Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chicken Pops?

This afternoon we were sitting in the chapel waiting for church to start, and I happened to look over at Kelsey who was scratching her neck. I looked closely, and found a bump with a blister on it. Actually, I found two. A quick trip to the bathroom with Sister Gier to look for more didn't turn anything up, but since they DO look like chicken pox and it HAS been going around (sounds like that vaccine really works, right?) I went ahead and brought her and Connor home so at least Ben and Olivia can enjoy church uninterrupted.
On the way home Kelsey was complaining about how much she hates "chicken pops". Poor thing. More might show up, but she has been vaccinated, so then again this may be all we see. We took pictures of her "chicken pops" for your viewing enjoyment. (And no, the red dot by her mouth is not chicken pox - I think it was a little jelly or something. It came off when I gave it a spit bath - gross, but momma's prerogative.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Wichita Mountains

This past Monday we went to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge to go hiking. It was less than two hours away, so we planned a hike and a picnic, followed up with a stop for ice cream on the way home. The day started off as planned with a nice drive and a fabulous hike!

Our hike started at Lost Lake.

Connor decided he'd rather eat his hat than wear it.


It took us over rocks, boulders, and along dirt trails.

We saw amazing scenery and wildflowers.

We finally stopped for a snack in some shade.

On the way back, we finally found what they call the "forty foot hole". I don't know why they call it that - it's more like a gorge about 100 feet deep!


Do you see the cave to the right of the falls?
Olivia had to take a picture of the wildflowers. This one is the Oklahoma state flower.
We saw several collared lizards as well - the Oklahoma state lizard. Can you see it in the picture? It's just on the other side of the tuft of grass at the bottom of the picture.

Did you see how sunny it was in those pictures? Well, about the last 10 minutes of our 2 hour hike a cloud passed overhead and dropped a bunch of rain on us. At first it felt great because it had been so warm - then it just felt wet. Fortunately I had packed a change of clothes for everyone in case of rain. Unfortunately, I had forgotten a dry bra for me... I had to put my wet one back on of course.
Due to the rain, we had our picnic in the van. However, as we drove out of the Refuge we passed a heard of bison by the road...

...so we had to stop and get some footage...

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...until this fella got a little too close and I decided to get back in the van.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh Where, Oh Where Has Anita Gone...

Not that we were missed, but in case you were wondering where I've been since last Saturday...

So I'm going to rant for a teensy little moment. Prepare yourself.

I had a brilliant idea to bribe my husband to exercise. The easiest thing to bribe this man with (that I'm allowed to publish on the internet) is television. He loves his TV. I think it's a family thing. But anyway, there's certain television shows that come on that he just can't miss and I figured that if we had a DVR then he would actually be able to free himself from the contraints of public broadcasting he would therefore be able to spend time in the evening running, biking, or lifting weights and still be able to indulge in his perferred passtime. So I offered to Ben that if he would try running regularly (or biking) for 6 weeks then in return we could get a DVR. What does this have to do with our recent internet disappearance you may ask? Read on.

When we moved to Oklahoma we signed up with the local cable company (Cox) to get digital telephone, high speed internet, and cable. Our bill had recently increased, and to add a DVR to that would have cost about $20 per month more. In contrast, if we switched back to AT&T, not only would our bill be lower, but it included satellite with DVR and $300 cash back. And as a bonus, we could even keep our same phone number! No brainer, right? So we decided to switch back to AT&T and the big conversion was scheduled for last Thursday, sometime between 12 and 4 p.m.

Without boring you with all the crazy details, by 4:00 last Thursday I had seen the AT&T tech so I had a phone. I had received a phone call from the DirectTV installer saying he couldn't make it because he was tied up at another job, and sometime in the morning I had gotten a recorded message from the DSL folks saying they couldn't get my line switched on (umm... maybe because it wasn't being switched till the AFTERNOON?) Whatever. I had been advised not to cancel Cox until I was hooked up with AT&T, so I wasn't too stressed out. At least not until Saturday morning when the DirectTV people came out and disconnected my cable to install my satellite. Whoops! There went the internet! But I knew I only had to hold out till Tuesday and it was a holiday weekend - I could make it.

But as annoying as all of this is that I had to deal with THREE separate installers who didn't know what the other two were doing, it's really not what ticked me off the most. When we lived in SC we had DSL and I bought the $75 modem from AT&T and they sent the technician out to hook us up and log us in and register the thing so that by the time he left all I had to do what turn on my computer to get on the internet. Since our modem is less than 2 years old and is has wireless capabilities to boot, we wanted to use it here. Apparently, if you don't buy another modem from AT&T you are treated like the red-headed step child. The technician won't even come to your house - he just switches the line from up the street or something. It wasn't until I had spent 2 1/2 hours on the phone with about five different people (and yes, one of them was in India) that they FINALLY scheduled me to have a technician come out today and figure out what was going on and why I couldn't get on the internet. And it wasn't just that I didn't know what I was doing - I had all the little cords and plugs in the right places. It took the professional an hour to fix it and involved tools and filters and the like. So all in all my "easy" switchover took 6 days, SIX separate visits from installers/techs/repairmen and almost ALL of my patience!

Cox may be more expensive, but there's something to be said for having one guy come to your house and when he leaves, it is all hooked up and ready to go.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lessons From Pat and Charlie

Since our car has recently died (may she rest in peace) I have had a couple of people ask me when we plan on getting another one. At the moment we are back to being a one-vehicle family, and to be quite honest, I'm not in a hurry to get another car. Why? Because of what I have learned from Pat and Charlie.

So who are Pat and Charlie? They are my feet. Pat is my right foot (cuz he gives me a little trouble sometimes) and Charlie is my left because there's something that's not quite "right" about him. Although I occasionally drive Ben in to work when I need to have the car for something, most days I am "stranded" at home without a car and must rely on Pat and Charlie to get me where I need to go. I absolutely love it.

I know, I know - I must be crazy. I have an awful farmer's tan on my arms and neck, a sock line around my ankles AND a flip-flop line on my feet (didn't know that was possible). I have to walk to the school which is 1/2 mile away three times a day - in the morning to take Olivia, at lunchtime to take Kelsey, and at 3:00 to pick them both up. Occasionally Kelsey and I want to make a trip to the library in the morning (a mile away) and if the weather is nice the kids and I may walk to the nearby park or to Bronco lake in the evenings. So other than miles of exercise and freakish tan lines, what else do I gain?

*Quality time with my girls every day - we talk while traipsing about town

*The renewed appreciation of the miracle of spring - I know it sounds trite, but I have seen some marvelous things in my walks that I never would have seen driving. In fact, just today I walked through a summer "snow" shower. The light wind was blowing white seed tufts off of some sort of weeping willow-type tree. Because I'm out walking past the same trees and flowers almost every day I can watch each step of their new growth. It's amazing.

*New friends - I can't tell you how many different types of birds I see. I'm starting to recognize their songs, colors, and habits. And the other day I found a cat stuck in a tree. Of course, there's people I see and greet regularly, too, but I love the birds most of all.

*Greater love - Now I really am turning into a sap. But it's true. I think my soul is made up of sunshine. The more I am outside, the more peaceful I feel and the more loving I am to my children and husband.

Here's a few pictures from my trip to school one afternoon with Kelsey. I thought you might enjoy the regular sights I see...

This is an oil derrick. You can find these all over the place in Oklahoma! This one just happens to be in the stadium parking lot of UCO. (We also drill for oil on our state house grounds...)


Every day Kelsey has to stop at the bus stop bench for a "rest" and take a sip of her water.
She decided to ride her bike this day - usually she's on her scooter.
This is our friendly crabapple tree. We watched it blossom, and saw how the stamen in the center of the blossom turned into fruit. At least, the ones that were fertilized did...

This is how big they are right now. The girls are anxiously waiting till they are "big" enough to pick and eat. Of course they won't get big at all, but they had a good time picking them last autumn.
The view from the stroller... Connor's got a pretty good farmer's tan, too. Don't worry, grandmas - I just bought him a hat that he can't get off at Old Navy to help keep the sun out of his eyes.

Making Up For Lost Time

I can't believe it was just over 2 weeks ago that Connor really learned how to crawl. He was late about it - 10 1/2 months old - but now that he's figured out that he can get around on his own he's making up for lost time. The past couple of days he's been trying to stand on his own, and then last night I came downstairs from tucking in Kelsey, and this is what I found:

Yep, he's climbing the stairs now. Heaven help us all...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This One's for Julie

I wasn't going to post anything until it had been a month, but since Julie asked so nicely...

I had Olivia snap some pictures of me yesterday morning since I don't currently have a full-length mirror in my house and I wanted to know what I looked like. So, here's 2 weeks into it.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Official

We are officially a one-vehicle family again. I took the Olds in to get it checked out yesterday and the transmission is bad. After careful thought and consideration (ha ha) we decided not to put the $1500+ into repairing the car, and so I listed it on Craigslist around 3:30 yesterday afternoon. It was sold by 8:30 last night. We'll miss our "old man" car - she was great to us!

Please join us in a brief moment of silence in her memory.

Proof Advertising Works

This morning I got back from taking Olivia to school, and Kelsey (who had been watching TV) came up to me and said, "Mommy, I was was watching that Smooth Away stuff, and it really works so you won't have to have any laser bumps!" (translation - laser=razor)

I responded by saying, "Wow, Kelsey, you sure do remember commercials well."

She said, "Yes, that's because I have good ear sight."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Changing Fast


Things are really changing fast around my house these days. Two weeks ago Connor was contained. Now he is crawling, pushing a walker, moving and grooving! And in about 5 minutes he can do THIS to my living room!
Also, we had some excitement this morning with one of his Christmas presents. Cousin Judy and her family sent it to Connor and he has always loved it. Only now, he LOVES it!

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Goslings

Every day this past week the kids (and sometimes Ben) and I have been making a daily trek up to Bronco Lake to see the baby geese that showed up on Monday. Since it seems I have been talking about it often, here's what it looks like:


It's an attractive water-thingie (pond or fountain?) on campus at the University of Central Oklahoma. There's ampitheater-type seating on both sides of it. Generally the girls vote to go to the blue-tented area you see in the picture because there's a stage there (remember Kelsey's Karate?) and they love to perform on it. However, because it was such a nice day, we opted for a picnic under the sun this past Saturday.



After we had our lunch, it was time to find the Nick & Norah and their goslings and feed them their lunch. We located them playing and bathing in the decorative waterfall that empties into Bronco Lake and proceeded to throw out our offerings (bread).






A few seconds into this video, the girls notice a little gosling that is stuck at the edge of a rock with the water rushing by. Kelsey is very concerned that it's going to fall. I, of course, tell her that it will be just fine. At about 30 seconds into the video the poor thing actually does go over the edge...

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But it really was fine. Just a little put out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Do You Feed Your Babies?

If you grew up in my family, you grew up knowing the story of the Wide Mouth Frog, courtesy of my darling mother. For those of you who don't know, this is a story about a mama wide mouth frog who didn't know what to feed her babies. So she went around asking other animals in the area, like so: "Mrs. Cow, what do you feed your babies?" Of course, the line must be pronounced opening your mouth as wide as you possibly can, and therefore little children (and big ones for that matter) love the story.

So on to the point of this post. Ever since Connor really started feeding himself I feel like I have been struggling with this very thing: what do I feed my baby? I refused to buy the baby "convenience food" at the grocey store like I did for my other 2 kids. For one thing, they're expensive. For another, I am part of a produce co-op, and have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies already around the house. I'm a good cook - surely I can do something with this food, right? So as I was making one of my favorite Spinach Ball recipes this afternoon, I realized that I am not the only mom in the world that has asked this question. And even if I was, it would be great to have a place for all my favorite recipes to be stored on the web in case my house ever burns down. Or if I have another baby and forget what I did with this one. Or if I'm out of town and want to make a favorite meal. Or any other number of possibilities. So I have decided to start another blog that IS all about food. I love to cook, and I also love to cook healthy for my family. However, I also recognize that kids are going to love the foods they are going to love: mac & cheese, french fries, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs. Although I can't make hot dogs, I can make the other things, and I figure my whole-wheat pasta made into stovetop mac & cheese has got to be better than a box of Kraft. Don't get me wrong - convenience food has it's place. But when I have the time and the inclination, I can do better than that. So, for any of you who may be interested, come visit my "other" blog at http://whatdoyoufeedyourbaby.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Extreme Yumminess


OK, so I normally don't blog about food. But this is exceptional. Last night I was hanging out in Wal-Mart waiting for the rain and hail to subside, and I wandered over to the deli section to get some roasted red pepper hummus since I have oodles of celery in my fridge and that's just about the only way I eat it raw. That's when I saw it. I was wooed by the larger container, the dollop of red roasted red peppers in the middle, and the promise of it being "smoother and tastier" than my usual brand. Since it was only 50 cents more, into the cart it went. This morning I pulled out the celery, and sampled the culinary delight that is known as Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I have never tasted anything so good! (Unless it was drowning in hot fudge toffee, anyway.)
I usually enjoy restaurant hummus. I like store-bought hummus enough to keep buying it. But this stuff... WOW. Even my lovely neighbor (who doesn't normally like hummus at all) thought it was good enough to have seconds! And what if you aren't a celery lover? It makes a great addition to an avocado & tomato sandwich!! F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. And I just HAD to share this new find with any of my friends that might also be on the eternal quest for good hummus. I am THERE!!

Hey Mom, Look What I Can Do!!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Seasons

Yesterday I was talking with a couple of friends about the seasons in our life, and how when you're a mom with young kids, there's things that never get done - like housework. And when your kids are grown, you have a clean house - assuming you have the energy and inclination to do it. I thought I'd show you a glimpse into my current "season" with Connor.



This is what I have to put up with in order to get on the computer.







Last night he and I discovered a new fun game. Ben had turned on America's Funniest Videos, and I was laughing at something on the TV. Connor looked up and started laughing, too - an obviously fake laugh. Which of course made me laugh all the harder. We got a video of it, but of course the lighting was terrible and I'm using my small digital camera - but you get the idea.
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He's also into EVERYTHING

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And he very VERY mobile.

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Family Home Evening

This past Monday the weather was so nice that we decided to go on a family walk up to "Bronco Lake" for family home evening. For those of you that don't know, Bronco Lake is the fancy name given to a small, decorative pond-ish thing on UCO campus. It's less than a mile from our house. So, the girls hopped on their scooters, we stuck Connor in the stroller and off we went!



Once we got there, we had to sit on the ampitheater steps under the blue "tent" so the girls could perform. Here's Connor watching the show...





And Ben... (I don't usually get to take pictures of him, so enjoy it while you can!)






And here's the "show" (Kelsey doing karate):




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Afterwards the girls just had to climb one of the trees.





And here they are posing as "ladies" in front of this tree called a Smoke Tree. Very cool tree, by the way!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This One's for Amberdawn

OK, Amber - I'll take the bait. This is a "Tag" post - if you read it you must post it on your blog (with your answers, of course - not mine).

HOW MUCH HAVE YOU CHANGED IN 15 YEARS

15 YEARS AGO (1994)

1. How old were you? 18
2. Who were you dating? Umm... a couple different people, though not at the same time of course. I believe it would have been Jacob, then Patrick, and eventually Tom.
3. Where did you work? I worked for the Broome family when I wasn't at college.
4. Where did you live? Columbia, SC but went to school in Rock Hill, SC.
5. Where did you hang out? In various dorm rooms
6. Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Contacts mostly
7. Who were your best friends? Becky, Jenny & Marie
8. How many tattoos did you have? none
9. How many piercings did you have? Three. One in one ear, two in the other.
10. What kind of car did you drive? My moms.
11. Had you been to a real party? Define "real"
12. Had you had your heart broken? Usually I did the breaking.
13. Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Single/taken - it varied
14. Any kids? no

10 YEARS AGO (1999)
1. How old were you? 23
2. Who were you dating? Ben
3. Where did you work? For the Broomes
4. Where did you live? Columbia, till I got married - then Lugoff
5. Where did you hang out? I can't remember. Probably the institute building...
6. Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Contacts
7. Who were your best/close friends? Becky, Ben, Reanna
8. What were you driving? Plymouth Acclaim
9. How many tattoos did you have? None
10. How many piercings did you have? Two in each ear (But I only wore one set of earrings!)
11. Had your heart broken? Yep! And healed right up, too...
12. Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Single, then taken, then engaged, then married.
13. Any kids? No, but one in the oven shortly after I married...

5 yrs ago (2004)
1. How old were you? 28
2. Who were you dating? My husband
3. Where did you work? Woods Research, Inc.
4. Where did you live? Lugoff, SC
5. Where did you hang out? At home & my inlaw's house on Sunday nights
6. Did you wear contacts or glasses? Contacts
7. Who were your best/close friends? Ben, Becky, my sisters, and moms (inlaws included!)
8. What were you driving? Saturn SL-1 (till God dropped a deer on it for me)
9.How many tattoos did you have? None
10. How many piercings did you have? Same as last time - 2 in each ear, but just wore one set of earrings
11. Had your heart broken? Not lately!
12. Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Married
13. Any kids? Olivia & Kelsey

Today
1. How old are you? 32 (almost 33!)
2. Who are you dating? The hubby!
3. Where do you work? At home
4. Where do you live? Edmond, OK
5. Where do you hang out? On the computer! (And at the local parks with my kids when the weather is nice!)
6. Do you wear contacts or glasses? Glasses - Kelsey ruined one of my contacts right before we moved and I've yet to get back to the eye doctor.
7. Who are your best/close friends? Same as before, only add in Amber
8. What do you drive? A stroller :) Also, a Chevy Venture minivan.
9. How many tattoos do you have? None - plenty of scars though!
10. How many piercings do you have? Same as before!
11. Had your heart broken? Not lately!
12. Are you single/taken/married/divorced? Married
13. Any kids? Olivia, Kelsey and Connor

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Dog and a Horse

Olivia drew a couple pictures this afternoon - I thought I'd share. Isn't she such a great artist?