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video vednesday: i'm not a math...i'm not real good at math.

in a different vein than usual:






the thing that struck me about this video is how fickle people can be.  at the beginning, the judges, the host, the audience members were openly mocking and disrespectful, and there's this lonely guy on stage who knows he's the butt of some joke he doesn't quite get.

then he sings a song and they're all like, 'you're such a lovely, genuine person.'  well.

people can be douchebags sometimes.  i'm glad this guy was able to do as well as he did.  only because i have a special little place in my heart for getting back at people.

BUT, in a more regenerated vein, it reminded me that god uses foolish things to shame the wise.  which is something i'm always surprised at, but love about his way of doing things. i'm glad god roots for the underdog.  for my own selfish sake.

if you have five minutes, check out this awesome blog:

"The thing that haunts me about my inbox is the sheer volume of people who are aching to know if they're still worthy of love. There are so many people drowning in shame because they're certain they'll lose everything if anyone ever finds out how messed up they are.  It saddens me that there are way too many people who willingly and mistakenly place their worth in the cruel hands of men, when it is God who created them and knows their value."

fooled you, sucka!

guess what? we were in the black hills for an entire WEEK a fortnight back (haha, fortnight) and you had no idea!  i'm truly awesome at keeping secrets.  you'll see.  also, i'm really good at using expired vocabulary.

if you talked to me in person at any point leading up to our trip, i would've gladly told you all about our plans.  so this might be old news to you.  but as far as posting it on here, it's just that this is the internet, and i'm not naming any names, but there are creepers out here just waiting to learn that we're away from home (you know who you are).  so i decided to keep in on the DL before we left.  luckily, we got home and our house had not been robbed, and i attribute about 70% of that good fortune to the fact that we didn't publicly announce our vacation plans.  (the other 30% of our house not getting robbed can be attributed to allison, who loyally watchdogged for us, and also the fact that we live in small town iowa where the only robbery that happens is when the market charges $7 a pound for bacon.  yep.  i'm beating that horse again.)

first, a little about south dakota.  it is home to an absolute cornucopia of ghost towns, motorcyclists, and geology enthusiasts.  the dirt sparkles - i'm not even kidding; some kind of something in there.  it has perfected the art of billboard advertising.  there is a two hundred mile stretch in which there is not a single mcdonald's (or any other kind of drive thru).  lots of rocks + no mcdonald's = we were roughing it.

it ended up being a 13-hour car ride, and with two kids who do not sleep in the car, it made for long days to and from our destination.  i'm not kidding, penelope slept a GRAND TOTAL of about 45 minutes each way (and screamed for about 6 hours each way) and atticus did not close his eyes for even a half a second.  maybe to blink, but i wasn't paying attention.  that being said, though, atticus did amazingly well, considering.  he was a real trooper.

we got to todd's parents' place about 8:30 pm that saturday, after stopping on the way to visit devil's gulch (where jesse james jumped across this really deep...well, gulch, according to legend), the corn palace (what?! you've never heard of the corn palace? it's a giant castle made out of corn), and wall drug, which is basically just a tourist trap, where we bought nothing but a reasonably priced bottle of tylenol for my splitting headache (did i mention sis screamed a good half the way?).

on sunday we visited mt. rushmore and crazy horse.  and i have to say, i thought crazy horse was way more interesting than rushmore, even though rushmore did have the advantage of a giant abraham lincoln head.  but sometimes that's not enough.

monday, we visited a ghost town, complete with very creepy mannequins, including a literally-black smith.  (it was pretty punchy, as far as ghost towns go.)  in the afternoon, we took the kids for a ride on an 1880's steam train, which atticus liked but found to be entirely too loud and spent the entire time covering his ears (he has really sensitive ears).

tuesday, we visited a petting zoo, where the kids got to ride ponies (atticus hated it, penelope loved it), ride a kiddie train, and crawl around on the ground pretending to be a chicken (although, i put the kaibosh on that when atticus got chicken poop all over his hand).  the kids spent the evening playing in the hot tub...  the verdict is still out whether they liked that.  while i like to think of hot tub thumping as 'relaxing while comatose in a swirling haven of angel water,' the kids really saw it more as 'being forcibly held in a hot chlorinated puddle of doom.'  tomato, tomato.

wednesday, we spent the morning playing in the pool and spent the evening at reptile gardens, which was basically a zoo of snakes.  plus some gators.  and also some...prairie dogs.  not sure how those things made the cut onto the roster at 'reptile gardens.'  maybe they feed them to the reptiles.  atticus got to touch a python and a baby 'croc,' and we even got to see a guy wrassle a gata...and see that same guy nearly get bitten by a poisonous snake.  and that's what i call a good time. 

thursday, we tried to lay low, since i knew it was going to be a long day of driving the next day.  so we stayed at home the whole day, although i did go horseback riding with tony for a while in the morning.  (oh, didn't i tell you? it must've slipped my mind just how rugged i am.  i was a girl scout for a long time and therefore have the survival skills and horseback riding know-how of...a tweener girl in a pansy uniform.  so, none.  but survival skills and horseriding ability become minor insignificant details when viewing them from the back of a 15-foot horse.  so i did okay for myself, after i stopped thinking that every cricket i heard was a rattlesnake.)

friday we drove home, first stopping again at wall drug (we couldn't resist), and checking out al's oasis, which was basically a fancy gas station, but we were in south dakota and that's the kind of stuff there is to do along the side of the road.  it was a looong drive and we didn't make it home until 10:45 p.m.  yucko.  but we made it back alive and healthy and not lying in the hot sand amongst steer skeletons and tumbleweeds at the bottom of the badlands, which is really all you can ask for.


and now.  the moment you've all been waiting for...  the TROPHY CEREMONY:  who won the trip to south dakota?  was it todd, the diligent driver and finder of chinese food?  was it paige, the cartographer rest stop planner and feeder of offspring?  was it atticus, the contented and nearly silent passenger and movie watcher?  was it penelope, the honest-to-goodness loudest?

in a shocking turn of events, the winner of this trip was...brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (that's a drumroll)....OL' WINDY THE VIDIVAN!  she took this contest by a landslide.  she was reliable, she was fast when we needed fast and slow when we needed slow, she handled curves and climbing altitude as though she'd done it every day of her life.  she rode as smooth as butta.  she played videos to keep the kids distracted.  she fit all four of us and todd's parents with comfort and ease. and dang, she looked good doing it with her supple tan leather interior and wood-look console. and even though her power sliding doors are on their last leg, she never once complained. (the same cannot be said for me.  i complained once.  or a million times.)

so here you go, ol' windy.  you deserve this trophy goblet of pure winning.

i forgot to 'member 'member that time.

so i had the very best of intentions to post a 'member that time monday' and keep on keepin' on with my structured every-day-but-weekends blogging schedule.  but you know.  i napped a lot this weekend.  and then i went grocery shopping this morning.  which, when you live out of town and regularly patronize 4+ stores per trip to get the biggest bang for your buck, is basically the stay-at-home-mom equivalent of winning a triathlon and then going on to give birth.  all in two and a half hours.  intense, but with the most amazing runner's high.

SO.

while i could have just posted a 'member that time instead of posting this garbage, i figured i'd branch out and SKIP A MONDAY.  look at me, i'm a brand new lady in christ.

my pantry is full, my blog is untended, and i'm feeling pretty good about myself right about now.  but don't worry.  next week, you get to remember that time in second grade when i wrote my first love note...

celebrate good times, come on!

(anyone else only ever hear that song played in your head on bagpipes?)

as briefly mentioned yesterday, this blog has officially crossed the 100-readers-a-week mark, and this is an ultrasound image of my heart upon hearing the news:



also, 'proud to be an american' started playing.  it was a very moving moment.

i guess what i'm saying is thanks for reading.  in fact, thanks for continuing to read once you find out just how insane i can be.  and bearing with the random rants, the walks down no one else's memory lane, and my embarrassing moments and exaggerations.  blogging is fun for me, but it's made more fun thinking that someone actually cares what i have to say, so thanks for reading!

huh?

if you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that i haven't said specifically to where we recently moved.  that has been on purpose.  mainly because with 100 readers a week, i don't know that some of you aren't sexual deviants or arbonne representatives that are just dying to know where we live.  and not that i don't assume that if you do fit in one (or both) of these categories that you're not intelligent enough to just type our names into whitepages and find out for yourselves, but you know.  doing what i can to protect the fam.  (and there will be more in this direction later, possibly involving one of those things where parents start calling their kids food nicknames in order to conceal their real identities but you're really all like, 'why are you calling your kid carrot stick when it's pretty obvious from the last three years of posting that his name is gene?'  yep.  we might go there.  not naming a kid gene.  calling him carrot stick.)

(also, if you're dying to know, just ask me. it's not like it's classified. just give me a head's up if you're looking to kidnap one of my kids or something so i can be on the lookout for that.)

anyway.  a secondary reason for not sharing our locale is so that i can point out little quirks without making you associate the whole town with the funny little goings-on that only a newbie can appreciate...i will say that i have LOVED LOVED LOVED where we have landed and only jest because i love.

as you drive into town from the interstate, there is a series of professional, permanent road signs lining our main street. and while each sign only contains two words, they all add up to read: "statistics show from near to far, folks who drive like crazy are, OUR IOWA." and i'm all like...huh? what does that even mean? is it like a cautionary series of signs, and i should watch my back so i don't get T-boned by some iowan with a death wish? or should i get offended and sue the sign-makers for libel because they're calling all iowans crazy drivers? and also, who voted that such confusing signage would be a good idea? and who paid to have them made and installed? and what, exactly, is the obvious benefit of reading those signs instead of, say, watching the road or finding out what the speed limit is?

i have to admit, those signs did not make the best first impression on me.  i found them confusing at best, and NO ONE could tell me what the heck they were for.  i have since found out that the register did some kind of 'ridiculous OUR IOWA rhyme' contest, and one town from each county won.  so now, they actually make me kind of proud that somebody from our town came up with it, weird as it is. 

i saw another series of signs in cantrell, iowa, that said something about pulling off to the side of the road so you don't fall asleep while driving...OUR IOWA.  and again...huh?  i still maintain that the contest was maybe a dumb idea, and the poems are hardly tennyson, but whatever.  i have decided to think of it in a stars-hollowy kind of way, where it's kitschy but kind of in a cute way, so it actually becomes endearing.  in fact, it's so endearing that i may vandalize the sign to say MY IOWA.  it has won me over to that degree.  (...not entirely true, but i'm getting there.)

video vednesday: sue likes surprise parties.

oh, boy.  my hands are paralyzed.


big boy bed

while it's only been very recently that i've even started looking for one, i know it's about time for atticus to move to a big boy bed.  even though i know he could have 'moved on up' way before now, i love the convenience of having him in a crib - he stays in bed in the morning until i say it's time to get up.  mama feels like sleeping in thirty minutes this morning? no problem, he just hangs out and plays in his bed.

but i know it's time.  he's been potty trained for quite some time now, but he's still in diapers overnight, and it's mainly because i haven't been able to teach him to get up and get himself to the potty in the middle of the night if need be.  so i'm a little nervous to even try making him go 12 hours without the option of going potty. plus, we've been doing some traveling over the summer, and have a few more trips planned in the next few months, and he's really getting too tall for the pack and play.  poor kid hits both ends of it when sleeping on his back.

not to mention... he's almost three, which (in my mind) will make him more a 'kid' than a 'toddler,' and kids don't need to be sleeping in cribs...it probably causes some kind of underlying psychological distress or something, i don't know.  all i know is sybil was forced to sleep in a crib until she was nine, and look how that turned out for her.  (discounting the fact that her mother was severely unhinged, so the analogy between atticus and sybil can stop at the crib thing.)

so i've been glancing around at bed options.  i've pretty well vetoed the whole toddler bed thing, because even though our crib is convertible, you have to buy rails and stuff for it that didn't originally come with it, and if you have to purchase something, why not just buy the thing he'll eventually need anyway, right?  (that sentence was also too long for the pack and play and apparently will need its own big kid bed.) 

i had found a couple of awesome antique jenny lind bed frames on craigslist for dirt cheap, but they had already sold by the time i contacted the sellers.  now i've moved on to thinking about bunk beds.  or maybe some kind of bed with a trundle.  or maybe bunk beds with a trundle.  bunkdle beds.  just trying to think of ways to maximize the space.

because, see, this is more than just a decision of a bed.  we have two rooms reserved for kids' use, and right now atticus and penelope are both sharing the room reserved for the nursery.  so with the new bed comes a new room, the one reserved for kids who have 'graduated' up (or, The Dorm, as i like to call it).  so now i'm having to decide on paint colors and room themes and bedding and rugs...which is only a little tedious simply because i have no idea where to start.  there are so many cute kids' room ideas out there!

but i have some parameters:

1. it needs to be unisex, since right now we only have a nursery and The Dorm, separated only by age and not gender.  eventually, we'll change it up to allow for one to accommodate cowboys and one to accommodate OB/GYNs (or whatever girls aspire to be, i don't remember), but for now we're putting all biggies in the room together.

2. i'm not really into matchy-matchy, i like more of an 'accumulated over time at garage sales and out of the dumpster' look.

3. i am adamantly opposed to most stuff with characters of virtually any kind.  buzz lightyear bedding?  lightning mcqueen rug? farrah fawcett poster?  nope, nope, and uh, definitely nope.  (although, if i threw them all in there together, i'd probably get that garage-sale-and-trash-can look.)

4. i have no idea how long it will be before we separate the rooms by gender, so it has to grow with the kids.  i don't want to have to do this every year because i didn't think it through.


anyway, i guess what i'm saying is i need some ideas.  anybody do a kids' room recently or find anything on pinterest they thought was super cute?  also, anyone have any tips on where i can buy a cheap mattress and frame?  any cute ideas for headboards/footboards?  help a lady out.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time i found a permanent marker crammed down in the bus seat and my bff jenny and i thought it would be a great idea to color on the back of the seat in front of us? and how, after careful deliberation, we decided that the most worthwhile, most permanent sentiment we could write in indelible pen was, 'i love nate thompson and i hate wes thomsen'?

it was like the second grade equivalent of getting inked while drunk, and i learned just how fickle affections can be.  wes eventually moved to the christian school and my red-hot hatred turned more to apathy, whereas nate developed a bad case of football helmet-aggravated acne, as well as an ego that compelled him to refer to himself as natedogg, and i was left with a sinking stomach knowing that someone, somewhere thought i loved him. 

so this 'member that time monday has a moral, kiddies: permanent markers are only for married people. 

not exactly sure what to think

a while ago, i got a phone call that started a little something like this:

paige: hello?

phone lady:  hi, this is krista from the photo place.   is your mommy there?

um...

i have to admit, i was a little puzzled.  not only at krista's apparent hearing disability, but at what my response should be.

i mean, yeah.  i've heard that as you get older your most brag-worthy moments stop being that time you stayed up all night watching grease 17 times in a row and start being that time you borrowed your daughter's jeans and the blind kid at the liquor store carded you when you ran in to grab your regular it's-bubble-bath-night merlot.  but a) am i really at the point where i'm desperate for people to think i'm younger than i am and b) is it ever really a compliment to think that a grown person (other than your nana) feels comfortable talking to you like you're six?

so i politely redirected krista with talks of nietzche and my vague rememberance of desert storm, just to prove that i'm a card-carrying, bona fide grown up.  then i firmly declined her offer of a free 8x10 and swore up and down i would never give them another cent and they could kiss my adult butt and go to you-know-where.  because for goodness sakes, i have earned the right to be spoken to as an adult.  krista.

in 30 years i bet i'll look back on this moment in double-edged glory:  not only did someone think i was 20 years younger than i actually am, but i also demanded respect and got it.  so, actually, thanks krista, for ensuring me an ego boost when i'm past my prime childbearing years.

and that, my friends, is how to build a legacy in 30 seconds or less.

don't worry, it's hard.

 

nope.


eh.  kind of.


still no.


sis got it!


this is the closest we came.


atticus is having a hard time figuring out how exactly those photo-op-with-your-face-in-a-hole things work.

video vednesday: you just gotta look at it, that's all you can do anymore.

a giant thank you to my dearest jeska for exposing me to this.

thwr: boys will be boys.

todd:  hey, atticus.  look at my muscles.


and that's how we roll.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time...more recently than i'd like to admit...that i ate a lunch consisting of spicy beef jerky, unpasteurized pepper cheese, pickled jalapenos, and pepsi, and how it was absolutely delicious?  but then, 'member how i got incredibly sick and was all like, why am i sick?  then 'member how i put two and two together and realized that my stomach is a) no longer the stomach of a 19-year-old  and b) is not designed to process molten lava?

just thinking about it i feel mostly sick but also a little hungry for beef jerky.

our new little town

we've been in our new-to-us house for almost three months now.  the settling-in process has gone much more slowly and much more quickly than i expected.  on the one hand, i've only painted one room, haven't hung anything on the walls, and some rooms don't have any furniture in them (and other rooms only have piles of junk and home decor that i haven't dealt with yet.  if you've moved recently, feel free to compare your progress to my lack of progress in order to feel good about yourself).  in that way, we're FAR from being settled. 

in another way, though, things really are starting to feel like home.  i'm not sure either one of the kids remembers the apartment anymore, and we have rules and routines for the new house that seem like second nature - the kids are only allowed up and down the front stairs, not the 'owie stairs' - the really steep ones down to the kitchen;  atticus knows that naptime is for sleeping in the 'green bed' (the pack and play in the basement) and nighttime is for sleeping in the 'white bed' (his crib in their shared room); he knows what i'm talking about when i say 'the toy room' or 'your room' or 'mommy's room'; he knows that the basement family room is where we keep the TV and some special toys; he knows there are more 'owie stairs' up to the attic that he's not allowed to go up, but he remembers the time grandpa tony and grandma jacqi went up there.  he loves playing in the yard with his lawn mower, and he pretends that he got his felt food from our garden.  we all know the house well and feel comfortable here - we feel like it's our house (although, still more 'house' than 'home') - and that makes things feel much more settled.

but we're not just adjusting to a new house.  we're adjusting to a whole new community, and in a lot of ways that's gone really well.  i already know and get along with a lot of the neighbors (including betty, the 88-year-old widow who lives across the street - i LOVE her), and i've even met some other stay-at-home moms at the pool and the park, and they've invited me to start attending MOPS when it starts back up in the fall.  i finally know where dollar general is, and i know where the market is, although i've only been in there once and left super pissed because they charge up the butt. ($3.89 for an avocado?! did you birth that thing yourself? does the pit look like the virgin mother? because otherwise, no avocado is worth four bucks.) 

i am realizing, though, that there are a lot of things that i now find quirky or different about our new town that i probably will get used to later and totally overlook.  so i should probably start documenting (read: blogging about) them before i forget.

so stay tuned; we live in a pretty cute, weird little place.

last one (for now, at least)

last photo post for a while.  at least, last one in which i dump a bunch of unrelated photos all together.


tuckered out at his yo gabba gabba party.  i should have made him dj lance glasses, but he probably wouldn't have left them on anyway.  aunt lauren a) made his rockin' costume and b) is obviously having a blast.


i love these kids.


chewing on the holiday decor.



enjoying a birthday cupcake.


learning the true joy of christmas stockings.


eating snow.


playing in the snow with yaya.


and there ends 2010 in photos.  hopefully i will get this year's photos dealt with before next july, but i'm making no promises.
 

video vednesday: oh. OH! oh, i gotta go. oh. no, i'm okay. okay. okay. i'm good. huhuhuheh.

ooh, i gotta find my lipstick because these crusty crusts...these crusty crust lips i got....



natural born (weed) killer. (or, how i spend my crazy-go-nuts alone time.)

a couple of weeks ago, i took the kids down to my mom's.  i stayed overnight and drove home, sans kids.  considering i left her house on thursday and she didn't deliver them home until sunday, i got friday at home ALL BY MY LONESOME - no kids, no husband, no anyone else. 

whut.

i spent a long time planning what i would spend the day doing.  sleeping in for sure, but then painting furniture?  going antiquing? getting my hair cut?

well, i ended up sleeping in until 7:30.  and then laying in bed until 8.  and then eating a hershey bar for breakfast.

so far, so good.

then i decided to get on the major undertaking of weed control on our driveway.  INSAYYYYNE.  i really am a party animal at my core.

see, i'd been putting off weed management for a while, thinking i could just pull weeds by hand a couple times a week and therefore eliminating the need to a) expose my kids to any weird chemicals and b) spend any money.  however, one thing i should mention about our driveway is that it is un-grouted/sanded/mortared brick.  so there are about a million tiny cracks where weeds come up.  one other thing that i should mention is that it is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaally long.  as in, so long that i've never actually seen the end of it, but i hear it takes you all the way to oz.

so 20 cracks per square foot x 4 weeds per crack x 100 million square feet = a lot of weeds.

so i studied up and tried making my own weed killer using boiling water, vinegar and salt.  and about 21 gallons of water, over a gallon of vinegar, many pounds of salt, and a completed total of about 10% of the driveway later, i have a few tips:

1.  don't bother.

actually, i guess i only have one tip.
yes, it killed a good portion of the weeds (only, it took like a week to do so).  except, once they were dead, you still had to pull all the dead plants out by hand, so it didn't really save me any work, and actually created work since dead plants are harder to pull than live ones (they're more brittle).  not only that, but i was hoping that it would at least kill any viable seeds and prevent new weeds from coming up, but no.  i've already got some baby weeds sprouting in the one small area i had gotten completely cleared.

long term, i'm hoping to either grout the whole driveway with that sand-that-turns-to-cementy-sand stuff or to salt the whole thing.  the only problem with salting it is that i can't guarantee the salt won't run off into my bordering plants (and considering the lady who lived here before me had a lime-green thumb, there are a LOT of bordering plants.)  so i may have to just buy some kind of round-up or something. (even though, on principle, i hate the thought of giving my money to monsanto and also i hate the thought of poisoning my children, not necessarily in that order.  but i guess that's the price you pay for a weed-free driveway.)

and let's not even get started on the jungle that was once my backyard.  green thumb lady planted pretty much every bordering inch of our yard with aggressively spreading plants and trees.  which, after years of neglect since she's moved out, have basically turned our yard into some kind of half-acre wildlife refuge.  not. a. fan.  hoping to burn it all down and start from scratch someday.

anyway.  to summarize, that is how i spent my awesome morning alone.  in my pajamas hauling boiling pots of water outside in a heatwave for no fruitful reason.  fun fun.

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time todd and i honeymooned in jamaica and how it was new year's even and we got all schmancied up and went out to a nice restaurant for dinner and how instead of watching the fireworks outside we holed up in our room and...you know...

watched an E!news special on the declining britney spears?

turns out train wrecks are still train wrecks in the caribbean.  mon.

more photos

i never got around to finishing my brag-posts of photos.  as in, i actually uploaded photos and i'm bragging about it by posting pretty much every single one.  so, since i'm sure you were holding your breath waiting for this, you can now rest easy.  and start breathing again.


eating sorghum syrup from a spoon at OT.


i LOVE this photo of todd and sis.


this one too!


sis with grandpa tony.


carving pumpkins as part of our annual 'it's todd's birthday' celebrations.


the kids in the halloween costumes my mom made them.  atticus was a garden gnome and penelope was a lamb.


todd cowboyin' up at the apple orchard.


atticus going a whole 30 seconds on a bucking bull.  i think tim mcgraw sang a song about him after this.


playing in the corn pit at the orchard.


again, at the orchard.  you really should go sometime if you live in the area!


we don't get many photos of the four of us, and even still the kids are looking less-than-thrilled.


LOVE my moby wrap.


going for a spring walk with the fam.




opening presents on his birthday (atticus', not todd's.)


and you know what? i lied.  i still have a couple more from 2010 that i'm going to post later yet.  just because it's nice to have this stuff documented for my own sake.

hot town, summer in the city, somethingsomethingelse and a-something little pretty.

that's how i sing when i don't know the words to a song.  it really fools people into thinking i'm a downright lyrical database.

one thing i love about being a stay at home mom is that summer lasts like a million years longer than it did when i was in school or working for a school.  in fact, before three summers ago, i couldn't remember a time in my life where summer didn't end with august.  sure, there was still nice weather, but 'Summer' (the official season of some sport) was over.

now that all has changed.  staying at home buys me almost the whole month of september, too, if i'm lucky and global warming really does exist.  in fact, our summer is just now gearing up and we have a LOT on the agenda for the upcoming couple of months.

first up?  a trip to the black hills to visit todd's parents in their new house, and a chance for atticus to get to spend time with the famed-around-here, horse-riding, cowboy-hat-wearing, combine-driving, car-racing, buffalo-herding, tractor-collecting papa tony.  (i, on the other hand, am particularly excited about getting to spend a week on their acreage getting landscaping tips from the sweetest mother in law you've ever met.  seriously.  she's a dead-ringer for a young betty white.)

also on our summer agenda:  the state fair (hello?), the old threshers reunion (hel-LO?!), getting to see thomas the tank engine LIVE IN PERSON when he visits a neighboring town, the wedding of a co-worker (todd's, not mine, since the only person even remotely close to being my co-worker is todd, and it would be weird for me to be a guest at his wedding - for drama reasons), and a long-weekend trip to california to celebrate the 90th birthday of my great-grandma.  oh, yeah.  this summer is going to be good.

the only (minor) concern i have with all of this is the travel that is necessary for a couple of these trips.  specifically, the 10-hours-not-including-stops drive to south dakota, and the flights to and from california. 

now, i'm not saying that my kids aren't absolute angels who were knitted together in my womb by baby jesus to have the temperament of blind nuns.  actually, as far as toddlers go, they're pretty darn easy-going and flexible.  but i will say that 1) penelope HATES her car seat and screams virtually nonstop even just coming home from ames, 2) we will be traveling during the day, not through the night, and naptimes are harder to encourage than sleep at night and 3) neither one of my kids has ever liked sleeping in the car.  and realistically, in their defense, 10+ hours in a car would be trying even for a blind nun (who hopefully isn't driving).

and that's not even to start worrying about plane travel in a month and a half...

luckily, the ol' vidivan has a VCR (yes, VCR and not DVD player) so that should help with some of the driving, but if you've got any tips for traveling with toddlers - car or plane - PLEASE share them.

video vednesday: pffffffffffffffff....

ahh, reminiscing about the good old days of living three-to-a-dorm-room and watching this into the wee hours of the should-be-at-class.  this song singlehandedly got me through some tough times.  namely, when i ran out of killer dance moves.

aside from his slammin' choreography, i honestly don't know what i like best about this video.  the baby mickey sheets?  all the hair gel?  how he says, 'everyday like a queen on her troon'?  the fact that he nominated himself to be called gellieman?  how you can't really tell exactly what he's talking about? the fact that every time i see "she moves how???" flash across the screen, all i can hear are all those times my roommate amber and i made my 'microsoft sam' application say that?  yep, that's probably what i like most.


our garden (or, how to live naturally while still maintaining your hillbilly roots.)

our garden is coming along really nicely!  so far we've eaten green onions, cucumbers, peas, cilantro and basil from our own yard, and soon we'll be snacking on green beans, carrots, mature onions, jalapenos, bell peppers, tomatoes and sweet potatoes!


i don't know if you can see it, because all of these pictures turned out way overexposed, but we have two fenced gardens.  the one on the right is our main garden, and the one on the left basically just has peppers and onions.  the only reason we did it this way was because i had todd till a whole patch, then i decided after it was planted that it wasn't big enough, so he tilled another patch.  i'll be having him till it all into one large garden next year.

the one on the right is about 15' x 20' and the one on the left is probably 15' by 5'.


our cucumbers are taking over! that's just four plants!  the zucchini is in the back in this photo, although it has since been ravaged by horrible idol-worshiping insects.  our peas (to the left of the cucumbers) are somewhat sparse, and we only had four carrots (to the left of the peas) grow in, despite planting them twice.  on the far left are a few bunches of cilantro and a row of onions at the top.  we're growing a LOT of onions.


the late zucchini plant is in the upper left, 8 tomato plants in the center, a row of onions in the bottom right.  our pole beans are growing along the back of the fence behind the tomatoes, and the basil and sweet potatoes are to the right of the the last row of tomatoes.


our pepper and onion patch.  needless to say, we don't get many critters trying to get in this one.


which brings me to my hillbilly method of line drying.  run out of room on the clothesline? hang them on the garden fence...


...and off the side of the deck.



i leave our undies to dry in that basket below so that no peep-eyed neighbor gets his kicks by spying in our yard.  do i honestly think that anyone cares about my hanes six-pack underwear? no, but i'd rather be safe than to look up one day to catch joe peeper eyeballing me from over the fence.

 

'member that time?

hey, 'member that time a friend's dad asked what we needed as a wedding gift, because he really only likes to get gifts that people can find really useful?  and 'member how i was all, you know plates or sheets or forks or blankets?  and then 'member how he got me a willow tree angel and a bocce ball set?

AND THEN 'member how he came back after the wedding and said the bocce ball set was not actually for us and could he have it back please?

the willow tree angel has done about as well as could be expected at keeping us warm at night.  i give it 4 stars in the gifts review category of 'practical and/or everyday.'