Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Weekend

My sister and her family came to visit last weekend and so we all hung out at my folks house. It was a nice relaxing weekend of sitting around talking, eating and playing Wii. It's always fun getting the kids together. So anyhow, just pictures today.

Roughhousing with Dad



My Dad giving Emery a head massage



The grandchildren...there will be no smiles from this bunch



Greta messing with Dad's balance on the Wii



Betsy and Emery



Emery and the Jumperoo



Greta and Emery had a lot of fun



Lunchtime



My parents and Greta

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things learned from the garden

This was the first season for a vegetable garden and I'd say it was an overall success. I've learned a lot and I hope to have an even better garden next year. I thought I'd share some of the things I'd do the same and some of the things I'd do differently next year.

1. Mulch, mulch, mulch. This was the one thing I'd recommend to every gardener I know. The thicker the better. When I planted a garden this past spring I just thought I'd be watering it at least every couple of days. This wasn't appealing to me but I just thought that was how it was done. Then I read a book about mulching (The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book) and my view on watering just went out the window. With mulch you don't water your garden. The moisture is trapped under many inches of mulch and the plants thrive. Wonderful book, I highly recommend reading.

2. Plant everything so that it yields fruit before or by mid August. This was important for my garden because the heat that comes with August (think 108 degrees) just fried everything. The garden is brown. I'm not willing to water daily so I wanted everything harvested before August. This doesn't work for tomatoes as they are still producing fruit well past August.

3. Some crops do better than others. My winners this year: corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots and onions. My mediocre crops: broccoli, squash & beans. The looser crops: watermelon, cantaloupe, okra, eggplant & tomatillos. The squash did really good until about July when they started wilting and then they just died one day. Later found out this was from the squash beetle. I've learned they lay their eggs inside the plant and the larvae eat the plant from the inside out. Darn crappy bugs, I was so looking forward to loaf after loaf of zucchini bread. Only got one loaf. The beetles then moved on to my watermelon and cantaloupe plants. I will plant squash, watermelon and cantaloupe again next year and will be prepared for those little critters. The okra did awesome this year and is still producing like crazy yet it just sits out there on the plant, uncut. I'm not a person the fries anything, I don't know why I thought I'd start frying up okra when I literally barely know how to fry something. So there it rots, out on the plant. The eggplants never really took off, looked pretty pitiful from the get go. They need wonderful drainage, we have clay...enough said. And the tomatillos were doing great until we started picking the fruit only discover a nice juicy worm in each and every one. It started becoming a game for Wesley to pick them and then examine each one until he found the tiny hole where the worm got in. It was worth it to plant those things just for the entertainment value they brought Wesley.

Next years garden will be a little bigger...I'm thinking 40X30 and I'm gonna concentrate on more varieties of the winner crops. I'll try and go organic as possible with the exception of something to wipe out those nasty squash beetles. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Lap Goat

As you know we acquired a dairy goat named Dym. We made her a separate temporary pen behind the shop where she can get acquainted with the "boys" (the two mini horses and the other goat). Turns out she's not in that pen very often. Whenever I go outside she can hear me (somehow) and will cry loudly until I go back there and let her out. She then takes off for the gate to be let into the back yard. Once in the back yard she wanders around eating this and that (usually my tomatoes). She's happy as a clam as long as she's where we are. I feel bad that she's alone since I know goats are herd animals but it doesn't seem to bother her at all. I let our other goat out to meet her this past weekend and it went fairly well. They got all excited and did the "goat dance" where they bump heads and chase each other. She thought this was fun for awhile and then he started getting a little too frisky and she started running from him. I put him away and we'll try letting them together again another day.

I mentioned in a previous post that Dym is believed to be pregnant. On day eleven of the pregnancy I had the opportunity to give her a shot to end the pregnancy or to let it go and possibly have baby goats the end of December. I tell ya, that was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in awhile. On one hand, I'd love to have baby goats running around here. But on the other hand I don't want those baby goats to freeze to death since January around here isn't very forgiving. Also I'd love to try my hand at milking a goat...can you imagine all the fun things one could do with gallons and gallons of fresh goat milk? But milking in January, February and March? Not so much fun. So day eleven came and went and I decided not to give her the shot. Who am I to play God? I really hope she is pregnant because I'm so excited for this!

Sean doesn't know much about this but I'm building a birthing stall in the shop where she can have those babies and there will be electricity available for heating lamps and such. I'm also going to build a milking stand so milking isn't too hard to accomplish (I hope). I've been reading every book I can find on breeding and milking goats so I hope I'm ready when the time comes. This winter might be quite the adventure!

For now I just enjoy looking out the window and seeing this:

Start your engines!

After dinner Sean takes the kids outside to play while I feed and water the animals. I couldn't help but take a video of their new evening ritual, it cracks me up.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Month Eleven


One more month and we'll be celebrating a birthday! Gosh the time flies. Every month that goes by gets easier and easier.

-Greta is mellowing out and not screaming at everyone she sees anymore. This is happy news for our poor Postmaster. Whenever we used to go to the post office she took one look at Ralph and her eyes would well up with tears and then scream her fool head off. I'm really happy that phase is on the way out. My hearing is returning in my right ear.

-Greta is still not mobile in the sense that she doesn't crawl or walk yet. She does get around though by scooting her butt around on the hard wood floors. She's starting to try and pull herself up on objects.

-The sleep routine has gotten super easy, she's a fantastic sleeper. She goes from 9pm until around 9am without waking. I feel like I put in my time with her in the beginning and I'm finally getting a pay off. Naps are wonderful too, she sleeps for about two hours in the afternoon.

-Teething has been really rough on this little lady. I can always tell when one is coming in without looking in her mouth because she just screams and gets a bad diaper rash. Wesley never had any issues with teething, in fact I couldn't even tell when a tooth came in. It's amazing how different children can be. She now has her two top front teeth and her two bottom teeth in.

-She moved out of her infant car seat and into a convertible one last week. I shopped around and found the Britax Marathon seats on closeout on Amazon, they were about $80 off their original price with free shipping. A heck of a deal. So now she's chillin out in her obnoxious cow print seat. I love it!


Look at those pearly whites (and constant drool)!


Wesley is thoroughly enjoying the fact that Sissy is starting to interact with him.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Swing Set: Check!

One of the things on our shrinking "to do" list was build Wesley a swing set. We planned to build one from scratch but we've decided that one big building project was enough for one summer. The chicken coop took every thing out of us, and by "us" I mean Sean. Sean built 99% of that thing. So we decided to just buy one and get it built before summer was completely over. After doing quite a bit of research we decided on a Gorilla brand set purchased from Home Depot (they were offering free shipping on swing sets at the time which is quite a big savings). We liked the quality of the swing set, it's good thick cedar posts and heavy duty hardware. We were pretty disappointed with the shipping though. They said curbside delivery and showed up with a full size semi truck. We live on gravel roads and their pallet jack couldn't even move on the gravel. They ended up placing the boxes just off of the road. One of the boxes was ripped open and boards scattered all over the back of the semi truck. It's frustrating when a company has one job, to get my package from point A to point B, and they end up damaging the packages. Oh well.

We spent several hours unloading the three big boxes and inventorying the countless pieces of wood and hardware. Turns out nothing was missing, but a few were blackened from sliding around the truck...we just put them blackened side down.



One excited little boy



The goat is out back with us all the time and thought the swing set was one big scratching post



Rock wall and ladder installed



The deck floor was then put down along with the deck posts


Then is was time for the slide (what Wesley was waiting for) and the swing arm


Greta stayed entertained out on her quilt with big brothers old juice box


Finished!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hugs





Wesley has turned into quite the hugger. He likes to hug anyone and everyone, including his sister. She doesn't know what to think of this new found affection from her brother but I think she's warming up to it.

The hugger and the hugee went to the doctors today for Wesley's three year appointment and Greta's late 10 month appointment. All went well. Wesley is a big boy weighing 34.5 pounds (73%) and is 38.5 inches tall (74%). Greta is as equally big at 21 lbs 11 oz(72%) and 28.75 inches tall (59%). Her head is almost off the charts it's so big, 47 cm (97%)...big heads run in our family. Looks like the youngins are growing like weeds.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mother Nature's Toilet



Sorry, I couldn't resist. A certain little boy got accepted into preschool today. They called to inform me that they were able to move one older three year old into the four year old class and that opened a space up for Wesley. He starts the first week of September. I'm so excited for him. I just pray that he doesn't do this at preschool. Oh lord I can hear that phone call in my head already. Maybe we need to have a "no pee pee outside except at home" talk.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

.....and then I had to cut his underwear off.

Several months ago we made the easy decision that two kids were enough for us. We are two and through. If you were to visit our house for dinner any night of the week you'd understand (and then go screaming into the night). One kid will be kicking the table while trying to drown his broccoli in milk while the other is screaming nonstop flinging rice in all directions. I feel mentally and physically beat up at the end of the day. We are SO done with kids. The decision to make that permanent was made and yesterday was Sean's big day. This wasn't a hard choice, in fact Sean's been pleading to go get a vasectomy since before Wesley was born. I made him wait until after the second kid was here.

***I must warn you that if you are on the fence about getting a vasectomy then you should stop here and read no further. Seriously. Don't say I didn't warn you.***

The day started out normal. Sean's appointment was for 12:30 so around 11:30 he took the recommended Valium. This is given to help sooth the nerves associated with this procedure. I guess they get a lot of anxious men in that clinic. Imagine that. We dropped Wesley off at my Mom's house and took Greta with us. Sean was pretty relaxed and calm for the trip, I'm thinking it was the Valium.

The procedure went smoothly. He had another nurse sit in due to the fact that this doctor is one of the first in our area to use the "no needle" vasectomy. This is where an air gun is used to numb the area with a local anesthetic before the incision is made. Sean said it didn't hurt at all. The nurse that sat in for the procedure actually said "Wow, he didn't even jump!" I guess these poor guys usually jump when the needle goes in (again, imagine that!). All in all that part went well.

I was waiting in the lobby with Greta when he tenderly walked out of the room. We all loaded in the van and off we went to fill a prescription for pain meds. About two miles away from the clinic he said he didn't feel right and the next thing I know he's unconscious. His head in hanging down, his pupils are big and dilated and he's making this raspy gurgly noise. It was the scariest thing ever. Ranks up there with running down a mountain in a lightning, sleeting, hail storm (my family knows what I'm talking about). I start freaking out and yelling at him and beating him on the chest. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911 while pulling into the nearest parking lot. I thought he died. Seriously. It's funny what runs through your head in situations like this. I kept thinking "there is no way the cause of death on my husband is going to say: Vasectomy." I ran around the van to his side of the car and kept yelling at him all the while telling the 911 operator where I was. A nice older lady must have saw me wildly waving my hands and acting hysterical and came over to help. Luckily Sean came to about that time. He didn't have a clue as to why I was yelling at him. If it wasn't so scary it would have been funny.

A few minutes later the fire truck showed up (guess this is normal) and several firemen came to help. They asked what was wrong and I told them he passed out after his vasectomy and the guy actually laughed. Out loud. He said this was pretty normal, even a few guys at the station had passed out after their procedures. Who knew? The ambulance showed up and the medics checked Sean out. His blood pressure was low (80/50). They think that would have done it. The dilated pupils were most likely due to the Valium. They were afraid he might pass out again so they decided to take him to the ER for observation. Much to Sean's humiliation they brought the gurney over to the van and strapped him in since they weren't sure how stable he was on his feet. Poor guy.

Greta and I stopped to buy some formula since I know how long ER visits can take. We then drove to the hospital except it wasn't where I thought it was, I went north when I should have gone south and ended up driving about half an hour out of my way. We did finally make it to the hospital and found Sean's room. He looked a lot better and had an IV going to get fluids in him. His blood pressure was back up where it should be and after three hours we got to go home.

He's sure happy that day is over with, to say the least. He actually said he'd do it over again, just to know that there will be no more babies. That's how done we are. Oh and on a side note, the doctor told Sean not to get the incision wet for several days. The glue they used to close it needs to stay dry. Well, right now it's been 105 degrees outside for at least two weeks. You combine that with what happened to poor Sean and the result is a "sweaty situation". So (if you haven't figured out where I'm going with this yet) his incision got wet. The glue adhered to his underwear. Yep. I mean, really, this is just the cherry on top of an all around wonderful day for Sean. We put a call into the doctors office to see what to do about this situation and the doc said to just slowly peel the undies off of the incision. I think any man reading this just crossed his legs. We decided to just cut the underwear off, leaving a quarter sized piece of fabric where needed. Yesterday was a day full of firsts for Sean and I: first time to see someone go unconscious, first call to 911, first time visiting the ER, first time traveling in an ambulance and first time cutting someone's underwear off of them.

Sean and I are both glad that day is over.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Favorite Time

I have a new favorite time of the day. Right after Greta goes down for her nap I get Wesley's shoes on and we head outside. This is our time together everyday and I look forward to it. Poor Wesley doesn't have much one on one time with me much these days since my time is divided among two children. So during her nap we go outside and find fun things to do together. Usually we get the hose going and he helps me fill up stock tanks and buckets with fresh cool water. We then visit the garden to collect anything needing collecting. The garden is pretty much toast now. With these temperatures I can't keep up with the watering (nor do I want to without having an astronomical water bill) so the garden has been left alone. The mulching has kept most of it alive even without regular waterings. I'm still getting big bowls full of tomatoes daily and a few bell peppers here and there but that's about it. Then we might get the sprinkler out and run through it to cool off. We also try and find as many bugs as we can. Wesley is really into bug collecting and he's fearless when it comes to picking them up. He has a bug box (a netted box that he keeps them in) that is pretty full of everything he's found this summer. We like to dump them all out and count them. This week we've been letting Dym, the goat, out while we are outside. She wanders around the back yard eating stuff here and there but always keeping an eye on us. If we disappear into the shop or out of her view she'll raise her head and start crying loudly for us until we reappear. She follows us around like a puppy. It's quite cute. She's sure fitting well into our family and seems to enjoy us as much as we enjoy her. What adventures will we find outside today?


Garden goat


My strawberry bed and pole beans are like a big goat buffet


Wherever Wesley is, the goat is.


His latest buggy finds. See, totally fearless.


Bug boy


I keep telling the boys that they could come out and play if they'd be half as nice as Dym. They don't listen to me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Winners August 1st-7th

Silly, happy children.


Outgrowing the front pack has lead to this.


My nearly completed newest project....wood fence for the animals. Of course I must do this in August when it is (literally) 108 degrees.


Doesn't Wes look thrilled? I had to bribe him with a popsicle to be in a picture with his sister.


My little sandman.


Tiny nose.


Ahhh...my daughter in a blaze orange Deer Camp ball cap...shudder.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Meet Dym



I'm going to need to update the title bar. We are now the proud owners of a super sweet dairy goat named Dym. It was an adventure getting her here involving a blown tire (on the previous owners vehicle) and then a trip into the service station with three adults, a goat and a flat tire in our Vibe. She rode wonderfully in the car. It made me laugh to look in the rear view mirror and see a 130 pound goat standing there. That car has hauled everything now including two goats and four geese. Fun times!

Dym is settling in nicely in her new home. We have a slight delimea that arose last week at her previous home though.. She went into heat and their buck jumped the fence and bred her. Oops. I wasn't really looking to have baby goats in the near future so they gave me an injectable drug that will end any pregnancy that might have (and probably did) occur. She's a Nubian goat and the buck that "got friendly" with her was a Boer buck. The thought of baby goats has grown on me quite a bit but the thought of her having those precious little babies in the dead of winter (she's due the end of December) makes me nervous. Plus I'd be learning how to milk a goat in January. That just doesn't sound appealing to me. So, my decision right now is to give her the shot, end this pregnancy, and take her back to be bred to their registered Nubian buck this fall....which would result in Easter babies (kids). Then I'll get to learn how to milk when I don't have to worry about frostbite and I won't worry too much about loosing those kids to sub zero temperatures. Plus, I know me....I won't be able to part with those kids (goats normally have twins, but triplets and quads aren't unheard of). So this way I'll have registrable babies that my children could possibly show in 4H when they get older. See, I'm thinking ahead. :)

The kids adore her and she's the nicest animal I've ever owned. Wesley is having a lot of fun with her already. He took her treats today and even let her try on his hat. She just stood there and soaked up the attention. Such a nice animal. Welcome Dym!



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Preschool update

I keep searching for the perfect preschool for Wesley and I think I might have found it. I called yesterday and talked to the teacher for about 10 minutes about what her preschool has to offer. This would be the perfect fit for our family. The three year old class goes Tuesday and Thursdays from 9-11:30. The four year olds go Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It would be a wonderful way to ease him into the school like setting. They have field trips to the fire station and pumpkin patch and they have a Christmas and spring program (how precious). The only hitch is that the class is "kind of full". She is going to go through and confirm what students are indeed going to attend and then get a final count and call me back next week. Oh I pray someone moved. :) It doesn't start until September either, so we'll have time to get Wesley excited about it (he's firmly decided he's NOT going to preschool). Keep your fingers crossed for us, we all need this to work out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So Pretty

That's my son wearing his sisters pants on his head and three of her bibs around his neck. A picture of a typical three year old.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Priceless

Bag of MegaBloks: $30
Wooden Puzzle: $5
Your children playing quietly together: PRICELESS!!!




Sunday, August 1, 2010

Duck Park

I know I've posted pictures of the kids at the park before but I couldn't pass up this experience. Since we're sick we've been outcast for play dates with Jessica and her kids so I've been dragging the kids around trying to keep ourselves busy (and sane). I loaded up the wagon in the van and off we went to the fun park with all the ducks and geese. It's kind of a dumping ground for unwanted fowl and so the flock has grown to probably a hundred if not more. You don't go to this park unless you are prepared and by prepared I mean a giant bag of bread. Before I entered the giant mass of hungry quackers I made sure both kids were in the wagon and armed with bread. I, armed with my camera, got a priceless video of Miss Greta's first "duck park" experience. Poor thing, hope she's not scarred.