Thursday, June 28, 2012

Compressors, gardening and potty training

-We are preparing for our vacation to Colorado. I now realize why we don't travel very much. I'm utterly exhausted trying to prepare the animals and house for our departure. It sure isn't helping that the temperatures have been over 105 degrees for the past week. This is naturally the time when my air conditioning compressor in my car dies. This is the car that we are planning on taking to Colorado. A new compressor runs $1120 at the local Ford dealer. Yikes. We can order a compressor and hubby can install it for about a quarter of the cost but we don't have the time. So we might be renting a car or hubby might be able to tinker with the valve and get it working. Ugh, why do things always die at the most inopportune time? On a funny side note, I was talking to the mechanic that tested the AC unit and mentioned we needed the car for a trip to Colorado and he looked at me funny and said "You do know Colorado is on fire right?" Yep, well aware. We aren't going to those locations.

-The garden is starting to produce a whole lot of veggies. I'm sure everything will ripen up while we are gone. But not to worry, there are so many grasshoppers this year that I'm sure nothing will go to waste. I've never seen so many grasshoppers in my life.  I have managed to bring in several onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and corn. My favorite thing to do with the produce is make wraps for lunch. They make the low carb wraps and I slice up pepper jack cheese, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, spinach and drizzle it with a little italian dressing. So good and a great way to get oodles of veggies into your diet. I am loving the garden.

-Potty training has been an adventure. Miss Greta is really ready but I don't want to full on tackle it until we get back from vacation. She's going number two on the big potty usually once a day but still urinates in her Pull Up. She absolutely loves her princess Pull Ups and pulls them on and off by herself. Whenever big brother says he has to go, so does she. So they sit in there together doing their thing....usually with magazines. When we return we are going to hit it hard, let her pick out big girl undies, candy as a reward and sticker chart. I'm ready, she's's to no more kids in diapers!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adventures of Crack Boy and Wedgie Girl

You should be happy it's low resolution. These kids can't keep their swimsuits where they belong. They are sure having fun in the water these days. Swim lessons are over and Wesley did great! Teacher said he was the most improved in his class. We are signing up for another two week class in July. But in the mean time it's kiddie pool time at home....and many wardrobe malfunctions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Billy Bob

So I've been wanting another tortoise for awhile now. We built an outdoor pen for our leopard tortoise (which I'm now wishing we'd made bigger) and I was toying with the idea of adding another. If you know me at all, you know that once an idea forms in my head there is not much chance it won't happen. I get a bit obsessed. So when my friend Jessica suggested having a garage sale I jumped at the idea to sell off old junk to finance my new little friend. Last week I spent several hours gathering unused toys and scrubbing them clean. Then last weekend I sold nearly everything making just enough (see, it was an omen). Tortoises aren't cheap, hatchling Leopard tortoises run $170 and Sulcata's run $130. I decided on a Sulcata.

Sulcata's are an African desert tortoise and they can get big. I mean BIG. Technically they are the third largest tortoise in the world. They were a very popular pet about ten years ago right after the iguana craze. People would go out and buy these little tiny iguanas and then years later be left with these six foot animals. Well the same things go for Sulcatas. They can easily get 30 inches long and over 100 pounds. They say don't think about this species unless you are able to house a small pony (check!). An adult can keep a 50 ft X 50ft yard mowed. I know all of this is usually said to deter someone from buying a Sulcata but it just intrigues the heck out of me. I've wanted one for years and have researched them like crazy (as I do all of my animals).

On Sunday I went with my earnings to the local reptile house and bought my little Sulcata. He's one year old and came from a vet/breeder in New Mexico. He's super sociable and is not scared of anything. I named him Billy Bob (because it makes me snicker). He gets along with Cecil wonderfully. In fact when I put Billy Bob in the outdoor enclosure, Cecil popped his head out of his shell to check out the newcomer and trucked it over to say hello. They are nearly always next to each other. It's pretty cute. They eat the same kinds of foods such as clover, dandelions, mulberry leaves, petunia flowers, grass, marigold leaves and flowers and sunflower leaves. They have even taken a liking to the prickly pear pads that were brought up with Rich from New Mexico. Billy Bob will catch up with Cecil in size in no time, perhaps 2-3 years he'll be as big as Cecil.

Meet Billy Bob. Ain't he cute?

 He enjoys his daily 15 minute warm water soak. You have to keep these youngsters well hydrated.  He's got such a lovely smooth shell (which I'm sure comes from being raised outside in sunny New Mexico). New research is showing proper hydration and humidity, when they are little, will keep that shell smooth without the pyramiding that Cecil has.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day Weekend

What a nice weekend we had. The weather was beautiful so we all hopped in the car and headed to the small amusement park in town to ride the rides and do the go carts. Greta was old enough (and brave enough) to ride some of the rides all by herself. It was really cute seeing her in a ride next to her brother. The boys got to go on the go carts which Wesley loves. It was humid and fairly hot but it was nice to get out with the kids and have a little fun. Hope you all had a nice weekend as well.

I hope all the fabulous fathers out there had a nice and relaxing day. It was nice having Rich here to celebrate Father's Day with. He's a great guy who raised the great guy I married.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Wednesday Write-Up

Swimming lessons are going wonderfully. We are on day three of an eight day class. He's open to trying anything the teacher suggests and jumps right in. I couldn't be more proud of the little dude. By the end of next week he'll be able to swim the length of the pool. I'm excited to see that.


The garden is growing like crazy! Corn has tassels, tomatoes are about two inches round and there are even tiny little cucumbers. When I plant the garden I also plant something in the flower bed with the trellis. Last year I tried pole beans which turned out to be quite beautiful foliage but never made a single bean. So this year I tried morning glory. It's already to the top of the bird feeder and still going. Every morning it is packed full of lovely blue and purple flowers. So far it's a winner. I mentioned to my Mom (who was born and raised in California) that I planted some Morning Glory and she looked at me strangely and said "You know that's a noxious weed in California." I laughed. If this is a noxious weed then I'll take it!

The kids are at the glorious age where I can, for the most part, put them outside to play by themselves. Of course I check on them quite often (like every four minutes), but I'm able to go inside and start dinner or answer the phone without the fear or them harming themselves somehow. I've waited for this day for many years and it's all I could have wished for and more. They are still small and can get into trouble in no time flat but they do pretty good. Brother even gave Sis a ride on the hog the other day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Wheels

Talk about a parenting fail. Wesley is nearly five years old and this weekend was the first time he's been on a bike. Well, he's pedaled around a little tricycle in the house a few times but as for a real bike....nothing. I bought him one at a church garage sale last year and finally got around to fixing it up this weekend. Rich and Sean did their man stuff to it, like repacking the bearings and fixing the punctured tubes and we are left with a pretty decent little bike that will get him through the next few years. Yes, I did buy him a helmet but he's not wearing it for this little video. Once the training wheels go on tonight he will be free to ride it as he wishes....with a helmet. He's one happy little boy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Zoo Shmoo

Sometimes I wonder why I even try. Every year summer rolls around and every year I get excited to go to the zoo. We have a lovely zoo here and I love going. I wish every year that comes and goes my children will start to enjoy going. But alas I'm starting to think the love of animals has skipped a generation. My children do not like the zoo. About 20 minutes into a 3-4 hour visit the whining starts. It initially started with hunger whines. So we had an early lunch at 11. Then the "it's so hot, I need shade" started in. It was a gorgeous day in the 80's with a nice cool breeze, seriously couldn't have asked for a nicer day at the zoo. Then Wesley started lying down at every bench he could find. This is while Greta is having meltdown number four which includes bizarre intermittent screams. The only way I can even get the kids somewhat excited is to tell them they can get something at the gift shop at the end of the visit. I'm starting to think I should just drop the kids off at the Grandparents house and I should go to the zoo by myself. Oh well. Another year down, maybe next year is the year they start to enjoy it.

I had a nice time though even if the kids didn't. The zoo was crawling with baby animals which was great to see.  A baby orangutan and half a dozen baby pygmy goats were by far the highlights of the trip. Jessica and her kids went with us and her kids seemed to enjoy themselves which was nice to see. Glad half the kids had smiles on their faces.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Summer is here and now starts of daunting task of keeping two little kids happy for the next two and a half months. Thus the Summer Bucket List has been compiling in my head. It isn't complete but it's getting there. Here's what I have so far:

1. Swimming Lessons for Wesley
2. Zoo Trip(s)
3. Geocaching
4. Trips to the pool
5. Colorado Vacation
6. Fishing
7. Hiking
8. Wildlife Park

I wanted to get started on the list so I started at number one. Called around and found out that the new YMCA, that's fairly close to us, is offering swimming lessons for preschoolers. Went in there today and discovered that it's nearly the same price for a family membership as it is to just get the kids in there for swim lessons. So now we have a lovely family membership to the YMCA for the summer and I couldn't be more thrilled. We took a tour of the facility and I am so excited to start going with and without the kids. The pool looks great for the kids and the workout facility looks like a blast for me. I'm trying to figure out a way to escape without the kids that doesn't involve getting up at 5:30 am.

In the meantime we thoroughly enjoyed the indoor pool today (the outdoor pool was closed because it wasn't 80 degrees). It was the first time the kids have ever been in a big, non kiddie pool. It took some coaxing to get Greta in but after awhile both were hamming it up in the water. Swimming lessons start June 11th for Wesley, Greta will go next summer as she's too young and they don't offer any for her age group at this YMCA. I expect to be at the pool several times a week. And if today was any indicator, we will all be pretty exhausted by the end of the summer.

Last weekend we attempted a little Geocaching. If you aren't familiar with geocaching I'll sum it up for you. Someone creates a "cache" or what I call a treasure box. They put "swag" in it, or treasure. Then they hide the treasure box somewhere. Anywhere. Then they get on the website ( and put in the coordinates to their treasure box. You then plug those coordinates into your GPS (or Hubby's smart phone in our instance) and walk around until you find the cache. Once you find it, you open it up and write down your name and date on the little sheet of paper inside. Then if you want, you can trade out a piece of swag for one that you brought.

So off we went this past Monday in hopes of introducing the kids to the wonderful world of geocaching. I picked three easy caches all within a few miles of each other (they are EVERYWHERE folks). Got to the first one and hunted all over that bridge for something, anything....but there was nothing. I climbed completely under the bridge and even found the perfect spot but it was gone. Strike one. So we headed to the next coordinates and once again found nothing. Talk about frustrating. The kids where getting bored and tired and I think even the Hubby was starting to think I was nuts. We headed out to the last coordinates which happened to be in a cemetery. Now mind you it was Memorial Day. Perhaps not the greatest idea to be tromping around a cemetery on Memorial Day but it was empty so we went ahead.  Found the tree with the cache but also found it to be inhabited by a very angry mommy bird who wasn't about to let me near it. So we completely striked out. But, as one of my favorite movie quotes says "Never give up, never surrender," we will head out again soon to find some hidden treasure and this time we will not give up until we find one.