Thursday, July 30, 2009

July Zoo Trip

July at the ZooPlaying with the PenguinFeeding Time!Asher watching the feeding timeWatching the Fish

I guess the good thing about yesterday is that the house was clean and the laundry was done to free up today to go to the zoo! On this July visit, it is the first time I had the pleasure of going with a 5 year old Alivia, 3 year old Addison and now a 20 month old Asher (last month, obviously, Addi was still 2 and Asher 19m).

We arrived shortly after zoo opening (at 8:30). Alivia wanted to see the penguins, Addison wanted to see the monkeys and Asher wanted to see the Tigers. So, we started at the Aquarium. Asher was much more curious this time, running up to all of the fish in the glass and sticking his little head right up to them. Alivia and Addison were more concerned about which fish would bite or sting and how. We did have a penguin almost play with us, and we got to watch the zoo keepers feeding fish in one tank. That was fun to watch. Asher just sat down and watched, but Addison was scared of the lady in the weird costume!

We dropped into the butterfly exhibit, which was still quiet with butterflies. The jungle was quite busy with people and the smell about shot us out of the place! YUCK! The monkeys were really loud, which Addison liked. Next we went over to see more monkeys, then onto the Tigers. Asher liked the white tiger best, crying when we finally started walking away from him. Alivia wanted to know if the Tiger was wearing a costume. Ha! We walked through the cat complex before walking to the desert dome.

The Desert Dome was wild crazy with people as usual. We walk through this almost every visit, so we know the animals quite well. This is probably still Alivia's fav spot at the zoo, though. We then went into the building with the Jeep so the kids could play a bit and I could rest my legs. Addison then asked to go home. She had walked a lot this time and appeared wiped. So, homeward bound we went - making it home in time for lunch actually! That is the good thing about the zoo pass...we can go for 5 minutes everyday if we wanted.

Until next month...we will just be wild at home.

Sea Horse that was in the IMAX we saw one timeButterfly KidsWild at home after the zoo

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


“Once relationships between neighbors turn nasty, they are extremely difficult to untangle and the problems frequently become worse.”

When our neighbors moved in 3 years ago, they asked us if we planned on moving. Humm, weird question, "No." Now, looking back and oddly remembering their question, we wonder why they were asking. They would open the door and have their then 5 year old and 2 year old kids run over into our yard to play on our new playset and with our then 2 year old Alivia. The mom or dad would run in to do something, and oddly never return, leaving me alone or Chris and I alone with our 2 year old Alivia, 2 week old Addison, and their 2 kids. Lovely. It got to the point where I would close the blinds so that Alivia would not want to go out and play because I was just too tired to babysit all night, or I would elect to walk up the hill to our neighborhood park where we could just be alone! But, 90% of the time, we would let all the kids play and we would babysit.

Chris and I are pretty private people. Does that make us mean? Well, I guess to some people yes.

The following summer, now 2007, I caved and let Chris get a fence. I never wanted one. Chris wanted it for safely reasons. I now wanted one so we could go into the yard without having the entire neighborhood to babysit (we now had one other neighborhood kid as well). So, we forked out a few thousand dollars for a fence. Mind you, the new neighbors had mentioned that they wanted a fence because they wanted a dog. However, they were waiting for us to get one (so they could just get one for free). So, one would wonder, were they being annoying so we would buy their fence?

Anyway, Chris measured out the lines for the fence, flagged in, and had the neighbors agree to where it would be placed. They were fine with it. Then, the fence was installed and all hell broke lose! NOTE: ALWAYS PAY THE EXTRA MONEY TO HAVE THE LEGAL LINED FLAGGED! They then protested where the fence was and threatened us to tear it down. The fence was like 4 inches on their lawn in the back and like 6 inches inside their line in the front. Oh please...go right ahead, tear it down, but you are putting up the next one. At this point, they really needed one because they had already gotten their dog! In the meantime, they put up a bright orange snow fence to keep the dog in their yard (instead of buying a gate to their house which would have been free if they would have just been nice to us or asked to attach to the fence). I told a neighbor/friend out of fury that OVER MY DEAD BODY WILL I BUY THEM A GATE! I was mad, because afterall, we did just put in $2200 for just their side of the fence! Well, my "friend"/neighbor who was Addison's Godmother, told these new neighbors what I said - just causing fuel to an already growing fire. I also, emailed our association over the bright orange fence, which made them even more mad (we were not on speaking terms with the neighbors or I would have talked to them. But after the Mr Neighbors scary behavior, I was not going to tell them anything!). But, they thought Chris had done this. So, Mr Neighbor FREAKED OUT on Chris. Okay, if you know Chris, he is a quiet, calm man on most occasions and does not deal with this kinda crap.

Nice Chris was now done. He had mowed/shoveled out friend/neighbor's lawn/walks for free most the years leading up to this (the snitch neighbor that is). He was done with her, too. I am not so sure Chris and the neighbors have spoken since actually. (The New neighbor now mows her lawn and shovels for our old "friend" and she pays him).  I, on the other hand, have done some things to try to fix the problem. I have apologized for any misunderstandings, annoyances. I have baked for them. I have "Loved the Neighbor" to actually overloved them two Lents with No Love given back (some people are just not lovable). On the other hand, the neighbors have been more or less malicious. They have turned the entire street against us. We were not close friends with any of them previously, but we were friendly. Those same people jumped up and down in the street, clapped, and sat around gossiping about us after we put our FSBO sign in the yard. Needless to say, having neighbors may be one of the main factors in our wanting to move. We want peace at home if anywhere. I can go to a dark alley and get treated better than I do around here!

This is what we are dealing with and how to fix it, I guess, since moving does not appear to be our answer:

"Things got off on the wrong foot from the day you moved in, and it's been downhill from there. Whenever you reach out to them, you just wind up mad at yourself for bothering to make the effort."

"How to Handle 'Em: Sadly, there are some people who simply weren't meant to be your pals. If they're malicious or doing something illegal, report it. Otherwise, make all interactions brief and civil and be glad you get along better with your other neighbors." Unfortunately, they have made it so very few people on our street will even wave at us!

So, let's just hope their little boy is not in Alivia's Kindergarten class or Alivia gets into private school!

Here's to Loving The Neighbor!

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I'm So Done!

Last night just as we were preparing dinner, a woman by the name of Tricia Knock (Yes, I am using her real name) called and asked if she could see our home NOW (like she was in our driveway or something)! Seriously, NO! If you are listed with an agent, they at least give you 2 hours notice! You expect the NOW requests on the weekends, but on a weeknight at dinner time? She specifically wanted to talk to Chris, which I thought was weird considering both of our names are on the flyer. Anyway, she agreed with tonight at 5:30PM. So, today I cleaned up the house like a crazy person like I normally do, adding all the normal extras (like doing every last bit of laundry, scrubbing all the floors, etc) that I normally do. The house shined and smelled liked lavender. It looked as perfect as I could get it.

Alivia had a dentist appointment at 4 which Chris agreed to take her to and return in time for me to leave with the kiddos for the showing. I took Addison and Asher outside in hopes they would not destroy all my hard work during their "quiet" time.

5:30 came and went - no Chris and Alivia, no Tricia. I did not know who I was more frustrated with! 5:45, Chris and Alivia arrived home after stopping by a toy store and going out for an icecream cone (assuming Super Mommy would take care of the showing with Addison and Asher in tow). I then had Chris call Tricia, leaving her a message. Of course, she did not answer. I called her again at 6, again no answer (we were calling her cell phone, too).

Frustrated, I looked up this Tricia person on the Internet finding her husband owns a home in Bennington that is not for sale and they were both pictured on Facebook (amazing and scary what you can find on the Internet!). I guess I found out she existed, but not why she was so disrespectful, inconsiderate, etc! I feel like calling her at 3AM or something and saying, "I'm sorry, am I inconveniencing you? Oh, I thought you liked that or something?!!" But, I am not crazy.

What to see our house? I need a down payment just to schedule an appointment! I am done with this **** already!!

And THIS is why people get real estate agents! When are we pulling the sign anyway? I'm ready now!

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Austin Family Vacation 2009: Lake of the Ozarks

We left on Saturday, July 18th at 7:20 AM for our 6+ hour drive on our annual trip to the Lake of the Ozarks. We met up with Grandma and Grandpa at the first rest stop on 29. The girls then went to ride with Grandma and Grandpa. The ride seemed fast to Chris and I. Not sure if it was because we only had Asher in the car or what. We stopped at Platte City for gas and quick rest stop and then stopped at Warrensburg for a picnic and play time at the park.  We climbed back into our cars for the quick 2 hour drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The girls slept a bit while Asher talked the whole way.

We arrived at the “cabin” at 2:40 and unpacked. Alivia and Addison ran right into the house picking out their room. Addison clearly did not remember the cabin. She asked why there was a table downstairs...did she not remember eating there last summer? Alivia, Asher and Daddy jumped in the lake. Asher did not seem to mind the life jacket once in the water. Then, it was bedtime. The girls were to sleep in the bunk beds. But, they were over tired and did not want to go to sleep. The first night was a long challenge to get the girls to sleep (this actually continued the whole trip).

Family Vacation 2009Daddy & AddisonAsher swimming
Alivia swimming Day 1Getting ready for night night

Sunday: On this day, after our daily little walk where we saw a deer, Alivia, Asher and Addison all went on a jet ski ride! Addison really liked it, but we had to convince Alivia to ride it for a bit of honey treat. Alivia did more swimming, learning how to jump off the dock and swim with her life jacket on. They also swam a bit in the baby pool. Chris also brought down the canoe and we went on our first canoe ride of the trip. We finished the day with a treat: Smores!

Asher climbing the stairsCheese AsherAhhh...Alivia in the air chairPool TimeA few toysAddison & Daddy again...Addison drivingFloat Boat TimeAlivia swimmingMmmm...smores!Finally...night night

Monday: We got up, went on another walk with Grandpa, then hit the Grand Glaze Beach. It was a long drive to the beach where Asher screamed almost the entire way there, but it was worth it! It was fabulous! The kids played in the sand, Addison buried Grandpa Bill in the sand, and then we did a little swimming. We had a picnic near the water in the shade before heading back to the cabin in the early afternoon. The kids had fun! Asher napped, while Alivia, Addison and I had some water time. Addison liked getting in the blow up boat and floating around with me while Alivia swam with her life jacket on again. She is really good at swimming now and is comfortable floating around. I tried to convince her to go down the slide by going down myself over and over, but she was just not ready. After a good shrimp dinner, Addison and Daddy took a canoe ride (her first of the season). She wanted to go more and more! The kids had a little less problems going to sleep, but it still was not like at home.

Grandpa on the walkAM stroller rideLife's a BeachAsher, a little sandyCover Boppa with Sand!Asher swimming at the beachFun over? Picnic time...Addison & Daddy on a canoe rideNight night again...

Tuesday: Rain, rain go away! Since it was raining, we decided it would be a good day to go shopping. Addison slept in until nearly 9am, then we got ready. The outlet mall is outside and it was pouring rain. It was crazy. After a few stores, we were soaked. But, we all got something. We stopped for lunch at the kids’ fav McD’s, picked up a few essentials at the store, before heading to Grandma’s Candy Store. Yummy! It was 2 o’clock before we got back to the house (and we saw 3 more deer on the way back!). As the day progressed, the weather did get better. The girls did a little fishing from the dock where the girls liked to play with the worms - yuck!, and then Alivia and Daddy did a little swimming. Addison and Daddy went on a little canoe ride. And of course, more cartoon network inside!

Riding horses eating candy!Playing in the wormsFishingCartoon network time

Wednesday: After a quick run, I wanted to go water skiing before it got busy. I skied on 2 (of course) even before breakfast. I jumped right up, remembering what to do after a few years hiatus. Once everyone was awake and had breakfast, we loaded the boat for a little ride on the lake. It was a nice morning for it! The kids actually liked the boat ride (or did they just like Grandma’s cookies and crackers in the boat?). We arrived home at 10:30, just in time to get back in the water for more swimming before lunch. After lunch, Asher went down for his nap while the girls watched cartoons, collected seeds and colored with Grandma Bet.  Chris, Grandpa and I went out for more skiing! Chris, with a little encouragement from Grandpa, tried unsuccessfully to barefoot ski before skiing on one and two. He is crazy, jumping and doing his stunts in the water. I tried one before setting in on 2 again. Grandpa, who is not supposed to ski, talked Chris into pulling him on 2 for a bit. It was a fun afternoon! We came in and got the girls to swim some more. Addison got in the water for a millisecond, then got into the floating “boat” and took a nap! She floated around the dock for nearly 2 hours with Mommy or Daddy sleeping. We covered her face with a hat and body with a towel so she would not burn. Unfortunately, we could not say the say for Daddy, who got fried. We grilled out again, had more smores and then took Asher on a brief canoe ride. On our return, Daddy went back out to canoe around the cove, seeing baby raccoon, a big bird, and a little boy going potty right of the dock. Nice! Meanwhile, the kids and I played hide n seek with Grandma and Grandpa, hiding in every little spot we could find upstairs. After the kids went to bed, evening entertainment consisted of “Pass the Pigs” game. Don’t knock it until you have tried it – it was fun (okay, I won twice so it was more fun that way!).

Boat TimeBoat TimeAddison and Daddy on the Jet skiCrazy BoppaAsher on the jet skiThe Life of RetirementFunny DaddyThere's Grandpa!Mommy on ski nAsher's canoe rideAddison's nap on the lake

Thursday: Today was supposed to be our last day, but we decided to stay through Friday. We got up and attempted to go on a walk. Addison, who decided she did not want to go on a walk, cried, scaring a little deer out of the woods.  It was so cute. We did a little fishing (Asher's first time). Then, Alivia and Daddy tried to go swimming, but the weather was a little chilly. The temps were in the 80s all week,  but the water was usually pretty warm. After more cartoon network and playing in the house, Grandma suggested we go to Miller’s Landing via boat for lunch. How fun! It was the first time we took all 3 kiddos to eat out via the boat. It was a beautiful day and ride. The kids watched the fish as we waited for the food. The food was delic! Both Addison and Asher fell asleep in the boat on the return trip. After Grandpa had a dead tree cut down (and we all watched) everyone, except Asher and Addison, took turns swimming and going on jet ski rides all afternoon. It was a great way to spend our extra day. After getting cleaned up, kiddos in bed, Chris and I took a quiet canoe ride while the sun went down. It was so peaceful! We wished that we could do that more often.

Addi pushing her stroller up the big hillDaddy & Alivia on a walkView away from the "cabin"Family WalkAsher Fishing!Fishing from the dockMiller's Landing LunchGrandpa in the BoatAsher sleeping in the boatTree Cutting TimeWatching the tree get cut downBaby Squirrel found in the tree

Friday: Another wonderful vacation to the Lake of the Ozarks has to come to an end. Alivia and Addison climbed into the car with Grandma and Grandpa, Asher in the car with Chris and I as we headed home leaving at 10am. We stopped at the same park in Warrensburg for a picnic lunch, then in Rock Port for an ice cream treat and getting Alivia back in our car. The ride from Rock Port to home was quite long with 2 out of 3 kiddos crying most of the time in rush hour. Fabulous! We arrived home just before 5:30.

The Austin Family Vacation 2009The Cabin, 2009Grandma Bet, Boppa Bill & the kids

This year “firsts” achieved at the Lake:

Alivia: Swam in the big, deep lake with her life jacket. She is getting braver!
Addison: Is now going #2 consistently in the potty! (I think it may have been a behavioral thing, but who knows). Addison also got in the water for about 15 seconds to swim!

Asher: Is now walking up the stairs with alternating gate. I guess he had a lot of practice with stairs at the Lake! He also took his first dip in Grandma and Boppa's Big Pool!


We had a wonderful time at the Lake. It always makes us sad to leave, another fun trip behind us. Asher is now adjusting to not having Grandma and Boppa around (he asked for them when he woke up this morning!). It is good for the kids to get to know them better on our trips, too. We know we will return next year, the kiddos another year older. It is amazing how quickly time passes – but we look forward to every exciting moment. Until next year…

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