Monday, December 22, 2008

Harvest Time

I love our garden. I know all of you have visions of what a garden should look like. Let me put your minds to rest, mine does not follow the norm. Don't get me wrong. We do grow things but I think it turns more into a science project than an actual producing garden.

When we first moved into our house, it seems we were more excited about planting a garden than just about anything else. So about 2 months after we moved in I went and bought plants and some wood beams to make a bed. I figured if I bought the plants than I would have to hurry and build it or they would die. My dad happened to come to town a day or two later and helped to build a beautiful garden bed and we put it right under my dining room window so I wouldn't forget to water the plants and I could watch them grow. We planted the plants and it looked great. They were all in rows and everything. Then the rain started. Little did we know that we had placed the garden in the one spot in the yard that tends pool when it rains. Needless to say, the garden didn't do very well. I got 2 tomatoes and our okra plants did great. Everything else just kind of rotted on the vine. I figured this was going to be a work in progress.

This last spring we moved the bed to a better place in the yard. We planted summer squash, that did great. We didn't know what to do with all of it. We grilled it and even tried making squash bread out of it. It wasn't very good. I don't recommend it. We planted basil, oregano, cilantro and chives. We also planted 2 tomato plants. The goal of every garden in my opinion is to get the coveted garden tomatoes. At first they wouldn't fruit. There were lots of flowers but they wouldn't fruit. Then when they would fruit, we had stink bugs that would suck them dry. We couldn't seem to get rid of them. By the time we figured that out, it was the end of the season. One day we notices a couple of horned worms, or tomato worms on the plants. They look kind of cool and I can remember my parents having us take them off our tomato plants when we were younger. At this point we had pretty much given up on getting any tomatoes off the plants and we thought we would see what would happen. It took one day and those plants were stripped clean. I couldn't believe the damage those little things could do. Later when we were clearing out the garden Scott found the cocoons of the horned worms. They were huge. They were as long and a little fatter than my thumb. They were also red. So we left them alone. It was something else when the moths came out of the cocoons. It really freaked out dog our. She would bark and bark at the things. I will post pictures when I get them. It was a great learning experience for the kids.

We also planted okra. Scott had saved some seeds from the plants the previous year. We didn't really think they would grow. He went out and scratched some lines in the dirt at the back of the yard and planted them. He planted them just in the sand and the soil wasn't very good at all. I didn't think any of them would take. By the end of the week, we had about 100 okra sprouts. So after the thinning process we were left with about 25 okra which turned into an okra forest, that's what I called it. We had more okra than we knew what to do with. We made gumbo and had fried okra a few times. We tried to give it away but not many people would take it.

We planted carrots in September. I found some seed packets at Walmart they were clearing out for 10 cents. Scott made rows and made sure the loose dirt was nice and high so the carrots would grow nice and long. Then a week later we were hit by Hurricane Ike. I figured that was the end of our carrots. Ike had taken out what was left of our okra. A week or so later the carrots started growing. We had carrot shoots in the grass and everywhere except the tops of those perfect little rows. They were all in the valleys. So we kind of let them do what they were going to do. Another science project. We didn't thin them. We just let them go. Once they got pretty big we started pulling one each Saturday. It sure was a lot of fun to watch them grow and taste them. Then they got bigger and started to grow down into the clay. It sure was hard to get them out of the clay. We harvested them on Saturday. The kids had a great time. Ian even helped. I think he ate more dirt than anything else but he sure loved the freedom to go where he wanted and do what he wanted. He sure needed a bath when he was done. They have even saved 9 carrots for Santa's reindeer. Last night I even made carrot cake with the carrots from the garden. It sure tasted good. Now the garden is waiting for peas to be planted next month. It sure is great to live in a place where we can plant things all year long.

December

I know I haven't written in a long time and I like to blame it on the fact that I can't post pictures. I realized this morning, if I don't write something I am going to forget what we have been doing this crazy month. So here goes. The kids are finally out of school. We have survived the couple of weeks of parties and school concerts and are now in the clear, sort of.

Morgan is now in the performing violin group at school. She has been very excited about this advancement. I was too until I saw the concert schedule for December. She is also in a beginning chorus group from school so on top of the violin concerts, she also had the chorus concerts. To make a long week, short, she had 6 concerts in one week. That doesn't count the night that I had enrichment and had to play my violin for it or the morning that Morgan was in the 3rd grade spelling bee. She did great by the way. She came in fourth. Not bad for her first go around. She wasn't at all happy with her preformance which isn't surprising if any of you have ever met Morgan. She got out on "humidity" of all words and kept saying to me "but I know that word. It wasn't even a hard word." There is always next year. Once I get my computer fixed I will post pictures.

Ian is walking. I don't know how it happens so fast. One day he was cruising along anything that would hold still. The next day he was pushing anything that would move. Now he is leaping fearlessly off anything that will help him stand up and goes for the run across the room. Okay, he doesn't run yet but he has just about made it across the whole living room. That is a long way. He also loves the stairs. If we leave them unblocked for any amount of time, he is there. Then I get my little warning from Emmy screaming, "Mergancy! Mergancy! Ian is on the stairs." He then looks back with sparkles in his eyes of utter delight and goes as fast as he can. The giggling kind of slows him down. We are so lucky to have two kids with the "stinker" gene. His other favorite past time is trying to get into the pantry and eat the dog food. I have tried leaving the dog food outside but the fire ants always seem to find it, even if there was never a mound in the first place. He loves to get in the pantry when no one seems to be watching, and heads straight for the dog food bowl. Then, again, I get my alarm. "Mergancy! Mergancy! Ian's in the pantry." by the time I make it in there, he usually has his mouth full and some in each hand. He screams at me when I take his prize away. When I manage to get his jaws unlocked and the bone shaped food out of his mouth, he quickly puts whatever was in his hand in his mouth as if to say, "That isn't going to stop me, lady." You have to love his determined spirit.

Other than that we are trying to stay sane for the big day that is just around the corner. I am amazed at how quickly children loose their minds this time of year. It is like the excitement of the season makes their little brains short circuit. I'm pretty sure I can figure out now why we try to instill in their brains that "Santa's watching" and "He knows if you've been bad or good." We need all the help we can get.

Monday, December 1, 2008

9 mile run

Okay. I was supposed to run 9 miles the saturday after Thanksgiving. We went to San Antonio for Thanksgiving. Scott has 2 sisters there and his parents and another sister flew in as well. That is all well and good but that meant that I was all alone on my big run and with no idea where to run. I don't know San Antonio very well. My friend Richelle usually sets the route and I only have to show up and be the slowest runner of the bunch. Not hard. This time I had to grow up (I am also the old lady of the running group) and figure it out myself. I did it. I found the greatest running park ever. I ran at McAllister Park. It is basically a park with running trees and biking paths that runs through trees. It has 2 marked cross country paths. One was a 10K which is 6.3 something miles and then there was a 2.2 something mile path. I just didn't know were these paths were or where they started. So I ran about 1.5 miles before I found the trailhead. Then I hit the 6.3 something mile path. It was great. It wound around in the trees and I felt like it was just me in the middle of the wilderness. I saw 15 deer. I can't remember when I last time I saw a dear before that. This park is in the middle of San Antonio. It had the miles marked out so I knew how far I had gone. Then I finished the 10K and I decided to take the 2.2 mile path. So I kept going even though that would have been 10 miles by the time I was done. I figured that I could do it and it would be no big deal. So I did it. I ran the 2.2 mile path thinking it was a loop because the other path was a loop. I was wrong. It just dumped me 2 miles or so away from my car. I was completely lost. This isn't like a normal park where you can see the parking lot. All you can see are trees and then some paths cut through every now and then. So I came to a road and kept walking back and forth thinking that it had to connect. It didn't. So I decided to run back the way I had come. So to make a long story even longer, I decided to cut through some other trails that had people on them so they had to lead somewhere. I ran most of the way and walked some. I finally found the car. I had only been on the trails for 3 hours. I'm pretty sure I ran a total of 11 miles, at least. I couldn't believe it. And it wasn't just straight flat running. There were some hills and rocks and tree roots to jump over and I only tripped once. I am pretty amazed with myself. I'm sure that I have bored the rest of you to tears but I thought that it was amazing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dating

Since my last entry, I have started noticing some changes that come in life with kids. One that has been particularly evident is dating. With 4 kids and Scott's work schedule we don't get to go out very often but with the birthdays this week we did get to go out and it sparked some memories of how things used to be. Let me preface this by saying that this is in no way complaining about my current situation. It is merely an observation on how things change in life. Change is not always a bad thing.

I remember dating in high school or college. I did date and enjoyed going out with friends. I remember the routine would shape almost the whole day. I would set aside at least 2 hours to get ready. I would take a long, hot shower and never forget to shave my legs. I would plan out what I was going to wear. Make sure it fit just right and looked good, even ironing if necessary. Then I would move onto the hair and make-up. That always took time. The hair had to be styled just right and then hair sprayed so it stayed throughout the evenings activities. The make-up took time. I always used foundation and then the rest of the necessary products. Don't forget the coordinating accessories of jewelery and the perfume. You never went out without smelling good. As my father so eloquently put it, "How can the bee find the flower if he can't smell it?"It took time but was always worth the effort. Then whoever it was would come and pick me up. We would have a great time. The hardest thing would be to try to keep the conversation going so there weren't any awkward silences. Then he would drop me then if I was lucky, I would get a goodnight kiss out of the deal.

Fast forward a decade or so.

Going on a date is a delicate balancing act. The hardest part is trying someone to watch 4 kids. Not that I think my kids are naughty or anything. That is just a lot of kids to put someone. Usually I trade with a friend but that isn't quite fair if they only have 1 or 2 kids. It gets a little tricky. Sometimes I get really lucky and someone will volunteer to take them so I can go out for my birthday or something. The whole getting ready routine is completely different. I have to make dinner and I try to take a quick shower while the kids are eating. Who has time to shave their legs? Mind you there is usually someone running into the bathroom to use the toilet while I am in the shower. It doesn't matter that we have 2 other bathrooms and they are all closer than mine. Then I have to tackle the closet. I try to find something thatfits and is clean and not too wrinkly because I never have time to iron. It is also a good thing if I bought it sometime after the first 2 kids were born. If I am lucky I get to put on some eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara. That takes about 2 minutes and I just let my hair air dry. I don't even own hairspray anymore. Then I have to get the diaper bag packed and the kids in the car. I drop them off and then go pick up Scott from work. He never gets done before 7:00. If I remember, I may but on some smelly lotion in the car before Scott gets in. Who needs prefume? Then there is the issue of what to do. We rarely get to see a movie because, lets face it, we don't want to burden our friends with 4 extra kids for longer than is necessary. We usually end up going out to eat. It is really nice to sit at a restaurant and only worry about what I am going to order. While we are waiting for the food to come we welcome the silence. By this point in the day, we are both tired. I end up looking at the kids at the other tables and missing my own, not that I want them there. It seems like we can't go on a date that doesn't end up at the grocery store or Wal-mart. Really, it is quite nice to go there without kids. Then I drop Scott off back at work so he can get his car and I go and pick up the kids. Now, if I am lucky, I don't get a call in the middle from the sitter telling me that someone is bleeding or otherwise incapacitated. And on the way home, the little ones fall asleep. Although, we don't have to say goodbye at the door and we can always watch a movie once the kids are in bed.

Life just marches on. Ready or not. I just thought that it was kind of funny how much it can change without even realizing it. I love my kids and husband and wouldn't trade them for anything.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Okay, to tell the truth, I am struggling a little bit in the whole blogging department since I can't post pictures. My computer gets "hung up" when I try to upload pictures form my camera so you are stuck listening to what I have to say. Either that or just don't read, that is entirely up to you. It is my birthday today. It has been a good day. Ian gave me the best present ever. He slept 12 hours last night starting at 7:45. It was great. I felt great.

I have noticed how the expectations on birthdays have changed over the years. I didn't quite realize how much they had changed until I was having a chat with Emmy this morning. I was making some rolls for a lunch we were going to with some friends and she asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was making rolls for my birthday party and asked her is she wanted to come. Her eyes lit up. "What kind of cake are you going to have?" I'm not sure. "What will your candles going to look like?" I don't know that I am going to have candles. "What is the frosting going to look like?" I'm not sure but I think there will be some frosting. "And there will be lots of presents!" I don't think that there is going to be any presents. She looked at me like I had no idea what a birthday party was all about. Scott made the comment that it was pretty terrible that my friends would have me make rolls for my own birthday lunch. I don't mind making rolls. I rather enjoy it. It isn't hard and I think I am pretty good at it. Then I started thinking. He sure didn't hop out of bed this morning to get the kids off to school so I didn't have to. He didn't think it was crappy that he got to sleep in while I made lunches and took the girls to the bus stop at 6:15am. Life still marches on when you are a mom. I just think a birthday is a great day to guilt my kids into being good for a day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

8 Miles

I did it. I ran 8 miles Saturday morning. For those of you who don't know, I am training to run a half marathon in February. It will be in Surfside, TX and the only marathon/half marathon to be run on the beach. It will be on hard pack sand so it be too hard. There are a few girls from our ward training. I always take on some goal of self inflicted pain to help get rid of the baby weight and this sounded like a good one. I am not much of a runner. My friend Jean and I ran the 5K for race for the cure a couple of years ago and I thought I was going to die. That is only a little over 3 miles. So now I am training to run 13. I run 3 miles three times during the week and then make the big runs on Saturday. It is amazing what your body can do. I must say that the feeling of doing something that you have never done before is great. It is quite the endorphin high. I just have to remember how great is was so I can put up with the sore muscles for the next couple of days. But I did it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Stupid computer or me?

Okay, I know it has been too long since my last post so let me tell you why. I am fighting with my computer and losing. I have been waiting to upload pictures from my camera. Lets face it, the only reason to have a blog is to see the pictures. I can't get my computer to accept my pictures. Every time I try to upload them, my computer freezes up. I thought it was a problem with the software but I have uninstalled it and reinstalled it and it didn't fix the problem. I thought that maybe it was the camera but I don't think that is the case either. I have spent days trying to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. I am at a loss. So I turn to you. Maybe one of you is computer genius and can help me fix my problem. I don't know what else to do other than huck this computer out the window. That wouldn't solve the problem either. I would just have to buy another computer and lets face it, who can afford that right now.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hurricane Ike 2

Here did not get blown away and are still here. I must say that it was a new experience that I hope we do not have to go through again anytime soon. The girls thought that it was a lot of fun and did pretty well. We put a mattress in front of the window in the play room and put a blow up mattress in there for the girls. They were excited for the slumber party. Scott and I stayed in our room and put up a port a crib up for Ian. And then the winds and rain started. I have never heard wind so loud. We could feel it shaking the house. So we stayed awake most of the night wondering what each sound was. It seemed like at any moment, the wind would be too much for the garage door. The kids slept really well. Kennedy got up at about 4am and climbed into bed with us. She fell asleep pretty quickly, although I don't know how. The winds were really blowing hard. Morgan and Emersen slept until 6am and Ian wins the prize and slept until 6:30. By then I had given up hope for sleeping at all and got up. The sun came up shortly after that and we could see the damage. The house came through just fine. No window damage or roof damage and garage door held. The fence did not fare so well. Our wooden fence was blown over. We lost power about 10:30pm the night of the storm. We got off really lucky. May of our neighbors had roof damage. A couple of our trees were blown over as well but not bad enough that they couldn't be saved. We got power back at 4pm. We were really lucky. There are still over a million people without power. I kind of feel guilty that we are sitting in our air conditioned house while most of Houston in sweating it out. The girls have been out of school all week and we are waiting to see if they get to go back on monday. I think they are ready to get back to the normal way of life.

Scott's office didn't fare so well. His window got blown out and from what I hear it looks like a bomb went off in there. We are still waiting to see what comes of that. But for now, I am enjoying having him at home with me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Here we are waiting for our little friend to visit. For those of you who don't know, we are waiting for hurricane Ike to show his ugly little head. It has been very interesting to watch and wait as this storm has gotten closer and closer. We evacuated when the last hurricane threatened to hit Houston about 3 years ago and that was not a pleasant experience. We have decided to stay here and wait out the storm. If it looks like the power will be out for a while then we will go stay with one of Scott's sisters in San Antonio. Right now we are at the wait and see stage. School is canceled for tomorrow so I'm sure the girls will be happy about that. We are okay on all of our supplies so I think we will be fine. This morning I went out to get the last minute batteries and things but I think we are good. I am kind of excited to see what this storm brings. It is the first time I have ever seen anything of this magnitude. Ike will be at a Cat 3 when it hits so they say. It could get as bad as a Cat 4 but we'll have to wait and see. I will keep you posted as to what happens with the storm. Keep us in your prayers just in case this thing really packs a punch.

Friday, August 29, 2008

School Bus

It was a very exciting day today. The girls got up early and we headed to the bus stop and this is the only end of the bus that we saw. We missed out first bus. Sometimes mom's don't know everything. We had some tears when we realized we had been standing in the wrong place and the bus had left without 2 very excited girls. I told them not to worry because they would get to ride it home. And they sure did get to ride it home. They were pretty happy about it too. So was I. I have to say it sure took a lot of stress out of the day. I didn't have to drive in traffic or fight carpool lanes or crazy people who do it wrong. I got to stay at home. Ian actually got to take a nap in his bed this afternoon. I got dinner started. We left the house to get the girls and about a half a block from the stop my phone rang. The bus was early. I was there and back in about 5 minutes. This is amazing and why didn't I start this last year when I had the new baby. What was I thinking? (or not thinking) We'll see what they have to say about it on tuesday when they ride it to and from school.
The other big news is Kennedy got a stay at home cello today. She is so excited. For those of you who don't know, Kennedy plays the cello and has had to take it to and from school everyday for the last 2 years. It is a great set up with backpack cases and everything. It sure is cute watching them walk with them on. Anyway, she now doesn't have to do that everyday and she is so happy. She doesn't have to pack and unpack a cello at least twice a day. Yeah, Kennedy!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day back to school. Needless to say Morgan and Kennedy were very excited. Morgan thinks that third grade is the best ever and Kennedy thinks she is wrong because second grade has to be the best. After school, we went for some ice-cream with some friends. It was a nice cool treat for a hot day and a good way to end the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Kid grow too fast

I just think this is the cutest picture ever and I wanted to share it with you. I just can't believe how fast they grow. My babies are growing up way too fast. I wish I could slow things down for a day or two.

Kennedy turns 7.

July 26, Kennedy finally turned 7. We had a great day. She got to open her presents and Aunt Leslie we even here. We spent the day at the beach and I forgot to take my camera, but we still had a lot of fun.
She was very excited for everything, especially her cake.
There is just something about blowing the candles out of your own special order cake that just seems to make the day.
Then again, eating it isn't that bad either. Happy birthday sweetheart.
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Swimming lessons

I finally caved and enrolled the girls in swim lessons this summer. They loved it. Emmy couldn't have been happier to swim with her teacher Anna everyday. She got to kick and put her face in the water.

Her favorite was jumping in the deep water all by herself and swimming back to the side on a noodle.
Kennedy learned a lot of new things. She got a lot stronger and learned to swim freestyle, back stroke, breast stroke and a little side stroke.
She especially liked swimming with the turtle shell on her back, even though she didn't need it.
Morgan did great in her class. She learned all her strokes and swam laps everyday. She also learned boat safety and floated with life jackets.

She also learned how to help get big people out of the water if they need help.
The best part about swim lessons was that Kennedy finally passed the swim test. We go to the YMCA and they have a water slide at their pool. In order to go on the slide you have to be able to swim a length of the pool all by yourself without touching the side or the bottom. Kennedy has been trying so hard for the last year and she finally did it. Way to go Kennedy!

The circus came to town.



We are lucky to love in Houston. There are some great summer reading programs here. The kids signed up with the public library and read 10 books each and got ticket to go to the circus. It was a great deal. The seats we got were $30 seats. I didn't realize it was so expensive to go to the circus. So thanks to the City of Houston we got to go the the circus for free. We got to see the tigers do lots of cool things.
The elephants were amazing.
It was fun to see people shot out a cannon.
And best of all, we got to do it with our good friends.

Doing laundry is fun to do.

I just love doing laundry. Especially when I have a cute little helper like this guy.

Emmy loves being a girl

When Aunt Lynette came to visit she brought some presents for her birthday. Emmy loved every single one of them. It had hair clips and necklaces. Rings and barrettes.
But best of all, it had makeup.

You can see that she loves being a girl. And what a pretty girl she is too!

Fun with cousins

This July we were lucky to have some cousins visit all the way for Juneau, Alaska. We got to take them to Galveston for a few days and we had a blast. Ian went to the beach for the first time and loved it. I think he ate more sand than he had on him at the end of the day.
Emmy loves to build sand castles. What could be better than getting dirty and swimming?
Kennedy just loves the water. Can't you tell.
We also got to go to Schlitterbaun which is a huge water park that has something for all ages. At the end of the day we took this picture and couldn't believe that we managed to go to a park like this with 10 kids and no one got lost.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

ABC's by Emmy

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I had to add one more of Emmy's greatest. Isn't she the smartest thing ever.

Itsy Bitsy Spider

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I just love this age. This is why kids are great. We love Emmy's singing. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Emmy's 3rd birthday

Emmy had a birthday on the 11th and she couldn't have been happier. She waited a long time for it to finally be her "birsday "and it finally came. She got some dressup clothes and other fun things.
She had a few friends over and had a little Dora party. They went throught the playdoh puddles among other things to get to Emmy's party.

I think her favorite part was blowing out the fire on her cake.

She worked really hard at it. Happy birthday Emmy.
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4th of July

We had a great 4th of July. We started the day at a ward breakfast and fun run. Some of you might be thinking that doesn't sound like so much fun in Houston in July. I thought it sounded like fun and Morgan and Kennedy were excited to do it as well. So we packed everyone in the car and headed to the church to be there by 7am. It was a lot of "fun". Morgan cried the first half and Kennedy cried the second half. Morgan ran about 100 yards a decided that it wasn't so much fun. After the halfway mark I had to drag Kennedy throught the rest. But we made it. They thought that it was great because the runners got to be first in line for breakfast.

Morgan's thought that the next time we should take the car on the fun run. I like this picture of Emmy and her best friend Jake with Ian looking on.


We went to the parade after that. We really like to go to the parade. The kids think it is great and almost as good as Halloween because they throw candy and give out necklaces and all sorts of free stuff. We thought the Deloreans were the coolest part. There were like 8 of them in a line. Pretty cool. Happy 4th.


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