Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Recap

Today is the first day of school.

Preston is a Junior in college.
Jenna is a Senior in high school.
Quinn is an 8th grader.

There were no "first day of school" pictures.
Everyone was too busy and Preston lives 40 miles away.

I wanted to do a photo summary of the events of this summer, but iPhoto is being impossibly slow today (and everyday).

Here is the Clif's Notes version of my summer--June through August.


We went to Oregon to see my sister, Nora, and to the Oregon coast to celebrate the marriage of our nephew Nathan and his sweetie, Jen.
We also got to see a fellow blogger, Danni.
The boys got to shop in the Nike employee store.  
We had wonderful, home cooked Pakistani food at the home of one of Eric's former co-workers.
We came home.
I didn't want to.

Jenna and Preston were counselors at Junior Camp.
They both survived.
So did their campers.
Jenna's boyfriend, Jeremy, was also a counselor.
He came home with them and spent the following week hanging out and treating Jenna like a Princess.
We are now in the process of playing the game of "Here's some money for your trouble this week".  Wherein, he hides money to pay us for his week with us, and we hide it back.

Quinn and a couple of his buddies from soccer went to a week long day camp to improve their "speed and agility".  They also improved their ability to sweat and drink lemon slushies from Sonic.

Eric had a birthday.
He might have turned 49.


Quinn went to Jr. High camp.
He survived.  His counselor wants a whole cabin full of Quinns.
I guess that means he was good all week.

Jenna went to Spectacular.
A week long sports/arts/church/hanging out camp in Iowa, on a college campus.
She rode a bus there and back.
Same kids go to this camp, as go to the local camp Jenna and Quinn go to.
Jenna and her girlfriends from camp/Spectacular have their futures all planned out.
They'll be together, somewhere.
Their husbands will just have to deal with it. :)

She applied to, and was accepted to the college of her choice.
She also received a substantial scholarship based on her SAT scores and her GPA. 


Jenna was home for 2 days, and then went to Tampa, Florida.
Busch Gardens, Zookeeper 201.
She shadowed zookeepers for 5 days to see if zoo keeping is in her future.
Probably is.
She also flew alone for the first time.
She didn't get lost, nor did she get on the wrong plane.
She knew far more about navigating airports than she thought.

Grandma had a birthday.
BBQ and homemade Peach/Blueberry pie in celebration.

Eric and I celebrated 24 years of marriage.
We had an overnight in San Antonio on the Riverwalk.

Jenna came home from Florida.
She was home for 3 days and then flew to Los Fresnos, Texas to spend the week with Jeremy and his family. 
The game of "Here's some money for your trouble" continued.
We now have the money.
Or do we? :)

Quinn had two soccer tournaments.
He also had two soccer camps.
More sweat, more lemon slushies.

Preston moved off campus and into an apartment.

Preston got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Katie.
We think they are too young.
A date hasn't been set yet.
He still has two more years of college.
All the same, we wish them well.
Blessings on them both.

And here we are, back at the beginning.
The bus actually showed up today.
It's the first time in 4 years that the bus came when it was supposed to (or at all).
If this is any indication of the year to come, I'll take it as a positive omen. 

Now I have to clean up the 3 months of debris that my family has left around the house this summer.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My how I love this woman.
I'm so very lucky to have her in my life.
She's technically my mother-in-law, but I prefer mother-in-love.
Dinner wasn't anything special--BBQ from Rudy's.  She never wants me to go to any trouble.
She deserves for folks to "go to any trouble".  
She was worth every minute I spent on her pie(times a million)!
I made her a peach-blueberry pie. Bluebell vanilla bean ice cream on the side.
Happy Birthday, Mom!
And many mooooooorrrrrrrreeeeeee!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Can't Quite Commit

Mandy is sleeping "under" the bed.

At the beginning of the summer, we put our bed on risers.
A bed that was once 6 inches off the ground, is now 11 inches off the ground.

We did it so our ever neurotic dog, Smokie, wouldn't get stuck under there anymore.
She'd cram her body under the bed, every time we had a thunderstorm.

If you get out a ruler, you'll see that 6 inches really isn't all that tall.
Smokie is a medium sized, thigh high, dog.
She had adrenaline to help her wedge herself under there, but when it came time to get out---she couldn't.

Eric and I would spend several minutes each morning following a thunderstorm, extracting an exhausted, hot and sore, dog from under the bed.

Now our bed is ridiculously tall.
Tall enough, that if Mandy wanted to get under there, she could.

Smokie sleeps under there.
Hobbes sleeps under there.

Mandy really wants to join the club.
She just can't quite commit.
She compromises----half way under and half way out.

I don't think the bed cares one way or the other that she's afraid of commitment.

Monday, August 6, 2012

24 Years Ago, Today

l-r: Greg Jamison, Joel Cox, Dale Ward, Me, Eric, David Cox, Dave Orvis, Kevin Prine
Angie Sartain, Jody Cox, Lisa Singleton, Amber Roberts
Brian Cox, Sarah Frala

I changed my last name and changed my life.

Thank you, honey, for taking a chance on me.

You have been, and continue to be, the guiding influence in my life.

You are my sounding board when a reality check is needed.

You have insisted that I remain true to who I am.  That I not agree with you on every matter.

You have supported me in every endeavor, no matter how silly it might have seemed.

You have resisted being "the boss of me", which would have made your life so much simpler.

You do not insist that I believe like you do or think like you do.  

When we do disagree, you have stubbornly refused to accept escalation for the sake of making a point.

When we first got together, you said something so simple and yet was so telling of how our marriage would be (paraphrased): "We are a team.  If one of us fights to win so the other loses---the whole team loses.  I'd be fighting against my own team. Tearing you down, do build myself up makes no sense at all."  Thanks for teaching me how to disagree.

More than anything, thank you for loving me! 

All my love always,

Saturday, August 4, 2012


We were once a "house of many small cages and aquariums".
I lived vicariously through Jenna and her love of animals.
I did not grow up in a house of many small cages and aquariums.
 I grew up in a "house of dogs only"

 The Cox household has lived with, learned from and loved the following pets:
Hamsters, parakeets, a corn snake, a bearded dragon (lizard), caterpillars, rats, fish, dogs, cats, pigeons, chickens and one cranky horse.  
There would have been a rabbit in that list, but Preston and I are deathly allergic.  
I'd have preferred to add a couple goats and a donkey or two, but I believe that time is passed.  

We have downsized our pet list considerably.  
Two dogs, a cat, and 3 chickens.
Recently, I felt the need to add another 'pet'.  Jenna and I both really wanted more rats after seeing Danni's rat, Missy, on our vacation to Oregon.  They really are great pets.  They are also very social and want to hang out with you when you're home.  
Our cat, Hobbes, would just LOVE the idea of a rat roaming around on the sofa.  In fact, he'd love it to death-literally.  Besides, the real rat lover (Jenna) will be very busy with her Senior year of high school this year, and then head off to college.

 We settled on an easy to care for pet.  One that wouldn't be sad if we left town.  One that doesn't bite.  One that requires very, very little care.  A free pet.  One I could find in my neighbor's garden.
The Brown Garden snail.
The most common variety of snail in the world.
They got to be the most common by doing two things well----eating and breeding.

 We found that out one morning last week.  I'd just come in from taking pictures of the cicada.  I opened the top of the cage to feed the snails some lettuce and here's what I saw.
According to several sites on internet, there should be roughly 80 youngsters in with the grown snails we have.

Will we be having escargot any time soon?  
(Yes, this is the kind of snail you get when you order escargot.)
No, we will not be eating them.
To be honest, I don't know what we'll do with them.  They're so darned cute right now.
I certainly can't put them outdoors where they can devour my gardens.

Anybody want a pet snail or two?  They don't eat much and they don't bite.
Oh, they're also free.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

While On My Way to Feed the Chickens

I spotted something on the wall of the house.
A cicada was emerging from its nymphal shell.
I was so excited to get to finally see this happen.  
As a little girl, I'd grab the shells off trees and stick them to my shirt, in my hair, and wherever else I could get them to stick.  
I knew what the adult insect looked like, but always wondered what it looked like as it was "hatching".
Now I know.
I don't know how long it took to get the stage you see in the first picture, but this series of pictures was taken over a 45 minute period.

All six legs are still trapped 
Front two legs are almost free

Here come the wings with the front legs

Four legs free now, as are the wings

Using gravity to help the process

All six legs are finally out

Slight vibration is used to help pull its abdomen free

Serious looking proboscis.  
It will be used to suck nutritional fluid from tree branches. 
Gravity helps

Wings fully unfurled

Sitting back up to pull out the bottom half
Hanging onto the shell so he won't fall
Almost completely out
Finally free!
Gotta let those wings dry and outer shell harden

This diagram shows how the sound we all know and love (or hate) is made.
The male cicada makes the sound in hopes of finding a mate.
I can't imagine how loud the nighttime would be if both sexes could make the 'song'.

diagram credit: Florida State University

Last picture I was able to get before it flew away.  I tried to take a picture when his wings had dried, but he was tired of my constant picture taking by then.

If you'd like to know more about these cool insects, look here.
Cicadas, Katydids and Crickets typify the summer nights at my house.
Do you have a favorite summer night sound?