Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meet Izzy.

Soooo...I've been thinking about a dog for awhile. I usually get my fix with our friends' dog, but I haven't seen her in awhile, and I don't know that it would help. So I started looking at the dreaded Petfinder, with very specific specifications. There were a couple I wanted to look at in another county about a half hour away. I figured the kids would enjoy checking them out.

There was one in particular that stood out to me online, so I went looking for her when we first got there. An employee asked what we were looking for and directed us to another dog, which was sweet, but just not much of a connection with her.

So I asked about the one I'd been looking at. He brought her in to the run area and she immediately ran to us and just soaked up every ounce of attention we would give her. He asked if we wanted to take her home, and I hesitated. We'd only come to look. As I debated in my head, she just sat calmly on our laps, and I took the plunge...

Brooklyn declared her name "Isabella", so we went with Izzy. She is a border collie mix who is extremely sweet, very mellow, very quiet (the only time I've heard her is the one howl the first night and the whispers of whimpers when she's happy to see us...or when Russ went running without her the first morning).

She is SO good with the kids, but loves to snuggle up with me (as you can see in the photo above--the only way I can get a close-up photo when I'm around is to push her back a bit, lol). She loved the kids and I, but it didn't even occur to me that she may not feel the same about Russ. When they first met, it was obvious she was a bit intimidated, it made me wonder about her past. Also, while we were walking her, she saw an oncoming car and freaked. Hmmm.

The poor girl was also covered in fleas and ticks, so we're working on getting rid of those. Although she's pretty reserved, she's definitely opening up a bit more.

Brooklyn in particular adores her and will spend hours outside with her in the backyard. I was nervous about how Izzy would react to the chickens, but she didn't even look twice at them. She checked them out for a minute, but then kept looking around. She sleeps in the garage at night for now, but spends most of her time looking in the back door at us.

I think she's going to be a fantastic family dog, and am glad we could give her a home and she could give us the perks of having a family pet.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lake Waccamaw

We decided it was time to check out a new place we haven't been and decided upon Lake Waccamaw. Actually, Russ has been there before, but couldn't find the actual park as it's kind of tucked way back in.

We got up, had some apple waffles, gathered our gear and were off at 8:30am. The weather was beautiful and the kids were excited (which is a KEY part of doing these things, lol...the more excited they are, the less whiny they are!).

It took about 45 minutes to get to the Park Office. On the way we passed HUGE houses...if you could even call them houses...was going to take a photo, but couldn't decide on which mansion was the biggest! :P

Anyways, at the park office they have some trivia, videos to watch, games to play, etc. , but it was SO nice outside, we wanted to get moving.

They have a trail down to the dam that is about 5 miles long. Russ and I were all for was the short little legs (and stroller...) that we had with us. So we decided to check out the first boardwalk and go from there.

There are some beautiful views, and lots of things to look at. The lake itself is something like 3 miles by 5 miles, and doesn't get any deeper than 11 feet! It's apparently pretty unique (even though there are quite a few lakes around that are almost exactly alike in shape and orientation) due to the limestone deposits around it. The limestone balances out the acidity of the water, making the pH levels neutral, which allows all sorts of different things to thrive there which wouldn't normally be able to.

Sigh...our slow-poke. He loves to just meander and look and touch and inspect everything. This was actually really good for him as the boardwalk allowed him to dink along and us move a little faster but still keep an eye on him.

So at the first boardwalk we decided that Russ would walk the 2.5 miles to the next boardwalk and the kids and I would walk back to the car and drive it up to meet him and we'd have lunch there. So I grabbed my wallet and cell phone out of the backpack and we parted ways. As I got to the car I realized, crap, no keys.

Of course, I have zilch for cell phone service, but went inside to ask if we could use their phone to try his cell. It worked, but he didn't pick up, so I left a message, hoping he'd get it. The park ranger said that she would just go pick him up if we didn't hear back from him soon. Within about 5 minutes Russ came waltzing back in, realizing his wife's mental state is not so solid these days and the blunder she'd made. :P

So we all drove up to the next boardwalk, had some food, pretended to be gymnasts balancing on rails, and off we went to Boardwalk #2.

I was expecting a similar walkway as the first, so was surprised to see what this one had in store for us. I was immediately nervous about Sam...but Russ reminded me that even if he did fall in...he could probably just stand up and walk out, lol.

Sure enough, as we were leaving a group of kids comes running down the dock in their swimsuits to jump in.

We decided to hike a little bit longer, despite the nasty mosquitoes, and were glad we did. It was very beautiful and found some campsites that would be pretty neat for future reference.

We pulled out of the parking lot at 12pm on the dot. It took all of 5 minutes for Sam to pass out and all of 6 minutes for Russ to do the same. When we got home, Brooklyn was barely dragging herself through the door and didn't complain a bit about us asking her to go lay down.

Mission Accomplished.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

September Trip

Sooooo...I totally meant to split this blog up into 4 parts, but just kept uploading and uploading and before I knew it, I had all of the photos loaded. Doh. Oh well, guess this means you need to grab a snack and get comfy because there are over 100 photos here...

We left on August 26th to San Diego to visit Corinne and see her PhD defense. Yup, it was just me and two maniacs on a plane. Yikes. I armed myself with toys, snacks, DVD player and melatonin. Our flight got in at 11pm our time (8pm CA time), which I figured was perfect...they would pass out and it would be a simple trip. HA!!! Well, actually it was pretty easy, but not much sleeping went on...

We got into CA on time and Corinne, Verna and Jerry were coming to pick us up in the van. I got a call soon after we got our bags informing us that a tire had blown out, but Corinne was on her way in her car. I soon get another call...Corinne's brakes had gone out. Eek! So with the tire fixed, Bubba and Grampa were back on track! We had awhile to dance around outside the airport while waiting, and the kids loved it.

We stayed at Corinne's old apartment and everybody else stayed at the new apartment.

Sam loved Grampa's hat.

I think we probably went though 20 pounds of strawberries (to go on our waffles) while we were there....

Playing at the wishing well at the outdoor mall.

"Money, please!"

Brooklyn says, "Mom, you need to take a picture of me on this kangaroo."

Brooklyn needed some sort of shoe that wasn't a flip-flop so we hit JC Penny's and after what seemed like forever, we both settled on something that wasn't covered in Dora, but was still flashy...and apparently help her jump.

This was our first visit to San Diego Zoo...yeah, we actually got shunned away because we wanted to buy memberships but weren't local. Sigh. So we settled on a little train ride and a walk through Balboa Park.

After talking to some nice employees at the Zoo about the least expensive way to get memberships, it all worked out and we got in! The first thing we did was ride the gondola, which as you can see, was a hit.

Forget the animals, look at this cool thing I can climb in, Mom!!

Sam wasn't so sure about the hula-hooping...

...but still had fun looking like a goon, just like everyone else trying to hula hoop as well. :P

Next stop, the beach at La Jolla. Wasn't the warmest day of the year, but it was fun.

I LOVE this photo. Brooklyn is reading to her Bubba, sounding out each word very carefully.

Sam was napping when everybody decided to go do something and give me some quiet time...ahhhh.... Of course the boy had to wake up, but we had lots of fun with just Mommy and Sam time. First, we were kitties lounging on the couch.

[Insert shot of our lovely abode at Graduate Student Housing.]

Then outside to the toys to be dinosaurs.

After Corinne's dreaded, yet quite successful, presentation was done, we got to play some more. We went down to the tidepools (which consequently closed 30 minutes after we got there...).

This is a school of teeny fish.

A Sea Slug. Apparently they only saw like 3 of them all last year...well there were 3 of them sitting right there! Pretty neat.


We got to Quincy just in time for Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day, which means fresh, cheap produce, so take a wheelbarrow!

And also parades!

And candy!

And peach canning!

And nude swimming (thanks Lynne!)!

We also got to visit with friends--Laura and her son, Little Nick who is a bit older than Sam.

There was lots of dirt bathing.

But no swinging. :( This is Brooklyn's "disappointed" shot.

Verna saved some of Corinne's toys and Brooklyn loved playing with them!

Oy...this was one heck of a day. Sam got put outside while at the dinner table because he kept yelling just to yell. Yes, he looks quite solemn, but don't fall for it....within the following 1.5 hours he managed to kick the cat, dangle from the deck railing off the second story, punch me in the face and evilishly pee on the couch while looking directly at me (this kid is fully potty trained...). Phew, good thing he's cute.

And he can be sweet, like when he shares his milk with the cat.

We took a field trip to Snyder-ville. LOVE their beautiful and bountiful! This is their back porch, COVERED in grapes!

Can you tell how excited we were to harvest fresh grapes?!

Munching on plums.

Picking berries.

Digging up carrots.

Then the kids took turns in their swing while we snacked on all of the tons of goodies we got. Thank you Tom and Lynne!

We were lucky enough to be in town when my brother West got his mission call. Here he is prepping for his Grand Opening of the Mission Letter party.

The tradition is to put up a map of the world and have everyone and their dog guess a place in the US and a place outside of the US.

Everybody assembling...and Kenny mentioning there being fleas in the sofa...

He found one!!

Friends here? Check. Missionaries here? Check. Grandma on the phone? Check.

Big brother and mysterious girl on Skype? Check.

Drum roll please.....Minneapolis, Minnesota!

It was a bit wet, and all of the worms came out to play...the kids had a blast counting, watching and poking them.

Bring on the old-school toys! (Which were very difficult to watch your kids play on...up 6+ feet in the air with little to no railing...yikes!)

As we were getting ready to walk out the door to head to my family's house, it started POURING! It was like a North Carolina rainstorm, thunder, lightening, everything!! Which is unusual for Quincy. The funny thing was that it rained right before we left Wilmington and didn't rain a DROP (except for in San Diego and Quincy) again until we came home when Wilmington had a HUGE rainstorm. As in 15+ inches!!

Oh, how I love this boy.

Lots of fun times with friends.

Sigh...just because they are newer toys doesn't mean they scare the mama any less...

Ahh, this was so sweet. Beebah (Sam's word for Grandpa) was showing them a National Geographic magazine, and my kids LOVE to learn about that kind of stuff.

Art time with Lynne.

Eek, I adore this photo! We were picking apples while the water was on.

Brooklyn loved racing whoever would race her (including other random children).

Grammie took us BOWLING!! The kids LOVED it!!! AND they smoked me...I think I had like 40 points or something? It was despicable.

Then we had to play the games and get some goodies with our tickets!

Ha, this was pretty cute. Bubba gets out her laptop, Sam gets out his.

Brook discovered the joys of spiral art, lol.

On our way to Suzy's, we had to stop at Indian John Hill as EVERYONE needed to get out and run around a bit. Potty break and lots of Tag between the trees was good.

Brooklyn had been talking for days about going to see Suzy, Mike, the chickens, the cows....she loved it.

Oh Sammy...

We thought it would be funny to put a leaf over him, ya know...well apparently the leaf had pokies, lol.

Suzy, threatening to steal Sam's Superman undies.

Why do kids love glasses so much?? She ate her entire dinner with them on.

Phew, we're almost back home. It was a bit of a rough trip back to Wilmington, complete with a temper tantrum from someone in front of us. Thank heavens Bubba was there to help. At least Sam passed out before Atlanta and stayed asleep the entire way to Wilmington.


We did a lot while Bubba was here. I did my radiation treatment for my thyroid and spent 3 days in "quarantine". Sounds awful, huh? It was...10th floor of a condo overlooking the ocean...yeah, it was rough. :) I'm still adjusting though, and probably will be for the next 6 months or so...but it's getting better.

While we were gone Russ put big raised beds in out back and we got them planted with cabbage, lettuce, radishes, onions, broccoli, spinach...yum!

The kids both started gymnastics and of course LOVE it.

Found out that the kids love the skating rink.

And of course lots of other mundane stuff. I've been thinking of getting the camera out more and more it's just willing myself to actually do it, lol. Wish me luck!