Saturday, March 27, 2010

Washing all that winter mud off...

Now that we're starting to have a few more sunbreaks each week we decided it was time to go muck out the cars. This may have been the Little Sweetie's first car washing experience that she was able to actively participate in. She was thrilled to be let loose to (literally) roll around in the soap, mud and water that were everywhere. And her brothers were thrilled to almost nail her with the hose again, and again, and again. Dad wasn't so lucky...they managed to soak him again, and again, and again.

She realized early on that a shovel was much more useful than a sponge in getting the maximum amount of suds out of the bucket.
"I think I lost my hand!"
O Boy always rolls out as many pieces of heavy equipment as he can find that desperately need washing just so that he can have an excuse to use the hose.
Getting to handle the hose is always the highlight of any carwashing experience. Here Mr. T is getting some tips from Dad, who is wisely standing behind him as he sprays.
I honestly didn't intend to take a picture of her laid out in a mud puddle (she was sitting happily in it when I came along). Just before I snapped the picture, she flopped forward onto her stomach! You can still see the waves she made as she splashed down!

In which a little pink penguin waddles around from puddle to puddle...
If you are reading this on Facebook, you'll have to connect to our blog to watch the video.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hike to Crane Lake

A few days ago we made an ill-fated attempt with our friends the Wards to hike the Crane Lake trail out the road. After several hours of packing and a 35 minute drive out to the trailhead, 2 of the 5 kids tipped off the boardwalk into the beaver ponds just a couple dozen yards from our cars. We hauled them out, turned around and marched back to the cars. After stripping them down and noting the large volume of water that poured out of their boots we decided to all head home and try again another day. It was probably a really good thing because the rest of that day ended up being very cold and rainy!
So today was much nicer and we decided to attempt the trail again...this time holding onto both boys' hands as we crossed the critical bridges! The boys did a great job going up and down and up and down on the sometimes slippery wooden boardwalk and steps. They loved running around and exploring in the muskeg and streams once we finally reached the lake.

The biggest surprise for us was that the lake was almost completely still covered in ice, making it pretty hard to do much paddling around. But we had to at least attempt it. Check out the video below to see the results.

Dad had to carry the Little Sweetie, 3 kid life jackets and hold an occasional hand if the going got too steep for the boys. And put up with getting his picture taken.
Our fearless leaders
First item of business: putting on life jackets. We didn't want to rule out another possible dunking. We had also brought extra boots for both boys, 1 extra winter jacket, 1 extra hat, 3 extra pairs of pants, 2 extra shirts, 4 extra pairs of underwear and a few extra pairs of socks. We were PREPARED.

Off to the North Pole!

A picnic dinner

In which we head to the North Pole. The extremely loud noise you hear in the background is us scraping through and over ice.

In which we reach the North Pole.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't leave me behind!

The Little Sweetie now knows where her boots, hat and gloves are kept and as soon as she senses the boys might be heading outside, she's right there in the laundry room with them grabbing for her boots. The other day I found her in there trying to put Mr. T's boots on too! Here she is with her boot in her hand and Mr. T's boots on her feet. The other recent thing she's been trying to do with her boots is drop them in the toilet. She has definitely been taking advantage of my distraction this week as we try to potty train Mr. T!

Thank you, God for a strong roof!

We've had some very strong winds lately. Last Friday night, just minutes before we walked out the door to go on a date, Phil got a call that a tree was down on the new (unfinished) church. Yikes! So we dropped everything and headed out to see what the damage looked like. That was a long car ride, wondering what we'd find. Thankfully the damage could have been much worse and it is all being repaired already. But now the loggers in the church get to cut down a lot more trees around the building to prevent this from happening again!

Here's the top of the tree resting on the roof.
Thankfully it missed the gutters and just tipped over onto the roof ridge.

Here's where the sheetrock was popped open inside the chapel area from the impact of the tree coming down on the roof directly above this spot.

Out and about

Several months ago as I was giving blood I began chatting with the tech about her new donkey, Starbaby. This is probably a conversation that's more likely to happen when you're giving blood in a small town hospital. Since it's pretty novel to own a donkey in Petersburg I asked her if the boys could come out and visit her sometime. So a few Sundays ago we headed out to see Starbaby. It was snowing pellets of ice at the time so when it's nicer weather we'll go back for an actual ride. We really don't miss out on too much living up here on a island...
They also have 2 bunnies which, if I remember correctly, are named Mister and Missus.

After visiting Starbaby we wandered around out the road and decided to take a look at the new stairs and lookout decking that was recently built at the Falls Creek Fish Ladder.
Falls Creek was really roaring! You can see that it was still snowing when I took the photo.
The Little Sweetie was far too mesmerized (or terrified?) by the falls to look at the camera.

Introducing another O Boy creation: the Lazy 8 Digger

Here's another one of O Boy's descriptions of something he created. This time it is a Lazy 8 Digger. For those of you who have heard of Brain Gym, you'll know what a Lazy 8 is...and I'm pretty sure this is where he got the inspiration for the name since we've been doing Lazy 8s before we do any writing practice. Now, how he came up with "Cospo" I just don't know.

Danger Baby

Here's our Danger Baby yet again pushing the boundaries of what 1 year olds should safely attempt. No major injuries yet and man, is she proud of herself!

Making Submarines

We got a neat book from the library the other week called Cooking Art: Easy Edible Art for Young Children. Every once in a while the boys look through it and pick out a fun snack to make. They've made some neat things!
One of O Boy's recent toy acquisitions is a submarine (which he loves so much that he sleeps with it). So they decided to make a submarine for snack a few days ago. We had to adjust some of the recipe to fit the veggies that I had on hand, but it was still a fun activity (meaning both messy and delicious).

Step 1: First have Mom cut off the top of the cucumber. Hollow out the bottom of your cucumber. They did need a bit of help with this but they thought it was hilarious when the cucumber flesh would pop out of the cucumber and land somewhere else in the kitchen. Nice. We dumped the cucumber insides into a bowl for each boy.
Step 2: add a few scoops of corn to the cucumber in the bowl. Eat as much of the corn as mom allows.

Step 3: Dump the corn and cucumber insides into a chopper along with some frozen red and green pepper and a few squirts of French dressing. Chop it all up into a mush. This is noisy, destructive, and messy. And therefore tons of fun.

Step 4: Spoon most of it back into the submarine bottom
Step 5: Using O Boy's submarine as a guide (and some suggestions from the cookbook), we added a propeller, some fins and the all important periscope. This was one of the few times I've seen them happily eat plain celery and raw cauliflower (since they were a part of the submarine!).
Good thing we had a model to copy. Though that always sets up the dilemma, "But Mom, it still doesn't quite look like my submarine!" I admit, it is pretty hard to get cauliflower, cucumber and celery to realistically look like a submarine...
O Boy's submarine kept tipping over so we had to put a piece of celery next to it for the photo. He insisted on several extra fins on his sub to make it look more like his real sub, whereas Mr. T. was happy with a streamlined version so that he could move on to eating it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Running to Daddy

Our boys have always liked to "go get Daddy" across the parking lot - even when they could only crawl! So now the Little Sweetie finally, finally gets to join in the race to get Dad. We're enjoying these last few months while he's still working across the parking lot (before our new church is finished). It will be a bit sad when they can't stand at one of our windows and shout across the parking lot to him and wait for his head to appear at his office window!

I love the screech she gives when she realizes he's come out of the building.

And then the little screech turns into a big looooong one as Dad gets even closer.
And yes, Mr. T was coming to throw mud at me as the video ends abruptly.

SO happy to be out with the boys!

Big lips

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Community Fire Awareness Night

A few Saturdays ago our local volunteer firefighters put on a fantastic, first annual Community Fire Awareness Night. Here are some photos from the evening. After getting over their initial hesitation to touch, try on, or try anything, the boys really got into the obstacle course and even tried on a helmet at the end.

Here's O Boy and the Little Sweetie coming through the narrow opening portion of the course. This helps firefighters practice navigating through narrow openings with all their equipment on.
Mr. T belly crawls on through.
Here comes O Boy and LS out from under the low crawl section. I think the LS may be heading back towards the burning building, rather than away from it.
Here we are going down under the low crawl section.
Following the hose maze. You were supposed to be doing this on your hands and knees, never letting go of the hose...that part was a bit lost on our kids. But we did learn, "Smooth, bump, bump, back to the pump!" Now I know how to follow a hose and the hose connectors out of a smoky, burning building to the pump thanks to the Petersburg Teen Fire Fighters.
Here we are crawling through the tangled wires section of the obstacle course.

FDA: Future Dictators of America

Here is O Boy in the most recent incarnation of his soldier identity:
sword, shield and helmet from the Salvation Army
exercise band belt
"handcuffs" - a baby toy of Little Sweetie's

Here we told him, "Make a soldier face for the picture." He's been watching way too many WWII documentaries lately.

Making a cherry pie

O Boy is the shopper every store owner loves; he is always coming up with new ideas of things that I should definitely buy. He is the one who has talked me into buying yogurt-covered raisins, chocolate milk, and most recently, cherries for making a cherry pie. Since I never make pies (and don't really like to despite my mom's insistence that it's really very easy) I decided we'd all try it together. So I made the pie crust and the cherry mix (I decided to buy unsweetened cherries and make my own mix - that was not something I'd do again. A little high fructose corn syrup is always worth the savings of a 1/2 hour spent standing in front of the stove) and the boys spooned the cherries in and helped put the top crust on. It didn't taste too bad, though it wouldn't have won any prizes for good looks at a country fair. Now we can move on to the next project O Boy dreams up. And the next time they want to make a pie, I'm telling them to wait until they can do it with Mimi (Grandma), who actually knows what she's doing!

The masterpiece

One last winter blast

Yesterday we woke up to a beautiful, snowy winter wonderland. The powder was fluffy and the weather was warm; a great day for one last sledding extravaganza. So we headed out to a local sledding spot with some friends and sledded the day away. This morning it's windy, rainy and mush, mush, mush. So I'm thankful we grabbed the chance for one last sledfest!

O Boy wore his soldier costume sledding in the morning - you can see his soldier belt under his coat. By this time, though, he'd abandoned the shield, helmet and sword.

Rolling down the steep hill was a favorite activity.

Snow angels

Playgroup friends were there having sledding fun too.
"I can't look! Tell me when we hit the bottom!"
Mr. T loves the snow!
Little Sweetie (right) and a little playgroup friend all bundled up.
LS sledding with Dad.

King of the snow mountain
I love this picture: can you see Phil jumping to get out of the way as Mr. T careens down the hill toward him?

More rolling down the hill!
Phew! We made it to the bottom!
I can't move, but at least I'm warm.