Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The lazy days of summer

So don't expect much from me this summer....

I'm happy that school is complete for our first year of homeschooling. However, we are jumping back on the school bus in July. I liked taking the month of December off and ending the school year right around the time the weather was getting nice. We spent all day every day outside enjoying the gorgeous weather. By this time next month it will be miserably hot and buggy and we won't want to be out so it is the perfect time to start school again.

Until then, I plan to spend as much time as possible lounging (yeah right! not with 4 young kids) at the pool and putting together my lesson plans for the upcoming semester.

I warned my husband....

I announced, "Honey, at least 3 days a week don't expect clean clothes, dinner nor a clean house because I'm going to be at the pool."

He didn't know what to say so I reinforced that there was a reason he would be sacrificing....so his kids could learn to swim! He replied with, "Hmmmm, how bad do I really want the kids to know how to swim?"
So far so good, we spent Monday at the pool and I provided a nice crock pot dinner ready and waiting for my honey before he left for class (I even made the rice before leaving for the pool so dinner was complete he just had to scoop and eat!). So there, I had dinner for him even though I told him not to expect it. I've found if you tell people the worst case scenario and then come through with better circumstances then they are thrilled even though the standards are still lowered :)

We skipped the pool on Tuesday and I got lots of laundry done, mopped the floors and cleaned part of the bathroom (I know it is small, but there is only so much I can do when the baby is screaming at me).

Hit the pool again for Wednesday and still managed to get home to have piano lessons, make corned beef and cabbage for dinner and welcome my honey home with a smile and open arms.

All my projects are on hold and I'm taking in the rays....see you when it rains :)

The empty nester

Poor Mom! The birds are out of the nest but she's still hovering around the nest and fighting us off. It could have something to do with how mad she is with us...I knocked one of the birds out of the nest.

I know!!!

I am so ashamed.

I went to take my daily peek at the birds and as I spread the limbs of the bush I heard one topple from the nest and slowly fall through the leaves until it plunked on the ground....fortunately it was a soft landing. However we could not get him back into the nest...Mama bird was angry! She was dive bombing us at every angle.

And fortunately, it was just a day before the birds left the nest anyway...I would have been heartbroken if I had done this earlier. I don't feel too terrible as the nest was so full with 4 big baby birds that it was bound to happen, right?

Oh well, I loved them while it lasted! I can totally understand the empty-nester syndrome, now. How will I ever fill my days if I'm not constantly peeking out the window to see my little birdies?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bird Watch

This was the first picture we snagged of the birds, they were only a couple of days old

You can see some very small changes in just one day

Their wings are still bare.

In just 2 days you can see feathers coming out on the wings

They look like birds! Look at the difference in the beak shape and feathers in just a few days. I'm just fascinated with these little guys. Only 5 days separates the first picture from the last....amazing!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Birdie Update

Mama Bird must have been out searching for food because she was not in her nest and I was not attacked today and as soon as I parted the branches of the bush this was what I saw

Then there was a surprise.....

Look close.....

Enlarge the picture if you must......

There are 4 little beaks in that nest....4 baby birds, not 3!

They are so sweet and I'm completely fascinated with them. Every year we have a robin make a nest in one of our bushes, but this is the first year I've been able to see the baby birds.

And here is a short video of the birds crying for food (you will hear a pedestrian on the phone in spanish in the background, but if you listen closely you can hear the babes).

Sunday, June 14, 2009


After being gone for a week with the kids, I came home to sleep one night in my own bed and then woke Friday morning and suggested a camping trip. We spent Friday morning gathering our gear and preparing for a night of slumber in the woods with the kids.

We went to Little Bennett campground not far from our house. There was practically no one camping on Friday so it was nice and quiet, perfect for the kids to ride their bikes and not worry about cars coming by every few minutes; we may have only seen half-dozen cars the entire time we were there on Friday. I picked a spot near the play equipment to help entertain the kids and the site beside us was being inhabited by two boys, ages 6 & 7. The kids were in heaven! They enjoyed playing with the other boys so much we rarely saw them.

Three empty little chairs....no one to enjoy the fire, well except for Chase and me.

Lillee would come and go, she's a loner sometimes and prefers to find a nice mud puddle to sit in and dig in the dirt with sticks and rocks. She entertained herself jumping from this tree stump.

Or sitting quietly in the tree while snakcing on a banana.

But she found true joy when she caught a frog. She was so proud of herself and I was truly amazed at how gentle she was holding the little guy. It was instinctual for her....maybe she'll be our little scientist.

Lillee is a princess and loves pink and purple anything, wearing fru-fru dresses and having her nails polished but she's also completely at home with dirt under he nails (as you can see in this picture)....she is definitely a complex child.

But the real excitement of the whole trip was not caught in a picture....

The kids went to bed well (they were exhausted from all the play) so Al and I took advantage of the quiet time and played some cards. We did not last long, we were also exhausted so we snuggled down and tried to get comfortable...we forgot pillows. Al did not sleep well, I was cold as I went to bed with wet hair so we both tossed and turned a lot. At one point Al took the sleeping bag he was lying on and put it on me so I could warm up...what a sweetheart! I was finally sleeping well when I heard Al saying in a very concerned voice, "Amanda, wake up RIGHT NOW! Amanda, you need to wake up RIGHT NOW! AMANDA!!!!"

I pulled myself out of sleep shocked by Al's tone of voice until I saw what was causing the tone. A spider....not just any spider, this was the biggest and meanest spider I had ever seen. His legs covered about 4 inches of space and his butt was the size of the tip of my thumb (and I don't have dainty hands). His eyes were large enough that I could see a reflection of the flashlight in them.

(We think this spider is like the one in our tent, it is a variety of wolf spider)
Al had heard a noise and placed his hand against the tent to lean in a bit to listen and that was when the spider jumped onto Al's hand. FREAKED HIM OUT!!! I would have been screaming to the tops of my lungs! He stayed calm until we had to usher the spider from the tent. Every time the spider would twitch a leg Al and I would jump....that spider was UGLY. We did manage to get him outside without a heart attack from either one of us but sleep did not come easily after that adventure.

The best part of the camping trip....

OFF! has a new clip on bug repellent. No sprays, lotions or funny smells. You clip this on your waistband, turn it on and NO bugs. I was reluctant at first, but man it really worked! It was perfect for me as I was holding the baby a lot and did not want him smeared in bug stuff with DEET.

When we woke Saturday, we broke camp and headed to a nearby lake for some fishing. Connor was the only one with the patience for fishing and since I had to care for the baby I could not help out much...I was bummed as I really love fishing and miss fishing, a LOT. Al caught 3 fish with Connor before we had to give up and leave. The heat and humidity were unbearable and the girls were pretty bored.

We had an awesome time together and look forward to camping again soon....minus the really nasty spider :)

Our lovely french door

This is a shot of the window in the family room where the kids and I spend most of our day. We school here, play here, dine here, watch movies here....we spend a lot of time in this dark, wood-paneled room.

It is time to replace the window and we decided to replace it with a french door instead of another window. So the following pictures are the progress of installing the french door. Al had to do all of this in less than one week while the kids and I were out of town.

A BIG hole in the side of the house!

Outside view of the BIG hole.

Ahhh, hole is now filled. And under the paneling is DRYWALL!!! No more paneling!!!

Al finished the drywall, added in a couple of new electrical outlets and a switch for outdoor lights on either side of the door.

VIOLA!!! A happy cheery room complete with crown moulding. The doors have shades built into them...between the two panes of glass are shades and the mechanisms for opening and lifting them are on the door, but no strings for the kids to get caught in or any way for the kids to break them. Look how bright the wall is now and this picture was taken at night!

Scroll back to the top of this post....see the difference....I am so thrilled with the new look!

Our baby birds

3 blue catbird eggs turned into 3 teeny, tiny baby birds

They're kind of cute in an ugly sort of way

This is what happens when mama bird realizes you're reaching into the bush, she comes down from the telephone lines and dive bombs your head, scaring you senseless and causing you to ruin the shot.

The birds are one day older in this shot, you can see one opening it's eye a bit.

Here is the upset mama bird flying all about trying to make it known that she's watching you.

I now understand the phrase ruffled feathers. You can see her feathers are a bit ruffled.


I cannot believe it has been nearly a month since I last posted on my blog. Life has been very busy!

We have been working on wrapping up school, working in the garden (and for all our efforts, I'm not seeing a lot of progress), traveling, home improvement projects, swim lessons and we even threw in a camping trip.

Unfortunately, during the construction process Al lost the spot for his computer and my laptop won't recognize the camera connection so I cannot post picture yet. But I will get to it!

Oh, we had a Robin's nest with 3 beautiful blue eggs in one of our bushes. Well, those eggs HATCHED! There are 3 teeny, tiny baby robins. The mother does this dive bomb move at oour heads whenever we part the leaves of the bush to get a peek. It is very cool and I hope to have pictures of them, soon!