Now the focus of this post is intended to be on our now 15 year old who celebrated her 15th birthday on the 15th of this month, but let me share a few other snapshots before getting to the festivities:
Thankfully I have no real injuries of late to report. However, Kali's last day of drama camp was on costumes and makeup and they learned how to make themselves look rather beat up. Kali's was impressive enough that the woman checking us out at the library on our way home from camp asked Kali what had happened. It definitely looked like it hurt - not pictured here was a pretty nasty bruise on her ankle to complement the other cuts and bruises. While this may not necessarily be a very important life skill, Kali had a really fun time at camp and she has now officially "aged out" of the Larkin Arts homeschool classes and camps. Our baby is outgrowing things for kids. How is that so? I love that she is still young at heart and enjoys playing with kids of all ages!
It's still raining A LOT! So in 2017 we had about 5 inches of rain in late July. We followed suit this year but it just hasn't stopped. We get some sunshine and then rain and then more rain and then some sun and then storms. We have had MANY afternoon thunderstorms. But rain and sunshine often mean great rainbows too and we have enjoyed those immensely. The best was the one that we could see the full rainbow over the mountain in front of us and then the clouds came across making for quite the colorful display of sky beauty!
Our kids love our friends! Alida will often ask, "Is anyone coming over today?" While they may appear reserved or shy upon initial meeting, they do warm up pretty quick. And it seems no one gets them out of their shells better than little people. So we soak up and savor our visits from our baby neighbor friend, who is now doing very impressive push ups/down dogs. Terah was attempting to copy her. On that particular visit, Terah and Alida were also deeply engaged in an exciting game of dress up. They are so silly! Soon thereafter some other friends came over for a playdate and the crew was quite spiffy!
Our beans just won't let us. Where are the bean beetles this year? We have picked bushels and bushels - our freezer is stashed with gallon bags of beans and we've made lots of dilly canned and fermented beans. Our cucumbers have wowed us - 100 quarts or so of canned pickles, gallons of fermented and we have been eating and eating them. We have had plenty to share of both. I'm so glad for kiddos who enjoy helping snip beans (the eldest always, the younger two sometimes). Moods are highly unpredictable in our home these days but when we are in a groove of good moods and general helpfulness, the food processing scene is the best party I could hope for! Terah is often resident photographer of our parties!
The tomatoes have been horrible (in terms of amounts), but we have had a few crazy large ones - see below. Too much rain! I have canned some salsa, some sauce, some diced tomatoes and some paste, but nowhere near the amounts we would normally hope for in a year. Maybe it will be the saving grace of the weeks coming up to not be flooded with tomatoes, and we might just eat more beans and pickles this winter and less tomato products. Thankfully, I still have some left from last year! We have really enjoyed eating fresh salsa with our HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS made from our home grown corn. That may be the subject for another post sometime - one of those step by step recipes with photos. Stay tuned. :)
Terah and Alida are something else. Have two gals ever adored each other and played so well together AND gotten on each other's nerves so badly (and thus their mother's?). The other day Alida came downstairs from my folks' saying she wanted to go where Terah couldn't interrupt her. Terah then wanted to go downstairs so she could interrupt. What a kid! They are both adorable and fun and exasperating... They will sometimes play for long stints together without any arguments and the center of that recently has been Terah's little bike. They discovered that even Alida could "fit it." Here's a short clip of that and then one of them being sweet together - it's not nearly as fun to video the grouchy moments! Finally, I decided to include Terah's newest use for a bag made of bag that her Aunt Emily made for me years ago. :)
August is a month that is busy and full for us and very celebratory with a birthday and harvests in abundance. It is now also colored by memories of our neighbor Samuel who died a year ago. Without very intentionally trying to time it this way, it just so happened that this weekend was a large chicken butchering (and cheese making) weekend for us, in which we invited a few folks to join us and learn the ropes on both. So as it turned out, Jason was butchering many of the chickens that he had raised in the coop he got and rehabbed from Samuel on the one year anniversary of his death. Life and death... We still miss him so much!
Phew, this is already a long post and we are not even to the (almost) week of birthday celebrations. I better dive in and take you for a quick ride through before Terah tires of her bathtub play. Tomorrow also starts my 80+ hour work week with orientation starting Wednesday so I need to get more sleep than I've been getting!
The first celebration was her birthday sleepover party! She decorated the front room herself! She made the bread for the pizza pockets! She helped make salsa the day of the party. The day before and day of she helped with the (not one or two but) THREE homemade ice cream custards. Yep, we went all out on this one! I'm so glad my kids insist on not being left out of the preparation part of their birthdays. I couldn't do it without them. The only hard part was Alida was as eager to participate in every step as Kali and was trying to steal the show from time to time. Kali is so patient! She let both Alida and Terah help along the way.
We enjoyed pizza pockets over an outdoor fire, homemade ice cream, and then late into the evening some rounds of Apples to Apples. Lots of laughter and good food and celebrating Kali and good friendships!
In there somewhere between her birthday party and her actual birthday, I got a gift from Kali even though it wasn't my birthday! I had a coupon from YEARS AGO for "one footwach with lochon." We know it was a long time ago because her spelling is much improved, and I think her foot massages with lotion are also better than they would have been years ago - so I guess I got my coupon with interest. :) Another not really birthday thing but an outing the day before Kali's birthday was using some more summer reading program coupons - the last ice cream cone (and the best from a local creamery) and a trip (the first for the girls) to the Green Valley Book Fair. There we verified that Terah was in fact 3 ft tall and would be able to ride lots more rides at the fair this year. We also experienced once again that Terah cannot seem to eat an ice cream cone without biting the middle of the cone when you turn your back for a second!
So with new books, she was ready for her actual birthday! We enjoyed a fancy birthday breakfast together on the day of her birthday and then in the evening got to celebrate with my parents who arrived that day. Alida and Terah had given their presents to her at her party (Alida gave her a watch because Kali is always borrowing hers, a chocolate bar and 15 cents and Terah got her yellow piano books from Gift and Thrift - yellow is the essential part of that). I had saved our presents for her actual birthday - another book to read, many more piano books along with a coupon for a professional piano tuning and 15 piano lessons in honor of her 15 years.
Ok, bath time is over so here's a few pictures from our annual trek to the Rockingham County Fair. We picked the right night as the day after we were there power was knocked out by a storm and it poured. There were a few sprinkles but otherwise perfect weather! We looked at a few animals, went to the frisbee dog show and had a birthday picnic, but otherwise we rode rides, rides and more rides! Let's just say that by 11 p.m. I was very ready to just stay put on the carousel with my head leaning on a horse while Terah did it over and over again. Most kids were tucked in bed by that time so the ride was not in high demand and the guy running it just let us stay on. I think we did it at least 7 times while the older girls and Jason took in a few final rides. Jason and I were both very ready to be done spinning for awhile. We are not getting any younger! It was fun to meet up with Emily, Jonas and Ivy for part of the evening. Terah had been saying earlier in the day that she was not going to be scared on the rides but Ivy might be. In the end, the opposite was true! Terah was definitely not sure about some of the rides, and on one I even had the guy stop it so I could get her off, in part because I was worried she might throw up (but in the end, I think it was just fear and not nausea I was seeing on her face). Most of the pictures here are with Terah because the older girls were enjoying older people rides and I never had a camera on those! They both tried rides they were too scared to do last year. None of us did the "death drop" one. I think once in my lifetime was enough on that one!! So another fun excursion and I'm glad I have a year to recover before the next time...
And now here we are! I'm so glad that my parents are here for a few weeks around this time. It's so refreshing to me for the kids to have the fun of and special times with grandparents around when their mom is completely strung out! They are enjoying playing games and reading stories and now as I finish this up Terah is watching Mom do the finishing touches on the rugs she just took off her loom. Oh, and now Terah wants to bug Grandpa who is trying to read, so time to sign off and head back to our house! ...but Terah knows she can get a few more minutes of Grandpa's attention if she asks to look at some birds with him. :) Smart girl! So ending with a "thanks Mom and Dad for making this season of the year not only tolerable but much more enjoyable for all of us" - and only for my mom would I put a thanks at the very end of a book-length blog post, because my mom is probably the only one that will read this far!