Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Brianna!



My beautiful Brianna is 6 years old today! What a blessing she is to our family! She is cute, and funny, she enjoys her new skill of riding her bike (no training wheels, which she picked up in less than 10 minutes of us helping her!), doing crafts of all kinds, but especially painting, helping with the babies, playing in the sand box, and helping out!

Today, she chose to have donuts for breakfast, little smokies in BBQ sauce w/rice for lunch, and then we will be having a BBQ for homechurch tonight.

Here is the cake we made for her.



Brianna's favorites:
Color: Red
Princess: Belle
Food: Little Smokies
Drink: Pepsi
Game: Mario Brothers on the Wii
Thing to do: Ride my 2 wheel bike
Animal: Horses
Place to go: Funtasia
Car: Grandma's Sebring
Favorite Cow: Norman
Movie: Veggie Tales Rack, Shack and Benny

I love the way birthdays have become a family event to prepare for! The twins did all of the decorating around the house. Bailey wrapped the presents with Ashley's help. Anna baked the 9x13 cake. Ashley decorated the 9x13. The twins made the pinata. For awhile, I wasn't sure I would be able to keep up with everyone's birthdays, decorating, present wrapping, making cakes, etc, but it isn't just me! Now we have a TEAM working together to make each birthday special. It is wonderful to see everyone working together to make a special day for one of their siblings!


All about me

Good days and bad days...my good days are REALLY good and my bad days seem to be REALLY bad...

why is it when I get close to a goal that I am excited about that It end to 'sabotage' myself?! I am so close to my next mini goal...and yet, I kept eating and eating yesterday when I wasn't hungry. I made Brianna a castle cake (pics coming soon - hopefully in the next 1/2 hour or so), and kept eating the extra cake pieces with frosting. I ate so much cake and frosting, that I wasn't even hungry at dinner, but managed to eat 2 helpings. Then went to the movies (Saw Captain America) with my wonderful husband last night, and kept eating more and more of his super buttery movie popcorn...I wasn't hungry to begin with!

Today is a new day...filled with donuts (which I chose NOT to eat this morning!) for breakfast (Breezy's gets her food choices all day while we are at home), Little smokies in BBQ sauce and rice for lunch with a salad (I plan to go real heavy on the salad and light on the other things - I also got turkey smokies instead of beef as they were much lower in calories and fat), and a cake for dessert and then home church for dinner...which we are bringing the castle cake for...

I do not really anticipate a very good weigh in for this tomorrow, but nothing terrible, either.

Looking to get back on track and keep plugging away!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting ready for the fair

The Evergreen State Fair exhibit entry date is just 2 weeks away. The girls are all busy getting ready!
Everyone has their Lego entries done, set aside, and ready to go! My girls are SO creative! Check out Anna's space needle, Brianna's park scene, Bailey's Peter Pan Cast and Eagle w/Flag, and Ashley's Love Note! I am so proud of all of them!
The twins have several partially done projects that they want to get finished up...

And the twins, after looking through the list of things they could enter, now want to try their hand at some new things...like popcorn art, photography, and baking!

Meet the herd

Now that everyone has a name, I thought I would post an intro to our new herd. They are all about 4 weeks old now.

Steak is a Holstein and is our biggest calf. He is very friendly, and always eager to eat! Once he is done eating, he likes for us to hang around petting him.


Dinner, named because of the 'place mat like' black patch that goes over his back is our smallest calf. He is also a Holstein, like Steak. We are having a bit of trouble with him. He is very listless, and I have had to drop a tube into his stomach for feeding for the last 2 days.

Norman is a Guernsey calf, and size wise, he is in the middle. We have had the most trouble with him as far as health. We came very close to losing him and while he is not out the woods yet, he is doing much better!

I have had a very steep learning curve with having these guys around for the last week! Bottle calves are tricky. The milk replacer is very hard on their systems, and cause a condition called scours. Scours is basically diarrhea, and will kill them pretty quickly if you don't replace all the fluids they lose from it! (That is how we almost lost Norman.) As long as we keep them hydrated, they have a chance to make it though...so I am currently bottle feeding them their 2 milk bottles each day along with 2-3 bottles of electrolytes (depending on how they look...if they look at all dehydrated, I give a 3rd bottle of electrolytes).

To help guard against scours, we feed them grain...though right now they do not really like it, we keep pushing it on them to develop their taste for it. Getting some into their tummies helps reverse the scours.

As of right now, I don't know how long I will be dropping tubes into Norman and Dinner...I would like for it not to be real long as it takes a great deal longer to feed everyone one at a time, than it does when they run up and all eat at the same time.

Having these calves is definitely more work than I had anticipated it being...I was thinking the 2 milk bottles/day, cleaning their sheltered area, making sure they had solid food and water would be it...but it is much more than that! Bottle calves really are a lot of work! The real test on what I think of it will come in the spring, when we decide if we will do it again!

Serenity is now...

Serenity is now 3/4 of a year old! I can hardly believe it! Where does the time go?!

She is such a sweet baby! She is letting her desires known in the form of shrieking (something we are working on putting to a fast halt).


She is all over now, and is able to crawl up the stairs...still working on down though!


Serenity LOVES eating solid food, and is now eating 2 solid meals each day.

She enjoys playing peek-a-boo, keeping track of where everyone is and what they are doing, by going to find them through the house. She really does a great job of entertaining herself...and letting us know when she needs to be held for awhile! She is mostly all smiles, and a joy to be around!

Miss Serenity has transitioned down to 2 naps, and is on a very workable schedule! This week, she has even dropped a night time feeding! We are now only getting up at about 4 or 5 am for a feeding!


All in all, she is doing great! She is such a blessing to our family! It is so much fun to see her little personality coming through more and more!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Locks no more...

Admittedly, I am feeling really sad about this one...but it is for a good cause!

The girls wanted to donate their hair to be made into wigs for children who have no hair. The program is called Locks of Love.
The girls got to have their hair professionally cut (for the twins this is a 2nd time, and for Ashley, it is a first!).
The girls filled out their own paperwork (something Ashley was very proud of!), and got to go to the post office to see their package off.
Ashley's favorite part was getting her hair washed.
The twins wanted to still look the same, so their hair dressers had them stand side by side before making that first cut!
When it was all said and done, we went home with their long pony tails in their hands, and short hair on their heads. Ashley's donation was 11 inches long, and the twins donated almost 16 inches each!
This morning, we went to the post office and mailed in their hair.

Moo-stache


This is the biggest of the calves...and he is such an eager, sloppy eater!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Getting off the bus


The calves were tired after their very long day of traveling.

It took a bit of coaxing to get them to come down the stairs for the bus (or rather a great deal of pushing as they were unwilling to do it!)







We got them a drink, and gave them bottles before we even took them to their pasture. They seemed much happier just to get there!


We were a bit concerned about one of them that seemed to not be doing well. A call to the man from whom we purchased them from assured us he is just exhausted and would likely be much better in the morning. We were instructed to give them an electrolyte mixture before we went to bed. Justice and the girls said good night to the cows and went to bed.



Even Chris has said he likes the cows and helped to give them electrolyte bottle!



Still working on finalizing names, but so far, the brown and white one is Norman.

What you could have seen...


If you were in Olympia, getting gas at the Shell station on Capital Blvd, you would have seen a horse trailer, unloading 6 calves, marching them around to where our bus was located, and putting them inside. I am sure it was quite a sight, and we even gathered a few passerbyers who stopped to watch the activity!


We agreed to help out the farmer we purchased them from, and drop 3 calves off in Everett before heading home with our 3. After seeing all 6 of them, I was glad I went with a little bit bigger calves for this first go around! Here are the other calves that we delivered in their new home.

In the end, we were left with our 3, who seemed like they had a lot of space after we made our delivery!



Lessons from the day:
* Small calves get weak very quickly (the smallest one, we couldn't get to stay on his feet. We prayed on our way home that he would be ok!)
* Cows, even small, young ones, in an enclosed area, are really stinky!
* Cows do not go up stairs very well.
* Cows do even worse going down stairs.
* If you pull calves, they put on the breaks...so you have to push them from the back instead, or better yet, hold their bottle out for them, and they will follow you anywhere!

Shelton


It isn't all just fun and games when we go to Shelton...we are there to work. The goal is get to the 2 unrented units ready for renters. The girls were in this little room, watching a movie, while I painted the bathroom and the other bedroom on this particular night. Chris took the twins to get some more painters tape for me, so they weren't there are this time.


There isn't any kind of a yard, and not much space for everyone. But they all do a great job finding little things to do. My twins also do a wonderful job at keeping everyone busy and out of trouble!

Normally, I am not one to let my children watch many movies (and we don't have any television service), but with such tight quarters, and needing them to stay away from wet paint, I make an exception!

A touch of Narnia in Olympia


The girls really liked this light post because it reminded them of The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. It is located on the grounds of the State Capital, which they had a fun time exploring!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Field trip to the State Capital


We had so much fun going on a tour of the capital building on Olympia. The history, and being able to talk about the importance of being involved in government in a democracy.


There are many details that were pointed out. Such as the WA landmarks carved into these doors. Here you see Snoqualmie Falls and the log cabin that served as the very first governor of WA's house.



The girls enjoyed finding all of the George Washingtons that they could!

The marble work throughout was absolutely amazing! The capital building construction began in 1922. We were fortunate to have some designers from New York who had connects to get marble that was used as ballast from decommissioned World War II ships. Some of it is Italian, Belgian, German and more. It was also built with electrical wiring throughout, which was unique in that time period and we have a great deal of Tiffany Lighting Company lights, such as this chandelier.



The marble pictured here, and the marble Brianna is standing near, is called story book marble, because you can find pictures in it. In this shot, there is a picture of a dog's head.



Callie walked all the way down this long hallway behind her from one legislative meeting room to the other. It was about SIXTY FEET!
Here we are on the front steps of the capital building. 42 steps, representing us being the 42 state to join the union.


This is the first proposed Washington State Flag. It was rejected because it has George Washington portrayed as a General, and they decided they wanted him portrayed as President Washington.


On the opposite wall from the first proposed State flag, there is a proposed national flag with 42 stars on it...we thought, being the last state to join that year (it was in November that we joined), that for sure there would be a 42 star flag...but another state joined early the following year, and there never was an official 42 star flag...making this a very rare piece indeed!