Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Black Monster vs the Bunnies

Despite living in a large city we have spotted quite the wildlife. We saw a hawk, with a squirrel in its talons. We have plenty of bunnies and birds. And, of course there is Ransom.

A few weeks back, Hubs discovered a rabbit hole in our front yard filled with brand new baby bunnies. We left them alone and watched them grow. When it was time for Richard to mow, they had been there about 2 weeks and were now super cute. For some reason mini rabbits are waaaaay cuter than big rabbits that eat my hostas down to nothing.

We caught the babies and put them into a large Panera sack while Hubs mowed. I brought them inside with me and away from the black monster (aka. Ransom). Afterwards, we put them back into their hole and they were gone the next day.

The next rabbit-mom was not quite as smart. She did pick a spot completely in the shade, knowing the temperatures are going to be high this week. However, she chose the backyard. Within the invisible fence boundary = Ransom’s Territory.

This morning as I was in the bathroom getting ready for a normal day of work, I hear a loud, high-pitched, incessant squealing. When I finally put two and two together – that Ransom was outside and that the noise was not a bird, I quickly go and find a new baby rabbit on the patio with the black monster sniffing and nudging it with his nose. I did the worst thing possible. I panicked and said “Ransom!”

Which triggers the response of “take it and run.” So he puts the entire bunny in his mouth and moves to the other side of the lawn. I ask him if he wants to eat, but the squealing of the bunny distracts him so much he doesn’t even budge. Still panicking and not wanting a baby bunny to die on my watch, I yell for Richard.

The bunny stops squealing, assumedly dead, and Ransom loses enough interest that I ask him if he wants to eat again. Torn between the bunny and me, he comes to me – or so I thought. Instead, he goes running under the bushes for another bunny giving me a chance to pull on his tail until he turns around and I grab his collar and also giving us the location of the hole.

Richard has now come outside and gets the bunny. It is a new baby with his eyes still closed, barely any hair, and not strong enough to use his own feet. Ransom hadn’t tried to eat it or kill it and it has survived this extreme trauma, barely. We put it back into the hole. The hole is empty and I try not to think about what happened to the rest of the babies. Perhaps she had only had one of them when Ransom found it. Maybe the others escaped. The last possibility is one I’d rather not think about.

Ransom’s normal routine allows him to be outside all morning until we leave for the day. After we brought him inside and fed him, he stood by the door, followed me around, begging to be let back out. He never gets toys because he ruins them, so this was probably a big excitement for him – a toy that was soft, moved and even squeaked. Although I would love to cut down on the rabbit population in my yard, I don’t necessarily want it to be the brand new babies completely helpless against the giant black monster.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

To the dad's in my life.

There are a lot of people that do not have the amazing relationships that I have with all the father's in my life. Rarely do I say anything personal about my family, but I am not spending the day with any of them and I want them to know they are loved.

My grandpa's are the best. It was so fun to grow up with my Pop-pop nearby. He took us along on his errands and taught us things as he worked in the garage. He was always fixing or doing something and we got to join in. And he never stopped teaching us. I remember learning about the center of gravity while stacking my blocks to make a tower. I looked forward to spending time with Grandpa. He was always making me laugh or trying to get a rise out of me, which worked. We would go out to eat and he would say [still does]: "I pay, you pray." I still go places and get introduced as "Rod's grandaughter" and I love it. He is matter-of-fact and no-nonsense. I don't get to see either of them as much I wish, but it is the best when I do. I'm so proud to have them both as my grandfathers.

My father-in-law is one of a kind. I see him through my Hubs. He taught him to work hard and to be honest and is always encouraging us in what we do. He is always so excited to see us and to spend time with us and it makes us know he loves us. His desire to grow and learn is something I admire and I'm so thankful for the relationship he has with Richard and I.

But I have to admit, the most special of all these dad's is my own. My dad is absolutely unwavering in his faith and he has never minced words over the truth in God's word. He is solid and strong and loves my mother to the utmost degree. He has the heart of a servant and is always there when you need him. He is always concerned with other more than himself and I've seen him work through pain I didn't even know or forgot he had.

Dad cooks the best scrambled eggs and he makes the best coffee. He is always willing to make a fire and s'mores for me when I come to visit, or to have Breyer's ice cream in the freezer. He taught me to change my tires and he taught me to read God's word. There will never be a time when I don't need him in my life. He is stubborn; so I am I. He has crooked pinky fingers; so do I. He doesn't like coconut; neither do I.

I always knew we had to talk about something serious when we were "going out for a coke." He forgave me for dropping (and breaking) his ipad. He's forgiven me for much, never deserved, but always freely given. He taught me to forgive in that way. Having him upset with me was always the worst. But he's always believed in me, even when I've made the wrong decision.

Not everyone can say that their relationship with their dad has pointed them to their relationship with their heavenly Father, but mine has. My dad would rather have me know Christ more than anything else and that is what he has shown me for the past 28+ years.

There will never be a time when I don't need my dad in my life, and although I rarely say it, I know you know it: I love you, Dad.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

St. Louis Site: Uncle Bill's Pancake House

Before we went to the Botanical Gardens, we went out to breakfast. I love going out to breakfast and I really love First Watch, but we decided to try something local in the city. I saw Uncle Bill's the very first day we moved here, so that's were we went.

When you pull up, you can tell it's been there a while. And when you go inside, you can tell they haven't done any remodeling...ever. But I don't mind old as long as it is clean, and it was very clean. It had its own charm. In my mind, the waitress staff has worked there for years and know their regulars by name. The menus are printed on paper placematts with at least 3 typos. The feel was comfy and friendly.

We both ordered the 3 egg omelette, which also came with 3 pancakes. I'm not sure why I ordered an omelette. I prefer french toast and my eggs over-medium. It was way too much food for me, but I worked about 3/4 of the omelette and all the pancakes and then I had no need for lunch and wasn't even hungry for supper.

All in all the food was good and I enjoyed it, but I have to say that I would prefer to go to First Watch.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

St. Louis Site: Missouri Botanical Gardens Climatron

In search of a free activity for Hubs and I, the Missouri Botanical Gardens are free to St. Louis City & County residents on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. So, we went on a Saturday morning date. We were both sportin' the sperry's.

Neither of us had ever been to a botanical garden before, but I had searched the web for info and knew it was quite large. We planned to only spend an hour or two there, so we chose to start in the Climatron which is an indoor rainforest.

We were not disappointed. There were so many plants we had never seen before. And it was complete with waterfalls and geckos.

We saw all sorts of fruit & spice plants: banana, cacao, pineapple, coffee, all-spice, turmeric, ginger & more.

We were amazed at the amount of different plants and the variety. What a Creator! Some of the plant life was familiar from our hikes in Hawai'i, but most of it was brand new. I would love to visit the rainforest someday!

Of course we took our standard arm's length pic where I realize its time to pull out the whitening trays.

The Climatron was so much fun that we continued our venture to the Japanese Garden. But we'll save those details for the next post!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Conquered the Hill? Yes We Did.

Last October a friend and I decided to run in the Hospital Hill 10k in Kansas City. She had just had her first child and I was feeling the flab from a stressful summer. This was the incentive we both needed to get back to a healthy lifestyle. The other incentive [probably a better one] was that we would get to spend the weekend together catching up.
I actually started training mid-March. Hubs was a solid coach. I told him I wanted to run 3 days a week and I wanted to finish the race in under one hour. Within 5 weeks, I had already paced my goal time and I was feeling very good about the race. Three weeks prior to race-day, I ran a 10k route in Kansas City. I picked a route with lots of hills because as its name suggests, the Hospital HILL run, has several large hills. I finished that run in 58 minutes, which again confirmed that I was ready for this race.
But after that day the training went downhill. I had a sharp pain in my hip that made it hard to run any further than 2 miles. Then I got sick with a cold that had me down for a week. So, I tapered my training big time and not on purpose. The week of the race, I did one hour on the elliptical and that was it. Still, my hip was hurting, but not as much.
On race day, my plan was to run as I planned. If my hip didn’t cooperate, I would slow down or walk, but I would finish this race. We woke up ridiculously early for a Saturday and rushed off to downtown Kansas City. I+I forgot my sunglasses, my chapstick, my advil and most importantly my ipod. It seems that I would be running this race with only my thoughts to push me through and not the beat of my music. I downed 2 Aleve with cold coffee that was left in the car and the guys dropped us off to get to the starting line on time. As we lined up, I realized too late that I was supposed to be in corral “D,” but we were lined up in corral “G.” It seemed too difficult to maneuver my way through the 12,000 other people so I stayed put. Plus, it was less nerve-racking to start together. After the first 200 feet, I took off [with Courtney’s permission], and the race was on.
I have to say, the first 2 miles were great. I felt like I could run forever and I hadn’t felt any pain in my hip. The main problem was that I needed to pass people and it was very crowded, even at mile 2. The “Hospital Hill” was the first hill and because it was at the beginning, I didn’t feel like it was terrible. It was long for sure and even steep, but I had a lot of energy and pushed through. At the top of that hill, I saw Richard, Josh & Jackson which was a big plus.
At about 30 minutes I felt my first hip pain. It wasn’t too bad, but I knew from the past weeks that it would probably get worse. I hoped that the Aleve would keep it under control and I think I subconsciously slowed my pace. Over the next 2 miles we went up another large hill, which also probably slowed me down a bit.
At the fourth mile the 10k racers turned off and went up another large hill. This was the worse for me because it seemed like it was not going to end. It did though, and there was a glorious downhill. I saw Richard again and passed mile 5. At this point, my body wanted to speed up. It is also the point where people start telling you that you are almost there. I knew that wasn’t the case, but I still kept thinking that I would see the finish line around every corner. It played with my mind and I got a little frustrated. Then came the last hill. The steepest one by far and only about .2 miles long, but seemingly straight up. I pushed through yet felt like I was running in place. Everyone was telling us that this was the last hill – it was all downhill from there.
It was true, but the finish was still further away that I expected. So I sped up too soon. By the time I saw the finish I knew that I hadn’t made my goal time and I was a little put out and did not put any extra effort into finishing. When it was all over, I wasn’t all that tired and I knew I could have pushed myself harder.

 Post race, we had trouble finding each other. By the time we had, I was freezing! Court looks awesome, I look a mess!

I was, however, immediately sore in my hip so maybe it was better that I didn’t push harder. At any rate, I finished without having to walk and Courtney came in only 3 minutes later and was way under her own goal time! We got a nice t-shirt, socks and even flip-flops! And even better, we had the entire rest of the day to hang out together – Chick-fil-a for lunch, shopping at Trader Joe’s, games galore & Thai for dinner! Not to mention, lots of hours of fun with one of the happiest babies in the entire world – I like to think Jackson doesn’t smile near that much for the rest of you that see him on a regular basis.

I think that this should be a yearly tradition and am looking forward to it. Maybe Josh & Richard will even join us next time…

Hours later, sporting our new tees.