We had a fun night tonight. We all spent time outside in the backyard. I mowed the grass (until the lawnmower ran out of gas), Cletus worked on the fence, and then Hayden and I watched Cletus till (sp?) up our new garden spot! I'm excited about having a garden this year! And, I love our backyard. I have really caught spring fever and have gotten so excited about planting! Anyway, at the end of our outdoor time, Hayden went in to wash his feet and then came back out to find us. He went out the back door, put on a pair of my shoes that were out there, and walked around to the garage where we were. We came into the hosue through the garage and he said, "there's something in this shoe." So, I turned the shoe over, shook it, and out came a freshly-squeezed black widow spider. There was a black widow in my shoe! And, Hayden put it on barefoot! I don't know how or why he didn't get bitten, but we're just glad that he didn't. Some of you may question my ability to recognize a black widow. But, let me assure you that this was, indeed a black widow: black (obviously), shiny, round body, and yes - a red hourglass shape on its squished tummy. Hayden and I looked at each other and kept shuddering. It gave both of us the heeby-jeebies. Especially when I thought of how Kate was playing with those shoes earlier today outside. I don't like black widows. They are very, very creepy and that is the second one we've found in our backyard near the patio. New rule: no shoes left outside on the patio.

Bunnies, Eggs, and Birds

I took the kids to two different Easer Egg Hunts this year (lots of fun, but way too much candy in my opinion). Kate was ready to go for the first one with her little bunny ears. She actually wore them the whole time! Her smile didn't quite last, however. She enjoyed the kids, the sun, the eggs, the candy, but ........I found her gazing in horror across the field at ..... the Easter Bunny! She started crying a few minutes after this picture.
Somehow I was able to distract her long enough to get a picture with Hayden and the Easter Bunny without screaming being involved. She looks pretty skeptical. (I agree that huge pink bunnies with purple hair and bow ties are pretty scary)
Hayden LOVES easter egg hunts. And, he wants a challenge! None of this throwing-them-out-into-a-field kind of stuff. He wants to have to work for his candy! He actually wanted to go and hunt eggs with the older kids because it would be harder. But, in the end, the desire for more candy won out and he went with his own age group. And, he is always a trooper when it comes to taking pictures.
The easter egg hunt on Saturday was so fun! It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time (even Cletus, who stayed home to work on the fence, ha-ha). However, the warm day meant liquid chocolate in the eggs that were out in the sun. This was fine with Kate - the easier to suck the chocolate out of the foil.

We also enjoyed a nice Easter Sunday. Church was nice (with a great choir), and we spent the rest of the day at the Simpsons, with lots of good food, fun company, and cousins galore! We didn't see Hayden for an hour or two at time. When we arrived he disappeared into the cousin crowd and he only re-emerged for food, water, and the bathroom. We love it! It's nice to be so close to family.
One random thing happened to make Sunday morning a little more stressful than it usually is. As I was rushing out the door to get the kids in the car (it was my turn to set up chairs in the Primary room before church), I left the door between the house and the garage open. Then, as I opened the garage door, a bird flew into the garage and then into the house! Ah! A bird in the house! But, I yelled to Hayden to run and open the back door. Luckily, he did it quickly and the bird flew right out the back door. I was so glad I didn't have to leave for church with a bird flying around inside our house! Maybe it just wanted to wish us a Happy Easter.

Say cheese!

I took Kate to get her 1 year pictures today (even though her birthday was over a month ago). She did so beautifully last time for her pictures that I had high hopes for this time .... Well, now that she can walk, she didn't think that sitting still for a strange lady yelling her name sounded all that fun. Plus, she was hungry and tired (she missed her morning nap - my fault). So, the pictures didn't turn out great, but here are some that I thought were cute. The last one where she is in a white outfit is a tradition that we started with Hayden. This cute little white outfit is one that Cletus wore when he was a baby, and that Hayden wore in his 1 year picture. I have grand visions of having all of our kids in this outfit when they are 1, framing them to look fabulous, and then hanging them all up on the wall in a grand display. But, Hayden's picture has poinsettias in it (because it was close to Christmas-time and I didn't think about the fact that I probably wouldn't want a seasonal picture 5 years later!), and as you can see, the best one they got of Kate is not-that-great. She wouldn't sit or stand still by that point, and so the back of her was the best we could do. But, her 1 year mark has been officially recorded by Sears. Thank you, Sears.

And you are..?

Hayden caught a really strange looking toad on Saturday. It was red, bumpy, and had golden, shiny eyelids. I have never seen anything like it before! He did a great job posing for this picture!


The kids and I had a scary experience on Saturday. I had taken them to an Easter Egg hunt at Zebulon Elementary, which had be canceled and rescheduled, and then decided to stop at the pond in our subdivision to let them play and throw rocks in the water. I remember hearing dogs barking in the background, which I thought was kind of weird since nobody around us owns dogs. A few minutes later, we saw two dogs coming towards us - no collars and definitely acting like wild or stray dogs. They started barking at us, so I thought it wise for us to immediately head back to the car. The dogs got in between us and the car and began acting aggressive. I didn't know what to do! There was NOBODY around - even if I had screamed, I don't think anybody would have heard me. I told Hayden to say a prayer and I began praying as I looked around for a stick or something - anything! I started walking a different way and picked up a stick. They ran around and blocked us from going that way too. I screamed at them (this is when Hayden got scared - he hadn't ever heard my voice sound like that before). But, the screaming only made them madder. I had always heard that you are suppose to yell at a dog and act "in charge". Well, this didn't work. Then, I threw the stick at them and this really set them off, baring their teeth, putting their ears down, and lunging forward at us. I was almost crying by this point and totally out of ideas. I hadn't noticed that we were in the street because I was too involved in being terrified. But, Hayden noticed that we were, and by instinct, I guess, ran across the road. The more aggressive of the dogs took off after Hayden and I remember looking at Hayden and thinking, "he's going to get bitten in the leg". Just at that moment, however, a car came down the road and started honking their horn, as they saw what was happening. Then, they let us get in their car and they took us to our car. We hopped in, locked the doors (which was unnecessary), and called 911. We waited for an officer to come, told him what had happened, and showed him the dogs (they were still hanging around). He then called animal control. The rest is kind of a long and uninteresting story except to say that both of the dogs have been caught and taken by animal control - my heroes. I relive that in my mind and still get shivers thinking "what if ...". It's a mother's worst nightmare come true. At least, one of my worst nightmares. I've never been very fond of dogs and this only confirms my probably irrational fears. But, all is well that ends well. We are safe.

The Secret Life of a Happy Mom

I watched a show the other night called, "The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom". I don't know if any of you have seen it or heard of it. But, after I watched it, I was offended and irate! Here is what happens during the show (it's one of those reality shows on TLC): the hostess whisks a stay-at-home mother away for a week, supposedly to a spa to relax and enjoy herself. At least, this is what the husband and children are told. Really, she is given a chance to "live a week in the career that she has always wanted, and that she sacrificed in order to stay at home with her kids". This episode was a woman who has always wanted to design clothes. So, she gets to work with people associated with famous names and brands in the clothing industry. They put on a fashion show and one of her dresses is chosen by (again) a famous buyer to be worn by Jennifer Hudson. She is exhilerated by the experience, flattered by all of the praise, and woo-ed into this "new life" for a week. She is shown some video clips of her husband and kids at home, and she gets a little emotional from missing all of them. However, she "pulls it together" and "remains focused" (ha!). So after this week of glitz and glamor, she is taken back to her family. Her and the host of the show sit down with her family, she tells her husband and her kids that she lied to them about where she had been, and then shows the video clips of her designing clothes. I guess if this is where the show ended, it wouldn't have been bad at all. But no! Next comes the disgusting part. This famous fashion designer shows up and, in front of her family, offers her a full-time position! In the excitement, it showed her three kids (1,3, and 7) getting caught up in all of it and hugging their mom and jumping up and down and she accept the job. All I thought was, these poor kids are beginning a life of daycare, babysitters, dinners without the whole family, and not much mom time. This woman mentions that she wants to be a good role model for her girls, but I was shocked at how easily she gave up her priorities as a stay-at-home mother for the self-fulfillment of this glitzy career. I was offended because: 1. I do not stay at home with my kids because I don't have career options and more exciting things that I could be doing. 2. I do not stay at home because, so far, no one has offered me anything better. 3. I do not stay at home because I am always fulfilled creatively and emotionally. I stay at home because I think it's the most important place for me to be. For my kids and for my family. Staying at home is NOT easy and often not rewarding (at least, not in that glitzy kind of way). But, as I held Kate today when she was sick and had a fever, I was so happy that I get to be the one holding her and kissing her. I wouldn't ever pay anyone else to do that job.

The fence!

The time has arrived to begin on the fence project! Last night, Cletus meaured and marked out where the fence will go, today he has the auger, and when he is ready, there is a pile of lumber waiting for him!

We decided shortly after we moved in (November) that we would like to have a fence to keep the kids in, the animals out (of our future garden), and for a little privacy. To save some money, Cletus decided to do it all himself.

Our lot is only .24 acre, but when you mow it or fence it, all of a sudden it seems huge! I mowed the grass a couple of Saturdays ago and it took almost an hour. It must surely be because our yard is so big and not because I'm a bit of a wimp. Anyway, we are anxious to see how the fence progresses.