Thursday, August 31, 2006

Doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my backdoor...

...and lo and behold we find a buck! Nice whitetail deer and us with no tag (sarcasm there - I might be traumatized for life and never step foot there again if we killed something in my backyard.) Sorry the pics are terrible - but let me say that the pics as they came off of the camera were as black as pitch so this is actually a marked improvement!

Rick was leaving to Safeway to pick up our 10 free 2-liters of Coke (he ended up getting Minute Maid) and saw the motion light on in the backyard. He was ticked because he figured it was the skunk that's been terrorizing us almost every night. But not so - it was a lovely little deer. I'm not sure exactly why he's here, but he's sure welcome. At least until my kids want to go play outside and swing. :)

So here you go - our little corner of wild Colorado!
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This weekend...

Wow! What a lot we've done! Here's a little recap...
First on the house - here is the final floor for the water heater closet. So pretty! This is where the vinyl squares from the earlier post are going. Now we just have to paint on the primer with a roller (thanks Matt for the primer!) and then peel off the paper backing from the squares and lay down the tiles. It will be the first flooring to go down in our basement!

We also spent some time outside. After a couple of months with our new rock border we were wondering why it didn't occur to us to put in landscaping (weed barrier) fabric while we had the chance. You know, before we planted and put down all that rock.

We decided that late is better than never and so we are in the process of shoveling up all that rock, putting down fabric, cutting holes for our little plants, and then putting the rocks back in. Fun, fun, backbreaking work. Even the kids got to help. (Well, they think they helped.) They helped put the rocks back in their places after the fabric was down. They also helped put the rocks back in various other places like the driveway and the lawn. Oh well. It's all about spending time together as a family! If we did everything the efficient way it just wouldn't be as fun! Plus, we worked so late that got to have pizza for dinner! Yummy!

This one was way too cute. I went downstairs to take a picture of the storage chest (the one from Hobby Lobby) so you could see our solution for the warped lid. Ashlyn, who remembers the picture of her and the chest that I posted earlier thought that the picture of the chest just wouldn't be complete without her in it! So she went right in front of the chest and put on her big cheesy grin! I did eventually convince her to move aside a bit so I could take a picture of our solution (the whole point of taking the pic) so there you see her in the corner.

As for our solution - hope you can see it. It is blurry because the camera was focusing on the wrong part of the picture. It is called a gate hook. You screw in a circle piece in the base of the chest and then screw a hook into the lid. Then you put the hook in the circle and presto change-o you have a chest that closes! I'd like you to know that this was my idea - that's why I get paid the big bucks and why Rick likes to keep me around! We bought some spray paint too to make it black, but decided against it. I don't think it looks bad and the paint would just keep rubbing off anyway.

This past week we also managed to acquire, dismantle and reassemble a bigger swing set from some people who figured their kids were too old for it (youngest is 10). I wasn't going to tell them that you're never too old to play on a swingset :) I know I'm bad. But their kids don't use it so we went over one night and dismantled it and put it in the van. Since the horse and slide had long since broken off this one, and the other one is only partially functional I figure now we have at least the equivalent of one big playset!

And, as you can see from the above snapshot our backyard consists of dirt and weeds so I wanted to share the one thing that does look pretty right now - the bushes under our bedroom window! Aren't they gorgeous?

And as for this last picture - any guesses as to what this is? We tore out the broken concrete pad in the back that was our patio and that area is now just dirt. These plants are growing there. I know some of you will know, but for those who are not quite sure here are some hints...
1. They were planted on purpose (we actually want them).
2. They flower, and I've seen them growing in people's homes as an item of decor, but most people want this plant for human consumption.

Anyone care to venture a guess?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Our house stinks...

...because Rick is moving the gas lines today! He is getting ready to move the water heater into it's home in the closet so he moved the lines today. We thought we were ready to put in the floor - but I thought we should test his grading of the concrete by pouring a bit of water on the floor to see if it flowed into the drain or out into the hall. Summary of experiment: we are repouring that closet floor today and then putting down a primer, then the self-stick vinyl squares.


And in other news...

We cut $$ out of the food and household budget and our now doing preschool. I feel a bit more peace about it since we went ahead with it, so I know that either Heavenly Father thinks it's right for us and her or He doesn't care and it'll work out fine. So that's one less thing to worry about.

We went to the orientation today and got all the info about what her class will be doing this year. Miss Patti told us she checks in with area kindergarten teachers every 2 or 3 years to find out what their expectations are for the kids. She said she is surprised that each year it increases a bit! So last year they went over shapes, colors (I can't imagine kids not knowing those by this age), numbers and counting, and lower case letters (since those are the letters they need to recognize in order to read). Also she says last year was mainly about getting ready to learn - like learning to follow 3 directions at once, how to interact with teachers and students, sitting still, raising hands, things like that. Now they are going hard core into academics! :)

This year it's...

  • Social Relating
  • Music, including rhythm, dance, and using percussion (better her ears than mine)
  • Geometric shapes
  • Colors
  • Alike and Different
  • Patterns
  • Letter Recognition
  • Sounds of the letters
  • Beginning sounds
  • Vowels
  • Blending sounds together
  • Counting by rote
  • Counting objects
  • Number recognition to 20.

In art they're doing painting and coloring and SCISSORS!

The science units are:

  • Cowboys and Colorado (a favorite - they make stick horses)
  • Arachnids
  • Dinosaurs
  • Arctic animals
  • The Solar System (now minus our beloved Pluto)
  • Jungle animals and Marsupials
  • Plants and Insects
  • Holiday themes

PE:hop, skip, jump, run, catch, etc.

Thinking, logic and problem solving.

And of course, show and tell every Monday.

Spanish Pirates

Heard today at lunch:

"Hey Dad! [who's wearing a Hard Rock Cafe shirt] You have an 'r' on your shirt!"

"It's just like 'rocket'. And like 'arrgh'."

"That's what pirates say 'arrgh' - it's Spanish. That's their language. In Spanish they say 'arrgh'. And the ones that don't speak Spanish say 'me maties'. That's their language."

[Insert sound of mom and dad choking on their grilled cheese sandwiches in laughter]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I love Hobby Lobby!

Ok, after my last post about being poor I realize this sits in stark contrast - but keep in mind a Bargain Diva knows not when nor where the deal will strike and must at all times be prepared to take advantage of an opportunity! Ok, so we'll be eating out of our food storage for a few weeks - but check this out!

Hobby Lobby had most of their furniture 80% off this week. So thanks to a great friend who let me know about it, when we have a downstairs living room - it will be mostly furnished! Yay!

The top left picture is of an end table and a DVD/CD cabinet. The one on the right is the matching end table. Everything I got was in that black finish with scuffed edges that seems to be so popular now. I can't tell you how excited I am to have something to put our movies in - hooray!

Now here is the bench/really low coffee table. There are a few things that need to be explained here...

  1. Ashlyn is in the picture because it was killing the little ham in her to have me taking pictures of inanimate objects and not of her.
  2. The drawers are all false fronts - it's just one big storage chest.
  3. It is upside down. Because (and I think that this is why it was still there) the top is warped. I was kind of hoping it would help to have the weight of the piece pushing down on that gimpy corner. You can see that the corner of the lid by the pricetag is an inch+ off the ground compared to the corner by Ashlyn's feet. Rick tells me at worst we will make a new top. I'm wondering if maybe we can screw in a board under the lid that might act as a brace and straighten things up? I don't know. But it has potential, so we'll work with it!

And last, but not least, we bought a fireplace sceen! It's not for downstairs, but as soon as downstairs is ready for the TV then upstairs will be back to being a fireplace! And then it will be nice to have a screen for both practical and aesthetic purposes.

So.... you like? And because you're thinking I'm cuckoo for whining about $$$ and then buying this - all of it including tax costs less than a month of preschool. So there! :) [Just Kidding!] And for those of you straining to see the pricetags - that's not how much I paid. I have to say that this was a nice big bright spot in my day. Funny how shopping will do that for you! Combine it with a bargain and it's even better!

And even better - Ashlyn has had no timeouts! Woo-hoo! Her reward chart is looking pretty sparse - only one flower in two weeks! I hope she gets another today!


No phone for us. :( In our attempt to try and do preschool this year we're ditching the phone. Ah, it's been good to us, but alas it is an unnecessary luxury at the moment. We might try a pay-as-you-go plan later but for right now it's bye-bye E315.

So go ahead and call us all you want through Saturday, because after that the cell is no more.

And remember that our long distance is through onesuite so, like a calling card, when we call you it won't have our home number on it - please pick up anyway! :)

Monday, August 21, 2006

They're here

These are the three poses we chose for Nathan's pics. You should all have yours by now (except the ones in Australia!). Hope you like them! Posted by Picasa

Thoughts on preschool!

First, this is meant to be for you guys to help me! :) So feel free to chime in with an opinion!

We are (basically that means I am) having a dillema here in Colorado: to preschool or not to preschool? It is completely a $$ issue right now. We can afford it if we cut off our cell phone and go on no dates ever. Is that worth it? And why can't we live in Utah where is preschool is cheap/free? Man, I wish this were easy! Ashlyn loves Miss Patti and her preschool, but I do not love the $155 a month price tag. I have been hemming and hawing for weeks over this and I still don't know which way to go. So here is my list:

  • Ashlyn loves it.
  • She will learn her alphabet, numbers, etc. better at school.
  • Miss Patti has the time and resources to do a better job with everything.
  • I don't have to take time out to try and teach her myself.
  • She gets away from mom and that pesky little brother.
  • She learns cool songs.
  • She gets a lot of social interaction with kids her own age (there's not really any in our ward any more).
  • She gets to participate in recitals/programs.
  • She gets to do arts and crafts/painting/lots of dress up and pretend play.
  • Money!!!

Ok, so there's a basic list. I think that my main reason for not knowing what to do is because I'm such a money person, even though the lists are obviously skewed to the "pro" side, it still bothers me to spend so much on this! I was convinced to pay the $100 last year because I know kids in preschool do better in school, and because I thought it would be a great social opportunity for her. It was very nice - but I'm not convinced it was worth $900. I know she doesn't need it academically, but I'm not sure how much she may need it in other ways. Like getting a break from a busy mom and a sometimes annoying brother.

I'm thinking about trying it for the first few months and seeing how it goes, but I'm not sure yet. I know we can do without it - lots of people do. I know she will survive. But I want her to have fun and do cool things while she can. And with all of the discipline problems we've been having I wonder if it will help to give her time away from us. Decisions, decisions...

My little genius

Lately, Ashlyn and I have been trying to do a bit of preschool each day. We work with some flashcards and workbooks to help her learn her alphabet and work on her writing skills. After we had gone through the alphabet and some numbers I told her we could use some of our special mommy and Ashlyn time to read stories.

While she was picking one out I wrote "book" on her magnadoodle to try and tie in what we had been doing with what we were about to do. (Plus "b" and "d" are tricky for her and I wanted to reinforce the letter.) Anyway.... she got back and while I read a story from her "The Friend" magazine she was doodling "k"s on the screen. Which, by the way, I was exstatic about! She keeps thinking "k"s are "r"s. So I was thinking "great, more practice!". Well, while I was reading she erased my "book" and all her "k"s and started writing her very own "book". Oh my! I was surprised! But she's a smarty pants, so I suppose I really shouldn't have been. I think the fact that there are "o"s in the middle helped a lot! But anyway - you all have witnessed her first written word (not counting Ashlyln). Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

My, oh, my!

So, Dan said we'd be surprised to see his car when he came to visit - we sure were! Glad he was ok! Barring being rearended by a pickup and sitting an hour in Pueblo he said he had a great trip!

Nice huh? You can't open the trunk at all.

Hope it doesn't rain tonight!

Make love to the camera Dan! (I'm not sure if you can tell, but he was trying the "sexy model on a car" look.)
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How does he do it?

Nathan figured out how to climb up on our bed yesterday and today he repeated his amazing feat! Apparently he climbs up on the tackle box that you see on the bottom right of the screen and then takes a flying leap to get on top of the bed. Very crafty!
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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Happy 50th Lockheed Martin!

Today we spent the day at the 50th anniversary party for Lockheed Martin's space program! It was a long day - but they really went all out! There were IMAX films presented, face painting, live bands, TONS of free food, inflatable jump-around toys for kids, magicians and other performers, tours of the facilities and exhibits (like Sprocket the robot!). Wow - needless to say, especially for those with kids - we didn't even do half of what was available. I think maybe we should have gotten ourselves a babysitter for the latter half of the day so we could have seen the movies and tours. Oh well, we'll have the next "50 year" bash to ourselves! :) Since LM is a totally no pictures kind of place they were kind enough to offer us this picture you see here to commemorate our day. Very cool. They green-screened us into the space scene, hence the choppy digitization of my hair. Rick's of course looks perfect! And at least our kids aren't crying right?

Ashlyn's favorite part was the cotton candy (she has mentioned the "cotton ball candy" numerous times and gave thanks for it in every prayer she said today). Nathan's favorite part was the sno-cones and slushies (they put the shaved ice in a cup with the sno-cone flavored syrup). But this is our boy who lives to eat ice so that was no surprise. Ashlyn waited in line FOREVER (I seriously think we waited over an hour) to get her face painted and then decided she wanted her unicorn picture on her leg. So, she got a hot pink unicorn on her leg. Then she proceded to rub it off in the car on the way home because she didn't want it anymore. Nathan was kinda whiny and wanted to be held the entire time - lucky kid! Our arms got quite a workout. Why do I even have a stroller except to have something upon which to hang my diaper bag? :)

And I want to mention the "face painting". Wow - have times changed. They now do it with airbrushes and stencils. Not a paintbrush to be seen. They turn out amazing! Not much individualism in the paintings, but they're cool.

We had some interesting things happen as well (would it be a nice family outing be without a bit of drama?) Getting our second round of sno-cones Ashlyn got lost. Rick and I had no clue where she was. After looking for her and calling her name for maybe 30 seconds (it was a short-lived drama) a woman came over to me to tell me that there was a little girl over there looking for her mommy. The woman had seen Ashlyn standing out on the grass outside the tent where we were getting her sno-cone calling "mommy, mommy, mommy" and taken her to the police (who were standing in a booth just outside the tent - maybe 15 ft from where I was). I have to say I was so proud of Ashlyn! She was great with the policemen and told them her mommy's name was Erika (good girl! No my mommy's name is Mommy here!) and then asked if she could have a red sno-cone while she waited. That's my girl! "Hello Officer! While you're tracking down my mommy could you grab me a strawberry sno-cone? Thanks! You're a doll!" What a cute kid. And the other bit of drama occured when we first got there. Rick locked up the car (we've been driving the Corolla lately since gas is SOOOOO expensive) and turned to me and said, "Do you have the keys?" Whoops. Locked in the car. So after a bit of running around Rick made a trip to security to ask for a Slim Jim. (We had heard tell that there was one somewhere on campus - they just make you do it yourself so they aren't liable). They said no, but we can call a locksmith for you. Ouch. Dollar signs immediately ran through Rick's mind so he declined. We then made a deal with some neighbors who were there to give us a call when they left and they would give Rick a ride home where he would get the key and ride the bike back to unlock the car. Then we found a wife of Rick's co-worker who sent me to the special portable air conditioned womens' bathrooms where she swore she saw a wire hanger in the second stall from the right. So in I go - no hanger. I looked everywhere, in every cupboard under the sinks and in every stall. The girl in there must have thought I was crazy. "Excuse me, I'm looking for a hanger. Have you seen one?" :) Oh well, we stopped a maintenance guy and he directed us to another security place. This time I asked, and voila, they have a Slim Jim and they drove Rick up in a golf cart to our car where he successfully obtained our keys! Frightening how easy that is!

All in all it was an exhausting day! But it was great. Family days together are great and this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us. Hope you all had a great day too! Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

My favorite organizational guru has put up a website! I'm stoked!

Pictures are done.

My that was interesting. My jovial, easy-going son is anything but when in a portrait studio. You should all have received emails to go look at the site with his pics on it. The resolution isn't the best, but there are lots of shiny eyes, snotty noses and red, puffy faces represented. He screamed whenever he was left to sit by himself. Poor kid. I hope his 2-year pics go better. I changed some of your pics to 3.5x5 instead of 5x7, hope that's ok!

Last Monday

I was talking to Holly and remembered that I forgot to mention the highlight of our week on our blog - Monday! :) Nathan fell into a nasty scummy fish pond at a friend's after we had changed him into the last diaper in the diaper bag. So he was naked while we were waiting for Rick to finish working on their dishwasher. It took forever and before we left Nathan had peed and then pooped on their kitchen floor. Aaahhh, the joys of motherhood. I'm glad they were understanding!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Red, red, legs. That is a white pillow case, my dresser, and our blue laundry basket you see. The colors are true - my legs are FRIED. Even my sheets last night hurt! Never have I done so much "not wearing much" walking around in my house! Rick came home from work and walked right by me - didn't notice until his 3rd trip by... "Hey honey, why aren't you wearing pants?" :) I'm so glad only my family reads this! Posted by Picasa

Things I've discovered

1. Ashlyn gets freckles in the sun! (Way cute ones!)
2. 68 degree cloudy days can still give a PAINFUL sunburn.
3. Take your kids swimming often or they become scaredy cats - no matter how fearless they were as babies.

Other updates -
  • I've officially decided that Nathan is a 6 up top and a 4 down the bottom (we're talking haircuts here).
  • Mommy and Ashlyn had a date to get their hair done together. We both look fabulous!
  • And last, but not least, church callings keep you BUSY! No news there I know, but we've hardly had a night to ourselves. At least we're busy with stuff that leaves you feeling good when you're done!
  • Rick and I are getting PDAs this week (as in Palm Pilots - electonic organizers so maybe we won't keep forgetting stuff. Cross your fingers we can figure them out!)
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