Monday, June 30, 2014

For the last day of June, a list

Today is the last day of June.  Last day.  Half a year.  Gone.  My goal for our summertime was simple.  Fun.  Have fun.  So for the last day of June I made a list of our top 10 fun things we've done so far.  Actually, the list is nine fun things.  But number one is my inspiration lately.  Whenever I'd really rather just give in to the tired or think of a thousand reasons to say "no" or tackle the to-do list that's always growing and never getting smaller, I remember this.  I will never have this day with Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie again.  That has made all the difference lately!  

2.  Making homemade s'mores ice cream.  Of course, not that you can tell from this picture that it's homemade s'mores ice cream.  But it is.

3.  Sidewalk chalk art

4.  A wet sponge race around the house.  Not inside the house.  But around and around the outside of the house.  This actually started because they complained one day of being bored.  It was like the only day that week we did not go to the pool.  So I drew a big bullseye target on the driveway with the sidewalk chalk and gave them each a sponge.  I told them to keep up with their points and to see who could get the most (hello math lesson that they didn't even realize).  At first, they weren't impressed.  But then they realized they were going to get wet in the process.  My kids are all about getting wet.  So they played until the water erased the chalk.  And that's when the wet sponge race began.
5.  Playing dress up and camping inside
6.  And more dress up.  There's been a lot of that lately, especially since Hannah Kate has figured out she can dress her little sister up like she's a living baby doll.  And Ellie is more than willing these days to let her.  Oh, and this would also be the Sunday that Hannah Kate requested as soon as we got home from church that I take her bow out of her hair because it was "in the way" of her crown!

7.  Swimming.  Did I mention swimming already?  Because there's been a lot of that.  A lot.  And one can only look at so many swimming pictures before they all look the same, don't you think?

8.  Cousins.  One of their favorite weeks is the one Avery and Beau come to town.
When I posted the above picture on Instagram and Facebook, everyone noticed and asked why the little one was "missing."  Well, this was like day 14 in a row at the pool, and she was over it.  Done.  As soon as I pulled out her swimsuit that day, she went straight into meltdown phase.  And then she spent the afternoon just standing at the back door begging to go inside while everyone else was swimming.  
9.  Spending a day at the beach.  That's right.  A day.  Our beach vacation isn't for three more weeks.  20 days to be exact.  But who's counting?  I am!  But last week I decided one night to take the kids to the beach the next day.  I'm usually not quite that spontaneous.  But refer back to number 1.  So we woke up early the next morning, packed a picnic lunch, pulled our beach toys out of the attic and headed to the beach.  Mason couldn't believe that we were going to the beach for only one day without staying there.  But we did.  The weather was beautiful, the water was perfect and it was a great day.  We went to Pensacola Beach because I wanted white sand and clear greenish blue water, and it's the closest.  It's a four hour drive from here.  Trust me.  It's really not that bad.  The nine hours it takes us to get to Georgia puts a whole lot of other things into perspective!  Besides, they were all so tired by the time we left that they slept most of the way home.

10.  LSU Baseball Camp.  Today begins four weeks of crazy, beginning with baseball camp.  Mason loves baseball.  He didn't get to play this past spring because the games were on the same days as he had therapy.  He was disappointed, but he was so understanding and didn't give us a hard time about the decision we had to make but didn't necessarily like.  So we promised him that he could go to baseball camp at LSU this summer instead.  Today was the first day.
So the "lazy," unscheduled, not-so-busy days of June are giving way to a July filled with baseball camp, VBS, beach vacation, Mason's birthday, Ellie's birthday, our anniversary.  My cup overflows!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Angry Birds

 What is wrong with this picture?
 Need a hint?  Well, here you go.
Why am I taking a picture of a pot of dirt?  Because this is no ordinary pot of dirt.  This would be a pot of dirt that used to be home to impatiens.  Yes.  USED to be.  As in IS NOT ANYMORE.  So why not?  Where did it go?  What happened?

Every morning when I get up, I do a walk through.  I walk through my house and look at everything.  I don't know why.  I look out all my windows.  Again, I don't know why.  I guess just to be sure nothing changed while I was asleep.  I'm a little nosey that way.  And I check on all my little plants.  So this morning when I peeped out my door, MY POT WAS EMPTY.  I mean, it wasn't totally empty.  The dirt was there.  But the flowers were not!  Y'all.  Seriously.  I thought I was LOSING. MY. MIND.  It was there.  I know it was.  I planted it three weeks ago.  And I watered it last night when I got home from church.  

The dirt wasn't even messed up or spilled out onto the porch.  The flowers were . . . gone.  Like they'd never even been there.  I walked outside and looked around in the bushes, in the grass, around the corner.  I didn't see the first flower or petal or green leaf or anything.

So WHAT (or WHO) would take my flowers?!  I thought about the plant thief all day long! I mean, maybe folks are tired of running over my mailbox and have resorted to flower thievery instead.  Yeah.  It's a long shot.  But I do believe it might be possible.  If you knew where I lived . . .

So instead of thinking about WHO done it, I later turned my thoughts to WHAT done it.  When I watered my plants tonight, I took a closer look at the other pot of impatiens.  The back side was looking a little wonky.  And then I spied it.  Something definitely has been chomping at it!  
I mean, we have animals around here.  Not any pets.  But animals.  Like armadillos and skunks and raccoons and squirrels and deer.  And lizards.  And a few other reptiles which shall remain nameless.  So could one of these animals walk up on my little porch and chomp my flowers off and then leave without so much as scratching in the dirt or spilling a little along the way?  Would an animal do that?

Why yes.  I think an animal would.  But not an armadillo or a skunk or a raccoon or a squirrel or a deer.  I've decided it's birds!  Angry birds!

Seth spent the last two weekends pressure washing the whole house.  He'd done the first story a couple of years ago but never the second story.  It was quite a mess and in need of a good washing.  All of my sidewalks and porches look brand new.  Y'all know I love CLEAN so this has tickled me to death the past couple of weeks.

One of the things that was really irritating me was the bird nest on the front porch.  The little birdies built it last year before we realized it.  We didn't want to take it down until after the eggs hatched and the little babies flew away.  Well, they hatched and flew, but we never took the nest down.  And guess who came back this spring to the same nest and laid eggs?  So we waited again, the babies hatched a flew and we took the nest down last weekend.  This past weekend I noticed a new nest being built underneath the little porch at the friends' entry where my pots are.  So I took the hose and sprayer and scooted it off before they even had time to finish.  I also noticed a new nest being built in the same spot on the front porch where we'd just taken the other one down.  So I sprayed it off on Saturday, too.

Yesterday afternoon when we got home from church, those little birdies were just a flying around and just a squawking.  I might've even heard a shotgun shot or two, but I wasn't involved directly with that.  Last night when I got home from church Seth said that another nest was going up AGAIN in the SAME SPOT I'd just sprayed on Saturday.  You can see it here through my front door.  (And, please, never mind the dirty window panes.  Seth washed the house, but the windows are my job, and I haven't done them yet this summer!)  
And when I was just standing inside my house looking out the window at that nest, those birds knew I was there!  I mean, look at him!
And here he is again, just a swooping and a flying and a squawking!

Here's my favorite.  It's like he's swooping in for the kill and has his reinforcement behind him (right above the hanging basket).
So you know what I did?  Yep, I went out there again tonight and sprayed that nest down.  That's the second time in three days.  And they are hot.  The birds, that is.  They are mad at me.  I know they are.  And I firmly believe they took out their revenge on my impatiens!  

It's late.  I just checked on my other pot to make sure the impatiens are still there.  And they are.  But I'm thinking I better be careful.  Because do y'all remember the movie The Birds?  Actually, I've never seen it.  I just always remember still shots from the movie that I've seen through the years.  And I have to admit that the gal isn't exactly looking all scared here.
But I could be next!  The Birds Part 2 just might be happening right here in my front yard!

Okay.  So not really.  And I'm pretty sure it's not those silly birds that stole my impatiens. Although I do feel pretty sure that they are mad at me.  But this was still a lot of fun anyway, wasn't it?!

My next plan is to put Seth's deer camera up on my porch . . .

Monday, June 16, 2014

Daddy's Day

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. ~Billy Graham

I am forever grateful for the blessing of a Godly father and grandfathers.  I'm also forever thankful that my children will share in that same heritage.
Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie were super excited to give their Daddy his Father's Day gift.  They have a hard time keeping secrets so I don't usually take them shopping with me or tell them what I got.  But I didn't have a choice this time.  They did such a great job keeping their secret and even did it for four days.  I was really proud of them, especially since they had to wait until nearly the end of the day before we had a chance to give Seth his present.

I was a little excited, too.  Okay, so I was a lot excited.  But I was also a little nervous.  I knew it would either be the best idea ever or the worst.  I saved the receipt.
But apparently I did a pretty good job.  I mean, look at this smile.
Now we have a tube and a rope.  Now we need a boat.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Favorite: Summer days

I was going to say LAZY summer days.  But there's absolutely nothing lazy about summer days with my three littles.  Can I even say that anymore?  Littles?  Because Mason really isn't so "little" anymore. He comes up to my chin now.  I am NOT looking forward to the day when I have to literally look up to him.  He just seems so . . . grown lately.  Grown in a he'll-be-nine-years-old-in-one-month kind of way.

Anyway.  This was our first week at home and settling into our summer routine.  Or lack thereof.  And it really was a good week.  Mondays are the only days that we have to get up and go and actually be somewhere on time because that's therapy day this summer.  And then after that it's my goal to do my grocery shopping and errands for the whole week so we don't have to go anywhere else the rest of the week.  I realized this week that that's a rather industrious goal.  So we'll see how it goes.

We'd planned to spend Tuesday at the pool, but it rained all day so we stayed home.  I took advantage of being "stuck" inside and cleaned my house to the likes it hadn't seen since before the last school year started.  I keep up with the bathrooms and the floors during the school year but not nearly as often as I'd like to.  But this week I got it all done in one day, and it felt so good!  I even cleaned and dusted my kitchen cabinets, outside AND inside!

Wednesday was our pool day.  Ellie even enjoyed it this time.  She jumped off the diving board, too.  After she did that, she really wasn't interested in being in the pool anymore so she mostly stayed on the steps. She hates wearing all manner of flotation and life saving devices.  We've tried all makes and models, all sizes.  Needless to say, my kids LOVE going to the pool, but I can tell you it is one of the LEAST relaxing summer activities for me.  I'm sure we'll be there a lot though, and that's okay because I do love it even though it wears me slap out.

Yesterday we went shopping for Father's Day goodies.  It rained again today, but it cleared up later so we spent most of the afternoon outside.  I've been planting a few flowers this week and cleaning up the flower beds, and Seth is working on pressure washing the house.

One of the things we do each day this summer is read for 30 minutes.  I set a timer, and Mason, Hannah Kate and I read.  This works great during Ellie's nap time but not so much when she's awake.  Had to learn that lesson the hard way!  So we have to do it during nap time.  I LOVE to read.  One of my New Year's goals was to read one book a month.  Sad, I know.  I used to read one book a weekend, but now I can barely read one book a year.  I've completed four books so far and am almost finished with my current selection.  I'm a little behind, but I'm hoping I can catch up now that I've set aside this time each day.  I'm even disciplining myself to actually sit and read, too, and not do chores or whatever else needs to be done.  

I'm so proud of Mason . . . he hasn't really complained about it, and he finished an entire book this week.  That's a big deal for him.  Hannah Kate loves to read so she's always asking when it's time.  That girl read an entire chapter book when we were in Georgia.  She's almost finished with the one she started this week and has already picked out her next one.

This is my current read.  If you are a recovering perfectionist (like I am), I highly recommend it!  I could write a book about this book! 
My goal this summer is simple.  I just want to have fun.  I almost feel like I've forgotten how to have fun.  But when we went to Georgia, I did have fun, and I was reminded that I can be a fun kinda girl sometimes.  I want that girl to show up more often.  So hopefully next time I can share about our summer FUN days!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How I earned super cool points with the kids

One of our last big adventures while we were in Georgia was a trip to the lake.  I really didn't know if this was going to be the best idea ever or an epic fail.  How would Ellie do being in a boat on the water for several hours?  Would Mason be brave enough to try to ski?  Would Hannah Kate even get in the water, much less be willing to be pulled behind the boat?  As it turns out, it was pretty much the best idea ever.

Two Sundays ago (we were still in Georgia), I took Seth to the airport.  He had to fly to Wyoming for work.  He'd packed two suitcases for our trip, one with summer clothes and the other with winter clothes.  Apparently it's still pretty chilly up in Wyoming.  I can not imagine.  That afternoon I took the kids to my cousin's house to play and swim.  My cousins and aunt and I were front porch sitting and talking while the kids were having a great time.  They asked Mason and Hannah Kate what their favorite thing was so far.  Mason's could've talked about going to his very first major league baseball game.  They could've talked about going to the top of Stone Mountain and then watching the laser show.  Or they could've mentioned the most awesome Georgia aquarium.  But no.  Their answer?  Both of them . . . going to the lake.

When I was a kid, we spent every Saturday and even some days during the week that my dad wasn't working at the lake.  Most summers we'd also spend a week at Lake Burton in the north Georgia mountains.  I don't remember how old I was when Daddy bought our boat.  I also don't remember how old I was when I learned how to ski, but I think I was eight.  Needless to say, I lived for summers and those days at the lake.  We'd swim and ski and tube and eat and swim and ski and tube some more.  We'd go home at the end of the day a little sunburned, dog tired and slap happy.  I don't remember my last trip to the lake.  I'm pretty sure it's been at least 16 years, if not more.  Needless to say, my expectations for this day were rather high, and it didn't disappoint!

As soon as we put the boat in the water and then made our way across the lake to the little cove my dad likes to ski in, both Mason and Hannah Kate jumped into the water.  Yes, Hannah Kate.  I was expecting to have to "show them how it's done," but there was no time for that.  They couldn't wait to get on the tube and go.  Yes.  They.  Including Hannah Kate.  So we got the rope hooked up, they climbed on top of the tube and we took off.  Those two monkeys didn't stop smiling and giggling the whole time!  We pulled them all over the place.  And all the while Mason is yelling, "Faster!!  Faaaaaassssssttttterrrrrrrrrr!"

We had to literally make them get back in the boat so we could eat lunch.  And then after lunch it was time for Mason to give it a try at skiing.  Pop jumped into the water with him, helped him get the skis on and then gave him a quick lesson:  knees bent, arms straight, don't pull the boat but let the boat pull you.

I think he tried eight or so times to get up.  This was the closest he got.  The skis were really heavy, and he had a hard time keeping them together.  But honestly he gave up too quickly.  I think if he would've tried a couple of more times, he would've gotten up.
And Ellie girl?  I have to give her props.  I know it's not very comfortable being almost 2 years old and confined in a ski boat having to wear a life jacket.  But she was such a big girl!  She was also worn out by this time.
After Mason called it quits, it was my turn.  Yes, MY turn.  Did I mention it's been almost 20 years since I got up on a pair of skis?  So I wasn't sure how many times it would take me to get up or if I even could get up.  But I did.  And on the first try, baby!  Let's just say I earned some cool points with my kids that day.
Yes.  Chicken legs and all.  I know.

I also earned extra cool points with Mason and Hannah Kate thanks to the tumble I took off the tube.  The boat captain got a little over zealous without realizing it and created several cross wakes that sent me flying through the air.  When I came back down, I knew I needed to let go, but it was too late.  I let go right as the tube hit the second wake so I went flying off and then the tube came up and hit me and then I went skipping across the water, kinda like a skipping rock across the pond.  When I finally hit the water to stay, I was hurting so bad, but I was glad I was hurting because that meant I could feel everything.  I couldn't move my neck up and down for three days.  So when anyone asks Mason about going to Georgia, he says something like this:  "We went skiing, and Momma flew off the tube."  Followed by obnoxious, raucous laughter from both him and his sister.

After I somehow managed to drag myself back up on the boat, Seth skied.  It's probably been longer for him than it has for me, but he got up the first time, too.  He wiped out twice, but nobody is talking about that.  And then Hannah Kate asked to ski.  Yes, she did!  She even got up the very first time, but for some reason she let go of the rope.  She tried twice more, but then she quickly gave up.  Again, my children aren't exactly know for their patience and perseverance right now.  

Mason tried one more time to ski, and he almost had it.
They asked to go back to the tube so we did.  They rode together and then Seth rode with Mason.  Hannah Kate wanted to ride by herself so she did.  And as for me, well, I just enjoyed the ride.
I have to say.  It really was the perfect day!  It's how I remember my childhood days of summer.  Some of my favorite memories are on the lake and in the water.  That's what I want for my kids, too.

I suppose the great debate will continue.  I want a ski boat.  Seth wants a fishing boat.  But I'm hoping that maybe he's coming over to my side a little now.  I just think we would use a ski boat a whole lot more than a fishing boat, and I think the littles would enjoy a ski boat a whole lot more than a fishing boat.  Besides, they can go fishing in PawPaw's boat.  Seth also says we can go skiing in a fishing boat, but I disagree.  I mean, you can ski.  But there's nowhere to put your skis, nowhere to put all the life jackets and gear, nowhere to comfortably put the ice chest (unless you want to trip over everything all the time) and nowhere to sit.  Not to mention the fact that I want to be able to jump in the water and cool off on a hot summer's day.  You can't do that when you're fishing.  Because.  Sharks.  So I don't know what's going to happen with all of that and what we might be pulling.  I just know my kids are begging to go skiing again.