Monday, June 30, 2008

Thursday Excursions...

In trying to keep with past summers, I save one day each week where we don't have any kind of anything accept for morning chores. Then the day is "excursion day" or sometimes we've called it our "field trip day". You recall the berry picking fun, this last week we spent our excursion at the City's art museum, and we had a wonderful time.

Admission to the museum is completely reasonable (adult prices are $8, students 12 and up $7 and free for kids under 12). The only real cost other than admission was the probably $10 spent on gasoline to drive from our suburb in the sticks out to the awesome museum in the city.

Our first 2 hours was spent in the children's art discovery center, where the kids did everything from build forts out of over-sized cardboard blocks to create soft sculptures out of velvet and rubber bands. Their work could go home with them or, of course, go on the gallery wall for all to see. Mason-our resident artist-had his first gallery showing by displaying his soft sculpture cartoon character with the other "artists" on display.

The last 30 minutes was spent trying to see just one or two works from the American impressionist exhibit. I didn't have the band-width to manage the kids and study the name of the artist, but his subject revolved around the bluebonnets of Texas. Breathtaking. I got to enjoy amazing art for 30 minutes and my kids got to enjoy fantastic hands on art experiences for much, much longer. A fair trade. A wonderful excursion!

Friday, June 27, 2008


like a ton of bricks. That's what I feel has happened to me this week as my kid has behaved, most assuredly, like a teenager.
Complaints about the chores
Complaints about going to get a milkshake (I'd rather stay home and play video games)
Complaints about going to the Art Museum (I know I want to be an artist, but I never said I want to look at other people's art work!)

I'm pretty sure he's said the words "oh man" or "no kidding" more than any other words in his vocabulary in the last 5 days...

This list actually is not at all complete. But I don't want to dwell on his "dark side"-cause deep down he is a really great kid.

When we drove past the Dallas Temple for our church this week he said, "man I love the temple, it is such an awesome place".

He told me about a church meeting he needed to be to. And when he needed to be there. And he wasn't going to be fed food or bribed with candy for going. And he went, and he helped and he didn't complain at all.

And we have a few neighbors who request him regularly to babysit for them. Their kids really like him. And the moms feel he's responsible and kind and positive when he goes to work in their homes.

And he is all of those things, he really is....Especially when he's not hitting his mom with the teenager routine :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Plugged In...

Sometimes it is hard to believe how "plugged in" our little familial society really is. Although I designate Thursday, Friday and Saturday as "screen days" (meaning these are the only days our children use screens of any kind for entertainment, whether it is TV or computers or video games) I find we are all huddled around this giant MAC at least once a day while I check email or put up a blog post (all the kids are glued to a screen right now as I post this to you, as today is Thursday...). They beg for TV constantly and our "big 3", especially Mason, are always saying how unfair and how old fashioned I am that I don't release the grip I've long had on media in our home.

Our latest infatuation is over music-with Ipods, CD players and Itunes on the MAC, it is easier than ever for the kids to access a beat from anywhere in the house. Bryn actually worked tirelessly to earn almost all she needed to purchase her own Ipod, so she is now plugged into that world more regularly than I'd like. Her older brother is sure to follow, and Madi is currently working hard to earn the old Ipod I have sitting in my night stand. Having to ask the kids to "unplug" so I can talk to them has caused me to internally sigh more than a few times. So hard for me to get a handle on. I listened with pained heart as our six year old screamed out the words to Good Charlotte's "Bloody Valentine" while sweeping the kitchen floor the other day. How do we introduce music that is fun for all ages, but has words that are G-rated? I know I can request to swap Ipod playlists, but I don't begin to pretend that I know how to do that. I'm still stuck in the days of pushing fast forward on the Cd player when a less than desirable bunch of vocals ques up on a CD we own. Spending yet more time on the computer to surf good songs seems a catch 22 in the whole quandary about how to balance screens, tunes and media in general...

what are your philosophies concerning media in your home? How much do you let in, and to what benefit? I'd love to hear your thoughts, and glean from your ideas.

Time to "unplug" I guess. Bye for now

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease...

But it only settled in their mouths-big sores (Lucy is trying her best to show you here, unsuccessfully). Porter and she have been half suffering half forgetting their way through it for 4 or 5 days now. Doctor says their is nothing for it accept popsicles and motrin. We've used both. Very likely Molly will take a turn with it some time in the next few days. Yuck.

And yes, Lucy fevered and cried through the rougher parts of the illness and STILL insisted on wearing the fairy costume, shown here, as she suffered.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

smash and freeze

After enjoying both a citrus blackberry tart and a lovely batch of blackberry ice cream, we used the rest of the "pick your own" berries to make some freezer jam. Trying the "easy" pectin recipe (no cooking required) made it possible for the kids to help. The result is a juicier, thinner jam, but it was made with smaller hands and a cheerful heart-so runny seems somehow o.k.

what is your favorite jam recipe? Mine is actually not jam at all, it is jelly-black current jelly. My great grandma used to make it every year-and we lived near her so we got to enjoy her great labor of love. Many years after she'd left us I had the chance to try this jelly myself. We were living in Sweden and bushes of currents grew right outside our door. I called my grandma for the recipe. I cooked and strained and waited and worked. Each jar of jelly was carefully wrapped and transported from Sweden to the U.S. and enjoyed by my family. Those were the best preserves ever made in my opinion. A reminder of my Great Grandmother, a product of time in a country I loved only second to my own, and enjoyed by my Grandma, my mother and my siblings-not to mention my sweet husband and our children.

who knew all that could be jumbled up with some fruit, some sugar, a little time and a bunch of pectin?

try making some sweet memories-in the form of jam or jelly-this summer. In fact, if you live near me, you can come over on Tuesday and we can learn to make some together. See you then...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Congrats to my Sis

For finishing the Wasatch Back Relay-her first major mileage race. She did it! Kudos to you sister.

I'm planning to follow in her footsteps this October, when 11 other girls and I run the Ragnar relay in Texas. San Antonio to Austin-just over 24 hours. We still need two team mates and hopefully another driver.

Mandy? Are you in? How about you Jessa? Anyone? Anyone?

enough of my selfish plug; the post is to congratulate my sister and Champ. Way to go Amanda!

Friday, June 20, 2008

You know you are a with it mom

when you realize your nearly 4 year old has gone missing, after a bath and just before bed. After searching for a naked child in the front yard, back yard and driveway (its happened before) she was found here. Asleep in her bed, wrapped in her towel and cuddled with her blanket.

Looked comfortable. I didn't wake her.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The next project on my house project list

painting something whimsical for the front entry (just beside the front door) is on my list of things I'd like to do to make this place mine. Of course, this would come after painting the kitchen and den. And the kids' bedrooms and the loft. Lots of painting in my future. I thought I'd get all the walls painted (and the kitchen cupboards) before we went to Utah in July...

that is not happening.

Maybe while we hang out at my mom-in-law's house in Utah I'll get to work on something like this. She is a magnificently talented artist and has all the brushes and paints we could ever need. I just need to sketch and sketch and then take the time to get it done -perhaps while kids ride bikes in Grandma's driveway? Who knows if it will happen, but I can dream...

This painting was lifted from hereWhat a lovely place to visit this would be!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


the dog adequately displays this quality regularly with Lucy. He is her punching bag, her pillow, her friend. Thanks Cooper the dog.
Have you noticed a "Lucy theme" this summer? The girl likes to be sans clothes. Hope it doesn't last past September, it does get a little embarrassing when she tries to get her brother to unbutton her sunday dress in the middle of Sacrament meeting. We've had to compromise at church-she keeps her dress on and I take her shoes off. One of the only children I know who runs across the burning pavement in the name of refusing to wear shoes to protect her feet. Silly Lucy

In the interest of full disclosure...

I have to tell you that the whole "chore plan" was lifted , yes; that is right, copied, duplicated, taken from here and you can see her plan for this summer (something entirely different) if you go here. I'll be making the summer fun clipboard today and having a pow-wow with the kids about all the stuff they've "gotta" do to be able to say summer was fun. Last year their requests were;
sleepover with cousins
swimming parties with friends
trip to Lagoon
girl's night to see Nancy Drew (that was mom's "gotta do")
have a Read-A-Thon

and the list went on.

This year my "gotta do's" will include:
*a trip to the Dallas Museum of Art
*convincing our long time friends the Asay's that taking us out in their boat is a good idea if it means coming back to our house after for a full on Graham feast.
*Taking my kids to see the new "Kit" movie from American Girl (she is my favorite *American girl character, and I fully endorse that company!)
*Riding a roller coaster!

we'll see what the kids come up with!
What are your summer plans? comment and share and I'll post your ideas too!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

To instill a work ethic...

clip boards which hold the chore chart. Daily work includes taking care of the bedroom, picking up after oneself, working on some "academic housekeeping" which means reading, math and a summer journal writing assignment. They also take a "quiet minute" for themselves each morning to say morning prayers and read scripture and practice the piano. Each week the kids are assigned a house chore they need to learn how to do. Each day they draw a "Popsicle job"which means drawing a stick out of their assigned jar to see which other job they'll help with for the day (changing the laundry, cleaning out cupboards, dusting or vacuuming-whatever they need to learn how to do sufficiently). All the Popsicle job descriptions are kept on a ring on the magnet board, so everyone knows what is expected for the job to be complete. Once a week the kids prepare, serve, and clean up dinner (and the kitchen) with mom. If it is their dinner night it is also their dog day, which means on that day they feed, water, walk and clean up after the dog. Once a week there is a "fun outing" with mom. Twice a week they play with friends.

Mason also completes one requirement toward his eagle scout or faith in God awards each day.

I'm in tears over the fact that "vegetable garden" is not on the chore list this year. First year in 6 that I haven't had a garden. It will be the last year-the garden is a must, look for it next summer in the chore charts to come!

Seems like a lot to keep track of, but it -finally- is organized so now all it takes is me, running from child to child each morning, to help and train them to do the jobs correctly.

It is my craving for organization coming to fruition. The free radicals come every day as kids do or don't do their chores...some on time (before 9 a.m.) and some dragging through the day(Mason finished yesterday at like 1 p.m. uggh!).

A big part of summer; learning how to work.

Monday, June 16, 2008

good signs of summer

I spent more time in my car last week driving kids from A to B than I have done in many many months. Soccer camp, piano lessons, gymnastics team, play school, swimming lessons, scout camp. I remember why I have always been the archaic "I don't book my kids up for the summer" mom. We did not once sit under a tree. We did not make lemonade. We did not run through the sprinklers. How do we balance the "my kids need to develop their talents" with "my kids need to do chores and play" ? Still trying to figure it out.

The two photos taken above indicate that somewhere in all the running around we are trying to enjoy the essence of summer. Pruned fingers and naked babies in the swimming pool. Those are for sure some of the things summer was always meant to be.

coming tomorrow; a glimpse into our attempts to teach our kids a work ethic, and later in the week we'll show off our blackberry jam...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thinking about my Dad

When I was a teenager I worked at the downtown ZCMI department store. My shift generally ended at 9 p.m. on Friday night. Often, I took the bus to work, then waited for my dad to pick me up in his brown van around 9:30 in front of the old mall entrance to Deseret Book. Dad was usually late, and I was usually pathetically downtrodden because I had no invitations to be with friends on those Friday nights. I wasn't considered a "hot comodity", and dates were very few and far between (just call me a late bloomer). Dad was my constant, my Friday night date.

In those High school age feelings I remember being intensely insecure with how my future would turn out. Would I continue to be without social invitations and suitors as I grew up? Was I destined to be a lowly sales girl with a seriously lacking social life? Who knew, but I dreamt it would ever be so, and I worried endlessly about it.

Dad was the rock. He was the stable place. He believed in the high school sales girl. I knew he knew I wasn't perfect. He corrected. He commented. But he loved me. And on those Friday nights (and many other nights as well) he greeted me, even late, with a smile and a friendly voice. Chatting as we drove, he seemed optimistic about my future and pleased with my present trajectory even though to me it was very flat. The drive over, Dad and I would retire to the television couch, and he would put his arm around me as he caught the sports on the 10 o'clock news.

I never cared for sports, really, but those 15 minutes with dad's arm around me got me through those uncertain teenage years. I was o.k. with him-and that meant to me that I really was o.k.

To this day the feeling of my dad's arm around me is a secure and comforting place. Somehow dad is able to deliver through that touch the love of the Father of us all who-knowing I am not perfect, and who correcting and commenting at times-does seem to be optimistic about my eternal future and usually pleased with my trajectory.

Did you know you delivered all that to me during the sports dad? Did you know you were my standing date on those lonely Friday nights? Probably not. But on this Father's day weekend I want you to know you were all of this. And as time goes on you are so much more. Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot but Sweet

Our first berry picking experience was in Oregon. With the Larsons. Hi Larsons! We miss you. And I still remember the heavenly taste of Oregon blueberries in my mouth. The warm but manageable Oregon weather. The fun of picking summer off the bush with friends to share it with.

Next, in Boise, we gleaned the raspberry bushes out of our piano teacher's patch. A wonderful afternoon spent with wonderful people. Hi Goates'! We miss you. And I can still taste the wonderful tart sweet raspberries as they left the bush and hit my mouth. A lovely afternoon. A great reason to live in Hobble Creek.

Now, with the Texas heat going through us, we've experienced blackberries with our new friends the Hardy's. Hi Hardy's! So glad to know you. Weren't those black ripe berries so yummy? Even as they came off the bush-hot to the touch with Texas summer-delicious in our mouths. Staining our fingers and clothes.

Pies, ice cream, and tarts are in the making this weekend. A Father's day feast of Texas blacks. A hot but sweet excursion. A good part of living in Texas (did I just say there is something good about living here? Those must really be good blackberries).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Political thoughts

I generally do not express political views on my blog. I keep my soap box for my religious views, because in the end I think those views can do more good for the human family than who I'd vote for or why. But, today I was listening to the Dianne Reem show on NPR. Several analysts and experts were talking about why the dollar is weak and what the long view will be for our country's finances. It was disconcerting. It was uncomfortable to hear. I'd just like to throw out these two little ideas.

1. A lame president (which I feel we have had these past few years) does not decide if you or I will borrow too much money to buy a house. A political machine does not decide if we will borrow through credit card debt in order to go on vacations, purchase large ticket items or remodel our homes. Those choices belong to us, the average American consumer. And while all the big guys out there have made stupid mistakes and gambled on economic situations that have not been fortuitous-you and I have been pretty stupid too, to believe that in the end it was o.k. to borrow money we didn't have. And to think that we really would be "o.k. in the long run" if we bought now and paid later. That has never worked-not for any economy no matter how large or small. Hasn't worked for large governments running national economies, and not for small businessmen or heads of households. While we can blame our governments for the large scale stuff, its probably time that we take a little responsibility for the purchases we've made that didn't jive with that "live within your means" mantra we heard from our grandparents and parents. It is high time we put our own financial houses in order and look back to the days when you bought things only if you had the cash on hand to pay for them. The only exception I can see to that "old fashioned" way of thinking is a home or an education. And-as we see in the housing crisis that is so painfully affecting all of us-we shouldn't buy more house than we can afford, nor should we buy a house at all if we cannot financially bear the long term responsibility for that purchase. Its high time we accept that some of these huge economic nightmares came about because of the small choices of you and me. They've grown-one choice at a time-into a monster of a problem that we are trying to blame on banks and administrations. Those were our names we signed on the dotted lines to ballooning mortgages and credit purchase that accrued exponential interest while we put off "paying later". Now, it is time to pay.

2. Moving forward, whichever candidates we choose in large and small scale political races this fall, it would do us well to ask the question of infrastructure; will they lend their political clout to develop a future that can physically not rely so heavily on us purchasing oil and gasoline to get goods and people from point a to point b? Because that price in oil-it ain't droppin' folks. We can pour our paychecks into our gas tanks and drive them to soccer practice, to the grocery store and to the school-or we can learn to develop more localized ways of doing business and using resources. Soccer teams that are assigned according to your neighborhood, with practices at the local school where kids and parents can walk to practice. Goods that don't have to been driven cross country to be purchased by you and me, but instead local goods that are less expensive just because they didn't have to be driven on a diesel fuel truck to get to the store for us to buy. roads that have safe bike lanes, so we can get out of our cars to run our errands. A general active attitude where we safely teach our children to walk and ride bikes to school, in neighborhood groups if possible. An attitude of consolidating resources among us as neighbors; I pick up milk and bread for my neighbor on one side of the neighborhood and she picks up the dry cleaning on the other side of the neighborhood for me. digging up some of that common green space to become a neighborhood garden, where people come together and grow fresh produce to avoid having to run to the grocery store-in the car-to pick up that tomato you need for tonight's dinner. Working together to help one another on micro and macro levels in our neighborhoods, schools, communities and cities in order to minimize the use of resources.

I know that #2 is a very different approach to our American way of life. It is not something that would happen easily or quickly-and with our stubborn desire for independence and consumption it may not happen at all-but it is just something to think about when considering the politics that are the talk of the season. I don't know which candidates I'll endorse personally on a national or local scale. But I can say that now, more than ever before, I'll look into their commitments to-on a national level- a country that is self sufficient and economically stable with national budgets and deficits that reflect our need to show restraint. And a candidate who has a realistic view of how we move from an oil based economy to one that is better supported by realistic alternative fuel sources. And on local levels I'll look for candidates who are interested in developing infrastructure that can support a more localized, pedestrian society in our neighborhoods and towns and who are encouraging of incentives for neighborhoods to become more self reliant.

just my naive, stay at home mom views, but I thought I'd throw them to you for your thought and consideration. Happy candidate hunting everyone, and may the best man (I totally say that as a figure of speech Hilary lovers) win.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A slice of my life

One of the kids got a hold of our very expensive and irreplaceable digital SLR camera. This photo was the evidence that the camera had been taken from it's perch on our tall dresser and snapped by one of the dubious Grahams.

I would never take this shot. "John's chair" in our bedroom ; a very extravegant purchase in its time, has seen better days. The bottom lining is starting to come apart. Lucy recently took a ball point pen and autographed it. So many children have slept in it so many nights we couldn't count them. It is worn. It is usually full of clutter. A special purchase in its day now become worn and rarely used for its intended purpose.

But it has had such comfortable significance in our family that I"m glad we have photographic proof of its existance in our lives. A great place for napping with newborn babies. The perfect size for cuddling in a sleepless toddler or a child who has been sick in the night. A great place to store folded laundry (you can see my laundry pile was moved in the middle of the night from the chair to make way for sleepless, floor hugging Lucy-the chair cushion is just hard enough to keep her asleep without my feeling guilty for letting her sleep on the hard wooden floor where she seems to find greatest bedtime comfort).

And it is good that you see it in its natural state. With the baby's comforter tucked in, the laundry piles and target bag scattered round. The church bag set right where it will remain until Sunday next comes 'round. Not perfect. Messy. Cluttered. Real.

A slice of our life in its daily form. A little messy. comfortable. inviting to those who want to rest a while. Home

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Scout's Honor

Mason left yesterday morning at 3:30 a.m. for a week of Boy Scout Camp. He was whining about spending the week in the heat and doing activities that did not include screens or any kind of joy stick. I, however, think he is off to spend a week making friends and learning that being 13 means you are BIG, and that you can do hard things.

And I miss him terribly. And I hope he's not feeling homesick. And, I hope he's saying his prayers and changing his underwear.

Porter couldn't go to sleep last night "without Mason" who has been a bunk mate since Porter remembers sleeping in his own bed. He bunked with Bryn-bless her-and cried himself to sleep.

So, in the end, while it is Mason's honor to be big, to be responsible, and to grow and learn at camp-it is our honor to have Mason before and after he gets home. An honor to call him son, brother. An honor to witness his goodness. An honor that he is family.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A report from Yesterday and other, better news...

So, obviously by my lack of report after dinner time yesterday nothing more on "the list" was accomplished. My husband, bless him, did get kids to bed while I began the projects which kick off our every summer. But the projects still wait; and that even after another full day of them needing to be done (that day being today, the kids' first day of summer break).

Largely today's lack of progress is over a very good investment of the family's time. John's office held it's second annual "take your kids to work day". This fun filled day involved our oldest 4 from 7:30 this morning until around 2:30 this afternoon. They helped solved a BCG case, presented their findings in the form of a slide presentation, enjoyed breakfast, lunch, snacks and a full blown ice cream sundae at the office. They played video games at the office, watched movies and the older girls created several arts and crafts. Face painting was part of the deal too-and you can see by our fairy realm daughters that it was no ordinary face painter that came in to do the job.

I brought the little girls to the office for lunch and the movies, and followed Lucy around John's office as she pointed to the computers and fell over the two sizes too big flip flops she scored at the arts and crafts table ("lip-lops" as Lucy affectionalely calls them). It all ended with well crafted BCG back packs for each child in our family. The roll away kind. The kids were thrilled. All we need now is another company endorsed, company funded case trip to another part of the world. I won't have to match the kids' clothes for the flights; they all have matching luggage instead! A good use of time...

Now back to that list.

Wish me luck, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Late Afternoon

hauling kids from book clubs to gymnastics. Sat still long enough to feel tired. Now it's time to make dinner. Have I accomplished anything on the list? I've been so busy that I don't even remember what I had written on the list; do you ever have days like this?

on to dinner and bedtime, perhaps some studio time for journals, chore lists and the like after the kiddies go to bed...

The middle of the day

consisted of tantrums from my two year old in the garden center. Potting soil in my peanut butter as I try to snarf lunch while planting pots. Deliveries to teachers and end of the year snapshots. Melt downs on the way to Jamba juice and-finally-a fun moment with my kids to celebrate summer with a smoothie.

Next it is off to pick up Bryn from a book club meeting, then she and Madi show off in their last gymnastics class. After they return I may get to the rest of my list ;)

we'll see...

the first few hours of the day

have not seen the work I had intended get accomplished. Finished is the shower, and two girls who were naked at last post are now dressed. I have dishes in the dishwasher, and the laundry has been started. I also made the bed (love you John). Otherwise, nothing...

let's see what happens next. Wish me luck!

One more time

I'm going to try to jump start my attitude and get some things accomplished today that will help our summer run smoothly. Thought I might share them with you-hour by hour as I did once before. It won't be exact because I will definitely be with my kids at school and after for our annual jaunt to Jamba Juice (it happens twice a year; when school begins, and when it ends. The pocket book can't handle any other trips to that delicious establishment).

Keep in touch through the day. Let's see how this summer will shape up.

at 8:45 a.m. we've accomplished the following:
*went running with Michele (thanks for showing up my friend!)
*read scriptures with the kids thanks to John getting the kids out of bed while I was running
*kids left (late) for last day of school (and I totally blew up at Porter for being lazy and not getting dressed for school. Great mom huh?)
*began potting the flowers to give to teachers (a 7year tradition in our family)

next hour should bring;
*a shower
*a trip to the plant nursery to "fill in" missing plants
*gift deliveries to appreciated educational professionals (teacher gifts :)

Before the Day ends I need to;
*finish the summer journals
*do the Popsicle jobs
*make new chore lists
*wipe up the cheerio mess that Lucy just made while I sat and typed this!
*send the shabby apple stuff back to shabby apple
*visit girl's last gymnastics class
*prep my summer binder
*get the phone number binder in order
*deliver Porter's birthday invitations

let's see if it happens. See you in an hour.

Summer Break

starts today. Somehow our trip to Africa has cost me a regular school year. I only had my kids walk to school for 9 weeks...that leaves me with exactly 5 hours until they are all around me all the time.

Oh the joy.
Oh the dread.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

His Day All Day Long

Happy Birthday to Porter boy. Six years old, smart and funny, happy and "all boy". Wants to try soccer, football, baseball, karate, gymnastics and-interestingly-piano. Can't wait for Fridays because those are the only days he gets to play video games. Prays at night that he "won't have to move his name to yellow" which is the "warning color" for kids at school (translation; "please help me stay out of trouble with my teacher). A friend to anyone, and a comedian to everyone. Already too cool to kiss his mom, at least he knows its very cool to skip school with her on his birthday to go out to Sonic for Lunch.

(And the last baby that I physically labored to bring into this world. It's been a while since I had to suck on ice chips and wanted to punch a nurse. And that is a very good thing)

Happy Birthday my Porter Boy.

Getting our money's worth

We officially opened our swimming pool a few weeks ago when Mason celebrated his birthday-and since then we've been getting our money's worth out of that hole in the ground. Water, chemicals, electricity and a little natural gas add up these days. But the temperature keeps climbing, and the pool is very handy on a hot spring and now summer day. It is nice to jump in with the family for a half hour or so and have the fun accessible the way it is. Our last pool used a manual cover that took mammoth strength to undo, not to mention a good 45 minutes worth of fishing leaves and junk out off the pool bottom. Our one acre of paradise out here comes void of grown trees, so no leaves in the pool-which is a very good thing when the kids' beg a swim.

Do notice Lucy's disposition in the photo-due to tubes in her little tiny ears Ms. L hasn't had much experience in the water. This pic was taken during our Memorial Weekend "vacation", and before the weekend was over she was running headstrong into that water (a little scary, but very cute). Yep, this is one bunch of water that might actually pay for itself in satisfaction and relief from Texas temperatures!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dallas Getaway

We had a long weekend in honor of Memorial day and had talked about taking the kids on a little road trip down to Austen. With Gas prices what they are (and hotel prices, and food prices-ugh!) we realized that was just not in the month's financial allocations. Instead, we promised ourselves and the kids that we'd not do "chores" outside of a daily recovery of the beating our house takes by our moving and being inside of it, and instead we'd try to enjoy what our city has to offer.

It was a great weekend. Our first activity on Saturday (after a very muggy run with the Ragnar girls) was fishing. Yep, fishing. I could not fathom the real interest in this, as it was BAIT fishing as opposed to the Graham embraced tradition of fly fishing-but somehow someone got it into their heads that fishing was fun and needed to be tried. So, John went out and -after asking some questions at the local sporting goods store- came home with a few poles, some hot dogs (bait in Texas, go figure) and some fishing hole spots to try.

The "Castle Park" was to be our spot, it is stocked and we could bring Cooper along (we forgot a water container for the dog, so Mason rigged one up out of the plastic packaging from the fishing pole-clever kid I tell ya).

To my utter astonishment, the kids loved the fishing. Molly and Lucy mostly chased after the dog. I spent a lot of time with raw hot dog in my hand and John used a pair of pliers to unhook all the fish that were caught. Porter endlessly complained that the Scooby Doo fishing pole was a dud and he had to use the pink fishing pole instead-but otherwise the kids had a blast. Who'd a thunk? fishing...and bait fishing at that!