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November, 2010:

A Tu Tu On My Head

I don’t think I’d be real thrilled if I were wearing a Zhu Zhu Pet tu tu on my head, either.

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I think Tonks is actually scowling . . . yet she did not get her claws out. Such a good kitty!

Who Says Pink, Green, and Gold Don’t Go Together

A pure cane sugar Coke out of a real bottle, the perfect new Packers jersey to break up the pink shirt and pants, and a fluffy new lady bug pillow pet . . . she is READY for the game!

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Exciting Stuff!

When was the last time you described your paying job as “Exciting Stuff!”??? Never? I hadn’t before this past week, either. But can I just say that I had one of the busiest and most fun weeks at work this past week?!

It was little old me and 20 of my closest govt. contractor and pilot friends for the week . . . all day every day Monday-Friday . . . hashing out the work we’ve done in the past 3 months and laying out the plan for the next 2 months before we go to ITALY (woo hoo!) to spend a week validating everything we’ve done.

Add into all that working time a science fair for the kiddos, Dude’s 5th grade music program, and a “social” night with the working group and we had ourselves one heck of a week.

The cool thing? I have a bazillion hours (yes, really) of action items and work to complete as a result of this past week and I’m not the LEAST bit stressed about it. Why not? Because the writer I hired a month ago is ROCKING at this job – still a little rough around the edges, but that’s up to me to give him a review this next week. I can only imagine how overwhelming this all is, and the little “perfect” things that we are required by contract to provide are the least of his worries at the moment. But to his credit, he grabbed his laptop on Friday after a good 50 hour work week. I asked him what he was doing . . . he said “There’s so much to do, I thought I’d take my laptop home and see what I could get done.”

Ahhhhhh – bless his little heart. I told him to take it out of his bag and leave it on his desk – with the explanation that even though I really appreciate his willingness to take it home and get some stuff done, there will ALWAYS be so much to do – we could work 24 hours a day 7 days a week and not even come close to getting everything done – and that we need to go home after work and leave work at the office – and definitely leave work at the office on the weekends. Sure, there’ll come a time in about a month where our deadline is knocking on our door, but THAT’S when we’ll put in the extra time. But THIS weekend and NEXT weekend and the weekend AFTER THAT need to be OUR weekends with our families.

So ya – exciting stuff . . . I received a thorough education last week, provided some education of my own, and can’t wait to get going next week.

Anyone who knows me knows that To Do lists make me happy :-) And when mamma’s happy, everybody’s happy!

A Good Reason To Drive To Work Early

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Here, Kitty Kitty

This past Sunday, Dude’s WEBELOS den had a meeting at Serenity Springs, the big cat sanctuary about 50 minutes east of us.

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I must say, I wasn’t real thrilled about going – I’d read recently in the news that the guy who started/owns the place was being prosecuted for misusing donations . . . like using the moolah for his personal self rather than the cats. However, after spending a couple hours at the sanctuary, my mind was TOTALLY changed. He may have made some bad choices, but that place is awesome! There are tons of big cats, and they ALL look so happy. They come up to the fences and rub against them, they “purr” at you, they play games with the tour guides . . . totally worth the small fee and the donated supplies that we took.

We got to see all kinds of big cats from black leopards (did you know there’s no such thing as a black panther?), to tigers (they have a tiger that is documented 86% genetically identical to a tiger that is extinct in the wild), to lions (did you know that old lions lose their manes?), to goofy animals that I can’t remember the names of, to movie star animals (ever seen Second Hand Lions? Savannah the lioness from that movie lives here), to exVegas white tigers, to stupid people’s tigers (ever heard of Mike Tyson – ya, that winner of a person used to spar with his white tiger, who now lives here).

This guy was one of my favorites. He’s SOOOO white and beautiful! And I love the two black dots on the top of his head, like he used to have horns :-) Did you know that you don’t need two white tigers to create another white tiger? Just like people, if two regular tigers have the white recessive gene, voila! White tiger babies.

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This guy is one of the many mountain lions we saw. I swear, as sweet as all of these big cats seemed behind the fences (which we got to be within 2 feet of!), you could tell that when they were looking at the boys, all they were thinking was “buffet” :-) We had one little girl with us, maybe 2 1/2 feet tall. If any of the cats weren’t paying attention to us, all we had to do was put Erin out in front. It was AMAZING how they would zero in on her little self and stalk her from behind the fences.

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This mountain lion is the Clyde, the mascot for the UCCS. You can tell he’s well cared for – he’s about twice the girth of the other mountain lions :-) I like how he’s just hanging out up there, posing for us.

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Then Erin, the little girl, squealed and walked in front of her mom, at which point Clyde did this . . .

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Mascot or not, Clyde is STILL a wild animal! Then the tour guide told us this nifty little fact . . . even if you’ve never seen a mountain lion while hiking in Colorado, one in every three times you go hiking, AT LEAST one mountain lion has been watching you. YIKES! Of course she went on to tell us what to do if you ever do get approached by a mountain lion . . . we have a new list of items to make sure we take on our hikes with us :-)

It was kind of creepy watching all the big cats obviously stalking us. One of the tigers always played a game with the tour guide. When she turns her back to the fence, the tiger goes to the corner of the enclosure. He then ever so quietly stalks around behind his structures and peeks out at her with one eye, taking the quietest steps you’ve ever seen something that large take. He is sooooo quiet and smooth until the gets to within one foot of the fence – the he swipes his paw at the fence as if to tag her. It was soooo cool!

At the end of the tour, we heard a rumor that for a donation, the kids could play with a 13 week old tiger cub. When was the last time you got to do that? Never? Ya – me neither. I was feeling generous, so I let the kids do it. It was so worth it! Shepe was the cutest little cub ever . . . with the most ginormous paws ever! Dude and Princess got to go right in the cage with him, and with Shepe’s handler of course. Shepe is just a regular little cub – likes to nibble and pounce and roll and chew and swipe and have his tummy rubbed.

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Each of the kids got nibbled on a couple times . . . and they both came out with some scratches. They’ve been telling their friends that they got mauled by a tiger 😉

So all in all, 2 hours very well spent. We would totally go out and see the cats again. In fact, I think there’s a certain Brownie troop that would enjoy this kind of outing!

Movin’ On Up!

Dude and Princess are movin’ on up :-) The week that each of them was born, I put them on the season ticket waiting list for Packers tickets. Every November, we get their cards in the mail, telling them where they are on the list.

Dude – # 45706
Princess – # 56118

Not much chance of them seeing tickets in their lifetime since only 1 or 2 become available each year . . . I wonder if they can “will” their spot to their children, just like you can will the actual tickets if you already have them?

I guess this will only matter for Princess, anyway, since Dude has taken to wear that gawdawful purple and yellow stuff on Sundays – he even used his own money to buy a purple hat to match his purple jersey!

At least Princess has requested a Packers jersey for her birthday . . . I may just have to bring one of those back for her early since I’ll be in MN this weekend and her birthday isn’t until Christmastime . . . when the season is all but over.

GO PACKERS!

I’m off to put my new Packers decal on the window of the Jeep :-) After 11 years, the other one finally came off.

76 Degrees In November Needs No Words

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Herding Cats

Remember this conversation in July? Well, about a month ago, I signed Princess up for volleyball at the Y. A couple weeks ago, I volunteered to coach the Wild Dolphins (don’t forget the Wild – they will eat you up!). I get to teach eight 1st and 2nd graders how to play volleyball. Turns out, coaching eight 1st and 2nd grade girls in volleyball is as close to herding cats as one could get without actually herding cats!

I did luck out and had a parent volunteer to be co-coach before the season even started. I double lucked out when our roster only had 8 girls on it – instead of 10 like the other team. Herding 8 is much easier than herding 10. There are only 2 teams in our age group, so we’ll get to know them well, for sure!

The best thing about little kid volleyball at the Y is that it is ONLY on Saturday. 45 minutes of practice, then a 45 minute game immediately following. No hour of practice in the middle of the week and an hour game on Saturday. We got extra lucky when we got the 9:00 start time every week. Start at 9:00, done by 10:30, and we’ve still got the rest of the day to do whatever we want :-)

Our first practice and game this past Saturday was SO. MUCH. FUN! I did not have high hopes, but we only had 6 girls show up, which made it less hectic for the first day. They all were so interested in playing and had such a great time that it made it way easy for me and co-coach. We worked on underhand passing and underhand serving before the game. The girls learned so much during that short time – I was amazed!

The games were fun, too . . . even though not one serve was returned back over the net. The girls were so excited about getting a lot of their serves over that they didn’t even care about returning the ball. The looks on their faces when they actually got it over the net were priceless. A couple girls on each team actually moved to try to get the ball (unsuccessfully I might add), and the rest just waited for the ball to come to them – I guess next time we’ll have to work on moving to the ball and then passing 😉

After 20 minutes of playing, we’d gotten through 2 games (which the Wild Dolphins won decidedly). We coaches got together with the refs and decided one more game was about all they had in them – they were getting that glazed look in their eyes. So 15 minutes and one game later, the Wild Dolphins shook hands with their opponent, thanked the refs, and decided to go home . . . errrrrr . . . wait . . . they BEGGED me to stay and let them practice more since we had 10 more minutes. Of course we did – how can you say no to that?

I just have to say . . . I get a huge smile on my face every time I think about last Saturday. I really was dreading it a little bit, but was totally surprised. It was so much fun and they tried so hard and they are all such good kids and I had a blast the whole time.

And did I mention how cute they all looked?

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Look at my little princess there in the front. She is SOOOO ready, even though her Wild Dolphin teammate just served the ball over the net – yes, from the 10 foot line. They can stand wherever they want to be successful at serving it over.

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I love this picture! I love how they all have their hands locked together, ready to hit a ball should it happen upon their arms. I love how they are all staring intently at the ball – quite amazing when you consider this was 30 minutes into the games, yet they were ALL paying attention! I love how nobody but Princess is actually moving – they were literally frozen to the floor, like their feet were stuck in cement. And I love how even though Princess looks completely ready to get the ball, the ball actually bounced off the head of the girl behind her :-) I can’t make this stuff up.

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And this one she was TOTALLY ready for! Yet it bounced off her own melon :-) It was so friggin’ cute I could barely stand it!

So the Wild Dolphins ROCKED the court on Saturday. I am so thankful that I get this opportunity to coach these little ones in volleyball. It was so much fun and I can’t wait for next time! I’m just so bummed I’ll miss this week while I’m in MN.

 

Popcorn

The good things about selling $930 worth of Boy Scout popcorn? You earn a lot of money for your Pack, you earn some cool prizes for yourself, and people get to eat yummylicious caramelly and chocolaty and cheesy and buttery popcorn.

The bad thing about selling $930 worth of Boy Scout popcorn? You have to deliver all of it.

Boo 2010

So Halloween was a total afterthought this year. We got Princess’ costume way back in September when we saw it at Children’s Place and she just “had to have it cuz it’s oooooh so cute!” Without really having to think about her costume, which usually requires a fair amount of “making” we kind of let Boo Day sneak up on us. Not to mention the fact that Hubby and I both had somethinb resembling the plague the entire week before Boo Day – so costumes and trick or treating and candy were the last things on our minds!

The kiddos each got to wear their costumes 4 times . . . once at school, two times at friends’ parties, and once on actual Halloween – and believe it or not, I did not take one picture. Nope – not one. The pictures you’ll see below? Taken on November 2nd :-)

We even invited a couple families over for pizza and trick or treating on Halloween and NOT ONE of us thought to take a group picture of the kids . . . I think we were all so “done” with all the parties and soccer and life that’s been kicking our asses lately that we just wanted to get out the door and get it over with.

Soooo – without further adu . . .

 Here’s Princess in her gotta have it witch costume . . . complete with headband for a hat because you can’t wear hats at school and what’s the point of being a witch if you can’t wear a pointy hat…

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It really was a cute costume and I was quite pleased at not having to make 2 costumes this year – just didn’t have it in me.

And then there was Dude. Since November 1, 2009 he’s been saying he wanted to be a bush for Boo Day this year. Yup – a bush . . . as in a really short stumpy tree. I thought he’d change his mind sometime throughout the year but nope – July “I want to be a bush” . . . September “I already told you. I want to be a bush.”

Um . . . OK. So I told him we needed to get on Google to find ideas for making a bush costume. Of course my adult self wanted to google “tree costume” – my little Dude, however, typed in “bush costume” – it was like one of those slow motion moments where I go flying across the table with outstretched arms screaming “Nnnnooooooooooooooo…” as he’s ever so slowly pressing Enter. I made it in time . . . and he was content with the explanation of “we’ll get better ideas with tree costume than with bush costume.”

He decided on a camo skeleton Halloween hoodie thing at Sears, to which we would attach a bunch of leaves and branches. He was completely surprised when I told him we’d have to buy the branches and leaves at Hobby Lobby because 1) we have a yard full of pine trees, not diciduous trees and 2) if we DID find branches and leaves on the ground, they’d totally get dry and fall off by the time Boo Day rolled around. So a bazillion presses of the Buttoneer later, he ended up with this, which he thought was the coolest bush costume ever – as did his classmates :-)

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Thankfully, 10 year olds don’t have very high standards 😉