Saturday, May 31, 2008
the completed path- and it turned out very well, if i do say so myself!
i'm astounded to see how many rocks we have around here- there are rocks everywhere! i remember that when we looked at this house last summer, that was one of the things i noticed. in the yard, around trees, nice pathways, random rocks lying about, rocks in the garden.... i will say, however, that most of them are really cool rocks. (and remember, i'm the one who goes on vacation and takes pictures of rocks, and brings buckets of rocks home!) also, some of our rocks are HUGE! like- mammoth rocks. even some of the ones that we've found in the garden are the size of a child's tricycle. so for the past several days, we've been "managing" our rocks. we helped dave with the tilling of the garden, and picked out wheelbarrows full of rocks, and the boys helped me finish the path for the shade garden in the front of the house. we also have more pathways planned as we complete some of the outside renovation work that needs to be done.
now, if only we could use our rocks to buy milk, eggs or peanut butter, we'd be set...
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
just in case you wanted to see how it looks now that we're done. the view is great from the front porch! come join us sometime- we have rocking chairs and a swing, and we'll make some extra lemonade for you!
things have really been hopping around here. dave is working on putting a new railing on the front porch. that makes a big difference-even the mail lady commented on how nice it is! while we're all pleased with how nice it looks, the real reason we did it was to have a giant playpen for A! she's all over the place, but now at least we can keep her contained (locked in!)
this afternoon we worked on the flower beds again, and i can say that they are mostly done, for now. we finished with the rock retaining wall, and we're really happy with the way that it looks. we plan on working on the path, too, soon.
in fact, we're so satisfied with how the porch and flower garden turned out, that we're going to sit on the porch swing and admire it while sipping our lemonade. just don't tell dave that's what we do while he's at work!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
we've lived here for over 2 weeks now, and the mess is starting to get to me. every room is torn up, with furniture haphazardly arranged, and miscellaneous extension cords snaking everywhere. there are alot of things that i can't do, like electrical, plumbing and carpentry- but i can finish and paint drywall! i want to do as much as i can- dave is only one person, and he works really hard. i don't want him to begin to feel that he has to do all this work himself. so i decided to start in the school room, and see if i can't get that room done as much as possible. the other day we pushed all the furniture to the middle of the room, and started with the spackling. that went alot better than i thought it would. and i'm definitely getting better at it! (and i've even figured out how to do the corners so they don't look too bad!) the boys helped, and we've been working really hard on this room, and the hallway for the last 3 days, and were able to get it to the point where it is ready to paint. i have the primer coat on, and tomorrow i will go to lowe's to get the rest of the paint for the walls and trim. it feels really good to get this done, and i'm looking forward to having a room that is more livable, and less messy! we'll just keep plugging along, going room by room, and every day, week and month the house will get better and better. it's kind of exciting to think of what we can all do together!
one of the saddest things for me about selling our home in new berlin was having to leave all my perennial beds. i had worked very hard for 7 seasons to plant flowers and trees all around the house, and to have flowers blooming from march to October. fortunately, i was able to divide many of my flowers prior to closing, and winter them in the garden of a dear friend.
even though we just moved in, and have tons of things to do, i feel the dirt calling to me "come plant something in me!" we were able to work outside on mother's day, and got a nice garden started, with a rock border and walkway, but i was unable to get back to it until just tonight. meanwhile, i have been fretting about not having enough flowers, so I've been "collecting" them in my travels- the church rummage sale, trading with a new neighbor, the master gardener's sale in towanda, the farmer's market, 2 flats of annuals at the greenhouse as a mother's day present and N, A and B got me peonies for mother's day as well. (can you see where i'm going with this?)
anyway- i have tons of flowers, and a HUGE variety. lupines, columbine, pansy, iris, johnny-jump-up, bleeding heart, mums, hosta, astlibe, sedum, lamb's ear, coreopsis, canna lilly, bachelor's button, mums- and on and on. i'm beginning to worry that i won't have enough places to put them all! M and G helped me this evening to plant the flower beds, and while we're not done, we made a big dent in the large flower pile that was out in the yard. there is a shade garden, and a full sun garden, too. M also was working on getting pots of annuals ready to spread around, full of pansies, coleus and petunia. they will be a bright spot as you come into the driveway.
Dave was just working on the front porch, putting in a new railing, and these two projects will really change the look of the house. it's very satisfying to work together to make our house into a home. one step at a time.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
all this studying finally paid off! we got 5th place in the oral component, and 5th place overall!
just a little while ago we all got home from penn state, after spending 2 days there for the state envirothon competition. it feels like it was a long journey, but all that studying and nagging finally paid off!
the oral component of the e-thon was a scenario about the Appalachian trail, and the negative impacts from the variety of recreational uses. they had to come up with solutions to 2 critical recreational impacts, and how to implement those suggestions. they worked hard all week, brainstorming, preparing, researching and perfecting their speech and delivery. dave and i were able to go in with them into the room as they gave the speech in front of 6 judges. they did very well, with minimal nervousness, and answered the questions the judges had at the end very confidently and intelligently.
on tuesday (which was a very cold, damp, cold, rainy and cold day in state college) was the rest of the testing. dave and i spent the day in the car with B (which was not as bad as it sounds!) around 2pm, we bundled B up, and headed for the awards building. we met M coming down the hill, and she was a little discouraged (and alot wet and muddy!) and she told us that she didn't think they had done so well. i was disappointed, but knew that they had done their best. so off we were to wait until it was time to give out the awards.
first they announced the winners of the oral component. i was fairly confident that they had done well, but when the 10th place winner got a overall score of 92, i was a little worried! however, we were very pleased to receive 5th place, with a score of 95! for this achievement, we all received nice little fanny packs from REI, a $15 gift certificate, (even our little mascot got her own gift certificate!) and a trophy.
then came time for the real nail biting waiting. after what M had told me, i was no longer sure what to expect. they started announcing the winners one by one, starting with 10th place. our friends from snyder county got 9th, and we were so happy for them! then 8th, 7th, and 6th (another homeschooling team from westmoreland county) place were announced. i was just turning to M to say that we didn't get in the top 10 like we had hoped, when they said 5th place "union county homeschoolers" !!!!!!!!! we were shocked, amazed, thrilled and ecstatic! back up front for more picture taking, and more prizes- a wooden plaque, a bag, flash drive and disposable camera.
after we were home we made a few phone calls to brag and share the happy news with friends and family. maybe if we're lucky we'll be in the daily item. (we don't hold out too much hope for that after their lame article about the county competition.) so now life will get back to a more normal pace and expectations. we've had alot of things on hold, to give the kids time to prepare for e-thon. tomorrow morning it's nose to the grindstone. we've spackling to do, a dumpster to fill and a ditch to dig. no rest for the weary!
Friday, May 16, 2008
all major projects are on hold. we are concentrating on envirothon- mainly the oral component. this is a mandatory speech that must be presented to a panel of judges on a given scenario. this year it is about problems with the Appalachian trail. the kids have all been working hard on it, and it's coming along nicely. just a few finishing touches, and then we're off to penn state on monday. thankfully, dave can come along to help, as i will also be taking B along. it should be interesting!
in between all that's going on, i have managed to start my flower garden. M helped me on sunday, and so did N. dave and i also planted potatoes last night. and there is still mounds and piles of laundry, and i have to make dinner every once in a while....
here is a google map link for an aerial view of our house. it was taken a few years ago, but it's still pretty accurate. you should be able to cut and paste it into the address bar. now that you know where we live and how to get here, stop in and visit us for awhile! you could stay for dinner- we'll just add another quart of tomatoes to the stew...
Friday, May 09, 2008
N and G are ready for bed
D's corner (can you tell he likes the navy?)
you can tell it's official- the cat is asleep, and the baby is happy!
Thursday, May 01, 2008
we were up at the house yesterday, doing some last minute stuff. N and i worked on cleaning some more, and moving stuff into storage areas, instead of in the main living area. that in itself makes a big difference! we also cleaned some more floors.
Dave and N re-hung the drywall in the bathroom, and Dave has set the goal of having the bathroom basically ready to paint when we move in. he's got the toilet and sink up and running (we got a new septic tank this week) and the bead board is also up. i also took up all the bathroom hardware for him to install, as well as buying the paint while i was at Lowe's- a lovely blue dusk color.
we also finished hanging the drywall in the back living room. that's not an easy task, since the house is nowhere near level. one piece was a parallelogram! but Dave is very patient and methodical, so it fit nearly perfectly! there is one more wall in the front living room to drywall, but unfortunately that will have to wait. I'm a little disappointed, as i really wanted to have that done, but it's not the end of the world.
Dave has been fishing alot during his breaks. last night he called me and told me about his latest fishing adventure. seems he was fishing for trout, but there were so many pesky small mouth bass biting that he never even had the chance to catch any trout! he caught 6 bass in 10 minutes! N has bought himself a fishing license and pole, and he's eager to catch some fish, too. we tease him that he's spoiled for life for fishing. a few years ago when we were camping at little pine state park, he caught a 20" rainbow trout! it was so big that it was pulling the canoe, and dave was sure that he had snagged a tree trunk or something!
anyway... right now i'm trying to "catch up" on my scrap booking. i know that when we move, there will be no opportunity for that until at least the fall. I'd like to do a little more in B's baby book today, and then that's it. just last night i finished scrapping the story of the renovation of the high street house. i used one of creative memories pictfolio albums. that was certainly worth the little bit more money. it came with journaling cards and mats, and it was very quick and painless. i would definitely recommend one if you'd like to make some quick progress on a specific event. one thing though- if you are one of those people who never takes a vertical picture (all the pictures you shoot are horizontal) this album would not work for you. on each page there is room for 10 pictures- 6 horizontal and 4 vertical.
so now a large part of my life is putting things in boxes. that is, after i've run all over creation to find some. we're becoming acquainted with the state liquor store people- we show up regularly to beg for their boxes! weis' is stingy, and won't give any out, but wal-mart does. just in case you wanted to know.