Monday, April 29, 2013

A Day at the Zoo

This weekend was filled with fun and work.  I'll start with the work.

The back yard had turned into a jungle over the last few weeks.  It's not that we don't care about the yard but the tractor needed some maintenance.  Chris had a guy from work do some welding and grinding on the parts and it took a long time to get them back.

Once the tractor was put back together, Chris spent a lot of time cutting the 30+" tall grass/weeds.  I took a picture with Samantha in the tall crab grass to show scale.

After he was done with the yard, it started raining.  I started working to clean and organize the garage and sunroom.  It was a disaster!  The after pictures still show some things that will be moving or going away - organized toolboxes and garbage.  It's nice to have a good path through the garage and have places for everything.

The biggest change was in the sunroom though.  It looks huge now that there is very little in there.


Chris has been making beer for a long time but he wanted to try his hand at making wine.  It was  ready for bottling so Chris went to rent the corker - $10 for 3 days.  It was pretty easy and he was able to finish all the bottling on Sunday evening.  I got to try some and it is very good!

We had a lot of fun this week too.  Friends and Farms, the company where we get our food, had an event for Poultry 101.  We got to learn about different types of poultry and got a chicken to cut up into pieces.  Chris did a great job on it!


I ended up mostly chasing Samantha around the warehouse - but she had fun. 

They had a great dinner following the class.

Samantha and I had a lot of fun during the week.  We got to play at the Lake Elkhorn playground, an Earth Day play date, and the Playtime Center.  The Playtime Center was great - we spent 2 1/2 hours there for $5 and she was upset when we had to leave.  We'll be spending more time there on rainy days!

The best part of the week though was Samantha's first trip to the zoo.  We went with one of my mom friends and her family to the National Zoo.  The next part has a lot of pictures.

She wanted to get a better view of the fish from the Amazon.  

Her and her friend Alex.

Bright birds!

 She really likes fish!

She has been pointing at things a lot - like a tarantula!

And the whole family at the gorillas' enclosure.

 We were glad to have the whole day to have fun.  And the next few weekends will be fun for us too - we can't work on the house all the time!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day Fun!

We didn't get much house work completed but we had a lot of fun activities this weekend.  I went on a nice hike with some women from my book club - the weather was perfect!  Once I got home, we went to the Inter-Center Homebrew Competition Judging - good beer and food!  I had another book club event on Sunday with a brunch. 

The week was busy as I had two full days of training again.  Samantha had a good time with her friends while I was away.  Although we did learn that she is a little hoarder - and doesn't like to share!  She took all of Alex's toys and put them in the corner of the room.  Then she sat down in front of them so that he couldn't play with them.  Fortunately, Alex didn't care but it shows that I have a lot of work to teach her about sharing!

I took Samantha to the Maryland Science Center with some other moms during the week.  She had so much fun!  There is a great area just for young children and she took full advantage of everything. 

Now that the weather is getting nice, we have been spending a lot more time outside.  Samantha has enjoyed picking the "flowers" from the yard (dandelions, wild violets, etc.).  And she really likes rocks too - putting them in her little purple bucket (the same one that she wears on her head).

Speaking of the purple bucket, it has become a fashion in head wear for the whole family (although I don't think I want to share those pictures) so here's one of just the cutest member.

Yesterday, Samantha and I had some fun for Earth Day.  Here's the list of the activities for the day:
1.  "Earth" pancake for breakfast (green pancake with blueberries)
2.  Sensory play with sunflower seeds
3.  Planting sunflowers
4.  Berenstain Bear's Don't Pollute!
5.  Removing invasive species in yard (dandelions!)
6.  Nature walk
7.  Coloring the Earth

We have a lot going on this week so we may not get much done on the house again - welcome to spring!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The House With the White Picket Fence

Yes, our house now has a white picket fence.  We installed the fence last year and waited for a nice spring weekend to prime and paint it.  It really makes the fence look finished - plus the grasses will be a nice contrast when they grow up in front of it. 

I used my new power washer to clean off the fence Saturday night and then my new power sprayer to prime and paint on Sunday.  A word of advice - wear a hat when using a paint sprayer outside (I looked like I aged 30 years with all the paint in my hair).

I am so glad that this project is finally finished - I am still incredibly sore from working on it all day so I won't soon forget about it!

The rest of the weekend was spent having fun and doing a little bit of work.  We went to the Howard County GreenFest where we got another rain barrel to install.  That brings it up to 220 gallons that we can store at a time.  It definitely helps when we need to water the garden in the middle of a drought!

We also picked up a little bit of mulch and put it in the flower beds at the end of the driveway.  They are not fully finished but look much better - especially now that the tulips are blooming.

Chris planted some flowers in the hanging planters on the front porch that adds a little color.

Some of our vegetable plants are looking great!  This is a picture of some of our pepper plants.  We are a little concerned about our tomato plants but we have been putting them outside on nice days to get some natural sunlight.  We hope they perk up soon. 

We had some fun this week in addition to the work.  Our friend Kate was in town and stayed over one night after her meetings.  It was great to get to see her for a little while!

Samantha and I had a lot happening this week.  We went to multiple play dates and had fun outside.  It was in the 90s this week so I got to pull out a lot of her summer clothes.

One evening we spent outside and I finally got a video of her laughing at Tucker running.  This went on for quite some time (until Tucker got tired!).  

She has been walking so well lately - I have to chase her around the house all day.   Since it was so hot, a couple afternoons she went around just in her diaper.  Lately she has been putting this purple bucket on her head and the St. Patrick's Day beads around her neck.  She thinks it's great.

The bucket has been a big hit for putting rocks and flowers into as well.  

We've just been having so much fun with her lately.  She's moved from "baby" to "toddler" very quickly.  Most of it is great (but we could do without the tantrums!).  

Let's hope that the weather resembles spring for a little longer so that we can finish some outdoor activities!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Cleaning

This week was a little light on house activities during the week.  But this weekend we got down to business and did a lot of work outside - removing brush/debris, transplanting trees/shrubs, etc., etc. 

We haven't really had a chance to enjoy nice "spring" weather (temperatures in the 60s).  It is supposed to be in the 80s here all this's times like this I wish I lived back in Pennsylvania!  Hopefully we'll get a few more nice days so we can get things accomplished without melting outside.
On Saturday, Chris had another beekeeping field day.  He plans on getting his bee equipment in the next couple weeks so we'll be sure to keep you updated.

A few weeks ago we had hired a landscape architect to come up with our landscaping plan for two sides of the house.  We met with her on Saturday and went through the entire plan.  We have to install the sidewalk and retaining wall before we get to put in any plants. 

There were very few clouds this weekend so we had our top power producing day so far.  On Saturday we ended up with over 59 kWh of power generated!

While Samantha napped on Saturday, Chris and I started spring cleaning.  We only were able to finish the den but it was a major improvement!  However, we also reaffirmed that we both work in very different ways and decided from now on we'll each be assigned a room to clean instead of working together.  Hopefully that will help!

Chris has a potential award winning beer - the Zymurnauts (his homebrew club at work) is have an inter-center competition with the rest of NASA.  His beer was selected to represent Goddard Space Flight Center in the Brown Ale category.  The competition is in a couple weeks so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

This week was the first time I had to leave Samantha for more than a few hours.  I had a two day training for work (I have two more two day sessions coming up).  My friends Becky and Mindy watched Samantha those days.  I guess she had a great time playing with her friends Grayson and Maddie - they even went to a new play space. 

They say that she was good so hopefully they're giving me the full report!  One funny thing that happened was when Samantha took a toy off of Grayson.  Samantha grabbed it and started walking away.  Grayson got up and started chasing after her.  They are both new walkers and still look like slow, drunken sailors.  I guess it made for a pretty funny/awkward slow speed chase!

Samantha has made a lot of progress with her walking this week - she wants to walk all over the place now.  It does make getting to the playground a little more of an adventure though!

She just started saying "woof" when asked what sound a dog makes.  It's so funny because she says "VOOF!! VOOF!!" so we think she's acting German.

I dressed her in a cute dress for church on Sunday and tried to get a picture but she wouldn't smile. 

Although it is better than her "Forrest Gump" impression:

This week we hope to get more done in the spring cleaning - and try to stay cool!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

We had another very busy week.  It included dinner with friends, book club, playing in the snow, going to see the cherry blossoms, hosting a play date, and having an egg hunt. 

We traveled up to Pennsylvania for Easter.  Samantha got to have some fun at a large community egg hunt.  She got to visit the Easter bunny - which she wasn't too happy about!

She got her face painted like a bunny - looking super cute!

And she got to look at all the animals in the petting zoo (they had goats, miniature donkeys, a calf, and llamas).

The egg hunt itself was just about what we expected - out of thousands of eggs, Samantha only wanted to pick up and play with a couple eggs. 

Fortunately, they put tape on all the eggs so that she couldn't open them in the field - but it didn't stop her from trying!

She seemed to have a lot of fun though!

We got to see the progress my parents made on their River House.  It's really coming along well!  They are past a good portion of the demolition and are starting the building phase.  Pretty soon they'll have a floor in the basement!

Easter was great - we went to church, had to hunt for our Easter candy (yes, even at our ages!), and went to my Aunt's house for brunch.  

We hope you all had a wonderful Easter!