Sunday, April 30, 2006

Project finished - a day early!

M has a project due on Tuesday on an artist. He chose M. C. Escher. He has known about the project for at least a month and had done bits and pieces before this weekend. But it didn't really amount to much. D and I looked at it and saw that most of his "20 interesting bits of information" were either repetitive or plagarised. Oops. Had big discussions over plagarism. Emailed teacher to confirm that no, copying information is not acceptable. M says other kids do it and no one complains. Sorry, but I'm not other kid's parent. I complain! So, over the past week, he slowly rewrote the info. very, very slowly. Some of it still doesn't particularly sounds like it is in M's words, but at least it isn't in the internet's words now either.
Yesterday and today he started finding pictures to print out. He printed out pictures. He did more editing. He had things laid out on his poster board, so finally I said he could go out and play. I wanted this thing DONE today, so it wasn't hanging over his head along with regular homework tomorrow. Near dinner time, M and his friend S came in and M wanted S to stay for dinner. No can do - we're having leftover hamburgers and I only have 4. Plus, he still had that pasting to do. So then, he wanted to eat at S's house. But S's mom has no idea what she is having for dinner.* While the mom and I were discussing the possibilities, M decided that if he hurried and finished his project that I would have to let him go. So he and S slapped the project together - and yes, it looked slapped together. They used glue - which wrinkled the paper and made some of the type bleed. They didn't bother to line up any of the papers, so it looked rather mismash. All-in-all a poor job. D and I declared that no, this wasn't going to pass muster. M had to reprint the pages and tape them on to a fresh piece of poster board. It looks SO much nicer when its not slapped together in 10 minutes. I'll try to get a photo tomorrow.

* Oh, and M decided that he didn't even want to have dinner with S when mom finally decided and told him that they were having chicken and noodles. We've promised the kids that they can have dinner together at her place or mine some other day this week.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Carnival Time

Today was the day of the school carnival. Big deal, lots of hype, must-go activity. We bought our tickets earlier this week (presale tickets were discounted, $12 worth of tickets for $10), so we were ready to go.
Almost as soon as the kids came home today they asked, is it time to go to the carnival yet? Umm, no, it was barely 3 and the official start was 5. So we hung out and played some more Blink. M says, "it's no fair, you play too fast". Sorry, but I can't just slow down on this sort of game. I know he will get faster with practice and may even beat me soon. We also played a couple of games of Guess Who. Note that these are both short games, so we had time for several as well as other things.
Finally it was 4:30 and time to get ready. I figured on getting there around quarter til 5 so the kids could do their spin art - prize for perfect attendance the last month (leading up to and including spring testing - that's a whole nother post). We got there, did the spin art and I set them loose, after pointing out where I would be - working at the boys bouncy house.
I saw the kids several times at the bouncy house (which I didn't realize was supposed to be a monster truck until after I worked my hour shift - in my defense, I spent that whole hour right at the opening and not seeing the "big picture").
I tried getting a picture of M jumping, but it just didn't work. So, here's A and a friend waiting to jump.

I think this may have been A's favorite activity, or at least he spent a lot of time there - he jumped at least 6 times in the hour I was there. At the very end of my hour my mom arrived to spell me for a bit so the kids and I could go get some dinner from the food tent - pizza for them and Chick-fil-A sandwich for me.
I think M's favorite activity was the bouncy obstacle course. Again I tried to get a photo, but no luck. I did manage to get this photo of M and a friend waiting in line.

The line for the obstacle course was the longest of the whole place. And it took 2 tickets, where all the other games were only 1 ticket each.
I hope the school made a bunch of money. It was certainly a fair amount of work. Somehow not as many people volunteered as usual to help work, so some of us ended up working 2+ hours, while many others didn't work at all. I think they might have better luck asking parents to work a half-hour shift rather than an hour. 2, 1-hour shifts back to back was a bit much. D did take over part of my second shift so I could run to the bathroom and the car.
M won not one, but two, boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. What in the world are we going to do with 24 glazed donuts??? The only way I really like these is fresh and hot. I suppose with this many of them I may experiment with microwaving them. I have a feeling that they are going to go stale before they all get eaten. M was so full of pizza, cotton candy (two sticks), brownie, candy & donut all eaten at the carnival that he didn't want a snack. Amazing!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Can M mow?

M decided he wanted to try to mow the lawn. Hurrah, think I. But can he? I think he is motivated by the idea that we would pay him to mow. So, this afternoon, we all went out and picked up sweetgum balls. They are everywhere! Even though I have raked the yard (at least that part) twice this spring, it took no time at all to pick up several buckets full of those pesky prickly balls. I just went looking for a photo of sweetgum balls - I can't believe people will actually buy them!
Then I also found a tool for picking them up - without bending over. Looks interesting. A bit pricy, but definitely interesting. I wish I could try one out.
Anyway, once we got done with picking up those pesky things, it was time to pull out the mower. Not surprisingly, M couldn't start it. I remember I could mow for a long time before I could start our mower as a kid. So, I gave a bit of a safety lesson and started it up. I pushed along with M for a bit, especially as we went up the front yard. Pushing uphill was a bit difficult, so we did some side-to-side mowing. Here's M turning the mower around.

And then trying to get it going in the next direction.

I don't know if it will be easier with practice - or when its not the first mowing of the season, but for now, this is not working so well. M is still interested, though, so we will try again. We will also try out my mom's self-propelled mower. Yes, ours is just a plain jane human powered gas mower.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I got a new game in the mail today, Blink. Boys Life/Scouting magazine is running a challenge. I signed up for this way back in the fall and they finally sent me the game. FREE. Pretty cool. They even sent me a timer so I can time the boys playing.
D and I played one game tonight, just to see how it goes. Quickly, in a blink even. At least for us - not so much for 7 year olds. I took it with me to our meeting tonight and we had a few minutes left after our guest speaker finished, so we played 2 games. A is pretty good. Another mom looked surprised when I said that no, he hadn't ever played it before. I think it helps that he has played SET, though, as it has a lot of the same principles. You can play SET here, online. The kids seemed to have fun with Blink, and M is dying to try it out. He didn't get to tonight since he finished his homework after dinner, just before leaving for Scouts. I'm sure we will play a game tomorrow. The challenge is to become a "master" player, playing out all your cards in 30 seconds or less! We're not anywhere near that, and aren't even timing games now. It's amazing to play a game that takes longer to deal out the cards than to play the game.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The rug is back

The living room rug is finally back in its rightful place - after many months. Last fall, we replaced the flooring in the kitchen, LR/DR and front hall. To do this, we obviously had to pick up the rug (and detach its sticky pad). We stashed the rug temporarily in the basement. And there it sat until early February. After all, the floor people said it would be good to let the floor all age and darken at the same rate, right? Well, that, and its a long drive to the rug cleaning place. But finally I took it in - only to discover that not only did it need cleaning, but it also needed repair. A couple of tears got sewn up, the ends got chain-stitched where they were raveling, and it got moth-proofed. All this took a while, but finally they called and said it was ready at the end of March - right when I was busy fighting the taxes. But on Friday, my mom and I went to pick it up. We made a day of it.
We went to the Dekalb Farmers Market and had a very nice time picking out specialties that aren't available in our local area. They have great fresh breads, including "chocolate bread" (chocolate croissants), like that which D brought back from Paris one time.

Of course I had to bring some home for M and A (and couldn't leave D or myself out either).
They have a very interesting restaurant there and we thought of eating there, but we had forgotten to bring our parkas. It was freezing in the Farmers Market, especially on that end, near the fish/meat/cheese/refrigerated sections. The employees were all wearing very warm looking parkas and looking quite comfortable.
I picked up some nice produce and a few other treats also. It is a nice place to visit, but next time I'll remember the cold weather gear.

Then it was on to pick up the rug. That went smoothly and the rug just fits in the van - with the seats lying flat and one end going between the front seats. But this way the rug was inside and we didn't have to worry about rain or theft. Though anyone who tried to take off with it would get a hernia - that thing is heavy.
So with the rug safely in the car, my mom and I went to a Thai noodle shop for lunch, where we had pick-your-ingedients noodle soup. Yumm. It was equally tasty for leftovers on Sat also.
Sat was rainy, so the rug stayed in the car. Sunday we finally managed to get the rug out. My, that rug is heavy. We really could have used a 3rd person as we manuvered it aound the house, up the front stairs, navigated the turn in the stairs and in the front door. We dumped in the front hall - and there it stayed until tonight.
Tonight, we got the hardwood floor pad out of storage (I knew I saved it for a reason), and got started trying to put the rug down. 9'x12' of waffle rug pad is hard enough to get straight, but its even harder to put the rug down straight and not skew the pad. We pushed, we pulled, we lifted, we made kids help. We moved various pieces of furniture. Finally we got the rug in place. Ta-da:

They all look very comfy, don't they? After the kids went to bed, D and I got the furniture back into place.

The Turtle and the Fort

Saturday evening and most of Sunday afternoon, M, A and some friends worked on building a fort in the backyard. We have a Large pile of bricks (bought cheaply from our neighbors, for yard projects). The kids decided that bricks would be the perfect building material - after all, the little pig who built his house of bricks had the strong, safe house. So, bricks it was. Sunday after church they had gotten one wall up and were starting on another.

Note that the kids had been alternating bricks for more stability. However, that was not enough stability. Something happened and A leaned on the wall (or touched it wrong or ?) and the wall came partly down. This caused great outrage and before I got a chance to see what was going on, M and his friend decided that it was not fixable and kicked the rest of the fort down.
I suggested a double thick layer of bricks in the future, but was informed that there are NOT enough bricks for that. And no thanks, but I don't believe I'll be buying several hundred more bricks for this endeavor.

Somewhere in the middle of this, the kids were getting something from the garage and found an intruder - of the slow kind.

He's really rather cute. It took him a while to come out of his shell after the shock of being picked up and forcibly removed from the garage out to the driveway.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Places I've visited

I found this cool map of places you've visited. I counted 31 states, though Alaska and Nevada were both only long layovers in the airport.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

And here's a similar map of the world. It looks as though I have visited all of Europe, but really its 8 countries - most of them on a whirlwind 2 week bus tour with my family while I was in college.

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands
China shows up, since they don't have a separate country for Hong Kong now. I went to Hong Kong in college, but it wasn't part of China at the time. It says my total is 13 countries, or 5% of the world.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Game Night

It's the 3rd Friday of the month and that means Game Night at church. We try to go most months, even though most of the time M and A are the only kids there. But they both enjoy playing dominoes (the typical game - at least when no other kids are there), and can hold their own against the adults.
Here A is having fun playing.

As A has grown up, he has fewer problems with the adults trying to 'help' him play. A is quite competent to play Mexican train dominoes by himself - he's been playing since just before he turned 4, but some of the adults seem to think that he must need help. I'm not saying he doesn't make mistakes, but not appreciably more than the rest of us do.
M played for a while, but then decided he would rather read his book.

He took one book (one of the Narnia series) with him and then found 2 other interesting books in the church library - Wizard of Oz and a collection of fairy tales. I'm glad to see that he is willing to revisit some books that he earlier was not interested in. He stated, vociforously, as recently as several months ago, that he was NOT interested in Wizard of Oz or Narnia. Since I happen to think that they are both good series - I particulary loved Wizard of Oz books as a child - I was pleased that he is willing to try them. I realize thet M will not like all the books I liked as a child, but I hate to see him reject books without giving them a chance.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

M finally gets a DS

M got several gift cards for his birthday last month and when we went shopping, he decided he wanted a Nintendo DS. Well, they are pretty pricey and he didn't have nearly enough gift cards. Nor did he have enough when adding in his money at home. He's been saving nearly all his allowance for the last month, but that still didn't do it. What finally did it was - he sold his gameboy. One of his friends has been wanting a gameboy and the mom had promised him one for good behavior. M had been bugging her for a couple of weeks and she finally bought it from him yesterday. He wanted to go to Target right then, but seeing as it was dinnertime, NO. So we went today after school - actually after I finished getting the chicken in to marinate. We dashed up there and back. Oh happy day, M is quite happy now. Luckily the DS plays gameboy games as he doesn't have enough money currently to buy any new DS games.

Happy Birthday (observed) to my mom!

We celebrated my mom's birthday today, only about 3 weeks late, but when there are 3 birthdays in the family in 5 days, its a bit too much. Plus her birthday fell during Lent, and she gave up desserts for Lent. Anyway, I fixed the dinner of her choice, baked chicken from a recipe she found in the paper (thighs marinated in yogurt, dredged in bread crumbs/parsley), green beans with a horseradish sauce, crescent rolls. Then coconut cake for dessert. It was all very tasty. I wasn't sure I was going to like the horseradish sauce, even after making it, but it mellowed a bit in the fridge and the flavors mingled nicely. A really enjoyed the sauce too - though he used it as a dipping sauce for his frozen green beans.
M couldn't find his gift for my mom - he hid it away at one point so she wouldn't see it, but evidently he hid it too well. We did some hunting, but no luck, so I guess we'll just have to keep our eyes out for it. I know what it is, but I can't say - so it will be a surprise to her later.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rockets and Swords

I had a fun evening planned for my Tiger Cubs. We were going to shoot off baking soda rockets, like the kids and I did several weeks ago. I couldn't find the same cork we used before, but thought I'd just grab another one. Yes, we have a collection of corks - at one point we saw a trivet made from corks and thought we might make one - never happened, but we still have a cork collection. It comes in handy when the cork on a bottle of wine breaks, but we haven't finished the bottle. Anyhow, I went to grab another cork and thought it was odd that most of the corks seemed to small for my water bottle, but I found 2 that I thought would work and off we went.
I realized on our way to Scouts that I had forgotten the brick to up-end the bottle in, but figured I could find a substitute, which we did. So, I gathered the kids, set up the "rocket" and we were all set:

Only one problem - cork #1 had a leak - all the vinegar drained out through the corkscrew hole. No problem, I have a second cork, and it doesn't have a hole through it. So, set up the rocket again, and still nothing. This time it appears that cork #2 doesn't fit quite snugly enough - it keeps all the liquid in, but lets the gas escape around the edges of the cork. Sigh.
I guess I need to find a set-up that works here and try it again in a few weeks (not next week as I have a speaker coming in - to tell the boys about life in this area in the past).

Luckily I had a back-up plan. Make balloon swords. The boys helped blow up the balloons with the help of a pump, then we tied them and twisted them into swords, like this:

We had to make each boy several, as they popped if dropped on the grass. I need to remember if we do this again, its better done inside.

flowers of purple

A little while ago I noticed a new plant in the yard. Hmmm, I don't remember planting something there - I wonder what it is. Maybe a lily or a gladiolus? No, maybe an iris - rather looks like an iris blooming at church. I checked today, and yes, it is an iris!

I don't remember planting it, but I must have. When I saw the beginning of the flower, I was hoping/expecting that it would be a deep purple (the tip was), but no, it is more lavender. Still very pretty, but maybe I'll see if I can find a deep purple one to plant near it in the future. Posted by Picasa

Then we also have 2 new plants that D found at Pike's when he went to get some weed & feed. These are Mexican petunias. They are supposed to get to be good-sized, like 3 feet tall. A big plus for us is, they are perennials - we like perennials a lot - plant once, enjoy for years!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Taxes DONE

I finally got all the taxes in the mail around 11:30 (am not pm). I HATE doing taxes, especially trying to figure out new quirks in the tax law or confronting new situations. The tax instructions are clearly not meant to be interpreted by a layman (or laywoman in this case). I went round and round reading instructions, trying to determine what some of them meant.
Our taxes, that is D and I, married filing jointly, wasn't so much of a problem. Not fun, exactly, but no really new situations, just trying to find all of our various deductions.
This year I had 2 extra sets of taxes, though - for my dad and for his estate - that makes for 2 extra Federal and 2 extra state tax forms. Arrrgh. The ones for his estate seemed like they should be fairly straightforward - just interest from 2 sources, but I spent several hours trying to figure out what they meant where. I either messed them up or I gave them extra info they didn't want. I couldn't find where to put where the interest was coming from, so I gave them a Schedule B from a form 1040 to go along with my form 1041. I hope it doesn't come back to bite me.
And then there was my dad's taxes for Jan and Feb of 2005. I had thought I could just follow what the accountant did last year, but too much of it didn't make sense to me - there was some sort of carryover from last year - on a form I've never had to use. I had thought it was a good use of his money for him to pay the accountant and therefor I decided that it would be a good use of his money (inherited by me) to pay the acountant to do his taxes one final time. So, I filed for an extension and will be contacting the accountant next week (got to let him get a breather after tax day). I am heartily glad to have them DONE.

Happy Easter

Well, so its the day after Easter, but I've got a bunch of pictures from Easter, so here you go.
First up in the morning, we had baskets.

There was lots of ooohing and aaahing over the contents. Look, a book. Some gummies. A gold dollar. etc.

My mom was surprised to discover that the Easter bunny had left her a basket - and at our house. She was quite pleased to find black jellybeans and coffee candies (they called them coffee lentils, but I think they looked more like coffee M&Ms).

Then it was time for the hunt. After all, we had to find those hard boiled eggs so that we could admire and eat them for breakfast.

After breakfast there was even a little bit of time for reading the paper - something that hasn't occured in recent Easters due to mad craziness. But then it was time to get dressed. A said "OK" and went off to get dressed with just a little help (he still gets the buttons mis-matched as often as not). M, on the other hand, had a bit of a snit - "why do I have to wear a jacket AND a tie??"
We had a discussion about how it is important to know how to dress nicely and appropriately. We don't ask them to dress up very often, but Easter is one of those 3 or 4 times a year. I want them to know how to look dressed up, so that when they need to for a job interview or to make a good impression, they will know things like - yes, it matters what color socks you wear (no white athletic socks with dress pants and dress shoes!)

Here's A with his flowers for flowering the cross.

I wish I had gotten a picture of the kids with the flowered cross. It was really quite pretty - mostly azaleas this year, as that is about all that is blooming in yards right now, but there were a few other flowers. After the service, the cross was outside, waiting to be de-flowered, so I helped out by removing some flowers. They look very nice in a vase on my table.

After the service, it was time for the traditional family photo with the Easter lilies.

It seems like it should get easier to get a family photo as the kids get older, but it doesn't seem to - at least not now. M is at an unfortunate phase where he wants to stick his tongue out all the time for photos. And both kids seem to have a forced grin rather than the natural smile they used to have (that seemed to change around 6 for mine). Anyway, at least this one had no tongues and no scowls.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter egg hunt at church

The Easter egg hunt at church was this afternoon. First we had the lighting of the Pascal candle, while the teens hid eggs. But hiding eggs took longer than the short service lighting the candle, so then the kids were hanging out in the parish hall. Here are M and a friend clowning around.

Then they decided to play some games. They did a relay of run, sit down and pop a balloon. Here's A trying to pop a reluctant balloon.

Next, M tried to get his balloon to pop.

Then finally it was time for the hunt. Everyone was sure to get plenty of eggs this year. For some reason not that many kids showed up - I think this was the least number of kids since we've been here (almost 7 years). We had 13 kids hunting - that is even fewer than the year when it was nasty rain and they had to do the hunt indoors.

A is quite happy to find an egg.

M is finding eggs here.

Notice M is carrying a bag of eggs. He has already filled up his basket (I'm carrying it) and has quite a few in his bag. When we saw how few kids there were (and knew how MANY eggs there were), most of the kids aquired a spare plastic bag or basket. I think they all overflowed their baskets, and if they didn't it wasn't due to a lack of eggs!

Bunny cake & memories

My mom made a bunny cake for coffee hour after church on Easter. It's quite cute.
This brings back many memories - the recipe was cut out of the newspaper many, many years ago - sometime when I was a very small child. At least once, I had a bunny cake for my birthday (my birthday usually falling near Easter). A friend (whose birthday is a few days after mine) at church saw the cake and remarked that she also had a bunny cake for Easter one time. Actually I must have had this cake more than once, because I can remember my brother being jealous and wanting a bunny cake for his birthday - in January. As a good mother, my mom made him a bunny cake in January.
I'm sure it will be a hit tomorrow - both visually and tastily (?). I don't know how I should say that.... edibly, yummily.... whatever, it will look good and taste good. Posted by Picasa

enjoying the hammock

We tried to put up my new hammock yesterday, but I couldn't find the S-hooks that we used on the old hammock. Today, D bought some new hooks and he and A set it up. A tried it out first. Ah, bliss!

Then I tried it out with A. I called to M to come take a picture of us - and while we were waiting for M, Miss P wandered over to investigate. So, we invited her to join us.

Then M wanted to try it out too.

He and A shared it nicely for a while, then the sibling rivalry started up in full force:
"He took the pillow"
"He tipped me off"
"He scratched me"
So, they got alternating turns while the other ate lunch.

Friday, April 14, 2006

egg dying

It's time to dye the eggs again. A and I went down to look in the big box of Easter stuff and he picked out a tie-dye egg dying kit. (I have at least 3 or 4 more egg dying kits on hand, picked up on a super clearance sale several years ago.) So, we set about making up dye - 2 batches, so that we could dye eggs and then more concentrated so we could tye-dye them also.
Here's M with a conventionally dyed egg.

Then he decided to try to tie-dye one - looks rather camo to me.

Then A did a multi-color egg.

We dyed 2 dozen eggs in all and they are all very good looking.
You might also notice that M has a new haircut. He was not particularly happy about getting his hair cut and didn't cooperate with the barber very well, but she did a good job nevertheless. He wouldn't pose for a haircut picture, but the sideburns are gone and the back is slightly shorter and overall it is less shaggy. Still longer than I would have cut it, but ... I'm trying to pick my battles.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday

For the first time, I went to the Maundy Thursday service at church - otherwise known as the foot washing. I'd never been before, but several people had told me that seeing the altar stripped was a powerful sight, so I went. D and the kids weren't interested, so they stayed home. I think I will try to persuade them to go next year.
The foot washing was interesting. I had thought that the priest washed all the feet (all who wanted to be washed), but no, he washed two, and then those people washed the next two, etc. I was at the end of the line, and then I got to wash the priest's feet. Hmmm.... I hadn't been expecting that.
Then at the end of the service, the priest started removing pieces off the altar, handing them to the members of the congregation to take back to the sacristy. It was a very powerful sight to see the altar stripped, no linens, no flowers (palms in this case), no candles, no cross. Then they put a black linen on the altar and a crown of thorns and we all exited in silence. Very moving.

A's Easter egg hunt

A's class had an Easter egg hunt this afternoon. I wrote a note to his teacher yesterday asking if she needed any help hiding eggs. Oh my, yes, she was thrilled to have help! So, I did the bunny hop and hid eggs with one other mom. Including the fun part of stuffing eggs, where one parent sent in a package of eggs and a bag of candy - that did NOT fit in the eggs she sent. grrr. We had to go pick up a bunch of the bigger eggs and restuff eggs.
Then the kids came out and proceeded to find all the eggs within a few minutes - well, its not tough when you have 193 eggs hidden on a hillside with a few trees - not too many hiding spots.
I tried to get a picture of A hunting, but he wasn't interested in getting his photo taken, but of finding eggs. Here he is after finishing the hunt.

And here, A and several buddies are checking out their baskets and counting their eggs.

The kids got between 5 and 18 eggs each, but Mrs. G. had told them that they were going to equalize baskets. She started trying to get kids with many eggs to give one each to kids with few, but that looked like it would take forever and still end up with some kids having several "special eggs" and other kids having none. So, Mrs. G ended up taking all the kids to the swings, while the other mom and I equalized baskets - 10 eggs per kid, one special and one large each. There were a few grumblings when the kids came back to pick up their baskets, but overall a good time was had by all.

Challenge Quilt Show

My quilt group met yesterday and we had all our challenge quilts displayed for judging. I didn't enter with any expectation of winning, which is a good thing, as I didn't win. I did hear several people comment favorably on my quilt, though. In case you've forgotten, this is mine:

The bit of blue ribbon on mine and the next one signify that this is our first time entry into a challenge - in our group or any other quilt guild. They decided to come up with an additional prize for best first time entry, since they had many more entries than in the past. Previous years had 8-10 entries, this year had 23.
This quilt is the one that won for 1st time entries. I think it is really cool, but I didn't vote for it because I didn't think it had followed the rules - her predominant colors were supposed to be black and gold - I look at this and think green.

This one below won first place. It's cool, but not my first choice.

This one was my favorite:

It won an honorable mention for "bling". It was a hard choice for me between the stars above and the tree below. The tree won second place.

It was lots of fun to look at all the different things people came up with.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


D and I both have the sniffles currently, and the kids might have a lesser version. In D's case they are almost certainly allergies. For me, well... I get a bad case of sniffles, sneezes, sore throat at allergy time, oh, about every 5 years or so. So, I doubt it is allergies (unless there is something that only blooms about every 5 years - in varying areas across the southeast). But it is annoying just the same. At least in the short run, allergy pills don't seem to do anything, and I'm unwilling to take them for multiple days just to see - besides, how would I know if they were working or it was just a cold I got over?
M has shown signs of seasonal allergies in the past (though allergy testing only picked up dust mites), but he doesn't seem to be showing any symptoms this year. Maybe he grew out of whatever it was?? Or maybe he doesn't want to mention it because then I might make him take some sort of allergy meds. M HATES taking any sort of medicine. A is not complaining of anything, but does seem a bit drippy.
So, now you know more about our noses than I'm sure you cared to know. It was a slow news day.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zoo trip continued

Here's what the armadillo looks like when he curls up - did he get scared seeing adults instead of kids?

Sat morning when we got up, it was raining, not too hard, but enough that we were glad we had umbrellas.

We learned some about the pandas on Friday night - got to compare a panda skull to a brown bear skull, saw a video of the zoo keepers caring for the pandas, etc. Then Sat morning, we went to see the pandas. They are rather cute. We saw them eating some of their morning bamboo.

At the end of our trip, our nametags entitled us to a free ride on the carousel or train (only the train wasn't running yet). M, A and I all took a carousel ride. D decided he would rather watch. I thought it was rather appropriate that A, a tiger cub scout, chose to ride on the tiger.

I took a ride on an otter - they are one of my favorite animals to watch in the zoo. We tried to see them several times, but they were inside until our last visit past - when they were sleeping inside a log. Oh well. All in all, it was a good trip and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

We're goin' to the Zoo....

[Blogger has been being a pain, not letting me add more photos to this post, so I finally split up the post. I wrote this on Sat, but I'm not going to edit dates around.]

Yesterday, we all packed up and headed out to meet the rest of the Cub Scouts for an overnight trip to the Zoo. We met at the church at 4:30 and were on the road before 5. When we arrived at the zoo, this is what we saw:

A was all sacked out! Too much excitement or too little sleep this week. I'd rather have him nap then than be cranky and fall asleep during the evening program (which ran til 10pm).
And then here was M:

After getting settled into our (fully-enclosed, climate-controlled) cabins, we headed off on our tour. First up was the commisary, where they prepare all the animal's food, including such delicacies as:

rat-sicles... in dilute Powerade. Glad that's not in MY fridge!

Then we saw some animals. We got to see the kangaroos - if you look closely, you can see the feet of the joey sticking out of this kangaroos pouch.

Then we had some animal encounters. A frog - rather large, no touching, a snake - medium size, fine to touch, some sort of lizard (with a different colored tail than body) and finally a 3-banded armadillo. This is evidently different than US armadillos which are 9-banded.

He felt rather interesting. M and A both enjoyed touching the animals.