Wednesday, September 26, 2012

turning city kids into ranch kids - 1

When we moved away to Nebraska five and a half years ago, one of the things Terry really missed was being able to help his dad on the ranch. He's got this ingrained ranch work ethic where he thinks if he doesn't spend nearly every minute of the day working hard on something, then it's not a good day. Perhaps that's a guy thing too. And perhaps I'm just lazy. But, well, I did grow up in the city and though my dad did have us work hard in the garden and doing wood, it's not quite the same. So now our kids are city kids and Terry (and I) want them to have valuable ranch life experience. It should get even more interesting if Grampa gets cows again!

So since we moved home in the spring, Terry's been wanting to get out to the ranch more often and "do stuff." He finally called his dad and we went out there last Friday morning. Grampa had a job that needed done - taking apart Terry and Shari's childhood fort in the rafters of the old barn. Let me just say, the kids were not excited about going up there.

But we made them. And we didn't listen to all the whining either. Time to get tough kids! 

I had to stay with a even crankier Samuel so I didn't get to see the filth up there. When Terry came down, he said he forgot how Shari and him used to throw cow pies up there to scare out the pigeons so Terry could shoot them and earn some money for his dad. So yeah, old cow pie dust.

After a while, the kids seemed to accept their fate and stopped complaining quite so much.

Don't let his cuteness deceive you. He's loud. Maybe when he learns to talk he'll yell less...

Grampa helped the kids to safely descend the ladder once Daddy came to the point of removing the last boards. 

The kids were all ready to go inside and watch a movie, but Grampa had them pick up rocks. They don't look real busy here though do they? 

After this I took Samuel and cousin baby Grace (who was being babysat) for a walk. I squished them both in the single stroller and set off in the wind. We got to the bridge and threw rocks in the scant creek and headed back for lunch. I wish I had remembered my phone to take a photo of the two of them sharing a seat. It was so cute. 

So who knows what our next project will be out at the ranch!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

my birthday

Monday September 17th was my thirty first birthday. Like I said before, I feel more committed to my 30's now - older. 

I had a good day. I slept late and was awoken by Terry bringing me breakfast! He had got up earlier to get me something. We just hung out in the morning and then got to do a lot of shopping and errand running in the afternoon - all without kids! Terry's folks graciously watched them so Terry could come out with me. When we got back to the house, Terry's folks had prepared a BBQ and my folks, Shari and Grace showed up. My mom even made a cake. It was a very good day. 

Grampa B grilling while Shari watches the little punks Samuel and Grace.

The homemade cake. She even got these candles that burned the color of the wax!

Noah explains his card.

Hanging out in the newly re-arranged living room. I bought some shelves to put up some more frames.

The card Terry and the kiddos made for me. I was proud that Evie did her name all by herself. Noah took full advantage of her wide "V." 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

harvest festival reminiscences & early bday celebrations

Today is September 15. My birthday is September 17. I turn 31. Seems much more significant than 30 did - I'm committed to my 30's now.

So today I can't help remembering that on this Saturday last year, it happened to be my 30th birthday and it was Gburg's Harvest Festival. So today I'm missing my Gburg peeps.

So yeah. Now Terry and the kids have left me all alone with a napping Samuel to go off and do some kind of special "surprise" which I'm not allowed to ask them about. What's a girl to do?

Write a reminiscence post and talk about the lamb chops I had last night (sorry for the bad cell photo pic). I love to eat.
Even though it's not my birthday yet, we went for a date night last night. I researched where I wanted to go after Terry suggested Ruby Tuesday. Can all my lady peeps agree with me that that sounds kinda boring?

I love you Terry.

I thought this newish place just on the edge of town, Dakotah Steakhouse, sounded nice - good combo of a large plate of meat for Terry and newness/freshness/taste for me. It was fantastic! Of course, mine was better than Terry's steak. I had my first ever lamb chops and they were outstanding. The menu says, "Panko rosemary-crusted lamb chops with apricot orange chutney." Whatever all that is, it was good. Excuse me while I go get something to eat since I just made myself really hungry...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


When we bought our new house, we were pleased that a mature apple tree came with it. Those apples have been getting pinker and redder and falling off like crazy. I think this means they are ready to go (*note - I am not an expert...Perhaps I shouldn't shake apples off the tree? They got bruised that way...).

So I've stopped my weekly stocking up on apples at Safeway and insisted we eat them off the tree. At first Noah was dead set against it, as if they weren't real food ("I want the apples that come in the bag!"). But after I cut into one and it looked fantastic, and after I tried it, he was brave enough to try as well. And he's all for them now. Evie's not. They're too sour for her but she has to eat them anyway. They are more like Granny Smiths than Gala or Fugi. But they're crisp and juicy and that's what counts I think.

So I've been sending Noah out every day for lunch to grab us a few apples. I think it's so fun!

Noah needed some help reaching a good apple and while I was out there with him, I noticed there was a ton on the ground. So I put us all to work picking up the gross half decomposed apples, sorting them from the good ones. Then I shook the tree a little and we sorted some more. We ended up with three ice cream buckets worth (with lots more to come) to make apple butter, apple sauce and apple pie filling. Yay!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

spiral water slide

Yesterday's weather was perhaps the hottest we are likely to get for a while (hopefully) so I insisted the kids swim in their little pool to enjoy it while they could. I began filling up their pool in the middle of the yard before I had the brainwave of filling it at the bottom of their tube slide. We had discovered earlier this summer that putting the hose at the top of the slide doesn't work since all the water seeps out from the seams of the slide. But Noah's wet bottom was enough to make the slide pretty fast.

They had a blast, despite what Evie looks like below. She can be a little timid about some things and was afraid to go too fast down the slide, which she had just done here.

I had another brainwave and got her a towel to sit on to slow her progress down the slide. That did the trick. She went down that thing more than Noah and kept going long after he wanted to go inside.

Safety and security = happy girl

When Samuel got up from his nap he joined in the fun as well. I snapped this shot at the perfect moment. After he sprayed himself he freaked out and dropped the hose, retreating to safer parts of the yard...

...At which point Noah picked up the hose and sprayed his belly ("look mom! i look like i'm peeing!") repeatedly, thinking it was the greatest thing ever. Boys.

Again with the silliness...

Perhaps that's why Samuel looked like this... Careful observation of the appropriate boy behavior that he'll tuck away for when he's big enough to be a goof like Noah.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Evie's trout

Terry and his mom recently mentioned that they'd like to go fishing again and Terry's dad organized an outing for all of us. Yesterday after church the whole family went down to Canyon Lake Park for fried chicken and then fishing in the lake. It was very convenient since it's only minutes away from our place. And I didn't mind in the least that I had to stay home while Samuel napped. All I got done was sweeping the floor but that's okay with me.

Evie must have the magic touch because again, she was the only one to catch a fish. But this time, she did it entirely on her own! Well, I'm sure daddy put the worm on and cast it out there, but she reeled it in on her own! She was like, "I think I have a fish!", as she was reeling it. Daddy encouraged her to keep bringing it in and sure enough, when the line got close enough to see, a fish was flopping around on the end of it! It was at this point that she freaked out, backing away up the bank, and made daddy finish reeling for her.

This is at home after much convincing that it was okay to hold the fish (a good sized rainbow trout).

The fish was caught near the beginning of their time there so they had high hopes for catching more. That didn't happen. They came home a few hours later with just the one fish and daddy cleaned it up right away and grilled it in foil with butter and lemon juice (since I had no actual lemons). We had it with leftover cheese soup and it was delicious! Samuel ate most of it, the little stinker.

Here are a couple short videos from Terry's phone. They are in backwards order.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Terry's 34th

Oops. Did I just really title this post with my husband's age? Yup. I don't know what the big deal is with keeping your (or your husband's) age a secret. So there it is. Terry turned 34 on Labor Day. It was a pretty good day, aside from saying good bye to our visiting friends and not doing anything particularly special. He said he was perfectly happy with his day.

The morning of his birthday, we went with Shawn and Becki to get their new van. As we were preparing to walk out the door I sneakily asked Emily to help the kids make a card if she had the time. They did pretty well - all six of them made cards. Though I'm a fan of Noah's drawing (left and right upper corners), my favorite is the Star Trek card.

How great is that?! Captain Terry and a drawing of the Enterprise... Ha ha!

The afternoon was spent hanging out with Terry's family, reading the paper, relaxing, making cake, apple picking and playing Rook. We were pleased when Samuel voluntarily went to Grampa when called and hung out there for a while.

After some take-and-bake pizza (we didn't feel ready to fully appreciate the 2nd annual traditional birthday meal), I got the cake ready and we sung. Isn't is great how much kids love that song?

Terry's folks in an unfortunate orange haze of light that I just couldn't adjust any better than this.

Jesse and Grace made the cut, but Terry's sister Shari didn't. I think she was the one taking photos for me!

Enjoying angel food cake and ice cream (like my new gray curtains? i love them!).

The following day I made Terry's favorite: spiral sandwiches and cheese soup. I could not find my usual salami so I had to substitute and was kind of disappointed with the results. The sandwiches were still good, but not the best they used to be. Terry had no complaints. After all, he eats moldy bread ;P
Happy 34th Terry! I love your face!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day weekend

I am so pleased that all the talk about a visit between our friends, the Wardyns, and us, turned into reality. Over the Labor Day weekend, our good friends made the six hour drive with their four their small van...after come and see us. Luckily, they have older kids or perhaps they wouldn't have come since we know all too well how difficult it is to travel with young (whiny) ones.

They arrived on Friday evening and we allowed our kids to stay up until 930 to play. The next morning the kids - Daniel, Emily, Rachael and Jon - were all up early awaiting our kids exit from their room.

Noah was so pleased. He just loves them.

Terry made me and Becki mocha's with the white chocolate they brought us. We had been missing the Cash-Wa stuff (way better than Ghirardelli's i can tell you) so they brought some in order to replenish our store and as a birthday gift to Terry.

Then we headed out on a little tour of Rapid City. First we went to Canyon Lake and then to my grampa's house where we rented the first three months after arriving here. They declared we made the right decision in a house (they love it just like we do).

Next we went to Dinosaur Park to climb on stegosauruses... See Terry's feet?

...and to get a good view of the city. Our house is back in those trees to the far right somewhere. This is Rachael and she just graduated last spring and published her first book as well! I am currently reading it and am hooked (they are a homeschooling family that we majorly look up to).

Saturday afternoon was spent shopping, making chocolate chip cookies (somehow my cookies earned quite the reputation in Gburg), homemade pizza and The Hunger Games. Sunday morning after church and some chinese we ended up watching How-it-Should-have-Ended videos on youtube. The Wardyns fast from all television and video games during August and were ever so pleased to break their fast with us.

That evening we went downtown to show them the new Main Street Square with it's cute shops and fountain. We also had some yummy custard that put Samuel and Mommy over the whiny baby edge.

George Washington is their favorite president. Though Shawn does look a little weirded out.

After a game of Settlers of Catan we got down to what we all really enjoy the most - Star Trek. We stayed up til like midnight.

Monday morning we left their kids with ours (how nice to have older kids) and went to check out a new (to them) van. I love this photo of Daniel with Samuel.

Ta-da! We washed it, vacuumed it, packed it up and watched them drive away. Noah immediately burst into tears, which was too much for me to take, and I cried too. We used to cry when our families would leave after visiting us in Nebraska. Now we cry when our friends leave us in South Dakota!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

cone time

Samuel's first ice cream cone.
He loved it and did better with it than Evie ever does. Of course, his second ice cream cone was found lying in the grass with Snap dog licking it...