Monday, May 23, 2016


Sharing a drink. Ah, how sweet

Love me some help in the kitchen. 

Natalie graduated from Joy school last week. On to pre-k in the fall!

Sunday afternoon

Natalie randomly put out the yoga mat and tried getting Angela into the happy baby pose

In other news, our garden has been under attack from....


Tomato worms

And some kind of stinkbug/beetle thing.

I've sprayed and sprayed to no avail. I even set the chickens loose in the garden so that they would eat some of the bugs and instead they ate all the pepper and bean plants, the only ones NOT yet affected by bugs. Thanks a lot.

Hang in there, little guy! Our one and only canteloupe.

I mowed and trimmed the yard and did a bit of pruning Saturday. The vines are growing back where we decimated the jungle at the back of our property, so we'd better get a handle on that before the evil vines take over this tree that the girls like to climb.

Our chickens have been doing great. The surprise easter egger that lays green eggs (we thought he was a rhode island red) has been more productive than anticipated. They are supposed to lay 3-4 eggs a week, but we have had one every single day for the last 6 days. Hopefully she can keep up that momentum- if we can get 6 a week from each, that will definitely keep our egg carton full!

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Full Week!

We enjoyed our trip up to Raleigh for Paco's graduation last weekend. I was happy and proud of Paco, glad for the opportunity to meet his fiance, and of course thrilled that the kids got some cousin time in.


The trip was not without its frustrations, including a near-death experience when a truck almost ran into us and being chewed out by a lady for our kids' disruptive behavior during the convocation ceremony, but hey- we're alive and that grouchy lady can go %($&@%@ *$%@#&U~ Q#$(%&!

That is one heck of a drive to tackle in one day, though. Mothers day was spent listening to this for 10.5 hours...

The stinky girls, as I affectionately call our hens, were glad for our return. They have had lots of free time to forage around the yard and have laid 2 eggs a day every day since we got back.

Tuesday, Natalie's joy school group got to go to the fire station to check out the trucks and meet the firemen. It seemed pretty cool- I would definitely recommend it as a career path to someone not interested in the traditional 4-year-college plan but wanting more stability and family life than an entry-level military career.
Wednesday, we had a tough day at the dentist. Natalie has several cavities (I blame the heinous quantity of jelly beans consumed for potty training) and she was NOT happy about getting x-rays. They took her back without me and I could hear her screaming and crying from the waiting room. When I came back, she was huddled in a ball on the floor bawling with her whole face bright red and her eyes bloodshot. She's gonna have to have a conscious sedation and it's just gonna be a big ordeal. Not looking forward to it. 

Thursday, I took the girls out to a state park at an inlet by the beach. It was a 40 minute drive, so not somewhere I'll take them too often, but we loved it. Spent 4 1/2 hours and still had to drag them away. It was really nice because the water on the lagoon side of the island had shallow, still water where the girls could play without much risk of getting scared (Natalie) or swept out into the ocean (Angela). It was cloudy and we wore sunscreen and I still got burned and the girls got a beautiful tan. Urgh.

This is Angela refusing to leave.
They both got lots of compliments on their elmo suits. I'm in the market for a new swimsuit, I guess I'd better get one that matches theirs!

Micah pressure washed the house today and it looks magnificent. The white parts were all green and yucky with pollen, mold and dust. Now, they pretty much glow. 

What a man

He cleaned one of the paver stones in the area behind our porch and.... dang it. Now we have to clean all of them. I knew they were a bit dirty and moldy. I did NOT realize that, underneath it all, our brown paver stones are actually cream colored.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Blake's Wedding, Angela's Birthday and Garden Produce!

First, some shots from my brother's wedding in Denver last weekend...

First experiencing the snow while waiting at airport pickup while Daddy was struggling to figure out our rental car. It was smart. Waaaaaay too smart for us. It kept making beeping sounds and doing things we didn't understand.  

Natalie enjoyed making snowmen at the reception Friday night.... the sealing Saturday morning....

....and at the luncheon Saturday afternoon!

We got to enjoy the mall and our relatives, scored some dairy queen and Angela even got a few gifts for her birthday!

That night, Angela got sick, throwing up every hour between 10pm and 4am. When we left for the airport at 5, we hoped she was over it, but alas, she puked again on the airplane. It was horrible, but the ride was super bumpy so most just shrugged it off to motion sickness and weren's too (visibly) irritated. One guy even saw us afterwards at baggage claim and asked Angela if she was feeling better, "poor, little girl".

Since then, she has been fine, gradually has gotten her appetite back. I'm thinking she might have gotten a bit if food poisoning from our hotel breakfast Saturday, because she hadn't eaten much else all day and it came on and was over so quickly.

We got home Sunday by early afternoon and happily discovered that a second one of our chickens had started laying. Yay! Also, our first few tomatoes were ripe, as well as a couple of blueberries and a handful of beans.

Natalie helped me wrap Angela's birthday presents and decorate her cake

 Angela's birthday dinner was brought to us by the letter "M" and the color orange- Mac and cheese and mango

 She blew out her candles by herself and only wanted to taste the frosting, not the cake!


And, her birthday wish came true almost immediately after she wished it :)

Finally....I've started canning Surinam Cherry Jam! And I processed a jar with the last of our pink grapefruit until next season. Lego fireman approves.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weekend in ORL

Did I mention that we put in a pool? 

I can't take my eyes off this kid for a moment without her climbing up something she can't climb down

Yesterday, Natalie was drawing a picture. She told me she was coloring the tree of life. I was all excited, and feeling proud that some of my gospel instruction was sticking. So I said, "You mean the one from Lehi's dream? The one with the fruit on it?" And she said, "NO! The one from Disney World with all the animals on it."

On Friday, we went to Disneyworld's Animal Kingdom. We don't plan to go there much over the summer because of crowds and heat. We had a great day, the weather was cooler and there were hardly any lines. We made the mistake of taking our kids to the 4d movie experience, "It's Tough to be a Bug". They're probably going to be traumatized for life over that one. Natalie also rode a dinosaur ride with Micah that I guess she was pretty terrified of. Afterwards, she said with a very stern expression, "Let's not do that ride ever again."

There were redeeming moments. She got to ride the Kali River Rapids- TWICE! She really loved it with me and we both got totally soaked, then I guess when she went with Micah she spent the whole ride pointing out the pretend temple ruins along the way and they didn't get wet.

Meanwhile, Angela got pretty wet herself. She enjoyed the getting wet part, not so much the being wet afterwards.

 We spent the night in a hotel so that I could go to my zumba instructor training the following morning. It was a long day of dancing and demos that could have easily been condensed from 8 hours down to 5 or 6, but whatever. The facility where the training should have been held ended up not being open due to construction delays, so it was held at this super tiny, ghetto gym. We spent the whole day crammed like sardines in a tiny room, smacking one another and stomping on each others feet as we danced the cumbia. I'm near the back in a white bandana.

Micah spent the day freaking out trying to keep the children under control all over Orlando. Among other things, they went to the mall and picked out some new paint and a giant frozen coloring book at the crayola store. Micah's respect for what I do every. single. day. has grown immensely.

The girls were playing finding nemo on Saturday night when we got home. They were singing all the songs from Finding Nemo: The Musical. I asked if I could play. Natalie told me I could be the big butt. 

Here's Sammy, hoping a squirrel comes his way. 2 comfy couches and a padded chair in the room, and he chooses to lay on the end table!

Our Surinam Cherry tree is insane. We didn't know it was a fruiting tree until Natalie noticed the berries and since then it has produced nonstop. Most of the fruit is up too high to reach, so it ends up mostly ant food once it ripens and drops on the ground. Still, we've been picking 2-3 cups of fruit from it every other day for a week now. I'm cleaning, pitting and freezing it to make jam.

Gardening is going well, though pests are becoming a problem.

 Something nocturnal keeps digging in our garden ever since I began fertilizing with chicken poop. Annoying. It knocked over a bunch of cherry tomato plants that had outgrown their stakes, so I put another white trellis beside them to help hold them up. We have a few little green tomatoes on those, some corn growing, and lots of flowers on the melons. The beans have been confusing. The potted ones started making beans quickly, but the ones in the garden have grown enormous but havent made any beans. Very curious.

These girls could come into laying ANY DAY! They enjoy lounging in the shade and flying out of their day pen to roam the yard. Pretty soon, I'm gonna take down the pen around their coop meant to keep them in and just put it up around the garden to keep them out and let them have free range of the whole back yard.

I don't even care if I don't get a single cantaloupe, I feel like a major boss training the vines up this trellis.

These 2 pots of beefsteak tomatoes have 18 fruits growing! I'll be bummed if the bugs and critters ruin them. Garden crops grow more slowly here, since they are grown in spring and fall, when the sun is lower and the days are shorter. I started these the first week of January and the biggest one is maybe 2 inches in diameter and still quite green.

Micah will have his first scout camp out this weekend. They're going to a natural spring in Central Florida. It's the middle of alligator mating season, when the most incidents with gators and humans occur. Yippee.