ately mal started sleeping through the night, and for the first time in a year i feel human again. he's been doing so much better with the grouchiness thing, too, and the result is i get a lot more smiles out of him.
a few weeks ago i needed to get out of the house for something other than a doctor's appointment, so i loaded the kids up in the car to go check out this nature preserve that we always pass by on our way to church. i can't say it was that great--i mean, every nature preserve in florida looks the same: palm trees, cypress trees, swamp, and spiders--but this place did have the distinction of having the coolest nature center ever. the best part was the giant sand tortoise cave that the kids could go inside. they were terrified at first, because every time they ducked to go inside there would be loud bug and rattlesnake noises coming out of the hole. and there were giant roots inside dangling from the ceiling that freaked them out. but once i mocked them and shoved them inside screaming they got over it and decided that it was fun after all.
this place also had the not-so-great distinction of having more spiders than should be possible in one place. when we stepped onto the boardwalk that meanders through the swamp on the way to the nature center, i knew i shouldn't look around too closely. spiders are inevitable here. but i couldn't help it. after nearly sticking my face right into a giant orb web when ilya was little i tend to be pretty cautious at nature parks. i looked up and immediately was a mass of goosebumps. i'm not kidding you, there were at least five crab spiders or banana spiders per square foot the entire 1/4 mile walk. i felt a little like frodo in cirith ungol. i tried to take a picture to capture how many of these things there were, but you can only really see it if you click on it to make it bigger. keep in mind, banana spiders are just a little bit smaller than your hand. yuck.
in other news, the weather has been nice, and we've spent quite a bit of time laying outside on a blanket. we have one of those weird moving blankets that makes the perfect picnic/who-cares-if-it-gets-dirty blanket. i recommend it.