Monday, August 31, 2015

New Church Shirt

Gyunay outgrew his blue shirt I made, so it was time for a new one.  He is so proud of it!
I bought this fabric last winter.  It's Halloween, and so it was on clearance really cheap.  I figure that little spiders work for little boys any time of year.  :)  (There are spiders in the rows; every few dots is actually a little spider.)

Ready for Church

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Last weekend, I made this hanging storage rack, but Nathaniel didn't get it hung up until yesterday, since he was in Nebraska earlier in the week.  I used plans from Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine, and I painted it white to match the trim.  Basically, all of our crap was on the three little hooks on the brown mirror, and piled onto the chair to the left.  So now, there is actually a place for all of these things.
Of course, I originally thought the kids could maybe hang their jackets here, too, but with the backpacks, lunchboxes, sling, library bag, etc, there aren't too many places left.  Oh well. 
I've been happy to get some produce from the garden, but cantaloupes eluded me this year, mainly due to raccoons:

I have started doing some basic fermenting, with the new lid attachment seen here:

It's from Fermentools, and it makes it very easy to start a batch of sauerkraut and just forget about it until it's done a week later.  Note: I just put the jar outside for pictures; it's not kept out in the sun!  Anyway, I made 2 pints of sauerkraut last month (one green, one purple, both delicious).  I just bought one of the fermentools, so I can only make one jar at a time.  This jar is quart-sized, and it holds about a half of a medium-sized red cabbage.  I plan on trying some other ferments in the future.  And, yes, I used to hate sauerkraut, but I've grown very fond of it as an adult.  It's funny how tastes change on you.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

7 Months Home Update

It's been a while since I've done an update, so here's a 7-month update.   He has transitioned to our family so well!  He's so affectionate and happy.  Remember how he used to be terrified of baths?  Now he loves to take a bath, and he doesn't even fuss when having his hair washed or if he gets water in his face.  He also used to be very nervous about leaving the house, but now he loves to go places.  He is very attached to all of us, especially me. 
Today, he had his first dental check-up.  It went really well.  He was nervous, but he let her clean and even floss his teeth.  No cavities!  Oh, and he loves to brush his teeth so much now that when the dentist gave him his new toothbrush, he wanted to go into the bathroom there and brush his teeth again.  Needless to say, he charmed the staff at the office.
Gyunay's speech is still not there.  He can say a few recognizable words, but he generally does not speak, or he makes noises that do not really correspond to the word he's trying to say.  Then again, he will surprise us sometimes and say a word that we don't expect.  Most of the "words" he says are not really full words, but the first syllable of the word, like "ka" for "car" and "ba" for ball, baby, etc.  That said, he recently learned to say my niece's name, and he loves to shout "An-na-belle!" now.  He understands about 90% of what is said to him, and he is a great communicator even without being very verbal, so communication is not a problem for us most of the time.  He starts speech at the local preschool next week.  Now that he is 3, he qualifies for the services offered there, including preschool.  We are not sending him to preschool at this time, though.  He's just not ready for that yet.  We don't see a need to rush him, though, since we don't plan on starting kindergarten until he's 6.  So for now, he's going to have 2 speech sessions a week, and in September we plan to start attending story time at the library. 
He is still in diapers, and I doubt that will change any time soon.  We aren't pushing that, either.  He tried to sit on the potty a few times, but it caused such great anxiety that we are not going to worry about that for now.
He has learned to actually play as well.  He loves to play in his toy kitchen.  He also likes to play in the sand/water table a lot, and outdoors in general.  He has no use for puzzles.  Although he can do simple wood puzzles, he isn't interested in them at all.  He likes to play with his little people, cars, and balls, too.  He still rides his wheely bug through the house.  He's also developed a real love for play-dough recently. 
We've been trying to teach him colors and counting.  He doesn't know his colors at all.  I was unsure about that for a while, but now I'm certain: he doesn't get those yet.  He does understand the concept of counting, but he can only say "two," and uses it repeatedly, so it's hard to tell if he could actually count if he wanted to.  He has learned most of his body parts, and he will point to them when I say them.  He loves to look at books, and he will actually listen to some short ones now.
Physically, he does great.  He can do just about anything a two-handed kid his age can do.  He has to do some things a bit differently, but he copes very well.  He's super strong.  He's also very healthy in general.  He's also a good sleeper, which this mama really appreciates.
Overall, he is doing fantastic.  We are over the moon in love with him. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Lydia's fairy garden has some new residents and a new fairy house.  My dad made her this adorable house out of and old piece of driftwood, and she has been spending a lot of time in the garden!

Today, we found the gnome at a garden store, and she gave him a new home on top of the fairies' place. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Golden Jubilee

This picture is not great, but this tomato sure is!  It is the first ripe Golden Jubilee tomato.  Lydia and I ate a Black Krim yesterday, and there are 4 Mortgage Lifters that are soooo close to being ready.  Finally, we are getting some tomatoes besides the delicious cherry/pear varieties.  And since our cucumbers have been doing well lately, I've been having tomato, cucumber, mozzarella and balsamic vinegar salads for lunch.  Sometimes I throw in a red pimento pepper, too.  We've had several of those, and a couple of Bulgarian peppers as well, but I've eaten them all pretty quickly.  Everyone (well, everyone except Lydia) has also been enjoying the golden crescent beans, too.  The garden is finally supplying a noticeable amount of food!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Hurrah

It's back to school time.  We've fit in a few fun things the last few days, including a zoo trip:
Then, we headed to my parents' for the weekend.  It was my niece's birthday party time, where my brother-in-law built the best slip and slide ever:

Note the tarp-covered hay bales at the end.   The big boys spent the entire afternoon on the slip-and-slide.

And now we're back home, where the kids spent the morning playing with our 4 hens:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A New Project

Nathaniel and the boys have been busy on a new project.  Our old swing set is really done:
It came with the house six years ago, and it's really rickety now.  The younger three love to swing, so I wanted swings available.  Nathaniel started on one today: 
Malachi was doing a weird pose for me here.  He was doing some touch-up painting on the frame.  It will be done tonight, but maybe not until after it's too dark for good pictures, and anyway, the little two are in bed, so I'll photograph the finished result with kids swinging on it tomorrow.
In the meantime, I wanted to show you why it's so hard to get a decent picture of Elijah these days.  (And to be clear, I deleted at least as many pictures as I actually ended up posting here!)

This is by far the best shot. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Internet is Back!

Sorry, all, we've not only been out of town, but also our internet has been out for a week and a half.  We did have a great time on Lake Michigan:

You can see the big boys in the background.  They spent the whole time pretty much in the water!
Also, we visited my in-laws' house, where my father-in-law made a cute hobbit house out of a tree stump and an old door:

The kids love it.  Of course, they really love that the door opens, and there is a small cutout area where the hobbits hide treats, like gum and toy cars.  Gyunay actually now says "hobbit".  Really.

Here is one of the many attempts at a family photo in my mother-in-law's beautiful flowered yard.