Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Has Arrived

The weather has switched (I'm pretty sure). No more lovely 75 degree days and 50 degree nights. No more sleeping with the windows open bringing in a lovely cool breeze. No more air conditioning free days (or nights). No more long sleeves, even at midnight. No more cooking, inside or out. :)  *sigh*

BUT, there is A LOT of swimming. There are tank tops and summer dresses and letting wet hair dry all crazy. There is lots of playing on the grass in the dark and soon there will even be midnight swimming. There are consistent hot days and warm nights. I'm already counting down the days until monsoon season and hoping for a lot of great summer's the only thing that breaks up those crazy hot afternoons. Last year, monsoon season was totally lame. Hoping for better this year!

I'm just trying to come to terms with it all. It is summer. And summer here is nothing short of a scorcher. It is HOT. Dry, but hot.

I really, really love my pool!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chicken Chronicles::Vol. 8 (On the Roof)

Chickens, chickens, chickens. They are naughty little things. I take full responsibility for that. We only have 4 of them, thank goodness, and I can only imagine what kind of trouble they would get in if there were, say, 8...which I was thinking for a while might be what I wanted. :) I think I'll stick with 4. The little chicks have been getting bigger and bigger. They've got to be about full size now, although their combs and wattles are still coming in....and no eggs yet!
Well, I prefer to just let the things roam. We have a big yard and they are entertaining and do their fair share of fertilizing and pest control while they are out there. They are driving Rand a bit nuts because they aren't quite "contained" enough for him. For example, they wander onto his very clean patio. They go after the dog food. They get up on our patio chairs. And let's just say you can tell where a chicken has been. For several evenings in a row we came outside after dinner to find them up on our wall. Uh-oh! I was a tad concerned they were going to jump down to the other side so we would lure them down to our side with treats.
I've been very diligent about locking up their coop at night since I rescued them from a giant stray cat one time. So the other night, it was just before dark, and I went out to lock up their coop since I knew they would be in there hunkered down for the night. Well, instead, I found them hunkered down for the night.....ON THE ROOF! Like on the roof of our house!!! I thought it was hilarious and ran inside to grab the fellas and my camera, of course. :) Rand had been out golfing all day and he was beat. He basically said, "Well, get a ladder," and turned as if he were going back inside. What? I have to do it by myself????
So I grabbed our little ladder and a broom. Then I started getting a little worried that if I shoo'd them off the roof with the broom they might hurt their legs from such a high jump. I knew they had gone from the little fence, to the wall and then to the roof. (they aren't terrific fliers) So I sheepishly approached my gracious hubby and said, "Ummmm, I think I need help." So Rand-O climbed the ladder onto the chicken coop, onto the wall, across a narrow gate, and climbed onto the roof. I got on the ladder. One by one, Rand grabbed a chicken and handed it to me on the ladder. And then I handed them down to the boys who, I think, are hoping this happens again.
It was kind of a fun, impromptu, adventure, but I'm pretty sure I need to clip their wings, although I'm not convinced they need them to get where they were! We shall see!! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Boys on the Town

Rand and the big boys got a fun night out the other night. We have some new-ish friends who have boys on our boys' baseball teams (so they are in all the same places as us all week). They invited us to go watch the D-backs kinda of last minute when they acquired some free tickets. I decided to hang back with Easton since it was a 6:40pm game and he would be no good after the 1st inning anyway. Rand thought it would be fun for the boys to take the light rail downtown rather than drive through rush-hour and try to find parking. He was right. They loved it. I think the whole night was a blast, especially being at the game with their best baseball buddies. I made Rand take the camera and they came back with proof of their night out! They weren't home until 10:30pm. They were pumped full of all kinds of sugar and came possessing 2 balls they got from their perfect sidelines seats!

I love this picture. They all look just a little bit crazy. I blame it on the copious amounts of sugar that was consumed during those 9 innings!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Around the Yard

Talk about a major work in progress!!! We LOVE having a big yard, but there is so much we want to do with it, we have to be careful not to be always frustrated that it isn't up to par yet...and who knows when it will be! There is never enough time or dollars to get it done fast enough!  When we bought this house the yard was, at best, patchy grass. There was strange railroad-tie landscaping everywhere. There was buried river rock and boards that probably nicely bordered the yard a long time ago. And that was about it! Since late winter we have been working, working, working (mostly Rand has). He ripped out every last railroad-tie (except the 2 hammock posts). He spent HOURS engineering a watering system that would get the most coverage with the least amount of work (he has actually succeeded!!). We have planted grass seed and re-planted grass seed. We have watered diligently. We have planted a (very) small vegetable garden. I guess I could go on and on! There are a few pictures of what the yard used to look like here and here.

And here is some of our work in progress!

see? still have new grass coming in.

our mini-park. we want to fill this area with something but haven't decided on what. sand? pea gravel? rubber mulch??
This whole area is right off our patio when you come out our back door. Coming soon (hopefully) pavers to extend the patio and make this a nicer (cleaner) lounging and eating area.

this is what the ground is like under that table. really fine dirt. i have an obsession with sprinkling it with the hose so it's not all dry and dusty. :)

beyond that black hose (part of our intricate watering system) my plan is to make this the future vegetable garden. i'd like 5 (or so) raised beds.

growing vegetables has been a big learning curve. how do you garden in the desert??? we protected everything from the chickens, but failed to think about other birds. pretty much all the seeds i planted didn't have a chance. of 2 rows of cantaloupe i have 2 little plants that survived. same with sunflowers and zinnias. BUT, i have tomato plants with green fruit already! i have peppers doing nicely from starts, but the bell pepper seeds i planted got gobbled up as soon as they sprouted!

grass is almost all filled in. the soft green grass is all new, the brown yellow grass in the back is old grass that we have practically killed by over watering to start our seeds! (drought tolerant grass is a good thing!)

this area is going to have a small retaining wall on the one side and a stone path

and this spot. still in question. we are considering ripping out the hammock posts and putting a fire pit here.

more yard. that back corner is going to have a retaining wall flower bed. you can't see it but the back corner is actually a big pile of mulch from the yard. it's the chickens favorite place to scratch. they can take down the whole pile in a day! :)

the last brown spots! can't wait to plant along that back wall. i hate all the concrete!!!

thank you, olive trees, for shade!!!

and last but not least. our watering system. 6 sprinklers (soon to be 7) and hundreds off feet of hose. all connected to one hose bib. rand is pretty much a genius.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Our pup. The poor little thing. I don't even know where to begin. Trouble, trouble, trouble. Puppies are just this way. It's a good thing they are cute or they probably wouldn't live. Oh how I wish she was about 3 or 4 years old. She has puppy energy and puppy teeth, and puppy potty habits. She is restricted to outside unless very closely supervised inside. She chews on everything but her chew bones and I just can't keep the house puppy-proofed well enough. She has chewed t-shirts, colored pencils, COUNTLESS binkis, the corners of quilts and the corners of pillows, and lots of toys. She is ALWAYS jumping up in Easton's face. She chases the chickens and she drives Sammy insane.

But she has great potential. :) Someday, she is going to be a really nice, well behaved, cute little doggie. Until then she is kind of a pesky little puppy.

Our Daisy.

Kid Quotes::Vol. 34

Brendan: What's a vegan again?

Me: Someone who doesn't eat any food that comes from an animal. Meat, eggs, milk, cheese, stuff like that.

Brendan: I thought a vegan was someone who was like 24 and hadn't had a baby yet?

Me: Nope.

(hope ya'll caught where this conversation was heading!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Wonderful Wallaby

I would like to call myself a knitter, but I can only use the term loosely...very loosely. I knit. On occasion, in spurts. Less, now that I live in the desert. I do love knitting though and the idea of knitting, but it's slow and a little tedious. The end product is totally worth it, but it's sometimes hard to stick to it.  Anyway. I have created a few things in the last 10 years that I love. Like a felted pair of mittens that Rand won't wear because they turned out way too big. But I love them! And I have knitted countless booties for my friend's babies. The same pattern again and again because I love it so much. And then there is this one sweater. I knit it for Brendan when he was one, out of some oatmeal yarn that my mother-in-law gave me. The pattern was called The Wonderful Wallaby. A great sweater, built more like a sweatshirt with a hood and a front pocket. I bought the pattern mostly for that reason, but also because I knew I could knit one for the whole family. The pattern ran from 6 months all the way up to an adult XL. Let's just say we are all lucky that this one got finished because, well, that's just the way I am.
This sweater is one of my very most favorite self-created items. All the boys have worn it. As our temperatures have crept up to the triple digits lately I thought maybe it had seen its last wear, but no. We got lucky! Today was cool! And at baseball practice tonight the sweater came out again...maybe just one last time.

I have this crazy, crazy goal to start knitting with the hopes of creating one for each member of the family by next Christmas, but let's face it, something major would have to give...probably everything. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We have been heal.thy! All year we have had nothing but a couple minor, minor head colds and one little bout with random fevers.

Yesterday, the two youngers woke feeling lousy and promptly started throwing up...both of them! All morning. Over and over. And then as fast as it came, it was gone. By noon they were both hungry for lunch and the pukies seemed to have vanished! Here's to hoping no one else gets it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dinner Interrupted

Why is getting dinner on the table so gosh darn hard?? I propose that nothing should be required after 4pm...and dinner most definitely should be served earlier in the day...or even better, much later at night.

I said to the kids, "Boys, keep your eyeballs on Easton, I have to go inside and check dinner."

It wasn't 2 minutes later and Brendan was yelling from the door, "Um, Mom? Easton really needs a bath."

I run to find my little darling (and my walls...and my door...) covered in MUD. Turns out, that dirt near the sprinkler isn't really dirt anymore. It's a real nice mud bath.

Dinner came to a hault while we hosed off babies, and scrubbed down walls.

Take out, anyone?


I just got this sweet contraption for my birthday from my mom. I've taken about 100 pictures of the kids eating the delicious treats we've made but haven't captured a single decent shot. :/ Still, this thing is awesome. I was skeptical at first because supposedly it makes pops in 7 mins flat, but you don't have to put them in the freezer OR plug the contraption into the wall. It totally works and it is so sweet! You hard freeze the unit (I just keep it in the freezer all the time) and then whenever you feel like whipping up some cold treats it's ready to go. Our favorite right now (because we always have these ingredients on hand) is our typical smoothie recipe: frozen berries, vanilla yogurt, banana and orange juice (or milk). Pour it into the Zoku and you have Popsicles in 7-9 mins. I find at my house, because it is a tad warmer than probably most people's (try 82 in the house on hot days...which are becoming more frequent and it is only a matter of time before it is our everyday for the next 5 months....) it sometimes takes a little longer for the pops to freeze solid. But still...9 mins. is nothing!

Then and Now

He decided to cut it (well actually he decided for me to cut it).

I like it both ways. :)