Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chores

I don't understand all the fuss some people give us about getting a snake. Alright, I do understand many people are squeamish about reptiles. I'll give them that. But other than that possibility, what could be bad about having one? It's not like a dog or cat is much more sanitary. Yes, anyone who touches the snake MUST wash hands before and after. But, really, snakes are so low-maintenance. You feed them once a week. They defecate once a week (compare that to a dog!!). They could care less whether you play with them or not. A dog? You've got to water it, feed it, clean out it's cage regularly, take it for daily walks, pet it, play with it--or it's neglect. I'm not kidding myself in thinking I can do it, or coerce the kids into doing it. That won't happen. A cat? A nuisance to neighbors' sandboxes and plants. So we'll choose a different route. I'm confident this is a great choice for our family.

The boys still need to save up some dough to buy the sand boa. I've got a list of chores worth $1 each just for the purpose of earning 'snake money'. The past few days they haven't been interested. At this rate, they won't be buying the snake for well over a month. Well, today Colin got down to business. He cleaned the bathroom (he's really good at it!), vacuumed, and offered to 'babysit' Mira Catherine. Micah started in on picking up the backyard. About 4 minutes into it, he declared, "I'm too tired. I'll do some more later." We know what that means.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Finished Product (or almost)

Here is the finished product! (I think we're going to paint the other side of the fence, too. You can still see the red fence from the deck. It's rather tacky.)
The clubhouse.
Colin and Ella (with friend, Brigham in the middle) getting into trouble when I was otherwise engaged. I'd dug out a dying tree and filled the hole with dirt. They proceeded to fill it up with water and make their own little swimming hole. Lovely.
Micah had a lot of fun helping us paint. Ella pitched in, too. It was a roasting hot day. Just standing in the sun painting brought on the beads of sweat... which then turned into fountains of sweat!!

Little Entrepreneurs

Since yesterday was Pioneer Day, we did more soda/water selling at the parade. Chad had gone with Micah and Colin to purchase the drinks and ice, and to pick up my parents' wagon. I took them out early Thursday and we got to the parade well before it began. We started selling- a little slowly, I worried. But by the time the parade was under way we were doing rather well. In under 2 hours we sold 90 bottled waters and 48 sodas. It was boiling hot out there on the asphalt with no shade! There were quite a few others with the same idea selling drinks, toys, Popsicles. But we still did well. We could've sold more. We just wouldn't have had anywhere to keep the extras cold. I have a feeling this will be an annual money-making tradition of ours. What a simple way for kids to earn some extra cash.

Chad and I finished painting the clubhouse, deck, and a portion of the fence yesterday. Feels so good to have that done! What an improvement over the peeling red paint some cuckoo put on there in the first place. Now we're looking at our to-do list again. It seems endless! Replacing blinds, painting, fixing closet doors, replacing sprinklers, etc. I think the most daunting part of the task is the thought of it. Next is preparation. I actually don't mind at all doing these projects. And it's awesome to see the fruits of your labors. (I'll bet Blake and Maren can relate!)

The kids are running around outside with the water on. Just loving it. Being total kids without a care in the world. Remember those days when you would run around your front yard in just your swimsuit, doing cartwheels or whatever, without a second thought. I wonder what people would think about a 30-something doing it? Ha!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sand Boa It Is!

So... I think it's time for a family pet. Been thinking this for a little bit. But neither a dog nor a cat is going to be happening in this family (at least for now). Colin has mentioned on several occasions that he'd like a snake. He told me, "I hate mammals." (Hate to break it to you kid, but you are one!) Anyway, we went to the pet store, talked at length with the herp expert. I've read a lot online about a snake as a family pet, a first pet for a child, care, expense, etc. I've talked a lot to the kids about their care. Colin's going to do some more reading about them.

We've decided on a sand boa. They grow up to approx. 4 feet long and would need a 20 gallon tank, as compared to lots of other snakes that would need a 40 or 50 gallon tank! We just don't have the room!! They're fantastic first pets. We've been back to the pet store to hold them some more and compare them to other snakes. I think this is the one for us.

The biggest concerns are these: that kids (ours and others) might try to get into the tank without permission. I am going to have to drill it into the kids that they MUST first ask before getting him/her out. The other is the escaping of the snake. I've heard it can be tricky tracking them. I'm sure we'll get good at it. One good thing about the sand boa is it doesn't climb up walls. So there's no chance of it escaping even if the top was left off of the tank.

We went today and Colin and Micah used money they've saved to buy the tank. We found a good spot for it on their bookshelf. The plan is for them to save up more dough and purchase equipment and food, then lastly, the snake. Colin is soooo excited. He keeps telling me his heart is beating fast when he thinks about it and he can't wait! Micah, at first, wasn't so keen on getting a snake. He thought they were okay, but was more interested in a rat, or something. Until he held it and it's sharp little nails scratched him a little. Now he's pleased to be getting a snake. Ella's just upset that it's not technically going to be her snake.

I'll post the progress of our snake-buying process. And I've got to figure out how to post videos so you can watch them feed it a pinkie (mouse)!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Chad is now convinced regarding A/C. We're having it installed tomorrow! Alriiiiight!! Chad's been working on getting the deck painted. I wanted a lighter color because the deck gets a lot of sun and it can burn little feet easily. The color we ended up getting is very close to the color of our house. I've got to get used to it: it reminds me of makeup- a foundation. But it's a definite improvement from the peely reddish color we had before. The clubhouse is getting painted the same color.
Amber came over yesterday to spend the afternoon with us. She just celebrated her 27th birthday. In my opinion, the 20's are good, but the 30's are even better. So, you're getting closer, Amber!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fun with Cousins

While Doug and Rachel were at home getting their stuff packed and loaded for Germany, my mom had their kids for a few days. She brought them over Wednesday to get out and have some fun. They came over and all the kids played hard for well over 3 hours. Swimming, jumping on the tramp, swinging, you name it. They even at their lunch on the picnic table in the backyard. I know my children slept well that night!
It's so strange to think Doug and Rachel and crew will be gone 3-5 years. By the time they get back, the children will have grown and changed so much! We are definitely going to go visit while they're over there. Hopefully the situation with the airlines and gasoline won't get any worse! We'll be flying 6 people over there!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Allens Come for a Visit

Here is cutie-pie Ella just before church. Does she look adorable, or what?! Of course, by the time church was over, her hair didn't quite look as neat and pretty as it did here. But pretty stinkin' cute nevertheless.
Travis and Erin Allen came for a visit today. Their children, Canyon and Kaylee (Erin, did I spell that right?) were great playmates for ours. Erin and I were roomies at Utah State one summer. She was the absolute best. Full of energy, fun, spontaneity, sincerity, and kindness. I have great memories of those few months: rollerblading mishaps, dating craziness, nutty parties, quirky upstairs neighbors, heart-to-hearts, etc. She and Travis are raising beautiful children

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Celebrations

Our little entrepreneurs, Micah and Colin, out selling cold drinks at the parade. ($1 each) Hey, they made $50 in about 1/2 hour!! Next time we'll bring three times as much! Colin's saving up for a Webkins (mainly for the online registration that comes with the pet) and a snorkel w/ mask. Micah is set on buying a 'gem' from the Dinosaur Park. He wants the stone cut open so you can see the crystals inside. And he's determined on getting it!
Cuties Ella and Mira Catherine.
Mom Barnett and Amber were there. I think coming to the parade brings out Janna's inner child. She was all about getting the candy (and making sure the grandkids got enough... and boy, did they ever!).
Mom and Dad came, as well. Dad even painted his face and brought fun stickers for the kids.
I debated on whether I should put this one up. Wish I'd either done 100 situps before going out this morning, or had the foresight to have one of the kids stand in front of me!! Ha!
But we had a great day. Started out with a neighborhood breakfast, off to the parade. I took Micah and Ella swimming while the baby slept and Colin and Chad had some special time together. This afternoon we all went up to my parents' house and enjoyed a terrific barbeque. We also had a good time playing around in the backyard with the kids. Chad and Amber took the boys to see the fireworks tonight. It's been a fun, busy day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Who Doesn't Love a Honda?

Here is our new (at least new to us!) Honda Accord. It's kind of a deja vu looking out and seeing it parked in the driveway, since Chad's now-deceased car was white. Except this one has four doors, is roomier inside, and is actually a comfortable ride! Let's see how long it stays in good shape. I can see our kids feeling tempted to climb on, or perhaps decorate with chalk this 'blank slate'. This is a shot of Mira Catherine sleeping the other night. It's been so warm at night I just put her to bed in her diaper. I had a feeling where this could lead, so I went to check on her later, and, sure enough, she'd ripped the thing off and flung it to the floor. Luckily nothing had occured (if you get my drift). I wrestled it back on the semi-sleeping, non-cooperative 19 month-old, and she immediately drifted back off to sleep. You see she has her favorite thing in the world with her: her purple blankie (or 'diddy' or 'ninny' in her words). Whenever she has it near her face she sticks out her tongue and is in pure bliss.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Acts of Kindness

We were the recipients of generous help the last few days. What with Chad's accident and all, we've had assistance from both sets of parents. Mom and Dad Barnett happily took the kids home and got them settled into bed the night of the accident. My parents drove me around all Saturday afternoon so I could look for a car (while Mom Barnett watched the kids again!). Doug and Rachel took the three older kids overnight to give us a chance to shop around (and they have a new baby and are getting ready to move overseas!). My mom spent a good portion of the day Tuesday driving around with me and watching the kids while I took care of getting the car legal to drive. This was all tremendously helpful!! It is especially at times like this when I realize how blessed we are with the families we have! Our parents show us their love all the time. I hope they know when we say 'thank you' how deeply we feel that gratitude. I just can't be expressed with words. We hope we'll be those kinds of parents for our kids!

And it doesn't end there! We have an awesome mechanic for a friend who lives just by us. He has the cutest family. Well, he saved us trouble by checking out several cars for us to ensure we were making the right choice. He gave up a couple hours of cherished family time one day to drive with us to one location to inspect a car. Chad and I commented on how cheerful he was all the while. It's a reminder that we need to be generous with our time and talents in coming to the aid of others. We've been the recipients of these many acts of kindness just over the past few days and we are ever grateful!