Friday, August 29, 2014

1,2,3 Strikes You're Out at the Old Ball Game

 If our family could live at National's Park in the summer time, we totally would and we would be happy doing it.  We love the atmosphere, the food, the general Americana-ness of baseball, the president's race and of course, we love our Nat's players. Not to mention there is something so relaxing about watching baseball.  Actually,  baseball is just a laid-back kind of game.  After all, what other sport can you snack on sunflower seeds and chew tobacco products all while playing it professionally.
 We generally only make it to 3 or 4 games a year but, last week,  as luck would have it, we went twice. We even got to stay for the fireworks show Friday night.  But, the most exciting thing of all was when the Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder, Ender Inciarte, threw us a game ball, which of course immediately made the Diamondbacks our second favorite team.  Atley was the lucky recipient and he was overcome with joy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Baby Atkins Diet Perhaps?

All three of my darling demons had well-child check-ups last week.  The doctor made them dress up in these adorable paper robes.  She told them they could leave their underwear on, but as luck would have it, none of them were even wearing underwear. Hmm, that was awkward. I was admiring their cuteness and thinking about how very thankful I am for modern medicine and for vaccinations against all sorts of horrible diseases when I heard the doctor say that Nash was "CHUNKY!"  She then used the term "CHUBBY"  and said something about him laying off the carbs. Next, she suggested that I quit letting him steal his brother's food.  Of course, this was annoying on so many levels.  First, he was sitting right there. Whatever happened to sensitivity and a decent bed-side manner? Second, is there no accounting for body type in this world. Where's the humanity?  But, what probably made me most upset of all is that I KNOW Nash cannot be fat because six months ago we made him switch to DIET Coke! Hello, what more can we do doc?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Puppet Master

Just over the Potomac in Glen Echo, MD lay the remnants of an old amusement park.  All that is left is the beautiful old carousel complete with a self-playing organ, a few buildings, a small park and The Puppet Company.  Honestly, I couldn't help thinking what a perfect setting it would be for a horror movie. Anyway, we saw an absolutely adorable puppet show all about the Wolf's version of what really happened to the Three Little Pigs and Goldie Locks.  

Isn't it pathetic that after I rode the carousel I felt nauseous for like three hours?
Apparently, you are never too old to ride a giant bunny. In fact, the whole experience made Atley quite reflective.

  Glen Echo Park shares a parking lot with the Clara Barton National Historic Site.  Of course, I made the kids visit Ms. Barton's home too.  They grumbled a little but Nash caught a blue-tailed skink which actually shed its tail for us and he discovered a colony of millipedes, so it was totally worth his while.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Food Truck Adventure

Washington D.C. is full of food trucks. They line the streets around Capital Gallery and Farragut Square throughout the day but especially at lunch time.  I have heard great things about some of them and Harley is completely obsessed with eating at food trucks. I think it has something to do with a hot dog she once had at a food cart in New York.  She'll never be the same. The D.C. food trucks are much more than just hot dogs. There is a grilled cheese truck, a peanut butter and jelly truck, BBQ trucks, lots of Mexican food, Vietnamese Pho, plenty of Halal and Kosher foods, cheese steaks, pizza, lobster, mac and cheese, donuts, and pretty much anything you could imagine or your little heart could desire.  Yesterday we decided to go on a food truck adventure.  We parked as close as we could to Capital Gallery (7th & Maryland). The only rule was we each had to get something from a different food truck and share what we found.

I got a burrito from this little truck.  The words FAR EAST TACO didn't register until  I had my first bite and realized my burrito was filled with some strange Chinese/Mexican food hybrid.  
Nash opted for a jumbo pretzel.  He had no desire to be adventurous with what went into his belly.
Atley headed straight for the Cheese Cake truck.  It was delicious.

Harley opted for some red beans and rice from a Cajun truck but all she really wanted was cupcakes from the cupcake truck, so of course she got some of those too.
When we got home I was totally exhausted so I ordered a pizza for dinner.  After Nash scarfed down his fair share he said, "Mom, you really gotta start feeding us something healthy. My belly is killing me. I think I am slowly dying of obesity."  

If I learned anything from our adventure it is this: when a food truck's line is long it is probably for a good reason and when a food truck does not have a line it is also probably for a good reason.
When we returned from our adventure I found this great WEBSITE where you can track your favorite food truck by pin-pointing its exact location.  So, if you are desperately in need of the delicacies of the Sweet Bite truck visit the website before you leave home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rainy Day's and Tuesdays Never Bring Me Down

 (Do you have that Carpenter's song, Rainy Days and Mondays in your head now? If not than you are probably too young to be reading this blog.  There may be information not suitable for children under 35)

Wow! Sorry about that parenthesized tangent. In case you couldn't guess today was one of those dark, dreary, soaking wet kind of days.  Therefore, all of our fun had to be had inside of the house.  Nash loves days like this because he adores simply being at home. Atley and Harley on the other hand love to go, go, go and then they are ready to go again!  I had to find a way to keep them all entertained peaceably.  First, they brought their scooters in the house and rode them around the loop that is our dining room, kitchen, foyer, and formal living room until all of them had cried at least once and it became very apparent that the mother had better intervene.  So, we made these nifty little bouncy balls. Yes, they actually bounce. We have a gazillion rubber bands from the fleeting excitement of the Rainbow Loom fad.  We finally put them to good use.  We began by wading up a small piece of paper and then wrapping the paper with the colorful bands.

Then we built the most amazingly cool thing EVER!  With the help of an old floor fan and a king size sheet we built an air fort.  Nothing has made me want to be a kid again more than this little invention. It was like totally tubular to the max. 
(Again if you didn't get the Carpenter's reference you might be struggling with this last phrase as well.)

When the sun never even tried to peek out from behind the clouds and trees, we made Sun Catchers with our stash of plastic beads.  We placed the beads in mason jar rings on top of an old cookie sheet and put them in the broiler for 10 minutes or until all the beads were melted. Maybe tomorrow we will see if they really catch the sunlight, that is if the sun decides to actually come out.


You know summer better end quickly when the kids get so bored you begin taking risks with their life in an effort to keep them entertained.  You only live once right?  Last week Scott built a zip-line into the pool for the children. Harley seemed to grasp the concept better than anyone else.  The boys sometimes refused to let go and just hovered over the pool screaming. Actually, we only had one small incident which I caught on video. Mostly it is just me screaming at Scott because Nash let got before he was over the water.  It is a little comical. My favorite part is Nash screaming, "What the heck!" over and over. See video below.

Maybe just a little terrified to be the guinnea pig!

The boys had a friend over while Scott was building the zip-line and when they first attempted it.  When we asked him if he wanted to give it a shot he said, "No, because first of all Mr. Butler is not a professional zip-line builder and second, my parents think you guys are crazy." 
Additionally, feeling a little nostalgic for the freedom of Colorado the boys busted out their motorcycle which never gets ridden here because, well  there is no place to ride it without the police getting involved. Scott and I decided to open the back gates and let them take laps around the yard. They had a great time and so did Scott.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I've Had Peachier Days

This morning when I woke up I was super excited about life because it was our annual peach picking day in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  We were meeting a bunch of friends, the weather was fantastic and I was so very prepared. Sometimes I am not. I am a bit of a minimalist-mom, but not today.  I had the bug spray, sunscreen, Benadryl, ibuprofen,  four extra water bottles, a change of clothes, just in case, a picnic lunch and treats to share. I even had cash for the kids to buy something special in the country store. I never have cash. Unfortunately, the three little beasts woke up grouchy and fighting like they didn't get a good nights sleep. Yeah, right! They pushed me out of my bed at 1:30AM and trust me they were sleeping soundly. I was exhausted from their shenanigans before we even left home. But left home we did, and we made it to the farm early because I am anal that way.  Anyway, we played around for awhile when Harley loudly declared an urgent need to go to the bathroom. I whisked her away and it was obvious we were not going to make it back to the bathrooms so we ducked behind a tree near a little pound. Behind that tree was a large rock which Harley decided would be absolutely perfect to pee upon.  Pants were pulled down and I was holding her above the rock. Just as the pee started pouring a BIG BEAVER bolted out from underneath the peeing rock and jumped upon it.  I did what NO other mother would do. I screamed and dropped my daughter on the rock/beaver.  The beaver was as terrified as we were. He made a very strange and scary noise at which point I rushed to my daughters aid, ever the heroine. The beaver vanished into the woods but not before getting peed upon by a 4 year old girl. We returned back to the boys to discover that they had drank all of our water ALREADY and of course they were "dying of thirst." My friends finally arrived and we enjoyed a pretty uneventful picnic.  I get the feeling my children annoy them a bit. I don't blame them though, my children annoy me a bit at times but I have something called unconditional love for them which my friends do not. The kids were playing on the playground as a half a dozen Mormon Moms gazed upon their offspring when my oldest screams at his little brother, "Get off me you Dumb A#%!"  All eyes turn to me and I quickly blame it on public school before administering my dose of always ineffectual punishment.  Finally, it is time to take the tractor ride into the orchard and get those peaches picked.  At this point my neck is killing me. I did something to it about six weeks ago and it isn't healing properly.  I peel off the heavy backpack full of all the wonderful things I remembered to bring and stash it in a friend's stroller which will be left behind while we board the tractor. On the tractor ride Nash exclaims to all present that he loves money more than he loves any member of his family and if we were all honest with ourselves we would admit to the same thing.  Most people aboard just looked a little disturbed by the comment but one old lady was completely mortified.  "Who is your mother?" I timidly raise my hand and receive a scolding about traditional values. I know right a lecture on traditional values this close to D.C. I wasn't sure if I should cry or give her a high five.  Three minutes into peach picking Atley begins to complain about itching and sure enough he is covered in hives. We had the same thing happen last year. He isn't allergic to peaches but he has a contact allergy to the skin and rinds of some fruits.  No worries, I am prepared!  NOT. The Benadryl is in the backpack that I chose to leave behind because of the pain in my neck-pun intended. I am super mad at myself for being so stupid and for my obvious lack of mothering skills. Not only did I almost feed my daughter to a beaver I am now letting my oldest perish of anaphylactic shock in the wilds of Virginia while my middle son plans his next get-rich-quick scheme.  I am attempting to round up the troops and hurry to the backpack when I see itchy Atley, red and hive-covered scratching his face with the leaves of a peach tree.  Fantastic IDEA!! I lose it at this point and I swear a little and it was pretty loud. Mostly my profanity was out of frustration with myself but it becomes perfectly clear that perhaps Atley's language cannot all be blamed on the public school system. All is well that ends well! We are home. Atley is better. We have lots of peaches and probably a few less friends.