Tuesday, September 30, 2008

prAying mantis should be spelled with an "e"

Monday afternoon was gorgeous and cool so the kids and I played outside until the mosquitoes came out and started eating us for dinner. We reluctantly picked up toys and went inside. My phone and iced tea were still outside, as well as Little Missy's beloved stroller, so I ran to get them when I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I looked at the handle of the baby stroller and saw a praying mantis chasing me. CHASING ME. It was following me.

No, I am not paranoid.

I was so taken aback that I stood at my front door and watched it. And it watched me. This strange little bug cocked it's triangle-shaped head and sized me up as I stood quietly, not able to believe that A BUG WAS FRONTIN. As we stood there, two females watching each other, it stood up straighter and flexed its forelegs. What, pray tell, did this wisp of a bug think it was going to do to me? I WILL SQUASH YOU, CRAZY CANNIBALISTIC BUG. Sheesh. So I did the only appropriate thing I blogger could do: I ran inside and grabbed my camera.

Apparently by the time I grabbed my camera I bored her Majesty the Mantis and she paid me no attention. I wish I could have snapped the picture when she was staring me down. The girl was crazy.

When Hubby got home I told him the whole crazy experience, much as I am telling you my friends, all excited and not really believing that a bug had contemplated attacking me. He already knew that praying mantises are all-too-ready to attack. Yes, the females are whack and eat their baby daddies, but I had no idea they would come after us human folk. I mean, a brown recluse spider will play dead and try to fade into my shower curtain when I find it in the morning, but a praying mantis will chase me when I walk by.

From Wikipedia: Most mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Some ground and bark species, however, pursue their prey rather quickly.

And apparently they live around my house.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Hubby is down to three-day workweeks (we shake our hands in anger at the Boeing machinists for messing up Spirit's schedule and pay) and so we have been taking advantage of all this time off: first we went to Fredonia to see his parents, then to Austin to see my parents, and this past weekend Hubby took little G camping.

Hubby's family has land from his grandparents that is pretty much open prairieland. Beautiful prairieland with hills and ponds and amazing sunsets. A gorgeous place to camp and play drums and commune with nature and eat raw fish with your hands. Or whatever it is boys do when they camp.

Here is G setting up the tent:

Set-up complete:

Saying hi to the cows:

He caught a fish! And this time he's not scared of it!

Not like he was a year ago when he wouldn't touch the fish but we couldn't keep his sister from it.

Then they cooked some dinner:

A happy end to the day:

While the boys were away doing their guy-things, Little Missy and I baked a cake and watched a Barbie princess movie. I felt slightly guilty at the events I planned for the two of us. Even though Hubby and I chuckled at his sister-in-law (Hi Ang! We love you! Don't be mad at us for what you next read!) for contemplating not giving her daughter a vacuum cleaner she'd received from her uncle for her first birthday because of the gender stereotypes, I really don't want my daughter to feel pigeon-holed into only enjoying overtly-girly things. But Little Missy genuinely loves dresses and baby-dolls and princesses. So I'll let her Daddy make her a tomboy and I'll balance her out with tiaras. And I would have polished her nails but we'd already done that the day before.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

we be crafty, part 2

Hi friends! It's been a long time.

Today we did our second official craft project: paper berries. First we went on a scavenger hunt to find sticks:

Luckily, my neighbor Bikini Girl never cleans out her yard so we found most of our sticks in her wood pile:

Next we used a fancy hole-punch to cut out circles from pretty craft paper:

Then we put glue on the circles before putting them on the sticks:

They turned out very well! Thank you, Jennifer Jones at howaboutorange.com, for the fantastic idea.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

my buddy and me

Hubby and I deliberately had our children close in age because we wanted them to be good friends and playmates. Now that they are both mobile and out of the parallel-play stage I am realizing just how much they do play together. They also fight--there are 5 or 6 times a day when they outright scream at eachother--but the rest of the day they follow eachother from room to room, play trains together, color together, sit on the couch and watch cartoons together. The cutest part of the day is when one of them wakes up first in the morning and asks where the other one is. I also love listening to the conversations between the two of them when they don't know Hubby and I can hear.

Preschool has been quite an adjustment for Little Missy. She is so sad to not be able to go into preschool with her beloved G and she cries everytime we leave. Yesterday when we were standing in line to pick him up she asked me "Can I hold him?" which is her goofy way of asking if she can give him a hug. So first thing, she gave him a hug. And he patiently obliged.

One of my prayers for them is that Hubby and I know how to foster their relationship and encourage it. Soon enough they will be in school with their own friends, but my hope is that they remain best friends with eachother while building new and important friendships. Because right now they are so dang cute.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

poor little man

Today we were at a playdate. The moms were upstairs dreaming up ways to redo a room and the kids were downstairs playing. G comes into the mommy room and tells me that one of his friends used the word "stupid" in reference to something he was doing. The mother of said child immediately went and took care of the situation, but little G was so sad. I think this was the first time he had his feelings hurt by one of his friends and I think it surprised him. The poor little guy got close enough for me to hug him and stroke his hair. He even got tears in his eyes. That is hard for a mom to see.

He's always been so strong, so indifferent to how other people acted toward him. I know it was because of his age but I really wanted it to be because he was so confident with a devil-may-care attitude. He's in preschool now and I won't be able to comfort him every time. But I will be here every time he's finished a day at preschool and I can comfort him then.

Monday, September 8, 2008

this is what's up with me

1. We brought home the weather from Seattle. And I have been loving the not-too-sunny days and the wonderfully cool weather. But today the not-too-sunny day has turned downright cloudy and it's started affecting my mood. Which has lead me to writing #2.

2. I wish everyone thought the way I think. All the "free exchange of ideas" and blah blah blah--I'm done with it. In college I enjoyed sitting around with friends and with our different opinions on life, but then one evening I got into a shouting match with a good friend. Ridiculous. I realized then that we would never see eye-to-eye, no matter how well we laid out our arguments, and so I rarely get into discussions with people who don't believe the same things I do. Really, it's because I think I'm right and I don't want to get annoyed with the other person and strain a relationship. So now I just wish everyone were logical and correct in their thinking the way that I am.

3. Our water was out, but now it's back on. But we still have an advisory to boil our water and that is a pain. So this morning the kids and I went to Target and loaded up on food that doesn't need preparation: sandwich stuff, grated cheese, tortillas ... My menu for the week has been thwarted by Augusta's water main break.

4. And I've been thinking a lot about Max. G is almost four, Max is four. So I read the comments on Max's blog and I am so encouraged by all the people who do not know this little guy but are still praying for him and his family. All my friends and family who are praying for him, too. I am surrounded by His love, manifesting itself in my husband, my children, my family and my friends, and on days when I'm a little blue I feel frustrated that I let the little things in life weigh me down when I am witnessing so many of His promises. But I know that He is beside me, holding my hand.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

little Max

The summer after my freshman year of college I lived in Tomball, Texas, so that I could work in inner-city Houston at the Impact Church of Christ. Charlie and Mollie Middlebrook, as well as their son Daniel, opened their home and their lives to me, and ten years later they still hold a special place in my heart.

Little Max Middlebrook, the grandson of Charlie and Mollie, is sick in Seattle, Washington. You can read his story here: maxmiddlebrook.blogspot.com. Please visit his site and keep him and his family in your prayers.


Monday, September 1, 2008

she's just so cute


disclaimer: Friends, I took a lot of pictures over two-and-a-half days. 281 to be exact. I filtered through them as best I could and put them on this here blog for you to see. However, I understand if only the most die-hard readers stay through to the end. With "die-hard" I mean Nana and Grandpa, and Grandma. If anyone else makes it through to the end. . .well, you probably have a lot of time on your hands. And I love you.

Day One:

Wednesday afternoon we drove to Kansas City and stayed overnight with my dear friend Amy and her husband Dave. Amy and Dave recently moved to a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood and it hit me: my friends are living in their grown-up houses now. When did this happen? We've all reached the stage where we've moved out of our starter homes, filled with hand-me-downs and college remnants, to our real homes, filled with furniture that we've chosen and actually like. It's a strange transition.

I was so happy to see Amy and Dave and my friend Gina, who sweetly came over for a little bit, and the chance to chat and laugh. The kids were soooo excited to sleep on the floor at Amy's house. G loved sleeping underneath a train blanket and Little Missy slept underneath a KU blanket. That hurt a little bit, but what are you going to do?

Day Two:

We drove to the airport and barely made it on time. But we made it on board and we were on our way!

The moving sidewalks in Denver were a big hit.

Loading up on sugar made the flight go faster.

And then we arrived in Seattle. Hooray! Amanda cooked a delicious meal of stromboli, then we went to cousin Gabe's soccer practice. On the airplane I wore a comfy dress that doesn't wrinkle. Pretty smart dressing, right? Well I should have changed to go to Gabe's soccer practice. Let me refer you to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com #87: Outdoor Performance Clothes. Little Missy and I looked a little strange because we were wearing dresses and sweaters outside, not North Face with capri pants. See Amanda? She's now a native.

The three younger kids played on the playground while Gabe practiced soccer with his team.

Then we headed down to the beach to look for some shells and to take pictures.

Day Three:

We rode on a ferry! Once on Whidbey Island the kids played in the sand:

Gabe found a femur while beachcombing:

Then we headed to the mountains. There aren't many places where you can be on the beach in the morning and the mountains for lunch. It was a beautiful spot with a rushing stream of clear water.

Then we headed further into the mountains and let the kids run around at a ski resort. G is not in these pictures because, as I said in a previous post, he tires of me taking so many pictures. Little Missy is not tired of them, and Gabe and Grady are used to their mom taking lots of pictures, so they are good sports about it. They know that we moms need to put cute pictures on our blogs.

Day Four:

We wanted to ride the train into Seattle but we didn't make it in time. Here are the kids on the way into the train station:

Our main purpose was to go to downtown Seattle to see the Space Needle and the Market. There was a massive amount of people down there for Bumpershoot (swpl #s 7, 18, 33, 41, 97). After making it through all the people trying a little too hard to be cool we got to the Monorail:

The kids on the Monorail looking at the Space Needle:

Then we got to the market (where they throw fish! Like on the Real World!). See: stuffwhitepeoplelike #s 5 & 6. The Market is STRESS-FUL. Lots and lots and lots of people, pushing against each other, all while trying to hold on to two little ones and stay with our family. This picture is before the stress.
Once in the market we headed to a cafe for some food (swpl #63). I heard some giggling behind me and caught the cousins being cute. I had barely taken the picture when Grady smacked his brother on the head. Brothers. What are you gonna do?

Little Missy decided to clean the table before we ate our lunch. Or rather, before everyone but her ate their lunch. But it was nice of her to clean the table for us.

Here's a picture for my friend Jessica: the first Starbucks. Also, stuffwhitepeoplelike #1.
At the market we bought blueberries (which Little Missy loved. I mean, it's okay she doesn't eat a whole lot of foods, right? She eats blueberries [superfood], bananas [superfood], oatmeal [superfood], and milk [not quite superfood, but pretty darn healthy.)
Then we watched some masked men armed with a camera harass the Scientologists.
Then we headed home to rest for a little bit before heading out with Hubby and Shawn's high school friend Nate. We ate more yummy seafood down by the beach we had been at our first night.

Day Five:

The flight home. So sad. Not necessarily the flight was sad, but leaving our family who are our dear friends.

Finally we landed in KC, loaded up the car and headed for home. Hubby and I got to talking and missed our exit BY 27 MILES. We took a 54 mile detour. Not what you want to happen when you're anxious for home. But the kids fell asleep, Hubby read his book while I listened to my music. It was nice to be in our beds.

Today we woke up late and it was so sad not to be in Seattle. It is a big place up there but we had a great time with our family. SAGG, we'll see you soon!!!