Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ben and Noah's Spring Concerts

Noah had his music concert on Tuesday and Ben had his on Wednesday. Everyone uses Emily's middle school auditorium. So, if the setting looks the same as Emily's that's because it is. The high school doesn't even have a large auditorium. I don't understand that. But, I'm glad Emily's middle school has an auditorium that holds several hundred people and we get to enjoy these performances there instead of a cafeteria.

Anyway, I love that their music teacher teaches them great music. It was a fold music them.
















Here's Noah's video:


And the next night was Ben's concert:




And Ben's was super long. After the first medley of 3 songs, I thought it was over. Then, there was another one. And another one. It was impressive.




They both did great. Now, we have some class parties, field day, assemblies and we are done! 5 more days! And we leave for camping the first day of summer break! I love starting the summer off with a camping trip! The smell of pine trees, smores, no electronics, campfires, and the weather is going to be perfect..highs around 80, lows in the low 40's! It's just what we all need.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Emily as Katrina


This week is our crazy week.  The kids get out from school in 7 days, but this is the week that they have all their concerts and other going ons.  All grades are due in by Friday. Then, next week is the fun week, field trip to the movies, field day, assemblies for good grades, etc.

Last night was Emily's drama production. They did 6 mini plays and skits. Emily played Katrina Van Tassel from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  They had to read lines in class and the teacher assigned parts.  Emily was basically the lead girl for this part of the production.  I couldn't believe it. Our shy little Emily who wouldn't talk got a lead part in a play.  

They rehearsed every day at school during class, so we didn't go over lines much at home. But, Emily had quit a few lines to memorize and she did great.

Here she is before we left. She is looking so grown up.  Sigh...


And with her favorite person.


We sat in the second row, so I was able to get a few decent pics.  I took a little video, but it didn't turn out great.  But, I did buy a copy of the DVD, so I should have that in the next week. I'll get it on Youtube once I get it.




Emily was the love interest of both the boys she was sitting between.  




We are so proud of her for her hard work and performance.  She also had a heck of time finishing all her reading requirements this quarter. She had to read 3 books over the weekend and take quizzes on all of them yesterday. She worked so hard this weekend and got it all done.

This year was a huge change for her with a new school and all honors academic classes and she did so well. She's become so much more confident and has grown into such a beautiful young lady. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nice 'n Easy and Other Happenings

Last weekend was our community yard sale. I usually sell everything on Craigslist. I make more money that way. Then, the leftovers get donated. So, we rarely have a yard sale. But, I love going to yard sales.  You never know what treasures you may find.  

So last weekend, we all piled in the car, except Ben. Garaging saling is not his thing. We didn't find much this time around. But, we did find one great thing and have one awesome story.

We found a meat slicer. David has always wanted one of these. We make philly cheese steaks that it would be perfect for.  We usually just cut the meat by hand and it takes like 15 minutes. He went back and fourth on if he should get it.  Just get it!  It's $10, who cares! So, he got it.  He sliced up some leftover pork chop and it was yummy sliced so thin.  All meat is better sliced thin.  


Now to the funny story....

We walk up to a yard sale and this older gentlemen says, "I like the color of your hair."

David pivots his head around trying to find who this guy is talking to.
But, he's talking to David!
David says, "Are you talking to me?"
The guy, "Yeah, I like the color of your hair."
To which David says, "Nobody in my life has ever told me that."
Then, the guys wife chimes in and says, "He likes it because it's the color of my wig...gradient gray."

And I didn't hear a word of this conversation as I must have been looking at something fascinating. But, we laughed about it afterwards. 

Let me tell you something, my husband would say that he's not a talker. Actually, he makes fun of me all the time because I talk to everyone. Yet, we go to yard sales and every time I turn around, he's being Chatty Cathy with someone. I couldn't find him once and he's in a garage chatting with some guy about hockey. Another time, he's off playing a guys Fender guitar and they are talking music.

I usually go to yard sales with Dakri and we are both talkers. But, not when yard saling. It's in and out.  David didn't get that memo.

Ok, on to other things.  In the past 6 months or so, Ben has become a bit OCD on certain things.  If the pantry door is cracked, he shuts it. He doesn't like the bar stools cock eyed, which who can blame him, that's my pet peeve too. He notices time on the clock, "It's 5:55 or 3:33".  He'll say that all the time. We have a piece of carpet on top of our carpet in the living room, so when David does his workouts he doesn't sweat on our carpet. Well, the edges fray a bit and Ben will tuck them in. 
I hope that it means he will have a clean tidy house one day.

But, in the meantime, we like to mess with him.  So, Emily, Noah and I opened most of the cabinets in the kitchen and moved all the bar stools and it was Ben's nightmare.  

This cat.  He has us all wrapped around his finger.  David is the biggest surprise.  He loves this cat. And last night when David got home from work, Rio came running in from his catio to see him.  This is Rio and Emily every day after school.

So since my last experience of dying my hair with henna was a bit of a fail. It was way too red.  You can refresh your memory here. That was 9 months ago and my hair had grown about 4 or 5 inches. I could see a faint line at my eye level where my hair had grown out. My gray hairs were driving me nuts.  So, I decided to dye my hair. I really just can't justify a salon and a $100 price tag to do it.  So, I went on Clairol's My Shade app and you can "try on" different shades.  

Over the years, my red is just slowly fading.  It's turning to a mousy brown with gray in there. I was so afraid of my hair being bright orange. You know, we've all seen the old lady at the store with the awful orange dye job. But, David and I liked this shade.  Light Caramel Brown.  How can you go wrong with anything caramel?  It just looked like it brought me back to a red without being orange.  


So, this is my before.  In the picture, you can't see my grays or that the top of my head was more brown than the bottom part that still had some reamains of henna in it.


Here's waiting the 25 minutes.  Eeek!!!


And here's the after. Almost the same thing!  I love it!  It took out all my grays and evened up my color.  It's smidge more brown, but that's all good.  If I knew it was going to be so nice and easy to do it, I would've done it ages ago.  Clairol's Nice 'n Easy is da bomb!  With a coupon and sale, it costs about $2.  That, I can afford!


We are in the home stretch for summer.  The kids have 10 days left! I can't wait to sleep in and go camping and on vacation and have no schedule for 10 weeks!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Not a Normal Friday

I'm on a mission to clean out my entire freezer of meat.  I buy when things are on sale and sometimes over buy and we have 3 freezers and we ate meatloaf this week that was almost a year old.  So, no more buying meat until everything is cleaned out.  

David came home from work and asked what was for dinner.  I told him some chinese that was in there from Costco.  He asked if we had any more gift cards to Olive Garden.  Low and behold, we had one!  So, off we went for a yummy dinner.  

Ben and Noah don't eat much there, so we got ice cream after with some gift cards Pam had given them for Valentine's Day.  Thanks, Aunt Pam!


We were going to head home, but I suggested we head to this new park. Well, it's about a year old, but I saw it one day and thought the kids would love it. Emily and Noah had been for a birthday party, but Ben never had.  

The parks story is rather sad.  It was built to remember Kayla Mueller who was from Prescott. She was 26 and went to Turkey with Doctors Without Borders.  She got captured in Syria and raped and tortured for a year before they killed her. The park was built in her honor.


And it's an awesome park where families gather, people laugh and memories are made.  And I'm sure that's exactly what she would've wanted.  

Here's Emily flying high on this swing saucer thing.

And the zipline is totally awesome.

This just looked like a little seat, but it spins you around and around until you want to puke.  It's awesome!

David and Ben played tag for like an hour.  David was seriously the biggest kid there and I had to tell him a few times to watch for the little kids.  He's nuts...but, fun!

Emily hanging upside down.

More tag on the giant teeter totter.

There's even a little hockey rink on the left for roller blade hockey.  David would've loved to go out there. Maybe next time.

These two fight and then are so cute together.

We were there until after the sun went down.  It was a nice end to the week.  Next time, we'll just grab a pizza and bring a blanket and go enjoy the evening.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

5-5-55

In our family, May 5th is a special day.
No, it's not Cinco de Mayo.
It's the day my Dad's family came to the United States from Italy.

On 5-5-1955, they arrived in New York from San Fili, Italy.

This is San Fili; although the picture was taken about 50 years later. 


This was their passport photo.  My Grandma didn't get her own. She had one with all the kids. That's my Dad on the bottom left. The one who looks like a baby Spock.

It took 2 weeks to cross the Atlantic.  Here's a picture from a dinner.


And here's their paperwork.


It cost $820 in 1955 for all 6 of them to come here.  That must have seemed like a small fortune. My Dad was the oldest child, only 9 years old and didn't speak any English.

But, he learned quickly, as my Dad does with everything.  He joined the army, met my Mom, had some kids and worked his butt off in construction and elevators.  At one point, in the late 60's, he had a wife, my sister and a quarter to his name.  25 cents...that's it.  From that, he worked and eventually bought a Dunkin Donuts and eventually a Texaco. At 13, I went to work with him. I made donuts and helped customers and scrubbed the toilet when it needed it. He taught me how to work hard and take pride in your job, and for that, I'll always be grateful. He's the smartest man I know and ever will know. 

He sold his dream home this week. The one he dreamed of building for over 30 years, and then actually built.  It was over 4,000 square feet and a beauty. Seriously, this picture looks fake.  But, he planted all those trees and landscaped and designed everything in this home.  Him and Suzy picked out the roof color and the carpet and made a little path through the rocks for water to flow when it rained. 

They downsized to a home in a retirement community that will keep them active and having fun for years to come.  They still have their cabin in Idaho that they'll go to for the summers.  I know my Dad was sad when he drove away from that home for the last time.  He closed the door on his dream home, and turned the key on the end of an era.  An era where he worked hard his entire life and finally built the big mansion in the desert.  

Now, it's time to relax, golf four days a week if you want and go bowling at the clubhouse.  
Enjoy Dad, you've earned it.
Love you Pops.





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bunk Beds

About 3 years ago, Aunt Pam got Ben and Emily Halloween books.  Ben read his right away and then was completely freaked out because there was a part of the book describing how a girl put a flashlight under her chin in a dark bathroom and said "Bloody Mary" three times.  I don't know what was supposed to happen at that point.  But, Ben didn't want to sleep alone that night.  

So, Emily slept with him. Which suits Emily just fine because she doesn't like to sleep, so now she had someone to talk to and keep awake.  About a year into that, we put her back in her own room.  But, Ben was weepy at the thought of sleeping alone.  Typically, I wouldn't care.  But, Ben is a really great kid who asks for so little.  I have a hard time denying the few simple requests he makes.  So, we let Noah sleep with him.

Noah has a hard time staying awake, so it worked out better than Emily the night owl.  But, Ben and Noah are in a double size bed.  Ben is almost 5 feet tall, so it's starting to get a little crammed for both of them. So, last weekend, we decided to get them bunk beds.  Sam's had a great set for a super price, so we couldn't pass it up.

So, for the second weekend in a row, my husband had a screw driver in his hand more than anything else.


Noah "helped" us assemble it. He's in my bath robe, and he's on my kindle. I have no idea why. Maybe he dreams of being a housewife. Wait until he finds out that I rarely sit down and spend 90% of my day doing things for everyone else.  He'll ditch the idea then.  :)


And here they are all done.


Now, Emily thinks she gets to sleep in there too.  Oh vay, we didn't really solve any problems.  Now, they are all 3 going to be in one bedroom.  Seriously, we are in a 5 bedroom house and 3 of them are empty every night. Anyone want to come visit?

David was thrilled to get it done. He said, no more projects for a few weekends. Then, we got the garden started on Sunday.  Then, I told him we should make raised garden beds. And he just about killed me.  HA!  Maybe another weekend.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Catio

When we got Rio he was an outdoor cat. An outdoor cat who had gotten lost like 4 times in three months. His owners told us he was at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a week and they were feeding him. He also got attacked by a dog and had a $1500 vet bill. He had been through a lot in his 14 months of life before we got him.

We know what happens to outdoor cats here. Our last cat, Max, did fine outside for 3 years up here. And then one night, he left and never came home. It still makes me sad that his life ended in the jaws of a coyote. My friend has actually seen a coyote walking down our street with a cat in his mouth.

This was on my front door when I walked out this week.  It's the remnants of a bunny.  Well, his intestines and I think that pinkish thing is his kidney.  We have bunnies all over, and I think this was a baby bunny that Noah was feeding every day.  I don't have the heart to tell him. So, he keeps feeding the bunny and nobody is eating the carrots.  So, I throw them out.  And Noah feeds them again.  Anyway, you can tell this was not a basic house cat killing a bunny.  This was something savage.  Most likely a coyote....AT OUR DOOR.



So, we've kept Rio as an indoor cat. We thought he wouldn't be okay with it, but he didn't seem to mind. We used to open the window and let him sit in the windowsill, but then one time, he pounced to get a bird and fell right through the window and bent up the screen. He wonders in our garages and he's pretty happy with that.  But, there is still nothing like a fresh breeze in your face and sunshine on your body.

Then, I saw a catio on pinterest.  It's a cat patio.  Oh, this would be perfect.  I showed it to David.  He got a Kindle for Christmas and he loves Pinterest.  Next thing I know, he's pinning catio's and we have lots of ideas.

Neither one of us knew how much work this would entail.  It literally took all weekend.  We went Friday after work and got the wood.

Then, the fun began on Saturday.  We cut three sides of our screen and put some duct tape at the bottom.  This way the flies don't come in when he's out there.


Then, we cleared a 4x4 space under the window and Noah and I put down pavers.  We figured they'd be a good way to stabilize everything.  Plus, I didn't want Rio using this as a litter box since once it's enclosed, we don't have an easy way to get in there and clean it.

Noah was a good helper.

Then, David cut the wood. 

We pick up so much stuff at yard sales.  That saw, table and square were all from yard sales.

And then we got a sweet surprise!  Our peach tree finally has some peaches on it!  We planted this tree 10 years ago and nothing year after year.  We're hoping we get some peaches!

Today, we woke up and got to work again. We painted the boards.  Emily and Noah helped. This isn't Ben's thing.  We had paint left over from our house, so we had some nice expensive paint that matched the house.

And all the while, Rio watched us from the window.

Then, he was bored with us and took a nap.

Then, Noah took a nap.  It was a long process and we ran into little hitches with just about everything. Seriously, it's not a 2x4 if it measures 1 5/8 x 2 5/8.  When it comes to wood projects, you don't just round up and call it good!

We finally got all the sides and shelves up and it was time for the chicken wire.  Which, I got at a yard sale!

Emily and I had gone to the dollar store on Friday and got some toys to decorate the inside.  So, Emily put everything in there.  You know, because every cat needs a pinwheel and boa!

And we were done!  It took almost all weekend, well about 5 hours yesterday and 5 today.  But, we have a beautiful catio!  It was time to let Rio through the window and he was loving it!

We are happy he loves it.  And happy it's done!  We make a good team, David and I.