Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bass Pro Shop

 Like a zoo/aquarium, but free.  And the animals are stuffed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Die hards? Or just desperate?

When I heard that our theater was doing a special double feature of New Moon and Eclipse, I though it was a perfect excuse for some of my friends and I to have a much-needed girls' night.  So a couple of weeks ago, I bought tickets.  Last week we got together at my place to watch the first movie of the series (Londa had to be inducted into Twilight mania, and I loaned her my books).  And  Tuesday night at 8:30, we lined up outside the theater.  Apparently arriving an hour early was not sufficient, because we couldn't get three seats together.  Amy and I ended up in the second row on the end, and Londa took a nice seat several rows back with some teenagers.  I may have had a crick in my neck, but it was worth it.  No kids, great friends, and an awesome movie.  When it was over at 2:00am, I was thankful that I lived so close to the theater.  Oh, the lengths we'll go to have a girls' night.

How does my garden grow?

Jalapeno, Yellow crookneck squash (baby), Watermelon, "Sweet 100" cherry tomatoes, Zucchini squash, Roma tomatoes.  

It is looking like a jungle out there.  We've been eating squash like crazy, preparing it every way I can think of.  I'm the only one in the family who likes tomatoes, so the sweet little orbs are all mine, and the Romas will most likely become salsa along with the jalapenos and cilantro out there.  Chad can go through salsa like nobody's business.  And I don't know what it is about that little watermelon that gets me so excited.  Every time I grow a new plant for the first time, it's a revelation (So that's what it looks like before it gets to the store!).  And it probably has something to do with that mothering instinct (Look at that baby ___, it's so cute!).  I have to monitor the prolifically growing vines regularly, to train them in the direction I want them.  I don't have a lot of space to waste, so I'm trying to trellis vines on the fence where I can.  The cucumbers love to grab hold of the fence with their little curly tendrils.  The strawberries, corn, and cantaloupe still have plenty of growing to do before harvest time, but they're getting there.  And I should probably get the last of those carrots out of the ground...they've been in there forever.  Unfortunately, my kids' affinity for different veggies changes on a day-to-day basis, and most days it's a battle to get them to eat the squash and carrots that they've been known to scarf down in the past. 

I, for one, am loving how delicious squash tastes when it was picked just minutes ago.  I love the smell of the fresh basil and mint when I'm in my garden.  I love the sound the corn makes in the wind.  So, yeah, I love my garden.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wish I'd had my camera

The kids and I went to my parents' place this weekend, and my mom and I did the musical number in church (she's picked up the flute after a 30-year hiatus--awesome!).  Things happen out where my parents live.  Things you never get to see in the city.
  • A lizard racing your truck down the long dirt drive, and winning.
  • A cow's face right outside your bedroom window, its hairy, slimy mouth chewing on a dead animal's skull.
  • Your son getting up close and personal with his favorite thing: the tractor.
  • Your kids "swimming" up and down their grandpa's corn field's newly plowed and flood-irrigated furrows (soil with a high clay content + water = amazing squishy mud).
  • A layer of tiny pepper-weed bugs so thick on the ground that it looks like the earth is crawling.
  • A large saguaro cactus with an old tire thrown over one of its arms (someone's sad version of ring-toss).
  • A cow on the side of the road chewing on a bottle (what is it with those stupid cows?).
It was quite a visit.  It always is.

Big Lake

Last week we took advantage of another of Chad's three-day weekends, drove four hours into a part of Arizona that we've never been to, and went camping at Big Lake in the White Mountains.  According to Camp Arizona's top 10 list, the Apache Trout campground is number one in the state.  It was beautiful, with Ponderosa pines and Aspen trees all around.  The campsites were clean, and had nice gravel drives for the RVs (which did help cut down on how dirty the kids got, but it didn't prevent them from wallowing in the nearby dirt banks; Mason's dirty upper lip resembled a Hitler-stache for a while there).  There was free firewood laying all over the place for the gathering. 

Big Lake was just a short walk/drive away, and the kids got to try out the fishing poles Santa brought them for the first time.  Chad tried out his new pole too, but discovered that $20 at Walmart won't even buy you as good of a cast as a Bree's Disney Princess pole.  No fish were caught, but the kids had fun.  Especially Mason.  He's at that age where repetitive motion is right up his alley of delight.  We found a few geocaches around the lake too.  After the first afternoon of warm weather and A/C necessity, we enjoyed cool evenings, beautiful mornings, and a rainstorm that revealed the scary truth about the integrity of our camper's roof.  We have a leak in our living room ceiling.  But nothing that an empty cooler underneath couldn't handle.  Oh well.  What can you expect from a trailer that you found abandoned, covered in mouse droppings?  The rain only lasted a couple hours thankfully.  And I was thankful that I had a camper to cook dinner in, out of the rain.  Of course we enjoyed our S'mores each night, and I love cool weather because it lets me indulge in hot chocolate.  Camping is really all about eating.  And doing nothing.  And letting the kids play and do whatever.  Mason fell asleep in Chad's arms by the fire both nights.  The kids played hard and slept well.  It was a wonderful trip.
June 23-25, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two unrelated quotes. Or are they?

Bree (to me when I said my watch was broken): "Daddy can fix anything.  He's a righteous and good man."

Chad (to me): "Bree's room smells funny.  You wanna check that out?"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pinal Peak

This summer I have a list of campgrounds that our family wants to visit, some with the trailer, some with the tent.  There are some beautiful places in Arizona that have wonderful weather even in the summer, and we haven't seen a fraction of them.  Last week we went on our first camp-out of the year.  We've already been to Pinal Peak, although it's been almost two years.  This time we were in a different campground though, and we really enjoyed it.  It was cool and breezy, the trees gave us tons of shade, and we had the place almost all to ourselves.  The kids had a blast.  It's great how when they're this young, if enough time passes between similar events, they experience it like it's the first time all over again!  Bree did remember going to Tombstone last October in the trailer, but she didn't remember the last time we went tent-camping.

We did a little hiking, and had our first experience with geocaching.  I got on the website, entered some coordinates into our GPS, and we were off on a "treasure hunt."  The kids thought it was really cool, finding those boxes filled with "treasure" (really just random things people leave in there; we left some DPS stickers), and Chad even commented after finding the first one, "This is actually pretty fun."  Oh, ye of little faith.

We relaxed on the hammock, let the kids gobble Starburst as quickly as they could unwrap them (they couldn't remember ever tasting anything so yummy), and I enjoyed an alarming amount of S'mores.  Let me just say: dark chocolate bars are the way to go.  This was the first time I've tried them in S'mores, and I'm never going back.  Bree is not a fan of marshmallows, so she just wanted the chocolate and graham crackers.  I made one for her just like I make them for myself, with the chocolate warm and melty.  After she ate that one, she said, "Can I have another smear?  I just want a hard smear this time."  After laughing at her cute pronunciation mistake, I discovered that the melted chocolate was too much of a hassle in her opinion.  She just wanted me to hand over the chocolate and the grahams.  And Mason?  He doesn't really like marshmallows or chocolate.  He does like graham crackers, but he was too busy playing to eat, using his crackers to smash ants.

By the time darkness rolled around, the kids were exhausted, which made for a relatively fuss-free bedtime and a quiet night.  But before that, Bree treated me to a "scary" camp story.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I hate summer: reprise

Today, after working outside for about four hours, only about one and a half of which was strenuous shoveling, I started feeling more exhausted than I normally do after a good day's work.  I was drinking plenty of water, and after I finished the shoveling all I was doing was some light gardening and pruning.  But, as expressed in my previous entry, summer here is awful.  And hot.  And apparently, even though I was drinking today, I must have already been dehydrated from fasting half of yesterday.  As the lightheadedness, fast/shallow breathing, and serious weakness set in, my mind flashed back about six years to me picking Chad up from his construction site because he was weak and his muscles were seizing up.  I drove him to the hospital (as he vomited into a Walmart bag; thank goodness I had just been shopping when he called) to be treated for heat exhaustion.  Oh great.  Did I need to go to the hospital?  I panicked a little as I quickly mixed up some Gatorade and refilled my water bottle, then lay down on the living room floor under the A/C vent and ceiling fan.  I called Chad and told him to come home, that I would surely be needing to be hospitalized any minute (I was trying to keep calm on the phone for his sake).  At least I wasn't vomiting.  I wasn't in full panic mode yet.  But Chad was over an hour away.  In the end, after an hour of lying there sipping my drink bottles dry, the full-body tingling had abated, and I had the strength to sit up and eventually stand again.  Thank goodness.  Because I was seriously dirty and smelly from working outside, and would have been so embarrassed if I'd needed to go to the ER.  Anyway, I have since showered, eaten a long-overdue lunch, and drank a few more bottles of water.  I still have a headache, and a low-grade fever, but I'm functional.  And my climbing roses look amazing.

Have I mentioned that I hate summer?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Summer Paradox

I have a like/detest relationship with summer.

Summer means that it is hot enough for the kids and I to "swim" in the kiddie pool in our yard without Mason shivering so hard he looks like he's epileptic.  That kid has no body fat to speak of, and unless the water had been sitting in the sun all day and is therefore at least 90 degrees, he can only go about 15 minutes before the shivers set in.  The kids do love being in the pool.  Bree is practicing holding her breath and swimming under water.  She's getting pretty good.  But if it's hot enough to swim (read: at least 95 degrees outside), that means it's too hot to do anything else.  I hate being hot. 

Summer means no school, which translates to no crazy high-schoolers driving recklessly down our street (We only live a few blocks from the high school; which reminds me, I bought some cookie dough yesterday from some kids sporting GHS jerseys who are raising money for their football team.  I told them that I have been fund-raiser-scammed before, and gave them the third degree before I handed over my money.  I better see that cookie dough).  Anyway, kids being out of school also means babysitters who are free to watch our kids late on weeknights.  But it means those kids are more likely to crowd up the movie theater on a weeknight.  I don't like crowded movie theaters, and it's not so much the chatting that gets to me.  Usually I'm angry at the parent of a small child in a PG-13 movie, who won't take their scared and crying kid out.  Or I end up sitting next to someone who smells.  Cigarettes, body odor, whatever; I guess there are a lot of smelly people in this town.

Summer means camping, which we love.  We're excited to take the camping trailer and explore some lakes a couple hours north.  We can escape to higher elevation and enjoy cooler weather.  There's nothing paradoxical about this one, we just love it.

Summer means Amy and I are taking a break from teaching our kids preschool, and we're just doing play dates to continue the pattern and keep the kids from going too stir-crazy.  Actually, it might be so Amy and I don't go stir-crazy.  Probably both.  Summer is a great time to do fun outings and activities, right?  We're racking our brains trying to think of what our great city has to offer in the way of summer activities.  We've already covered the temperature issue, so any outdoor activity that doesn't involve swimming or being at a high elevation is out., the library?  How many times a week can we do that?  Besides, even though there is a children's room, I don't think the librarians necessarily love it when our kids are running around playing in there, even when we try to control the decibel level.  Besides, the A/C at the library is really sub-par, which makes afternoon visits uncomfortable.  What else do we have in Globe?  Grocery stores.  Wal-mart (and don't even get me started on the sorry state of our Wal-mart; apparently if you're in a small town and you're the only store that carries random things like printer paper and Brita filter refills, you're allowed to have restocking issues coupled with a major remodel that means the baby items are now outside in lawn/garden, and the shoes are in three different places; you know you can get away with it, and take your sweet time fixing things because everyone in that small town has no where else to go).  I think the city has a history museum, but I don't think the kids would appreciate it.  Where is a good parks and rec program when you need it?  The small town: a paradox in itself.

Summer means my tomato plants are thriving, and my baby corn and strawberries are coming up nicely.  I'm looking forward to harvesting squash soon too.  But summer here also means that the tomatoes will not last long unless I rig up some kind of shade for my plants when July rolls around.

Ahh, summer.  I've heard it said that there are places in the world where summer is a glorious season.  What must that be like?
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