Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lizards, Scorpions and Monkeys

Living in Arizona has exposed us to some desert creatures. Matthew still has his "Lizard Hunter" skills, and caught this one out on the wall. Benjamin was ecstatic, and laughed when I suggested we call him "Speedy."

"Peedy! Yah mom, we call him 'Peedy! *hee hee* 'Peedy."

He and Abigail were very careful to not squish speedy, and he actually had some really interesting coloring. All photos were taken in the bathroom as that is the only place I would let them handle a lizard. I think Matthew made them stand in the tub just in case the kids dropped him. I did NOT want a lizard loose in the house. But they did just fine! Benjamin still asks about Speedy, and we wonder if he will acquire Matthew's astute skills. The scorpion, however, is another story...

I sent the kids to drop off some cookies to our neighbor who had graciously hooked up his compressor to inflate the kids bicycle and tricycle tires. On their way back, this scorpion just scoots right in the front door. I can hardly describe it, except that the only difference between this nasty thing and a New York stock broker is the black briefcase. Two claws up, and just scuttling in, like he knows where everything is, and is prepared to make himself comfortable. I screamed a full on, feminine, high pitched and helpless,


He came running, and I am glad to see that both of my kids stopped, eyes wide, right outside the door. YES! I've still got it - my kids will listen to me in an emergency. Good to know.

"ABIGAIL, BENJAMIN! Get on the couch! There's a scorpion in the house!"

Since they carry eggs on their backs, you don't squish scorpions with your shoe but rather capture them, and then flush them. Matthew got a clear glass and captured him, then let the kids have an educational moment with the scorpion.

Unlike the lizard, which doesn't bite or sting, we didn't name this guy, and he currently sleeps with the fishes. I think it makes our 4th or 5th scorpion in two years that we've found in the house. This one was pretty small comparatively. The last one we had was identified by Benjamin. Matthew didn't quite understand what he was saying about "Ders a bug dad!" "Yah, uh huh... I'll look at it later ..." That one, much like this one, just made himself at home in the kitchen, wandering around until we realized that he was there.

The last thing we found lyin around in the house is a monkey! Lisa told me about these Old Navy costumes, and I couldn't believe my luck. 30%off and one in Sam's size. I love the banana in the pocket and the little tail! However, Sam hates it, and wouldn't pose for me much. Grrrr. The things you do as mom. But we did get this shot. And as you can see we're enjoying our Arizona animals!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Lil' Millionaire

In her quest for a silver AR reading dog tag, Abigail has joined the high society of reading millionaires. At CTA, once you read a million words, you become part of the school "Millionaire's" club. She got this nifty certificate, and her name on a big poster in the library. The honors even extend to a personal selection of your favorite bookmark. Oh yes. Whatever it takes to motivate, I'm all for it.

Part of the million words are made up of books called "Pony Pals," which seem like the "Sweet Valley High" of reading for the 2nd grader, but she likes it. She has dabbled in Little House on the Prairie books, and even a few classics like "National Velvet" and "Black Beauty," - notice the horse theme - and we're still looking for more. She and Matthew are reading "Journey to the Center of the Earth" for bedtime story, and her teacher recommended "Mr. Poppers Penguins." I could hear her giggling while she read it. Must be a good book!

I think "Clementine" is up next, but if you know of any suggestions we are all ears. She burned through the "Captain Underpants" books pretty quick, and really enjoyed the "Hank the Cow Dog" series. We teased her quite a bit about those: "So are you reading Hank the Frog Duck?" She always corrects us, not realizing that we are just twitting her . . . tee hee!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Capes, Capers and Cake!

Benjamin just had a birthday! My boy is four now, and it's so fun to see. The lucky duck had TWO birthday parties. We planned this combined birthday party with our friends, the Coronado's, whose son Gabe is also turning 4 this month. However, after all invites had been sent out Matthew got an interview call to Cincinnati - which resulted in a small family party as well so that daddy could be there.

If you ever wanted to know how to have fun with a ton of kids though, here's my recipe. Make everyone a cape. Julia and I split up the tasks of making reversible capes for each munchkin. It took longer than I had anticipated, but the kids absolutely LOVED them. :D Sooooo satisfying to see them running around with capes flailing behind. We heard a lot of "Dunt duh-da DAAAAAAHHHH!" Hilarious. They colored, got to play "pin the S on Superman," and ran around while listening to the "Lazy Town" soundtrack. Julia made the fantastic Superman pull apart cupcake, uh, cake. It was perfect for the party AND tasty!
And the biggest party pleaser? I didn't think much about it when Julia told me that there would be water balloons. To huck. Not a fight, just a balloon hucking activity. Hmmm, okay. I was skeptical, but since she didn't ask me to do anything, I was happy to let it ride.

OH. MY. GOSH!! The kids LOVED it! There was a cooler full of water balloons, and after the lid opened, they got to grab a balloon and huck it - anywhere! On the ground, on the garage, into the gravel. They didn't care! They just loved watching them splash. THe peels of laughter and giggles could be heard for quite awhile, and in the end, it was over way too quick. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Everyone helped to clean up the rubber on the carport, and there were smiles all around. IT was awesome. :D Thank you Julia for showing me a better way! I have the happiest four year old because of it.

Nota Bene: How do you know you're married to a comic book nerd? When he looks at your inviation and says, "You mixed DC Comics and Marvel you know . . . "The Fantastic Four" and "SuperFriends" are from different publishers . . ."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reading Frenzy

TIME! *hands in the air* I finished the last book at 2 am! It has taken me approximately 5 days to read all four books in the "Twilight" series. WOO! I'm glad to be done with that. I have a total backlog of cleaning and laundry to catch up on! It's like reading a very long letter with juicy details that you just can't put down. Unless your son is having a birthday party.

If you know what it is, then you need no explanation, if you don't know what it is, welllll, imagine how it would be to read about the "dating phase" of someone's life. The up's, the downs, the hopes, the fears etc . . . but always, ALWAYS undistracted male attention and devotion. From a completely gorgeous guy. Who has old fashioned gentlemanly habits and limitless funds. And is super smart. Who's only goal in life is to resist your feminine wiles - which is beyond tempting when you're only in your sweats and nasty hair. He will protect you from every danger, shop for you while you're separated, make you personal cd's and try and pass off 5 carat diamond baubles as "just a crystal hand me down." All this while simultaneously trying to grant your every mortal wish. Because you're the only woman [in a century] that he ever felt like he could love. Forever.

Yep. Throw in that his dad's a wealthy doctor, his sister is your personal shopper at high end boutiques, and this is just appealing to the very core - could it get any better? Oh yes. How 'bout TWO guys that are desperately in love with you and hashing out who gets to spend evenings with you in your sweats. OH YES!
I understand why women wrap themselves up in these books, and also why men don't. It's football season, and even the most alluring girl can't compete with that. Cheerleaders try, but look at the lengths they have to go to; with the hair, makeup, relentless dieting and skimpy outfits - just to get a glance or two from a stadium full of men! You only get this kind of male attention once or twice in your life. When the hunt is on.

Yep. We'd take a bloodsucking vampire who paid attention to us over almost any normal guy. 'Cept my honey. Who won't be reading this 'til he's checked out the ESPN website . . . and his email. And also checked out the scores on today's games. And perused his Fantasy Football roster. *sigh* Clearly, it's GAME OVER for me. :( Thank you Stephenie, for the illusion. It was very tasty.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Know You by Heart

There are times when someone touches your heart in a way that shows how well they know you. My darling friend, Amy Jo, just sent me the costume drama, "Wives and Daughters." It is exactly what the Doctor ordered.

It has been said of this film: "Wives and Daughters is about the ordinary mysteries of life -- where does love come from, how does it grow, how it can twist and sour and corrupt us, how it can break our hearts, how it can bring us happiness and fulfilment. And more than almost any book I know, Wives and Daughters, this neglected masterpiece, tells us what it feels like to be alive.

It's so deep and penetrating and has wonderfully convincing characters. Everything springs directly out of their relationships." Davies, who wrote the drama, also believes that "Wives and Daughters was the one where [Gaskell] really hit greatness. It's right up there with Jane Austen and George Eliot. It's got terrific insight and sympathy, and beautifully, subtly drawn characters. It's not as well known as it should be because she never finished it, and so there was always that handicap to calling it a great novel."

I first watched it at my parents house, and have had many wonderful conversations with my mom about the plot. I suggested it to Amy, who watched it with her mom. And she knew that this would be perfect for me right now. Friends are the best, and best friends are heaven sent. Thank you Amy, thank you. And, if anyone wants to come over for movie night, I have the DVD!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Forgot . . .

They say that hindsight is 20/20, which is completely true in this case. As I lay out certain facts, it will probably snap together a lot faster for you than it did for me.

Fact one: I was watching the Food Network, and they had a special on the history of the pizza, which left me craving an authentic, 2 1/2" deep dish Chicago-style pizza. "We have to go get some pizza honey! Some good pizza! Not that Red Barron frozen pizza crap . . ." I had had a rough couple of days, so he agreed.

Oregano's is a pretty good restaurant out here, and 45 minutes later, there was a hot piping pizza in front of me. It tasted SOO GOOD! I even ate leftovers. It was so soothing in every way, except for where it made my pants tight.

Fact two: My kids have been inordinately naughty. Every day they seem to get worse! The shenanigans in the fabric store, the whining - OH MY GOSH THE WHINING!! Each child finding a Velocoraptor scream that hits, repeatedly on MY LAST NERVE. When I call for a cease fire, they look at me as though I am crazy. Makes me even more mad.

Fact three: Two zits, out of nowhere, on my oily face, which has the gall to be oily AND wrinkly. GADS! I'm so mad!

Fact four: I had a baby four months ago.

Fact five: My lack of supplies suddenly made facts 1 - 4 snap into focus.

Fact six: I am consoling myself with Motrin and a bowl of chocolate frosting! Yes Cicily, that is frosting over there, NOT poop . . .