Thursday, March 31, 2011

Random Updates

  • Jeff is (hopefully) done going to the Nuclear Plant for a while. Good thing, since he does need sleep every now and then. Not to mention we like seeing him around here.
  • The chicks are doing fabulous! In fact, I found out today that they have cousins...or something like that. A friend of mine had contemplated getting chickens, but I didn't think she was planning on getting them til next year. Well, she got them and talked another friend into getting them too! That really made me laugh. More suburban chicken wranglers! :)
  • I would like to say how cute it is when Katie tells me about when she 'was a little gull.' (Gull=Girl) And when James tells me 'Aren't you glad I have a job, Mom? That I have my farm and two horses I take care of?' And when Tyler is sitting on my hip and he leans way out and cranks his little head up at me to give me a close-up grin!
  • We borrowed a Wiggles movie from the library....first and LAST!!! It is colossally cheesy, stupendously stupid, tremendously TERRIBLE! Possible worse than the big purple dinosaur.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Chicks Are Still Alive!!


Note the top middle picture: Big Martha fell asleep with her head in the feeder. Never too far away from the food, that Big Martha!


The white one is Pippy, PipSqueak, or Pippy Woodstockings, depending on who you ask! :)



Katie thinking 'Did she really just poop on the floor!?!?'


The chicks are still alive and appear to my untrained eye to be healthy! They eat, sleep and poop really well, not unlike babies of the human variety. These little buggers eat a lot! I have to fill up their 1 quart feeder every day. The kids love them. I am afraid Tyler might love one a little too much and it might not reciprocate. Ever again. So, we try to limit the time he spends with the chickies. He did hold one quite nicely today, but then he grabbed its foot and wouldn't let go. Poor chick. Katie is like a little mother to them, and she would hold them all day long. James will pet, but not hold them. Their feet freak him out. Today we had art lessons and of course, the kids wanted to hold the chicks. Noah loved them, Amanda freaked out, and Emma, after begging for the first half hour she was here to hold them...held one chick, looked disinterested, and ran off to play dress up. That girl is a crack up!

And here is the latest addition to James' farm room, totally unrelated to what I just wrote:


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tour of James' Farm (And Crazy Hair Night Pictures)


Welcome to James' Farm!! (Located in our backyard)


The bamboo and rope contraption hanging about the door is a yoke James made


Here is the field he has 'plowed.' He even put in irrigation pipe, but Tyler ripped it out.


Here is the pond. The other day he tried lining it with plastic grocery bags and filling it with water. It didn't last too long. And of course, every farmer needs a chair for porch sitting.

Thank you for touring James' Farm!


Last week, Con-Rachel helped me coif the kids' hair for Crazy Hair Night at Cubbies. James was originally refusing to go with crazy hair, because it's not 'farmer-ish.' Con-Rachel convinced him to let her spike his hair. Katie was easier to convince, but her hair wasn't. Its so fine and soft, and we didn't have anything strong enough to make it stand up. We did, however, coax it into 4 curled ponytails.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicks

Chickens and Nuclear Plants

The chickens are still alive!!! Woo!! They have eaten their weight in feed already. I only got up once in the night to check on them. They need to be warm (90-95 degrees) but I also didn't want to end up with roasted chicken. I was paranoid that the temperature would magically spike up but it didn't. We go back today for the Delaware, so then we will have the whole crew. So far, we have named the Rhode Island Red and the Americana. Their names? Patty (get it? Chicken Patty? I crack myself up! ) and the other one James named 'Big Martha,' because she is bigger than the others. Leave a comment if you have any name ideas.




Jeff has been incredibly busy with a project at work. He was even on a conference call starting at 10:15 last night. Its around the clock! He has basically lived at a nuclear facility all week. He has already sprouted a third arm, which is going to come in really handy when fixing the car. Saves me from having to help!! Just kidding. They are very careful about making sure that no one receives more the 'safe' dose of radiation, or something like that. Poor Jeff, he has worked 18-20 hour days plus an 1.25 hour drive, which as you can see leaves no time for sleep. Then yesterday afternoon he found out he had to go to Pittsburg...in an hour or two. Lovely. Its been a bit crazy around here because of all this. So, would you like to hear a few tidbits about going to a nuclear plant? Of course you would! First of all, you have to have a nuclear clearance. They do various checks on your before you can ever set foot in the place. (Jeff has had that for a long time now) Then you have to go through various layers of security. It can take 30-60 minutes, or more. One of the steps is to go through a 'puffer.' That is a device that sends blast of air past you and collects the air on the other side. Then they analyze the air to make sure you are not carrying explosives. The guards all have their M-16s and handguns at the ready (not slung over their shoulders). Once through all that, you have to have an escort babysit you the entire time. If you have to pee, the whole group has to go with you. (Well, at least they wait outside the door for you) If you have to get a paper off the copy machine, the whole group goes together. Jeff doesn't have a work laptop with him (which he needs) but the plant computers have so many firewalls and security features that you can't do much at all. Every tool/implement/etc. has to be on a lanyard, to prevent it from falling into any part of the equipment. You can't climb a ladder without leather gloves. Since only a few people had gloves, they had to climb up and throw the gloves down to the next person. The nuclear industry is very, very regulated to make sure that the plant remains safe. Even 'checking out' of the facility takes about a half an hour. They scan you for radiation when you leave. Its all quite a process. Jeff and I will both be very happy when this ordeal is over (hopefully by next week). He's supposed to get back late tonight, and hopefully he was able to sleep for a few hours last night. (He didn't get in to Pittsburg til after midnight)

(This is totally unrelated to anything in Japan in case you are wondering. I feel terrible that those people have the worry of radiation on top of the other disasters there.)

I'll try to post more chick pictures later. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

They're Here (All But One)





We got the chickies this morning. I was bummed to find out that the Delaware wasn't there and I have to drive all the way back tomorrow (35-40 minutes) but oh, well. They are adorable! The kids LOVE them. That is an understatement. Even James was cooing to them, saying 'I'm James, sweetpea, Jaaaaaaaames.' Tyler is not afraid of them at all (might be a bad thing). I'll post more later. Gotta get off the computer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kids

Armando and Tyler

We've had a lot of miscellaneous kids yesterday and today. Fun! Yesterday, my friend Jenni came over with her kids and her nephew. This morning was art lessons. The kids enjoyed painting by blowing the paint around with straws. It was way less messy!!! (surprisingly)


Here is the original idea. The end result came out more like Jackson Pollack meets Salvador Dali meets Mr. Potato Head. James wanted a cowboy hat and a cactus for his, and then everyone else wanted one too.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sewing, Springtime, Sleet?! (And a NEWSFLASH!!)


Which one of these does not belong? Sleet! I was a little annoyed to see it sleeting this morning, but despite that, we have a warm house, food to eat, my kids to enjoy, a trip to the library and a sewing project to work on. Can't complain. We had a nice weekend. I planted some more peas. So far, I've planted broccoli, turnips, radishes, kale, spinach, beets and lettuce. No if only it will sprout! (I've been impatiently checking the garden everyday but so far, no dice) My one consolation is that my rhubarb is coming up. Yipee!!

Yesterday, I made a dress for Katie. I went for several days without sewing and I was having withdrawals. :) Today I am working on another one. I don't know how far I'll get but we'll see. Jeff has to go up to a Nuclear plant today and won't be home on time, so maybe I'll put my kids to bed at 5:00 and sew. Just kidding! Although it is a pretty good idea....

And NEWSFLASH!!! Tyler's tooth finally broke through, after months of teething. He spent the better part of 6 weeks waking up at night in pain, being cranky, with swollen gums. Still, the tooth didn't some through. He went for another month or so, fortunately sleeping at night, but still with puffy gums, and finally!!! The tooth has landed. I am really relieved. He already has nearly a full mouth of teeth. I think he only has 2-3 to go.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Really Fun Morning Equals Photo Overload!

This morning I told the kids to get dressed because we were going to a super secret location. Of course, they wanted to know what exactly the super secret was. Was it the library? The dollar store? The park? They couldn't guess. It takes about 25 minutes to get to the super secret location, and they didn't guess it til we pulled into the park. I took them to the Covered Bridge. We walked quite a ways and explored new territory, including a 100 year old farm house and its dilapidated outbuildings. We also found a pretty big field to run in. Here are a few...OK, a lot...of pictures from the morning.


In front of a small outbuilding


Tyler lost his shoe in the grass, Katie was trying to help him


Looking out over the field


In front of the old, collapsed barn


We're free!!!


I was thinking 'Oh, this will make a great picture!' James was thinking 'That sun is awful bright, Mom!'


James said 'Take a picture of just my boots and my hat.' (He is so ME) Then, when he looked at the picture he said 'Yeah, I really like how that turned out'



You can't really tell, but there were a bunch of snowdrops blooming around the kids


'Cheeeeee' (Tyler's attempt at saying cheese)


James being the protective big brother


Katie adoring her brother, for once


One of my favorites


James explaining 'Hey, buddy! We get to go to the Covered Bridge!'


James proclaimed to me the other day that Tyler is getting used to him, and that they are getting to be best buddies (Awww!!)


My attempt at taking a picture of myself and the kids...better luck next time, Tyler! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Just a Week!

A week from today, we pick up the chickies. I am very excited! So far, I would say 98% of people look at me like I have three heads when I mention the chickens. My neighbor asked me last weekend: WHY?????? Eggs, I said. (I also think they will be entertaining but I didn't mention that) He looked at me with a look that said 'You have lost your mind, lady! Did you know you can buy eggs at the store?' And of course, most people think you have to have a rooster to lay eggs. No rooster here. But I can see it now: neighbor kids will be daring each other to run up and peek over my fence to see the chickens. Then they will run off and make up stories about how we have a cow living inside, and twenty chickens outside, and a ghost who devours chickens and small children. Either that or we'll just be known as those weird people with the chickens. ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Latest Project


I just finished this for James. We are both happy with the results. I'm pretty excited that it came out the way I wanted it to, especially since I've never made a dress shirt before. Yeehaw!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air (Literally)

Its been getting up to a whopping 50 degrees here lately. The kids and I have been spending a lot of time outside enjoying the fresh air. It is so nice, after a winter of being cooped up. This morning, we built a pretty big and awesome tent outside. The kids had a picnic lunch in there. I have been puttering around in my garden. I am happy to say that my first size-able batch of compost is a huge success! I harvested a large handful of spinach this morning, too. I have never had anything this early so that was fun. Now I must figure out how to keep Tyler out of the garden. He manages to navigate the low fence to get in, and of all the dirt to walk over, he is always picking the places where I have planted stuff. I did fix the narrow gap in the fence that our Houdini managed to escape through last week. I'm sure it won't be long before he finds the rabbit hole on the other side of the yard....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Miscellaneous

  • Tomorrow is the much anticipated Cubbie's Carnival for the kids (for AWANAs). They are very excited.
  • I am working on a western shirt for James, complete with embroidery on the back part. Its going to be real purdy. I'll post pictures soon.
  • Katie has been carrying my heat pack around for the last week and a half, 'her chickies.' She cuddles it...I mean the chickies, keeps them warm, rocks them to sleep. When we get the real thing, she might turn them into the most well-cared for chicks around.
  • Only 2 weeks til the chicks arrive. Yikes!!
  • James drew an awesome picture of David and Goliath yesterday. He gave it to me. He even drew little motion lines around the stone rocketing through the air. Its pretty impressive.
  • My parents are going to Israel tomorrow. I am trying not to worry that something crazy will happen. I am sure they will have fun. James is very concerned about their proposed swim in the Sea of Galilee. He says it is dangerous, and they should wear baby floaties. I'd like to see pictures of that!
  • Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

An Early Start and a Great Escape


I am happy to say that I begun gardening already. This year, I am trying out some early spring crops like spinach, kale, and peas. I have two huge trays of seedlings started in my closet already, with more to come soon. I think I might be a wee bit obsessed but it is so darn fun! I think because we had so much snow this winter, my kale and spinach survived. There are also a few cabbage plants that look like they might actually come through too. Yesterday, I transplanted some of the kale into neat little rows and it made me very happy. I know, I get excited about kale. I'm weird.

Meanwhile, while I was working around the yard, the kids were playing. Tyler was hanging out behind the shed, but I wasn't worried. There is really nothing he could get into back there. I heard the kids giggling, but thought nothing of it. James came up to me, giggling, like he was about to tell me some HILARIOUS (to a five year old) joke. Through his giggles, he told me that his baby brother was over the fence. I replied with a non-concerned 'yeah, right' and went about my business. He came back again, giggling and laughing really hard. He gave me the same speech, full of giggles, and of course, I didn't believe him. Then James told me that he didn't want to get his baby brother lost over the fence. Calling his bluff, knowing that there was no way that Tyler was over the fence, I told James 'then climb over and go get him.' James just ran back behind the shed. I decided to go check out what kind of shenanigans they were up to. And what do you know???? There was my baby, running around in the neighbor's yard with a big ol' grin on his face. He had squeezed through the space between the two fences, which I had thought was too narrow for him to pass through. I was laughing pretty hard, and at the same time trying to coax him back over to the fence. He was clear across the yard, with no intent of coming back. The look on his face said 'I'm free, and you can't get me!!' I begged him, coaxed him, and was about to climb the fence, when I decided to pull out the big guns. I called to him, 'Tyler, if you come here I'll give you a cookie!!' Did you know, that kid came running across the yard so fast, and squeezed right back through the fence. Methinks I'll be putting up some sort of mini-fence to keep that from happening again!

Monday, March 07, 2011

30, Its the New 90

Everyone says that when you turn 30, you start to notice that you're 'not so young anymore.' When I heard that before, I would think 'bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.' I mean really, its not that old. After this weekend, however, I think that 30 is the new 90. Saturday morning I woke up with such a back ache I started to think something freaky was wrong with me. I have never had such a painful back ache. After suffering all day I realized, duh!! The day before, I had taken a walk with the kids, pulling James and Katie in the wagon, with Tyler on my back. James is always asking to go in the wagon and I always tell him no. He's getting big after all. But, feeling optimistic, I decided to take them out for a mama-powered walk. Big mistake! I am still feeling it, three days later. What's next? A hip replacement! ;)

In other news, Tyler is STILL working on busting out a remaining teeth. This whole night time routine is becoming a drag. I would like to sleep all night, thank you very much. He does make up for it during the day with his lovely smiles and his new words every day. James informed Auntie Rachel this morning that he isn't just any old ordinary farmer, he is an explorer farmer, and that he is going to save up his money to buy a bucking bronco because he likes to ride around on Patty (his wild and woolly stick horse) when he's bored. And Katie, well, she was very upset that she couldn't have a bean burrito with avocado for breakfast. And honestly, I would have given her one had I any avocado left. But alas, we had to stick to yogurt parfaits.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Its Real

My baby is going to Kindergarten this fall. I registered him this morning. It seems sort of surreal. As I filled out all the paperwork, I kept thinking of my own elementary school memories, and how James was going to be sitting at one of the very tables I was sitting at. My James, a Kindergartner?? How can it be? He was very nervous, both last night and this morning. He told me he had butterflies in his tummy. But he was excited too. He peeked into the classrooms and saw the library, the lunch room and one of the Kindergarten classrooms. While he spends the next 6 months anticipating Kindergarten, I will spend the time trying to come to grips with the fact that my BABY is going to KINDERGARTEN!!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Chicken Update!!

FYI: In the previous post, I posted the prettiest picture I could find of the Ameraucana (which I think is a rooster). My hen will probably look more like this, which is pretty ugly if you ask me, but it will lay blue/green eggs, which is the reason I got one. This is a 'cross breed' and every picture i have seen is very different, and of course, hens are also less flashy than roosters. I guess I'll find out for sure in a few months what mine will look like!

For Real

I just ordered two of these:



And one of these:


And one of these:


(This one will lay blue/green eggs!)

They'll be here at the end of the month. I am pretty excited and also glad to have just ordered them already. I was afraid I would 'chicken' out, and I wouldn't be able to 'pullet' off. Oh, I crack myself up!! Oh, what?? You say my puns are bad? Don't egg me on!!!

PS. I am praying that the chicken 'sexer' (yes, for real) is good at his or her job, because I don't want end up with a rooster! Apparently they have a 90-95% success rate.