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Friday, September 26, 2008

Freaky Friday!


I was cleaning off the shelf next to my desk, minding my own business organizing my discs  - I glance up and AHHHHHHHH!!!! This was just inches from my head!  I shiver uncontrollably thinking about it!
Can you believe this weird-o spider was inches from crawling into my hair.  Oh disgust.  

I'm usually not so weirded out by spiders, after all, mini spiders and daddy long legs have basically been cohabitating with us since we moved in the house, making housecleaning a miserable experience as I constantly am in battle with them to eliminate them and their dratted webs that pop up within minutes of me clearing away the old one.  Anyway, those spiders, as this one probably was, are harmless, but they are not as big or as fat as this one was.  It's brown speckled body looked like it was full of something - prey it had just eaten perhaps?

In case you don't get the full effect of the chilling horror I felt, here are two more pictures. 

 Rest assured that I managed to bite of the expletive my first instinct was to shout.  I do think I screamed a little bit because the children jumped and said, "What happened, Momma?"  And I was good at trying to hide my fear.  But I did have the irrational fear that it was going to jump on me!  

I apologize to any of you that truly love all creatures of the earth, but I took off my shoe and smacked it good and dead.  


I swear the spider was the size of a quarter!  

After doing some research, I think I have identified the spider.  It is a Cross Orbweaver.  To learn more about it, you can do a search for images on google for Cross Orbweaver.

I must point out that it says the females of this species seek out protected locations to lay 300-900 eggs!  Can you even imagine.  I literally have goosebumps and chills thinking about the possibility of 900 of those spiders near me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A downright lovely day

Today was one of those days where I had tons of stuff planned, but God had other plans.  I had scheduled my friend, Courtney to come and do a family portrait of us during sunset in the woods.  So there was so much I had to do before I had to get ready to do that.  First, we took a trip to (don't tell anyone) Lowes for some paint to work on the cupola Bill & Shelly bought us a few years ago.  Since we are working on the roof right now, we have to get the cupola primed and painted so it can be installed.  It's really a beautiful cupola complete with copper roof and copper rooster weather vane.  Don't think you can come steal it off my roof and sell the copper for scrap either.  Our roof is too high and our dogs will scare you off.  

Ok, so the dogs will bark at you until you say, "Hello doggie.  I am a thief here to steal stuff from your owners but I will gladly throw that stick you're holding for me."  

I digress . . .

So we go to Lowes, which is like 15 miles from our house, and the whole time Walker is whining about how far away Lowes is and 
Can't we just go to Trader Horn???
Why do you have to buy good paint?  
Why can't you just use daddy's tractor paint??
Why do you like white?  I like black like Daddy.  Black will look better.  I hate white paint.

TIMOTHY WALKER SCHWALM!  Momma takes time to do very nice things for you every day.  I need to go to the store and buy this paint and I need you to cooperate.  If you cannot cooperate, I'm not going to do things for you.

Oh, aw right!

We get to Lowes and they are fascinated by all the colors on the sample displays.  Maggie did remarkably well identifying colors.  We then journeyed through the store to look at some rugs and then went out to check out the garden center where we found awesome deals on mums.  We spent extra time looking at all the flowers and I allowed the children to tell me what flowers they liked and we just explored.  Then we went out to lunch.  We got home and I started to fret about how much work I still had to do - cook dinner, paint the cupola  . . . but I checked my email first and found out Courtney had sick children so she couldn't get out to do our pictures after all.  This left me with lots of free time to work on some of my projects for the day.  Walker helped and we had a fun day too.  I let him paint with me and he enjoyed it.  Will was able to zoom around the garage in his walker chasing the dogs and playing with his brother.  At one point, Walker told me he and Will were playing "crash up cars like they do at the fair"  Meaning the demolition derby.  

On a side note, I have noticed Will developing an unabashed hero worship of his brother as he is approaching a year.  He instantly turns to him when Walker enters a room.  He imitates the sounds Walker makes, often making playtime a very noisy one.  I can't believe a little peanut like Will can mimic the car noises Walker makes.  In fact, he imitates everything Walker does, as you can see by this photo I took this morning while the children were playing "chug a choo choo" as Maggie calls it.  (Trains)

Willie J has turned into quite the little climber and crawled right on top of the train table to get in the action.  Isn't he losing his "baby" look.  He looks like a big boy now, doesn't he?  I can't take it!  I'm not saying I'm ready for another baby, but I'm definitely getting the beginnings of a yearning.  I think I'll take a year of sleep first though!

Anyway, Erik got home and we decided to finish working on the driveway entrance.  We have been working on a landscape plan for it and finally got half of it done.  Partially due to the fact that Erik was working in Fox Chapel this week and salvaged about 10 daylily plants and a specimen fir tree that we used in the bed.  The other side of the driveway needs to be planted and both sides mulched, but we have FINALLY have an entrance to our home.  I already noticed cars slowing down and actually looking down our lane to see if there actually was something there.  Most people we tell where we live say, "Oh, I noticed a mailbox there but never thought any one lived there."  

For now, we won't be encouraging too many folks to look too hard.  We're hoping the exterior of the house will be done before years end, but we're not holding our breath.  Our roof project is taking a bit longer than expected and we haven't even been to the Lumber Yard to start looking at siding samples and all the other stuff that is going to go into the exterior remodel.  YIKES!!  Guess I'd better get moving!

So, we managed to get the project done, ordered some food and had "TV dinner night."  The children went to bed beautifully - no whining or complaining.  Did I mention . . .  I'm in for an uncertain night. Will went to bed at 6:30 tonight - will he make it the whole night or will I hear a cry in the  middle of the night?  I'm choosing to be positive and say I won't hear from him until morning.  Early morning, but Erik doesn't have to leave early tomorrow morning, so I can nudge him and say, "Can you get Will for me?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beautiful days

These September days have been so beautiful.  I'm having my friend, Courtney, come out w/ her family on Thursday to take our family portrait and I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone yesterday by taking the children on a hike as well as scout out some locations in the woods for our portrait.  I wanted the woods because in the late afternoon, the sun filters through our woods so beautifully I want to capture that in a photo.  So, I put Will in the back pack and we went hiking.  Sort of.  

I went hiking, then I would hike back and unstick Maggie from a jagger bush.  Then I would stop and take some test shots - I would set the children in spots and ask them to pose for me for test shots.  The results:
I don't know what the deal is with Maggie and the shirt.  She kept pulling it up.  

I thought this one was cool with the way the sun glare created the rainbows.

Walker and that stick.  He needed a walking stick - except he kept holding it horizontally and sticking it in my stomach!  Maybe this is his, "You touch my sister, I'll kill you" look.Not sure how I feel about these test shots. 

But, I did take some lovely ones w/ o the children.

This one is my favorite - the way the lens captured the rays of light filtering through the trees.  Lovely!