Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Apricot Tree

This year, our backyard gave us many surprises. Not only did we discover a peony bush and several other flowering shrubs, but the tree on the side of the house started producing apricots (I'm clueless in the tree identification department)! At first I was excited and wondered why they didn't bloom last year...but that quickly faded as the apricots fell with a vengeance, covering the ground and making a rotten, mushy mess.

The first night we picked up apricots, it lasted at least 40 minutes. We tried really hard to get Norah and Lucy excited about helping by singing 'the cleanup song', but that wore off pretty fast. After about two minutes, Norah started sighing over and over again, and saying how tired she was of helping. Lucy was much more enthused about being a "big helper!" However, she kept clomping around and accidentally stepping on the soft ones, mashing them into the ground.

As we gathered apricots from the ground and filled our bags, more fell from the trees, occasionally pelting us on our backs. At one point, Ryan chased away a bird that perched on a branch to pick away at at the fruit, causing even more to fall. We filled nearly 3 kitchen trash bags, and two days later, the ground was just as covered as before. Now, several weeks later, I've lost count how many bags have been filled.

I felt bad that we just threw them in the trash, especially since we still haven't used them for anything. So I was going to try and advertise for any local friends to come and take as many as they wanted. But seeing that everyone seems to already have their own fruits trees that need picking and cleaning, we decided just to wait it out. I want to try to make some apricot fruit leather, but we'll see if I can summon the energy to do so. 

Now that cleaning up the apricots from the ground has become a pretty regular activity for us, it definitely isn't exciting for Norah anymore. While we cleaned up this morning she decided she would rather go inside and lay in bed. Lucy was content playing with a snail I found while cleaning up. The tree is thinning out now and the fruit is getting scarce, though I am hardly sad about it. But now we know that apricot trees are just not for us, and if we move into a house that comes with one in the backyard, it will be the first thing to go. ;)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pioneer Day

Ryan had Monday off in observance of Pioneer Day, so we spent the morning watching way too many movies and then decided to brave the heat to check out some activities going on.

The city library had their pioneer museum open and some fun displays. There were a lot of people dressed up in pioneer costumes telling stories, spinning yarn, and doing all sorts of things pioneers would have done back in the day.

We poked around in the little museum and Norah especially liked the old stove. 

One lady had a wheat grinder and let Norah try it out, then we grabbed a few samples of her homemade bread and butter and roamed on over to the next exhibit.

I knew the girls would really enjoy the washing laundry activity. And they probably would have if the lady hadn't been so cranky crank. 

Both of them just wanted to scrub and dunk, then scrub and dunk, then soap and soap and soap. But apparently, this wash needed to be done, like, now! So it was cut short.

After our toddlers were called "stubborn" and "bull-headed" we decided it was time to get out of that muggy heat. Poor lady was probably just dying in her bonnet and dress, so i guess we'll give her a break.

I was sad it was way too hot to really stay and enjoy the set up. But next year I'm planning on better weather. Or at least the girls will be older (and hopefully less bull-headed ;)).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Snail Hunting

We have a serious snail infestation happening at our house. Ever since I first found a little snail hanging out around my precious tomato plants, I've kept a sharp eye open for them around the garden and we've collected a whole army since.

It has now become part of our morning routine to go outside after breakfast and hunt for snails. The girls love doing it, and it's actually fun for me and quite satisfying when I catch them before trying to sneak in my garden. I was surprised how both Norah and Lucy didn't mind picking up the snails since they are scared of even a house fly, though they were careful to only touch their shells.

One morning, we started our snail hunting ritual a bit earlier than normal, and in turn we found so many more snails than usual. We combed through the garden area when Lucy exclaimed she found some on the other side of the yard. It was a jackpot. Norah kept shouting excitedly, "Look! I found another one! Oh, Look! Another one here!" until we gathered up twenty six all together. Twenty six! And I guarantee if we had kept searching, we would have found even more.

Lucy was so excited about it when we were piling them all up in one clump on the cement that she accidentally stepped on one while wearing boots. And then when I asked her to be careful, she made it her mission to try and crush as many as she could. So she was banished from the sight.

The first time I found a couple of snails hanging out in the garden, I pulled them out to examine before giving them a new home. I told Norah they weren't good for the garden so we had to get rid of them, to which she replied, "yeah, we better take them to DI." She cracks me up.

Norah liked stacking them up and even gathered the courage to put them on her hand and let them slime their way across her fingers.

It was fascinating to watch them feel their way around, seeping, oozing, and dribbling all over the cement. Whenever we picked them up, they quickly squeezed their clammy bodies back into their shell, leaving a blob of bubbles behind.

We gathered them all up, put them in a napkin and bid them adieu as they were on their way to the trash. No snail, no matter how cute they may be, is messing with my tomato garden.

Not pictured: the three snails who met their untimely death due to Lucy's vigorous stomping.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Princess & The Pea

When my sister let me borrow a couple of her quilts for our family pictures last month, I knew right away I wanted to double up on it and take some pictures of Jane. I spent a long time imagining how I wanted to put everything together, and then just waited until I finally gathered the energy to put it into action because I knew that it would take all my effort to do so.

Norah woke up from her nap and was SO excited to help me set up the "hundred mattresses". I used all three of the girls' mattresses and some couch cushions to stack on one another and then layered the quilts and colorful sheets, not forgetting the pea, of course.

By the time I finally got Jane to sit on top of all the wobbly mattresses, I was a sweaty sight. Norah stood behind me and made all sorts of sweet and silly sounds to get Jane to look our way and smile, while Lucy was clipped into her highchair occupied with a snack.

Despite having a couple of light stands, the lighting was seriously lacking. Though this picture in particular was the cause of all sorts of melt downs (on my part) during post processing, I really wanted some pictures of her sitting on top to honor the integrity of the fairy tale. Even if I was disappointed in the outcome, I just couldn't leave it out.

But these ones:
Nothing sweeter than this smiling naked baby.

I got this headband from Chloe Rose Couture and it was the perfect accessory to top it off.

I love this squish, and she has proved to be as sensitive a sleeper as the princess in Princess & The Pea.

The living room, aka studio set up, was quite a frightful sight once we were finished, and it may or may not have taken days to get it completely back to normal. ;)

Upon having Ryan look over this post before publishing, he informed me that he had never even heard of the story The Princess and The Pea. After I let my mouth hang open for five whole seconds and had a good laugh, I read him the original story, which can be found here--in case anyone else is in the dark. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Notable Events

Though we have slowly moved past the "survival mode" stage of life after adding another baby to the family, life lately seems to go through phases of breezy, manageable, and oh-my-goodness-is-it-bedtime-yet?

Those three phases seem to have fluctuated more than normal these past several weeks...and usually lingering on the last one for longer than I prefer. Yet, I don't really know what makes it so hard some days. I'll look at the clock sometimes and think "what? It's only 9:30am? How in the world am I going to make it until Ryan gets home?" 

This picture sums up our life at home: One in a princess dress, one in pajamas, and one naked. If only one were crying, it would really capture our every day norm. ;)

Now, onto updates for the last month:

We don't usually eat cold cereal for breakfast, let alone dinner time, but one evening, after a long day, I pulled out some cereal for the girls and then went into another room to feed Jane.  I came back to soggy rice crispies and milk covering their entire half of the table, their chairs, their bodies, and the ground. 

 Too tired to care, I snapped a few pictures, hauled them to the bath, and left the mess for later (which I regretted big time as the hardened gummy cereal was a real pain to scrape up). 

I told them that we had to take a break from eating cereal until they could learn to keep their areas clean when eating. Norah was especially diligent in keeping up her promise when I finally said we could try again.

Several of my friends have been getting married this summer, so it's been fun to go together as a family and enjoy all the beautiful receptions. The girls loved running around while holding hands.

I got to a point where I didn't want to take the girls in the back yard anymore because Lucy loved running straight toward the busy street. It was so stressful to try and keep her from sneaking away, so I told Ryan we needed to get something, anything, to block off the driveway from the yard. He and his dad got a couple of garden fences and staked them to the ground. It has been a life changer! 
Not only does it prevent my child from becoming the next Flat Stanley, but it also means that our neighbor dogs can't come and fertilize our yard anymore. Yes!

My friend's son was turning one and so they threw a little circus party for him. I offered to make a cake for them and had fun putting it together. The bottom layer was covered in sprinkles and I knew that meant we would be sweeping up sprinkles forever. Sure enough, it's a couple weeks later, and I still occasionally find them swept up in my dustpan. 
I told Ryan that I can't make cakes for other people anymore because every time I do, I go to bed and have nightmares all night that someone is smashing and wrecking it. haha pretty pathetic. 

The party was adorable and had so many fun touches, this ball pit being a favorite of the girls'. 

Jane was in heaven. It was so adorable to watch her flap her arms around and chew on as many balls as she could grab.

Lucy and Norah loved sliding and jumping into the balls while screaming at the top of their lungs. 

Wispy, static-y hair:)

It's a pretty rare event when Ryan and I go on a date. Luckily, my sister and her husband are so willing to babysit whenever we ask, otherwise I don't think we'd ever get out without kids! 
This time, I planned a hike after my brother told me about a really pretty spot up Provo canyon. 

I knew Ryan wasn't exactly thrilled about a hiking date in the first place, but when we got to the "trail" only to find it didn't lead anywhere, all my excitement quickly drained and was replaced with disappointment and annoyance. We traipsed all over creation trying to find the view my brother talked about, but to no avail.

Ryan was a good sport, despite my misleading him. Plus I got a couple pretty pictures. 

We watched the sun set and then grabbed a jamba juice before hurtling back home in our mini van.

Ryan wanted to make it up to me the next day by having a family outing walk around the pond. Except it was approximately 2,000 degrees, so we cut it short and headed home for a picnic in the shaded backyard. 

Jane impressed us all by sitting without fall over. She has now mastered this skill, which makes life more fun for everyone. 

Her little leg rolls are too cute to not stop and take pictures.

The slide has become pretty obsolete since the sun heats it up too hot and we've had one too many burned thighs. But in the evenings, and with daddy holding their hand, the girls can't get enough.

I love this picture of Norah's double-chin laugh and Lucy clutching both Ryan's hand and her sandwich.

Norah's drawing of our family
Me: Norah, why don't you sit next to your drawing so I can get in closer with the camera?
Norah: No, because I don't want the bugs to get me.

The girls love snatching up Ryan's hat and modeling for us. :))

Jane had a little stomach bug, but it had been a few days without any symptoms, so we thought she was over it. One morning, Ryan was about to leave for work, so he changed Jane's diaper, put her in the bumbo on the bed (despite my saying she didn't have to sit in the bumbo), and left. I was resting in bed for just a bit longer when a few minutes later, I heard gurgling noises. And then came the eruption. All I can say is thank goodness Ryan put her in the bumbo, because it was covered. No diaper stood a chance against such a beefy explosion. Needless to say, it put me in a cleaning mood for the rest of the day.

My tomato plants are growing and ripening quickly. Two will be ready in the next couple of days and you bet I've been checking on them several times a day in anticipation.
We've enjoyed the unstructured time without preschool for Norah, though she is very anxious to start up again. She constantly asks when it's time to go back and sometimes tells me about the show and tell items she is going to bring.

It has been a great summer over all and I love spending my days with my girls.