January Citrus Lane Box!

Citrus Lane kicked off 2013 with a new design for their subscription box inserts that include a fun, collectible game piece in a card like presentation.  Another new feature for 2013 is less of a strict theme each month, allowing for even more customization for the different age groups.  Are you intrigued to see what January’s box brought us?  Well then, let’s dive in!

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That is a box full of awesome right there!

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Included with this month’s box was a 25% off voucher for Skip Hop’s website, the maker of the crazy cute Zoo Plate Set that was included in this month’s box.  Their site is full of all kinds of other awesome finds, so this was a great addition!

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Episencial Soothing Cream and Playful Wash Packet

We love Episencial in our house, so we were very excited to get this in our January box!  Their product line is perfect for babies and children with sensitive skin, and came at a perfect time for fighting the dry, itchy winter skin blues!

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To-Go Disinfectant Spray from CleanWell

This is a wonderfully lemon scented spray that easily fits in the purse or diaper bag for quick disinfecting of shopping cart handles, restaurant high chairs, you name it.  I use this in addition to my disinfectant wipes, and I love the clean, fresh scent.

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Zoo Plate & Bowl Set from Skip*Hop

Love.  It was a happy coincidence that I happened to get the set that matches the owl lunchie we got in our box a few months ago, but my goodness, what a happy surprise!  This mama is obsessed with owls, and this bright and cheery owl set is no exception!  It is made of melamine and is very sturdy and durable on top of being super precious!  This was a very welcome addition to our dish cabinet!

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Animal Boogie from Barefoot Books

We are huge bookworms in our house, so a book is always a very exciting box addition for us!  This book was no exception!  It includes a fun cd that not only has music, but is interactive with a fun animated video for the kids to enjoy!  The illustrations are so bright and happy, this book is guaranteed to bring joy for years to come!

So what did you think of January’s Citrus Lane box?  Are you intrigued and wishing you had your very own box?

Click HERE to sign up and you will get $10 off your new subscription! Or click HERE and enter code BREAK10 for 10% off any new subscription!  You can get as little as 3 months, or as much as a full year!

I have said it before, I will say it again.  I think Citrus Lane is an awesome value and it definitely costs less than a quick trip to Target (or any store) for this mama.  They have exciting things planned for the coming year, so now is a great time to join the Citrus Lane community!

This happened…

I should know better.  I do know better.  Really, it’s all my fault, but for the love of gravy!!!

It was only two minutes.  A short phone call, I stepped away while Noah and Sara were innocently watching Dora.  There were entranced, I thought surely they could stay that way for just a minute or two while I took the call.

I came back to a horrific, disgusting, unbelievable mess.  This is the first thing I saw, confusing me until I looked around and saw the source of the mysterious white paste on my coffee table.

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At first I thought it might have been lotion or maybe baby powder?  But there is no baby powder in easy reach of the babies, and a quick glance over to the lotion bottle showed it to be untouched.  Scanning the room, I saw this:

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At this point, I knew.  Oh, how I knew.  Those little granules strewn about like confetti, the delightful paste on my coffee table.  It was cat litter.  From the litter box.

*barf*

It gets better.  The cats have a basket with a blanket that they sleep in, which also happened to be in the path of nasty.

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Isn’t that lovely?  There was cat litter EVERYWHERE.  I think it was mostly Sara, while Noah sat and watched.  As soon as I walked back in the room, he jumped up to go sit on the potty for a good long while, avoiding the, let’s say colorful language that happened to escape me.

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That is Katie, wondering why we decided to keep the furless things that are so fascinated with kitty poo.

And now the mug shot of the nasty little girl that made it rain cat litter all over my living room:

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She doesn’t look very remorseful, does she?  See that sh*t eating grin?  It’s because she was literally eating sh*t.  Cat sh*t, covered in clumping cat litter.  You know how peanut butter gets stuck to the roof of your mouth when you eat it?  Yeah, well, cat litter clumps into a concrete like lump in the roof of the mouth and between the teeth.  That happy little grin on Sara’s face?  Yeah, that disappeared when I had to spend 20 minutes raking the litter out of her mouth and teeth.

Fun times.

 

Speedy Gonzales

Rainbow bridge

I had a dream last night that my best buddy was still here on Earth.

In the dream, I had an argument with Abe, how out of character!, and was going outside for fresh air.  Upon opening the back door, there stood my best bud, my black lab mix, Speedy.

He looked a little older, had some more gray in his muzzle than I remembered, but it was him.  I remember gasping and running to him, calling for Abe as I embraced him, my mind and my heart at ease and overjoyed to have my fur baby back in my arms.

Abe ran out with the kids, as I started up the stairs with him, letting him in the house, thoughts racing through my head.  “I knew he wasn’t gone,” I said to myself as I hunted for the dog shampoo.

“We’ll have to watch him around the babies, ” I warned Abe.  He was not a fan of kids in general, but he was protective.

I remember smiling, kissing his soft fur and laughing.  “See?  He’s not gone!  He went on an adventure.  I knew he would come back!”

And all too soon, I awoke, reality set in, and now tears are running down my cheeks as I type this.  Speedy used to kiss away my tears whenever I was sad.  It’s hard to keep crying when you’re laughing from the tickle of a nosy puppy in your face, licking away the tears as if to say, “Stop it!  Let’s play!”

Speedy was 13 years old when we lost him, just a little over two years ago.  He was taken outside, and in the rush of everything going on, no one noticed when he didn’t come back in.  A short while later, when things calmed down and I noticed he was no where to be found, I was frantic.  I ran through the house, searching every hiding place I could think of, before running outside and screaming for him.

We walked through the woods, getting covered in seed ticks as we searched for Speedy.  Going to bed that night without him made me physically ill.

The next morning I printed out 100 photos of Speedy to hand out to the neighbors, feeling certain that someone must have seen him and just taken him in, feeling bad for him.

It wasn’t long after handing out a handful of fliers that we heard something disturbing.

A dog was seen wandering around, not acting well.  This was in August, but the temperatures weren’t overly hot.  Still, it must have been too much for him.  I think he was having a heat stroke.  Instead of trying to help, the neighbor called the subdivision manager to get him out of her yard.  By the time he got there, he had passed.

The manager then wrapped him in a trash bag and put him in the dumpster.  Threw him away like he was trash.  By the time we found this out, the dumpsters had been emptied, there was no way to be sure, there was no way to say good bye.  No closure.

The guilt of what happened, the shock of losing him, the loss of my friend…. I was a mess.  The grief overtook me.  Speedy was my first baby.  I remember telling Abe before we ever had any kids that Speedy would always be number one in my heart.  If he didn’t like our kids, tough for them, because Speedy wouldn’t be going anywhere.  Luckily for our kids, he tolerated them pretty well.  🙂

So did Speedy’s spirit/ghost/whatever you want to call it come to visit me last night?  Well, call me insane, but it helps my heart to think that he did so that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

What I wouldn’t give for that dream to come true!  To open the door and see my buddy, just waiting for me, ready to step back in and take over where he left off.

It helps me to think that one day, I will see him again.  Have you ever read the Rainbow Bridge?  It is a poem that was written to help owners when their beloved pets die.  It is a tear jerker, that’s for sure, but it is also beautiful.  I guess I will end this with that poem and just say to Speedy, thank you for being awesome.  I miss you.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. 
Author unknown

Discovering Things

This past weekend brought us gorgeous, cool,  fall like weather.  I very happily opened up the windows to let the fresh,  crisp air in, and just as happily kicked the kids outside before they had a chance to fight about anything.

The nasty hot summer had them stuck inside far more than they are used to, so I was determined for them to soak in as much outside time as possible.  With the windows open, we could hear them excitedly talking as they followed the trails of butterflies or hopped around after a large grasshopper.

Bubbles were blown, drawing were made with chalk, they played on the swing set, they even made discoveries.

Abe and I were inside feeding the two little ones, when we hear Matt and Bella very excitedly talking about their great “discovery”.  They had been digging around and were talking about discovering fossils, so I assumed they found a rock that they decided to pretend was some sort of dinosaur bone, or whatever.

They started talking louder, getting more excited as they tried to decide what creature they found and what they should do with it.  When Bella suggested burying it, well, my brain started imagining what they possibly could have found.

When they declared that it had sharp claws, okay, game over.

Bella was coming up the front stairs when she opened the door to make her announcement.

“Mom, I have good news and some not so good news.  The good news is our dig was successful.  Too successful.  We found a dead creature with very long, sharp claws!”

Oh dear baby Jeebus.

“Did you touch it?!”  Ick factor to the max!  I sent Abe outside to see what they had found and sent them to scrubbing their hands clean from the dead “creature” cooties.

Abe said it was probably a mouse as he headed outside, to which they adamantly disagreed.

“No!  It can’t be a mouse, it has long sharp claws!”

Well, I don’t know what they thought they found, and I certainly don’t know what part of their brains were thinking it would be awesome to play with a dead anything.  But here it is, in all of its icky glory:

 

Doesn’t that look like an awesomely fun thing to play with?!  Blech.  And yes, it’s definitely a mouse, probably the remains of some stray cat’s snack.

They came inside and played video games after they used up all the soap washing their grody little hands.  They did make the day interesting, I’ll give them that.

Saint Louis Zoo

This weekend we visited one of the most popular, and free, attractions in the St Louis area.  The Saint Louis Zoo.   The most exciting part, for me anyway, was seeing the new baby lion cubs!  What is it with women loving babies?  I don’t know, but prepare to fall in love!

There’s Mama with one of her babies!  All together now, Awwwww!

Napping, because being this darn cute is hard work!

Oh my goodness, what a precious baby!  This looks like a Lion King in real life pic if I ever saw one!  Where are Timon and Pumba?  Okay, Disney dream killer, let’s not dwell on the fact that the lions would eat them for lunch.  No, let’s pretend they are all good friends that enjoy breaking into song to make even the tough times more enjoyable.  Thank you.

Did you know that every zebra’s stripes are completely unique, just like a finger print?  It’s true.  The striping kind of looks like a finger print, doesn’t it?  Also, this zebra is rocking a killer goatee!

A fat, happy jaguar, sleeping in the grass on a hot, sunny day.  Even the big cats are lazy.  It’s a cat thing.

I am obsessed with owls, so of course I’m always happy to see one in real life.  This one is a Burrowing Owl.  Probably.  I think.  Abe and I are arguing over the owl pictures, trying to decide what they are and Google is not being as helpful as I would like.  *le sigh*

This pretty little guy is a Blue-Crowned Motmot, from Central and South America.  “Mot-mot” is an American-Spanish word that was coined as an imitation of the sound this bird makes.  Mot-mot, little dude.  Mot-mot.

Okay, I love this guy.  He is fuzzy and adorable, and his expression, oh, I just love him.  I have no idea what he is though.  We think he is an owl, but can not figure out what kind!  I don’t know if he is still young, and that’s why he is kinda fuzzy, or if that’s just how he rolls.  If I figure out what he is, I will definitely update this post.  If you know what he is, please share!  Inquiring minds and such!  *UPDATE!*  It is a Tawny Frogmouth, an Australian bird, and it is not an owl.  But, I still love him.

Okay, this was adorable.  This is one of the older male chimpanzees.  He came up to the glass, right next to Noah and was chewing on a piece of banana.  Once he had it good and chewed, he stuck out his tongue, offering it to Noah.

When Noah didn’t take it, he chewed it up some more and then offered it again.  (So that’s where Alicia Silverstone learned how to feed her baby!) Believe me, if Noah could have taken the chewed up nanner, he most definitely would have!  He is the banana killer in our house.

Rawr!  You know what I would love to see at the Saint Louis Zoo?  An expanded bear exhibit.  A large, natural environment for them to explore and be happy in.  I can’t help but feel sad when we see what bears they have left pacing around and looking sad in their tiny little dwelling.  This needs to be a priority on their To Do list!  This is a Grizzly Bear, by the way, and he was pacing and looking sad in my humble little opinion.

Beautiful mariposa!

The Black Rhino!  I know all the animals have names, but I don’t know this guys name.  He looks like a Gus to me.  Gus is native to Africa and weighs more than one ton!  He also has a habit of charging at objects, as do all rhinos.  They have poor vision.  Perhaps if they had fashionable eyewear with corrective lenses, they wouldn’t be so quick to charge.  Right, Gus?  I’m certain he agrees with me.

O hai!  Hippos scare me.  One too many Discovery Channel shows talking about what vicious killers they are, I suppose.   Did you know, even though they can top the scale at 6,000 pounds, they can run up to 30 miles per hour?!  And their massively sharp canine teeth can be as long as 20 inches?!  Also, their bellow can be louder than a heavy metal band playing 15 feet away.  Yup, still scared.  Not that I plan on running into any, but you never know…

It was a sweltering hot day, so the elephants were all headed to la aqua!

When I see a mama and baby elephant, I always think of Dumbo.  Uh oh…..I feel a song coming on…

Baby Mine

Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
Little one when you play
Don’t you mind what you say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine
If they knew sweet little you
They’d end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they’d give just for
The right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You’re not much, goodness knows
But you’re so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby of mine

*sniff*  So sweet.  Why do you have to make me cry, Disney?

Oh, baby animals are just the best!

So that was our Saint Louis Zoo trip in a nutshell.  And that was not even the tip of the iceberg as far as attractions and animals available at the zoo. They have a large Children’s Zoo area and an area where you can pet sting rays and even feed sharks in the summer.  This day was hot though, and the babies were melting in the sun, so we didn’t get to do much more than what was represented in the photos here.

Abe did take some disgusting spider photos.  Funny, since he is a self proclaimed aracnaphobe.  I “accidentally” erased them though.  Taking an extreme close up photo of a native spider is one thing, but the horrific monstrosity that he captured on camera….*shudder*  Well, let’s just say I saved all of us from the horrendous nightmares that would have surely followed after viewing said monsters.  I was only thinking of you.  You’re welcome.

Critters

We get a lot of visitors in our yard.  I have a bird feeder that I try to keep filled to bring birds to our yard.  The kids and I love to stare out the window and see what types of feathered friends come our way.

The biggest enemy to our bird feeder is a rotten little squirrel we like to call “Buschy”.  (It’s a St Louis Cardinal thing, in case you were wondering.)  When Buschy first started attacking our bird feeder, Abe offered to shoot him.  They are nasty little tree rats, after all.  There are hunting shops that will reimburse you the price of the bullet per squirrel tail you bring in.

I couldn’t let him kill the rotten little thief though.  As annoying as it is to find our bird feeder emptied and seed scattered all over the ground, I couldn’t justify killing a cute little innocent creature that had simply found himself an easy lunch.  So I decided to feed the squirrel, in hopes that he would leave the bird feeder alone.

Well, what he likes to do now, is empty the feeder, eat all the yummy seed, and then, when the birds are left hungry with nothing to munch on, he will go to his feeder and happily nibble away at his corn cob.

Brat.

Here he is, wondering why the feeder is empty.

And checking to make sure he didn’t accidentally drop some seed somewhere.

So, securing my bird feeder from Buschy is a work in progress.  I have looked at the feeders that are surrounded with the cage that call themselves squirrel proof, but they wouldn’t allow for our larger bird friends to feed, so they are not an option.

The Blue Jays, Mourning Doves and the Grackles love it when Buschy has been by because he makes a huge mess of seeds on the ground.  Easy pickins!

 

While looking out our window, we see a lot of other wildlife too.

I believe this little guy is a Southern Prairie Skink.  We see him pretty often, darting around, climbing the wall and hunting.  He was enjoying the warm sun when I snapped this picture.

Turtles are always an exciting find for me because I didn’t see them very often when I was a kid.  I snapped a photo of an alligator turtle zipping down our hill rather quickly for a turtle a few years ago.  He looked prehistoric, I was in awe.  I am a very easily amused girl, I realize.

I decided that the turtle was too exciting to keep to myself, so we ran inside and got Noah to come check him out.  He thought it was pretty cool too.

Being easily amused certainly helps the day go by.