Friday, May 30, 2008

A Graduation, an Animal Festival, and Memorial Day

Ian graduated this week! Yes, our 4 year old marched down the aisle to Pomp and Circumstance and received his first diploma. He still has another year of pre-school before he moves on to the big world of kindergarten, but he officially passed his first year of pre-school. he has had a great year learning a lot, and making some new friends.

Here he is with his best friend Jacob. Jacob likes Spider-man about as much as Ian.

Here is Ian with his teacher Miss Lici. She has been great. Ian has loved going to school everyday. He has learned to recognized all his letters and numbers, to write all of his letters and numbers, and is now working on sounds. He also comes home each day with some new rhyme or song that Miss Lici has taught them.
On Saturday we went to the Alpaca Festival. Dave has always had a secret desire to live in the country and raise Alpacas. I must admit they were very cute-so soft and fuzzy. They didn't seem very friendly though. Every time Ian tried to pet one they ran away -at least they didn't spit. There were a few for sale and they were going for about $16,000.00! I guess their fleece is really valuable and you can make a lot of money off of it, but I think if we ever live in the country we might have to get a llama instead.
Ian with a prize winning Alpaca. Notice the Alpaca is in the background because it wanted nothing to do with Ian.

For Memorial Day we went down Salem to visit my Grandma Lee's grave. We met up with my Grandpa, my family, and my Aunt Sharee's family. It was neat to see everybody together and know how happy that would have made Grandma. It has been almost a year since she passed away and I still miss her so much. I'm sure she was most happy about the great grand kids running around the cemetery playing together.

Ian, Sydney, and Kaylee.

Ian found this Superman costume at my Aunt Sharee's and he wore it all day long! Thanks Sharee.

After we visited the cemetery we went to my cousin Jessie's house. We had a fabulous BBQ and the cousins got to play together while the adults sat around a visited. I have such great memories of hanging out with my cousins when I was growing up, and it was so fun to see our kids playing together and hopefully building the same kind of fun memories. Thanks-Jessie, Cory, Sharee, and Craig.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tragedy in the Playhouse

On Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of birds going crazy in the backyard. I looked out my window and the nest in the playhouse was gone! I looked closer and saw two cracked eggs on the landing just above the slide. I went outside to get a closer look and found the nest on the ground under the playhouse. I was devastated-these poor birds had already had to deal with Ian the egg snatcher now they were childless and homeless! I put the nest back in the playhouse where it had been. It didn't seem like the wind would knock it down and upon noticing the feathers on the ground I have come to the conclusion that it was a cat. I guess building your nest in a playhouse with a ladder is not the best idea. The birds have not returned and every morning I check to see if maybe they have come back. It seemed like we had our miracle after Ian got to the nest, but I think the birds are gone for good now. On the plus side Ian can now play in his playhouse without two birds squawking at him and looking like they are going to dive bomb him at any minute.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hatching the Eggs

A couple of weeks ago we found this nest in Ian's playhouse! It really is a great place for a nest other than the fact that any child that is on their way to go down the slide can reach right out and touch the nest.
About a week ago Ian came running into the house yelling, "Mommy there are no birds in those eggs. I hatched them and there are no birds in those eggs." I about cried-we have already rendered many birds and bird babies homeless due to the tree incident.
Now I know Ian thought he was just going to crack those eggs like he would when we make a cake and he would find baby birds inside, but I launched into a big lecture about preserving life and a bunch of mumbo jumbo a 4 year old would not understand or appreciate. Later that day Ian came and told me he had been trying to think of ways to help the birds and the only thing he could think of was to say a prayer so that the birds would not miss their babies too much and not be sad for very long. How true sometimes all we can do is say a prayer.
Well, a few days later Ian came running into the house again with good news-there were two more eggs in the nest! Who knew-I didn't-that birds can just keep on laying eggs! Our little nest robber has kept out the nest and hopefully we'll have some cute little baby birds in the next few weeks. Until then here is a cute shot of my favorite baby.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Weekend in the Country

Last week we went to visit my parents. I love visiting my parents. The boys get to experience the country life for a little bit, and I get to slow down my pace and remember what it was like to grow up outside of the suburbs. I do love where we live, but I think I will always be drawn to small towns, corn, fields, and the mountains. Maybe someday there will be an Enterprise that rents tractors and we can move to a little farming community. I guess visiting will have to do for now.
We had so much fun on our visit. We went on a walk through the fields, the boys played in the garden with big toy dump trucks, they went for rides in the wheelbarrow, and Ian helped mow the lawn. I went on a bike ride with my dad. He is training for the Lotoja this fall. He was kind enough to slow down for me, and my mom let me ride her fancy bike (it weighs about nothing, but the seat felt like I was sitting on a brick!) My dad also got tickets to the musical "Beauty and Beast" at the Ellen Eccles Theater for all the girls. It was a fun night out with my mom, sister, and niece, but best of all Grandpa babysat the boys all by himself so I could go!
Here are a few photos of our weekend.
Looking out to the west through the fields. They are fencing in one of the fields by my parents house. I think they might be putting some cattle in it which would be interesting because we have never had animals in any of the fields around our house.

Riding in the wheel barrow

Ian, Miles, and Lacey the Dog

Mowing the grass with Grandpa. My dad finally got a riding lawn mower a few years ago. When I was a kid my siblings and I would have to help mow the lawn each weekend. I mowed the field you can see behind my dad with a push mower every two weeks when I was in high school. Mom and Dad would pay my band fees (yes, I was a band geek) for mowing the field.

Walking through the field behind Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Walking along the ditch. Sometimes we see pheasant or grouse nesting in the ditch, but not on this walk.
Happy in the backpack with Grandpa. Cheese plant in the background.
Grandma and Grandpa
The Old Barn

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Making of a Tree Hugger or How We Celebrated Arbor Day

Sorry about the dry spell. I have been going to the gym at 5:30 in the morning and my late night blogging has suffered. So, here is a little story-that turned into a long story.

This is our willow tree.

We love this tree. It is probably about 15 years old and very, very big. It shades the west side of our house and most of our front yard. It frames our house nicely and looks beautiful.

The kids love the tree swing. It goes much higher than the swing set, and when they look up they can see the sky through the yellow leaves and big branches of the tree.

Willow trees are not strong. They grow fast, but a small wind or the weight of the snow can make the branches break easily. We have spent many days picking up sticks after the wind blows-but we still love the tree.

A few weeks ago we discovered this (see picture). Not Good!

Oh, and this was on the other side!

We called a tree guy. He said we should take the tree down! I about cried. We called more tree guys hoping to get a better second opinion. The news got worse-“this is a liability,” “I wouldn’t park my car under this tree,” “Don’t put your kids in that swing,” “this tree is rotten all the way through!” Well after 5/6 bids, a few sleepless windy nights, and some heartache we decided the tree would have to come down. We called the tree guys who had worked on the tree before-they said they would beat all of the other bids and he said he would be out on Tuesday to work on the tree.

Well, look at what happened on Tuesday!

It split in two and the section that fell down kind of swung out and around the house. It was a good thing I knew it was cracked, or I would have had a minor panic attack when it blew over.

I think all the prayers we said to save the tree actually saved our house-or maybe the tree knew how much we liked it and didn’t want to cause more damage than necessary.

The tree guys showed up as scheduled, but instead of giving us a bid on a standing tree they took out the chainsaws and went to town. Now, when an act of nature blew the first half of the tree over I didn’t feel too bad, but those saws made me feel like a tree killer!

They actually had the whole tree down in about 45 minutes. They came back the next day and ran the whole tree through the chipper (this was worse than the saws). They ground down the stump and roots and now our house is naked!

The ironic thing is that this all happened right around Arbor Day (last Friday). We will be planting some new trees. If you have any ideas let us know. We want something strong (no willows), something that grows fairly quickly, provides good shade, and looks pretty. I’ve always loved nature and considered myself environmentally minded, but I can honestly say I am now a tree hugger. Hug a tree today-it might not be there tomorrow.

If you would like some mulch call us-we have a ton.