Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 22-28

A delightfully large zucchini!
Emmett having some personal time with the sprinkler.
Tucking a fresh nine year old into bed (because I forgot to snag a picture of her at all other celebratory points of the day . . .).  We ended up spending the afternoon in Kearney and finally made it to the nature barn at Cottonmill Park.  The kids loved it--mini donkey, mini pony, pot-bellied pig, goats, and ducks all available for close-up encounters.  But alas, I did not bring my camera!

Isabella snagged a picture of me beginning the painting process (love the sunlight she captured!).  Josh rigged a scaffolding for me so I wouldn't crush my precious pumpkin plants.  It worked really well and I didn't tumble off once. Yay me and my one balance nerve! ;o)
Lovely sunflowers--they are such a happy flower.
Yippee for visitors!! My parents were able to come out and spend the day with us and we had a lovely time visiting.  And I must say, it's hard enough to get my boys to all smile properly for the camera, but I couldn't even get my dad to behave either! Boys.  They had quite an adventure upon their return home as they witnessed a Pepsi truck head off the road and jack-knife in the ditch.  The driver wasn't injured but my parents had to stay and wait for the sheriff and all.
Literal cornhuskers. ;o) 
 A few days earlier we scored three {free} banana boxes full of freshly picked sweet corn from a farmer near Arapahoe.  We ate some for lunch the day my parents came, sent them home with a dozen ears, and then I put up nine quart-sized freezer bags once the kids shucked it all.  It was as sweet as candy!  If there still is some left in the fields when we get back from vacation we will look into repeating the process. Tucking away food in the freezer for later makes me feel so accomplished. ;o)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Around the house--

We arrived home this past Sunday evening after a 10 day Lincoln stay.  It was hard to be gone so long. As much as I love being back in Lincoln, home is still home. And I truly think when you plant something and tend to it you invest a bit of your heart there.  Josh had arranged for one of his wrestlers to stop by twice and give everything a good soaking with sprinklers, but it had been so hot I didn't know if that would end up being enough.
Thankfully, not only did everything survive, the plants thrived!
And so, while Josh was dutifully unloading the van (and people, there was stuff wedged into every available crevice!) the kids and I were frolicking in the backyard.
"Look at these zucchini!!"
"There are 12 long cucumbers!"
And yellow pear tomatoes (and some tomato horn worms feasting too . . .), huge pickling cucumbers that are most likely useless, some carrots . . .  It was quite exciting and we all carried on rather ridiculously. ;o)
Prior to leaving I admit to fretting over my pumpkins.  It seemed the female blossoms kept rotting off.  I had been researching about hand-pollinating and wondering if I would need to resort to that.
I was ecstatic to come back and see the pumpkins had managed to set on without my interference.
Which I'm thinking is probably the story of my life . . . always thinking it is up to me, to micromanage the details and take things upon myself.  Too often I forget, God's got it.
Yeah, I know, duh. ;o)
This one is a juvenile Jarrahdale. It will look like this when finished.
And this is a juvenile Musquee de Provence (do read that in your head with your best French accent).
It will look like this full grown.  Both pumpkins are about the size of a salad plate already!
I am giddy with anticipation. I seriously check those pumpkins like 10 times a day . . .
And then there was the 2nd try at hydrangea propagating.  I think I've got it figured out this time--note the tenting. And also I buried two sets of leaf nodes per plants (last time I didn't bury any, and well, that would be where the roots were supposed to grow--no wonder mine were rootless!). ;o)
For Kathy, yes, I did raid my mother-in-law's hydrangeas and bring back a whole bunch of dried ones!  They did manage to survive the three hour drive.  And isn't that basket cool?  I got it at the Pamida in Holdrege for like $6 or something. They were 40% off.  The liner even came with it.  I need to go back and see if they have any more.  I think Pamida and Shopko are the same, so I wonder if Shopko would have similar baskets?
And for Kelly, Bella's pillow matches perfect, see? ;o)

And that's kind of what's happening on the home front.  Today begins the painting adventure.  It was supposed to begin yesterday, however, our landlord didn't drop off the paint until yesterday evening.  We hope to get this done asfastashumanlypossible.  We shall see . . . ;o)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy 9th Isabella Faith!!!

Ninth birthdays are kind of bittersweet for me, the mommy.  Nine means "half way." And I can't help but think--if the first half went that fast, the next half, well it can only go as fast.
And then I blinked and it was over. 
 I'm remembering today the ultrasound that promised a sister for Marissa.  I was thrilled.  You two were destined for best friendship.  I'm remembering the thrill of introducing you to her.
It feels ages ago . . . me, scarcely beyond girlhood myself, mommy to two sweet girlies.
Slowly the dress-up clothes have been packed away.
The "Littlest Pet Shop" rarely makes appearances.
Instead you collect nail polishes and lip glosses and a million different bags.
You ask for spending money for your birthday.
The little girl is slowly fading.
And glimpses of young lady are emerging.
I love your craftiness and creativity.  I get that need to make things.
I love your tender heart for wee ones.
I love how you take clothing that is destined for the trash can and reinvent it as doll clothes.
I love how you try to come up with interesting recipes.
I can't understand your hatred of mayonnaise and Velveeta (really--who doesn't like Velveeta??). ;o)
I love that you still play Barbies with Marissa.  It was the last thing to go with my sister and I too.
I love the sparkle in your eyes and every last one of those freckles.
And your quiet sneakiness . . . *ahem* ;o)
You are a precious part of our family and I cannot imagine life without you and your giggle.
Happy birthday Bella-boo!
Seek Jesus in all you do and live in a way that will bring glory for Him.
In the end, that is all that matters. Truly.
Happy #9!!!
We love you to pieces!

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 15-21

Josh found a 5-pack of goggles for $4.50, "It was meant to be!" he said. They weren't exactly the best (water seemed to seep in a bit), but for once everyone had goggles. ;o)
A fresh pack of markers keeping Emmett busy for long periods of time.  These pictures?  Trains, planes, automobiles, and houses catching fire.
Emmett became quite the fishy over the week--everything suddenly clicked for him and he was pretty proud to be able to get around without his life jacket.
A bit of thrifting for Bella {fall clothes}.  Anybody else's brain mentally moved onto fall?  Because I think I'm kind of over summer.  I would love some cool weather, dark days, and rain . . . lots of rain!
VBS program at our Lincoln church--can you find Jackson? ;o)  Such a fun week for the kids--a friend said "Nobody quite does VBS like IHCC!" And that is so true, it is the most looked forward to week every year.
Are you sick of me and my hydrangea love yet? 
Pool Party!  We had Isabella's birthday party on Saturday.  It works out so nice that almost every friend of Bella's has a sibling the same age as Marissa  (guess we were all thinking the same thing on child spacing . . .). ;o)  I'm glad they all got to hang out for a few hours together.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 8-14

Sweet picture of Owen, who pulled up a chair to watch the baking of some "Strawberry Lemonade Muffins."
Story time with Bella--he's on a big Boynton kick right now.
Bright blue houses DO make good backgrounds for some things. ;o)
Owen is what we like to call a "helper bee"--all he wants to do is help, it doesn't matter what you're doing.  I loved seeing him sitting in the garage with his daddy shucking corn.  And I'll note he dressed himself . . . technically we don't wear jammy pants with our t-shirts, however, he did match his greens quite nicely. ;o)
Emmett's personality has developed a lot over the last few months.  Pretty much every person he meets is his new best friend.  Enter the UPS guy.  Josh and I cracked up to see him immediately appear at the truck's door awaiting the bestowing of THE PACKAGE. 
Friday night "date night" with Josh.  Tucked the kids into bed at his parents' house and then played some Old Maid on the back balcony.  Janna--2, Josh--1 . . . not that I'm keeping track or anything.
I decided life was too short to place contingencies on when or where I can plant a hydrangea.  Seeing as I killed all 12 of the cuttings (I'll try again though . . .) and Home Depot had all trees and shrubs 50% off (through July 18th--in case you need something!) I decided it was worth $9 to me.  And should we ever move or buy a house I'll just dig it up and replant. (and should we not, at least I'll have one hydrangea to console myself with . . .) ;o)

Friday, July 13, 2012

And MORE Happy Little Things

Remember back in May when somebody stopped over and excavated the gravel driveway to make way for a cement one?
Well, the excavation left a lot of dirt.
The driveway was completed in early June, but the dirt lingered.
And lingered.
When my friend Kelly stopped by the end of June she teased me about turning it into a landscaped berm. ;o)
But lo and behold, a few days ago a guy in a bobcat showed up and VOILA!!
It's all nice and flat.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some grass might get planted . . .
Perhaps come fall?
And among other exciting news, our landlord emailed us the other day, wondering how much we would charge him to finish up the painting job begun last summer. Long story short--remember when I came out to paint last August?  That very same day the ORIGINAL landlord and his wife were painting the house {very blue}.  They never finished--there is a large rectangle of tan on the west side (faces wheat field) and on the north side (faces tree line).  So, it's not really visible, but still.  Part of the reason it never got finished is because the original landlord and his wife divorced and last I heard he lived in Oklahoma.  He sold out his interest to the current landlord.  We've lived here nearly a year with a partially blue house and peeling brown trim.
So, anyway, for half-off of our August rent we're going to finish out the blue, paint all the soffits white (rescuing them from the blue that crept up there), and paint all the trim white.  The original plan had been dark blue trim, but we suggested to the new landlord, "Perhaps white would look better?"  He agreed. ;o) 
Now ultimately, if I had my pick, my house color scheme would look something like this:
Hopefully, some day in the future?  (and a beach "cottage" wouldn't be bad either . . .)
For now, I'm delighted in the little changes going in our rental--definitely a step up!! ;o)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Little Things

My supposedly orange packet of cosmos (they were a freebie from my mother-in-law) turned out to be lovely shades of purple!
I'm officially a huge cosmos fan.  However, they are tall!  I shouldn't have mixed them with the zinnias but rather planted them behind.  You live, you learn. ;o)
A little sampler pack of baker's twine on wooden spools arrived in the mail.
Ever heard of veryjane?  It's kind of like a groupon for etsy-styled stores.
I've found a lot of neat little deals through them.
This would be one:
They're almost too cute to use.  I'm pretty sure I'll be a twine hoarder.
Now these aren't my "Best Brownies" but they are very good!
A Paula Deen "Chocolate-Caramel-Toffee Brownie" or something like that.
They're chewy, and dense, and awesome (and I even left off the caramel!).
If you need the recipe let me know--I couldn't find a link anywhere.
The sunflowers began to bloom . . .
 . . . and subsequently snap off (at least this one). 
I love sunflowers.
And I was thinking, a coral zinnia in an aqua mason jar?
Ummm, yes! ;o)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 1-7

The "front stoop corn" is tasseling.  So much for that old "knee high by the 4th of July adage."  We are quite the farmers. ;o)
Owen continues to surprise us.  He's rather fearless. He bobs under, comes up, shakes his head a few times kind of stunned, and then paddles over to the side to repeat the process.
We were down at my parents to celebrate my dad's birthday on the 3rd.  My mom has been working at making all the grandkids a special pillowcase.  All the big girls are done! I love the colors.
We don't go crazy with fireworks, but the kids always love getting to ignite a few things.  Here they are with the grand finale sparklers (and Grandma even got in on it!!). ;o)
Taking pictures of Isabella for her upcoming 9th birthday--brought Marissa along for levity and comic-relief--job well-done. ;o)
Josh spent most of the day tinkering with our vans.  Yay--he got the air to work again in the black one (just needed ANOTHER can of freon), and changed some other part in the red one (it was small and black, that's all I know).  Then he degreased the engines (or maybe he did that first?).  Whatever the case, he was busy. ;o)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bombs Bursting . . .

I was hoping to get some good fireworks pictures this year.  I still don't necessarily know how to do it--everything I read to try did not work for me!  But I did get a few shots--it kind of felt like hunting--you're aiming in the dark and trying to time it just perfect.  The whites/golds definitely showed up the best for me.

We enjoyed a nice 4th--Cooley family picnic at noon, swimming, a little sack of explosives for the kids, and then a drive out to Hickman to watch their show.  Aside from a few sparkler burns (very minor) and a tad too much sun it was pretty safe and uneventful.  We're heading back to Arapahoe tomorrow and having a very lazy Thursday. ;o)