Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hi! Dive

Today we visited the Itasca pool. I think I need to write the book "The Purpose Driven Summer" with a special emphasis on "pool-hopping" and why it's bad. I'll be very glad when Lombard finishes their new waterpark.


The boys had a lot of fun today, because we met Kelly and Johnny there, and Itasca has a high dive ~

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Mary was all tuckered out ~

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens

by Jack Pretlusky

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see...
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.

Well, our feathered friends are gone. We brought them back to the lady we bought our eggs from. We spent about 45 minutes talking with her - she gave us lots more information about chickens and showed us around her farm. She has 12 acres with a beautiful garden, several varieties of horses, goats, chickens, ducks, pea and guinea fowl, cats and dogs. (Today, she had 10 kittens she was trying to find homes for.)
Forty-four years ago she and her husband brought her parents to look at the house before they bought it. When her mother saw the tiny (really tiny) house on a big piece of land, she asked her if she was sure she could be happy there. The woman replied, "I just need to look out my back window, and I know I'll be happy!" I guess she was right. She told me all the animals were her children's 4-H projects that never ended :) She keeps most of the hens, and the roosters she sells for meat. Although when she was sharing this information with me, she was very discreet, assuring Charlie that "Toto" and "Chuck" could keep their names. This was a fun project, and I think we're going to try hatching ducks next year. Here's some video Charlie took while we were driving them to the farm ~


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Oh, and she cracked open all the unhatched eggs - 15 were not fertile, and one had a fully formed chicken that never pecked it's way out (Charlie took this photograph)~

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Napping Chair

This is the second or third time in the past week that Sam has announced he was tired and asked if he could take a nap. Of course I've told him yes, and to go lie down in the bed. But when I've checked on him, he's in this chair instead. (One time he fell asleep while taking a little "behavior break"). This chair belonged to my grandmother, and I had it reupholstered right before "the baby" was born. I love this chair, and I love that Sam takes naps when he's tired :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

County Fair

Today we visited the DuPage County Fair. Charlie had entered a Lego sculpture in the open class. For 4 years, Charlie has anxiously awaited meeting the age requirement. This year he was finally old enough. A couple of months ago, he set to work on a 1600 piece kit. He finished it about 2 weeks ago. On Monday, I was looking through the papers we received when registering, to figure out where and when to drop off his item, when the phrase "original" item jumped out at me. I frantically read and re-read the rules and saw that for "Lego Item - Open Class", no kits were allowed. I knew in year's past, I had seen kits. I called the fair offices to ask if no kits meant what I thought it meant. The very nice lady on the phone explained that they used to allow kits, but they changed the rules this year to only original items. This was 24 hours before we were supposed to drop off Charlie's entry! Needless to say, this was bad news. I explained to Charlie what had happened, apologizing profusely. I gave him the choice of just skipping it, or trying to create something quickly (really quickly). He said he still wanted to enter something, and I told him I would help by gathering and sorting legos. This year's fair theme is "Something to Crow About". Charlie created a (somewhat abstract) bird's nest, with three eggs, one hatched, with a baby bird poking out, and a crow perched on the side of the nest. It really was good, considering he whipped it together in a couple of hours. Unfortunately, the competition was tough, and he did not place :( I think I was more upset,though, than he was. But he didn't want me to take his picture while we were there. It was a good learning experience for him, and we will be better prepared for next year.

This was probably the best county fair, yet. There were tons of hands-on exhibits, and lots of really interesting demonstrations. We enjoyed ourselves for close to 5 hours!
Sam did everything (we began to lovingly refer to him as "our little hillbilly") ~
watching a fishing demonstration

riding the tractors, again

milking a "cow"

with the piglets in the petting zoo

on the big "john deere"


Mary had her first cream puff ~

8 is Enough

Well, I think that's all we're going to get. I spoke with the lady we bought the eggs from, to make arrangements to give her the chicks next week, and she said she would break open the unhatched eggs and see what happened, when we're there. The kids aren't really disappointed, and honestly, 8 is plenty!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Splash!

A couple of weeks ago when we went swimming, it was at a pool with a diving board. Sam demonstrated for me that he could swim the length of the pool, and he was off! That first time he probably went off the diving board 25 times. He did cannonballs, front flips, running starts, and a little number his brother showed him called "the can-opener". Today I had a working camera, and so I caught this jump on tape.
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I remember being 5 and fearless - I wonder why that changes? These days, you couldn't pay me to go off a diving board.

Here's Miss Mary enjoying the water, with the "ultimate mother's helper" ~

Chicken Littles

Here are my little chicks with their little chicks ~

We're up to 8, now!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

King Tut

After all the excitement with the chicks this morning, we met our homeschool group at the Splash Pad again. This time, Charlie and Sam had some fun playing in the sand, as well. Here Charlie looks like a smiley sarcophagus ~

Charlie also had a practice game tonight in anticipation of this weekend's tournament. Oh, and we squeezed in a cello lesson and driver's license renewal early this morning as well (probably the best experience with Jesse White's bureaucracy ever! I was in and out in 15 minutes and they took my photo while I nursed Mary:).

Movers and Shakers

Into the brood box~

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Charlie moves the youngest (so far)~

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Mary licks her lips in anticipation~


Really, she loves the chicks!

Like Rabbits, sort of...

We went to bed with this...
And woke up to this...

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's A...

Just as I was finishing this post, Scott ran up to tell me that a chick had hatched. I was doubtful, because only five minutes earlier, there were still just the two eggs with tiny holes. But sure enough, here's our first chick~

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We were using an automatic egg-turner for 20 of the eggs, and hand turning 4. The first two that had holes cracked in the shell were eggs we were hand-turning. But the first to fully hatch is one of the automatically turned.

The boys were already in bed (early start tomorrow) but we woke them to come meet the little guy. I was worried that I would be grossed out by this whole process, but it's hard not to feel maternal towards it (I have no idea what sex it is!). Astonishingly enough, I'm still able to eat my two eggs every morning, as well. 1 down, 23 to go.

Day 20

This morning we woke up to rain. Mary was still sleeping (you can see her arm all the way to the left in this picture), but the boys were awake, so we all spent some time reading in bed ~ Charlie likes the "choose your own adventure books" that I remember reading as a child. Sam likes them, too. I'm not sure what exactly Sam is doing when he 'reads' these types of books with no pictures. I'm hoping one day he'll just surprise us by spouting off a whole page of words.

When they finally made it downstairs, they ran right back up, excitedly saying that the chicks were hatching! The chicks were hatching! We saw two eggs with little holes poked through the shells. It's really neat - you can see the chick moving around in there and hear a ton of peeping! I feel like a chick midwife - I'm very hands-off ;)
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Well, my camera is being repaired. It needs a part though, so it will probably be another week. In the meantime, our chicks are due in a couple of days, so Rhonda lent us her camera to capture the joyous event!


This week we went swimming and to the zoo. Charlie and Sam had a sleep-over at an old friend's house (they swam there, too). And Charlie played chess and baseball.


Today we headed over to the Morton Arboretum to catch the big bug exhibit before it left.


Tonight Scott was planning to try and catch Buddy Guy at Legends for his CD release party. The boys and I were going to watch a movie and head to bed. Before dinner though, Scott and Charlie played a little game of "flinch", which ended when Charlie shot a pencil into Scott's eye. So we all took a field trip instead:

That's the best I could do - he actually has a tiny cut from the pencil tip.

The culprit.

Munchhausen's by proxy - Sam told us on the drive home that he wishes he could have his tonsils removed, and he went to bed with an Ace bandage wrapped around his wrist.

Thankfully, some friends told us of a nearby hospital with a "no-wait" ER. They really were fast - we were in and out in less than an hour!

This week - more swimming, park -days, doctor's appointment for Mary, baseball, cello, bagpipes, and a couple of BBQ's. Oh, and don't forget the chicks! They'll be in their brooding box by Friday, at the latest. And in our bellies by December.

I'm kidding!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dang.

My camera is broken. When I turn it on, the lens does not open up and I get a "lens error" message. It is not the battery, I'm sure. No, really, I'm positive it's not the battery. I have googled "Nikon lens error trouble shoot" and have tried what was suggested, to no avail.

Without photos as inspiration, I am hard pressed to blog. But here, in words only, is a quick recap of our week:

Sunday night the boys watched Madeline in her All-Star game and then had an unplanned sleep-over at Aunt Darlene's.

Monday they came home just in time for Charlie's traveling baseball team practice.

Tuesday we headed over to a shiny new waterpark with friends.

Wednesday Sam had his very first cello lesson!

Thursday Charlie started bagpipe lessons, we caught a ventriloquist performance at the library, and had a surprise dinner/sleep-over guest of our own. Scott and I candled all 24 eggs, as well. We are pretty sure 14 are fertile, we saw at least 4 chicks swimming! This time last year, I was pregnant with a little swimmer of my own ;)

Friday we spent most of the day with our R.O.C.K. friends at an awesome park in Wheaton, and Charlie had his first travel team game (they lost :( ).

Today, more baseball, along with discovering my camera no longer works.

Tomorrow, try and find someplace to fix my camera on a Sunday, after church.

Dang.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Baby Big Boy

That was our nickname for Sam when I was pregnant with Mary. He was growing and maturing so much, yet in many ways was still so incredibly young.

Last week at the doctor's office, he weighed 43 lbs. and measured 43" tall. I can still wear him, though. Here we are walking back from Tasteless Lombard ~

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Good Game

Here's Charlie pitching in the semi-finals last night. In two innings, he had no walks, and gave up only 2 unearned runs. It was an extremely close game, against the second best team in the league. At one point, the Mets were up 8 -2. In the end, though, the Cardinals fought hard to come back, and won 12 - 11. There were lots of cheers, and unfortunately, some tears. As Charlie, said, they played their hearts out. This time, it just wasn't enough. "Wait 'til next year!"

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Friendship Bread

I'm feeling mighty domestic today ~
Sam and I made two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread this morning, after we picked up our eggs. I hereby solemnly vow to keep a starter around for 1 year.

21 Days

That's how long until our feathered friends make their appearance ~

We picked up two dozen fertilized eggs from a woman in Warrenville this morning. Oh, to live in the "country"...she had a a horse, ducks, chickens, guinea fowl, dogs, cats and a huge garden. It really is amazing what 20 minutes west will do for you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CPR

Scott took the boys fishing today at the club. They Caught, Photographed, and Released some big ones~