Thursday, June 22, 2017

June Days

Piano lessons are taking a summer break, but the Rabbit still plays all the time. 

Peanut helped me pick out some flowers at the nursery clearance sale. 

Bean has to start fires without matches for his wilderness survival merit badge.  We could get lots of smoke and singed stuff with the magnifying glass, but so far no flame.  No luck with any of the battery/steel wool/foil methods either.  What are we doing wrong?

Roo earned a beautiful doll from Target as her reward for finishing 5th grade in our homeschool. 

Little critters with crackers...

Frog and the Badger strolling through the woods... idyllic. 

Leaf loves water!

Playing at our favorite outdoor place. 

Oh, Rabbit!

This is my favorite view of the twins... ASLEEP.

Fish went to Space Camp at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas.  It was a huge sacrifice for us to get him there, but it was well worth it.  He loved it.  Here he is at camp graduation with his mission crew.  I remember when I was a kid in Minnesota I would see TV commercials for this same camp and I wanted to go SO BAD.  But it was in Kansas.  There was no way.  It felt fulfilling to send my kid there, especially since it was a dream come true for Fish too. 

Bean did this to my kitchen sign:

So I changed it to this:

Here is the Badger on Father's Day morning reading our traditional "I Love My Daddy" by Sebastian Braun. 

June is going well so far!


I. Love. Fireflies. 

We have a lot in our backyard this year, and they are bringing us much joy. 

I wish they weren't so hard to photograph. 

Frog, Peanut, and the Rabbit are my most enthusiastic firefly catchers this year. 

A Fairy Garden

For a long time now, the girls and I have been talking about making a fairy garden in the back corner of the backyard.  There's a garden plot back there that doesn't get a lot of sun, so it's not a terrific place for vegetables.  We have had this dream of filling it with bushes and flowers and a bench and an arbor and paving stones, and then adding fairy stuff like figurines and homemade fairy houses. 

We're still a ways out from having the money to put something like that together, but this year we wanted to do something.  I went to the plant nursery when they were having their end-of-season sale and everything was half off.  I bought a bunch of pretty flowers, and the girls were just thrilled.  We spent a very happy evening arranging and planting in part of the "fairy garden" area.  Since the plants are annuals, we can start over next year on a larger scale, but for now we are so excited to have our own little fairy garden. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Evidence of Twig

Twig is my current apple thief.  Yesterday she fell asleep on the couch with a half-eaten apple in her hand.  She left several other nibbled apples in her wake.  

Maybe I need to move the apples.  Maybe not. 


Here we are rocketing through June at lightning speed.  So much is going on.  Here is my latest dump of random pictures.

Frog's sailor suit still fits, mostly, and he loves to wear it to church.  Frog, you are awesome.  

Our stake did a race again this year... I wasn't feeling up to doing the 5K, so I decided to just do the mile fun run with the kids.  Which meant I ran/walked with Peanut and Frog at their pace.  It was fun.  

I cannot figure out how Bean has gotten so absolutely huge.  He was always a very normal-sized child.  Then all the sudden he just exploded.   He is strong as an ox, and has developed a reputation for being a hard worker.  People have been paying him quite well for help with arduous projects.  They and I also appreciate his cheerful temperament.

He recently attended BSA's National Youth Leadership Training.  I made him go, but he really enjoyed it and learned a lot. 

So, one of the twins' favorite activities is removing the heat vent covers.  It unearths a very interesting and mysterious hole.  Which you can then throw things down.  We have learned that if we stick a phone camera down there and take a picture with flash, we can see what they threw down there.  Yay technology!

It's the time of year I get to reorganize the homeschool room.  Blah.  

Another project I need to tackle this summer is the laundry room.  It's getting a little out of hand.  The clothing system has worked well, but other things need to be reorganized and decluttered.   The clothing system to which I refer is how my four middle kids (Roo, Rabbit, Peanut, and Frog) have all their clothes in a basket in the laundry room instead of a dresser in their room.  Saves me heaps of time on laundry because I never have to fold their clothes-- just toss them from the dryer into the basket.  And when we clean their room, the mess is never clothes, just toys.  I am glad we have enough room in our laundry room in this house to configure it like this because it has been so helpful. 

A couple random shots of current life.  

This one... I have no idea who took it, like most of the picture I find on my phone.  Most of which I delete.  But I'm keeping this one because it's one of those mundane things that I see every day, but 100 years from now my descendants are going to say, "wow, that's what your washing machine looked like?  Weird!"  So there you go.  

Growing Things

My flower bed out front is bringing me a lot of joy.  It still has a ways to go, but it is looking better and better. 

I wasn't eager to get back outside and do yardwork this spring-- I still am not sure why-- but the work had to be done, regardless of how I felt about it.  I'm always telling my kids that-- that work has to be done no matter how we feel about it...  "Kids, it doesn't matter if you want to or not, you have to do it anyway."  One of life's key lessons. 

Another key life lesson, of course, is that you can choose to want to.  And most work, once you get going at it, is not only not that bad, it's satisfying.  My flower bed has been very satisfying work. 

Remember: our first summer here, two years ago, my whole front flower bed was a nasty overgrown mess.  I fought a losing battle with it all summer, and finally in the fall the young men from our ward came over and helped us rip out all the landscaping fabric, river rock, and bark mulch that was the problem.  That was such an amazing blessing.  Once I had bare dirt, I could dig all the Bermuda grass roots completely out.

Last summer I planted a bunch of stuff out there.  I got two crape myrtles and four spirea bushes from someone who was giving them away and they were just perfect.  I bought a bunch of perennials and a few annuals.  The end result was lovely.

One of the crape myrtles was happy all last summer and the other struggled.  This spring, the struggling one leafed out quite nicely,

but the one that was happy all last year showed no signs of life.  I was sad.  I would look at it every day as I left the house and think "I guess I have to pull it out since it's dead."

Then one day, weeks after everything else had woken up and bloomed, I saw a teeny tiny something down at the base of my dead crape myrtle.  Could it be?  Yes, the roots had survived and were sending up new growth from the very bottom of the plant.  Hooray! 

It's funny how sentimental I can get about my plants. 

This spring I met a neighbor who has a breathtaking backyard garden.  Like, people come to tour it, it's that amazing.  One day she showed up at my door with a box of perennials she had dug out.  I found them all homes among the many bare spots I still have out there.  You can see some of the lamb's ear in the picture below-- it's in transplant shock in the picture, but it is now recovering.  I got several lamb's ear, campion, bee balm, and a couple other things I can't remember.  They were just what I needed, since I haven't been to the nursery and purchased anything this year. 

At this point, most of what I need is time.   What a joy it will be over time to watch everything grow and bloom!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Slices of May

Here are some random pictures I have taken lately. 

Roo and Rabbit had a piano recital.  They both played beautifully.  

Here's Frog deep in imagination-land.  The game involves his beloved rocking moose, as well as a bunch of stuffed animals and a small plastic penguin. 

Fidget spinners!  The fad toy of 2017!  I love them.  So do my kids.  Roo got the first one in our family, as a reward from her piano teacher.  We need a bunch more.  

I know this is totally a first world problem, but ever since we moved here we have had fridge space issues.  We bought this fridge in 2002 when we were a family of three and just moving into a new house.  It cost $400 new and we could barely afford it.  A move or two later, it became our second fridge in the garage, and that was so helpful.  When we got here, it was the only fridge we had, and we said,"we need to go buy another, bigger fridge and put this one back in the garage!"  But there's always something else to spend our money on, so here we are, two years later, still trying to stuff all our food into this thing.  Usually we succeed.  And I feel very blessed to have a fridge stuffed with food. 

Turns out Frog is rather good at sweeping.  

There was an end-of-year sports recognition ceremony.  Here's Bean with his football team.  

And finally, I leave you with one of about two dozen photos I have of the Rabbit practicing her cross eyes with my phone camera on selfie mode.  

You're welcome.  

Strawberry Picking

Here are pictures from this year's strawberry picking trip.  The berries were suffering from too much rain and damp, so we had to really hunt to find good fruit.  We still managed to get over 20 pounds of berries in about an hour. 

We had nice cool, cloudy weather, and as always, we just loved being out there.  Strawberry fields are my favorite.  It was peaceful and quiet, with twittering birds in the trees around us and the delightful snicking noise strawberries make when you pop them off the plant.  (And is there anything cuter than a little boy in overalls?  In a strawberry field?)

Nope. Nothing cuter. 

Two and a Half

We have now passed the two and a half year mark with these crazy twins of ours.  I have to say, they have been more and more fun lately.  They are still extremely hard, especially when they are sick and they don't sleep well.  I am slowly getting less overwhelmed though, and I am grateful for that. 

The cuteness, people!  I don't know how to convey to you the level of extreme adorableness these two little bugs are at.  Pictures can give you a vague idea, but they are a poor two-dimensional substitute.  Also, these two little critters are extremely difficult to photograph.  Looking through, I am realizing I don't have very many good pictures of them lately.  I will have to work on that. 

 They love to look at books and "write" with pencils.  They will sit for a long time very focused with a pencil in hand making small marks on a piece of paper.  Especially Twig. 

We have had a little bit of hair cutting in the last week when older kids have left scissors out.   Twig cut off a piece of Leaf's hair and then another time Leaf cut Twig's.  Luckily, it was just small sections in the back, not very noticeable.  In the future I am sure I will not be so lucky.  Keep those scissors put away, kids! 

They can unlock and open doors now, and the doorknob cover I put on the front door didn't work-- they just took it off.  I need to get a more high-tech version.  Meanwhile, we have to be very vigilant about doors. 

They love my bathroom and wreak a lot of havoc there.  The toothbrush drawer and the hairbrush drawer are constant targets.

More and more they play cute little games with stuffed animals or plastic figures.  It's so adorable to watch. 

I love to listen to them talk to each other too.  I can only understand part of what they're saying, but they seem to understand each other perfectly. 

They do fight a lot.  It makes me so sad when they hit or bite each other. 

They get way too much screen time because when they're sitting in front of a movie they are not destroying the house or putting themselves in danger, so if we're trying to get things done or I'm leaving them home with the older kids we usually put a movie on for them.  They have probably watched Milo and Otis 500 times.  They also love Nemo and Moana.  We are trying to reduce their screen time down to the recommended 1-2 hours a day.  I think that will get easier as they get older and are more able to play in a way that is not necessarily destructive or dangerous. 

They love to play outside, except that Twig is terrified of bugs (like Roo when she was tiny.)  It's so cute to see them toddling about in the backyard. 

They have the entire family wrapped around their chubby little fingers and they know it.  We sure love our little twinses!