Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy 13th Birthday Blaire!

I remember the first day I arrived in Louisiana and this tiny little thing came out to my car, excited to meet me. She was 8 years old and even though she was so small...she had a huge presence. She hasn't changed one bit, except now she's almost as tall as me. ALMOST.

She's fun and goofy. She never tells me no when I tell her to do something silly. She loves life. And people. And gymnastics. She would play board games every day if you let her. And she loves to cook!!

When she concentrates, she sticks out her tongue. Just like her dad.

She went to her first school dance when she was 11. Bri curled her hair for her and she looked like a doll. Her hair was back to being straight in just a few minutes. But she still looked like a doll. I can't believe that was 2 years ago already.

This summer she had a HUGE growth spurt. It's almost like seeing a whole different person. ALMOST.

I say almost because her personality hasn't changed one bit! She's still a goofball. Still walks through the house on her hands with her feet up in the air. Dances by herself in the kitchen. She's forever making funny noises and always forgets to set the timer on her TV when she is falling asleep. And lets her sister make hilarious videos of her when she's had too much sugar.

She's growing up, but I don't think she'll ever stop doing silly things that kids do. And I don't think she'll ever be so old that she won't write her name with chalk on the driveway.

Even now that she's 13.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl :) Now hurry home so you can bake your birthday cake :)~

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dr. Doolittle Part Two

So yesterday, the day after I posted Dr. Doolittle, we were getting ready to leave work and Gretchen noticed this cute little tree frog in her window sill. He must have been sleeping there all day long. And Gretchen isn't Dr. Doolittle and was very appreciative that the little frog didn't go jumping on her desk during the day!

One of the guys stuck him in a jar and I took him home with me. I was hoping that him and my other frog could be friends.

I stuck the jar in the Agapanthus and waited for him to come out. And waited and waited. And waited some more.

I got tired of waiting and went inside. Once it got dark I went back outside to check out the situation and the frog had finally came out of his jar!

And was up in the window with my other frog!! He's got such long legs. And he's really skinny compared to frog #1.

Please excuse my dirty windows... I've had a frog climbing all over them for the past 2 months :)

Then a Praying Mantis showed up! At first I was scared that he was going to eat my frogs or the frogs would eat the Praying Mantis. Then I changed my mind, because seriously, how would those little frogs eat that big ol bug. And how would that skinny little bug eat those round little frogs? Wasn't going to happen.

Isn't he cute!! I think he's happy that I brought him home. Look how he poses for me!

He's a lot greener than the the first frog. And I was told that he's the kind of tree frog that makes noise when it rains. I sprayed him with water hoping he think it was raining, but he didn't. So he's cute AND smart! And I hope he sticks around for a while :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dr. Doolittle

I love animals.

I've always loved them. I've had cats, goldfish, rabbits, ducks, an evil goose named Magnolia and probably some that I'm forgetting. I've never had a dog, but I do feed the neighbors dog milkbones. Every day. And I ask for my own dog. Every day. I'm thinking I'll never get one. But I've got plenty other animals to keep me occupied.

Like the hummingbirds in our backyard. It's been a really weird summer for the hummers. They arrived right on schedule, March 1. But for some reason they disappeared shortly after. Then they came back. Then they left. And now they're back again. Today we put up one of our tiny feeders after I saw one of the birds hanging out on the electrical conduit on the back patio. I figured she wanted her own feeder since the other feeder was being hogged by one of the males.
She's awful cute with her 2 little shiny red spots on her throat.

And now she's awfully territorial of her little feeder. She let this little guy get in there for a sip, but, as you can see, she's about to take off after him and show him who the boss of this feeder is.

We have this other feeder with 6 places to drink from, so I'm not sure why they can't share. At the height of the season we have 3 big feeders and 4 little feeders hanging in the trees. That's 18 places to drink in all, yet they still fight. Mighty territorial they are.

In addition to the hummingbirds, I also have this little frog that has been hanging out with us for 2 months. Every night he is sitting on the kitchen window panes eating bugs. I make sure that the light over the sink is on every night to attract his dinner. The picture below is of him when he first started hanging out here. He was really tiny and has since grown. He's still pretty small, just not so skinny anymore.

He changes colors too. When he first wakes up and makes his way up to the window he looks like a toad. Greenish brown and bumpy. Once he gets up into the window and is catching all those bugs, he is really pale light green and looks a lot smoother. Even smoother than this picture of him.

Then there are the lizards. Two of them have moved in. We never planted the Agapanthus and I don't think we ever will now, because the lizards live in them and sleep on the leaves every night. A deep sleep too! I can bend the leaves down towards me and look those lizards right in the eye and they don't move.

This guy is the big one.

And this is the little one. She's usually a little scaredy cat.

But occasionally she gets brave and curious. Mostly she's scared though.

And then there is the caterpillar. I had never seen one of these black fuzzy ones. And it's a good thing I didn't pick it up like I used to when I was a kid back home, because the girls told me that they are stinging caterpillars. This caterpillar was trying to get out of the rain one night and the little drops of water made it sparkle like glitter.

Finally we have the Assassin Bug Nymphs. Yep. Assassin Bug Nymphs. And I only know that thanks to Google. Every year I see these cute little orange spiders. And I mean little. Like just born little. And lots of them. This year, before I saw all the babies, I saw a bigger one all by itself. I figured I just missed them this year and the big guy was all that was left. But a couple days later I realized that the big guy must have been the momma spider because I saw like 40 of those babies!

Those Agapanthus came in handy again too, because those babies camped out on the leaves for 3 days, getting noticeably bigger each day. And then one day I came home and they were gone. I'd like to think they moved on to a home where they didn't have to fight over the bugs with the frog and the lizards. But maybe the frog or the lizards made dinner out of them. I'll just keep thinking they moved :)

I'm hoping that if I keep collecting all these strange animals in the backyard Duane will get tired and want me to have a normal pet. Like a puppy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hot Wheels

Bri turned 16 almost 2 months ago. Ever since then it's been all about wanting a car. I thought it was just boys that ogled cars when driving down the road, but nope. It's girls too. And the fact that she works at her Stepdad's carwash gives her lots of opportunities to crawl in and out of cars while vacuuming them.

So on Monday her Mom and Mr. Gene went shopping and found a beauty! And Bri had no clue. All week I kept laughing to myself every time she talked about wanting a car and on Wednesday she said that she thought her dad was finally giving in. Hahahha. Little did she know.

Today was Family Day at Southeastern, so the girls we're going to go with their Mom and Mr. Gene to spend the day with Rachel at her school. It worked out perfect because the girls were with us and they were able to drive the car over to our house to pick them up. They parked it on the lawn and we all (with the exception of Bri) went out there and her Mom called her up and said they were here. But she looked out the door, didn't see the car in the driveway and didn't come outside! Blaire had to go get her and she finally came out. We parked Duane's truck where I normally park so she wouldn't be able to see it right away. We had to get that first look of shock on her face when she saw that gigantic bow!

And we got that shot.

The smile started small and just kept getting bigger and bigger.

It was really fun to watch and she kept saying "I'm so happy" over and over.

The car is fantastic. It's a '98 Toyota Camry and it's in really good condition. And super clean too! Mr. Gene really knows a thing or two about washing cars :)

And look how perfect her toes match that bow!

The smile never left her face. Lois told her to go for a spin around the block with us, so me, Duane and Blaire got in and buckled up!

Here she is driving us for the first time in her very own car. She stopped at every stop sign, too. Nothing compared to the first time I drove with her!!

Then it was Duane's turn to drive the car. I asked Bri if she was happy and here she is saying "I'm sooooo Happpy!!"

Then came the phone call to BFF Sarah. And this was the cutest thing ever! We could hear Sarah screaming over the phone. I couldn't tell who was more excited!! Now they both have cars :)

Then they packed up the trunk and got ready to hit the road. Bri was driving them all to Southeastern University and it was going to be Rachel's turn to scream with Bri.

She realized at this point that she didn't have a real license plate yet and then I got all excited, because I have this thing about cool license plate numbers. Yeah, I'm a dork. But I'm not talking about vanity plates, just random licence plate numbers that are given out. Like mine is ORR 888. And I think that's cool. And when Duane was waiting for his license plate to come for his truck I kept hoping he would get a good one. And he did. X310320. And you could tell that the gears in Bri's head started turning and she was thinking about what random number she would get. And then she said.... I could get BRI! It was pretty funny and yep baby, you could. I'll keep my fingers crossed that yours will be BRI 712 :)

Waving byee :) Hmmm. On second thought, I'm not sure I like this whole car idea. I'm going to start worrying every time I see this happen. Backing out of the driveway. Driving away.

But it's her dream. And you can't keep them locked in the house forever, right? And we believe in her. And we trust her judgement. She's got a good head on her shoulders. And she knows there will be NO TEXTING while driving. And NO TALKING ON THE PHONE while driving. And she's always going to CALL AND TELL US WHERE SHE IS. But not while driving :) And she's always going to watch her gas gauge and learn how to change a tire. And lock the doors as soon as she gets in. And not get out of the car if she notices someone shady outside. And never unroll her window if someone she doesn't know knocks on it. She won't tailgate, she won't drive over the speed limit and she'll be a slow turner :) No matter how much I complain about slow turners.

She doesn't have her license, but she's got her car. And she's about to get a lot of practice in it.

And we've made her very, very, very happy :)