Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Lots of snakes and other reptile-esque creatures too were the focus of our field trip yesterday. We headed to Monroe WA to the Reptile Zoo. The reviews for this small zoo were split, it seemed that people either loved it or completely hated it. After the visit, I can see why the reviews might be that way, if you love or even like snakes, crocodiles, turtles, lizards, etc. you will really enjoy your visit. If, however, you have any sort of diversion to any of those things you will, indeed, hate that you just spent $5 to torture yourself. The enclosures are all glass or plexiglass allowing you to come face to face with all of the beautiful animals that live there. It is very warm and humid to keep all the residents comfortable and it is a bit smelly but it's not so unpleasant that you want to leave. After a minute or two you are completely engrossed in the experience and don't notice at all. Even though all of the deadly, poisonous snakes have been de-venomized, it's still a bit of a rush to come face to face with King Cobras, Black Mambas, Rattlesnakes, etc. Anyway, if you are in the area of Monroe, WA and you enjoy an educational experience that involves a lot of snakes and other such creatures, I believe it's worth the cost and trip.

This is a viper of some kind, I really should have taken a picture of the little cards on each of the tanks too. I do remember that this is the second most deadly snake on the planet. Joel says it is the Gaboon Viper.

You get to touch the shells of these guys, they seemed very happy to have their backs rubbed and scratched a bit.

Face to face with a American Alligator.

This was the biggest, or should I say thickest, Rattlesnake I've seen. But like the volunteer said, he doesn't have to work for his food much.
Black Mamba (the deadliest snake) and his tank buddy the Green Mamba.
Noah standing next to the well fed Reticulated Python.
Can't remember this guys name but I loved the way he was all curled up.
Very happy to be sun bathing! I should have taken more pictures that could give you perspective on how large some of these guys were. This one was very large.
The boys all loved the two-headed turtle.
Oliver mesmerized by the rattler saying hello.

The boys all got a turn at holding Rosy Boas and Corn Snakes. Here is Oliver holding one of the Boas.
Noah taking his turn with the boa.

Trevor is holding the Corn Snake.
Ahhh, Monitor love, okay, they were just sun bathing but it was too cute not to take a picture.
This guy needs a shave!
This Chameleon was doing a little dance for the boys just before we left.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tori Plays With Horses

One of the benefits of putting a little work time in at my sister's farm is that you get to play with the horses. I have a feeling it's one of the main reasons that Tori came up with Steph this weekend. She got to help feed, water, brush and I believe bring them in from the pasture. Then she got to ride Beni, a.k.a. Big Ben and on Sunday, drive Pistol. These are some of my favorite pictures of Tori and the horses.
Rubi getting a spa treatment.

Tori realizing why Rubi needed a spa treatment, my word that pony was shedding!
Later that night, she got to ride Beni. Ron's holding onto him while Shana was adjusting the stirrups. Ben can be a little tricky to ride and Tori did a great job.
Getting used to being on Big Ben, he was pretty good for her.
Just a couple more pictures of the two of them getting to know each other.

Spring Break!

For Spring Break we decided to head up to my sister's farm. Trevor needed someone to watch him during the week, we wanted to get away and there were a few projects to get done so it seemed like the perfect solution. The biggest project was getting the pen/coop set up for the delivery of our meat chicks in a couple of weeks. Then we wanted to take the small yard that the layers are in and make that much bigger. Shana currently has 4 hens but she also has 6 babies that are just starting to feather that will be joining the big girls in a couple of weeks. They needed an addition! Those two projects are now complete so it's onto the smaller projects and fun around the farm. We have a busy week planned and I hope to be able to get on here and blog about it as the week goes on. I'm already a few posts behind!!

Tori and Steph (in the background) also came up to help get the chicken yards ready. As you can see, Uncle Ron gave the boys something to play with...a nice burn pile. It kept those three boys occupied for quite a bit of time. I believe they even roasted marshmallows.

Tori also wanted to play with the horses so we put her to work first. She got the fun job of emptying and filling the water buckets.
Joel was also working hard on the layers new yard, they had already completed almost all of the meat chicken area the day before. As you can see, I was working hard documenting every one's hard work. It's an important job you know! Yes, I helped too.

The layers wondering what was going on??!!? You can see just how small their little yard was.
And Joel is down at the end of their new yard, quite the improvement!
Tori, Noah, Trevor and Oliver all took a turn at driving Pistol that day too. They all did great and Pistol, as always, was a very good boy for them all. My sister refers to him as the babysitter. I am going to have to ask Steph for a picture of Tori driving because I somehow missed her turn. I do have lots of her riding and brushing the horses though (another post). This is Noah's turn driving, he did great.
Noah after he decided it was a bit chilly and on a jacket, trotting was easier when your teeth weren't chattering.
How cute is that?!?!? Trevor had the reins and told Oliver to hold on.
Oliver's face makes me laugh, he thought they were flying! Luckily, little Pistol's legs can only go so fast.

Trevor giving Oliver a quick lesson before handing the reins over.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge

Located on the Columbia River, near the town of Washougal, Washington, the 1,049-acre Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge consists of historic riverine floodplain habitat, semi-permanent wetlands, cottonwood-dominated riparian corridors, pastures, and remnant stands of Oregon white oak.

The refuge lies partly within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and has been designated as the location for a "Gateway to the Gorge" visitor center. No funding for the Gateway/visitor center has been secured, however, construction is underway on smaller scale visitor facilities. Coming soon, Steigerwald Lake Refuge will offer parking, kiosks, trails, restrooms, and other visitor amenities.

I wasn't sure how much time that we would have as a family this weekend so when Joel got home Friday afternoon we headed outdoors. We had some beautiful weather this week, the sun was shining and we were getting close to the 70's. Everyone around town was riding bikes and wearing shorts. I had seen and pulled into the parking lot of Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge but we hadn't yet walked the new trails. This is a beautiful place and a work in progress. They recently completed a couple of trails, the parking area, restrooms and a small kiosk but from what I've researched there is more to come for this beautiful area. The refuge is open from 7am to 7pm, no dogs, no jogging and no bikes allowed. It was a short hike, about 1.1 miles to the dike trail that runs along the banks of the Columbia River. We decided to hike out to the dike and back that evening. A few fun pictures (of course) from the hike...

It was windy and since the sun was starting to set I made the boys bundle up just a little bit. This is what Oliver decided to wear. He is my silly boy.

Mt. Hood loomed over us the entire hike.

My Noah, he wants to grow his hair out again.

The entire area looked like this, it was beautiful.

Impressive snag.

Bridge that crosses over Gibbons Creek.

Sun setting view of Gibbons Creek

More water in the wetlands on the other side of the creek. I'm not really sure if all of it is considered Steigerwald Lake or if it's just one side or the other of the creek.

Another bridge, somehow I had managed to get ahead of the boys. That does not happen very often at all, I usually have pictures of their backsides.

Oliver conned Joel into a shoulder ride then proceeded to steer him by turning, okay yanking, his head in the direction he wanted to go.

They weren't kidding when they said the gates close at 7pm. We had to use the call box then wait for the Washougal police to show up and let us out. We were one of 4 vehicles waiting.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Rant by Tiffany

First, let's define rant, here's what Wiktionary had to say about this noun...
  1. A criticism done by ranting.
  2. A wild, incoherent, emotional articulation.
Laundry, I hate it. There is nothing I enjoy about laundry. It was and still is taking me forever to get it done today. Surely I've mentioned before, a phenomenon that, once again, I became aware of today. It is a plight of all talented multi-tasking mom's out there. I know, for a fact, that my laundry should not be taking me this long. Then it occurred to me, the actual laundry part of things isn't taking me long at all. Let me explain, eh I mean rant a bit...

  • I hear the dryer turn off, I finish my last bit of sandwich, get up and head to get the next load going. I notice the shoes all over the floor, pick up and distribute 5 pairs of shoes to their respective places. Notice while I'm in the boys' room that the water from last night has tipped over so I grab a towel to soak up the water, pick up the dirty clothes that have been kicked under the bed, put the water bottle in the sink, return to the towel to add that to the laundry pile also. Grab the clean clothes basket from my room only to find that the cat has shredded and distributed a piece of tissue paper all over. I stop to pick that up, grab the basket again and unload the dryer. The dry clothes finally make their way to the basket and I clean out the filter. While tossing the lint into the waste basket in the boys' bathroom, I marvel (or seethe if I'm being honest) at their ability to take a bathroom that I just cleaned up yesterday afternoon and turn it into something nasty. I grab the hand towel and use it to clean up toothpaste, water, mouthwash and other, no need to mention, gross stuff then toss it into the laundry basket. I put away the toothbrushes, combs, hair brush, Band-aids and deodorant (that neither really need but have to have because Dad uses it). I return to the washer and notice, while moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer, that the cat almost got all of his business into the litter box. I finish moving the clothes to the dryer, clean the litter box and the mess that didn't quite make it, wash my hands and head back to the task of laundry. My next load going into the washer is darks, I remember that both of the boys were wearing dark pajamas this morning but I don't see them in my pile. Checking under the couch, because if you put your dirty clothes under the couch you can skip that chore and mom will never find out, to find not just the pajamas but socks, pants and a plethora of toys under there too. Toss the toys into the toy bucket that is all of 2 feet away, retrieve all the clothes, grab the dustpan and little broom to sweep up the dust bunnies and other little food bits I find then head, once again, back to the washer. Okay, the clothes are finally in the washer, close it up and find that my little cap that measures out my soap is missing. I ask Oliver, who just happened to help with one load of laundry yesterday what happened to it, "Oh, it's outside in my sandbox." What? Why? Never mind, I don't want to know so I run out, retrieve it and wash the sand off of it. Since I'm in my kitchen, washing the sand off of the cap, Oliver asks for something to drink. I pour him a quick glass of milk but he grabs it too fast and spills half of it on his "superhero gloves" and the floor. Convince him to let me wash the gloves by digging through the closet to find another pair of "superhero gloves", mop up the milk that spilled on the floor and counter and head towards the washer again. Half way there I realize that I've forgotten the cap in the kitchen, turn around and accidentally kick a Hot Wheels car. Grab that car and a few others that have migrated throughout the house, grab my cap, head back, drop the cars off in the playroom. Since I'm in the playroom and it's a mess too, I think I'll just take a minute and toss the big stuff back to where it belongs, just so we can get in and out without having to step on toys or costumes. Pride myself in not forgetting the cap for the laundry soap again, grab it off of the dresser in the playroom and head, AGAIN, back to the washer. Standing in my way, Oliver says, "can I help? I want to put the soap in." I, wanting to encourage help with any chore, let him help me even though I know it's going to take a couple minutes more than if I just did it myself. The soap is finally in, Oliver has started the washer, I'm just about to walk away and the dryer turns off. I have a moment of panic thinking that it's broken because the clothes can't possibly be dry yet. The dryer is too new to be broken!! Maybe I just set it wrong, please let it be that I just set it wrong, opening the dryer I find the clothes all dry, nicely warm, then it hits me. The dryer is fine, it just took me THAT LONG to get the next load going. It's no wonder that I feel like I am doing laundry all day every day.
Thanks for listening to my rant, I have to go now, there's laundry to be done!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oliver Makes Me Laugh

I'm waiting, once again, for my laptop to turn back on so emails, blogging, RSS Feeds, all of that fun stuff has been put on hold for a couple of days. I thought I would take just a quick minute and share a couple of things that Oliver has said and/or done that have made me laugh this past week or so.

My brilliant brother-in-law, Ron, posted a video to Facebook of one of his buddies doing a rubber burning, smoke filled, loud and obnoxious burn-out. Oliver LOVED that video and made me show it to him quite a few times. The next day we were coming home from preschool and Oliver says, "Mom! Pull over and stop the van." I, of course, ask why and he says, "because I want you teach me how to drive." You're too young to drive is my response and he says something like, "I don't want to DRIVE the van I just want to do BURNOUTS! (lots of car noises)" We got home and I immediately hid the keys.

Night-night potty, teeth brushed, jammies on tucked into his bed, I kissed him goodnight around 8p.m. and told him I'd see him in the morning. Shortly after 9p.m. it was Noah's turn to be tucked in for the night. Usually, Oliver is sound asleep and no matter what strange noises Noah decides to make while climbing into bed, Ollie sleeps through it all. However, we walked in to find Oliver sitting up in bed, playing with his toy motorcycle and his covers completely messed up and torn off his bed. I asked him what happened, he looked at me as sad as possible and said in a very fake scratchy voice, "I have a cold, a really really bad cold. (little cough, little cough) It's soooo bad that when I coughed my covers did that. Yup, I coughed and they just sploded. I think I need some medicine so they don't do that again." Barely containing my laughter, I told him that I wasn't sure I could believe that story so he'd have to try sleeping again, without medicine. I also told him that I bet the motorcycle had more to do with the covers than his explosive coughs. In his scratchy voice again, "okay mom-mom I'll put down my motorcycle and try but if my covers get sploded by my cough again, you give me medicine, okay?"

Recently, I picked up a few more hours at work, I've been cashiering before doing my bookkeeping. It's not glamorous by any means but it is extra cash and that's always nice, especially in this economy! Anyway, I've been leaving the house around 2:30 in the afternoon and usually shower just before leaving. This means that Oliver gets to run about the house, all on his own, while I get ready for work. While in the shower, Oliver peaks around the shower curtain and in a very British sort of accent and very drawn out says, "Helllloooo there." I chuckled a little. Just as I'm about to say hello back, he throws back the shower curtain, whips out his spray bottle and sprays me 3 or 4 times while yelling, "and goodbye! hahahaha!" Before I could do or say anything else he had run out of the room. I laughed then immediately shut and locked the door.

This last little bit of Oliver's happened shortly after my shower too but on a different day. I was getting dressed and this is how the conversation went...

Oliver: Mom, what's that?
Me: A bra.
Oliver: Why? What does it do?
Me: (trying to keep it simple) There are a few reasons why girls wear bras but one is to cover them up.
Oliver: Well, I think girls should wear just shirts, no bras. That way they can just lift up their shirts and show me their boobies. That would be nice. (starts to walk away nodding his head yes) Really nice.
Me: (can't say a thing because I am part stunned and laughing hysterically)

Seriously though, where does he get this stuff? Of course, dad thinks he is a genius but I worry that the next 14 years are going to be long and very interesting with that child of ours. Let's hope that it's mostly full of laughter!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Early Birthday Present

I bought myself an early birthday present...

6qt Dutch Oven in Chianti red...ain't she pretty?

Friday, March 05, 2010

It's Not Right

I mean really, what mom insists on taking picture of an injury before allowing their kid to bandage it up? Yesterday, Noah and his friend had turned his bike upside down and were turning the pedals as fast as they possibly could. There was a bit of mis-communication, Noah reached for the pedal, missed and the tip of his middle finger was grabbed and sucked into the chain/gear assembly. It went in and all the way around. By the time he got back home it had swelled up and was bleeding pretty good. Of course, being the sympathetic mom that I am, immediately yelled, "NOT THE COUCH!" as his held his dripping finger over the back of it for me to see. I took him over to the sink, rinsed it off and tried to get a good look at it. My biggest concern was the fingernail, it looked like the spikey part of the gear crushed the side of his nail and pushed it down into the nail bed underneath. I didn't know if when it started to heal and grow out if it would cause problems. That and the fact that Noah was having a really hard time calming down concerned me a bit. He can be a bit dramatic at times but when injured he really has a somewhat calm demeanor and can usually settle down rather quick. I started to wonder if the tip/bone had been broken. After a quick call to Joel, we decided to go ahead and bring him into the Urgent Care clinic. Thankfully, they were not that busy and we got in rather quickly. They decided to do a quick Xray and it came back break-free. The nail, for now, is going to be allowed to heal and move on it's own with the hope that his body will naturally take care of it. Keeping it wrapped, iced throughout the day to keep the swelling down and Tylenol if it starts to hurt or throb really bad are what the doctor ordered.

I decided to post the all-wrapped-up finger picture first. This will give anyone (SHANA I'm talking to you) the chance to not scroll down and see the other two pictures. I personally don't think the pictures are that bad but I am not paying for a new keyboard if you (Shana) puke.
Side view, it's all cleaned up in this shot, you can see where the chain rubbed it raw. That goes all the way around his finger.

Yuck! You can see the crushed area fairly well in this shot. We put a new bandage on it this morning and the bruising is showing quite nicely.