Saturday, August 30, 2014

Upcoming Anniversary Trip

Philip and I will celebrate our ten year anniversary next month.    We thought the occasion called for a special trip (especially since we haven't spent more than two days away together since having kids).   After much deliberation, we decided to go to the Azores, a small collection of islands out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal.  Why???  Because our great friends, Josh and Rebekah live there right now (with the Air Force) and it's Beautiful!

Rebekah posted an aerial video she found  of their town today.   Look how gorgeous it is!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Black and White

Here are our sweet kids in black and white:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Miracle on Our Front Porch

A day after we moved into our new house, we discovered a bird's nest built up under the roof over our front porch. It seemed late in the season, but I had seen a bird sitting in it, so climbed up (perched precariously on the very TOP of our ladder),to see if there was anything in it. With my camera held over my head, I shot a couple pictures, and lo and behold! There were five, perfect little eggs inside. Well, it looked like we were going to be dealing with bird poop on our porch for a while longer, but now I didn't mind so much. =)

The pretty mom and dad
(Philip determined that they are Barn Swallows)

Aren't they beautiful?  
(July 10)

We came home about a week later and I noticed tiny egg shells on the front porch!   Yay!  The babies had started to hatch!!

Moriah holding some recently vacated shells
(July 17)

I waited until the day after we noticed the shells, to make sure everyone had hatched...

There they are!   The tiniest, ugliest newborns you'll ever see! =)
(July 17)

This is where it started to get so fascinating!   They started growing and changing sooo fast I could hardly keep up!

Fuzzy heads poking over  their eyes weren't even open yet)

I was thrilled to be able to count Five heads in this one, so we knew that all the eggs had hatched successfully!. 
(These two pictures were taken July 21st, just FOUR days after the pink, naked one!)   Unbelievable!

Two snoozing, one bored, and two squawking =)
(July 24)

Soo cute, all snoozing
(July 25)

Later that day - calling for Mama
(July 25)

Once they were big enough to stand up and start leaning out over the edge a little, I got Very nervous!   I was Sure one of them was going to plummet to their death on the concrete below!    The kids and I would pray every day that they would be safe .  (Keenan thought we should put a mattress under them). =)

It's getting a little crowded in there =)

...there's number five
(July 30)

Okay, I think this might be the most dramatic change right here.   This next picture was taken only TWO days after the ones above:

What!?   They look so grown up here!   Their feathers have smoothed out beautifully, their colors have really come out and they just look so mature! =)
(Aug 1)

All five, barely fitting anymore!
(Aug 2)

I didn't know it then, but the picture above would be the last one I'd get of all five babies together.

On August 3rd, I noticed only four birds in the nest (and this worried me), so I climbed up (with Mark holding the ladder), to see if the other one was hidden in there somewhere, or if something had happened to him/her.   As I started to climb the ladder, they seemed very agitated, and leaned out soo far, and... my heart nearly stopped as they pushed off the edge (oh no!   Sweet babies, no!   You're going to fall to your deaths!)... but, with my heart in my throat, I watched in disbelief as they all swooped down, and out from under the roof and they all FLEW gracefully out, across the street and over the pond... like they'd done it a hundred times!

I was torn between amazement and sadness, that somehow I had messed with nature and pushed them out of the nest too soon!   (However, I then decided that they had probably been sneaking out for flying lessons before this and I'd never noticed).   Oh, wow!   My "babies" were all grown up!

For a while after that, no one was seen in the nest.   This made me very sad.   Then, a few days later, I saw that a bunch of them (it looked like the babies, their parents And maybe some relatives) had come back and were perched on the eves, on the front of our house.  Yay, they hadn't totally left yet!   

Then, on August 11th, I looked out and saw that three of them were sitting BACK IN THE NEST!  Wow!    The kids and I were delighted!

On August 12th, I cautiously went to the window to see if I could snap a picture of them through the glass (one more for my collection).  Since they didn't seem bothered by me being there, I decided to push my luck and gently pushed open the door, so I could shoot up at them without glass in the way.  They stayed there!

I was SO happy to get this picture of three of them, almost all grown up, back at the nest.. maybe for the last time.

After that, I did see two birds up there one night, and then a couple nights later, just this one guy...

August 16th

So long, little family!  It was a joy and an honor to see you grow up! =)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chalk the Walks 2014

Today the kids and I took part in our first "Chalk the Walks" event! I found out about it on facebook.   People from all 50 states and 7 other countries around the world wrote uplifting and inspirational messages on their driveways, sidewalks and public paths to cheer people up and hopefully brighten someone's day!
It seemed simple enough and the kids were super excited about it!   First we did our own driveway:

Love this!

Keenan thought of this all on his own

Then we went downtown to the Keeper of the Plains and wrote on a bunch of public sidewalks that would be seen by a lot of people today (and for days to come if it doesn't rain!)

After chalking everything in sight (not quite), we were thrilled to see that a gate that is usually closed was open today and we could check out the giant teepees we had seen other times!

On the way back across the bridge, Keenan wanted to do one more:

I think someone definitely needed to know that today =)

Our chalking team back home =)

We will likely never know if any of our messages made a difference in someone's day, but I sure think they did...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Art, Tadpoles, Baseball and a Cookie Date

Just catching up on the random pictures that tell about our last week:

For the kid's art project in school one day we painted  noodles and made necklaces

Fun stuff!

The pond in our back yard has been getting progressively greener since we moved in.   Philip tried some algea treatment, but it didn't seem to do much.   Also, with the hot weather, the water has been evaporating quickly!    When I noticed that the water had gotten so low that the pump wasn't even pumping water through the fountain, I had Keenan go out to turn it off.   When he came back in, he told me that there were a Bunch of tadpoles  "in the second stage of growing up" in the pond.  He was right!

Look at that!   Legs!
(Now we have to keep adding water to the pond so it doesn't empty before they are grown) =)

My champion breakfast eater

We took the kids to the Wichita Wingnuts baseball game on Friday.   It was fun!

Their mascot, Spinner the Squirrel
(He was the highlight of the night for Caleb)

Shot of the game

Since we bought tickets for the cheap seats and there were lots of empty ones, we moved around the whole stadium during the game, to watch from different spots.

Philip and Keenan at the edge of the field

Later in the game, from another spot

Caleb trying Daddy's glove on as a hat

Win for the Wingnuts!

They also had a fireworks show after the game which was fantastic!

On Saturday morning, Moriah and I went out for our first "date" since we moved here.   We did some shopping, then picked up a slushy and some cookies and went to the park.   She's pretty easy to please =)

Love this girl!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School!

On Saturday, we went to a local "fun park", because Philip had a discount through his job.

Caleb picked a couple rides, since he couldn't do the stuff the rest of us did...

He chose the train with Daddy

It turned out to be a little more intense than we'd thought!

...but he had a great time!

Then he and I did the helicopter - it was fun because you could control the up or down with the bar in your lap...

He only wanted to be up! =)

Next, the kids did the junior go carts by themselves...

This was the largest go cart Moriah had ever been on by herself and she did great!

Happy dude

Then we did the big go carts in pairs:

Keenan and I went first

It was getting too dark for good pictures

Philip and Moriah out on the track

...and coming back in

Then the kids did bumper cars:

Moriah was awesome!


Back to the go carts and we switched up partners:

Keenan was doing thumbs down because they didn't win =)

 Off we go!

We were going to play mini golf, but it was getting late, so the kids decided to do bumper cars again... I took Caleb out to see if he wanted to go on the bumper boats (he didn't), and when I came back in, Philip had joined the kids on the bumper cars and they were the only ones in there!  How fun!


 Then I got a turn:

 I was a little dizzy after =)

We started back to school on Monday, August 11th.   Our CC weekly program doesn't start for another month, but we wanted to get our school days started, since we're supposed to keep the same number of school days as the public schools here.

So handsome!


She's so excited to learn!

How could you not be with fun pencils like this??

I Love that Keenan is at the stage where it's beneficial for him to read out loud sometimes and that Moriah and Caleb benefit from being read aloud to! =)

Reading a book about sharks

For exercise (and exploration), we took a walk (about 3/4 of a mile) around the small ponds in our neighborhood.   We saw lots of fun stuff - ducks, small fish, a turtle, a few frogs, some shells...

..and this handsome guy =)

 My "bean plant" is looking gorgeous - Ha!

 I have super talented kids =)

The kids were playing dress up the other day and Keenan squeezed into this uniform...

I think it fit him a little better when he was 18 months old! =)