Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sod, sod and more sod!

My I please brag on my kids? Just a bit?

We have been in the middle of some serious yard renovations, well, since we moved in four years ago. The previous owners had done nothing except have it mowed twice a month, oh and install some weird red plastic lattice around the hot tub...and they lived here for almost thirty years!

Today, we got to the part where Steve got to cut the sod around the perimeter, so that we can mulch and rock it. This part has been a long time coming, but we were not looking forward to it, even though our awesome neighbor is letting us borrow his sod cutter (I think we have had it for about three years now...). But now, the pressure is on, because Good Neighbor is ready to sell the sod cutter, and there is no way we want to cut out that much sod with a shovel!!

So Steve headed out this morning and started cutting - make that started being dragged around the yard by a weighted machine that has a mind of its own. Six hours and three shorn off sprinkler heads later, most of the sod is cut, but there is always some piece that gets missed, so we need to get all of the sod up and out of the way, so we can be sure we are done, before we return the cutter. And there is the minor little detail that 16 yards of Brown Mulch is being dumped in our driveway on Thursday morning...and I won't be able to park in the garage again 'til all the mulch is moved - talk about something to inspire you!!

I headed out around 4:30, after spending all morning running errands with Jalapeno...that was a trip in and of itself, how many of you have boys who just fall down while they are walking down an aisle? Just walking, no running, skipping or raised sections of floor, they just fall down. Well Carol Barnier has written a book all about it, so read it and you will understand what our morning was like!

Anyway, I headed out with the kids to start moving sections of sod to the area where we are going to use them to raise the level of the yard, and Jalapeno came running over and wanted to help. Then Sweet Potato joined in, and soon little Pineapple jumped in too! They were picking up sections of cut sod (they were small, but STILL!!), loading them in the wagon, helping me drag the wagon to the area, unload the wagon and place them on the ground. Over, and over and over. Soon we had a bakery of sorts - "Look Mommy, I have some cookies" (square pieces of sod), "Look, Mommy, I made Tootsie Rolls!" (rolled sections of sod that Sweet Potato was making), "Look Mommy!! I found a snake!" (or 'serpent', we have been reading Genesis),and on and on they went, creating names for all the different shaped pieces, and before you know it, we were in full on "game" mode and having a blast!

These amazing kids worked with few breaks from 4:30 til after 8:00, when it got too dark to see!! I could not believe that they kept going! We talked about how cool it would be to sit when the project was all done, and drink iced tea and think about what we had done as a family, and they totally got into that!

So now, they are all snuggled in their beds, totally wiped out from a day of fun...MOVING SOD! If I had planned this, it would have been a disaster, but it wasn't! It was the most enjoyable day of yard work that I have ever had! I hope there are more to come!

Side yard, this area will be mulched and have lots of cool 'shrubberies", when it is done.

This is the area that is being filled to level it with the yard closer to the house.

This will be "The Orchard" - we are planning on putting fruit trees in here, maybe a grape vine on the fence, some mouth is watering already! Can you taste the jam?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

I came in this morning from checking on the sprinklers in the front yard - with an old system, it takes lots of checking if you don't want geysers of water shooting into the sky and the nice man in the water truck writing you a kind note asking for money - anyway, I came in and heard this conversation at the breakfast table between Sweet Potato (7), Jalapeno (5), Pineapple (4) and Sweet Girl (3) who is over for the day.

To give you a little background, my three kids all saw Dr Monk this week, who tested them to see what "color" they are. It gives a guideline as to what things tend to give you problems: if you are Red, you should stay away from wheat; Green means you are sensitive to chemicals; Blue, you should stay away from dairy. So this is very fresh in their minds...

J - "I can't eat wheat, 'cause I'm red."

P - "Me too! I can't eat wheat, 'cause I'm wed too!"

SG - "I can't eat wheat too!"

SP - "No P, you're green. But Jacob can't eat wheat, he must be red like me."

P - "Mommy, can I eat wheat?"

Mommy - "Yes, P, you can eat wheat, but you can not have chemicals, so you can't eat anything out of a bag."

P- "Oh"

J - "Jacob's not red, he's kind of pink, or tan, like me."

Hmmm.....sounds like we need to do a little more explaining of what "being red" means to little Jalapeno!!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Vacation That Lasted One Day Too Long

I think I am finally ready to blog about that last crazy day of our was a tough one, and I needed a few days to recuperate, you know, to be able to find some humor in the situation?

That fateful day, The Last Day Of Our Vacation, started out pretty well. Mom and the kids slept in after an exhausting day of driving through Arkansas (should it really take all day to do that? I mean, honestly, it took all day to drive through Kansas, and it is way bigger - anyway, I digress). While they all snored away, I perched on the edge of the bathtub, checking out what was going on in FB-land, surfing around a little bit, just generally killing time. If I had known what was coming, I would have spent that time on my knees!

I got everyone dressed (well, Mom dressed herself) and we headed down to breakfast. While I ran around like a short order cook, trying to fill constantly changing breakfast orders for three little road weary kiddos, I was also trying (unsuccessfully) to keep the kids from watching a blaring TV story about a shooting in a health club. So sad!

After I made the kids eat some scrambled eggs, I discovered that they were totally nasty, and pulled the Mommy card and threw mine in the trash. I was trying to get some protein in the kiddos, before all the cereal and waffles hit their bellies, but did not realize that the eggs were unseasoned and tasted like someone had mixed them the night before, put them in the metal pan and left them to die a slow death in a warming oven. UGH!!!

Then, on to potty breaks "I don't have to go poop or pee!!!", loading the car "_______ come back here RIGHT NOW!", and making sure we were truly on the correct road, headed out of Kansas City, to the WEST!!

After we got a few miles down the road, the aforementioned child-who-did-not-have-to-use-the-facilities, finally decided it was time. RIGHT NOW! Because, after all, he had to go "weawy, weawy, BAD!" So we started looking for a good place to stop. Turns out, we picked a bad exit, and had to drive 3 miles off the highway to find a dirty bathroom in the middle of a construction zone, but we only had to make one U-turn, so it was all good. We loaded up with caffeinated tea for Mommy and Cheetos (hey, those were for Mommy too!) and found our way back to the ribbon of highway that was going to lead us home!

A couple of miles and a few handfuls of Cheetos later, I heard a loud pop come from the front of the van...looking back, I did not see that we had run over any tire fragments (or dead armadillos - oh wait, that was Arkansas), so we merrily drove on, singing and munching and dreaming of sleeping in our own beds. Until, that is, I heard the car next to us making some really loud noises. "Wow, (I said to mom), that car really has a serious engine problem." Turns out it was our front tire, which had been punctured by who-knows-what!

I managed to get the van off the highway and amidst cries from the back seat of "Mommy, what's wrong?" & "Why are we STOPPPPPPPING MOMMMMMMMY?" I managed to get Steve on the phone and then called my dear friends at AAA. Turns out it's a good thing I have been paying those nice people for all these years, because in only thirty minutes, they sent a nice young man to change my tire!

Now, this nice young man did pull up in a red Explorer, with no markings on it, and he was accompanied by a young man with lots of tattoos and a scary T-shirt. I rolled the window up most of the way and asked all the right questions. After all, I do read those crazy emails that fly around the Web world, so I knew these guys could be axe murdering, Cheeto stealing, up to no good fellows!

But it is hard to change a tire when the spare is locked under the van, and the only way to get it out is to unscrew it from the inside floor board, so open it I did, and was immediately thankful that all of the wet clothing from the day before (including some of my unmentionables) had dried and been safely tucked away in a suitcase! But I continued to be hyper-cautious, after all, my babies were in that van!

After the tire was changed, the nice boy (his name is Andy, by the way) had us follow him to his shop, where he planned to cut us all into small pieces, and... OH WAIT! That is just where my imagination went! Actually, Andy is a 21 year-old furniture making, car repairing, hard working boy, who helps his mom out in the family business in a little Kansas town of 500 people. No more TV for me!!!

While Andy drove to another small Kansas town to pick up a new-used tire for us, that would get us back to Denver, mom took the kids to the town park and I found out all about life in...well, I can't remember the name of the town, from Andy's mom, Margo.

Finally, we are on the road again!! Tires intact, cheetos sadly gone, but on the road, headed for home!!

Fast forward (because this is getting really long - but not nearly as long as the day actually was) a few hours. Dinner has been consumed, "Denver" is finally on the little green signs, with mileage that looks doable; and what do my wavering, road weary eyes spy, in my rear view mirror? Oh, no - you have got to be kidding me!! Another nice young man, in a uniform this time and in a marked car, with pretty little spinning lights on top. I knew immediately that he was not there to wish us well on our journey...

More wails from the back seat, along with some very bright and chipper "Hi, what are you doing?" (that would be my Jalapeno) and a speeding ticket and a warning later (my tail light was out, which I knew, but could not fix though I tried) and we were once again on our way...

At this point, I am thinking "What else can happen to us on this day?!!" Good grief! But I was also thinking about what could happen on a highway, driving so many miles, and was earnestly praying that we would make it home safely!

Welcome to Colorful Colorado!!! I have never been so happy to see that sign in my life!! If it is possible to do a happy dance, while driving 75 miles an hour down the freeway (that is the Colorado speed limit, btw!) - then I was doing it...until a few miles down the road when my little Jalapeno said, "Mommy, I don't feel so good" and proceeded to loose his dinner all over him, his seat, and his fave blanket "Baby". So, I pulled over again, managed to get Sweet Potato moved over in front of Pineapple (more thoughts of what happens when your car gets hit from the back next to the highway) and crawled into the back to help out the kid.

I managed to get him cleaned up, and then I went to shake out "Baby" but I did not take into account the sheer wind force of a semi blasting down the highway, and was promptly covered in the "residue" shall we say from dear, dear Baby - YUCK!!!

OK, what else?!?!?!

Thankfully, nothing! We finally pulled into our driveway around 10 pm, and I almost kissed the ground, almost!

I can truly say I am happy to be HOME!!