Archive for suburban

Jun
28

More Nature? I Think So!

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First off, this post is brought to you by my screwed up sleeping schedule.  Third day in a row.  Do you want some quiet time, but also want to drag all day?  Follow this easy schedule:  Fall asleep at 9:00 with a child, then wake up feeling totally refreshed at midnight or 12:30.  Stay awake, thoroughly enjoying your quiet time until about 3:00 am.  Head back to bed and wait for the kids to wake you up around 7:00.  (I really hope you heard the sarcasm in that!)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.  Tonight (or yesterday, depending on how you look at it) I took the kids down to the Panhandle Trail, which is near my house.  It’s part of the whole rails to trails thing.  Chloe has recently started riding a bike with training wheels, so I packed up their bikes and helmets.  My original plan was to get some exercise in by walking, but that didn’t pan out (HA!  Panhandle train…pan out…I crack myself up).  They enjoyed it, but it didn’t last for all that long.  They DID really enjoy checking out the water, the fish, and the dragon flies.  Now, I know that I’ve recently told you about the zoo in my backyard.  I think I may entice another living thing to join our zoo.

Instead of channel surfing when I’m awake in the middle of the night, I check all my regular websites on my laptop.  Doing this sometimes often leads me off on little surfing tangents.  So, I started reading about hummingbirds.  I had no idea that they start migrating back to the United States in July.  My brother in law has had a feeder in his back yard for a while, and they’re really very amazing to watch.  So, I’m thinking let’s get a glass hummingbird feeder for the kids.  Actually, I’ll just say it’s for the kids, but it’s really for me.  Just like the bunnies are really mine.  You can buy food for the hummingbirds, but you can also just whip it up yourself.  It’s just a cup of sugar mixed with four cups of water.  Now, I’ll have to play around and see which works better.  But, since I cut all that sugar out of my diet, I have all this extra sugar that I’m not putting in my coffee and tea.  :)

Who knows…my next business adventure may be charging admission into my zoo.

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Jun
14

City Girl Gone Suburban

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If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I grew up in the city. I walked across the street to my grade school. I walked one block to my high school. There was a grocery store across the street from the high school. The homes were close together, and the only REAL wildlife I ever saw was 1) a robin that made a nest outside my bedroom window and 2) the ONE groundhog we had in my small yard.

Fast forward twenty or so years.  The housing plan I live in used to be a pasture for the cows.  Our back yard is up against a small patch of woods.  I’ve had oh so many animals hangin’ out back there.  The first thing we noticed were the deer.  We consistently have about eleven doe out on the back hill.  We don’t see them as often in the summer, but in the winter, they’re around every morning, and usually every evening.  Towards the end of winter, when there’s not many food options for them, they venture a little closer.  We have a fire pit that is lined with these evergreen hedges.  Word on the street was that deer won’t eat them.  Wrong.  The deer eat them every winter.  They are (supposed to be) cone shaped.   However, there is a big ol’ dent right about deer mouth level. But, I still like my deer.

Throughout the spring, we’ve seen much more wildlife.   This year we’ve had a few animals that are worth talking about.  First, there was the robin.  This robin decided to build a nest in our yard.  No big deal.  But WHERE she decided to build it was kind of funny.  We have a bar that we use for parties sitting along the back of the house.  She went INSIDE this bar (simply made with two by fours, lattice, and a stainless steel top) to create a good home for her eggs to hatch.  Here’s a picture:

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That was three or four weeks ago.  Mama bird’s babies hatched (well, two of them did).  she was VERY protective.

Next, there was our momma turkey. Now, I don’t really know too much about turkeys, but I noticed that right around the same time (11:30-12:30 in the afternoon) every day, a turkey would come down off the hill and walk through our yard.  I said something to Tony, and he ended up asking his brother about it.  Turns out, when a mother turkey has a nest, the father comes by once a day so the mother can go and look for food.  Go figure.  Ya learn something new every day.

Now, I’ll let you know about the bunnies.  Last year we had two bunnies.   And here’s how this happened.  Right after Easter last year, the kids were convinced that they had to put carrots out to feed the Easter Bunny.  After a couple of weeks of putting carrots out, I was just about to convince them to stop putting those carrots outside.  I look out the window on our patio, and what to I see?  A damn bunny eating the carrots.  I literally laughed out loud.  So, we kept feeding the bunnies.  They got so used to us last year that we could sit right on the steps while they ate at our feet.  Well, they’re back this year, along with two babies.  I think the adults must remember us, because they’re still letting us sit and watch them eat.  The babies?  Not so comfortable with us.  But they’re still eating.  Here’s a little snippet:

So…where are we? Deer, turkey, bunnies….then there’s our crazy squirrel. I mean a squirrel’s a squirrel.  Usually not a big deal.  But this one is pretty small, and exudes all the same qualities as the squirrel-type-thingie from Ice Age.

He completely cracks me up.  Runs around like a crazy little thing, with no rhyme or reason.  Now, he’s eaten the grapes the we’ve left out.  He looks at us standing at the patio door, and runs right up the screen door.  Yup, he’s crazy.

So, our newest addition to the zoo is living in our grill.  Tony went out to make himself some dinner tonight, opened up the grill and sees a momma mouse with four or five babies.  He felt too bad to do anything about it (and ended up making his dinner on the stove).

Tonight, as we were watching the bunnies, Chloe said “Mom, our back yard is like a zoo.  Maybe we’ll get an elephant next!”

I told her that if there’s an elephant in our backyard, we have some serious problems!

Categories : life, motherhood, suburban
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Jan
18

My Craptacular Maronda Home

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If you read my previous post, you saw that I had some frozen pipes in this sub-zero Pittsburgh weather. Which leads me to discuss my house.

We bought our house from Maronda Builders a little over five years ago. We bought it for a number of reasons. We had just had a baby, and our current home’s location wasn’t exactly perfect for raising children. The plan that we looked at was in the general location of where we ‘always wanted to live.’ We bought our first house at a decent price, and knew we’d be able to make some money from it. So, we signed the papers. Now, the builder was definitely NOT the reason that we decided to purchase our home. We knew of problems with Maronda, but we liked the floorplan, it had a fantastic yard, and we could afford it.

We checked on the house’s progress every weekend. Luckily, there was a person who just got a promotion – and he was in charge of the activities in our plan. Our home was the first that was ‘his.’ So he did pay attention to a bit of detail. Honestly, we haven’t had any MAJOR problems. They DID forget to install one of our central cold air returns. When you would come up the basement stairs, it was just a huge wind tunnel. Now, for the pipes: Our pipe going to the kitchen sink did freeze one other time. I guess the problem is that this particular pipe must go through the garage a bit, and on the outer wall. Last time, my Brother In Law came over with a little torpedo heater, ran it in the garage, and all was good. This time, the sun helped. Plus, I ran the washer and dryer (I now have lots of clean clothes) and they eventually started running.

No wall or ceiling in my home is exactly straight. My neighbors have had worse problems. Very leaky roofs (because they didn’t seal around the flashing correctly). Extremely squeaky floors. I have one neighbor who, after their yard was graded, ended up with a complete swamp. The light switch in my upstairs bathroom is backwards (the first switch should be the light – but it’s the fan), my master bathroom sink had a leak from day one.

Even though there are all of these problems, I love my house. I love the size, the layout. I love the location. I love our yard. I wish I had more money to spend on it. I’d love hard wood floors, granite countertops and nothing bought at Ikea or Target. But I DO love it. And I truly love my neighborhood. There are about 74 homes in our neighborhood – it consists of four streets. Some of our best friends live here. And they were our best friends BEFORE we moved in. I’m so glad they followed! In fact, when we signed the papers to purchase our home, my husband called our very good friends and left a message on their machine. It was the classic song from Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” We moved to the neighborhood in November, and they joined us in February. Our other friends lived in a townhouse for a few years, but were always looking to buy. They looked at private builders, land, and other communities. But I am SO happy that they ended up here in our neighborhood. They just had twins (this week!), and it will be great to watch them grow up.

So, I’m all about the silver lining when it comes to my house. And when I really think about it, I now live in one of those houses that I wanted when I was little. I remember passing homes in plans and thinking ‘I wonder what it would be like to live there.’ Well, now I know. It rocks.

Categories : life, Pittsburgh, suburban
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Dec
03

Sometimes they’re easy

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Well, today really turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I had made an appointment to get my hair colored and cut at 10:00 this morning. And I was taking Chloe with me. Now, I knew that Chloe would be OK with waiting through just a hair cut. She’s pretty darn good. But I wasn’t so sure how a three year old would do waiting for over two hours in a small salon.

Now, the place that I get my hair cut is right next to the restaurant (Downey’s House, just in case you’re new here). The salon is called Hot Heads, and Jessica, the owner, is fantastic. And Chloe has been there a couple of times before. So, I go prepared. Portable DVD player with some Scooby Doo movies? Check. New ‘Hello Kitty’ doll house that the kids still have an interest in? Check. A lunch that Chloe packed for herself? Check. I have to say, she did fantastic. She danced, she chatted, she ate pudding. It didn’t hurt that I’ve been explaining the whole ‘Naughty and Nice’ thing to her. She double checked tonight before bed to see if she’s still on the nice list. She is.

BTW, I love, love, love my new hair. Short in the back, longer in the front (I like to call it the anti-mullet). The color is great. Or maybe I should say colors. My previous color was brown with some bright orange highlights, and a large chunk of orange in the front. The new color is all that plus some blonde streaks. Very punky. I like it. Just enough (ok, maybe more than enough) to make me stand out in the sea of suburban moms that live in my little plan of homes. Blending in is so boring.

And have I mentioned that I’ve been sucked into the Facebook vortex lately? I’ve chatted with people I went to grade school with, went to high school with, and people who I worked with at TGI Fridays in the airport. Crazy. As I speed even closer to 40 years old, I look back and realize that I really have learned something from every single person that I’ve met. Which is probably why I’m so twisted now (just kidding!)

More later!

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Dec
03

Sometimes they're easy

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Well, today really turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I had made an appointment to get my hair colored and cut at 10:00 this morning. And I was taking Chloe with me. Now, I knew that Chloe would be OK with waiting through just a hair cut. She’s pretty darn good. But I wasn’t so sure how a three year old would do waiting for over two hours in a small salon.

Now, the place that I get my hair cut is right next to the restaurant (Downey’s House, just in case you’re new here). The salon is called Hot Heads, and Jessica, the owner, is fantastic. And Chloe has been there a couple of times before. So, I go prepared. Portable DVD player with some Scooby Doo movies? Check. New ‘Hello Kitty’ doll house that the kids still have an interest in? Check. A lunch that Chloe packed for herself? Check. I have to say, she did fantastic. She danced, she chatted, she ate pudding. It didn’t hurt that I’ve been explaining the whole ‘Naughty and Nice’ thing to her. She double checked tonight before bed to see if she’s still on the nice list. She is.

BTW, I love, love, love my new hair. Short in the back, longer in the front (I like to call it the anti-mullet). The color is great. Or maybe I should say colors. My previous color was brown with some bright orange highlights, and a large chunk of orange in the front. The new color is all that plus some blonde streaks. Very punky. I like it. Just enough (ok, maybe more than enough) to make me stand out in the sea of suburban moms that live in my little plan of homes. Blending in is so boring.

And have I mentioned that I’ve been sucked into the Facebook vortex lately? I’ve chatted with people I went to grade school with, went to high school with, and people who I worked with at TGI Fridays in the airport. Crazy. As I speed even closer to 40 years old, I look back and realize that I really have learned something from every single person that I’ve met. Which is probably why I’m so twisted now (just kidding!)

More later!

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