Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I think we are finally at the end of the tomato growing season. There was a frost last night and I didn't see any point to covering the plants so I'm assuming there isn't much of a harvest left to reap.

But, let's review how this first season went, shall we?

We eventually had a bumper crop. Definitely more tomatoes than the four of us non-loving tomato people could handle. I still had fun getting to pick them eventually, but after looking them over, I'm not sure what we did wrong.

Good news first: we had some really pretty ones.
Perfect shapes and really good color - at least on the bottom picture. I think we even ate these. I tended to mix them in any kind of spaghetti sauce we were making. Our family does better when you hide the veggies.

However, not all of the harvest looked so great. I think a few resembled some of the worst medical cases to solve.
I'm really not sure what happened on this one, other than it needed a sponge bath. Those are some water spots! I believe it was some type of ventricular disease. This didn't look too edible. Actually, I was chicken to cut it open because I was afraid it wouldn't be a ventricular disease, but instead some type of worms.


But things got more bizarre. We had several of these as well...

The one on the left looks like a minor case of cleft lip. The one on the right is a bit of a conjoined twin. There was actually another conjoined twin on the vine a couple days ago. It looked really bad; only one was going to make it. Half was totally green and the other half was ripening nicely.

There were these as well, but I'm not sure what to classify them as:
Severe case of inner belly buttons. Severe.

Or something else that I'll just leave to imaginations.

So, while we grew these fine specimens, and even ate some, we clearly have a lot to learn on how to grow the perfect tomatoes.

Who am I kidding? Perfect-schmerfect. I'll settle for consistently round ones next year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Orange You Glad I didn't say....Nevermind

The other night we were driving somewhere and saw this fun little roadster pass us and it was orange with white stripes. It really was cool; Jake and I were admiring it. We had previously passed a little Honda Element that was also orange. I happen to think that's a funny looking car, but Jake thought it was great.

It all got me thinking about Jake's love of orange. We can point out any car on the road and if it's orange he'll undoubtedly love it. (His favorite though is the rare orange Corvettes we see.) He loves the shorts he wore for the first day of school:

Not to mention any and all shirts we see that are orange or even have a little orange in them. We pass things in stores that I wouldn't give a second thought to and he's ooohing and aaahing over them because they are orange.

So, I asked Jake, "Is there anything that's orange you can think of that you don't like?"

Without missing a beat he replied, "Carrots."

Saturday, September 26, 2009


This is like a "spot the difference" post:
Do you see it? Our swingset is no more. This was not an easy task. Mike had cemented it in (per my request/instructions) and he had done a really good job. He discovered just how good a job it was in trying to get the posts out.

I got home from a wedding rehearsal and Mike told me he had to tell Jake and his friends to leave the backyard so he could turn the sprinklers on. First though, he noticed that they were all standing around the grass. After telling Jake to move to the front yard he heard Jake tell them, "C'mon. We'll continue the funeral in the front yard." Mike went inside laughing thinking they were having a pretend funeral because the ground looked like a fresh burial site. He may have also thought it a little weird.

The next morning I was talking to Jake and said, "I hear you had a funeral yesterday. What was it for?" He looked at me like it was the most obvious answer, shrugged and said, "For the swingset."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Online Shopping

Yesterday I was shopping at Target. I was looking through the sales sections and came across these.

They weren't even on sale; they expect people to pay full price for these right off the bat!

Now, I don't normally take pictures in the middle of Target of random clothes - my kids, yes - but not clothes. However, these made me cringe and laugh at the same time so for some reason I whipped out the camera and snapped a shot. Then I realized the flash went off and I would probably have security poking around wondering what I was doing. Heaven forbid I try to simulate this look at home on my own sewing machine.

So I went home and did some online browsing for what else you could find under an "animal prints" search at

You know...because I have nothing else to do....

I came across these. Look how short that shirt is. It does not leave much to the imagination from a rear point of view. At least, I imagine it doesn't leave much to the imagination.

I can't honestly say I know anyone that could pull off this look - and I've taught a few high school girls who just might try. Oh wait...I can think of someone who pulled this look off:

Actually, I used to have a piano teacher that could probably pull off that look. She was at least 70 years old at the time. Actually, thinking harder, she probably did pull off this look several times. It's probably a memory better left repressed. She looked something like this - and I'm not exaggerating. Ask my sister or brother...

But piano teachers can be like that. Piano teachers can be weird.

Wait a minute....

Moving on.

I saw this rug next. Not the most tragic item, but I don't think I'll ever understand the concept behind having a dead animal laying on your floor still in the shape of said animal. Honestly, it would probably scare the crap out of me every time I walked into the room.

It's not natural. And, do zebras really have a mirrored pattern on each side? I bet that's not natural either. I think Target's vendors took some creative licenses.

Then I saw this beauty and I was slightly shocked that Target was carrying a halter top/bustier like this. A little out there for my beloved Target.

Then I realized it was a purse. Maybe the bottom unzips and you can slip it over head so it can do double duty. A 2 for 1 special.

You can get it in multiple prints.

Or looking like it's still bleeding...

And there's just too many things wrong with this picture.
This does not look like a happy dog. Mortified is probably more accurate. And why did this show up when I only searched under "Animal Prints".

...this is more what I expected to find.
Straight out of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua".

Then the kids arrived home and I had to look like I was busy.

But, I have decided I like window shopping online. I'll probably have to try it again when I'm bored and procrastinating on laundry.

And cleaning.

And cooking.

And being a wife and mother.

There just are not enough hours in a day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Break Through!

I sent Jake to school today with a brand-new water bottle. A really nice one, not super cheap. This was sent with explicit instructions to take care of it.

It came home cracked. He had it less than eight hours.

I took a deep breath and asked what happened. Jake was perplexed. He had no idea it was cracked. I proceeded to calmly tell him he needed to take care of things he was given. Yada yada yada.

Jake opened his mouth and said, "But it wasn't my fault..." which is usually followed by him beginning to wail in a toddler fashion and stomp his feet.

I held up my hands and said, "I'm not accusing you of doing it on purpose. But I didn't do it, your dad didn't do it nor did Maddie. You had ownership, you had it all day and somehow it happened under your watch."

Jake looked at me and said he probably did realize how it happened. He'd had it attached to his bag on the outside and was swinging his bag.

THEN...ready for this???

He looked at me and said, "I'm very sorry. Are you mad at me?"

I picked my jaw up off the floor and said I said I was disappointed and I expected him to be more careful. Then he came over and hugged me and I said, "Wasn't that nice to actually have a conversation LIKE A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD?"
He giggled, and walked away saying, "Oh mom, you make me laugh when you say things like that."
I hope he knows I was dead serious.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Budding Photographer

A couple weeks before school started Jake and I headed out for a photo shoot. Maddie was sick, Mike was sick and watching t.v. and I was bored. Armed with our cameras, Jake and I headed out.

The rules were simple: we would drive around taking turns picking "left/right/straight" when we came to intersections. If either of us saw something we thought would be interesting for taking pictures we got to say "stop" and I pulled the car over for an impromptu photo session.

Jake wasn't too sure what I meant by just pulling over whenever, but he got into the spirit of things fairly quickly. Note: All shots taken by Jake.
The first stop was some silos near our home.

Jake decided that he liked shots taken at an angle. He thought he was pretty clever to have come up with this all by himself.

He really liked the angle shots.

We stopped near some horses. Neither one of us had a very good zoom lens, but I like his shot between the weeds...

And he started walking around taking pictures of things I hadn't even seen. His eye level and mine weren't the same, but soon I was following him around...

It struck me as odd that he went to take a picture of this sign. Only because I had just seen it and thought about taking some pictures as well. Great minds think alike.

One of the things Jake absolutely wanted to find was a flag. It was getting late into our hour, but we managed to come across this one. He was at the ready for the wind to blow this flag out and kept whispering as he held his camera to his face, "C'mon wind. Just a little...come on..." Unfortunately the wind wasn't cooperating.

Next we found a dirt road. It was awesome light and we hopped right out.
We couldn't figure out how to take these pictures without getting our shadow involved.

He was fascinated with the cows and the fact that we could get a lot closer than the previous horses.

We started taking more dirt roads. Honestly, Jake was getting a little nervous that we were getting lost. He said, " you know where we are?" I replied, "Nope. Not exactly, I just know the general direction we need to head in." He said, "That's not good, mom." Apparently he knows of my directionally-challenged-inner-navigation-system.

We meandered down more dirt roads and I told him we were running low on time and light. We stopped at this farm to work on getting different pictures with the sun. I tried to explain to him how to take different pictures to show the farm as a silhouette.

I think he's a fast learner.
And again with the copyrighted "Jake tilt".
And then some...
We found some flowers over near the side. Again...his field of view got him right in the middle of the flowers. I had my flowers lining the bottom of my picture. Just a good reminder to me to try different angles.

While we still had some light I taught him the art of self-portraits.

Which he practiced as we drove home...

But neither of us could resist stopping here. Jake was more comfortable at this point because he actually knew where we were. So even if it got dark, he was certain we could get home.

His final pictures involved an old dock we found. He was getting frustrated that his camera was making everything dark. Unfortunately it was getting very dark outside. After changing some settings for him on his camera, he shot this.
It's very blurry and noisy, but I like it a lot. I think it gives it a bit of an ethereal quality. Of course, I'm his mom so I may be biased...but I'm probably right anyway.

And we did indeed make it home safe and sound. It was about 90 minutes of quality time with Jake doing something where we both learned from and taught each other something.

A date night we'll definitely be repeating.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Intergalactic Messages

"I swear! If my head wasn't attached....wait a minute!"

"We will annihilate you as well if you don't finish your dinner."

"Intruders Beware"

"Bee-bo-bop-bo-beep-beep. Beep"
"You left the stove on. Again."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pool Debris

Saturday night Mike went to put chemicals in the pool. The usual ritual for him is also cleaning out the skimmers at this time. He opened the top and said, "Whoa! Jake! You need to come and see this! I bet your mom won't want to see it though."

I asked if it was a mouse. We haven't had one yet in the pool this year (knock on wood!). I asked if it was a frog...we've had several of those this year. He shook his head to both and said it was a salamander. We've never had one of these in our pool.

Then he said to Jake, "Yikes...this thing is HUGE. I think it's a Komodo Dragon!"

I ran for the camera and yelled to Madison to come down and see this thing. She got outside and Jake said, "Maddie!! Maddie!! Come down here quick...we have a KOMODO DRAGON!!!"

It was large.

Then Mike pulled out about the 157th frog this year and we put them side by side.

Both dead as doornails.

I'm so glad cleaning out the skimmers is not part of my job description.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sale of the Century

Thursday through Saturday last week we hosted a garage sale. I had called Tracy on Tuesday and proposed it. I emailed mom and friends that evening and invited all who wanted to partake to bring things over.

Wednesday morning I got a few things I had sitting in closets ready for the sale. Wednesday afternoon Mike, Jake and I headed up to the attic where the boys pulled out boxes from past garage sales. Mike also managed to pull out some boxes and bags that had been neglected in past garage sales. He warned me he would be pulling things out for the whole garage sale to sell so I better be wearing the pants I wanted to keep.

Wednesday night I left for choir. Mike, Tracy, mom and dad laid everything out in the garage and worked on pricing. I returned at about 9pm with almost everything done. I decided THIS was the way to do a garage sale!

Thursday was the first day and it was non-stop action for most of the day. Not too many characters, but we did manage to sell some big items. We sold our treadmill, then dad headed to his house for theirs. They sold it as well. Tracy sold her baby swing.

Friday was much slower paced. At one point dad was providing entertainment for the little ones:
We did have on lady come to return something from the previous day. I just looked at her and shook my head. She shrugged and said she didn't want it and she'd paid 20 cents for it. I shrugged back and and she just left it on the table and proceeded to shop and buy another 50 cents worth of merchandise. I stuck a tag on the item and put it back on the sale table.

Saturday was dead.

We did manage to sell our sconces that have been in about three garage sales now. I told the guy that bought them that if he left his address I was sure my husband would write him a thank-you note for finally getting them out of our attic. Tracy still has some saucer thing to sell and a baby mattress. My parents still have a desk and chair.

Overall though, this two-day-notice thing might be the best idea. You are kind of forced to just go through things quickly and decide right there if it's a keeper or not.

It also helps to be gone for three-quarters of the set-up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to the Grind

We woke up to pounding on our bedroom door at 4:10am.

We were greeted by Jake who said, "My tooth is really loose." Sure enough, it was just hanging there. So he and Mike went in the bathroom and minutes later Jake pulled it out. I came in to see this smile coming back at me:

It may have been the hardest I've ever laughed at 4:10am.

Thus began the first day of school, 2009. Jake headed back to bed for a few more hours. Mike and I tried but I don't think either of us slept too well; we are both trying to shake off some nasty cold.

But I got up at 6:40 and headed to the Donut Connection for our "First Day of School" breakfast. Breakfast of champions. We did serve orange juice with it so they got something healthy.

And very soon all four of us headed to the bus stop. But not without taking some pictures first.

Maddie had a last minute change in shirts. This was not the original plan. But, the shirt she originally had on was sewn incorrectly in the back and would have resulted in a large hole by the end of the day. We are also at the stage of a girl's life where hairstyle starts to matter. She had preplanned her pigtails, but they could only be low ones. I offered to redo one because she had missed a little section in the back. I actually had to redo it twice in order to get it correct.

These were also her school shoes:

They are last year's shoes. We actually have new shoes ordered through Famous Footwear. We've had two separte deliveries; neither has resulted in us actually receiving the correct shoe yet. We are keeping our fingers crossed the right pair arrive soon.

But, despite her outfit completely deviating from head to toe on the original plan, she looked very cute and was only a little nervous to start up again.

Jake was IN LOVE with these shorts.

He also LOVES these shoes. Loves them. They have orange. Enough said.

He has wanted "Sketchers" for awhile, but we held off until this year. He swears the main reason he wanted them was because they had special holes in them so your feet won't stink. When he was putting them on this morning he said, "Mom, I'm totally going to smell my socks when I get home to make sure my feet don't stink. I bet they won't."

And everyone survived the first day. We had root beer floats to celebrate after dinner and toasted to a great year for everyone!