Friday, April 30, 2010

Honeysuckle

We walked out the door this evening, and were greeted by the wonderfully sweet smell of Mr. Ron and Mrs. Debbie's honeysuckle. We simply had to go taste it, too.

Joey says it's "duh-wish-us," and Micah now wishes everything in the world was made out of honey. :) (Conner wasn't with us, he's spending the night with Uncle Robert and Aunt Jodi.)

Isn't honeysuckle one of the coolest plants ever? Sometimes I just marvel at God's creative genius. There's the bushes with sweet-smelling yellow and white blooms, containing a drop of "honey" if you know the trick to getting it...and then just a few steps a peach tree whose pretty pink blossoms have turned into baby peaches...and a pear tree whose pretty white blossoms have turned into baby pears...and a few more steps over a tree laden with teeny tiny white blooms.

I have no idea what kind of tree it is, or if those blossoms contain anything wonderful or turn into anything yummy. I just think it's cool that they're all different and marvelous in their own way, airacle that we too often take for granted.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gammie and Poppy's

Micah spent last weekend at Gammie's and Poppy's. He likes to do that sometimes, stay with them, "just Micah." I think it's a middle child thing. And if you think about it, it makes sense. Conner got to stay with grandparents "just Conner" before Micah came along. And Joey will get to stay with grandparents "just Joey" when Conner and Micah are both in school. Can you blame him? Besides, I think he gets to do pretty much anything he want when he's there like that.

This time was a little different. It wasn't actually "just Micah." Kaleb was there for a lot of the time, too. But sharing with and being patient with your little cousin is much different than doing so for your little brother!

When we got him back, it sounded like he had a great time -- Pizza Hut, McDonald's, dirt, Mighty Beans, huge-gas-grill-box-turned-cave, puzzles, 4 wheelers, sardines...and of course, Gammie, Poppy, Kaleb, Aggie, and Uncle Kevin!

Thanks for spoiling Micah Moo and making him feel so special!!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Yogi's Treehouse

A little over a year ago, the first part of last spring, my dad started building a chicken coop. The boys happened to stay with them one weekend just before Dad finished it (before there were chickens living in it!), and got to play in it. They loved it. ...so much that my Dad decided right then and there that he would have to build them their own "chicken coop" to play in.

My dad is so cool. He just built it as he had time, money, and good weather. He let the boys participate if he was working on it while we were there. He even periodically sent us pictures of the progress. I've had a little folder on my computer where I've kept track of the progress...and Dad finished the treehouse just a few weeks ago! So, now that I've taken my sweet time putting the story together...or let's be honest, searching for the first half of my carefully saved and documented pictures!...I'd like to share with you the story of Yogi's Treehouse.

About a month after the original chicken coop experience, last April, Conner got to go with Yogi to Home Depot (better known around here as "The Man Store") to buy the wood. The thing I really love about this picture is that Dad took it on his phone -- an indication that Yogi may have actually been more excited about these plans than even the kids. :)
When they got home, Micah got to "help" unload the wood. (I'm sad that these pictures are blurry. I don't know what happened to them...but blurry pictures refresh memories are better than no pictures at all!) Then a few weeks later, in mid-May I got an email entitled, "Wanted: Detectives." Inside was a picture, could they guess what this was?...and then about a week later, the detectives got a couple more pictures in their inbox. This time they knew what it was! Then a month later, at the end of June we got to try it out for the first time! There was no built-in ladder yet, but when has something like that ever stopped one of my boys?! We didn't get to play on it very long that day... ...but the next time we visited, a month or so later, the Wellsbrothers spent a lot of time up in the treehouse.It looks really high from that angle, doesn't it?!There were still a few kinks to be worked out -- for example, there was one place where the space between the slats were just big enough for Micah to get his head stuck. And oh my goodness, if that crazy melon-headed kid didn't get his head stuck in the same spot about 50 times in the first ten minutes he spent up there! The main goal was for the space to be small enough that no bodies could fit through! :) Yogi did great on that...and then adjusted that one little spot for Micah.

One of their favorite things to do in the treehouse has been to play Magic Treehouse. The Magic Treehouse is a series of books that Conner read last summer, and is re-reading now. In the books, the magic treehouse takes Jack and Annie to fun places all over the world. Well, in our treehouse, Conner is Jack, BooBoo is Annie, and Micah is usually Teddy (their dog). They “go” to fun places all over the world, too. I love this picture. Don’t they look like they’re having fun? If I remember correctly, they were in Hawaii at the time… We played on it just like that for the rest of the summer. And then by fall, Yogi added two ladders and doors. The doors only open to the inside – no accidentally leaning against one and falling out! (Isn’t Dad brilliant? I’m afraid I wouldn’t have thought of something like that until it was too late!)
By then, the weather started getting cold, and Mom and Dad were pretty much swamped with tying up loose ends with MeeMaw’s and GweGwe’s estates. The treehouse stayed that way for the duration of the fall and winter – which was fine. The boys played in it pretty much every time we visited and the weather allowed.

…and then spring returned. And with it good working-outside-weather. The boys got to be there over Spring Break to help Yogi shop for the supplies and add the finishing touch – the swings!
And one more cool thing - some of the wood scraps made perfect blocks. The first time the boys played in the original chicken coop, it was full of them. So Yogi saved them all for us, we've painted them, and now we have some really cool and special wood blocks!

There has only been one little disappointment – the tree it’s under. Early in the process, around the first part of last summer, the wonderfully big and shady tree that the treehouse is under was struck by lightning. It’s leaves quickly withered, (you can see all the brown leaves in the pictures from last summer) but we had hopes of it greening out this spring…but to no avail. The tree didn't make it. So the Treehouse is still wonderful and fun, and it still has a little bit of shade, just not quite as much as we had hoped. Oh well…

I’m so excited the boys have such a cool treehouse. I’m looking forward to all the memories that will be made, and am cherishing the ones we already have. Thank you, thank you, Yogi!!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not Ca-Piwahs

Spring is such a wonderfully lovely time of year. The weather warms, the trees bud, the flowers bloom, everything outside just wakes up and comes alive.

We've had a particularly springy kind of spring this year. I guess it was the harder-than-usual winter, I don't know. But all of the leaf-spouting and flower-blooming started a couple of weeks later than usual...and it seems that there was nothing gradual to the process. Really, it felt like one week the trees were all sticks, and the grass was all brown...and suddenly the next week the leaves were completely out and the grass was spotted with wildflowers and needing a mowing.

And because of this suddeness, we had what I heard referred to on the news several times as "The Perfect Pollen Storm." It wasn't just the trees and grass that were suddenly green -- everything outside was green, coated with a fine layer of pollen. Everyone had allergy problems, even people who have never before had allergies. And I think I used a gallon or two of windshield wiper fluid during those couple of weeks just trying to keep a line of sight.

Well, now that the pollen has settled down a little bit, the trees have been dropping their pollen sacs. There are quite a few pine trees behind our house, and their pollen sacs have been of particular interest to Josiah. They're all over our back porch...and have an eery resemblance to worms -- or caterpillars. When Joey discovered that the back porch was covered in these creatures, he was fascinated. There were "ca-piwahs" everywhere! Anytime we went outside he simply had to pick up a few. But then after some time spent poking and prodding, over the course of several days, he apparently discovered that they were not alive, and therefore could not be caterpillars...so he began calling them, "not ca-piwahs."

Now everytime we go outside, he has to see the "not ca-piwahs." And even though he now seems to realize that they're not alive, he still has to check them out. He still squats down and looks for awhile, picks up a few, carries them around, and pets them. Several times a day he asks me to open the back door to look at the "not ca-piwahs." He usually brings the few that he picks up into the house, but then after several minutes of carrying them around he always wants to put them back outside.

...and now recently, with potty training under our belt, going potty outside has become a fun new trick...and apparently it's lots of fun to use the "not ca-piwahs" as targets.

Boys...

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Silver Slash

I got a new van today! (Well, new to me, anyway -- that's about as new as vehicles get around here.)

We had gotten the old one right before we moved to Louisiana four years ago, needing something big enough to make 1000 mile road trips comfortably, and with ample space for diaper changing. And it served it's purpose well.

But...four years later, 1000 mile road trips now rare (if ever) instead of nearly monthly, diapers a thing of the past, 100,000 miles looming on the odometer horizon, and a couple of financial things falling into place at just the right time...it was time for a change.

We didn't end up with anything drastically different. We're still in a silver minivan - but it's got some long-awaited, highly anticipated features like a non-cracked windshield, quad seats, power-sliding doors, rear air conditioning, and stow-and-go seating!! (Doesn't take much to get me excited, does it?)

Mom stayed with Conner and Joey while we did our shopping. (Micah is at Gammie's and Poppy's this weekend.) Conner told her that he hoped we did our research, because he had heard of vans that looked like dragons, and that shot out fire. That's what he wanted us to bring home. :)

Needless to say, our meager budget and dedication to keep the same payment didn't allow for scales, wings, or fire...but he was still pretty excited when he saw it. He especially liked the "holes in the floor" (stow-and-go). But then, when he learned that the middle row windows rolled down (!!!!) he was in love. I no longer drive a boring ol' minivan. Conner has declared that the Wellsbrothers will now be riding around in style in "The Silver Slash."

Thank you, Bret! I love you, and I'm soooo excited about all the room I've got to bring home groceries now...makes me want to go get a bunch just so I can load them in The Silver Slash with ease. ;)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Orange Sherbet for Tigger!

We had a fun afternoon today -- Tigger got to come home with Conner!

The addition of Tigger to our afternoon/evening always adds some excitement...and today was no different. Since one of the responsibilities of taking care of Tigger overnight includes writing in his journal, we simply have to do something fun. You know, so that we can write about it.

So today, Tigger played Wii with Conner, ate drumsticks for dinner with Conner...and went to Braum's for ice cream with Conner! We "owed" Conner a trip to Braum's for another six weeks of nearly all "blue days" on his behavior chart. (For some of you oldies like me, it's the equivalent of not getting your name on the board.) Orange sherbet for all the boys, french fries for Daddy...and a fudge brownie sundae for Mama!

Then when we got home, Conner wrote in Tigger's journal. It was pretty cool to look back at our entries from Tigger's first and second visits. Conner has come such a long way in his ability to share a story in writing.

As always, thanks for staying over, Tigger!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Little Artists

Micah has been really into drawing smiley faces lately. It's come along with his new-found obsession with coloring. He draws big ones and small ones, in circles and in hearts, always with two small dots for eyes, a big curvy smile, never a nose or any extras.

I've tried to walk him through drawing a whole person or an animal, and he's reluctantly done it once or twice. But really, he just hasn't been interested in doing anything more than coloring in coloring books, or drawing smiley faces or the occasional rainbow.

Then yesterday he was sitting at the table drawing, and as I walked by I noticed that his paper had more than a few smiley faces on it. When I took a closer look, I discovered that he had a full-blown person on his paper.Remembering that Conner had been sitting with him earlier, I asked Micah if Conner had helped him. He said yes, which was what I expected. But then he started showing me all the parts Conner had drawn. It turns out that all Conner had drawn were the green raincloud and green raindrops. Micah had drawn everything else!

Excitedly, I asked him to tell me about his drawing. I was glad I had phrased it that way, because it turns out it wasn't a person at all, but a nice monster. "People don't have pinchers on their hands like that, Mom!" :)

When Conner first started drawing, he drew a picture of our family that I have just treasured. I've been anxiously awaiting Micah's drawing abilities to develop so that I could have a family picture from him, too. So I asked, and this is what I got:

Micah is the one on the left with "a fireball for a head, a cool shirt, and cool because I can stand on one leg. Oh, and three eyes." Conner is on the right, "cool because he's got four arms and four eyes." Joey is down at the bottom because "he's just a little guy, Mom." I don't guess Bret or I made it into the portrait, but I still wouldn't trade it for anything!

And while I'm talking about drawing, this is what Conner brought home from school today:I'm guessing the assignment was to write a sentence and draw a picture using the word "with." Jodi and Robert had come over Saturday to play wii with us, and I think somebody was still a little excited. :)

The crazy beard cracks me up, reminds me of a funny story -- Jodi and Robert lived with us one summer when Conner was 2, turning 3. Robert's hair/beard grow pretty fast, and we never knew whether he'd have a full head of hair and a full beard, be completely clean shaven, or some kind of combination.

We had noticed that sometimes Conner called him "Uncle Robert," while other times it was "Mr. Robert." Then one day we realized that "Uncle Robert" went out to shave off his hair, and "Mr. Robert" came back in. Poor Conner thought it was two different guys!

And what about Joey? What's he drawing? Well, this is what he gave me yesterday afternoon:He says it's his brain. :)

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Teacher's Helper

For awhile now, Conner has been his teacher's little helper. He reads to the class for her so that she can have a few minutes to help the kids that aren't finished yet or work on some other things.

He. Loves. This. (Except for the days that he comes home saying that he only got to read 4 of the 23 pages because the other kids just weren't listening that day. :)

Lots of times at home he'll read to Micah, but he'll insist that Micah sit across from him instead of next to him. That way Micah can't see the pictures until he shows them at the end of the page. It doesn't usually go over very well with Micah (surprise, surprise!), and Conner just can't seem to understand why, if that's the best way to do it at school it doesn't work at home.

Yesterday Conner's teacher emailed me a couple of pictures that she had taken of him while he was helping. I love getting little glimpses of his day like this!
Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Scarpello! And ConnerBug, we're proud of you!

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