Friday, January 29, 2016

My Birtday/Brthday/Bihtyrad

Last weekend, we celebrated my birthday. Saturday was quite a highlight. For some, simply because I let them lick the batter for my cake...

But for me, it was more than that. I got to see my favorite animal for the first time- the manatee.

It was pretty amazing seeing so many all in one place! I remember watching discovery channel documentaries about matinees as a kid and thinking it was so amazing how they have no natural prey or predators. They're just giant, fluffy peaceful, vegetarians.
That night, Micah lined up a teenager from church to babysit and we went out for the first time in at least 5 months. We got some new clothes and then enjoyed a cool little pub where they had some very nice live music. 
I needed some jeans and I was torn about what to get- I currently have pair of jeans that is too baggy that I got right after Angela was born, and a pair of skinny jeans that are too tight and the fabric is all warped and ripply from the elastic wearing out. I wanted something comfortable and practical that would last me a long time. I ended up buying total mom jeans with a high waist and loose-fitting legs that taper in at the ankle. They are comfortable. They fit. They make my butt look flat. Whatever. I am now officially a grungy mom who takes no pride in her appearance. Turning 27 will do that to ya...

On Sunday, we celebrated with cake-

my 4-inch tall blueberry-slathered cheesecake
and presents!

You know you're old when you get excited by a mop!

And a bicycle safetywear!

 Some other things going on- last Friday, Micah had an off day from work. I spent the day getting some things together in the yard. I planted 2 grape vines and built a trellis for them to grow on. It was a perfect project for me- the only hard part was drilling holes for the wire in the pressure treated 4" wood. I was struggling a lot getting the drill to go through and asked Micah for help. It turns out the drill was spinning in the wrong direction. Why even have a setting that makes it go in the opposite direction, I ask?! Anyway, after revealing that bit of incompetence, Micah insisted on doing all of the holes. But other than that, I did it all by myself!!! I also got one layer of cinderblocks down for my first raised garden bed. I plan to make them 2 blocks high and build 3-4 in the next year or two, but hopefully I'll have this one ready for spring planting at least. Planting seasons are a little different here because of the tough summer heat, so spring and fall are the seasons for tomatoes and peppers and that sort of thing. We plan to do some melons and try a few other random things. I'm sort of trying to take it slow and build things with longer-term objectives in mind. That's one reason I'm doing cinder block raised beds- it should withstand the elements better than wood. Hopefully more exciting gardening details to come!

These ladies are huge- they have more than doubled in size in 3 weeks. They will hopefully be goig out to their coop this weekend, if Micah finished up with putting locks on the coop.

We continue to enjoy doing our preschool coop with Natalie. This week at our house, the kids learned about letter "R". I did the rainbow in a jar experiment. One layer of purple got wonky, but it was still impressive to the kids. I dyed tons of types of noodles in all the rainbow colors and they had a good time sorting them. Natalie loves it when we have school at our house because she is pretty sure she's 2nd in command when I'm the teacher.

After smelling a vanilla buttercream scented yankee candle, I couldn't stop thinking about vanilla cupcakes. Thank goodness for this small batch recipe and my mini muffin tin!

And I made buffulo chicken dip for dinner last night. Good practice, in case I get invited to any super bowl parties. 

We continue to love our little zoo. We hope to take the cousins there when they visit us next month!

They have a fun exhibit of sculptures made from beach garbage and we like to identify all the pieces.

We had to leave in a rush this afternoon because Natalie peed her pants. She has potty accidents almost every day still, sometimes several times a day. I am going crazy. Micah took Natalie to her 4 yr checkup on his off Friday last weekend and she ordered a urine text and a renal ultrasound, which I need to call and cancel because I don't think there's anything biologically wrong with her. I think she is just a punk. The doctor also recommended a speech evaluation through some program through the county school system. At first, I thought that seemed a little ridiculous, but after a few days of thinking about it, other people do have a lot of trouble understanding her, so maybe we will have an evaluation done and see what they think.

In other news: this

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Natalie's B-Day and Beyond

Here's a bunch of shots from Natalie's party, a few that I took and some from a friend's phone. We had a great group turn out, 15 kids were here altogether. It was fun for the grownups because it was our first time entertaining a large group in our new home. Everyone loved it and Natalie was very happy! We played pin the nose on Olaf, drop the clothes pin in the mason jar, had lunch, cake and ice cream, pinata and had a good amount of just running around, whacking eachother with balloon swords  and just playing. When I asked Natalie her favorite part, she said, "All my friends playing on my new swing set". My only regret is that we didn't have a slip and slide- it was 85 degrees and we were sweatin it out during the outdoors portions of the party!

Now, it has cooled down quite dramatically (finally!!!). We have been doing hot cocoa and marshmallows a lot even though it's in the 60's-70's because this is as winter as it gets!

This is what happens when Daddy tries to just relax on a Sunday afternoon

We had one day back up in the 80's, so we hit the beach in the girls' new Christmas swimsuits!

Most recent news, we had a special stake conference this weekend. Stake conferences are the worst for kids. It's 2 hours long!!! And here is Natalie when we told her that there would be no primary.

However, it was an important meeting because it was our last Cocoa Stake Conference ever. We formed a new stake, the Vero Beach stake. The two wards in Palm Bay are joining up with 2 wards from the stake south and 2 from the stake west of us to form this new stake. Our bishop (Micah's group leader at Harris) was called as the stake president, so that's pretty exciting. It will be interesting to be part of all of these changes as we transition. 

We got to hear more about the importance of planning and counsels, so here is Natalie during our weekly family counsel, writing down what she plans to do this week ("Play on the swingset and go on a date with Daddy")

Last but not least, these lovely ladies joined us last week. They're 4 weeks old, so we still have 3-5 months before they begin laying. I bought a simple coop and run online and they are already assembled, but not very predator-proof and I know that we have major raccoons here. I'll need to put a little work and planning into setting it up in the yard so that they're not all devoured immediately, but the chicks can't go outside for a couple more weeks anyway because they need a warm environment until their feathers grow in more fully.

 Meanwhile, Angela loves to climb in the coop and run, so they're getting broken in nicely!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Christmas Day

A belated documentation of our Christmas morning.
Natalie woke up first and enjoyed some youtube videos in Micah and my bed until Angela was up.

Then, Daddy carried them down to see if Santa visited us!

We checked out a few special presents from Santa first thing. We chose to open the biggest box, which was a bike trailer for the girls to ride in!

So much candy for breakfast!

We took our time and opened gifts at a leisurely pace- open a gift, play a bit, open another gift, etc. It was nice having nowhere to be and no one expecting us. Also, no reason to shower and get dressed. So, Christmas morning lasted well past lunchtime!

Grandpa's turtle racer gift was a big hit with Natalie

Angela tries to figure it out, until Daddy takes off with it

 Daddy gives a quick physics lesson as he opens his gift from my Dad

 A room full of brand new toys, playing with a box

This was to document Natalie's naughty act- she stole the half-opened toblerone from Micah's stocking and ate off only the tips

after naptime, we decided to go for a bike ride. Angela didn't like it at first, but got some candy to convince her to like it.

We rode to a pretty park a few miles from our home right across hwy 1 on the Indian River lagoon

Was this girl MADE for beach life, or what?

Thanks for the new swimsuits, grandma!

This inexpensive, afterthought to get free shipping on another amazon order ended up being a great gift- a set of magnifying glasses. Dad took her outside to burn ants and burn holes through dried leaves on the back porch while Angela napped.

Micah got a few books to work on his piano skills

We did an effortless dinner- glazed ham and baked potatoes- then Natalie and I got all the blankets and pillows in the house and slept under the tree, falling asleep to Christmas music. It was pretty magical. 

 We were grateful to have a chance to relax and laze around the house and enjoy spending time together. Thanks to all of our friends and family who sent us thoughtful and exciting gifts!