Thursday, April 21, 2016

the making of the marble shelf

Terry invented a marble shelf! It's awesome.

We frequent the library quite often and usually come away with no less than 30 books. This particular day we checked out 41. However, we used to have nowhere to put them! They would get splayed all around the main living room and every once in a while I would neatly pile them on the coffee table. And then the four-kid-tornado would hit and tear them all apart.

My friend Amanda and her homeschooled kids also check out tons of books. Last summer she had added a library book shelf to their living room and I thought it was such a good idea that I asked Terry for one too. And much like how Evie asked for a shelf for Christmas and received much more, so did I. We didn't want to buy a flimsy shelf so he decided to make one himself. While he was constructing it, he came up with the idea to make the shelf into a toy - a marble track. They love playing with marbles. We had a plastic marble track from a few years ago and the kids have destroyed it several times. Every time we go to Who's Toy House the littles are magnetically drawn to the large wooden marble tracks. Terry's a genius to come up with this idea.

Back in March before Dare 2 Share, Terry constructed the shelf's basic shape with pine boards. He then decided they weren't nice enough and added mahogany plywood over it all. But then we had D2S and he got sick with the flu and so the shelf sat for a while. When we recovered he cut one inch strips of wood and glued them to one side of the shelf. He didn't have enough clamps so he improvised with the old bricks from our fireplace.

However, once the pieces were all dry and we tried it out, it didn't work so well! The drops between each level were too great and there wasn't enough of an incline to hold the marble in and it would bounce right out.

Terry went through many iterations of corrections for this problem and finally landed on adding a long thin piece of pine to hold the marbles in and prevent them from bouncing out. And then on the other side of the shelf he put the tracks closer together, cut with more of a angle, both of which pretty much stopped the bounce. 

Next he added a marble/car maze for the top of the shelf. Once you reach the back corners the marbles drop down into the track.

The final thing Terry did was so add some mahogany plywood over the top of the pine track pieces and trim. It made it look a lot cleaner and smooth. 

Terry put two coats of gray stain down. It's the same color I put on the $10 coffee table and our storage bed. I thought we'd try it to take out any of the yellow color in the wood.

After those two coats. It looked a it a bit purple... 

I added two coats of Special Walnut, which is also what I did with the coffee table. 

Much better. Finally I put a couple coats of polyurethane on it. After about two months, it was finally done.

This was the first side that gave Terry all the trouble. You can see the long strips he added to cover where the marble drops down each level. It looks like it was part of the original design - you can't tell it was to hide a mistake.   

This is the other side that has more tracks and shorter drops. He added another thin strip of pine to prevent marbles from bouncing out, but it was much less of an issue on this side. 

Here it is in action! 

Noah helped me bring it inside after our library trip and then they got to work getting the books loaded on.


We have more than enough shelf space! Terry is seriously considering building another shelf, this time a little smaller. This one is a bit too snug for the kids to fit next to it. He even looked at wood yesterday. :D

The second side. 

The first side. 

 Look at those clean coffee tables! Oh, and the shelf. Oh, and the adorable kids reading...or pretending they can (I mean Samuel yo!)

The following morning Ezra discovered that his micro machines fit perfectly on top. He is the child that plays with this the most.  

Aw, such a cute boy and great shelf toy.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Noah and Evie's first time mountain biking

A couple months ago I was mountain biking on M Hill with Denise and Mary when we ran across our friend Matt and his daughter Michaela who were also mountain biking. I was just floored by the sight because Michaela is as old as Evie (eight) and I had never considered her old enough to learn. Matt proved otherwise. 

Fast forward a couple months to last weekend when Terry and Matt made plans to take our older kids mountain biking for their first time

They went to M Hill.

I think this is at the beginning of their ride after they've come up the steepest part. After that they kept to the base of the hill.

Evie and Michaela.

Terry said he was very impressed by how well the kids did. I had no idea how they'd handle it. For me it's incredibly difficult and challenging. It can be so hard! But they did great I guess! 

I love living here. 

Noah rode my bike so Evie could ride his. Terry said today that Noah, "bossed" that bike. He handled it like a boss. Therefore, he's ready for a full sized bike. This summer we will move everybody up a bike and maybe (fingers crossed) get Terry and I a new bike to share.  I bought ours in 2007 shortly after we moved to Gburg. They're quite old now.

Here is Evie on Noah's bike, which is only two years old. He will be able to ride mine on the Middle School bike trip this summer. It is simply CRAZY that Noah will be a middle schooler next year. My oh my oh my...

A hour and a half later they were done. They loved it; had a great time.  

nappy sick Ezra

A week ago Ezra caught a cold that laid him out pretty good. It was weird though. Initially all he had was a fever and he was extra snuggly, which this mommy does not mind. The only other symptom he had was an occasional cough. Samuel and Evie then caught the cold and they informed me that they also had headaches. 

Last Wednesday Ezra napped for like three hours and when I opened his curtains, thinking that was long enough, he just kept right on snoozing. I kept him home from church activities that night. 

The following day it was the same story. I can't resist napping pictures.

I just thought that thumb was so cute. Reminded me of when he was a baby... 


Thankfully he's doing better now. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Evie's actual 8th birthday

I say "actual" because we had celebrated Evie's birthday early at the ranch on Easter. Thursday, March 31 was Evie's real birthday. She quite enjoyed hearing about how daddy remembered mommy leaning on a pole during a contraction at Walmart in North Platte after I had gone into labor on a shopping trip. "I didn't know that!" she exclaimed. Less than two hours later she was born. Her birth was definitely exciting.

Daddy got up early that morning to go out and get the good donuts per her breakfast request. Her donut looked like a person!

The good thing about homeschool is you get a pass on your birthday. No one else did though. I think Evie sat around and read.

I felt bad that we didn't have any fun plans (it was crazy windy and kind of cold outside). I texted my friend Amanda to see if they'd like to join us at Outdoor Campus West where the kids could run around inside. Thankfully she didn't mind my totally last minute invite and it worked out for them to come (I'm so bad at planning these things). We picked up Samuel from preschool, got a pizza from Little Caesars, and headed inside.

Such a pretty birthday girl. Weeks before she had asked to cut her hair off but thankfully changed her mind. It's never been so long and I like it.

Evie and Abigail checking out a bobcat.

At the end of the building they have this little interactive exhibit where you can weave your own house.

But that quickly dissolved into a foam noodle war! Girls love being chased by boys, even if they're like three or six years younger. 

Sometimes homeschool is great.

Everyone else grew bored of noodle wars, but not Samuel. "My noodles." He collected them all. Look how smug he looks!

They each had to have their picture taken with this mural. Samuel.


And Noah. I like his legs and hands sticking out underneath.

Noah and Moses, the BB gun buddies

We had to drive to Piedmont afterward to pick up beef. Wahoo! 

After a bible study with Paige, I made Evie's requested dinner of chicken pot pie. Man, that was a crazy busy day!

Chow time! 

Shortly thereafter my folks came over and we had a small party for the Evester. 

We had cake still left over from Sunday so we just used it again. Ha! 

Gramma finally gave her this doll outfit she's been holding onto for a while. Evie loved it. 

It started snowing huge flakes during the party. It was such a crazy day for weather. Sun, clouds, wind, flurries, repeat. 

We gave her her first big girl Bible. 

Grampa got her another troll bead. 

Then Gramma handed out a couple of cars she had picked up for the littles. 

We had Evie close her eyes and when she opened them her big gift was before her - a comfy chair for under her loft to replace the folding chair that's been there since Christmas

We'd wanted to get her a kid sized recliner or something cute like that but didn't find anything. This small papasan-ish chair was the most comfortable thing we could find at Target. So now she has somewhere to sit and read during quiet times. And that girl loves to read. And we love that girl. Happy birthday Evie!