Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Big Backyard

Now doesn't this backyard look better than it did last Monday? Ok, it is Tuesday that I'm blogging, but I took the pics yesterday. The grass is pretty dead, but our yard is almost completely back to normal. As you can see the kids were pretty happy to spend the afternoon outside.
I do however often feel like a Little Tykes commercial. Notice however in each picture that the children are not playing with any of the toys. They are playing on the bench swing and in the rocks. Maybe I'm not a good commercial after all!

Friday, September 19, 2008

125 Hours Of Blessing

Well, to all of you who read my blog, I did not fall off the face of the earth. We had a hurricane! Yeah, check your maps folks, I live in SW Ohio...and we had a category 1 hurricane! Ike caused awful destruction in Texas and then came up to greet all of us who thought we were having a tornado. That is blessing #1-we did not have a tornado. And unlike all of those in Texas, we are so blessed to still have our houses! The storm, which was really just very scary up to 80 MPH winds, no rain or anything, started about 2:30 Sunday afternoon. We lost power at 3:00 pm.

So, here is part of our backyard after the storm. There are more and bigger branches in other parts of the backyard, but I think you get the picture. Here's another blessing-the swingset was bent a little, but nothing terrible!
The winds pulled parts of our gutters right out of the house. We were blessed though because our roof held up fine. Many neighbors lost shingles, some need whole new roofs, and one family actually has a 2 foot hole they can see out of in their kitchen!
More damage to our trees. This picture is actually taken during the storm. It was very eerie...very much like how the weather is here when we have tornadoes. We were blessed to have wonderful neighbors who took the boys and me in during the storm as #1 was at work and we had no power. The weather was scary and I was a big scardy cat.
Our front yard was also a mess, but we didn't have nearly the damage there as the backyard.
Big J was a big help. He is posing here with some little logs, but he lifted logs twice this big and even helped stack it. I was so surprised at how much he could do. He was thrilled with all of the activity. No electricity didn't bother James! This was another blessing! What a happy little boy.
Big J also helped me by filling up the trash can with small sticks and leaves. I burned five trash cans full of stuff.#1's friend M. let us borrow his pick up truck and we took 4 FULL truckfulls of limbs to a dump site. That was another blessing. We had a truck to borrow AND they took our brush for free. James also helped pull branches to the truck to load up. "Steeks" are some of Big J's favorite things...he usually doesn't get to play with them.
#1 went to Lowe's to get a chainsaw-now before you feel bad that we had to spend money on a chainsaw you must know #1 has just been waiting for the opportunity to get one. Here's another two blessings. We got one of the floor models, and one of the last chainsaws available in the state AND they gave us 10% off because it was a floor model! Very blessed. So #1 worked very very hard to get everything cut up, but he loves his new toy.

I set up camp in the backyard. Eventually I moved the camp stove and everything else in my makeshift kitchen to a board on sawhorses. We cooked/and or prepared 13 meals outside this week. (for those of you who are math sensative, 125 hours is a little over 5 days. We were so blessed to have our camping gear where we could easily find it. We were blessed to NOT run out of flashlight batteries because there are NONE in any store. We were blessed to have fuel for our campstove. We were blessed to have BEAUTIFUL weather!!! It hasn't been hot or cold or rainy.
We were also blessed to have a gas hot water heater so we could have hot showers and wash dishes. We didn't know that at first, so here's M. washing dishes with water we boiled...oops. But we are blessed with wonderful neighbors.
Speaking of wonderful neighbors, this is B.. B. is C.'s dad. Our frozen meat is in his freezer, he helped us clean up the trees, let me do a load of laundry, and we had a wonderful hot meal at his house one night. He had power and he shared it! Thanks so much! Our neighbors across the street had a generator and we got to keep cheese, eggs, and milk there.
This is C. pretending we had a tornado and she is injured. Actually she is just fine despite having to go to work with wet hair everyday. I think she looked fine. We shared many meals this week. We'd see what hadn't spoiled yet or what we had in the various fridges housing our food that made it, and then make a menu and share what we have!

Here are some signs in our neighborhood. I was just glad I don't pay $128.99 a month for cable! See! There is another blessing! I wasn't paying for something I wasn't using. I wasn't getting paid either...I missed 5 days of work because Shawnee didn't have school so the teachers didn't need a babysitter. The school used up all 5 calamity days and we havn't even had a frost yet...hope it isn't a bad winter or we'll go to school until July! Still trying to see how 5 days no paycheck and going to school all summer will be a blessing...sure I'll find out.
Um, this is a blessing because...um...because I know eventually we'll be able to replace what we lost and some people lost quite a bit more. Still sad to throw away so much food. I guess I should feel blessed I had food at all. We had to use the Red Cross Shelter to charge my cell phone and there were many families there because they had nothing to eat. I at least had a fridge across the street I had acess to.
Baby J could care less about power outages. He has been very fussy due to clogged pipes, if you catch my drift, but other than that he has been practicing his very catchy smile!
90,000 people are still without power tonight. Our hearts are with them, it isn't easy. I know this because I am WATCHING the news...yep, on TV...with electricity! Goodbye cooking outside, goodbye lighting candles to see my way to the bathroom, goodbye power outages! Thank the Lord for all the blessings He gave us.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Athlete In Training

This sweet little baby looks very small and vunerable and helpless...right?
Ah, but look what that baby won today...a crawling contest-at 11 weeks! What? Are you sure?
Quit laughing! You want to fight? That's my trophy! Hey! No laughing! It is MY trophy.

Yep, here is Baby J with his first trophy ever. He won the crawling contest at Xenia Old Fashioned Days. He was in front of probably 100 people. Maybe I should explain...
Our town has a festival every year (for those of you who have never been to Ohio, every town has a festival...you can go to a festival every weekend in the summer and fall if you really wanted to). Our tradition is to watch the parade with our next door neighbors, meet #1 after he is done directing parade traffic, and then walk the festival grounds. This year we stopped to watch a hula hoop contest. There were about 50 kids doing hula hoops, and as they dropped the hoop they were escorted out of the arena and in the end 2 kids finally tied after they had hooped (is that the correct word?) for 30 minutes straight. Well, next they announced the baby crawling contest...no one came forward...they introduced a little girl there that won a couple of years ago...nobody came up...finally the announcer (a local news reporter) asked if there were any babies at the festival at all! I took Baby J up because I kinda felt bad for the poor contest people who were running a contest with no babies. Another lady brought her 4 month old in too. Neither boy could crawl (obviously) so they decided whoever could smile first would win. Baby J isn't a big smiler, but the other kid cried so Baby J won! We now have a super classy trophy that claims Baby J won the Baby Crawling contest 2008...so proud. He is certainly an athlete in training. Oh yeah, the paper took his picture. If it makes it in I'll take a picture of it and post it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pumpkin Hat

This is not Baby J...do not be confused. This baby does not have 2 chins, so it cannot be Baby J. This is Big J wearing the pumpkin hat...loved it then, love it now.

This is Baby J. This is Baby J with his 2 chins. This is Baby J wearing the pumpkin hat...loved it then, love it now. I mean, what a cute hat! This picture was actually not planned, Baby J wore this outfit to playgroup today and when I put him in the swing it triggered a flashback...so I went back and looked at Big J's baby book and sure enough he wore almost the exact same thing one day and I had taken a picture. Had to take one of Baby J the same way (actually it takes about 20 shots to get the picture sorta like the other one, but thats why we have digital cameras, right? So we can manipulate photos and get them just how we want them, eliminating any candid shots that are less than perfect!)
Baby J had a mini playgroup today. He and his friend J. O. both ate, stared at the other children, and cried a bit at the mall playplace. They bobble headed around for awhile on their mommies' knees, and then took naps. What a great playdate! J.O. is 6 weeks older than Baby J-it is fun to have friends with babies close to your kids' age. Mitt-I can't WAIT to get my hands on G and get pictures of him and Baby J. I wish we lived closer!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grocery Shopping

I really don't know how I feel about grocery shopping. I usually think about having to go and get uggy about it. Maybe it is because I am usually totting along 2-5 children. That would do it for anyone. However there are things about it I like I decided today. I don't like planning a menu, but I've started doing a monthly plan and that saves the unpleasantness for just one time a month, and not 4! I do like deciding exactly what I need and putting it into a list. I like finding exactly what I need and making sure I have enough money (I have a list on my computer of exactly what each food costs). I like coming home and putting food in the fridge (I plan it so precisely that by Wednesday there are only condiments and maybe some leftovers left in the fridge). Anyway, #1 and I took 4 kids grocery shopping today, survived, and had $1 left over! Hmm, other things I enjoy about grocery shopping...I love that we now have these reusable bags and I don't have to buy them anymore (Aldi you buy your own bags)...I like that I know all the cashiers and have an ongoing aquatince with them. Jo is a mom of one of my former students and Brandon is going to school to be an accountant. There's another chick and I never can remember her name, but she has a kid a few months older than Big J and she always comes over to say "hi". Anyway, enough about my grocery store, I'm just glad it is done for another week and when I open the fridge there is more than ketchup and baking soda looking back at me :o)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Young's Jersey

This past weekend Mom and Dad stopped in (you know, just rode 5 hours to drop by) to see us. On their way home we drove seperatly to Young's Jersey Dairy. This is a favorite destination of ours, but we havn't been there since last fall :o( Thanks mom and dad for yummy ice cream :o)
How did Grandmommy get out of this picture???
Ice cream is much better when it is blue! This particular flavor is called "cotton candy".
This may soon be my favorite picture of Big J. I have monthly favorites, and this certainly catches the best side of Big J. Of course he is usually happy when he is eating, but I love when his eyes light up.
Yep, Baby J was there too. Guess what he was doing...sleeping. I know you're shocked. He actually is more and more alert everyday. Last week it seemed like he never slept and wanted to eat every 2 hours. The last couple of days he is awake for an hour, sleeps four hours, and then is awake again. I don't care how much he sleeps and when as long as he keeps up his sleeping through the night. He's been doing that since he was 2 months old...8 solid beautiful hours in a row. Can't complain :o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

We started the weekend with a trip to Cedarville for Cedarfest. It is this rinky dinky tiny teeny town festival we enjoy every year. We had lunch at the Fireman's breakfast (served until 2pm so we decided to have Fireman's lunch) to start off our day. Big J loved the big firetrucks. In his hand is a "tandy" from Linda after he got his haircut.
Sunday was M's birthday and we had a cookout.Baby J loves to smile at C-but not hardly ever at #1 or me! Oh well, we enjoy his smiles he reserves for her. Happy 13th birthday M!
Big J enjoyed a day with just Baby J on Monday. We didn't do much, but enjoyed a day off. Big J loves to give Baby J a bottle. He is very careful to keep it in Baby J's mouth and takes his job quite seriously.