Posts Tagged ‘sons’

When the Cats Away the Birds will Play

March 13, 2014


Well, this was a first!  Upon returning from a week away, there were two concentrations of gnats in the house.  One by the fruit bowl…. not surprising, and the other in the kid’s bathroom upstairs???  The other noticeable “markings” were in my kitchen… bird poop on my kitchen counter, the print of a bird on the INSIDE of the window and two bent feathers to lend to the tale.

What in the world goes on when I’m away????  Did they leave the doors open and invite in the wildlife?  Did the bird wander in because the swarm of gnats was so inviting???  I feel like I’m in Maui, at my sister’s house, with the plague of gnats. Okay, no, it’s not THAT bad.

Come to find out, some child of mine ate a banana and threw away the peel in the upstairs bathroom. Probably a week ago, because that’s when I left. It was a gnat smorgasbord!  I have never seen that many gnats in a bathroom before, but then, I’m not in Maui.

Pinterest to the rescue again.  Vinegar, dish soap and a bit of water in a little bowl collects gnats like flies to fly paper.  It’s an amazing concoction that worked wonders right before my bloodshot eyes. I also hung up a curly fly strip IN my kitchen to aid in the death of the irritating little bugs.  That was a first! Three hours later we are almost a gnat free zone again.

I did wipe up the bird poop, but haven’t made it to cleaning the window yet.  There’s only so much excitement I can handle on my first day home.

Wonderful Winter Weather

February 16, 2013

Last Friday at homeschool park day the moms FROZE in our chairs!  It was so windy and cold!  Well, for Phoenix, that is.  It wasn’t windy at our house when we left, but 10 minutes later when we pulled into the park we hoped and prayed there were jackets in the back of the van.  Thankfully, I found one for myself… my son’s hockey jacket from 5 years ago… when he was 11.  No, it didn’t exactly fit, but I was able to zip it up and block the blustery cold out.  It fit quite like a wetsuit.  A wetsuit that is too small.

The wind blew and blew for the two hours we were huddled with arms folded tightly in the sunshine.  One of my sons kept asking me, “Mom, do you know what your hair looks like?”  I could see my shadow and knew it was an amusing shape… and ever-changing shape.  “Mom, did you do your hair this morning?”  “Mom, you should really go look at your hair.”  There was nothing I could do, so I didn’t bother.  For some strange reason, my 14-year-old son was extremely concerned about my hair… and my image.  Maybe it was HIS image???

Yesterday was park day again. Imagine that!  Friday just keeps happening over and over.  Prepared for wind gusts of 50+mph, I donned a sweat suit with jacket and LOTS of hairspray.  Lo and behold, winter ended in Phoenix.  It was 74* F with sunny skies and not a trace of a breeze.  Yesterday was also the day the moms play flag football with the kids… and lose miserably, I might add.  I couldn’t even keep my jacket on sitting still because it was so warm.  After playing football for ten minutes I was frying, looking for my water and a shady spot to collapse.

Spring has sprung.  The air is warm, the flowers are blooming.  God, please let spring last more than ten days this year!!!  Please!!!

Kings Canyon Camping Episode 4: RACCOON RECONNAISSANCE

October 30, 2012

After the rain puddled under the boy’s tent, they were invited into the tent trailer with all seven of us girls.  Two came; one decided the van was a better option.  Fine.  Freeze your buns off, Superman.  And most cyclists sleep with their bikes, right?

As the sun slid behind the trees and the darkness of night emerged, Austin was making his car cave cozy.  The back hatch of the van was open as he was arranging and reorganizing camping paraphernalia.  After walking over to the fire area for a while he went back to the van and saw something move on his sleeping bag.  Immediately assuming it was a prank by his brother, he said, “Keeve, what are you doing?”  Then the raccoon jumped out and my strong and brave 16-year-old man child screamed like a girl.  Well, a girl with a low voice.  The varmint left…. temporarily.  Later I noticed the boy’s tent was still unzipped and went to remedy the situation.  There were muddy raccoon paw prints all over the sleeping mats.  Great.

Thankful for my athletic ability and throwing accuracy, I could generally make contact with a pineapple size pine cone and a raccoon, but they still came back!  GAH!  And after the first two nights, I was no longer an animal activist.  I had turned into an NRA fanatic…. without the gun.  We piled ammo next to our camping chairs.  The question became: How many times does a coon need to be hit in the head with a pine cone before he doesn’t return?  The answer: we never found out.  More than six or seven.

Nora sat in her chair by the fire pleading, “Please don’t throw things at the raccoons.  I want to see one.  I have never seen a whole raccoon.  Please don’t throw pine cones, Mom. I want to see the body.  Stop scaring them away. I have NEVER seen a whole raccoon. Just wait till I see it ALL, then throw stuff.”  Good grief, child. That is what the zoo is for!

Night #3 it was me against the critters.  The youngest six children were bedded down.  The other mama and two eldest were gone washing dishes.  I piled my cones next to me and sat by the fire waiting.  It took about three minutes before I turned and saw a large striped bandit hauling away a backpack that had been left out.  I bombarded him and screamed bloody murder.  Six giggling children could be heard in the trailer.  Sheesh.  He dropped the back pack, but made off with a plastic bag of something.  I grabbed the pack and threw it in the trailer.  Meanwhile, I saw another masked face making his way to the bear box… I threw large sticks and pine cones as he retreated from my screams.  More laughing… but no help in defending the fortress.

Then horror of horrors, the propane lantern ran out of fuel and darkness enveloped me….. I had no night vision and groped around for a flashlight while hearing the approaching critters.  The headlines in the Kings Canyon Newsletter the next morning could have very likely read: “Crazed camping woman goes ballistic and keeps entire camp group awake after quiet hours.”  I didn’t care.  At all.  I found a lame flashlight, the firestarter and was changing the propane tank at the picnic table when my nemesis climbed right up on the other bench and looked across the table at me.  FOUR FEET FROM MY FACE!  Three days later my throat is still sore from the ear piercing, guttural yell, “GIT OUTTA HEEEEERRRRREEE!”  It must have been quite terrifying because he never came back.  Good.

At that point, my son returned to find knocked over chairs, pine cones and large sticks scattered around the camp, a propane tank on the ground and his  hyperventilating mother trying to light the lantern.  Aerobic workout for the day… check!

Raccoons: 1 bag of sunflower seeds.

Me: 1 terrifying memory that will likely pop up in nightmares for years to come.

Please stay tuned for upcoming episodes of Kings Canyon Camping.

My Salt & Pepper Boys

November 13, 2011

Sometimes life comes at you too fast.  Vividly I remember the days of two boys in diapers.  I remember my husband deciding that he was done paying for diapers and he pronounced that it was underwear time for the little man still sporting Huggies.  We went through a looooonnnng week of him wearing every pair of big-boy undies that he owned….. every day…. and the laundry going every night…. all week long.  Then I pronounced that we were paying for diapers for a while longer.  It simply doesn’t seem that long ago.  I remember yelling out the back door, “If you have to go potty, COME INSIDE! We’re not cavemen!”  I miss the stuttering and the lisp… long since missing from the family dinner table.  I STILL stand outside their bedroom door and listen to them talk to each other at night… just like I did 11 years ago when we first moved them together in the “boy’s room.”

Alas, this Friday, my little salt and pepper boys will be THIRTEEN and fifteen.  Teenagers.  Both of them.  How can that be since I’m still 27????  hahahaha. This great awakening caused me to take a jaunty trip down memory lane in the photo box.  Enjoy… my boys when they were little and cute and I dressed them the same.  Now they are big and cute and I rarely have a say in their clothing.  I AM happy that they aren’t “watering” my flowers any more….. at least that I am aware of.


And here they are NOW…… 

History Nerds UNITE!

May 24, 2011

I simply had to share my excitement for next school year.  American History for highschool is what I will be teaching, as well as casually guiding my two younger kids through American History literature.  OH, I’m so excited about all the books we will be reading this coming year!  I’ve already announced to my two sons, who do not love reading YET, that this will be a foundational year for them and their reading careers.  Yes, they both rolled their eyes at the woman who gave birth to them!  Sheesh.

My planning is almost done and for the first time in ten years of homeschooling, I’m branching out to try a few different curricula.  Of course, I’m still using Konos for History of the World 4: American History.  Nothing beats the activities in HOW!  Nothing.  But for the youngers, I’m trying a few more structured choices that will enable them to be a bit more independent.  I’m stretching myself here, believe me.  I’m a control freak, and I’m giving up some control somewhat willingly.  We’ll see how this goes!

I’m so glad all of next school year is written down and organized and planned and structured and ready!  Whew!

My Son wears Red Pants

November 7, 2010

Yes, it’s true.  I am nauseous.   (Get it, Nacho fans???)

My 14-year-old son found red jeans on a clearance rack and came home and asked if we could get them for him. (You didn’t have $5 in your wallet??)  “They fit really good! And the fabric is so soft!”  (NEVER thought I’d hear those words from him!) “And they are only $5!”  (There’s a logical reason why RED pants are only $5, son.)

Mostly out of curiosity, I took the lad to back to the store with the glowing clearance rack.  He bee-lined right to the R E D pants and pronounced, “See!  Here they are!”  (Like I couldn’t see the ONLY pair of cherry R E D pants on the rack..)  I inquired, “You’re sure you’re OK with red pants?”  Rolling eyes and head cocked to the side, “YES!”   So I did what any son-loving-mother would do.  I took the pants from the rack and held the waist in one hand and the bottom of the legs in the other……..  and held them above my head so the entire store could see the R E D pants…. and asked my son again, “Are you sure you’re OK with R E D pants.”  He ran away from the crazy woman holding the red pants above her head in the middle of the men’s department.  I didn’t think he was OK with it!

Yet, he took them to the dressing room and tried them on.  Oh, they were so bright.  My handy-dandy cell phone in hand, I took a picture of my 14-year-old son in R E D pants and sent it to his father…..  Moments later my phone rang.  “Wow!”  was all my husband said.  I asked, “Is your son allowed to wear R E D pants?”  He knowingly replied, “Maybe it would be good for him to be made fun of for once.”  Such fatherly wisdom:  Let the peers say what the parents can’t.  So I bought the $5 R E D pants.

I was envisioning Bob the Tomato, Superman and Ronald McDonald comments flung at my strong and brave son.  Maybe this would be good for him?  He’s been homeschooled his whole life and hasn’t had to face bullies (except me) or name calling (except normal sibling stuff.) 

Last night he bravely wore his R E D pants to church.  But, get this….. he usually matches a pair of Van tennis shoes with whatever he is wearing.  BUT he didn’t have red!  And turquoise was not going to make the cut.  So he borrowed his SISTER’S black Converse and proudly went to the junior high service. 

On our drive home I questioned, “So, did anyone say anything about your pants?”   “Yeah, quite a few people said they liked ’em.”  

Shoot.  No tomato jokes!  At least that he could hear!

“Hi, my name is Linda and I am the mother who lets her teenage son wear red pants.”  (There MUST be a therapy group for this!)

Not So Famous Quotes

June 18, 2008

My son, Austin, (the one who is currently sunburned only across the bridge of his lily-white nose… “I thought I put sunscreen everywhere!”….. sheesh) came up with the idea to retain one memorable line from each of our family vacations.  I liked the idea.  It’s like an inside joke for the whole family.  A one liner that transports all of us to the same location, time and incident… and makes us laugh, creating family bonds.

Years ago we all went with Rick to Oklahoma City where he had a week of flight training.  The kids and I dropped him off each morning and went exploring.  The Cowboy Hall of Fame is in OKC… and they have an entire room full of drawers dedicated to barbed wire.  I had no idear (cowboy talk for idea) that there were thousands of ways to tie barbed wire knots…. but there are… and they are all preserved in drawers in OKC.  (That was cool side information not related to the Famous Quotes.) 

On a different day in OKC, we found a movie theater at 10:00 in the morning and decided to see the kid’s Christmas movie about the train with Tom Hanks…. title escapes me….  and when we walked up to pay for one adult and three kid tickets we were greeted by an old woman with a wicked witch voice.  She slowly raised her shaky, knuckled finger, pointed at Larisa and asked in a high screechy voice, “How old is SHE?”  It startled all of us. The volume.  The sound.  The accusing manner.  We ended up being the only ones in the theater, so Larisa sat in the first section, Keeve and I sat in the front row of the back section and Austin ran up and down the aisles throughout the whole movie.  Just this week one of our kids did the scary “How old is SHE?” line, teleporting us back to OKC. 

So our recent dental vacation south of the border produced so many great one-liners, we had a tough time deciding on the perfect ONE for that trip.  Most were great salesman lines from street vendors trying to sell us their wares.  And the nominations for Best Line in Los Algodones were: “Almost free today.”  “Just one Mexican minute.”  “I’m having a Chapter 11 sale.  I just filed this morning.”  (My personal favorite.)  But the all time winner was from a man selling a “leather” hat to Keeve.  The only leather thing about it was the little braided strap around the brim.  The rest was a great looking and feeling imitation, but the back was synthetic fabric.  So $20 was WAY too much.  Rick stepped in to barter, at which, I must add, he is a master.  Please, let me give you a little glimpse into how it went:

Guy: $20

Rick: $10

Guy: $19

Rick: $10

Guy: $18

Rick: $10

Guy: $17

Rick: $10 (See the pattern here???)

Finally the guy came down to $12 but Rick was stuck at, you guessed it, $10.  The fine salesman finally slaps Rick on the shoulder in a friendly gesture and says, “Why you have to be so Mexican?”  Priceless.  The ultimate term south of the border for being highly frugal…..  Mexican.  Albeit, Rick does blend in well down there with his jet black hair, dark skin and Mexican teeth, it totally made us laugh that the guy recognized Rick as one of his own.

A belated Happy Father’s Day wish to our Mexican.  You’re the best dad!  (a close tie with my dad, of course.)

True Hockey Mum

March 25, 2008

Austin hockey

(Austin Crosby National Champion, Fastest Skater Squirt House League – 2007)

Tonight was the first playoff game for my 11 year old son’s hockey team.  Before the night was over, my blood pressure was pushing the envelope and I needed throat soothing lozenges.  I’m an involved hockey mum (that’s Canadian, eh) who cheers at her sons’ games… but if you want to see me get a knot in my shorts, sign up to be another blind ref at our arena.  Read: we don’t need any more, thankyouverymuch.  Sweet Jesus was needed for another healing of the blind man.  Seriously.

My bright, skillful boy scored on a breakaway, lifting the puck, hitting the back post of the net and it popped right back out…. but the refs didn’t see it.  We jumped from our seats howling, with victory hands in the air…. then……wondered why the game continued to be played.  I’m not making this up.  There were fans for the other team trying to console me by letting me know that it was indeed the invisible goal.  THEN, my extremely talented son unselfishly passed to a teammate in front of the net and the other kid tapped the puck in.  We jumped from our seats howling, with victory hands in the air.  However, the goalie covered the puck on the ice with his glove, and brought the puck back out after it was over the goal line.  I almost popped a blood vessel.  Say it isn’t so.  Say it isn’t so.

At games I don’t scream and yell.  O.K., that was a falsehood.  Allow me to extrapolate.  I yell, “Shoot!” …often, …always at the top of my lungs.  When my athletic, brilliant boy has a breakaway, I yell, “Come on, baby. Come on, baby,” rapidly…. and repeatedly.  What I meant was: I don’t scream at the refs.  I’m trying to be a good example.

Crack me up tonight, a fellow teammate’s mom was sailing lines over the boards to the refs that could be dialogue for another Slap Shot movie…. minus the rough language.  They were priceless.  Who needs to pay sitcom writers when they could go to PeeWee league hockey games and get material worthy of an award.  She yelled, “We’re having eye exams out in the lobby for all the refs before the final game.”  :o)   And, “Just when I thought I knew the rules, you guys start messin’ with my mind.  I get icing.  I get offsides.  But I thought when the puck went in… we scored???”   I needed the laugh, to say the least.  My favorite was, “How much are they paying you?  We’ll double it!  Pass the hat!”

Final score on the scoreboard:  Them- 2; Us- 1.  REAL score in all the fans’ minds:  Them- 2; Us- 3.

Enough said.  (Goodness sakes.  It’s going to take me a few hours to settle down and get to sleep tonight.)

The Refried Bean Brick

March 23, 2008


keeve’s yellow flower

My husband, Rick, went to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant  last night with his brother.  (My mother would not patronize such an establishment.)  He enjoyed it so much that he took the boys and I there tonight.  I must admit, their rolled tacos with guacamole made me want to jump up and dance the Cha-Cha …. ooohhhh they’re mucho bueno.

My boys both ordered bean burritos which is their normal fare at any Mexican establishment…. Taco Bell, Chipotle, Filiburto’s, Rolberto’s, Edwardoberto’s, etc.  However, these monstrous mounds of beans wrapped in a warm flour tortilla oozed filling as fast as lava from Kilauea.  There were so many brown bloppy puddles, I was surprised the boys actually consumed any beans at all. 

With the tortilla inhaled, my youngest asked for a spoon.  Mexican fast food joints don’t have spoons.  So Keeve picked out a knife.  I figured it was safe enough to eat off of.  How much damage could be done with a 5 inch flimsy plastic knife?  Surprisingly, he started scraping the bean blobs into one gigantic bean mound on his burrito wrapper that was doubling as his plate, placemat and table cloth. Next thing I know, he has the mushy mess formed into a brick  and is carefully shaping the corners to neat right angles with the precision of a master sculptor. 

I glanced over at his brother’s waxy paper which was still dotted with 27 piles of varying sizes and there was apparently no desire to gather them together, to form them into a brick, or to gingerly make each corner 45 degrees.  How can two brothers be so different???? 

I call them my salt and pepper boys… when they were small one had black hair and the other almost white-blonde.  One is neat.  One is messy.  One writes thank you cards.  One has to be coerced to write thank you cards.  One does his chores at the break of dawn.  The other has to be reminded that work comes before play.  One is quiet.  One is loud.  One has long arms.  The other is barrel chested.  I wonder how many kids we would have to have before we had just one that was anything like the siblings?  We’re not sure, but we know it is a number higher than three.