Herping for Six Year Olds

Herping for Six Year Olds

Several years ago I got all in a panic because of the seemingly excessive amount of snakes we saw at our family’s Cousin’s Camp – affectionately known as Camp Pigeon Roost. I did what any self respecting person does when they are all in a tizzy – I took to Twitter.

I posted videos and pictures of the snakes – incredulous that I’d seen so many. David Steen, a PhD, Twitter Snake Expert, and Biology professor at Auburn (ahem…War Eagle) responded very nonchalantly. He basically said ‘yeah, you saw snakes in the woods. Big deal. Snakes live in the woods.’


Excuse me Mr Fancy Pants Doctor, but I’m panicking over here in Cullman County, Alabama and need everyone else to be panicking too. I kept at him ‘but there are SO many this year!’ Again, with that annoying calm, he responded with ‘they’ve always been there. You just happen to be seeing them this year.’

‘But should we kill them?’ No. ‘Not even if they’re poisonous?’ Nope. Dude was way to chill about the whole crazy snakecapades we were experiencing. I’m telling you they were true SNAKESCAPADES! It was Snakes on a Plane! Except, near a cabin, in the woods.

I blogged all about it!

After the Snakeapolypse I began to follow Doctor Steen on Twitter. Basically, it all comes down to this. The majority of time people get bitten because they are being reckless – not because snakes are out to get us. Following him gave me a deep appreciation for snakes. Heck, I go looking for them now.

Enter a local herpetologist that agreed to take us…uh…herping in March. I just knew that Stella, the six year old, was going to be SO into it. She loves looking for snakes with me and is zero percent afraid of them. She loves to hunt for them with me!


Well, there were trees to climb.


And flowers to pick.


And, in case you haven’t been in the woods with a six year old lately, there was lots and lots of ‘NOT being quiet so we didn’t scare the snakes’ going around.

Even though it was early in the season we did find one little guy sunning himself amongst the rocks.


Dang it, kid, I’m pretty sure Dr Steen would say no poking it with a stick. Sheesh, what kind of show are we running around here.

So, did she learn a ton about snakes that day? Uh, no…she didn’t. But maybe at this age herping is more about just being comfortable in the wild.


And trust me, she’s got that covered.

Instead of Blogging…

Instead of Blogging…

Two months. TWO MONTHS? Mother of Pearl, how has it been two months since I’ve blogged. That’s just crazy talk. It’s crazy embarrassing talk. So, what have I been doing besides blogging?

Weeeellll, let’s see.

I’ve been super busy throwing away all our socks that don’t have matches.


Consider this post me giving you permission to do the same thing.

I’ve been folding loads and loads of laundry.


Dear Scientists, Please make disposable clothes a thing. Also, six kids feels like six thousand.

I’ve been trying to explain Game of Thrones to Billy.


This is super legit, right?

Game of Thrones is a quandary. I spend a quarter of the episode with my hand covering his eyes and the other three quarters of it explaining who Daenerys is…again. He’s a little late to the Game of Thrones party.

Also, since we’re on the subject of things that probably shouldn’t be allowed in the house I would estimate that seventy five percent of my texts with James, the thirteen year old, involve me telling him he’s not allowed to play something.



Wut, my booty! Why is he even asking about Grand Theft Auto? Ain’t no way, no how. Not on my watch, mister.

Also, Instead of blogging we visited the new restaurant the ToyBox Bistro on Jordan Lane. It’s byline is ‘Eat, Drink, and Be Nerdy.’ Between Supper Heroes, Pints and Pixels, and ToyBox Bistro, Huntsville is rocking the themed restaurant category.


How awesome is this ceiling?

Another thing I’ve been doing instead of blogging is driving a plethora of kids around to see a Counselor. Here’s the deal: When you ask my boys how they are feeling about foster care and adoption their responses usually run the gamut between ‘whatever’ and ‘I don’t know.’ Sorry boys, but Mama needs an opinion. Enter the counselor.


Oh, they did fine. Stella, who swore she wasn’t going to say anything, sang like a canary. Even the boys stated opinions. Therapists for the win!

So, are any of these things legitimate excuses for not blogging? Meh, I don’t know.

Well, at least I haven’t been out honky tonking. 

The Globetrotter Symphony

The Globetrotter Symphony

Last week I took Hank, the fourth grader, to the symphony. Don’t be impressed. It was completely under duress. His class was going on a field trip and needed chaperones. It wasn’t my first time at the fourth grade at the symphony rodeo. I took James with his class when he was Hank’s age.

Hank was disgusted by the whole concept of being made to listen to classical music. In December, his class went to the ballet and now this? Fourth grade is a rough year for field trips for the Claunches. Unfortunately, James wasn’t doing anything to alleviate Henry’s ‘this is going to be boring’ worries. ‘Dude. It’s the worst. You’re going to hate it.’

Thanks Jamie, you’re being super helpful. 


Do you want the truth or a lie, woman?”

When we sat down in the Concert Hall Hank started voicing his frustrations.

Hank: “It makes me so mad to be here at the Civic Center where we got to see the Globetrotters play and now we’re stuck watching the Symphony! Why can’t they just take us to see the Globetrotters play?’

And, y’all, secretly I’m thinking ‘he’s right  – why can’t they? Worst field trip ever. How are they going to make this interesting to the kids?’ But of course I can’t say that.

Instead I said:

Me: “Hank, the Globetrotters play basketball and they worked very hard to be good at it. These instrumentalists worked just as hard as the Globetrotters to be good at what they do.”

Hank: “The least they could do is have the Globetrotters be the ones playing the instruments.”

Crickets Chriping…How am I supposed to respond to this level of insanity?…Like, he seriously just said that and meant it.

Me: “Well, now you’re just talking crazy.”

But actually, how cool would that be?

As we sat down the musicians began to tune their instruments. What’s that called? Come on, Google. Help me out here….Cacophony! The Cacophony. Can I use that as a noun?

You know the sound they all make when they’re warming up. Personally, I enjoy that sound.

However, after a few minutes of listening to the warm up, Hank leaned over with a shocked look on his face and whispered ‘Mom! I feel bad saying this but they’re terrible!!!’ I began to laugh. I let him know it hadn’t actually started yet – that they were just warming up.


When it started – it was beautiful. I mean, as beautiful as listening to classical music can be for people that aren’t into classical music. I would have LOVED for the conductor to have explained how the symphony works to the kids. Heck, show that Bugs Bunny as the conductor bit. Talk about how important classical music is in the movies. You know: ‘This is the first chair violinist. This is what his/her life is like. This is why I love music. I was this old when I first knew I wanted to do this. This is how we fund the Symphony. This is why Huntsville thinks it’s important’ etc.

Alas, none of that. Just music.

But, as I looked thru the faces of the kids there were definitely some that ‘got it’ – they sat up with a look of wonder in their eyes. It was very cool to see.

And then there were others…


Oh, don’t judge them. They were just pretending before it started – certain that’s what they’d be doing during the concert.

But then…Animals came out and that was much more interesting!


Fantasy Playhouse did a play and a parade with animals that they called the Carnival of the Animals set to to the music. It was really good. The kids enjoyed it.

On a side note: the good news is when Fantasy Playhouse saw me in the audience they didn’t stand up and say “IT WAS YOU! YOU WERE THE ONE THAT DISRUPTED OUR PRODUCTION IN 2013!”


The actors were really talented but the best part…well, the best part was definitely when the donkey’s head fell off midway through the performance.

True story: we got in the car and all five kids riding with me said the highlight of the concert was that donkey losing his head.

When we left I asked the kids what they thought. They all agreed it exceeded their expectations. Hank concurred.

‘Mom, it was better than I thought it would be…but it still would have been better if the Globetrotters had been playing those instruments.’

Just as Beethoven intended, child. Just as he intended.