Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ambitious Garden Plans

One of the reasons we really wanted a house was so that we could have a garden. This year will be our first spring time in the house, and we have ambitious plans. How ambitious? Well, here's the plan:

The garden will be 25x25 feet, and each square in the map above is one square foot. If you can't read the text on that, here's the key: 

The two pepper entries are for Bell peppers and hot peppers (banana and jalapeno peppers). Squash will come in the summer,acorn, zucchini and spaghetti varieties. We're planning on 9 types of tomatoes (for cherry tomatoes, sandwiches, stewed, and sauce).

Around the slower growing things like pumpkins, squash and cucumbers we'll plant some faster veggies like radishes and lettuce. 

Along the fences on the sides of the yard we will plan raspberries and grapes, and the front yard will get strawberries along side the driveway, and blueberries in the planters in front of the house. The blueberries, raspberries and  grapes (and apple trees we planted last fall) won't bear fruit this year, but we want to get them in so they can start growing.

We'll be eating as much as we can from the garden this summer, but we're planning on lots of canning this fall.


We had a pretty good garden in Utah back in 2008 and we both grew up with gardens, so we're not completely new to this.

In Utah we learned about how much we like  homemade spaghetti sauce and pickles (well, --I-- like them.). We also learned that a whole row of squash is more than we can eat; the fact that it was just summer squash and not a variety didn't help any. 

Wish us luck!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yet another potential career for Ryan

 During prayers tonight Ryan wrapped up by asking: "And please help me to get real smart and be a spacer rider"

We were curious of course, so after the amen we asked: Help you be a what? 

Ryan: A spacer rider!

Us: Oh, what's a spacer rider?

Ryan: Well, they just write a lot all day...

Us: OH! Do you mean Newspaper Writer?

Ryan: Yeah! I will work at the shop with Grandpa Ernie, and live with him.

Intrigued,  we proceeded to interview him.

What does a newspaper writer do?
He writes newspapers. Well, he does the paper news where he's a news system somewhere, but I dont' know all the rest, but I'm sure I'll figure it out when I'm a grownup.

So what does Grandpa Ernie do?
Ryan: He just does newspapers and does all things he wants to

Like what?
Ryan: I heard he done lots of paper work with news works. I saw him do that before. I saw him and Janny do the garage before when they were at the shop. That's all I know about Grandpa what he does at the shop though.

Why do people write newspapers?
I don't know.

So what else do you know about newspapers?
I'll just be a newspaper man when I'm big, and anything I do with my newspapers I will become a SMART WRITER!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Birthday Festivities

Well, Ryan's birthday party was a success! He had about 8 little friends over and they all had a blast. Since Ryan has been really into experiments lately, we decided to do an experiment party where we did kid friendly science experiments (like making slime and bouncy balls from glue and borax, and some other fun creations). But they ended up taking so long with just the bouncy ball experiment that we didn't even have time for the others! But that's OK, they really liked the bouncy balls and quite frankly that was a big enough mess :) But Ryan loved it, which was the important part. He was ecstatic to have everyone paying attention to him and especially to be the one to open all of the presents. Anyways, the kids had a great time and Ryan had a successful birthday party! Here are some pictures from his party:

Here is the birthday boy opening his presents:

Giggling on the big chair with his favorite girl, Asia (he always tells me he is so nice to her so that she will marry him):

Dancing with Asia to his clock radio music:

Blowing out his candle:

Michael doing the experiment with the kids:

Calvin rockin' out on his rockin' dog:

Ryan, showing us how big he is:

This is how excited he was:

Calvin giving Ryan a nice birthday hug:

Ryan in his birthday shirt. All his friends at his party colored something on it or had someone trace their hands on it with crayon, then you put wax paper on it and iron it on to make it permanent):

After the party, we were all pretty much pooped. But the boys enjoyed playing with all the new toys and having a lazy afternoon. We had a nice Valentine's Day, too. We had pancakes and whipped cream with berries (my favorite!) and had a hectic-as-always morning getting the boys ready for church (Michael especially, since I at least got to go to choir early...), but then we had a lovely, romantic candlelight dinner with the boys, AnnaMarie, Tyler, Katie and Jane :) It was really fun to have them over. And Ryan was so excited to open his present form Grandpa Moore--a TON of his very favorite snacks. He was in heaven.

Calvin really excited to be playing with one of Ryan's new cars:

Ryan with his ping pong ball gun:

Oh, this was funny. Ryan saw the light reflected onto the wall through the front door and said, "Hey, GUYS! Look at the wall! It's like there's a garage door on there!" Who knows where he gets this stuff...

A tuckered-out Calvin:

These were part of the packaging from the slippers Michael gave me for Valentine's day. When I took them out of the slippers, Calvin picked them up to investigate. After taking a careful look, he excitedly exclaimed, "OH! Grandma shoes!" For anyone who knows my mom and her love of high heels, this is really hilarious.

Calvin not really sharing a car with baby Jane:

Really happy about his decision not to share that car:

Apologizing for not sharing:

Calvin just really really loves Jane. He loves to clobber her with hugs and kisses and gets so excited when she comes to visit. Here he is just playing with her:

Jane pretty concerned about the fact that her spoon doesn't have any dessert on it:

Ryan opening his big bag of snacks from Grandpa:

Check out that loot:

Making a candy angel:

Pleasantly surprised by the JiffyPop:

And this is how I found my sweet boy this morning. He got these building toys for his birthday and really likes playing with them. He's getting pretty good at being creative with them, too. So this morning he came out of his room and said, "Look, Mommy! Calvin and I made a flower for you!" He came up with it all on his own. What a sweetheart.

We decorated the window for Ryan's birthday. I love this picture of the shadow on the wall from the letters we put up:

So, happy birthday, Ryan! Thanks for being our sweet, wonderful boy. We love you!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

This guy is a great big 4 year old! I'm torn between feeling like "I can't believe he's already four!" and "It's about time. He's been looking and acting 4 for like 2 years now." Ryan really is such a great little boy, and we had a really fun time celebrating his birthday yesterday. This was the first year he's been really excited for his birthday. When he got out of bed in the morning, Ryan ran into our room yelling "Look, I got bigger! Look how big I am!" Michael made Ryan his birthday breakfast request--waffles with whipped cream. He had also requested that we have fruit salad on top of them. So I made some. But he changed his mind. Anyways, we also had chocolate milk and strawberry milk with breakfast, so Ryan was pretty much in heaven. Then we opened some presents before Michael left for work, and Ryan was just as happy as can be.

Here he is with his birthday waffles. Check out the excitement:

About to open his presents:

The boys in their matching hats form Liz and Erik:

Loving his giant Hershey bar:

My goal for Ryan's birthday was to spend time having fun with him. So I only did some very minor picking up during the day, and by the time Michael got home from work, the house really wasn't looking so great, and dinner hadn't even been started yet, but Ryan and I DID have a lot of fun together, so it was worth it. We mostly played around with Calvin and had fun together. When Calvin napped, Ryan requested that we do playdough and then watch Dora the Explorer. Which we did. I did suggest that we watch it on my bed where I could conveniently fall asleep. But Ryan said that he really liked snuggling me, so I don't think he minded too much.

After Calvin woke up we went over to the neighbor's house (they have 4 kids from baby to 7 yrs old) to keep an eye on their younger kids while Julie, the mom, went to pick up the big kids from school. When they got back, the 7 year old, Gabe, gave Ryan tons and tons of valentine's day candy from his school party, so needless to say, Ryan was thrilled. We picked up Michael from work and headed to the car dealership to pick up our car (oh yeah, our gear shifter got stuck in low on Tuesday and wouldn't budge so we couldn't start our car since we couldn't get it to neutral or park, so we had to have it towed...great...thank heavens for AnnaMarie and Tyler lending us their extra 2:30 in the morning...thanks again, Tyler!). Anyways, all day I had been turning over a brilliant idea in my head, so when we got to the dealership, I brought Ryan inside with me while Michael stayed in the other car with Calvin. After paying for our repairs (sweet. $763. love it.) I took Ryan into the service bay area and approached a not-too-busy-looking guy and said, "Hi, it's my son's birthday, and he LOVES garage doors. Is their any way he could push the button to open that really big garage door?" Ryan's eyes got huge and the guy said, "Wow, I didn't even know that garage doors were fun. I guess I should have been paying more attention! Sure, I'll show you where the button is." Ryan was so happy, and I'm pretty sure I won the Coolest Mom Ever award. The noise was so loud it actually made him jump a good 3 feet back from the button once he pushed it. But he was 100% thrilled.

Here he is, walking with the service guy.

Right after pushing the button:

Watching it go up! I wish I had been on the other side to catch his expression. Priceless.

We had some cake and a couple more presents after dinner and then Ryan got to play with his new science experiment kit from Grandma and Grandpa Walton, which he adored. We had a great time doing it all together. Anyways, it was a really great birthday, and he got calls from pretty much every single relative plus Liz and Erik (oh, and they sent presents for our whole family, too! You guys are the best!), got to video chat with Grandpa Moore and the gang, and felt very loved and very special. We love our fun four year old boy. Thanks everybody for making it such a great birthday.

Here he is with his test tubes:

Calvin getting in on the fun:

Using that state-of-the-art magnifying glass to inspect the water:

And this is how I found him in bed after he finally fell asleep. Some things never change. The bottom pics are from 4 years ago!

Oh, and I can't forget Calvin's fun filled day either. The highlights were:

1. When he discovered that I hadn't put the sugar away properly and after realizing things were a little too quiet, me discovering him up to his elbows in sugar, shoving fist-fulls into his mouth, surrounded by toys coated in sugar which I can only assume he goobered all over and then dipped back in the sugar. He was a very happy boy. Until I put the sugar away. It's in a bucket with a lid that snaps on, and he kept bringing in toys, trying to pry the lid back off. Gotta admire that persistence.
2. When he realized that he had some pretty nasty nose goobers on his face and ran up to me like he was coming to give me a big hug, but instead sweetly said "Mommy! Nose Goobers!" and then embraced me but proceeded to wipe his dirty little face all over my shirt. On purpose.

Anyways, we had Ryan's party today, but that will have to wait for another post since this one is already too long and I'm getting sleepy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We love you, Grandma!

Today Michael's Grandma passed away. We will miss her, but we're glad that she can be reunited with Papa. When I explained to Ryan what happened today, he got a very sad look on his face and asked me why. I've explained to him before that everyone has to die someday, but that when we die, our spirits go to be with Heavenly Father. I've also explained that because Jesus died for us, someday we will be resurrected, and our spirits and bodies will be together again forever. So today I told him that Grandma had been very sick, and so she had died. After a few moments of sadness, then Ryan's face brightened right up and smiling he said "But someday we'll see grandma and papa again and then we'll all never die again! Isn't that GREAT??!!!!???" It made me smile to hear him speak so certainly and so excitedly about being together again after this life.
Even though during the past few years Grandma wasn't able to express herself very clearly (she had a stroke in 2005), I remember that almost every time we would come over she would have a great big smile for me and make me feel loved. And I never saw her happier than when we brought the little kids over. I could tell that she really and truly loved them.

Here are some pictures from a visit to Ironwood in 2008:

Grandma with Ryan, Katie and Calvin

I love this sequence with Michael, Grandma and Calvin:

I'm not sure how she felt about Calvin eating her!

But in the end, all was forgiven!

We will miss you, Grandma! Thank you for your warmth, love and kindness.


We've been doing all kinds of fun things lately! Last weekend Michael's family came into town and on Saturday we all went together to the Minnesota Childrens' Museum. I've been there once before with Ryan, when he was about Calvin's age, and had some bad memories attached (Ryan ate an already chewed--and stepped on--piece of gum from off the floor before I could get to him, thus nearly ruining the experience for me) but this time was great! And more sanitary! Ryan had so much fun. Calvin did, too, but Ryan is really the right age to start enjoying most of the exhibits. Anyways, they loved being there with Christy, Hikaru, Grandpa and AnnaMarie and the girls. Thanks for the fun day, Grandpa! Here are some pictures from the museum:

Grandpa and Christy putting on a dinosaur puppet show:

Making food in the toy kitchen (what you don't see is Ryan, to Katie's left, with a big bottle of laundry detergent, pretending to pour it all over their food, like syrup...)

Katie and Ryan, taking a stroll:

Calvin and his true love--this contraption that just kept cycling ping pong balls through it. He was enthralled.

Christy doing bubbles with Calvin:

Michael and Calvin, climbing the stairs to more exhibits!

The boys loved the aquarium with the giant goldfish.

Calvin was especially intrigued. He just stood there staring up at them like this:

Calvin also loved playing in the water and the hands-on part next to the aquarium:

Katie and Calvin having fun together:

Katie making the frog/tadpole toys jump up and down:

Calvin doing a little water quality assurance test for said frog/tadpole toys:

Ryan the turtle:

Ryan riding on a dinosaur:

Calvin playing with the dinosaur toys. Apparently this is pretty serious business.

Lately Michael has been doing a couple of "experiments" with Ryan. Yesterday they mixed various ingredients with vinegar to see what would happen (Ryan of course was duly impressed by the baking soda/vinegar concoction). Today they mixed cornstarch and water to make a paste that couldn't decide if it was a liquid or solid. Ryan always loves spending time with his Daddy, but he ESPECIALLY loves doing experiments with him. He had so much fun! Here are a couple of pictures from tonight:

And here is one picture from last weekend at AnnaMarie and Tyler's house. Ryan was very proud of himself for drawing this garage door on the chalkboard. The garage door is to the right, and the strange-looking thing to the left is a big tall remote with a lot of buttons on it. I was impressed that his garage boor actually resembled a real garage door, what with the horizontal lines and all. Way to go, buddy!

Anyways, that's what's been new with us. Oh and today I finally got fed up with being inside with the kids and took like a 2-hour-long walk in the snow to the library and back with the boys. It took that long because it is apparently really kind of hard to push my double stroller through 4 inches of snow. And that was on the sidewalks that had actually been plowed. I had to blaze my own trail completely in some places. And Calvin absolutely refused to keep mittens on so I had to stop every so often to warm up his hands. But the library was fun, it was great to get out and get some fresh air, and the boys napped well afterward. So, that equals success in my book.