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Dez and the girls visit!

Dez and the girls arrived on Sunday the 13th and stayed with us through Friday the 18th when they headed out at 4am to head back home.  It had been so long since we had seen the girls.  I think the last time we saw them was around 4 years ago when we lived in Lancaster.

The girls arrived early enough the first night that we had time to get them unloaded, have dinner and play/relax a while.  We didn't pull the camera out until later in the week because, honestly, we were enjoying ourselves and I had totally forgotten.  We think it was the first night that John set off several fireworks for the kiddos to enjoy.  One of them did not go high enough in the sky and gave the adults a bit of a fright but the kids thought it was the greatest thing they had ever seen and wanted more. :p  After fixing the tube all other fireworks were way up in the sky, where they should be.  I have some pics of the July 4 firework display John did for us but did not bring out the camera for this one.  Somehow I've misplaced those but will find them and upload some.

Jenny spent quite a bit of time over at our house with her girls.  Autumn and Amaya were so excited to see her that they also spent a lot of time at her house too.  It helped pass the time for all 4 kids awaiting the arrival of yet another batch of cookies or cupcakes. :D  Jenny also managed (with a house full of kids either chatting or watching My Little Pony episodes) to make a heap of bread and butter pickles.  Dez, Autumn and Noah helped me pick another gallon of blueberries, which brought us up to two gallons.  No worries, we had them for every breakfast and sometimes with desserts.  The girls took the remainder home for snacking and to have once they got there.

While they were here Autumn and Noah played in the pool all day, Thor and Amaya played lots of Mario Kart Double Dash or were upstairs where Amaya played the Sims 3 with Pets and had horses and a cat.  Dez and I crocheted a lot too.  She's started a beautiful blanket!  I made a couple of small things for the kiddos to take home but it reminded me I should do that more often.  John grilled up lots of hotdogs and spent mucho time with his sis.  We took the girls to Rock Island and got some really fabo pics.  I have put the best ones up here.  I've also put that link under the photo so you can click that too.  I would have renamed the pics to better describe but then they'd be out of order. :p  We greatly enjoyed the visit and hope you guys enjoy the pics as much as we do. :)

Gardening, Gardening, Yeah!

Though it's hard to tell from the photo this is a glorious garden.  John keeps the pathways through the rows looking low and spiffy, as well as short around the garden.  Everything is growing quickly now!

On this end we have the banana peppers (left) and acorn squash (right).  The next row on the left is Carrots and an empty spot for more carrots but we didn't fill that one so it's empty.  Next row, Cucumbers and beets.  Watermelons and many many tomatoes, then more peppers, basil and cilantro and celery.  Next down is a big beefy tomato plant and tall lettuce that's mostly gone to seed and more tomatoes.  Lastly is zucchini and bell peppers.  mmmmm.  On the far right we have pole beans and on the row that looks like a walkway is peas but they didn't like the overwhelming amount of rain recently and seem to have mostly died.  Somewhere in there we also have onions that didn't want to grow.   Way back on the left are the forever bearing blueberries, the huge bushy tree in the center is the peach tree that did not bear fruit and on the right are 2 apple trees.

John has been making heaps of JAM out of the berries we've picked.  We're up to 19ish pints of blueberry, 6 pints of blackberry and 3 quart jars of blueberry jams.  Zucchini we've made about 4 total loaves of zuke bread, 8 mini loaves, 24 mini muffins and 9 quart bags containing 2 cups each of shredded zucchini for later bread making.  And we get at least 2 if not 3 zukes a day coming off those plants so we're going to have to start blanching and freezing in halves and slices...or come up with more people to take some of these freakin things.

For more pics of our garden you can head over to the Garden Pic List and sort by date.  7-7-14 are the ones from this week so they're most recent to this point.  We also have to stick in a pic of Moose hanging out in the dill watching the gardening action.  You can see more puppy pics over at his puppy pic list too.






Birthday Birthday Pt 1

Thor's birthday was yesterday, the 20th, and he is a whopping 14 years old now.  Two more years and he'll be old enough to work and drive *begin chest pains now*.  Thursday evening we had invited his girlfriend over for some game and "Thor time".  They started seeing one another the last week of school but have only talked on the phone since.  Thor said it was what he wanted for his birthday gift.  How sweet is that?? ;)

Thor and Emily played video games and had dinner with the fam Thursday night, Friday we had Seth, Sid and Daxter over for the day and they all played games and jumped in our lil pool, today's plan is to have two of Thor's friend's over for the night.  Thor has received money and cards from a few relatives, lots of birthday wishes online on FB and we got him two dance games, a book/DVD on how to play guitar and guitar strap that says Thor on it.  I'm pretty sure it's been a darn great birthday for him.

As for the rest of the place, things here are going really well.  The garden is nearly in full swing.  The lettuce is all but gone for most of the plants due mostly to the storms a week or so ago that soaked the ground to the point they all uprooted themselves.  We made cages around the tomatoes this week and put those on.  John and I have picked roughly 8-10 zucchini and our first tomato from the vines.  The dill is wild and waist high, the beans are running up the poles and the peas have already sprouted some babies.  Our beets are about an inch in diameter, carrots have small but defined tops, squash is growing fast, celery is getting tall tall and we have our first banana pepper.  The onions kinda pooped out.  We think the seeds were just not good.  We're working on a plan b though.  So far it's the zucchini that keeps us on our toes.  My uncle had this to say :

"Watch the pretty plants grow and bloom a few days/week or two.  Watch the the fruit grow hourly.  Get your first finger sized fruit and enjoy.  A few hours later get your first fist sized fruit and enjoy, put some in the refrigerator to eat later.  The next day start harvesting the arm sized fruit and store that in the refrigerator to eat later. START CALLING ALL YOUR FRIEND AND ACQUAINTANCES and offer to deliver zucchini to them.  Be careful from now on trying to walk near the plants because you will be tripping over the body and leg sized fruit you missed harvesting a few days ago.  Start sneaking up on your friends houses and leaving 40 pound bags of zucchini on their porches in the night because they stopped taking your calls."

Well that just about sums it up.  If you've not heard from us recently and you find a 40 lb bag of green things on your porch, blame it on veggi ninjas. :)

Birthday Birthday Pt 2

Ah the last day of June. Noah's birthday is now complete also.  Although he is having a hard time this year dealing with that.  This year for both the boys birthdays we got a swimming pool from walmart.  All in all it only cost us $49 and the kids can jump and play in it.  We gave them that a week before Thor's birthday.  We took Thor to Cookeville to choose a game for his birthday (We knew he wanted Just Dance 2014 for months but the price didn't come down until recently and we were going to get we can never get rid of the kids so they went).  Noah ended up with a game also.  From the 20th on there was the Steam Summer Sale.  Noah probably got 3-4 games from that, only one of those were saved for his birthday.

Friday we had Tif's boys and pup over for the day while she worked.  We had to run over and get them at the store that morning before sis worked and bring them back.  Noah seemed to have a pretty good birthday, getting juice pouches and whatever he wanted for lunch.  He and Sid were at each other more than usual but no biggie.  Both of our boys went to Tif's Friday night and I guess Noah was in trouble a few times for random... junk.  But they had a great time at Auntie Tif's pizza pool party.  Saturday Uncle Al, Aunt Pat and the Simmons' came over for the birthday party which consisted of John and I being up late on the first night we've had alone together in many years, baking the Minecraft grass block birthday cake, cleaning the kitchen and moping up a blowout under the sink.  Sooo Minecraft cake, chips, fresh blueberries, less fresh apple slices and grapes.

Noah got the off brand Nerf shotgun he'd been desiring.  Turns out Nerf shotguns are hard to find because they've gone to spinning cartridges and crap that shoots you 30 times from 40 yards away or something.  He got a "gold watch", gold plated actually and he'd told John "dad, if I had one of those I'd wear it all the time because I'd be rich".  Grandma Jenny got him an electronic basketball game with two hoops so you can play against one another and Nestle glasses straw.  All of which he loves.  Tif gave him $10, Papa King sent a card and $10 plus gave him a $2 bill and Uncle Al and Aunt Pat sent a card and $20.  Yet somehow that evening and next day Noah kept coming in saying "well I mean, you guys could give me more birthday money because it's like birthday week or something".  Yeaaaaah no.  Kids these days. :p

June 30th is one of my favorite days of the year.  It was my grandpa, Sidney Gooch's, birthday and today would have marked 96 years old.  It also marks the end of June.  June seems to be the longest, most bank account and emotionally draining month of the year.  It's always a joyous occasion when we can say "YES we've made it through another!" and we have.  We shall roll into July, heads held high (ooo a rhyme) and hopefully the mighty Thor will stop bringing the rain or the mighty Noah will build a boat around the house to save us from it because we're quite soggy here. :)  Feel free to write or email folks and we'll update again soon with more garden stuff (OMG Zucchini) and Desi, Amaya and Autumn are coming in a couple of weeks!

The end of crazy weeks

Monday we received a call from the elementary school and they said we could come in any time that day for Noah to take a grade placement test.  After many questions we were told that even if Noah didn't do well on the placement test they could still put him in the 4th grade next year because from his grades before and knowing his learning skills, they knew he would do just fine.  Noah took the test and passed with flying colors.  Moose also went in for his 12 week shots and got his rabies vaccination as well as a tag for his collar proving it. :)

Tuesday was quite crazy as well and then it was time to take Thor to High School Orientation.  John took him and came home with loads of partial information but we'll do what we always do, get him in the doors and wing it. :P

Wednesday morning was awards day at the middle school.  Thor was presented an award for Choir and one for Drama.  We also learned that afternoon that he was approached by one of the HS choir teachers and he will be in Advanced Choir his freshman year. YAY!

Thursday morning was Seth's 5th grade graduation and awards day.  Of course I did not have my camera's memory card (slaps forehead).  Uncle Al and Aunt Pat were there also and it was fun for Noah to sit by Sidney and see all his old friends and teachers.
  I also somehow forgot Thor was to stay for Dress Rehearsal after school.  By 3:30 we decided to start calling around looking for him since he wasn't on the bus.  John drove to the school to find him and of course, dress rehearsal.  (Slaps forehead again)  

This morning was Thor's Talent Show.  He and another young lady have hardly had any chance to practice.  Last week it was all drama all the time.  The week before was all choir.  They did a fantastic job.  I added the video to the video section for those that didn't get the email.  They performed Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, which we'd never heard of.  They did a fantastic job.  As did all the teachers and other kids who performed and sang.  It was a hoot and so much fun! 

Tomorrow we plan on letting Thor go in for his report card and returning home on the bus as his final day of Middle School.  Tif and the kids may come over later and we'll get some flowers together to put on mom's stone for Memorial Day and a good time shall be had by all.  To everyone reading, have a safe holiday weekend and MUCH LOVE!