Saturday, August 31, 2013

Plowing Match

We went to Howell Farm today to watch the plowing match. As it turns out, we got distracted at the creek catching crawdads so we only saw the tail end of things. Here are some pictures and commentary on our visit.

One of the horse teams. There was also the Jugtown String Band (in the background) which was fun to listen to.

We stopped at the creek and discovered that it was loaded with crawdads. James was determined to catch one!

Mama had to come down and show him how its done! :) Guess what? I still have it in me. I caught three! Unfortunately James didn't catch any. Next time...and Katie was too afraid to even try. 

This was an interesting pair: a horse and a mule? Did you know that a mule is the infertile offspring of a horse and a donkey? Yeah, I knew you would be glad I told you that. 

Another team coming back from the plowing match

This was one of my favorite teams. Aren't they gorgeous? Their harnesses were also beautiful. See the heart?

This was the tale end of the plowing match. I think this is the wife of the farmer on the left. She was trying her hand at plowing.

Can you guess what all those thin leather cords are for? It's an old fashioned fly harness. The swinging of the cords keeps the flies from landing. I can't imagine putting it on the horse though and making sure it was not tangled up!

Here is the dress I made, in action! Yay!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tyler's Song

A few days ago Tyler sang me a song. It went like this:

When our heart stops pumpin' we'll go up to heaven and you get to see someone that's old. You get to see Grandpa Cheyney. Mom says you'll have to go wait for a hundred days when you go there you stay there then you come home. 

After singing it, he said 'Isn't that a beautiful song, Mom?' I have no idea where he got the 'when your heart stops pumping' part...which he sang several times throughout his song.

Monday, August 26, 2013

James' Gems

James has been writing in a journal this summer for school. He doesn't so much write in it willingly, but he does it none the less. I have realized, two weeks from the start of school, that I am guilty of making summer too much fun! James doesn't want to go back to school because he's having too much fun. Time to slow down and have him scrub the toilet every day! Just joking. But really, I do want a slow week or two before school starts. Anyhow, moving along, here are a few of my favorite tales from James' writing:

Once upon a time there was a moose named Clyde. Clyde had a problem. His antlers could fit a jillion people on them. One day a boy named Tom (came along). Clyde said What's your name? Tom. What's yours? said Tom. Clyde. Hi Clyde. Big Antlers, Clyde. I have scissors so I will trim your antlers. OK. So he did and then it was time for Tom to go home and so they did and everyone lived happily ever after.

Once upon a time there was a skyscraper named Cleedo. He was 1000 feet tall. Once at night he was a star and so the star said do you want to be me? Yes and I want to be you. Do you want to trade places? Yes! So they did but after a hour they were board (ha!) and so they traded places again. Then they stayed like that forever and everyone lived happily ever after.

I invented a holiday called James day. When my sister and mom buy dumtruck loads of store bought pizza. If I get sick then my sister will take care of that. I love pizza. My sister would complain. I might let them have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 pieces.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Happy Campers

I took the kids camping this week. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing and while we planned on going for two nights, it ended up being just one because we had a big thunder storm come through on Thursday afternoon. We found a place only an hour from here that was really nice and not terrible crowded. Bonus points for not spotting a Wawa or Dunkin Donuts through the trees! Seriously. Camping around here is....different. But this place? It was a winner. My friend Michelle camped next to us with her three boys.

Here is our campsite as we found it (well, beside the camp chairs). We picked a spot near the ravine, because it seemed like the place to be. 

After we set up camp. I realized while setting up the tent that I have camping in my blood. I set that bad boy up without a hitch. I briefly considered measuring out toothpaste into some small container (a la Dad) but then I forgot the toothpaste all together. Considering the only thing I forgot was tooth brushing paraphernalia, I was pretty pleased. 

The kids helped scavenge firewood from vacant campsites. Someone left a nice pile of wood and we liberated it, which really sounds like stealing but it wasn't.

The kids all begged for turns taking pictures. 

Katie's turn

Tyler's turn

Tyler walking Sam down the path so Sam wouldn't fall. It was really steep, which basically means this picture should be titled "The Blind Leading The Blind"

James very proud of the fire he helped with

He found a stick which resembled an antler so he could roast marshmallows and hot dogs at the same time. It wasn't terribly practical. 

The fire: you can just call me Survival Woman. My show will air on Friday right between Man Vs. Wild and Dual Survivor. It's gonna be a hit. P.S. The foil pouch is a banana s'more...muy bien! 

Jeff came up after work and joined us

We went down the ravine to the creek (I say ravine, because it was steep and rather deep particularly for anything I've seen in PA...almost reminded me of a mountain stream in Colorado, except the water wasn't 46 degrees)

Katie and Isaac hopping rocks

Tohickon Creek

Jeff took this lovely picture

The kids found pool of water just off the creek and spotted a frog. James basically dove around in the pool after the frog until he caught it. Poor thing didn't stand a chance. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. 

Everyone wanted a turn holding the frog. Again, I repeat: poor thing! He got some seriously lovin' before we let it go. Word on the stream has it the frog has developed a nervous twitch after his encounter with my kids.

As for the rest of the trip, we went swimming, explored in the woods, caught a toad, roasted hot dogs, ate copious amounts of marshmallows, and didn't brush our teeth. We even roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for breakfast because, well, we felt like. It went well with our oatmeal. We boiled the suspicious camp water and then strained it through a napkin after it collected ash and a few large bugs. It made a lovely cup o' tea. I happened to be the first one up and got to witness Tyler waking up. He put his head up and looked around. When he realized that we were still camping, in a tent, he got the biggest grin on his face. Then he looked at me and smiled even bigger. You could just tell he was a happy camper. Literally. There was also another sweet moment when James asked me if I would spend some 'special time' with him. He wanted for us to go off and sit on his favorite 'cliff' together as the sun was going down. He brought his Bible and read to me about David and his songs. He finished by reading the 23rd Psalm (paraphrased for The Jesus Storybook Bible). This was the last part: 

He fills my heart so full of happiness.
I can't hold it all inside.

Wherever I go I know
God's Never Stopping
Never Giving Up
Always and Forever Love 
Will go, too!

Special time, indeed! I love that kid!

Right Now:

We are home from church and Tyler has Katie perched atop an overturned laundry basket. Tyler is doing Katie's hair, or as he puts it he is 'decorating' her hair. He says he wants her to look pretty and that when she isn't pretty he will "put some pretty on for you".  She basically looks like a 4 year old's version of one of those Barbie heads they used to make where you do their hair with a plethora of plastic clips adorned with poodles and sparrows. And he has declared that she looks 'beautiful'! Now he has turned to coiffing his stuffed giraffe with my eyelash curler. Which is as good a use as any for an eyelash curler if you ask me. (Sorry, Rach! I do use it once a year or so.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Don't Think Less Of Me

So I just finished making a pan of blondies for the church picnic tomorrow. A 'picnic' is dangerously close to a church potluck and you know how I love those! (Our church doesn't do potlucks so this is a move in the right direction!) As I was creaming the butter and the sugar I noticed something blue in the batter. What?! It turns out that one of the kids stashed a crayon in the mixing bowl. If you could have been in my head, this is what you would have heard:
What is that? Huh? A crayon! For the love of Pete! Well, I better get that out of there. Oh, it broke into 3 pieces. Hopefully just 3 pieces. What if there is a piece still in there? Just put them on a paper plate and no one will ever know who brought them. Hey, maybe I could put blue sprinkles on top? Then they would think it was just a sprinkle? Eh, looks like I got it all out. Carry on.

At no point did I even consider starting over. I mean, crayons are nontoxic, right? I guess the proof is in the pudding...heh, heh....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer is Fleeting

This summer is flying by way too fast. I realize I might be in the minority here but I am not ready for the kids to go back to school. In some ways, I look forward to the routine that comes along with getting to the bus on time, and picking James (and now Katie!) up from the bus and coming home together. I am not excited about not being able to pick up and go on some adventure on a whim, or have a lazy day at home playing in the yard. But waa, waa, is what it is. And it will be just fine. We shall pack in a few more adventures and some lazy days at home and then we will be back in the thick of it. We have definitely made the most of this summer.

On a random side note...James has been on a quest for a long time to build himself a boat, as in...a James sized boat. A bit ambitious but he is now at the stage where he (mostly) has the skills to pull it off. We have discussed Ben Franklin and the many failures that led up to his inventions and James is on board with the whole process. We took the boat out for a second test run today and it was buoyant enough to float Katie or Tyler and it kept James from sinking although it rode pretty low in the water. We have determined that we need a few more empty milk jugs to float the pontoons and we will be golden. I'll take pictures when it is complete. It is quite the sight to behold! I imagine if Jed Clampett were ever to build a boat, it would resemble this boat. I call it the U.S.S. Trash Boat, but James is not amused. Fortunately we also have our neighbor saving milk jugs so we shouldn't have to wait too long to sail her again!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Exploring A New Place

On Friday the kids and I hit the road to explore a state park we hadn't been to. I don't know how I missed this one because it is really nice! I contemplated moving in to the park as some sort of squatter but how have a husband and three kids isn't really conducive to that lifestyle. And besides, there would be no place to plug in my sewing machine. As Erin suggested, find a currant bush! ha!!!! Now on to the pictures: 

While we were driving around looking for the actual entrance to the park (which eluded GPS) we saw a nice park and stopped. The kids loved the old-school slide. Have you noticed they have taken all the fun out of slides these days? They aren't nearly as fast and you don't hear a sizzling sound from your legs when you go down the slide on a hot summer day. Where is the fun in that?!

The Squatch approved after some initial hesitation

When we found the park, we had a picnic complete with chips (!!) and cream soda in glass bottles

Hamming it up (Tyler couldn't put down the chips!)

Ready to go to the creek

Picture courtesy of Katie. The kids all took turns taking pictures with my camera. You never know what your going to get....

Like this one! Talk about freezing an awkward moment for posterity. What is even happening in this picture?

Tyler took this one. Go, T!

Katie and I: Feet Edition

The toad I caught. This one actually survived being held by all three kids. He's a tough one!

Playing under the bridge

Climbing a big tree that twisted over the edge of the creek

James and his treasures

Very happy girl: they spent at least an hour making a dam in the creek

Another very happy camper: he got to float his boats. The creek was nice and calm in the area we found so he didn't have to worry about them floating away before he could catch them.

Building the dam

Three monkeys in a tree

Friday, August 16, 2013

Look Who's Got Glasses?

We went on a really fun adventure today, but I shall post pictures of that later. In the meantime, look who has glasses! He is really excited to have them which is a relief. I won't have to coax him to wear them every day. (They are for reading.)

Please ignore the fact that he looks about 12 feet tall. I'm in denial.

But he really does look huge and so grown up!

P.S. Bonus points if you know what he's reading! OK, I'll tell you. Shel Silverstein. I will admit that I have a startling amount of his stuff memorized and can bust out with whole poems after hearing James read the first line.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Squirrel and The Parachute (And Other Randomness)

James had one of those parachute guys that every kid has had in their lifetime. His was pretty nice with a bright orange cloth parachute. One morning, he came in very upset because he had left it out and it had blown up in a tree. I went out to find the parachute guy hanging way up in our neighbor's tree. It was strange because it was really high up and in the center of the tree right next to the trunk. It was hard to see how it could blow up there but there was really no other explanation. I told him that hopefully it would blow out of the tree one of these days. The next day, I saw that the guy was gone. I looked everywhere, thinking that it had blown into another branch. It was NOWHERE!! Then I saw the squirrel nest and realized that the squirrel had been doing a little remodeling as evidenced by the pile of stuff on the ground under the nest. It would also explain how the parachutist got so high into the tree in the first place. While I can't prove with 100% certainty that the squirrel was the perpetrator, my money's on him. There's really no other possibilities. Now if see a squirrel gliding around with an orange parachute I will know for sure!

In other news, we went to the Grange Fair today. It was a beautiful day and the kids got free balloons (!!) and we watched the pig races. I would prefer to slowly browse the agricultural displays and such but the kids surprisingly weren't interested in inspecting jars of jam or garlic bulbs. Tyler immediately smelled the food booths and asked me to buy him 'wunch'. I offered him the snack we brought but he wasn't born yesterday and thanks to Grammy and Chappy has a keen interest in hot dogs. He 'melled them and he wanted one! I distracted him with a balloon, courtesy of our local Representative. They also gave him a lollipop which was helpful in distracting him. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Check Off The Fun List

One of the things on our summer fun list was going to 5 Mile Woods. Its a nifty little area of preserved land in the woods. There are lots of little details to see and explore. We once found a deer track frozen in the ice which was pretty cool. Obviously there was no ice this time of year but we did find a frog. 

The kids love to stand on this little moss carpet and pose for pictures. Except when they get distracted. Frog! Dragonfly! Cricket!

Katie's blond hair shining in the sun

And by this point Tyler is trying to make a run for it

I saw this and thought it was hilarious. This relationship must not have ended well, for someone to take the time to find the tree and x it out. The red blaze adds to the intrigue.

All 3 kids smiling in the same picture. Its a miracle!

Look at this little cutie, who I took a million pictures of

This smile which makes me melt

And more melting

Swinging on a big vine

More cuteness (I would apologize but I'm not really sorry ;)