29 July 2015

Highlight of the Year

The girls' cousins, my sister and my brother-in-law were able to come for a visit this past week! It's always so much fun watching the girls play and be able to make memories together--family visits are a highlight of the year. It was a jammed packed seven days with activities like visiting the temple, rescuing frog eggs and staying up too lat(hey, it was vacation). Here's a taste of what else we did this time around:
Releasing the tadpoles into the horses' water trough (I'm secretly pleased they didn't end up being some sort of super mosquito)!
Morning exercise on the bounce house, usually before even getting out of their jammies.
Meeting Jack downtown for lunch.
Walking around to see memorials and fountains.
Cooling off in the shade.
An intense game of kickball: Lukes vs. Elikers. Jordan had no mercy tagging out kids so Jack and Evelyn took their revenge by accidentally pitching the ball first into Elsa, then into Holton. My family plays dirty, I guess.
A long, hot but fun trip to the zoo!
Helping Jack assemble frames for his new bees.
Everyone got a couple of pony rides on good, ol' Stoney!
Thank you, Holton for reminding me what it's like to have a crawling baby in the house.
Crawling babies!
Lots of time swinging...
...and playing at parks...
and the resulting plethora of bug bites. Elsa took first prize in sheer number. I don't think anyone coveted her position as Most Bitten by Mosquitoes.
She smiled for the photo, then was asleep about two seconds later. Seriously.
Slushies!
Raven, Ruby and Jack.
A pack of (practically) wild dogs wrestling out back.
Working on the front and interior of the horses' shed! It'll be ready well before winter. Hooray!
Riding a zipline!
Kaylee obviously enamored with the hunky lifeguard.
It was finally warm and sunny so we did plenty of swimming!
And eventually having to say goodbye. See you soon, cousins!

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26 July 2015

Indianapolis Temple

Some of the cousins have come for a visit and one of the highlights so far has been our tour of the new Indianapolis temple. It's an exciting event in many ways but it's especially so because we've been able to take our children to see the inside and have had lots of friends go see too.
Other than Kate's weird aversion to putting on the booties to keep the carpet clean (imagine full-on screaming) and Evelyn's fear of falling into the baptistry (imagine another round of screams), everyone enjoyed seeing the inside of the Lord's house before it is dedicated and only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing will be allowed to enter.
If you're in the Indianapolis area, tours run through August 8th! Visit templeopenhouse.lds.org to make reservations or just show up and the guides will be happy to show you around. It is a beautiful edifice and a unique opportunity!
The girls and Holton with the Christus statue.
(If you're unable to attend in person, here's a video [complete with corny music, haha] of photos of the inside of the temple)

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22 July 2015

Hungry

We had an unexpected dinner guest last night that made everyone a bit nervous. She was most likely from the new hive and since they moved in with no food to speak of, she was especially attracted to the honey we were drizzling all over our cornbread. After she tried landing on everyone's plates and then attempting to suck honey right out of the jar, Jack put a dab on the deck that was enough for a feast. She was hungry! She ate her fill and lazily flew back to the hive.

Next time, I hope she's the one sharing the honey with us.

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21 July 2015

Frog Caviar

We've had several plagues this summer, but not all bad. Having a free bee swarm show up was pretty awesome. Sure, the rain has been annoying but we're in for a whole week of sunshine and mild temperatures. The resulting wet weather has filled our baby pool a few times and though I try to keep up with dumping it out to keep the mosquitoes at bay, it's been hard to keep up with. Imagine our surprise this time when I looked into the murky green and found clusters of frog eggs floating in the water.
We saved the eggs, dumped out the pool and though Raven got in a few laps of water before realizing there was frog caviar floating in it, most of them survived. We'll see if they hatch in about a week and if they do, they might find their new home in the horse trough to help keep the mosquito population down before they grow up and head to the trees where they'll serenade us all summer long.

Never a dull day around here!

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20 July 2015

Swarm #2

We were gone two hours and this surprise showed up!
It was pushing 98 degrees, the humidity was incredibly high, we'd endured several weeks of rainstorms but to Jack, the day was as magical as Christmas morning, even if it was in the middle of July.
We were driving back from running some errands while playfully bantering back and forth about whether the bees or the horses were pricier. He argued that the fencing we put up is always so expensive. I countered by pointing out that we always make that money back when we sell the house. I noted the bees have gotten new hives and frames the past few years, but have yet to give us any honey due to erratic weather, moisture and invading insects. Almost as if on cue, we pulled into our driveway and Jack leaped from the car, shouting, "Look! A swarm!"
I doubt many other people are as excited about an enormous gathering of potentially angry insects who have the ability to hurt humans as Jack is. It wasn't ten minutes after getting home that he had called another apiary buddy (who ended up being away in Utah so he missed the fun) and had on his bee gear and was sawing away on the birch branch where the bees had congregated.
A view from a distance.
Almost a year to the day, we sadly watched another swarm come and go. They seem to be attracted to the other hives we have and thanks to moving the bee's location, swarm number two ended up being much easier to reach. If the trend continues, I suggested Jack might like to have an extra beehive on hand every year.
Stuffing bees into a box.
Though swarming bees are generally docile because they're tired and hungry and don't have anything to protect, I like to stand back and watch. While Jack worked on getting them stuffed into a temporary home, the girls and I viewed from the deck. I enjoy observing Jack work but admit that I bite my nails, worrying he's going to get mauled by the bees. Everything went according to plan...
Building a roof.
...until he sliced his arm open while making a waterproof tin roof for his new girls.
Yes, that's blood on his chin. No, he's not a vampire. I think.
We know the Urgent Care is all too well. Of course, it should be renamed the We'll-Get-To-You-When-We-Feel-Like-It Care (in my humble opinion). I got the girls out of the pool and dressed while Jack and I had another friendly disagreement about how to wrap his wound. He kept instructing me in the boy scout method while I  kept insisting I should get the vet wrap and bandage his leg like a dog's (hey, it's how I was trained). He ended up taking care of himself while I drove. We arrived promptly and immediately realized Jack had forgotten his wallet.
Got all the bees down.
The girls and I drove back and forth and then waited patiently, eating suckers and looking through magazines, while Jack got three brand new stitches in his arm. I told him I'm adding that medical bill to the running total of keeping bees.
Their temporary home.
It's always fun when Mother Nature sends free stuff our way. One question though: when is she going to send me some horses?

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17 July 2015

Lightning Storm

Taking at 10:30pm!
Everyone in Indiana has started referring to summer instead as "monsoon season." After weeks and weeks of constant rain, sometimes heavy, sometimes a slow drizzle, we started getting a few strong storms that dumped buckets of water, accompanied by incredible displays of lightning. One second, it'd be black, the next it'd be bright as midday. Jack and I stood out on the deck one night before heading to bed and watched the display.

It was an incredibly impressive lightning storm. Still, I'm so over the rain.

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14 July 2015

Same Garden

Thanks for the pre-school hair cuts, Jessica!
Sisters are different flowers from the same garden. 

~Author Unknown

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11 July 2015

Eyesore

Working Dancer in front of the eyesore.
We have been working hard on the horse's new pasture and it's coming along nicely. A few more rails and gates, then some stain and polyurethane and they'll be set. The only thing that's been bothering me is the horse shed that is one of the eyesores in the backyard. I'm not sure what it was originally constructed for but it goes without saying that it's seen better days.
Looks a million times better already and we'd only put up one piece!
Though the horses 99% of the time choose to stand out in the weather regardless of how windy, rainy or cold it is, I really do appreciate having a shed where they can escape the elements if they feel like it. So, I ordered steel to match the colors of our house, invited one of Jack's college friends who's nearby in Ohio to come over and we got to work.
No piece of scrap metal is wasted.
The first half of the project always feels like we're just shuffling around gathering tools and figuring out what we're doing. One panel hung and a few rotted pieces of wood on the interior replaced and it was already time for lunch.
Finishing up the back.
After a hearty lunch from a nearby Chinese restaurant and purchasing a much needed bit for the fasteners (work goes so much faster with the proper tools--imagine that!), it was only a few more hours to get the back and both sides cut and hung.
Done for today and it looks beautiful!
We still have to rip out the interior and make some changes to the front of the structures so the horses can actually go in when they want to but progress has been made and from my kitchen window, the eyesore is long gone.
(Thanks for the help, Nicole!)

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