Tuesday, June 29, 2010

birthday fun

Buccaneer Bay was totally fun! The water slides all ended in shallow water so even our littlest ones could ride them.

Mary's cake this year was a last minute decision, but I think it was just perfect for her. She has been a shoe girl since she was about 2 years old. The flip flops were made from a 13x9 pan, cut out to look like shoes. Frosted, added candies for decoration, cut pieces of fruit roll up for the thong part, and cut sunflowers from our yard for the finishing touch.
It has been shearing season at our house this week. Both Elijah and Mary got major hair cuts. I took her yesterday and she got about 3 inches off.
And just because there are never any pictures of the mother. Here I am. Pool hair and all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

lunch on the porch

Today is party prep day. We are celebrating Mary's birthday a couple weeks early due to the experation date on some pool passes that we already purchased! More photos on that to come. In the mean time here are some cuties having lunch on a hot summer day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm sure, just sure, that I am jinxing myself by writing this. But I am forging ahead anyway. Things here are going so well right now. We stayed at Fiddlers' last night until the last band. The kids were happy, playing nicely, listening to the music. It was so fun! It does help that the adult to child ratio is 3:1. We got home around midnight and everyone went straight to sleep and slept until 8:30 this morning. Breakfast was pancakes and sausage at Megan and Everette's house. We just got home and everyone is laying down for naps. I'm sure that tonight will not be as smooth. Brian will not be there for one thing. The STH are playing at a wedding reception, so he's out of commission for most of today. Secondly there is no way that we can have this much fun two days in a row. So, I'm just planning now that it will be an earlier night. Plus, I do want to make it to church on Sunday.

The other thing that is going unbelievably smooth is toilet training Emily. It is such a different experience that Mary. She took like two years to train. Emily is just doing it of her own accord. I kind of expected it to take a bit of time and energy this summer, but so far so good. She still wears a diaper at bedtime, but if she's wearing underwear she will just use the bathroom. I rarely even ask her unless we're out in public and I think she might have forgotten about it.

I'm off for my nap.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A day in our life

The past 24 hours have been just what I like...productive and fun! Brian finished the second set of steps off the back porch. The plan is to fence the back yard for the kids and dog, but we didn't want the existing steps to be fenced in, so the obvious solution is...make another set of stairs.

As I mentioned above we are fencing the yard. Well, that would be easy. Get a fence. Put it up. Nope, not around here. Brian took an old door that we weren't using and is somehow creating that to be a door entrance to the back yard. I am not a visual-spacial person, so I'll have to see it before I catch the vision. He wanted it to be red. So that's one of today's tasks.
Today we also prepared a meal for the Habitat for Humanity volunteers. This is a very large bowl of what became dirt pudding. Brian and the kids also put together Hawaiian bread sandwiches, salad, and fruit salad. Lunch for 30 people.

Oh, and I can't forget about this. Because the berries sat out on the kitchen counter all day there were definitely not enough to make a pie. So after dinner we decided to grab some Frozen Custard and I whipped up a little sauce--sugar, brandy, a splash of orange juice and the smashed berry pulp cooked for just a couple minutes.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

decisions, decisions

We picked the most beautiful black raspberries along the roadside in Battle Ground today. Now I can't decide what to do with them. They're awfully tasty by the fistful (and for the record I love that Mary was saying "kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk" as we picked them--anyone know that reference?), but I am having visions of pies or a delicious sauce over some frozen custard.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our super fun weekend away without any kids!

Here we are after we completed the grueling 3 hour-nobody-told-us- it -was- a- black -diamond canoe trip. We dumped it after about the first 20 minutes. We were in our clothes. It was literally like a video game. We were dodging trees right and left. We both came home with bruises. Was that really worth $40?!!
Little Sable Light House. We climbed 150 stairs up to the top.
This is us at the top out on the observation deck.
We took a dune ride which was probably the highlight of the trip. It goes fast up and down the sand dunes---like a roller coaster. We stopped by Lake Michigan for a photo op.

And here is ours. Do you like Brian's new Bono transitions glasses?

It was busy--but way less busy than if we would've gone away with all three in tow. One of our goals was to do things that we wouldn't have been able to do with our family. We camped at Muskegon State Park right over the dune from Lake Michigan. We brought a tent, an air mattress, bedding, clothes, and a cooler with drinks. IT ONLY TOOK US 15 MINUTES TO SET UP CAMP!!!!!!! It was quiet and peaceful and beautiful weather--just right around 80 and mostly sunny. We never did swim in the lake, but we walked the beach and did lots of exploring. We wine tasted, we ate out at nice restaurants, we stopped at lots of little beach towns just for a few minutes to check it out. On our way home we stopped to visit with an old friend whom we hadn't seen in a long time. AND THEN instead of going home we stopped at Brian's parents to have dinner and look at Laura's pictures from her trip to Africa! She got home while we were gone. It was a pretty amazing weekend.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We took the kids to see Toy Story 3 tonight. We loved the first two movies, but I wasn't sure what to expect from the latest since we hadn't been primed by a bunch of movie trailer commercials, but we were not disappointed. If you have been around for a while you might remember how Elijah went through a pretty long phase when he was enamored with Buzz Lightyear. We have only remnants left--a few bowls with Buzz's picture come directly to mind, but not much else. As he has gotten older, like Andy, the main character, Elijah's interests have moved on to other things. So for me it was particularly bittersweet to watch this movie about Andy growing up and outgrowing his once beloved toys. I was really impressed with the story line, the depth of the characters, and the lack of toilet/sexual humor that seems to be rampant in childrens' movies. In honor of tonight's screening I thought we'd take a little walk down memory lane.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now that's more like it

Today was the quintessential summer day. It started with coffee on the back porch. We walked the dog to the park and the kids played for a while. When we got home we had a snack and the girls lay down for an early nap. I mowed the grass while Brian and Elijah sat on the back porch playing cards. Then we rode our bikes to swim at Tropicanoe Cove where we saw two of Elijah's classmates and two of my co-workers. We came home after a couple hours and had some quiet time. I made dinner and Everette, my brother in law, came over to eat with us. Then I loaded up on my bike and rode to my friends' house for a small get together. Riding my bike home at 10:30 was so liberating. I never do things like that anymore. I feel like such a boring mom most of the time. It felt good to be straining my muscles and watching the stars as I rode up Ferry Street by street lamp. Unfortunately I am still keyed up at 12:39 am and since we turned our air conditioning off today, I think it is too hot in here to sleep. I just turned it back on because I am getting soft about such things. 82 degrees doesn't seem like ideal sleeping weather.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

UGH! I am ready for a break.

I thought we were ready to start having fun, but apparently our time has not come yet. Yesterday around noon Elijah said, "My head hurts. I don't feel so good." Sure enough. The awful sickness that Mary had over the weekend has made it's way to her big brother. She's such a good sharer! What's weird is that it didn't affect them in exactly the same way-- he threw up last night and has complained a lot of stomach pain, where she didn't at all. His temperature climbed all day yesterday until it finally rested at about 102. He tends to shake things off a little easier than she does, so I am hoping by tomorrow he'll be better. On the plus side, we've caught up on lots of television that we wouldn't have otherwise seen (thank you Netflix). We've been enjoying Mythbusters quite a bit (We thought Scott A. probably likes it a lot too-- if you are reading this Melissa! They were blowing things up with a gunpowder mixture.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our new toy

Brian decided that it was time that our kids have a real guitar to learn on, so yesterday he bought them their own baby Martin. As he was perusing the internet for the best deals, I laughed at him when he asked me if I thought he was "brand loyal." He was sure that he wasn't. (Seriously??!!) He did come home with the Martin, though.

Mary's eyes look sick in the picture because she is awfully sick. It came on very suddenly. Friday night she was fine, Saturday morning we were at the doctor's office and the nurse was looking at me like a neglectful parent because her fever was 103. It hasn't come down much since then. Even with the tylenol and ibuprofen, it is still in the 100 degree range. She'll get up for a while after the medicine has kicked in, but soon after she's ready to lay back down. So we've been reading lots of books, watching Netflix, and playing card games (her favorite!). I am at least thankful that it's rained a bit this weekend; I can't stand to be stuck in the house if the weather is beautiful. It's the worst time to be sick.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Straight Arrow Camp

Friday night was family night at camp and was it ever fun! After eating dinner we walked around the camp and could do the activities with the kids. I was really impressed with how there was no sense of fake nature activities. The kids were allowed to shoot arrows, beebee guns, and slingshots and do real things, if that makes sense. Elijah got all kinds of bangs and scrapes from swinging on a rope, doing the obstacle course, and doing the rock climb. He was so proud of the things he got to do there.

He made it to the top of the harder course!

The songs and activities were fun too!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Early Summer Garden

Sixteen tomato plants, all varieties behind the garage. Some with flowers, some with small green tomatoes
Phase one from left to right: carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas, lettuce --2 varieties, (spinach is all done, just planted green beans in that row), onions, garlic
Phase 2 (left to right): back corner is pumpkins and cantaloupe, cucumbers, romaine lettuce seedlings, banana peppers, green beans, egg plant (2), zucchini, hot peppers, carrots, yellow squash just over in the back right

This year I am trying to stagger plant a bit more so that we don't have everything coming in at once and reuse rows when things have finished to maximize our small space.
Oh my gosh!! I went and picked more berries today at a new place and they were even better (and cheaper!) than the original place! I am making more jam today and then with the leftovers I think I'll make a little shortcake.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The final product

I am not sure I'll ever be eating store bought strawberry jam again! It is so tasty! Anyone know of a good local raspberry picking farm? I've checked the Indiana u-pick website and there doesn't seem to be much close by.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Alright, enough about throwing up. Today was the final last day of school. I finished two weeks ago (??!!), Brian ended last Thursday and today Elijah finally finished his first grade year. It went out with a bang! NCS field day is a really big deal and a lot of fun--7 hours at Happy Hollow Park with tons of cool stations like tricycle obstacle course, three legged race, scooter races, water in a bucket race, splatter painting, make your own bandana, kick ball, and an all school water balloon fight. Mary and I went to help and to log our first 8 hours of volunteer time for next year! (We have to get 40 hours by the end of each year.)

We have made lots of decisions lately and guess where we ended up? Right back where we started. When all is said and done we are not changing schools after all and we aren't moving just yet. I am quite sure you are done hearing about our up and down: we're moving, we're staying; but believe me as much as I've blogged about it, we've talked about it and thought about it at least ten times more.

I actually emailed Elijah's school a few weeks ago to tell them that we wouldn't be returning next year and they emailed me back and offered me a teaching job for next year! Unfortunately the pay is much lower than what I make now and we couldn't afford for me to teach there, but it did end up talking us out of leaving. For those of you who don't know, the big deal about leaving New Community School is that there are only so many available spots in the school and if we leave, we will lose ours.

So, summer is officially here for us. How will we celebrate? By going back to work of course. : )

Tomorrow and Wednesday I have meetings to attend. Elijah is starting Straight Arrow YMCA Day Camp. Maybe next week we can slow down and do nothing. We did cancel our 2 week camping trip for this summer which was supposed to start the next week. Brian and I both just want to hang out at home and go to the pool, sleep in, and do less instead of more. I don't want to complain or anything, but I just have this feeling that summer is going to be over in the blink of an eye.

I got the kids' rooms changed and while it hasn't been seamless, it does seem like it's going to be a very good thing. I also have been purging lots of stuff to the Goodwill bag and that feels good too.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Elijah kept telling us at the campground that he felt dizzy, had cramps, and he felt like he was going to throw up, so we kept having him lay down in front of the fan, but yesterday at Cracker Barrel for breakfast I could tell he was really serious. After he ate something he felt better, but then on the way home he was in bad shape again. Thankfully we live so close because as soon as he got in the house he threw up! I think he had heat stroke--the symptoms match up and it's really unlike him to get sick. He spent the whole day on the couch drinking fluids and watching tv (he was pretty happy about that!) and this morning seemed much better (He tried to convince me to keep him home from school, but he seemed fine to me!)

The rain yesterday busted my green beans up through the ground, so that was exciting. I keep forgetting to get cucumber plants when I am at the proper location, so yesterday I bought some seeds. I know they will be late to harvest, but we're still within the time frame. I just like having lots of produce ready in mid-July. I also bought swiss chard seeds. We (well, Brian and I) liked using it a lot last summer and again I just keep forgetting to grab it when I've been at the store. I'm hoping the ground might be dry enough this evening to get the seeds in. I also decided, on a whim, to get two cantaloupe plants from Bennett's; just to try it. All this hot, wet weather has also made the weeds go nuts! I have been weeding almost every day.

Today I have started the first of our summer projects: moving the girls into the same room. Right now the situation is Emily has her own room and Elijah and Mary have been sharing. We will keep Mary in the same room and switch Elijah and Emily. I think he was a little sad since the middle bedroom was originally his room from the beginning of his life here, but the idea of having his own space made it ok after all. We never intended for them to be together so long, but of the three kids Elijah is the soundest/best sleeper and putting the girls together is going to open a whole host of new bedtime drama, but we are doing it in the summer when we don't have to be up early and Elijah is getting pretty old to be sharing a room with his sister. So, that's what's on my agenda for the next few days.