She turned two

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Last week was Eddie’s second birthday. We kept things low key. No decorations. No party. I’m too sleep deprived. I had a local bakery make a bunny cake (she’s really into bunnies lately) and we ate takeout outside on the back deck with just us and my parents. Lately I’ve been feeling like we are slowly being buried alive by toys so I asked my parents to just gift her with one toy and some much needed clothing. Gabe and I gave her a small kaleidoscope. My parents bought her a toy wooden chicken coop complete with felt chickens, chicks, eggs and nests. It’s simple, well made and she loves it. You can find the coop here. My mother did splurge and picked out a few outfits from one of my favorite brands, Boden. It’s a British company that makes adorable children’s clothing. The fabric is thick, high quality cotton and the designs always have amazing attention to detail. Each item is usually lined or embellished with smocking, pleats, ric-rac or other details that you just don’t see anymore, especially in U.S. clothing brands. Plus, they hold up to countless washings and don’t fade, making them perfect for hand me downs. I just adore their stuff. In my mind, all British children wear Boden clothing, Mary Jane shoes, and have impeccable manners and never get dirty.  Dear Tania, my British friend, please tell me this is true? Don’t burst my bubble…

I haven’t picked up my knitting in weeks. There just isn’t time and I’m too tired to trust myself to knit anything without totally messing up and having to fix it. I’d rather just not knit for now. Maybe when I start getting five hours of sleep at night I’ll start knitting again. I do miss it!

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Life is moving rather slow these days. Before Caleb was born, I spent my mornings running one or two errands with the kids or taking Sam to his gymnastics class twice a week. If we didn’t have errands to run or a class to attend, then I tried to schedule a play date. I have discovered that while I enjoy quiet mornings at home, my children do not. They like the hustle and bustle of leaving the house, going places and meeting up with friends. They are social butterflies.

Normally, this isn’t a problem but since Caleb’s arrival, I’ve barely left the house, and neither have the kids. I stocked up on food before his birth and have my mom pick up perishables like milk, juice and fresh vegetables and drop them off at the house as needed. My mother has taken Sam to gymnastics but we haven’t had any play dates. It’s been raining all week, so they’ve barely spent any time outdoors. In other words, I think the kids are going a little nuts.

It’s a constant struggle, getting used to the fact that we are a family of five instead of a family of four. Gabe and I are outnumbered. There is no divide (evenly) and conquer. Usually, one person takes the two older littles while the other handles Caleb. Admittedly, I’m still not sure who draws the short straw in that deal. Both groups present their individual set of challenges. Eddie is still hurt since she was usurped as the baby of the family and acts out her frustrations through killer tantrums that Gabe has started filming because he’s positive that “someday we’re going to look back and find this funny.”

Right now, it’s not funny.

Sam is the kid who is handling the transition rather well, but bedtime routine has started taking forever because right as you’re getting ready to give him his good night kiss and walk out of the room, he decides to tell you about every thought, feeling, emotion, idea and observation he’s had since the moment he woke up that morning. In other words, I think he’s craving some attention. As tempting as it is to tell him to be quiet and go to sleep, Gabe and I both try to indulge him and give him a few minutes to verbally unload, so to speak. This might seem like nothing but when you’re bone tired, five minutes feels like an eternity. Gabe is much more patient than I am and will sometimes stay up there for 15 or 20 minutes. I’m grateful that Sam has a parent with infinitely more patience than myself. Right now, excess patience and energy are sparse around here.

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This weekend was spent mostly indoors. A storm hit Friday night and it rained all through Saturday until early Sunday morning. We lost power for about 36 hours, but because we have a generator, our house was able to function per usual. Starting in fall and well into spring our area looses power multiple times a year and I’m always surprised to hear people talk about how they had to stay with friends or check into a hotel during the longer outages because they don’t own a generator. Why don’t they have generators? I understand if you have a small generator and it runs out of fuel after three days, but to not have one at all…why? It baffles me.

On Saturday evening a tree branch fell on an electrical wire that’s connected to our roof. Gave had to grab the orchard ladder and cut it down with a hand saw. I wish the pictures showed just how rainy and windy it was while he was up on the ladder. He was relieved to make it down to the ground in one piece.

Side note: notice the color of the leaves in our trees? Red! It happened overnight, I swear. Fall is coming!

On Sunday I spent the day surveying the damages to the garden. It wasn’t that bad. My dahlias took a beating and I had to cut down a few and throw them in the compost. I doubt my sunflowers will stand back up, but they weren’t doing too well anyway. Our corn was almost completely flattened. My lovely 4×4 rows are no more. A few have popped up over the last day, but most of them are still quite supine. They are still alive…but I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help them pop back up or if I should leave them be.

We turned the old garden shed into a makeshift beekeeper’s station for Gabe. He bought a propane stove and a turkey fryer so that he can heat up big batches of sugar water and basically keep his sticky mess out of my kitchen.

Gabe checked the bees today to see how they were faring and remove the second round of mite treatment that he placed in each hive a couple weeks ago. The smaller hive grew from two frames that my parents gave us a few months ago. My dad used plastic frames instead of the traditional wood frames and the bees don’t seem to like them very much. The hive had become increasingly weak, and he gave it to us in the hopes that we might have more luck than he did in strengthening the colony. When Gabe opened up the hive, he discovered that they were building their comb on top of the frames in the temporary space reserved for the mite treatment. Thus, the sticky weird looking mess (honey!) you see in the above photos. Normally Gabe would scrape that off, which would force the bees to use the frames, but because their colony is already so weak and cold weather is approaching, he has decided to leave it as is and hopefully the hive will be strong enough come spring for Gabe to scrape that off or just replace the frames altogether.

There was some honeycomb in the stronger hive that Gabe scraped off and he brought it inside. He drained some of the honey out and we scooped it up with our fingers. It tasted incredible. I can’t wait until we can collect a big batch of our own honey.

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