You Can't Get to Heaven on Rollerskates, but They Sure are Fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Doodle has wanted rollerskates since last fall, when she put them on her Christmas list. CeCee heard Doodle's wish list and added them to her must-have list, too. Unfortunately, the snow and ice of winter don't make for good skating, and since we traveled to Utah for the holidays, I needed the presents to be as compact as possible. I warned them that Santa probably wouldn't bring the skates, but that if they continuted to be patient, I would buy skates in the spring.

Two days before the official start of spring, the weather was perfect for learning to skate. The girls cheered when they found the skates on the front porch. Louie declared she was the luckiest of the bunch, because she hadn't even wanted skates, but got some anyway!

These pics are from their first time up on the skates. As you can see, they're natural skaters already.

Once, I Caught a Fish THIS BIG

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The other day, I saw these cute Barbie fishing poles and couldn't resist buying them. I stashed them in the garage, thinking that we could use them later this spring or summer. Of course, eagle-eyed Louie spied them as soon as we pulled in from school, and insisted we HAD to go fishing TODAY.

I am clearly NOT a fisherman, though I always wanted to learn. My Grandpa McBride used to go weekly but, even when I was in high school and living with him, he refused to take me along. His excuse? "The fish would get distracted by looking at such a cute girl and ignore the bait." Whatever. I guess he wanted to guard his "guy time" with his favorite fishing buddy.

As a result, I didn't have much of a clue what to do. My sole experiences fishing were two different times at stocked trout ponds where you pay by the pound for what you catch and the staff baits your hook and cleans your catch for you.

It turned out that fishing with three little cuties was both easier and harder than I thought it would be. The fishing poles already came with lightweight fishing line round onto the reel. I remembered using a bobber, and we obviously needed hooks, so I just adapted my Young Women Camp knots and tied them on at what appeared to be good lengths. We used thawed corn for bait. Our casts were terrible, but the fish didn't laugh too hard at us--in fact, they even liked the corn. I did have lots of tangled fishing lines to fix with little girls eager for me to hurry up so they could cast out again.

Doodle was the best fisher among us. She was very deliberate with her casts, and patient. She caught seven bluegill and one catfish, and hooked probably about that many more who managed to get away before we reeled them in. In this case, that's a good thing--less fish I had to handle and unhook to toss back.

CeCee was our most glamorous fisher. She took it personal when she was the last to catch a fish--tried to understand what the fish were thinking when they saw the corn floating in the water, and was satisfied with her one catch. After that, she was done with fishing.

Louie was the most animated fisher. She sang to the fish, and called for them to "come and eat some yummy corn." She even did a victory dance as we reeled in each of her 3 catches.

Despite our not-at-all careful fishing, we did manage to hook one of our catfish. Doodle said, "I think this one is a catfish--it's hard to bring in." I ended up pulling in the line by hand (which gave me a pile of tangled line to clean up--did I mention I'm not good at this fishing thing?), only to find the monster thrashing around on the line. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for releasing a catfish. They have sharp spines on their fins and I didn't bring any gloves out to the pond. Also, the line was too thin to handle pulling one of these suckers up. I dragged it to the side of the pond and it was so mad, it pulled itself free of the hook (ouch)! Before I could find something to help push it back into the pond (I really didn't want to touch it), it wiggled and squirmed itself back into the water.

The Educational Spring Break Trip

Monday, March 9, 2009

Karen came to visit for a long weekend--it's so much fun having her here!

Since Carbondale isn't exactly a hotbed of activity, we decided to go to Springfield and check out the "new"(okay about 5 years old) Lincoln museum and his Springfield home.
The girls loved Mrs. Lincoln's attic--the children's play area at the museum. Once they discovered it, they didn't want to leave. Karen and I took turns watching them play and exploring the exhibits solo.

Castle Park

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I posted these pics on Facebook, but some family members refuse to friend me (MOM!), so here are a subset.

This park is our favorite local place to spend a sunny afternoon. A wealthy family in the neighborhood built this park in memory of their sun who died after driving drunk some years back (at least that's what I heard from our realtor). It's such a lovely tribute to him, and you can tell he loved Dungeons and Dragons from the layout.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Monday, March 2, 2009

This week, our elementary school is celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday with lots of fun activities.

Below are some of the Conder Girls' thoughts about Dr Seuss.

"He's turning 105, or 115, or 150, I can't remember. Or at least he would be, if he was still alive. He's not alive anymore."

"Grandma Draper is even older than Dr. Seuss, and she's still alive. She's older than everyone else alive."

"He's not alive anymore, but we can still read his books. He wrote lots of fun books. It's a good thing he wrote all that stuff while he was alive."

"I will still not eat green eggs and ham. That's just yucky! I will try some new foods, but not those."

"Those kids should not have let a strange cat into their house. That was a bad choice. But it was good that he picked up his mess."

"My favorite Dr Seuss book is 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.' And now we have lots of fish in our pond."

Needless to say, Dr. Seuss is a popular celebrity in our home.

Here's a link to some Dr. Seuss Parodies for your enjoyment.

We Need Some Noise Abatement!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My road has a random assortment of falling-apart trailers, semi-mobile homes (trailers with additions built on or above them), permanent dwellings and light industrial use buildings. The concept of zoning may not yet have arrived in my neighborhood.

About two weeks ago, I noticed a new noise from the direction of some large sheds near the lake. It is louder on warmer days, starting around mid-afternoon, and increasing in volume into the night. I have not yet met the neighbors with the sheds down the road, and hadn't thought about the sheds until the noise started. It's a steady sound, with almost no break in it, like some high voltage electricity, or a strange broadcast--maybe they're trying to scare away migrating Canada geese or starlings?

One especially warm evening, I went to bed, only to realize I could still hear the noise...with all the windows shut! As I lay awake fuming at the inconsiderate nature of people who would keep their loud machinery going, I started wondering what I could do about it, and if so, how would I report these people without appearing un-neighborly. (This is the first place I've ever lived where people don't honk at each other driving down the road--even if they get cut off--so I definitely don't want to earn a reputation as that "jerk-from-the-city".) In the county, do we even HAVE a noise ordinance? Who would enforce it, and how would I report it? I imagined calling the county police department complaining of a noise down the street "somewhere," not being able to accurately describe it, or even predict when it would happen--good way to make friends with the local law enforcement.

Advil PM helped me fall asleep sometime after 2 am. I drifted off vowing to talk to the neighbors and see if they knew anything about the noise and what they might do about it. Perhaps Dottie, our wonderful realtor, or Fred, the former homeowner, might know something about the noise history and what to do about it.

The next morning, I took the girls to school and in chatting with one of the other parents about the weather, she asked if I've heard the frogs now that they're waking up. Frogs? Yes, I think maybe I have.

Good thing I didn't report any noise ordinance violation--though it might not be a bad idea to fine the inconsiderate frogs.

This sound is obviously frogs, unless you think it's coming from a semi-industrial shed in your neighborhood.