Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Praying for Grace

Here we go.

Appliance repair guy coming today.  Fortunately he will call on this way and I can meet him at the house.

School Open house 5:30-7:00

Football practice at 6:15

My car has a full tank of gas and my cell phone is charged.  These first few days are going to be a precarious balancing act and any little glitch is going to throw me for a huge loop so I'm doing everything I can to be ready....

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The school supplies are labeled.

The backpacks, water bottles & lunch boxes are labeled.

The sweatshirts and hats are labeled.

I even went crazy and made labels for the toy bins and clothes boxes.

What's your favorite label method?

Fat sharpie?  Fine point?  Label maker? 

This year I went with some white text on clear label tape labels for water bottles and thermos containers.

Because I'm like that.

I like to shake things up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In which we document the continuing saga of the ever-changing sleep arrangements in our house.

Or.... rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Our house is small.  Not insanely live-in-a-sheepherder's-wagon small.... but Not.  Big.

Also.... not well laid out.  Old school homesteader's cabin with random parts tacked on as electricity and plumbing became available.

So there's the background.

In 2007 we split the living room and created a small bedroom downstairs in addition to the two bedrooms upstairs. 

We've gone through various configurations.

In June I moved Bugsy's crib out of our room and into the kids' room.  So Sweet was in the pirate cave, Tuff in a single bed and Bug in the crib.  CROWDED.  But it worked for a bit.

Then we decided to move Sweet downstairs.... this eliminated our "guest" bedroom/junk storage but seemed like a good idea.  He got the brass bed frame (full-sized) that was his papa's bed when he was a boy.  His clothes all fit in the dresser.  (Sidenote:  That dresser was the first piece of "real" furniture I bought.... from a consignment store.... when I moved here.  I love that dresser.  It is too big to go up our stairs or fit in our bedroom but I am resisting getting rid of it.  Silly, right?)

Most of his toys fit under the bed in flat plastic boxes. 

This room has no light fixture so we are using one of those wireless appliance remotes (purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a $5 off coupon.... whoo-hoo.) 

Oh... the room also has no heat.  So that might be a problem.

So Sweet is very happy in his new room.  He can play all he wants and set up elaborate lego stuff all over the place.  His bed time is now a little later than the girls.  He loves that. 

So then I decided Bugsy was ready to get out of the crib.  We've been using it with the side rail down anyway.  So we moved the futon upstairs and bought them some cute girly bedding.

First let me say... no human over 30 should even own a futon.  Seriously.  But when faced with the costs of buying the storage-type bed I wanted.... well.... I figure we will change things up again soon anyway so why bother.  I went with the cheap option.

So much of this weekend has involved switching over the clothes and sorting things.  It is getting there but I still need to change up the wall art and add a few cute girly details.  And I need to get a few lamps for Sweet. 

And I need to stop feeling sorry for myself about my tiny ugly house and just move on with it already. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ready. Fire. Aim

Great Googly-Moogly. 

It's the end of August. 

School starts next week.

Football starts next week.

Packing lunches and the lastest version of the new morning schedule starts next week.

So.  Not.  Ready.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My sweet 5-year-old

I'm FINALLY changing out the photos in the wall frames in the living room.  So I need six 4x6 hortizontal black & white photos of the kids and one 8x10 vertical photo.  I might pick one of these... .what do you think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Breaking my own rules

So I made this rule for myself about undergarments.

I believe in buying 2 (or 3) new brassieres every 6 months.  And tossing the old.

I wear the same two bras in rotation all week.  The bra lady at Macy's told me to do that.  And hand wash.  Wear them on alternating days and let them air out and let the bra re-shape for 24 hours between wearings.

Anyway.  That was my goal.  I went shopping last year in September (Happy Birthday to Me....) and got two great bras.  (And also a nice sports bra)  So to stay on schedule I should have retired those two bras to "weekend wear" in March and purchased two more.  Right?

Well I've been trying.  I've been trying to find 45 minutes of alone time to stop at Macy's for five months now.  And I've failed. 

Failed I tell you.

It is almost September again and I'm wearing some sad, stretched out, worn out boobie holders.

So I'm going to reinvent.... again.  And try once more.

Anybody have any great bra styles to recommend?    I've heard the barely there invisible look is good... anyone?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bike Saga: Part 3 and the End

So off to the bike store we go.

I was ready to head for Target.  Hot had other plans.

We went to a real bike store.

We decided Sweet could pick whatever bike he wanted.  Hot's rule.

We had a great saleswoman.  Sweet picked a 7-speed mountain bike.  24"

Sweet rode around in their parking lot and got all crazy going up and down this hill into the alley.  This is the kid who put neo-to-go on a keychain on his bike when he was little so he wouldn't have to come in when he wrecked.

We went in and he carefully got out his wallet and smoothed out the ones and fives on the counter.  We had changed all the change at the bank but he paused, dug in his pocket and pulled out a nickle he found in the car on the drive over.  $155.05.  And now he owes his dad for the rest.  Yes, it was a pricey bike.  Please don't come and rob us.  He has to bring it in for a tune up in a month and it gets locked in the shop every night. 

He's riding it all over the place.  Around the house.  Down to the creek.  Figuring out the gears and hand brakes was a challenge.  So much fun.  Kinda almost makes me want to tune up Hot's old bike and go for a ride.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bike Saga: The money issue

Sweet wanted a new bike.

He's riding a bike that makes him look like a circus sideshow.  It is small.  He is large.

Nana and Papa gave him $75 towards his goal for his birthday.

That crazy toothfairy has been coughing up $5 per tooth.  (Yes, jokes were made about knocking out a few more to pay for the bike....)

Grandpa paid him a little cash to pick up all the bailing twine in the bale lot.

Daddy paid him $20 to pick up all the sticks in the yard this spring (rip off.... it took him almost 3 days to get it all done....)

Grandma put change (quarters, not pennies) in some plastic eggs for an egg hunt.

He's been doing odd jobs for me for green money***.  Also.... I sometimes pay bribes to kids who do fantastic tricks at the swimming pool. 

***sidenote:  how to you handle the difference between paid chores and "the things we do because we are part of the family" chores? 

So he's carefully been hoarding his cash.

I love the lesson this is teaching him.... Grandpa Kenny will be so proud.  I also love that he is saving for something that is active and not passive.  Because we all know he wants a video game.

So, finally, we realize summer is almost over and we better get shopping.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm catching my breath.....

Do you know how expensive a good kid-bike is these days???

I mean.  A good one.

Like a GIANT.

Friday, August 19, 2011

mid-august goal review

goals: august

How are we doing on our August Goals??????

1.  Buy, label, and pack school supplies.  DONE.  The backpacks are hanging in the upstairs hall closet.
2.  Meal plan:  school lunches.  DONE.... Corn dogs for everyone.  Ok, yes, this will be an ever-evolving process.  But we are in good shape for the first few weeks anyway.  I need to remember a few items at Costco.... also, a tip, never, ever go to Costco the day before the Super Bowl or the day before school starts.
3.  Redesign the morning routine for two kids in school.  This could be a train-wreck.  But we are planning.
4.  Do 30% of the shed.  Nope.  Not even close.  Talk to me after this weekend.
5.  Do 100% of the garage.  It is getting better but only at about 50%.
6.  Find a bed frame for the girls.  DONE.  Used the ugly futon frame in the cabin.  I believe no one over the age of 30 should own a futon.  That said... the girls are sleeping on one.
7.  Go to the State Fair.  DONE.  Wow.  We had fun.
8.  Schedule propane delivery for end of September.  DONE. 
9.  Schedule pellet stove cleaning.  DONE.  I love my pellet stove guy, Gary.  He actually called me and said he would be in the neighborhood and could stop by.... so I left the door unlocked for him.  He let my dog out to potty AND cleaned and serviced my stove AND vacuumed the carpet around the stove before he left. 
10. Plan, set up and inventory kid clothes for school.  IN PROGRESS.  Sweet is all set.  Boys are easy.  He needs a new hoodie sweatshirt.  Tuff is pretty much all set.  I think we will be able to cull some skirts once school starts.  Bugsy is ready for fall.  She loves jeans and sweatshirts.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I've been operating in design mode at work.  My most creative.  It makes me exhausted but it is that clean kind of exhaustion..... it feels good.  And it overlaps into my home life.  I'm super-creative and high energy right now.

It also helps that the weather is gorgeous, my kids are hilarious and my husband has a cute butt.

I'm in my stride.  My to-do list is 30 miles long but I'm not operating in crisis mode at the moment.  I have a huge list of things I would like to get done but I'm also doing a good job of doing things that are IMPORTANT.  (Like movies and going to the fair and getting ice cream and strolling the walking mall)

I've decided it is ok to wash the sheets every third weekend.  Sure, every two weeks is better but only my mother-in-law is capable of washing them every weekend.  Besides.... every third weekend means I only have to do one bed each weekend and rotate.  I like patterns. 

And yes, queen of short cuts that I am, I wash the sheets and put them right back on the bed..... life is too short to watch videos of Martha Stewart teaching how to properly fold a fitted sheet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There's this motivational speaker named Dan Thurmon.  He talks about being "off balance, on purpose."

Love that concept.

The idea that balance isn't static.  To balance requires many constant tiny adjustments.

Living it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here Kitty Kitty

My father-in-law saw a big mountain lion (not a cute little bobcat) in his yard.

I hope he stays there and doesn't come to our house.

I'm guessing the horses will let us know if he is in the neighborhood.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Friday was a day off from the office for me. 

I had visions of porch post painting and checking off projects right and left.

We did check something off.... something off our summer "bucket" list.

We went to a movie. 

A matinee.

In 3-D.


With Large Bucket of Popcorn.  $6.75 but worth every penny.  My kids ate it down to the old maids and I didn't get a single kernel.  We called it dinner.

My ticket was $8.75.  It was $8.25 per kid for the movie.  Bugsy was free because the ticket lady could see she was drooping and about to nap.  We fooled her.  That girl sat on my lap for the whole movie with her little glasses in place.  Priceless was how she jumped the first time Gargamel (sp?) came out of the screen at her.  Every time he came on screen she said, "Nau-ee.  Nau-ee Bad Guy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

School Status

T minus two weeks and counting until school starts. Aug 30 for Sweet and Aug 31 for Tuff.

How are we doing?

Tuff is excited and a bit nervous. Me too.

I found out our gymnastics place is moving.... to a "suburb" town a long ways from my house. We could barely keep it together when gymnastics was at 5:00 once a week for both kids and located between daycare and our house. I wasn't planning to do the fall session anyway. Sweet will be in football and Tuff will be a tired mess by 3:15. But now we need to re-think our options for winter.

I got the hand sanitizer and found baby wipes.

We know where the classrooms are and who the teachers are....

We labeled supplies and lunch boxes.

We threw away toothbrushes and got new ones. What? You don't do that? Everyone gets two toothbrushes when school starts and we toss the old. Same deal at Christmas and when school lets out. And we stock up on toothpaste. My kids use a lot of toothpaste.

We got school clothes. Well, ok. let me qualify that. Sweet got new socks. Child outgrew the socks I bought him in June. Seriously. He has shoes we bought in July and I got him a new pair of jeans so he's set for a while. He will need another pair of jeans later this fall. Tuff got a first-day-of-school t-shirt. (with an owl on it... from Target..... $8) She also go a pair of slip on low-top style sparkly tennis shoes. They were $12 at Ross. They satisfy her requirement of being cool and my requirement of being easy to put on and covering her toes for recess. Yes.... I am that mom. Recess is for play. Not for mincing around in high-heeled flip-flops.

Bugsy didn't get anything. She's going to be very sad when the bigs go to school and she is all alone at daycare. But I plan to bribe her by chaning the daycare bag from the giant orange bag to a cute Tinkerbelle backpack. She loves a "pack-pack" and Belle.

Meal Plan: The Lunch Edition

One of the August goals was to figure out lunch planning and packing for two kids.


Why can't they like hot lunch?

First up.  The packaging.  I'm a big fan of Land's End for quality backpacks and lunch boxes.  Sweet is on year 3 with a classic grey backpack and a navy blue lunch box.... although, to be fair, the lunch box was "lost" for most of last year and he used a cheap lunch box from Target.... so I'm not really a snob.  Tuff has this amazingly cute backpack and matching lunch box for this year (and many years to come.... I hope).  Bonus:  I will be able to find her green backpack amidst the sea of pink on the playground.

I use a few lock-n-lock pieces for lunches and some travel cases for ketchup and dipping sauces.  Sometimes I get all bento box and use silicone baking cups.  I want to make a few reusable sandwich bags.  But mostly we keep it low key.

I also realized a girl needs a new water bottle for Grade K.  And I found a cute two-pack with a thermos cold cup and a hot thermos on clearance at Target for $7 (regularly $30).  She loves the drink cup and it really does stay cold.  Sweet somehow broke his Costco water bottle last year.  He finished the year using Bugsy's yellow bottle and a random selection of other ones.  So I got him a fantastic Steelers bottle for back-to-school.

So then we were on to the planning.  My basic plan is:  main lunch item, fruit and/or veggie, something else, sweet, non-messy snack for morning snack time.  The problem is Sweet eats like a teenager and I worry he won't have enough food.  We always pack an extra "emergency" baggie of pretzels in the side pocket of his backpack and one in the car.

Martha.  What do you think of the magnetic lunch chart and printable labels?  I asked the kids for a list of snack foods:

cheese sticks or cubes
cheese/cracker packs
wheat thins

Don't they seem strikingly healthy?  Then I asked for lunch items:

corn dogs
salami/mayo sandwich
cheese and pickle sandwich
peanutbutter, powdered sugar and chocolate chip sandwich
noodles and sauce
chicken nuggets

That's my team.  Always finding the balance.

So that's as far as we've gotten in the planning process.  My goal is simple and vaguely healthy lunches.  Their goal is packing as much junk food into a thermos as they can and calling it lunch.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Monday, August 08, 2011

School Supplies 2011

The only thing left is the hand sanitizer... which I could not find at Costco.


2 Boxes Crayola Crayons

3 Boxes Pencils (sharpened)

1 Big Box Kleenex

3 Bottles of White Elmer's Glue

1 Pair Fiskers Scissors*

1 Box Water Color Paints*

6 Elmer's Brand Glue Sticks

Play-Dough, 4 Colors*

1 Paint Shirt

1 Large Backback*

1 Granola Bar

2 Bags Pretzels

1 Large Bottle Hand Santizer

1 Box Baby Wipes

1 Pkg Washable Crayola Markers
*please label these items

1 Solid color Pocket Folder
1 Granola Bar
4-12 Pks Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils
1 Paint Shirt
1 Pair Sharp Scissors
2 Large Pink Eraserr
1 Lg Elmer's Glue (white)
1 Watercolor Set
2 Lg Boxes of Kleenex (to share)
1 Sm Pencil Box
1 Box Crayons 24 Ct.
4 Glue Sticks
1 8 oz Bottle Hand Santizer
1 Box Baby Wipes

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Bury Me at Wounded Knee

So Elle has a post up about her dad and his funeral planning.

Is that morbid?

I don't think so.

Death is a natural part of life and ya'll know I've planned the HELL out of life... why wouldn't I plan death?

And I come by it honestly.

My Gram was a great planner. 

One day when she was, oh, 85 or so, she and her girlfriend got gussied up, made reservations for lunch and headed over to the local funeral parlor. 

She picked her service & her casket.  She ordered the headstone.  (Her husband passed away in 1972 and she wasn't convinced she wouldn't marry again so she was very careful about the headstone.  And she, unlike so many, did consider she would live into the 2000's.  So many headstones with the name, birth date, and 19xx on the death date side.... oops.) 

A blue casket.  Baby blue.  She always loved blue.

She planned her service... the music and the readings.  She wasn't interested in fussy or dramatic.  She wanted simple and memorable and touching.  She didn't go so far as to pick an outfit but she requested a nice shade of pink... she knew what she looked good in... and something that would look good with the baby blue casket.

When it was actually time to make her arrangements the casket she requested was no longer available (clearance!  She would have loved that.) so she got a free upgrade (also... would have made her very happy). 

And at the viewing I laughed out loud.  Because she was right.  She did look good in pink and the casket was pretty classy.

I hope I am as well prepared.  When Hot goes I'm taking his ashes to several places....  the basin, the Blackfoot and maybe down the Smith (oh... he'd be ticked to know if I went without him).  If my dad is ashes I'm sprinkling him off the bluff (by the Indian grave) over the Marias.  My mom is trickier....  She loves the wild but also where she grew up.  She's going to go some to the wheat fields, some to the Marias, some to the horse pasture/places she loved to ride, and some to the green places she grew up.

Me.  I want to be recycled as much as possible.  Everyone heard that, right?  I will haunt your ass if you don't donate my organs and corneas and tissues.  Then cremate me and scatter me in the basin or over the Marias or under the apple tree.  Put some of me in the soil by my beloved peonies. 

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Can you say "hand-dipped corn dog"????

Wow.  Did we ever do it up right.  I mean.  Wow. 

I've always had a love/hate relationship with the fair.

Going to the state fair was always a fight.  It was during harvest.  Were we going or not?  It was always anxiety-causing for me and I always dreaded it just a little bit.

So I planned the HELL out of this trip.  The car was clean.  I knew where the wet wipes were.  Hot, master of timing, had us up and out the door with military precision. 

We arrived at 11:00 am on-the-dot. 

We sprang for the $5 inside the gate parking.  We got in with the reduced "lunchtime crowd" rates so all of us for $10.

I packed the stroller:  hand sanitizer, sun screen, hats for all, raincoats for all, 2 umbrellas, sunglasses, lots of cash, wet wipes/diapers, epipen, bandaids/pain reliever, water bottle and a giant insulated water jug. 

The only bad thing that happened all day was the big water jug leaked a little and I forgot my camera.

We got in and bought our ride bands.  $20/each kid. 

We went down the food row and had lunch.  Hand-dipped corn dogs (a footlong for Sweet) for the kids.  Where else can you be sitting at a little table near a vendor and say, "Oh, baby, you have ketchup everywhere." and the guy making the corn dogs comes out of his booth and brings you a napkin?  I love this place.  A giant baked potato thing for Hot.  Big Mouth BBQ's "bowl" for me. 

We went to the petting zoo and saw some exhibits.  Sweet got to play with some legos and Tuff made a sheep out of wool felting.  Everyone got dog tags from the National Guard booth.  (I also learned my beloved Dolphins might pick up Farvre.... how interesting).  The rides opened at noon and we hit the kiddie park first.  Then on to the main midway.  No lines.  No creepy people... a mixed blessing.... if we did the 6-midnight bands we would have had more interesting people-watching.

Yes, I rode the Scrambler.  I had to do it.  They wouldn't let Tuff on without an adult.  That carnie totally had my number... he knew I wanted to go for a ride.  I couldn't talk her into the Zipper.

My SIL (my brother's wife) and nephew showed up for a bit.  My sister came over after work.  Then we went to dinner at a Mexican place with everyone.  We could walk there so I had a margarita.  Then to the hotel to swim.  Dessert was the cookies the front desk lady told me to stash in my purse as we left for dinner because there wouldn't be any left when we got back.  Great tip lady... you were right! 

The next morning was breakfast at the hotel, a bit of shopping at the mall, lunch at Jaker's and a nice drive home. 

No, we didn't see all the sights of the fair.  Yes, it was harvest so my parents, brother & brother-in-law weren't there.  No, I didn't make it back to the food row for fry bread.  Yes, it would have been nice to do two nights at the hotel and go shopping more on Saturday afternoon while Hot and the kids napped at the hotel.  Yes, the cost of the hotel almost made me cry. 

But it was totally worth it.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Going to the Fair

We are taking off to go to the State Fair on Friday.

Yes, I feel it is a requirement to vacuum the car before we go.

I have lists.  I have plans.  We are going to have FUN.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

goals: august

1.  Buy, label, and pack school supplies
2.  Meal plan:  school lunches
3.  Redesign the morning routine for two kids in school
4.  Do 30% of the shed
5.  Do 100% of the garage
6.  Find a bed frame for the girls
7.  Go to the State Fair
8.  Schedule propane delivery for end of September
9.  Schedule pellet stove cleaning
10. Plan, set up and inventory kid clothes for school

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

the wrap up: july

Hot:  He finally got home around the 10th of July.  Then he had two weekend off in a row.  In July.  Unheard of.  It was a blast.  He broken his finger at work.  Oops.  He was in a splint for a while and now has it buddy wrapped.  Awesome.  But he's back to regular duty at work.

Holidays:  My brother, sis-in-law and nephew came down for the 4th.  Had a blast and did some serious project work.  They helped me finish trenching/containing the cable for the internet.  (Image:  Sweet standing on top of the well house with about 1000 feet of hot pink string with a washer on the end... threading and shaking to feed it though black sprinkler system tubing so we can run the cable.)  My brother switched out the dead light switch in the bedroom so we have a fan again.  yeah.  We ate turkey sandwiches, had bbq at my in-law's and watched some fireworks.

Kids:  The kids grew.  Again.  We hit the local waterslide almost every weekend.  Sometimes twice a weekend.  It is so amazing to have kids big enough to DO things for themselves.  Sweet is going down the slide with no life jacket.  Tuff can do it but the water pushes her so hard she can't get to the steps so she wears a jacket.  Bugsy went down with me but was not impressed.  She can swim with her brother if she has her jacket on.  Hot came to the water slide in jeans and tennis shoes.... gotta love that guy.

Baseball:  We went to a Brewer's Game.  It was pretty hectic but it has potential to be a fun summer activity.  Sweet played 6/7 Rookie Babe Ruth.  Machine pitch with a coach pitching the last game.  He had a blast.  It was a couple of practices and then games twice a week for a month.  We ate some fast food, packed some picnics, played catch on the sidelines and played some games on the ipod to pass the time.  One of my big goals for my kids is to be able to catch and throw. 

Swimming Lessons:  We did Carroll lessons this year and it was great.  I wasn't impressed the first day but by the end of the week I was so pleased.  Sweet can jump in the deep end with no float and swim all the way across unassisted.  That's a HUGE improvement for him.  He's no longer afraid to just stick his face in the water and go.  Tuff can put her face in and paddle like mad to get where she wants to go.  She has a really strong kick.  She also had the quarterback of the football team for her coach.  Zowie.  100's of girls would have been jealous of her when she was in his arms.  She was the only girl in her class.  Now to keep this going I think we just need lots and lots of water time.  This is another of those big goals I have... I want my kids to be comfortable in the water.

Projects:  The cabin got straight.  That was a biggie.  And the kids all swapped around bedrooms.  Another biggie.  And I patched Hot's fire shirt.  That was a nerve-wracking project.  The garage and shed are still not cleaned.  I'm working on it.

Organizing:  I let my Family Fun subscription run out.... too much pressure to do all those crafts.  I made nice labels for the filing box.  I kept up with things.  I found an exceptable but not great meal planning method for this season in life.  (Monday:  Something fab created on Sunday, Tuesday:  pasta, Wed: tacos, Thurs: sandwiches, Fri:  Junk food, Sat:  whatever, Sun:  bbq).  I'm redesigning the laundry room corner and the upstairs closet.  I really must get the shed organized.  The crib came down.  For the last time.  I think.

My Little Corner:  I used myfitnesspal to drop 5 pounds.  That was nice.  I'm not thinking about the future in weight loss.... I refuse to do HCG (today anyway) and at a pound a week I'll reach my goal in May.... I'm not saying what year.  But steady is better than up.  I didn't read a single book in July but I did do some nice porch sitting. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

the busy art of relaxing and slowing down

July was, um, spectacular.  And busy.  And I somehow spent a lot of time being busy at trying to do nothing.  Does this happen to you? 

It happens to me in one of two ways usually:

1.  I intend to plan relaxing activities.  Fun summer stuff.  Like  playing by the creek.  But relaxing takes a lot of effort.  There is sunscreen and bug dope.  Snacks.  Water bottles.  Sandals for bare feet.  Jars & nets for catching bugs.  Fishing rods.  Wheelie strollers with flat tires.  Bear bells.  More snacks.  Long discussions of how to pan for gold.  Slimy seaweed skin treatments.  Mucky smelly mud.  Sandy silty mud.  Protecting the camera from mud.  Hauling boards to make structures.  Buckets to pick chokecherries.  Screwdrivers and mallets to experiment on the chokecherries.  Discussion of a rope swing.  Plans for an asparagus patch. 

2.  I intend to do nothing.  I sit on the back porch (sidebar:  I call it the back porch but, technically, it is the side that faces the road so it is the front porch.. but we come in the other side so I consider that the front.... anyway... I guess I should call it the west porch).  I have a cool drink, a magazine, some quiet tunes on the ipod and kids playing in the yard.  I see something that needs fixing.  I fixate.  Then I fix.  Pretty soon I have the entire contents of the gardening bucket strewn across the yard, I'm sweaty, I've made a list 3 pages long for the hardware store and it starts with "quickcrete"  and there is a two-foot hole trenched in the grass and I'm thinking, "How am I going to explain THIS ONE to Hot?"