Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A bit of promise

I see in these tomatoes a bit of promise....of tomato sauce, bruschetta, salsa, caprese salad, and hopefully at some point cans in the pantry for the winter. We are finally getting some ripe ones and they are DELICIOUS! We have had some eaten by something, either bunnies or bird, so we've picked the lower ones early and have them sitting on the windowsill and in bowls in the kitchen. My worry is that they will all ripen while we're away. We have a few neighbors who will hopefully pick them for us. I'm so glad I learned to like tomatoes.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grand Caverns

This structure is called the elephant and is in a room called the zoo. There was a keeper, an alligator, a turtle, and a shark.

This is called the red room.

We took the kids to Grottoes yesterday, about a 15 minute drive south, to see Grand Caverns. I was amazed by how beautiful it all was. The pictures really don't do it justice at all! Peyton walked almost the entire 1.5 miles and Liam had to be carried most of the time. Both kids really enjoyed it, but Peyton really was excited by it all. She was right behind the tour guide for most of it and kept saying that she wanted to go explore the smaller tunnels and pathways. Who knows, maybe she'll be a spelunker someday! Kids ages 6 and under were free and Mark and I got a big discount because we're Harrisonburg residents. It was a great and inexpensive way to spend the day. After the tour we changed our clothes and waded in the river for a while. The caverns are in a park with picnic tables, a mini golf course, and access to the river. They have a bike path that we'd like to explore at some point too. It's amazing to think that all of this exists underground. It's really quite awesome.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Kids are Funny

So yesterday was Peyton's kindergarten doctor appointment. They assessed her and filled out paperwork that I have to take to the school. She had to pee in a cup as a part of this appointment, the first time she's had to do this. She was so nervous about it so I talked to her about it before we went. We get there and head to the bathroom and she does it, no problem. So I told Liam to go ahead and sit on the potty before the appointment so I wouldn't have to leave the room. He looks at me and says, "Where's my cup? I want to pee in a cup too."

I went into Peyton's room the other day after rest and she had all of her Barbie dolls sitting in chairs in a circle. In the center of the circle was a doll couch with her Ariel doll lying down on it. I told her it was an interesting arrangement and asked what they were doing. She said, "They're having a funeral." I asked what they were doing at the funeral and she said, "They're praying." I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. We have some pretty funny kids.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Richmond Trip

We spent the last few days in Richmond with my mom and as usual, it was a busy trip. We always pack a lot into a few days. We did spend some time just hanging out at her house, which was nice. We visited some cousins, took a trip to the Metro Richmond Zoo, went to church, and had family portraits done. The zoo was probably the highlight of the trip. The weather was overcast and cool and it was a perfect day to be there. The kids loved seeing all of the animals and had a hard time naming their favorite that day. My favorite was the orangutan. She was incredibly funny and sat by the edge of the moat and made faces at us. We also really loved the baby monkey.

We are home for about a week before we make a trek to the beach. We have a lot of stuff to do in the next week, 3 swimming lessons, a kindergarten doctor's appointment, celebrating Peyton's birthday early, a planning meeting for church, a VBS wrap up meeting, etc. Today I'm just trying to work on menus for this time at home and for the beach. I'm also trying to get our house cleaned up. It's a mess already and we've been home less than 24 hours! The one true thing in my life is this: NEVER a dull moment!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden/ Fresh Produce

Things have been difficult over the past two days. I've had to deal with some major tantrums and drama from the kids, but today has been a great day. They've both been calm and fairly obedient. We've had a few arguments and fights, but nothing like the ENORMOUS tantrums that both of them threw this week.

We are really enjoying the summer, even in all of its busyness and travel. We are trying to buy most of our veggies locally or eat the ones growing in our garden. We have sweet baby tomatoes in 6 varieties that are so close to being ripe. We also have a bunch of delicious green beans that we've enjoyed from the garden. We're going to plant more next year because we only planted two bushes and they're practically gone. I bought a bunch of green beans from local produce stands and have them frozen for winter. I also froze blueberries and strawberries and some broccoli. We're going to attempt to can tomatoes and applesauce this year. I did strawberry and blueberry freezer jam and might can those next year if it's easier to do.

I love living a more "simple" life when it comes to our food. We have eaten out on the deck a lot and are enjoying that time with the kids. I crave that slow time. It sure it better than constantly being on the go. Every summer we try to limit the activities we do and we still end up busy and running around like crazy. At least the things we are doing are fun!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Granna with half of her grandkids

While we were waiting for Mark and Laura to bring the cars, the kids played on this polar bear sculpture. It didn't take long before they all wanted to sit on it. This is a very rare picture where all of the kids are actually looking at the camera! Hmmmmm, maybe we can photoshop the other grandkids into this picture! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I am trying to keep a positive outlook and be mindful that my time with the kids is really limited (in the span of their lives), but seriously, they are going to make me crazy. They just nitpick and fight and argue and scream blood-curdling screams that make Randy go run and hide in the backyard. This summer has forced them to be out of any real routine and they are suffering for it. I try to keep lunch/ rest times around the same time each day and that helps, but they are just so mean to each other.

Today I sat down to eat lunch first and told them that I would make theirs after I had eaten. I was so hungry and needed to get my blood sugar up pronto and so I figured I'd heat up some leftovers and eat quickly. I had to get up at least twice to tell them to knock it off (the fighting) and then I had to deal with their whining that it wasn't fair that I was eating and that they were starving. I feed them first every day. I always wait because inevitably as soon as I sit down to my lunch, I have to get up to get them more food or to refill their drink. My food ends up cold and I'm frustrated and hungry and cranky, so I just usually wait. I cannot believe how selfish they can be. I guess that's the nature of most children. We cater to them and do everything for them and so they don't understand what it means to patiently wait for things. Mark and I often tell them they have to wait and we remind them of the things we do for them that they forget, but I guess we need to do it more.

Anyway, here's my perspective, a picture of Liam blowing a spit bubble that is funny, even though it's kind of gross! I keep thinking, they're only little for so long and pretty soon they won't even want me around. They'll be too independent for me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

It's July already!

Liam swims solo in the baby pool
Like father/ like daughter - they both LOVE knawing on a chicken bone

Using the "float boat" to paddle around the baby pool

Fireworks in McIntire Park - I used my old point and shoot for this one
I cannot believe it is July 6th. Vacation Bible school was incredibly fun and busy and I had a ball, but I'm glad to have less to do this week. Peyton resumed swimming lessons today. Her instructor could tell she had been practicing, but she was also really silly and wasn't listening to him very well. I hope that won't continue, that she'll listen and be learning. She is not a natural in the water like Liam. She expects to be perfect and be able to swim without having to practice, so we keep reminding her that it takes time and practice to be a great swimmer.

We spent July 4th in Charlottesville with my sister-in-law's family and with Mark's parents. We went to the pool and then watched fireworks. We had a great time, but we didn't get home until after 11:30 and on Sunday the kids were exhausted. They were supposed to sing in front of the congregation, but Liam rolled around on the floor until I picked him up and Peyton sat on the steps with a glazed look on her face. Liam fell asleep on my lap and slept through the service, then he took a 3 hour nap that afternoon. Even Peyton stayed in her bed during rest time and read books quietly. They are still catching up and hopefully will be back to "normal" soon. Liam's sleepiness results in really ugly behavior and disobedience and it's really been a struggle!