Sunday, September 8, 2013

iPhone - September

Here's what we look like on a daily basis...

In preparation for halloween, GW wore his shark costume a couple days per week starting in mid-September.  Bitty, still donning the backpack daily at this point!

Bathing all together is becoming a thing of the past; Bitty always wants to take a shower and they don't hardly fit in the tub all at once.  STOP GROWING!

Whose 2 yr old is this relaxed at the dentist? He looks like he's at one of those "sedation dentist."

We did a lot of apple picking in September.  The Stagglets get whiny, return to the car, push every button on the dash, steal my phone and take approximately 437 photos, which I then have to tediously remove from phone...

Here they are 'helping' me make applesauce.

Applesauce equals chaos.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September - a month to remember.

I am reconciled to being eternally behind in the blogosphere. Here's the photographic summary of month of September.

Annually, we trek to my parents on Labor Day weekend.  This visit's primary purpose is the wholesale slaughter of the local dove population, subsequently we indulge in a delicious feast of brined dove breast; grilled to perfection and topped with Eric's apricot & shallot confit.  

The ear protection smashes his face and gives him the most fabulous chipmunk cheeks.

As I've mentioned previously, we are homeschooling the Stagglets.  This decision has introduced us to a host of incredible families who have chosen to do the same and find great joy in encouraging one another on this journey. Thus, Homeschool Co-op is born!
After a word of prayer and the pledge of allegiance, we begin our day with music. Here is Michelle instructing. The children must call her Mrs. DeBoer - we are trying to teach them how to respectfully and formally refer to adults. So, when we are in our school setting they use our last names.).

Many of our families are serious procreators, with as many as 6 to 9 children, on this day, Trudi Gilman  (grandmother of the Sonnichsen clan of 8), was in attendance to assist. Here we are preparing the day's snack.  We give three year olds knives and fruit and say "get to work!"

On our first meeting, we did a physical education assessment test.  We'll do it again at the end of the year. Standing, is very pregnant Chelsea (baby boy #5), and seated is our radical, administrative wonder maven, Katie.  She is our chief organizer and motivator, she has four children.

Here is Kolter (Chelsea's third son) and Bitty proving they can indeed skip.

Can you see the double rainbow? The kids were amazed.  Particularly, as we were going through a Noah's Ark obsession and had discussed the first recorded rainbow with mind boggling repetitiveness. 

GW abhors clothing.  You will regularly find him dressed as pictured. He potty trained himself the week after his 2nd birthday and has been naked since. He has literally not worn any shoes but these boots since August 30th.  Flat out REFUSES. (It's now December 16 and I fear what will happen when they no longer fit). However, that's not the hill I want to die on, so I just let him.  As a bonus, how spectacular is it when you are trying to get out of the house with three midgets, that your barely two year old can put his own shoes on, unassisted? 

More co-op... we did a unit on gravity and, of course, rockets were the practical experiment/example.  The Russell family graciously agreed to host us (10 families with 48 children) on a Saturday evening for Rocket Launch!!!

Here is Levi and GW.  

Rockets abound, excitement too!

It's hard to capture them as they fly, pell mell, catapulted at an extraordinary speed by pressure created with an air compressor.

The rocket is waaaaay in the air, but here is the spray of water it leaves behind as it flies upward.

Proud rocket engineer and decorator.

Ryan, patriarch of the Russell clan and master rocket launcher.

Post rocket launch, we potlucked and then roasted s'mores.  Look at this picture big and check out how the heat changed the image.  Pictured is Tyler, our beloved administrative maven's oldest (and the most endearing) son.

A photo of me! Wowza.  Another mama said, you're always behind the camera... 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

iPhone captures - August

Below are the random events of August captured via phone, most likely because I forgot my camera.  Is anyone else irritated with that fancy(ier), largish camera that is hard to lug around and I have no idea how to use (except on auto) anyhow? I'm just saying. Also, according to the photography expert, the shutter, I think that's the part, only last so long and that's why the camera is no longer focusing on queue and often misses the shot.
GW has really begun to talk, although mostly unintelligibly, and there are numerous new words daily.  My favorite is his backwards way of saying "potato."

Yes, I grew a 2 lb tomato, and a 2 weeks ago - a 2 lb 12 oz one... the variety is a Aunt Ruby's Giant German Green and they are beautiful, enormous, and super tasty.

Children being amused on an amusement park style ride.

Yet, again!

All those peaches we picked in the previous post, aside from being canned, my husband informed me made the absolute, without a doubt best pie I've baked to date.  Yum, yum, extra yum!

As we were drawing close to the start of the 'school year,' Aunty Staci bought Bitty school supplies and a back pack for her birthday.  Which, she did not remove for a week except to sleep. We are learning to read and teaching your child is rewarding, frustrating, and is likely teaching me more than her.

Remember those roosters we slaughtered a couple of posts ago, the hens who are no longer being harassed by carousing, competing roosters are happily laying once again.  A few of Emily's hens are Americanas and they lay the tiniest and most lovely of eggs.  The white one, for perspective, is a medium size grocery store egg, which are not very big and look how big it is compared to the Americana eggs?  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sweet as a peach.

We don't often get to visit with our cousins, they were here to visit for a week and we got to go peach pickin' together.
Me and ma-in-law.

The next three pictures are repetitive, but I cannot tell you how difficult it is to get all 5 children looking in the same direction, let alone with smiles!

3 out of 5 looking at the camera... if this was baseball we'd be hall of fame legends!

Nice, LindyJean.

We followed the peach picking with lunch out and then to the Richland City Pool.

Skinny Minnie was cold.  That child needs some fat on her bones.

Alayna is totally big sister, baby sitter oriented. She is super helpful and doting.  
Thanks Gammy and cousins for a lovely day!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chicken Fried

Wayne and Emily invited us over to slaughter a couple roosters... or rather, asked us to slaughter a couple of roosters.  Emily wanted to be rid of them, but didn't want to kill them herself. We, gladly, complied.
Meet dinner, er.. uh, Big Dave. No doubt he is wondering why Wayne is chasing him about the coop.

Lemme go!

When Eric slit the chicken's throat, he got splattered.  Adelaide was horrified.

Bleeding out. Gunnar supervising.

Me plucking the second rooster.

Our squeamish child, she stayed well away from the slaughter, plucking, and gutting operations.

Cleaning him up.

Chicken guts, eewwwww! 

Finished product.  Two fine birds, cooling down. We roasted them, made gravy and had a lovely supper!

The hens were being harassed by the 3 roosters, thus Emily had us come give her a hand. The hens are happily laying again and we got to partake in the bounty.  These teeny, tiny eggs are from the Americana hens.  They are itty bitty and so delicious.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Annual vacation

I was on blogging hiatus during last year's trip (which was to Manzanita, Oregon), however we try to take a week or so long vacation each year in addition to our long weekends and other smaller adventures.  This year's outing was an August camping trip to the Idaho wilderness.  Sleep in a tent, dig a hole to do your business, cellular service an 1.5 hour drive away, middle of nowhere camping.  It was glorious.  

Awesome! This photo sums up the general atmosphere while camping. 
"Hooray, hooray; it's fun, it's dirty and clothing is optional!!!"

We were very blessed, indeed, by our company.  Phil and Terri (Aunty Cheryl's sister) drove all the way from Santa Rosa with Nitro, the German Wire Hair Dog, to camp with us.  They are spectacular campers and it was truly lovely to have them with us.  My Dad also came, he was the most fun he's been in forever.  
I am not sure what Terri and LJ were up to here.

Phil, Dad and RubySue (L-R) enjoying the campfire and manning the Dutch ovens.

The view while washing dishes or cooking. I think I'd be a better dishwasher at home if I could gaze at this while being serenaded by the river's bubbling waters.

She spent a lot of hours being told, "No, no, no, no don't shovel there, do it over there. Where no one's gonna fall in a hole while walking!"

Gunnar, post roasted marshmallow.  I needn't say more, except that even his eyelashes were stuck to his lids. He was a bear when I tried to wash him up.


I intentionally under packed, intending to wash clothes in the river, by hand while there.  And I did!

Of course, there were any number of pesky insects and, of course, LindyJean was the one stung. Just under her eye, no less!  It was terrible and she screamed bloody murder for a whole hour after.

The tent was a major hit.  I think my children would be most pleased if I declared we are selling our home and going to live in a Yurt.  They'd think I was the coolest mama ever.  The Stagglets spent a minimum of 1 hr per day playing in the tent - aside from naps and nightime!

Uncle Phil chopping some wood, like a burly mountain manly man should.

Hanging out, fireside. 

He's "fishing."

Evening camp attire.  It cools off considerably.

Remember that Tonka truck up top?  This is what your face looks like after you biff it, running after your Tonka truck, which you sent tumbling, at a break neck pace down the hill.

Excursion to Avery, Idaho to buy more ice for the beverage cooler... because you might not survive the trip if your beer gets above 38F.  

They have a little trout pool, the kids love it!

The one photo of my face from the trip, not glamourous, but sometimes you have to suck it up and share the not so hot photo of yourself. At least my kid is cute, eh?

Inside the Avery Jail.  Which they do, in fact, use for drunken disorderly violations.  Or in my case, whiny disobedience violations.

Come on out convicts!

The walking bridge.

It wiggled a lot, which made Gunnar nervous.  But Terri, lovingly, guided him by the hand.  

Pouty Bitty, Ecstatic LindyJean, and Cheerful GW.

I had to beg her to let me get ahead of her to take this photo.  She insisted on being our hike leader.

Bitty had a birthday, while camping.  FIVE!!!

Eric is a spectacular, no joke Dutch oven cook (so is Phil for that matter) and we ate like kings.  I seriously gained 8 lbs while camping.  To celebrate Bitty's birthday, Eric baked a cake in the Dutch oven over coals, he's a genius. LindyJean was his sous chef.


Meal example... pork loin braised with onions, apple, potato and herbs, topped with biscuits baked to golden perfection.  One night he roasted two whole chickens, made gravy, and cooked sweet corn from our garden?!?!?!!! All in Dutch ovens.  Phil, busted out Dutch oven pizza one night, even the dough was from scratch.  The food was amazing.

Grandad and Gunnar enjoying a fireside chat.

Happy campers.  Happy Birthday Bitty.  I can't believe she's five.