first day of school. As always, you can click on the picture to see it in a larger window, the better to read all the captions to the emojis. I think I'll have to pry this garment off of his body personally in able to pass it along to the next kid in line...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Carrie, Carrie, quite contrary...


How does your garden grow? 

Just kidding. She actually took the picture for me. 

My sweet friend Karen Autumn posts excellent and fun pictures on Facebook of older objects which she breathes new life and love into. I was thinking of her as I grabbed this basket which belonged to my great grandmother Frances before I headed to our garden. I love when pretty things are functional things and fun things! 

It makes me smile to think that my amazing Grandma Frances used this in her gardens- I am old enough to remember her cherry trees and her riots of flower garden patches- and now here it is, making my life easier so that I don't have to try to lug everything back to my house in my T-shirt.

Not that that would ever happen as we adults possess the skill called planning ahead. Ahem.



That would be our first watermelon, a sprig of basil which I accidentally snagged off, cucumbers on the top, multitudes of tomatoes including a Cherokee Purple one on the right, and zucchini in the foreground. We also have extraordinarily tall lettuce (I didn't know lettuce grew up but these ones do), golden beets, carrots, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and holy cow basil and tomatoes out there. 

I must must must get back to blogging as my phone is out of storage: can't take any more pictures until I clear some stuff off, and the garden is CRAZY. 

Hungry? Come on down!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Super. Just super, I say.



Monday, August 14, 2017

And we have liftoff in 3...2...1...


Aaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!

That would be the sound of ultimate suffering, breathed and/or vocalized by the majority of kids and parents in the immediate area. School begins in three days. 

I wonder how many parents are channeling Tinker Belle's panic from "Hook": And I only have three days- three days!- to make him bangarang! 

Three days which should, by rights, be spent soaking up every blissful second of summer vacation. The three last weekdays the city pool will be open. The three last chances to sleep in. The three wide open afternoons to fill with being outside, not at a desk, not lugging a backpack stuffed to the gills with supplies, to be reading the books you want to read, taking the naps you can take (it's generally frowned upon once you're sitting at a desk), to spend hours on Legos, to be free. 

Instead, I'm waking the kids up earlier each day to adjust them to the godawful fact that the big kids will have to be on the bus just after seven o'clock in the morning and if one is getting up at six one must not be cruising towards thinking about getting ready for bed at quarter to eleven in the evening...

I'm working out and feeling acid slosh around in my stomach because there is no physically possible way to fit a workout in which will overlap with getting them up to get them moving to get started eating to get dressed to finish eating to quit fighting to finish up that breakfast to hold me back someone anyone or I am going to be on the news!

Because who doesn't love a side of panic with their workout?

Some of you are rolling your eyes and muttering, "so get organized."

Can you feel my icy glare from there? I hope it froze your bum to your seat. 

Some of you have self-motivated children. Some of you have people you live with who you can simply say, "get ready for school" and it happens. 

You do not live here, with These People That I Live With. These People need told, "did you pee?" and "pour the cereal into the bowl," and "do you have a spoon yet?" and "take your meds. Please take your meds" and "leave your brother alone" and "whaddayameanyoustillhaven'tpouredyourcereal" and "dear Lord, don't give me strength or there will be beatings."

I find myself remarking to anyone who will listen that I'd be a MUCH better camp counselor now that I've been a mom than I probably was at the time. At the time, I simply said, "get ready for bed."

Now I am much wiser. Some kids just don't get that the umbrella of "get ready for _________" means you do the bullet points under the umbrella. Somehow it gets lost in translation and turns into, "just show up." Yikes.

Three days. 

This is where you all come to our rescue and overload me with freezer meal recommendations, streamlined homework strategies, bedtime routines, school morning routines, and breakfast ideas.

And then I lower the boom to reveal that none of the kids like the same foods, so while oatmeal works for two of them, one won't touch it. One needs more fiber than the other two, but it has to be a certain kind of mini wheats or they'll not get eaten until maybe the End Times. And by then, one has certainly missed the bus. 

We already lay out our school clothes the night before so that there's no wardrobe changes in the morning. Once the boys  come downstairs, there should be no going back up. Their clothes, toothbrushes, breakfasts, shoes, jackets if needed, and backpacks are all on our ground floor for "easy" departures. Backpacks are generally filled the night before as well, so in theory lunches would be the only additional thing to grab if they are packing. Shoes and jackets are stored on their way to the door.

In theory, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to be completely ready in an hour.

Guessing there will be more posts coming about the reality. I predict a relatively easy first two days as they are a Thursday and Friday and the kids are kind of excited to go back. Two of them are starting at new-to-them schools, which means we now cover three buildings, three lunch menus, two buses, an endless amount of paper, dozens of pencils which still need sharpened and a partridge in a pear tree.

The real manure will hit the windmill next Monday...