Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bunk Beds!

We finally got the boys bunk beds! The frame was from the beds Mike slept on as a kid that had been stored in his parents barn.  The slats for the beds were missing so Mike had to rebuild that but that wasn't too bad. We mixed the blue color from Silas's room (Rowan's old room) with some of the aquarom my room because we didn';t have quite enough.  Mike did the building and I did all the painting.  I love how it turned out! I painted the slats under Rowan's bed different colors so Eli has something cool to look at. I also finished their picture wall.  i've been trying to do it for a montha dn finally got it finished.  The pictures in frames can easily be swapped out (one is empty in the pic but now has an Eli painting in it) Some of the art is from their art class ( big pic top left-Eli. bottom right- rowan {it's a collage of Silas (well a baby) walking across the Grand Canyon!}, the start Rowan made too).
Mike's next project- assigned by me- is to build them a desk.  That'll go where the two tables are behind the fan.  I want it big enough for them both to sit at and think it'll be good to use for homework, lego building, art...and it has to be taller because these boys are growing up!
THey love the bunk beds!

11 Months!

 I can not believe my tiny (ha!) baby is only a month away from being 1 year old!  This year has flown by so fast I can't believe it! Mike and I were just talking about how quickly we've already forgotten about about Rowan and Eli being this age. It is so much fun watching Eli and Rowan with Silas.  They get so excited watching watching him learn new things.


He has 6 teeth (pretty sure he had them last month too). His amber bracelet fell off and was missing for a few days and I swear he was more fussy during that time! Of course, it could have been a coincidence but I'm not taking it off just in case!
He's been saying "Mama" a lot! I think maybe even to me on purpose! The other boys always seemed to say "Dada" first so I'm pretty excited about this :) He's not quite walking but has taken a few steps here and there.  He stands alone a lot (Rowan and ELi get really excited every.single.time) and has really good balance.  He walks along everything and uses the kitchen chairs to walk. He also gets his big brothers to hold his hands and walk through the house. 
He loves to play peek-a -boo and give kisses! He's about the same with food, but he is enjoying smoothies that he drinks with a straw!
We recently started bringing out the wooden train tracks and he loves playing with them!
He also likes to climb in and out of baskets. It's pretty funny to watch :)

Last weekend we went to my cousins house for his son's 8 th grade graduation! Silas got to see two of the babies that are close to his age. One just a few weeks younger and the other about 3 months older. I love seeing babies together at this age!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting ready for kindergarten!!

Yesterday our school had kindergarten orientation for the kids who will be in kindergarten next year. Eli was so excited! We met in the new gym/lunch room where we got some handouts and each kid got a book!
We then went on a walk around the school to find all the rooms that they'll use next year. They got stickers and marked it off on their list when we found it. We also got to spend some time in the two kindergarten rooms. One of them even had a baby chick!

After our tour we went back to the lunchroom and the kids got to practice going through the lunch line! They carried a tray and got to pick a milk and then got a cookie! ( Eli later said that he thought the chocolate milk hurt his tummy and he'd have white next time. I've thought for a while that he might have some dairy issues so we're going to see if we can pinpoint it this summer before he starts being offered milk daily. He's never in his life had that much milk every day so I don't think it'd be good for him. But I'm sure I'll have to find an alternative so he's not upset that everyone else gets milk daily :/)

But he loved the experience. I think he's most excited about getting to eat lunch at school! He already knows several of the kids from preschool so he's happy about that!

Fun Day!

Yesterday was Rowan's last full day of 2nd grade! It is also what his school calls Fun Day!! Fun Day is a day full of different activity stations that the PTC puts on every year. It's fun ( obviously) but also so exhausting. I volunteered for the day and was assigned to Rowan's class and boy was I ready for a drink at the end of the day ( or by lunch time ;)). Teachers really are saints. You kind of forget about all they deal with... I don't think I could handle more than a couple days a year of this. I would not be able to keep my cool at all.

It was fun though. They have a dunking station where the kids got to dunk their teacher! Some different inflatables, relay races, sack races, a photo booth! (My favorite!), kickball, ice cream from local ice cream spot! There was lots of kids arguing and fighting over the most ridiculous things ( seriously, why?!?) but most of it was fun. I loved seeing Rowan with his friends even if he was weird and annoying ;)

Eli goes till the end of this week and then they're home for the summer. :/

Pics of both boys on their first and last day of school this year. It's official, they're growing up!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


A few weeks ago we had some friends over for dinner and when they were leaving ( at 9pm) we walked outside with them and were "attacked" by a cat. He was very beat up, his eye looked horrible and he had several other obvious wounds. He was trying to get really close to us and meowing like crazy. I know I screamed and told the kids not to touch him ( seriously cats can have weird diseases right?). He was not a pretty site. We went in and didn't see him for a few days.

Then he came back ( ironically when we were leaving to go to the same friends house..strange!) we quickly got in the van and left. He was still here when we got home. He still looked rough but then I started to feel bad for him. We tried to ignore him hoping he's go away but when that didn't work we decided to give in and feed him. The kids were still scared of him ( thanks to me) and would run screaming when he tried to get close to them- that was a little funny! I convinced them that he's fine and he just wants some love and food and they quickly fell in love with him.

They named him Freddie and after a few days of feeding him off a paper plate we even gave him real dishes ( Spider-Man bowls my mom bought at the dollar tree- I won't let my kids eat off them but am ok with the cat..). We made him a little bed and moved our benches together so he'd have some more shelter when it rains.

He looks so much better and has fattened up a lot! ( we feed him several times a day since he was pretty malnourished looking). He even got a little bath after Eli rubbed mud on him ( no joke. I don't know what's wrong with that kid) he sat still while mike dumped water on him. He's really calm and friendly. He's climbed our tree a few times and I kind of think he does it to hide from other animals cause he's scared and only does it at night or when we're gone.

Rowan loves holding him ( since I'm allergic we have strict hand washing and clothes changing rules..) but I think mike is the most attached to him.

His other wounds healed nice but his eye still doesn't look good. It was looking better and the other day I could even see the iris (? Is that the colored part?) but now it's looking worse again. I'm hoping its just part of the healing process but it really doesn't look good. I wish we had money to take him to the vet but we just don't right now...he doesn't seem to be in pain though and he eats great so hopefully that'll keep him happy!

Hopefully he sticks around. I know we'd all be pretty sad if he left! ( and yes even I per him! I just scrub my hands and make sure he doesn't touch my clothes!)

I purposefully avoided a good pic of his bad eye. Trust me, it'd not pretty!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Making Maple Syrup!

This was Mike's second year making maple syrup.  He didn't do it last year because of the extremely mild winter it just wasn't a good year.  Since we don't have land (boo!) full of sugar maples, Mike goes to his parents for the weekend and taps trees that are on a friends property (with permission of course). It pretty much takes the whole weekend so I am not really involved (someone has to take care of the baby).  The last time he did it this year, I think it was the 4th tap, I decided to go down and we all stayed at his parent's house.  Usually he collects buckets on Saturday morning and takes them to his parents house to cook it (They built an outside brick stove to cook it and Mike fabricated the metal pan to fit the stove- the stove can also be used as a pizza oven!) he puts the buckets back at the trees and it sits there all week.  Depending on the weather the buckets are full or peobably overflowing by the next weekend.  Mike's system is based on the cheap end now, but eventually we'll probably put more money into it.  It is a lot of work! (and that's coming from me, who really didn't do much...)

The property he tapped is gorgeous! I was imagining living there and our kids running free in the woods..
He uses 5 gallon buckets, most were pickle buckets I believe, with lids. Free! The tubing connects to the tap and he bungees it to the bucket handle so it doesn't fall out.  Next year I'll try to go when he taps so I can take some pictures of that process.

5 gallon buckets full of sap are heavy! This was a fairly steep hill too!  (I did help carry some buckets ;))

Silas hanging out at Mike's parents, this is the day he decided he wasn't scared of the grass so he wouldn't stay on the blanket :(
Mike starting the fire! The top is the giant metal pan he made! 

It takes a long time to get the sap to boil and since there is so much to be added we use a little bucket (white in the pic below) and poke a hole in the side. This allows the sap to be added slow enough that it won't bring down the temp in the pan. It's a long slow process to get it all in! We also used pots to heat up sap on the stove inside the house and then that can be added when it's boiling, or close to it.


Eli counts empty buckets! I forget how many buckets we had... It takes about 40gallons of sap (the liquid straight from the tree) to make 1 gallon of syrup!
Finally! It's done and time to pour off.  It happens really fast and has to get off the heat before it turns to maple candy (I think).  When the syrup is done it gets thick and they put big blocks of ice in the fire to stop it from cooking. We started cooking on Satrurday afternoon and it was done around 8pm Sunday.  It was a loooonnnggg weekend!

 Syrup! We put it in buckets (after a quick icy cool down) and took it home to bottle and can it. We'd just reheat it and then can it.  Eventually he'd like to be able to sell it.  We got enough this year that it probably could last us two years but I know he'll wantto do it again next year ;)  He got 7.5 gallons total!! from the 4 runs.  That's a lot of syrup! I never got a pic of all the jars together. Of course we don't keep it all but we do have quite a bit personally. It would be nice if we could do it all at our house, maybe someday.....