Sunday, June 22, 2008

Into The Wild

Tonight Brendan is having a sleepover with his buddy Kyle. They are hysterical together and we never really know what to expect. Tonight's big deal was they decided that they wanted to sleep out on the tramp. Now at first I wasn't really sure how I felt about the whole idea. But, one of my favorite childhood memories is the outdoor sleepovers that we had. So I decided that it really would be okay and we dragged out the sleeping bags for them and got them set up on the tramp.
Now, I am sure that you are wondering why on earth they are holding soft air guns. Is our neighborhood dicey?? But, we do have an animal control problem.
So the boys decided that they were going to "hunt" the raccoons tonight. They are absolutely and totally convinced that the raccoons are going to make an appearance. And when they do - they will be ready!! But until then, they have pulled back the curtains from the window so that they can watch tv from the tramp. Not sure what they are doing about the sound, but they don't seem to care. I am sure that they will have all kinds of interesting stories to tell me in the morning. Will they last the night outside?? Or will the draw of videogames pull them back in.......

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tires Anyone?!?!?

Today was another one of those great "adventures" that we love so much. I went to get into the car this morning and a little flash of silver caught my eye. It was the top of a nail or screw, it was kind of hard to tell, and the tire was a little flat. I didn't want to end up with a completely flat tire so I called a tire shop to schedule an appointment and asked how long it would take because I was going to have to bring five kids with me. They assured me that they could get me in and out without a problem. I grabbed a few snacks and we headed out to get the tire fixed. By the time they pulled the durango into the shop to look at it we were out of snacks so I knew that we only had a short amount of time before the good behavior would end. Everyone wanted to see what they were doing to the car so I took them all over to the glass door to watch. They were fascinated by what the guys were doing so I thought we were going to make it through the adventure without a problem. Then we got the bad news. There was not one nail in my tire but five. Yes you read it correctly five nails in my tire. Now I know what you are thinking, where did she get five nails in her tire? Well I wish I knew cause I would put a big warning sign up for everyone. Of course there are probably no nails left because obviously I picked them all up on the way through. So the tire is unfixable. And since the car is an all wheel drive we can't just get one new tire the guy tells me, we need four. I am sure as he told me this my face resembled that of a deer caught in the headlights. It was one of those moments where I shook my head and thought "Did he just say what I thought he said? Surely not". Then he starts talking to me about all these different tires. Like I had a clue what he was saying. And by now the kids are done. Completely and totally done. They are running around the shop, Lily is pushing the stroller in circles and Ryker, the baby I watch is crying while I am holding him. I politely tell the guy that there is no way I can make a decision like that so I try to get Larry on the phone. Sometimes I can get Larry on the phone right away and other times not. This was one of those not times. And the behavior of the kids is getting worse and worse by the minute. Now the bigger kids are standing on the chairs trying to catch a moth and Lily is hitting the tire guy in the back of the legs with the stroller while he is on the phone. Frantically I look around to try and figure out how to get us out of this mess. But there is no way. I try to set Ryker down to grab Lily and he just screams. I get the girls off the chairs but then one of them gets their leg stuck in the chair and she starts screaming. I want to just throw everyone in the car and drive off but it only has three wheels. "Serenity Now!!!" I kept screaming in my head. There was a girl there about twenty. I'm pretty sure we gave her a really good dose of birth control. Wouldn't be surprised if it was a permanent dose. Finally the tire guy gets off the phone. "Just put the spare on write me up an estimate and we'll deal with it later" I tell him. Twenty minutes later we finally all load up in the car. I am so embarrassed by this time that I am wishing I gave them a fake name. Not that they'll really remember my name, but it would be easier for me to just forget the whole fiasco if I could remain anonymous. But on the bright side, I am positive that I gave a few people a good laugh. And, it's actually a good thing that we had to make a quick exit because Larry was able to find a shop that had a tire like ours with the same amount of tread wear. So we only had to get one tire after all! Thank heaven for those little "coincidences".

Thursday Night Confessional

While I have seen High School Musical 2 numerous times I have only seen the last half hour of the first HSM. I usually turn it on for the girls and then go and do something else. Well, tonight the Disney Channel had a sing along version of HSM on and not only did I watch every single second (while folding clothes because there is no "free" time) I sang along and loved it! What a fun show that is. No wonder the girls love it so much. Yes it is very tweeny but it is also very cute!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

B.F.F. Reunited!

Those of you that have known us forever will remember our friends Dan and Stacey that we moved out here with. If you don't know who I am talking about - sorry! Just enjoy the cute pictures! Their daughter Abby and Bella were best friends. They are only about 10 weeks apart in age and spent a lot of time together when they were little. After Dan and Stacey seperated, Dan lived with us for awhile so it was always a lot of fun for Bella when Abby came to visit. And then after Dan moved out, the girls saw less and less of each other and they hadn't seen each other in a few years. But that all changed on Father's Day! Dan and Katie, his wonderful wife, invited us over to hang out at the pool and play. We all had such a great time and Bella and Abby fell right back into their old friendship. Here they are together before the water fun started. They are so cute together!

All of our kids love the water so much. Larry and I laugh that they are a new species of human. Half mammal, half fish!! Brooke loved floating around with the noodle. Lily really wanted to get in the water, but there wasn't a kiddie pool she could splash in. And she didn't like going out in the deep end because she had to be held. She wanted to be free to do her own thing. Imagine that ;) So she decided that the first two steps into the pool were the place for her. Larry and I took turns hanging out with her there. It was the perfect place for her.

Dan loves to play with the kids and the kids love to play with him. Here he is playing "Who can hold their breath the longest" with the older kids.

There was this little boy that kept following the girls around. Is this a glimpse into the future?? I am thinking so. Finally, this is the point where they told him to bug off. Good for you girls!! Let's hope they still feel that way in ten, fifteen, twenty years or so!

I adore this picture of Lily! When she wasn't in the water she was playing cool chic on the sidelines with Katie and I. Katie is expecting her and Dan's first child together! A little boy they are planning on naming Mason. She could go at anytime so she didn't stay in the water for long periods of time.
We had such a great Father's Day thanks to Dan and Katie. And it is fabulous to see Dan happy again. There were times where I didn't think I would ever see a genuine smile on his face again. But there it is and it's a beautiful thing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Flood Waters Are Rising

Since Iowa started flooding last week a few of you have expressed concern about our families back in the Midwest. So here is an update as to how things are going there. The Mississippi River is supposed to crest at Keokuk tomorrow. Keokuk is where we did everything; shopping, church, music lessons, eating out etc. It is about 7 miles down the road from my home town of Warsaw. This is a picture of the Keokuk bridge that connects Iowa and Illinois. They brought in gravel and other materials to raise the elevation to allow it to remain open as long as possible. Here is a picture of the Illinois side (it's at a lower elevation than the Iowa side) bridge before the elevation change. You can see how the water is across the whole entrance of the bridge.

This is the same side after the elevation change.

According to the paper the traffic is slow going, but people are making it across. There was major flooding in this same area back in 93 but they are predicting this flood will be worse. My parents still have a home in Warsaw, however most of the town is on a bluff. So their home will be fine as will most of the town. There is an area that we called the bottoms and those residents will not fair so well. The river is always very close there so at flood level it will be inside their home it's just a matter of how far up the water will go. There is some concern about the water filtration system because the crest level expected is so high. Currently I don't have any pictures of the flood waters in Nauvoo. But for those of you that have been there the water is up on Parley street; where the saints crossed the river into Iowa, but it is not into any of the historical sites. But my mother in law told me this morning that the water is into her beauticians yard. Larry's parents house is up on a bluff as well so they should be fine. It's just sad to see the destruction that the flood waters cause. This last picture is of the lock and dam at Keokuk. You can see that the water is just a few feet shy of covering the top. The bridge in the background is the old bridge that we crossed when I was a kid. That thing was terrifying! The top surface is a grate so you can see through it to the river. And it's a swing bridge so there is a large section that swings out when a barge comes through so you would periodically get stuck on the bridge. Everytime we got stuck I was convinced that the bridge was going to fall apart and that we were going to crash into a watery grave. Sometimes my brothers would get out of the car and walk around but I never did. I was too chicken. To this day I still don't think I could do it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Plans Run Amuck

As I went to bed last night, I had an idea in my mind of what today was going to be like. In my mind, it played out something like this:
We got to bed late, so I figured the kids would sleep in late. After a nice little sleep in we would eat some breakfast, get ready for the day and head out to the mall to pick up Larry's F.D. present. I knew that Larry was going to be working most of the day so we would get this done in the morning. Go grab some lunch, take the kiddos to a birthday party. Afterwards do a little grocery shopping and then I would do some house cleaning in the evening. Instead this is how my day turned out.
Lily decided that she didn't want to have any part of sleeping in. She starting whimpering around 6 so I went in and laid her down with me (Larry left at 5). I was hoping this would help her sleep for a couple more hours, but instead it only bought me about 1. That was a little bit disappointing but I could handle it. Everyone gets up and I grab some waffles from the freezer for breakfast. When I grab the box I notice it's wet. That's not a good sign. I go to take the waffles out and they are completely thawed. That is a really bad sign. I start looking around the freezer and it becomes clear very quickly that it has almost completely defrosted itself. I open the fridge and almost everything is room temperature. You have got to be kidding me! Why does this have to happen on the one Saturday that Larry is not here!! I spend the next few hours throwing food away to the tune of three trash bags. That hurts the food budget a little bit. Luckily we have a fridge in the garage so I was able to transfer the food that was still good to it. The thing that upset me the most is that I had made a fabulous brownie trifle the day before and it did not survive the room temperature. That almost brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, we had eaten most of it and only brought a little bit home. If it had been half of it, I most likely would have broken into tears. Silly I know, but I have been depriving myself of sweets and that was my one indulgence this week.
BUT the whole day was not bad. There were some highlights:
The girls went to a really fun birthday party and played in the spraygrounds having so much fun. They could have stayed there all day. Lily did not get hurt on her catapult head dive over the cement half wall. That could have ended very, very badly. Brendan got to play with his buddy all day. The neighbors offered to let him stay longer when they found out that I needed to go to the mall and they kept Bella too. They would have kept Brooke as well but that seemed like too much to me since Brendan had literally been at their house all day. I guess having their kids over here all the time pays off occasionally. And they got out their giant inflatable water slide so the kids played on that for hours. Lily even went down with Scott. She thought is was great! The guy at the jewelry store (were I picked up Larry's resized wedding ring; let's hope it fits!) told me after looking at my license that I looked really young for my age. Now I know that sounds cheesy but I gotta tell you, my bday is coming up in a couple of weeks and I will be halfway through my 30's. That is not something that I am looking forward to. So, any inkling of a compliment on not looking as old as I am is HUGE for me right now. Almost made up for the ruined brownie trifle. And now it's 11:20, time for bed. I didn't get any of the housework done that I needed to. It will wait until tomorrow. Poor Larry still is not home. He called to say he was on his way. I think it's fair to say that even though my day started off really, really bad at the end of it his day was way worse than mine. It shall be interesting to see what tomorrow brings after such a unique one today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Larry The Tool Man Hahl

I am so blessed to be married to a handy man. Seriously, Larry has saved us so many times with his knowledge and ability to fix things. Case in point; our dryer broke last week. It would tumble the clothes, but never heat up. So for a few days I used a make shift clothes line in the basement. It worked, but there are some things, such as tidy whities that you just don't want to air dry. After a couple of days, Larry was finally able to look at it. He found the problem right away, called a parts store, picked up the part and installed it all within two hours! I was back to drying clothes in no time. Here is a list of a few things Larry has done for us in the last year:
Put in a sprinkler system and layed new sod in the backyard
Replaced edging in the back
Ripped out the flowerbeds
Painted the exterior of our house along with seven interior rooms
Replaced the carpet in our living room
Fixed the hot water heater, both of them actually
Fixed the pond
Replaced the dishwasher
Fixed the garbage disposal
Not to mention the other "honey do's" that have escaped my mind at the moment. His capabilities are so amazing to me. If somethings broke, my first thought is always"I bet Larry can fix it!" and 9 times out of 10 he can. Thanks for all that you do! Loves!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

50 Things About Me - Installment 1

I was blog cruising, and someone had a running list of 100 things about themselves to be completed over a span of a year. Sounded like a fun thing to do so I decided to give it a try. However, the thought of coming up with 100 seemed a little bit daunting so I narrowed it down to 50. Here is the first installment.

50). I hate rain! In the midwest growing up I loved the smell of rain. But as an adult I hate rain. If it's raining, I will stay inside at all costs.
49). I do however love lightening. I love how it lights up the sky with it's chaotic fingers flying.
48.) I detest scrambled eggs. I don't know if it's some weird repressed childhood memory or what but the minute they land on my tongue I want to spit them right back out. If I am in a situation where I am forced to eat them (ex. setting a good example for my kiddos) I choke them down as fast as I possibly can and try to mask the taste with strong condiments.
47.) My favorite season is fall. Especially in the midwest because the trees are so alive with colors. And I love the smell of fall, which is really just piles of dead, decaying leaves. Gross to think about I know but what can I say, I love that smell!
46.) I could eat a whole pan of brownies by myself in one sitting.
45.) I love the fact that I grew up in a really small, one stoplight town. I could run with the neighbor kids from dawn till dusk and there was no worry about someone stealing me.
44.) I love that growing up my best friend was just a few houses down the street. So many good memories! I could do a whole separate post on the crazy things we did back then.
43.) I love to read, but don't do it very often because it consumes my life. I can't care for my children, husband or house if I am in the middle of reading a book. Everyone must fend for themself until the last word on the last page is read and fully absorbed into my cranium.
42.) I hate surprises!
41.) I am a terrible speller.
40.) I love snow. I love how fluffy it is and I love how peaceful it makes the world look.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Schwan Man

The Schwan man comes to our neighborhood every other Thursday. Now, I love stuff from the Schwan man but don't ever buy it because it is just too pricey. However, he has figured out that Larry is a sucker. It's the truth and Larry will readily admit it. So now, the Schwan man only stops at our house if he sees Larry's truck in the driveway. Why - because he knows that Larry
will buy something! So tonight, around five o'clock the doorbell rings and there is the Schwan man. I tell him that we don't need anything but make the mistake of looking at Larry who is waving his arms, crazed ice cream deprived look in his eyes. What's a gal to do?? By the time the Schwan man pulls away we (and by that I mean Larry) have purchased; chocolate crunch bars, jr. bomb pops and chocolate brownie ice cream. Now, what would the total be for this wonderful purchase you might ask?? A whopping $24 bucks! That is so ridiculous. We could have bought twice as much stuff somewhere else. Quantity over quality is what I am looking for. But for some reason, Larry just can't seem to reach the same conclusion as me. So, the next time you see that wonderful little truck in your neighborhood think of me and my ice cream addicted husband who just can't say no!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What I Am Grateful For Today

Washable Markers!!

And this gorgeous smile!

Let's hope tomorrow I am grateful for oxyclean!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Bike Lot

I talk alot about the fact that we frequently have lots of neighbor kids over. Lately, the number of kids keeps getting larger and larger. On Saturday I went to the store for about an hour. When I came home this is what my front yard looked like.
Now, three of those bikes belong to my children. However the other six represent someone else'e child. A couple of those bikes were at our house by 10:30 Saturday morning and didn't leave until 4 when Larry and I decided to load everyone up in the car in an effort to get our house back. Granted, the easiest thing to do would be to just tell everyone it's time to go home. But for some reason that is really hard for us to do. Partly because those other kids make our kids so happy. They love to play with them and some of those kids are so stinkin cute that I love playing with them. What's a mom to do?!? Whenever I start to mumble about it Larry just laughs and reminds me that I wanted to be the house on the block where everyone came to play. And he's right. I did. Perfect example of be careful what you wish for 'cause you just might get it. On the bright side, my kids get to play with their friends and I know what they are doing and what is going on. Major plus! Especially in today's world. Downside, the popsicle budget is gone and I am sure a few of our neighbors think we are off our rockers. "Does the parade of kids ever stop? How many kids can they fit in that house anyway?" And of course no hot summerish day would be complete without a gang of kids on bikes in their swimming suits. The rest of the gang was to the left of the picture.

It's going to be a great summer!!