Monday, April 22, 2013

Long Montana Winter

It has been a long winter indoors. This morning, we woke up to a thin blanket of snow on our lawn again. It is almost May!
We are looking at the weather forecast and wondering when Spring will really be here to stay.
My funny little Lipstick plant gave me one solitary bloom and it fell off today.
Ben is volunteering to remove the snow for us. David has a Lowe's gift card burning a hole in his pocket (Thank You Mum & Papa Cuddy!). It just has to be planting time soon! It just has too!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy Earth Week!

Earth Day is on Monday. Arbor Day is on Friday. This week is a veritable tree-hugger's sprout sandwich!
With the help and generosity of our dear friend, Jerry, we planted 6 baby Ponderosa pines today. It is the official Montana state tree. Wikipedia claims that the Ponderosa pine was first described by a Mr. David Douglas in 1826, in what is now the Spokane Washington area (click here for reference).
Benjamin watered the little trees. They will grow 2-3 feet per year if they like our conditions.We would have 10-foot trees if we had been able to plant when we first moved in. We have gotten control of the Knapp weed on our property though; they are finally manageable by pulling. I spent some time pulling the Knapp weed "carrots" which will always volunteer here in the spring.
In the future, they will get their water from a new drip line the fellas installed. It will be easy to t-off from the new line for future planting too.
We are hoping to do more planting on our west-facing slope this spring. We want to create additional bird habitat and change the landscape for additional indigenous plant growth in the non-mountain-view areas of our property. We also hope to block some of the prevalent wind with more mature shrubs and trees now that the drip line is in.
Jerry is an amazing steward of his land. He has planted several hundred trees and bushes on his property, literally transforming it into amazing bird habitat with shade and better growing conditions for every living thing there. Thank you, Jerry, for the nice "Earth Day" experience for Benjamin, the great tutorial and supplies for the drip line setup, and for the healthy saplings which will be enjoyed by many for generations to come!

Celebration Weekend!

For he's a jolly good fellow!!!
So, we started the celebration with a variety of seafood. The feast included shrimp, prawns, scallops, crab and oysters. Unfortunately, it is a bad time of the year to get your hands on good oysters. The only ones I could find were so big that David was afraid one of them might climb off of the grill while it was cooking. The shell of the biggest one was, literally, the size of a shoe.
Ben was a big fan of the crab claw. He was pretty sure he could crack it open himself if it wasn't "too pokie".
The big gift box on the table turned out to be an awesome Cuisinart ICE CREAM maker from Jon & Connie! There is homemade ice-cream in the works as I type this! Yum!
David got a surprise visit from our college student! Dylan had no idea his Dad was that old!
Ben was a big help with blowing out the candles on his Daddy's strawberry-rhubarb crisp! We have a strawberry-rhubarb pie to eat too!
Once the little one is in bed, we plan to mix up some cocktails and play some games.
We need to give David a handicap so we might win one or two.

Friday, April 19, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!
I LOVE YOU BEYOND WORDS!
I hope you have a day full of reminders of how wonderful, fun, handsome, funny, smart, respected and loved you are!

Friday, April 12, 2013

That Spider Is Back!

You may remember seeing this tiny arachnid in your neighborhood around Halloween. Well, the Itsy Bitsy Spider is back!
It must have been the April Showers. Down came the rain, and washed the spider out!
It was scurrying all over my floor and saying, "I'm gonna getcha!"
It is a fearsome creature with a green belly and eight arms.
When it crouches down, you know it is ready to pounce!
Green-bellied Spiders "will jump on you and climb on you with all of their legs"!
Just when I thought the spider was gone, I found it lurking in my kitchen!
That spider had better go and hide! There is also a chicken lose in our house!
It was searching the library for a Bug Book!
Then it ran off down the hallway, flapping it's wings, muttering something like, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling...".

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PUZZLE MAN!

Note, the pose, the serious face and the proud look in his eyes. Notice there is a completed 60-piece puzzle on the table? That is the work of a super hero! It's... done-da-DA... PUZZLE MAN!
Ben worked on puzzles most of yesterday. We pulled them out thinking that he would need a lot of help. We were wrong!
The only thing Ben wanted my help for was to turn the pieces upright and to help sort them into color categories. He understands that whole "edge piece" thing, how to turn them "around and around" to find a fit, and how to be gentle so as to keep from bending the "pokers" when they don't quite fit in the "poker hole".
Look at the pride on that face! He couldn't stifle the smile to keep the serious super-hero pose for long. When I said, "You are the PUZZLE MAN!" He said to me, "Yes. I AM the Puzzle Man".
However, that was not the end of his drive! He wanted "A nutter one!". He wanted to try his skills at this 100-piece puzzle!
When I said, "You are a great problem-solver, Ben", he very matter-of-factly replied, "Yes. I am a great problem solver".
Ah ha! The last piece! He didn't complain, not even once, about the difficulty.
Puzzle Man has amazing determination, patience and problem-solving SUPER POWERS!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Neilarooni came to town!



Our dear, dear friends, Neil, Clif, Jodi and Marcia, all came to see us over the weekend! We all had a great time!
The boys had such fun; there is no shutter speed fast enough to capture all of the fun that was had!
The visit would not be complete without a trip to the local toy store. Both boys love keys, so here they are working to unlock "Door Number 4" with "Key Number 4". I couldn't tell if they acted more like locksmiths or safe-crackers.
They made it through all four doors while we waited at Naps for the best burgers in the world. Word to the wise; if you order fries with every burger, you will have 10 pounds of potato fries on your table when you are done eating.
We explored Sheafman Creek a little, hunting for feathers to identify. We may have found a blue heron feather (click here for an identification guide)!
The kiddos got a trip through the Missoula Children's Museum. You can see Marcia grinning from ear to ear as she watched them squirrel around.

Little did she know, there was a Killer Octopus lurking around; ready to pounce!
The eight-legged tickle-attack took her completely by surprise!
The boys spent some time in the "Dino Dig" pit, unearthing fossils. It was probably a lot more pleasant than getting wet sand in their undies while in the backyard sandbox the day before.
They left some amazing Magna-Tile architectural structures for the next group of kids to see. Santa has a tall order to fill now!
Back at the house, they practiced their glow stick drumming.
For movie night, we watched "How To Train Your Dragon". Benjamin, then, proceeded to "phoosh fire" on Jodi.
Jodi was thoroughly impressed, if not covered with spittle. She didn't seem to mind a bit.
Ahhhh, young, cute boys! It was so touching to watch the boys wear themselves out, enjoying each other's company! It was wonderful spending time with everyone! Thank you, so much, for visiting, Marcia, Jodi, Clif and Neil! We miss you all already!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Bunny Spoils

Alright, let the hunt begin!
"It's hatching!" was what we heard from Ben every time he found an egg.
Dylan got a kick out of his little brother "hatching" his eggs.
This was the hatching place where Ben kept returning to crack open the treasure-filled eggs he found all over the yard.
Grammie and Papa Cuddy got a kick out of seeing Ben tromp through the flower beds. Hmmm... I remember getting in trouble for that when I was a kid :)
"Where did the Easter Bunny put all of those eggs?!?"
We had beautiful springtime weather for the hunt!
Dylan doesn't remember the Easter Bunny ever bringing him finger lasers! Times have changed; Easter has gotten high-tech.
Theoretically, finger-lasers should help you to locate missing eggs. Only Dylan had the required skills for that.
However, Benjamin can shoot his laser "way into outer space"!
Dylan had fun, but welcomed an Easter beer when it was offered.

Ben had been ill for part of the weekend so, although he felt pretty good on Easter Day, there was a surplus of candy to take home.
Ben did a little egg coloring with "Delaney, Iron Man and the spinning machine". 
Ben's cousin, Delaney, showed him how it is done. She is a true "Egg Artist".

Cousin Dharma's preferred artistic media was pastels.
Uncle Ed gave Benjamin an introduction to Star Wars Angry Birds and taught him to wield a bubble-wand light saber.
The Easter Bunny and his apprentice frequented the candy/chip table.
It was a little bit like herding cats to pull everyone together for group photos, but it resulted in some pretty cute pictures.
Good job setting the timer David! You caught the whole Fam Damily with their eyes open and a smile on every face!
Grammie Cuddy got the run-down on all of Mr. Rescue Bot's special features.
It was a nice visit and we got to see Great Uncle Buck, Great Aunt Betty and Great Aunt Norma too! Although I am very sad that I didn't get pictures with everyone, it was great to see everyone. Now that the winter is officially over, we will be rolling west again soon!