Monday, July 22, 2013

Catching up: D's Ninja Pool Party

I know I had started sharing stuff from our summer, but I just realized that I never did post these pictures from D's birthday party.  His actual birthday fell on Good Friday this year - not exactly primo party time ;)  And then we kept waiting for the weather to warm up so we could have a pool party... our spring was unseasonably cool!

Anyway, we finally managed to pull it off the Friday of Memorial Day weekend - one week before school ended.  I was sweating it out that morning, as we had some pretty substantial rain, and I did not have back-up activities planned for a crowd of boys.  I *needed* to be able to let them play in the pool!!  Thankfully it cleared in the afternoon, and we had a good, solid two hours of outside time.  As the boys arrived, they each made their own custom ninja headbands (white cotton torn into strips, and I set them loose with Sharpies) and then received an inflatable sword.  We let the kids just goof around in the pool and eat pizza for awhile, and then we ran a simple obstacle course: throw plastic ninjas in a bowl, crawl through a box (our water heater died about a month prior, and I held onto the box knowing we'd do SOMETHING with it!), hop across the pool noodle "ladder", spin around the tetherball pole, and then shoot the ninja with an arrow.  The last item actually ended up being the hardest - I had picked up a cheesy little bow & arrow set from the dollar store, and it was really tough to get the thing to shoot at all, much less at a target (even if it was only a shoe box 2 feet away).  The kids ran through it one at a time, and we kept timing them.  Wow, the power of competition!  The amazing thing was that 1 boy completed it in 12.3 seconds.  The kids swam a bit longer, but then sky was looking dark and ominous again, so we gathered everyone's gear up, and then headed inside for cake and opening gifts.

D was super excited about his cake - for A, I had just ordered a simple cake from the store, and then added a Lego set onto the top.  Well, seems we've unintentionally started a little tradition, as D requested the same treatment.  At least it makes things simple!  He ripped into his gifts - lots of Legos - and a couple of the kids immediately started in on building.  We realized we needed to provide another activity, and my hubby had the idea to cut up the water heater box and let the kids go stair sliding.  Holy cow, this was a smash hit!  Most houses in this area only have 1 floor, so even having steps is kind of unusual, and while the first kid to go down was a bit tentative, everyone was soon lining up.  I think it's safe to say a fun time was had by all... but I must admit to a bit of relief when everyone had gone home ;)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

South Texas Funny, and an ear update

First, an update on my ear:  the oral antibiotics seem to be helping, and I'm actually semi-functional again.  Woohoo!!  I have a *ton* to get done in the next few days, so being able to bend over, carry on a normal conversation, drive, and other silly day-to-day activities would be very helpful!

And I just had to share this gem from our local "garage sale" site on FB (I swear, I read the listings for kicks & giggles more than anything.)  This woman is selling her tortilla roller for $2.  It's all about perspective...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

More catching up: our summer views

Just thought I'd share some photos that I've snapped over the past couple weeks.

We had a late afternoon summer, which led to a beautiful rainbow and sunset.  My brother was down for work, and came over for dinner one night.  The kids were happy to show off in the pool (check out A's handstand!) and even had a little race.

The next few pics are just random things from around the yard.
  • seed pod from our palm trees.  I had no idea what those brown things were when we initially moved here - now I just hate seeing them fall because I know that means double time cleaning the pool (the tiny seeds come off of the twisty branch like things at the end). 
  • our severely overgrown back corner - the palms are in desperate need of a trim (we basically try to do it 3x year, but as the trees grow it gets harder and harder). The thing sticking up in the background is a mesquite tree (which is in the alley) covered with the brown seed pods.  Hate picking those up, too (also hate pulling out all mesquite that pop up around the yard - animals eat the seeds and leave deposits. Their amazing roots, that allow them to thrive in a dry climate, make it hard to pull out!) 
  • another addition courtesy of animals eating seeds: the papaya tree off to the side of our back porch area.  Sadly, the type that grow wild here aren't particularly good eating, but the giant leaves still look cool.
  • this brown anole was hanging out on our son's bike handle right outside the bathroom window, which is how I was able to get this shot.  These little lizards are EVERYWHERE - I probably see 5-6 run across the sidewalk each time I walk from the front door to our car.  They make a weird whistling sound when they puff their throats out like this, which makes up a major part of the night noise around here.  On a random side note:  while green anoles are native to South TX, these brown anoles are originally from the Caribbean & South America, but have sort of taken over now.  The native green anoles are harder to find (they're brighter and also a bit smaller), as the brown ones hunt on the ground and up a foot or two, and then green ones end up staying in trees.
  • Welcome the newest member of our family!  Hubby's charcoal grill was in rough shape, and we kept debating what to replace it with.  Everyone raves about the big green egg, but they're definitely out of our price range.  Lowe's makes a version, though, that is much more affordable (and frankly more practical, too, as it doesn't have the extra ceramic liner that you have to be careful not to let the lump charcoal come in direct contact with).  We've used it several times now (with chicken, Italian sausage, and red snapper) and the results truly are amazing.  SUPER moist food -- one funny side effect: it makes it hard to tell when your food is done because it doesn't dry out like I'm used to!
And finally, a personal update.  I had gone to the doctor about three weeks ago because I could tell I had wax build-up in my ears.  Lots of flushing, and finally got it all out.  This is a recurring issue for me, and the doctor mentioned that I might try some otc drops (used as maintenance rather than trying to treat the problem once it's already gotten bad).  Well, I tried a couple varieties, and now have a pretty bad outer ear infection (swimmer's ear). Ugh.  Went back to the dr yesterday to get antibiotic drops, but they can take a couple days to work.  I've slept approximately 5 hours total in the past two days, and the side of my face, behind the ear, and even down my neck all have noticeable swelling.  Sheesh, why can't things ever be simple with me?! I just called in to our doctor, and they're calling in a prescription for oral antibiotics (to go along with the drops I already had) so hopefully I'll be feeling better quickly...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Catching up: Mini golf, go carts, and bumper boats

The day after school got out, we headed to the "big city' (about 45 minutes away) and PLAYED!  I scored a great deal online, and we had three hours of riding go carts, bumper boats, and playing mini golf.  We went with A's best friend and her Mom (who's also a good friend of mine) and we had a ball. We did get a teensy bit sunburned (ouch!) but still totally worth it.  The kids couldn't believe it when "the moms" did the bumper boats - D told me quite emphatically that only kids were allowed... proved him wrong! ;)  We capped off our afternoon with a late lunch at Red Robin (a favorite from back in our days in PA), and it turned out they were holding a classic car show in their parking lot, so we even got to check that out.

Happy summer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Current happenings!

The first pic is of the lime tree in our backyard - I snapped this back in April, and was thinking that we were going to have a bumper crop this summer as it was LOADED with buds.  My prediction came true - we've been enjoying our fresh limes for a few weeks, and yesterday the kids picked 79.  Wowzers. It's only about three feet tall right now, so I can only imagine how many more we'll be harvesting in a few years!  In other back yard news, the ants are bad this year.  We've had pop-up showers nearly every day for the past ten days or so - just enough that the grass stays really wet and makes it hard to mow.  Finally broke down and did it yesterday (it's usually D's job, but when it gets so long he has a hard time pushing the mower through the jungle) and the ants attacked my feet.  Sorry for the gross pic, but I wanted to document the swollen, nasty bites!

In house news: we got a new living room rug!  I'm officially insane, as I picked out an 8 foot circular fuzzy monstrosity that the kids ADORE.  I'd been looking for something for a few months, but everything I liked was over $600.  Um, not gonna happen!  I stumbled onto this one at less than 1/3 of the price, and was watching it - it went on sale one weekend, and I snatched it up.  I'm not loving the white fluff currently residing on our couches, but I'm hoping that goes away after a few more weeks.  I do love the brightness it adds - the brown floor, brick fireplace and olive couches aren't going away anytime soon, but the white rug helps balance it all just a bit.

And lastly, the kids are doing a little activity at the library this month - they painted the bobbleheads on Monday afternoon, and I just love how it totally captures their personality.  D said his "is from the 4th dimension" and that pile o' white paint you see is the big pile of melting ice cream.  Ooooookay then.  A tried very hard to make a cute girl, and was a bit frustrated that the heart on the shirt wasn't neater.

Nope, never a dull moment at our house! :)

Catching up: "Night at the Museum"

It's been brought to my attention that I haven't posted in awhile (oops, life is busy, y'all!!) so thought I'd share a couple updates.

The last week of school, our daughter participated in "Night at the Museum." She's in the GT (Gifted & Talented) program, and this is their annual event for the students to share what they learned.  It really is interesting, and I also love that it give the students a good opportunity to present to both kids and adults.  The 2nd graders do art; they studied a bit about 1 high profile artist from a variety of styles (Van Gogh, Warhol, Da Vinci, etc.) and created their own versions of one of the artist's works.  They all studied/created together, and then for this event they were paired up and presented about 1 particular artist.  A got Jackson Pollock, and did a great job reciting facts about his life.

On a funny note, she was determined to dress up, and chose to wear her Christmas dress. Sadly, the shoes she wore back in December no longer fit, but I had a pair of silver Mary Janes with a small heel stashed away in my closet in a larger size. As soon as she saw them, she was adamant that she wanted to wear them, even though they were a bit too big (so her feet were slipping). By the end of the night, she had a blister on her heel, and ended up walking to the car barefoot. I asked her if she wished she had worn different shoes, and she replied that no - even though they hurt, she wanted to look cute. this girl is growing up too fast!!

(Back later with more ramblings & pics!)