.J.C. spent this morning clearing a new trail for mountain bikers in a park not far from our house. As I drove past the park with the girls, we had this conversation...
Me: "That's where Daddy is right now, working on new bike trails."
Elise: "How do they make new trails?"
Me: "They clear out brush, cut down trees...."
At this point, I was interrupted with a firestorm of complaints. As you read this, add in the inflection and tone of voice that you might expect had I said something along the lines of "Santa is dead. We're cancelling Christmas."
Nina: "That's killing nature!!"
Elise: "That's killing trees!!"
Nina: "That's killing rabbits!!"
Elise: "That's killing us!!"
Nina: "That's killing pandas!! Pandas need trees to eat. They eat lots and lots of trees. If you cut down trees, you kill pandas."
Elise: "No. That's killing us! Trees give off oxygen, and we need oxygen to breathe."
I wasn't quite sure how to respond to all of this since they actually made some valid points. I just assured them that he probably wasn't going to cut down too many trees, and that I didn't think any pandas would be harmed in the process. I think I have a couple of environmentalists in the making.
J.C. and I decided to take advantage of having all three kids in childcare or school today to go out for a nice belated birthday lunch for him. The restaurant we chose had tablecloths, cloth napkins, no crayons, no kids' menus, and best of all... no kids! This was a serious treat. We thoroughly enjoyed our date, laughing, talking, and catching up. When I got back to my office, I had two phone messages from two different schools. That just can't be good. Elise was in the office at her school, not feeling well. Addison was screaming up a storm at her school, running a low grade fever, and not feeling well either. I brought both of them home, and called the auto mechanic to schedule some work for my beloved minivan. When I described the problems I'm having, he informed me that it was probably the transmission and it would likely need replacing. As I groaned, he said, "It should be covered under warranty. They extended the warranty on those vans to 7 years." Uhhh... my van is a 2001. That's seven years. How much do you want to bet I'm a week or two out of the extended warranty?
The lunch date was wonderful, but the crash back down to reality sure was brutal.
Happy Earth Day! Little by little, we're doing our part to try to live a little greener. We've switched out all the lightbulbs to CFL's. We no longer get paper receipts at the gas pump or ATM. We pay bills online. We use cloth napkins. We're carrying reusable bags for groceries. Every little bit counts, right?
Nina loves to yell at me if I leave the faucet running too long, "Mom! You're wasting water! The drought... remember? the drought?" The girls went off to school today dressed for the occassion... Elise in a recycle shirt, Nina in an "Earth Friend" shirt, and Addie with bright green polka dot socks! Anyway, I'm by no means an environmental expert or a truly green mom, but I'm taking one small step at a time. I thought I'd pass along a few green tips that I've found helpful.
Check out this blog: Green Mom Finds... fabulous site for all kinds of green products and tips for moms, along with give-aways.
Thinking about trying reusable bags? I promise once you try them, you'll never go back. The rare times now when I have forgotten my bags, I'm kicking myself as I carry in 8 of those plastic, finger breaking bags instead of walking in with two big strong totes over my shoulder. Besides being environmentally friendly, they just make life so much easier! I like my GreenBags by Ecobags. They aren't terribly fashionable, but they have a hard bottom, so they stand up well for easily arranging groceries. They also have a little loop that lets them hook onto the bagger stand that the baggers use. They hold a ton, and you can sling them over your shoulder. Want something more fashionable that can fit in your purse, so you don't have to remember to bring your bags from the car? Try Envirosax. I also think these are kind of fun: Paper Nor Plastic.
If you subscribe to Newsweek (or like to buy it), check out this week's issue. Take off the cover carefully, fold it inside out, tape up the sides, stuff in a few Target bags, and mail it in (postage is paid already). Target will send you one of their new re-totes made out of recycled Target bags! Cool!
Do you get too many catalogs in the mail that you don't need? Go to Catalog Choice and opt-out of some of those extra catalogs cluttering up your house.
There is a great new series on the Discovery Channel called "Expedition Alaska". Click here for the schedule. I watched it the other night and thought it was an excellent show. Here is the description from Discovery Channel: "Alaska is a land of breath-taking natural diversity, but it is changing at a rapid rate. A team of some of the world's top scientists and wildlife filmmakers explore this remote landscape to document what impact global warming is having on Alaska."
I'll be back to my usual photos and House of Estrogen stories tomorrow... just thought I'd do my Earth Day blogging duties today. Have a Happy Earth Day! If you have any green tips of your own to share, leave a comment!
That should be Addie's theme song right now. She has discovered her hands, and she is mesmerized. She'll stare at them hypnotically, move them slowly in front of her face as if spellbound, touch one to the other, hold on to them, and lick them. You can just see the gears in her head turning, "Dude... check this out! At the end of my arm, there's a hand! Seriously! I know... hard to believe, but I can see it right here in front of my face! Wait, what's that??? Is that another hand??? OH.MY.GOSH!! TWO HANDS! I don't even know what to do with that information! Maybe I'll have one hold the other to make sure I don't lose either of them."
Wouldn't it be neat if hands stayed that intriguing forever? I'm imagining waiting in the carpool line. Instead of sitting there fuming over all the people cutting in front of me in line, I could just stare at my hands, completely enthralled, enjoying the fact that I have a longer wait because it gives me more time to study them. Or after the whole debacle of trying to see Obama, instead of getting frustrated about it, I could just say to myself, "Oh well...No big deal... I've got hands!"
It's the year 2078... Elise sits down with her grandchildren and says to them, "Can you believe that when I was your age, there had NEVER been a woman or an African-American as president of the United States?" Her grandchildren shake their heads in disbelief. Then she says to them, "Well, I got to witness a great piece of history when I was six. My mother stood in line for tickets to see Barack Obama, our first African American president. She received two tickets, so she checked me out of school early one day, and took me with her to see him speak. It was such an exciting day, and one of my best childhood memories."
Oh wait.... no... scratch that... that's not how the story went. The story went, "My mother stood in line for tickets to see Barack Obama. She took me out of school early to go with her to see him. We stood in line for an hour in the hot sun. We got right up to the building and were going through the Secret Service security checkpoint when the fire marshall shut down the event and wouldn't let anyone else in. See this picture of me with the big smile on my face and the Obama button on my shirt? That's just before they told me I had waited in line for nothing and that there wasn't space for all of the 2000 ticketholders. Then my mom took me to get ice cream."