Thursday, July 16, 2009

Michael, just call him Ty Pennington, Williams strikes again

Some women marry home improvement gods. I married Mike.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

soccer pictures

Moose loves any kind of ball Some of Cora's team
Nice day for a soccer match

Monday, July 13, 2009

camping, boating, and arachniphobia

Anna takes driving seriously.
Cora has a lead foot.

Cap'n Roosky

The wind was totally messing with G's 'do.

Cora and Daddy went tubing!

Man, I have a good lookin' family!

It was froggie heaven at our campsite. This one's name is Frogger. I'm a little concerned over their creativity and what they may name their children one day.

This one's name is Jumper.
We had ourselves a nice little idealistic get away this weekend. Genesis and I headed up to a beautiful lake and campground near Casper on Friday. Some of the women of the church were having a camping retreat together and our plan was to join them for a night and then have the fellows with the kids come meet us on Saturday for another night of s'mores and campfires. Most women's retreats consist of spa like activities, or hotel rooms, but in Wyoming, the girls are bred tough and we camp. Gen and I got that 8 man tent up like no one's business even if the rain flap was a bit crooked and the self satisfaction we felt lasted all day, until that night when we actually had to sleep in it. The ground was a bit least on Gen's side. She spent the night on a deflated air mattress that she told us later worked a bit like a sled. So she would scrape her way back up the hill and her mattress would slowly slip and slide right back down to me.
Then the boys arrived and the fun could really start. We moved the tents over to a more level spot while the kids frolicked and swam and ate sand and named amphibians. The kids got extremely lucky as one of the ladies stayed behind with her boat and took us all out. Cora, my adrenaline junky, went tubing behind the boat, first with Daddy, then by herself. She learned all the signs they use with their hands to communicate with the driver, but they only one she actually used was the thumbs up sign for "faster!" Anna got to go too but I had run out of batteries for the camera by then. Yes, my 7 year old has more guts than me; no surprise, I stayed safely IN the boat opting not to be stuck behind hanging on to something for dear life while my too-short life ran in front of my eyes like a movie. I'll go sky diving and mountain climbing, but you can keep your extreme water sports, thank you very much.
Our next camping adventure was, shocker, a burst of unexpected Wyoming weather that struck suddenly and without warning. One minute we were relaxing on camp chairs, sippin' an icy beverage and soaking up the sun, and the next we were holding down the tent as a hurricane force wind arrived. We had just laid Gianni down for a nap in the pack 'n play inside the tent when this crazy wind struck and Genesis struggled to catch the end that had caught the breeze and was flinging it up several feet in the air, while I tried desperately to free the stuck zipper in order to get inside and rescue my baby who was using his pack 'n play like a flying carpet inside. After we calmed our beating hearts and staked the tent back down again, we all cuddled inside to ride out the storm.
Sunburned and sweaty and stinky and covered in sand, we pack things up (have you ever camped with a minimum of 3 kids? It's like moving only you have to fit it all in one trip in your car). Happy and looking forward to a shower our calm is disrupted by a couple of small spiders in our van; one on a pillow and one on a towel. I remember Andy saying as he was packing up that we had slept under a spider tree, but I wisely had not mentioned this to my girls. We squish the spiders. Suddenly from the back seat, Anna calls that there's another one on the little plastic chair next to her. As I'm reaching for a tissue to pass back to her, Cora makes the mistake of looking back to see it. What she actually views is a very large blob of hay that is stuck to the bottom of the chair. It has blades that could be spider's legs if you are in a moment of panic already and don't take the time to look closely. It's the size of my fist and right behind her head. She screams like I have never heard anyone scream in my life, rips off her seat belt and proceeds to fly into space, hurtling her little body through the air, past her little brother who she apparently is comfortable leaving behind to be eaten by the largest tarantula the world has ever seen, and comes to rest somewhere on the back of Mike's head as he is driving (i.e. swerving to a stop on the highway and trying not to cuss). By this time, Anna has come to the conclusion that the spider she herself was pointing at must be next to a spider that is worthy of complete and utter terror, and she follows her sister's example to the letter. We peel our first born and second born off our bodies and shout at the top of our lungs that what they were looking at was straw and not an eight legged freak. We have to yell, please understand, because they are still screaming in horror. Gianni calmly eats his goldfish crackers and stares at his sisters in fascination. We finally peel them off the ceiling and attend to the blood dripping down Cora's leg because she almost amputated herself trying to get away. I would have been angry but then my own mother would start her own blog and tell her story of my sister and I being around the same age and being left in the car while she went in to a store for a minute. We were under strict rules; do not unbuckle our seat belts and do not get out of the car under any circumstances. Now no one disobeys my mother. As we sat obediently in the car, munching graham crackers, we see a tiny little minuscule spider on the ceiling above our heads. We can't get away! We pelt it with crackers! We lose our minds in fear! We bang on the windows and scream for help! By the time Mom comes back we are red faced and snotty and hysterical. She probably would have spanked us but she needed her hands to cover her face with laughter. To this day if she sees a spider she calls one of us to ask if we have any graham crackers. Haha, Mom, this one's for you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I only have 20 minutes while my hair color permeates, so it may be a short one today. My hair. My lucky offspring was blessed with someone other than their mothers hair genes, although I'm sure they'll learn to hate their own soon enough (we are staring at the tween years here in short order and it makes me cringe thinking about it). I'm hoping they pass us by with little incident, those preteen sagas, which is why there's been no Hannah Montana or Highschool Musical or iCarly over here; I'm in no hurry to begin that particular brand of drama. It will come early enough on it's own with no encouragement from me or Disney. Anna was born a 12 year old anyway so maybe I'll know how to deal by the time her age catches up with her wit and intelligence, and Cora is tomboy enough that maybe she'll skip that dreaded period altogether. By the way, I have nothing against Hannah Montana, etc, they aren't terrible role models or the essence of evil or anything like that so don't be offended if that's all that's on your tv, I just don't see why anyone would want to start those melodramatic teenage years any sooner than they would have to. Why would you want to spend 10 years with a 10 year old? Not that I don't love 10 year olds, but the female ones are difficult; training bras and hair styles and short skirts and deodorant and boys and giggling and acting all grown up when they still sleep with teddy bears. Groan. I may just lock mine in the basement for a few years, sliding pizza under the door a couple times a day. When they get their brain cells back up and operating, they can come out and join humanity again.

When Cora isn't swimming or terrorizing the neighborhood on her bike she plays soccer with the local homeschoolers. I keep forgetting to take the camera, but I'll try to remember this Wednesday so check back if you want to see her in action. They crack me up, these homeschooler soccer players. The first time we went I was expecting a dad to be the coach, or maybe a mom (I'm not completely sexist just sports challenged) but what I was not expecting was the coach to be an amish (type) lady with nine children, the youngest of whom is an infant that she carries with her as she's flying across the field in her long calico skirt and head covering. She's like David Beckham with less hair product. I think she's awesome. I heart homeschoolers! They are the most eclectic group you'll ever come across. Get a number of homeschoolers together and watch the pot melt. You'll have the ones who homeschool because they got kicked out of public school, you'll have the upper class wealthy that have a new nickname 'Scuppies' (that's socially conscience yuppies), you'll have the new agey earth muffin types who are usually hiding from The Man or the government or both, you'll have the very conservative religious who homeschool for obvious reasons, and of course you'll have the stereotypical homeschoolers that we all know and ... have to love. I won't pretend they don't exist, stereotypes usually do begin somewhere. But for every unsocialized homeschooler out there who is wayyyy over educated and nerdy, I can find a few public schoolers who fit the bill as well. There is a funny article about homeschooling pet peeves on my fridge and here a couple excerpts:

1. Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is - and it is - it's insulting to imply that we're criminals.

2. Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean and use the one you really mean. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

3. Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer to ask if as a homeschooler they ever get to socialize.

6. Please stop telling us horror stories about "that one homeschooler" you know. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant woman and telling them ghastly birth stories. Go away.

7. We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if what we're doing is adequate.

10. We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, and weighing of options and worrying that goes into homeschooling, just to annoy you. Really. Stop taking the bare fact that we homeschool as either an affront or a judgement about your own educational decisions.

13. Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool" we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to amusement parks, museums, zoos, in the middle of the off season and on weekdays and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

18. If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class then you're allowed to ask how we'll teach those subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for your reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teacher did.

Well, my 20 minutes are way up and I'd better go rinse before I turn out looking less like Angelina Jolie and more like Morticia Addams.