Monday, August 30, 2010

Too Short/Bike Riding

This weekend was way too short. Jeff has been traveling for business and has to go back again. It felt like we barely got to see him before he had to go again. We packed a lot of fun into Saturday, going to the park, the Dollar Store (kids' paradise), and another park for a long bike ride. Technically, James and Jeff rode their bikes while I trucked behind with Tyler on my back and Katie in the stroller. (Candi, you would be proud of all the exercise I got! :) James has become really confident on his bike and he rides very easily....and FAST! He can also ride for a long distance, quite impressive for a kid his age if I do say so myself. When we walk over to Grammy and Chappy's, he rides his bike all the way. He especially likes 'whizzing' down hills on his bike. Katie also likes riding her 'bike,' a three wheeler. The only problem is that she goes so slow that even snails leave her in a trail of their dust. To solve this annoying problem, we have resorted to using a tether system, where we pull her along as she peddles. We are just providing the 'turbo boost' she needs to keep up with the rest of us. ;) Tyler would like to ride a bike but so far he can't get his chubby little legs to cooperate. While we were at the lake, Jeff thought he'd be nice and let me ride his bike for a little while. I told him that the bike was too big but he figured that if he put the seat all the way down I could use it. Ha, ha! There was no way I could touch the peddles. Looks like Jeffrey the Giant will not be sharing his bike with anyone anytime soon. (He seems to forget that he bought a special 'for-tall-people' bike.) Enough randomness for now.....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Man On A Mission

I believe Tyler's main goal in life is to keep me from sitting down for more than two consecutive seconds. He accomplishes this goal by completing the following To-Do List several times a day:

  • Climb on the kitchen table at least 17 times by 8:00 am.
  • Climb the stairs at least 8 times in 5 minutes
  • Wait for one of the siblings to leave the bathroom door open long enough to make a break for the toilet. Yay for fishing! (NOT!)
  • Climb back on the kitchen table and take bites out of a few tomatoes
  • Climb onto the couch and into the bay window
  • Climb back onto the kitchen table and practice using the salt and pepper shakers
  • Climb onto the shoe rack and into the bay window, but not before pulling all the shoes off the rack of course!
  • Go into the kitchen and pull out the oven drawer and climb in
  • Repeat previous action as soon as Mommy pulls you out and closes the drawer
  • See if one of the siblings left the garage door unlatched; if so, push the door open and go hang out with the lawn mower
  • Climb back on the kitchen table and spill some water
  • Pull over the baby gate and climb the stairs
  • Reach through the banister to grab Daddy's cell phone, car keys and wallet
  • Go back and climb on the kitchen table again
  • See if the dishwasher is unlocked and if so, pull the door open, climb up and look for the sharpest utensil available
  • Play 'Where's The Baby??' (Mommy loves that game...she runs around yelling 'Where's Tyler??? all while I hide in the closet (or behind the curtains, or in her bedroom, or....)
  • Put rocks in mouth every now and then to see if she is paying attention
  • Climb back on the kitchen table (see a theme yet?)
So far he is proving to be a conscientious worker, working hard to achieving his goals quickly and effectively.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Hodge-Podge of Photos (In No Particular Order)

Doesn't everybody sleep with a plastic corn cob on their pillow?

In a sudden fit of 'I haven't had the time to sew in weeks and it ain't fair!', I decided to sew Katie a skirt to wear to church...on Saturday night. Very simple but she really likes it.

We stopped at the Covered Bridge yesterday on the way back from Tyler's doctor appointment per James' request. By the way, Tyler weighed in at 19 pounds, 6 ounces and 30 inches long. Though he is still a peanut, the doctor thinks he is going to be tall and built like a basketball player.
I have a strange fascination with taking photos of produce, specifically tomatoes. They are just so pretty, and I happen to have a lot of them laying around.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This Is A Public Service Announcement

We learned something fascinating this week end. Hold you breath, folks, this is going to rock your world. Did you know that oxen are not a particular breed of animal?? No! They can be any old cow, or steer rather. Any breed of cattle can be trained as oxen. First, you have to start with a bull. Then, you take and turn him into a steer with the careful placement of a tiny green rubber band, or by using your preferred method. Sadly, I have written about this subject twice already, here and here. You then take your steer and train it to work. The steer is trained to pull with a yoke and obey verbal commands. When the steer reaches the age of five, and can fulfill the requirements of ox-dom, he can be classified as an ox. Technically, you could raise a Jersey cow or a Holstein to be an ox, but of course people choose the breeds that are the strongest. I forgot already what breed these are, but they were the biggest farm animals I have ever seen. The pictures do not do them justice. The oxen's names were Brooks and Dunn, and weighed 2300 and 2500 pounds each. Now that you know this helpful, handy information about oxen, make sure to throw that in your next cocktail party conversation. Ha, ha! :)

Here are more pictures of our weekend; did I mention we went to the Grange Fair?

Checking out the tractors and the army vehicles

Tyler checking out the sheep; Looking at the cows from a distance; Funny sign placement; The tallest cow we've even seen

(Totally Unrelated Photos): The cutest one year old on the planet!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Squirrel In The House

Does anyone else have a sock monster that lives in their house? I am always coming up with stray socks. I generally keep them in a basket and wait for their mate to show up. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Its a mystery to me where these missing socks go. That's why I blame the sock monster. Until now. I have made a discovery. Earlier today, Katie had taken the cushions off the couch (which, FYI, is one of the few things that drives me absolutely crazy***). I asked her to put the cushions back on, and while she was semi-cooperating, she noticed a 'wace tar' in the couch. She reached into a hole in the couch lining to get the car. It was then that I spotted a sock. Yay! I thought. At least that is one less stray sock I will have floating around. When I pulled the sock out, I saw another....and another....and another. Jackpot!! It appears that we have a sock squirrel in the house. (I believe Katie to be the most likely candidate for this) After pulling out about 6 or 7 socks, I reached back in to see if there were any more 'treasures.' What did I find? Well, one of our decorative couch pillows, the high chair cover, and Katie's toy camera. I wondered what had happened to that stuff. Now I know to check the innards of the couch next time I am missing something. You never know when the squirrel will strike again!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Rachel and I try to skype (video call) each other at least once a week. If it weren't for, say, my three kids, we might just skype every day. But that ain't happening. Yesterday was our 'skype date,' but we had some technical difficulties. My microphone wasn't working. Not to be discouraged, we ended up typing back and forth for the better part of an hour. Rachel would laugh at me when I would forget and start talking to her. She said it was like watching a silent movie. Then, after typing back and forth for several minutes, Rachel would say something to me out loud and it would startle me a little bit. We always seemed to have had two conversations going on at once. We established the correct spelling in the terd vs. turd debate. It's turd, by the way. We showed each other our sewing projects. We managed to use several of those amusing 'emoticons' provided by skype. My favorite is the flexing kidney, also known as the disembodied flexing bicep that looks like a kidney. I would like to know who comes up with these things. I mean, you can use anything from a foaming mug of beer, to a dancing ninja, to a vomiting smiley face. And you never know when the 'emo' pushing hair out of his eyes might come in handy. So despite the fact that Rachel probably felt like she was talking to a mime, we had a lot of fun... saving the world, one dancing ninja at a time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Random News

  • Tyler is walking, I mean really!
  • James rode his bigger bike all the way to Grammy and Chappy's this morning. I can't believe how big he is as I chase him while he is giggling hysterically.
  • Speaking of getting big, Katie had her first solo playdate at my friend Candi's today. James kept saying 'When is Katie going to get back?' I'd say 'Do you miss her?' and he would say 'No, I just want to play with her.'
  • I've been canning like a maniac. Peach Syrup and Chile-Tomato Jam to name a few.
  • Tyler is a crazy climbing fool. He climbs on everything!!! Here he is on my kitchen table:
  • James wanted to have tea with me while Katie was gone. He took everything off the table, wiped it down and got out a tablecloth and put it on the table, so we could have a 'real tea party.' It was very sweet, and after he drank his tea he told me he really didn't like tea that much.
  • I've surpassed the 100 pound mark from my garden. So far, 103 pounds!
  • We've finally (!!!) finished the floors and enough of the painting to get the kids into their own beds again. Tyler and James moved downstairs and Katie upstairs. For the last two weeks, Tyler and Katie have shared a room and every little peep Tyler makes is liable to wake Katie up. It was very nice to sleep last night!
  • Jeff starts school in 2 weeks. Boo!
  • Katie is still downing tomatoes at a rapid pace. So far today, she has had tomatoes at breakfast and after lunch.
  • Told you that was random news!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Stills: Flames/Smoke


Here is where I started to play around with long exposure times and moving my hand in and out of the shot. I could sit and experiment forever, but alas, Tyler had yet to go to bed so I had to cut it short.

This one was taken moving the flame back and forth through the frame

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Might Regret It Later

This morning, James told me that he wanted a pet bull. I explained to him that bulls don't exactly make suitable pets for little boys. He asked his favorite question in the whole wide world: WHY??? I explained to him that bulls are really big and don't exactly have the nicest disposition. It was at that point that the conversation went downhill fast. I told him that farmers often turn their bulls into steers by castrating them. It calms them down. Of course his eyes got pretty big when I told him what castrating them entails. I said 'Aren't you glad they don't do that to people?' And he said, 'They do that to some people, but very often.' An hour later, when Mom was over, it wasn't long before I heard him downstairs telling Grammy that bulls get their 'tesicles' cut off! I hope this one doesn't come back to bite me when he takes it upon himself to tell everyone and their cousin. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tomato Obsession

I think I could easily become obsessed with tomatoes. This year I tried several colorful varieties, including Green Zebra, Orange Banana, Violet Jasper, and Yellow Pear. Our tomatoes, combined with those from the farm make for very colorful salsa.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Family Fun

At the farm

Things have been crazy around here. Jeff took a day off and we went to the farm together. Sunday we went to a local farm and picked 40 pounds of peaches, which I canned**. Ugh. I officially hate canning peaches. But I digress. We have also been replacing the floors in both upstairs bedrooms. Its a major pain, having things packed away and the kids sleeping in random places and waking each other up. But as my friend Candi reminded me it seems like we always have something like this going on. And she's right. We bought our first house in 2004 (?), did some serious renovations, bought a new house and did some not-quite-as-serious remodelling projects, and then remodeled our first house again after our tenants trashed it. So I think we have had more than our fair share of home projects. The floor is looking quite nice though!! I am so happy to have nice floors up here, as opposed to the hideous crumbling tile. Here I am rambling on incoherently. Yikes! I better go before I really say something stupid. (No comments from the peanut gallery...:)

**That is, I canned everything my children didn't devour. They have been eating their weight in peaches everyday. (The peaches are no Palisade, Colorado peaches, but good, and are pretty small)

At the orchard

Monday, August 09, 2010

Jeff's Latest Shenanigans

Jeff Tries To Run Me Over

My Florida Dress

On our trip to Florida, Grandma, Aunt Phylis and I took the kids on a trip to the JoAnn fabrics in their area. I had heard it was big and I really wanted to see it. And I must confess: it was quite nice. I picked out some fabric which was really not something I would normally pick. However, I thought it was really pretty, it had a border of seashells at the bottom (how fitting!) and I loved the color. The problem was, the line was a mile long. After waiting for a while, I was ready to give up. Grandma and Aunt Phylis pushed me back in line and told me that they would wait. To make a long story just a little bit shorter, I waited in line, got my fabric and checked out. It ends up the fabric was on some crazy clearance and I got more than 4 yards for $7!! I love a good bargain. Turns out I had enough for my dress and one for Katie (in progress). So there you have it, a dress made for a few bucks with fabric procured in Florida. And excuse the random pictures, please. I have resigned myself to the fact that a combination of my lack of photogenic-ness, and Jeff's propensity for taking goofy pictures is not going to add up to anything fabulous. Oh, well. You get the point.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Katie's New Gig

Katie got accepted into a the super-elite Preschool Airforce Training Camp. She is currently learning to direct landing aircraft so that she take over the job of the guy who is currently in charge of landing Air Force One.

Aren't you proud of her? ;)

PS. Jeff was having fun with Photoshop last night, can you tell?

PPS. I haven't given up on Sunday Stills. The last two weeks I haven't been able to find what I am looking for (graffiti and clouds) when I have my camera with me.

Friday, August 06, 2010

State of the Garden

(My garden does NOT look like this anymore)

Its official. The garden is a now a jungle of bushy tomato plants, monstrous squash vines, and weeds. Thankfully this year I've somehow kept the weeds mostly in check. My neighbor keeps looking over the fence and saying 'boy, the weeds are doing good,' and I want to say 'Don't you know the difference between squash and weeds?!? Tomatillos and weeds?!? Those aren't weeds!!' I mean, seriously, it is quite a feat to keep the weeds in check, especially when I am simultaneously trying to keep my three kids from picking green tomatoes and trying to ride their scooters down the slide. Don't accuse my squash of being weeds, please. Every morning and evening I go out with a basket and pick whatever is ready. I've found that if I don't go out at least twice a day the squash get out of hand. And because I am big dork, I weigh everything and record it. I know that may sound a little nuts but I do it for a few reasons. First, I want to see how much I can actually grow in one 11' by 55' patch. Second, I want to see if I actually am 'making money,' in other words, do I grow enough to make the money spent worthwhile? The answer is yes, by the way, unless you count my labor...but its so fun I don't really count that. If we were talking about scrubbing toilets or something, that would be a whole different story. And the third reason I record everything is so that I can see how much of each particular type of produce I grew. This will help me next year to decide what's really worth growing, and what we grew too much of. (Squash, anyone?) And if you reading this thinking bla, bla, bla, just shut up about the vegetables already, I will tell you that my grand total of produce so far is 65 pounds. That is nearly a James and a Katie put together! Considering we are just getting into tomato season, I am happy with that. Now off to make pickles!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Some of My Favorite Things

Some weeks, like this week, make me reaaaaally tired and grumpy. Too much to do, too little time, and the kids sense that and act accordingly. And by accordingly I mean that they try to test your sanity to the limit. But alas, even on the crummy days there are still things to smile about. So, here's the abbreviated list:

  • Looking out my kitchen window to see James galloping around the yard on his stick horse in full 'farmer' regalia
  • Talking to my friend Erin for a full two and half hours. Yes! 2 1/2 hours. Nap time is grand.
  • Katie's pigtails
  • Tomatoes from the garden, and lots of them!
  • Visiting 'our' farm
  • Flowers from the garden
  • The beautiful new floor Jeff installed
  • Jeff making me laugh, and roll my eyes, every single day
  • Katie calling Tyler 'Ty-weeeer'
  • Blueberry Lime Jam
  • The kids' new-to-us swingset
  • Watching Katie eat a bite of really spicy salsa, then trying to cram her head into her cup
  • Tyler's smile, his happy shrieks, and his chubby legs
  • Friends who will watch my kid and take him swimming and feed him donut holes (makes for a very happy kid!:)
  • Seeing my sister this past weekend!!!! (And you too Phil! You're alright too :)
  • My pile of sewing projects waiting to for spare time
  • A good book
  • Watching James go from totally-freaked-out, loudest-screaming kid at swimming lessons to jumping in, canonball style, as the other kids ask 'Did he just drown???' James said, as he came up with a huge grin on his face, 'I was really having fun!'

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Latest Hip Check

I'm still here. We had our computer put away for the last several days so that Jeff could install a new floor up here!!! No more nasty pink and green speckled, dark brown and tan checker-board tiles!!!!! (Can you tell that makes me happy? That stuff was hideous.) Anyway, we're back in business.

Katie had her hip check this morning and I don't know if I am happy or not. Basically, the word was 'looks good, hip is stable, the femur has improved, socket is still flatter than it should be, wait and see...' We talked again about surgery. Last check up seemed like we were out of the woods, but it all depends on how much growth her hip does on its own. Dr. Speigel said he doesn't want to do the surgery unless its absolutely necessary, and he waits longer than most doctors to do it...around age 4. I asked him if her socket stays the same would she have to get surgery, and he said we would definitely have to consider it. The bottom line is, no one knows how much 'remodeling' her hip will do on its own. By age 4 is usually when it really slows down. So at next year's check-up we'll figure out whether she will need surgery or not. I know there is no way around it, but I really hate the 'wait and see' part of this. Ugh. And I have decided (well, I already knew this..) I will NEVER live in a big city. The traffic is enough to give me a nervous breakdown. I hate driving in Philly!!!!!