Friday, June 24, 2011

It's been a while

So I've posted a succession of journal entry posts. Feel free to spend a minute or 40 catching up with us.

First off, we're experiencing a mild drought in our region. But finally some welcome, and prayed for rain visited us. Our children were so excited that they set up camp to watch it.

And that's our new 2004 Toyota Sienna (8 passenger, we're so excited!) van they're behind. No more traveling in two cars to church, shopping or anywhere, as a family. Now to sell our car.

Our little man Joshua is growing like a weed. I'm taking weekly pictures of him, an idea I got from Young House Love. At his 6 week appointment he weighed in at 13 lbs. 2 oz. I don't know how this compared to Sophie (the twins started out much smaller so it's not a fair compare), but he is a big boy, and so happy most of the time.
He's just started to smile at us and seems more interactive. His clavicle is completely healed and he sees the cardiologist in July, but his irregular heartbeat doesn't seem to be slowing his growth at all. His pediatrician thinks he'll just grow out of it.
We had a visit from Matt's mom and sister ... thank you so much! We just loved having family here. They spoiled us and Matt became a whirlwind tour guide. These are some D.C. pics, but a funny side note is when Matt took Shannon to Philly for her flight out they saw some sights and while at the Liberty Bell ran into Sarah Palin on her opening day of her America tour, or whatever it was. Funny, huh.
Matt's mom had to cut her visit short since Alice, daughter #4, had her first baby 3 weeks early; so off Brenda flew to Denver! Busy Grandma.
We also went to Assateague with them and just all in all had a good time.
We also said goodbye to the first family who had us over for dinner here in our new ward. They had pool parties at their home almost every night for a month before they left. We'll miss them!
My brother came to our neck of the woods for a business trip and we were able to visit with him for an hour or so. It's always fun to meet up with family in different parts of the country. He knows the D.C. area better than we do since he did an internship here with a Utah politician, can't remember who, back in the mid 90's. Good thing he does since we left our GPS at home and had to be guided to his suburban location via phone. It was good to see him. I can't believe how much he's reminding me more and more of our dad .. mannerisms, looks, etc.

Next up ... a trip to our beloved Connecticut! I can't tell you how excited I am!

While the cats away the mice will play

Or maybe it's 'while the mother sleeps, the children entertain themselves'.

Any mother to a newborn knows that your schedule is thrown out of wack for a while. I'm still in that stage where I don't get up in the morning at a consistent time; it just depends how baby J has been throughout the night. Lately Matt has left for work or gone to the garden by about 7 a.m. or so. Our children tend to wake up around 6:30 a.m., or so. I am usually up by 7:15 .am., or so. There, the picture's painted.

Earlier this week I was drifting in and out of sleep and hearing the tinkling of what sounded like china to me. I was aware enough to know that at least one, maybe two children were in my bedroom and by my bedside, but since they weren't tugging on my shirt or patting my face, I kept dozing. When I finally decided it was time to open my eyes and start the day I saw Wes and Sophie having a tea party at my side. So I raced (or dragged myself) to get the camera (by that time Wes was gone).
I went downstairs to find the other child of mine at the kitchen table 'doing school'. This was a surprise/candid picture of her (with Sophie's dinner still on the table beside her from the night before ........ oh well).
At least they can keep themselves entertained while I sweep away the cobwebs in my early morning mind:).

New Beginnings

We've been on the hunt for a piano for a while. My sister offered us hers last year but it's a good thing we didn't take it because due to our uncertain living circumstances for 6 months over last year and this year, it would've been really hard to figure out how to get it cross country and where to store it.

Every once in a while Matt would go on Craigs list to see what was out there but we never called on anything ... until this week.

He got on and found one for $35, and in our city. So he called and I went and looked at it. It's not the prettiest piano ever, but we figured for $35 you can't be too picky. I told Matt the first piano I remember in my home growing up was painted sky blue.

We picked it up yesterday and it now resides in our living room.
Our children are so excited and we've had to go over piano etiquette. Now Kate has added 'piano lessons' to our daily list of to-do's (play baseball, go for a bike ride, have a snack, learn more reading, do school, piano lessons; believe you me, that girl holds us to a schedule;)). And it's also been confirmed to me that it's difficult for a mother to effectively teach her own children piano. We've only had the instrument one day and I've almost retired the post.

Gardening in the East

One thing we've loved about gardening in a milder climate is the length of the growing season. In fact we learned the other day that we could've, and probably should've, started our peas in January; also, we most likely will harvest well into October and early November. Wowzers!!! And if there's anything that gets the blood pumping through the veins of a farmer boy like Matthew, it's our garden. He loves it and it's a welcome hobby that's awakened from two years dormancy.

He's taken control of our gardens, I've only helped plant a couple of things and harvested a few peas, spinach and lettuce, mainly because of moving and birthing baby J.

A newly baptized member of our ward has a larger plot of land that he offered us partial use of, and Matt loves to go to it a couple of times a week for watering and weeding. Meanwhile the little 8' x 16' plot at our house is showing signs of greatness. In my opinion Matt's been a little too ambitious with the tomato plants, 21 in all. I'm thankful for tomatoes, and we really need spaghetti sauce, but if they keep producing late into the fall, we'll have to get really creative with what we do with the bounty and where we'll store it.

When our children and I were in Utah last summer/fall we spent some of the time gathering seeds from my dad's garden and placing them in labeled envelopes so we could use them for our future garden. One of the varieties of seeds was a purple pole bean that my dad got from my grandpa. Matt had seen in a magazine or website the idea of making a teepee structure for your kids and having the pole beans climb up the poles, making a cool garden teepee. Here's what it looks like now - so cool. I only wish I were small enough to fit inside. (We resurrected the grape vine this year, seen in the back of this photo, but it doesn't appear to feel like producing grapes ... maybe next year).

Another thing we absolutely love about the East is the 'Pick Your Own' farms. While Matt's mom and sister were here Matt took them strawberry picking, then they came home and made jam and pancake syrup.

And now it's blueberry season. We took a morning to visit a PYO farm and picked three kitchen bowls full and made it home before the withering heat and humidity set in for the day. We froze some and then made blueberry syrup. It's kind of sounding like we're about to open our own IHOP with all the different variety of syrup's we have ... too bad we didn't take a trip north during maple sugaring season to complete the circle of homemade syrups;).
We think we'll go back for more so we can make pie filling and maybe just bottle some whole.

We were totally thrilled, as in Little House in the Big Woods thrilled, when Kate said something to the effect that if we kept doing things like this, "we'll NEVER have to go to a store again!". We've been enjoying those books on cd in the car and it's really opened up her's and Wes' imaginations. I love it.

(Side note ... one of the best things about being a parent is learning and re-learning so many great things - history, literature, science, music, exercise - kids just infuse you with the desire to discover, at least that's my experience. Don't judge me too highly by thinking I'm doing this perfectly and consistently, but in those moments when we're learning together, it's the best feeling ever and makes me want to buy them a chalk pencil and slate;)).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Anne in the Mud

Wesley relived an Anne of Avonlea scene today and even recognized it due to the fact that the kids watched it with me a couple of weeks ago.

I was at the kitchen sink watching it all unfold ...

Wes turned on the sprinkler in our backyard to wash off his muddy feet and hands. He let the water run for a while and was jumping over and running through the 18" high spray. After a while I called out to him to turn it off since everything was turning into a mud pit ... lots of trees = poor grass growth = lots of bare earth in the backyard = mud pit, when wet. He said okay and promptly fell front first into the mud. Ring any bells, Anne fans? He looked just like her, minus the light blue dress and mud-caked face.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What's in a name

Joshua has been named for six days now but I just haven't been able to write about it. We've been busy, yes, but whenever I sit down to write the 'behind-the-scenes' process, I just haven't been able to do it. We love his name, but he was 'baby' for such a long time that it's hard for me to call him by name.

Either way, Joshua it is ... and he's the center of our lives right now:).