Saturday, July 26, 2008

What do you think of when I say Memphis?

Elvis Presley? Birthplace of Rock-n-Roll? Home of the Blues? A fuzzy black and white kitten? Probably not the latter, but that's the new name of our fuzzy baby kitty. It took a week for the boys to name him. Caleb wanted to call him Tux, because he looks like he is wearing a fuzzy wuzzy tuxedo. He was Skippyjon Jones (Cody) or Skippy (Caleb) for several days until they remembered that the Atnip's dog is named Skippy and that would get confusing. (Skippyjon Jones is a siamese kitten in one of Cody's favorite books). Then it was Mumbles, from the penguin on "Happy Feet"-a favorite movie of Cody's. Then it was Felix. Finally they decided on Memphis. He is the Daddy penguin on "Happy Feet". I told them they had to decide by Friday, because he was going to the vet on Friday and I wasn't going to the vet with kitten No Name. So by Thursday night they made it final.

The vet said he is about 6 weeks old and is definitely a little boy kitty. He has finally come out of his shell and is dashing, pouncing, and leaping around like little kittens do. The boys think he is great fun to play with and found a piece of yarn that entertains them as much as it does the kitten.

Caleb laughs at his pouncing and yarn attacking till he is in tears. I guess they have never seen a cat play like that. Jasmine is way too old (16 years) and prissy to play with them. Jasmine ignores him and hisses if he gets to close to her territory. She has never liked other cats.

Baby kitty loves the boys and dashes out from behind the TV (where he loves to snooze) as soon as he hears them come in the house. Too cute!

The boys started swimming lessons this week. This is a first for Cody. Caleb had Mom and Tot when he was a toddler, but it was mainly just getting them used to the water, putting your face under, and blowing bubbles. Last year Caleb had indoor swim lessons at an athletic club. He did OK, but I didn't notice great improvement.
This summer, the lessons are at our public pool. It was pretty inexpensive and I figured they would at least have fun in the pool for 2 weeks before school started.

We have been very impressed! Caleb is swimming great. Both of them are good underwater swimmers, but can't swim above water. After one week they already have Caleb learning the breast stroke, swimming on his back, and treading water for 30 seconds. He could already dive from the side of a pool, but they have worked on him doing that better and he has learned to swim back to the side. He is doing awesome.

Check out little man. Cody is a fish in the water! I didn't know how well he could swim or how long he could hold his breath! We have swam either in our 2 foot kiddy pool or used a life jacket on him when in a bigger pool all summer. The first day of lessons, he got in the water and took off swimming underwater about 4 or 5 feet. All of the other moms and kids in the 3 year old group were amazed, as well as myself. They were asking why he was in swimming lessons and how did he learn to swim so well. They looked at me like I was an idiot when I said I didn't know he could do that. When he is out in the backyard in our little pool, I knew he could go underwater, because he dives for the diving rings just like Caleb. He thinks he can do everything Caleb does, so when Caleb dives under, he does too. When Caleb swims to the other side of the pool, he does too. But he can put his feet down as he is doing it, so I didn't know he could swim like a little tadpole! In the swim class, he holds his breath underwater so long, that I almost reach under to pull him back up. But he pops up and isn't sputtering or anything. The 3 year old class is introduction to the water, so all the other 3 year olds are learning how to put their heads underwater and blow bubbles. Which most of them balk about doing. They don't begin structured swim lessons until 5 years old. Maybe they will make an exception for him next summer. At the end of class, the instructor asked us to try to have the kids jump from the side of the pool into the water. Cody of course jumped totally under, then swam up to me- telling me to scoot further away. Then he started diving in head first and would swim down to the four to five foot bottom to try to touch it before swimming back up to me! The end of the week, we finally have begun working on swimming back to the ledge above water. He is also working on floating on his back. I think we have found his calling!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Finally Over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

School is finally over for me!!!!!!!!!! Yay! I am so relieved that I am finished. I now have a Master's degree in Nursing Education. For those of you who are wondering, no-I am not changing to a new job at the moment, no-I will not get a raise, no-I will not receive any glory, pomp, or circumstance. I had to have a Master's degree to stay in an educator position at the hospital. Graduating and receiving my Master's is an accomplishment and great achievement for myself. It has been a long, hard road of blood, sweat, and tears! I know my family has had a tough time the past couple of years with me in school. I had to write lots of papers, study for tests, work on assignments, read chapters, and take exams all while continuing to work and take care of the family. I did a lot after the boys went to bed, which meant decreased time with my hubby. But there were many times that I had to work on papers or assignments while the boys were awake. They heard me say, "Mama is working on school work right now, you need to ask Daddy." "No, Mama can't play right now. I have to work on the computer." Ben was very supportive and helped so much with the boys. I couldn't have done it without him. He was also a great editor for my papers. "You must have been tired when you were writing this one! You are using slang and writing like you talk." Which means I sounded like a Kentucky hick, instead of a scholarly college student. Crazily I took 2 classes at a time at the beginning to finish school quicker. There were several classes that I thought, I would not make it through all of the assignments, papers, and exams. I would get a tight feeling in my chest and feel like I was drowning as I would look at the syllabus and course calendars, wondering how I would fit it all in and still have time for my family. But we endured it all and I have finished with a 3.7 grade point average! Hooray! Now I won't know what to do with all my spare time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week with the Pete's

Well my boys are home from a week with Memaw and Pepaw Peterson. I really missed them. They had a wonderful time. They went to the park and Lost River Cave while they were there. They also had a big time with their cousins. Cody got sick the day after they arrived and was sick most of the week. Not just not feeling good, but throwing up with a fever. Not fun for Memaw or poor Cody, I imagine. But he got over it and was feeling back to par by the time we got there on Friday. Saturday Ben's parents had a great cookout. Jim, Lori, and the kids were there as well as Kevin. After eating, the kiddos went outside to cool off on the slip and slide.

Jim brought Dave's pellet gun back and they used it to target practice Saturday afternoon. The men took turns sighting it in and trying to hit the bullseye. Then Ben asked Caleb if he wanted to shoot. He has never shot a gun before.

Here is Ben telling him the rules of gun safety.

Little bit too long for him.

He finally got to fire twice. Hit the target paper both times! The first shot was right outside the bullseye (the 2nd best shot of the day!).
We went and visited Great Papaw Howard that afternoon. I don't think he has seen the boys since last summer. Uncle KK told us about a new spray park in Bowling Green, so we went to check it out. FUN, FUN!!!
How perfect on a hot summer day! They didn't even have swim trunks, but they didn't care! Kevin and I just wished they had some shade or tables with umbrellas for the adults not in the water!
I guess this is a summer for homeless varments to take refuge at the Peterson household. First Copper, now a baby kitten. I was driving home from work on Friday and I saw a tiny critter in the middle of a busy road in Paducah. I thought it was a baby squirrel. The little old lady in front of me swerved to miss it. When I came up to it, he was running down the middle line and I realized it was a tiny kitten. I felt my heartstrings really tugging and had to pull over to rescue it. It was dirty, pitiful, and tiny. So I tossed him in my van and headed home. He was scared to death and proceded to climb up inside the console of my van via a small hole in the passenger foot area. When I got home, I pried off part of the lower console to find the darn thing. I could feel it, but could not get a good grip. I was beginning to have visions of my good samaritan rescue effort, turning into baked jerky in the July heat. Can you imagine what that would smell like in a day or two? Especially when you cannot get it out or get rid of it!!! After poking and proding for half an hour in the sweltering heat, I called a life line. "Kelly, are you home? I need help!" K-"Sure, what's going on?" M-"Can't talk now, I'm on my way!" I pulled up in her drive and said "Can I please pull in your garage?" I had to get out of the heat! Sweat was pouring off me and I'm sure I looked a wreck. She probably thought I had lost it or that maybe I was on the run and needed a place to hide! Anyway, she got a big laugh when I told her what I needed help with. It worked much better with two hands in the tight spot between the driver's side and passenger side console. I got on one side and she on the other, poking screwdrivers and fingers in trying to chase the pitiful critter out. He was so scared by then, he just wedged himself in a crevice and wouldn't budge. He would cry out or hiss when we got close. Finally Kelly got ahold of his tail and said I'm not letting go. She tugged until she got a hind leg, then another. She was afraid his upper legs were hung on something and would get injured or ripped off, so she quit tugging but kept a firm grip. I was finally able to see with a flashlight that he had put his front legs down. So she pulled him out! What an ordeal!!! He was so scared, but you could tell he was relieved to be out. After he was out, Kelly volunteered to keep him for the weekend (we were supposed to be leaving as soon as Ben got home to go pick up the boys in BG!) At the time, I didn't know what I would do with him. So I thanked her and told her I would come by on Sunday and get him. I didn't know if we would be keeping him or finding a new home, but I would come get him because I know the boys will be excited to see a kitten.
Here is the little trouble-maker!
The boys have held him and carried him around all evening tonight! Still not sure whether he will stay or not. The boys are already trying to think of names.

Anyone out there want a cute little black and white kitten?

Monday, July 14, 2008

It is July

It is definitely July! This weekend was so hot before the rain. We have been lucky so far this summer, because it has been fairly mild. The last couple of years it has been very hot early in May and June. We have had decent weather this summer, but July is definitely showing her face.

Mom came down for the weekend and we had a wonderful visit. It was so hot, that we didn't do much. We all got stir-crazy from being cooped up in the house. So we were glad when Christy called and suggested we go to the indoor miniature glow golf place in town. The boys had a lot of fun, when they weren't arguing about whose turn it was to go first. "But Cody went first the last time, now Andrew is supposed to go first!" Somehow Caleb became the director of what order everyone needed to putt. He had them all rotate turns, so that everyone could be first. But also everyone rotated being 2nd, 3rd, and last. "Caleb, whose turn is it to go first? Am I 2nd or 3rd? But I was last on the green hole." It was worth it to get the boys out of the house! I don't know who was ready to strangle them more, myself, Daddy, or Grandmama.

So why didn't we send the boys outside to our kid's pool, since it was so hot? Our swimming pool had a nice brilliant shade of green algae that appeared out of nowhere from the heat this week. The boys swam last weekend and on Monday, but the pool was not used all week. When the boys wanted to swim on Friday, I went out and was afraid the swamp monster was hiding beneath the murky surface. Mom and I skimmed the water and doused it with double doses of chemicals. By Saturday afternoon, it wasn't any better, so I doused it again and bought some algaecide and baptised the swamp monster. Sunday, it was looking better...very cloudy with a thin coating of chemicals on the surface. Good thing the kids will be out of town for the coming week, so the chemicals can leach out a bit before they dive in and immediately vaporize.

To beat the heat, instead the boys played water balloons and squirt guns.

Notice the big, white balloon in the was mine!
Ouch, a hit in the back!
Today we went to swim in a pool of a co-worker of mine with the Petitt's.
The boys swam for 3 hours. It was a perfect day, not terribly hot and the water was great.
After our swim, I drove the boys to Cadiz to meet Ben's parents. The boys are headed down to Bowling Green for a week with Memaw and Pepaw. They will have lots of time with their cousins too. They are so excited. We are excited too. Maybe we can actually go out to eat or watch a non-kiddie movie!!! Friday, we will go down to rescue the grandparents. Who, I am sure will be ready for a vacation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ridin' and Slidin'

We pretty much just relaxed all weekend and didn't exert too much energy. With it getting so hot (95 degrees) this weekend, outside activities were pretty much out. But to beat the heat, the boys wanted to be in the water. We got the slip-n-slide out and they had lots of fun.

Daddy tinkered with the little 4-wheeler and Cody got to ride it around the backyard for the first time.

I have my gear on Mama!

Cody getting ready to take off! I wish I had taken a picture of Ben jogging around the yard behind him with the dog's retractable leash attached to the auto shut-off switch. There is a cord that you can pull to quickly shut down the engine, if needed. Thankfully we never needed to use it.

Cody did a really good job and drove very cautiously. He will have to get a few more runs in around the backyard before proceeding to a field. We want to get him used to the feel of turning and being on it first.

Kevin rented Lego Indiana Jones for the Wii. He and Caleb had a blast cracking their whip and figuring out the puzzles on their adventure. The boys are all into Indiana Jones lately. Since the return of Indy with the latest movie, he is on a lot of commercials and food products. So the boys began watching the old movies and think they are really cool. Then they dress up with hats and find anything (sock, rope, scarf, etc.) to be their whip and they pretend they are Indiana Jones on a great adventure.

With all the gaming, ridin', and slidin' we worked up an appetite. Kev found a recipe in a new Pampered Chef cookbook that I won in a drawing a couple weeks ago. We love trying out new recipes together. It was for a Chicken Club that was like a stuffed bread. Let me give you a little taste...chicken, bacon, roma tomatoes, fresh herbs, cheese, and crescent rolls. Here he is making it.

Chef K-von getting a little bit silly with the toppings!

It turned out scrumptious! If you are lucky, you can look for it at a get together soon because it is definitely a keeper!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th!

Kevin came up to enjoy a festive 4th of July with his nephews. Here is a great pic of Uncle KK and Cody making weiners for the party. Notice the matching aprons! Cody loves to help cook. I've nicknamed him Cody Ole' when we are in the kitchen cooking.

We headed to the Petitt's for a fun-filled afternoon and evening. When we go to Paul and Christy's we always expect to fill our tummies with the bounty of Paul's fishing escapades. He didn't disappoint us. We had a wonderful fish fry and Christy had a great spread to go with it! We were happily miserable afterwards.

Here are the men working on some serious frying!

The boys got tired of waiting for it to get dark, so we got out some pop-its to entertain them. Those are the little paper wrapped snappers that you toss on the ground and they make a pop sound. They thought it was great.

Next we got out the smoke bombs. They were cool because the smoke was different colors.

The Petitt's have a go-cart now that the kids enjoyed riding around the yard and back to the field. Kevin and I even took a spin on it and found some wild blackberries on a fence row to snack on.

Check out the newest additions to the Petitt household...Faye and Fran. Aren't they sweet!

The boys swam off and on throughout the afternoon. But then after changing back into their dry clothes, we found Cody and Andrew taking dips head-first into the pool.

We got the sparklers out next. We were nervous about letting the kids use the short sparklers, but Christy's friend Mary had found some really long sparklers that were perfect!

Finally it was dark enough to start the campfire and begin some fireworks! Yay!

We had some small sprays and sparkling ones that we set off first. Then the guys had a platform set up far away for the big ones.

The guys put on a spectacular show! Even if we did lose the little guys by the end. They slowly disappeared in the house with their hands over their ears. We didn't even have any of those annoying screeching ones. It was the beautiful booming ones in the sky that got them nervous. But we enjoyed it! Bravo!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Howard's here and gone

The Howard family (Dad, Lori, and Troy) came up for their annual loop through the Midwest. We had a great visit. They arrived on Friday and stayed till Wednesday morning before heading on to Missouri. On Saturday, they got to watch Caleb's last t-ball game of the season. We have really enjoyed playing t-ball through Upward. Caleb played 2 years with a different league, but has had better instruction and more fun this season with Upward than the other years. Notice Daddy as the catcher. Daddy did a great job assisting and Caleb really enjoyed Daddy helping out too.

Caleb did great this year at t-ball. Wish the season lasted longer! Cody will love playing next year. He can really hit that ball!

I worked half days on Monday and Tuesday, but we still got to have fun together. The boys had a blast with Troy as usual. They also picked and pestered him till he just about went crazy. I told him they were getting him back for all the pestering he used to do to me and Kevin. On Sunday we visited the William Clark Market House Museum. They were having a 40th anniversary celebration with free admittance to the museum. The museum is located in the beautiful Market House in downtown Paducah. The woodwork was exquisite. The museum itself was very small, but had some neat artifacts and treasures on the history of Paducah. Cody is hanging onto the back of the very first motorized fire truck 'LaFrance' used in Paducah in 1920. It took the place of a 17 horse-drawn fire wagon. William Clark of the famous Louis and Clark explorers was the founder of Paducah.

Tuesday we decided to go to Maggie's Jungle Golf in Draffenville. We went there a year or two ago and had a lot of fun. They have a great miniature golf course that is shaded with little streams and ponds through it. There is also a petting zoo/animal farm there that you ride around on a golf cart and feed the animals.

Troy thought that driving the golf cart was cool (he is now 16), but he was a little nervous about the rickety covered bridges that you had to drive through.

The boys enjoyed feeding the goats, llamas, sheep, a camel, donkeys, and ponies. There were also several emu that would charge over to the fence to get some corn and scare you to death. I was nervous that they would peck the boys, so I made them steer clear from them.

There was a duck pond there too with tons of turtles everywhere. The boys had fish food to feed the fish, turtles, and ducks. Here Caleb is pointing out more turtles. Look Mama, there's a baby one!

After cruising around the animal farm, we played miniature golf. Notice Caleb's tongue sticking out from concentration on his hit. Cody did the sweeper broom shuffle on his golf ball. Only taking 99 hits to get it in a hole. He lasted 9 holes and said he was done. So Mama took over his place. Papaw ended up beating us all by 2 strokes!

We ended the fun with Hawaiian shaved ice! Yummy! A bargain at $1 for a big cup. Don't ask who the little girls are next to Caleb, we have no idea. We just sat down next to them. (There were only 2 tables)

Fun times with the Howard fam! Love you guys!