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Archive for March, 2008

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Grandpa and his girls hunt for the eggs.

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My girls really enjoyed the egg hunt. Four girls, 10 dozen eggs, priceless.

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Karrisa found one and Emmy and Aunt Libby are looking hard. Notice Nikki on the right. Can’t wait to meet her new baby in July.

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Notice the little kids in the background and the big ones on the swings. Young seemed to enjoy his American Easter. His time as a foreign exchange student will end in June.

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Easter Mania

Easter is always a huge event in my family. Much like Christmas, we rent the community center and get together with all of my aunts and uncles for an afternoon of fun. There is always lots of good food, kids playing, an easter egg hunt (this year I neither hid or hunted – it was a little disconcerting), and a raw egg toss. It’s pretty typical for it to rain in Oregon for Easter. We managed to have a few rain breaks and did not get soaked during any of the events. We always have a backup plan (can you say indoor egg hunt), but have not needed to go there that often. We almost always get a break for the egg toss. Besides, the rain washes away the raw egg from the street.

A fun time was had by all. This year we were treated with new ultrasound pictures of my cousin’s baby (it’s a girl). The four little girls got to fit their dresses for the wedding. Mom did the fitting so she can have them done by the wedding on April 5.

I was holding this post for after I get the photos uploaded, but I decided to post now and add later.

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Basketball Time

Hope had her first basketball game today. She did a pretty good job on defense, and she is figuring out how to dribble a lot better. Maybe one of these days she will make a basket. We don’t keep score, so both teams won because they both had a great time.

We only got a couple of pictures before the camera decided to be cranky. The colors are a little off (the shirts are actually purple) and I did not end up with one of Hope’s front, but she is #2.

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Look at that dribble. She is getting a lot better at it.

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Look at that defense. She did a good job at staying on her man and keeping her hands up.

Emmy was disappointed that she did not get to go to child watch during the game, but it closes at 12:00 on Saturdays and the game did not start until 1:00. Next week the game is at 11:00, so maybe she can go then.

I went to a circuit class last week and started training on the weight machines. I felt a lot better than I expected to afterwards and was not nearly as sore as I expected. I identified some areas that are definately needing improvement (can you say abs and arms) that were not getting a work out on the bike and treadmill.

I have spent more time unsewing this week than I have sewing. I need to finish a project for the Easter exchange tomorrow and we still need to dye eggs this evening, so I don’t see a whole lot of work getting done this afternoon. I have the cute little frog bag that I can take as one present, but I still need one more and something for each of the girls. Maybe I will have to stop by and just pick up a couple of big candy bars to take. It feels like copping out, but I think I can cope with that.

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Sing birdie, sing

Each year in Oregon, songbirds contract deadly bacteria and viruses like salmonellosis, E. coli and avian pox from improperly maintained bird feeders. “Regularly cleaning feeders and feeding areas will keep songbirds healthy,” explained Dr. Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “Wear rubber gloves when handling bird feeders or nest boxes and wash your hands afterwards to keep yourself healthy, too.”

Gillin also recommended that unoccupied nesting boxes be cleaned now, as nesting season begins this month. “Never disturb a nest box once songbirds begin to nest,” he added.

Here is how to keep your birdfeeder and other equipment clean:

Replace food in birdfeeders at least weekly and water in bird baths every three days.

Clean bird feeders every two weeks (or more often if you notice seeds are moldy). Use liquid detergent and water to remove dirt and debris from feeders and other equipment. For maximum protection, also soak feeders, baths and nest boxes in a 10-parts water to one-part household bleach solution for several minutes (this contact time with disinfectant is import). Rinse and allow to dry before adding new food or water.

Limit the amount of food you provide in feeders to what the birds can eat in a day or two to reduce the amount of organic matter that could harbor diseases.

Provide fresh, dry seed that hasn’t molded. (A fungal disease called aspergillosis grows on damp feed and can create lung infections if inhaled by birds.)

Clean up old food and spent seed hulls around feeders, a practice that should also keep unwanted pests like rats and raccoons away from feeders. Dispose of old seed in the garbage, not in the compost pile.

The most common songbirds to use feeders in Oregon are juncos, finches, sparrows, Pine Siskins, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, jays and flickers. Songbirds tend to use feeders most heavily during the winter but as spring approaches, artificial feeding should be slowly reduced. Birds will readily feed on natural sources like seeds and insects when they are available in the spring and through fall.

Human infection or disease from wild birds is rare, especially if basic precautions like wearing rubber gloves are taken. However, pets can become infected, especially if they are exposed to fecal matter below the feeders. Outdoor cats are at risk if they catch and eat sick birds around feeders.

Signs of disease in birds include eyes that are puffy or half-closed and lethargy or other unusual behavior. If you see these signs or dead birds at your feeder, take the following steps to prevent additional disease problems and safely dispose of dead birds:

Discontinue feeding for 30 days, which will force birds to leave. Thoroughly clean your feeder before starting to feed again. Visit this link to find out when to report dead birds to ODFW.

Concentrating birds increases the risk for disease. Disperse birds by spreading small amounts of seed over a large area in the sun, varying the location of seeds or using several feeders instead of one.

To dispose of dead birds, wear disposable rubber gloves or use an inverted plastic bag on your hand. Double bag the bird in plastic bags and place in a sealed garbage can or other safe container where it cannot be disturbed by other animals.

Thoroughly wash your hands after handling a dead bird and before eating, drinking, smoking or touching your face.

If you continue to have disease problems, replace wooden bird feeders with plastic or metal. The porous nature of wood creates an environment that easily harbors bacteria and cannot be sanitized as effectively.

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I took the girls to the pool for a quick trip tonight. I made record time. It only took me two hours from start to finish. Here is how the trip goes:

Tell the girls to go in and go potty so we can go. Followed by “I don’t have to go” and “Well try anyway” and then “I didn’t have to go” (10 minutes).

Get the girls in their suits (10 minutes).

One of them has to go potty, so out of the suit, into the bathroom, back into the suit (7 minutes).

The other one has to go potty (repeat 7 minutes).

Put their clothes on over their suits and get shoes on (3 minutes).

Drive to the Y (10 minutes), drive around the block three times looking for a parking space, park, cross the street with toddler in tow, check into the Y (10 minutes).

Go to dressing room, get off their clothes, change into my suit, cram all of our stuff into my locker, take our pre-swimming shower (10 minutes)

Go down to pool, realize I forgot towels, go back up to dressing room, get towels, go back to pool (5 minutes)

If you are counting we are over an hour now and still haven’t touched the pool.

Pick out noodles (days when mom picks up two matching pink ones we want to be different, days when there is only one pink one we need to match) and toys, switch out noodles and toys, get into pool (3 minutes)

Remind them not to run on the pool deck and to sit on their bottoms to get into the pool.

Play in the water (45 minutes)

Go back upstairs and get undressed (3 minutes), wash and dry Emily and have her sit on the bench where I can see her (3 minutes), wash and dry Hope and have her sit on the bench where I can see her (3 minutes) remind them that it doesn’t matter which bench as long as I can see them while I am showering (3 minutes).

Go to the locker to get dressed – (15 minutes)   Remember I am dressing myself and a four year old and helping the seven year old.

Go back across the street with two tired girls now in tow, get out snacks, get the kids buckled in the seats, collapse in the drivers seat, and arrive home to have J ask what took so long.  After all the girls are little and shouldn’t be in the pool that long.

Two hours – record time for a trip; priceless hours spent with my girls.  At least they still like me and want to go with me at this age.

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To rip or not to rip?

I took the frog quilt top to work today and showed it to another quilter at the office.  She unfolded it and said how cool it looked with a few of the blocks going the opposite direction.  She really liked the way it made it look.  I took a look and almost died when I realized one row was sewn with the yellow and red reversed on several of the blocks.  Of course it is not one of the end rows, so I see some unsewing in my future.  She said it adds character and I should leave it alone.  I am just too much of a perfectionist and I can not see myself doing that. Ugh, and just when I thought I was about finished with this one.

I went to the gym on Wednesday night and added some time to my cardio.  I felt fine at the time, but boy have I been sore the last couple of days.  I spent some time in the hot tub this evening and have been drinking lots of water to try and get part of the soreness out.  I like to work out on Friday night so that when J and I go on Saturday I can take the girls to the pool while he is working out and not feel bad about missing a workout.  I am not going to try it tonight though.  I think by tomorrow I should be back up to feeling like a human again and ready to work out with J.  Not so sure the girls will be happy about missing their pool date with Mom, but sometimes it’s not all about the princesses.

Speaking about the princesses, the tv in their room went out and they needed a new one.  We just bought them a v.smile for Christmas and have bought several games and the gym mat for it.  I found them a Disney princess tv and it was on sale.  Woo hoo.  They are so excited.  The tv is pink.  I have been told at least 10 times that pink is their favorite color and it’s so cool that their tv is pink since I got  it for them.  I’m so glad they like it.  Emmy’s favorite princess it Ariel.  When you turn up the volume, Ariel shows on the screen.  She is jazzed.

Tonight I’m going to try and make a chicken bake out of the box and see if it’s edible.  If it works out, it will likely be a new standby for gym nights.  It’s something J could start when I get to the locker room and it should be done about the time I get home.  I’m still trying to figure out how to go to the gym, make food, see my children, and get to bed all in a reasonable time after work.  I am determined to make this work!

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Life ongoing

The frog quilt top is pieced.  I need to pick up batting for it and then figure out how I want to quilt it.  I just am not feeling it with this one.  Maybe I will just go with a meander.  Any suggestions out there?  I probably won’t begin quilting until next weekend.

The girls and I went to the gym last night.  They love the play area and so do I.  I feel very comfortable leaving them there, which I did not expect.  They always have a proper child/adult ratio when I go, the girls are excited to go, the staff are all cpr/first aid trained, there are lots of other kids there, and I am loving the serenity.  Emmy went yesterday morning when J went to the gym so I did not expect her to want to go again with me and was prepared to leave her at home with J, but when I said I was going, she practically begged me to take her.  Hope seems to enjoy it also.  I thought it might be a little young for her, but she seems content when I go to pick her up.

I am down eight pounds in four weeks.  J and I talked about it last night and I feel kinda guilty because I am still eating way more junk than I would have expected to at this point.  Our coach did not encourage us to start dieting, in fact, the information she sent with us suggested we start out with exercise and then add the diet later so we don’t change too much at one time.  I have cut back on sweets and I am drinking more water than before, but I really enjoyed a bowl of ice cream last night.  For me I think that’s the key – I really enjoyed the ice cream rather than mindless eating a bowl of calories because I was bored/stressed/tired/thirsty/sad.

Hope starts basketball practice on Thursday.  I kinda feel for her coach.  We started practicing this week in the driveway.  She is so cute trying to figure out how to dribble.  I’m sure it was hard for me to learn, but it seems like such a long time ago.

I better head out.  Long day ahead.

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