Friday, April 27, 2012


When I ordered this last batch of chicks, I ordered a few more than I wanted. The logic behind that was that chances are, I would end up with a rooster, or a loss. So far, no one looks particularly rooster-esque. However, it seems we might have another issue. James' favorite chick, ironically the only one who has been named so far, seems to be a little different. Sunny started out as a cute little ball of light yellow fuzz. Seemingly overnight, she has turned into an over-sized beast. She is larger than all the other chickens and spends her days plopped down by the feed bowl eating herself silly. This, coupled by the fact that her feathers are really sparse and funky, lead me to believe that instead of getting a White Rock like I had ordered, we might have gotten a Cornish Cross, also known as a 'meaty.' These birds are bred specifically to get fat quick and be ready for 'the table' at a very young age. They literally cannot live a long life because their bodies grow too fast and their hearts can't keep up. I am pretty sure in another week or two, if she keeps growing like this, it will be clear whether Sunny will be a short timer at La Groves Chicken Casa. Until further notice, we shall call her Chicken Dinner.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Women's Retreat Decorations

Here are a few pictures of the decorations from the Women's Retreat. My lovely mother made the origami flowers for me (out of maps!) As the retreat went on, the branches were decorated by little scrapbook paper tags. I can't tell you how good it feels to have it all out of my house! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Attempted Family Picture

When Erin was here, we made a few noble attempts at a family picture. Do you realize how hard it is to get five people to look at and smile for the camera? 

Tyler was not having any of it, and neither was Katie.

Why, let's try it again, shall we? This was part of a green wall that ran down an entire corridor. It was pretty cool. Too bad Tyler didn't want to be seen with us.


Random picture of Tyler touching the water

And again...the kids dunked their heads in this.

Looking out over the topiary garden

And here she is, the best of all the shots. No one has a finger up their nose, and no one is crying. Yep, I think that makes it a great family picture! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Party's Over (Waaaa!!!)

Our friend Erin left on Friday. Waaa! We had so much fun, despite contracting various ailments. It was so sad to see her go. Erin and I met in 3rd grade, when I got bused into the 'big town' for Triple E, which was a program for little smarties. As a side note, last night I was talking to someone who grew up in a 'small' town. Out of curiosity, I asked her what she meant when she said 'small' town. Forty thousand, she replied, like it was about as one-horse as you could get. I laughed and told her that the town I lived in was about 400 people or so, although it has exceeded 1,000 people in the last several years. Even when we moved to California, the population of our town there was under 1,000 as well. I didn't live in a town with a traffic light til I was in college. But I digress....I did have a point, didn't I? Erin...yes, we had so much fun. She taught Rachel and I how to make Mozzarella cheese, we went to Lancaster together...without kids!, I learned to make curry, Erin got many sewing lessons, we went to Longwood Gardens, and I made my famous fluffy buns! 

We read books to the kids, hit the Library book sale, watched funny youtube videos, and stayed up late every night, talking.

And I am pretty sure this might never happen again, but Erin made it her goal to catch me up on my laundry. It was glorious! I was completely caught up, and in fact even now I only have one load to do. Fabulous! We had so much fun, and I hope it won't be another 4 years til we see each other again. 

In other news, the Women's Retreat is over. Phew! I am so glad. It was fun, but I am exhausted! I will post a few pictures soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Longwood Gardens!

We went to Longwood Gardens yesterday. It was lovely! Here are a few pictures. More to come when things settle down a little. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Third Child Syndrome

We recently picked up a new batch of chicks to supplement our egg operation. We currently have 4, which turns out is not enough eggs for us. This batch shall hopefully remedy that, with extra for my parents. In fact, we are running some sort of weird co-op operation, where I take care of the chickens and my parents will be sponsoring a few. Its like 'Adopt-A-Chicken.' Dad has requested that we name their chicks X, Y and Z, but he should know me better by now! At least one of them shall be named Nugget, or something of the like. If you have any witty suggestions, let me know!

This is James' favorite chick, and the only one we have named thus far. Her name is Sunny (as in Sunny Side Up) and she is LOUD! We have already discussed (the chick and I) that if that keeps up, she's gonna be dinner. Sheesh! Actually, she only peeps when she's away from her peeps, and she makes sure everyone knows about it! 

Ain't she cute!? 

The thing with this second round of chicks is that it's like have a third child. Your bathe them lovingly every night. You never put anything remotely dirty on them, and they are always matching. By the time the second kid comes around, they get a bath twice a week. A little spit up is A-OK, no need to change the clothes. They mostly match. By the time the third one rolls around, they are lucky to get a spit n' shine once a week, maybe a bath if they are lucky. They could roll in the sticky remains of their breakfast oatmeal (which is still on the table at lunch time) and you just wipe them off with a washcloth and call it good. And clothes?! Matching is so last season. That seems to be my approach to this batch of chicks. I checked them for the infamous pasty butt only once or twice. I feed them, water them, and forget about them. The kids do ask to hold them several times a day, so they do get a little lovin'. Tyler is even (remarkably) gentle with them. James is especially smitten with Sunny, and carries her around the house and yard. He lets her play in his play barn, and takes her outside to see her future digs. It is pretty cute.

And speaking of cute! How's this for adorable? Katie also loves herself some chickies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Our friend Erin came on Friday we have had such fun already! We have made cheese with my sister Rachel (awesome!) and had Easter with the whole fam. We visited Tyler Park, dyed Easter Eggs and have read several books. Today she went to DC on the train and will be there for a few days visiting a couple friends there. Then she's back for another round! The only (extremely) annoying thing is that we have been sick for the last 2 1/2 weeks or so. Stomach virus for the kids and I, Jeff with the flu knocked out for a few days, now weird cold-like symptoms and I lost my voice for a few days. I am so sick of being sick! Fortunately I don't feel 'sick,' just this pesky scratchy voice and mild cold-ish symptoms. Oi! I guess I will continue on my anti-bacterial campaign and hope for the best. I shouldn't have been so happy that we got through winter without any major sickness. 

Tyler Park: some sort of naturalized daffodils, with the kids frolicking in the background

Cheese! Literally, Erin taught us how to make mozzarella!
Random cute picture of Tyler at Tyler Park

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I'd Like To Think He Won't Do That Again....

...But this is Tyler we're talking about. This morning, I was getting Tyler dressed and noticed that he had a pretty dark bruise on his deliciously chubby little thigh. Upon closer examination, I noticed two odd marks at the sight of the bruise. I was trying to figure out how he got it. Why do I do that with a kid that is perpetually bruised and banged up? I have no idea. Anywho...the bruise. It dawned on me. Yesterday we had let the chickens out for a frolic in the yard. Tyler, well, he loves his chickies. He was chasing them around as usual, catching them by whatever he could grab, then cradling them in his little arms. The chickens are very good humored about this. The only one that isn't is Big Martha (the one that was attacked) and she is too fast for him anyway. Tyler was wrangling one of his feathered victims, and got pecked! He must have really hurt the hen, because they never peck at him (only when he has a worm in his hand). He was crying pretty loud, and apparently she got him good enough to leave a bruise with two little beak marks on either side. So I asked Tyler where the chicken pecked him, and he pointed right to his thigh. Mystery solved! My neighbor commented that he wouldn't do that again, but this is Tyler we'll dealing with.

And speaking of neighbors, yesterday the kids started to get their energy back. We were playing outside and I remembered that back with the energy comes the bickering. They were fighting over who got to hold a particular chicken and my other neighbor saw them. She tried to get them to share, because she saw I was over in my garden. Shortly thereafter, we went inside. A few minutes later, she called and said there was a 'sanity saver' on the fence for me. I sent one of the kids out and there was a bag with three children's books for the kids. That made my day! :)

And one more thing, then I'll shut up. I promise. We are getting a new batch of chicks tomorrow. If anyone wants to come over and see them in all their fluffy glory, let me know! They're gonna be cute.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Round Two

So, the lovely people of Bible Fellowship seem to be a little too good at sharing, because we've caught round two of the creeping crud. Tyler had it last week, getting sick about 12 hours after being exposed to it. We went to church on Sunday and what do you know?! James and Katie got it that night. They started in within 10 minutes of each other, and it made for another spectacular nights' sleep. I am pretty sure I am going to quarantine the kids for at least a year, or six. My washing machine can't handle all this laundry, and neither can I. Oh, and did I mention that the kids passed it on to me? Oh, yes, it was lovely. Fortunately we are all on the upswing and it is a very fast moving thing. If only the laundry would disappear with it.

And in other random news....Jeff always asks some variation of 'What is this?' or 'What am I supposed to do with this?' when it comes to food. I mean, we have had tacos approximately 2,897 times, and he still asks 'How am I supposed to build this thing?' It drives me nuts.  This morning, I made eggs and toast. He looked at it and asked me 'What is this?' It's not like I am a terrible cook and the food was totally unrecognizable. I don't know why he asks. But anyway, this might surprise you but on occasion I can get a little sarcastic. (ha!) So, when he asked 'What is this?' I replied, 'It's shirt on a shingle.' (Shirt being our code word for...well...) No sooner had I said it then Tyler comes around the corner in his jammies and pipes up 'I want some shirt on a shingle.' And then I heard the bells chiming and the angels swooping down with my Mother of the Year award.