Sunday, October 30, 2005


We spent most of the afternoon Saturday carving pumpkins. Nothing like waiting until 2 days before Halloween to get that done, huh? We had bought the pattern book, got some carving tools, news papers to put down under them, and the pumpkins - of course. So we finally get to look through the pattern book to find what everyone wants to do. Conor - he chose the wolf. Allie chose one that said "wicked" with a spider over top. Ceara was not with us on Saturday afternoon (she had plans with her Granny) but she chose hers on Sunday when she was here.

So, we set about taking the tops off the pumpkins and cleaning them out. What a gooey, slimy mess! Conor wouldn't even try it until he saw that I did it, then he put his hand in there one time and that was it! So - Jeff, Allie, and I set about getting all the seeds and slime out of the pumpkins. Once that was accomplished, we taped the patterns to the outside - the best we could considering it was a round pumpkin and a square paper! Jeff tried to talk Conor out of the wolf, but he would have none of it - he wanted the wolf and that was it. Stubborn - hmmmm, I wonder where he gets that from? :)

Jeff started poking holes through the pattern, and did it for about, oh, I'll say 5 minutes. Then he said "Katie, do you want to do this?" - So I took over poking all the holes. Allie was doing hers, too. Jeff got one of the smaller pumpkins and began to clean it out. He and conor worked on carving that one, while Allie and I worked on ours. Jeff got the eyes carved with Conor and he needed a break. He didn't come back. Allie got the WIC and 1/2 of the K carved and she needed a nap. So that left me and Conor. He tried a little longer to work on the mouth of his, but didn't get too far. He also decided he was done. So I carved the wolf and finished Allie's.

Then I cleaned up most of the mess and got Conor to lay down with Jeff (who was taking a nap). I then woke up Allie and we went to the store. On our way to the store, on the highway, a Trans-AM in the fast lane. He was a little ahead of us - we were in the middle lane. All of a sudden, we see this big square thing flying through the air. It hits the SUV in front of us and shatters, raining chunks onto us and the road. Very strange experience. Allie screamed because it hit the windshield pretty hard, but it did not crack or anything. I couldn't figure out what it was, but I knew it came from the Trans-AM because that is where it flew up from. So I caught up with him and looked over - he was missing one of the glass T-Tops. Mystery solved. I had Allie write down his license plate number, just in case there was any damage to my car, and we got off the highway and went to the mall. There wasn't any damage, just a scare.

Well, I got off the subject a bit, but I wanted to include that tid-bit. On Sunday, Ceara chose her pattern - the Cat with a spider coming down it's forehead on a web. Since Jeff was doing homework and I had to go and get Allie, I told her to go ahead and told her to tape the pattern onto the pumpkin and punch the pattern onto the surface. That her dad or I would help with cutting the top off for her in a little bit. Once I returned with Allie, she had most of it done, but then had homework to do, so Allie finished the punching holes part. Then it sat there.

Ceara had to go home to her Mom's house, and with tomorrow being Trick-or-Treat night, I wanted to get it finished and outside with the others. So - I cleaned it out and carved it. Then I put them all on the porch and lit them up so I could take pictures. See below:

Oh, yeah - Jeff "designed" the first one all by himself! :) He said he is thinking about getting a patent on it and selling it.

Carving Pumpkins

Halloween cookies

Conor had a dress-up party at his baby sitter's house on Friday for which we made cookies. Conor had a lot of fun decorating the cookies with me. His favorite was the "big" spider cookie, which he immediately claimed as his! He put all the accessories onto the cookies, sometimes upside down, and sometimes correctly. He got the hang of it. :) They were a big hit and there were not any left over at the end of the day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Our New Pup

On our way home from Kentucky, we stopped to pick up our newest addition to our family - little pup. We felt that Teddy needed a play mate, so we rescued another puppy. His name is Zeus, but we mostly call him "little pup" because we call Teddy "pups". And now Teddy is also known as "Big Pups".

At first Teddy was a little uncertain of what to think of him. He growled and barked at little pup if he so much as looked at one of Teddy's toys, or bones, or anything! But he has gotten a little more used to him now and they play a lot. Zeus usually starts it, too! Very funny to watch them. We have had Zeus for a little over a week now, and we are all adjusting quite well. He is a cute little thing! I always make sure to give Teddy a little extra attention so that he doesn't think we are trying to replace him. He is really a good dog!

Gotta go to bed now, I'm very tired! G'Night!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

G'Day, Mate!

We recently took a trip down to Horse Cave, KY - originally to go to a production of "Jack and the Magic Beans". Since the play was on Sunday, we wanted to go down Saturday and see what else was in the area. Well thanks to a little research on-line, we found we were just down the road from Kentucky Down Under. if you would like to check out their site. They are a bit like a zoo, but not so big. They have all kinds of birds, some reptiles, dingos, kangaroos, and wallabies. They also have a cave you are able to take a tour through.

So we decided to leave early Saturday morning. It was about 3 1/2 hours to drive down there, and since it is only open until 4pm, we wanted to get there as early as we could. We got a later start than we originally planned, but since they are an hour behind us, we still got there at a decent time - around 10:30 their time.

The first thing we came to was the reptiles. They were all in glass enclosures, but they did have "shows" at various times throughout the day. We did not get to see a show because we were too busy doing all the other fun stuff. The cave tour started at noon, so that gave us time to check out a few of the other sites before we went into the caves.

We went into the tourist trap - I mean store - and looked around for a little while with the kids. Of course they wanted a bunch of stuff from in there. But while I didn't mind them getting a souvenir, I did not want to carry it around all day. So I told them to wait until we were on our way out.

We went along the map and visited the birds. There were a bunch of them, in cages, on a pathway of sorts, in the trees. There were some very strange looking ones that gave off strange sounds. Some sounded like laughter. Some looked like and were named like frogs. Most had signs on the cages that said "Do not feed your fingers to the birds" - I guess that was their way of saying don't put your fingers in the cage because they will bite them off! There was one that was really pretty, that we were apparently allowed to pet because there wasn't a warning sign. It was a big, white, pretty bird that had yellow color under it's wings and in it's head feathers. It hung out near the cage allowing us to pet it's back feathers. It did not try even once to bite us, it seemed to enjoy the attention. At the end of the pathway we could see a HUGE cage - the kind you walk into - filled with beautiful colored birds. There were all kinds of people in there already, and some waiting to get in. The girls got really excited, but it was almost time for the cave tour, so we told them we would do it after the cave.

We walked back to the cave entrance and sat. It was a stone housing with steps that lead down to a door. We sat outside on the rocks and waited for the tour guide. When he arrived, he first took us into this small building across from the door. That was where they had a big hole down into the cave. He said years ago, when the cave was first used for tourists, they used to have the tourists climb down a rope ladder into the cave. Apparently that did not entice many to go, so they dug out another entrance - thus the stone covered door! I certainly would not have climbed down a rope ladder to see a cave! :)

Once inside, we were lead to various spots throughout the cave where we would stop and get a little history lesson, or a cave facts lesson. There were some very steep steps going up and down, as well as some holes in a few places, so I was a nervous WRECK. Imagining Conor slipping and falling into one, or just falling down the steps. Because Mr. Independent did not want to hold any hands. He has no fear! Jeff noticed that I was having a hard time enjoying any of the cave and he took over with Conor. That did help a little, but then being the control freak that I am, I still stayed close to them. And it still made me very nervous. As beautiful as it was in the cave, and as much as I have always loved exploring caves, I couldn't wait until it was over. I will not be doing that again until he is at least 6 or 7 and can listen a little.

We finally exited the cave and were off to see the birds. There are 2 doors to get into the bird cage - they cannot be opened at the same time because the birds may fly off. Once you enter the first door, you are given a small white paper cup with some sort of bird juice in it. When they handed Conor his, he immediately took a drink before I could stop him. He spit it out and said he didn't like it and handed it to me. I took his and mine and we went inside. All of those birds know what is in those little cups, and they immediately fly onto your head, shoulder, wrist, or where ever they can find a place to perch. They will knock other birds off to get to the little cup. Once Conor figured this out, he wanted his cup back. We all got to have birds flock around us and feed, until the next group came in with their cups, then they flew off for the new people. I was able to take some really good pictures of the birds with the kids. One of my favorite is of Allie and Ceara laughing because the birds are landing on them.

After the bird cage, we went to the "walk-a-bout" where you are able to go into an area and walk around with the kangaroos. There was an emu, kangaroos, and wallabies in this area. We got a guided tour through the area, with the guide telling tales about the animals. Each female had a Joey in her pouch, so we were warned not to try to touch their bellies. And to touch a Kangaroo on the head meant that you were challenging it to a fight. So we were warned not to do that, either. They had several different kinds there, the "red" ones were very soft, petting their backs was like touching a soft stuffed animal. We each got to pet them, but we had to go up one by one as not to scare them. There was only one red male and a bunch of females, and the male was very "arrogant" looking. You will see what I mean by the picture I posted below.

The gray ones felt like petting a cat. There were also some white ones, but we were unable to go near them. At the end of the tour there was a 13 month old red Joey sleeping near the fence that we were able to also pet. Conor was getting very tired by this time and was not interested in petting him.

After exiting the kangaroos, we went to the "Outback Cafe" and ate a bit of food. After sitting and re-charging a bit, we decided we should head on out. We walked back towards the entrance and gave the girls some money to go into the shop and get something. Some of the walk was up-hill and Conor was dragging. He even told me "Mommy, I am wore out!" It was cute.

The girls decided to buy and share a bag of sand to "mine" in the mining troft. They also got some fudge to share. Conor got a whistle, some magnetic rocks, a boomerang, and a cork gun. Although he is not aware of the last 2 because I got them for him and haven't shown him yet. :) I also got an extra whistle because they were only $1 and I figured his might not last long...

We then went outside where the girls "mined" their gems and Conor even got to do some mining, too! Jeff and I sat in the grass on the hill and watched for a while. They found several "gems" in their sand. After that we all left.

We went back to our "castle" (as Conor thought it was) and got checked in and everyone into the room. Conor was exhausted and laid down on his own and said he wanted to go to sleep. There was an indoor pool, so the girls wanted to go swimming for a little bit, and Jeff and I just wanted to relax for a while. Jeff ended up asleep with Conor on one bed and I watched TV from the other bed. The girls came back within about 20 minutes (I guess it wasn't as fun as they thought) and we watched a movie. So I wasn't able to get a nap in, but I survived.

The rest I may or may not write another blog about, but since this one is so long already, I will leave it at that. See below for some of the pictures I took while we were at Kentucky Down Under. I am really glad we all got to go there, it was really fun. Everyone had a good time and it was a beautiful day.

Kentucky Down Under Pictures

This is the red kangaroo that is very soft

Conor feeding his bird the remaining liquid that he did not drink! :)

This was the stone covering over the steps and door to the cave. The building behind is the shop.

This is one of my favorite pictures! The looks on their faces are priceless!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Linux Festival

As many of you know, Jeff and I drove to Columbus for the Linux Festival at the Convention Center on October 1st. We started out a little later than we had planned, 6:30am rather than the 4 or 5am that Jeff had wanted to. I had stayed up rather late, trying to get a lot of things done that I hadn't gotten finished through the week. So, I think I got about 3 hours of sleep before we left. I had intended to sleep in the car, but that didn't happen.

Anyway, we arrived at the hotel @ around 8:30am. Jeff went inside to see if we could check in early, and not only did they allow us to check in early, but they also upgraded us to a suite for free! Because they had over-booked and didn't have a regular room available. So we were able to un-pack and then eat breakfast in the lobby. After that, we walked over to the Convention center. The hotel was connected to it, so it was all in-doors.

It was a lot smaller than we had thought it would be. We registered and walked around to the different booths, getting some free software, pens, a pocket protector (how classic is that??), and various other knick-knacks. Jeff wanted to buy a Linux T-Shirt, but they did not have any on sale. Instead, they were raffling them off at the end of the day - at 6pm. So we bought several raffle tickets in hopes of winning one.

At that point, there weren't any seminars that Jeff was real interested in, the ones he wanted to see started at 11 or so. So I had seen some signs for a coffee shop inside of the convention center and we went off in search of it. We finally found it, but it was closed on the weekends! There was a guy at the information center who pointed us in the direction of "Cup of Joe" - which was down the street a couple of blocks.

We finally found it and were able to get a couple of cups of coffee, which helped to wake me up! We took our time and then walked back to the convention center in time for one of the seminars that Jeff wanted to attend. We had our lap-top with us (we got one so that Jeff could keep up with his school work while on the road for work) and set it up on the table in the seminar room.
We had to be very careful not to let people see the screen when we turned it on.... Because we have Windows XP, and anyone who is familiar with Linux knows that most Linux users HATE Microsoft. Jeff is interested in both because of his schooling, and he has been playing with Linux on our second computer at home. But XP is what came on the laptop, and neither one of us are familiar enough with Linux to want to load it onto the computers that we work with all the time.

To me, the seminar might as well have been in Greek. I know next to nothing about Linux, just the little bit that I tried unsuccessfully to help Jeff with when he had a problem. So, I just listened. We cut out a little early because it was time for the lunch break and we didn't want to be in the "rush" to get to the food court. We were so tired, that when we walked through the food court, we decided to just go to our room and order a pizza, or something else. Once we got back to the room, I called the front desk to get the names of places that deliver. They gave me 2 - Pizza Hut and Papa John's. So I called Pizza Hut first and was told that they do not deliver to our hotel. Then I tried Papa John's. They had a 2 hour delivery time. So forget that!

Jeff tried to go back to the food court to bring something back to the room, but when he got there, the lines were 30 or more deep, so he came back up to the room. We were both tired, so we decided to take a nap and then deal with the hunger... We both fell asleep - him on the couch in the "living room" of the suite, and I went and got into the bed. I watched TV for a little bit before falling asleep. I woke up, after only an hour or so, and woke Jeff up to see what time he wanted to go back to the festival. He said not for another hour, so I went back to watching TV. Jeff woke up a little bit later and consulted his schedule. Turns out that he had missed one of the seminars that he had wanted to go to.

We left the laptop behind this time, so we wouldn't have to lug it around. It was useless anyway, because there wasn't any type of wireless connection and we didn't have Linux on it, so why take it for the afternoon classes? So we went and ate, and then went to the lecture for "Digital and Criminal forensics" - the ONE lecture that he did NOT want to miss because that is what his major is in college. We got there a bit early and sat at the back of the room. It was the ending of the previous lecture. At the end, a speaker came up and said, "I'm sorry to inform you that the "Digital and Criminal Forensics" lecture has been cancelled. We will instead be hearing from "?" about Gnome (one of the Linux operating systems). Jeff was SO upset! The only class he REALLY wanted to go to and it got cancelled.

So we ended up going for a walk and seeing the city a bit, planning on being back to the Convention Center for the raffle drawing. We got back there at approximately 5:15ish and went to the food court to hang out for a little bit. At 5:45, we started walking to the area of the raffle drawing. It was at that time that Jeff realized that he had left all of his raffle tickets in the laptop case. So he decided to hurry back to the room and get the tickets.

I went on to the seminar room, standing just outside because they were still finishing up the last few minutes of the last lecture. I keep peering around the corner, looking for Jeff to join me. All of a sudden my phone rings. I look at my caller ID and it says "Jeff's Cell", so I answer and he says, "I'm locked in the stairwell!"

"Are you serious?" I thought he was just playing around at first.

"Yes, there were a bunch of old people coming in off a bus, and there was a long line at the elevator. So I decided to take the stairs. When I got up to our floor, I tried using my key-card to open the door, and it won't work!" He sounds so aggravated, that I do believe he is telling the truth.

"Well, why are you calling me? You have the hotel's number on your phone, call them and tell them to come and get you."

"Oh, yeah, I guess I could do that."

I hang up my phone and start laughing. Only Jeff could get himself locked into a stairwell. I still find it amusing as I think about it now. He finally makes his way back down to me, and proceeds to tell me all about the entire incident. How the old people gathered in the elevator and wouldn't let him in. They told him - there's no room in here, you have to wait! Then he took the stairwell up to the 3rd floor and hit the elevator button again. And the same group was there when the elevator stopped. They said it again - there's no room, you have to wait! So he decided to go all the way up to our floor at that point, and give up on the elevator. We were on the 6th floor, and when he got there, his key no longer worked. The lady who came to "save" him also had to let him into our room because his card didn't work for anything.

He made it back in plenty of time for the raffle. It took FOREVER! They had a lot of stuff to raffle off - lots of books, software, t-shirts, hardware, ect. They didn't come anywhere close to our numbers. It took around an hour to go through it all. Jeff was very disappointed that he didn't get a T-shirt.

We went back up to our room (after stopping at the front desk and getting a new key for Jeff), and got ready for the "reception" with the Linux people. We were early getting up there. They had snacks - chex mix, popcorn, stuff like that. And some refreshments. They had a DJ set up playing some "music" (not really music with words, but rather just instrumental, computerized music).

They decided to start a "trivia contest" about computer stuff. Jeff and I were both lost - me more-so than him. So we decided to leave. We walked down the street and found an "Irish Pub" to eat at. They had out-door seating, so we sat outside. We were also going to go and see a movie, but as I continued to sit there, I decided that I would rather go back to the hotel. I was worn out and didn't think I could stay awake through a movie. My feet were killing me from my new shoes, and I just wanted to go to bed. So we skipped the movie and went back.

Jeff actually fell asleep before I did. Then he got up in the morning pretty early and went and ate the "free breakfast" by himself. He came back and woke me up to get ready to leave (too late for the breakfast, by the way). So we packed up and headed home.

So, Jeff is a little bit more geeky now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Ceara's Birthday

Friday was Ceara's 11th birthday. For her birthday, she invited 2 friends to spend the night, and Allie had one of her friends over, too. We had Ceara, Allie, Maggie, Taylor and Ashley. Jeff planned most of the party, and decided on a "Price is Right" theme because he bought the DVD game for everyone to play. Thus the cake she is pictured with.

Anyway, Friday night, we had a game of Trivia for various prizes. Jeff bought a variet of gifts from the store such as a book, fuzzy socks, stickers, pencils, and such. He listed all the prizes on paper, cut them out, and put the paper under 3 cups on a table. To win the prize, they had to answer a trivia question, then they had to pick 1, 2, or 3 and they win the prize under the cup. In addition to real prizes, he put in several "gag" gifts. Like "a pair of smelly socks" - which he took directly off his feel when someone won. And "a wad of toilet paper" - not used of course. Also, a "chew stick" of the dogs. It was very funny when the girls won one of these "prizes". After all the prizes were won, they all played "The Price is Right" on the DVD game while I went off to finish the cake and cupcakes. Everyone was tired, so the game didn't last long. The girls fell off to sleep, one by one.

Allie was the first to sleep, then Ashley and Maggie. Jeff and Conor had long ago went to bed, then I finally finished with the cakes and joined them - at about 2am. Ceara and Taylor were still up playing "I spy".

The next morning, Jeff and I got up around 7 or 7:30 to fix breakfast, and the girls were already awake. All but Allie, that is. We had bacon, sausage, waffles, muffins (blueberry and strawberry), eggs, hash rounds (Crispy Crowns) and strawberries. Needless to say, there was a ton of food to be eaten.

Later that day, at around 1PM, we had Ceara's Nana and Grand-Dad over for presents, lunch, cake and ice cream. Nana brought with her a bunch of balloons, which Conor immediately claimed as his own! :) The kids spent most of the rest of the day outside playing. They finally went home around 5:30, at which point Ceara wanted to go shopping to spend her birthday money.

We took her to Walmart so that she could buy herself the new Nintendo DX. We then took Allie and Ceara to my mom's to spend the night.

After a LONG day, Jeff, Conor and I came home and went to bed. Ceara had a good birthday and she got to get what she had been wanting for a while. So everyone was happy! :)

And now they are Conor's....

I'm surprised that Conor and his motorcycle didn't take off flying through the air. Kinda like "Danny Deckchair". By the way, that movie was not nearly as cheesy as I thought it would be. I rather liked it, and was quite surprised by it.

Ceara with her Baloons!

These are the balloons that Nana brought! Lots of em!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Conor and his little girl friend

Being the little gentleman that he is, he let her drive.

Monster Trucks

My little cousin is a HUGE monster truck fan. His favorite is Grave Digger - driven by Dennis Anderson. He is a member of his fan club, and he WON a party at his home with Grave Digger, Dennis Anderson, and 50 of his family and friends. We went to the party last Friday night, and the above picture is of Allie, Conor, Austin and Gage sitting on the wheels of this huge truck. The one below is a close up of Allie and Conor.

I must say, I have never really paid much attention to Monster trucks in the past. But it was very exciting to be there and see it in person. Dennis Anderson is a very nice, very funny guy. He was very good with all of the little kids that were there and he was very personable to talk to. There were tons of things for the kids to do, and everyone got a Hotwheels series miniature Grave Digger - signed in person by Dennis. There was food, music, games, pinatas, and lots of other things to do.

Conor had a blast! He spent a lot of time in the mini-grave digger, hanging out with a little girl that was there, too. He also took several turns at the pinatas. I have lots of pictures, but will only put a few on here.

It was a "once in a lifetime" experience, and I have it all on film - digital and video! :)

Things that make you smile....

Yesterday, while Conor and I were at Lowe's getting some material for our shed, he decided he wanted to ride in a cart that was just sitting in the isle. So I put him in the biggest part of the cart, thinking that was what he wanted. But he wanted to sit in the "seat" at the front of the cart. So he proceeded to start climbing up there. I was trying to help him, but a group of people walked by and I needed to move the cart a little so they could pass. When I did, Conor lost his balace and swayed a bit. I had my hand out to steady him, but boy did he get mad! He said, "Mommy you tried to make me fall!" and it was just so funny the way he said it, with an irritated look on his face.

"I did not!" I said, laughing. The people passing thought it was funny, too. So he sat down and we went on getting what we needed. We got into the car and were on our way home.

Lately, when we are in the car, he wants me to "go faster". Whenever he says that, I always respond, "I can't honey, the policeman will get me."

"Why?" He inquires.

"Because it is against the law to go really fast on some roads, someone could get hurt. Or we could have an accident." Yeah, I actually try to explain this to him. I know he doesn't know what I am talking about, but I try anyway.

"But there isn't anyone around, so go."

We go back and forth, with my trying to explain to a 2 year old that I cannot go flying down the road because it is against the law. If there is someone in front of me, he will go as far as to yell at them "Move out of the way, car, my mommy needs to go faster" and stuff such as that.

Well, on our way home, we were on a divided highway (St Rt 122 by Cracker Barrell) and a state trooper had someone pulled over on the other side of the road. I pointed this out to Conor so that he could see that someone got into trouble by the police.

"See, Conor, that policeman got that guy because he was going too fast!"

Conor looks over at the police man and says, "He can't get us, we are too far away! Ha Ha!"

I burst out laughing! Where does he come up with these things that he says? I have no idea. Very smart, my little guy, because we were in fact too far down the road on the other side for that cop to come after us.

I cannot believe some of the things he says lately. He certainly makes me laugh a lot!