Friday, May 29, 2009

Well, Blow Me Down!

Last week, Sweet Pea went over the neighbor girl's house to play. At supper time SP can skipping home covered head to toe with mud.
"What happened?", Lady Di shrieked as she slammed the storm door.
"G and I were making sculptures.", SP responded.
"You were making a mess with mud.", I countered.
"No, we were sculpting with clay.", she protested.
Which is partially true. Our ground is all clay. Not modeling clay, mind you, but greasy, sticky, muddy clay. It's awful if you need to dig a hole after a rain.

Here is a display of SP's artwork. There are a couple of pinch pots, a Popsicle, two puppies and a bunch of stuff that looks like something we would find in the yard after we let our dog out.
Right away SP said she wanted to take the 'puppies' up to her room and put them on her dresser. Right away Lady Di said, "No mud in the house!"
"But it's clay!", SP whined.
Then, to avoid a monumental clash of the titans, I asked SP if I could decorate my garden with her sculptures. They both thought this was a great idea.

So with my clay decorations nicely melting with the rain, here is an updated crop report on our pumpkin patch. The warm weather and my daily watering diligence have yielded promising sprouts.

I planted eight mounds with seeds and so far six of the mounds are showing signs of life. If I can get at least one pumpkin from each mound I will be happy. But I will accept more too.

Other changes in our yard are not as positive. Last Wednesday, we were visited by strong winds. One of the gusts blew over one of our larger dead trees. Which isn't all that bad except when it fell it knocked over two other trees, one of which had one of our hooks for the hammock.

Here is the big one that snapped off in the wind. It's about eight feet off of the ground.
Here's our poor hammock tree that got bullied down by big tree.

And here is the entire gruesome scene.

The good thing is that we now have bonfire wood for the next ten years. The bad thing is after spending an afternoon with the chainsaw, I have a Paul Bunyan sized back ache. Now, does anyone want to split logs for me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Belated Birthday Post

Sweet Pea's birthday was a few weeks ago and we are still celebrating. Since our social butterfly has so many friends we had to coordinate two separate parties to accommodate SP's lengthy guest list.

Her first party took place at a local water park. Lady Di gave SP's friends' mothers an extra Mother's Day gift by scheduling the party on Mother's Day. While those mothers were getting a break, our little party was almost the only ones at the pool this day.

Here's our fish in the water. This park had three water slides to rush down. Two of them were large enough to ride down on inner tubes. One of the water slides was a body slide that you rode down without a tube. It was the fast one. It was tame enough at the top of the steps, but about half way through, my momentum was used to full advantage. I am glad that my trunks were tied tight because I'm sure I would have lost them at the bottom of the slide.

This is the rocket slide that I couldn't convince Lady Di to brave. She opted for the more leisurely but no less entertaining 'Toilet Bowl' slide. This tube slide started with a big, sudden drop into darkness only to emerge into the light inside a large orange and pink bowl. After circling around the bowl once or twice our tube was sucked down the drain in the center and flushed out into the pool. Even though Lady Di was having a blast each time down the toilet bowl, she wasn't so courageous her first time. A few of the birthday guests commented on how well Lady Di could scream when she went down her first slide.

The afternoon ended with pizza, cake and more swimming. And no one got a cramp.

Sweet Pea's second birthday party was held at our house. Lady Di set up an art project for all of the girls. We bought some flat, rectangle paving stones from the hardware store and let the girls paint them.

Here Sweet Pea and her friend are comparing flower technique. For some reason a lot of the girls painted flowers, butterflies and lady bugs. Lady Di got this idea many years ago and we now have a dozen or more stepping stones in our yard with the kids' names, hand prints, ages and artwork.

Our second birthday afternoon ended with a spirited game of P o k e n o with Beanie Babies as prizes.

Both birthday parties were fun and SP's friends were all well behaved. LD and I both agreed that two parties were too much. We were wondering what we were thinking. Next year we will all have to share a family birthday party. We will sing 'Happy Birthday' to Sweet Pea, let Number One Son blow out the candles, Lady Di can open presents and I will eat the cake and ice cream. Then every year we will just rotate the birthday order. I'm sure the family will agree with my logic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Throwing a Fit

Wii finally broke down and bought a Wii Fit. Wii had been interested in one for a long time but lucky for us(me), the stores were always sold out. My luck ran out when we just happened to check out our local Target store. The shelf was empty and I exhaled yet another sigh at my good fortune at dodging another bullet to the exercise train. My victory was short lived though when Lady Di asked the clerk if he could look up availability at another store. When he checked it out, he discovered that his store actually had two Wii Fits in their back room.

You could actually hear me deflating like a Whoopee cushion.

Once home with our 'prize', we immediately (eventually) started it up. It was kind of fun to set up though. The Wii exercise board took measurements of our weight and BMI. I didn't care for the results, but it still was fun to watch it work. The game even plumped up my Mii to more closely match my girth. The all-knowing Wii board then computed my Wii fitness age based on my weight, height, BMI,hair style and shirt collar width. It turns out that my body is actually seven years older than I really am. Which is very good if you are talking about your reading level, but quite poor for fitness. Now, if it would have taken maturity level into consideration, it might have lowered my age a bit more.

So now the 'fun' part. Exercising. In reality, I do have fun exercising with it. I'm a master at Super Hula Hoop. The kids are pushing me to stay ahead of them though.

As long as I can keep Hula-ing my hips, I'm sure the extra seven years will just melt away.

I'm looking younger already.

Sweet Pea can shake it with the best of them.

One thing I have noticed with all of our Wii games is that, no matter how good you are at the Wii, it doesn't translate well into the real life game. Number One Son made the comment that he will probably bowl really well because he can roll a 200 on the Wii. He found out that an actual bowling ball weighs a little more than the Wii remote. And just because you can rock to Hot For Teacher in Guitar Hero, it doesn't mean you can play a real guitar.

I'm going to test this theory the next time we visit the toy store. I'm going to grab a Hula-Hoop and put on a spectacle. Or probably just make a spectacle of myself.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Green Acres

I've always wanted to plant a garden but I just never seemed to have the space or the time. This year I set aside 8 feet square of space to force me to find the time to plant it. So I guess I'm a farmer now. Which I know is an insult to real farmers world wide but that's what I'm going with.

Here is a picture of my victory garden.
This year, with luck, it will be a pumpkin patch. Strictly for Halloween jack-o-lanterns. The seed package said to plant 3 to 4 seeds per mound and to space the mounds four feet apart. I planted 5 to 6 seeds per mound and squeezed them together as much as I could. I'm going for quantity instead of quality. Actually, I will be happy with anything orange.

My main goal will be to keep our vegetable marauders out long enough to get a harvest. Next on the list is to make an intimidating scarecrow to keep watch over my precious patch.

Along with the pumpkin seeds, I planted a couple other 'surprises' that everyone will have to wait for in the fall.

As the days tick onward I will hopefully have some pictures of something actually growing besides weeds to show. Until then, I have to get my overalls washed and fetch some water from the well. I will let you know when to come over for the barn raising.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Liquid Fence, Part II

If anyone remembers my episode with the liquid fence, you will know that I was pretty much avoided for a half a day due to an unfortunate spill. This week I got up the courage to revisit the liquid fence and put it to use.

For the last couple of years, we have had a problem with multiple rabbits eating everything in our yard. All winter these rabbits would gnaw every bush we had down to the ground and leave mounds of pellets in their wake.

So now we fast forward to this week. I got my sprayer down from the shelf and filled it with 1 gallon of water. I then grabbed the bottle of concentrated egg putrescents and garlic bits.

Did you think I was going to drop it again? Sorry, I was much more careful this time. Although the childproof cap made me nervous when I had to firmly press down while turning.

I mixed the formula and sprayed a defensive perimeter around the yard. I also sprayed around our front porch where we suspect a den of rabbits may be living.

Once done, I waited for the liquid fence's claim of 'Odorless when dry' to come true. I'm still waiting.

Lady Di was less than impressed. She asked me if I was going to put the sitting chairs on the porch this year since it was too stinky to sit out there anyway.

Sweet Pea also had her opinion of the fence's usefulness. "Your fence stinks! Maybe you should find one that doesn't smell to us but rabbits don't like it."

She was further angered by how the fence was affecting her social life. "Dad!", she complained, "M and D (neighbor kids) don't like your fence either. They just ran away."

This fence is already working.

PS:This all happened three weeks ago. Yesterday morning, I was dismayed to see one of the bunnies happily enjoying a barberry bush salad not ten feet from our front door. I guess I will have to mix up a sprayerful of stink fence to keep in the house for when I have to storm out the front door with guns blazing. I think I will also have Sweet Pea make some 'No Bunnies' signs to post in our yard. That'll show 'em. My next strategy will be to watch old Warner Bros. cartoons to learn the tactics Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck used on rabbits.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blades of Glory

The nice weather has blown the dust off of the summer toys. The bikes are no longer hanging in the garage. The supply of sidewalk chalk is getting dangerously low. And the kids decided that this was the year to try out their roller blades.

We had gotten the kids each a pair of roller blades a couple of years ago but neither one was very interested. This spring, however, Sweet Pea really wanted to attack the road with them. Number One Son was less enthused. I think he was a little intimidated by trying something new. So the first day was all Sweet Pea shuffling inch by inch around the street. She got good use out of her wrist guards and knee pads. Toward the end of the afternoon she was actually gliding a little. The next day after school she strapped them on to get the mail across the street. Fifteen minutes and a red face later I was sorting bills.

Number One Son saw SP skating and must have felt that he could do anything his little sister could do. With his sister motivating him he too wore himself out trying to figure out how to get passed the gutter at the end of the driveway without a pillow bungeed to his butt.

Now the only odd one out is me. Lady Di has been blading for years and now she has two skating partners. I have no skates and brittle butt bones, so I will have to ride my bike when the family decides to roll out.

On an unrelated note, here is my parenting tip for the day.

SP doesn't not like to eat carrots. I will only put two baby carrots on her plate and usually have to plead, threaten, bargain or blackmail her to nibble on one of them. So last night we were finishing up supper and two lonely carrots remained on her plate. To make them more exciting I told her that these were different carrots. She is old enough now to know when a snow job is coming but she still humors me.

I told her, "These are carrots on the cob.". I then held the ends of the baby carrot and gnawed all around the sides like a chipmunk. Both kids started eating their carrots on the cob in the same manner. After the fifth carrot I asked if they were done so I could put the bag of carrots away. "No!", Sweet Pea yelled. They actually finished the bag. So next time your kids doesn't want to eat something, no matter what it is, try eating it like corn on the cob. If it works, you're welcome. If it doesn't, I'm sorry you looked so ridiculous.

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.