"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dandelion Bouquets

I remember two things about dandelions from my childhood: The joy of blowing the dried ones all over the yard; and the spirit-squashing grownups who griped about it. "It's a weed; you'll spread it all over the lawn; we want to get rid of them, not make more of them" Etc. My boys think dandelions are pretty, and I agree. They're bright and yellow and cheery. We went to the greens today - to roll down the hills, run around, and practice riding bikes - and their faces just lit up when they saw all the dandelions. Most of them were still yellow, but they found a few to blow and wish on. They asked me to help them gather some up, and we spent the better part of the afternoon picking dandelions, and talking about bees and pollen and flowers and gardens. We all came home with huge handfuls, and put them in a vase to enjoy in the living room.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Happy days

After spending too many days cooped up at home due to sickness, we woke up yesterday morning feeling better, feeling happy, and feeling ready to get back to life together. The boys started the day by watching Magic School Bus, then we all played Paxton's dinosaur dominoes for awhile. After that, the kids wanted to practice writing in cursive, so they played around with a cursive workbook, which quickly progressed into writing on the patio with chalk. Spencer doesn't always enjoy writing, but he finds cursive - and the fact that you rarely have to lift the pen from the paper - fascinating. They've both been writing a lot of letters lately, to both new and old friends.

Paxton had seen on tv that Chicken Little was just released on DVD, and Spencer wanted to get a brush for the dog, so we decided to spend the afternoon out. It was a welcome reprieve. We rented Paxton's movie, and the boys spent a long time browsing through the Playstation games while we there. From there we picked up a few groceries and snacks, as well as a new waffle maker - something Spencer and I have been wanting since we've moved here. We decided on the way to the pet store that we should get a new frog for the fish tank while we were there. We did get the frog, and a brush.. and another betta fish with his own little bowl. Fish are good pets.

We spent a good hour getting our new pets situated when we got home, then we snuggled up to watch Chicken Little. Mike had to work late, so after the movie we just heated up some microwave dinners, which the boys find very cool and exciting. When he got home at 8, we all all watched American Idol together and called it a day. Bedtime reading right now is a book about dinosaurs and how they tie in with the bible, and a book called The Whipping Boy, a story about two young boys in medieval times.

Good stuff.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Scorpions and Cows and Bug Guys oh MY

When we first starting seriously considering Arizona, one of the things that people kept saying to us was "Sure, there's no mosquitoes, but there's rattlesnakes and scorpions and black widows...." And we always replied "Yeah but you never see them. They're out in the desert, not in residential areas. "

A few nights ago we came home, and lo and behold, there was a scorpion IN OUR KITCHEN. Spencer thought this was very cool, and Paxton (who'd expressed some fear before we moved) was thankfully asleep in the truck. Mike carried him to bed after the scorpion had been scooped up and dealt with. It was a creepy-looking little thing, and I still haven't been able to shake the skin-crawling paranoia.

Tuesday we went on a field trip to see some bigger, and less scary, creatures. The boys and I went to a local dairy farm with the homeschool group, and we all had a great time. We took a tour of the farm, learned all about cows, and enjoyed a sample of their chocolate milk. The boys got to milk a cow, pet all the animals, and explore a maze made out of hay bales.

Yesterday, we were back to dealing with the little critters (I much prefer cows). Our bug guy, Mike came. He sprayed all around the house and yard, gave the boys lollipops, and patiently answered their questions. He found another scorpion in one of the glue traps, and he was kind enough to bring it inside to show me. He said the bug activity would be picking up since it was going to be getting warmer, and that we'd probably want him to come every 8 weeks. I'm thinking we'll have him come in 6.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Taste of Home

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As of last week, we hadn't seen Maba and Pop, or rain, since we moved here in November. This week we got to see both! :O)

They arrived on Saturday afternoon, while we were all out playing frisbee in the road, and we were so excited to welcome them. We spent most of the day playing outside, chatting, and catching up. On Sunday we all went up to Camp Verde, and then on to Sedona. I've decided that Sedona is one of the most beautiful places in the country, at the very least on the west coast. We drove up a bumpy, winding trail, and did a little bit of hiking. The view was spectacular. From there we went to watch the sunrise at the airport, and enjoyed Barro's pizza at Sandi and Mitch's before heading home.

On Monday, Pop's cousin Clint came to stay with us as well, and the boys instantly fell in love. Spencer especially enjoyed him when it came time to make dinner. He served as Clint's sous chef, as they made a big happy mess and a big happy feast of pasta, homemade sauce, and salad. More reminiscing, stories and lots of laughter followed.

Tuesday was a trip to the zoo, which is always a good time, followed by another Clint-and- Spencer-cooked meal. The boys also shared some of their favorite things (mostly PS2 games and repeats of Dukes and AFV) with Maba and Pop, and we all went to bed tired and happy.

On Thursday we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens, which we'd never been to before but really enjoyed. They gave the kids a sheet and a pencil for a scavenger hunt, and they were very excited about it. Looking for animals tracks, nests, and holes in cactuses made the visit even more interesting than it would have been otherwise. After the gardens, we said goodbye to Clint - who was heading back home - and went to a train park. We weren't too sure if the boys were up for another stop, but they got a second wind in the car and had a great time at the park. We rode the little train, went through the train museum, and spent a long time hanging out on the grass, flying a kite, and enjoying the nice (if a bit chilly) day.

On Friday, Maba and Pop went back up to Camp Verde - where they ended up signing on the dotted line for a new house!! - and the rest of us took advantage of Mike's last day at home before starting his new job. I got up early and finally got my AZ driver's license. After I got home, we all headed out to the park to meet up with the homeschool group, but it was a VERY windy day and no one had shown up. The boys were a little bummed about that, but perked up when we got to our next destination - off-roading in the desert. We spent a few hours driving the trails, eating a picnic lunch, and scratching the heck out of Mike's truck. Paxton was nervous we were going to get lost, so we gave him one of the maps, and showed him where we were on the trail. He forgot all about being nervous once we started going through some of the true off-roading washes, rocks and ditches. Even Everett laughed hysterically as the branches whipped up against the windows. I kept my eye out for rattlesnakes, but the only wildlife we saw were some calves, followed by some some very large and angry looking bulls. We didn't stick around too long to watch them.

Saturday morning we woke up to RAIN, and lots of it. It was the coolest sound to wake up to. Paxton came into our room around 6 in the morning, wondering what the tapping sound on his window was. It's been a long time! We had a nice pancake breakfast, played some games of chess, Payday, and Fusion Crew, and tried to enjoy a final day that went way too quickly. We were all sad to see them off when it was time for them to go back to the airport, and will be counting the days till they come again.


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