15 August 2017

Get Moving

This was in my fortune cookie recently:
I agree. It's about time. So we've started.
 One thing: packing and moving is tiring.
Nap first, anyone?

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13 August 2017


Our beautiful Indiana mansion.
This coming week is the week: we're moving. Everyone is excited and busily working to be ready but I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit it's all a bit bittersweet. Every time we move away from somewhere, whether it's something we've known about for years, like when Jack finished up school and Iowa and we relocated to Indiana for work, or whether it's a move that's come quite unexpectedly, like this move, that came about within a matter of weeks, I always catch myself reminiscing about the time we've had. At our Indiana mansion, we're down to the lasts.
All ready for church.
Today was the last Sunday in our current ward, a place where we've learned and grown, served and felt like family.
One last Sunday nap.
One last bath.

(Have I mentioned I'll miss my tub...?)
We're down to the final days at our playground...
...and we've finished off the last of the ice cream.
The last chance to catch toads...
...and petting the horses over the fence.
We had our last guest riders at the house.
 And the quiet mornings doing chores.
 The last time reading together in Henry's room and baking together in the kitchen...
All of these lasts would be unbearable if it weren't for all the firsts that are coming up. There will be a new ward, more toads, plenty of reading, lots of Sunday naps, time in the kitchen, friends coming over to ride, quiet mornings, and so on and so on.

Really, these aren't lasts at all.

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09 August 2017


So. Much. Honey.
As if we weren't busy enough packing up an entire farm worth of things, Jack mentioned that we should probably harvest a couple of the hives so we didn't lose the honey when we transport the bees (don't even ask me how Jack's planning on doing that). The first night, Jack did the Italian hive, that turns out, was missing a queen and was quickly dying. Most likely, they are the bees who swarmed and made their home in the hive up front and though ants, wax worms, and wasps were all drooling over the thought of raiding a weakened hive, Jack found them just in time so we were able to get quite a bit of honey harvested. When that was done, he put the bee escape on the Purdue Leg Chewer hive, so that once the bees left the super that was brimming full of honey, they couldn't get back in. A day later, the bees had been evacuated and while the kids and I cleaned up after dinner, Jack brought in the super and prepared it for extraction.
Best seat in the house!
Harvesting honey isn't too tricky with the help of a couple specialty tools: an uncapping knife, which is essentially a metal knife that heats up and slices off the wax caps of the honey comb and a honey extractor, which used centrifugal force to suck the honey right out of the comb. Here, the kids demonstrate how fun it can be:

In all the excitement of delicious honey being harvested, no one happened to notice that Henry decided to "help" by turning the release spout handle, leaking precious honey all over the mudroom floor.
Guess I needed to scrub the floor anyway...
After a roaring, "Get out, Henry!", Jack and I got to work, trying to salvage what honey we could. For a moment I contemplated scraping it up and filtering it but knowing it was sticking to the mud room floor--the room where dog hair, shoes with chicken manure on the soles, and mud regularly coexist--we decided against it. But, being the frugal people we are, we couldn't just throw away all that honey. So, we did scrape it up and filled two mason jars worth of honey that will be re-fed back to the bees, who will, in turn, make it into new, clean honey.
So tempting! But I talked him out of it.
If anyone ever wonders why I don't answer the phone every time they call, it's because my life is full of instances like these, being arm deep in cleaning up something. Thankfully, there was still pounds of honey left in the extractor, so the hard work wasn't all for nothing. Next time, we'll just have to remember to keep an eye on darling little Henry.
Plenty left for food storage!

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06 August 2017

School, Take One

In the blink of an eye, Evelyn and Claire were finishing up kindergarten and second grade and it was time for summer to start. But, in a matter of a few weeks, we felt prompted that it was time to move, we found a house we loved, finished our major home improvement projects and shortly after that, began the grueling showing, buying/selling, inspecting, appraising, and packing. And just like that, summer was already over and the girls were starting first and third grade.
It's amazing how many kids can fit in Jack's hammock!
Initially, I was really sad that summer went so fast but when I scroll through pictures, I feel a bit better about all the good times we had together and the memories we made. Sure, there was a lot of work (did I say a lot? I meant A LOT) but we had days filled with typical summer fun. Like having friends over...
 ...playing with the hoardes of toads we had hopping about the yard...
...and when we did have those early morning showings, we tried to make it less stressful by waking up, getting dressed, and getting breakfast elsewhere. Like Dunkin' Donuts. Yum!
We had a couple entertaining and pretty quiet days at the Children's Museum, when the place wasn't overly crowded (you know, so Henry could practice his weight routine without trouble).
Even though it stunk to be kicked out of the house so often, we probably spent more time at local parks than we typically do. No complaints there!
The hammock got plenty of good use, we had a lot of bonfires, partly out of necessity to clean up brush, partly because there's something relaxing about listening to the tree frogs croak and watching the kids catch lightning bugs while a fire crackles.
Yes, that's Claire's version of a dive.
 Plus, the amount of time we had in a pool was awesome. I was a little glum thinking I wasn't going to be able to take the kids swimming as much this summer with a new baby but compared to previous summers, it was probably double, thanks to all the friends who invited us over and trips to Holiday World.
The girls returned from their first day of school excited about the possibilities of a new year and Kate and Henry dashed down the driveway, happy to have their older sisters back home. Though they'll only have a few weeks of school before we move, school, take one, was a success!

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02 August 2017

There Are Marshmallows

It's amazing how fast our living room went from this...
 ...to this.
Now that all the rocky negotiations are over with, we've been given the green light to pack. First, we have been raiding our local Menards on an almost daily basis, picking out the best boxes for packing and hauling them home. They give them to us for free, which may have something to do with how much money we've spent there over the past decade. That or because we're willing to dig through the recycling bin to find them.
For the most part, the girls have been pretty good sports. It's like a puzzle getting everything to fit into the boxes and they have been ooo-ing and aww-ing when they find something they haven't seen in a while. I predict the same amusement while unpacking.
They take turns taping and writing on the boxes and taping them shut, then pushing to them to the steps so I can stack them downstairs.
 Everyone also takes turns helping with Zoey, too. There's been a lot of multitasking going on.
It's not been all sweat and work, though. We've been cleaning up the property and part of that means burning brush. And when there's a fire...
...there are marshmallows.

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