Sunday, October 25, 2009

Now It's Halloween!

We finally carved pumpkins with the kids today. 

We told them not to pick a pumpkin that was too big to carry.  The kids took that to mean, get the biggest pumpkin I can possibly drag across the parking lot and then beg Daddy to lift it into the trunk 'cause once a pumpkin has been dragged a hundred feet across gravel, you kind of have to buy it.


"Mom. you never told me there'd be so much goo inside of a pumpkin."

"That's not goo, Lauren.  It's pumpkin brains!"

"Mom, I'm gonna be a brain surgeon.  A PUMPKIN brain surgeon!"

Chris. that isn't pumplin pie yet!
That's the last picture we have of Daddy's left thumb

Lauren's pumpkin (above)

Drew's pumpkin (Above)

Chris's pumpkin

Friday, October 23, 2009

Good Day for Grilling

A few weeks ago I found a small charcoal grill deeply clearance priced, probably because most normal people don’t think of rainy Fall days as grilling weather. I bought the grill and some mesquite chips, planning to surprise my family with mesquite-smoked steaks for supper.

As soon as the chips were soaked and ready, it started raining. Hard. So I did the only sane thing - forgot about the grill and ordered pizza.

Yeah, right. I’m not that sane. Instead I moved the grill into the garage and innocently threw the chips onto the hot coals. In case you don’t know, hot coals + wet wood = lots and lots of smoke. The smoke filled the garage and trickled into the house.

We had our steaks that night, but the smell of smoke infiltrated the house so badly that even the carpets smelled like a BBQ pit. The kids' clothes picked up the odor too. Packs of wild dogs, whipped into a frenzy by the smell of grilled meat chased my children down the street. Okay, not exactly.  But that’s only thanks to the makers of Febreze.

As soon as the house finally aired out, I decided to give the grill another go. I put it outside this time and lit it. Only no sooner did the coals get hot than the rain started falling. We’re not talking those little delicate raindrops that made Gene Kelly grab an umbrella and burst into tune in the 1950's. No, this was the kind of monsoon sort of rain that sends sane people running for cover.

Sane? Me? Not quite. I put the lid on the grill and luckily the food cooked.

This morning, we woke to another downpour. It was raining hard enough that the sound of the rain beating against the window actually woke me.

“So are we grilling tonight?” Drew asked at breakfast as we discussed fun things to do on a Friday night.

Of course, we’re grilling. It’s the perfect weather for it.

(Here's a picture of the grill.  If you ever need rain, just call me and I'll pull it outside and light it. We'll have hurricane force downpours the minute the coals get hot. I promise.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Beautiful Young Me

Bob got me a new camera for my birthday. It was my 25th. Uh, yeah, right. But if you can say “Happy 25th Birthday” to me with a straight face, that would be my best birthday present ever. Or maybe my worst because then I’d know all my friends and family members can lie to me without even flinching. So does that mean none of you really like my salmon patties with sunflower seeds, spinach and flax seeds? Say it isn’t so. They’re so healthy. And crunchy.

But back to my birthday present. Bob is the best husband ever because instead of trying to surprise me with something he wants me to have (thighmaster anyone?), he really tries to figure out what I’d like. I got a camera because I was complaining to him last week about my old camera which had been taking pictures that were so out of focus I could barely tell if the images from our recent zoo trip were the kids or the zoo animals.

As soon as I opened the box for the new camera, I was forced to read the instructions. I am not from a family of instruction readers. When I was a kid, my dad usually threw away the instructions along with the “extra parts” as soon as he opened the box. For years, I thought every “assembly required” toy or piece of furniture always came with extra screws, plastic do-hickeys and tabs just in case you lost a few things during assembly. I also thought all assembly-required things were supposed to be held together by duct tape. Thanks, Dad.

Unfortunately, the camera didn’t turn on when I pushed the on button and I couldn't figure out how to fix it with duct tape.  I was forced to read the manual to discover that the battery needed charging. While I was paging through the 112 pages it took to find “easy battery charging instructions,” I saw a feature on this camera called “beauty.” Apparently when pictures are shot in the beauty mode, the camera automatically evens skin complexion, softens wrinkles and overall makes you look ten years younger.

Did I mention, best husband ever?

As soon as I got the battery charged, I gave the camera to Lauren and had her take my picture with the regular setting and in beauty mode. What do you think? Did it make a difference?

Can you tell me with a straight face that I’m young and gorgeous in both shots? Want some of my salmon patties? Didn’t you say they were your favorite?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank you, Lola!

Several years ago the kids and I found Monarch butterfly caterpillars. We put them in jars and watched them morph into butterflies. The kids were so fascinated that every year we now find the caterpillars and take them into their school classrooms.

This year Lauren and I found an unusual caterpillar. Unusual in that it seemed to be particular about the jar we had it in. Lola (as Lauren finally named it) stopped eating when I put her in a mayonnaise jar. Apparently she prefers Miracle Whip? When I finally switched her into an airier plastic container, she perked up and did what Monarch caterpillars do. Ate, ate and ate some more.

Confident that Lola wasn’t going to croak, I took her into Lauren’s classroom and the teacher placed Lola on her desk. For a few days, all was well. But then Lola felt the need to crawl out a small hole in her cage to form her chrysalis on the side of the container where we could better see her in all her glory. If Lola were human, she’d be wearing pink boas and strutting her stuff in high heels.

For the last two weeks, the kids have anxiously been waiting for the butterfly to emerge. Yesterday, I told my kids that she’d hatch out of her cocoon today at approximately 11:15 a.m. (No reason. It was a total guess.)

Well, guess what. Lauren’s teacher just emailed me that Lola hatched at 11:20 - within five minutes of my prediction. It might have been a total guess, but that’s not going to stop me from using this mere coincidence to prove to my kids that I know everything. Everything!

“Don’t even think about drinking at the party, Drew. Mom knows everything. Everything. Remember the butterfly?”

“I said no driving my car while I’m gone, Chris. Mom knows everything. Yes, I do. Remember Lola?”

“Lauren, when I said no parties while I’m out of town, I meant it. Don’t forget, Mom knows everything. Remember the butterfly from when you were in third grade?”

Thank you, Lola!