Busy, Busy, Busy

It has been a busy week!  We have had some sort of kid activity each day this week.  Monday there was the Cub Scout Christmas party and J’s drum lesson.   Tuesday, was Boy Scouts plus J had his band concert for school.  Wednesday we had the American Heritage Girls Christmas party for my daughter, A.  Thursday we had the Christmas band performance for R and T.  Today R and T are doing a field trip for MRDD that I will attend so that I can see the performance as my husband went last night.

I am soooo ready for the weekend!  I need a little down time.

R performing at the MRDD concert.

R performing at the MRDD concert.

T with a "Santa" belly performing at the MRDD concert.

T with a “Santa” belly performing at the MRDD concert.

L slept through most of the concert.

L slept through most of the concert.

A loves all kinds of concerts.

A loves all kinds of concerts.

Reading to A before bedtime.  Our new routine is that A holds L during her story.

Reading to A before bedtime. Our new routine is that A holds L during her story.

S in his school Christmas program.  He is holding the heart.

S in his school Christmas program. He is holding the heart.

S freezing at the Cub Scouts Christmas party.

S freezing at the Cub Scouts Christmas party.

A at her American Heritage Girls Christmas party.

A at her American Heritage Girls Christmas party.

Only 4 school days until Christmas vacation!!!  Have a great weekend!










I’m feeling a little more energized, my kids…not so much!

I am feeling a little better.  I have been getting to bed earlier (because of my husband making me) and I believe it has made a slight difference in my energy levels throughout the day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready for the Olympics or anything, but I am able to be up and productive more than when I was last pregnant.  Baby steps, right!

The change in weather has been hard on the kids.  J is tired, M, my usual allergy kid is doing fine (go figure), R is fine, T has lost his voice, has a sore throat, and tons of snot, S had a really sore throat, but it is finally better, and A has a runny nose, crazy voice, and sore throat.  So far hubby and myself are doing okay.

I am glad it is Friday so we can relax and take it a little bit easy and let everyone hopefully recover over the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a local tractor show.   They had old tractors, a tractor pull, old-fashioned corn shucking, and old-fashioned wheat threshing.  My husband and I took all but J who had to work.  Most of the kids hated it, but my husband and I really enjoyed seeing the tractors and the old-fashioned machines.  My husband took my FIL in a wheelchair the next day because he thought he would like to see the older tractors and such.  He loved it!  They were there all afternoon.  My husband said that he couldn’t get him to leave!  That was great because he doesn’t get out much!  Here are a few pictures of our trip:

My husband, FIL and S in front of an old Farmall H tractor.

Watching the tractor pull.

T, S, and FIL in front of an Oliver crawler.

Most of the kids and me in front of another old tractor. Can you see their enthusiasm?!

My husband really wanted that truck! Thankfully it wasn’t for sale.

The two little kids couldn’t believe how big tractor tires can be!

Enjoying a snack while watching the wheat being threshed.

Kings Island Pictures

Last weekend was my husband’s company fun day at Kings Island.  My older 4 have season passes that they got at Christmas so they have been there several times this year. My youngest two kids ages 7 and 5 were super excited to go as this is their only trip this year.  They had it all planned out….get there when it opens and stay until it closes.

My plan was a little different.  At 28 weeks pregnant I was hoping to survive and with any luck get out of there before closing.

We arrived shortly after opening and we split up into big kids and little kids.  The big kids went on a couple of rides together, but when we met back up, we found out that kid #3 and kid #4 weren’t getting along.  We then split up with Dad and the boys on one team and Mom and the girl on the other.

A and I went around Kiddy Land for hours.  She wanted to do all of the rides.  There aren’t many places to sit down, and the lines were fairly long in the afternoon.  My legs and back were getting pretty sore and tired.

We met back up with my husband and boys and my older son R took my daughter A into Dinosaurs Alive.  It was a Godsend.  I was able to sit and rest and stretch my back and legs for the 45 minutes that they were in there.  My husband and I talked and S, our 7-year-old  rode every single ride that he was tall enough to ride.  He rode the Drop Zone,  the Beast, the Vortex and the Windseeker.  He is most proud of doing is the Drop Zone!

After the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit we split back up and back to Kiddy Land we went.  A rode all of the rides that she was tall enough to ride.  We started to see all kinds of people with face painting.  I heard earlier that it was free all day, but the lines were long.  Anyway my daughter decided that she wanted to get her face painted.  We waited in line for an hour and she didn’t complain once.  She really wanted to get it done.

Anyway I sort of got my wish because we did get out of there 15 minutes before closing!  It was a great day, everyone had a lot of fun.

Here are some pictures from our day.

A, the pink kitty, with glitter of course!

S relaxing in the wagon.

M, S, and T on Congo Falls.

Here I am sitting while the kids were in Dinosaurs Alive.  I feel like my belly is bigger than that!  It certainly feels bigger than it looks.

S and A riding the Great Pumpkin Coaster.

Family Reunion

A, my little sweet tooth!

We had a great time at our family reunion last weekend.  The kids got to see some of their cousins that they only get to see once a year, and their favorite cousins that they see a little more often.

We rent a Pavillion and each bring a covered dish.  We have to travel about 3 1/2 hours to get there, but the kids were excellent in the van.  Having unlimited electronics definetly helps.  We had a few technical glitches that caused some frustration for our 5 year old, but otherwise everyone was awesome.

We arrived a little bit later than I wanted because we ran in 3 different sets of orange barrels.  Bummer!

They have a pool at this community center, so the kids love it.  They swam for quite a while.  Pools are great for kids.  They just never seem to get tired!

It was nice to see some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins that I don’t normally get to see.  There wasn’t a great turnout this year.  It seems if we do it on Saturday people have to work, and Sunday doesn’t get a good turnout either.  We prefer Saturday so that we have Sunday to recover before the week starts again!

My dad has 10 out of 13 siblings alive and 9 made it to the reunion which was a really good turnout.  My grandma will be 93 in a few days.  She couldn’t make it because she wasn’t feeling well.  I hope she feels better soon.

It was great to see my parents, I haven’t seen them much as of late (because of all of our kids activities) and summer vacation is pretty much a free for all.  They look great!  I need to see them more and talk to them more, but it’s hard with my plate so full of kids, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls, school, drum lessons, etc.  Thankfully they understand my situation and are glad whenever I call or visit!

Here are a few pictures at the pool!

A swimming with a lifejacket. I am getting too large to get in the pool without causing a scene!

S trying to learn how to dive off of the low diving board. He is not good at diving yet, but he can do a heck of a belly smacker!

Cousin R, having fun in the pool with our kids!

T telling me about his latest dive.

More fun in the pool.

R and A having fun together.

Cousin B, jumping off of the diving board.

We Are All Back Under One Roof

Yesterday at about noon, I picked my 3 big boys up from their week away at Boy Scout summer camp!  I hadn’t seen them for 10 days.  My sewing retreat was the Thursday through Sunday before.  They left on Sunday morning.  I got home Sunday about noon.

They are so worn out.  They came home dirty and hungry, so it must have been a fun trip!  I forgot to take pictures, but they looked like they had not slept and were filthy!   They said that there was plenty of food.  That is good, some years they complain that they just couldn’t get enough to eat.  They do have an outpost where you can buy junk food, but they said it wasn’t enough.  This year, it was the last week at this camp, so it was no-holds barred on the food.  All three boys said that they got their merit badges that they intended to get, but we won’t officially find out until our September meeting.  Our troop takes the month of August off!  I am so happy.  We can get school started for a couple of weeks without Scouts as a distraction.

When they got home, each went through their scout stuff and the washing machine began.  All showered and ate, and it was just like they never left.  The bickering started, the chaos resumed, the rude comments were free-flowing.  They of course were TIRED…no patience for the little ones who missed them for the past week and no appreciation for the $900 or so that their hardworking Dad paid for this trip.

Sometimes, I wonder if we get anywhere in this journey of parenting.  I often think that here we are 16 years into this parenting thing and this is all the farther that we have gotten!  Sad at times.

My oldest wasn’t the problem yesterday, so there is hope.  It was mostly M, the 14-year-old and R, the 13-year-old, so hopefully this is something they will outgrow.  I remember J, my 16-year-old being so very tired and grumpy too.

On the bright side, they told me that they love my cooking and camp food is nothing like eating at home!

All three of the older ones are still sleeping at 9:17 this morning, so maybe they will wake up in a better mood.  Let’s hope!

2012 4H Judging And Results

S getting judged on his Cloverbud project for 4H. He did tornadoes.

It is that time of year again, when the kids scramble to put the final touches on their 4H projects.  Some do better than others.  Some are pretty much ready to go…some still need a kick in the pants to get theirs finished before the “show and tell” that our 4H club does the week before fair.

S pictured above was the most prepared this year.  Granted he is a Cloverbud.  But he knew from the beginning of the year that he wanted to do tornadoes and he didn’t waver.  He did his poster board without complaining and he loved the 2-2 liter bottle tornado that he made.  My husband would tell all of the kids to work on their projects and S would dutifully go and swirl the tornado over and over, never tiring of watching the tornado water transferring from one bottle to the other!

J my oldest did Teen on the Road to Financial Success. He got 1st place.

J also did Grill Masters. He got 3rd.

J did a pretty good job of getting ready for the judging for Grill Masters.  He grilled a lot this summer.  I think he learned a lot about charcoal grilling.  It wasn’t always easy.  Charcoal can take a while to master.  Timing was his biggest issue.  He of course got better with each grilling session.

Teens on the Road to Financial Success was good for him.  There was a really thick book to fill out.  The judge commented that they were surprised that the entire book was completed.  I guess a lot of kids get bored with it and never finish the book.  He also had to make a poster to put on display at our fair.  He got 1st place and qualified for State Fair!

T (in the red shirt) getting judged on Collections.

T collected “GoGo’s” little plastic figures that all of his friends trade back and forth.

T did Collections this year.   He was one of the last to get his work completed.  We were sticking those GoGo’s on 2 days before judging.  He really enjoyed going to the judging as adults and kids were asking about his project.  He got to feel what it is like to have a good project.  I think that good “feeling” will stick with him for some time.  He got second place!

R finishing up with the Welding judge. He got 7th in Welding.  He made the black stand in the picture above.  It is a stand to hold a forge that he is working on.

R did Welding and Creative Writing.  I didn’t get a picture of him with his paper.  It was a short story.  He was in the Jr. category because he is under 14.  He finished 4th in his category!  R had some problems with his welding project.  He chose some thin welding material for his stand and then he didn’t practice enough with his “beads” on this material.  He burned through the metal on some of the welds on his project.  He also had some ugly “beads” from not practicing enough.  He was ticked that he got 7th, but my husband and I were surprised that he even placed.  He rushed through the entire welding process and doesn’t strive for perfection.  He is in a hurry to get it done, without care for how it turns out.  These are things to work on for next year!

M getting judged in Creative Writing.

M really enjoyed the Creative Writing category.  His paper was just below the 2,000 word limit.  He worked diligently at it until it was completed.  He thought he did an awesome job.  The judge said it was one of the best that she read this year, and…he didn’t place.  He was pretty upset.  He was in the Sr. category which is 14-18 year-olds.  He is 14, so one of the younger in the category which is a disadvantage.  We talked with him about how to improve for next year because he said he wants to do it again next year.  For example, he didn’t have us proof-read for errors.  He didn’t have us read his paper and give suggestions, etc.  I think not placing when you think you will is a good, but hard, life lesson.  There is competition out there and you have to work really hard to get what you are going after in this world.

M getting judged in Getting Started in Art. He got 5th place!

M also did Getting Started in Art.  He worked on a Pointillism picture.  This is a work that you do all in dots.  Up close it looks like dots, but as you back away it looks like a picture that was colored with colored pencils.  He got 5th place.  He was a little disappointed, but thankful to place after not placing in the Creative Writing category.

A wasn’t old enough for Cloverbuds yet, but she is talking already about what she will do next year!  Girls are so different than boys.

Cleaning Out The Chicken House

It is that time of year again…time to clean out the chicken house.  I follow the deep method for dealing with all of the chicken manure.  We clean it once a year and in between we use pine shavings and rake them around with the manure to keep things dry and not caked down.  We clean it in the hot summer because there are lots and lots of wheelbarrows full of manure that have to be pushed to our chicken compost area near the garden.  Our first year of cleaning out the chicken house, we tried in the spring when the ground was still wet.  Big problem.  The wheelbarrow kept getting stuck in the mud and spilling and making even more of a mess.  Now, the summer is super hot, but it is better than the spring.

J and R wanted to go to a 4th of July celebration, so my husband who had already planned a day of fun…not, work instead because of the storm, said if they wanted to go to the party they had to clean the chicken house.  He advised them to get up early to avoid some of the heat that we have been having.  Lo and behold…they got up early and when I got up at 7:30 they were already out there and working!

5 hours later it was completely cleaned out.  The shelves were cleaned off and they had used the shop vac to suck up all of the dusty cobwebs that had formed.  They were a hot sweaty mess, but they did an awesome job!  They smelled horrible of course, but a shower took care of that.  My oldest said that he could still smell the chicken manure on his hands even after the shower.  I have had that too.  I have kept washing my hands to no avail.  You just have to let the stink wear off!

I am so glad to have that job off of my list.  Normally, I would do this job myself or with help from a child or two, but I’m not allowed to lift right now, so I was completely hands off.  It is amazing what the kids CAN do if they want to.  Having a party hanging over their heads is a good motivator.

J using the shop vac to clean off the shelves and cobwebs.

R waiting for his turn on the other shelf.

The super awesome shelf that my husband and R made for me as a brooding shelf that is able to be put out-of-the-way when not in use. Here it is folded up and out-of-the-way.

Here is the super awesome shelf in the down position where I use it as a brooding area for chicks. The chains on either side support the weight of the equipment and chicks with no problems at all.

Going through all of the equipment and washing everything. Checking for lost or missing parts and checking things out to see what replacements we need.

Our chicken manure compost pile. We use the same place every year as it kills the grass because it has so much nitrogen in it. We let it age for about 9 months before we can use it in our square foot gardens. We keep it open, because our chickens will come over to peck and scrape it and stir it up as it ages.

We used the aged chicken manure from last year in our newest garden box this year.  My husband put in a 4 ft. by 12 ft. box for me for our vining plants to try to keep them off of the grass so that we can still mow.  It is working somewhat, but not as well as we intended because the plants in there are growing like crazy.  No kidding.  In the box we put the old chicken manure from last year.  Rabbit droppings which can be put straight in the garden from their cage with no aging.  A lot of ash from our burn pile which I read somewhere is good for the garden and topped it with the Miracle Grow potting soil, and wow, this is the best garden box we have ever had!  I will have to post a couple of pictures of when we planted to now so that you can see the difference.  Amazing!