Archive for June, 2012

There are lots of things that I didn’t anticipate about living in the forest.  Things like trees falling or that pine needles will kill your grass or a bunny who acts like he owns the place.

Seriously, we have this bunny who guards the driveway.  For the last week every time we leave he’s sitting at the mailbox waiting for us.  He’ll come out and hang in the grass while we are outside.  I’m pretty sure he’s just biding his time until we leave. What I really didn’t anticipate was our cat turning into Cujo.

After the whole mouse in the bathroom incident, I was pretty convinced that our cat was a pacifist.  Plus, in the winter he decided to become an indoor cat.  He gained some weight, permanently fixed his butt on my rocking chair and waited the cold weather out. This is all back story for today’s  trauma.

So now that it’s spring/summer time, (the Pacific NorthWest is confused) we are seeing lots of little animals, both alive and dead.

Particularly right outside of our sliding glass door.

One day I glanced over and there was a dead mouse.  He looked rather sweet and innocent.  I figured he’d just died of natural causes near my back door.  I had one of the kids dispose of him.

After the third of fourth time, I wondered why all of the mice were coming to my back door to die. None of them showed signs of trauma, so I figured they’d just died of natural causes. Dave laid lots of poison when we found the bathroom mouse’s entrance. I figured that this was a new batch of mice who didn’t know about the dangers of poison.  We had hopefully killed off all of the older wiser mice, and they didn’t know that the yummy smelling green chunks near the entrance to our house was lethal.  I don’t know why I insist on anthropomorphizing the mice around our house, but I now imagine them all living in a Lord of the Flies like colony longing for Mommy mice.

I never once thought it was Frank bringing me trophies.  That is until I turned around one day and he had a wiggling little mouse in his mouth.  I screamed and slammed the sliding door shut.  I then decided that I should encourage this behavior, so I cracked the door and said, “ooo you are such a good kitty Frank!  Great Job! What a good killer you are!”  And then I shut the door and closed the curtains.

I probably shouldn’t have encouraged him.

He’s brought me a bunny.  Yes, my cat is a freaking ninja!  I have no idea how he was able to catch a rather large bunny (not our guardian bunny, he’s still there).  He has super stalker skills.

He brought me a bird and McKayla renamed him “Bird Killer” and refuses to even sit near Frank now.

Today, while I was out, I received this text from McKayla.

I called Dave who assured me his was too busy to come and eradicate our house from a mole.  I called McKayla to see if maybe he’d escaped outside.

Her:  I don’t know.  I’m pretending that it doesn’t exist.

Me:  That’s a terrible plan.  You need to watch it to make sure it doesn’t escape IN the house.

Her:  Don’t worry, Mike’s on it.

When I came home I found Mike in the living room wearing rain boots and armed with a broom.  All of the furniture was moved and Frank was patiently watching the bookcase.

Even though I had photographic evidence of the so called mole, I still was imagining a much larger animal.  So when the kids told me that the mole was behind the book case I couldn’t quite visualize it.  I was worried he be stuck back there.  He’d die of dehydration and we’d have to move all of the books and bookcases. The work this little thing was creating.

Then he would peep his little head out and Frank would pounce.  He’d retreat and Frank would resume patiently waiting with his tail wagging.

I had an ingenious idea to remove Frank so the mole would have an opportunity to escape and we could guide him outside to die among his friends (This was less of a “lord of the flies” scenario and more “Wind in the Willows”  Poor sweet mole.  I could imagine the small but well attended funeral.  We readied ourselves with brooms and sticks.  I picked up Frank.  The mole escaped.  I screamed and threw Frank in the general direction of the mole (which was the size of a mouse).

Frank played a lot of catch and release, which caused lots of screaming and jumping on furniture (by me).  Eventually the mole ended up under the coach.  We moved the coach.  The mole faked a right and went left into the office.  Frank totally fell for it.

Mike and I immediately quarantined him in the closet and had Nate bring Killer (aka Frank) to us.  We blocked the space underneath the door with a serious of cleverly placed books.  We started emptying the bottom of the closet using a broom.  Let me tell you it was no easy feat.  Every time something would move, I’d jump and scream.  The whole time Frank was meowing at the door indignantly.  He was over the whole thing.  Finally we found the mole and with a nice whack of the broom he ceased to scurry any longer.  There he lays under a frosting container and a nice fat optics manual for good measure awaiting Dave to come home and dispose of him.

Now that the trauma is behind me and he’s safely underneath 10lbs of paper and after some internet research, I’m pretty sure our mole was really a shrew.  If I would have known that our little shrew may have venom potent enough to kill 200 mice I would have saved him and trained him to become “THE MOUSE KILLER!”  complete with super hero cape and mask.  It would have been epic.

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I am so incredibly blessed to have an amazing group of men who love and support me.

Like my Grandpa whose love shows no boundaries.  He’s the kind of guy who goes skydiving on his 70th birthday, because you’re never too old to enjoy the things you loved when you’re young.  He’s also shown me that when life is hard and doesn’t go like you’ve planned, you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work to make it better.  His great patience, compassion, tenderness, and steadfastness during the long years of taking care of my grandma as her health steadily declined, was such a huge testimony of his love that touched everyone that knows him.  (Phew that was a long run on sentence)

And this guy, my father-in-law.  I can not tell you, internets, how thankful I am for in-laws who love me and whom I love.  When Dave and I started dating we each had long checklists for the attributes we wanted in our spouse.  I’m not quite sure what was on his list.  Maybe something like “During our first conversation when I ask her where she sees herself in five years she’ll reply ‘Married, with more children and hopefully pregnant.’  (Thank God he didn’t hang up the phone and run!).  One of my top ten was that he would have a wonderful family.  The very first time I met Bill, he said “You are our Rachel.  We have been praying for you!”  How can you not love that?

And my Dad.  How do you sum up how much you love your Dad in one paragraph?  You don’t.  I could write forever about this amazing guy who will sit through the freezing rain for two hours to watch my kid play baseball and then move onto the next set of bleachers to watch his next grandkid play.  He’s the sort of guy who will fly up and build me a chicken coop because I have ambitions of being an urban farmer.  And then he’ll call me daily to check on his chickens.  He’s the guy who knows me so well that he understands exactly how I feel with just one word.

And then there’s Dave.  The guy who is my perfect match. When we were dating we were amazing gift givers.  I made him a quilt of our 9 first dates.  He hand carved me a picture frame.  I wrote him copious love letters.  He made me a scrap book complete with all the memorabilia of our first year together, including ticket stubs, street maps, and our first emails to one another.  But then we got married and moved in together.  All of our free time is spent together.  And we have 5 kids with very busy schedules.  Our amazing gift giving turned into plastic dolphins and Wine of the Month Club subscriptions.

This Father’s Day I decided to bring back the homemade gift.  I found an Eric Carlesque book that someone had made on pinterest and decided that I could totally do it. Of course I procrastinated and did this all the Friday before Father’s Day.  There were no directions so I winged it and here are my directions (unfortunately without pictures, so imagine the mess).

Step 1:  Plan what you’re going to write.  Be thankful that Eric Carl did all the hard work with “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see.”

Step 2:  Decide what you’re illustrations are going to look like.  Maybe even go so far as making a rough draft (which will totally remind you that you’re not an artist).  Think about buying him a gift instead.

Step 3:  Break out the paint and convince your 5-year-olds to paint sheets of paper.  Realize that no five-year old wants to paint a solid color on paper.  Bribe with candy.  Realize you have 12 more colors to paint.  Give them different household tools to create texture on the paint.  Wash paint off of everything.

Step 4:  Start cutting.  Prematurely think you could be the next Eric Carle. Realize that you will need glue.  Search for glue.  Find 14 glue sticks without lids.  Find 2 bottles of glue completely dried out.  Break out the craft glue. Peel a layer of skin off of the craft glue.  Mentally chastise yourself for not doing enough crafts with the kids.

Step 5: Decide to have the older children make their own portraits.  Realize that your teen’s apathy for the project will lead her to paint on her lips rather than look for the red paper.  Mentally bang your head against a wall and wish for wine at 2pm because your 9-year-old cries that this is too hard.  Think your 12-year-old may actually have a future in paper arts.

Step 6:  While the kids are bickering about their portraits decide you should look on the internet for someone who can print the photobook and express ship it to you in 2 days.  Learn that Walgreens will do same day printing for photobooks.  Do a quick coupon search and find a 40% coupon for Walgreens Photo.  Pat yourself on the back for being a procrastinator  Think about writing them a thank you note from procrastinators everywhere.  Decide to look on the internet for a procrastinator group.

Step 7:  Join the children in finishing up the artwork.  Decide that the work in making lots of different Dad’s is impossibly too much to finish before Dave gets home from work.  Instead cut off arms and reposition them.  Congratulate yourself on your mad scissors skills.

Step 8: Start to take pictures of the artwork and creating the photo book.  Realize it won’t be as quick as you thought.  Call Dave and hint he should stay at work late. He doesn’t bite.

Step 9:  Recruit the older two to make portraits of the  younger two.

Step 10:  Be awed with your daughter’s creativity when she gives her little brother highlights.  Realize that you must have never taught your teenager the saying “When using a glue, use a dot, not a lot”.  Break out the hairdryer because Daddy’s going to be home in 30 minutes and we need to hide the evidence of this massive project!  Wish you had used glue sticks which dry clear.  Break out the markers and color the glue.

Step 11:  Frantically  finish taking photos of all the artwork and run around like a crazy women trying to get the kids to help you clean up the huge mess.

Step 12:  Come up with a brilliant plan and have Dave stop at the grocery store on the way home.  Realize you need an actual photo of the kids to round out the book.  Coordinate them on the picnic bench.  Take 87 photos in which not everyone is smiling in all of them.  Abandon a sweet photo,  opt for a crazy face photo.  Realize this is more typical of these monkeys anyways.

Step 13:  Finish the photobook.  Open a bottle of wine.

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