Friday, October 31, 2008


Wishing you a Haunted (but Happy) Halloween from the Beans.
AKA Pirate Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, and the Parrot

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Isn't Always

We live in the foothills and we have mice. It's just a fact.

A few months ago (after using traps to catch at least one mouse in the house every night for ten days straight) we decided that we needed a cat. I had long maintained that with five kids (three who were still in diapers) the last thing we needed was a pet. We were cleaning up poop for three kids, why would we add to that? But the mice were taking over, so it was time.

Knowing that we live in the foothills, (also knowing that coyotes live in the foothills) we decided it wouldn't be prudent to purchase a cat as a pet. Let's face it, there is a real possibility that our pet could become an appetizer. I know it isn't a happy thought, but it's the truth.

A few months ago we searched the classified ads and found a free kitten. Let me be clear when I tell you that we have done everything we can to keep her away from danger. And I am happy to report that she is not only alive, but happy and thriving as well. Anyway, Shade has become a terrific mouser and frequently leaves her prey for us to inspect. Let me also report that we have not caught a single mouse since she arrived on the scene--hallelujah! Worth every penny, right?

Yeah, only now the story gets better. We decided that since we were lucky enough to get a great mouser, we should keep her healthy and pulling her weight for as long as possible. Do you know how expensive that is???

I called the vet, it's going to cost nearly $200 to get her dewormed, spayed, and whatever else they feel is necessary to keep a pet healthy. This is the information that I've been contemplating. Hmmm. Do I spend the money? Do I hope for the best? What to do....

Here's the kicker: It would appear that while we were on vacation, someone dumped some kittens in the trees and rocks next to our house. When we got home and found them, they were in pretty bad shape. We're really not sure how long they had been there. Anyway, they were too young to be without their mother, so I called the vet and asked for advice. I described their condition and explained that they weren't ours so I didn't want to invest much. I did say that I would do my best to get them healthy so I could find them good homes.

OK--so now I'm buying special canned kitten milk and wet kitten food, fixing them special meals, and protecting them from Shade, who is definitely not a fan. I don't need this! I wanted one cat to kill the mice--Shade doesn't need help, she's a mousing genius!!!

So, today I came home at noon and Eve (the little girl kitten) had a paw that was swollen to four times it's usual size. Obviously it was broken or something. I have no idea what could have happened. But here we go... We took Eve to the vet and we paid for an x-ray, pain meds, and eye ointment. If she isn't doing better by Friday, I suppose I will take her back like I was told.

So here's the deal, my "free" kittens (all three of them) are now becoming rather expensive. Shade is the proud owner of a cushy bed, a cute food dish, and a very nice litter box with special litter in it. She doesn't like the cheapest dry food, so I've upgraded her. We leave a night light on in the garage. We buy her treats and toys.

Eve has now had an x-ray, she has a supply of mini-syringes filled with some sort of pain medication (that I will administer every eight hours). Eve and Dusk share a supply of wet kitten food and special kitten milk that I have to mix up at least once every day, and ointment for their eyes. On cold evenings we heat a bean bag in the microwave and put it in their box so they won't get cold. Holy Hannah! What are we doing??? Let's not forget that everyone still needs to be spayed or neutered and dewormed!!!

So if anyone is looking for a "free" kitten, call me. I think I can hook you up!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Excitement Enough

After a week long vacation, you would think that we'd had enough excitement. Apparently that is not the case. Just a few hours ago I was sitting on the floor of my garage, crying kid in lap, surrounded by at least six EMTs. While I certainly appreciate a little male attention as much as the next gal, this really isn't the way I prefer to get it.

The neighbors will all be happy to know that the flashing lights of the ambulance and fire engine were not heralding anything too life threatening. A little scary for a minute, but we're all going to live.

Zeke was playing on our Little Tykes playset in the backyard tonight. The wind had blown the playset over during the week, so it wasn't set up properly. JJ, Max, and a few of the neighbor kids were climbing on the playset while Zeke was climbing through it. The whole slide, along with all the kids, fell on Zeke and he was hit on the forehead. Within 30 seconds he had a goose egg on his head (ok, it was more like a chicken egg--but seriously, it was really big!). The EMTs came and checked him for a concussion and neck and back injuries.

Good News: Z-man is A-OK and all the kids got pins and badges from the firemen!

Seriously--with five kids there is more than enough drama just in everyday living. Can we take a break from the extra excitement for a while???

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Trip - Disney Wonder Cruise

Mister and The Princess joined our party for the cruise on the Disney Wonder. What an awesome experience! We sailed to the Bahamas and spent a day on Nassau and a day on Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The kids had never cruised before and they loved it!

The ship was beautiful and our two bedroom suite was amazing. We had two bedrooms with walk-in closets, three bathrooms (two with full-sized bathtubs), a living room, and a dining room. The concierge staff delivered a basket of cookies or treats to our room every afternoon. Can you believe it???

The Eldest checked into the Teen Aloft Club and we hardly saw him the rest of the cruise. He wandered in each morning at about 2am. I think he made some new friends and I know he had a great time. One afternoon he went out on a wave runner excursion. He said it was awesome.

The Princess didn't want to hang out in the club, but we had a great time watching live shows and going to the movies. We took a catamaran out to a reef and snorkeled one afternoon. I don't think she enjoyed the salty water, and I know she didn't like the idea of using a snorkel that had someone else's germs on it, oh well. It was fun anyway! Aboard the ship, HRH got into the pin trading. She made some sweet trades with the crew.

JJ, Max, and Zeke loved the kids club. They played games and made flubber. They took a ride on a glass bottom boat and fed the fish some oatmeal. Zeke wanted to know why we couldn't always live on the ship. Aside from the cost, I can't find a reason. I loved having the kids entertained all day!

What a Trip - Walt Disney World

Note to self: midnight arrivals are not fun after a week-long trip. We got in late last night and everyone was so tired, but we earned that tired!

We had the BEST time in Florida and on the cruise. I had forgotten how fun it is to be part of the Disney Magic. I have been to Disneyland a million times (slight exaggeration) and to the Magic Kingdom in Florida several times; I don't care how old you are, it's still a fun place to be.

Last Saturday the boys (all four of them) and I left for Florida. Grandma and Grandpa came with us--thank heavens! We stayed in Orlando and spent several days at Walt Disney World. We saw the animals at the Animal Kingdom and followed that up with several days at the Magic Kingdom with the last day at Epcot.

The boys enjoyed the Magic Kingdom the most--big surprise. But you'll never guess their favorite ride: HAUNTED MANSION!

I think we toured the mansion 4 times one day and 5 times the next! The best was on the third time through when JJ said,
"I love this ride, and this time I'm going to keep my eyes open!"

The Eldest and I found a new way to meet people. We decided to do a little pin trading as a competition. We bought the cheapest pins we could find and then he had to trade for a Jack Skellington pin before I could trade for a specific Tinkerbell. We worked really hard and met lots of people, but in the end, we both had to buy our pins of choice. We had a really great time trying though, and the little boys joined in the fun, too!

Although we did make one unexpected stop on our trip (to the ER--JJ got a 103* fever and sore throat) and one unplanned stopover (overnight in Atlanta due to a missed connection) this trip was a success. And there are more details to come! Wait until you hear about the cruise!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Trip or Vacation

My definition of a vacation is completely different from my definition of a trip.

A vacation is when you go away (usually without the kids) and do nothing but relax. Relaxing may somtimes include sleeping late, breakfast in bed, lounging on the beach, dinners out, but it must always include arriving back at home rested, relaxed, and ready for life.

Let me clearly state that I am about to embark on a trip--not a vacation. Now, that's not to say that I don't expect to have a fabulous time--because I do! But peaceful and relaxing? No, I'm not counting on it.

We (which includes my husband, myself, our 5 kids, grandma, and grandpa) are going on a cruise. I fully anticipate that we will come home overstimulated, weary, sunburned, sleepy, crabby, tired, anxious, and exhausted. (Best case scenario--of course!)

But we are excited!!! This will be the kids' first cruise and we will be sailing on the Disney Wonder. If anyone has any tips for cruising with kids, send them over quick! We leave on Saturday!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Arrival of Fall

I won't pretend that I'm disappointed that the warm weather is on the way out. Fall has always been my favorite season. I love it when the temperature starts to drop--that crisp feeling in the air. . . . I love the apples that come into season--that sweet tartness that begs for caramel. I love the way the colors fade from vibrant green to flames of orange, red, and yellow. . . .

It snowed in the mountains last night. I awoke to see the clouds drifting along the canyons and filling the valleys. All at once, the clouds broke apart just enough to expose the majestic, snow capped peaks of the mountains beyond the foothills.

This photo was taken this morning from my back deck--can you believe the scenery that I enjoy on a daily basis? I am so lucky!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Weight for Me!

OK--so I haven't made any changes to my SkinnyR graph because my weight hasn't changed. What's up with that?! I have been eating less and getting more exercise.

My neighbor has been taking me on the death march in the mornings. I really think she might be trying to kill me! She marches me down a gravely hill, then straight up the other side. I try to stop and catch my breath, but I am pretty sure she'll leave me to the coyotes if I don't keep up!

Anyway--exercise is good--right? And it probably won't kill me, right??? So, I guess I'll just have to keep at it. oh well...

But on a happier note, tonight was really fun! Some of the neighbors came over for an impromptu party. We set up the projector and (supposedly) watched a movie out in the back yard. I'm not sure how much of the movie actually got watched, but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. I just wish we had started doing this earlier in the season--we're expecting snow this weekend, so that will put an end to outdoor parties for a while.

Thanks everyone! It was fun while it lasted! We'll do it again next year!

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