The Chicken Book

We have a book called "No More Chores" that is one of the kids favorite short, rhyming reads. It is about a mother hen who tells her chicks it is time to clean up and they beg her to make it fun for them. They fling toys into the wagon and give all the toys a ride to the chest and then they work in the garden, weeding and watering, and at the very end the mother hen pulls out a nice big treat from the oven. And everyone is happy. The end.

That's exactly how cleaning is at our house. Late at night. While I am sleeping....dreaming sweet dreams of peaceful, willing children who pick up their things on their own accord while I sit in the kitchen with a good book drinking my ice water while it is still cold for once. And that's usually when the ghost-like blob enters the room and scares us all away and I can't find my kids and I startle awake with my heart pounding out of my chest, sweat on my brow and my senses, on overdrive, have me all freaked out with those little house-noises so I can't sleep anymore. Oh, and there is no treat. The end.

Anyway, I can hardly miss the opportunity to write about Halloween. Before we got moving that day, I had to clean up the house. I opted to go for the stick-the-kids-in-their-room-while-I-get-it-done-real-fast approach (no fun and games or treats...or whining....or ghost-like-blobs...) We then loaded up the car to head to the costume parade at Aidan's school which would have taken half the time had Aidan not completely melted down upon failing to get the feet of his costume to stay in the right place before getting in the car....or had Madeline not flipped when I made her take off the Snow Princess dress so that she could fit into her car seat...or had Lily been willing to get out of the dirt (I wasn't even thinking costume with her....she had her pink pants on inside out and backwards, was covered in soil and as a dear friend said, looked a bit on the homeless side...) I may have declared a religious boycott and called off Halloween for our family entirely had it not been for Liam, dressed in his little
reindeer outfit and smiling happily away.

We arrived at the school where I shuffled the kids into Sugar Pies Bakery and I ran into the dry cleaners. The man at the register looked at me, dressed up in my witches hat and outfit and said, "What are you dressed up as?"

"Um, a witch?" I said, questioningly. Seriously, how did the big, black pointy hat not give that away???

Back at the bakery, Lily tells the owner, Tami, "Hey, that's my mom.....that witch." And off she runs, on all fours, barking loudly, because she had finally gotten her puppy costume on and well, that's what they do. 

After the parade, we headed to the store for the pumpkin carving set. If you have never bought one of these sets, they are terrific! They turn the average Joe into the Michelangelo of pumpkin carvers....that is assuming you don't break one of the little saws...half way through the first of four pumpkins....and then break the second little saw while accidentally cutting off the cat's tail in the second pumpkin...and then, after throwing your arms in the air, you reach for the big ol' kitchen knife, cut a few triangles and make an old-school jack-o'-lantern which ALL THE KIDS SAY THEY LOVE THE BEST! (Why did I bother with the scull and cross bones again?) 

But, here are the pics we took on Halloween. Enjoy.
The Snow Princess

Madeline, Lily, Karen, Liam and Aidan (Swamp Monster)

Our little Reindeer, Liam (9 months)

Why some people shouldn't be given the camera....
or "Look kids, no head!"

The cat (in the middle) is obviously a manx...recently it's head caved in as well...


Farm Trip

If you haven't guessed this about me, I love farms. Actually, I love the idea of farms. Ask Kurt and he will tell you that at least once every few months I bring up the idea of living on a farm. 

"Ahhh, wouldn't it be nice to live on a farm?! Just get back to the basics: wake early, send the dozen kids out to do their chores, milk the cow and feed the chickens, maybe chase a rooster off the fence..."

And of course, in his very rational and collected way Kurt asks, "And who would work the farm?" 

Well duh, we'd hire people....don't they come with the farm anyway? 

Speaking of farms, I had the pleasure of chaperoning Aidan's class on their first field trip of the year: a visit to Tanaka Farm's Pumpkin Patch.  

I was pretty excited because it isn't often I get to do things with just Aidan and I knew he would really appreciate it. So, we get to school and his teacher, Ms. Ann, starts to tell each of us who we'd be driving. We were given Aidan's desk mate: let's call him Eddie. 

Now, my first run in with Eddie was on the first day of school when I was dropping Aidan off and Eddie ran up, long, straggly hair flowing behind him and he just started talking. On and on and on, dude this and dude that, awesome this and cool that and I seriously don't even know what he was talking about. All I know is that I said a little, silent prayer that THIS WOULD NOT BE THE KID AIDAN WANTED FOR A PLAY DATE! EVER! 

Well, sometimes God just sucks.  Not only did Aidan start wanting play dates with Eddie but he was assigned a seat RIGHT NEXT TO HIM; a seat that is not going to be changed for HALF THE YEAR unless they absolutely have to for behavioral reasons; a seat that allows Aidan to pick up every inflection of every last stupid thing this kid says. And of course we have heard Eddie in our home by way of Aidan far too frequently (Aidan can almost mimic the very sound of this kids voice!) And it makes me wonder if having the "good" kid in the classroom is actually a bad thing. They most likely put Aidan next to Eddie because, much unlike Eddie's reputation, they had heard how good he was in his preschool room and how he behaved even when the others were egging him on to do bad things. This isn't to say we have a perfect kid because he does live with us so we do know...but, he is very good at school, respectful to his teachers and nice to the other kids. He walks into the classroom and all the kids run up to him like he was some sort of lord and he just brushes them off as if they were paupers and of course, they just want more of him because of his aloof nature.

Anyway, back to my story. So, I put the boys in the car, they buckle their seat belts and I turn the car on. I had not even begun driving yet when Eddie announces that the music I have playing is not cool and that he only listens to cool music. My heart sank because the tape (yes, I said tape, remember those?) we have in is one of Aidan's very favorites. (In case you are wondering it is Pooh's Halloween Music. And honestly, we only listen to it one month of the year but it rocks!) So, I asked him, trying to hide my annoyance, "What do you think is cool then, Eddie?" 

"Well, I only listen to The Jonas Brothers. That's the only cool music," he said. "They're AWESOME!" At this point, visions of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure started reeling through my brain. I switch the music to The Beatles and ask him if he had ever heard of them. 

"Yeah, they're pretty cool. They're all beet beet beetles," Eddie said. The boys laughed and my jaw clenched as I realized Aidan hails this kid as if he were king. Argh!

So, Eddie kept talking nonsense which made Aidan laugh and at some point I started noticing that Eddie was poking Aidan in the head. Sometimes he poked his face, other times his hair until finally I said, "Eddie, keep your hands to yourself."

Eddie gave me that "what did I do" look and I told him to just stop. A few minutes went by and Eddie started poking at Aidan again. I repeated my earlier command as Aidan kind of chuckled nervously. Please keep in mind, we were driving on the highway at this point in 75 mph traffic that was coming to a quick standstill. 

By the time we arrived at the farm, I had already turned to Eddie and warned him that I would have to tie up his hands behind him on the way back if he touched Aidan one more time. 

"And by the way, sit up straight and get that belt put back over your shoulder because the way you have it right now is not safe," I said, obviously irritated and kicking myself for showing it.

"But this is how I usually wear it," he argued. 

"Well, if I were to get in a crash right now, and your seat belt was like that, under both armpits, YOU'D DIE!" I said. He followed directions and then started questioning whether that was accurate information. I kept quiet. 

Thankfully, upon meeting up with the rest of the class, Eddie went off with another boy in the class and Aidan was stuck with just me and some other "Aidan groupies." 

One of the dads there, trying to strike up some conversation, asked who I had driven and, upon my answering, he said, "Oh. He has quite a reputation but I wonder if he is really as bad as they say." 

"He is," I said. "Trust me, whatever you have heard, it's probably true." It was either that or explaining about Eddie's fallen status as an angel of God and how kids like him have been roaming the earth for thousands of years in order to contaminate our good kids in hopes of multiplying in numbers and taking over the world. And he is only 6! 

But, I was happy to put up with the questionable child because I know that it will be much too soon that Aidan will no longer want to walk next to me, holding my hand in front of his friends or ask me to pick his veggies because he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. It won't be long before he will no longer delight in the big, orange pumpkin he got to pick out with the cool, twisted stem (which was clearly awesome because Eddie tried to claim that he was going to pick that one but Aidan stole it from him...and of course, Eddie had been about a hundred yards away, goofing around, by the time Aidan had picked it.) Aidan won't always wish that his sisters could be with him or that we could go back to the farm as a family to pick out the biggest pumpkin ever. 

On the ride home, Aidan shared his water bottle with Eddie (by share I mean Eddie took it from him and Aidan didn't want it back because: "I don't want his germs," Aidan said.) and I tried to start again in hopes of building a soft spot in my heart for this boy who for all I know has lead a tragically messed up life. 

"So Eddie, what do you like to do," I asked politely.

"Nothing. All I do is go home and sit on the couch and turn the TV on. I am lazy," he said. Well, if nothing else, at least he can be honest?

"Really? You don't have any chores or anything?" I asked, not at all shocked.

"Nope. I just watch TV," he said while doing something to make Aidan giggle.

"You don't make your bed or brush your teeth or put the dishes away? Nothing?" I questioned. 

"Well, I brush my teeth," he said. 

"What shows do you like to watch?" I asked. 

"Spongebob," he said casually.

"Oh, I saw that one time," Aidan chimed in, happy to be a part of the conversation.

"Well, I watch it everyday," Eddie bragged. "Because it's totally AWESOME!" 

There was a lovely little silence before Eddie started telling us that his dad was Vietnamese. "And I can speak Vietnamese," Eddie bragged. 

"Cool. Say something in Vietnamese," I said. He didn't say anything.

"Well, Aidan is part Italian and he can speak some Italian," I bragged on Aidan's behalf.

"Really?" Eddie asked, half-way interested. Aidan and I went through the little Italian he knows, for which I am sure I must have won some points from Aidan because Eddie gave it a "totally cool." 

Still no soft spot....but at least I didn't have to tie the kid's hands up....


Conversations with Aidan

On the way home from school today, Madeline had just handed her most beloved, pink, beaded necklace (that she had completely forgotten about until earlier today when I found it at the bottom of my beach bag) to Lily, so that Lily could have a turn wearing it, when Lily "accidentally" broke it....by pulling it apart, with all her might....Madeline immediately went into hysterics.

"Why do you always cry when things break?" Aidan said, a hint of irritation in his voice.

"Aidan, you sometimes cry too when your things break and it's okay to cry," I said. "It's disappointing when your things break. But some things just aren't meant to last forever," I explained, while making a mental note to keep all valuables away from Lily.

"Yeah, that's true," Aidan agreed. "Like ants...they aren't meant to last forever," he said. I was having a hard time controlling my laughter so he went on. "No, it's true Mom. Sometimes, ants are just sitting there with their legs up, not walking. They are talking to other ants and they just don't see the foot coming down on them and SMASH! They're gone."

It took several minutes for me to recover and by the time I caught my breath, Aidan was explaining to Madeline the process of skin growth. I was half surprised not to hear "epidermis" or "cutaneous" in his discourse, but then, he is only 5.

Fast forward to later when I was helping Aidan clean out some of his artwork which has created a bit of a clutter-ful mess in the house. I was explaining that we could only keep the very best pieces and Aidan had sincere arguments for why he needed to keep each masterpiece. I had only convinced him to throw away two pieces of paper (neither of which I think he had drawn anyway) when I found a half finished mountain he had made at Sunday School.

"Aidan, what about this one? " I said, holding up the incomplete landscape.

"We have to keep that one, Mom. It's a picture of God's house," Aidan explained.

"Aidan, it isn't even done!" I said, exasperated.

"But Mom, it's for GOD!" Aidan exclaimed as if I had just asked him to punch God in the nose.

Well, he's got me there. It's like the old saying: Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

And lastly there was today's park clean up: Aidan had brought his eight, orange, sports cones to set out so he could ride his bike around them. When it was time to leave the park, I said:

"Aidan it's time to collect the cones and put them in the car."

His eyes got wide with excitement and he looked like he was going to burst.

"Really?! I can get the cones?" he asked.

"Uh, yeah," I said, a little confused. "Please collect them and put them in the car."

"We get to be cone collectors?!" he asked. "Really?!"

"Sure, Aidan," I said, wondering if he was finally picking up the subtle art of sarcasm.

It was driving home, a dozen and a half pine cones rolling around the floor of my car, that I understood why he was so thrilled.

I think I now fully understand the meaning of 'lost in translation'....


Snakes in the Coop

On Gopher Snakes: "In the wild, their diet consists of small mammals, birds and eggs." -Melissa Kaplan

The question is, what is considered small? A Lily? A Liam?

Last week started with a little excitement. I had sent the kids out back to play while I started making dinner. A few moments later, Aidan came running in, his two sisters at his heels, and he said, "Mom, there's a snake out there!"

Thinking I was playing along I said, "Really? A real snake? Show me."

Aidan and the girls opened the door and I said, "Ok, let's go look." No sooner had we stepped out when I saw a foot-and-a-half long snake slithering across the patio.

"ACK! It's a REAL real snake!" I said, gathering the kids back into the house as quickly as I could and shutting the door behind us.

"Yeah, I told you it was real," Aidan said.

"OK, but I thought you were kidding," I replied. "You guys stay here, I have to go see what kind it is."

"It's a rattlesnake," Aidan said confidently. (Well, duh! Aren't they all?)

I stepped back outside, not wanting to startle the snake but wanting to get close enough to view it. I followed it for a few moments, ran back in to check out snakes on the internet, determined it must be a young gopher snake (you know, the snake that LOOKS like a rattlesnake, acts like a rattlesnake but can't kill you like a rattlesnake) and then decided I would get a shovel and try to catch it and throw it over the fence. (Hee hee, even the thought of that now cracks me up...I couldn't even bury a dead rabbit...like I am going to catch a live snake! With a shovel! I mean, all snakes are venomous, right dad? But I sure felt safer with that big ol' shovel in hand!)

Back out with the shovel I realized that Mr. Snake was headed toward the fence anyway. Maybe he would just leave quietly, no scene. So I slowly crept behind, glad to see he was headed to the end of the patio and toward the fence. And just when I thought we were in the clear, he peeked his head into a very miniscule hole in the wall of the house (where the stucco meets the patio tile) and IN HE WENT! 

And just like that, our backyard is closed to all small mammals. Didn't see that comin'! 

(And yes, I did look on the inside of our house to make sure there were no holes in our walls he could get through....hey, you call it crazy, I call it precautious. After all, one mustn't let a snake into the coop.)

We hope that this week starts off a little less exciting!

Whole Baked Chicken

Yesterday, I attempted to bake a whole chicken for the first time. After reading the instructions (getting stuck for quite a long time on the part about scooping the gibblets out, ewwww...) I turned the thing over in hopes that I could shake them out. It was a good thought and the look on the girls' faces as I shook and shook the bird over the sink was well worth the effort. But it didn't work. And after having to stick my hand up there to get the rest of the slimy innards out, and then holding the thing under running water to clean the body while flashes of a small bathing infant went through my head, I had almost all but decided this was truly not worth it.

After that, Madeline and Lily helped me with brushing on the oil and mixing the spices and they were very excited to share the story with Aidan when he got in the car after school.

"Aidan, we got a chicken today!" Madeline said.

"A real one?!" he asked, returning her excitement.

"Yeah, and we helped mommy make it and we are going to eat it!" she said.

"Well, was it alive when you got it?" he asked, now a bit concerned.

"What do you think, Aidan?" I chimed in.

"Yes?" he questioned, hesitantly.

"Yeah, it was alive once," Madeline said. "First it went, bok bok bok, and then mom took the insides out and then we painted stuff on it and tied it together and we will cook it and it will be chicken and we can eat it!" She was truly bubbling over.

Aidan was obviously still processing the whole thing and asked, "Well, does it have feathers?"

"Nope, and it doesn't have eyes either," Madeline answered. "It's head got CHOPPED OFF!"

Poor Aidan. I wasn't sure if he would ever want to eat chicken again.

On a brighter note, Madeline LOVED her chicken....that she finally got to eat for dessert...since I had misread the directions and our chicken had to bake long past dinnertime...so I had to quickly saute some frozen chicken tenders instead. Fortunately, they didn't have feathers or eyes either....

I am a Rock

A winters day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
-Simon and Garfunkel

We've been trying to get the older kids to give Lily encouragement for her potty efforts. This morning, as I was doling out the two M&M's each for her successful um, movement, if you will, Aidan did his best to give her positive feedback.

"You rock, Lily!" Aidan exclaimed.

"I not a rock! I Lily!" she replied.

"No, I didn't say you WERE a rock, I said you rock," Aidan corrected.

"No! I not a rock!" Lily yelled. "I LILY!"

"I know you aren't a rock, Lily. It means you did a good job! You ROCK!" he said, now irrittated.

"I NOT A ROCK!" Lily yelled back. "I A LILY!" she screamed.

Later, as we were getting ready to head out the door, I was sorting through a pile of clutter when Lily climbed up on the stool next to me and said, "Mommy, you a rock."

"Gee, thanks Lily!"

Hey, I'll take what I can get!

"She is a rock,
She is a Lily.
And a rock feels no pain;
And a Lily never cries."


Absentee Rooster

We were going to the church Fall Festival this evening by way of a birthday party. Kurt couldn't join us because he wasn't feeling well so the kids and I got into the car and Madeline said, "Daddy isn't going, right?"

"Right," I said as I pulled out of the driveway.

"Well, we don't need daddy anyway, right?" Madeline went on. I chuckled a little, thinking how to respond...I don't think she would get an "it depends on how you look at it" reply...

"No, we don't need daddy right now," I said.

"Mom! You have FOUR kids! Of course you need daddy," chimed in Aidan.

So, the kids wore themselves out at the birthday party and by the time we got to the festival, I had to bribe Lily to get back into her "Bad Spida Man" costume, change Liam's dirty diaper, put Madeline's shoes back on and explain to Aidan why he shouldn't sit in the middle of a parking lot to put his shoes on. Then there was the finding someone to watch the little ones while I used the restroom, and trying to maintain my sanity among the droves of dressed up children strung out on mass amounts of sugar. Good times.

Dinner rolled around but FIRST there was the Costume Parade. After the pastor went through every. single. child. one. by. one. by. one. by. one by DEAR GOD, DO WE HAVE TO LET EVERY KID SPEAK INTO THE MIC?!....letting each one tell us who they were dressed up as, I had about had it. I had spilled the first glass of water I tried pouring (apparently wings pose a problem with gripping), Liam had eaten a good portion of a paper napkin and Lily was fishing for ice in her glass, making a lovely little puddle before drinking the water and then crinkling the plastic cup and whining that it was broken when I got up to gather my brood and leave ASAP. But Aidan insisted he was still famished (apparently he didn't eat enough tamales at the birthday party, unlike Liam who had a big, red rash around his mouth from the cheese tamale he gobbled up before I realized there was a big ol' Jalapeno pepper in it! Nominate me now folks as I just know that move will clinch me the "Mom-of-the-Year" award!) Anyhow, I figured it would be easier to let them eat some noodles at the church than to feed them when we got home.

We waited for the line to dwindle before joining it and a friend of mine mistakenly took my incredulous smile as an invitation to sit down with us with her daughter and their VERY BIG PLATE OF SPAGHETTI DINNER. While my kids drooled, she explained how they had forgotten their son's allergy-free food so her husband, God bless his soul, had gone home to get it. You know, so her kid wouldn't die. From the noodles.

"Is your husband in line getting dinner for you guys?" she asked.

"Um, no, he isn't here," I said.

A look of utter pity washed over her face as she exclaimed, "Oh goodness, you are all by yourself?!"

NO, I AM NOT ALL BY MYSELF! Notice the four (4) hungry kids sitting with me. Being by myself would be MUCH EASIER!

"Kurt isn't feeling well," I told her as dispassionately as possible. I got up to help Aidan bring back all the food and drinks and ignored her asking how I was possibly going to manage it all by myself....

When we got back from getting the food (picture it: I was holding our 8 month old elf, 2 dinner plates and a juice box, following a 2 year old who, as careful as she was trying to be, left a trail of noodles behind her that even Hansel and Gretel would be proud of, and was followed by a 5 year old carrying a full plate, 4 napkins and the other two juice boxes) she was gone, her daughters half eaten dinner still sitting there.

Aidan inhaled his noodles and bread and went back for more. After eating the one meatball at our table, Madeline ate her bread, explaining to me that she really only liked the squishy part. Lily took a bite of bread, spit it out and then proceeded to open the brick of butter and shove the entire thing in her mouth. And that is when Liam started to cry. And I mean really, really cry! A HOLY JALAPENO sort of cry! And for a baby who seriously cries so rarely that I hardly recognize the sound when he does, this put me right over the edge, leaving all grace aside. I told Aidan and Lily to grab their balloon swords, managed to catch the half eaten butter as Lily let it drop from her mouth and out the back door we flew with Aidan and Madeline whining about how we were going to miss dessert. (Lily on the other hand seemed eager to get back to the three half eaten lollipops she had left in the car.)

It is times like these I realize just how much I do appreciate that rare random act of kindness. 

The correct answer is: Yes, Madeline, we do need daddy. Otherwise, we'll all go hungry because free meals aren't always what they're cracked up to be. 


Potty Training Chickens

Q: Does anyone know how to potty train a chicken? I might have to take in a chicken. I would keep her indoors, the problem is that I have 2 cats and a dog. I am worried about sanitation. Is there a way I can train the chicken to poop in one area? -A REAL question posted on VegSource.com

A:No, there is no way. You just have to put a diaper on them. I have 2 chickens and they are in their pants most of the day. When I am home they have their diapers on. When I leave they go in the cage. -A REAL answer to that question posted at VegSource.com

SERIOUSLY! And the best part: when the poster asked where to find chicken diapers, someone else answered that the company that makes them named them "Flight Suits"! Hee hee... 

While you try to wrap your brain around chickens in their flight suits....

Like most skills in life, using the toilet, instead of the convenience of a diaper...or floor...is a learned activity. We had a fairly easy experience with Aidan (after that first rocky day or two when we highly considered just leaving him in diapers until puberty) and he was using the toilet like a pro a month before his 3rd birthday. Then came Madeline who, upon our arrival to CA decided she would teach herself. She was a master "pottier" at two and a half, by no effort on our part outside a little chocolate encouragement here and there. 

Then comes Lily. Lily went from thrilled at the prospects of getting an M&M every time she used the toilet to "Yay! Aidan and Mai Jane get M&Ms" but not wanting one herself to not really caring at all about the potty. But because "house training" isn't approved by the AAP (nor is the use of a litter box) we plow forward. 

So yesterday we were waiting for Madeline to finish up dance class when my nose noticed Liam was in need of a new diaper. Having used the last of the wipes without replacing them, I wheeled him and Lily into the restroom to wet some paper towels. Lily, recognizing the great opportunity in front of her (empty restroom, occupied mom, yippee!), jumped out of the stroller and headed into the biggest stall.  I finished changing Liam and took him over to the stall where I found Lily completely nude, clothes scattered on the floor, shoes in the corner and a very dry pull-up right in the middle of it all. She was trying to get up onto the toilet. 

"Do you need to go potty?" I asked, both eyebrows raised.

"Yeah!" she said, bubbling over with enthusiasm. I helped her up and sure enough, after a very short moment she started peeing. 

"Yay!" I cheered. "You did it!" 

Her eyes widened as big as her excited smile and she leaned backward to show me she was still going....and the stream flowed right out, onto the dry diaper, onto her clothes and all over me. Note to self: Please withhold applause until the Flight Suit is back on the chicken!


The Sky is Falling....oh wait, no, it isn't

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" -Chicken Little (or Henny Penny)

The chicks and I left the park earlier today because we heard the roar of thunder...they had spent the previous hour picking up rollie pollies and various grasses and plants to add to the bucket that contained their baby pet snail ("Snaily Nail" as they so lovingly refered to him).

And since we were meeting up with friends at Sugar Pies Bakery and Coffee House, Snaily Nail tagged along. Madeline insisted we take him and his dozen pill-bug friends inside so they wouldn't die in the car. (I think the car would probably be safer than the hands of a child but who can deny the possibility of death in a hot car in CA, especially when your life depends on moisture...) As we were sitting there, munching on baked goodies and feeding Liam bites of croissant (part of the reason he has gained 11 ounces these last two weeks! YAY!), another mom and her 1 year old daughter approached us. You could tell she was a first-timer by the way she practically haloed her daughter with every step, making sure she never touched the ground with anything but her precious little shoes. The little girl watched curiously as I fed Liam.

"How old is he?" the mom asked.

"8 Months," I replied.

"Wow! And he already eats solid food?" she questioned.

"Well....he is my 4th so we feed him whatever we are eating," I justified, not knowing why I should need to do so. I mean, he is 8 months and is quite capable of putting down a steak or hot dog if cut into small enough pieces....no teeth required! "How old is your daughter?" I asked.

"She just turned one, but she spits out anything we put in her mouth," the mother said. At that moment, Madeline chimed in:

"Wanna see our pet snail?" she asked excitedly, as always.

"A REAL snail?" the mother questioned me with what seemed like a combination of fear and disgust.

"Yes," I said plainly.

"Huh," she said as she swooped her little girl up in two arms and quickly went back to her seat across the room.

My friend and I had a hard time containing our laughter....IT'S A SNAIL! It's not like she had a rattlesnake in there (although I wouldn't put it past her).

But then, maybe now I am beginning to understand the reason for The Weather Channel's extreme weather warning that it may rain. It's code language for: THE SNAILS ARE COMING! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

Unfortunately, by the time the sky started to fall, and we experienced the "Significant Weather Changing Storm" (that lasted all of 10 minutes, and included, get this, a rain shower!) Snaily Nail had already gone home to be with the good Lord....Apparently, the bucket lacked the moisture necessary to sustain snail life. But beware: The rollie pollies are still flourishing. 


News Flash

If you go to The Weather Channel and look at the info for Laguna Hills, CA, you will see a Severe Weather Alert flashing at you, all red and warning-like. Click on it and you will see this:


oooooooh....rain....I'm trembling, aren't you???? Better hole on up so we don't get, um, wet or something! (In case you are wondering, there are big warnings on the sides of showers in CA as well: BEWARE, WATER COMES OUT OF THIS DEVICE!)

Well, I'm off to round up the chicks before they find out what an umbrella is....I go with peace of mind that there is the possibility of Significant Change a comin'! 

Have a great weekend!