Archive for May 2011

Back To The Grind

May 31, 2011

It’s funny how just an extra day off from school/work at the beginning or end of a weekend makes it seem much longer. But that isn’t a bad thing. We had a great weekend!

To start things off, we picked up the kids after school Friday afternoon and them to see Kung Fu Panda 2, which was awesome. DreamWorks, when it comes to kids movies, you (and Pixar) ROCK! My dad also joined us for the flick, and gave 3 of the kids (the most that would fit) a ride home in his new-ish convertible. One thing I love about kids is how easy it can be to make them happy or feel like something is special.

Let’s skip forward a few days to Monday, which happened to be Memorial Day. We took the kids the cemetery to visit Grandpa Neal (Greg’s dad) grave in the morning, and then met my parents at my brother Zeke’s grave that afternoon. I have to say, with all of the flowers and what ended up as decent weather, we had a nice time. We then got together at our house for a BBQ. The kids absolutely love any time that they get to spend with Grandma Gina & Grandpa Jimbo. A great dinner with family was a great ending to our fun weekend.


Slaughter House

May 27, 2011

Look at that face. Doesn’t she look sweet? Innocent? Like an angel straight from heaven?

She is an angel all right.. the angel of DEATH! But only if you happen to have a beak and feathers. If you’re human or a dog, she’ll be your best friend. She’s like Dexter covered in fur.

The birds are back from their winter vacations, and those who happen to venture into our yard do so at their own risk. Robins are the meal of choice, but she won’t turn down any meal. Last week marked our first casualty, and if this summer is anything like the last, we’ll have an average of 4 bird corpses in our yard per week. Although I must say, Phoebe doesn’t waste much. A leg here, a few feathers there, but otherwise there isn’t much evidence of a birds demise.

All Aves, beware. I will do my best to thwart her killing activities, but the circle of life is in full force at the Nickel home.

Being Born Makes Me Special

May 26, 2011

My birthday was a few days ago, and my feelings about my birthdays these days go something like this: woo hoo. I was born 36 years ago. Yeah for me.

Despite my lack of excitement, it was a great day. In addition to other gifts, Greg had scheduled a massage for me that morning, which was a VERY nice surprise. Once the kids got home from school, I got to hang out with them for a little while and they gave me with their gifts :).

The upside of the day was meeting our friends, Dave & Sarah, for dinner at Squatter’s Pub followed by…. THE U2 CONCERT!!! You know how there are bands that you like, and maybe have a few of their cd’s? U2 is NOT like that for me. I LOVE them! My fan-hood is not on the level of following them around the globe or climbing the side of a hotel wall to get Bono’s underwear hanging on his penthouse railing. However, they are definitely in my list of Top 5 favorite bands, I own all of their albums, and have seen them in concert before.

When you see U2 in concert, you aren’t just witnessing a band playing their music live. U2 gives you an “experience” that goes way beyond entertaining. It was an amazing show, and I’m so glad that we shelled out the dough AND waited the year it was postponed because of Bono’s old-man spine.

Anyway, it was a good day filled with family, good food, good friends, and amazing music. Thanks to everyone who was a part of it :).

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

May 25, 2011

While at the U2 concert last night, I had a great idea for today’s post. In fact, it was quite profound and deeply spiritual. I remember telling myself not to forget the subject and details of what I should write. That was SO 10 hours ago, and the idea has escaped my brain. How unfortunate. I’m sure this one will be equally life-changing.

Last week my twins class put on the annual 2nd grade performance of The Ugly Duckling. All of the kids did a great job, and the parent turn out was amazing. That’s the thing about stuff at our school… tons of people come out to support. And that’s great!

Not so great are the parents who seem to have no idea, or just don’t care, about OTHER parents who are trying to watch, take pictures, or film their own children.


This lady was great. I really appreciated how she didn’t stand up in the middle of the performance to video her own child. Having her tripod and video camera about 2 feet about the audiences heads, and subsequently blocking my view of MY children… not so great.

It was the same story with this gentleman:

I’m not sure when this new technique started. The one where you just sit in your seat and then telescope your tripod up so your camera is held a few feet above the crowds heads. I get wanting to capture the image of your child on film on a day such as this. How about you stand to the side of the auditorium so that the rest of us can do the same! Being an idiot with a camera… it’s gotta go.

All Coming Together

May 22, 2011

As promised, here are some pictures of our new and improved yard:

A few of my favorite aspects of our yard are 1) the new window well covers. It’s delightful to have our window wells NOT be the litter box for all of the neighborhood cats. 2) The playground has gone from a dirt (and lately mud) pit to one of gravel. And the sand in the sandbox is a favorite of the kids. Who knew 700 lbs. of sand would make them so happy and keep them so occupied :). 3) Notice the lovely new bike rack that I built out of pvc. Seriously cheaper than the $300-$400 ones we saw online. It keeps the kids bikes upright without having to use a kickstand. It’s wonderful to have their bikes organized as opposed to the massive bike pile we were experiencing previously. 4) A few months ago I told you about “surprise” purchase (it was in my post about a new bedspread). Well, behold our new dinning set & offset umbrella. LOVE IT! And the awesome lounge chairs with new pads have proven comfortable and great for enjoying a good book while basking in the sun.  5) In the front of our house, there were these squares that housed dirt and were great for displaying weeds and other undesirables. I laid down weed block fabric, added river rock and two bushes, and voila! Much better than our weed beds. 6) Last but not least, the picture with the two bushes and the tree with red leafs (a Norwegian Maple)… this was formerly the forgotten and despised part of our yard. I LOVE the way it looks now.

It’s not the botanical gardens by any means, but we are very happy with the way everything has turned out. Not only is it a fun and comfortable place for the kids, but also a wonderful place for us to entertain. Now if we can just get the weather to cooperate so we can do more of it :).

That’s OK… I Didn’t Need My Back Anyway

May 19, 2011

Two weeks ago I mentioned my plans to get our yard ready for the summer and more specifically for a baby shower I’m throwing in June. This plan included a fairly tight timeline. Right after I wrote that post, I got to work. And the work that first week lasted ALL day EVERY day from Tuesday until Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. The week after that I was putting in a measly 5 to 8 hours per day.

I’ve done a lot of projects in my life, but I have never done so much manual labor for such long periods at a time over so many consecutive days. OUCH! I woke up every morning barely able to walk, my hands not being able to grip anything (still having that problem), and my back on fire. Greg got after me, saying something like, “it’s not a race. You don’t have to get it all done RIGHT now”, but the problem is is that it felt like I did. Here’s where the (self-diagnosed) OCD comes in… once I start something, I feel like I have to power through to get it done. Otherwise what needs to get done is hanging over my head, and even if I’m not actually doing the work, I’m too stressed about it to actually relax, so I might as well just get it done.

The upside of being a self-driven slave driver: I finished things 2 weeks ahead of schedule! I finished all of the hard stuff the first week, and then worked on the clean up and smaller jobs this past week. I am LOVING the way everything looks. And the addition of shredded bark in the beds makes the beds look uniform, clean, and just plain good.

We ended up doing a few things that weren’t even on the list. Namely, putting tumbled pea gravel in the playground. Tuesday morning a large truck dumped 5 cubic yards of gravel onto our driveway, and after what felt like 239048 wheelbarrows full and hours of back-breaking labor later, it was complete. It will be so nice to have a dirt and weed-free area for the kids to play in now, not to mention fresh sand in the sandbox. FUN!

I wish I had a few more before pictures to show you, kind of like I tell myself I will do before EVERY SINGLE DAMN PROJECT, I didn’t take ’em. Here are a few to give you an idea of how things USED to look:

Think dirt, with some plants, and a fair amount of weeds. It’s a great yard, but definitely was lacking cohesion. While it looked OK, that’s all it ever looked. OK.

Next post: Pictures of the finished product. I know you’re giddy with excitement.

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

May 18, 2011

Pedestrians always have the right of way. That’s something I learned in drivers ed. And I always yield to people crossing the road, people riding their bikes, people walking through parking lots.

But if you’re walking from a store back to your car, do you think you could possibly NOT walk in the middle of the *@#!( lane at a pace slower than my Grandma (and all of my grandma’s are dead)? I mean I know you’re cool and all… especially the idiot couple who leisurely strolled down the center of the lot at Home Depot this last weekend, when there were about 2094823 people there. But I happen to have crap I need to do, and waiting for you gingerly pull your head out and realize there is a line of cars behind you, well, I’d rather not.

Being completely clueless as to any outside living organism around you has got to go!