January 27, 2012

Halloween Part Two

So, for the Jack-o-lanterns of Halloween . . .

Over the years, Brad and I have wised up regarding the whole pumpkin carving thing.

In years past, we'd let the kids pick out the biggest pumpkin they could find. Each. And then we would all carve a pumpkin. Even the kids. With their "big" ones. Of course, none of the kids could really carve, so we would. And of course, none of the kids would really want to rip out the inner guts, so we would. It would be a really LONG night.

Now, we still let them pick out pumpkins, but we remind them that the bigger it is, the more guts there are to rip out. And we only carve two.

This year we had the boys vs the girls. I had bought one of those pumpkin carving kits with stencils. The boys tried to use them but took one look at how intricate it could be and decided to go out on their own creative whim. The girls, always up for a challenge (or maybe that is just me,) went with the stencil.

It was hard! Truly, not incredibly enjoyable as the paper ripped in the pumpkin juice. However, we were pretty satisfied with the results. I think ours turned out the best . . . but I could be biased. ;)


This past fall, the kids took swim lessons at a private swim school in the area.

I must admit, I was pretty shocked writing out the check . . . $750! But, it was for three kids, for semi-private lessons, for 12 weeks. And it was somewhat close to us. (Well, in the country 20 minutes is "close" for an activity.)

I've put the kids in lessons before and no matter how "great" the program was, they never did seem to be able to swim by the end of it. I had almost given up on formal lessons, especially since we spent our first summer here without a/c at my sister in law's pool and the kids were finally starting to swim on their own, but the kids insisted on going to classes. And since I found out that they could all be taught at roughly the same time, on the same day, I was sold.

Jackson, by far was the most improved. When he first started, it was ugly. They had him do the "front crawl" . . . maybe he thought they meant drowning crawfish crawl? I felt really bad for him. (In order to get them all at the same time, he had to bump up to Jayden's class, so in his defense, he had a lot of ground to cover.) However, when they practiced their dives, he caught on right away and was actually recommended to go on in diving. And, by the end of the lessons, he could actually do the front crawl . . . even if it was only for a few "perfect" strokes. I was so impressed.

Jayden was the teacher's pet. He likes to work hard and was always striving to improve. Even though his strokes were pretty solid, he always asked the instructor about what he needed to do next. I think he really enjoyed the class and he has become a fairly strong swimmer now.

Avery, well, she had fun. Her instructor took her and her swim buddy on swims to disney world (aka. around the pool) while they kicked their legs. She was able to do some floats all on her own by the end and even doggie paddled a few strokes without any floatation device. I guess she's still a bit young to expect much more.

All in all, I was fairly impressed with the swim school, though I don't think we'll be back. The pool was a bit run down and always smelled of mildew and now all their suits do too! (Still!) We'll have to see I guess.

Buzz Buzz

Busy, busy.

It's crazy how fast life goes and how little time (or mostly, energy) I have to do little things like keeping up on blogging . . . or even keeping up with family photos!! Eek. I've been so horribly bad at taking photos of the kids lately.

But, good news for anyone who still cares to check back here . . . new posts are in the works. It's going to take a while to dig out of all the over due blog posts (like the boys' birthdays FROM TWO YEARS ago!).

As daunting as it is, it still seems more fun than cleaning my house right now so it might actually get done. The blogging and picture taking. Not so much the house cleaning!

January 16, 2012

Dog or Rug?

That is basically the question that is on forefront of conversation here.

Guillermo, seems to think that our (once) beautiful ivory shag rug is the place to eat (chili that the kids left out) and then also the place to urinate . . . and defecate said chili . . . in eleven places . . . in soft, squishy pieces.

I worked for over a week steam cleaning, scrubbing, treating the rug with vinegar . . . only to have Guillermo pee all over it . . . before it was even dry . . . or free from cleaning agent smells.

I've been rooting for him all this time (for the most part), but now I think I'm going to favour the idea of having a nice shag rug for the family to enjoy over having a black fur ball who runs away constantly (coming back after rolling in poo), pees and poos on our rug and barks incessantly.

If anyone knows of a good home . . . please let me know. I think his days here are up.