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Monday, September 23, 2013

September 15-21

 A "leisurely" afternoon of my boys watching baseball.  Owen can only sit still for so long . . .
(thank goodness they have a daddy to do these kind of things to, because if someone took a flying leap at me I would probably be crippled for the remainder of the week)
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 The kittens began to stumble around on wobbly legs and venture out from under the girls' bed.
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 My tomatoes are just now starting to really produce.  I had to transplant them in July after realizing the original spot just wasn't working.  They flourished after being moved, but are kind of behind.
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 We found this little hat on clearance for $4 and knew Owen just *had* to have it.
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 The Garfield books have made a reappearance.  Josh also finds Garfield mighty funny.
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 Arapahoe cross-country meet.  Josh once again got the esteemed privilege of being the golf-cart driver. 
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Slow picture day, but I did make some cookies. ;o)

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 8-14

 A little snacky supper of popcorn, apples, and peaches while we tuned into the Hills' "Welcome Back Concert" (our 3rd year of missing it . . .). Popcorn counts as a main course, right? ;o) This time of year is still kind of hard for me, when I see everything starting back up again, but it has gotten easier.
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 Jackson discovers the cello will vibrate his face if he does this.
Boys are so very different from girls.
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 This almost deserves its very own post, but after almost 10 years of making the same couch work I have a new sofa!!! Back in June we celebrated our 13th anniversary and Josh completely surprised me by informing me I could finally have a new couch. When we came back for VBS in July we made an Omaha Zoo/Nebraska Furniture Mart trip, where I picked out a Broyhill sofa, chose the fabrics I wanted, the legs, etc.  And then I waited for the free delivery date they gave me--September 10th (yeah, NFM comes out here once a month!).  During that time I agonized over my choices.  They didn't actually have a model of this couch in the store, so I never sat on it or saw it in person.  And I thought I had picked fabrics I would like (a soft gray herringbone with darker gray pillows), but what if I got the couch and hated it?  In the end, it was love at first sight. I was so happy to see how everything came together.  (We also got the furniture protection plan--you live, you learn--and some things are just worth the extra $$). ;o)  Yes, I'm kind of watching my children like a hawk right now (possibly screeching "Don't touch it!!") but I'm sure I'll relax a bit in the coming months . . .
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 Rain--always a celebratory event here!
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 Bedtime routine.
Sometimes I wonder how much longer will all my children like to gather in the evening to pray together and sing our lullaby?  Will it slowly phase out with my big kids in the next few years or will they always like this routine?  I'm hanging on to these moments while they last.
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 After figuring out there is no way I can do Emmett's schooling while I'm trying to do the other three we have fallen into a good routine of him and I sitting down to work together around noon.  When Josh comes home for lunch at 12:30 he usually finds Emmett still working on his stuff.  We both get a kick out of hearing Emmett giggle to himself over the pictures he creates (like this one of fire-breathing snakes).
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After hearing rumors of a hole being dug, discovering blueprints for a tunnel system, and finding my garden spades and hoes and the post hole digger disappearing, I thought I'd better see what the kids were up to.
Or down to.
Miners they will be.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Miscellany

On Labor Day--
For the first time our Labor Day did not consist of swimming for the last time and building a bonfire at Grandpa and Grandma's house.  We stayed in Arapahoe, but we wanted to keep our traditions alive and hence built ourselves the tiniest little campfire on the north side of our house.  It did the trick and left us feeling that Labor Day wasn't a complete bust.
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On Routines--
Towards the end of our 2nd week of school our dishwasher died.  While I know there are people out there that do not have dishwashers, I am not one of them.  And without my dishwasher it kind of felt like someone cut off one of my arms or something.  Perhaps it was because I was still trying to settle into our school routine, but truly the absence of this loyal worker turned my days a bit inside out.  Thankfully, the new one arrived Tuesday and Josh had it installed that evening and my world is right again.  Boy, that was a long (almost) two weeks!!!
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On Hydrangeas--
 This is the hydrangea I bought on sale at Home Depot last summer for $9.  A late spring freeze killed it back to the ground.
And here is one of the four hydrangeas I grew from cuttings this past winter!
They are basically the same size.  They looked so pitiful when I planted them this spring--basically they were sticks that all managed to put on one puny bloom.  But after a few months of acclimating themselves they are pretty much the size of a gallon-sized plant you would find at a garden center.  They have yet to bloom again, but we'll see if the fall freeze holds off long enough for them to do something.
All in all, I am considering my hydrangea experiment a success and will probably start a few more this fall to overwinter in my house.
On pumpkins--
If you recall, last year I had an awesome pumpkin patch--vines sprawling across my backyard, and probably in the end about 30 pumpkins.  I entered this year quite confident in my pumpkin producing prowess. 
Well . . .
It has been pitiful.
I moved the pumpkins over to a weedier area of the yard--we rototilled it this spring, but I was fighting weeds from the beginning (mistake #1--apparently pumpkins need diligent weeding for the first 8 weeks to establish good root systems).  Then there was a squash borer that took over when I was back in Lincoln.  Lots of vines died.  And then there was the squash beetle.  So, I have two solid pumpkins (and maybe two more if the freeze holds off).  Yes, very disheartening for the pumpkin lover.  However, in all my reading I came across this awesome idea for helping get rid of squash beetles.
This is a little butane torch.  It works great for roasting the bugs and their little egg caches that you find on the backside of your leaves.  I realize I could carefully pick them off and squoosh them good, but there is something delightful to me about torching them.  Dare I say it brings me much joy?  Squash bugs will overwinter in your garden waiting for next year's free meal.  My goal is to destroy as many as possible.
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On tea parties--
On Fridays, as a way to kind of celebrate the end of a school week we have been having tea party lunches, where we snack on tasty foods and read a bit of poetry.
 We set the table kind of pretty, and slice up food all dainty (like egg salad ribbon sandwiches).
 And indulge in a special treat like maybe peach shortcakes, or
pumpkin scones!!
 (recipe here however, I think two icings is kind of overkill, one would probably be fine, and I added some maple flavoring to mine--yummy!!)
If you bake pumpkin, fall will come.
(At least that is what I have been telling myself through these last days spent in the 100s and upper 90s).
And what do you know, it is in the 70s today!! It worked. ;o)


Sunday, September 8, 2013

September 1-7

 A bit of graffiti found on the side of the front stoop. {Bella}
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 Labor Day proved to be a good day to get our new ice cream maker fired up.  
I've yet to meet a bowl of homemade ice cream I don't like. ;o)
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 We call Isabella "The Cat Whisperer."  The cats flock to her.  
That is Oscar one of our older kittens from the spring who did not find a home.  We also have Shadow, the black one.  They mostly live in the tree line to the north of us or in our garage.  Thankfully, they are both males.   On a brighter note, my garden had no rabbit issues--cats are good for something!!
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 Technically this little guy has two years until kindergarten, so we aren't doing any sort of "formal learning." (Not so much because I think preschool is silly--with Marissa I was all over it--but you know what you are able to accomplish with your 5th child is a bit different than the lofty goals you set for your 1st).   But he really WANTS to do school and after two boys who DID NOT WANT to do school, who am I to discourage?  And boy can he handle a scissors!! (which really shouldn't come as a surprise after all that practice on his hair last fall) ;o)
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 A quick little photo session with our new kittens.  I think we have in order:
boy, girl, girl, girl
(and I really like that white one . . .)
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 Asters are blooming!
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So the temps this day briefly danced around 106 degrees.
Arapahoe lost power citywide. (and I use the term "city" loosely)
Of course we would be in the block that was without power a full five hours.
(NOT that I was counting or anything).
We hung out in the basement, Josh and I doing a lot of much needed organizing.  We grilled burgers.
We bathed by candlelight.  And then just when we opened up the house because it was 84 inside and 86 outside and we thought maybe we could at least get the air moving? The power came back on.  YAY!!!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 25-31

 It was supposed to be the last day the pool was open, hence I took my camera to record some tricks. Isabella can do a mean cartwheel off the board, and Marissa stops my heart nearly every time she does a back flip.  Jackson decided this summer that boards were okay--although a rather pink belly will confirm it has been slapped upon the water a few times. ;o)  Due to the warm weather and some extra pool chemicals to get rid of they were open three more times.
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 Okra--I grew up eating it, but this is my first time growing it.  Pretty much my whole family loves it, breaded in cornmeal and fried with onions in some butter.  The okra is going crazy right now, pretty much enough for a meal every 2nd or 3rd day!
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 Having survived a few summer pregnancies I really feel for our poor mama cat.
(and yeah, we meant to have her fixed after she was done weaning the last kittens, and then well, summer happened and we forgot . . . oops) ;o)
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 Baseball on the tv, playing catch in the house (even though I thought I had outlawed that??).  My boys like their baseball. 
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 The evening of the 28th we could tell that it "was time."  And because I really didn't want my house over-run by crazy kittens again, we locked Sky in the garage, hoping she'd make herself cozy.  Well, that stubborn cat held them in all night and then rushed in the morning of the 29th (when I went out to check on her), had one stillborn kitten by the front door and then made herself comfortable under the girls' bed having four more.
I love that little white one with the dark ears and spot on the back.  So yes, more free kittens!  Let me know!!! ;o)
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 Owen wanted to go with Bella to get the mail, and I had to get a picture when I saw them walking down the driveway holding hands.  Big sissies are the best. 
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While all the kids enjoy gardening to some degree, nobody likes it quite as much as Jackson.  He likes to check on plants first thing in  the morning and will take it upon himself to make sure they get harvested (more of the prolific okra!).  Sometimes he gets a bit overzealous and harvests veggies when they are not quite ready . . . ;o)