Friday, July 30, 2010

The Great Tree Finger Debate.

I need your help. My parents have been having a friendly little dispute over a topographical landmark on their property. Specifically, this tree:

My mother, gentle soul that she is, believes this tree looks like someone holding up his pointer finger in the ubiquitous We Are #1 way.  You know, like this:
In her mind, you could dye it Gold & Blue and it would become a living representation of a foam finger. Therefore, she is all for letting the overgrown topiary continue on in its current state to stand as a testament to their Mountaineer Pride.

My father, on the other hand, insists that it is actually Mother Nature flipping him the bird. This belief stems from his constant battle to keep that nicely mown meadow from being overtaken by weeds while the universe laughs in his face at the futility of the endeavor.It comes as no surprise then that dad wants to climb up there and cut the sucker down. I'm sure some of you think that a true lady wouldn't stoop to such crude measures, but after the 16 feet of snow and 110° days we've had I'm not sure Mother Nature fits that category anyway.

 So now you want to know what I think? Ha! I learned long ago it's best to remain publicly neutral in these little spousal squabbles my parents engage in.  But, if you really want to know where I stand, meet me behind Starbucks at 7:23AM wearing something blue, and I'll whisper it in your ear. Or you could email me. That would work too I guess.

So whose side will you take in the Great Tree Finger Debate? Would it help to see another picture?
Remember, the fate of a living thing lies in the balance. Is it

A: Totally a Mountaineer #1
B: Mother Nature--she ain't no lady
C: Dude, it's just a tree.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Farm Birthday Party Games

Before I start on the meat of the post, there are two things I need to mention about this little informal poll:
    1.  Initially I was shocked that no one admitted that she was only here for the pictures. But then I realized that anyone who was only here for the pictures wouldn't have read/participated in this little exercise anyway. 
    2. No one wants to know about the food?? Is this because ya'll doubt my kitchen clout? I'm going to develop a complex here soon. I hope you're prepared for that, it won't be pretty. 

    And now for the winning topic as voted on by 6 happy little mouse clickers: Games!!  I can hear the "Woohoo" echoing throughout the Internets, or maybe that's just the dog asking to go out? Either way, here we go.

    Farm Animal Sort

      The first game of the day was the only one that ended up being outside. I had originally planned for all of the activities to take place in the yard, but Mother Nature decided to put the kibosh on that idea. I had found these cute rubber duckies that were disguised as other farm animals:

    So my mom and I made a duck pond to put them in.

     The high end water feature is just a Rubbermaid plastic bin with a blue sheet laid in it and some cattails and a fern for a little added ambiance. Then I told the kids that they had to put those crazy animals who thought they were ducks back in the barn where they belong.

    The barn is just an outdoor canopy tent thing that I used red plastic table clothes to make 3 walls and red crepe paper to make the front. White crepe paper made the Xs for that barn door aesthetic. Inside the barn, we made pens for the animals using yard flags, crepe paper, and mini-trellis things I got on clearance from AC Moore.

     The trellis had a picture of each animal so the kids knew where to place the duckies. I was originally going to use rope to make the pens, but I was afraid the littles might trip on it and fall. So I went with crepe paper so it would just break away if someone walked into it. For older kids you could probably use the rope. Or maybe even barbed wire depending on how rowdy they are. (kidding. unless i'm not)

    I probably could have done this game inside too, but I spent a lot of time thinking, planning, gathering and assembling the barn, so by golly someone was going to go out there and play in it!  And I do believe the kids thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciated all of my hard work.  In fact, I think I heard two of them discussing my mad skills. They probably would have stayed out there longer if all of the adults hadn't been there to drag them back inside to the air conditioning.

    Explaining the game. I am a teacher, dontcha know. 

    Strategizing our plan of attack by the pond. 

    Round up those animals kids!
    A job well done. High fives all around. Now get inside, it's hot yo!

    One note, I had ~10 guests participating and 24 ducks. This was not enough. At all. I'd say you'd be good having about 5 per farmer. Maybe even 10 if the weather actually cooperates and people aren't rushing to get the game over fast so they can go back inside. 

    Animal Noises: 
       The gist of this game is that each kid gets an animal card

    and has to make the sound of the animal. It helps to review these sounds with the little ones. Again I'm a teacher, it's what I do. Then they're supposed to find other guests who are making the same sound. Originally this game was going to be outside and they were going to put themselves in their proper pen in the barn. Which would have gone really well I think. Unfortunately, we were inside in a circle on the floor. 

    And the guests seemed a bit hesitant to get up and run around looking for their animal friends. But they did enjoy making noises. At least my son did.

    So after one round, I abandoned that game in favor of 

    Pass the Parcel

    Jeanne says this is a very big game in her homeland of Ireland. It's kind of like musical chairs but with passing a package that has been wrapped several times around a circle instead of the whole find an open chair thing. Each time the music stops, the person holding the parcel unwraps one layer. Whoever unwraps the final time gets to keep the prize. MellonTip #1: Use different colored tissue paper for each layer. 

    The kids really liked this one, though a few of the younger ones had a hard time relinquishing the parcel from their chubby little hands. I found a crowbar to be helpful when that happened.  We played 3 rounds. Afterwards, I had little animal figures for anyone that didn't get to win a prize. This kept everyone happy. Which brings me to MellonTip #2. Have all of your needed game materials handy in a central location. I use a basket: 

     Self explanatory, but the pictures are fun so I had to share.

    They hit it
    and hit it

    and hit it some more.
    But that stubborn bovine had no intention of breaking open. So I had to take matters into my own hands. Finally that stingy cow gave up the goods--it may have involved me throwing the heifer down on the ground and going all Body Combat on it. I'm not sure as I kind of blacked out for minute or two there. The next thing I knew, there was candy all over the ground around me and the Holstein was in shreds at my feet.

    The kids got their sweets so they were happy. That's the important thing here. Not my rage issues. Remember that.

    Egg Gathering

    I hid plastic eggs in shredded paper-filled baskets for the kids to find and then put in mini-egg cartons to be shipped off to the market. I'd planned to hide the eggs in hay in the barn, but I think this worked well too. The cow print plastic table clothes helped to contain the mess a bit.

    This game was an independent activity in conjunction with the

    Art Table
     Here we had:

    • balloons that could be decorated with stickers to look like a pig, cow or chicken. MellonTip #3: include a balloon pump.Kids will cheer. Parents will thank you. You will be Queen.

    • Drawing paper with markers, pencils, and foam-farm shaped stickers.
    • A paper plate craft to make even more farm animals. Moo!
    • A trash pail.
    And that's it. Well, I did have that other thought of renting piglets for the kids to chase all over the yard, but Drew vetoed that idea right out of the gate. Which is probably a blessing since I don't think I'd like to have had those slippery little buggers running all over my house when the games got moved indoors. Point Drew. 

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    The Cakes Did Not Melt

    I am pleased to report that no one suffered from heat stroke at the party yesterday. Not only that, but I think that despite the last minute changes the ridiculous heat forced me to make to the itinerary, the party could be labeled a success.

    The honorees certainly look happy, right?

    And I think that I looked awfully cute in my J.Crew summer clearance dress.

    Well, I did before the party started anyway. What I looked like after it was all over isn't important really.

    I have lots of details about the do to share with you, so I'm thinking I'll probably need to break it into a couple of posts. Of course if history is any indication, I'll probably get lazy and drop the ball after one post. So maybe you all want to tell me what you're most interested in reading about so I can be sure to cover that first. Here's your chance, don't waste it cause if I don't hear from ya'll, it'll just be Mellon's choice--and then you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Life Lessons

    There have been many studies done to prove how beneficial family dinner time is to children.  It's a time to be together, unwind from the day, share stories and impart wisdom. We here at the Mellon house do not take our role as guidance providers lightly. No sir, we strive to teach our children by example. Which is why yesterday's family dinner found us having this lovely conversation:

    Drew to Chase: You're a turd.
    Chase: I'm not!
    Mama: It's not nice to call people turds.
    Drew: Mama's right. You're a monkey.
    Chase: I'm not!
    Drew: Are you a kangaroo?
    Chase: Don't call me turd or an animal. I'm just Chase. 

    Um yea. Perhaps I am the only one leading by example these days.  I think now you'll have to agree that I am the only apparent adult in residence. Lord, grant me serenity. 

    Also, today someone found my blog by typing "mellons that jiggle" into google. There's a life lesson somewhere in there too...I'll ponder what it could possibly be while I lick the birthday cake batter out of the bowl.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Bringing Mediocrity to a Gym Near You

    Fellow gym-goers: You know those days when you're just on fire? Those times when everything just flows organically? When your body just knows what you want it to do and does it with apparent ease? When you can actually feel the targeted muscle contracting with every repetition?  Those moments when you're so in the zone that you think to yourself, "Eat that Jane Fonda" every time you happen to catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror? Yes? Well, today was not one of those days.

     Today everything was just HARD. Lunges, squats, curls, planks--all things that I've been doing for years--felt like alien movements to my body. On top of all of that, I had no balance and my rhythm was way off.  I could go into further, minute detail about just how not a superstar I was today, but I think I'll just leave it at this: I was the headlining star of an impromptu slapstick comedy hour at Gold's Gym today. The audience certainly got their money's worth, no doubt. 

    The more I teetered and wobbled, the worse my attitude became. I was so frustrated that I just wanted to hurl myself on to the floor and kick and scream until someone made it all better. I might have too, if I hadn't been in the weight room at the time--I don't even want to think about the nastiness that rubber floor is harboring. Plus, I don't think I'd enjoy a padded cell--at least not after the initial novelty wore off.

    At the end of the hour, I felt really bad for having subjected poor Jeanne to my foul mood. Don't get me wrong, I'm never enthusiastic about exercise, but today went well beyond my usual sarcastic whining and finagling. I was a bear to be around, and I hadn't given anywhere near my best effort. Being the upstanding citizen that I am, I knew I had to apologize.

    L: Sorry about today. I'll bring my A game next time.
    J: No worries.
    L: No wait, I think my A game might have gone on vacation. I'll shoot for my B- game instead. That's still way better than the D effort I gave today.
    J: Couldn't get much worse.
    L: Wait, do they have grades in Ireland? Do you even know what I'm talking about?
    J: Yea they have grades, but the scale is a bit different. A is 100-85. B is 84-70---15 points per letter. So B- would be about 70% effort.
    L: Hmmm, a nice solid C might be more attainable. I think I can manage 50% effort.
    J: Still an improvement. 

    She's such a good friend that she actually felt bad enough for me that she gave me some gym swag:

    She's been raving about this Xango juice for weeks. If what she says is true, I'll have clearer skin, longer hair and the energy of a hummingbird on speed by the end of the week. Or as Jeaane says: "This might just help you bring your C+ game."  I guess anything's possible. I'll let you know. At the very least, the bottle's cool to look at, right?

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    You Can Google It!

    I have very, very exciting news. Right this minute, if you type "mellon blogs" into Google, my happy little collection of purposeless ramblings comes up second in the list of 753,000 possible matches. See, I told you it was exciting. 

    Even better, if you type "mellonblogs", I come up numero uno. Of course, helpful search engine that it is, Google does point out that I probably meant "mellon blogs", but still Number 1!

    My next goal in life is to have Mellon Blogs become an auto fill option. Right now, it looks like this:

    Really how many different combinations does the bank need? Surely they can give up one spot for me, right? So here's my plan: I'm going to start infiltrating random businesses and typing "Mellon Blogs" into the google screens of all the computers in the building. Law offices, schools, libraries, dentist offices, tattoo parlors--no one will be safe from my attack. To prepare for this venture, I plan to go on a shopping spree for clothes that will help me blend in using Veronica Mars as my muse. I imagine a new bag and shoes will be necessary expenditures. Maybe a scarf. Oh and a convertible for my quick, stylish escape. Leer jet?

    Once I have the NoVa area covered, I'll branch out into other major metropolitan areas. Seems like the perfect vacation agenda to me. I'm sure you'd agree that it's really only a matter of time before Mellon Blogs assumes worldwide, search engine domination. Of course, I am aware of the risk this little experiment will incur, so I have a contingency plan for that, too. Which is this: anyone willing to come bail me out of jail, please email me your number and I'll tuck it away to be used as my one phone call. Meticulous planning is the key people.

    Anyway, for any who have successfully trudged through the ridiculousness above, here is your reward:

    Pool pictures! And a funny:

    Lifeguard: No Running!
    Chase: Whatever you say dude!

    After pool snack. You may be wondering why the toy basket is behind Little Miss there. Simple: because two minutes earlier, she'd fallen through the opening in the back and tumbled down to the ground where she rolled and sobbed until I picked her up and gave her another graham cracker. Only my child.

    Sunday, July 18, 2010

    July: A Mixed Assortment

    Nothing to read here. Just a few more photos I thought I'd share.

    Mmmm! Smores!

    Giddy Up Horsey!

    God Bless America, Land that I Love!

    Ouchie on the Footsies!

    Victory for Tricky Dick Grandma!

    I see you!

    Amaya's the one in charge around here, never doubt that.

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Daddy Gone? Turn the Hose On!

    Picture this: it's a steamy, hot 97°, and you've found yourself in the role of temporary single parent with an hour to kill until bath time. You look up at the sky and ask yourself, "What Would Mellon Do?"***

    We call it a pre wash around these parts. Next time, I might just bring the Johnson's Baby Bath down to the yard and kill two dirty piggies with one water spray. It's that whole Going Green thing again--before you know it I'll turn into a bona fide granola girl.

    ***I can't in good conscience recommend anyone follow my advice as I've recently crossed over from slightly unbalanced into full on lunatic. See?

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    Wanna Play Find Your Doppelganger?

    The other day I was looking at an In Style magazine and came across a picture of Megan Fox that was similar to this one:

    Once I saw that photo, I couldn't get this image of my mother out of my head:

    I think it was probably the center part that drew the original connection for me, but upon further inspection I noted that the two share similar eye color, cheek bones, and lips. So now every time I see or hear of Megan Fox, I'll think of my mother. This has good connotations (i.e. hottest woman in the world) and bad connotations (oh the crazy that comes out of homegirl's mouth). So let me just be clear here: even if they happen to share some physical attributes, that in no way implies that they are at all alike personality-wise.  Agreed? Good, because that little detail is going to be important when I show you my look-alike.

    Remind you of anyone?

    Don't hold it against me, ya'll.

    Now it's your turn--which celebrity could be your mirror image? Are you brave enough to share?