Posts tagged ‘family’

September 19, 2013

Just call me Noah {part 1}

It’s been a crazy last few months!  On April 19, 2013 a major flood hit our area.  It all started on Friday and the kids were at school.  I knew the river was higher than I’d ever seen it, but never anticipated just how it would affect our family.  While sitting in the living room, I happened to notice my neighbor talking to the mail carrier.  Then the mail truck turned around and headed back the way she came.  Odd.  So I went out to check in with my neighbor.  He said the road was flooded and asked if I needed help getting stuff out of our basement.  I told him the Hubs would be home to help me after work, but thanks.  My concern grew, though, when he insisted, telling me I wouldn’t have time.  Yikes! He and I worked quickly to pull everything from the basement floor up into the living room.  Then I grabbed my camera and assessed the situation. Here’s what I saw.


Um…yeah. I started to freak out a little bit. I called the Hubs and told him he needed to come home right away. In the meantime my sister-in-law offered to let us come spend the weekend with them until the flood waters receded, so I started throwing stuff into bags for the kids and myself.  Since I was getting more and more anxious the longer I waited, I decided to go pick A and M up early from school.  The Hubs stayed back to continue moving stuff up and out of the basement.  By the time I left to head to school, the water on the other street out of the neighborhood was up to the bottom of my van.  I kept telling the Hubs to hurry up or he’d get trapped and not be able to drive out of the neighborhood.  Finally, at about 6:00pm he left {WAY too late in my opinion} and just barely made it out!
We enjoyed our impromptu sleepover with my brother and his family – A and M loved spending time with their cousins 🙂
Saturday morning we heard from one of our neighbors that the water rose a ton overnight and that our barn/garage was under a foot of water.  The roads were impassible without a boat.  The Hubs and my brother went over to the house to continue working on moving stuff and when they got there they realized that our chickens were trapped!  The water was actually waist-deep in the back yard and the door to the chicken coop was completely submerged, trapping the chickens up on their roosting bar.  Poor girls!  Fortunately the Hubs was able to save all 7 of our little ladies and canoe them to safety.
The great chicken rescue!
Sunday was the day the river crested, and our house was surrounded by water and the basement was completely full, 1 stair step away from reaching our first floor.  We never anticipated the water getting so high and we didn’t get anything off of the ledges around the basement walls, so all of my canning jars and a bunch of other stuff was floating in the nasty flood water.  Ugh!
We weren’t sure when we’d be able to get back into our house, so we packed up a bunch more stuff and headed  to the in-laws’ house.  They had just left for Florida for a week, so it was the perfect time for us to move in and settle in for a while.  Little did we know just how long that while would be…
May 9, 2012

2 + 3 = Piece of cake. 5 + 6 = Mass exodus & chaos

A few days after Max and Ruby joined our little family, we added 3 Ameraucanas.  These chickens are also sometimes called “Easter Eggers” because they lay blue, green and sometimes pinkish eggs.  I was excited to get these super-cool egg layers, but after how the first chickens went, I was SO nervous to introduce these chicks to the other two!  Pounding heart, sweating…the works.  I let the first of the three newbies out.  She took a step out…another step…and another step.  And nothing!  So I tried the other two.  Same thing!  Seriously?!  They made the adjustment perfectly – never an attempt at escape at all.  Francis, Blue and Gloria quickly became our favorites 🙂  Watching “Chicken TV”, as I call sitting in a lawn chair outside the pen, immediately took the place of watching actual TV.  It was amazing to see their personalities or temperaments come out and to see first hand that “pecking order” is a real phenomenon.  Max definitely wanted the three new chickens to know the she was here first. And Ruby is Max’s little sidekick.  Even though Max and Ruby are smaller than the Ameraucanas, they’re scrappy!
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Meet Francis – she’s a light orangy brown with white accents.  She is our most social hen.  I was trying to take pictures of each of the hens and each time, she’d pop into the shot!  She’s plump, friendly and lays a pale peach colored egg.

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This is Blue {I’m pretty sure M named her with another Nick Jr. cartoon in mind}.  She’s brown and has some really cool yellow and black tipped feathers around her neck.  She’s mild all the way around.  Not social, but not shy.  She doesn’t peck on anyone and doesn’t do much of anything that would elicit pecking from Max or Ruby.  She lays a mint green egg.

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This photo of Gloria doesn’t show how glorious she looks.  She’s mostly grey and greyish brown with some yellow and black feathers around her neck.  I think she’s so pretty!  She lays a pretty blue egg.

For a week we totally enjoyed spending time watching, caring for, hanging out with and giving personalized attention to our small flock of 5.  They all looked different and were very easy to tell apart.  Our chicken livin’ was just so sweet.  And then we added 6 more birds to the flock.  Yep–welcome to the crazy coop.  I immediately lost track of who was who and the new 6 chicks immediately started trying to escape.  At least the Hubs was home when all this was going on.  An extra long roll of bird netting and a hundred zip-ties later, our yard was covered and the girls were trapped {bwa-ha-ha!}.

I’m happy to report that all the girls have settled in nicely now and I’ve even learned to tell all 11 apart!  {Max, Ruby, Francis, Blue, Gloria, Daisy, Penny, Larae, Chloe, Thelma, and Lizzie} Here they are chatting around the water cooler.

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CY told me that Amish women get together to catch up on the latest gossip and that these sessions are called “Gluckins”.  I love that!

Monkey M is absolutely IN LOVE with our hens.  He has surprised me with how he has zero fear or reservations about anything as far as they’re concerned.  He loves catching them by the tail to pick them up and snuggle with them.  His faves are Francis and Daisy, but it’s his goal to snuggle each and every one of them.  He subscribes to the thought that the more he picks them up, the more they’ll get used to him.  Seems to be working!

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March 8, 2011

FREE 8×10 Canvas!

I have SO many photos of my kids…on my computer.  I need to get some of them printed!  This is a great opportunity to get a super deal on wrapped canvas prints.  Canvas People is offering {for a limited time, so hurry!} a free 8×10 canvas or $50 off a larger size.  Check it out here!  FREE 8×10 CANVAS

February 15, 2011

Love is in the air!

The Hubs is one of those who thinks Valentine’s Day is a lame Hallmark holiday, but he “celebrates” it to appease me {what a guy}.  This year {in the spirit of lowering my expectations}, I decided to try a few things with the kids to make it a day of celebrating love in a FUN way!  I think we all had a good time, it was special, and it didn’t cost much at all.

Miss A and I started our celebration a little early on Sunday afternoon with custom heart-felt manicures.  A wanted red, pink AND fuchsia {why not?}, so we alternated the colors, then topped them off with hearts drawn on with a nail art pen.  I painted my nails fuchsia and did 1 heart on my thumb 🙂

{I ❤ this manicure}

 Monday morning I had a special breakfast for the kids: Jell-O jigglers! {I know, I don’t usually share the kids’ names, but I wanted to show the Jell-O 🙂 }

Of course, in my true {un}perfect impulsive way, I decided to make the jigglers the night before and had to use what I had on hand.  Jigglers take 4 boxes.  I had 2 Grape, 1 sugar-free Strawberry and 1 sugar-free Raspberry.  Made for an interesting flavor…

{darn his long name and our little plates!}

{He said, "Yum! I wuv Jeww-O! Hey, how did the Jeww-O know my name??"}

I love making treat bags for the kids’ holiday parties–this one was no exception.  And because my kids LOVE them, I slaved and included some pretty cute cake pops.

{another pic because they're just so cute!}

{my little heart breaker}

{A's teacher painted hearts on the kids' faces--so cute!}

Regrettably, I didn’t get a pic with The Hubs, but honestly, neither of us was looking too hot that morning.  He did, however give me a nice card and a certificate for a mani/pedi/massage.  Ahhh…can’t wait!    I, being equally sweet, gave him this:

{card by upupcreative.com}

That evening I spent a romantic evening with some of my girls, watching the Bachelor.  I made these bad boys especially for them! 

{chocolate cake pops made with chocolate frosting and chocolate candy coating--for my chocolate loving Valentines!}

{C.Y., J.J., K.N.}

February 9, 2011

Oh happy day!

Today was my birthday and it was such a fun one!  In the past I’ve had super high expectations for this once-a-year celebration.  You know what happens when you have really high expectations?  They almost never get met, then you’re left with disappointment.  Not fun.  This year I collaborated a bunch with God to lower my expectations and truly appreciate every little thing that came my way.  And you know what?  It was an incredible birthday!  Seriously, the best.  I started out last night enjoying some trash TV {The Bachelor} with my girlfriends.  We had wine, fun and a lot of laughs.  I even got an early gift of…comfort food!  My girl C.Y. brought me a box of Wheat Thins {HA!} and another fave–a Starbucks gift card.  Yum.  I just love Monday nights with the girls.  We “partied” until it was officially my birthday, then we went home to crash.

{with my friend/neighbor J.J.--showing off my rosette necklace}

This morning I got to sleep in a bit, then went downstairs to gifts from my fam.  Monkey A was more than happy to give me her sweet card {one that plays a song…which will inevitably become HER card to listen to over and over} that included a gift card to one of my favorite cheap/trendy stores: Charlotte Russe 🙂  The Hubs had made me a card with a poem he had written about our last year {love his poems!} and another CR gift card.  Yes!  A informed me {stage whisper} that M’s card contained a 3rd CR gift card.  WOOHOO!  However, M was insistent that I not open his card until I was eating birthday cake.  That’s what you’re supposed to do; that’s what he did.  🙂 

After breakfast we got in the car and headed west a bit {but not before using part of my Starbucks card, of course} to join my mom, my friend A.M. and her kids for our “usual”.  Our “usual” is most parents’ nightmare.  But we love it: Chuck E. Cheese’s!  Honestly, where else can you go and, for under $25, enjoy lunch and 3-4 hours of adult conversation while your kids run around FULLY entertained?  Ok, maybe there are a few other places, but we seriously love our regular CEC “dates”.  We have found that Tuesday mornings are usually pretty dead around there.  And we’ve been there so many times over the last 2 years that the manages know us by name.  They now help us find the best coupon codes, sneak our kids extra tokens and tickets {M calls one manager “Sneaky Tony”}, bring special treats for them…it’s our own personal kid-friendly Cheers!  And ok, I have to admit that A.M. and I have a favorite game we like to play as well 😉  No cake was consumed {I’m trying to actually complement my working out by sort of watching what I eat}, but M agreed to let me open my card {another musical one, of course} over my birthday pizza {I said “sort of” watching what I eat…}, especially since I was opening my gifts from A.M. 🙂

{A.W. and A.M. at C.E.C.}

After a fun and full day at CEC, the kids and I headed back home just in time to pick up the house a bit before the babysitters came over.  Warning: you’re about to be totally jealous.  Our two neighbor girls {ages 12 and 14}, who our kids adore, babysit FOR POINTS!  Yep, for about half the year they don’t accept money for babysitting.  Their church has a point program where the kids earn points by doing things like shoveling {yes, we’ve been on the receiving end of that one too!}, babysitting, and other forms of helping.  If the kids earn a certain number of points, the church will pay their way to summer camp in full.  It’s awesome!  So…after our super-sitters arrived, another friend dropped over to bring me yet another of my comfort food staples: Diet Dr. Pepper!  Not only that, but a new tube of lip gloss.  I’m a little more than slightly obsessed with lip gloss and I LOVE trying new stuff.  Perfect little birthday surprises!  The Hubs and I headed to the mall to do a little bit of shopping before our dinner reservation.  Once at the restaurant, we ran into not one, not two but THREE sets of friends!  Two sets were celebrating birthdays today as well.  The Hubs and I enjoyed a delicious dinner, I had some incredible wine and a cute little complimentary dessert.  And even better–we used our GROUPON {if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!  Click here}, so it was half price!  Oh, how I love saving money 🙂

{The Hubs and me}

{random run-in with J.S. and K.S.}

{fun birthday treat}

{isn't it cute??}

Now here I sit, so grateful, a heart full of love and toasty warm in my University of Michigan Snuggie… Amazing how when we lower our expectations, they’re almost always exceeded!  As my mom says, We need to raise our expectations of God and lower our expectations of people. People will let you down, but God never will.  Right on, Mama; right on…

February 5, 2011

A dump truck kind of wedding

Tonight The Hubs and I watched “Barbie in The Princess and the Pauper” with the kids {yep, M enjoys a good Barbie movie now and again}.  At the “happily ever after” end, of course they get married and ride into the sunset in a horse-drawn carriage.  M turns to me and says, “Did you and Daddy ride in one of those when you was married?”  I answered, “No, we rode away in a trolley.”  To which he responded, “What does a trolley look like?” I told him I’d find some pictures to show him.  He thought for a minute and said, “Well, I know what a dump truck looks like.”  I just had to laugh.  Yeah, buddy…kinda like that 😉   I just love how his little mind works–you never know what he’ll come up with next! 

{Goofy boy!}

February 4, 2011

Scum-sucker: HELP!

Let me just begin by saying: My poor husband!  A good housekeeper I am NOT.  I’m not organized and I don’t like to clean…but I’m learning.  Baby steps.  Lately I’ve been trying to tackle one area each day.  Like my mother-in-law {who’s a professional organizer–yikes!} always says, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Monkey M has been potty trained for less than a year and let’s just say, he has yet to perfect his aim.  This face has forced me to take on the bathrooms a little more often than I used to.  Believe it or not having a clean bathroom actually feels pretty good 😉  However, my biggest problem in the bathroom is the shower.  I’ve tried several different products claiming to “tackle soap scum and hard water buildup” to no avail.  We have hard {well} water and I just can’t conquer it on the shower walls!  Do any of you have any tried-and-true products that help power through the scum and minerals?  I  mean, I can get rid of in in small areas if I scrub with everything I’ve got, putting my whole weight into it, but there’s gotta be something easier than that, right?  {feel free to tell me, uh, hello…welcome to the world of cleaning.}  I’m sure The Hubs would be eternally grateful for any tips that would help make cleaning easier for me, therefore improving his chances of me doing it every once in a while 😉

February 3, 2011

Making the best of the white stuff

School was cancelled yesterday {bummer!} due to the Big Blizzard of 2011…or something.  Yeah, there was a lot of snow, but it didn’t seem like a real true blizzard.  But maybe that’s because most of it happened during the night and I didn’t leave the house so I didn’t experience the roads.  Who knows?  Anyway, the roads must’ve been good enough for a Trail Blazer to get through because one of A’s friend’s dad drove over to pick A and her friend/neighbor E.N. up for a playdate.  {YESSS!}  Thanks J.I. for that 🙂  While A was gone, M and I headed outside to take advantage of the big piles of snow.  E.N. and her dad had dug a tunnel while shoveling the snow this morning and M was having a great time crawling through it {thanks K.N. for snapping this pic}!

{crawling through the neighbors' tunnel}

 After a while M decided he wanted to dig one of our own, so back across the street we trudged.  It was tricky finding a drift tall enough, but we did it.  Apparently my tunnel-digging skills don’t quite match up to B. N.’s, but I got the job done. 

{woohoo we made it through! Yes, the tunnel opening did get a bit bigger than this...}

M had fun crawling through and I even made it through a few times.  I had to wriggle through on my stomach and my claustrophobic tendencies kicked in giving me visions of being trapped underneath the collapsed tunnel, but other than that it was great 😉  And, despite the great amounts of snow and low temps, this mama managed to stay quite warm with all that digging! 

{TA-DA!}

February 2, 2011

A Greener Cleaner

A friend of mine from high school owns a company called Greener Cleaner, an enviro-friendly cleaning company. She makes her own plant based cleaning products and customizes the scent to the liking of her clients.  {How cool is that?!}   I recently asked her to send along a “recipe” that’s GREEN all around–good for the environment as well as the budget.  This one’s a  fun drain cleanser/deodorizer you can make and use with your kids:
~1~ Vinegar
~2~ Baking Soda
~3~ Your Favorite Scents {essential oils} – this is where we would customize!  I usually choose Orange with a hint of Lavender for its antibacterial properties. 
~4~ Measuring Cup

{supplies}

 
Now grab your goodies and head to the bathroom or kitchen sink!  Yup, that’s where we’re headed!  Also, call the kids; it’s going to be time for cleaning fun!  Hey, you want your kids to grow up to know how to do the basics, and to learn a few tricks along the way.  And while you’re at it, teach them how to take care of the earth!
 
Step1) now that you’ve arrived @ your destination, you’re going to sprinkle about 1/4C Baking Soda into the drain in the sink.  ~ I keep mine in a “shaker”, sort of looks like the Parmesan cheese holder @ Pizza Hut.  Can pick them up @ Hobby Lobby for about $2.  Label with Avery Label and Keep in Greener Cleaner Caddy!

{also a good opportunity to teach your kids about math and measuring}

{shake it, baby, shake it!}

Step 2) Now that your drain is nice and powdery {and hopefully one of your kiddos feels really proud–and you do too.  You’re teaching them how to clean, one chore you can “give away” and they feel “bigger” being able to help out.  And after all, a family is a team, right?}, you’re going to mix about 1/2C white vinegar with your essential oils/fragrance -for example: 2 drops Orange essential oil {I used the “grapefruit blush” fragrance I got from Hobby Lobby and used in the lotion}, 1 drop lavender essential oil. 

{sniff, sniff...lavender and vinegar??}

Step 3) SLOWLY pour this mix down the drain.  The slower the better {for the kids’ sake, mostly}, as your “experiment” is working right before your eyes!  The kids will love the dramatization and the vinegar will react with the baking soda {think science fair volcano!} to take all the gunk off the walls of the pipes as it flows down. 
**Follow these steps on all your drains–bathroom, shower, kitchen, and laundry room–about once a month as routine maintenance.  It’s quick and easy; nothing to it, really.  It lasts a long time and smells so fresh!  {My little Helper A was concerned about the smell of the vinegar, but it goes away quickly, I promise!}

{here comes the exciting part!}

{bubble, bubble...with some stuck-on food just for good measure}

 

I had A helping me through the process–she just LOVES to help!  We did 2 kitchen drains, 3 bathroom drains and one shower drain {my other shower houses all of the items that I’ve listed on eBay that are waiting to be purchased 🙂  So no drain to be cleaned there!} and it took less than 5 minutes!  And now, seriously, I can smell the grapefruit blush & lavender scent all throughout the house.  {SIGH of contentment}  I’m so not a cleaner, so this trick totally works for me:
Easy?  check
Easy on the clock {quick}?  check
Easy on the wallet {cheap}?  check
Easy on my mind {don’t have to worry about A & M inhaling dangerous chemicals}?  check
Easy on the nose?  oh yes, check!
January 18, 2011

A good ol’ American contest of my own

When we were in Chicago for our annual Christmas trip with my family it was taking a bit longer than expected to check into our hotel.  My mom always does the checking in, the kids always throw pennies {from the rolls they get in their stockings} into the fountain with The Hubs.  I was just standing around and noticed a small American Girl display at the end of the counter–it was a contest.  Why not??  I had nothing else going on right then, so I filled out an entry.  I never win things, so I didn’t really even pay attention to what I could win.  We got our room keys and off we went, not giving the contest another thought. 

Cut to a week or two later: I’m hustling to get out the door to bring M to school.  The home phone rings {which is pretty rare in and of itself}.  The caller ID says Embassy Suites.  Huh.  Maybe we left something in our hotel room?  I don’t usually answer unless it’s someone I know {and, truthfully, I don’t always answer even then!  Shhh!} but for some reason I picked up the phone.  The guy asked for me {this is}, then asked if I had recently stayed at their hotel {yes}.  Well, I had been chosen as the winner of their quarterly American Girl drawing!  Me!  I was SO excited that I still didn’t ask what I had won–oops!  I knew the guy said something about a doll coming from the warehouse in a few weeks, but that was about it.  YIPPEE!!  A has two Bitty Babies that she got for her 4th and 5th birthdays, has had lunch at American Girl Place with her doll and looks forward to a trip to AGP each time we’re in Chicago.  Being the eBay queen that I am, I was calculating how much I could make by selling an AG doll, but I knew A would appreciate a “big” doll so much more 🙂 

Cut to today: the FedEx truck pulls up to drop off a package and I was thinking, hmm…can’t remember ordering anything; must be for the Hubs.  I grab it and see that it’s THE DOLL!!  A was THRILLED! 

{A with her new "big sister" doll. Excited??}

{a "mama" with her girls...which--she often reminds me--makes me "grandma". Booo!}

I’m not gonna lie, I checked eBay now that I knew exactly what we were looking for and other similar new-in-box AG dolls had sold for…$139.99!!!  {sigh}  I asked if she wanted me to sell it so we could find one {used, perhaps??} that looks like her {brown hair/eyes}.  At first she said yes {yessss!}, but then she changed her mind.  Bummer.  Oh well, she loves her new doll “Eliana” and I look forward to the fun trips we’ll take to AGP with her in the future 🙂

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