Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Other Favorite Thing to do at Mimi's

Mimi has a cool community pool. It has a waterfall that runs into the duck ponds and it's very serene...

That is, until my gang arrives. We bring the fun and everyone gets wet! Just ask that guy sitting back there in the red swim trunks. The Snugglebug hosed him down with our water gun. He wasn't happy. Hey, dude, you come to a pool, you gotta expect to get wet. Right, G'pa? (He got hosed down too, and he was fully clothed!)

Leave it to the Nutty Papa, the baby of his family of 9, to always have a game to play. And as far as his family is concerned, if it isn't competitive, it isn't a game! So the Nutty Papa paired Chojuk up against the Snugglebug in a swim competition. If you ask me, this isn't a fair race, seeing as Chojuk has been swimming like a fish since he could walk and the Snugglebug just recently became a tadpole. Fairness doesn't matter though, let's race!

It started out innocently enough. Jump to Papa and swim back to the side. Chojuk was first. He likes to cannonball into the water.

Next it was the Snugglebug. At first glance, you might think he's trying to dive. He's really just aiming for the top of the Nutty Papa's head. He knows if he lands there, he's safe. I'm just glad he has a swim shirt on. It softens the blow of a belly flop.
Last but not least is the Doodlebug. Who knows what she's doing! She's fearless around the water. I can't wait until she's potty trained so she can take lessons. I know I'll breathe much easier when I know she can swim. Anyway, she had to take her turn too. She wasn't aiming for the Nutty Papa, however. Her mantra is "I can do it MYSELF!"

After a few rounds of jumping to the Nutty Papa, things started heating up. Chojuk jumped right in along side the Snugglebug and they'd race to see who could get to the Nutty Papa first. This resulted in some seriously long jumps off the side of the pool. Less swimming, you know.

Then the Nutty Papa would launch the boys back to the side. By the end of the day, the Snugglebug was swimming pretty well on his own. Don't tell him that though. He still has a few concerns about the water.

At the end of the day, we were all worn out. Even the Doodlebug had enough. She was so worn out she forgot her mantra and just wanted someone to fish her out of the pool. We drug ourselves back to Mimi's house and collapsed into bed.

Gotta love a day at the pool!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Our Favorite Thing about Mimi's House

We just returned from our family vacation. It was a whirlwind trip. Lots of time in the car. Seeing lots of family. And we had a wonderful time!
Our first stop was to Mimi's house. While the Nutty Papa and I were busy expanding our brains with pecan knowledge, my kids were enjoying doing whatever they wanted to do at Mimi's house.
This was the Baby's first experience feeding the ducks at Mimi's. Mimi lives on a duck pond and we get to feed the ducks. My kids LOVE it. The ducks swim right up to the dock.

See. Look. Ducks. (And a pizza faced Baby.)

He really got into it. He would toss that bread down there and then turn to Mimi and get more. (This trip we were surprised to see geese there too. We assumed these were geese and they were NOT ducks.)

Sometimes the ducks decide not to fight the crowd and jump right into the back yard. The Baby was especially excited to see a duck waddling around the yard, just like he was. Kindred spirits, I tell you.

After trying to catch the duck, the Baby decided the best thing to do was just sit and watch.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Rite of Passage

I love watching kids eat spaghetti. I take pictures of everyone doing it. It's a rite of passage of sorts in our house. (And just a bit of useless trivia for you: Spaghetti was one of my spelling words when I was in the 4th grade. I remember my Mom making me write it over and over so I could get it right on the test. Darned if that writing thing didn't help me remember it! I still remember how to spell it to this day! Moms know everything!)

Here's the Doodlebug when she was 2 eating spaghetti on Valentine's Day.

Here's my Snugglebug eating it. It's a staple for him. He loves spaghetti.

Chojuk. He's still as messy eating spaghetti as he was when he was 2.

We introduced the Baby to spaghetti the other day.

Needless to say, he took right to it.

I think we have a new favorite food. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Run Away Doodlebug

One afternoon, the Nutty Papa announced it was time for his marathon training run. It was after he had gotten home from work and we had missed him all day. We always try to be supportive of his running, but honestly, we miss him while he's gone. Especially when it takes 2 hours out of our time with him.

The kids and I stayed home and got ready for dinner, watched movies, cleaned up, etc. I soon realized the Doodlebug was missing. I looked for her in the playroom. Nope. I looked in her room. Not there either. I went outside expecting to see her riding her bike around. Nada. And then I looked up the driveway. Here is what I saw.

The Nutty Papa was coming back from his run, Doodlebug in his arms. Apparently, she was worried about him. It was starting to get dark and he hadn't come home yet. So the Doodlebug went to go find him. She was worried.

The Nutty Papa found her half way up our 1/2 mile driveway. She had wandered up there barefoot, looking to save her Daddy.

And from the look on his face as they walked up...

she did.

I think they'll probably save each other. What a great love!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ant Wars

The Nutty Papa returned from his run the other day and said, "You'd never believe what I saw today on my run. I was running down the driveway and ran into a bunch of those flying ants. They were attacking a bunch of ground ants. They were fighting each other!" Yeah. Yeah. Ants fighting each other. OK, Nutty Papa. Whatever.

Later that night, we all crammed into the Suburban and drove to town for pizza. Yea! And on our way, he said, "Look out the window! You can see all the ants!"

Sure enough. There in a line on the ground, was the carnage. Dead ants.

And the winged ants were marching around like they owned the place. I guess we know who won. It was a sad sight, though. Even though I'm not so fond of the big red ants. They make big circles of dead grass on the ground in the orchard. But I wouldn't want this for them. Being attacked by their cousins. But it's nature I guess. Fighting, wars, disagreements. In the bug world, there is no negotiating. No lawyers. It's dog eat dog. Or ant eat ant. Interesting.
I'm sending a shout out to Mystery, the resident bug man in these parts. What is this? Why did this happen? Can you explain this phenomenon?

When he lets me know what's what, I'll let you know. I have no secrets from you.

Until then, may all your ants be friendly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Other Birds In My Life

I love hummingbirds. They are amazing. Their little bodies. Their speed. Their agility. Love 'em!

My dear friend Teza gave me this hummingbird feeder one year for my birthday. I think it's so pretty. I have it hanging outside my kitchen window and I love to watch the hummingbirds come and drink the sugar water I make for them. Talk about easy customers. A little warm water. A little sugar. They're happy. They don't need any ranch to dip it in either.

Lately, there has been a little battle going on for control of the water. They fly at each other and try and scare the others away so no one else will drink it. It's really humorous. I like to stand at the window and narrate...

"Hey, look at this water... Yum, it's delicious.... Hey, dude, get away! This is my water!... Ahhh, he's gone. Now I'll get more... but I'll look around and make sure he's not coming back...AGH! He's coming after me! Fly away! Fly away!"

I know. I have too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rain, Rain

For 3 months, we have been dry. No rain. Not even a drop. Then low and behold, last week as I'm going to get the mail, I see this.

Could it be? The blessed gift from Heaven coming to rinse the icky sticky stuff off the leaves of my pecans trees? To give them a nice long drink of fresh clean nitrogen filled water from the Creator? One could only hope.

And as I turned around to head back to the house, there it was. Moving right over the orchard. Big, beautiful rain clouds swiftly moving over the trees. Opening up and dropping that sweet drink of life.

We got a little over 4 inches the first week of July. Enough to wash the aphid residue off the leaves. Enough to wet everything enough to pop fireworks safely. Enough.

Or too much?

After a week of off and on rain, I needed to get into the orchard and spray for fungus. Last year we didn't get in fast enough and lost the entire crop. Can you sense my feelings of urgency here?

It finally stopped raining long enough for Mr. David to get in there and spray. He did actually spray 5 loads only to have them washed off by the rain. However, we might have made up for that by turning the spray off and on as we drove past patches of trees with or without pecans on them. Did we get in there and spray in time? Or will the fungus once again take us over? Only time will tell.

As you read this, I'll be visiting and socializing with all the great pecan producers in our state. We'll share stories, laugh, learn, and figure out how well everyone else is doing. I'll let you know what I hear. So far, we only have a half crop. Is that going to be as better, as good, or worse than others in the area. We'll see.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Swimming like Fish

We are taking swimming lessons this summer. By we, I mean my 2 big boys. You have to be potty trained to learn how to swim and we all know how that's going. Thanks Aunt Deborah!

I signed the boys up for lessons with a local natatorium. They use the Swim America program. They're training athletes!

The first step was bobbing up and down and blowing bubbles. Chojuk flew right past this. He's a bubble blowing fool! The Snugglebug, however, worked on it for 4 days.

The second step was gliding on your back and front. This is where Chojuk worked for about 4 days. That floating on your back thing is tough! But with persistence, and a little bribery, he moved on to level 3.

In level 3, you add the kick. It's the beginning of the crawl and the backstroke. Chojuk was stuck here for quite a while. 10 days to be exact.

Here's Chojuk working with one of the instructors on the back stuff. He has never liked being on his back in the water. He doesn't float well. We gotta work on that.

Here's the Snugglebug learning how to do bubbles. He worked so hard to get it. He had a mental obstacle to overcome as well. He was scared to go underwater. So he had a lot more to work on than just blowing bubbles. But after 4 days of HARD work, he did it!

At the end of each 8 day/2 week session, each swimmer gets an award. They make a big deal about it. Each kid stands on a podium and receives his certificate. It's a lot of fun. Here's Chojuk..

And here's the Snugglebug. They were so excited about their certificates. I'm proud of both of their success, especially the Snugglebug. Chojuk is a fish. He's always loved the water. I expected him to have fun and do well. The Snugglebug has always had a love/hate relationship with the water. He loves to play with it, but the underlying fear is always there. I'm thrilled to say, the fear is significantly less than it was.

It'll be fun to watch the Olympics with them now that they both enjoy swimming. 8-8-08... Here we come! I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Little Mover and Shaker

Well, it's about time. Time to lock the cupboards. Time to put up the breakables.

Someone is on the move.

Here he goes. He's getting up...

And he's off. And now, with the help of the flashing magic flip flop, he will attempt to walk over to the door to see his favorite things...

Puh, Puh! (Puppies!)

Look out world, here I come!

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Marathon Man

So every once in a while, the Nutty Papa gets these wild hairs... you know... things he's gotta do before it's too late. I remember once he came home and said, "Honey, I wanna do this bike thing where we bike to the beach. OK?" And a few months later, he rode his bike 360 miles to the beach. No training. Just jumped on the bike and off he went. He's amazing that way.

He's decided he needs to run a marathon before it's "too late." "Honey," he says, "I want to run a marathon... in November." OK. Great. Just let me know where I need to drop you off.

Now, can we go get a pizza for lunch?

Not this time, baby. He's training. He gets up and runs everyday. (And it's really hot!) He bought new shoes. He's reading.

This is serious. I guess, when I think about it, 26 miles is nothing to sneeze at. I couldn't do it. Even if I trained for a year, which I wouldn't, I still couldn't do it. That's one of the things I love about the Nutty Papa. Once he sets his mind to something, he gets it done. He's driven. Self-motivated. Amazing.

Our hero.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jehovah Ha-Ha!

My girlfriend Missie has this thing she calls Jehovah Ha-Ha... God's sense of humor. It pops up in the most unexpected places. She'll call me and tell me a story, God working in her life in one way or another, surprising her, reminding her that she's not the one who is really in charge. Jehovah Ha-Ha.

For example my friends Beth and Tony... they just experienced the best case of Jehovah Ha-Ha I have ever been privileged to be a part of.

This is my friend Beth. And that little miracle, or should I say Jehovah Ha-Ha, that she's holding is her newborn son, Matthew. Matthew was born on Thursday night. See, my friend Beth had absolutely no idea she was pregnant. None. Zero. Nada. Zip. In fact, she was sure she wasn't pregnant. How's that you ask? She went for her yearly check up 2 months ago. Got checked out. Inside and out. You'd think if you were pregnant, an OB could tell. Especially from that angle. Nope. Apparently, her OB was absent from med school the day they taught their students what a pregnant cervix looked like. She missed it. Instead, my friend has been running tests up one side and down the other looking for tumors, messed up glands, other things that could be causing her grief.

And on Thursday night, her water broke. She had been told she shouldn't have any more babies. Beth doesn't have babies. She gives birth to toddlers. Her 2 girls were 12+ pounds at birth. So having another toddler, just wasn't in the cards for my friend. See, the doctors told her her uterus was prolapsed, blah, blah, blah... and bladder problems. So when her water broke on Thursday night, she thought something was wrong with her bladder. It wasn't until she and her husband were almost to the hospital that she realized she was feeling contractions. Then she decided she was miscarrying a 2 month old baby. After all, 2 months ago she was decidedly not pregnant.

Ten minutes after being checked in, and getting snubbed by the ER doc, her husband found out little Matthew was crowning. Luckily, someone had taken them seriously when she told them she might be in labor and called the labor and delivery nurses. They arrived just in time to catch him. And they were just as surprised as my friend was that no one could figure out how old he was. After some quick analysis, they decided he was 32 weeks along. He had a healthy umbilical cord and gave a good holler for Mama and Daddy, so other than being a little early, he's doing great. He was a whopping 4 lbs, 12 oz. Nice size for a 32 week baby. Imagine how big he'd have been had he waited 8 more weeks! As of yesterday, he was doing well, trying to eat, and strengthening his lungs so he could go home with his family.

When I met my friend Beth, I asked her if she was finished. Done with 2 girls. She said it didn't look good for her. And besides, she was looking forward to enjoying life in her early 40s with her girls off to college. The oldest one is a senior and the youngest one is a sophomore. Now, when Matthew graduates from high school, the oldest will be 35.

Jehovah Ha-Ha. See, just when you think you have it all planned, you know what's what, God surprises you and let's you know He's still in charge.

This is the best surprise my friends have ever had. What a gift from God. And it couldn't have happened to a better family.

Congratulations Beth and Tony! And welcome to the world, little Matthew!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Boy Scout Day Camp

What a week we had last week. It was busy. We went to Boy Scout Day Camp. It was about 30 minutes away and started at 7:30am. That meant I had to wake my kids, who usually sleep until 9 am, and get them fed, dressed and in the car ready to go by 7 am. Needless to say, we were always late. But we had a great time!

We made lots of new friends!

My Snugglebug got to be a Tiger for the week and participated as a scout too. He made some new friends too.

We learned about shooting BB guns and bows and arrows. We made crafts, fished, played games and swam in the local pool.

The Doodlebug was even allowed to participate. She had her own little group and played while the boys were scouts.

The highlight of her day was splashin' around in the baby pool. It would have been the highlight for me too... it was HOT!

All in all, it was a busy week and we were just all worn plum out.