Thursday, April 22, 2010

Texas Cowboys

After finding a few letterboxes at the state capitol, we needed a bathroom break and headed for the visitors center. We then wanted to see the exhibits of course and ended up learning a lot about the Farwell brothers who bankrolled the building of the capitol in 1885 and were paid in land in the Texas Panhandle. The infrastructure wasn't there yet for settlement so they started the largest cattle ranch in the USA at the time with 150,000 cattle. Of course they started it right when cattle prices bottomed out and they never made money as ranchers.

The Farwell brothers never benefited from the land, dying shortly after having to sell it off to pay bond holders. But their children and descendants did!
There is another movie about the capitol playing to the side... couldn't get them to look at me for a picture! (please ignore my barefoot child...when you leave at 3 am  sometimes you forget the babies' shoes.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Angelina Eberle

Did you know that Sam Houston sent armed forces to forcibly move the capitol to Houston during the Texas war with Mexico? Angelina Eberle impulsively lit a cannon and blew a hole in a building, rousing Austinites to fight them off and keep the capitol in Austin. If she hadn't it might not be the town it is today.

We had a very quick trip to Austin last week and did a bit of letterboxing as a break from driving all day back and forth. I have come to enjoy letterboxing because it provides history, interesting stories, free collectibles, tourism help and a secret treasure hunt that is enjoyed by my kids.

Munchkin wasn't happy to have to put the letterbox back though. She thought it was her new treasure box.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Spring Sunday Photos

Because Munchkin looks amazing in yellow. Because I thought they were all adorable and clean and I better take a picture while they were energetic and well fed. Because I felt like it.

Look Mom, I can move my hands so fast you can't see them!

Look Mom, I've started doing crazy poses like my brother!

Look Mom, I can punch you? Not really sure about this one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Week!

This year Fixitman & I shared a birthday cake not on either of our birthdays. It was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting because that's what I was craving. But it was all from a box/can and not as good as I wanted. I think we'll stick with chocolate covered in chocolate in the future.It was fun to put every candle we could find on it and light it up!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

You have beautiful toes!

Trainboy asked to paint his toenails when I painted mine last week. And was quite upset when the polish wore off so we reapplied it. He showed people his beautiful toes all week.

But then recently I saw he had scratched most of the polish off. I wonder what changed? I think his toes are quite lovely.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I grew up going to baseball games with my dad. I loved the old Cleveland Stadium, and the new Jacobs field. I was sad when we moved away from Cleveland to where there was no major league baseball. I learned all about the intricacies of the game, how to keep score, what the best foods were to get, how to do the wave and how much of the game depended on a good bullpen.

So last week when my parents and brother were visiting, we went to a Texas Rangers game! Dinoguy & Trainboy are starting to get old enough to learn and enjoy the game. Munchkin I figured would get some good bonding time in with her dad when she got bored about 20 minutes after arrival.

This game was 0-0 until the bottom of the 8th. Then the Rangers finally scored a run. Yay! The closer brought in at the top of the ninth did not do a good job though. He gave the other team batting practice and suddenly it was 3-1. The Rangers lost. Sadness! It was an interesting 9th inning at least.

Of course, I spent all my preparation time worried that we would be cold. Memories of being cold at baseball games made me remember jackets and a blanket for everyone. I didn't think about the alternative. I did make sure the boys & I had baseball hats, but I forgot the sunblock. Munchkin was out of the sun enough that she didn't get a burn, and Trainboy kept his jacket on so long he didn't either. But Dinoguy & I had red arms. Grandpa Actuary was the most sunburnt of everyone of course.

Towards the end of the game, everyone shared some Strawberry Ices. Munchkin thoroughly enjoyed hers, can you tell?

Friday, April 09, 2010


We lost Dinoguy at Home Depot today. For 15 minutes we searched the store, employees scoured the parking lot and guarded the exits. Then Grandpa Actuary finally spotted him in an aisle walking around looking for us. Turns out he was hiding behind some paint buckets because he was upset with me. I had no clue. After both of us hugging and crying, I sorted out his story. He had wanted to show me something and was upset when I didn't come immediately. So he ran off and hid and didn't come out when we searched for him. Then he became scared that we had left him and came out to look for us.

The photo is of Dinoguy at 17 months when I took him to Disneyworld while Fixitman had a conference in Orlando. He's wearing his harness that I used whenever we were in public from the first time he ran off and hid at 13 months until he was about 3 and I could reason with him that he could not run away from me and hide in public places. (But I kept it in my purse for just in case use until he was probably 5.) I did not want to buy it initially but we could not come up with another solution, especially when he was 13-14 months old. If I did not use it, he got lost. I stopped going to Wal-mart because I lost him there twice and they were so slow in reacting and helping search for him both times that I decided I couldn't go there with my kid.

When your child wears a harness/leash in public, there are 2 visible reactions. The parents who have been there and have had children who needed leashes smile sympathetically. They sometimes point it out to their children and tell them "You used to have one of those". The other reaction is disgust from those who believe I am harming my child or treating them inappropriately.

If you have never had a runner, a child who for some reason just takes off at full speed and either just keeps running or finds a hiding spot, you probably fall into the disgust category. And I would probably be one of those people if I hadn't had Dinoguy. Trainboy and Munchkin are not runners. Trainboy is a dawdler, who studies things and moves slowly. If I lose track of him, it is because I am moving too quickly and not holding his hand. Munchkin is afraid of other people still and holds onto my leg if put down in public. Dinoguy never had stranger anxiety. He has always gone easily to anyone and will talk to anyone.Which triples my fear when he's lost because someone could take his hand and ask him a few questions and he'd walk away easily with them. I tried instilling a fear of strangers in him. It didn't work.

Fixitman said he was making a new harness when we got home and Dinoguy actually said he wanted one. He just has a hard time staying with us because he has to go see everything in new places. I don't think he actually needs one, since he was hiding more because he was upset with me than just for fun this time. It is tempting though.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

General Conference April 2010

I didn't sit and take notes this conference. I cleaned and organized and cooked and crocheted while listening. I felt like the most mentioned topic was that of mothers/parents. Elder Perry's talk about his mother, Elder Ballard's talk to the mothers & daughters, Elder Bednar's talk about an early spiritual warning system for parents. Sister Beck's talk about Relief Society supporting women and helping them be better mothers. Those come to mind because I've re-listened to them since this weekend. I am enjoying listening to the talks each morning again as I make breakfast. The messages of conference are food for the soul. They fill me with peace.

We played "Conference Jeopardy" for FHE on Monday and it surprised me (a little) how much the boys had listened too, while they played and colored. I should know that by now since they move about while I read to them all the time anyway, but it was a good reminder that movement allows them to listen BETTER. Since I feel the same way (have to be doing something with my hands or else I have a hard time focusing) you would think it would be easier to remember. But I need reminders. So the fun we had with the Jeopardy game was good.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Weekend

Saturday opened with an Easter egg hunt. Munchkin loved picking up the eggs and pulling out the candy! She had the whole process figured out quickly. The basket I made her was cute, but a bit too small for practical use.

Her brothers were a bit sad because they didn't get the 12 eggs promised them because other parents let their kids take 20+ eggs. I told them that we'd have another hunt at home.

We proceeded to Home Depot and built butterfly houses. Dinoguy announced he was doing his without help and then proceeded to do so. Fixitman was sad because, as he said in his words: "Now I'm just the transportation to get him here!" We went home and enjoyed the first sessions of conference before Grandma, Grandpa & Uncle Scoutboy arrived for the week.

The boys slept outside on the tent Saturday night with their Uncle Scoutboy.

Then we had hot cross buns for breakfast (it took me 2 days to finish making them so we had them Easter instead of Good Friday...) After that they searched for their Easter baskets and eventually we had an egg hunt as well.

Munchkin attacked her tiny chocolate bunny on Sunday morning and ate it with relish. She was a candy fiend and ate most of the jelly beans, including her brothers'.

We watched the rest of conference and then enjoyed a big turkey dinner. Yum! It was a lovely weekend.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I hate squirrels

You know how the janitor on Scrubs had a stuffed squirrel army, and killed every squirrel he saw? I always thought that was funny until we moved here. Now I'm tempted to start shooting them myself. I hate the squirrels here. It started because there were squirrels living in our attic. Whenever they last did repairs on our roof (before we moved in) they did not fix the wire mesh screening and left little entrances for animals to come live in our roof. And they did. Fixitman found evidence they'd chewed on everything up there, including the electrical wires. We would wake up at 4 am to squirrel screams. Fight club, squirrel style, took place right above our bed. Awesome.

Fixitman fixed the holes in the screening twice. The little gremlins ripped right thru it in the same spot. They also started stealing stuff from my garden. One left a peanut in the garden after stealing some other seeds. I used to like to think that he was trading, but now I think he just got excited about the free food I'd left out for him and dropped the peanut in the excitement. Squirrels are evil.

Fixitman finally put up big wooden beams over the holes after he went up there and made sure the squirrels were not inside. But apparently one was inside because we heard its frantic knawing and yelling to other squirrels outside early the next morning. Ugh. Then a lovely cold snowy freeze spell came and there was a very old very dead squirrel on our front lawn the next morning. Froze to death because he couldn't get inside our attic for warmth. We haven't had any squirrels in the attic since then, thankfully.

Friday morning I went to let Sarge out back for his morning relief and there was a squirrel digging up and stealing our sunflower house seeds. Why haven't I bought a BB gun yet? I really really hate squirrels.

PS: have you read "There's a hair in my dirt" by Gary Larsen? If not, you really should. Especially if you think squirrels are cute.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I love Spring

I love the perfect outdoors weather and the blooming new growth. The hope of all the new things I might grow in my garden and just being outside with my family.

We're going to try and grow a sunflower house this year. Here's hoping it turns out awesome, because the boys are super excited.

Munchkin is just excited to be outside, period. She loves to explore. She's already got a bit of color in her skin and looks pink compared to other paler babies.

Hope you are outside playing and gardening too!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easter Pictures

Last Sunday I should have tried to take the pictures before church instead of after when Munchkin was so tired.
Though pretending to vaccum with the popper was plenty fascinating, taking pictures was not.
Boys weren't much more cooperative either.    
Happy Easter from the Duff's!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Reading until you drop

Right before I took this photo, he had the book held perfectly upright. Bless his heart. I regularly help him clean out stacks of books from his bed. Reminds me of when I was a kid and had to hide with a flashlight.


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