Thursday, May 31, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

We had storms last night, which left the weather this morning wonderfully cool.  The girls and I picked up Granny and headed for Chaplin Nature Center.
We hiked through the woods, listening to birds and finding deer tracks.
The woods were lovely, but the girls far more excited about the end of the trail - a huge, empty sandbar at the edge of the river.
It's the closest thing we have to a beach and it IS a lot of fun to play on!
The girls had a ball digging holes.  They eventually figured out that if they dug near the river's edge, their holes would fill with water.  That was REALLY exciting.
(You gotta love the squat...)
And then we had fun climbing the dead trees that have washed up in past floods.  Katherine pretended she was "mountain climbing".
And Rachel found bugs, of course.  There were ladybugs and roly polys, and even a tiny grasshopper that she wanted to bring home (he's hidden in her hands here).
We spent the entire morning on the sandbar, just enjoying nature.
We hiked back and had a picnic lunch.  And had long naps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Insulation Education

Our house was built in the 60's and while parts have been updated since then, other things have not.  Like the windows.  They rattled every time someone walked across the room, stuck when you tried to open them, and tended to slam shut unless you propped them up with a stick.  So this spring we replaced them.  The new windows are great and they don't rattle and you can't feel a draft standing in front of them. So then it was time to insulate the walls.  Steve had rewired some switches in the house and had seen enough of the wall cavities to know that there was was room for a lot more insulation in there.  So he checked out various options and the insulation guys showed up yesterday.  They parked their giant truck in front of the house...
...and ran a hose through the front window.
Inside, they drilled holes every 16 inches all around the perimeter of the house.  That would be every room except the main bathroom!
Then they inserted their hose and filled the whole wall cavity with fluffy white fiberglass insulation.  It was actually kind of cool to watch.
Steve followed behind, collecting all the wall plugs.
And then he started patching.
And patching.  There are a LOT of holes.
This morning he taught Katherine how to patch.
There will be sanding.  And more patching. And finally, lots of painting.
We have our work cut out for us.  (And this is not the only summer project!)  But we should be warm and toasty this winter...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And now for an interruption...

The house is painted on the outside.  There are holes every 16 inches all the way around the inside of the house.  Some have the beginnings of patches and some are leaking fluffy white insulation.  The furniture is still a mess.  There is dust on everything (to be fair, some of it was there before the insulation arrived...).  There are about a thousand things I should be doing.  But I got distracted by flowers...

We have a lot of plants and flowers at our house and I love most of them.  But I think this one is the most fascinating.
It is a hydrangea.  According to the plant labels and books about plants, hydrangeas are supposed to bloom in either blue or pink, according to the acidity of the soil.  Apparently our soil is having an identity crisis, because our hydrangea blooms in pink...
and blue...
and even purple...
all at the same time.
Which makes it all the more beautiful.
I could look at these all day.
The colors change in different angles and different light.
I love the way each "flower" is actually made up of many, many tiny flowers.
And the way the colors vary, even on one "flower".
Watching the flowers open is a kind of magic.
This plant just makes me happy...
Creation at its best.

And now back to the dust and the drywall...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Swimming/Crazy House

We didn't do anything, really, to celebrate Memorial Day.  I ran errands.  Granny took the girls out to watch the wheat harvest (it is ridiculously early this year!).  Rachel was too busy catching ladybugs to care about the wheat.  Then our friend MeiYan and her mom called us up and invited us to the public pool.  So we went. 
The water was freezing, of course, (and no one wanted to even look in the general direction of a camera...) but the girls had a great time.
Rachel was a little ticked off that she was not big enough to go down the slide.  Next time we'll have to bring a friend her size.

The rest of the day was spent packing and rearranging.  We are having assorted work done on our house this summer.  The outside of the house is in the middle of a much-needed paint job.  And tomorrow the insulation guy comes to work on the inside.  He's cutting holes every few feet around the perimeter of the house inside and blowing in insulation.  That means he needs access to ALL of the outside walls.  Which are normally pretty crowded with furniture.  So, we have moved everything to the middle of each room.  It's a mess and it makes the kids hyper-excited and just, well, nuts.  We have moved to the basement, since our rooms look like this.
Now I just have to convince the girls to stay calm through this slumber party!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I put Rachel's hair (well, most of it) in pigtails today.
I think it's her new look, don't you?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I went to the city today to do some shopping.  I found everything on my list (including the things I dread shopping for) and had a nice day all by myself.  It was great.  I drove home, taking a road that Katherine and I travel twice a day every day during the school year.  Less than a mile from town I passed a tractor mowing the ditch.  As I pulled around the tractor, I heard a loud CRACK and then the sound of glass tinkling.  This was what my car looked like by the time I got home...
And here is the back seat.  The spot where Katherine always sits.
Talk about scary!  Thank goodness the girls were not with me.  That's all I could think about.  I was fine and the car can be fixed and the girls were not with me. 

The window is scheduled to be repaired tomorrow morning.  Steve has already swept out the class.  I am a little shaken and very, very grateful...

I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters


Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way