Saturday, August 27, 2011

An Idea Forms

Every Friday Miss Applesauce Pants, Blue Monkey and Black Rat go fishing.

This is the day when the rest of the disbanded (see Blue Monkey Tells a Tale post) diaper band are gone. And without the diaper band, Miss Applesauce Pants, Blue Monkey and Black Rat can do things that are hard to do when the whole band is together.

 Which is how it came to be, that Fridays were designated Pizza making, Fishing and Painting days.  This past Friday started as all the others.

First Blue Monkey, Black Rat and Miss Applesauce Pants made pizza dough while Blue Monkey played on the piano between dough kneading and rising.

Every since Black Rat quit the band. Blue Monkey has been playing piano..(and sighing), playing violin (and sighing), playing the drums (and sighing.) Finally, on this particular Friday,  Black Rat caved.

All right already, she says as she tosses her pizza dough in the air.  What if we reunite and we are just a rhythm band. Because do I say this? Black Rat sprinkles some more flour on the dough and then looks directly at Blue Monkey. Well, Blue Monkey, we are NOT VERY GOOD.  

Really? says Blue Monkey(.he is not remotely concerned that we may not sound any good) 

Yes. sighs Black Rat. For now it is her turn to sigh.

Perfect! says Blue Monkey.

Before he can get too excited Black Rat gives him her offer.

We can be a rhythm band, but we cannot practice all the time. Maybe just once a day. Because really? I am an artist. Not a musician. YOU are the musician.

This greatly pleases Blue Monkey. But Blue Monkeys sometimes only hears what he wants. And I will still be the fiddle player. You guys will be the rhythm band and I will be the fiddle player. Because I am a GREAT violin player. 

Black Rat gives Miss Applesauce Pants the see what I have to work with look. Then says. Fine.

But Black Rat is a bit concerned. For you see. The violin is TOO BIG for Blue Monkey. So he can only play open strings because his fingers can't reach the finger board. But Black Rat does not want to disappoint Blue Monkey. So instead she says..

Yeah. But I think you should learn the rhythm band part also. You know, until we can make some money and get you a violin that fits.  And we should probably make some money for some rhythm instruments too. Because right now? We have one drum.

But the kitchen..., states Blue Monkey with a gesture to the pots and pans.

One drum, restates Black Rat.

Blue Monkey knows that pots and pans can make amazing music. But maybe Black Rat is right. Maybe she IS an artist and not a musician. It really doesn't matter, because Blue Monkey cares greatly about Black Rat and would never be in a band without her.

After some debate, Blue Monkey agrees with Black Rat and suggests that they contemplate business plans as they fish.  
So Miss Applesauce Pants, Black Rat and Blue Monkey gather their fishing poles to return to Blue Monkey's declared feud on the Chinese Fish.

Now feuding with a fish takes strategy. Part of the strategy for this war has been experimenting with which bait is best. First Blue Monkey tried corn. Corn was how the feud began. Next was hot-dogs. Black Monkey thought hot-dogs would do the trick. But Blue Monkey was SO BUSY that week..that all the fish were scared away. Miss Applesauce agreed to bring worms.

But first all the worms had to be named. And you can't feed worms with names to fish.

No! Not that one! Blue Monkey would cry. That is wormy. 

Not that one either! would join Black Rat. That is princess.

Black Rat likes princesses. Despite the fact that Black Rat chooses names like Black Rat and loves what she refers to as scary, horror, art. Black Rat likes to wear cute little matching outfits with jewel covered flip-flops. She also loves princesses and unicorns. Black Rat is spending some time  this year discovering who she is.

And once Black Rat starts talking about princesses, well, there is no way we can put a hook in a princess. Blue Monkey quickly realizes that this could become a problem.

Here take this one. He tells Miss Applesauce Pants. It's Blackworm the Pirate. And then the calamity begins.

As Blue Monkey is renaming the worms, his pole starts to come apart. Miss Applesauce Pants! he cries.

Miss Applesauce pants tries to help. She really does. But then she slides down the boulder and catches a tree trunk with her foot to keep from falling into the fishing hole.

SSHH!! hiss Black Rat and Blue Monkey in unison.

Miss Applesauce pants tries to put the pole back together, when she feels a pull. No way. It is the fish. Miss Applesauce Pants tugs on the line as hard as she can. Blue Monkey holds onto Miss Applesauce Pants. Black Rat holds onto Blue Monkey.

The fish gets away with the worm. This goes on for 3 more worms. Miss Applesauce Pants, Black Rat and Blue Monkey say goodbye to Wild Worm Hickock, Buffalo Worm and Queen Elizaworm. 

It is agreed that worms are the way to go. But once the fish has finished feasting, the river becomes very quiet again.

I'm hungry, says Blue Monkey. Blue Monkey is always hungry. Miss Applesauce Pants and Black Rat tell him to wait 10 more minutes. And during this 10 minutes Blue Monkey begins to think.

Hey. Where did these worms come from?

The store. Says Miss Applesauce Pants.

You mean you bought them?

Well yes. says Miss Applesauce Pants. People collect and sell worms to the ice-house. I buy them from the ice house. You know..people have worm farms and everything. 

Miss Applesauce launches off on a boring list of things worms can be used for.

Blue Monkey does not hear.

You mean we could sell worms? asks Blue Monkey. Black Rat looks on with interest.

Oh dear, thinks Miss Applesauce Pants.  She remembers harvesting worms with her own  3 GROWN BOYS, when they were young.

Uhmm..yes? she responds meekly.

And so Miss Applesauce Pants, Blue Monkey and Black Rat return home to eat their pizza and create a worm farm. Because a worm farm? Will buy the instruments for the band!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can You Hear A Walnut?

It has been a bit busy around here.

For starters Brian had his 21st birthday!!! And in true Brian form..he chose to come home and hang with his family. I many 21 year olds..come hang out at Ranch Rugrat to play Chinese Checkers for their 21st birthdays? He was thrilled..I tell you...absolutely graciously thrilled.  Gotta love the boy!

and now Brian is starting his graduate school journey...with rumours  that his summer job has been extended through the Fall.

Here are Brian, Cody and Austen on his birthday. They all know this will be the last time they are all together for a while. And? I think Cody and Austen were glad Brian came home!

...and here is Cody with Little Man C..having a staring contest.

I wanted to add this, since Cody has left this little home of ours for HIS OWN PLACE!!!!

Cody moved into his dorm last weekend. Here he is with Dad, Austen and Grandpa a few seconds after walking into his new home away from home. He is thrilled I had him can tell by the puffed out cheeks.

 We spent most of the morning getting the kid moved in. I was worried about things know..clothes and cleaning supplies. But Cody? He had his priorities.

...and here is Big B "testing" Cody's new bed. All this moving his sons out of the house? Exhausting.

.....We return home.  As Brian and Cody settle in for a year of study.

And then Austen is left with us! Austen has been doing his own thing for quite a while now. So this year is no different. We decided to post-pone community college for a semester.

Austen is going to focus on earning some money for summer travel, studying French, LOTS OF MATH and...capoeira.  Here is Austen at Capoeira.

And as the TALL Boys learn their own life lessons..I am learning a few things from the creatures (see monkey, wolf and tiny people below) here at Rancho Rugrat.

Lessons Learned

1.  The importance of a sense of humor.

2. I make a lousy Chewbacca. In order to make the proper Chewbacca must gather the proper amount of spit in the back of one's throat. I do not gather my spit right.

3. I remind most children 11 and under of their grandma. When? I wonder..did THIS happen???

4. The  continued importance of a sense of humor.

5. When feeding deer left-over lunch from the is important to throw food away from the big circular thing with water in the yard. Otherwise? One may be retrieving burritoes from the pool.

6. If you spend an afternoon explaining to an 11 year old that saying Eeww gross..everytime a baby walks near her..a baby will then throw up on you..and you will say Eeww Gross!

7. When a baby is really sick..everyone will pull together and even try to make the baby chicken noodle soup.
8. Most children like to hear stories, to tell stories..and to snuggle on the couch and look at books. A Lot. Box-Car Children books are interesting for a wide range of personalities in the "little taller people" crowd.

9. Even if there is a important to get outside..even if only for 10 that 6 year old boys can be ninjas in the woods. If not, they will be ninjas in the house. Ninjas in the house can cause much destruction.

And finally the most important lesson of all..............
10. How to listen to a walnut....

When 6 year old ninja says...Listen..Can you hear the walnut? and shakes a walnut next to your ear.  If you sit still and listen quietly, you will..indeed... hear the walnut.

And taking the time to listen to a what it's all about. Even when your BIG  TALL BOYS are leaving for college.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blue Monkey Tells a Tale

  Alas it is true.

After 2 short weeks of a dynamic existence. Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band has (ahem) disbanded.

It appears that Black Rat feels her gifts are in other areas. She is choosing to spend most of her time focusing on scary art. Blue Monkey does not feel we can continue without her. So..for now..The Band is busy with other things.

  As I stated in the last of the things Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band does regularly is go for Nature Walks. Now..these are not your ordinary Nature Walks. Why? Because in addition to discovering all sorts of natural treasures we are on a quest. A quest to find a chupacabra...and that is the underlying theme of ALL our nature walks.

And so it came to be that one morning this past week..after a very long and unsuccessful chupacabra hunt, Blue Monkey pulled out an apple to share with the entire band..and said we could have a seat. He then told us a fishing tale.

You started like this, Blue Monkey tells the diaper band (because they are always a good audience). Last Friday..when you guys were not here..Miss Applesauce Pants, Black Rat and I went fishing.

We fished for a v-e-r-y...l-o-n-g...t-i-m-e.  Black Rat got some ant bites and caught a few sticks. We were not having much luck..when Black Rat found it..The GOLDEN HOOK.  So I took off my man-made hook (a piece of wire) and put on THE GOLDEN HOOK...and do you know what?

I got a bite...a pull..a HUGE..oh no. Miss Applesauce me..I cried..Miss Applesauce Pants held onto the back of my shirt while I started being pulled into the water..and then it happened. My line snapped.

Miss Applesauce Pants says sometimes that happens. And then I saw it..a Big Chinese Fish came out from under the rock.  Miss Applesauce Pants says she thinks it's a catfish. She is wrong. Do you know how I know? This one has Big it is a Chinese Fish. I think people in China really like to eat them. I've never tried it, though. 

Black Rat and I decided to declare war on the Chinese Fish. After stole THE GOLDEN HOOK.  We tried and tried again..but the Chinese Fish kept sending out it's warriors..the alligator gar . Two of them..actually..but finally it sent the ants. The ants invaded..and we had to retreat.

But just wait. Because next Friday? We are going back. And this time? 

We are gonna...

Catch. That. Fish.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band

 Rugrat Ranch has started earlier than expected.

We are letting the kids dribble in slowly..week by week. This week we started with our Elementary Aged crew. One incredibly enthusiastic and energetic 6 year old boy along with his more timid, but imaginative 11 year old sister.  And, of course, Bug.

We start with a basic rhythm...not much different than what we have been doing all summer. We decide to spend some time creating art-journals and playing lots of Chinese Checkers and Dominoes to get to know eachother better.

..and part of our rhythm is Nature Walks..and so it begins.
I think we need woodland names..says 6 year old boy. I am blue monkey

We all agree that is the perfect name for him.

What about you?? Who are you?  Blue Monkey asks his sister. She is exasperated. She has been busy following deer tracks and looking for the perfect hiking stick.  Blue Monkey keeps running over her tracks. She takes a deep breath to calm herself..and raises one eyebrow.

I think I'll be a can call me Black Rat!..and if you don't monkey yourself over there....(points to Pecan Grove) well then Bug and I are going to eradicate you.

And no..Bug is actually not going to eradicate Blue Monkey. He is in the Moby Wrap grabbing leaves from low hanging limbs and saying "I the Baby!!" and then showing off his latest spitting noise to Black Rat.

Blue Monkey is not deterred. How about Miss Nicole? What are we going to call Miss Nicole?..but then we see a turtle..and the concern for my name is quickly forgotten.

  A few days later we have house-guests. So we add Hurricane J (3) and Little Man C (8 months) to the mix. (Their parents are nearby) And then on Wednesday we add Miss A (3 years) and Mr. A (11 months) to the mix..and my! oh my!

 This is a group with some personality. Good thing, we like lots of personality.

The kids had started some spinach and bean soup. It is not finished in time for lunch. We agree to have the soup for a snack later.  I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of applesauce.

We decide to have a picnic on the deck. Miss A, Blue Monkey and Black Rat find a "Big Kids Table".

I am politely requested to "Please sit with the babies.." "The Babies' meaning..Bug and Mr. A.

And so I do..where I supervise food throwing, and help feed applesauce into open mouths. Because Bug and Mr. A were having way too-much fun splashing the applesauce.

The kids finish lunch, wash up and head to the sand-box. We seem to be missing a plate. I decide it must be in the dishwasher already.  I grab my sandwich and have a seat..right on a plate of apple-sauce! I found the missing plate?

Nothing escapes Blue Monkey. He spies this and yells from the sandbox. That's it! Miss Nicole's woodland name is now Miss Applesauce Pants! The kids all agree. They are quite pleased with my new name..and so I become Miss Applesauce Pants.

On Thursday, we are back to just Blue Monkey, Black Rat, Bug and Me. You know, Miss Applesauce Pants. On Thursday afternoons we are "doing music".

Blue Monkey wants to play the fiddle. I teach him how to use the bow and play open strings. He learns the names of the strings and practices.

Black Rat would prefer piano Thank you very much. So we find middle C and learn the notes C-G..all over the keyboard. She practices playing with a basic hand position.

Well how about you Miss Applesauce? (Blue Monkey has decided to spare me the "pants" part today). Aren't you joining our band? I mean really..don't you know how to play anything?

I just happen to have a new, awesome, guitar. A completely unexpected gift from one of the Kairos musicians.

I play The Nursery Rhyme Song..with Blue Monkey playing open strings..and Black Rat playing her new learned notes in various random order as she mumbles the names of the keys under her breath.

We sound GREAT! says Blue Monkey.

Black Rat agrees we have promise..but we have to practice a lot...and what are the babies going to do?  Blue Monkey and Black Rat mull over this and agree that the babies can be our percussion section and the dancers (for Bug and Mr. A? LIKE TO DANCE)

But we need a name...proclaim Blue Monkey and Black Rat in unison..After a quick Jinx game..they debate weather we should be called "The Sharks" or "The Resident (from Resident Evil) Princess"

I excuse myself to change Bug's diaper.

That's IT!!! Exclaims Blue Monkey. ( and yes..I am beginning to get leary of Blue Monkey's exclamations) We are....(drumroll please)..

Black Rat bangs on the toy drum...

 Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band!!!

Black Rat can't quit laughing. It's perfect..she laughs between breaths.

Bug claps his hand.

It is unanimous.

I am now a proud member of Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band.

(Tune in next time for Miss Applesauce Pants and the Exploding Diaper Band Go Fishing)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Bubble Invaders...

Cody and his girlfriend Ellie had there Ungraduation/Getting the Heck Outta' Here  party this past Friday night. Neither one of them wanted to participate in any sort-of formal graduation. They didn't want any big party.

You have to do something!!!  I kept telling them last May. I was determined. Something to acknowledge that they were moving on. Something to say..Hey..we are really proud of you. mark this transition in their lives.

Finally one evening Ellie looks at me from the I ask again..Isn't there something you guys want to do???  Cody continues to stare at me with that well worn my mother is an alien look. Ellie sighs. She knows this is inevitable. Her mother and I both need some closure.

Can't we just go out to eat or something?

So it is done. Ellie's mom (over at sardines in a can) and I settle on a date in August. Sardine mama creates Ungraduation/getting the heck out of here  invites.. and last Friday. We say goodbye and hangout at The Cove.

The Cove is in San Antonio. We are not. I get the pleasure of squishing Cody and crew in my car for probably the last time. "The Crew" being what I like to refer to as "the bubble invaders". It will be a long time before these guys are together again. I soak it for all it is worth. I take pictures along the way.

Cody is a boy who is extremely loyal to his friends..but he can go days, weeks even...just by himself. He starts a project and hyper-focuses. Often he will tell us how cost INefficient something is..and then we say..yes Cody..but the human factor is there. We will make the trip not for the groceries..but to see x, y or z person. Because they would LIKE to see you.   

Hence the need for the self-proclaimed Bubble Invaders. Now please don't get me wrong. Cody actually enjoys The Human Factor. It is just occasionally necessary for our Bubble Invaders to help him make the transition.

Was it necessary for these guys to bubble invade Cody for his send-off. They seemed to think so.

 First we start with Austen.  Austen has cut his summer at Girl Scout camp a day early, to return for Cody's send off. I don't think he has quite registered he is back for good, yet. 

Here we pick up Mason. Mason has just driven from the coast to meet us in a grocery store parking lot just in time for Cody's sendoff.

We pick up Justin. Hey.. says Justin..I need to go to the bank. Once at the bank Oh..says Cody..I'll be back.  He runs inside.

Justin has a bloody nose and chooses to have pictures taken with a kleenex sticking out of his nose. I might blog this.. I warn him. Justin smiles his Justin smile and says. Okay. Come on gotta pose with us..we might not get to squish with you like this again. (Justin has squished with us many times.)

Cody is bemused. He jumps in the front seat. Come on guys..says Justin..lets get in Cody's bubble...and hence the bubble invading begins.

The boys pile around Cody. I love these boys..and I wonder...will Cody have anyone to Invade the Bubble (as the boys like to say) when he is gone?

I am grateful for the friends that invade Cody's bubble. Cody has other things to tell them.

After a few errands and stops. One of the stops is at the post-office where Cody receives his first book for school. Plato's Republic. Perfect.

I make one last stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up modeling clay and paint brushes for Rancho Rugrat. The Bubble Invaders seem to be doing their job. Here they hang out and pose at a table for sale..while waiting for me to finish.

Cody chooses to hide behind the flowers...

We arrive at the Cove.

We have an enjoyable evening..even if it is 104 on the patio area we reserved..once the sun goes is pleasant, even. Several families come to show their support of Cody and Ellie.

 I am reminded, once again, of how lucky we are to have this sort of support system. I wonder again..who will Cody let into his bubble? Will he be lucky enough to have bubble invaders in his new home?

I sure hope so.