Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Planting Peas

Yesterday started out with free mango smoothie samples from the Starbucks at the grocery store. 


Somehow, I managed to get the kids and myself ready, and all of the animals cared for, and out the door by 9am. We went to the grocery and then headed to play group so Ayden could spend time with his gal pals. 



It was WONDERUL to have the grocery out of the way already so we could go straight home after playgroup. 

We spent some time in the evening getting our spring garden started!



I'll have to keep reminding myself that it is about the process and not the product because gardening with a 3 year old is... interesting ;).

Digging holes for porch posts!


We also got a start on Ayden's pallet mud kitchen.

Making a mud kitchen seems essential since we have an over abundance of dirt and mud. We are looking forward to a Summer of mud pies!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Traveling And Catching Up"
Two years ago today: "Happy Easter 2013!"
And three years ago today: "Final Four Baby"


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Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Baskets 2015 {3 year old and 6 months old}


The Easter Bunny dropped off the kids' baskets a little early so I could share them with you!

Ayden's basket.
3 years old.
Card set: robot and space themed Old Maid, Go Fish and Crazy 8's
Garden supplies: boots, hand tools, shovel (not pictured)
Bubble gun and bubbles
Ceramic egg paint set
Books: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Chick
and My Little Box Of Farm Stories
Dark chocolate Bunny
An egg full of Annie's gummy bunnies (in the rabbit bandana)
Logan's basket.
6 months old.
Books (the hatch one is really cool!)
A Wooden lidded box with a wooden egg inside (from Etsy)
A bamboo bowl (replacing the cracked one we had for Ayden and loved)
A wooden bunny ear teether (also from Etsy)
There's also a Peter Rabbit pull toy around here somewhere that I'd like to add.

What will the Easter Bunny be bringing your kids this year?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Packing Up"
Two years ago today: "Alpacas, Rabbits, and Chicks, Oh my!"
And three years ago today: "Weekend Night Owl"

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hands In The Dirt

This was a great day. 


Checking out this grass stuff...




It makes our hearts feel so happy to see our boys with their hands in the dirt on our land. This was the first time that we, as a family of 4, spent time as a family on our farm. It kind of made us want to move in right now. Patience, Sarah, patience. All of us enjoyed every moment. This Spring and Summer are going to be great!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Free Family Fun"
Two years ago today: "Toddler Easter Basket"
And three years ago today: "Back To Civilization"

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Way Of Life

When we step back and look at our life at the moment, it can look pretty chaotic. David works full time and is building our house, both boys are requiring a lot of attention, and we have a lot of animals to care for.  I try my best to keep our household running smoothly, to provide an enriched learning environment for our boys and have started a large purging and decluttering journey. Shew!

We try not to look at the big picture for too long because it is a lot to juggle. We just take it one day at a time and do our best to enjoy eachother and all of the exciting projects and adventures that we have going on. This is our life right NOW. There is no room for any sort of, "I'll be content/happy/relaxed/etc after xyz happens" sort of thinking. What if tomorrow never comes?  We have to wake up everyday ready to embrace whatever comes our way. 

"Happiness is not a destination, it's a way of life."

We got to take a little break from the normal hubbub of our life while we were at a birthday part today. We got to visit with friends, the boys got to play and we enjoyed some yummy food. 

David got to sneak away to soak in some sweet snuggles.

Things get back to normal tomorrow since we will be preparing our garden site and hopefully going shopping for the seeds and transplants that we'll be planting for our Spring garden. It looks like the weather is finally settling into Spring mode (after snow flurries yesterday...) and I am excited to get it started. I'm not sure what we'd do without all of our chaos because it all adds so much depth and richness to our life!  

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Spring Time Relaxation"
Two years ago today: "Sensory Play"
And three years ago today: "Making Changes"

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Splash!


This water baby is ready to join big bro in the big boy bathtub!




I have to put towels down for sure!



Here are a few more clips from the past week:




It was a long one for me... TGIF!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Picasso In The House"
Two years ago today: "The Gift Of An Ordinary Day"
And three years ago today: "What Did I Do Today?"


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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tweens And Rainy Day Win

Our chicks have reached that awkward tween stage...  


The weather got rainy and cool just in time for them to be ready to start spending some time outside. We are looking forward to giving them some fresh air and room to spread their wings a little more. 

Since it rained all day I got on Pinterest to find a good rainy day activity and found a winner!

A tray of baking soda, colored vinegar and a pipette!
He was quietly occupied for a good 45 minutes while I washed some dishes, played with Logan and folded/put away some laundry. 


He'll be cheering on the CATS in his dreams tonight!


It went over so well that I started a rainy day activity Pinterest board so that I can be prepared for the rest of our rainy Spring days!

What are your favorite rainy day activities?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "18 Weeks Pregnant"
Two years ago today: "Answer Me This"
And three years ago today: "Goals"

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lining Up

When Logan was under 4 months old he was sleeping for HOURS at a time, day or night and it was the norm for him to be sleeping during Ayden's naps. Ever since Logan hit the 4 month mark and that transition to big boy sleep patterns, his sleep his been less predictable overall. He's in the "if it's not one thing it's another" stage and will continue to be there for the next 6 months or so. If it's not teething it's a milestone. If it's not a milestone it's separation awareness.  If it's not separation awareness, it's teething WHILE mastering a new milestone. Etc, etc, etc. The bottom line is that in the first year, there is SOOO much going on that messes with a baby's sleep cycles. Even an amazing sleeper can have rough patches. The beauty of going through this with my second child is that I rest assured knowing that there will be ups that follow the downs. It also helps that Logan's rough patches are still better than Ayden's sleep was on a good night at this age.

 We'll weather rough patches and take a big, deep breath during the smooth patches. The next rough patch won't hit us so hard because, even if we don't know exactly how it will manifest, we know it's coming. Logan has been working on cutting his bottom teeth for weeks now and they are still taking their sweet time. He is also working really hard on crawling.


His sleep has been unpredictable and he is waking often. When he does wake up, he realizes that I am not there and cries for me. He luckily still goes back to sleep easily but after a couple of weeks of these patterns we are both tired. But, the past few days are feeling familiar again. He is taking solid naps and waking up happy. The boys' naps have even lined up a few times like the good ol' days which is LIFE CHANGING for me as an introverted mother.

A first baby is so special in so many ways like experiencing parental love for the first time or having quiet one on one time while you are lost in uniterrupted baby land together.  The second is special in their own way too. The fact that you have wisdom and previous experience allows you to relax and just enjoy them knowing that rough patches will smooth themselves out again with time. All we have to do is be there as they work their way through. 

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Old Man Winter"
Two years ago today: "Surprise"
And three years ago today : "Down On The Farm"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thank A Honeybee




We took a nice walk to my parents' house this morning. Logan slept on my back in the Ergo the whole way there, through our whole visit and finally woke up just as we walked in the door at home.  Big bro was SO excited to see that he was awake and helped take off Logan's jacket once we were in and settled. 

Like a real life doll baby.
This afternoon brought some more rain so Ayden did a Pinterest inspired raindrop letter matching activity when he woke up from his nap. 

He got about half of them covered and then decided to take them all off again...
It was a good effort ;)

It's supposed to be rainy and chilly again tomorrow. Womp womp. I'd like to just stay home but Polly is out of food so we will probably venture out to the pet store in the morning and then, of course, dance in the afternoon. 

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "When Time Stands Still"
Two years ago today: "Frame Party"
And three years ago today: "Playing Games"

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Loosing Track

We celebrated a birthday at playgroup today!


It's crazy to think about the fact that the kids weren't even 2 when we started coming together and now they're all turning 3. We've all become such great friends and cherish our Monday mommy visit time. I guess the kids have some fun too ;).  Everyone completely lost track of time today and stayed an extra hour than usual. We finally realized what had happened once all of the kids started asking for snacks and melting down. Then we all rushed home for lunches and naps. 

Logan's bottom teeth are on their way and have not been easy on him so we spend a lot of time like this:


He's so snuggly!  We grilled out for the first time of the season tonight. I found a really good spiced apple pork burger recipe that everyone must try!  I paired it with some oven baked, crinkle cut sweet potato fries tossed in olive oil sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and lots of smoked paprika as well as some roasted Brussels sprouts. Logan had more simple versions of everything.  We used lettuce in lieu of buns and had the BEST grass fed cheddar cheese that we've ever tasted that I found at the farmer's market on Saturday. I love how I get new meal inspiration from a season change. I'm already looking forward to firing up the grill again!

Have you grilled out yet?  What did you have?

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Humpty Dumpty"
Two years ago today: "Mixing It Up"
And three years ago today: "Our Big Boy"

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Starting Big

I am on a roll with my new purging and simifying journey. When I look at the work cut out for me I feel a little overwhelmed but I am determined. Today I began to tackle this:

The storage shed
This is the stuff I had already taken out before taking the above photo.

Over the cold Winter we never took the time to put things back where they belong so before today we had to climb over stuff and couldn't find anything half the time. From what I have been reading, it is best to start on the least cluttered space in your home, build momentum with small successes and ride that throughout the rest of your home until you've conquered the most cluttered space. Very similar to Dave Ramsey's debt snowball actually... My problem is that I have smaller projects (like putting away all of our baby gear, the boys' next clothing swap, etc) that I couldn't do with our shed being so unorganized. So I started big. 

Of course with David over working on the house today, and with two kids to take care of, this task that could have taken just a couple of hours is going to take me days. While working off and on today I got most of the stuff cleared out of the bottom (there are two "loft" areas as well) and filled several large Goodwill/women's shelter boxes in the process. There were some easy tosses like the electric knife that we got as a wedding gift that we have NEVER used. Hopefully someone will love finding the gem of a brand new electric knife while out thrifting.  I hope they carve their Thanksgiving turkey with it! There were also a few items that were hard to toss into those boxes, one of which a perfectly beautiful shadow box, but I have had it for years and don't have a plan for it anymore so away it must go. Somewhere down the road, if I decide we need a shadow box, I'll just find a new one. This is an example of how strict I am being with myself in preparation for what goes into our new house. 

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful."  - William Morris

As far as our shed organizational systems failing over Winter, I'm not going to worry about it because if all goes well we will be in our house and will have our basement for next Winter. Not having to pull out a ladder or freeze to death in order to put things where they belong will work wonders for us. I am getting really excited!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Gloriously Boring"
Two years ago today: "Toddler Land"
And three years ago today: "Feeling Good"

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Garden And Bees And House, Oh My!

Today was a very different kind of Saturday for us. The boys and I did start out at the farmer's market as usual while David was out at the building site preparing our garden plot. We decided to go ahead and move it since it got flooded recently, just in case we have a super rainy Summer.  When I got home I fed Logan and then left the boys to hang out with David and went to tend to some family stuff for my Dad. When I got home from there I nursed Logan again and then packed the car full of bee gear for my first hive check of the season. I had opened the tops to see if they made it through the Winter a week or so ago and since it warmed back up today I was able to check to see how much honey they had left and if the queens were laying again. 


In the photo above, the short hives are the two that didn't make it. There are some bees there but they are just robbers since there is honey still on the frames in there. The tall hives are the survivors (I put feeders on today inside those top super boxes). I opened the white hive, or The Derby Hive as I like to call it since it was the swarm we caught on Derby Day last year, first because the yellow hive has always been feistier and I didn't want to hang around too long after rousing them. 

There were a lot of dead bees in the hive in the bottom box. I cleaned them out and assessed the honey situation. They had a small amount of honey still but I did not see eggs, larva, capped brood or any other signs of a queen except for this:


My phone would not focus on it very well, I guess because the bees were moving so much around it, but up at the top there is one lone queen cell. I closed the hive back up, added the feeder and moved on to the next hive.

The yellow hive had a ton of honey left and is thriving! Lots of capped brood, larva, eggs, workers flying in with pollen in their baskets. They seemed good to go. They went easy on me and I left without any stings this time.  I am wondering if I'll be able to say the same come harvest time the Fall. They started getting worked up by the time I was finished inspecting the top box so I did not move down to the bottom box/bottom board to clean out any dead bees from the Winter for them.  I figure if they are going to be feisty they can do all of that hard work themselves.  Haha.

When I was done I felt so alive. It is a hobby that I truly enjoy. The bees are fascinating and the fact that you just never really know what you'll find when you pop that inner cover makes it that much more exciting. It also helped to have so much time to myself today. It really recharged my introvert batteries and I felt great all evening. I think I had been needing that more than I even realized!  

I called my mentor to let him know what I found in The Derby Hive and he said it was kind of bad news. They lost their queen at some point and tried to raise another but the problem is that it is too early in the season for drones (male bees) to be around to mate a queen. He said he has a shipment of queens coming in for his own hives on the 10th so he is going to spare one for me. He will come and help me get her settled in that day. Then when the next shipment of queens come he'll give me another and we will use it to split that yellow hive leaving us with three. The last white hive we plan to leave empty just in case we get called to catch a swarm this year. 

When I got home, David passed the kid baton and headed over to work on the house. They are kicking it into high gear with this warmer weather!

Garden and bees and house, oh my!  This is going to be a very busy, exciting, and fruitful Summer!!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Stuck On Winter"
Two years ago today: "Toddler Talk"
And three years ago today: "2 Months Old"


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Friday, March 20, 2015

Conflicted Mama Bear

Oh Mama Bear. She comes out to feircly protect her young when they need it most. But what happens when one of her babies hurts the other?

Ayden LOVES Logan.


 Logan is the first person Ayden wants to see in the morning and he never goes to bed at night without giving Logan a hug and a kiss. Ayden brings Logan toys all day long and cheers him on while he learns new skills. Logan loves Ayden too and already looks up to him. They are yin and yang (opposites that compliment one another) and already BFFs. 


But there are moments, whether triggered by impulse control challenges, jealousy, cause and effect curiosity, limit testing, or what have you, where Ayden will hurt Logan on purpose. 

As a mother this is a really difficult position to be in. If it were someone else's baby I would be disappointed in Ayden's actions but I would also still be on his side completely. I would be able to level headedly guide him through the situation, give him fair consequences, and help him learn from it. 

When it is Logan who is hurt, however, my reaction is quite different.  Mama bear is summoned against one baby in the defense of another. My body and mind get focused on feircly protecting my baby from the source of his harm which in this case is unfortunately my other child. This is probably the most difficult feeling as a mother of two. 

When this happens I don't say anything right away but just frown my biggest mad Mama Bear frown, scoop Logan up, walk into another room, shut the door and sit with my back against it (our rental cottage does not have working locks). I comfort Logan and work hard on calming my mama bear rage. The last thing I want is a full on Mama Bear flare up on one of my own children. It only takes a couple of minutes but it is enough for all of us. It allows enough time for Logan and me to both calm down and it is long enough for Ayden to get worked up about being shut out and alone (our most powerful consequence for a boy who is difficult to discipline). Once this chain of events has happened I open the door a crack, when Ayden decides to come join us I am able to speak to him about what happened with a level head. I remind him of his specific action that hurt Logan and tell him it was not kind nor was it a right choice. I remind him that Logan is just a baby and that we all need to take care of one another and that hurting each other on purpose is never allowed. Then I ask, "How can you make this right?"  We have asked this question enough now that he knows what to do. He walks up to Logan, hugs him, kisses wherever he hurt him and says, "I'm sorry I did that."  And then we move on. 

Wiping his slate clean is a challenge but it has to be done. It is my job to guide him while offering a continuous dose of unconditional love, just as I would if t had been someone else's baby. If I am unable in a moment I step away until I can. If for some reason I react before thinking to step away and cool down then Mama Bear asks herself, "How can you make this right?" and then models exactly what is expected of Ayden after the question is asked.

How do you handle your Mama Bear conflicts?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Hen party"
Two years ago today: "Abstract Art"
And three years ago today: "A Day Of Firsts"



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Thursday, March 19, 2015

This And That: Half My Life

Our lap top has been acting up a little bit so we had an appointment at the Apple Store today. That meant going to the mall which is not my most favorite thing to do these days...  It was a little rainy, though, so it worked out for the best sice Ayden got to get some crazies out in the play area while I nursed Logan. Usually for places like the mall, I wear Logan and push Ayden in the stroller. When I am by myself with both kids and have a mission I really prefer for Ayden to be safely strapped in so I don't have to worry about keeping track of him. Logan fell asleep on the way there, and didn't have that great of a morning nap before we left, so as to not disturb his slumber, I utilized our stroller accessories:

car seat adaptor and glider board for the win!

Ayden does an *okay* job with the glider board though he thinks pushing the break while we are moving is hilarious... I had brought the Ergo in with us just in case I needed it when Logan woke up so when Ayden pushed that break one more time after my last warning I strapped him onto my back.

A consequence he actually liked a lot.
We got everything we needed and I stuck to my list. I am successfully maintaining the "we don't need anymore JUNK in our house" mentality and my impulses to make unnecessary/unplanned purchases are still at bay (go me!).  It ended up being a long morning and I was very happy to head home.  We don't have any plans tomorrow so other than possibly going to the grocery to pick up a shoe we dropped in the parking lot from the lost and found we will be staying HOME.

Our chicks are growing FAST!!


When the weather warms back up we'll be giving them some playtime outside in a pen.  I also picked up some chick grit so we can start feeding them treats.  First on the agenda will be some meal worms from the pet store. I think Ayden will really enjoy giving them treats.

In bee news I opened up the hives last weekend.



Out of the 4 we had at the end of the season, two survived.  Considering we did not even make it to Winter last season I call 50% survival a great success though the sight of all the dead bees was still pretty sad.


I tried my hand at making yogurt from our raw milk in the dehydrator.  It turned out okay but the consistency wasn't quite right.  After reading a very helpful blog post I learned that when making raw yogurt you need a little bit more starter and it needs to be incubated at the lower end of the temperature range (110* is ideal).  If at first you don't succeed...

Mr. Logan tried meat for the first time tonight and LOVED it!

Pork chop, sweet potatoes and green beans tonight.
I love how Baby Led Weaning allows him to be involved in family meals by eating what we are eating while we are eating it. He is LOVING being included and is a natural!

Lastly, David and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary as a couple. I have officially been with him for half my life. He is an attentive and caring husband, a reliable friend, a very handy handyman (he's building us a HOUSE) and a wonderful father to my children. Time is flying in this life that I have with him so it is safe to say we are having a lot fun during these great adventures we are having together!  

There... I think that gets everyone up to speed. ;)

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Easy DIY Bird Feeders"
Two years ago today: "30 Days"
And three years ago today: "Three's Company"



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Patience For Innocence

Logan's a big page turner now!
I have been struggling with patience lately which is not like me at all. I can come up with all kinds of excuses but the bottom line is that I cannot control what happens in my life. All I can control is how I react to an given circumstance. We have a book called, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (and it's all small stuff). Each chapter is just a couple if paragraphs long and it is really well written. David will read a chapter from it out loud to us every now and then after dinner and it just helps us stay on track with the positive atmosphere and intentional lives we want to live. 
We have been having a smooth patch with Ayden as far as overall behavior is concerned but even on his best day our boy is still a very persistent and head strong individual. He knows what he wants and it is difficult to distract or steer him away from something once his mind is made up. He is the type to always take a mile when you give an inch or expect 100 when you've so kindly offered 2. Some days we sail right through with me having patience and him being receptive to my guidance. Then there are others where I am just tired and today was one of those days. I kept thinking, "Why can't you just help make things easier instead of making them SO DIFFICULT???"  which never does either of us any good.  Then I remembered the latest chapter we read in Don't Sweat The Small Stuff and how it talked about remembering the innocence behind a child's actions rather than the implications caused by them.  This tip really helped me today so I thought I'd pass it along to anyone else out there who may be in the trenches with your own spirited child who has pushed all of the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) buttons all day long. It can be so tiring but at the heart of it all is innocence and my boy deserves a patient mama. 



~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were yp to one year ago today: "Ground Breaking News"
Two years ago today: "Owning The Day"
And two years ago today: "Movin' On"

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mama Lucked Out! {Logan's 1st St. Paddy's}

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

What a LUCKY mama I am!!
Usually I would take the holiday as an opportunity to bust out some fun activities from my teaching days but this year I wasn't feeling it. We wore green and went to storytime where they were were doing a rainbow/St. Paddy's Day theme and that was about the extent of our celebration.  And you know what?  It was enough!

It is fun to provide special activities for our children but until they are older they don't know when it's not there. If you have the time and energy to do something spectacular for every holiday, big or small, then your kids will love it!  If you don't, honestly it probably will not be missed. All our kids need on ANY day is our love, attention and the opportunity to experience an enriched environment. They are sponges and learn everything they need to through our daily tasks and routines as long as we talk to them, read to them and involve them as much as we can along the way. 

1st time with sweet potato on a "loaded spoon" and he did great!
(We load the spoon and set it on his tray.  He explores it and feeds himself.)
And TMI but his poop is already changing...
It seems as though this child was born to EAT.
Don't get me wrong... I'm not going to stop providing some extra fun activities for my boys but right now I have a few goals and household projects that I am focusing on so St. Patrick's day was on the back burner this year. Maybe next year we will have a green breakfast, stamp shamrocks with bell peppers and paint, have a Leprauchan come and mess the place up looking for our "gold coin" chocolates, and any other awesomely fun activities that can be found on Pinterest. Or maybe not...  We are just going to take things one year at a time and always just go with the flow!

Did you plan something exciting for your St. Paddy's celebration or was it just another normal day?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "St Patrick's Day Fun"
Two years ago today: "Come and Gone"
And three years ago today: "Happy St. Patrick's Day"

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