Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We had the best time deciding what the kids would be for Halloween. Grace still had her Cinderella costume she didn't wear last year. The boys couldn't decide on what costume to buy (Hayden thought of Thor only so he could get the hammer), so we got down the costume box for inspiration.

They all dove in and wound up with new costumes. Grace changed princesses, and opted for Snow White. No shocker since she is obsessed with the seven dwarves.

The boys opted to monster mash it. Hayden was Bozo Caesar - a toga, sash, clown wig. Nice.

Bayley tried to wear as many costume parts as he could. At last count he was a train robbing elephant pirate Vader.

When it came time to Trick-or-Treat, Grace decided to add on to her costume as well, donning her red riding hood.

Daddy missed trick-or-treat time, so we all headed out together. The boys were not happy they had to go at a Grace pace. After we made one loop, the boys were released to the neighbors to pillage the neighborhood for candy. Grace was excited that Daddy was home when she got back so she could trick-or-treat her own house and help pass out candy.

The shock of the evening? The dogs weren't bothered by all the knocking and ringing. After twelve years of Rogue going ape on Halloween, we found it quite odd.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Down Go The Trees

Last year we noticed the neighbor had a tree that had turned brown and died...and then decided to invite itself to Thanksgiving. Over the summer all the trees in the line took a turn for the worse. We had lots of people come out for advice and estimates - arborists, tree surgeons and the like. But most everyone agreed, our eight giant cedars should come down before storm season, when they might decide to go AWOL on their own.

The boys were a bit annoyed that they had to go to school instead of staying home to watch the show. After all, Dad took a day off. But I promised pictures and video...

The crew showed up bright and early. The first tree came down while I was running Grace to preschool. After that I was cursing my camera lens and trying to capture everything with the telephoto lens. I really need to get the camera looked at.

One member of the three-man crew climbed to the top of a tree, tied the top of another tree to a pulley system, then took it down in managable pieces. They we able to swing the tops of the neighbors trees into our yard the same way. It was fascinating to watch him move from tree to tree. I knew he was harnessed and safe, but I couldn't stop watching. Kind of like cirque du soliel with chansaws.

The crew on the ground sliced the limbs off and fed them into the chipper. Seeing the tops of some of the trees so dead really helped hammer home that it was time to take them down.

Once the trunks were limbed, they sliced them into pieces that we can spilt for firewood. Sometimes they didn't have another tree to rig it off of, so they took the tree down in chunks.

The last bit was felled into the yard with a might thunk. One missed the logs it was supposed to fall unto and left quite the divot in the lawn. No big worry, since we'll have to redo the whole backyard landscaping this summer.

The kids loved climbing over the wood piles...until they learned they'd have to help move it all to the side yard.

The next week a different team came to grind the stumps. They were supposed to grind them one foot below the soil. But we have no idea if this is true. The process left us with a massive pile of sawdust.

The sawdust is a lower priority than getting the wood off the lawn, split, and stacked. Bayley was thrilled to earn the first few bucks moving logs. But the joy soon wore off and he had to be bribed to move the last pile.

One thing we didn't expect - the bugs! All the bugs that lived in the trees, including the ones that caused the tree to die, needed to find new homes so they were all over the backyard that first day. GROSS!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Webelos Woods :: Hayden edition

So when we first got there we all met up and got our bootson and everything. Then we went to different tropps. The first was geology, where they taught about landforms and habitats. One was mouth-to-mouth CPR. One was science where the troop had made their own root beer for us to try.

We went to Bayley's, which was nature. He tried to hide when we got there, but I chased him and hugged him. When we left I gave him a candy.

We did bottle rockets. One was air science where we did experiments to make a dime jump and using an index card to keep water in a cup when you turn it upside down.

One was venom treatment so we know to keep the part that was bitten as far away from your heat as you can to slow down the travel of the poison. Keep your blood pressure low by staying calm.

One troop had toilet paper in leaf blowers and they shot toilet paper everywhere at us!

One was shock treatment - how to help someone if they go into shock. First you lay them down on a tarp or table. If you lay them on the ground they'll get too cold. Cover them with a blanket and also put a box under their feet to get the blood to stay in their body. They gave us candy for answering questions. One sign of shock is if the skin is pale. Another is if they are breathing like they are running a marathon.

I got really wet because I was stomping in puddles. There were huge puddles.

At lunch they served mac & cheese, potato soup, hotdogs, cookies, cherry KoolAid and grape Kool Aid. I had two hot dogs, two cookies, a scoop of the mac and cheese and a cup of the red KoolAid. Bayley wasn't with us because the boy scouts eat at their own camp.
The obstacle course was great. We ran down there and then went over and under some tires. There was a monkey bridge and I was kind of scared I would rip my pants.

It started raining, so we went in and got a bunch of candy. Then me and Dad went down to the beach so I could feel the sand on my toes and relx them. Then Dad and I went back in the car and I played Jetpack Joyride on his iPhone.

When we got to Tillamook we went to McDonalds. I had a McFlurry, McNuggets and chocolate milk.

Also, I tore my pants. After I was done at the beach I put my stuff on to leave. I put one boot on, no problem. I put on the second boot and leaned down - RIP! It tore right open. Luckily there were two layers so they couldn't see my skin.

Friday, October 05, 2012


I looked into putting the kiddos in Hebrew school this year, just to give them some kind of religious exposure. I'm not a fan of organized religion and the plate passing, dues paying business of it all. I try to get the kids to one religious event every year...but last year it didn't work out.

This year I'm hoping we find an event that works with our schedule. But in the mean time - and since the Hebrew school couldn't be bothered to call me back - I've decided we'll try and get into the cycle with the holidays.

Sukkot came up first. Now, this is a holiday that encourages a party - my favorite kind. But, it also calls for building a booth in the yard, decorating it with found items, and eating your meals outside. Sometimes in the you can look up and see the stars.

It sounds like a great idea, especially with the warm weather we're having. But I'm not so keen on the backyard right now, with the trees that have to come down before they fall reminding me they've comandeered my vacation budget.

Instead, we opted for the Pinterest version of Sukkot, and built our sukkahs from graham crackers. We decorated with candy pumpkins and gummi fruits, used pretzel sticks for the roof...and even managed to find a use for the fruity marshmallows Grace just had to have.

Who knows if the kids will remember why we glued graham crackers together with chocolate frosting, but I feel better knowing I made the effort.