Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creepy Crawlies

Growing up on a farm in Montana, my childhood was filled with summers diggin' in the creek collecting frogs, turtles, snakes, clams, and fish. By the end of the day my posse and I would be covered from head to toe in black stenchy creek mud, and have a cooler filled with our "catch". We would proudly haul it back to the house where species would be counted, we would play with them, and show them off to the parents. After dinner we would always have to release them again back into the creek. Boy did we have fun!

Now, 15 years later, I live in South Florida. I don't mind the little creatures here as long as they don't sneak up on me. I actually find them quite fascinating. However, I have been here a couple years now and I am still getting used to the new animals that I find creeping outside my house....and sometimes trying to creep in. It is not that they look so scary, it is just that I am not familiar with them and have no clue what sort of superpowers they may have.

Besides finding a cockroach, longer than my middle finger, in our house shortly after we moved in, I have ran across a few other creepy crawly creatures that are NOT native to Montana. There are toads the size of a personal pan pizzas, snakes representing every color in a crayon box, and iguanas that are big enough to make your Aunt Rita's yippee little Chihuahua disappear for good.

It has taken a little bit of getting used to.

My sister Jenna and I found the little guy shown below in a GUEST BEDROOM! How he made it in the house I have no idea. He looked very creepy! We have little geckos that run around outside all over the place. Everywhere you walk they scatter like grasshoppers. But this guy was not one of those cute little geckos. He was the big bad ugly cousin or something. He had bulging eyes that reminded me of glossed over cat eye marbles, a funky snake like pattern to his skin, and a tail that looked like it was removable. He also moved in a way that reminded me of an alligator.

After Jenna and I freaked out screaming and trying to catch him without touching him, we finally trapped him in a fold in the bed sheet on the side of the bed. We coaxed him into a little coffee can. Then we released him OUTSIDE, after I reminded him that is where he belongs in the first place.

Anybody know what this is called? If you do, please tell!

Last night, when Dan and I came  home I went to reach for the door handle to get from the garage into the house and LOOK WHO I FOUND right beside the door frame! We have frogs in Montana, but not like this. Look at his little toes/fingers. Isn't he cool!

I wanted to relocate him outside the garage. When I set a magazine next to him to encourage him onto, he sprung immediately past me. It was probably a good 10 feet. Amazing jump!

I shrieked of course, which made Dan wonder if I was being kidnapped. But hey! It startled me. Can you imagine if that little bugger would have jumped on my face with all that force!?!?! I can see it now! ...Frog over my eye like a pirates patch... Little fingers and toes suction cupped on my skin securely as I panic and frantically fly out the open garage door wildly running down the dark street screaming bloody murder...frog hanging on for dear life.

 Boy, wouldn't the neighbors wonder what I was smoking?!?!?

Thank goodness he jumped away from me :)

Isn't it amazing the quality of picture an i-phone can take?

Cute little dude.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Imagination of a Child

The imagination of a child is one of the most beautiful things in the world. There is nothing greater than seeing a kid make fun from a cardboard box.

Last fall when my 5 1/2 year old nephews visited I was a little concerned that all I had to keep them entertained for a week was a swimming pool and a few old school children's books. When I found them in the back room "driving" a couple of large moving boxes with string, pots and pans and one of Dan's old shoes, I knew it would all be OK. I was reminded of the creative juices that flow through a young mind and my heart was warmed.

Where along the way do we loose that? Why do we stop using our imaginations? I remember the first time I thought it was silly to pretend. But I am not sure why. My cousin wanted me to play Cowboys and Indians out in the hills on my farm with him. I tried, but knew it was make believe and just couldn't get into. I somehow felt it was wrong to be so silly. I wanted to play I just couldn't. I remember it made me sad because I had somehow managed to hurt my own feelings....Is that possible? To hurt your own feelings?

Anyway, I remember what it felt like. To 110% get lost in character. To imagine. To believe. To make believe. It was beautiful. The only thing better than looking back, is watching a child living in his or her creative imaginative world...Full force.

This is what made me cry today.


Kaela Carpenter


Caine is incredible. Sweet. Intelligent.
But I also think about what a great person the producer is. The man who first found Caine's Arcade. The first customer. He could have walked on by. He could have played and walked like it was just another lemonade stand. But he didn't. What a kind soul.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Big Catch!

Tell me this isn't cool.

I dare you.

The 10 year wanna be Wildlife Biologist in me totally had to share this.

We were out fishing - Dan, Myself, and Flat Stanley. We caught a fish, unhooked him, released him, and THIS is what must have been spit up from the big catch. We had no clue until later when we found this little dude just laying on the boat deck.

Pretty sweet how when held up to the sunset you can see right through him! Spine, guts, head, everything! Neato!

And a nice sunset never hurts.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Broward Outreach Easter/Passover Celebration

Today, Dan and I, along with some of our Miami Dolphins friends, spent the day at the Broward Outreach Center in Hollywood Florida. Broward Outreach may sound familiar. That is because a group of the Miami Dolphins Women and myself spent Thanksgiving here a few months ago. You can read about that experience and see pics and videos here

Broward Outreach Center is a full service 130 bed facility that serves the homeless population in the area. Through support, education, and counseling, Broward Outreach Center helps individuals get back on their feet by setting and reaching goals, and overcoming tough, life-controlling, situations and/or addictions.

I had so much fun at the Thanksgiving event, that I gladly responded with a big ole' YES when Lynette from the Outreach Center contacted me about their event on Easter weekend. They call it "Thanksgiving in April". Since the guys are around this time of year, they got their workouts in early so they could come serve as well. 

It never fails, our experience at Broward Outreach was once again enjoyed. The overall atmosphere was loving and positive. The crowd, joyous. There was cotton candy and a petting zoo for the children. Along with a DJ who provided good dancing tunes and MC'd for limbo and hula hoop contests. Plates overflowed with potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy, veggies, and cranberries. Each plate was accompanied with a drink and pie. There was a clothing tent, and a hope tote tent. Certified volunteers provided a foot care station where people could get their feet washed, treated if need be, and beautified.

A great time was had by all. Broward Outreach is one of my favorite places to serve in the community. I can always count on everyone there to be very welcoming and ready to have a good time. 

Happy Easter Weekend and Passover to everyone out there reading from Kaela and Dan Carpenter! We hope your weekend is full of family, friends, fun, food, and lasting memories!

Thank You to our fellow Miami Dolphins for joining us today! 
-Ryan and Susanah Baker
-Michelle Beck
-Dan and Kaela Carpenter
-Brandon and Katie Fields
-Jessica Vones
-Stu and Renee Weistein
-Ilona Wolpin

To read more on the event visit:

 Dan and Kaela Carpenter serving food
Photo Courtesy: Miami Dolphins

I thought I smelled home. I found a petting zoo!!
Photo Courtesy: Dan Carpenter

Ryan in the Hula Hoop Contest!
Photo Courtesy: Miami Dolphins

Dan Carpenter and Brandon Fields with some of the other volunteers
Photo Courtesy : Miami Dolphins

Here is a link to a video from the event on the Finsiders.
Click Here.