So, my 38th birthday weekend was quite fun. On Friday night, we made s’mores over an excellent fire in the fire pit. We followed up by our first non-cartoon outside movie – “Back to the Future”. The kids liked it and actually were rapt for most of the movie. Anna laughed loudly when Doc set fire to the miniature car during his demonstration.
On Saturday, we went swimming at my parents’ house and then vegged out in the evening. Julie and I watched “Jack Reacher” for free on Amazon Prime. It was pretty good.
On Sunday, Julie had friends over for a cooking party and I played Lego Marvel with the kids on Xbox. In the evening, Julie and I played “The Wolf Among Us.” I was surprised to the decisions Julie made during the game, even after being together so long.
All in all, not too shabby! I wish there were more weekends to watch movies outside, but it has been too cool this summer.
Julie has had a garden now for a couple of years, but right from the start, groundhogs were a problem. They dug up and under the raised bed, wreaking havoc. They jumped into our true raised bed, which was about 2 feet off the ground. After many years of having a less than successful garden due to these pests, it was time for a change.
Julie attended a Saturday morning training session at Rodale on building raised garden bed frames. They provided detailed steps and let her practice with a partner. She brought home the plans and we started thinking about how many we wanted. We settled on 6 total in 2 rows of 3. We ripped out the one artificially raised bed entirely and pulled out the middle walkway of the other, but left it for potatoes and other plants that critters might leave alone. We rototilled a new area behind where the new raised beds were going (about 16′ x 24′) for corn. This is where it got interesting.
We rented a sod cutter and rolled up strips of sod two at a time. We laid down chicken wire on the exposed dirt, overlapping sections, and rolled the sod back overtop. This gave us our base to ensure groundhogs couldn’t come up from underneath.
Next, we built the 6 beds (4′ x 8′) and leveled them out by cutting out sections of sod that was already lifted from the sod cutter, leveling the dirt on the low side and filling in the gaps on each side. The raised beds were then placed on the chicken wire and were filled with dirt.
To build the fence, we stained over 50 planks of wood and stained and cemented in some 4″ x 4″ posts. We made fence sections to go in between the posts. The fence sections were frames built with rabbit fencing between. This required 10 frames to be built with 2 doors, one in the front, one in the back.
I tore up the sod under each frame as it went in, pulled up the chicken wire and leveled the dirt out. We then placed the chicken wire overtop of the leveled dirt and ensured it was right up to the fencing. This way, no critter could dig underneath the fence.
We just finished doing the touch up on the stain tonight, but it looks awesome. Hopefully our planning was well worth it, but only the season will tell!
Like a rite of passage for all the Sekol kids, Liam completed his preschool circus program as a seal (Nora was a lion, Anna was a pony). He actually participated, but didn’t sing the songs, which was par for the course. He did smile insanely wide when he got his diploma. I’m not sure whether it was Mrs. Snyder tickles or his sheer joy at being done that got him there, but for a few seconds, he was on top of the world!
Anna has very bad eyesight and we were told the glasses would be slightly less than granny’s old bottle cap style. These actually aren’t nearly as bad at all. They are purple and quite cute. So far, she’s very excited. As for Nora, she’s very jealous.
Anna can’t wait to show them to her Kindergarten teacher tomorrow!
Today is Mother’s Day 2014. We all headed down to Grandpa Joe’s and Grammy Terry’s house to swim. It was a little early for the adults, so only Joe and the kids went in. Nora was our otter though. She was in and out and down the slide a ton. She outlasted everyone else. Here she is at the end of day. I wonder what she’s thinking?
After Nora and I completed the Color Me Rad in Bethlehem last year, we convinced the others to join in. We practiced getting ready the night before and come morning, it was 1. Get Up! 2. Get dressed! 3. Get in the car! We ate breakfast on the way to our 7:40AM start time, but hopped into the 7:20AM one instead since we were early. The kids had a really good time. We walked most of it, but ran some too. I had to carry Liam only twice and not for very long, but by the end, he was pretty exhausted. It also didn’t help that I put him in a puddle and Anna got yellow powder in his face. Here’s hoping there’s another one this fall!
It appears that the blog updates have fallen behind yet again…. Plenty going on – birthday festivities (Matt’s and soon Nora’s), preparing for first experience with preschool (Nora), broken bones (Liam), toddler tantrums (Anna) – yep, the Sekol house continues to be full of activity and adventure! Just lacking on the time to document it all.
I am sure that it comes as no surprise that the whole blog idea was Matt’s idea. He started one back when we were building the house and updated it with pics of the construction progress and such. Then, after Nora was born he started this one with our own domain name as a way to share pics and details of the comings and goings of the Sekols, as well as a way of documenting various milestones for the kids. (Some people do that in a baby book, and some day I hope to go back and do that too – maybe I’ll have them filled in before the kids graduate!) Somewhere along the line, the task of writing the blog posts was passed on to me. I have since learned how to post the messages myself, but not the pictures so I send them to Matt to post. I assumed, mistakingly, that he would read these posts as I sent them to him, but have recently learned that is not the case! His point is that he is living it, so why would he need to read them. My point is that if I took the time to write it, then he should want to read it! Or, at the very least, proof read it before it is posted! *SIGH* (Yes Matthew, that is me sighing at you!)
The septic mound has been a giant source of frustration even before it was put it. (You can refer back to our house building posts if you have forgotten the drama of our lot only perking in one location causing us to have to build our house closer to the curb than the other houses in the development.) Once the septic mound was put in it continued to be an issue, because they left six PVC pipes sticking out of the ground on the top of the mound, which either had to be mowed around and then gone over with the push mower, or you could take your chances going over them with the riding mower and hope that they didn’t catch on the bottom of the mower and break off. (which requires digging out the pipe, sawing it off, and replacing the pipe – and usually requires a trip to the hardware as well for parts) This year I have taken on the task of mowing the lawn since Matt is allergic to all things outside and I am finally not pregnant for the first summer in four years. After telling Matthew that it is a waste of time to have to mow around those things and he should just cut them all off and put them down lower, only to have him agree with me but not get motivated to do so – I decided to take my chances and mow right over them. Fortunately for me, they didn’t get caught! That is… until today. Matt got the mower out of the shed and put the mower setting lower than usual. I had concerns when I started mowing cause I figured since the grass was so high, cutting it on this lower setting was going to make piles of grass which I would then have to go out and rake, and it did. So, when it came to the mowing the septic mound, I should have raised the mower to the setting that I knew would go over the PVC pipes… but I didn’t cause I was in a hurry to get the grass cut knowing that I’d have to go out and rake afterwards, and sure enough one of the pipes broke off. I walked to the house dreading having to tell my dear husband (knowing that he had told me not to mow over the septic mound, there wasn’t too much I could say other than, oops!) I’d like to say he handled the news well, but not so much. He calmed down quickly though (afterall, he has done it at least twice himself!) and when I was done mowing he went out to do a temporary fix, until he could get to the hardware store the next day. After talking to our neighbor about it, he found out that there really is no reason to have them exposed at all, so he is finally going to redo them all (again) and bury them, so this will no longer be an issue. One more thing for the chore list…
I am very blessed, I am very blesssed, I am very blessed – today I had to remind myself of that, repeatedly! Most days I LOVE being a stay at home mom and feel very fortunate that I have that option. Today was not one of those days! Today I would have jumped at the chance to be the one that got to get up and take a shower in peace, have a quiet drive to work, and then spend the day with other adults that can feed themselves, bathe themselves, dress themselves, etc. Instead, I spent the day with three very whiny and ornery children that had multiple tantrums throughout the day over the most ridiculous things. (and no, I am not exaggerating here – one of the tantrums was over Nora yelling at Anna when she was pretending to be an elephant, because she wasn’t making the elephant noises correctly. I’m not sure when Nora was assigned the task of official animal noise patrol, but she took this role very seriously.) Ah, bedtime couldn’t come soon enough! But alas, tomorrow is a new day… thankfully!