Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Members Only

We just got home from our third visit to the Tucson Children's Museum in three months, and it reminded me that I hadn't posted these photos yet. Why the frequency of visits to the Children's Museum, you ask? Well, during the first trip (which was supposed to be with our church's playgroup, except we were like two hours late and everyone had left but I had already told BB we were going to the Children's Museum, so we went to the Children's Museum, sans fellow children) it was clear that BB was at the perfect age for the Museum - he loved every minute and every exhibit. So we ended up getting a membership a month later (and they credited our previous visit) and I have big plans to get our money's worth. That's a joke - kind of. Really, I have big plans to get out of my house every day because my children need to be stimulated and also worn down so they will nap well, and because this mama goes crazy sitting at home day in and day out, watching the childfolk make messes that will later have to be cleaned up. (Also, I have even bigger plans to max out our membership next summer when it's too hot to go to the parks and the zoo. Pre-paid air-conditioned fun and no responsibility to clean anything? They're going to have to call someone to forcibly remove us from the premises.)  

So yeah, a picnic lunch at the park (no kitchen to clean at the park!) followed by a visit to the Children's Museum = fabulous. Today we went with friends (E and Z and their mommy) but on this first trip it was just me and my boys.

These last four pictures are all from the science room, which we had never seen before - it was awesome. That last picture was a "build your own rollercoaster" exhibit - I knew that J had to see this, he would love it. Sure enough, on our next visit J came with on his lunch break and J and BB got to work constructing the next X or Goliath (or whatever is the newest rollercoaster at Magic Mountain these days).

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Is Going To Be Incredible!

It's going to be an Incredible Halloween!!!

The Incredibles!
Elastigirl, Jack-Jack, and Dash Incredible.   We're just missing our Mister.  But he'll be in his super suit for Halloween, don't you worry!

 Our library story time had a costume parade on Thursday, so I wanted to have our costumes ready in time for the parade. Justin and I returned to Tucson late Monday night from a trip to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding - but more about that later. Since we knew the costume parade was Thursday morning, Wednesday was our designated Costume Day - we shopped and assembled all in one day.  Let me just say that having our costumes completely put together six days before Halloween is the way to do it!! We are so ready for Halloween!  The parade was really sweet - the library had little (non-candy) treats for the kids at different trick-or-treat stations - have I ever mentioned that I looooooooooove the library? Ever since we started going to story time, I have just been so thankful for our libraries - I mean, first off, FREE BOOKS!! And so many great programs and activities, like story time, TOTALLY FREE!! What an amazing country we live in that we have free access to parks and libraries, for all of us, but especially for our children. I am thankful. (And yes, I know that they aren't completely free, we pay for them with our taxes - in my opinion, money well spent!)

The parade
(And yes, I was the only Mom who dressed up for library story time)

With Mr. Eddie, our amazing story time teacher

Our boys were also given some other fun costumes as gifts from their aunties. Uncle M came home for work last week, and he brought costume gifts from the whole fam for BB and SS - a ninja costume and a giraffe costume.

The giraffe costume was a lil big. :) 

Uncle M taught BB lots of ninja rolls and chops - this is BB's ninja face.
(We later emphasized that ninjas don't have to be mean, they can be nice, and that ninjas are sneaky.)

And Auntie Jen and Cousins M and A and Uncle A sent a special Halloween box with treats and a special edition of Madagascar 3 that came with this cutie wig.


SS thought this wig was hilarious. I just love those smiles! He was on the move the whole time, trying to pull the wig off, and I like how you can see the motion in the photos.

This week BB has been saying something is "scary" if he doesn't want to do something - this wig was one of the "scary" things. But we finally convinced him to try it on and got this pic.

We have a dress up costume box in BB's room, and the giraffe and ninja and wig are really fun additions to our collection of "boy" dress up clothes.

Are you putting costumes together this week? How's it going? What kind of stuff are you using? One of my main goals is always to use what I already have and keep it cheap - I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not my boys' are wearing $2.50 girls shorts that I had to cut the bows off of for their Incredibles costumes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sprouts 2012

Between making time to get to the Sunday morning Farmer's Market to buy our seeds and the general busyness of the childfolk, we planted our garden late this year, in May. I planted basil, tomatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, cilantro, zucchini, and some other random seeds I can't remember. My garden guru Jenny always gives me her leftover seed, and I know there were some exotic things like Japanese eggplant and some beans.

This is what our garden looked like in July.

I grew one small cantaloupe, but I had a lot of vine and I could see there were different kinds of leaves and melons growing. I had planted Persian melons last year without much success, and either last year or this year I had also planted some baby watermelon seeds that Jenny gave me - I was pleasantly surprised when I my vines turned out to be baby watermelon vine!


Initially, the cantaloupe vine was doing well, and I wasn't sure what I was going to get when we cut this melon open, but lo and behold, it was a not-yet-ripe watermelon.  I learned to leave the melons on the vine longer to ripen.  I think the watermelon vine strangled out the cantaloupe vine, because after the initial little cantaloupe we grew, my cantaloupe melons would become about tennis ball-sized, and then kind of just rot on the vine. 

My zucchini plants did well initially and I grew a couple of large zucchinis, but then the zucchinis started rotting on the vine when they were fairly small before I could harvest (fancy word for "pick") them. I think I just don't have space for the giant zucchini plants to thrive, which is a bummer because we eat a ton of zucchini. 

My basil took a while to start growing, and I had pretty much given up on my tomato plants which hadn't produced AT ALL. Same thing with my bell peppers, which I have had good success with the past two years, so I was really disappointed that my bell peppers did not do well. I usually have one potted bell pepper plant that does awesome, and then a garden bed plant that does okay. At that point, the plants are in the back right and they hadn't really grown much at all - they were probably about a food tall.

And then came Fall.

You know, when all the plants are supposed to die?

Well, August and September are when my garden really took off. Here's a photo I took earlier today of my little urban jungle. I love how the vines are overflowing onto the patio and rock. Clearly, I need more space to grow melon. (Someday, someday...)

See the vine spilling out and creeping along the rocks and wall?

Most of what you see here is basil and the overflowing vine is mostly watermelon. We have had about four great watermelons, and still have another three on the vine still growing and ripening. AND I have dozens of cherry tomatoes, although they are all still green. Four have finally turned pink, so I am still holding out hope for a Fall cherry tomato crop. Even though I am actually ready to clear some things out so I can plant a winter garden, I am going to wait out my tomatoes. And I desperately need to make and freeze a ton of pesto so that the basil doesn't go to waste. And this is after two weeks of bringing bag fulls of basil to giveaway to Bible study. Good thing I love me some basil. We have also had about four bell peppers. My potted bell pepper seed never sprouted, but my garden bed bell pepper plants are doing pretty well - I can see the beginnings of a few more bell peppers on the plants now, another reason I want to wait to start the winter garden.

Enjoying our homegrown watermelon

So once my tomatoes and bell peppers settle down, I am ready to clear out and plant my first ever winter garden. I can't wait to grow lettuce!!!! Lettuce and kale and cilantro and parsley - I think those are what I'm most looking forward to. And I want to try onions and carrots, although I don't really have enough space for carrots.

Here's a list of everything you can plant in October, per my garden guru:
 Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprout, cabbage (I like to do bok choy!), carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, endive, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips. Herbs: arugula, anise, cilantro, chives, catnip, dill, fennel, parsley, sage, summer savory. Flower: zinnias and sweet peas.
And my other gardening friends recommended urbangardener.com

Someday maybe I will live in a big farmhouse and have giant garden beds and chickens and a cow who sticks her head in my kitchen window in the morning, but until then, I love my little backyard urban jungle.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just Keep Praying, Just Keep Praying...

(...a la Dory.)

This is the prayer card we just sent out for B.

Get it? Radiation, X-rays, skeletons, Halloween...

Maybe some people think it's a little weird to make a play on words about a 9-year-old's radiation treatment, but that's how we roll in this fam. In fact, Auntie Seen has been calling their time in Boston a "Radiation Vacation", and we bought these jammies as "Radiation Jammas", because in a silly place in our hearts these pajamas make us feel a little closer together while apart. These pajamas are a tiny way we remember and support B and her treatment this Fall. And they have the added bonus of being adorable.

BB misses his auntie and uncle and cousins. (As do we all.) When we stop by their house to check on things, when he talks about how his Auntie Seen likes XYZ all day long, when he insists that we need to make a 5th Halloween costume so Tada can be a part of the family costume theme, and when he wistfully talks about how Tada and B are "on Boston".

B's treatments are going well - she has nausea and headaches and hard days and better ones. About another month to go.

Just keep praying, just keep praying...

Oh, and here's a very cute little skeleton.

And some outtakes:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Big Girl-Sitting

Aw, remember Baby E? Well, just like BB, she's not a baby anymore. 

Big Girl E and her baby brother Z came over to play with us for a couple of days last month, and I loved seeing all of our kids together again. As an extra bonus, we got to spend part of E's actual birthday with her, which means she wore a pretty tutu and I gave her an ice cream treat right before her mom picked her up. 

On our way to the neighborhood park

The littles playing together-ish

My boy

BB and E running to each other across the park
(they kept running away from each other and then reuniting)

Meeting with a hug

So much love

It took almost two full days for me to figure out how to get this boy to smile at me, but eventually he cracked. (Of course, my white balance wasn't properly set.)

My favorite part of the day was listening to BB and E have a little Ike-and-Tina-Turner-esqe conversation after BB hit E (and of course got a time out and spanking and big-time talking to). I don't remember the exact details, but it was filled with "I love you"s and "I'm sorry"s and lots of circular logic from both sides - I kept trying to tell E she didn't need to be sorry, but she was so sad that BB was so sad. It was very entertaining.

Happy Birthday Big Girl E! We sure do love you!

Aye aye, Captain

J and I are working on achieving a financial goal right now (I feel like such a grown-up when I say that) which will, once achieved  greatly reduce our mortgage payment, which I am so excited about because a reduced mortgage payment opens up several new options for us. We have cut out a lot of extras since April so that we could put that money towards achieving our goal instead, and one of those "extras" was a summer vacation. As it turned out, our summer went nothing like we planned anyway, but still, once September rolled around I realized I hadn't been out of Tucson since March. MARCH! I was so ready for a weekend escape to Lake Havasu to celebrate my mom's birthday. 

We had a wonderful weekend with my mom, but, hands down, my favorite part of our trip was when we rented a boat and got out on the water. Especially because we have our own personal boat captain, Captain GG.

BB was initially anxious, but after a few minutes on the boat he became more comfortable, and by the end he kept requesting to go faster.

Safe on Daddy's lap, when BB was still apprehensive about the boat

My boys

The view

SS's first time in a life vest

Moments after the above photo - SS had mixed feelings about the life vest.

Or maybe he was just ready for a nap, because shortly after bouncing along on the water he was lulled to sleep in my arms.

When we were getting ready to go out on the boat, BB asked if he could be the captain, and we told him he'd have to take it up with his GG. Luckily, GG was happy to oblige.

Our Captains
BB spent most of the boat trip happily driving the boat with GG

I jumped off the back of the boat for a quick swim, and this was SS's reaction:

My boys

After we got off the boat we headed to Mudshark, where I worked for two years in high school, for lunch with my friend from high school.
I was able to hang out with Jess and talk for a couple of hours while the boys napped at the hotel - fun to catch up with an old friend.

And that night my mom organized a bowling night for us and my step-brothers and their families to all spend some time together. My step-dad treated us all to pizza, I got to meet my step-brothers kiddos, and BB got to bowl for the very first time - he loved it.  

And we even got a family photo.

This one's blurry, but I still like it.

Thanks Captain GG for a memorable getaway - we hope your birthday was a little extra happy!!