Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Lesson on Being Boys

Our Friendly Cotton Pickin' Neighbors were with their Dad working on the farm the other day. They saw us outside and came over for a visit. They are such good boys, I'm always glad to have them come over. Plus, they love to play outside and usually get my kids outside with them.

On this particular day, the kids were outside driving whatever vehicle they could find. They had the tricycle, bikes, and the little gator out driving in the mud puddles created by the irrigation pipes. We haven't seen rain in over 2 months so the mud was exciting.

While they were playing outside, the baby was taking his nap. I went inside to check on the baby and this is what I found when I came back outside.

Those Crazy Cotton Pickin' Neighbors were covered in mud! They had been driving the vehicles through the mud in search of one that would go from one side of the puddle to the other. And as you can see, nothing made it. So when they'd get stuck, they'd just climb off the vehicle and go fetch a new something to ride through the mud in. Apparently, when they would climb off the stuck vehicle, they'd get a little muddy. After a little mud here and a little mud there, they just gave in to it and got all muddy.

And I mean, all muddy. If they had been in there with a bunch of pigs, they'd have done themselves proud. They were muddy from head to toe! And just to make sure it really was from head to toe,

They just laid down and rolled around. They were having the best time! If I hadn't been holdin' the baby, I would have jumped in there with them! It brought back memories of going to Mudd Races and watching the cars get all muddy and hoping they'd get me too. Mud is so fun!

And while I'm standing there laughing and having a grand time, what do you think my kids were doing? They were standing on the sidelines watchin'. Lookin' at these two like they were from another planet. I'm sad to say, my two oldest children are a bit prissy when it comes to getting dirty. They don't like it. They get it from their Dad. The Nutty Papa is OK with getting dirty if he knows he's going somewhere he's going to get dirty. But if he gets messy unexpectedly, watch out! Needless to say, I do a lot of unnecessary laundry in the Nutty Forest.

While the Crazy Cotton Pickin' neighbors were gettin' muddy, they wanted to make sure they got it all. So Big Brother dumped the coupe on it's side and slid his face through the mud in the process. Crazy!

It may look awful but it's great for the complexion!

And I forgot to mention the best part. As I was walking out of the house to discover this mud fest, the Friendly Cotton Pickin' Farm Mama showed up. Here I am, offerin' to keep her boys. It's my responsibility to keep them safe. And as every Mom knows, there's an unwritten rule to watchin' someone else's kids... you keep them clean.

But you know what that Crazy Cotton Pickin' Farm Mama did? She laughed! She bent over and just laughed. And I joined her. The more we laughed, the muddier they got. And it was fun!

Finally, it was time to clean up. Chojuk, the king of the water hose, was happy to help. And before I knew it, Big Brother had stripped down to his undies. Chojuk had a ball hosin' off his buddy. He just wasn't gettin' the job done. So Big Brother grabbed that hose and decided to take care of it himself.

And that's when the fun really began! Who would have known sprayin' yourself in the face could be so much fun?!?

Pow! Right in the eye!

Hey, Ma! Did you see that?!?

Then Big Brother decided Little Brother needed some help too. So he started hosin' off Little Brother. They were having a grand ol' time! Laughin', sprayin' each other, gettin' good and wet.

Finally, enough was enough and the Friendly Cotton Pickin' Mama stepped in to take over. Notice her nice outfit. The Friendly Cotton Pickin' Mama isn't a cotton picker. She's a fancy mortgage worker who has nice clothes. She's always dressed beautifully. She gets it from her Mama. You should see her. I ran into her once at the grocery store and she looked awesome. I was embarrassed to be in my t-shirt and shorts. Fancy, I'm tellin' ya! And she's a great Mama! Notice how she sprays her boys off while holdin' my baby. You gotta love a Mama that takes charge.

And not to be left out, my two bugs got in on the action too. In fact, if I had waited a few more minutes, the Doodlebug would have waded a little further into that mud puddle too. She got in up to her knees. So the Snugglebug hosed off the Doodlebug. But he got mad about getting his crocs wet. Prissy!

Notice the Little Brother in the background going tinkle. Nothin' like havin' a couple boys over to show you how to be a boy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie!

The baby birds are getting bigger. One morning, I glanced out the window and noticed one of the babies was OUTSIDE of the nest. How did this happen? Was he flying? Did I miss it? How exciting!
While I was waiting for the baby bird to gather the courage to fly off, Mrs. Barnswallow arrived with breakfast. Once again, there was pushing and shoving... Feed me! No, me! Over here, Mama! He got the last moth! When is it my turn?!?
And then there were three. Out of fear that the little guy had fallen into the clutches of my ferocious bird and cat eating dogs, I ran outside to check on him. Only to find this...

He HAD fallen out of the nest. Or so it seemed. Poor little guy. I couldn't just leave him there to be eaten by the dogs. I had to do something. Call 911!
Nutty Papa to the rescue! The Nutty Papa is an animal lover, although these birds aren't on the top of his list. Especially these... muddy nest making, staining the house, poopin' everywhere... barnswallows. But for the love of his wife, The Nutty Papa strapped on his gloves and went outside to rescue the baby bird.

He gently scooped up the baby bird and lifted it ever so gently up to the nest. As he was placing it back in the nest...

the little guy flew himself back down to the window ledge. I guess he'd had enough of sharing space with those greedy moth grubbing brothers and sisters of his and just wanted to be on his own. Well, being the only child that I am, I just don't understand these needs. You are lucky to have brothers and sisters. Enjoy them, dang it! It's no fun to have no one to play with! Please, Nutty Papa, try again. Stick him up there with his brothers and sisters so he won't be alone.
And as the Nutty Papa reached up with the baby bird to place him in his nest, something unpredictable happened. Something unexpected. Something amazing...
They all flew away.

Now I wish I could say that the Nutty Papa only temporarily scared those baby birds out of their safe and comfortable home. But that's not true. I have kept the light on for them every night. I have called for them. Looked for them. They have disappeared. As a Mama, I worry about them. I hope they are doing OK. I hope they know how to find food. I hope they are together. Not alone. I hope they are happy.
But there comes a point where you just gotta let go.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Birthday in the Nutty Forest

My Snugglebug had a birthday while I was in time out. (By the way, I've been a good girl so I'm out of the naughty corner and I'm downloading again. Yippee!) He's 5. I can't believe it! Seems like just yesterday we brought him home and introduced him to Chojuk.
Chojuk was thrilled, can't you tell.

At first, theirs was a relationship of tolerance. Chojuk tolerated having a little brother, someone to share Mom and Dad with. Now, it's a truly loving relationship. They are good buddies, and I'm so glad they have each other.

I digress...

The Snugglebug celebrated his birthday with another homeschool family, our favorite Aunt, and his godparents (AKA the cookie lady). We ate cake and cookies, opened presents and had a great time.

On the day of his actual birth, we like to have a family only party. We let the birthday boy call the shots. So on The Snugglebug's birthday we gave him 2 choices: go to Sea World and play in the waterpark, or go to the Reptile Expo and look at, well, reptiles. I should have known better than to offer the Reptile Expo as an option. I have an abnormally strong fear of snakes and just being in a room with them makes my heart race. But for the love of my precious child, I'm willing to make some sacrifices.

We ran into a few of these snakes. I actually think this one is pretty. I love the color. We have a favorite book around here called "Verdi" about a green snake much like this one. And while standing there taking this picture, my heart was only mildly racing. I'm getting better, I guess.
We also ran into this guy. Isn't he cool! We just read somewhere about how chameleon eyes can look two different directions. So when we saw him, we just sat there for a while and watched his eyes. It was amazing! (And my heart rate came back down.)
The purpose of the Reptile Expo is for people to sell their reptiles. So everything is extremely hands on. As we were walking by this table, the man had this bucket open and was letting another woman hold a snake. The Snugglebug, being the animal lover that he is, ran right over and started picking them up too. See the smile. He loved it! There's Chojuk behind him, keeping a healthy distance. The Nutty Papa is right beside the Snugglebug making sure he's doing it right.

And I'm way over here with my zoom lens getting every happy moment digitally. Seeing my Snugglebug over there handling those snakes did make my heart race a little. In fact, writing about it is making my heart beat faster. But I can make it beat faster yet. Watch this...

"Mama, can I have a pet snake?"


I can only sacrifice so much.

Happy Birthday anyway, My Dear Snugglebug!

The Babies

One of the highlights of my summer so far has definitely been watching the Barnswallow family. Last we left, the babies were hatching and there were four babies. They were so tiny, it was hard to get a good picture without going outside, climbing up a ladder, sticking my micro lens in that nest, and taking a picture. I figured that might upset Mrs. Barnswallow, so I just limited myself to pictures from the kitchen window. There is one little baby in there. You can barely see him, but he's there. Look for the little yellow triangle in the middle of the nest. That's his beak!
After a few days, the little suckers started begging for food, and they kept poor Mrs. Barnswallow busy. I praised the Lord many mornings while I was doing dishes, after having fed my rascals breakfast, that I wasn't a Mama bird. What a thankless job. She flies away, hunts and finds a bug, brings it back, and all 4 of those little guys would fight for the food. Me, Mama! No, Me! Over here! I want some too! I tried to tell her she needed to make everyone wait to eat as a family, then she would have a little down time before lunch. But she wouldn't listen. To each his own.
Our whole family enjoyed watching the babies grow. We would often climb up on the counter top and check it out. I don't know which the Doodlebug enjoyed more; the babies, or climbing up on the counter.
After about 10 days things really started getting a little crowded, and I started worrying about someone falling out of the nest... or getting pushed. They were really crowded in there!
And the begging continued! Just look at them climbing all over each other. There's one little guy back there you can't even see cuz someone is sitting on his head! It just goes to show, it doesn't matter what kind of animal you are, children think the world revolves around them!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm in the Naughty Corner

My dear friend from way back in my Alaska days called today. "You haven't posted on your blog lately and I just wanted to make sure you were OK."

I didn't think anyone would miss me. AW WWW!

No, the ground hasn't opened up and swallowed me. I'm still here. But AT&T has put me in the naughty corner. Let me explain.

So I got the iPod Shuffle for Mother's Day, right? I immediately began downloading pod casts so I could get a little inspiration during my day. Fold the clothes. Listen to a podcast. Wash the dishes. Again. Podcast. I found one that I particularly liked called Catholic in a Small Town and decided I needed to catch up. I downloaded all 86 episodes.

Then I get a note from AT&T saying I had downloaded too much and if I didn't cease immediately, they were going to slow my speed down to make me stop. Eh Gad! Who would have known there was such a thing?!? It makes sense, in hindsight. However, at the time of download, all I could think about was getting more.

So I stopped. I didn't download a thing for 2 weeks. June arrives and I think, "Cool. New month. They'll reset the counter and I can start downloading again." And off I went. I was pacing myself this time as I didn't want to get in trouble again. So I only downloaded 100 MB of pod casts.

Then I got the note.

"Your AT&T Internet access speeds have been slowed down in accordance with our satellite operator’s Fair Access Policy (FAP)... You have used more bandwidth in the last 30 days than is allowed on your AT&T plan’s Usage Threshold. This is commonly caused by the downloading and/or uploading of large files or large quantities of files."

Oops. I guess they don't start me over at the beginning of the month.

So I'm in time out. My computer speed is back to the dark ages of dial up. Downloading one photo is taking over an hour and I just don't have the patience for that. And I can't have a post without pictures. After all a picture says a thousand words... and often much better than I can. Plus, I didn't think anyone would miss me.

Fast forward to today. Tesa calls. "Did someone die? Are you OK? I miss your blog!" You do? You read it? So you're the one! Thank you.

So if anyone else out there misses me, I'm still here. And I miss you too. I'll be back in about a week. And man, do I have a lot to tell you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

11 Year Celebration

Eleven Years. Seems like it would take forever. If you ask me what I'll be doing eleven years from now, I wouldn't have a clue. Seems like an eternity. Not even a glimpse into the future.

And yet that's how long I've been married. And when I look back on the eleven years I've been with my husband, it's gone by in a flash. 11 years. 132 months. 528 weeks. 4,015 days... give or take a day. Where has it all gone?!?

Eleven years ago, we were fresh out of college. And boy were we dumb! I wish I could send myself a message and tell myself all the things I've learned through the years. Not to sweat the small stuff. To save when you could. To enjoy the babies. To enjoy it all a little more.

I'll just have to take those lessons forward with me and be thankful for all the tomorrows to come.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Evolution of a Baseball Player

As our baseball season comes to a close, I am reminded of my little Chojuk's evolution as a baseball player. Three years ago, he played T-ball.

He was just a little guy back then, but he was the biggest little guy on his team.

He was a good hitter. He would hit the ball hard and far. And he did alright running. But for Chojuk, T-ball was all about one thing...

dirt. He loved playing in the dirt. (I love this picture! It's the epitome of how kids feel about T-Ball. Notice the little boy dancing over there on the left?)

He thought being out in the field meant he got to sit down and play in the dirt while the other team got a chance to hit the ball and run. (Notice the kid on the other team, who in theory should be on second base, is on his way to the ground to dig in the dirt too.)

Oh, and he got to visit with everyone too.

The next year we moved into coach pitch. I was reluctant to move him up because he had enjoyed the dirt so much. My philosophy was to set him up for success and I wasn't sure how successful he'd be playing with the "big" boys. However, I was very pregnant and needed help from the mommies of some of Chojuk's friends. So, when they put their sons in coach pitch, I did too. I was glad to. That's when we got hooked up with Coach. I've said it before... he really knows how to speak to Chojuk.

But Chojuk wasn't into coach pitch any more last year than he had been the year before. We struggled with keeping his interest while he was fielding...

Keeping his fingers out of his nose (just keepin' it real folks)...

and hitting. (Notice the closed eyes.)

Coach spent lots of time with Chojuk... motivating him... encouraging him... and the more he did, the better he got. So Chojuk wanted to play baseball again this year.

He's a better hitter this year. Check him out!

Whoops. Not that one.

That one either.

There's a good swing!

Run, Chojuk, Run!

He's gotten faster...

and he still makes time to celebrate as he goes. Notice the little victory skip as he's running to first base.

Made it! Whew!

Good job, Chojuk!

Doodlebug check... she's ok. Sleeping the game away! I can rest easy.

He's making a break for second. Will he make it?

Yep. No problem.

Alright. We're getting close. I'm ready...

And he's off!

Oh, No! This one was hit right by third base. Run, Chojuk! Don't watch the ball! JUST RUN!!

That third baseman looks ready. Don't slow down now!

Did I make it?

Whew! Did you see that Coach?!?

Oops... no time to chat. Gotta run home.

Oh, yea. I'm going to make it. I'll just coast in...

I love to score... and the crowd loves me too!

Thanks folks! Thanks for coming to see me play!

Just doin' my job. See ya next season!