Monday, April 30, 2012

The Dairy

Ajay's first grade class went on their field trip a week ago.  I was very happy to learn they would be going to a functioning dairy farm, as opposed to going to the zoo again.  Alex and Aren and I tagged along.  Ready for some photos?

The pig races were first.  Lady Hog-ga won most of the races.  Here is Ajay's class sitting on a trailer.  The rest of the first grade  classes (4 total, I believe) were sitting on bleachers next to the trailer.

Once Alex spotted where Ajay was sitting, he shimmied up (forget using the stairs!) to sit next to brother.

After the pig races we were taken over to an area where they have a cow milking demonstration.  They showed how they clean the teats with iodine, give a starter squeeze on all four, then hook up the pumping machine.  The milk flows into that clear-ish vessel with the blue rimmed bottom.  The cows get milked every 12 hours. 

The farmer showed everyone this calf's teeth - they only get teeth on the bottom, not the top.  Ajay's teacher got to feed this little one a bottle of the freshly pumped milk.

We were then split into groups.  One group watched a video while our group got to play on the playground.  There was a lot of noise on that thar playground!!

After the playground romp and after our turn with the video it was time to have lunch in the grass.  The dairy farm owners even had chocolate covered vanilla ice cream (on a stick) for everyone!  Aren enjoyed feeling the grass.

Once lunch was over it was time to check out some animals - close up.  Here, the farmer's wife is offering a duck, a chick and a gosling up for a little petting. 

 All the kiddos got to take a bucket of ground up corn stalk to the trough to feed the cows.

Another mom graciously took our photo for us.

I ended up with a little burn.  See where the neck of my shirt is down in a V shape?  It was pulled and held by my little passenger.  He really likes shirt necks.  So I got a little V shaped burn.  And I'm pretty sure Aren got just a touch of pink across his nose and cheeks.  Surprised me, as neither Ajay nor Alex have ever burned. 

A very fun day, indeed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What is your hobby?

I was online earlier today visiting a message board about mamas who like to crochet.  It is a fabulous "support" group and my favorite thread is the "finished projects" of the month - there are always tons of great pictures of crochet projects.  I haven't joined Pinterest (yet) so this is my current source of inspiration.  Oh, and I found this color website through one of the ladies on the board.  I think anyone who loves color (for whatever reason/craft will find that site drool worthy). 

So one of the discussions today revolved around our yarn stashes.  How much yarn do you have and where do you store it.  I had to admit that my yarn had once been stored in two storage bins but over the last year or two, the yarn had gotten used here and there and was spread throughout various locations in our bedroom and living room.

It was time to do some organizing. 

I didn't take a before photo.  You can thank me later for sparing you that big mess. 

I got started about 20 min. before Biju got home from work and Ajay got home from school.  Once they were home, it was time to go to the gym, then home for dinner, then the boys' bedtime routine.  I was finally able to get back to the project, though, and get everything sorted out.  A good thing, too, since I took up the whole living room with my yarn and what not. 

The box on the left is my "sewing" box - I don't sew much so this box is headed straight to the garage tomorrow morning.  Then, of course, the big box-o-yarn plus a few other things that go along w/ the sport of crochet.  The blue notebook contains patterns I've printed off.  The white heart basket contains all those little tiny balls of yarn leftover from bigger projects.  The brown bag on the left is my current project bag (I can't let you peek in there right now, it's a swap project for someone who reads this blog); the orange bag contains a few "hibernating" projects that need to be "frogged." - That is, projects that are not going to be finished and need to be ripped out so I can re-purpose the yarn.  The brown bag on the right holds all of my 100% wool and the unfinished projects it is attached to.  Those are hibernating projects also, but I do plan on finishing them, so I won't be frogging them. 

The yarn on top will get more use than the stuff on the bottom.  I think a lot of the "other stuff" was free from this place or that person and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it.  Most of it is too coarse for my liking.  I'll either find some little project to use it for, or I'll pass it on to someone else who thinks they might get some use out of it. 
So....what is your hobby?  What do you like to do if you get a few spare moments?  Is it a solo hobby or do you enjoy it with others?  Do you dabble in several hobbies? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

11 months

Aren turned 11 months a couple of days ago.  We went to the doc yesterday because he's been ill (yes, again) and he weighed in at 14lb 5.5oz.  He continues to grow, making us so happy.  He has an ear infection so he started on antibiotics yesterday (not even one year old and he's on antibiotics for the third time - once for pneumonia, twice for an EI in the left ear).

He nurses great, eats solid foods great, sleeps decently - still wakes up 2-3x a night to nurse - and is now starting to cruise.  (Cruising is walking along while holding onto a piece of furniture.)  He is still the most tolorant baby I've ever met.  Alex has a lot of energy and love to share and cannot keep his hands off of Aren.  Aren takes it all in stride.  He is learning, however, to tell Alex, in his own way, that he would rather Alex back off.  I often find Ajay carrying him around and Aren just sorta goes with it. 

He is still toothless.  The other two boys were slow teethers, too.  Ajay's first tooth came through at 9.5 months, Alex's came through at 10.5 months.  I do see some white pressing against the front of his bottom gums, so maybe he'll get a tooth or two before his 1st birthday! 

A few names I call him:
Sweet Pea
Snot Pot (a name I heard my sister-in-law Brandi use) when he's snotty
Grumplestiltskin (Rumplestiltskin) when he's grumpy
Snuggle-Up-agus (Snuffleupagus) - cuz he's a great snuggler!
Stinky McFarland - when it is time for a diaper change
Sneezer Augustus (Caesar Augustus) - when he sneezes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Popcorn, anyone?

Ajay's school is having a fundraiser next week and each grade has chosen a theme.  The first graders chose "movies"  for their baskets - I'm pretty sure that's what they chose last year, too. 

Each family is supposed to donate something for the baskets.  I figured there would be a lot of candy, microwave popcorn packets, and maybe even some of those movies you can find for $5 at WalMart given so I wanted to do something a bit different.  I went to my favorite site for crochet patterns, Ravelry, and put in the search term "movies" just to see what came up. 

I saw this pattern, saw it was free and saw it was super easy, so I knew I had to do it. 

I like the pattern.  The popcorn took awhile to make up.  I wanted to do 20, maybe 22, but I ended up making only 18.  I ran out of time and 18 was enough, I think.  Filled it without overflowing.  I had issues with attaching the bottom to the tube.  I had to re-do it 3x because I just couldn't get it to line up right.  There are 48 rows of red and white stripes and 42 stiches in the round bottom.  I had to figure out a way to spread out the extra stitches without leaving big gaps.  It still looks a bit puckered in some areas, but overall, I'm pleased with it. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We're A-Okay

Well!  Those were some storms that passed through yesterday, huh??  I figured I'd put up a post letting you know that the family is fine and dandy - and so are the friends and family we've spoken with so far this morning. 

All last week the media warned us that there would be some bad weather coming up over the weekend.  On Friday there were official warnings put into place.   There were going to be tornadoes going through the area, no doubt about that. 

Despite living smack dab in tornado alley our house was built without a basement.  This means that whenever it storms Biju and I keep a hawk-eye on the news so we'll know the precise moment we need to take the boys down into the crawl space.  I'm told it's a pretty nice crawl space, as far as those spaces go.  Pretty roomy, I'm told.  However, it is still cold, dark, dirty, most likely has spiders, and it is only reserved for real emergencies. 

Since we had plenty of heads-up I made arrangements early in the day with my sister to go over for the evening and make use of their basement.  We spent the morning and early afternoon hanging out at our place enjoying the calm before the storm.  I packed an overnight bag just in case.  We put everything that was loose in the backyard into our garage, even the (glass-top) patio table.  We kept the news on and at one point the weathermen announced that there were three confirmed tornadoes on the ground at one time in Kansas.

I had heard the storms would start in our area around 4 so that's when we left.  Once at my sister's, we learned that the storms would be in our area closer to 8pm.  Good thing we brought the over-night bag.  The boys played with their cousins, we had dinner, they played some more, all the while with the local news station on.  We chose to go ahead and put the kids to bed in the regular bedroom - the two older girls on the top bunk, the two older boys on the bottom bunk.  Audrey was also upstairs in her bedroom, Aren was downstairs in the pack-n-play in the play room. 

I crocheted while we watched the news/radar and saw the storm getting closer and closer.  We kept hearing about this one particular storm, the one that was headed straight towards us, that kept dropping tornadoes.  In fact, there seemed to be one tornado traveling along with the storm.  We also heard about one that was ranged from 1/2-3/4 of a mile wide.  (I'm not sure if they were the same one.)

When the weathermen started naming towns that I recognized, towns that were more like "suburbs" of our town, we adults decided it was time to bring the younguns down into the basement.  First, we gathered a few essentials - shoes for everyone, a jug of water, diabetes medicine for my sis and her husband, diapers for the littlest ones.  Then we went upstairs and started waking the kiddos.  Ajay started walking into the living room even though I told him to go downstairs.  Shelly redirected him as she came into the bedroom to wake her girls.  Soon, we saw Ajay wandering back into the bedroom and trying to get back into bed.  I scooped Alex up into my arms and redirected Ajay.  I walked out of the bedroom to see Ajay meandering back towards the living room so, with Alex on hip, I guided Ajay down the stairs in front of me. 

Audrey was not happy about being awakened in the middle of the night!  She was letting everyone know how upset she was (then she'd doze off, then wake up and cry again).  Still, Kyleigh, Ajay and Alex were able to fall back to sleep on the floor.  When we heard that the tornado was now on the south-west part of town, I went to get Aren out of his pack-n-play.  As soon as I got back with him, we discovered that the tornado had turned!  Instead of cutting a swath right through a hugely populated area, it turned and took another path.   It still happened to hit an area that had a lot of trailers (of course).

I'm not sure of the official count but I think there were around 90-100 tornadoes in Kansas yesterday.  And as far as I've heard, there have been no deaths!!  Oklahoma, sadly, had 5 perish in the storms.  I'm not sure how Nebraska or any other states came out. 

Kyleigh, Paige (looking at the camera, who couldn't sleep because she was too worried), Ajay, Alex, and the TV screen with the red, yellow and green screaming out warnings.
We're very thankful to be safe and to have no damage to our property. A few downed limbs but nothing major at all. Thank God!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We hope everyone had an enjoyable Easter.  We spent our weekend at home.  We had originally planned on going to my parents for the weekend but Aren got a fever last Monday night and it lasted through the week.  Saturday morning he finally woke up fever free but we still wanted to keep him home to let him heal completely - even though we didn't know from what he was healing. 

Biju put in some overtime on Saturday morning then took the older two boys for a movie in the afternoon.  I was sure Aren wouldn't remain quiet through a whole movie in public so he and I did some craft shopping.  Fun times!  I wore him in the mei tai baby carrier and he was quite content to let me walk around Lowe's and Hobby Lobby. 

Sunday morning the boys checked out their baskets then we headed over to church.  We weren't late according to a normal Sunday schedule but being Easter Morning we were too late to get a seat.  Standing room only - around the edges of the church as well as in the "lobby" area.  Biju and I stood and took turns holding Aren while Ajay and Alex sat at our feet.  While we were standing there I felt a hand start petting my leg.  Ah, yes, pantyhose.  Mama never wears pantyhose and they certainly threw the boys for a loop.  After Alex drew attention to my legs with the "rubber band" Ajay had to investigate.  What an odd sensation, having 4 hands feeling my calves and toes! 

After church we tried to take some pictures of the family and spoke with family in India.  Ajay took a good picture of 4 of us but we didn't quite manage to get a great photo of all 5 of us. 

Lunch, naps, tv time. Then we were ready to head to our backyard to hunt for some plastic eggs. Alex had already devoured most of the candy from his basket - I typically ration out each bit of candy but I tried something new this year, which is let the kids go wild with the candy. This way when it is gone I don't have to hear "Can I have more candy??" for the next month!   So the boys had plenty of energy to go hunting.  Aren's eggs - the blue ones - were out in the open, as they should be for a 10 month old, but he didn't even get the chance to get on the ground to hunt for them on his own.  Biju gave him one and the boys quickly grabbed up the other two and brought them to Aren.  He just got three eggs - the ones with money. 

He LOVED shaking his new "rattles" and listening to the noise inside.

This was a great hiding spot  for one egg.

Time to open the eggs to see what was inside!

"What, I don't get candy?  No big deal, I'll just feast on some dirt."
Shortly after the hunt was over Biju got out the lawn mower.  We kept the lawn purposely shaggy to aid in the egg hunt.  Right.  After mowing, Biju let the boys help rake a little.  (Of course they had to fight over who got to use the rake first.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Brotherly Love and Coloring Eggs

We used eggs from my parents chickens.  They were all some shade of brown, which are a bit more difficult to get the "right" color than the white ones, but it was still fun!  Some of the color flaked off and I'm not sure if it was because they were farm eggs?  We used a gel food color instead of liquid food color?  Some other reason?  This effect worked best on the green egg of Alex's because it looked a bit like camo.

Aren didn't get to participate in decorating eggs but he did get to choose his colors, then we dyed them for him - see his tiny two in the back?
The middle two, with pipe-cleaners as a) a shirt and b) a scarf, are Ajays.  The green and red on the bottom right are Alex's.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finally growing!

If you've been reading along with our blog then you know that we've been having quite a time getting Aren to put weight on.  We think we've finally figured out the right combination.  Vitamin D drops and an Iron supplement.  He gained 1 pound 3 ounces in 3 weeks!  Then he slowed down and gained 2 ounces in 2 weeks.  But he has gone full speed ahead again and now weighs in at 13lb 15.5oz.  We couldn't be more thrilled! 

We've been to the doctor more than I care to admit these last few weeks (which is why I've been able to keep a close eye on Aren's weight progress).  As mentioned previously, we've been a little sick around here.  A virus, the flu (that hit the whole family), an ear infection for Aren, strep throat for Ajay, and now Aren has some virus again.  He's been hitting a fever of 103.7 the last couple of days.  We're hoping once he gets well he can stay healthy for awhile.  At least he is busy building his immune system, right?

Some pictures to share with you (again, pics w/ hair, because I've been a slacker about keeping up with the blog lately).
Alex working on some math and writing skills

Ajay, also, working on math skills.  It was peacful in our house during this time.  Ah, sweet concentration.

Aren figured he needed to climb over Brother.

Aren has been busy pulling up lately.  In fact, while we were at my parents, he ended up in bed with me because he couldn't sleep.  Turns out he was busy working on his pulling-up skill, because he kept pulling up on me despite being half asleep!

Alex was a great helper as we made a double batch of Banan-Oat Muffins.

Here is the reference shot - taken with his Monster from Binu Uncle.  He's finally filling out some of his onesies.  That is a 3 month onesie. 

Trying to figure out that walking thing.
And for a little extra view pleasure - Aren learning he can "dance" - and Alex showing off his exuberant personality.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Break

I started this post last week before we shaved the boys' heads so you'll see boys w/ hair in these photos.

Spring Break was filled with sickness and rain but we still managed to have some fun.  We (the boys and I) went to visit my parents and the rest of the family.  Because of the rain there wasn't as much outside play as I was hoping for.  There was, however, plenty of Wii playing, movie watching and hanging out with cousins.  Once it cleared up outside the boys got to do a little fishing and running around.

Helping pack up for the trip!

Walking from Nana and Papa's to Uncle Matt and Aunt Brandi's in the mist.  Jenna came out to meet us.

Playing a round of Go Fish.

Time for a little Just Dance (the first one) with Logan and Jenna.
Hanging out with Uncle Matt.

Hanging out with Aunt Brandi.

Fever starting to take over, not feeling so well.

More Just Dance - Ajay's medicine was helping him feel better.

With Papa - looking at the chickens roaming the farm, eating bugs.  We brought home several eggs from these chickens!

My favorite - the Golden Seabright, I think Dad called her.

Rooting on KU while Nana gives him a bedtime bottle.

Feeling yucky again before bedtime.

Ahh, yes, meds working, able to go outside and play.

Mom explaining where the new deck is going to be.  Can't wait!

Now there's a farm kid for ya!

Alex finally got a turn to go fishin' with Papa.  Papa caught all the fish.  (Even I tried and had no luck.)

Gave up on fishing but sure enjoyed the mud.
Be careful not to bump into this tree/bush/shrub/whatever it is!

Breathe deeply with me now...ahhhh.

Uncle Eddie playing catch with the younguns.

Enjoying the beautiful weather gifted to us in March.

Dad manning the grill.  Mom did most of the other cooking.  Thanks for a great dinner!
I know this was picture heavy so thanks for sticking with me til the end.  We always enjoy our time out on the farm.  I long for a little extra space for our family, just an acre would do us, but in the meantime I'm grateful for the nice big backyard the boys have to play and run in.