Friday, July 19, 2013

Alarming Situation

Grace and Charlotte spend most of the day outside. They come inside only to eat, get something to drink and to occasionally slam a door in the other's face - fun times.

But like most places around the country, it is hot. Like triple digits hot. While this hasn't deterred them much from going outside, it certainly isn't my cup of tea. Throw in the fact that I saw a snake in the yard last week and I pretty much never need to go outside ever again.

In order to lure the girls indoors, I planned a small little craft activity. They liked it but after about an hour, Grace was ready to head back outside. As Charlotte, wasn't quite done, Grace asked if you could go outside by herself to play with the dogs.

By mid to late afternoon, the puppies have figured out that if they go to the backyard, they will have plenty of shade. So Grace going out to see the dogs by herself didn't worry me because she'd be in the backyard.

When Charlotte was finally ready to join her big sister and the puppies, not 15 minutes later, we found Grace in the front yard. She was playing with the puppies. All was well...

And then Grace stated talking about the guy who came in a white van and gave the dogs treats...


Hearing the word stranger, Grace immediately freaked out and clammed up. We've had almost daily talks about strangers and what to do if a stranger ever tried to take her. I could see the wheels turning in her head and she kept saying that 'he wasn't a stranger.' I could tell she didn't want to get in trouble so I pushed her with questions in a very calm manner.

What color was his truck? Had we seen him before? What color was his car? It wasn't a car. Ok, was it a truck? Not a truck either. Ok a van? Did he talk to you? What did he say? Have you seen him before?  Answering easy questions with me not getting upset put her somewhat at ease. She then told me he was fixing something and I told her to show me. Long story short, it was the meter reader. Nonetheless, it scared me. For several reasons.

1. Grace didn't react to a stranger the way I had hoped she would. In her defense, I doubt the meter reader tried to "take her" but still. A stranger is a stranger and she is now on notice to run inside when ANYONE approaches. Even if it is her grandmother! If nothing else, to not get hit by the car and to notify me that someone is at the house.

2. In our old house, no matter where you were, you could see or hear any car that approached/entered the driveway. In this house, you can only see a car approach in one room and you can't hear a thing! Had the meter reader been an 'evil doer' he could have driven up, thrown Grace in the car and she'd be gone with out a trace. A parent's worst nightmare.

Thankfully, nothing bad happened but this situation has brought to my attention areas that wee need to work on. Obviously, we need to talk more about strangers - the definition of stranger and what to do if one approaches. I think in her mind a stranger is similar to the quintessential monster lurking under the bed - clearly identifiable. I almost want to stage an intervention by asking a friend to approach her with candy or a puppy and then throw her in a car just to freak her out so she learns it is better to be mean and rude and alive, than taken or dead. But that's a bit too heavy for a 4 year old...right? I probably need to accompany them each and every time they go outside - which if anyone has a yard and kids knows that just isn't practical. Burdensome maybe but I would never forgive myself for doing the dishes while my kid was being kidnapped right from under my nose. Clearly, we need a gate or a fence of some kind but that isn't in the cards at the moment. I AM going to install a system that will alert me when someone enters the driveway. Kind of like a doorbell but it will ding anytime anyone or anything crosses into the driveway. As I am home alone with the girls often, this is probably a good thing.

The point is you can't be too careful and like my dad says, "Dead is forever." I share our scary incident to remind you to talk with your kids AGAIN about strangers. And when you are done with that conversation, have another. Better to be save than sorry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Rut

I know it is summer and all and we should be relishing in the sunshine, but I just feel bleah. Maybe it is because of Grace's casts. Maybe it is because we no longer have a swimming pool - I feel the absence of the pool more than I ever thought I would. Maybe it's the fact that I've been unpacking boxes for two solid weeks, stopping my 'work' every 15 minutes to make a snack, referee a fight, hold the chickens or whatever else the girls can scrounge up for an idea to interrupt me.

They are bored. I need a change of pace. But what? Where? I want to get this house 'finished' in the sense that I want all boxes unpacked and everything put away. I want some organization. I keep telling myself that it will get there - and it is - but just not fast enough. Not without interruption, angst, irritation and a few curse words under my breath.

Grace, bless her heart for being such a trooper, has to be sick of the casts. I'm sick of those casts and they aren't even on my feet! She has been a bit more emotional and a bit more needy. I feel like my reserves are nearing empty on ability to give emotionally. I swear if a child of mine cries one more time when they don't get the blue cup or that the pancake I so artistically and loving sculpted into the shape of a bunny doesn't resemble her own stuffed animal, I might come unglued.

While everyone else is camping and splashing in the pool, my girls and I are barely holding on. I think things will turn for the better once Grace and Charlotte can return to normal activities. I hope. In the meantime, 10 sleeps until the casts come off. So close, yet so freaking far!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Animals Everywhere!

We were able to squeeze in another visit to Bill's Berry Farm...gosh, was that a week ago? All the days are starting to blur together. Wake up. Feed animals. Unpack boxes. And repeat. I used to wake up early just for some quiet me time. Now I am up early just to make sure all the mouths get fed!

We were first in line for the homemade doughnuts as I wanted to get home before the heat kicked in AND I wanted to make progress on the house. Some family was rolling into town and I wanted to hide the chaos as much as possible. 

The plan was to get the doughnuts and dash. But...Grace wanted to ride a pony and how could I say no to that simple request. All she's asked for all summer is a shower and I can't give her that...not at least for 15 more day (who's counting?!?!) so I ponied up for the pony ride!

I caught Charlotte deep in thought here - probably thinking about how she could finagle a pony for her birthday - but they both loved riding the horses. The inevitable conversation about getting a horse did come up. As a certain grandmother recently went on a horse riding trip, I've deferred all horse-buying conversations to her! Have fun Manna!

Speaking of animals, five chickens still remain

I'm not certain about this one. This chicken, named Jellybean, was never the cutest thing to begin with. Her hook-beak complete with witch warts is far from cute. 

Throw in the fact that she has the most enormous 'side-bite' - 
if that is a thing - known to all chicken kind. 

 I have no idea what this means for a chicken. I haven't googled it yet but I imagine it can't be good. In fact, I noticed this very morning that the other chicks noticed Jellybean's challenged beak because they were pecking at it!! Broke my heart! 

OK...I am off to feed more animals...

I mean my family...and then the animals.  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy Birthdays and 4th of July!

First off, happy birthday to my mom - on the seventh - and to my FIL today! Good news for the both of you! Saturn - the planet of good luck - is in Cancer for the next year! So you best be playing the lottery!! 

Secondly, we broke in the new house with our first holiday celebration. Having friends over was the best motivation to get those boxes unpacked -- most of them. It was also the best medicine to take a much needed break and to forget about the boxes stacked high to the ceiling in the garage for 24 hours and have some fun!!

Normally, I am one to decorate for any and all occasions. Unfortunately, my "office" will be the last thing to be unpacked because it is the last thing we need up and running to make our home functional. (I feel like a crazy person being totally unorganized but as long as pancakes can be made in the morning, we are officially "moved in!")

Fortunately, I found a few things on sale at good ole Wal-Mart. When I told Grace to stand in front of the flag bunting so I could take a picture of her in her 4th of July outfit, she immediately burst into the pledge of allegiance. 

Bless her heart...and her teachers because she knows the whole thing! Even the 'hard' words!

Charlotte wanted nothing to do with pictures but she wore a white dress for about 15 minutes. The rest of the day she was naked. {Sigh.} So that is why she is not in this post a lot. 

In other news, these guys are growing and doing great!
They have really been a great addition to the family and having them as outside dogs has made my life pretty easy - no clean ups or shoes being destroyed.
I have a feeling that it will become a bit more difficult this winter when it is snowing and cold to leave them outside. But hey, if the chickens can do it, so can Stranger and Hiccup...right!?!

I digress. Our friends from Seattle came over - car full of all sorts of goodies, the first being lunch!
Deli sandwiches and pasta salads from a delish deli in Seattle! Probably the only thing I miss about living in Seattle is the access to food. Grocery stores, take out, it was so nice to have an 'easy' meal!

Once lunch was done, the guys took off to - as Court put it - get some 'boom-boom' for our celebration!  The gals watched the kids. Bubbles and animals were the entertainment for the afternoon. (Obviously water activities weren't a possibility!)

Before we knew it, the guys were back and it was time for dinner! We went totally patriotic and had tacos and cervezas for dinner! ha!

Then it was time to do the piƱata! Like I said, pure patriotism here! Our friends had intended on using this pinata a while  back but never ended up using it. So they brought it to our house and the kids loved it! 

The damn thing was nearly impossible to crack. The adults even weighed in on the action after each child had had several "gos" at it!

The kidlets scooped up the candy quick and even snuck in a piece or two before dessert!


Ice cream cake! Hadn't had one of these in years!!

The fun isn't over yet...not even close! Time for sparklers!

All were a little hesitant of the flame but all were infatuated with the sparklers.

The guys readied the bonfire while the girls got dressed for the occasion. 

Special headbands and glowing bracelets! 

Bring on the fireworks!

 As it doesn't get dark around here until 10 pm, we needed some more evening entertainment. Grace and Charlotte had never stayed up for fireworks. We just didn't feel the need to wake them up in the past. But this year, there was no doubt in my mind that they'd be wide awake for the show. So Court made a HUGE bonfire. Grace was pumped because she thought we were going to roast marshmallows. But the bonfire was HUGE - like when I first saw it I thought about running back inside and saving my most valued possessions. It was not the right kind of fire for marshmallows. That got Grace upset. Throw in the fact that it was getting dark and the temperature was falling - Grace was not the happiest of campers. Luckily, the men folk were off prepping our own personal, fireworks show in our backyard! It was a long, beautiful and loud show! It was the first fireworks for all the kids. Grace summed it up well. "Pretty but a little bit scary." They weren't into all the noise! In fact, the prettiness of it all wore off about half way through. They were all begging to go to bed but us moms knew that the dad's egos might need a round or two of applause at the conclusion of the show. So we kept all the kids out there - amidst the trembling dogs (Lucky was a total wreck!) - until the bitter end. But the minute it was over, we scooped up the kids and called it a night. When the guys returned, they received only accolades from the ladies. I think they were a little defeated but they REALLY did a great job! It was nice seeing such cool fireworks from the comfort of our home. No crowds. No parking and hauling stuff. No crazy drunk people. Wait...strike that last part. The guys couldn't stop talking about plans for next year...BIG BIG plans! I think we might have created a little tradition! I love me a tradition!! 

Hard to believe 4th of July has come and gone. Summer will be sliding into Autumn soon. Luckily, Grace has just over two weeks until her casts come off and I assure you, she is ready to enjoy what's left of her summer! She is now asking several times a day when her casts come off. Not because they itch or they are bothering her. We made the mistake of telling her in a weak moment, (she was crying because she wanted to take a shower! Broke my heart...) that if she could be strong and hold on for a few more weeks, we'd let her pick out a surprise at the toy store! So if the countdown wasn't on before, it is on til the break of dawn now! If it's possible, I think I want her casts off more than she does!!

Hope you had a fun and safe celebration!