Friday, March 25, 2011

Bald Eagles

At the beginning of March the four of us went Eagle Spotting. About 45 minutes north of here is Alton and Grafton, IL, right along the Mississippi River. Bald Eagles migrate here every year when their rivers further north freeze and the eagles can no longer fish in them. They winter down here and then go back home in early March. We made it up there on one of the last weekends the eagles would be sticking around. The kids and Husband #1 were mostly ambivalent about going but I forced the issue so ff we went. We were all so glad we did! It was a nice day together. I have never seen Bald Eagles in the wild and we were pretty close. We even saw a HUGE next. The branches they use for their nests are so much more than twigs, more like tree limbs. We took two small ferries to cross the river and the kids were super excited to drive the truck onto a boat! We saw many eagles but were not always in a spot were we could stop to take their photo. We saw mature eagles and eaglets. Eaglets are full size "teenager" eagles that have not yet gotten their white head feathers.




Excited to be on a ferry

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Bumblebee lost his first tooth on his birthday weekend. The day before his birthday he was playing with his most loose tooth and it just popped out! He was so shocked at first! A few days prior to the tooth coming out he wanted his dad to help him get it out. Husband #1 used some dental floss to yank on the tooth. Apparently it wasn't quite ready because Bumblebee started bleeding and crying. Then the tooth was stuck in a twisted position so we had to get it back in the right way before he calmed down. The pirate he is holding is his special tooth fairy tooth holder. It has a treasure chest that says Tooth Treasure. He puts the tooth in there and when he wakes up it has money in it! What a sweet deal!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bumblebee turns SIX!

I am a little behind. Bumblebee turned six at the end of January. Well, better late than never! He selected a lazer tag party for his friends. They got to shoot each other with lazers in the inflatable bouncy area of the party place. Only ONE child had to leave the party for stitches!! Success!

He had the party on Saturday night before his actual birthday on Sunday. On Sunday he opened gifts from family and played with all his new stuff. He chose to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.

Cake at the party


Some presents are sooo big you just gotta climb on top!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break Camping

Last week we drove 9 hours to Gatlinburg, TN to go camping with friends for Spring Break. This is the third year we have spent Spring Break with the Pryzsuchas, camping in various locations. This year the kids were ages 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 years old. We love staying at the Great Smoky Jellystone Campground. The owners are great and helpful and the facilities are nice and there is a creek that runs through the campground. It is located on the edge (literally out the front door of the cabin) of the National Park so we can hike from there if we choose.

Waterfall along the hour long drive to Cade's Cove

One day we visited Cade's Cove, an old settlement in a farming valley in the park. There are several old log buildings still standing. It was quite cold that day but we saw herds of deer and numerous old buildings, a working original mill and other cool things.

At the waterfall, taking a break from our hike

On the last day it was quite warm and we hiked 4.5 miles round trip to see a 90 foot waterfall. It was a "moderate difficulty" hike but with 5 kids it was even more interesting..."my legs are tired", "I'm thirsty", "carry me", "how much farther". The kids sure were getting tired of the four adults whining like that! :)

The weather was nice most days. For about half a day we had some rain so we decided to make that a "town" day and went to breakfast at one of the 7,000 pancake houses, then visited the aquarium. After that the boys went to Ripley's celebrity car museum and the girls went to Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. We got exotic beef jerky and some fudgy ice cream.

Of course, right before our driving trip across the southeastern US the gas prices skyrocketed... the prices in Gatlinburg were CRAZY!

Every night we had a campfire and enjoyed s'mores. We experimented with coconut marshmallows and the super jumbo sized marshmallows. The kids played flashlight tag in the nearly empty campground and stayed up WAAAYYY past bedtime every night. One night we drove in to Pigeon Forge and went to dinner at the Dixie Stampede. This is a dinner show where you cheer for the North or the South and there are horses and trick riders and audience participation contests, etc. You eat with your hands and everyone gets the same thing, a whole chicken, pork steak, corn on the cob, soup, biscuit. Basically it is like the redneck version of Medieval Times.

S'mores are GOOOOOOD!

The whole gang at the Hen Wallow Falls

We are back home now. I have done about 10 loads of laundry but haven't folded any of it! Camping is messy business...and everything is smoky. The kids have another whole week of Spring Break but we are just hanging around the house. The weather is wonderful right now but it is supposed to cool off considerably and begin raining later this week.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Garbage men, fences and pee pee pants

Oh my...last week was full of drama! It started Wednesday when Bumblebee came from from school and basketball having peed his pants. When Husband #1 picked him up he was not participating in basketball. The coach explained they had a bathroom break but Bumblebee chose not to go potty and just got water. He then went back in the gym and peed his pants. When she quietly told him to go change into his spare sweatpants, he refused. Then he refused to participate in the activity anymore. This was not the first time or even the first few times this has happened recently. He has already peed his pants more in Kindergarten than he did in two years of preschool combined. We have tried different things and have even spoken with his doctor and had his urine tested. He simply does not want to stop what he is doing to go to the bathroom. So, he got grounded from watching television for a week. Unfortunately that day when he got home we had a nurse at the house to do our life insurance physicals. This were kind of crazy with that and getting dinner ready and lecturing him about peeing his pants. Poor kid, lost his second tooth at school that day but it kind of got brushed aside with all the other insanity of the evening.

The next morning I got home from dropping the kids at school and the gym to find that our recycling dumpster in the alley behind our house was now resting on our fence. The garbage truck apparently dropped the dumpster off the truck while emptying it. It landed on our fence and crushed the chainlink and the support poles. It was still resting on one pointy corner of the dumpster, leaning up against our fence! WHAT??!! He just drove away and left it like that!! I took pictures and called the city refuse department to file a claim. They said they had until March 2nd to contact me (it was Feb 24). That day after school we went straight to horseback riding. After Bumblebee sat in the car with me for an hour and got out in the rain once to pee in the bushes, Double A got back in the car and said it smelled like pee. Bumblebee then admitted he had peed his pants at school. Upon questioning he was sketchy on details but I think he peed during recess and then never told his teachers or did anything about it. Bumblebee cried and asked me not to tell his dad. I told him we did not work like that. I asked what we were supposed to do with him and he said "ground me." Well, we did that yesterday and it obviously did not work. When Husband #1 came home he was very angry and took Bumblebee in his room and laid down the law. Bumblebee tried to lie to him and say he peed his pants at horseback riding because it was raining and he could not go pee. That just got him in even more trouble. The result is he has no tv for a week and no playdates, no birthday parties and no more basketball for two weeks. We have designed a schedule for him at school to take trips to the bathroom and we are 5 days in and so far so good.

Luckily they called me Friday at 4:40pm to get some more details about the dumpster incident (instead of March 2). I explained there was a bit of a safety issue with the precariousness of the dumpster and he said everyone had left for the weekend and there was nothing that could be done. He said they would send a letter in 5 business days and then contact me to come out and do the investigation. I got the letter Tuesday March 1 and it basically just said they got the claim. It also said that state law puts limited liability on the city refuse department, blah, blah, blah. Well, I received another call today from the investigator. He had two short questions and then promptly said "that's all I needed" and hung up. I am not sure where we are now. I do know the guy pulled the dumpster off my fence and it is now usable again. My fence is still crushed.
So, that was just part of my week! What have you been busy doing these days?