Thursday, May 27, 2010

Family camping

It just hit me that we are going camping in three days and I am very much unprepared. My focus as of late has been to get my kids finished with school and figure out how to survive summer break with my two spawn. Well, perhaps survive is the wrong word. I know I'll survive, I'm just trying to find a way to make our time together enjoyable and not boring. After Sonny Boy started asking to go back to school on the first day of spring break I started feeling a little queasy every time I thought of summer break. I thought he might actually die of boredom. I guess I'm just not that fun.  At least not by seven-year-old boy standards. And neither is his sister, which is unfortunate because Princess Blondie thinks that he is the coolest thing since sliced bread. 

Fortunately, I think now that we will have plenty to do this summer and Sonny Boy will survive and not, in fact, die of boredom. First off, Sonny Boy started baseball this year and that is keeping us plenty busy. Two games and one practice a week should keep us all hopping. Then there is Scout camp sometime in June. Plus there are the visits from grandparents.

And finally there is the camping. For which I am unprepared. And if I may admit, slightly unenthusiastic. There are a few reasons I am skeptical of camping being fun. First, it sort of seems like playing house on a smaller, dirtier scale. At least there is a smaller space to clean than my house. Not that I clean my house, just ask my husband. I'm a terrible housekeeper. For instance, instead of cleaning I am blogging. Anyhow, second, I'm afraid my kids will be bored to tears. Third, I'm afraid I will be bored to tears. Fourth, I'm afraid of wild life here. Bears especially. They just completely freak me out. If it were just me and my DH it wouldn't worry me so much but I've found I'm sort of paranoid about some things now that I have kids. Bears being one of them.

I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised and really enjoy our camping trip. I think that I will. For starters, we have a fifth wheel now instead of tent. I have decided that I loathe tent camping. Especially in NC when it is unbearably hot. It's just not fun. At all. We didn't really plan to buy a fifth wheel already, but we sort of needed one to live in when we first moved up here. We stayed in my sister's yard until we finally closed on a house. We figured if we didn't like it we could sell it. We decided that we liked it. And now we are on to our first summer of camping, because my sister's backyard does not count. 

My survival tactic for the weekend is to bring books. For the kids but mostly for me. And we will bring games and stuff for the kids. And our bikes, I think. I would love to sit around all weekend and do nothing but read but I think that I should probably interact with and cook for my family. They would probably appreciate that. And since we will be in Denali we will obviously check out the park. Please don't think that I really will go camping and just sit in my camper reading all weekend. I'm not that lame. 

So off we go. Well, not quite yet, but soon. Let me know if you've got any camping survival/fun tips. I may need them.

Monday, May 24, 2010


This is my mom. Here she is holding my sleeping girl. 

This is her version of heaven. Her favorite thing to do in the whole world is to cuddle her sleeping grandkids. The only thing that she might like more is to read to her grandkids while cuddling. I used to crawl in bed with her every morning before school to cuddle. Let's just say that neither of us are morning people. Cuddling in bed is much more fun than getting up and getting ready for school/work.

Now, my mom has a sister, Eva. My mom and Aunt Eva used to come down to NC every spring to visit us. It started when my cousin also lived in NC. Mom and Aunt Eva would take road trip and mom would be dropped off at my house and Aunt Eva would go visit her daughter 2 hours away. We would get together for a day at the beach and have a great time together.

Then my cousin had the audacity to move back to Michigan. I'm glad that my mom and aunt decided that these road trips were fun anyway and decided that they would keep coming. So now our new tradition was for them to come visit just me. And we would make margaritas and play dominoes or cards. Mom and aunt Eva are  feisty card players. This is helped by the fact that mom can't hold her liquor. Mom just nurses one drink all night and gets giggly and mischievous. She tries to cheat A LOT. She's not very good at cheating.

I love watching my mom with her sister. They really are great friends. They have so much fun and laugh so much when they are together. 

There was recently a photo contest that was entitled Happiness. I immediately thought of a particular photo of my mom and Aunt Eva. It is the perfect picture of happiness. Then I realized that my sister sent me copies of her pictures and I hadn't actually taken the photo. So much for the photo contest, but I thought I would share them with you, anyway. 

I hope my sisters and I have as much fun as my mom and her sister do when we are old. Hehehe.... I love to call them old. It gets them all riled up. And then we laugh a lot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oh won't you please, please help me....

Sorry, I've got Beatles songs stuck in my head today. But really, I do need your help. Especially if you have special knowledge about building in Alaska. 

And here, for your viewing pleasure. I would like to present to you no less than 5 pipes sticking out of our backyard.

 And there is one more in our front yard for our well. The five in the backyard are for the septic and whatnot. Now will someone please help me understand why they are all there. I was told that they were sticking out of the ground that far in case someone needed to access them in the winter. Now my question is why, for the love of Pete, do they need five different pipes to access my septic? And two of them are approximately four feet apart. Shouldn't one be sufficient? 

Having grown up in Michigan I just don't understand this. We had snow in Michigan. The ground froze just the same as in Alaska. If we ever needed to have the septic pumped in the middle of winter I guess that we just had to remember where it was and dig, because our pipe did not stick three feet above the ground. It stuck about an inch or two above the ground. And there was only one of them. I guess it was just good motivation to get all your septic needs taken care of before winter.

I should also point out that our house is not the only house with pipes sticking out all over the yard. All of them have it. It makes playing a backyard game of soccer or baseball a bit tricky. And building a deck. Or patio. Or figuring out where to put a playset. Or a fire pit. There is an industry up here for small fake wishing wells that people place over the pipe that everyone has in their front yard for the well. I'm just not a fake wishing well kind of girl. 

Now can someone please tell me why, oh why, this is all necessary? It had better have something to do with permafrost, because it is the only thing that I can think of that would set us apart from all the other states that I have lived in. Stupid permafrost.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No help at all

This is a moose. I saw her wandering around our yard the other evening.
After a while I kind of forgot she was there. They just sort of blend in to the the scenery up here. 

Stinky Beagle wanted outside so we went out the front door and I hooked her up to her chain. (Stinky Beagle likes to explore the neighborhood a little too much, so until we find a better containment system, a chain it is.) 
I look up and see Miss Moose happily munching away at my yard. She sort of scared the crap out of me since I had forgotten she was there. I waited for my Stinky Beagle to start barking and going crazy and I hoped that she wouldn't get trampled on.

But alas, nothing happened. Stinky Bealge sniffed the air a bit. She knew something was amiss, but she couldn't quite place it. It's like Miss Moose is completely invisible. Stinky Beagle looked everywhere but at the moose. She then decided that all was right with the world, plopped herself down, and started gnawing on her bone.

She sat out there for a good half hour just chewing on her bone.

And Miss Moose just kept eating my grass.

So much for her scaring off any wild beasts. Stinky Beagle really is kind of worthless when it comes to being a gaurd dog. Unless you're a man. Then she'll bark her fool head off.

I hope that I never get trampled on by a moose because Stinky Beagle will probably just plop down, find herself a bone to chew on, and watch the show.

Monday, May 17, 2010

How do they get out of there?

My sister is pregnant. Check that. She was pregnant. She had a beautiful baby boy a day and a half ago.  This is the first time that my kids have been around a family member from the start to the end of pregnancy. This resulted in lots of questions, but mostly just "How does the baby get out of there?"

I was apparently just not that curious as a kid. Or I just never spent much time around pregnant people. I am the youngest so I have no brothers or sisters that I witnessed growing in my mothers belly. Or I was just too chicken to ask. Or maybe it's because I grew up on a farm and I saw calves being born on a regular basis. I guess I just never much cared how people gave birth to another tiny human.

So when my boy first asked me how babies are born, I freaked out. And then I turned to facebook. Because facebook has all the answers. Okay, facebook doesn't have all the answers, but it does have access to all the mothers that I know and I needed to ask them what they did when their kids asked this delicate question. So I asked them.

Some said they told their children that it came out of their belly button. I had to veto that one. I heard a story from a nurse friend once that said that there was a teenage girl in labor who actually thought the baby was going to come out of her belly button. I just can't set my kids up for that kind of failure as a human being. Some mothers told their kids that the doctors cut them, took the baby out, and sewed them back up. Okay, that is legitimate because they actually had c-sections, but I nor my sister has had a c-section. Then my cousin wrote me a note back and said you know what, you just need to tell them the cold, hard truth. Accept for the cold hard part. And make it not scary and age appropriate. So thank you Mary, I gathered up my courage, and the next time my kids asked, I told them. 

But this time they didn't ask how it was coming out of their aunt's belly, they asked how babies would come out of their dog's belly. I found it much easier to talk about it in terms of my dog instead of my sister. Sorry Lisa, you've been compared to animals a LOT lately.  

Then one night before bed my Sonny Boy asked again and he was very concerned that it hurt the mommy. I said yes, it does hurt a lot but then the mommies are happy when the baby is born. Truth was my new mantra. I was convicted.  He said okay, can I go to bed now? That's when I realized that he thought that I was STILL in pain from when he was born. Then I had to tell him that it only hurts when the baby is born and once the baby is out, it doesn't hurt any more. 

Then, Lord help me, he asked how it went back. I told him the baby doesn't go back in. He said no, not the baby, how does the hole go back? ( I didn't have the heart to tell him that it never quite fully recovers). With the help of God and a tubesock, I showed him that things that stretch can go back to their original state.  I'm pretty sure I scarred him for life. But by golly, he knows how babies get out. 

My Princess Blondie finally asked how babies got out when she was holding her new baby cousin in the hospital. Luckily, my girl likes animal documentaries and she had just seen one in which lots of baby animals were born. I told her it was a lot like that but people go to hospitals instead of having them outside in the dirt and grass. She seemed pretty satisfied with that answer. Thank God for PBS. Lisa, really, I'm very sorry that you've been compared to a beagle, a wildebeest, and zebras. I think you look like none of those. And readers, I'm sorry that I've now scarred you for life too.

So now I just pray every night that my kids never ask how a baby gets IN a mommy's belly. I'm just not prepared for that. I need a few years. And I need to move back to a farm. It makes all this birds and bees business a lot easier to explain.

Friday, May 14, 2010

More math fun

 This is pre first grade math. So I suppose that would make it kindergarten math. But he was in between grades, so I guess you can call it what you want. I do. It's very liberating.

Anyway,I found some pictures from our trip to Grampa and Gramma B's farm last summer.

Here is a six year old boy on a banana yellow bike with a banana seat.

 (This is the kid's bike that my brother spray painted yellow and rode around campus when he was in college. No, I'm not kidding. He really did. I love my brother.) 

This is my brother holding our nephew at our parent's farm. He's tall. And he doesn't ride kid's bikes around anymore. Now he rides the metro. He's some important C.O.O. for a nonprofit organization in D.C. I don't really know what he does. I just know he gets to boss people around. And he works too hard. He calls me on his cab rides home from work when I'm getting my kiddos ready for bed. That means it's 11 pm or so his time. And it's often on a Saturday. I told you he works too hard. 

So back to the math.

One boy on a bike

Plus one mud puddle

Equals one dirty and very happy boy.

I'm beginning to see a pattern here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mum's the word

This is my girl. When I asked her what she was doing,

she told me she was watering our yard. 






She was at it again this morning, too, before school started. 
You have to admire that kind of persistence.

Especially considering no one ever planted grass in our yard. It's just dirt, rocks, and weeds.

I won't tell her if you don't.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My greatest fear

Okay, so maybe it is not my greatest fear. Fear is not the term I'm really going for here. Neurosis might be more fitting. Or perhaps it is more akin to being a hypochondriac. However you would like to label it, my fear/neurosis/hypochondriacness (That's a word, right? It is if I say it is.) is that I always think that I am pregnant. Always.

Now, I know where babies come from. I also know how to prevent babies from making a home in my womb. There are many methods for this. However, I doubt the effectiveness of all of these methods. Let's just say that one of these methods failed me once and I am now forever jaded. Now, every little muscle twitch, gas bubble, or sore spot suddenly turns into a baby kicking me from the inside. I do no let myself go and take pregnancy tests all the time. Not that I don't want to. I would love the reassurance of a single line instead of two, but I won't let my craziness go that far. It's my little way of keeping a lid on the crazy.

But maybe I should just get a stock pile of prego tests because my real greatest fear is that I am one of those women who goes into the hospital because they think they have appendicitis and really they are in labor for babies they didn't know were growing inside of them. That's my real greatest fear, I think. Well that comes in second. First is something bad happening to one of my kids or my husband. Obviously.

Time for another disclaimer. I love my children more than life itself. I would do anything for them. I can just hear people calling me a horrible baby hating mother right now. So to all of you, I love my kids and I LOVE being a mom. It's just that I'm good with two. I like the size of our family. Besides, DH said if I ever did get pregnant now I would have to have two because we couldn't have just one kid that was so much younger than the older two. I say bahumbug.

These are my babies when they were still babies. I love them. Even the one in the middle.

Anyways, if I ever did get pregnant I would be happy, even thrilled, about it after the initial shock wore off. I am of the frame of mind that babies are never a bad thing. Just sometimes unexpected.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Local schmocal

There are many fad diets out there. There are many that completely eliminate food groups. I am just not the kind of girl who can do that. If a diet states in its rules that I will never be allowed to eat lima beans again, then I will suddenly crave lima beans like a hormonal pregnant woman. Okay, so I may be a little off about the lima beans because I will never crave them, but I will tell you that I have never craved an apple so badly as when I tried the Adkins diet. A diet that eliminates whole grains, fruit, and most vegetables but allows you to have all the butter you want just doesn't seem healthy to me. Call me crazy. 

One thing that I will never be able to eliminate from my diet is dairy. A) I love all things dairy and cannot picture my life without it. B) It's good for you. And C), I grew up on a dairy farm and just cannot fundamentally support a diet that would jeopardize that livelihood for some farmer. In fact, I love local dairy farmers so much that I have recently started purchasing milk from Alaskan farmers. There are only four of them. I have to pay over a dollar more per gallon of milk when I do, but it is worth it when I know that the milk I buy is coming from the cows that I see when I drive around. I'm also a sucker for the "little guy" and I would always rather buy something from a small family business than a large corporation. My goal this summer is to buy all of my produce from local farms. Okay, so all might be pushing it, but I'm going to aim for at least most of my produce from local farms.

This is my dad and my girl checking the fence line on the farm where I grew up. It is now for sale. 
Excuse me while I go cry. 
The one thing that makes me feel okay about that is that some other kid will get to grow up on a farm the way that I did. It's just one of those things that the heart and mind will have to agree to disagree on.

Anyway, if I can't support the farms in the area I grew up in, I can at least make sure I support the ones in the place that I now call home. And speaking of supporting the locals. My DH and I just watched documentary on beer ( I know, we are weird. We like documentaries.) and I have one local thing that I think everyone can agree on that is better that the giant corporation's.
You guessed it.

Now go support your local economy and buy some beer.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I have a problem

 The first step is admitting it, right?

I have always had dry skin, but that is not my problem. My dry skin issues are not nearly as bad as the picture above would make it seem. 

My problem is a that.... I am a lotion hoarder.

I would estimate that about 50% of bottles above are actually empty. But the thing is, they are not really empty. They are only empty enough that the pump can't reach the bottom and get the rest out.  But I cannot throw that bottle away. I simply cannot do it. I can feel the weight in the bottle that tells me that there is still a usable amount in there. Turning it upside down like we do with the ketchup bottle doesn't help because the pumper makes it difficult. This pile is actually a bit of an improvement because we moved last summer and I actually purged most of my stash. 

I realize that this makes me look a little insane. I'm seeking professional help.

But if you think this is bad, there is no way I'm showing you my makeup bag.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


My boy was an early walker. Parents and grandparents always tend to encourage early walking. If you have kids or grandkids, please stop all the early walking encouragement. No good can come of it. Let me assure you. Once they can walk the shenanigans begins. 

Case and point. In photos.

This is my Sonny Boy. 
He was 9 months old in this picture. I grow giant babies.

He found the cake that I had made DH for his birthday.

I left the cake on the table. It never once occurred to me that it might not be safe there because the only two people in the house were me and a 9 month old boy.

He then decided to lick the frosting off the table. It looked like he was playing a giant harmonica. He just kept moving his mouth from one side of the frosted table to the other, licking up as much icing as he could.

I suppose I can only blame myself. I shouldn't have left it within his reach. Because I'm sure there are lots of other 9 month olds who have monkey arms and can reach cakes on tables. I'm sure he's not a freak of nature or anything like that. It's totally normal. I should have known better.

I fixed it and we ate it anyway. Baby slobber and all.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Important: Something you absolutely need to know about me

I once touched an elephants butt.

There, it's out there. I've come clean.
I feel much better now. Phew.

Here is the evidence. 

Gees, it was really hairy too. Just look at that.
And boy, I had a lot of hair back then also.

I stumbled on this picture as a was going through old photos and I really have no recollection of this moment ever happening. You would think that something as momentous as this would be forever ingrained in my memory but alas, it is not. Thank God for cameras or I wouldn't remember anything.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gender confusion

Ever since we moved here I have noticed that we have TONS of moose wandering around our yard. My biggest problem is I can't tell if they are male or female. I never know what to call them and I like to talk to them as they eat my yard/ trees/ bushes and soon to be flower garden. For now I just call them all Moosey, but that feels a bit generic and impersonal. I would really like to be able to call them Fred or Bertha instead. Now there are a few factors that could tell me what is what and who is who and who is what. 

Time for a disclaimer: I am not an idiot. I know the best way to find out the sex is to check out the goods. I grew up on a farm. I know what male genitalia look like on large animals. However, I am not about to get close enough to a moose to check that out. They like to trample people who try to check out their gonads.

Now, there is another way to see who is who and what is what and who is what. That would be the antler's. Seems simple enough. Big ol' antlers = bull. No antlers = cow. (See, they even use the same farm terminology that I am used to. How nice of them.) The problem with antlers is that they are not horns. Horns are permanent and antlers are shed every fall/winter. Once those boys shed their antlers I can't tell who's what anymore and I spend all winter wondering if I'm looking at boys or girls or hermaphrodites. I feel sort of bad for the old boys. They spend half of their existence being possibly mistaken for females. That's a hard blow to the male ego.

But then, just when I've about thrown in the towel, spring rolls around. Today, I looked, and I looked a little harder, and noticed something I hadn't seen all winter. 

Here he is in all his glory. (Don't mind the blurry, far away picture. My meager little point and shoot can only do so much.) Those little nubs on each side of his head will soon blossom into antlers and the gender confusion will end for the season. And just to make up for all the pain of being asexual all winter, he gets a bigger and better set of antlers than the year before.

For now, I've named him Hellboy. I think it's appropriate, don't you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Who dunnit?

Time for another episode of "Which Child Should I Blame for This?"


The tree by the front of our driveway was absolutely destroyed.

My first thought is that it was this guy. He really likes to climb those trees. Don't be fooled by that toothy grin and that Cub Scout uniform. He had been caught many times climbing those poor little trees even though he had been warned that he was too big and had already broken some of their poor little branches off.

Then I thought that maybe it was this one. I had to rescue her out of said tree this winter when her leg got caught and she was hanging upside down in it. Plus she is sometimes up to shenanigans like stealing my camera and taking pictures of herself. And my messy house.

Then I had a closer look and saw this. Hmm, curious. Teeth marks. Big teeth marks. Sonny Boy did finally get his two front teeth that he had asked for for Christmas. And he is awfully proud of them. But I don' think he went all beaver on the tree.

So that left only one more suspect. I have run out of children so I moved on to this guy (or girl, I really can't tell).

I should have known. These little buggers are always showing up in our yard. They wander around like they own the place. Just nevermind the fact that we moved smack in the middle of their habitat. Now, shoo!

That's right, move along.

Keep it moving, Sister (or Brother. Once again, I can't tell until they start to grow antlers. Or don't). Be gone with you!

Wait a minute! That's not where I was shooing you...

Do you see what I"m up against?

My poor garden is doomed.