Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Connor's First Fieldtrip

Connor's pre-school class took a fieldtrip to Lapacek's Orchard this morning.  It was his first time on a school bus and he was quite intrigued.  He wanted to know where the airbags were and why there were no seatbelts.  I think it must have been sort of fun that I sat right beside him and not up in the front seat. 

He really enjoyed looking out the windows and laying his head against the window and feel the shake of the bus.  At the orchard we got to pet some kittens.  We walked through a blueberry "bramble" which was rather nicely pruned and empty of any fruit.  Then we spent some time in the rows of raspberries.  The kids got to pick and eat the raspberries as a yummy appetizer. 

We were shown a peach tree and saw a bunch of chickens pecking around the apple trees.  We got to explore in a sun flower forrest and then play with some sunflower heads.  Each kid got to pick off a few seeds to take home and plant. 

Next we took a walk through part of the apple orchard.  They have over 2000 trees in 50 varieties of apple.  We then learned how to pick an apple and we got to have one for a snack.  Next was a walk to the pumpkin patch where the kids could feel and pick up some pumpkins.  Lapacek's has two emus and a bunch of goats.  We were warned to stay clear of the emus as they can get a little agressive and try to steel apples from people.  But we were encouraged to go up near the goats.  The kids even got to feed their apple cores to the goats.

Lastly was a bit of playtime at the playground and snacks before heading back to school.  It was so much fun to be a part of this with him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Amazing Race

Have you ever seen the TV show The Amazing Race?  Neither Brian or I have seen it.  We have heard about it and seen little commercial segments but we have never watched an episode.  We heard about a month ago that a group here in Portage was going to sponsor an Amazing Race event.  It seemed like it could be something fun for Brian and I to do as a date and since we were just starting our ABC dating an Amazing Race was a perfect 'A' date. 

We started out our day this past Saturday with it being very cold, cloudy and grey.  We had on blue jeans, t-shirts, jackets and hats.  While standing around waiting for things to begin we wondered if we should have had gloves and more layers.  There were three waves that would take place and we were starting in the first wave that began at 9:00 AM.  There were ten teams in our wave, ten in the second wave at 9:45 and eight in the third wave at 10:30.  They let the teams go in minute intervals so at 9:06 AM Brian and I were the seventh team to run from the starting line - I grabbed our first clue while he grabbed a shopping cart and we started running the two blocks to where the first of ten challenges awaited us.  Poor Brian ended up running the shopping cart into a pot hole as we were trying to cross the street and ended up slamming his knee into it while trying to keep it from flipping over.  Fortunately he was not hurt too bad and that was our only mishap for the morning.  Once we got to the start of the first challenge I had to put on a bike helmet and get into the shopping cart.  Brian got to push me through a course set with stacks of tires.  You were not allowed to knock any of the tires down or you would have to restack them and start again.  We made it through that fine and then ran to the chamber of commerce office.  There we had to put together a puzzle of the main sponsor's logo and then had to fill out a little quiz based upon facts of the main sponsor's business.  Then we ran to a local karate school where we learned some karate moves (kicks, punches & blocks) then we had to perform them correctly for the instructors.  Later in the day, once the race was over, we saw the karate instructor and he said we were the only ones who actually paid attention while others were doing the challenge and therefore we didn't need extra help and we flew threw the challenge faster than anyone.  From there we ran to a park near Angela and Connor's school.  Brian had to carry me, piggy back style, through an obstacle course.  Neither of us were allowed to touch any piece of the course and I had to carry an egg on a spoon, fortunately we did not drop it and we moved on from there.  Next was a run to Collip Worden Park which is a little ways away.  The clouds had finally left and due to being in blue jeans, running and adrenaline we were really starting to get hot.  I was able to tuck my coat into the little backpack they provided us, but Brian's coat was too big.  Fortunately the run to the next park took us right by church and Brian left his jacket there.  The first of the two challenges at the park was to make three goals, from three different lines, in Frisbee golf.  Brian was super good at that one and I think we past two or three teams there.  Next, I got to wear a sun hat with a large upturned brim and Brian got to bounce ping pong balls towards me and we had to catch three of them in the hat.  That was another quick one as it took us four bounces to get the three balls into the hat.  From there we ran up the hill to a local chiropractor's office and we were given two skewers that had five hex nuts on each skewer.  Alternately we had to work together to stack those ten nuts end on end without using our hands only the skewers.  We got to about six or seven the first time and then we made it all the way to ten on the second try.  Next we headed off to the parks and rec office where we were given a hammer, some nails and a stack of wood.  Without any help from the challenge supervisors we were to build a bat house.  It is very fortunate that Brian and I work really well together with things like this.  He did the hammering and I did the directions and measuring.  We were able to overtake another team there because they ended up having to make a second bat house.  The fun thing about this challenge is that all the houses build will be donated to the City of Portage.  I keep telling Brian that we need to build one for our house so that we can have bats living here.  I understand that a bat will eat its weight in mosquitoes every day and since I think the mosquito is the state bird of Wisconsin.....well a resident bat or two might be nice.  We then took a small bus across town to a park shelter where we got to put together a large sudoku puzzle.  It was with pictures of many of the sponsor's logos instead of numbers.  Brian said this is where I got to shine as I did most of the puzzle.  Then we ran to a park a couple blocks away where we got to bowl/throw four balls down a hill.  At the bottom of the hill were different sized soccer type goals.  Each goal was a different point value and we had to get a certain number of points to move on.  Then it was an all or nothing run to the finish line.  We jogged until we were a block and a half away and then we sprinted hand in hand to the end.  We figured that we ran about four miles total to get from each challenge.  We came in first from our group of ten teams.  Finishing everything in one hour fifty-nine minutes and thirty-nine seconds.  We were third overall from the total of twenty-eight teams.  We were ten minutes behind the first place team, five minutes behind the second place team and only six seconds ahead of the fourth place team.  It was a really really good time and we would most definitely do it again.  We had so much fun participating ~ Our Amazing Race was (pardon the pun) - AMAZING!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Brian has been working 40s lately.  It is so funny to think that I am happy about him working 40 hour weeks, but it is wonderful!  There has been talk to changing to 50s, but for now I am basking in the extra time we have together.  Most people wouldn't see it as extra time, you see he leaves the house at 4:00 AM and does not return to the house until 6:30 PM.  But at least with 40s he is doing 4 - 10s so we get to have Friday together plus the weekend.  It seems like each Friday we end up with some sort of task/chore that we try to take cake of.  Today we are having a mini yard sale, then whatever doesn't sell by dinner time will be going down to the Goodwill. 

Another thing that makes having Brian home is that I get to sometime run without the kids.  Now sometimes we will go out as a family with me running and everyone else on bikes.  But today I get to just run.  I am hoping to get in about five miles.  I was sick earlier this week and am not feeling like I am back to a full 100% which means this may be a little tougher.  Therefore I will just have to push myself through it.  I will have a friend join me for the middle three miles of it which should help.  Starting in October Brian and I are pretty stoked to start a new date night.  We joined together with four other couple to have a rotating childcare/date night one Friday per month.  One family will host all of the kids at their house for four hours while the other families go out on a date.  We will do this for five months and if it goes well hopefully we will do it for another five after that.  Now we just need to figure out what we will do for four hours in October.  Maybe we can figure out how to tie it into our ABC dating?

Angela just started Girl Scouts.  Last night was her first meeting and she said it was fun but they didn't do too much.  Probably because they were getting to know each other and learning the rules.  Not to mention.....they were learning all about cookie sales!  I find myself wanting to relive my youth with this.  When I was roughly here age and in Girl Scouts I was the top cookie seller of my troop.  I find myself strategizing and planning how to help her (wait who am I fooling) help us (truly...) help me, to be the top seller.  I am having to talk myself down and verbally, that means out loud, tell myself that this is her thing to sell a lot or not is up to Angela.  She is not allowed to start sales until September 30th and it runs through October 16th.  This will be interesting to see how she does and to see if I can hold myself back.  We'll let you know what comes of it.  I am hoping that once cookie sales are done and the troop gets into a normal routine that Angela really enjoys it.  

Last night as I was leaving to pick her up from the meeting I was trying to find the boys to say goodbye.  They were in the backyard playing so as I walked out the back door I called their names.  This is one of those times you wish you had the camera in your hands!  They were both hidden under the back deck, which is not a huge bit of space in itself.  I was laughing because of that when I asked them for kisses goodbye.  Instead of crawling out to give me a kiss they both just stretched their necks until their lips were out from under the deck and kissed me.  Again more laughs for this.  The topper is Brian telling the boys to get out from under there because it is dirty.  This time belly laughs!  I said to him, "Brian you are a boy, I am sure you did things like that.  And I am a girl and I know I did things like that."  They were having so much fun.  I love to see them play together like that.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2 Years Old

There you go!  Two years old! 

Emeric, the baby of my three kids, is not so much of a baby anymore.  It was a bit of an up and down day for his birthday.  It is a good thing he is still young and won't remember this day.  When I went to get him out of bed I found that he had thrown up sometime during the night.  I got him cleaned up and the big kids dropped of to school.  Emeric and I were just getting ready to have some playtime when the school called.  Connor had thrown up at school (not even 20 minutes after dropping him off) and we need to pick him up and bring him home.  What a way to start the day!  Brian ended up getting the day off from work due to the fact that it was raining.  That was wonderful in a way since he got to spend the day with us.  I am glad when rain days happen but also glad that they don't happen all of the time.  We let him open a present at lunch, then two at snack time and the rest at dinner time.  

At first he didn't want to rip into the paper.  Maybe it is because he gets into trouble if he rips books?  I made him a balloon cake.  It was super simple.  Partly because I had been sick on Sunday and was trying to recoup yesterday.  I wasn't going to even make him a cake, but I figured for principles sack I needed to.  So I opted on a simple cake.  Plus, lately, Emeric has really been into balloons. 

When we showed it to him he instantly knew what it was.  He didn't want to blow out the candles.  Brian had to help him.  Then he wanted to spend more time chewing on the plastic balloons than eating his cake.  Just before bedtime we got to Skype with Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Tyler.  That was a lot of fun for the kids although they did not have the patience to sit and talk for very long.  It ended up being a very quiet, but nice day to celebrate our little boy turning "Two"!   

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ABC Dating

A friend of mine told me about this concept of dating called ABC Dating.  The idea is that each date much start with each letter of the alphabet.  Brian and I frequently have little dates (two hours and under), but we don't often have bigger dates.  We decided that we are going to try and ABC date our big dates each month.  September will be A!  Watch for updates as they come.  I will also try to link to them in the sidebar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kitchen Remodel Part 3

We moved into our house in March or April of 2009.  The kitchen was really sad!  There was a sink, a fridge and a stove then six cabinets, three on the top and three on the bottom.  There was also a lot of empty space.  Hand washing dishes was no fun and we decided we needed a dishwasher.  Brian hated the idea of having no microwave, it made for a hard time reheating leftovers.  In our effort to prioritize the need for a dishwasher won out.  In September 2009, shortly before Emeric was born, Brian built a wonderful kitchen island with a breakfast bar and a dishwasher.  Then in May 2010, Brian installed a microwave plus the cabinet that sits just above it.  There we sat with a pretty new island and the new cabinet above the microwave and our six old cabinets.  It looked kind of goofy, but I was okay with it.  We have been working super hard to pay down debt and build up our savings.  Therefore we decided we would not move on with the kitchen unless we had the money.  For the past eight months I had been saving money from my babysitting and in the middle of August we ordered seven new cabinets to 99% of the way complete the upper cabinets.  They came in when Brian was in New York, so it was nice that he got a few days off after the storm.  He worked like crazy and he got the old ones down and he (with a tiny bit of my help) got the new ones up in just two days.  I am really liking the look of them and I can't wait to save up the money to get the lower cabinets and counter top in.  Until then, here are some photos.

Can you imagine how little space there was with just the three cabinets up and three down?

With nothing over the fridge it seemed like a lot of wasted space.

Old cabinets are down and it is time to get working on putting the new ones up.  I should have taken a picture of what the dining room looked like.  It was a horribly mess with everything from the kitchen moved into there.

Here is the end of day one.  Unfortunately where we had the microwave did not match up with the new cabinets.  He had to take it down and scoot the cabinet over and rehang the microwave. 

All finished!

Monday, September 12, 2011

"The Farm"

Brian has been working like crazy it seems.  If he is not working a few hours away from home and driving back and forth, then he is working to far to drive and staying all week.  To top that off he seems to be heading off on storm work all of the time.  Most recently he was in New York state (first Albany and then Long Island) for about a week and a half.  He ended up leaving just before Angela's birthday (thankfully we celebrated earlier so he was here for all of that) and getting home just after Labor Day weekend.  We had made plans to go camping over Labor Day weekend.  After hearing he had to leave I was back and forth on should I camp or not?  I finally decided that it couldn't be that hard so we went.  It was the three kids, Harley and myself for the weekend in the camper.  It wasn't nearly so bad except that when I plugged the camper in, before leaving, to get the fridge cold, I didn't push the AC/DC button.  Therefore when it was time to leave the fridge was still warm and the truck battery was dead.  I jumped the battery and everything was fine after that.  We met two friends and three of their five kids at the campground so we were not totally alone up there.  One day while we were there we went to visit a place called The Farm.  It is a huge petting zoo of sorts where animals are in fences and running loose.  There are all sorts of barn displays teaching history and then all the animals.  We only saw about half of it since it started to rain, but it was still a lot of fun for the kids!  Upon entering you could buy each child a bottle of milk and a bag of corn.  As soon as you stepped into the barn yard the goats and pigs came running at you and before you knew what was happening they were drinking out of the bottles. 

Angela and Connor thought that was great, but Emeric was not too sure about it.  Then you could walk around feeding all the animals the corn.  There were goats, pigs, cats, chickens, dogs, cows, sheep and horses.  There may have been more animals, but that is what we saw and feed and held.

This cow was way too funny.  I would feed him buy letting him eat out of my hand, but other people were too afraid to do that.  He would open his mouth, stick out his huge tounge and people would throw the corn into his mouth.  It was a sight for sure.

Connor had a heck of a time chasing this goat around to try and catch him.  All he wanted to do was hold him and I think it probably took him a good five minutes to catch it.

This baby goat kept chasing Emeric trying to get at his corn.  Emeric kept scooting away and looking at me for help.

There was an incubator with about a dozen eggs/chicks in it.  When we first started to look this egg had one tiny crack in the side of it.  Since it was raining really hard and the incubator was inside, we had nothing but time to watch this little chick.  We watched the egg rock and move, we watched the chick peck and crack the shell.  We stayed until the little chick was completely out of the shell.  It was a really neat thing for me to watch and the big kids liked it too.

First Day of School

School is defined as an institute for teaching or learning.  But I think if you were to ask both students and parents it would get a much different definition.  Students may say a place that is: great to see friends, super boring, no fun, awesome, some place they want to be or don't want to be.  Parents may say it is something that: makes them cry to see their babies go, makes them feel old to have a kid in "X" grade and a nice break in the day. 

I know I and my kids have been thinking all of those things and we have on had one week (plus a little) of school. 

Angela started 5th grade on September 1st.  At Rusch they co-teach their grades.  She has one teacher who teaches Science and English and another teacher who teaches Math and Social Studies.  She was not really looking forward to starting school, but she is really liking it now.  She is hoping to join choir and be a part of the student council.  It is so much fun to see her excited about school.

Connor started preschool on September 6th.  He only attends school Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 11:10 AM, so last week was a short week for him.  On his first day he was up and ready and really excited to be there.  The parents have a drop off spot for the class but then the kids are to walk to their room with the teacher and the parents go home.  That first day I waited until his class left, but that was only for me, he didn't need it at all.  On day two, he was still doing well, but Dad was there so he took Brian to see his classroom.  On day three, well that was another story.  Each of the first two days he came home super tired and by dinner he was whining and crying over things that normally wouldn't bother him.  So when he woke up on day three he didn't want to go to school.  He was crying all morning and on the walk to school.  Fortunately, when we got to the school I reminded him he had a choice, to have a bad day or a good day.  He choose to have a good day and he wiped all his tears away and went into meet his class just fine.  Here is to his first full week.....I hope that all will be just fine.

Canning Crazy

This past spring, a woman from church was talking about how she buys blueberries in bulk.  She then freezes them and eats them on her cereal all winter long.  I really liked the idea of getting fruit in bulk.  In 2008 I had learned how to can peaches and pears, but I had not done it since then.  Thus, this past May, I went out to Mishnler's General Store ("the Amish" on Barry Rd) and ordered myself some fruit.  I am not sure what I was thinking in May because two weeks ago when I went to pick it up I about had my eyes fall out of my head.  I had ordered three boxes of peaches, two boxes of pears and one box of blueberries.  I was canning and freezing non-stop for four days in a row.  My feet hurt, my back hurt and I never wanted to see another piece of fruit or a glass jar again.  I have two gallons of frozen blueberries, six 8 oz jars of peach freezer jam, 30 quarts of canned peaches, a quart and a half of peach ice cream or pancake topping, a gallon and a half of frozen sliced peaches, three 8 oz jelly jars of pear butter and 38 quarts of canned pears.  I should have had two more quarts of both the peaches and pears but darn it all they died in the canning pot.  When the final jar broke I was so exhausted from doing this that I stood crying in the kitchen.  I might have been a slight mess, and I swear next year I will not do this unless I have someone to help me, but at least I can say it is done. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

August - Photos of Kids

August - the final month of summer.

Teaching her brother some silly trampoline moves.

This is what a mini golf hole in one looks like!

Our beach beauty.

Super pleased to have this yummy treat all to herself.

Squirt guns + a nice day at the beach = a super huge day of fun!

Trampoline fun.


"Like how I licked all the frosting off?"

Happy to see Grandma!

A little beach and squirt gun fun.

"Do I float in the boat or eat the boat?"

"Ummmmm! Frosting is so yummy!"

After an afternoon of golf, my three wonderful amazing kids, pose for a picture.

Getting ready to spend the morning at the zoo.

Angela's 10th Birthday

WOW oh WOW!  Angela is ten years old!  She has been walking around telling people she is a decade old.  I can not believe that she is this old and she is almost as tall as I am . 

We celebrated her birthday twice this year.  Once while my parents were here and then again on her actual birthday.  Brian had to be out of town, working, on her birthday so I vowed to make it fun and special.  After breakfast and some presents, we went to the store and picked up a birthday present from Brian and I, I new bike.  Her old one was quite worn and it was well in time she got a new one.  It is a light green 18 speed which is something fun and new for her.  After that we went and played at a friends house and shared lunch with them.  My friend made Angela a three layer birthday cake out of cupcakes and all the kids sang her a special happy birthday.  After lunch she got to bring a friend over to the house to play for a while.  With both of the boys occupied she got to have lots of time playing with her friend and her new presents.  After the friend went home we went and got her ears pierced.  It is a pretty light blue/blue green stone that she picked out.  She was really nervous about it hurting but she did a really good job.  They were not able to do two people at the same time so it took a little longer, but she was wonderful!  After a nice quiet dinner we called it a night.  Over all I think turning ten was really good for her.

I love you so much Angela Renea Jamison!

I think she really would have ate this as it was, if we would have let her.

Modeling some of her new clothes!  Isn't the detail on the pockets like super cute.

Cupcake birthday cake at our friend's house.

She said she was ready for the earrings and she was not going to have any tears.

Ear one.

Ear two.