Thursday, April 18, 2013

We have worms...

...composting worms, that is!  1000 red wigglers (1 pound) that will munch kitchen scraps at the rate of nearly a pound a day, turning it into delightful compost for our garden in about a tenth of the time it would take if we just stacked it up in a compost pile outside.

If you can't tell, we've been having a blast setting up our garden this Spring.  The raised beds are built and filled with soil, and we're getting itchy to plant (although last night the overnight low was 18 degrees!  Yikes!).  Cody and I have been talking about a compost pile, and somewhere along the line Cody read something about vermicompost (worm compost) and decided that that was going to be the way to go.  And once Cody decides to do something, it usually happens. So, we started reading lots and lots and watching youtube videos on how to build a worm farm and what to put in them.  Then we ordered worms online... probably the goofiest thing I've ever purchased online... and waited impatiently for our new little pets to arrive.  Cody and I teased each other about the worms, but we didn't anticipate how excited the kids would be.  I thought they'd be grossed out, but no way!  Katie goes to the basement (where the worms are housed quite happily) and stands by the worm farm saying "Hi Woh!  Hi Woh!"  Lee has been showing off the worms to any of his friends who stop by.  But the real worm enthusiast in our house is Annalisa.  She's named some of them, and she never forgets to feed them, even when they have plenty of food.  At the grocery store she wants me to buy lettuce and strawberries just so she can feed them to the worms.  It's quite precious, actually.  All in all, they've been a fun investment.  They don't smell bad, they stay in their buckets and don't try to escape, and if we treat them right they should pay for themselves several times over.  Well, I already think they're worth it because they've been fun for the kids.  But the compost is going to be nice as well as the reduced garbage.  Yay for worms! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

We went to the Zoo, zoo, zoo...

I've been such a blog slacker lately!  It doesn't help that I've been stuck in bed holding my guts in... but that's no excuse.  OK.  It is an excuse.  It's my only excuse.  :)  We did, however, go to the Zoo on April Fool's day and had a blast with some of our ward buddies.  The weather was a bit chilly, but most of the animals had some kind of covered viewing area and we brought jackets, so we were all just fine.

Bats
 Anna had a cold sore on her lip and was having a "woe is me" kind of day, so she ended up riding in the stroller almost the entire time.  She enjoyed the animals, but we were still grateful that Katie was a ball of energy who preferred to walk, so there wasn't any fighting over the stroller.
Sea Lions

Giraffes

Elephants

Katie with her friend Kate riding the tigers

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easter

We had an amazing Easter this  year!  The Easter bunny came in the middle of the night, and since the master bedroom is separated from the kids' bedrooms, we were woken up by three little chocolate mouths who were eager to finish their candy hunt. :)  The kids were so sweet and had fun with the candy, but were even more focused on Jesus Christ and his Resurrection.  We dressed up in our new Easter outfits and went to church.  I was playing for our choir program, so I wasn't there to take pictures as a family, but Cody did take some of the kids.

After our beautiful church services, we went up to my Aunt and Uncle's new home for a big family Easter dinner of ham and potatoes and rolls, salad, glazed carrots, and Sara's delightful cupcakes.  We had another candy hunt there--surprise! 


Anna had a little canker sore in her mouth and wasn't so sure she felt happy, but still managed to collect lots of candy.


We got home, stuffed to the gills and the kids were exhausted.  But we did still manage a game with friends that night.  What a blessed day.  It was so wonderful to think about our Savior and be with friends and family. 

In case you are wondering, it is physically impossible to get a picture of three kids looking a the camera, holding still, and smiling simultaneously.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The messed-up part of the last post :)

Sorry about that last post, I wrote it a couple months ago right after we found out I was pregnant and had it set to automatically post... something weird happened and I lost a paragraph.

Anyway.  The story of how I told Cody...

I had each kid write a note to Cody.  Lee's had "I love Daddy, Lee #1" on it.  Anna's read "I love dad, from Annalisa #2."  Katie's note said "I (heart) daddy, love Katie, number 3" and finally, I wrote on my own belly (a trickier feat than I suspected!) "I love dad, from ? #4."  We waited impatiently for Cody to come on break and then gave him all our notes, starting with Lee.  He read each one, and after reading Katie's, he looked at me and I showed him the last note on my belly.  He got a bit teary, hugged me, and kept asking, "Are you serious?  You're really pregnant?  I don't believe it!"  I had to show him the positive test before he believed me.  He was SO excited and the kids were too. 


(NOW.  THAT IS THE LAST TIME I'M RE-WRITING THIS PARAGRAPH!!! I think the problem was I kept writing a heart symbol and blogger thinks I'm trying to insert a link or something.  Goofy.)


And, since I have a new post here... I'll give you a little update.  I'm now about 10 weeks along, and haven't yet had my first appointment, though it should be pretty soon here.  Honestly, I've been pretty miserable.  I haven't thrown up too much, but I feel nausea almost constantly, especially in the mornings.  I was shocked at how rapidly the symptoms set in this time--within a week of finding out.  I hope that in a few weeks when I cross into the 2nd trimester that the nausea will settle down... cross your fingers?  It's still a bit surreal, but we're still excited to be parents again. :)

Baby #4, the beginning

This won't publish for many weeks.  Today, as I write this, it is February 27.  Yesterday I found out that we're expecting our fourth baby in November. I'm excited to blog this pregnancy, just as I have with my last two.

I'll admit, after having Katie, it has been harder for me to commit to another child.  During my pregnancy with Katie and the months that followed were some of the hardest emotional points of my life.  We had a horrid move right at the beginning of that pregnancy, I was struggling to keep up with my two children who needed so much of me, Cody changed jobs, life was in upheaval.  After she was born, it didn't get better.  First, I had to have my gall bladder removed, and then we started building our house.  I didn't have nearly enough time with my kids and we moved again, and by the time the house was completed, Katie was a year old and I was exhausted.  Having another child was a scary prospect, because I was just not ready yet mentally.  Part of me was worried that another baby would start another chapter of stress in our lives.  I look back now and realize how silly I was being, but at the time, I just couldn't fathom starting over again with a newborn.

Once we moved into our house, though, I was filled with deep peace.  I know we're where we need to be.  We're more financially stable now than we've ever been.  No one can kick us out of our house, and our kids are growing up and maturing.  They've really been able to shoulder more responsibility and our family dynamic is evolving with them.  I've been feeling so comfortable and happy here.  Our kids are old enough now that they can self entertain while Cody and I do projects, or often, they can help.  All this new maturity made me both excited and terrified for a new baby--was I ready to start all over again?  Would it be as bad as last time?  For a long time, the answer to both questions was "no," so I decided just to wait.

In about December, I finally asked myself "Are we done having children?  Is Katie our last?" and I just felt sad.  I knew that we wanted more kids.  So I started looking at the calendar and Cody and I had lots of discussions about what to do.  Cody of course wanted lots of kids right away, but he was respectful of my requests.  I didn't want my kids spaced too far apart in age, and Katie was 21 months old, making her at least two and a half years older than the potential future baby.  We finally made the decision to just "let things happen" as they may, at least for the first few months.  If time kept going, we might try harder to get pregnant, but for the time being, we weren't going to stress about it in either direction.

I hardly thought about pregnancy again at that point.  That's unusual for me; all three of my pregnancies thus far have been planned, prepared for, nothing left to chance.  Letting go of the worry and the stress felt so good!  We started painting our house and doing projects and I just kind of forgot about things.

I forgot about things so completely, that it was actually Cody who noticed I was a few days late (well, he didn't notice I was late... he noticed that my period should be starting soon, but that's when I realized it was already late).  I tried to shrug it off quickly, but I know my body... I'm never, never late.  It was a Sunday when we noticed this and I didn't have a test on hand, so I had to wait to go to the store.  Consequently, I wasn't able to test until Tuesday, but by then I was almost a whole week late and I was pretty certain I was pregnant.  So certain, in fact, that Monday night when the girls--who had been sick with stomach flu all weekend--had taken up all Cody and my attention for days, and I knew that Lee was needing some quality time desperately, I went to his room to tuck him in bed and asked him, "Lee, can you help me with a surprise?"  He of course got excited, and I told him, "I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a new baby."  He was ecstatic.  He promised not to share this information with anyone, not even daddy, but he gave me a big hug and told me he was going to help me so much--except for changing stinky poopy diapers, of course. :)  So, Lee was the first one to find out.  It was our little secret, and was so fun, even if it was just for one night.  He made me go right to bed.  Adorable.

Cody had early work on Tuesday, so I snuck and took the test without him knowing I had even purchased it.  It quickly confirmed what I already knew, but it felt good to see that "Pregnant" result come up.  I then helped the kids make some signs.  Lee was in on the secret, so he made his own that read "I love Dad.  Lee, #1."  Anna's said "I <3 a="" after="" and="" annalisa="" another="" as="" at="" baby.="" baby="" believe="" bit="" both="" br="" break="" can="" cody="" convincing="" could="" cried="" d="" dad="" daddy="" exclaimed="" few="" for="" from="" gave="" give="" had="" happen="" he="" helped="" hers="" him="" his="" hug="" i="" in="" it="" katie="" kids="" laughed="" love="" making="" me="" months="" more="" morning="" my="" nbsp="" need="" next="" note="" on="" one="" our="" own="" picked="" plans="" positive="" pregnant="" prepare="" re="" read="" really="" result="" right="" see="" shirt="" showing="" signs="" so="" soon="" started="" stomach="" t="" take="" tearing="" test.="" test="" than="" that="" the="" their="" then="" thought="" time="" to="" took="" up="" we="" what="" with="" would="" wow="" wrote="" you="">

While it took me several months to decide that I really did want more children, now I couldn't be more thrilled.  I can't wait to add to our family here in our beautiful home.  I'm excited that I'll have air conditioning and a nice back yard for the entire pregnancy!  Our older kids are already such a big help, and Lee and Annalisa are stoked to have a new sibling.  I think they're both hoping for twins, actually.  Katie has started adding "bee bee" to her list of people to bless during her prayers.

For now my projected due-date is about November 2--my dad's birthday--but I know my history so I'm thinking early to mid November.  And as always, stay tuned to "For Kicks and Giggles" for every bump, bruise, and goofy pregnancy moment along the way! :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring!

The week after the equinox, the weather finally perked up.  We've had a long, hard winter this year--which we enjoyed very much thanks to our awesome insulation and neighbors who helped shovel the sidewalk--but even we got cabin fever, so the sunshine and warmer temps were welcome.  Before the snow had melted the kids got their bikes down and started riding them.  As soon as there were patches of grass showing in the back yard, we started playing outside.  And now that the snow is officially gone, Cody has spent hours and hours working on the yard and garden.  He has been so excited, I can't hold him back! 

The first order of business, that started back in November actually, was raised beds.  Cody found an excellent deal on cedar 2x4s and 2x6s, so he bought a huge bundle (a dollar a board!! can you believe it?).  Once we were able to get the wood here, he started building the beds.  The garden beds sat built and empty under the snow all winter. 
Our garden, as seen through the Master Bathroom window... hence the screen and poor image quality. :)

He also built narrower raised beds to go along the side yard fences and did a great job designing them... I think they're beautiful! 

After the beds were built, Cody ordered topsoil.  We discovered while building exactly what our lot is made up of: Rocks.  Rocks surrounded by clay.  We knew that growing anything was going to take some major soil amendment, so we decided that the raised beds filled with good topsoil was going to be the way to go.  We found a local place that had a good price on soil, and ordered a dumptruck full--15 cubic yards.  That's a LOT of wheelbarrows full!  Thankfully, we had a couple of friends come help us haul the dirt and fill the raised beds.  We had enough soil to add to our flower beds, and I'm relieved to announce that we even were able to fix the grading problems against the house, so now water should run away from the house instead of pooling by the foundation--hooray!


We also added some compost and vermiculite to the soil so that we would have a really great base in which to grow our goodies.  Today we bought our earliest and hardiest growers: peas, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and spinach and put them in the ground.  We also purchased an Easter gift for us: Raspberry canes!  We found a friend giving away a bunch of strawberry starts for another of our raised beds.  We're excited about the garden and hope to have a very successful year!  It's been several years since we could grow a garden, and this year is particularly exciting because we are investing in our yard for years to come instead of just babysitting someone else's property.  We've both been more willing to make the big investments like topsoil, vermiculite, and fertilizers.  We've probably way over spent and over thought this, but we're having a blast and that's what it's really all about.  :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

April fools--the correct answer is...

Ready for the answer to my April Fool's joke--what of the previous statements were true, and which were a trick?

The answer is....

They're ALL true!  Every last one!  Happy April Fool's Day, everyone!

April Fools!

So, normally I try to be all sly and sneaky about my April Fool's jokes, but this year I thought I'd really get you by first cluing you in that this is an April Fool's joke.  The trick is, what's a trick, and what's a truth?

1) Anna can do a handstand.
2) Katie has successfully used the toilet every day for the last week and half.
3) I am pregnant.
4) Lee likes wedgies.
5) Cody got a promotion at work.

Guess away in the comments!  The answer has been pre-scheduled to post tonight at a minute before midnight.  Come back then (or tomorrow) to find out if you were right or wrong.