Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Name That Vegetable!

Aaaaaand once more, Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to another exciting episode of Name That Vegetable! 

 What is it? It looks like a stick.You can peel it. It doesn't taste like much at all. Which only I can attest to, as I was the only one that actually ate the stuff. (OK, Steve tried it.)

For the record, it's easy to find out what something looks like when you have the name, but working backwards, it's a lot harder. I have no idea how to find out what something is by looking at it.

This message has been brought to you by my CSA! Which we will soon be dropping due to excessive cost and excessive parsnips.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Imaginary Friend

I make two of the kids read to me every night. Sometimes the boys get to choose what they read, but other times I make the choice. Why, you ask? Because if I didn't Nathan would spend an hour trying to plow through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Nicholas would be reading I Can Go! every night because it's fast and easy. 

When it was my turn to choose for Nick, I chose A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban. Anne-E gave the boys a collection of Frances books for Christmas one year. Do you know these books? They are rather old. I read them when I was little. But I have to admit, even then I didn't enjoy them the way I do now. 

Nick, however, wasn't happy about reading this book.  He grumbled and pouted, but finally began reading in a monotone voice devoid of any real feeling.

It was the day before
Frances's little sister Gloria's birthday.
Mother and Gloria were sitting at the kitchen table,
making place cards for the party.
Frances was in the broom closet, singing:

Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday, dear Alice,
Happy Thursday to you.

I knew eventually Nick would get into it, and this is where he stopped to ask his first question. One which would be answered by the end of the first page. Nathan, however, always has an answer ready.

Nick: Who is Alice?
Nate: The broom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


There he is. Goofy face, but it's him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This One Goes Out To The Ones I Love

I don't always grab the camera when my kids are throwing tantrums. But this one morning, Andy started pitching a fit for a very silly, and yet oddly familiar reason.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Not Quite Archeology

When the weather first got warm, I took the kids on a walk around out property to collect all of the toys and playthings that has been left outside during the winter. We found all sorts of interesting items, most of them ours. Buckets and balls had been blown into bushes. Shovels were simply plopped on the ground, waiting for the spring grass to grow so they could be hacked into tiny plastic missiles by the rider-mower.

Down at the edge of the property, the part furthest away from the house, the boys had left their boogie boards. Now, I know these are not winter toys, but apparently, to the boys, they look a lot like sleds. At some point they had taken them down to this spot, the spot that gets the most shade and is the last to let the snow melt.

They boys were arguing over who was responsible for carrying the foam boards back up to the house, when I happened to look over and see this:

In case you can't get a read on how large this is, it belonged to a deer. A full sized deer. Naturally, I was a little irked and freaked out about finding these remains right next to a spot where the boys like to play.

Andy, however, had no such reservations.

"Wow! Dinosaur bones!"

No, just the remains of a deer our hunter neighbor shot with his bow and arrow. Once he was done with the meat, he left the body for the hawks. But apparently some larger animals beat them to it. How nice of them to share.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Sprinkle In March

The weather has been perfect this past week. Unusual for March, but welcome all the same. The hard part is going back to jacket-wearing temperatures. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Big Backyard

Last fall, in an effort to encourage the boys to both read and learn, I got a subscription to a kid's nature magazine called The Big Backyard. And now, every month, the boys get a magazine about birds and chipmunks and all sorts of animals. They enjoy it. And untile recently, I thought this was a good thing.

But then The Big Backyard got dirty.

No, not with actual dirt.

See, when I was away they sent us a DVD. It was a cute DVD, with nature shows and stuff. The boys probably wouldn't have just watched it, but they would have let me play it in the background as they played video games or colored.

The dirty part was, The Big Backyard sent us this DVD, and then told us if we wanted to keep it, we had to pay them $13. OK, $12.99, but it may as well be $13. If we didn't want to keep it, we had to send it back. What's more, if we kept it, they would KEEP ON SENDING US DVD'S! And charging us $13 for each.

How rude.

I have to be perfectly clear, I don't sign up for stuff like this. I was part of a CD club once and it was not a good experience.

In this case, I signed up and paid for a magazine. I didn't request DVD's or anything else.

To be fair, returning the DVD was simple. They requested you take it out of the case and enclose it in a special envelope for returning unwanted DVD's. This way they would know you didn't want it. I'm sure they don't even open the darn things, they just toss them out. In which case they may as well let you keep the DVD in the first place, and then request that you sign up for additional DVD's you would like to get. That would be acceptable. But this whole business of giving you something you didn't ask for and then telling you it costs $13?

Just lowdown and dirty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Mo Dojo

The boys' karate dojo has moved.

It isn't far, and it doesn't take any longer to get to than it did before.

The new dojo is nice. It's bigger than the old place, with much more room to divide classes up into two active groups or to run around without bumping into each other.

It does not, however, have a waiting area for parents. If anything, it's even more awkward when it comes time for dropping off or picking up the kids.

The biggest issue, however, is that it's far away from shops. There is no whole foods store, no dry cleaners, no pie store, no pizza place. There is no coffee shop to sit and read in. In fact, the only thing nearby is an orthodontist, and a pilates place. This does me no good at all.

So far I've spent two classes sitting in my car with the computer, one with Andy leaning over my shoulder begging to play Angry Birds on my phone.

What are we to do?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Screen Time

We've gotten rid of cable.

This is mostly a good thing. The only trouble is that I sometimes have difficulty working the TV. Steve seems to constantly be changing remote controls or devices we can use to watch Netflix. Saturday morning the Wii was hooked up to the input I was sure belonged to the DVD player.

Instead, we ended up watching PBS,  which comes through on antenna. The shows on PBS are the ones we used to watch when Nick was really little. He and Nate no longer pay attention because the shows are a little young for them.

But Andy actually puts down his DS and watches. He shouts the answers back to the Super Readers on SuperWhy.  He actually leans forward to see what will happen next.

I like to see it. He spends so much time trying to do the things his brothers do, it's good to see him interested in something age appropriate for him.  I especially like that he likes these shows, because they are reinforcing his letters and spelling.

Well... what I mean is, I'd rather have him watching these shows than Bakugan, Pokemon, Yugio, Ben-10, Super Force Five. That's all I'm saying.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dog Collar

Gunther is back in The Cone.

The doctor didn't tell us to do this. We just think it's funny. Ha ha ha ha!

Just kidding.

The doctor did NOT tell us to do this. In fact, when I took Gunther to the vet a couple of weeks before I left on vacation, he brushed off the cut on Gunther's leg, saying it wasn't deep and it would heal on it's own.

Maybe, but Gunther refuses to let it heal itself. Instead, he licks it and licks it until there is a nasty red spot he won't let us get near.

So I dragged out the cone, thinking we'd just put it on for a week or so. It would give the sore leg a chance to heal.

It's not ideal. Gunther is irritating without the cone, but with it on he is a holy terror. He is large and clumsy, and with the cone he can't even see or hear correctly. He bangs into people, knocking the kids down. He scrapes the cone against legs and furniture.

And Gunther hates it.

In fact, he saw me remove it from the closet. And he started barking right away. It was dirty, so I washed it in the sink. Gunther barked the whole time. He was obviously angry, and with it on he is downright dejected.

But.... you know... he's the one that wouldn't stop licking his leg!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Doctor Doctor

It's the time of year for Doctor's Appointments!

Well, for Nate and Andy, anyway. They both went in for yearly check-ups. They are both healthy. Nathan was in the 90% for weight, which was a little disconcerting. But he's been playing outside for hours at a time, and I like to think we offer him good choices when it comes to food and snacks. It's just that, he keeps eating until you tell him to stop. He'll eat the stuff his brothers leave behind. What can we do?

I also have a doctor's appointment coming up. I'm glad, because with the running I've been doing since I came back from vacation, my ankle is flaring up again. It's downright irritating.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Warm Weather

The tulips are coming up! Not only have we had an unusually warm winter, but this week we've had three days where the highs were in the 70's. The boys were running outside with no jackets, and we opened the doors to let the warm air in.

Warm weather! I want warm weather!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Back To Life, with Leprechaun

Today is St. Patrick's Day. As everyone knows, this is the time of year the Leprechaun bounces around from house to house, causing little fits of mischief and leaving gold coins and candy in his wake.

Never heard of this? Well then you obviously haven't gone to preschool in the past fifteen years! Because that's where I learned about this wonderful visit. Last year I was convinced the leprechaun was going to pass us by, but the day before St. Patrick's Day Nick spent all of lunchtime wondering what the Leprechaun was going to do, explaining everything to his younger brothers. They were not at all let down when all the little guy left was Twix candy bars and green Tic-Tacs.  He put off shopping too long, you see, and the stores were stripped of gold coins and green glitter.

This year he left Lucky Charms for breakfast, and the milk magically turned green once in the bowls! Also, he turned the water in the toilets green. Ewww.

On a different note...

It comes to my attention that I have been off the boat longer than I was on it. I have been home for over a week. And I have almost gotten to the point where the world doesn't spin when I sit still and close my eyes.

And yet every post so far has been an endless list of photographs parading down the page.

But that stops as of now. Back to life. It's time to start posting about things around here. Sorry there are no pictures. I'll have plenty for next week. At least, I'll try.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food For Thought

One of the best things about being on the boat was not having to cook. Not only did I not have to rustle up three meals and two snacks a day for a bunch of picky eaters, I didn't even have to think about getting food for myself. Because on this vacation, we got three sit-down meals a day. An extravagant breakfast, a lunch with lunch-dessert, and a three course dinner. This was every day.

And in between we also had coffee in the early morning, a cooler on the deck and a snack basket inside, and a Happy Hour with what someone called "Downers" (a fru-fru drink for when the sun goes down) and hors d'oeuvres.  I gained five pounds just looking at the food.

On top of that, I must mention the table settings. Every single time we sat down it seemed the table was set with cute props in the center piece and fancy folded napkins. It made me love sitting down to the table, even before the nice cook with the New Zealand accent would come up to explain what we were eating.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Once or twice we did get to go ashore.

We saw some fruit and vegetable markets...

a lot of lush green and some bananas....


A very nice man named Vaughn took us on a tour in Granada.

We saw a waterfall and a few of us got to swim it the pool at the bottom. VERY cool.

Vaughn also took us to a nutmeg factory.

 There is a lot of nutmeg in Granada, and I now know a lot about what it takes to make the little bit of powder I cook with.

Not only do they dry out a kabillion nutmeg seeds at a time, but they are still shelled by hand.

By these ladies, in fact. They wrap up their hair, but walk around in the shells in bare feet.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alter Ego

When you are on a vacation like this,

you may forget yourself.

You may do things you never thought you would do.

You may become a completely different person.

You might discover a part of you that you never knew existed.

Or you might remember who you were before the static white noise of life got in the way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Other People's Photos

Virginia is the Captain of the boat. You have to do everything she says. A the end of the trip she presented each of us with a number of gifts, including a personal photo album of our trip. I really like and admire her a lot.

Another thing she does is borrow everyone's cameras at different points and download everyone's photographs. At the end of the trip she will place all of the photographs on a flash drive, so everyone ends up with 850 photographs of the vacation. Many people, such as Terry, refuse to do this because 850 photographs are too many to look at. She has a point. It makes selecting which photos to share or include in albums almost impossible. This is why each of these vacations posts have eleven images.

I promised Virginia that I would take my flash drive and share it with my parents, because they do not understand how these things work. One of the first things I did was go to my mother's computer and plug in the flash drive. Then I opened up iPhoto. And there were photos of the boat.

I was confused. I hadn't transfered the photos, yet I recognized this picture of me from behind... It took a moment, but it finally dawned on me that this was not a photograph of me. It was actually a photograph of Linda.

On the boat.

Linda didn't go on the boat this year, she went last year.

I was looking at last year's photographs.

Which were the last photographs added to Mom's iPhoto account.

Because she doesn't open it. Ever.

One of the best things about getting to have other people's photographs, though, is that sometimes, or most of the time, other people turn out to be better photographers than you do. Or than I do. Also, I now actually have photographs from a vacation I took and I am in some of the pictures!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nothing To Do

 It is so absolutely BOring on the boat, there is ABsolutely NOthing to do!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting There Is Half The Fun

I never think getting there is half the fun. In fact, with my track record, getting there is usually The Absolute Torture One Must Endure In Order To Have The Fun. And then you have to do it again on the way back.

I don't usually like travelling with my parents. Mom, Dad, I love you, but I prefer to have a printed itinerary in my hand the day before departure, and to know which country I am flying to before leaving for the airport. When I would bring these things up in conversation with my parents before the trip, I was assured that there was, actually, an itinerary printed out somewhere, and that we'd figure it out before we got there.

So I kind of did this thing where I unhinged my brain from the rest of my body and went into follow mode.

So the last thing I expected was the be flying business class to Barbados.

Please understand me when I say I will never be able to fly anywhere ever again. I have been totally and completely spoiled. The leg room! The ability to recline the seat ALL the way back! The personal TV's with tons of movie and television choices! The food with real silverware! The flight attendants that smile and don't look at you like you've been smuggling explosives in the diaper bag.

Of course, then we got to Barbados and began filling out what seemed to be an endless supply of forms. We had to go through customs, see? So Each time we arrived we had to tell there where we came from, and why, and how long we were staying and when we were leaving, and then two minutes later we had to provide everyone with exactly the same information on a different form. At our last airport we were led to an empty room with a CUSTOMS sign swinging in the breeze, and people actually came out of the back room to make us walk through immigration one at a time, and we watched as a guy unloaded our carry-ons onto a conveyor belt that would have easily fit inside my kitchen.

But the best part was the second flight.

Leaving Barbados we got on a charter plane. It was so small. It had spinning propellors. I sat next to my dad, and we both had a window seat!

  Here was my view:

 I could see the shadow of the plane on the ground, and then on the ocean. It took 30 minutes, and I thought we would drop out of the sky at any moment. But we didn't. And then when we got there it was so worth it!