Monday, June 30, 2008

What is with us and Birds?!?

Maddie and Jake bellowed for me this afternoon and said there was a bird in the garage. They didn't sound terribly distressed and I was in the middle of something, so I said I would be there in a minute. I thought it was probably just walking around the edge of the entrance or something.

Nope. The bird was up above the open garage door. Then it was in the shelves Mike has up about the garage door. Then it was sitting on the large pipes hanging on the side of the walls. Then it was on the other side in Mike's tool area. Then it was flying over my head and heading to the other side - again. I grabbed one of the kid's winter shovels and suddenly I had three kids screaming at me to not kill it! (Maddie had a friend over.) I assured them I was just trying to coax it down and not smash it. But for some reason this bird couldn't see the giant opening the garage door provided and instead kept flying into the ceiling hitting it's head, or into the wall hitting it's wings. At one point it literally flew into the wall, bounced back, flew into the wall, bounced back - about 5 times before landing on something. Which poses this question: when a bird hits it's head does it see flying birds circling above?

Anyway - Maddie and her friend tired of my lack of animal control skills and seeing as how the bird hadn't pooped on my head, they left. I told Jake to go get his dad and tell him a bird was in the garage. Mike came down a little confused at first because he thought Jake had said, "Mom can't get a "board" out of the garage. He was wondering 1) why I needed a board and 2) how weak was I? Anyway - Mike grabbed the same shovel that hadn't been working for me and went to work chasing/swiping the bird back and forth across the garage, but never OUT of the garage.

In the meantime, Jake was the bird's advocate. The first conversation went like this:
Jake: Dad! You can't talk to it like that - it doesn't understand you.
Mike: What should I do Jake? Do you think he'd understand Spanish better?
Jake: Dad!!! You have to talk to it in tweets. Bird talk. "Tweet-tweet".
After that Jake was all boss telling Mike not to swing at it (and for anyone wanting to call PETA, we never swung at it...). Occasionally Jake would throw out a few random "tweet-TWEET!" phrases himself. In the background as the bird flew across the garage (which now had two large doors open and the side door open) I called out "fly toward the light!" Apparently it wasn't looking to go to heaven yet though. I'm sure in all this any outside neighbors were wondering what the heck kind of power outage the Murphy household was having because we had to keep opening/closing the garage door since the bird would land on it or on the track and wouldn't move unless forced out by the moving chains. At one point the bird landed on my car and I had the sunroof open. I went into a small panic mode then - there was no way I was cleaning out bird droppings from the INSIDE of the car. (Jake did suggest I leave the roof closed after this when I park it in the garage.)
Just as I was about to offer up my next suggestion, Mike grabbed a box in one hand and the shovel in the other and had a look that said, "now or never!"

Finally, after what seemed like all afternoon, but was probably only 10 minutes, Mike managed to free the bird.
Mike wondered aloud if it was the same baby bird that just sat on the deck the other night while he and I walked up and down the steps, not a foot from it and it never moved. Mike thinks this bird may not have gotten all the brains in this latest batch of eggs to hatch.
Anyway - the bird flew off across the street to the neighbor's tree near their garage. If anything happens, we have a shovel and box they can use.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Easy Rider

My parents have made a new purchase...they got a Honda Goldwing!

Last week they frightened my brother for two days when my dad called to tell him he was buying a motorcycle, but wasn't planning on telling mom about it, it was just going to be a surprise. Dan was frightened for their marriage, of course, and tried to find out if Dad was having a mid-life crisis or what was going on. The next day my mom called and asked some questions about a mysterious phone message from some bike place. Dan was completely flustered and blurted out that he didn't know anything. Mom said if she hadn't known about the bike, that his response would have been a dead give-away, but she had known about it all along. They decided to have some fun with their purchase. Dad proceeded to call me the next day and put me through the ringer a bit, but I don't think it was nearly as much as Dan.

But, basically, driving down the freeway one day my mom commented to my dad when they saw one that it looked fun and comfortable. In a nutshell my dad ended up turning around, walking into the driver's place and taking his permit test for a motorcycle, passing, and they drove out to Delano (like an hour away!) and bought a bike. The next day my dad called every place he could find and was able to get into a class to receive his license. He's been in the class all week, got his license yesterday and they went and picked up the bike this morning. Actually - none of us thought he was going to be able to get it because it was raining. I guess God smiled down on Dad's bit of excitment and offered up a parting of the clouds. They were able to get out and get the bike. They stopped by to show it to us. Maddie, Jake and I (as well as little Ashley) had seen it when they were filling out the paperwork. But, it was sure fun to see dad actually on it and getting to tool around.

And when I asked him if he was having fun and liked it he had a big grin and said, "yeah...I am". This may not seem like much excitement to most people, but coming from my dad - it's the equivalent of how most people would react if they won $200 million in the lottery.

So hats - er, helmets - off to Dad's lottery fun!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dinner on the Kids

Madison and Jake have been receiving mysterious letters and notes giving them instructions to do different activities. A couple weeks ago they had to make a list of 30 activities that they could do without spending money and then they were sent on a frog hunt. Last week they received an even more mysterious letter that had them mix up a potion with some powder and based off clues from this they were sent to a local park to search for their next clue. In that note they were told to make a meal together that involved only one color. So, we decided that last night would be the night they were in charge of dinner.

They worked together to come up with foods for different colors - even Mike and I were getting into brainstorming. In the end they decided on the color yellow and their menu included chicken, noodles, corn, lemonade and ice cream (vanilla) for dessert.

Maddie was in charge of cooking the chicken. She wasn't so sure about the grease splattering thing and let out more than a few little screams until she got used to the process. Mike overlooked her shoulder at one point and wanted to know what was going into the chicken. I told him it was going to be buttered noodles. I guess being the dad means he gets a veto power - he wanted some type of gravy or something with a little more taste than butter. Luckily in the cupboards we found cheddar cheese soup - YELLOW! Jake and Maddie wholeheartedly agreed to add it.

Jake was in charge of lemonade. Jake LOVES lemonade so this was so exciting for him. He even got to taste-test it to see if it needed more sugar. After that batch, he and Mike pulled the corn out of the freezer and got to work getting that cooked up. When dinner was served - here's the miracle. Both kids ate all their corn without complaints - AND ASKED FOR MORE!! I dived for the corn before they changed their minds. Who knows if it was that "they" made it or if it was because it was frozen instead of canned, but we'll definitely be trying it again!

The finished product needed a name. During the cooking process they decided they felt like "Ratatoille" and decided to call their dinner "Rata-pa-toille". I told them I didn't think it sounded very appetizing. Then, once dinner was all laid on the table, we brainstormed some more. They said we needed to write it in the recipe book as the "sunshine dinner".

This morning we found another note taped to the front door. It said that we are supposed to go to the Shakopee Library on Thursday and meet up with a specific person there. The kids are trying their hardest to figure out who the mysterious person is and they are wondering if the person at the library will be able to drop any clues. Good thing Maddie is so into Nancy Drew - her clue sniffing abilities are at their peak!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Year "six" strikes again!

We never really experienced "terrible two's" - two was a great year for both kids. Year number three? That was when it all kicked in and it was a time of deep breathing for Mike and I. But we got through it. Forward to when Maddie was six - another draining time for us. If we told her "no" - tears. If we asked her to do something, then repeated it, then repeated it LOUDER - tears. Tears for no reason. Tears with pouts and without pouts. Everyday presented a new "challenge" to get through. We joked that she must be going through an early PMS. But then we talked to some people we knew and they agreed - year number six wasn't so fun.

So, in December when Jake turned six, I took a deep breath and prayed hard that a boy couldn't be as emotional as Maddie had been. Turns out PMS is a co-ed thing at the age of six. Jake has whatever it is that hits a kid at six. It's been getting worse the last couple weeks and today - good grief! Today we stopped at Sam's club. I'm sure security was watching us closely thinking I was going to lose it. The kids were acting up around the cart and fighting over it so I took over and said I would push. Not good enough. Jake literally wouldn't let go of it; I had to PRY his fingers off the cart. Then he literally tilted his head back, opened his mouth, squeezed his eyes shut tight and, "WAHHHH!!!" I looked at him wide-eyed. Seriously?? I told him he could act his age (forgetting that "six" meant "cry like a baby at everything as loud as possible"). Then he started to foot stomp and all downhill from there. We hadn't even been in the store for 3 minutes and I was ready to leave them there. So, I grabbed on to Jake, pulled him close and told him, "Act however you want, but YOU are the one everyone walking by is going to be looking at."

And you know when you say words and immediately know it was a really bad idea? I can't be the only mom in America that has these conversations with myself in my head at warp speed saying, "that was a bad idea - now he's going to think people's opinions are all that matters." But, it was out and hopefully he missed it.

He didn't. Later in the store he hopped on the cart to get a ride. I stopped it in the middle of the aisle and told him to get off it - he wasn't going to get to have fun in a store when he acted like he had. He decided he was going to stay there until I moved and I decided I was going to stay there until he moved. After about 15 seconds of staring at each other with our game faces he said to me, "People are going to be looking at you when they walk by." Yes, my mind reeled with a million comebacks, including a few not so choice words, but I kept the gameface, tried desperately to make steam come out of my ears - and he got off.

The rest of the day has gone about as smoothly as that store trip. To the point that Jake was sent to his room, I left him there for awhile - a LONG while - then told him he could leave the room when he figured he was ready to act like a six year old is supposed to act. He didn't come out of his room for a good 30 minutes.

In the meantime I was so mad I cleaned - it's what I do when I'm furious. It makes me wonder if Mike is paying Jake off to act like this???

I just have to keep in mind that this too shall pass. Maddie - or rather, Mike and I - got through Maddie's sixth year phase. But that brings up the next question: This happened at age three, and age six - a pattern of every three years. Does that mean it all starts again at age nine?

I'll let you know. Maddie turns nine July 10th.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

22 makes 12

June 22nd - that marked our 12 year anniversary!

We didn't really celebrate in grand style - actually Mike worked all day. But, after the kids were in bed we grabbed our best bottle of wine, some crackers and leftover deli cheese and even some brownies and had a little toast to us. I guess after 12 years we've learned that a celebration doesn't have to be monumental to be special.

12 years ago we took off for our honeymoon in Estes Park, CO. It was a really great week and this picture was taken on our last night right behind the condo we were staying in:

Mike had carved our initials in a tree across from this rock. He even managed to put a heart around it. We said we would get back there someday to see if the tree and our initials were still there. We haven't managed to make it back yet, but plan on there being lots of time. Maybe we'll even be able to take the kids with us and show them the tree. Between the tree, us, and the kids, it would be cool to see how much we've grown in all the years.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Birds and Bees...mostly the darn birds

On Father's Day while Mike was out golfing, the kids and I were in the backyard. We've been monitoring the bird's nest that has been under our deck all spring. I think the first occupants of the nest had four baby birds. Jake and Maddie watched this everyday. Well, they moved out and some new birds (or a very busy couple of same birds) moved in. We had five new robin's eggs in it after only a couple weeks. The kids love these - Mike? Not so fond. Mostly because these tenants leave "white puddles" all over the patio.

Anyway - I had my camera and thought I'd get a picture of the eggs so Maddie & Jake could see what they look like up close versus just through the cracks of the deck. There was a big surprise for all of us though! I took the camera down to show them the pictures and was shocked when I saw four brand-new babies in the picture. I mean - BRAND NEW. They didn't even have all their feathers yet - it was really cool. So, of course I annoyed momma bird and took way more pictures. After several shots I finally got a good one to show to everyone:

Now, after all this excitement we were inside and we were watching those Sunday shows - all the animal shows are on t.v. on Sunday afternoons. So, we watched a couple. Show #3 is what about did me in. It was about birds. Good so far. Then it was about mating birds and I got a little skeptical, but thought, "surely they won't show/talk about anything knowing this show has kids watching it." Then it showed two vultures - not particularly attractive birds - but one hopped up on the other. On top of the other. In my naivety I thought again, "Surely they won't show this for more than a couple seconds..." About 30 seconds to a minute later the birds finished. But not before Maddie said, "Um...what are they doing?" And because this was NOT the moment that I wanted to explain everything I said, "Wow...I have no idea."

Can I live in denial or what?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Exercise Shmexercise!

I was about ready to throw in the towel yesterday on exercising! We joined a gym awhile back and one of the reasons I was actually looking forward to it (loosely used here...) is because they offered classes. I know me - it's taken us having to pay money for me to even get off my butt to get this exercise stuff accomplished. So, I know that I would not be the candidate that willingly goes to the free weights and just does whatever people do there. One, I don't understand muscles and movements and I really have no desire/interest to learn about them. Two, going over there would voluntarily add time to my workout. I'm happy to go and walk for 25 minutes on a treadmill. I'll even set up for different inclines - but to do two things in the same day? I think it's happened twice. On the rare occasion where Mike and I can go together I love it because he makes me do the right exercises. I think we've been able to do that a maximum of three times.

So, I love the classes and I found one for each day that I can workout during the week that fits great with my schedule. So, I was off to the gym yesterday and knew it was going to be challenging. A lot of the moves require you to sit on one of those exercise balls. Keep in mind those are round. They roll.

I got to class, said a prayer that I would not make a fool of myself, rolled my eyes because, of course I would - and got to work. Before the warm-up was even finished my legs were ready to give out. (I've slacked a bit the last couple weeks in going to this particular class and it was obvious by minute 3.) But I stuck to it and then we were at the ball part.

I think I hate those balls. I'd barely be adjusted to where I'm supposed to be sitting/laying/reclining - or at least where I thought I was supposed to be and the class would already be doing the exercise. At one point we were laying on our back, rolling the ball back and forth with our feet and our rear was in the air - my ball managed to go left and right. Rarely did it go back and forth. At another point it was time to do push-ups - with your feet on the ball. Out of the 20 the class did - I think I managed 4. I was just trying to make the ball stay in one place so I could actually do a push-up. Then we had to do these quasi-sit-ups, but had to lean with our sides on the balls to do them. I rolled right off the ball on that one. Not once - at least twice.

But I managed to work my way through it and gave myself a pat on the back. I know I'll get better once I figure out how to make these "stability balls" stable. But here's where the universe just humbles you when you start to get too cocky. As I was walking out I felt a little something pulling on my rear end - why I didn't notice it before, I cannot tell you. When I looked in the mirror I noticed this really weird bumpy area, followed by this smooth, large, rectangle under my shorts. It looked like I had my cell phone stored in my back pocket - exept I had no pockets. That's when I realized I'd just spent the last hour bending over, squatting, and walking around with the tags still stuck inside my pants.

I guess it wasn't just my lack of athletic prowess that made the lady next to me giggle.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fa-a-achoo -ther's Day

Father's day started incredibly early in the Murphy household. I was up at 5:55am to make breakfast for Mike which he got to eat in bed. Mike planned to leave the house at 6:45am to be to the golf course this morning for a 7:27am tee time with Dan, my dad, and Rob. Dan set this up with everyone and I was so happy that Mike finally got out on the course.

He returned home about 1pm and said he played decently. I don't think he hit any sand and he said he loved his new clubs which he's only gotten to use a couple times. Then he started sneezing and really never stopped the rest of the day. We managed to squeeze in some time to open presents. He was given a map by each kid to find his present. Maddie's map was about 7 directions - it took him all of 15 seconds to locate his gift under her bed, but she got such a thrill and giggle with each new direction he had to follow! Jake's map literally consisted of a box labeled, "Maddie" and a box labeled "Jake" with a line between them. Mike just looked at me and I mouthed, "rooms" and he went in to Jake's room and looked at Jake. Jake said, "Maybe you should look in my closet." Lo and behold! There was his gift! One of the gifts we got Mike was a hammock. The ropes on his old one broke last year and he was pretty happy to get a new one. He managed between sneezes to get this up, but didn't take a chance outside much longer than that. After that he laid on the couch and either blew his nose or sneezed. Other than this morning, I believe the rest of his Father's Day was pretty cruddy.

In thinking about this Father's Day though - I wanted to post a couple pictures of Mike with the kids - these are some of my favorite shots from the past years:
Jake has always been a fish in the pool. This is at my parents' house when Jake was 2 1/2 years old. They were having so much fun - Jake jumping from the sides into the pool - Mike catching or throwing him up. I think we definitely owe Jake's water fearlessness to Mike.
And this is Maddie's first Easter. This has been one of my favorite pictures ever since. Mike was SO proud of how cute and dressed up Maddie was that day. We lived in North Carolina and after church we went to the Officer's Club for brunch. If ever a dad beamed when he walked into a room with his kids - it was that day with Mike. He walked her around and "showed her off" to all the people we knew there.
And here's today's picture. He still plays like crazy with them and if ever there were two kids who beam when their dad gives them all his attention - it's our two kids.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Night on the Town

Tonight Maddie & Jake had a night out with my parents. They've all been planning this for awhile - it was to celebrate going into first grade and fourth grade. The evening started at 4:30 with dinner reservations at Wildfire. Why would my kids want to go there? Of course - they have the best macaroni & cheese anywhere. My kids have a rating scale for mac & cheese at any restaurant and this restaurant (from two previous engagements there...) rates a perfect 10. So, they were QUITE excited to get to eat there.

After that it was off to the Children's Theater for a performance of "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle". If you haven't heard of her, these are great children's books. I think they were originally published in the 40's or 50's. Madison has read all of them (four total) at least three times. For awhile (pre-Nancy Drew era) it was all she read. So, when they saw it was going to be at the theater my parents thought that the kids would get a kick out of seeing it performed.

So, at 3:30 everyone was ready to go - dressed to the nines! When I gave Jake the option of the white or orange shirt with his tie, I was shocked when he chose the white because it went with his vest. Madison opted for this dress, though she really wanted a sundress. However, I just felt like it was a special occasion and I assured her that grandma and grandpa would be dressed up too. So, she got into it getting her hair curled (to look like Nancy Drew) and a necklace - but no earrings. (She has so much to learn!!) Anyway - grandma and grandpa came but were dressed nice casual and my kids wanted to know where grandpa's tie was. My fault. I totally accept blame - and I was quite surprised when my parents dropped them off and my mom was in a different colored sweater and my dad was in a shirt and tie. They felt so bad they actually drove home to change clothes so they were as dressed up as the kids! Grandparents can be such suckers!

When they got back - I don't know who was more excited - my mom or Maddie and Jake! It was hard to keep up with all the stories! My mom said it was just the most wonderful night. They got candles on their dessert because the waitress thought it was so neat that they were going to be in 1st and 4th grade! Then the production - honestly, Maddie did not stop talking until we finally got them in bed. I mean - I think she reenacted this entire play! Mike looked at me at one point wide eyed with a look that said, "She's not going to stop talking!"
My favorite part was when she was talking about some girl in the performance and Maddie said (at a mile a minute), "then she got SO mad! Then she said...(whispered) she said the "s" word..." And I'm thinking, "What the heck kind of production is the Children's theater getting into???" and Maddie followed it up with, "She said....shesaidshutup....I know, we aren't supposed to say shut up...but..." The "s" word was "shut up". I love that! If only innocence could last forever!
Jake told us - when he could get a word in edge-wise - that he wished we could have seen it because we would have "LAUGHED. TO. DEATH." According to him, he laughed to death. Even my mom said it was more fun watching him at one point then watching the play.
And I must say, I'm so excited that they had such a great experience. I love musicals and going to shows - maybe that means that there will be some future shows that we can all partake in together! Mike better start saving his money!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Basement Update

We've had a lot of family and friends ask us how our basement has been going. Slowly but surely we are making progress. The last few weekends has been devoted to sheetrocking. I mean devoted. This past Sunday Mike and I pushed to finish the last remaining rooms - awful. They were the bathroom, and under the stairs. These tiny rooms alone took as much time as the bigger areas - and frustrating!!! I know I personally cut one piece three times before it was right. First it was drawn backwards (not my drawing!) then it was redrawn upside down (definitely my drawing) then I finally was able to draw it correctly but only after laying in the opening with a piece of scrap sheetrock held up and drawn looking directly at it. It was as confusing as it sounds.

Sunday night before heading to my parents' for dinner I lamented that we hadn't totally finished - we had literally two strips to cut and we would have been done. Whining helped and Mike and I cut these really quickly and did finish. According to Mike we aren't done sheetrocking because there is a large pile of scrap pieces in the middle of the room. Then there are usable pieces all around the rooms - anyone need any sheetrock?

However, according to me, sheetrocking can be checked off the list - it's on the walls. The rest is filed under "clean-up" on my list - and we all know how good I am at that!
This is the view from the stairs to our fireplace - the big wall holes will be surrounding the t.v. that seems to get bigger and bigger with each discussion.

This is the view from my soon to be craft area towards Mike's bar. The doorway-looking thing on the right will be where all the AV equipment (and I'm sure I'm naming it incorrectly) will be stored.
So - on to the next step. After cleaning...bleck...will be taping/mudding. Then maybe - FINALLY - we'll get to start looking at colors!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Quick Trip

Wednesday school ended and Maddie was home at 3:20 - by 4:00pm we were all packed in the car and headed to Iowa to visit Mike's family. We had realized on Monday night that Thursday and Friday were the only two consecutive days in June that we had nothing happening. July was already pretty packed and we really wanted to get down there to visit. So, this last minute trip was planned fairly quickly. We are seasoned pros on this trip though so there wasn't much packing time involved - just a phone call to see if anyone down there was available for us to visit. Luckily they had some openings in their schedules too.

Maddie and Jake were pretty excited to see their cousins. They wanted to head over to the other Murphy house at 10:30pm when we arrived. We held off, though Maddie did get to talk to her cousin, Samantha. Because of snow day make-ups for the Iowa Murphy's they still had to go to school through Friday. For the Minnesota Murphy kids that meant more time with Grandma and her favorite pooch - Ginger.

Thursday night was a glimpse of Pat & Missy's summer schedule. Steven plays baseball, Samantha plays softball and Aaron plays baseball as well. We spent Thursday night traveling between their second homes: ball fields. Samantha had a softball game and Steven had a double-header. Luckily they were fairly close to each other. This is Samantha's first year as a softball player - she did well - had a great bunt to get to first. Unfortunately her team lost, but not because of a lack of cheering from their fans.
We attended the second of Steven's first two games. I guess his coach didn't get the memo that we could only attend Steven's second game - Steven ended up playing in the first game and we didn't get to see him play.

The other Murphy's were out of school early on Friday which left time for us to get Whitey's ice cream. If you are ever in Davenport don't miss out on this ice cream parlor. It's the best. It's also Mike's alma mater for work while in high school. And because he was making fun of me earlier tonight I'm going to give you a treat and see him in all his high school glory working at the local ice cream shop:

Nice Hat!!!

Friday at 4:00pm we were waving goodbye and heading back up to Minnesota.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


It's official - we now have a first grader and a fourth grader. In fact even before leaving for the bus this morning both kids were running around yelling "I'm in first grade!" or "I'm a fourth grader". I was the voice of reality and told them they still had either 2 1/2 hours to get through (Jake) or all day for Maddie until they could yell that. Then by all means, let the world know. And yes, they both looked at me like I was a kill-joy.

Jake had a kindergarten graduation. He's been pretty "hush-hush" about this all, but they've been learning songs and he's occasionally been humming them around the house. It was a cute little program and they all got their diplomas. Grandma and Grandpa Smith were able to make it and we all celebrated with a special lunch at Panera - one of Jake's favorite haunts because of the cinnamon roll or chocolate croissant. Today they'd sold out of the cinammon roll right before we arrived - thank goodness they still had a croissant or we may have ended up somewhere else.

So - three cheers for our graduates of 2017 and 2020. It seems ridiculously far away, but I know the time will fly!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Our Possessed Trees

This spring we've really spent a lot of time worrying about our front tree. This tree has kicked butt in growing since we moved in. But, last fall it lost it's leaves really early and this spring nothing seemed to be popping out of buds when all the other trees around it were turning green. Now, neither Mike nor I claim to have green thumbs - there are no plants in our home. In fact, our thumbs aren't even green enough to have fake plants in our home.

At dinner one night a few weeks ago we were discussing this pitiful tree and trying to figure out how to help it. I'd broken off a twig earlier and we saw it was still green; other neighbors reassured us that it had buds and they were sure it would grow...eventually. Anyway - knowing it still had somewhat of a lifespan we had to fight for, we were brainstorming on how to help it. I offered up the best and only advice I knew of from 6th to it. Only you have to talk to it close up and in a really breathy voice that expelled a lot of Carbon Dioxide - this would make the tree grow. I suggested to the kids that they start to talk to it on a regular basis.

We have two good listeners. Over the next few days while waiting to get in the car for errands they would run up to the tree and talk in this new manner to it and say how much we loved the tree and how it needed to grow and get big like the other trees around it. One day I came out and even found Jake hugging the tree. Okay - I decided we were maybe taking it to the extreme at that point. Jake and I headed to Lowe's to seek some professional advice. They suggested fertilizer spikes, then just go ahead use the rest of the spikes to fertilize the other healthy trees and they'll grow "like maniacs". I believe those were the salesman's exact words.

In the meantime we've continued to talk to the tree. In fact, leaving the house yesterday Mike was delayed in getting to the car and the kids were hopping to get going. He casually - as if it were an everyday sentence - said, "Go talk to the tree." Most kids get sent to talk to the dog...we send ours to talk to the tree. Anyone have the name of a good therapist?

But, whatever it was...the spikes, the extra water, or the extra love - our tree finally had some buds start popping open. Now our next problem: only half the tree has opening buds. The other half is still quite stubborn.

However, across the other half of the yard we have all new problems that I don't think are solve-able. This tree decided to grow "like a maniac" - meaning it's literally crazy.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

School hasn't even ended...

Saturday started like any other weekend in the Murphy house - except that we finally had some decent weather that looked like it was going to stick around more than an hour. So, the kids were forced outside. Jake headed out to meet up with one of a zillion boys in our neighborhood. Maddie headed out to meet up with one of about 4 girls in the neighborhood she knows from school. Her situation growing up here is very similar to mine growing up - very few girls for her to play with, except that she has about four times more than I did. However, Saturday was the preview for many days to come: All four girls were either out of town or busy and not home. Not good, and out of her mouth came...say it with me moms...."I'M SO BORED!"

So the unofficial summer motto had been spoken. I offered up what my mom always offered: "You can clean your room!" I thought this would send her running as it did me many times (and still does, by the way...). But, nope, my trooper was bound to drag me down with her. I've never brainstormed so hard in my life! We finally managed to make it to lunchtime and I told both kids that I'd take them to the park and they could each bring a friend. (Before you think I was rubbing it in on Maddie, one of the four had come to the door 5 minutes earlier to see if she could play). So after lunch we biked to the green park, played and biked back. Her friend stayed an extra hour and then when she was alone, that unofficial summer motto made it's way back into my daily routine. I can only imagine how the rest of summer is going to go!

Today (Sunday) was great! We actually didn't wake up until almost 8:45! (To all my friends with babies...your day will come!) We lounged around a bit and decided to head out for a late breakfast at Panzanella. It's similar to Panera, except, as Mike stated, it isn't owned by "the man"'s a Shakopee place. Delicious food.

Well, Maddie decided to go for the half-order of pancakes. It was the size of her head. She was quite proud of the fact that she managed to eat her way through three-fourths of it!

Jake enjoys the chocolate croissant at the aforementioned other "P" place. So, he went for that here. When he found out Maddie got bacon. Whew....the aura of breakfast darkened a bit. He begged, pleaded, begged, asked nicely, reminded Maddie it's nice to share and finally coaxed a bit of bacon away from her. Only to be followed by his same routine in hopes of getting more.

Before you think we actually allow our kids to sit like frogs in restaurants - I want to make sure everyone understands I first took this picture then looked at Mike who said to both Jake/frog and Maddie who had licked the powdered sugar off her pancake, "People...manners."

Home again after breakfast. Mike power-mowed the grass and after finishing the front quarter and turning on the sprinklers he met me around the corner and asked if I would bring the hose to the front tree. I rounded the corners, saw the sprinklers right where he thought it would be so funny to see me get drenched and did what any sane mother would do...I called the kids. It's one of the reasons we have them in the first the dirty work. They were already in swim suits waiting patiently for the pool to heat up and Mike and I to get done with a few other chores.

Maddie whole-heartedly volunteered for duty - until those first few drops of cold sprinkler water hit her...then she dropped the hose and ran.

She'll make a great mom someday!

Soon both kids were running through the sprinklers because:

Have suits...must get wet.

Having gotten soaked in the cold sprinkler water they were more than ready to head back to the pool where we were still waiting for the sun, cover & heater to work their magic. Here's what I found when I got to the deck:

Way to make the most of the small space, huh?

Then it was spending the rest of the afternoon in the pool and in the sun. Yep - even I got in! In fact, the first round of pool time I outlasted 'em all...amateurs!

After about an hour in the pool we decided to warm up in the sun and each pulled out a favorite read: Maddie (decided to start "Hans Brinker") Jake (Maddie found some Junie B. Jones for him) and Mike...normally a book-scrooge kind of guy stuck with his tried and Home Theater magazine articles.

Today was the first day the flags were out. To our neighbors that means the pool is open and families are welcome to drop in and swim. Hopefully the weather will keep cooperating and there will be many flag days ahead.

And hopefully this fun, full day is the kick-off for a relatively limited number of sighed "unofficial summer mottos".