Annie and Maddie continue to keep life interesting. This is Maddie getting out of her shower to use the toilet. Because even when Mom reminds you to go potty before your shower, sometimes you still forget. Maddie was well covered from the coldness of the bathroom.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Saturday, September 26, 2015
One of the changes that have come with Ryan's slight change of occupation is no free tickets to the fair. There was a window of two hours that was free admission to the fair on the first day, so Ryan left work (it was a teacher in-service day so the kids were off anyway) a little early and we went to the fair. Judging from the line of people also entering the fair, we were not alone trying to be frugal.
We stopped by the Ag barn first, so Ryan could check to see how the new FFA teacher did on her display. He just shook his head, and wished the new lady would have accepted his help and expertise. Then we walked over to the bee keepers, and Ryan had a nice loooonnngg discussion with the fellow.
We stayed a long time in the STEAM building. STEAM is a lot like STEM, but with "arts" thrown in too. They had a lot of the Snap Circuits available to play with, and as we have some at our house and know how to use them, we snapped away.
Watched a wool demonstration.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Thursday afternoons and evenings are a little crazy this fall. I start with picking up the younger three girls up from school, then we drive over to the middle school to watch Emma's volleyball games. I bring snacks for the kids to eat after school. If they are munching, there is less complaining about how "bored" they are.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Last night's mutual activity for the Beehives was cupcake decorating. Emma and I brought a couple dozen cupcakes and my Kitchen-Aid mixer bowl full of frosting. We turned all 9 girls loose with pastry bags full of frosting, and watched the colorful explosion happen.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Emma decided to branch out a little and do volleyball this year. The 7th grade year is when school sports finally start. So she has been staying after school everyday for practices, and this afternoon games for her team finally started. I picked Elizabeth and the twins up after school and we drove over to watch Emma's game.
Even though Emma is perhaps not the most athletic of kids, there are enough other girls like her to make up their own team, and teams of similar kids at the other surrounding middle schools. Emma's team won 2 of the 3 games today.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Monday, September 14, 2015
This about sums up my day.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Our minivan had seen better days. It's seen us through 6.5 years and some hard lovin'. Things were starting to wear out. The sliding doors weren't sliding as nicely as they used to, the check engine light was always on, and sometimes I would push on the accelerator and we would... not go... lurch... then go... lurch... go again, for reals this time. And let's not forget my favorite thing- the button release thingy on the shifter (the one that goes from park to reverse to drive) would get stuck, and I could be stuck in park and not be able to leave the house, or I would be unable to shift back into park. One time the shifter was in park, but the button was stuck "in" and so we could not turn off the car. The key refused to turn. That was awesome. Ryan ended up disconnecting the battery. We have a mechanic friend from church, and after taking it for a spin himself and doing a quick (and free) check under the hood, he estimated we could sink anywhere from $3-4,000+ and he wasn't sure that would even get us another year out of it before something else would go.
Then he asked if we had considered buying again.
Well, as a matter of fact, yes we had. We were just hoping for that other year first. Oh well.
So last Monday afternoon we took some test drives. Unexpectedly, the Toyota was the favorite. We were originally thinking another Kia, for price reasons. Another unexpected wrench in our plans was the fact that gently used minivans were not as cheap as they were last time around. It was only going to save us maybe 4-ish grand, and the mileage was a bit higher than we preferred. The car salesman pointed out the Labor Day sale, model year end clearance, 0% financing deal that was going on. After their version of a "quick" check of what they could do for us, we thanked him and said we wanted to go home and look over our budget before buying. He was not excited for this idea. Getting us into the showroom is almost a guaranteed sale, and we were not fitting into his plans. The natives were getting restless and wanted dinner at that point. The girls had been quite good. We thanked him and said we would likely be back.
Yesterday, we cleaned a bunch of crap (yes, that's totally what it was- paper scraps, pencils, pens, used kleenex, coins, dolls, earrings, stale bread crusts, baggies, fruit snack wrappers, receipts, old parking permits for state land, books, and more crumbs than you can possibly imagine) out of the minivan. We made the kids help, all the while getting more and more upset at what filthy pack rats our children are. Then Ryan and I told the kids to say goodbye to our car.
We came home with this pretty, brand spankin' new Toyota Sienna.
We left the kids to babysit themselves at home, which worked out well. When we bought the Kia Emma was 5 and Elizabeth was barely 3. This time was easier. Although it was probably faster last time, since the car was not new and they weren't trying to convince us to buy every extra feature possible. (Thanks, but no, we don't need the special Rain-X coating on our windshield...)
When the last paper was signed, and it was time to go home, I felt a little sentimental leaving our Kia sitting there surrounded by a sea of shiny cars. I'd swear that poor, 9 year old, dirty, chipped piece of our memories was looking at me reproachfully as we left in our new set of wheels. Ryan asked if I was going to cry before we left to go buy the Sienna. Seeing how I was pregnant BOTH times we've traded in our cars, and cried over diaper and Hallmark card commercials, yes I did cry last time. (We brought our baby/s home from the hospital, gone on trips, and I've spent countless hours in the car and it's been a big part of our life.... I can't help being a little sentimental. So sue me.) I would like to state for the record I shed no tears leaving the Kia behind, just felt a little sad.
That lasted about 10 minutes.
Our new minivan is so cool. I haven't been actually excited to drive since I was a teenager. I have to remind myself to actually pay attention to the road. I have a rear back-up camera (Best. Feature. Ever.), bluetooth calling/audio from my phone, gas consumption, power open and close doors (second best feature), power adjust seat (forward, back, up, down, lumbar support), automatic night adjusting rear-view mirror, and a host of other nifty features. I had my pick between grey and tan minivans, and I chose the grey. I think the only thing I miss about the old car is the red color- it was easier to spot in a parking lot. I'm still getting used to how this one looks. Oh, and this car also has driver and passenger temperature controls, with a 3rd zone for the back seats. This is a marriage-saving feature for us. I'm so glad the Kia had that too. Don't get me wrong- we bought the base model for the Sienna, it just happens to be as fancy as a more expensive version of the Kia. (Our mechanic friend thinks we will be pleased with how this one lasts. It should do better than the Kia.)
Update a week later- the dealership called and said they found more stuff in the car (broken necklace chain and .38 cents in change, a magnet, etc.) and did we want to pick the stuff up? Ryan said to give the change to the guy who had to clean out our old car. He deserves it. And to just throw away the rest. It was nice of them to call though.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Ryan has been wanting to harvest honey from his beehives for a while now. He likes to go check on his bees and admire how busy they've been. He finally got around to asking to borrow the equipment needed for harvesting honey. His friend Jason hooked him up.
First you bring in the frames you are going to harvest from into your now heated garage, after you've knocked off a bunch of angry bees. Later (once those angry bees leave you alone) you take a hot electric knife to cut off the wax caps.
The honey will start oozing out. You need a filter to collect bees and wax and stuff. There were a surprising number of bees gathered during this whole process. There's only so much "swimming" they can do in the honey. No bees survived that.
Once the honey is pretty well flung out of the beehive frames, Ryan took a spatula and scraped down the sides of the extractor. We left the space heater in the garage all night and waited for the honey to all drip into the 5 gallon bucket. We filled that 5 gallon bucket with honey.
After the honey harvest, we went on a double date with Ryan's friend Jason and his wife Lydia for some ice cream and deep friend asparagus.
Emma is in the choir this year at her middle school. It's a "select" choir, for kids who auditioned at the end of the last school year. They were part of the program/assembly the middle school put on for 9/11.
Friday, September 11, 2015
It doesn't seem to matter how hard we try. I can send a child to school, looking cute...
(I think this is one of my favorite sketches ever.)
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Annie and Maddie are playing soccer this year, and the fall season has begun. Our team did not have a coach until early this week, and then the teams had some switching around last minute... Anyway, Annie and Maddie had zero practice before heading to our first game.
Meeting the coach: