Spikey: Our Garter Snake Pet

July 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Our Life, Pictures

dscf0887.jpgWell Spikey isn’t really a “pet” but he lives in our backyard right next to our house and he has gotten so tame that the kids can pet him and people have picked him up. He really doesn’t seem to mind us much and if he did I think he’d stop showing up in the same spots every day. We know its always Spikey and not another Garter snake because he had injured his tail long ago and its a little stubby. This summer Spikey got himself a girlfriend (or maybe Spikey is the girl and found a boyfriend?) either way we see this other snake a lot now too and Ben named her Dewka. I hope we get babies soon!

On that note I had just told my father that Garter snakes are live bearing snakes and I wanted to make sure I was right so I looked it up. I found out they are ovoviviparous (a new word for me).

Ovoviviparous Reproduces by eggs which remain in the mother’s body until they are ready to hatch. When the young emerge, they are born live, with only a membrane to break out of. Click here for another related new word.

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My lazy garden

July 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Our Life

dscf2167.jpgLast spring I was very pregnant but I wanted a garden so badly and did my best to grow one. It was an okay garden of peas, tomatoes, gourds, mini pumpkins and sunflowers. It was productive enough considering. This spring I planned to do a great garden. Last fall I had collected many bags of shredded leaves (okay from the side of the road again!) so I had a great supply of mulch. BUT I had no burning desire to garden like I had last year. The garden got started way too late except for the sunflowers that reseeded themselves. So I just threw in all my sunflower and gourd seeds and a few tomato plants and added all my leaf mulch. I have no weeds but also no produce yet. The sunflowers are great though so I still love my lazy garden! Next year I’ll get things started earlier.

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Kid Logic

July 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Our Life

I saw a post over on Jumping Monkeys with some moments that Megan wants to remember. That’s a great idea and I need to capture some of my favorite kid moments. The logic in a kids brain is just so wonderful.

Ben: I lost a frog…because I can’t find it…it’s black and orange…and small…and I lost it…because I don’t know where it is…

* This is even funnier because he has the cutest DEEP voice and he’ll keep going like he’s stuck in a loop until you can say something to him to break him out of it.

I’ll have to put more of our conversations on here. Last winter when Ethan was playing hockey we would have the best talks driving to and from the rink. There’s something about being alone in the car with just 1 kid that really gets them talking sometimes. I’d often go on ‘adventures’ on back roads so we could either keep talking or get Ethan to fall back asleep on the way home from the dreaded 6:30am ice time. Hockey has been over since February, but when I took him out for a special mini golf outing he immediately jumped into a conversation with me about why people die. Sometimes he asks tough questions, but I’ll take that over the usual “butt” talk any day.

YMCA soccer

July 28, 2007 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Our Life, Pictures, Sports

dscf1662_edited-1.jpgThis summer it is very exciting that both our boys can play YMCA soccer on Saturday mornings. They are on different teams and in different age groups but they both play at the same time so it is really convenient. It is Ben’s first time doing a sport and its fun watching him adjust to it. He spends some of the time laying on the field or pulling his shirt up to show off his belly but then he has some spurts of kicking the ball and getting into it. Most of the 3-4 yr olds do the same and its cute. Ethan is at the stage where he can actually learn the game and gain some skills so that is exciting and he will also play in our town’s soccer which starts late summer. John and I just love going to see them play. Its very laid back plus they both have great coaches. The boys like it and they like the shin guards and soccer cleats (they get worn at home for fun too). I look forward to all the kids playing sports as they grow up. Obviously I don’t need NHL players like I have joked about but I am really happy that my kids are so interested in sports and have fun. dscf1494.jpg

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New Baby!

July 27, 2007 by  
Filed under Our Life

dscf2180.jpgI LOVE BABIES! Brand new and perfect. Here are pictures of our friends’ with their little girl and newborn daughter! Seeing her and holding her made me want another (even though I had my “just 1 yr old” with me).

Congratulations S & B!dscf2179.jpgdscf2175.jpg

Backyard Campfires & Smores

July 27, 2007 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Reviews

dscf1729.jpg We have a Whalen portable fire pit in our backyard and it is a lot of fun having campfires during the summer. Marshmallows and smores are wonderful, why save them just for camping? The fire pit is also great to cook hot dogs over. It has a lid you pop on to put out the fire quickly and keep the pit dry. The best feature is the wheels so we can roll it out of the way when not in use. We live in an area without light pollution so its great to sit out next to the fire on a clear night and watch the stars and bats.

Next summer I’d love to get a more attractive one to keep up on the pool deck. Everyone needs two fire pits in my opinion!

Here are pictures of our last campfire (that is the kids’ Uncle Alex eating a smore).

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Toy Rotation

July 26, 2007 by  
Filed under Tips and Tricks

This is a tip we’ve mentioned before, but I felt the need to put another plug in.  We’ve become big believers in toy rotation.  This strategy has 2 benefits.  The first is putting toys away and out of sight helps keep the house clean.  I installed some shelves in the messy side of the basement and we stack rubbermaids full of toys, puzzles, etc.  This area is off limits to the kids so we get some measure of control of the toy dispersal.

The second benefit is when you bring out a box of toys that the kids haven’t seen in awhile.  A couple days ago I decided to clean the boys room and put everything away.  After I was done I decided it was time to put some of the toys away for awhile and bring something new out so I got the rubbermaid of matchbox car track.  When bed time came I told Ethan and Ben to each pick out some cars and there would be a surprise for them upstairs.  They did as I asked and went up to their room where I heard “Wow!  Cool!”  They played until I came to tuck them in for bed and the next morning when they woke up they resumed their track building.

Their room is a mess again, but I find it easier to manage when that mess is all from the same rubbermaid.  In a couple weeks I’ll put the rubbermaid away and get out another toy for them and it will be like Christmas morning all over again.

Kettcar- side of the road hand-me-down!

July 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Our Life, Reviews

kettcarHere is Ben on a Kettcar that my stepfather found on the side of the road when my brothers were little, so it is a hand-me-down that once was someone’s trash. I love that! The boys love the Kettcar, its one of their favorite driveway toys and is used very frequently. Free is great and so I take hand-me-downs all the time. I am very fortunate to have received lots of adorable kids clothes from friends. Its silly to need all new stuff for kids when they outgrow clothes and toys so fast.

Like my stepfather (and my father), I’m also one of those people who pick up stuff others put on the curb to throw out. I’m very particular what I take because I’m not a pack rat or junk collector. I also have a slight germ phobia so it has to be something that is easily cleaned made of plastic or wood (no things like stuffed animals or couches where cooties could reside!). This year I think all I’ve come across were 2 children’s bikes but past years I have found a Little Tikes slide and ride on toys. I have joined a freecycle group and I think its great because it is like an online curb! John and I put more stuff out by our road and on freecycle than we acquire though and that is how I like it. I love it when others can use things that are unused and cluttering up our house/garage.

Cookie dough & a few cookies too!

July 24, 2007 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Our Life

dscf2115.jpgIt rained after blueberry picking so I decided we NEEDED to dscf2125.jpgmake some chocolate chip cookies. The 3 boys sat on the counter and did all the work. Jamie and the dogs were down on the floor ready to catch the falling chocolate chips. Lots of cookie dough got eaten.

I like to follow the Nestles recipe on the bag and use the mini chips so the chocolate is distributed evenly in my cookies!

Blueberry picking and anything picking!

July 23, 2007 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Our Life, Pictures

dscf2070.jpgToday was our first trip blueberry picking this summer! I love blueberries and picking them too. I love that we live in an area where we can pick our own blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and apples. I make sure we take several trips to pick each one. We only went strawberry picking twice because the second trip Ben got a rash after eating a ton. I want to go back a bunch of times for blueberries so I hope he isn’t allergic.He is a great picker but his bucket is always empty somehow. Today I asked him if he had anything in his bucket and he said “I’M HOLDING MY BERRIES IN MY MOUTH”. I love him!dscf2057.jpg

Jamie had her first blueberries today and she picked a couple herself. All four kids had lots of fun and were good pickers (even if their buckets didn’t fill up).dscf2063.jpg

Blueberry picking always reminds me of Maine where I have so many great memories picking wild blueberries at Acadia National Park (next summer’s vacation spot I hope!). dscf2100.jpg

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