Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bountiful Harvest

On Monday, when we got back from Michigan, there was some work to be done. Besides all of the unpacking and laundry and general house-cleaning, the yard was overgrown, the flower beds needed weeding, the chickens needed fed, and we hadn't been in our garden in days. When we finally finished the work that had been waiting, we headed to the garden...and just look at what we found!Tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and lots of green beans!!!
Just look at those perfect crisp green beans! I can't wait to make something special with them! Obviously, Noah couldn't wait either...
There's nothin' in the world like garden-fresh veggies!! Time to break out the Food Saver...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brothers, Bidets, Britches, Beaches, and Blogger Buddies

We have been planning a trip to see my brother Luke, who lives in Michigan, for a couple of months now. The kids were so psyched to see where their favorite uncle lives! We knew we would need a good plan, as it's a 6 hour drive from our house, and no plan makes for a bad plan. The plan was to leave around lunchtime on Friday so we could be there for dinner and so the kids would have time to burn off some pent-up energy before bed. I loaded up the car with movies and snacks and anything else I could think of to help them pass the time, and we were on our way!The drive wasn't TOO horrible, but we were definitely ready to be there! In fact, Barry did finally have to admit that it will be a much better idea to take the Odyssey on our beach vacation (11 hours!) than the Accord. (Seriously, what was he thinking there????? I've been telling him that although the Accord gets better gas mileage, I don't think we want to ride in it for 11 hours with the kiddos seated directly behind us, bickering and arguing the entire way...) Anyway, it appears we are now on the same page, so WHEW!!!! So glad we had this opportunity for a "test-run"!

Finally, we arrived in Hamilton, and were pleasantly surprised at how nice their "bachelor pad" was. They are out in the country, on the fringe of a HUGE wildlife preserve on one side, a sawmill on the other, and have a very large (and very outdated) house. But truly, with a little work, the house would be very nice. It has tons of space! Oh yeah, and a bidet. That's right folks...these two single guys living out in the middle of B.F.E. have a BIDET. I was cracking up! And if we were worried that Noah would have a hard time with his potty regimen, we were mistaken, because as soon as he saw the bidet, all he wanted to do was potty!! The first time he went, Barry wasn't quick enough and Noah reached over and turned it on, not knowing what it was. Barry said when the water hit his bottom, his eyes were as big as dinner plates and he jumped right up! From that point on, he wanted to use the "butt sprinkler" to "wash his butt" every 10 minutes. Yes, he calls it the "butt sprinkler", and I'm sure he'll want one before long. Too funny...and it never ceased to get a laugh out of everyone when he talked about it...

Luke and Aaron are really into grilling!They were already prepping the grill when we pulled up. Over the weekend, we had buffalo burgers, chicken, brats, hot dogs, smoked and barbequed beef and corn on the cob...I'm tellin' ya, that grill was always going! On Saturday morning, Luke went over to the mill, got the loader, and brought it over to take the kiddos for a spin. What a treat! I think Noah almost peed his pants, he was so stinkin' excited! And I think Kendall actually got to drive!

Later that afternoon, Luke and Aaron broke out their guitars and had a little jam session. They even gave Kendall one to use and after giving her a few pointers, she was more than happy to participate! Now she wants to have guitar lessons...surprise, surprise!!!
On Saturday night, we were headed out to meet up with two of my favorite bloggers, Logzie and Jenelle!!! I was so excited to meet my first blogger-buddies! Would I be everything they thought I would be? Would they be disappointed if I weren't as cool as they pictured? And more importantly, WOULD MY KIDS BEHAVE IN THE RESTAURANT????? We found the restaurant with no problems, and were actually on time! Jenelle, Andy and their cute little kiddos were waiting when we got there. I began my wonderful and well-rehearsed first impression by pulling open the big, heavy, wood doors and smacking my son right in the forehead. Nice one, Jen. Can I just excuse myself to the bathroom now??? After I kissed the owie and made sure he was fine, we got down to the introductions! I was so glad to see that Jenelle and Andy were laughing, not looking at me in horror! Jenelle informed us that it would be about an hour until our table was ready, and Logzie and Chuck were running late, so we decided to go to the park next door and let the kiddos play on the playground. On the way over, we noticed they were doing some construction around the park and had much of it roped off where it was all torn up. It seemed there was no good way around, so we just went through, carefully choosing our way. I was carrying Noah, since he was being a little shy and clingy. There was some hard-packed clay that the sod had been scraped off of, and as I went to step down on it and my full weight became supported by my left foot, it gave way and I started sinking and sliding simultaneously. OMG...there was nothing to grab onto! I was in trouble....MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!!! I was going down, no bones about it! Just trying to hold onto Noah (and not make a fool out of myself...yeah, right!), I "gracefully" fell into the mud, and kept Noah safe and clean at the same time. Oh, and it was this nice black/gray, sticky mud too. Just the perfect kind for ruining white pants. I had mud on my hands, pants, caked on my feet and flip-flops...it was funny and horrifying all at the same time. Just what I needed to make my grand entrance complete...and we weren't even at the restaurant yet! Jenelle, I hope you guys enjoyed it, and Teresa, so soorry you missed it!!! But really, after looking at the pictures and seeing where I fell, I know it could have been SO MUCH WORSE!After a moment to gain my composure, I reasoned that since we still had plenty of time to wait for our table, I would call my sis and brother to bring me some fresh clothes. We met them halfway, and I changed and washed up at a truck stop. Good times, good times. And for the record, my sister was awesome enough to go straight home and wash my pants... and she got all the stains out! Woo hoo! When we got back, there was a little time yet for the kiddos to all play and get to know each other before we ate. They all got along so well and were so cute together. Kendall and Logan hit it off immediately, of course. Kenzie and Ella are even cuter in person than you can possibly imagine them, and Ryan and Ty are cute as buttons and full of fun! The restaurant experience went well, or so WE thought. Apparently, the woman behind us did not agree. I hear she was shooting us some evil looks. Oh well. She was sitting with 3 pre-teen/teenagers. We had 7 children 7 years and under, so sue us. They did very well, considering. After dinner, we headed over to Holland beach to let the kiddos romp in the sand. It wasn't long before they were all soaked and covered in sand. You'd think we moms would have thought of that, but Noooooooo. I think we were just too excited to meet each other! Here we are at the beach...
I must tell you that if you've ever wondered what these two are like in person, they are just as wonderful, funny, warm, and down to earth as you think they will be. It was so easy and felt like we had known each other forever. I was only sad that we didn't have much time to talk...the kiddos kept us on our toes! The whole thing felt so....surreal. I didn't even feel like myself. It was such a weird feeling to "meet" people you know so much about, but have never actually "met"! Bizzarre!!! Logzie and Jenelle...did you feel the same way? Just wondering. Maybe next time we'll do a girls night so we don't have to be in Mom Mode! And yes, girls, there WILL be a next time! I'm already trying to plan a date for my next trip!

On Sunday evening, Jessie volunteered to watch the kids so Barry and I could go with Luke and Aaron to see Dark Knight. It was good...intense, but good! And it had been so long since we'd been to an actual movie theater! HA!

We got up early on Monday and headed back. The drive seemed more brutal on the way home, but we all survived somehow. Now, back to reality...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summertime Fun

OMG, I totally forgot about posting these awesome pics! I just now came across them. I guess that's what happens when you take a million or so pics a week! LOL!!!

A week ago, I took Shea for the afternoon so Deetra could have some time to get things done. She came over and I set up the sprinkler for the kids since it's been so hot. They were having quite the fun time out there, jumping over the water, running through it, and making up games. It was way too cute! Don't you wish you could be a kid again and have this much fun???

After they were worn out from all the running in the sprinkler, Kendall and Shea decided to play beautyshop. They set up their gear outside and got to work making each other beautiful!
Well, you had to know it wouldn't be long before Noah got into the action! Kendall persuaded him with her "big-sister power of persuasion" and he was more than happy to comply.Makeup and hair too!!! Could they possibly have fit any more hair accessories in that little boy's hair?And, of course, here is my little princess.
I'm not really sure what you call this style though...heehee!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Boy, did we have a busy week! It was CRAZY! Kendall had zoo camp every day from 9-4, so we had to be up early and leave the house by 8:00. It made for a lot of driving and a hectic schedule, but she had a great time and learned a TON of information, so it was definitely worth it. We have never been disappointed with zoo camp. Like I've said before, we have the best zoo!!!

So anyway, by the time Friday got here, we were already whipped. But on Friday, Kendall got done at noon, so Noah and I just stayed and walked around, checking out his favorite animals and riding the carousel and the boat ride. For some reason, they weren't charging us for the rides, so we just kept riding! Noah was having a blast, but my goodness was it ever HOT!!! The humidity was unreal.
Noah snuggling with the Orangutan sculpture
Then he wanted to pick it's nose!!!Then we picked up Kendall and headed home, but not before stopping for ice cream!!! When we finally arrived home, we basically just switched vehicles and grabbed Scout, as we had to run him into town for a grooming appointment. The poor guy was just miserable in all this heat...he needed a haircut! By the time then kids and I finally got home, all we wanted to do was sit down and watch a movie.

Then Friday night was my Bunco night, so I had to get myself cleaned up and ready for an evening with the girls! This week we had a low turnout, so we decided not to play Bunco and to go out boating instead...and more tubing! I know, I know...what was I thinking? Well, I'll tell you..."Last time I paid the price, so it certainly won't be as bad this time! And it sure was FUN!!!!" That and the fact that I didn't have to work for almost a week...LOL!! Oh yeah, and Jodi got her 3-person tube fixed and she ASSURED me that I wouldn't get as beat up this time around. Here's me and Kirsten takin' a spin on the tube...While we ladies were off gettin' a little wild, Barry and Shawn took the kiddos out on their boat for some swimming and tubing. Kendall is all about tubing now. In fact, she considers herself a daredevil...and that is just too funny. If you knew her, you'd understand why! But anyway, they were out really late and had a rockin' good time.
Then on Saturday, we worked around here for the better part of the day...Noah and I mowed, Kendall cleaned her room, and Barry was hard at work staining and caulking. Then Shawn and Deetra called and invited us out on the boat, and how could we possibly refuse? I mean, it was 92 degrees, high humidity, and we had been working our butts off in the heat all day!!! So we ordered a pizza, picked it up and met them at the marina so we could head out. The kids were not all that interested in eating, they just wanted to swim. But the rest of us were Hun-gry!!! Then we let the kiddos do some tubing(in which Kendall was proving to be quite a show-off), and Shawn and Barry each did some wake-boarding, while Deetra and I were more than content to stay on the boat and chat. Deetra told Kendall that the next time she saw her out there show-boatin', she was going to try to throw her from the tube! Kendall just smiled and said, "OKAY!!" Sheesh. So needless to say, it was another late night on the lake!
Shawn & Shea tubing
Noah and Kendall. Don't you love Noah's pink life jacket?
Thanks to Shea for letting him borrow it!
Barry wakeboardingShawn wakeboarding
Sunday morning proved to be yet another beautiful morning with the promise of some serious heat. But we had already decided earlier in the weekend that this was the weekend Kendall would master her two-wheeler. So Barry took her over to the lodge, where there is lots of wide-open space to ride and got her started while Noah and I finished the mowing. Well, they were gone FOREVER, and Noah and I ran out of gas, so we loaded up the gas can and took off. Since the lodge is right around the corner from the gas station, we decided to go have a peek and make sure Kendall and Barry were still on speaking terms. Much to our surprise when we pulled up, Kendall was tooling around on her bike all by herself, just like she'd been doing it all her life! I think I may have peed my pants a little, I was so excited! Barry said she picked it up right away, he barely helped her at all... which is a good thing, because Kendall can work the nerves of even the most patient of men, I promise you that. She was so stinkin' proud of herself, and we were proud too!Noah wanted to ride his bike too!
So while all of this fun was happening the entire weekend, Noah was staying true to his goal of staying dry and not having any accidents. That's right folks, we're in big-boy underwear all the time now, except at night! Actually, he wakes up almost every morning dry too, but we'll see how that goes the next couple of weeks. I am so proud of him!! He doesn't even tell you he needs to go, just heads right into the bathroom and does it all himself. The only way you'd ever know is when you hear him flush the potty!

I can't believe how much was accomplished this weekend! Besides getting all of the mowing and weed-whacking done, and two sides of the house completely caulked, stained, and flashing installed, we got to go out on the lake twice, taught Kendall to ride her bike, and got Noah pretty much potty trained. What a weekend!!!!!

How was yours???

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sentimentally Funny

A long-awaited day has finally come! My best friend Sheri has started a blog! After hearing me tell her that she needs to for, oh I don't know...a year or better...she has finally done the deed and joined the blogosphere.

Now of course, you all know that I sing her praises for a lot of different reasons. I mean, come on now....she's my best friend! I think she's A.W.E.S.O.M.E!! But, what you may not know is that she is super creative and funny. I highly suggest that you make her blog part of your daily reading! Visit her here... Sentimentally Funny . And make sure you ask her how the hula-hooping is going!! Maybe I should post that video again, just so we can relive it...nah, you can just go back a few posts and see it here.

Enjoy, peeps! I'm off to grab Noah and do the mowing...Peace OUT!!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I understand...

I know it's hard sometimes, baby girl.

We expect so much from you...we always have. All of our hopes and dreams and everything we ever wanted in a child were automatically expected of you on the day you came into our lives. Just a tiny little cherub you were, but you were our entire universe in one little 7 lb. 8 oz. bundle. We lived an idyllic existence, where the world revolved around you, and we lived just to see your face light up with your infectious smile. And after living four perfect years that way, suddenly your world changed.
Noah made his way into our lives and our cohesive little family unit had to make room for your new baby brother. You were so excited! You never complained...not even once. Not when it seemed that everyone was coming just to see him, not when they brought him presents and sometimes forgot to bring a little something for you, not when it seemed like all I did was hold him and nurse him, and not even when we missed an entire session of gymnastics because I was overwhelmed at home. You asked a million questions, sat patiently beside me, helped me in every way you could, and loved your little brother every single way your four-year-old heart knew how. You've willingly shared toys with him, showed him how to do a thousand different things, helped him wash his hands, motivated him to pee in the potty, made him the star in dozens of your plays. You've told every person you know how much you love your brother. You've always said you're lucky to have him.

But still...it's hard.

I understand how you feel. Being the oldest isn't all it's cracked up to be, is it? I understand more than you know, because I'm an oldest child too. I watch you two and remember my own childhood as he chatters constantly, repeats himself incessantly, antagonizes you to no end, tears apart your elaborate creations, makes messes in your room, breaks your things...and most of all, it seems like he gets all of the attention and none of the discipline. You feel like you have to do everything perfectly, and he gets away with everything. It's your job to set a good example, whether he follows it or not. It's not fair, and you aren't going to take it anymore, right?

I know. I've been there before, and I'm trying to make it easier for you...really, I am. I try to help you in every way I can think of. But you have to remember...

Noah is three, honey. He doesn't understand all the things you do, like why we can talk loudly during a movie at our house but not at the movie theater, or why you can walk over to the neighbors' house by yourself and he can't, or why you get to stay up late and catch fireflies and he has to go to bed. Or even why we don't backwash in our bottled water, or eat candy found in a parking lot, or stuff an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet. He has a hard time with the concept of time-out and eating vegetables and (sometimes) sharing. BUT...

Who was the 3 year old tow-headed little boy who defended your honor (to none other than the family dog) yesterday when Scout bumped into you on the stairs and scratched your foot? Who walked right up and got nose to nose with his 120 lb. beloved doggy and said "DON'T PUSH MY SISTER!!! DO YOU HEAR ME?! DON'T YOU PUSH MY SISTER!!"

I know that sometimes it feels like we love Noah more...but we don't. You are our first-born...our only daughter. You helped us navigate a road we had never traveled, you've filled out hearts with sweet memories of experiences that can never be repeated. We knew from the very day I found out I was pregnant with you that you were extraordinary...and you are! We have never been disappointed in you...not one single day in the last 7 1/2 years. And even though you've been having a tough time here lately being the big sister to a chatty, repetitive (but cute!) little brother, you can rest assured that nothing has changed. You are still our most favorite little girl, and we love you more than all the stars in the sky, and all the eyeballs on all the people (story to be shared later...). And I promise you this, sweet girl... that little boy loves YOU more than all the chocwat in the world. You're his big sister, his only sibling, and that will never change.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Little Love for A Big Pup!

Our big pup has it SO rough! He gets no attention, no love, no good toys, no treats, no big comfy bed to sleep in, and most of all no belly rubs. Or so he'd have you believe!! But the other day, Kendall laid down on the floor with him and loved all over him for about half an hour. He was in hog heaven!!! He got lots of snuggles and belly rubs. What a big ol' baby!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

Last night, Sheri came out for dinner. We had decided that since it was such a beautiful day, we would throw some steaks on the grill. I decided to make a tomato and fresh mozzarella salad and some parmesan orzo to go with it, and then decided we needed something fun and refreshing for dessert. I have an entire cookbook dedicated to Ice Cream, so I stuck my nose in it and found just the ticket...Honey Lavender Ice Cream!

It was so easy...
Pick about 8 sprigs of Lavender, and separate the flowers into a small bowl
Get out your honey, corn starch, and eggs Measure 6 tbsp of honey, 4 egg yolks, and 2 tsp of cornstarch into a bowl, add a little milk, and whisk. In a heavy saucepan, bring the rest of the milk (a little less than 2 cups) to a boil.Add the lavender and the egg yolk mixture to the milk and cook very gently, stirring until it thickens. Keep stirring...it's not the quickest thing ever!Pour the custard into a bowl, cover tightly with waxed paper pressed onto the surface of the custard,and refrigerate until very cold. Stir 2 c. whipping cream into the custard and pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. Churn it until it holds its shape, then scoop it out and serve! We thought it would be good with fresh blueberries...and it was!

***Sheri and I thought this ice cream was a little bland. The flavor was very mild. If you like a sweeter ice cream, you could add some sugar or some more honey to taste, or sprinkle it with something sweet! Of course, Barry thought it was perfect just the way it was!!***

Friday, July 11, 2008

Clean Teeth

Noah had his first dentist appointment on Wednesday...can you tell he was excited?? We have the most amazing pediatric dentist...her name is Dr. Jojo and the kids L.O.V.E her! Noah did great, and Kendall was the big helper, as usual. Here she is, adjusting the chair for him...
All the girls in the office are totally great, and I just can't say enough good things about that place! I'm positive it's one of the reasons my kids love to go to the dentist. Noah's teeth are in great shape, but there isn't a lot of extra space, so we're prepared for crowding. And if Noah has my genes, his teeth will be HUGE and he'll need braces. But let's not rush into that...I love his perfect little smile just the way it is...

Not My Brightest Idea...

As you all may now know (and might well be sick of hearing me mention it), we are going on a group vacation to the beach in South Carolina in August. There are 4 families going, and it is sure to be a rockin' good time! Anyway, we 4 mothers have been getting together regularly to do little "planning" meetings so we can make sure we take everything we need, but not MORE than we need. This past Monday, we got together to plan our menu for the week. This is important because if we plan carefully, we will not have any food left over and we also won't have to stress about meals...because it's already planned! So, Jodi, Amy, Jen, and I got together on Monday night to get our menu planned. Jodi had suggested taking their boat out, throwing the anchor out somewhere, and sitting on the lake eating snacks and having a few drinks while we made our plans. But somewhere in there, the idea was thrown out to go tubing. Sure, it sounded like a good plan at the time...it's been so hot, and we rarely get out without the kids or hubbies. Why not have a little fun???

Amy didn't bring her suit, because she can't bear to think of what's swimmin' around in the depths of Lake Choctaw...much less get IN the water! And Jodi couldn't get on the tube, because she had to drive, so that left me and Jen. Two Jens definitely means double trouble! Jen went first and rode for quite a while before she started hot-doggin'. That was her demise...as soon as she went "no-hands!", Jodi crossed over another boat's wake and Jen went flying. I was up next. I rode and rode, but did NOT do the "no-hands!" thing, so Jodi didn't throw me. After what felt like forever, I finally gave them the sign that I was done. As they pulled me in, Jen jumped in the water. Huh??? I asked her what was up, and she explained that a challenge had been laid at our feet by the other two girls. They didn't think we could ride that single-person tube together...and she informed them that of course we could! Never to be one to back down from a challenge, I jumped back on! There were not enough handles and space for both of us, but we made it work...kind of. Let's just say that the way we were holding onto each other, it would have taken just the right kind of wipe out for one of us to dislocate a shoulder! But we provided lots of entertainment for Jodi and Amy, who grabbed my camera and started shooting, so what the hell, right? Anyway, to make a long story short, Jen and I ended up being in the water and on the tube for a really long time. And it was fun, no doubt about that! But this is where it becomes not such a great idea...

This week is one of my busiest. I had 8 1/2 hours of massage to do on both Tuesday and Thursday, and I have 5 hours on Saturday. On Tuesday morning, I was feeling it...I had no strength in my arms and shoulders, and my chest was ridiculously sore. My day at work was not fun, to say the least. Wednesday was THE WORST!!! I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, not able to roll over due to the fact that I had slept with my arms and chest wrapped around a pillow (it was the only way to get comfortable), and they were frozen in that position. Every movement hurt. I made it through Wednesday, simply because the only things I really had to do were take the kiddos to various appointments and run a couple of errands...basically all I had to do was drive. But Thursday was bad too, and a full day of massage again....UGH!!! I truly thought I would have to cancel some of my appointments, but somehow I made it, and today is much better, AND tomorrow I should be just fine for my 5 massages. But holy cow, did I learn a lesson! Or did I?

Because...we had so much fun, part of me thinks I would do it again!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Fine Sunday

Sorry it's been a few days, guys. Things have been busy around here, and there's been no time for blogging!

On Sunday, we slept in a little bit, and then had breakfast on the deck since it was such a beautiful morning...
Then we loaded up our bikes and headed into Aunt Jessie's house. We waited for her to get home and then we saddled up and took off! We rode all through Grandview and Upper Arlington, which is a really beautiful suburb, stopped at Graeter's for ice cream (YUM!!!) and then stopped at a local park to let the kids play. It was HOT! All of us were sweating like nobody's business. It sure felt good to get back in the air conditioned car! Here are a few pics from the park...

After the park we headed home and Noah fell asleep. We were kind of hoping Kendall would crash too, but she didn't. Darn! Anyway, once we got home, Barry got the mower going and I got busy cutting our (very) overgrown lawn. See, with all the rain and our busy schedule, we hadn't been able to mow! Our grass was O.O.C. (out of control)!!!! I had planned to mow on Friday, but then the mower wouldn't start in the morning and it rained the rest of the day. Barry spent a good part of the day Saturday tinkering with the darn thing to get it going, but to no avail, so I cleaned up the inside of the house. Finally on Sunday, he talked with his dad, got a few ideas to try, and lo and behold, one of them worked! Seems we had a faulty wire on the kill switch. Barry just disconnected it and then that mower started right up! Woo HOOO!! So here's a pic of me and Noah, doing our big job... And yes, that IS an old car seat welded onto my mower... Barry and his dad designed it when Kendall was Noah's age so we could actually get some work done around here. Since it takes about 3 hours to do our mowing, we needed a way that she could ride with me safely while Barry was working on the roof or whatever. We call it the Buddy Seat, and I assure you it is SOLID. No worries about safety...I promise! See his little ear protection thingies? (yes, that's the technical term...) I take my role as a mother seriously!!! LOL! My buddy and me. He's so sweet...he always grabs my hand and holds it while we mow. Doesn't that just melt your heart? I sure do love that little boy! Someday I'll be so lonely out there mowing by myself... I'd better enjoy it while it lasts!!!
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