Monday, September 26, 2011


No wonder Tyler's had so much car trouble...

The squirrels have been sabotaging his vehicle. This little guys was under there working for a long time this morning. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

24 weeks

Biking on the trail with Grandma and Cousin Tristen.

Grandma pulling Ana on the chaser and Tali in the trailer.

Trying to get four little kids to pose for a photo. Ha!

The baby bump at 24 weeks. Rollerblading was much easier than pulling the bike train. I bought these roller blades when I was seven months pregnant with Tyler. :)

Stopping to pick up another Wolly Bear. Amanda has caught dozens of these on our walks.

Determined little racers.

My favorite view on the trail. I love this barn especially when the evening sun is shining on it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

July 24-The New Due Date

We are expecting again. (Besides Baby #6 in January.)

Only this time we won't be adding a family member.

We will be saying "good-bye" to one.

July 24 is the day we will be traveling to Fargo to drop off our firstborn son for boot camp.

Eeeek! Wow! Yeah! Yikes! Phew!

It's true. Last week, Tyler signed enlistment papers for the Navy and this week he traveled to Fargo for his MEPS. That's the physical exam process that determines if he's able-bodied enough to serve. What do you know, he is.

For many reasons, I never expected this to be the path he would travel down but in so many ways it makes sense for him. I'm glad he has a plan for after high school. He hasn't been really committed to the acedemic life and he's definitely more of thrill-seeker. he's been a challenge to parent but perhaps really suited for military life. He seems to really need structure and some one challenging him.

He did really well on their entrance exam and they initially wanted him to consider the nuclear engineering program. We were somewhat shocked but really we know he's a smart kid, he just has trouble focusing and doing the hard, mundane work. However, he ended up in the wrong math class last year and instead of moving him, they kept pushing him through even though it was obvious he wasn't getting the concepts. He ended up failing the last quarter and not to mention wasting year not building a math foundation but floudering in a class way above his head.

But that is neither here nor there. He still has his pick of top jobs because of his good score and because he signed up early in the year. He's signed up to do some kind of electrical engineering technical work. I'm sort of glad the nuclear engineering thing passed because,well, nuclear energy is scary stuff. Yes, I was more concerned about him being injured in a nuclear accident after his time in the military than during the time he's actually in the military. Whatever, don't judge me. :)

Much like expecting a baby, I feel like there are still many more months to get through and things could change, but the other night when he was in Fargo, I began to really think about what it was going to like to not have him around. To not talk to him and see him everyday. To have some one else be responsible for him.

I just take things one day at a time. With all my kids. There's no other way to do it. We have no idea what the future holds for any of them.

But my cousin is right. My life is weird. :)

And just like that...

Summer is over.

It was warm enough to go to the beach on Monday morning. By Wednesday morning, we were searching for hats and mittens.

We even needed to bundle up the garden.

I do have hope that it will warm back up a bit but I'm pretty sure it's time to put away the swimsuits.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Garden Update

In the middle of July, my squash were looking pretty meager so I planted some carrots, beans and kale to fill up some of the empty space in my garden.

And then the squash exploded in my garden. They have completely taken over and I have cut back many vines that were escaping from the kennel. I have also tucked many vines and small squash back inside the wires to grow inside the protection of the fence.

But some squash have been growing out where the voracious deer have access to them. I've been concerned that I would get up one morning and find giant bites out of the these rogue squash.

Good squash-growing inside the fence. Bad squash-growing outside the fence.

I was able to find some chicken wire in the shed that should protect them.

I can't wait to cook these babies up. Mmmm! I love buttercup squash! It was the only kind I ever remember my mom growing too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Beach Take 5 with Photos

When we made our first attempt at the beach this year, we went back to my favorite beach from last year. However what worked with two basically immobile babies didn't not work for two toddlers. The rocky shoreline didn't allow for the toddlers to sit on the edge and play in the sand or wade in the water a little ways. So we went back to the beach with the playground. Here's the picture from last year. What I never considered was how all of the rain water from the parking lot washed down this driveway into the lake. There was a small drainage water area but much of that wash-out ended up in the lake.

They completed a huge water quality protection project at the beach this summer and it looks dramtically different. When I pulled up the first time, I couldn't really comprehend the change. I only thought, "Hmmm, something looks different." Now the water from the parking lot drains into this large rain garden.

There is now a dike that surrounds the beach keeping the rainwater from the parking lot and the large lawn from running into the lake. Nice! It's also gated and fenced off. Thankfully this little opening in the fence is just wide enough for the double jogger. See the pine tree? In the photo from last year the babies are sitting right next to it in the shade.

It was a big project and important for protecting the beach and lake.

Mike took us to the beach today which is why I was able to bring the camera too.

I was able to take Amanda out deep to practice some swimming. Then we played for a while on the playground and Amanda wanted to be buried in sand.

Did I ever explain about these yogurt cups? When we had the pool party for Christiana's birthday, the favorite toy was a plastic cup with holes in the bottom that had contained a potted plant. I started collecting our yogurt containers and used a wood burning tool to poke holes in the bottom. We have quite a collection now. I also bring a few without holes to carry water to rinse off Amanda's feet at the car. Once when I told Tony to save the container for a pool toy he said, "What are we poor or something?!" Obviously not, because look at all the yogurt we buy. :)

We know these 80 degree days aren't going to last so we're making the most of them. Mike was reading the forecast and Monday was supposed to have a high of 80 and then the rest of the week was only going to get to 60. Eeek! Am I ready for that? No way!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Misc. Pictures for You

The sun is no longer strong enough to warm up the pool on the back deck so we needed a new activity to do on hot afternoons when we wanted to be in the shade. We set out with a blue tub, shovels and a wagon and went to the areas of wash-outs where there was soft sand on the road edge. It's not much sand but they've enjoyed it and I've experienced enough to decide that we need another back deck activity. Amanda and Ana wear their Lycra swim caps to keep the sand out of their hair. Of course, when the hat falls off for some reason and they use their sandy hands to replace the cap, it defeats the purpose.

The blackberries have been amazing this year. We just walk along our road and find them in the ditches. We've got some in the freezer but most of them we just eat right away. We found a nice little patch along the bike trail too. It's so addicting. I can't resist picking them if I see them. I'm glad their pretty much done because my arms and legs are so scratched up.

Everybody is so excited for food co-op day. Once a month, we get bulk items and produce from UNFI. It's my favorite day of the month.

Mike has to bring home some kind of music maker whenever he stops by the music store with Amanda.

Our three-kid solution for bike rides. Amanda can ride her own bike and I can pull the trailer but my mom brought the chaser and this is the only way for me to take Amanda out on the chaser. Plus, Amanda thinks it's awesome that she's "pulling" the babies. This picture was taken pre-nausea and the train was put away for most of the summer. Now that it's cooler we've taken it out more often. Last weekend we took it out on the bike trail and I pulled while Mike rollerbladed. Next time we'll switch. I wonder which activity is more work.

Sweet Craigslist find for $20. We've taken it to the beach three times now. I can roll it right down to the shore and rinse the girls off and wrap them in their towels. A super solution to the sand problem. It's also so much easier to push on our gravel roads. I no longer cringe when I hear the grader going by considering what a nightmare it is to push to Duo-Glider through soft gravel.

"Daddy's sippy cups."

I think that clears my camera card of the random pictures I wanted to share will you all. The little tidbits that make me smile.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Park with Daddy

I'm thankful my girls have such strong healthy bodies and I'm even more thankful when they can use them for appropriate activites like climbing, jumping and sliding at the park. That is much better than climbing, jumping, and sliding on the couches, tables, stairs, and beds.

The weather has been cooler so going to the part is more enjoyable.

Tali is a pretty spunky do-it-myself-er. She kept trying to walk on the spinning merry-go-round.

Then when she was done she asked, "Hup?" Which is her adorable combination of "help" and "up."

Tali's not the only one who keeps Daddy on his toes wanting to do things herself. Amanda was able to turn herself around and climb down the oppposite side of this climbing structure.

I was pretty shocked to find out that Christiana was able to swing by herself this year. She just seems so young! She enjoys a good push from her sister though. Amanda also learned how to pump herself on the swing this year as well.

Thanks for taking us to the park, Daddy!