Shark Week

Pump House Bar and Grill Shark Week Party

I get asked all the time: “Hey, what’s your thing with Shark Week?”  This is the story behind it.

It was circa 1995. I had 4 partially impacted wisdom teeth cracked out of my skull. Armed only with ice packs, ibuprofen and a Costco sized box of popsicles, I settled deep into the pillows of my futon and clicked the remote control. This is how Discovery’s Shark Week and I were introduced. I spent the next few days completely enthralled in ocean documentaries focusing on sharks. It fed my not-so-inner nerd with marine science. It fueled the adrenaline freak in me with survival stories. It helped the time pass quickly as I healed over the next few days.

A year later I found myself on that same futon, this time recovering from the sharp slices of a surgical knife. Was the timing coincidence or fate? We’ll never know for sure, but what remains undisputed is that reaching for the remote the second time, changed my course. Discovery’s Shark Week was again front and center on my TV and this time, I was hooked.

I’ve watched the programming evolve over the years. I’ve watched the young marine biologists and cinematographers advance through their careers. I’ve watched programming leaps as technology advanced. I’ve cringed as commercialism pushed Shark Week into mockumentaries, sharknadoes and filmmakers put retired athletes into shark cages for nothing more than an attempt to bump ratings.

Shark Week is a tradition in our home and the tradition inevitably spilled over into the lives of the littles around me. It’s the one time of year we get to celebrate science, marine biology, amazing cinematography, survival stories and some jawsome great white breaches. We brush up on our shark facts. We out shark each other. We pun. We shark premiere. We shark the entire week up with cheesy jokes and saved spectacular “must see and repeat” TV moments. It’s the one week out of the year that natural selection dominates and after many nights of cheating Darwin in a busy ER, there is a quiet satisfaction in watching the ocean’s apex predator dominate.

In short, it’s a nerd thing. And sharks are just really cool.

Lemon Dream Martini

If you wish you could wrap your fingers around a lemon dreamsicle, this is a martini for you! It’s not quite as tart as a lemon drop, not as sweet as limoncello and the cream is the perfect addition.

Lemon Dream Martini

Lemon Dream Martini 

1.5 ounces Lemon Vodka

1.5 ounces Limoncello

3 ounces of half and half or cream

1-2 teaspoons of frozen lemonade concentrate

Lemon Drop rimming sugar or crushed lemon drop candies

Fresh Sliced Lemons

Ice

Slice lemons and use one to rim top of martini glass, then dip in lemon drop rimming sugar. Place in freezer. In cocktail shaker, add generous amount of ice. I fill mine 1/2 to 3/4 of the way with fresh ice. Add 1-2 heaping spoons of frozen lemonade concentrate, limoncello, vodka and cream. Cover. Shake until frost begins to form on outside of shaker. Pour into chilled glass. Garnish with a fresh lemon slice. I like to give mine a squeeze before floating the lemon on top.  Enjoy!

If you want this more tart, squeeze in more lemon juice. Control the sweetness by adding or subtracting lemonade concentrate or limoncello. Want a stronger cocktail? Cut back on cream or half and half.  Need a lighter version?  Use 2% or whole milk instead of cream.

Lemon Dream Martini

I’d love to hear what you think of this cocktail! I’m also completely open to better name suggestions, drop me a comment!

Disabilities: Removing the Dis and Focusing on Abilities

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My six year old nephew called me last summer. He had been looking through photos of his brother and cousin up at the mountain, noticed he wasn’t in the pictures and had something to say about that.

“Auntie A! Meeeeeeeee skiiiiiiii!!!”

I was cautiously optimistic to hear his request. We’d had him up on skis when he was 4 but he was more interested in eating snow than staying upright. When he was 5, we repeated our trip but when given the option, he chose a sled over skis. Maybe this would be the magical year!

Grant on skis, age 4
At age 4, he was more interested in eating snow than skiing

We’ve been practicing over the past few winters on plastic, slip-on skis to help him get use to the idea of staying upright with his feet strapped onto long boards. At times our quest felt futile. Without real edges or any surface for traction, the plastic skis slipped out from underneath him on the snow. His usually patient and easy going demeanor would give in to frustration. We’d put the skis away until the next time and repeat.

We Carry Our Own Equipment
Even at age 5, we carry our own skis

My nephew has Down Syndrome and that extra chromosome doesn’t do him any favors when it comes to learning a new sport. Muscle flaccidity, decreased motor skill, difficulty with coordination, challenges with verbal skills; it all comes with Trisomy 21. One specialist likened it to trying to function with your body in a sock. Simple things are difficult, like moving the tongue, holding a crayon, picking up a toothpick, using words, turning verbal instructions into actions.

We do all of those things anyway. We focus on our cans, not our can’ts. We use patience and repetition. We laugh a lot. We celebrate advances. We don’t get hung up on imperfection. We move forward, we move backwards, we try again, we don’t give up. This applies to every child, regardless of chromosome count. Some things are hard. We do them anyway.

He’s just six years old, he has an extra chromosome and New Year’s Eve, he made it up the chairlift and down his first run on skis, using his own strength and coordination to control his speed and stop.

And THAT is how we take the dis out of disability!

Focus on Abilities
Thumbs up! He’s officially a skier!

 

Family Traditions

Feeling a bit nostalgic… Putting up “the fancy stuff” until our next family feast. It’s always a little extra work and this year, we were so limpy, gimpy and wimpy after our morning run that I nearly scratched the idea and went with paper plates – but I’m glad I didn’t.

We remained true to tradition, like my mother and grandmothers and great grandmothers before me; we used the fine china, we set a pretty table, we poured good wine, we ate a little too much and we laughed until we cried. We missed the family who couldn’t make it and we remembered the loved ones who left us too soon.

I’m the oldest of four and THIS is my “why” – family, love and traditions that continue to hold all of us together, so that even long after we are gone, we remain together in spirit.

#FamilyMatters
#UseTheGoodStuff
#TeachYourChildrenWell
#GratefulForTheseLessons

The Dreaded Treadmill

I am not an exercise enthusiast but as a nurse, I do have a special appreciation of the body and I deeply respect life.

I’ve worked in a hospital for over twenty years now and the majority of those years, I’ve been an emergency room nurse. I’ve watched the human spirit fight for life as the body runs out of energy to hold on. I’ve seen up close and personal the habits that rob life of it’s quality. I’ve seen illness steal the light from a life well lived.

There are many events we have no control over but as much as I despise scheduled exercise, oh how I love skiing and hiking and being outside! I enjoy being able to bend down to tie my own shoes. I appreciate being able to climb up on the counters to water my own plants. It brings me joy to be able to physically participate in a child’s life and run on the playground, swing on the swings and zip down the slide without having to stop to catch my breath. This is the good stuff.

From the Summit
Black Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.

So I exercise.

I put on my Nikes and I fire up ol’ Mo, my aptly named treadmill, and I curse and I cry and I get it done. I quit at least 30 times an hour, but then I remember my “why” and I get my head back in the game and I keep going. I play mental games with myself. I do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Polar Bear 5K
My first ever 5K was done in snow boots and with this little man on my shoulders. It took 56 minutes but we did it!

I need to be able to perform solid chest compressions for at least 2 minutes straight without getting tired. (It sounds easier than it is.) I need to be able to downhill ski for 8 hours straight, keep up with my pre-teen mountain master nephews and still have the energy to make the hour drive home – and then do it again the next day. I need to be able to climb a haystack, lift a bale of hay, load it into a pick-up truck and then lift it again into a hay feeder. And sometimes, I need to be fast enough to make it to the gate before the bull. Well, that last one hasn’t happened yet, but if it ever does, I need to be ready!

That’s Some Bull

So I keep exercising, even though I despise it.

I challenged my 9 year old nephew to a 5K Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning. He’s an athlete. We’ve walked a couple races in the past but he’s been chomping at the bit to run one for time. He’s too little to run a 5K alone, so I’ve been training and training HARD to be able to drop the reins and let the little guy give it all he’s got but still be able to keep up with him.

Polar Bear Run 2017

I’ve been using the Couch Potato to 5K app to coach me along. I’ve crossed the threshold from mostly walker to mostly runner as of late and I’m actually beginning to feel excited about the upcoming race – though, I have to confess, I’m even MORE excited that our mountain just announced an early lift opening the day after the race and that is my real reason for cardio conditioning – ski season.

Down Syndrome Fun Walk

I’m not fast, it’s not pretty and I’m not a natural – but I get it done because I believe the body is a tool and I have to keep it conditioned to perform the activities that I enjoy. It’s really that simple.

So wish me luck. The little guy has vowed, in playful jest, to “totally smoke me and leave me in the dust” next Thursday. Personally, I think I just might surprise him.

Polar Bear Rn
Single digits may have slowed us down for this race but we still finished.

These are iTune links to two of the apps I’ve used.  I like to mix things up so I’m always guessing what the next day will bring.  I believe they both offer Android versions as well and no – nobody is paying me to mention their product.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/5k-runner-couch-potato-to-5k/id439852091?mt=8

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/c25k-5k-trainer/id485971733?mt=8v

C25K

White Flag Waving

I’m not going to lie, life is kicking my hiney.  Not in the big, scary, life-altering way that trauma or illness effects a person, nope, it’s in small, pecking, almost inconsequential life events that are just enough to remind a person that no matter how together you believe you’ve got it  — you really don’t.

I’m not allowed to talk about work.  I can’t give chief complaints or talk about cases – what I can share is that there should never be a surgical team yelling for retractors in the emergency department and every time it happens, an ER nurse ages 5 years in 10 seconds.  Enough said.

It didn’t stop there.

Until you’ve spilled deer and rodent repellent in a vehicle, you have no idea how bad shuttling kids and running errands in 100 degree temps can get.  This liquid has an odor similar to dog vomit after it has consumed a decompositioned carcass.  Did I mention it’s created to leave a “scent stain” behind?  When a cadaver dog “hits” on my vehicle in 10 years, I’m referencing this blog post as evidence.  Yes.  It’s THAT bad.

Almost as bad as — the little guy taking a crap in the pool.  Yep.  That oversized kiddie pool I’ve been struggling to keep upright for the past couple weeks?  It’s got more quirks than I ever imagined.  Air, water, chemicals — got it.  Add a kid in a swimmer diaper and reset the learning curve.

Mud
Yes – they are ankle deep in the mud.

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t check for a dirty diaper IN the pool, that stuff floats, and —

2. When changing that pull-up in the house, use extreme caution — it comes off with a gallon sized “splash” on the bathroom floor.

The EZ-Up pool has now been drained, sanitized and refilled, as have all of the children involved.  The little guy is still mad at me for making him get out of the pool in the first place but he did help me clean and sanitize the bathroom floor so I have confidence we’re working towards a solution to our issue.  Tomorrow, we’re going to the algae-filled lake.  No harm, no foul.

Happy

I’m short on sleep.  Night shift does that.  I’ve worked this shift the better part of 20 years.  I know each shift comes with a price and I budget my sleep better than any accountant.  I pride myself on it.  I need an 8.5 hour average of sleep to stay human.  I can do 6, I can do 5.5, I can follow it up with a 7 hour night of sleep and maybe even go one more 6.5 — but then, my body is going to crash and not even an alarm clock will wake me from a 16+ hour coma.  Experts say the brain can’t make up on lost sleep.  Several years of personal Fitbit stats argue that.  I average 8.5 hours every week — at least usually.

This week I’m on auntie duty and my single mom sister is depending on me to keep her child alive and not lost while she works a full time schedule to provide a home for her and my nephew.  This means a lot of lives depend on me not being late.  My night shift brain doesn’t fall asleep until 2 at night.  My Auntie A body needs to be up at 7 in the morning.  My most precious moments in life are the moments I get to spend with my siblings’ kids.  It’s at about day 3 that things begin to go sideways.  By Friday, I’ll be wondering how parents survive and ordering my latte over-easy with a grande side of eggs.  My keys will be lost.  My socks might not match — hopefully, I’m wearing matching shoes BUT there have been time that wasn’t the case.  Thank you for not pointing it out or correcting my flipped-flopped words.

There’s more.

I had time to call to get my Jeep towed to the shop today.  The ride of shame.  What’s worse is that we live 40+ miles and two towns away from the dealer so EVERYONE got a good look at it.  I can’t very well drive it that far with wipers wiping, fluid spraying and the horn blasting.  Well, I could — but the same electrical issue effects the air bag and fuel injector system so it wasn’t safe.

TIPM Issue 2008 Jeep Wrangler
The ride of shame…

I’m counting my defunct phone battery replacement today as a win.  I spent 2 hours educating myself about camera settings to capture perfect firework photos on the 4th.  It was a wreck.  My sister held up her iPhone and nailed every shot.  Of course, the battery on my iPhone 6 – was – dead.

2017 Fireworks

 

I don’t know how parents do it night after nights and stay sane.

I don’t how nurses do it night after night and stay positive.

Mostly, I don’t know how anyone does morning after morning and keeps their mind functioning properly!

Sparklers

The Yearly Storming of the Castle

So a big ol’ fat field mouse crawled out from under the cabinets and plopped down on the kitchen floor the other night.

This is a fact, friends. Every single year, the mice attempt to storm the castle to make it their own and each year, I fight back, with everything I’ve got, to keep them out.

Let there be no mistake.  It – is – a – war.

Rodents vs Humans.

And if you so much as give an inch — in moves their family, and cousin’s family and babies — so many babies!!!  So NO!!! We do NOT take pity, we don’t seek out humane and ethical treatment of animals – and we don’t share our thoughts or methods with PETA. This is MY house. They have 160 acres to go build their own house.  They cross the threshold of MY house and the battle is on!

In years past, a breach of the household barrier by rodents has caused me to scream in a voice that doesn’t even sound like my own then vapor lock as I continue to scream but no sound actually is produced. This year, when my fat little friend, plopped her not so stealthy self down in front of me — I just looked at her and said, “Oh no – not this year!” She froze, momentarily, then hopped back up beneath the cabinets as if to say, “These are not the drones you seek,” but it was too late. I most definitely saw her.  And that meant war.

I quietly slipped down the hall to the shop where I keep my rodent arsenal.  See – I’m getting better at this farm thing.  Snap traps, bait traps, sticky traps, poison blocks — what do you need? I’ve got at least one of everything. Old ones, new ones, outdoor and indoor varieties — I’m not admitting to contraband, but let’s just say I may even have a few things we can’t mention online.  Ironically, the old fashion broom proved to be the most damaging in years past – not to the rodent – but to the wood floor, wall and glass in the French doors.  Oh, and it smashed a humidifier to a million pieces in the process but the mouse escaped without injury.  We’ve upgraded equipment and trained since those rookie days.

Like a rodent killing Ninja, I proceeded to set a mine field of various traps from the kitchen sink to the pantry, in the pantry, under the furniture, in the cabinets, along the walls, beneath the doors — if there was a space — there was now a lethal rodent snare.

It’s been a week and nothing.  The humanitarian in me (it’s there – just deeply buried beneath rodent despise), was relieved.  The rodent killer and mouse hater wasn’t.  I know that where you see one, there are really twenty and that’s just gross.

But tonight I heard the tribal call of an animal caught in a trap. It was a big guy and he was thrashing about, making a mess and wreaking havoc as he attempted to rid himself of the trap.  I walked into the kitchen to find a hopping, yelling husband with his foot stuck in a giant sticky trap, glue strands extending from one counter to the other.

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It’s not exactly what I expected but it sure made me laugh.  A little dish soap, oil based lotion, bath water rinse and he was free.  Frankly, I’m just happy it wasn’t his pinky toe in a snap trap that caught him.  Either way, this species has always been catch and release – so I let him go – but I think he’s going to hang out awhile and I’m happy about that.

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The mice, on the other hand, I expect to fight this battle with until next fall, when they go underground and hibernate.  This is a farm.  This is what we do.

Seriously?

They can’t all be good days.  Some days are crazy, upside-down, if-it-can-go-wrong-it-will-go-wrong type of days.  Some days can get so bad, in fact, that I literally check the sky for a vortex of bad luck spinning above my head.  Yesterday was definitely one of those days.

I had a day full of tasks to get done within a tight schedule.  If things went right, my day would look like it had been professionally choreographed.  Pick up Nephew #3, dentist, lunch, swimming lessons, errands, pick up Nephew #4, pick up Nephew #2, finish planting the garden, have the boys plant their own flower baskets while we talked warmly about their days, get dinner started, drop the kids off at their respected homes and get home to finish the last of the laundry and get dinner on the table just in time to sit down and catch up with my husband about his day.  Maybe there would even be a pretty sunset and nightcap to wrap the day up.

I was right on schedule and getting ready to walk out the door when I remembered that I had left my purse in my other vehicle.  I walked into the garage, opened the Jeep door and THIS happens – make sure your volume is down before pushing play on this 4 second insight:

No, I’m not joking.

Horn blaring, wipers beating and wiper fluid squirting all over the garage; the Jeep was clearly melting down in its own version of a temper tantrum.  I went inside, grabbed the keys and hopped into the driver’s seat still getting sprayed to see if starting the motor would suspend the assault.  No luck.  The obnoxiously loud horn was vibrating my brain.

I threw open the hood, grabbed pliers and detached the battery cables.  Thank goodness.  Silence.  There was no time to do anything but shake off the dripping wiper fluid from my face and leave to go pick up my nephew from school for his dentist appointment – because now I was ten minutes behind schedule!

I got down my driveway and noticed that the Bluetooth didn’t sync to my cell.  Whatever!  I don’t have time for this!  I’ll worry about that later.   My nephew was waiting in the office for me when I arrived and we slid into the dentist office just in the nick of time.  Phew!

While waiting for my nephew, I reached for my iPhone to update my calendar.  I got 10 seconds of screen time and then the ever annoying black screen.  Perfect.  If you don’t own an iPhone 6s, you may not be aware of the recent battery issues that came with an IOS upgrade a few months ago.  Battery life jumps from 97% to 30% to dead at varied rates now.  Sometimes it takes 8 hours, others it takes 7 minutes.  Apple denies my particular phone has one of the defective batteries included in a recall but suggests I get it fixed because the battery is, in fact, defective.  Wrap your brain around THAT notice.

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No worries, I keep a charger in the car.  The dentist appointment went well and we headed out for lunch.  I even got Nephew #3 to the local pool in time to meet his class for swimming lessons and squeezed enough juice into my phone between stops to get a couple photos for his mom.

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The local pool may be kept at barely 80 degrees but the indoor building temps climbed much higher.  By the time lessons were over, I both felt and looked like I had just spent an hour in a 120 degree sauna.  We headed to the local big box garden department for a few seed packs, potting soil and garden stakes.  By the time we were done, I felt faint.  There wasn’t enough cold air in the world to cool me off.  We stopped at Sonic for slushies to both cool off and surprise the boys with after school treats.  We had about 15 minutes before Nephew #4 was out of school and – Beep!!! It looked like my phone had charged enough to work again because my hands-free was signaling an incoming call.

It was my sister-in-law, calling to confirm that I was, in fact, picking up her boys because she’d gotten calls from both schools that nobody had arrived to get them.  Oh, crap!!!  Early release.  On Wednesdays, they get out an hour early!  Dang it.  I forgot!

I can’t begin to tell you how terrible of a feeling it is to know you’ve let not one, but TWO, of your little nephews – one with special needs – sitting in the school office for nearly an hour, waiting for you.  It’s heart-wrenching.  They both acted like it was no biggie – but I know it was just to make me feel better.  I let them down and I knew it.

We did get the garden seeded but not before thunder rumbled in the background – also not before the little guy filled his pull-up.  We took a break to get him in clean pants when I discovered one of the worst red and blistered diaper rashes I’ve ever seen on the little guy.  Forget planting.  I ran a bath for him in hopes of getting whatever had caused that horrible rash off his sensitive skin.  I patted him dry and slathered him with Butt Paste.  He said it didn’t hurt but how could something like that not hurt?

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By now, it was already 7:30pm.  Dinner was still frozen solid in the freezer, laundry was still piled in the hamper and I realized, I forgot to feed the children even a snack.  They’d been helping me with heavy loads of dirt and gardening on nothing more than a sugar-filled slushie.  Epic auntie fail!  

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It was too late to right my wrongs without ruining their supper.  I packed up the starving, dirty boys — and the one clean kid — just in time for my husband to walk in the door and ask me why the garage floor was puddled with wiper fluid.  I shook my head apologetically and simply said, “Just save me some vodka,” and took off for town again to drop the littles off at home with barely enough time to eat before their bedtimes.

I got home, poured a drink, explained to my husband about the demonically possessed Jeep and turned to the Internet for guidance on what the heck went wrong.  Apparently — the horn, wiper and fluid squirting thing is a known issue with 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wranglers.  It has to do with the Totally Integrated Power Manager – (TIPM).  The 2007’s were updated in a vehicle wide recall.  Guess what – the 2008 model has the same issue but isn’t covered in the recall.  Perfect – it’s the theme of the day.

Just before midnight my phone had enough of a charge to explode with messages and voice mails from both the boys’ school to let me know the kids were waiting in the office — as if to remind me exactly what a messed up day it had really been.

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Then our non-functioning, unplugged-but-not-unwired, security system let out a shrill alarm at about 3 AM.

Seriously.

I want an electro-magnetic, spiritual cleansing.

“If You Build It, They Might Come”

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning with a hazy cloud cover and moderate outdoor temps, perfect dirt digging weather.  Alas, I sit inside, large coffee cup in hand, to catch up on writing — because I’m so stinkin’ sore from yesterday that I won’t be able to move more than my typing finger until the Aleve kicks in.

I get these ideas.  I like to call them great ideas, myself – and they usually are – well, at least until proven otherwise, like the time I got the goats (shudder), BUT that’s a story for another day…  Anyway, back to my latest great idea.  Pumpkins.  Let’s grow pumpkins!

Every year for the past 13ish years, we coordinate schedules among siblings, charge the camera batteries, withdraw a small fortune from the ATM, pack up the children and head to the local pumpkin patch where we spend 75% of the day, standing in long lines, listening to screaming kids and cranky parents, so we can catch that one perfect but elusive moment that everyone is happy, smiling and all looking at the camera at the same time, in an animal painted wagon train or atop an equally thrilled pony.  The photos are priceless.

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Then we hunt down a wagon or wheelbarrow, head out to the actual pumpkin patch to find Halloween pumpkins that costs enough to drain the last few twenty dollar bills from a wallet.  It’s tradition.  We don’t buck tradition — right?  Hmmm…  What if we tried?  What if – maybe – we did (gulp) something new next year?

It was at this spot my great idea came together.  What if I grew pumpkins out on the farm for my niece, nephews and a handful of local kids to come pick out next fall?  We could stack hay bales for them to play on, borrow a friend’s pony and take them for ATV rides.  Caramel corn is east to make.  Is it possible to create a spot so great that the children decide they want to skip the long lines at the local pumpkin patch?!  Is it too big of a dream?!!

IMG_5532It’s impossible to know whether or not something will work without trying, so this year – I got serious about it.  In early spring , I started a variety of pumpkin seedlings indoors.  I moved them outside a few weeks ago to harden them off and acclimate them to Central Oregon wind and weather.  Then yesterday, I prepped the soil, got them in the ground and covered.

While it takes about 3 seconds to type that line, the actual amount of physical labor that went into just soil prep was brutal.  This is why I can’t move today.  I spent 5 hours (FIVE – did you read that?!  FIVE long, body-jolting, blister-forming, sweat-stinging-my-eyeball hours!) rototilling hard packed, lightly rock-filled, sod bound earth into something more workable and pumpkin root ready.

Theory is that all soil needs amended.  So I lugged several heavy bags of compost and manure out to the want-to-be pumpkin patch and tilled it in until it was well mixed.  The nerd, um, scientist in me, will be able to see if the theory is true because I was about 8 feet short on soil amendments, so we will be doing a side by side pumpkin development study.

In the process, I dug up a frog.  Well, it’s a toad, actually.  I thought it was the biggest tree frog I’d ever seen, so, like any decent human, I returned it to its branch.  And then it fell out.  I decided that it probably wasn’t a tree frog.  It got misidentified as the nasty invasive American Bullfrog and spent a night receiving death threats on my Facebook page (that might be an exaggeration) until I decided to read up and educate myself about both the dreaded bullfrog (sorry, nobody likes you, it seems) and other native species present in my local region.  I am now 100% certain, my little friend was none other than the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad.  Phew.  Environmental disaster avoided.  I’m pretty sure he survived because I saw him hop off as I stood guard over the dogs so they wouldn’t eat him.

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Back to pumpkins, now we wait.  Will they get enough water?  Will the bunnies, dogs, deer or bugs get the plants first?  Our forecast changed from a week of overnight lows in the 40-50’s to suddenly just above freezing once  the tender seedlings were planted.  Will the tunnel cover keep them safe from frost?  I don’t know – and even if all things go well, will these pumpkins be enough to woo the children from wanting to go to their favorite pumpkin patch this fall?  One can only hope and dream.

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Okay, I can straighten my legs with only a moderate amount of groaning.  It’s time to go to work on the garden boxes.  Please pray for no snakes.  I just don’t think I have what it takes for a snake-sighting in me today.

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World Down Syndrome Day, 3/21

3/21 is Down Syndrome Day.  Down Syndrome, aka, Trisomy 21, meaning when those tiny gametes met to create a zygote — there was an extra chromosome 21 — and that little zygote grew up to be our adorable miracle: Grant.

So, he’s just like the rest of us, except he has an extra chromosome.  It can make some things harder for him, like speech and fine motor skills — but it also makes him pretty darn special; anyone who has ever been lucky enough to feel his hug knows exactly what I’m talking about.  He is patient, kind, loving and so stinking funny that he keeps us all giggling.  His connection with animals is infinitely deep, so much that it feels spiritual.  His tolerance of others is one I envy.  He teaches us new life lessons every single day and we are all better and wiser humans for it.

I’m so utterly humbled by and grateful for this little man that I can hardly go a day without seeing him.  He’s my nephew, my little buddy, my helper and my backseat co-pilot and I can’t imagine a life without him. ❤