Monday, June 30, 2008

We're Having A Heat Wave

Or rather, it has not rained in sometime and I'm too hot to do the dishes. That's a lie. I finally did them but not until 6pm. And I was so exhausted afterwards I had to follow it up with a vodka tonic. Actually, I made that after the little scare I had while I was doing the dishes. I realized I hadn't heard the little kids in awhile. They had been using their squirt guns out in the yard and I was taking advantage of the momentary lull to get something done. I checked around the yard and saw to my horror, they had pried the baby gate at the corner ,enough for their little bodies to slip through, and who knew where they had gone. I ran to the front calling and searching. Then I realized my worst nightmare. Not the one where the kids get kidnapped and your legs are frozen and your voice is gone so you can't scream for help. No. The one where you hear their voices and realize they are standing on your neighbors porch- one of them stark naked- demanding at squirt gun point that the neighbor kids be let out to play.

Fortunately, the neighbor girl had answered the door and while she went to ask her dad if she could play, I tucked Pippin under one arm- his legs kicking and his bare bum wiggling to get down, grabbed Kateri's hand and raced home. Before the dad came to the door, discovered what miscreants he has for neighbors and forbade his children of ever playing with them again. At least I think I did. I just ran and never looked back.

I debated what should be done first. Naked kid clothed, or fix the fence. It has been so hot and as our neighbors on either side work all day, I felt fine letting Pippin skinny dip in the kiddie pool. It was still very hot, so I decided to fix the gate. I searched the garage for a board big enough to cover the opening but nothing worked. Finally, I got the brilliant idea of just nailing the hard pool- which had cracks anyway- to the fence. I'm sure if they worked at it they could figure a say through. And I'm sure Shane will think its just lovely. But at this point I am happy to get a few minutes of peace before they figure out the puzzle. I should get Kateri Rubic's Cube. I'll bet she could do it.
I was gone yestserday, so Shane, being the much more fun parent that he is, took he kids out to lunch, a movie, and Plastics R Us. I think lunch went well. After an hour of advertisments and 20 minutes of WALL-E, Kateri said she was ready to go home now and Pippin was ready to run laps around the theater. So they left for home. But not before stopping to get squirt guns. I had thought about getting some the first hot day we had. I didn't. And I am glad I have not been responsible for the ensuing carnage due to arming the natives. Want to start a war? Give two of the players super-soaker-shoot-your-eye-out guns. And the others the little manual stop and reload every 5 squirts I could spit farther kind. Which of course meant we had to share. Right. Tell that to the Israelis and Palestinians and that is about as enthusiastic as my kids were. So to make it "fair" we'd set the timer and I would have to assist in the exchanges every 5 min. And in between help reload the damn guns. After about an hour of such, I was ready to cram those guns down Shane's throat. He sort of laughed and said he had "only been trying to help" thinking it would give the kids something to do in the hot weather besides whine at me. It certainly did give them something else to do. Shane offered to make it up by picking up Cyril on his way to Jetty for kite boarding. It has helped a bit- as has the mojito mix I discovered in the cupboard. I don't really care for tonic.

Pippin's latest research project has been examing dead bugs from the window sills. Every morning he'd get a plate and tweezers and we'd pick through the available corpses like we were at a cafeteria. Then we'd pull out the microscope.
" A dessicated hymenopterous insect! Why, I haven't seen one of these in years!" which is professor speak for "A dry bumble bee. WHEEEEEEEE"
(Note: he is actually wearing pants in this picture.)
And just to end on a tasty note, here was my version of the fabulous antipasti plate at Girardi's. Which upon seeing, Shane explained he had envisioned a tossed salad all mixed up and maybe with some toasted nuts on top......blah blah blah. have you seen Mostly Martha? No, I didn't do that. I just said I understood how disappointed he must have been and maybe tomorrow we could make that kind of salad and could he be quiet now and please pass the wine. Actually, it was not that great i have to agree. The smoked mozarella was too smokey and the recipe I found the next day for balsamic caramel was much tastier. And Audrey wrote this.

If you haven't seen the film Mostly Martha and have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. It is leagues better than the American version "No Reservations". Oh, and along the theme of restaurants, "Dinner Rush" was another film we enjoyed. Kind of a slow start but lots of entertaining characters.

Well, the kids have converted their pool- we have tw0- into a bathtub now so I guess we'll wash up and get ready for bed. Thankfully, it is cooling off now. The heat makes me crabby. Shane was smart to go kiting, though he did offer to just come home if I needed him to. I should be back to normal temperature and hopefully a couple of the kids will be asleep by the time he gets home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I feel spotty, oh so spotty, oh so spotty, and knotty, and gray!

So Spotty- So I've been tinkering with some new medications prescribed by my naturopath and trying to figure out the right dosages. I had not tried them before as I was nursing, pregnant, or both for the last 10 years and they were not compatible. But since Pippin has not nursed since January and I am currently not pregnant- there, now nobody has has to ask-and as the last year bas been a bit up and down I decided to give them a go. So far they seem helpful in most respects.

Unfortunately, one of the side effect is acne. Lots of it. I had never heard the term "bacne" but am now currently its most enthusiastic supporter. Or hoster. It takes me back to the rather uncomfortable teenage years and in fact I was trying to remember what ever I tried to address those lovely protuberances, and what worked- or in my case didn't. At least I am saved the emotional roller coasters and silly crushes and wanting to look cute so somebody who didn't care- jerks-would notice and all those really pointless times worrying about things that didn't matter that went along with that stage. Shane is very sweet and doesn't even mention Mons Olympus sticking out the side of my neck. So nice.

Well, another loverly bonus has been itchy scalp. Which as I write that I realize could be so much worse. However, it does sometimes contribute to little white flecks in my dark tresses and so, feeling not the apex of beauty I decided to run to the drug store for some help. I browsed the aisles reading all the promising testimonials and wondering if the same ingredient they use to kill warts is safe to use on your face. And if it wasn't would it really make that much of a difference. And is tar- just becasue its natural-really all right to use on color treated hair. Oh, yes. I started that a couple months ago. Now, no one has to wonder. I figured my hair is really the only thing I've got that hasn't been streched beyond all believable porportions, does not need anti-gravity support to return to its proper place, and that I can influence positively without a scalpel and anesthesia. And besides, given everything else and the fact that I am only 30 I felt fine paying someone to cover up the gray. Actually, I used to just pull them out. But as time went on, it took way too much time and then with the ususal hair loss that goes along with everything, it was starting to look a little thin. I've been pleased with it for now. Apparently, it looks ok because it took Shane 45 min to notice something was different. He was the one giving me a hard time about how many grays I had before so it wasn't like it was not a big diference.

So, there I was as Bartell's, picking out oil-free bump-be-gone ointment and flake-away shampoo. I was tempted to throw in some toenail fungus cream and maybe some Tucks medicated pads to just round out the order. But I remembered I had got those last time. So far its made me optimistic and I feel I have enough hope of my own that I don't even need to vote for Obama. I did however read the fine print and the shampoo says in very rare instances it may cause discoloration to gray and color treated hair. Hooray. Now I can be tri-colored.

Just to make everything better today, I decided for no good reason to move the big pile of rubber mulch sitting in the driveway waiting for spreading under the playset. ITs in bags so I used the dolly to load them up and move them to the back. I'm actually not really clear as to why I wanted to do it. Was it so I could potentially kill more grass by stacking it up? Or maybe so I could risk the kids climbing and possibly spilling out the little pellets? I'll never know. Because all I can think about now is how getting 28 25lb bags moved half way to their final destination was not worth throwing my back out. Which I really needed at this juncture. I immediately told Audrey to grab Pippin, we were going inside now. Where I would stay the rest of the day. With a hot water bottle and some Motrin. They are both helping and I am being very careful to not move in any way that may be considered hostile. I can walk ok but have a feeling washing dishes would not be smart right now.

Shane actually made it home early- he didn't even know about my back- which was wonderful. And after doing some work at home he was called by the wind up to Jetty Island. So he and Cyril headed up there. Which was also wonderful. Its slightly more peaceful now. And maybe I'll get some time for a face treatment. Or back and neck. Or shoulders. Sounds like a spa treatment. But it isn't. But first I have to heat up my water bottle.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

And Speaking of Gates....

I have found desperation to be the inspiration for many gate building projects. That and children's safety. The first "project" at Tirzah's one very hot summer day. The railing slats on her porch were too far apart and you could not leave a small child on it alone. Given that we had several at the time we knew something had to be done. With each lemon drop it became clearer and clearer what we needed to do. Raid Aaron's scrap lumber, a handful of nails, and pass hammers around. It was pretty fun and we had to saw the lumber - with a rusty saw and then pass it up to to the balcony where , with lots of swings, we hammered them into place. It was a little discouraging when Damien got home and with two thwacks drove each 3" nail all the way down. But it didnt' matter. We had a secure perimiter and for the rest of the summer we couls enjoy the deck. I don't know if she took any pictures. Hopefully.

Our second barrier was caused by having no fence and us trying to make Pascha bread. We tied an assortment of things together from the garage - folding tables,( I don't know why that is blue but oh well. IT seems to be gone now) baby gates, etc. And when that was not long enough we added the outdoor toy bin to it. Once again, it worked. Unfortunately, it came a a price. The rectangle of grass under the bin, poor flimsy already half- dead and water logged thing, died and has not recovered yet. IT was 2 years ago. My father-in-law actually came and re-seeded it last month so hopefully we can get it back.

Today, I was once again inspired. Shane finished the fence- which he promised to do after he saw "our fence" but still needs more lumber for the gate. The little baby gate was doing fine until Pippin realized he could easily climb over it. So, after threatening to nail plywood across it and then realizing I didn't have any, I stole some rope from the kitchen chairs- becasue Cyril has been using all the other rope for his climbing etc. and wove it around and through a second baby gate that was too narrow to stay by itself, and ta-da. Not sure what Shane'll think. But I'm happy with it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Barbarians at the Gate

I don't know what has gotten into my kids lately. I shouldn't say lately because that implies they have been behaving unusually. Upon reflection I realize this is how they ARE. Yesterday they were in search and destroy mode. First, Cyprian decided to do his phonics lesson on the couch. Literally, ON the couch. I am glad it was pencil and that I Scotch Guarded it. But still very dis-heartening. This was only one of the cushions. He hit all three. With large swirling motions. I didn't even ask what they were supposed to be. And didn't care.
After dinner, Kateri came down to report Cyprian had gotten into Audrey's room. Which is code for she instigated the carnage and is trying to use him as a scape goat. It didn't work. It looked like her horses went on a wild rampage. And this picture was after we'd been cleaning up for an hour.
Hoping the destruction had reached its apex, I was sorely disappointed when Kateri came down, once again to report Pippin was into my bathroom. Usually, he goes for the liquid foundation, which is so hard to clean off I decided never to put in on my face. But this time he branched out and found some nail polish, which I have absolutely no business owning in the first place. And now I have streaks of it on the white door and on the fronts of bathroom cupboards. Of course, no nail polish remover, which will only take off the paint and finish too if its strong enough to get teh polish off. I tried some other cleaners but so far no luck. Maybe if I get the non-acetone remover.
But they did not have any at the store when I stopped, after a run to Home Depot to get Audrey a new door handle.

She used to have one with a lock but it was kind you can open with a screw driver or penny or any thing else so it did no keep the little ones out. And it the tug-o-wars that went on trying to keep them out, or them breaking in, it eventually broke and would not even close. Which made it that much easier for the most recent trashing. I put the new one on right away and felt very safe knowing they could not get in. And I remembered to lock my bedroom door too. At least that narrows the "playing" field down a bit.

And here is Pippin ,who was crying, I kid you not, because he didn't have a gun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jetty Days Are Here Again

I had thought for Father's Day I might retreat to some exotic location, maybe Tahiti, or even just spend some time at a spa. But in the end we all went to Jetty Island and played on the beach. The kids love it there, and aside from having to walk a quarter of mile to use the floating restroom, I thought it was a great time too. Can you find Kateri in this picture? I think she was practicing for her Navy Seal test.

Shane did get to ride a little. The wind was not great but he did some body dragging with Cyril which was fun.
Cyril had a little trouble getting his wetsuit on and went to ask Papa for help. The only problem was he had to climb up a sand cliff like a penguin. Which I thought was very entertaining.
Shane and Cyril prepare for a drag.

Cyril found a stick shaped like a musket and was entertained shooting whatever. Pippin had a little stick which resembled a Derringer, and fought back. So we were pretty much set for the day. Who needs plastic.
Shane's kite made a great little shelter from the wind. Kateri had packed her paper and pen so she could write letters. I think she said it was for Jack. I'm not sure how long she thought we were going to stay there.
Venus emerging from the sea. In her younger brother's truck t-shirt.

Pippin and Tiri had a great time jumping off the sand cliff and "bouncing" all the way down.

Friday, June 13, 2008

"Florida, Florida,Florida"

The most memorable phrase, uttered by Tim Russert very late on election night 2000. And he was right. I was very shocked this afternoon to learn of his untimely death at the age of 58. I don't know how we'll get through another election night without him. Not very well, I think. He was such a staple. Meat and potatoes- politics and Russert. Does this bode ill for November?
Here is the wine glass turned candle holder, curtesy Kateri. I was able to break the rest of the glass and pull it out and my thinner candles fit perfectly.

And here it is in its new home, lit in memoriam and with a prayer for Mr. Russert and family.

Mutton and a life altering experience

Shane has been after me to make lamb. Unfortunately, I had a few things to get over before I could undertake such a dish. No, it was nothing to with Mary Had Little Lamb or even the fact that Cyril's best friend was a lamb. When we were growing up we had a lovely British neighbor, Helen, who liked to cook lamb stew. And she liked to share entire pots of it with her neighbors. I actually don't remember how it tasted but I definitly remember the smell. Very pungent. And when you opened the refrigerator, no matter how it was contained, you got big wafts of it coming at you. Cold, congealed, lamb stew.

But anyway I tried to get over it and finally dug up a recipe for lamb chops with a rosemary-red wine sauce. ( After Shane gently hinted he'd like some by bringing some home from the store .)And I have to admit it was not that bad. Not a s good as Girardi's, but still tasty. I think my thermometer is broken though and it was a slightly over done. But I it made me brave enough to consider trying it again. maybe rack of lamb this time.
So the mutton was not the life altering experience. Tuesday was.

My fairy god-mother (aka my mother- in -law) called up and suggested we bring the kids over for an overnight. That day. The kids were as ecstatic as I was and quickly packed their suitcases while I made a list of all the possible things we might do. After talking it over with Shane we finally decided to go to Girardi's. We also considered seeing a movie but there was nothing good out. WE already saw Kung Fu Panda- which was really good and funny- and Indiana Jones was just not tempting. How could they let slip the inconsistency that the title mentions a crystal-skull ( i'd half expect to see He-Man in the credits) and then the trailers say a skull made entirely of gold. I guess there must be two skulls? Too much for me. Anyway, I am so glad we just stayed at the restaurant and enjoyed our fabulous dinner.

We brought a bottle of Chateneuf-du-Pape, which for the price was not that great. But it was priceless in that it acted as an intro to get Patrick- the owner- over to our table to at try it. He graciously said it was nice and then he pulled up a chair andd proceeded to open two bottles for us to try, which were tastier than ours. We really enjoyed the wines , maybe just because of the occasion and the company and the free feeling of being able to do whatever we wanted. But I think in a large part those things really can make a wine better. I was surpried because one was a Malbec from Argentina and in the past I have not liked them a whole lot. Its extremely mild and I'd like to try some lighter dishes to go with it. My pistachio chicken was a little strong.

We stayed for coffee and up too late, as Shane had an early meeting he had to be in for the mext morning. But when you have free time its hard to waste it on sleep.

Only $9 and $10 ate QFC
The next morning had time to do whatever so I went down and got a bottle of wines we'd tried and a bottle of Root:1 for Patirck, as he said he hadn't tried it. And then being free to do so I stopped by the restaurant to drop it off, where I found Peter, the best waiter in the world, working on a wine list for a tasting, which they have not done in a long time. He had me try some whites he was deciding between but I am not really a white fan so not much help. But I am very excited about the up-coming event and hopefully we can get a good group to all attend together. And i can't wait to see what the chef come up with as they are going to try a more informal setting with things to nibble on as opposed to a course dinner.
As for the life-altering part I guess it was more of an out of body experience. In the sense that I was me doing what I wanted for 24 hrs and feeling like an adult having adult conversations and a little like Cinderella at the ball. Except the Prince and I were already married and I could stay out past midnight.
However, things are back to real and I've slipped easily back into the cook, clean, wash, change, peace brokering role. But it was definitely dreamy while it lasted and came at a very "need recharging" time. I think its time to make lunch now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The New Colossus

Not like the subdued women of old fame,
With backsides squarely planted on the seat.
Here at our pee-washed porcelain pots will stand,
A mighty girl with bed-head and who's mane,
Is an embodied rats nest, and her name
Lily of Mohawks.

She balances precariously on bare feet
With tiny limbs astride from rim to rim,
As if she were an old and seasoned pro
Who often did perform this daring feat
Proud of her accomplishment , is she
And grinning calls "Come see how I can pee!"

My apologies to Emma Lazarus for taking such liberties.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Hope My Kids Are Coming Down With Something

Because someone in the house needs medication. If not them, then me. Some days I wonder just how long this can go on. By this I mean when will they run out of mischeivious, destructive, whiny behaviour. There have been no visits from gummi bears so I guess that is one blessing. However, there has been a massive influx of highly emotionally charged events one of which was literally, crying over spilled milk. It was Audrey's milk and she didn't cry. Cyril did because he knocked it over so I told him to clean it up. But he pointed out it was not his and it was her fault because she had called him over to her spot to look at something and then he bumped it.

Cyprian has been crying all morning for Papa, which I appreciate for its demonstration of him not being so mommy dependent, but given Shane will not be home for at least another four hours, was not an encouraging way to start the morning. And from there we mourned for lost band-aids, the existence of boundaries, and the lack of a full-time nanny. That last one was me. Actually, I mourned the loss of one of my very nice Pewter and glass wine glasses that Shane got me for Christmas. Which got broken because I was distracted trying to do reading with Cyril while Pippin was crying for Papa and did notice, in time to intercept, Kateri climbing up and getting into the cupboard to get Mac and Tab which was next to, the wine glasses.

So that is why I am hoping they are getting sick because that would mean it will in time pass.

OH, but I think the best part of the day was when Cyril came in to repot Kateri had stepped on Cyprian's face. He was ok so I went and found her and hauled her off to her room for some quiet time. I asked,

"Kateri, why in the world would you step on your brother's head?"

She sobbed, "But there's nothing fun to do."

And then later I found Cyprian, who felt inspired by Clifford the Big Red Dog, and drew Big Red Doodles all over the bonus room walls with a pencil. Once again, a permanent marker would have been more destructive but I'm tired of trying to make myself content with "That could have been a lot worse". I'm finding it not a very fulfilling way to live.

I did not photograph the "mural' but quickly rubbed it away with a Mr. Clean magic eraser. And then I discovered it did not so much erase as it spread the offending substance to make a faint pink blush over the entire area. So I rubbed harder and found that if the eraser can't remove the color, it will fix the problem by removing the paint. But it does kind make a paste so you can try to smooth it over the bare spots and it doesn't look so bad. Luckily, I have some spray texture and paint so it won't be impossilbe to fix. But I am seriously wondering if its worth it. I knew feeding them lunch was a bad idea. It did not stop the whining and only gave them more fuel for their crazy antics.

And its only afternoon. I sincerely hope there will be no more reasons to add to this post today. I hope someone finds it entertaining and maybe if your day is not going so swimmingly you can be comforted by the fact that at least it wasn't worse.

I'm thinking summer camp.

Just What is a Gummi Bear Poop ,You Ask?

So, the other night we decided to have a late dinner for two and after the kids were fed we set them up upstiars with some games and things and we came down to eat. Alone. Shane wanted a roast but the butcher was away and he couldn't get the cut I needed so he just got some steaks and I made the carmelized onion and brandy- because we were out of cognac- topping and mashed potaotes to go with it. He also picked up a new wine to try which was very tasty. Kateri, of course, cannot not be invited to a party, so I gave her some mashed potatoes and a sip of "why-un" before she went up stairs.

We were very much enjoying ourselves and I had just begun to relax- always a bad thing- when Cyril hollered down the stairs,

"Mom, you need to come up stairs"

"Why?" I sobbed, inwardly.

"Kateri pooped", he said.

"That's fine. She can take care of it." The girl can cook, change diapers, control a crowd and if she was little taller, drive. I know she can also use the bathroom unassisted.

"But you need to seet this. Its a gummi bear pooo," he explained.

I almost choked on my wine. What in the world was a gummi bear poop and why did it warrant interrupting our nice evening?

"Cyril, she's a big girl. She knows what to do." I said ,trying to convince my self I did not in fact have to leave my hot dinner to do bathroom duty.

Cyril was insistent.

"But mom its on the floor."

Cursing the poop gods, I made one final attempt to be derelict in my parenting and called back,

"Just tell everyone not to touch it and go back in the room. I'll take care of it." (Later, I said to myself)

"But mom, it got on the rug", he explained ,delivering the final bullet and one we could not, although Shane had to convince me, ignore.

So we put on our haz-mat gear and went upstairs, prepared for the worst. Which was good. Beause it took us both to clean up Kateri, and the rug. I got the latter.

So, do you want to know what a gummi bear poop is? I"ll spare the details but the background is the kids have gummi bear vitamins, which they love. I've explained to them , in answer the their petitions for double doses, that too many vitamins can make you sick. And if you know what too much Vitamin C does to your bowels, you know what Cyril meant by a gummi bear poop. He was sure that was causing her problem. I am thinking it was the cherries she had eaten.

Oh, and to top it off, did I mention the fact she was not wearing any underwear? Only wide legged pants. I am sure it could have been worse, but I am still wondering how.

Kateri, all recovered and playing Pining Princess Looking Forlornly for her Lost Love.

This one's for you , Jack.

When she realized I had taken her picture she asked if I could take one to show to Jack, her cousin. So I told her to hold still and she struck the most dramatic pose she could think of.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Who Needs A Playset.....

When you have walls to climb? Its hard to see but Cyril was climbing the other doorway behind her. I remember doing the same thing at my parents' house and it was fun. I'm not sure what I think about it now. It is pretty entertaining to see her slide down.

Shane bought this for me, recommended by Lars and Hannah- the chefs on the Discovery. The first half is just the science of how bread works and why and when you should or should not do certain things to the dough etc. I have not tried any recipes yet but I am excited to try some new breads and rolls and trickier breads. Soon.

This was Shane's treat for me to wake up to- coffee and the paper. The paper was good. Unfortunately the cups were just leftovers from his truck. I was just happy he hadn't found a lunch box from work and left that too.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yeah, Shane fixed my Camera- real pictures from the week-end

I took none of the following pictures, as evidenced by the quality and clarity of said pictures. Luckily, Dave has a nice camera and being a journalist/news paper editor, has an eye for good photos and a good story to go with them. Looking over the pictures, which Shane explained their location to me, again, makes me want to take a photography class. Or maybe just get a nicer camera. Or maybe learn how to usr mine. I told Shane it was not working well and he went over the very fine mechanical details of why a picture comes out blurry. When you have the flash off. I don't know why I turned it off in the first place but I didn't realize it was and just kept snapping pictures hoping it would get better. Anyway, its fixed now. But here are the good pictures from the week-end. Kateri and Pippin are preparing for the hike.
Cyril, obviously not concerned about checking a weapon by looking down its barrel, especially when someone else is holding it.
I love the way the boys swing, neither being tall enough to sit in them.

Kateri and Elijah take little break while working on the battle plans.

Jonah and Cyril in their fox hole- Jonah foraging for sustenance as the supply truck is late while Cyril wonders if its smart to have a blinking red light on your sniper rifle, and if his gun is loaded.
Elijah's version of Blue Steel.

Shane just hanging out.
Audrey takes a leap.
Shane's Matrix move.

Cyril, obviously having a really good day-the battle is won, the sand is soft, his clothes are filthy, and all's right with the world.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Visitors We Did Not Torture, Much and Puzzle

We had a very fun visit from our Idahoan relatives this week-end filled with lots of laughs, some karaoke, plenty of wine and good food, and even some sand diving and rope swinging. The girls- Trudy and Dee- were off to a Tea Convetnion so it was Shane, Ron, Dave, and myself on one team, with Hannah, Audrey, Jonah, Cyril, Kateri, Pippin, and Elijah on the other. The numbers were definitely stacked against us- as was deck and the diapers.

Actually, things went swimmingly. The kids got along with minimal adult interference - a hot dog or two here and there-and we spent most of the days visiting, relaxing, wine tasting, and we even fit in an episode of the new Dr. Who. It was great to have an excuse to let the laundry pile up and take a break from school. I think the kids had a more educational time anyway, learning about rocks and how to throw them. War tactics. We had many an ambush and I know several snipers were somewhere amongst the couch cushions. I was really impressed by the run-roll-aim-shoot sequence they could do. Makes me think all that Call of Duty time was not wasted.

A little down time. I can't remember the last time I actually sat on the coush during the day and read. Un-molested. This time all four adults were able to get some reading in. We even chose a word for the week-end: erudite. Like in Sesame Street they pick a letter or number for the day.

"Hey kids, todays word is erudite. Can you say erudite? Very good. "

It just came up so then we worked it in when we could. That and "deus ex machina". Which some movie we were discussing employed ad nauseam. For the record Dr. Who doesn't do that. He is so erudite he doesn't need that. Well, that and he has a sonic screwdriver. But anyway back to our week-end.

We took several trips into the sand pits, where I'd actually never been, and where all the kids got filthy. All the kids including Shane and Ron who had jumping contests which inspired the kdis to start their own and were successful in getting sand deposited into every crevice of their clothes bodies. Then Shane decided to "take it to eleven' and did flips off the sand cliff so we quit and came home to de-sand. After which we had barbecued ribs, corn on the cob, lots of homemade avacado and cilantro dip and a few different wines. Then Grandpa decided to entertian us with some karaoke so Shane put on "Magic Carpet Ride" and Ron jumped, slid, twirled, and I can't remember what else because I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. No one wanted to go up against him so we declared him the winner and opened another bottle of wine. I think they stayed until almost midnight. And of course after Liturgy they came over for Dutch Babies and bacon and we started another day.

None of my pictures turned out but I am thinking it is the camera. Not, as Shane says, "user error". I mean look at the picture below. You don't pictures like these with synthetic cameras. I think the streaks on the side are actually kind of interesting.
But really, look at this one. Is Kateri there or not? Its not just blurry. Its kid of Dr. Who-ish.
Fortuantely, my brother in law, Dave, is a good photographer with a nice camera so our times were documented well. I just can't find where Shane put the pictures right now so these have to do for now. I'll put up others later when I find them.

We were also occupied this week-end with puzzles. Shane found a puzzle book which was supposed to be for the kids but we were more entertained by it. So here is one of the puzzles:

What is the basis for the order in which these ten digits have been arranged?


Have fun.