Gabriel’s 7th Birthday Adventure

I’m beginning to love/hate the birthday party.  Small is good, large gets to be a bit….overwhelming. But the kiddos love it.  So, for Gabriel’s birthday this year, I pulled the ‘pregnancy card’ and opted out. Instead of a party, we promised G a day packed full of fun surprises, with just him and the 2 of us. He was reluctant, but agreed.

Gabriel is growing into such a young man.  He’s really not into ‘toys’ per se, but loves doing things and building and doing ‘man stuff’.  He’s been tagging along with J pretty much all summer and loves every minute of it. He’s told us several times that he’s old enough to have his own kayak now.  He’s also informed me that he’s old enough to go deer hunting this fall with his BB gun, but we’ll see about that.

Friday morning he woke up to this:


His response? ‘Uh, Mom? There’s a kayak in the living room…..’. HA! We did a lot of research on this kayak, and specifically picked one that is very difficult to tip over and had good reviews for kids to maneuver. And, he really wanted red.

Let me tell you, this kayak is a beast. Or maybe the kid paddling it is. He was so speedy!


We went to a local lake and hooked him up to J’s kayak with a rope for awhile, but after a short time he’d had enough of that and we set him free!

After about 2 hrs on the water, we were hungry.  We ventured over to Gabriel’s favorite place for lunch!


The waitress was so sweet and made G his own birthday crown, which he proceeded to wear for the next 2 days.  The food was AMAZING as usual.

After that, it was mini golf time. We told G where we were headed, expecting him to be super excited. His response, ‘What’s that?’. UMMMMM, apparently we had failed at parenting in this area, and G had never been exposed to mini golf before. Well, today was his day.


He loved it.  And J and I tied exactly, as well as got a hole in one on the same one. Go figure. I had been tolerating the heat very well, up until this, when the high was upper 90’s. I got really overheated carrying this belly around and putting a little ball around, and spent a lot of time trying to duck into the shade!  Probably the best part was that I had 2 coupons so we paid $5 total for all 3 of us!

Later that evening we had family over for birthday dinner and cake. He requested enchiladas, strawberry cake with strawberry frosting, and I added a layer of strawberry jam along with the frosting in the middle layer. Perfect day!

I’m thinking this is the way to go. As much as I love throwing a grand birthday party, having the majority of the day with only one of our kids, and giving them an ‘adventure’ for a day, was super fun and enjoyable.  Great memories!!!


What the duck?

This past week brought a lot of random things.  Some weeks are pretty normal, but this last week was a bit….off.  Was there a full moon or something? Or maybe God needed a few laughs? Or maybe just bad luck? Who knows….

Wednesday, we were cleaning the garage to prep for loft construction. I saw something sneak under the car, J saw something run across the garage. “Uh, I think there’s a duck in here” he says. Um, WHAT?! After moving around some plywood and some quick moves, we discovered a less than a week old duckling that had found its way into our garage. But where did he come from? We don’t live too close to water and there’s no other ones around that we’ve seen.  You can imagine what my kids thought of it. And what my farmer-at-heart husband thought of it. It now may or may not be under a heat lamp and enjoy getting fed pieces of raw pork and duck food. He may or may not be named ‘Flash’ and may or may not have taken a few swims in our pool.  I have mixed emotions, but at this point he’s pretty cute.


The same day that Flash found us, I got 2 joyous pieces of mail *Note sarcasm*.  My 2nd jury duty summons and my 1st camera recorded speeding ticket. 0-10 miles over = $0.00;  11-20 miles over = $75. I was going 10.5 mi over, he must have rounded up, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. It’s hard to contest that you weren’t guilty as they give you 2 pictures and 1 video of yourself speeding. Nice. Always happy to contribute to a city’s fund *Note sarcasm*. Ugh.

Lucy got to start eye patching this week! What fun for a 5 year old! Every kid wants to strengthen their right eye! *Sarcasm again*  She’s been quite a trooper and only really complained the first day. It’s only for 2 hrs a day for 5 weeks (for now), but that 2 hrs can be challenging.  We let her decorate her own patch everyday, which seems to be quite the enticement for her. Hey, whatever works. She also got a different eyeglasses prescription that includes bifocal lenses.  She’s still getting used to them, but I think they’ll work out just like the optometrist hopes!


Today’s patch artwork

Apparently with all the excitement from Flash and summer projects, someone unplugged our deep freeze in the garage and forgot to plug it back in. I discovered this morning  a freezer 1/2 full of defrosted meat, all trashed.  It could have been worse. It could have stunk. It could have been full of mama’s milk (which happened once when our old deep freeze died….I’m still recovering).  It could have been full instead of 1/2 full. Now it’s just an excuse to move the freezer to where I wanted it in the first place, since it’s empty and all. Silver lining I suppose…

We lost our car keys. The kids participated in a kids fishing seminar and derby on Saturday morning.  I had it all planned out, we had a picnic lunch packed and after all that the kids were going to do the 10th annual kids triathlon (their 2nd time!) in the afternoon.  What a great family day! Until NO fish are caught. And until you lose your keys somewhere around the fish pond! What fun it is to trek around looking for keys! When you finally succomb to your car, you find that some nice, good hearted, angel of a person has placed said keys on your windshield with a note that reads ‘Your keys were in the grass =)  ‘.  Wowza.  Made for a stressful type of morning, but kind of restores your faith in humanity!


They did have a great time!

We did have a great time hiking and enjoying a local park during a grad party today. Here’s to hoping next week is a bit less…interesting.


Pregnancy + Biking = No go

We had a great Memorial Day weekend.  I chatted with Navy bro Mitch on Friday morning and he didn’t even realize it was Memorial Day weekend. Well Mitch, you are one of the reasons that I have newfound appreciation and gratitude for all soldiers and their sacrifices, both at home and on the other side of the world. Thank you for all you do!

Part of Mitch’s Wallbangers crew on the USS Truman; Mitch is left side, in the green!

Back at the ranch, we had an incredibly busy and fun weekend. Friday, however, was not the best.  I have some days now and then when I just feel like junk. Completely wore out and grouchy. I just blame it on the hormones and that baby *must* be growing! 😉

Friday was it. It was raining, the kids were restless, we had exhausted a ton of indoor activities including 2 entire skeins of yarn, and all I wanted was a 60 min nap after lunch. That’s it! Guess what? NO ONE NAPPED. Nada. I broke down and let them watch a movie in the afternoon, which rarely happens. The weather cleared up and we played outside.   J was late coming home, so after dinner I took the kids out for a bike ride to try and make everyone a bit happier and give myself some energy. While going around a cul-de-sac, G inadvertedly cut his bike in front of mine and I hit his back wheel.  I literally flew off the bike, lost my balance, and skidded to a stop on my hands and knee (belly was safe). Road rash.  Braxton hicks contractions. Sore pride. I was fuming. Angry at the world. Angry at myself. Why was today so HARD?! Why did I think I needed to bike at 23 weeks pregnant and try to be *that* mom?! And why was my knee bleeding!?

Amelia just looked at me from her comfy seat in the bike trailer.  G turned around and calmly asked ‘What happened Mom?’.  I told him to get going, we were heading home and we were DONE BIKING. I laid on the couch the rest of the night, bitter and angry. Myself and baby are fine. I’m done with the bike till next summer, sadly, as I really really enjoy biking.  Some things I still have to learn the hard way. Sheesh. What a way to start a long weekend.

After I got over myself and the rough Friday, the rest of the weekend ended up being a lot of fun. After church and grad party on Saturday, we started our 2 day camp out. We spent a good portion of our weekend in the place dubbed the ‘Costello campsite’ with our family.  We cooked and ate a ton of good food over the fire, slept in tents on the ground, and played in the creek. It was awesome!!!  I should clarify that this pregnant body did absolutely no tent or ground sleeping. I trekked my way home after dark 2 nights in a row to sleep on our Tempurpedic. And all was well 😉  The kids had such a blast and my husband is a great dad….’Sarah, I can go 2 nights without sleeping much; look at how many memories they are making!’ Well said! He is also quite the grill master over the open flames.


Girls decided to have good ol’ Iowa mud scrubs in the creek

Monday we had more good eats and I finally got dirt dumped into my raised gardens, so now we can plant!! I’m not sure how much gardening I’ll actually be doing this summer, but it’s never too early to teach the kiddos, right?  We’re planning on tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, eggplant, and squash. My kids can devour a large watermelon in less than 1 days time, so that should be a good way to entice them to weed the garden!  The kids capped off the day with playing in the pool and falling asleep at the dinner table. No, really. Amelia actually fell asleep while chewing her sandwich.  Amelia looked like this this morning. Her hair kills me!!


Yay for the beginning of summer!