Monday, October 10, 2016

Random days off

The kids didn't have school today because of a teacher planning day so I took the day off to spend time with them too.  State offices were technically open today but I have a feeling I wasn't the only one making a three-day weekend out of it.  Usually when I plan for these days, I try to cram too many 'fun' activities into the day and all of us end up being grumpy and tired.  So for today, I had a few errands in mind, picked an afternoon movie matinee and let the rest of the day work itself out.  The kids have some friends in the neighborhood and the weather was nice so I anticipated a few visits from kiddos.  Long boring story short, we had a really nice day.  We ran our errands, had a pizza-filled lunch, watched an entertaining movie, cleaned kids' rooms (!!), dehydrated a bunch of apples (I'm so middle-aged right now!), cooked a big pot of chili for dinner and dressed a cat.  

Coco the Jedi Master 

More thrilled than we thought she would be. 
We discovered that outfits from Build-a-Bear are perfectly sized for a medium-sized calico cat.  In related news, Coco is going to be a mermaid for Halloween.

The rest of our three-day weekend was nice too.  Will had his last football game on Saturday.  More on his first tackle football season soon.  On Sunday, we got to spend all day with Baby Boy Cousin and Toddler Cousin and it was delightful.  It's so fun having little people around the house and their presence kept me from yelling at the tv during the Broncos game which was appreciated by the rest of the family.  Toddler Cousin follows Reina around and when she's not doing that, she tells me funny things like "your chickens are beautiful!" and while looking at her brother "that's my boy" and "I want to watch Bob Bob Square Bob."
Will feeding BBC.  They were both equally unsure about that plan at first but it worked out just fine.
Finally, here's a picture of Reina looking cute.  She's much more interested in her hair lately and asks for a ponytail or braid every morning, about five minutes before it's time to walk about the door.  I think I need to teach her how to braid soon.
I tried pigtails - they are a little uneven but they don't detract from her cuteness.  
The week is off to a good start.

Monday, October 3, 2016

All About Reina

One of Reina's first 2nd-grade projects was to put together an "All About Me" poster.  Not surprisingly, she was all over this project.  She picked out the poster board color (orange!), grabbed a handful of markers, dug out some stickers from a book I bought years ago and got started. I found the photos from our trip to Virginia and a few other hard copies I had lying around.  It's amazing how infrequently I print photos these days.   In about a half hour, she's cranked out this delightful summary of 7-yr old Reina. 

subcategories:  Brother, family, mom, daddy, Coco
Stickers of chickens butterflies and a horse. 

Hates:  peppers, spiders, bullying, cold, spots, hurt sad
Likes:  cats, cook, Broncos, family, tarl (?) or travel, dogs, fishing, hunting, candy, erasers, dreams, bikes, shopping, Friday, and a bunch of other stuff. 

Mount Vernon and a cat with a halo.  Probably not Coco? 

My favorite part of the project, besides her lovely drawings, were the comments from fellow students.  She brought home her grade and feedback today.  Her classmates learned (misspelling included because at this age it is pretty darn cute)...

about the vet
has a cat
I didn't know she had dogs
you have a dog?
her cat is so cute
she play peano
she like cat!
she likes cat's.
I not no she like to do peyanow
she dus like boleing (ballet?)
she has a cat
she has animals in her backyard. 
that she likes ornge (orange)
she is funny

That about sums up our Reina! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Super Broncos Fan

At the beginning of this month, Will and I went to the first Broncos regular season game on a Thursday night.  (Thank you Aunt Vicky and Uncle Matt!)   It was a rematch of Super Bowl 50 and since I had to take Will out of school early so we could get to the game on time,  for this mom it was the last stop of the SB50 victory parade. 

We did some math homework and Will read to me on the car ride down to Denver.  We were a little ahead of the bad traffic so we made it down in record speed and had plenty of time to walk around the stadium and buy souvenir socks.  

The world's worst selfie.  The glare off of my dirty phone screen made it next to impossible to see.  Clearly.  

Will and the Sunday Night Football truck.  in this case the Thursday Night Football truck.  

Getting slightly tired of posing but still a super fan.  

The view from our seats.  It was a gorgeous night.  I packed our sweatshirts but we never even pulled them out.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just right.  

So let's talk about the game.  The first half was not great.  I can't remember the score but I think the Broncos were down by 10 at half?  My little super fan was not happy.  Lots of grumbling about 'we need a new quarterback,' 'they're killing me...' etc. etc.  We had two bathroom trips in quick succession because he felt like he was going to barf.  He didn't but the Broncos did score when were down on the concourse and I briefly entertained the idea of watching the rest of the game on the tv outside of the men's room but we didn't.  At half time, Will told me that if the Panthers scored again, we should leave.  I was good with that because it was already past 4th grade bedtime and while I can't be my usual screaming Super Fan self when I take a kiddo to the game, I wasn't super excited to watch a blowout.  But then the tides turned and the next thing I new, there were 5 minutes left in the game and the Broncos were leading.  We gutted it out until the end when Carolina kicked a field goal that would've won the game if it hadn't veered off to the left.  Yahhhhh!
His post-game face.  
We had a really fun time.  I think the people in the seats around us were less than thrilled to have a 9-yr sitting there lest he cramp their party style, but by the end of the game he was getting hugs and high fives all around. We had a long, crowded walk back to the car - that's probably the only drawback to staying for the whole game.  Will fell asleep in the car before we made it out of Denver but I stayed awake listening to post-game interviews and highlights.  It was a happy drive until Will suddenly felt the urge to barf again (he didn't).  I blame football nerves and stadium nachos.  It was a great start to the football season and I think it will be a memory that stays with me for a very long time. I hope he'll remember it, too.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Our chicken girl who's not actually a girl

September!  Football - Will's league, college and NFL - has dominated our free time this month, along with hunting, piano and ballet practices, work stuff, cat who needs more adventure and try to venture outside every chance she gets, chickens who prefer the spacious backyard to their well-designed and tidy coop and two dogs who show more enthusiasm for jogging at 6:00 a.m. than I show for doing anything at anytime, AND a den remodel.  As usual, the Pauley house is one big ball of craziness right now.  But to pile on to that craziness, apparently we own a rooster.  

Let's start at the beginning.  About a month into chicken ownership, we wondered a little bit if our Rhode Island Red was not a Rey but more likely a Ray.  Apparently chicken gender identification is more of an art than a science and while the guy we bought our chickens from boasts a 95% success rate, that's still not 100%.  So we watched little Rey and frequently googled "rhode island reds" and convinced ourselves that yes, the hens look like the roosters, yes their spurs are on the bigger side and yep, they have those pointy feathers in the back that look rather rooster-y.  Reina overheard us discussing Rey/Ray's gender one day and immediately freaked out that we'd have to find Rey a new home if in fact she was a he.   I told her that we'd have to wait and see but that we were pretty sure we had a hen. Until a few weeks ago.  

(Am I really writing a whole blog post about chicken gender?  Apparently I am!)  I noticed last week that Rey had grown a bit taller than the other 3.  Glenn commented on her spur size again. Will came in the house one afternoon and mentioned that Rey was being silly and biting the other chickens on the back of the necks, isn't that weird?  Now, I should point that I'm not technically a farm girl but I did grow up around enough animals to recognize amorous chicken behavior when it's described to me by a 9-yr old.  I mentioned to Glenn that night that we shouldn't make any decisions until we hear a cock-a-doodle-do. 

Fast forward to a few mornings ago.  Glenn's hunting, the kids are getting on their bikes to head to school, I'm walking out the door for work and I hear a loud chicken noise that sounds like a very amateurish 'something something doodle-do.'  I pause and listen and uh-oh, there it is again.  I head to work in a slightly unreasonably sad mood (it's just a chicken! But she's a friendly chicken!) and think about what to do next.  Glenn happens to get cell reception and he calls me later in the day and after I update him on relevant kid behavior, I mention the rooster noises.  We agree that I should contact the guy we bought the chickens from.  I text that guy later and tell him my concerns.  He says to send him a picture of Rey when I get home.  Which I do and get an immediate reply of "Oh no, that's a cockerel."  

So there you have it.  Our girl is a guy.

Yeah, I don't know how we didn't know either.  Hey big fella.
So that brings me to last night.  After a few back and forths with the chicken guy, he agrees to take Ray back.  We can't have roosters in the city limits and frankly we don't need one anyway.  We just want eggs, not a harem.  The chicken guy tells me that there's a chance Ray will become a back-up rooster and live out his life doing you know what.  That's how I shall think of him.  But I'm still left with the job of breaking the news to Will and Reina.  I chose the car ride on the way home from Chick Fil-A (oh the irony) after football practice.  Will was pragmatic.  I think his exact words were something along the lines of "well it is just a chicken, not a dog or cat."  Reina took a different approach.  Bless her chicken-loving heart, she was the opposite of pragmatic.  Lots of tears and heart wrenching sobs. Just like with her goldfish, she immersed herself in the stages of grief, moving between anger (why didn't you make sure she was a girl?!) and bargaining (Let's just move to the country.  And surprisingly, "let's break the law!")  She calmed down a little when I pointed out that Ray was moving back to where he was born and gets to hang out with his parents and his brothers and sisters.  I can't say she's at acceptance yet but she's getting there.  

Ray is with us until Sunday.  When I took some grapes out to everybody tonight, he ate the grape out of my hand and then pecked my arm pretty hard a few times looking for more.  Maybe he's just trying to make it easier for me to send him back.  Maybe it'll help her grieving process if I send her out with the grapes next time?    

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The rest of the summer

Before I get to highlights from the rest of our summer, I have to document a few interesting conversation topics that came up this weekend.  And I thought toddlers had great conversation topics.  
1.  From Will:  Do we know anyone who was the victim of a pyramid scheme?  Follow-up:  Who's the most famous person who was the victim of a pyramid scheme?  (For posterity's sake, my answers were no and I don't know, google it.  I still need to follow-up on how he learned about pyramid schemes and/or what he thinks pyramid schemes are.) 

2.  From Reina (less of a question- more of a statement).  After volunteering to help me try on  a bunch of new shirts and without a hint of snarkiness or malice, "I'm going to help you look ATTRACTIVE!"  

3.  From Will:  Who's the Pope?  (Asked during church, naturally.)  

So let's talk about the rest of the summer.  We didn't get to do much actual camping but we did have a great day up in the Snowies during the long holiday weekend in July. 

Snow!  In July!  Glenn and the kiddos caught a fish in this lake while I hiked by myself for a few glorious minutes and napped in the truck.  It was a lovely day.  

Will and his fish.  Trigger and little sister were a little jealous.  

Tootsie and Reina and snacktime.
Earlier that weekend, I took a Friday off  of work and we spent a day at the zoo with cousins and friends.  It was a great day to be at the zoo, nice temperatures but overcast skies so it didn't get too hot.
Reluctant sibling posed picture.  

Toddler cousin looking at bears.  I think this is when I asked her "what's the bear doing?" and her reply was "I don't know" said in the tone of 'Lady, I'm not a wildlife biologist how would I know what the bear's doing?' 

Refraining from comment.  
Reina spent part of one morning at my office while we waited for the Frontier Day's parade to start.  She kept herself busy coloring and drawing pictures.  When I finally looked up, I discovered she had redesigned my business card. I think the State Seal should be a cat face. 

Will participated in 4-H shooting sports since February.  In early June, they had their annual county shoot where the kids compete for the chance to go to the state meet.  Since this was Will's first year, we didn't pay a lot of attention to the competitive side of shooting sports.  Glenn was happy for Will to learn more of the safety skills and techniques.  We signed up for county shoot and spent part of a Saturday morning watching Will participate.  Turns out he's a pretty good little marksman and he earned second place in his age group for air rifle.  Baseball interfered with the schedule for the state competition but maybe next year?

Red ribbon!  
Last weekend, we wrapped up the summer with a trip to see the Rockies play the Cubs in Denver.  Pop-pop, the Cubs fan this season, came with us.  It was Wyoming night at Coors Field so we all received cool UW colored Rockies hats.  The brim is too curved for Will's tastes but he agreed to wear it for one night.  Unfortunately, the game didn't go well for the Rockies and Will's competitiveness necessitated a walk around the concourse when the game got particularly bad.  He simmered down when we found a kid's booth where he could pitch to a fake catcher and have his pitches tracked on the radar gun.  In spite of the score, we had a fun evening at the ballpark and ironically, the Rockies beat up on the Cubs the next day.  Will and I watched it on tv and he begged for a return trip to Coors Field before the season ends.  We'll see.  
Take me out to the ballgame.... 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school.  Fourth grade and second grade, how on Earth did that happen?  As I wrote on Facebook today, along with another smiling picture of these two, "the days are long but the years are short."  I think that sentiment originally applied to babyhood but I'm finding it so appropriate lately.  The summer raced by and I can't believe that school is back in session. I haven't even written down all of our summer adventures.  But on the flip side, the 'witching hour' post-dinner of getting everyone cleaned up, books read to, bathed, tucked in four different times, where's the cat, what about that one really important toy and what happens when there's a man on first and the pitcher blah blah blah.  That hour or two sometimes feels like the longest part of my day.  

But here we are.  Fourth grade and second grade and firmly entrenched in big kid land.  Much thought was put into these two outfits.  Reina had her's planned for a while, down to the socks with foxes on them and a special necklace to borrow from me.  Will waffled between a sports shirt (naturally) or a tshirt printed to look like a tuxedo.  He ultimately chose the sports ensemble and is apparently saving the tuxedo shirt for a fancy occasion.  

Will asked that we take pictures at home this time around instead of at school. I don't think I've ever done that actually and while I was tempted this time, just because of that request, we stuck with our front steps.  It's tradition!  Didn't we have Coco in last year's?  

No Coco, but lots of ham.  
As per tradition, I picked up everybody after school to get the full report of the first day's activities.  Will was succinct.  Everything was fine, his friends are fine, the teacher is fine, nothing too exciting happened on the first day.  I forgot erasers in his school supplies.  Reina had a few more details to fill in.  She's delighted with her teacher.  They played some getting-to-know-you games.  There are two new kids in her class and someone else moved away.  She has some friends from last year in her class but the other ones are in the other class and that's sad.  She's wearing the shirt with the puppy on it tomorrow or perhaps the kitten and purple pants.

So on to day 2 and a new school year. I can't wait to see what this one brings but I wouldn't mind if it slowed down just a little bit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The scene:  Almost dinnertime last night at the Pauley household.  
The characters:  Coco, Tootsie, Trigger and a bunch of humans who weren't feeding the pets fast enough.  
The location:  Tootsie's dog dish.  

Coco says, "If Coco doesn't have dinner, no one gets to have dinner.  

Tootsie says, "Don't eat the cat, don't eat the cat, don't eat the cat."