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

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Moving, Monopoly, and scorpion-colored lizards

The day after tomorrow, all this back-and-forthing will finally end, and we will officially move into the new house. The renovations are far from being finished, but given the choice of a house under construction and a house overrun with scorpions, we'll take the construction any day of the week.

The boys are alternating between enthusiastically helping with packing and moving and, well, being boys! They have been on a Monopoly kick lately, especially Paxton, and we've played many hours-long games over the course of the past several days. Tuesday we went to quarry where our countertops are being made, and got a tour of the facility. They really enjoyed seeing behind-the-scenes, and asked a lot of questions. Spencer was particularly in awe of the forklifts moving the giant slabs of granite. Tomorrow we're headed to a homeschool harvest party, and they're looking forward to painting pumpkins, and dipping their own caramel apples. And on Saturday, we MOVE! I think we'll all be relieved to settle in at the house and adjust to a new sense of normal.... hopefully a normal that does NOT include scorpions!!! Saturday night I looked out at the patio of the new house and saw what looked to me like a gigantic bark scorpion scurrying along the wall. I was ready to put the house on the market, and move to.... I don't even know where. Somewhere else. But it turned out to be just a lizard, and was soon joined by two of its lizard friends. The kids thought they were really cool, but I couldn't shake the resemblance - even if just from a quick glance - to the straw colored scorpions that have plagued us for the past several months.

In other news, Paxton is very proud (and excited and freaked out and anxious) about his very first loose tooth.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Miley, meet Lilly

All our research on rats led us to the conclusion that Miley needed a cagemate. Rats are extremely social animals, and do the best in pairs. So Sunday night we were off to PetSmart yet again, this time to pick our second rat... an adorable tan and white one we named Lilly. We all spent close to two hours shut into our spare bedroom so they could play and get re-acquainted. They'd been cagemates at the store though, so they took to each other right away. It was the first time we really let them climb all over us, and it was as important for us as it was for them. The two of them have so far proven to be wonderful pets, and a great distraction from everything else that is going on.

The constant back and forth from this house to the new house has everyone tired, and it's beginning to show. The boys have been incredible troopers though, and they always bounce back after a few hours of R & R. Saturday night we watched a marathon session of Property Ladder together, and it amused me to note that the kids already know more about house flipping than some of the people on the show.

We started choosing paint colors this weekend, and it took a lot of brainstorming for everyone to come to a conclusion on the boys' rooms. There are only 3 bedrooms - one for us, and two to split up among the 3 boys. One is right by the master, and the other is clear on the other side of the house. Spencer and Paxton finally decided that they'd each choose the color for, and decorate, their own rooms.. but that for now they'd sleep together in the room closest to us.

This morning was the first showing of this house to a potential renter. The boys and I (and the rats) took off for an hour, grabbed a couple donuts and drinks, and had ourselves a little tail-gate picnic in the parking lot. It was a fun excursion, and a completely gorgeous fall day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Congratulations, it's a girl!

Meet the newest member of the McGrail household! This is Miley (named after Miley Cyrus, AKA Hannah Montana), a 5 month old Fancy Rat.

Paxton wanted a hamster for his birthday, but ended up deciding at the last minute that he'd rather have a bike right now, and hamster for Christmas. We got the bike, he rode it a few times.... then decided it was a little too tall for him, and gave it to Spencer. He was completely fine and happy with his decision, but I wanted him to have another present. So we looked into the hamster. We read all the websites, and researched all the small pets.... and found that rats make even better pets. They're highly social, intelligent, and friendly (and as a bonus, live much longer than hamsters too) Paxton was very certain that a rat was his choice, and couldn't wait to get one.

We were going to wait until we were in the new house, but we're not always good with waiting, especially when Mom (aka Me) is excited about something. :-) Everything's been so crazy and busy lately, with packing and cleaning and going back and forth to the new house. I was really wanting a distraction, for the boys and for me. Plus, I just wanted to do something fun with them, completely unrelated to moving or renovations. We had to have the carpets cleaned on Wednesday, which meant spending the afternoon out while they dried. We hit Barnes and Noble first, to browse and play with the trains, and then headed to PetSmart. We found a great, knowledgeable salesclerk who helped us pick out everything we needed to get started, and finally picked the rat herself. Paxton chose a black and white one, and she was hands-down the cutest one there.

We set up her cage together, and have been focusing on her helping her get settled and acclimated to her new home. I never thought I would be a rat owner, but she is a wonderful pet!! She is curious and sweet, and she keeps us all laughing. The boys spent the first day running up and down the stairs every fifteen minutes to check on her, so the second day we brought her down to her new home on my desk. We're still researching like crazy, and both boys are scouring the internet - both with me, and on their own - for info, photos, tips, and ideas for food, toys, and games. They are so excited about her they can barely sleep.

She was exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Work and Play

Everything has shifted into over-drive lately, as we work to get the new house re-modeled, our rental house packed up, and try to keep some semblance of life as we know it. Friday we went up to spend the weekend at the house again. Dinner was fast-food, and the boys toasted marshmellows over a candle for dessert. We worked most of the morning on Saturday, pausing only to play army guys and Fusion Crew with the kids. We shopped all afternoon, and decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner out - nicer than fast food anyway, which has become a little too common-place for our weekend meals lately. We found a nearby Applebees, and had such a good time that we decided we needed to do it more often.

Sunday morning we spent an inordinate amount of time at Home Depot, finalizing and paying for our granite selection. The boys made friends with some other kids in the kitchen section, and kept themselves busy while they waited. Next, it was up to Anthem for Anabelle's birthday party. We enjoyed lunch, cake, and presents, and the boys spent hours outside on the swingset. It felt good to visit, play, and relax for the afternoon.

Monday morning was a meeting with our contractor, and back to Tempe in time to be home for the bug guy. Yesterday was packing, and today was babysitting. In between, the kids have played with their friends, learned about electricity, played at new math and geography websites, and re-discovered old toys and games before they packed up them up for the journey up to Phoenix.


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