Thursday, April 8, 2010

When Ed's away...

Ed occasionally has to be out of town on business. Sometimes it is one week, other times just a day, this time it is 3 weeks (home on the weekends). We all miss him, but there is also the fact that life is easier when he is here. Although he is at work all day, I do count on him being here for dinner and then to help with the kids at bed time. When he isn't, it just makes the day seem longer. It's amazing what a difference it makes to have another parent helping with brushing teeth, or cleaning up after dinner. And then there are things that happen that make me realize how much I miss not having a man around the house. Things like broken garbage disposals, or closet doors that fall off the track, or...mice.

Yes, we have had mice issues since moving in this house. Sometimes worse, sometimes better, but Ed has always been the one to deal with the dead mice and the mouse traps. Once we got our cats, we haven't been as vigilant with setting the traps, hoping that the cats would take care of the problem. Shortly after we got Jasper, he "caught" his first mouse. Ed and I were in the living room watching T.V., all of a sudden, Jasper darted across the floor and Ed said, "He's chasing a mouse!" We both jumped off the couch and found a poor little mouse limping along, trying to get away from Jasper. We didn't want to see the mouse suffer, but we didn't know what to do with it. I suggested that we get our electrical mouse trap and zap the mouse, to put it out of its misery. Ed, of course, took care of that. He got the trap and placed it in front of the mouse. The frightened and dazed creature saw the opening in the little black box as an escape, crawled in, and was immediately electrocuted. It made us a little sad, but it was better than the alternative of being mauled to death by the cat. Anyway, we haven't seen any evidence of the cats catching anything else until yesterday.

I was on the phone with Jess, when Ben came running up to me and said, "Jasper has a mouse! A real live mouse!" At that point, I saw Jasper running into the laundry room, so I followed. Sure enough, he turned around to face me and there was the poor creature, in Jasper's mouth, little legs wriggling around, frantically trying to get away. I gave a little yelp and locked Jasper in the laundry room, hoping that he would finish off the mouse quickly. Jess was horrified at the situation, and I was a bit worried that I would find bits of mouse or step on a head. After I got off the phone, I checked on Jasper, and although he was interested in the space behind the dryer, I didn't see any injured or dead mouse, so I figured it had gotten away and had found somewhere to die in peace.

When E came home, I was telling her the story when I saw Blossom overly interested in a pile of books on the playroom floor. She was playing with something underneath and I had my suspicions that it was a mouse. "E, go lift up those books" I urged.

She looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "No, YOU go pick up those books!"

"No, YOU!"

"No, YOU!" This probably would have continued indefinitely had KK not been standing there, and watching. As we argued, she went over and lifted up the books. E and I took one look, saw a mouse, and ran SCREAMING up the stairs. I think our arms were over our heads too. Once we got our breath back, we went back downstairs where K was still standing next to the mouse, confused as to what made us run for the hills. I grabbed a clear plastic toy container, put it over the mouse, and then came in for a closer look. At closer inspection, the mouse was very small and cute, but obviously injured. It was curled up, panting and close to death. I didn't know what to do- it probably wouldn't be able to make it into the mouse trap, but I didn't want to just let it lie there and die in front of all the kids. I went to look for the mouse trap, and that is when I found mouse #2, or maybe it was the original mouse. In any case, it was lying in the middle of the laundry room floor, very dead. Now, if Ed were coming home I would have left that mouse, and probably the other one, but I now I was forced to take care of the situation. My mom called in the middle of this and I told her about the 1/2 dead mouse. Her first suggestion? To cut off the mouse's head, using the cutting board and a knife from my kitchen. I yelped, "Are you crazy?!" Her response? "That's what the farm wives used to do!" Needless to say, I didn't take that advice, or her other suggestions to "crush it" or "drown it". In the end, I got up my courage, gritted my teeth and scooped up both mice, put them in plastic bags and threw them in the garbage bin. I know it wasn't the most humane thing to do to that little injured one, but I couldn't find the trap, and I just could not kill the mouse outright. Hopefully it was close enough to death that it didn't suffer long. I am proud of our little mousers. I think that the message is getting out to the mouse community that this is not a "friendly" house any longer. We've got hunters on the job!

Now I am just wondering what other (mis)adventures we will have while Ed is away.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Today, she is 3 for real.

Not 2,

but 3.

Happy Birthday, our sometimes silly,

sometimes serious,

but always sweet, girl

May all your birthday wishes come true...

even the one about flying like Tinkerbell.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Miss Spider Party

This morning we celebrated K's third birthday. I can't believe she is 3.
Well, actually, not yet, since her real birthday is tomorrow. So I can have one last day with my two year old girl. Sniff.

Anyway, moving on. We did the same thing as for N last week- we celebrated today, because tomorrow is Sunday and there will be no time for birthday celebrations at breakfast. Also, it is Easter, and I didn't want to cram her birthday in-between Easter celebrations. So, we had breakfast together and then K opened her presents from us. I think E was more excited about the Calico Critter townhouse and various accessories than K was! She couldn't wait for it to be unwrapped before getting out all the itty-bitty pieces and cute critters and setting up the house. K was more interested in placing each one of her new crayons into her new caddy. It was driving the other kids crazy!

Shortly after the kids got dressed, K's little friends arrived for a Sunny-Patch style birthday. We started off making butterflies from coffee filters and markers. It was a great craft for this age- quick and easy. They really liked spraying the water on the wings to make the colors run.

While the butterflies dried their wings, the girls went on a bug hunt for some Sunny Patch friends. They followed a map I had made, and found grasshoppers, lady bugs, centipedes, beetles and ants hiding in the backyard. When each bug was found, they were put into a little bug box that each girl carried around their neck.

The last spot was in the moon bounce, where they had fun bouncing like "Bounce" (from the show).

We then went inside to have cake and ice cream. I had made a big Miss Spider cake, and then put all the little Sunny Patch Friends on cupcakes around her. (Another long friday afternoon and evening!!). I have really enjoyed the creative flexibility the fondant has given me! I found a recipe I like for marshmallow fondant, and itt tastes so much better than the store bought kind. Still not as good as buttercream, but the kids seem to like it.

After gift-opening, the girls went outside to finish their butterflies before heading home.

Now K is outside with N enjoying her new playdough, and E is upstairs with the Critter house. It is such a beautiful day to be outdoors! I am also super excited that tomorrow, Easter, is supposed to be gorgeous. There is nothing like a beautiful, warm, sunny Easter to celebrate that He is Risen.

Lego Party

Last week N celebrated his 6th birthday. We started the morning off with our own family celebration at breakfast time. We actually celebrated on the day before his birthday, because his real birthday was on a Sunday, and we wouldn't have time to do breakfast and presents before church. N didn't mind opening his gifts a day early.

Then, after lunch N's friends came over for a Lego party. Originally N wanted a Bakugan party, but I couldn't really think of how I could pull the theme off with games or projects, so I steered him toward the lego idea. We ordered a ton of legos from ebay (actually, just 16 pounds) and poured them onto the train table. When the boys arrived, they built a lego man, and then a vehicle from the pile of pieces. After that, the challenge was to build something, anything, from a box with random pieces. It was neat to watch them create and use their imaginations.

For the cake, we had both cupcakes and a big cake. I had spent the day before figuring out to to make and color fondant icing. I made these cupcakes, designed to look like the parts of a lego guy. Then the morning of the party Ed iced several cake "blocks" so that they would look like lego bricks stacked on each other. The effect was pretty cool, and the boys each got to take home a cupcake as part of their party favors.

When the boys had all gone home, N settled down to start on his gift from us. He actually ended up building the whole thing with little help from us- a first for him.

When I praised him, he said, "That's because I'm six now!"