Friday, February 21, 2014


 Today at school the kids could dress up like a character from Beauty and the Beast.

Katie in 2011 when she first got the Belle dress for her birthday.

 Katie in 2014 after I altered the sleeves, let out the ruching, and let the bodice out 3/8 of an inch!

And not to leave Alex out, here he is after the loss of his first tooth in January.  The second followed shortly thereafter.

Monday, April 8, 2013

back in business

Well, it turns out that we are indeed pet owners and NOT farmers.  The week before Spring Break we heard some serious squawking one morning.  Roger leapt out of bed and saw French Toast flapping around. He went on a search and discovered that a fox had gotten the other 3 hens.  A farmer would have had friends over for a nice feast that evening, but since we're PET OWNERS we had a funeral for the 3 casualties, talked Alex out of building a trap that would cut off the fox's head, and made plans for the acquisition of their replacements.

Today Murdoch's finally got their chicks in.  We headed over after school to choose our new buddies. It's hard to think of anything even half as cute as a baby chick, but the look on the kids' faces as they hold their new little friends comes close.

The names have not been picked yet, but we now have a Buff Orpington, a Rhode Island Red, a New Hampshire Red, and a Black Australorp.  I should have paid closer attention to which chick is which, because the first three are all golden and hard to distinguish between.  Max chose his because the adults have black feathers with a green or purple sheen.  I aimed everybody towards good layers - we'll find out how well that worked out in 6 months.

In other news, the question 'Can the Jeep really run out of gas?,' which has indeed been tested a number of times but never successfully answered, can now be laid to rest. As long as I am the one driving.  Yet again, I ran out of gas RIGHT next to the gas station closest to my destination - in this case the one essentially across the street from my house.  Luckily this only happens to me every decade or so, and luckily a nice gal pushed me off of Main Street with her Blazer, and I was able to make the 'walk of shame' carrying the gas can to rescue the Jeep before the rain started.  We'll see if the promised snow arrives tonight, putting the cherry on top of this little sundae.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

gerbil mania

We've now had the gerbils for just over a month.  There simple starter homes have evolved into palaces, but I think the additions are over and we are just down to rearranging what we've got.

Max got his girl first - on his birthday.  Her name currently is 'Miss Miss Mouse Speedy Young.'  It changes pretty frequently.  We should call her Dracula.  She's a biter.  Now that we have a little more experience with gerbils, it's obvious that she was older when we got her.  She's gotten Alex pretty good twice, me once, and Max once - about 5 minutes after taking this picture.  I thought he was going to remain unscathed.

Katie and Alex got their girls a couple weeks later.  Their gerbils are sisters and sweet as can be.  They are also about half the size of Max's gerbil, and I'm guessing 6 months younger.  The pet store was NOT forthcoming on Max's girl's potential shortcomings.  We hoped they could all live together, but I don't think these two would make it through until morning, so we have two separate palaces.  Guess which one is called 'Alex SquirmyYoung.'  The other is 'Addison Silky Young.'

This is just my favorite Max outfit of all time. He had a brief phase of having to choose different colored socks each day.  Now that he has some dinosaur socks, he only wants to wear ONE pair of socks every day . . . new challenge.  I just love that he's young enough to not care what anyone else thinks.  He just knows what he likes, and that always involves green - usually at least part of his  'Hawaii' outfit.  And a Snow White helmet works just as well for him as any other.

We recently walked around some ponds that had TONS of cat tails. Roger introduced us all to the fun of 'cat tail wars.'  It's all fun and games until somebody gets one in the eye!

Max's preschool class made their annual trip to the fire station. I think it's great that the kids can see that the fire fighters are real people, and that they don't need to be afraid of them when they have all their gear on.  Added bonus with Max's class is watching the fireman giving us the tour trying to get a word in edgewise over Max's preschool teacher!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

dinsoaur ridge

The second week of October we had a day off of school, so we did a cousins adventure to Morrison Natural History Museum. It's a very small museum but SOOO cool, and just the right size and activities for our little people.  Their claims to fame are the first stegasaurous and apatasaurous fossil finds, as well as some baby dinosaur foot prints.

The lower level has some casts of different predator skulls and an apatasaurous neck - the skull is still being removed from sandstone. The upper level has some triceratops fossils, some live animals, and a room with ongoing excavation work.  We were lucky enough to arrive close to feeding time for the animals. The kids got to pet this snake before her snack.  I think she got fed 8 mice!

The small size was again to our advantage, because everyone that wanted had a turn running the tools on the apatasaurous skull removal!  We did not get to take a crack at the baby stegasaurous pelvis, because it was too small and fragile, and is the only known fossil of its kind in existence. Picky picky.

Outside, we could 'dig for fossils' in their big sandbox.  Katie found a deer jaw, and Max 'discovered' the fossil of some kind of sea creature. Summer had a good time burying the other shovels and disrupting Alex's sense of order in the universe.

Inside a small outbuilding there was another 'fossil dig' sandbox where everyone could practice their finer excavation skills with paint brushes.  Oddly enough, Alex lasted longer than anyone else on that one. Everyone also painted some dinosaur tracks. Don't ask me where they are now!  That mystery remains for another days excavation project.  Violet showed the most concentration - she was so intent with her painting.

Maybe next time we'll make it up to Dinosaur Ridge - a trail just outside of the museum where there are still plenty of fossils in situ. That might need to go on the summer time adventures list.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Week

This year we finally went to Boo After Dark at the Denver Zoo.  I love all the lights.  We saw a few animals.  Nobody loved the freezing cold night, but the bags full of candy made up for that in the end.  Luckily we all ate dinner together at Margaret's house, because we then didn't find each other at the Zoo until the very end!  Note to self:  since cell phones exist, try actually remembering to bring yours!

Katie and our good friend Aly before we started exploring the zoo.

'Bat Boy' Alex and Max the black cat.  The previous Friday we went to Bat Encounter at the Botanical Gardens.  They had a few live bats that the presenter walked around.  The smallest was the size of a gerbil - with wings.  The largest he brought has a 6 foot wingspan!  My photo-taking skills need some help, but here's one of them:

We are still working on getting our own bat house up.  I wonder if they'll go after squirrels . . .

We managed to hit the bat exhibit in Tropical Discovery.  I think Alex was equally impressed by the hundreds of bats in their fake cage as he was seeing them live and closer up.

Roger was Oma's designated driver for the night.  Her knee seems to be better post-procedure, but still a little tender.  Max and Alex did not mind doing a little hitch hiking.

The festive Andersons.

One very cute little bunny.  Go ahead and try to offer your hand to help her walk - she'll just start to run in the opposite direction!

The grapes costume rides again!  Saturday night we went to a carnival at our friends' high school, and Katie and I won in our age categories for the costume contest.  Katie's competition was a little stiffer than mine:  I was one of only two adults who actually dressed up, so we both got prizes.

I'd say it's a pretty good event when everyone is too wiped out at the end to even dig into their candy stash, and instead conks out on their neighbor!  We'll probably go out for a little trick-or-treating Wednesday night, just for the atmosphere and because it's supposed to be a balmy 40+ degrees instead if 25!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

all i want for chirstmas . ..

One front tooth out.  This one came out during gym class. It was hanging by a thread the night before, but after the drama and trauma of having mom and dad even THINK about helping get the tooth out, we told Katie that she was on her own.

The second front tooth followed about a week later.  We didn't even try to help with this one.  It also came out at school, which means that Katie scored a fun little tooth-shaped case to put it in.  The tooth fairy forgot to come the first night, but luckily she got her act together the next!

This has nothing to do with teeth.  I just needed to document how many rocks Alex came home with crammed into his pockets one day last week.  What a nut. He's got rock collections all over the house.  I think my favorite is his jar of 'the beauty rocks.'  I'm not sure what significance each of these rocks has, but at this rate we'll have enough to fill in around the fountain planned for the front patio.

Monday, October 1, 2012

four year old Max

This little nugget is now 4!  This was supposed to be the 'off-year' for a friend party, but I caved. Max ended up having quite the birthday week. I fear the bar has been raised too high now for future birthdays. We really need to have dry ice around more often. After the party was over we made dry ice bombs learned about pressurizing gas in a fixed volume. That was one good thing I learned in my lab.

Dinosaur mania.  The cake was strawberry, so the pieces looked suitably 'realistic,' although Max just really likes strawberry cake.  He was not going for 'flesh-like' with his flavor choice.

 Balloon pit on the trampoline - or 'T-Rex' stomp if we're keeping with our theme.

Make a dino out of play-doe.

Pin the horn on the triceratops.  We also had pictures of a T. Rex, pterodactyl, and apatosaurus - or brachiosaurus depending on who you ask. The artistic quality was of course top notch.  It will be harder and harder to have my drawings pass muster as my little people get older and more discerning!

We also had an excavation site set up in a kiddie pool, filled with chicken bedding and dinosaur figures to hunt for.  We chased rocket balloons at the end while we waited for parents to retrieve their kids.  Nobody cried, so this party goes down in the books as a success!

We hit Freddy's for lunch after the party.  Yes, Max did eat all those fries.  Alex wouldn't eat his hamburger because some mean woman cut it in half for him, thus ruining the flavor.

On Max's birthday we went out to dinner at Old Chicago, because the GREAT LLYODINI, or Royal-dini as Max keeps calling him, was there doing magic.  The 'red light trick' is still everyone's favorite.  After dinner we went to the pet store to pick out Max's present - a gerbil.  We are now officially full of pets over here. Well, the fish situation actually keeps us just under 'totally full' on a regular basis.  Here's hoping the gerbils fare better!

This little muffin just keeps getting more fun the older he gets;. We're sure lucky to have him in our family.  My favorite thing about Max right now is that he likes to wear two different colors of socks.  He takes the pairs apart so he can get the right color combination for the day.  What a fun little dude!