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

Lasts

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

Extraction

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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29 July 2017

Finally Summer

Our neighbor giving everyone a ride back after they helped unload the brush.
All summer, I've felt kind of bad for my kids. It seems like we've barely done anything fun because we've been so preoccupied with fixing and cleaning the house in preparation for showings, inspections, appraisals, and ultimately selling the house that we've had little time left for those happy summer memories. Thank goodness most of the house stuff is done and this past week, we had visiting family, which always guarantees fun times!
Zoey wasn't quite sure who she was looking at.
First and foremost, everyone had to get reacquainted. With all the kids being so young, a couple of months can be a veritable lifetime of difference. 
Millie and Zoey, right before Millie pinched Zoey's nose in a cute, "Got your nose," gesture.
No big surprise though that everyone quickly remembers their "twin cousins," and are happy to be reunited.
Henry and Holton bonding over a funny video.
 Once we were all settled in, the summer finally seemed to begin. There was swimming.
 Horseback riding on good, ol' Stoney.
Such a good boy!
 Hot dogs over a fire...
Perfectly cooked hot dogs!
 ...followed by gooey, toasted marshmallows, also over a fire.
No small feat, either, seeing as our bonfire was blazing hot--enough so that we had to shield our faces from about ten feet away.
We found bumpy baby toads.
 Jack set up his virtual reality from work and we saw everything from engine breakdowns to escape room games to alien invasion shootouts.
We rode the grocery store penny pony.
There was plenty of ice cream treats all around.
Camille loves her ice cream sandwiches!
Then, we went to Holiday World. The older kids were brave enough to go on a few roller coasters...
No turning back now!
...we drifted down the lazy river...
...then the little kids got a turn on their own roller coaster.
We did bumper cars...
...and bobbing fish...
...dropping from incredible heights...
...and, of course, plenty of time waiting in lines.
A bit of jealousy by the kids who weren't quite tall enough to go on all the rides...
Henry wishing he could go on the bumper cars.
...and a resulting meltdown or two.
Henry's so cute when he's being dramatic.
When we made it back home, there was more swimming...
...the Children's museum, where we played in the sand, did science experiments, climbed on the rock wall, wrote Chinese calligraphy...
...learned dances from different decades, saw dinosaur bones, and rode the carousel.
Before the cousins had to leave, we had one last epic bath in our big soaker tub.

Man, I'm going to miss that tub.
All too soon, it was time for the cousins to head home. That means we have to get back to packing and getting ready for school. But, we loved summer break while it lasted.
Saying goodbye to their twins.
The cousins had a long ride back home...
...and Henry may or may not have had one more meltdown watching them go.
Come back soon!
Zoey and Camille love each other!
(Hope you had a great summer, too!)

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