Wednesday, May 22, 2013

branding 2013

So. Branding. That's what we did Saturday morning. Good times, good times. It's been quite a while since we were able to participate because we were in Nebraska for five years and Terry's dad had sold his cows. But this year he bought 25 new ones and has 23 cute little calves, all who needed branded. 

And sorry for so many pictures. There were too many good ones!

Here are the guys having just sorted the mama's away from their babies, and getting ready to shoo them into the barn on the left.

Once through the barn, they went into the crowd tub and alley...

...where they came out one at a time and were forcefully squished in the green shoot, branded and sprayed down with anti-bug spray.

Terry's folks brand is "P/F" standing for "Poor Farm."

Evie is quite the fan of dandelions... And daddy is quite the fan of Evie. 

At first the kids were way turned off by the very loud noise the generator made (it kept the brand hot) and by the terrible stench of burnt cow hair and skin - not to mention fresh cow poo and bellering. But they got used to it, even making fun of the cows bellering, and eventually started hanging out on the corral fence, which is where they totally should have been.

Samuel also took some coaxing to get closer to the action. Once we walked around enough, he sat with me on the unused and mostly clean calf table and played (was forcefully squished by me) there.

He's too cute. And he has simply the best hair (I guess I have said this about Evie as a baby too...) 

I love her little freckles and the fact that her mouth and nose are all yellow from smelling those dandelions. 

Here's me hanging out with my punks at 9 months pregnant. On this day I had two weeks to go until baby #4's arrival. Today I only have one week to go (hopefully!).

There was time for some play in between the branding of the cows and calves.

The kids did even better watching the calves be branded. This photo is my facebook cover photo right now. Cute kids.

 The calves in the tub.

He's always a little grumpy/serious faced. I love that little face! And again - THE HAIR!!! Seriously, how awesome is that hair?!

The calves had to be vaccinated as well. Noah helped by taking the used needles back to gramma to refill.

Here's one last shot of the burnt hair/skin smoke that the kids eventually started playing in. I smelled  great for graduation receptions later that afternoon I am sure. Yeah...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

trampoline sleep over

Terry's parents gave the kids a trampoline for their birthdays this spring. They have been loving it! And even more so since we moved it to the back of the yard in the shade of the pine trees. 

So anyway, Evie somehow got this idea of camping in her head. I think it might have been a friend we visited a couple weeks ago who was talking about going camping with her family. Ever since, Evie had been asking pretty incessantly about going camping and roasting marshmallows - though she has never gone camping. Terry thought a good compromise or practice for real tent camping would be to sleep on the trampoline on last Friday night. So that's what they did.

 This mama is a bit of a sleep Nazi, but I went with it. I wasn't necessarily pleased that they stayed up past 11pm and were awakened at about 5am by the sun... But Terry's right - the experience and bonding is more important. They all had a great time. I slept great in bed and so did Samuel. 
Jumping in sleeping bags

I did think it was kind of funny that as it got later, Noah got more and more annoyed at how much Terry and Evie were talking. That is totally me. Don't mess with me at night. 

It was cloudy that night so they were bummed that they couldn't see the stars. Luckily no thunderstorms came. When they were almost ready to sleep Evie prayed that she wanted to see the stars and what do you know, the clouds slowly moved and they were able to see the stars!

When it was first getting light out, Evie sat up and said "Happy birthday daddy! I like the lights!" Terry just looked at her, surmising that she was sleep talking, and told her to lay back down and go to sleep. She obliged him. That's the second time, that we're aware of, that Evie has sleep talked. The first time was a few months ago and really freaked me out. She made no sense at all and was laughing and crying alternatively. Funny girl!
All snuggled up at 930pm ready to NOT go to sleep. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

dungeon: part 5, inspection

It has been quite a while since my last dungeon post - nearly two whole months since the window went  in! Terry has been slowly plugging away at the electrical wiring but he is completely done now (Wow, I didn't even intend to make that pun. Terry would be proud). We had the electrical and framing inspection this morning! 

Here is the one photo I managed to take during the inspection. I'm a little excited about moving forward (you might notice a lot of exclamation points...)! At the top of this photo you can see the smoke detector Terry installed. It had to be wired to the electrical box so that took some time to figure out. The fireplace in the corner is still undecided upon. 

Excuse me while I use my kids to cute-ify an otherwise unsightly, unfinished, kinda boring dungeon. As you can see though, we are thinking about carpeting! The scrap the kids are sitting on is what we have in Samuel's room which we already love. We might just go ahead and get more down there. I am still debating but have plenty of time before we reach that point.

Here is a shot of the lights - the cans in the ceiling and the lamp plugged in to the wall. We have power downstairs! We only had one plug and one light switch and two pull-string operated light bulbs before. Now we have six cans on the north side of the house and four on the south, not to mention the natural light from the window! Oh, and we have a ton of electrical outlets now. This side of the room will have a game table and all the kid's toys. And perhaps a futon for guests later on.

This is looking towards the south side with the four can lights. That's where the big couch and TV will be going. On the wall under the beam are a couple switches that control the lights on both sides of the room. You know, just in case you don't want to go across the room to turn them off. We thought that'd be nice.

The door to the furnace room is new. Plus there are two lights and some outlets in there. The furnace room will hold a new furnace and some shelves for toys and games. 

The other thing that had held us up was trying to decide on heating for the dungeon. There is none there now. It's wonderful in the summer but kinda frosty in the winter. So Terry finally made a heating decision a couple weeks ago and that's how we are able to start moving forward again. Progress!

Here is the door to the next level up. You can see a switch and light at the top of the stairs. There was a switch there before that controlled one bulb down the stairs, but no light at the top of the stairs. Also, next to the kids is a 3 way switch. Those operate the two sides of the rooms of can lights and the top of the stairs light.

Here's the view from the south side of the room looking into the utility room. That wall is where the TV will go. So the next thing on the agenda is to insulate and drywall. At that point we can have the final inspection where they will look for a few added things. Then we can paint, put in the drop ceiling, carpet and then the finishing touches like trim. I can't wait to move our family room down there but it will take some time yet. Soon though! Yay!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Easter photo

I found this photo on Terry's phone from Easter/Evie's birthday and thought it was too cute not to share. I love my kids.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Samuel's Bible

After breakfast one morning last week, Samuel took over what Evie had been doing the night before - cuddling in her sleeping bag on the floor. He likes to do what they do. He had his little Bible with him though and I thought it was too cute.

I was forcefully reminded of Noah as a three year old with a Bible and then again as a four year old - watch the video, his little voice is adorable and he is pretty much unchanged otherwise. How similar are these brothers?!

2013 Awana Awards

This year at church for Awana, Noah completed his second year of Sparks and Evie her second year of Cubbies. Noah finished his second book a while ago and had to review it and then order a new review book to keep him busy. He does like to memorize... and receive awards. Evie finished her normal book. 

Here is Evie's group of little Cubbies and leaders.

She was so pleased and proud of her two little ribbons and certificate.

And here is Noah's Sparks group, which he will be in again next year. And actually, Evie will move up to Sparks also!

There he is. He was pumped as well. 

Noah had no idea anything else was forth coming, however. The Awana Commander, Shawn (pictured below), did let Terry know early that Noah would be receiving another award that night so I was to make sure I brought the camera and Terry was able to duck out of Youth Group to see the presentation.

I missed part of the award description, but basically, Noah was elected by the Sparks leaders for the Sparks Honor Award. This award goes to one girl and one boy every year and is based on exemplifying good character traits such as hard work, honor, respect, good sportsmanship. I was also told that they look for kids who are not afraid to share the gospel and who are enthusiastic, going above and beyond the average Sparky. That's our Noah!

He was so so so happy and proud. He kept saying, "Are you impressed?" The boy wants to know we're proud of him. And over and over the answer was "YES!" 

Evie did not want to be outshone by her big brother. Everything is a competition with them. Poor girl. She has no chance of ever winning a race against him since he's three years older. But she did excellent in Awana too. I'm amazed at what they can memorize. Way better than their mama.

Monday, May 13, 2013

brothers in a blanket

Apparently, Samuel likes to snuggle with his brother and sister under blankets. Especially after breakfast when all the milk makes Noah cold. Really, Samuel just likes to be included, or be the main attraction, in anything Noah and Evie are doing. They are too cute.

visiting Nathan and Ana

We had planned on visiting my brother and his wife, Nathan and Ana, even earlier in the spring this year, but decided on moving our dates back to the second weekend in April in hopes of better weather. They do live in the tundra of north eastern South Dakota after all. 

We should have known better. 

Seems that SD always has spring blizzards and this year we had three in April. The weekend we visited was just after the first after our initial spring storm. Two more came after we got back! So despite all my hopes of seeing Watertown without snow and going on walks, none of that happened. We saw a very drab, white, depressing Watertown. Thank goodness the company was good because the town certainly wasn't.

We had never been to visit Nathan and Ana even though they've lived in Watertown for over three years. It used to be harder to take vacations anywhere other than the grand parents when we lived in Nebraska. Now that we're back with the grand parents, we wanted to travel more. Well, this was our first trip despite that it was also our year anniversary of returning. At least we got 'er dun.

We had never seen Nathan and Ana's cute little house before and that was half the fun! The kids all slept in the uppermost level, which is kind of like a finished attic/craft/catch all room. They've finished it out nicely along with the rest of the house - it's awesome. Samuel enjoyed reading the nightly Bible story on the floor with the other two. The other two did not enjoy sharing with Samuel.

Since the weather was terrible, there wasn't much to do. We did a fair amount of reading, but even more watching movies and playing games on the Wii. Thank goodness we brought the Wii. And that Ana borrowed some toys (Thomas trains) from the kids she babysits. That was a hit with the kids, though it gave the rest of us headaches because they were motorized trains...

Terry spent a lot of time attempting (and succeeding) in stacking Nathan's newest hobby and etsy shop item, the lilac rock cairn (though the shop is primarily Ana's paper stuff, Nathan has added some really cool things to it as well). Nathan repurposes these old pieces of wood with smooth facets and then you try to stack them as high as you can. I could not do it. No patience. Terry, however, made it up to EIGHT high! The man has mad skills. Brody the dog does not look impressed, but he should be.

Here's Terry's reaction to only seven high. Imagine when he got to eight...

So we were dorks and did not take many photos. And none of Nathan and Ana themselves. But here is a short video of Samuel playing during dinner. You can see their small, but totally cute, living room. Also, that piece of wood art above the piano? Nathan made me a smaller one too :D

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The kids received a trampoline from Terry's parents for their collective spring birthdays. They have been enjoying it immensely. Daddy too. He's been teaching them all sorts of flips and tricks. They've played all sorts of funny games, my favorite being "Han Solo," also known as "Marco Polo." If you hadn't noticed, we are Star Wars fans around here.

Apparently this leap of Evie's required some skill. Look at that face. Oh yeah.

Noah is much more chilled about his jumping. In fact, you can hardly tell that he's airborne.

Well, except in this shot he looks as if he's coming to attack. Evie too.

Terry can still do a real live front flip. And he's been teaching the kids. Evie does a somersault for now. She's working up to the real thing.

Noah gets some air though! He kinda looks like he's diving into a pool.

Evie is a lover of dance. But not dance class. She only dances at home. Here she is spinning I think. And I like the contemplative look she has on her face.

Noah's 8th birthday

Noah turned eight on Friday, April 19, 2013 at precisely 12:24pm. Eight seems like such a big number. Appropriate for him though since he is so big. How'd that happen? On one hand I can remember his birth so distinctly and on the other it seems so long ago so as to have never happened. 

The night before Noah and Evie helped me to make a rainbow cake. I didn't have the white box cake I usually use so I found a from scratch recipe online through King Arthur flour. It sounded delicious. However, the cake was pretty heavy and wouldn't mix like usual. I had to sort of pile the colors together in the pan. 

The morning of the 19th began with Noah waking up to mommy and daddy signing the birthday song. Noah was very much looking forward to that. Once the kids came downstairs, they discovered Daddy had got up early to get donuts for the occasion. The kids all were wearing new t-shirts I had got on clearance the day before so they were all excited about that.

 It might have been a mistake to tell Noah the exact time he was born because he wanted to sing with his lighted cake at that exact time. However, we were at Menards having "the worst birthday ever" so we missed the 12:24pm mark. I think I'll never go to Menards with the kids again. He did get Culvers for lunch so that improved the situation a little.

So here's the cake. It looked pretty decent but me and Noah were not a fan of the taste. There was too much almond extract! Noah said the cake was "horrible" and didn't want to eat it. The frosting (which was wonderful) improved it only slightly for me.

Luckily all was redeemed when it came time for presents. He got a new Ballistiks ball/car and a transformer.

But the crowning glory was his new Star Wars Lego thingy. He had said he wanted a different Star Wars Lego model so we bought that one. Then he saw this one and swore that he really wanted this one. So Terry returned it and got this one instead. He was very happy.

Grampa B was in attendance. Snap loves the Grampas.

And my folks were there too. As well as Shari and Grace.

The afternoon was spent putting together all the new toys. It took daddy quite a while to figure out the new Transformer - unfortunately it was very complicated and difficult. Noah took it to church that weekend and was most upset when he couldn't get it to go together right. So daddy spent like 20 minutes working on it in the lobby while visiting with people!

That evening we had pizza and a family movie night. All in all, it turned out to be a pretty good day, despite what Noah said at Menards.
Evie was playing with new Lego guys and Noah put his new Star Wars thing together all by himself!