Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I didn't get any good detail shots of our costumes on Friday night, but my thoughtful friend Liz snagged my camera from me to get this family shot.  And then she comforted me mere minutes later when Owen's (plastic) helmet fell backwards off his head and broke on the pavement.

I know you're thinking it, so let's all say it together:  "Houston...

But it's reasonably repaired now and ready for tonight.  Back with the trick-or-treat rundown tomorrow!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Dump: Disney Style

It's birthday party time around here, and I've got blow-up glow-in-the-dark stars to inflate- so here's our Disney trip crammed all into one post. 

Beck Beck tipped us off to the bunk beds at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Owen loved sleeping on the top bunk (where, ironically, he was safer because of all the rails).  When we transferred to the Grand Floridian partway through our trip for Scott to attend a conference, Owen asked when we would be going back to our real hotel.

Racing LEGO cars in Downtown Disney

Owen's singular goal for our vacation was to build a lightsaber at Disney World, so Uncle Joe took us to Hollywood Studios within a few hours of our arrival and made O a very happy little boy.  He was so desperately serious when we went to check out.  

Hitting the giant 'golf ball'.

Outside Mission: Space and inside at its gift shop.  The hat pic is for you Jenn!

Making fun of Owen's smile, and getting the quintessential family pose afront the castle.  Huge thanks to Rebecca for staying behind my camera.  Most of the shots in this post are hers.

Silliness on the PeopleMover

If you ask Owen to name his favorite ride at Disney World, he'll usually tell you he needs to think about it and then promptly end the conversation by walking away.  But when he's in the mood to chat he says the Buzz Lightyear ride was the best.  Then he'll tell you how his mommy scared the stew out of him by taking him on The Great Movie Ride and getting him caught in a gunfight and attacked by an alien that came out of the ceiling.  Minus 5 points for me in the parenting category.

How to eat a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar

More silliness on the Tomorrowland Speedway.  That first pic kills me.

Electric Light Parade

Back tomorrow or Tuesday with Halloween costume pics!  Owen's already had a minor tragedy with his astronaut helmet, but I've mostly repaired it.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back in B'ham

The only characters Owen would have anything to do with.

We flew home from Orlando this morning.  I couldn't post from the road because I forgot part of the cord for the camera.  Doh!

And now I'm frantically trying to finish our Halloween costumes for the fall festival tomorrow night, so I'll be back in a day or so with more Disney pics.

Love and thanks to Beck Beck and Uncle Joe for being fabulous hosts, just like always.  Owen has already had one breakdown cry from missing you two!  (It did coincide with me making him do something he didn't want to do, so don't feel too guilty.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Costume progress

I've spent several hours this afternoon with a hacksaw and an exterior lighting globe, and Owen is now one space helmet closer to being an astronaut for Halloween.  It was messy work.

My quick-witted neighbor Nancy accuses me of having delusions of being an HGTV host because I'm always painting/drilling/weeding in my good clothes.  Truth is I'm just too lazy to go upstairs and change. Today was my last day to teach ACT classes for the year- plus it's finally chilly outside, hence the dress and boots.  Looks like a hideous case of dry scalp doesn't it?

Being the good helper, Owen got his play saw and went after the shipping box for the lighting fixture.  Being the bad mother, I let Thomas babysit him while we worked.

We're off to Orlando tomorrow morning.  I hope to be able to post from the iPad like we did when we were in Italy.  But if it's quiet around here, you'll know I didn't have much luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

$0.99 Tie

Owen and I went thrifting for Halloween costume stuff yesterday.  I would say we struck out, except that he found and fell for this clip-on tie.  Kid's got vintage taste.  Mommy smiles with approval.

(Speaking of Halloween costumes, anyone out there have some calf-high boots with a rounded toe that you would let me ruin with spray glitter and then wear with my costume?  People with cute, tiny feet need not respond :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Party

For the past (I think) 8 Octobers, we've headed out to our friends' fantastic place in the country to celebrate fall.  The kids wear their costumes, go on hay rides and make s'mores.  The grown-ups chat by the fire, eat chili and possibly consume even more s'mores than the kids do.

Owen had to settle for throwing on a Darth Vader mask this year since I don't have his astronaut costume finished yet.  Hopefully I'll have most of it completed in the next few days.

Thanks Bobby and Shaley!  Can't wait until next year.

*Still trying to figure out low-light photography.  I really didn't want to use a flash, so that's why things are blurry.  But I love how all the glow sticks look!  Count them in that first photo to see how many kids are running out in the yard.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What the neighbors didn't want

I was running a little late to pick up Owen from school on Wednesday, but that didn't stop me from snagging this typewriter stand off the curb.  I used to drive by interesting piles of trash over and over again working up the courage (or maybe working down my pride) to stop and scavenge.  Not anymore.  I had my hazards on and this baby in the back of the car in under a minute.

I'm batting about 50-50 on my curbside treasures, so a good bit of it comes home with me only to wind up back in my garbage pile.  Don't worry, I have a strict policy against upholstered stuff.  

Unless someone throws out a Barcelona couch.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Something doesn't belong here

P.S.  No kitties were harmed in the taking of this picture.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Owen and his best tackle buddy Ben

*Big photo props to Ben's mom Angela, who caught them smiling AND not moving.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Look: Russian Steampunk

Should you wish to imitate this ensemble you'll need an ushanka that's a few sizes too small, baby leg warmers for your arms, a NAPA auto parts pin for your sleeve and a T-shirt from Leonardo da Vinci's home in Paris.  

Oh, and before you go out in public, grab a small (needle-less) bicycle pump that you believe to be a fire extinguisher.  When strangers stare at you too long trying to figure you out, simply aim, pull back the pump handle, make a swishing sound with your lips, and extinguish them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dun dun dun Done! (almost)

I've arranged all the 'after' photos so that they are in the same order and from the same vantage point as in the 'before' post.  Go ahead and pull up a second screen.  It's for your viewing pleasure.  And because I know details like that matter to normal people too.

If you immediately noticed that the bottom right photo is landscape oriented when it should be vertical, then you are NOT normal. Welcome to my club.  I got the 'this is not a normal detail to be obsessing about' speech from Scott multiple times over the weekend.  And I am grateful he was there to balance me.  Otherwise we might have ended the weekend with only one very perfect step and 1500 pounds of crushed limestone still on the truck.

I took the time to do the math, and we used over 2000 pounds of crushed limestone on that path.  Doesn't seem possible?  Ask Scott's lower back.

Special thanks to these other brawny guys who moved their share of limestone for us:

Scott's dad, our neighbors Cole and Chris, and Owen.

Send us your chiropractor bills.

If there were a Hunks of Home Depot calendar, I would totally submit this shot.  Love the gloves in the back pocket.
Are you sorry you gave this blog address to your co-workers yet, hon?

Strained muscles and blisters aside, I think I'm the only one with any minor injuries to report.  A splinter in my right index finger (that's still there - grrr), a landscape fabric stake into the cuticle of my ring finger (felt niiiice) and a drill-torqued wrist/elbow. (Didja know a drill will settle for applying the torque to YOU if the bit binds up?  Total rookie mistake.)  

If given a do-over, the only thing I would change is that I would use nice straight steel edging rather than this eco-friendly stuff that's been rolled into an impossible-to-reverse coil.  All the waviness that you may have noticed in the top photos is a result of the Battle of the Coil.  I've still got to backfill dirt down the outside edge of the path (which will also take care of the landscape fabric you see sticking out), so I'm hoping I can straighten things out a little more then.  If not, my plan is ferns.  Lots and lots of ferns.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekend Plans

To move lots of dirt and rock to finish a path to our greenhouse.

We recently treated our greenhouse to a makeover, cleaning it out (thanks Scott) and having its lights and fan repaired.  Now we're building a path to it from our back patio.  Gravel crunching under foot has become a wonderful reminder of the farm where we stayed in Italy, so we've chosen to do a simple crushed rock path.  My fantasy is to eventually have rock paths that meander all through our back woods with quirky sculptures, a fort or two, and stuff hanging from the trees.  Maybe we could go all Howard Finster.  What do you think?  Scott dragged me, complaining the whole way, to north Georgia to see Howard Finster's place once.  It was amazing.  We even got to meet the eccentric old artist himself, and he told us he was going to draw angels for us so they could protect us when we got in a fiery car crash on the way home.


Still one of the coolest places I've ever been though.  So thanks for that too Scott!

Hopefully things go dreamily and I'll have some 'after' photos to post next week.  As for when I'll get brave and actually try to grow something (no, not that) in the greenhouse?  Who knows.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bluff Park Art Show 2011

The Bluff Park Art Show has become one of my very favorite events of the year.  The previous owners of our house were huge supporters of the Bluff Park Art Association, so either I'm just desperate for a story angle, or their spirit has rubbed off on me.  I've heard the house was full of amazing original art, much of which was gifted back to the association by their estate.  I would have loved to have seen it all.

The night before the show, Owen told Scott he wanted to find a snake to hang on his wall.  Lo and behold, Bebo the Folk Artist came through for him.  I think Owen won him over with the super hero shirt.  He even insisted on signing the piece to Owen.

Owen spent the rest of the afternoon wielding the artwork like a weapon.  Scott and I made off well with three purchases too.  I asked Scott to snap that shot of Owen and me heading out with our loot because I thought we looked pretty funny with so much stuff.  But looking at it now, all I see is that rhino art sure makes my hips look wide. ;)

The light in our house is awful, so I went out in my PJs this morning and took pictures in the yard.  Pretentious or just dedicated?

Chris Bruno

Sally Austin

Bill Hill, "The Rarest of All Rare Rhinocerus [sic]; the Wrapped Norwegian Blue"