Thursday, June 30, 2011


Even though it's been cooler the past couple of days and we had some much needed rain; it's still as hot as egg on a cast iron skillet outside. We've been going over to our friends' (Mel and Angela) for some quality pool time. Their house is for sale and we'll be so sad when it finally goes! A year or so ago, they bought this amazing hard plastic ball that bounces ferociously on the ground, and if you throw it in the pool it will bounce and float. The Ultimate Game of Keep Away was invented. It's exhausting for the people in the deep end treading water (which is where at least one adult seems to get stranded for most of the game - mostly Mel, but she's tough). In games like these, it's usually the boys and Mel against everyone else. Ok, that sounds really unfair, but it's not. The boys are sporty, almost Super Sporty. Those two equal four regular people at most games (and they're only 14, just imagine how bad it's going to get!). It is very irritating. Mel is sporty herself and she adores them, so I don't complain (even though it totally tips the scale because I am equal to minus 1.5 sporty people if I'm on your team). Anyway, it's hot and we're in a pool battling for our very lives!

Richard and Mollie joined us and they were on the same team as Erin and I. The boys mostly stayed in the shallow end and bob and weave a lot (and pass very well - also very irritating) so really it's all about defense for the rest of us. Oh,and they use intimidation whenever they can. Erin resorted to hanging on their backs and trying to push them under. She's pretty light but occasionally, it worked. Mostly, we get creamed in this game. Here's Mollie with the ball and since she's not related they're not pouncing on her - definite advantage!.

Once we exhausted ourselves with that it was all about getting Abby to settle down. She spends the whole time running around the perimeter of the pool, worried we're drowning ourselves. She really has no life saving skills whatsoever, but she doesn't know that. Morgan was very sweet and shared some pool water after all her running around.

So far, summer seems pretty good for the peeps.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The cavies move out!

About three years ago my daughter wanted to get a guinea pig. As a teacher, I had them in my classroom on and off for years, had a "breeding program" because parents seemed to want them (in theory only, I later found out), and as pets for the kids. They are very sweet creatures.

Erin named the first guinea pig she bought (with her own holiday money) Cocoa.
cocoa in basket

For a while she held the title The Amazing Cocoalinni and Erin taught her to do tricks. Her main trick being, if all the doors in our hall (but Erin's bedroom) were closed and you set her down beside the left wall she would run down the hall and into Erin's room. That never seemed much like a trick to me, personally, but Erin thought she was brilliant and Cocoa had no end of praise and treats for it. Here is Cocoa in the middle of her famous acting career in the lead role of Little Red Riding Hood.

The Amazing Cocoalinni

Cocoa has retired from acting and circus life. A couple years ago she got a buddy (Stretchy) that one of the children I taught lost interest in (he was two) and the two have been sharing a domicile ever since. Stretchy doesn't have enough intelligence for tricks of any kind, but she is super fast when you try and catch her to hold. Oddly I only have one picture of her, in her new home (the old chicken hutch we used when they were peeps).

stretchy in new digs

The reason she looks so suspicions is because the girls were out of the ark and had wandered over and were looking at her, like this

are you a chicken too?

and then like this

chickens check out guineas

I thought it was very cute. The pigs seem happier outside, I sleep better since I don't hear them squawking all night (and rattling the water bottle every five seconds), and Erin's room doesn't smell like guinea pig anymore.

It's the little things!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Collins Crew for Hire

Now that everyone is older in the house, it seems like a good idea for the kids to work some during the summer. It teaches responsibility, gives them the opportunity to make and save some money (real money, which they don't see much these days in the land of plastic transactions), and lets them meet other people in their community. We've decided as a family to set ourselves up for hire and have a list of jobs we will do for people and our rates:
- Lawn mowing - $15- $20 per yard (depending on size)
- Hand weeding - depends on area to be tidied and amount of weeds
- Babysitting - $7-10 depending on age and number of children
- Dog walking - $5 for a 15 minute walk, $10 for 30 minutes (additional dogs $2.50 each)

Meet the Crew:

Erin is a rising seventh grader at CW Stanford and has an excellent rapport with both children and animals. Most of her experience with children is ages two and up. She likes reading to children, playing with them, and can make a nice batch of playdough or slime.

Erin is also a seasoned dog walker. She walks dogs on a regular basis around our neighborhood and knows how to clean up after them, keep a respectable distance from other dogs, and give them a fresh bowl of water when they get home.

Morgan and Bowen are rising ninth graders at Orange High School and are ready to mow some lawns! They are used to mowing rocky Hillsborough lawns and around garden and landscaped areas. Their favorite thing to do is play lacrosse, but since the season is over for now, they're willing to put some of their energy to other tasks.

I am the one that drives people where they need to be or provide answers to any questions.

Thanks for checking us out!