Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wood Floor Makeover

Switching project gears, J finally got the wood floor refinished in the small hallway between the bedrooms and bathroom. It had carpet there. We decided when we recarpeted the front room that we would just finish the wood floor under the carpet. HAHAHAHAHA!!

You see J running the smallish sander to even out the existing wood floor. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to us, there had been a door (or something) in that teeny tiny hallway at one time. They took it out and put new lumber to cover where the threshhold had been. There was also joint compound smushed in between boards and uneven spots. J sanded for about 20 minutes before deciding that it was ALL comin' out!
Look at the width of that subflooring--that's the whole reason that this house is 97 years old!! And it was hit by a tornado in the 30's!! They don't build 'em like they used to! (but isn't that the strangest little hallway you have ever seen?? I was looking out from Cami's room--and I can see 4 doorways in that tiny amount of space!)

J wants to put down hard wood flooring in the bathroom when we remodel it next fall (not sure why, but he does, so I didn't argue--so often he doesn't have an opinion, and this time he did, so we're going with it!!) So he shopped around online and found that Lumber Liquidators had the yellow pine that the rest of our hardwood floors were crafted out of. He ordered enough for the both the hallway and the bathroom. About a month ago, he got the floor laid down. The staining process took a couple weeks, because our supplier was out of supply! Then for some reason, we only had one wood threshhold thing (that holds the carpet down and makes a pretty transition). Then when we got the second one, we moved it from place to place in the house until he finally got it stained and put in place! He finished it completely this past week! YAY!!
I think it turned out great!! And will be nicer to clean puke off of than the carpet when someone doesn't quite make it to the bathroom! Mission accomplished!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Pyromaniac's Dream

Welp, worked hard all weekend clearing weeds, filling soil and compost into beds, choosing plants at the local greenhouse, and thinking on how my projects and plantings should go down. The weekend was a success, and I was ready to shoot out the back door the MINUTE C's eyes closed for her nap this afternoon. That was good timing, because it was pretty chilly this morning, and by the time I was ready, it was much warmer, though still breezy. My first project, OF COURSE was the plantings around the fire pit, which was just as much fun as I suspected it would be. I then turned to my two little raised beds on the east side of my house (flanking either side of our entry steps), removing stuff and re-planting both beds to herbs. I had several herbs already in one that are perennial, and some new ones I bought this season. After that, I planted my big flower planters. Then I turned my attention to my new retaining wall project, which will have its own pictures up soon. The coolest thing??? I have now been gardening long enough that I could "shop" in my other flower beds to partially fill the new ones!! I thought that out to a small degree this weekend when I was planning my fire pit plantings. I had bought some lirope (monkey grass) at Walmart last week. I also have a few little clumps of some variagated lirope that I decided I could move and use in contrast to the plain that I bought. It just went from there and all kinds of plants went flying out of their original homes (in part or in whole), to grace a new home!!
To back up a little, I will rehash the creation of the fire pit--in the event that anyone might want to make their own! I think that I mentioned earlier that one of the rock spots we snatched from was a pile of stone from an old limestone house. We found quite a few long, rectangular stones--perfect for the pit. From the start I had in mind a rectangular fire pit, so I was NOT disappointed in our find!!

We also had found plenty of relatively flat rock. We came home with enough to lay down as a small patio/walkway around the perimeter of the pit. J bladed out a big section of the sod and leveled it out. We set the flat rock up against the pit and then filled the cracks with sand. Actually, I am still watering in the sand and trying to get it cleaned off the top of the rock. You'll notice in the "finished" pictures that the stones are not as clearly defined as they are in the pictures of the project in progress. I suppose it will take some time to get all that sand watered in and get it settled down under the rocks. When we finished the patio we backfilled dirt around the edges. That puts the pit probably 12-18 inches above the patio rock--and the inside is deeper. We used some lava rock as the base in the pit.

There's the big man shoveling soil into a low spot.

Truly, I was helping--Grant just happened to get a pic of me in my supervisory mode. See, my REAL job is getting the image from my head to HIS head, and sometimes that just requires standing back, watching, and formulating and re-formulating the plan. (You know--"I know that I just told you to put that there, but NOW I think you should move it over there. . yeah. . way over there--it's OK--Definitely, it will be better over there!") ("BBBLLLEEEEEPPPPP"--had to censor that replied remark back to me, sorry--you just never know who will be reading!)

We also felt like we should mortar the whole thing together. I was a little less than thrilled with how THAT turned out, but I lost--and I didn't want to keep putting them back together. I still think it looks whimsical. To the east we put our stone bench right up against the rock pavers. At the Wichita garden show a few years ago, I saw one similar and was priced for $400. So I keep reminding J about how much MONEY we saved by doing it ourself!! Blink, Blink--no comment. (You'd think he didn't enjoy this as much as I do!) Anyway, there was some blue fescue grass that was growing under the weeds in my raised bed (now harboring lovely herbal plants). So I dug it out, split the clumps up, and planted that perennial interest in my raised rock bed next to the fire pit. To the left of the picture is the monkey grass with the varigated free monkey grass interspersed. In addition, I also split up a clump of strawberry colored daylilies (that was also growing in my old-new herb garden. GENIUS!! The savings are seeming priceless!! It should fill in and look great!! Hoping also that it will keep the grass out of the pavers, and that we won't have mow right up to the rock.

Because the bed is potentially in partial shade (the pit is in between 2 nasty, ugly elm trees looking like they've been through chemo (we had them "trimmed" last summer--HA!) I chose to go with bright white flowers with a splash of pink. I put some white dianthus, hot pink dianthus, some little carnation-looking stuff (perennial) called thrift (never heard of it), some pink snapdragons and white petunias, edged in purple.

And there you have it!! The new fire pit. . just waiting for some marshmallows and a dutch oven cobbler cookin' over an open flame!! Come out and relax with us ANYTIME!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Run, Run, Run

Whew!! A few free minutes to take a breath. I'm not sure where the time is going, but we have just been flitting from one activity to the next lately. The last few weeks have been full of working, track meets, music programs, church activities, school events, and some extracurriculars. It seems as the end of school is wrapping up, we are in super high gear!! Besides all that, spring has sprung and it seems that I am so behind on all my regular planting activities!! Usually, I have stuff in the ground, praying for no late surprises. This year, I have very little planted and wondering if I will even have anything in by May 1!!
D had his music program last week. It was a cowboy theme and was very cute!! The big boys are working hard in their track events. I was able to rearrange my patient load last Thursday afternoon, so unexpectedly got to attend my first track meet this year. T does high jump and discus, which are first thing in the meet and G runs the medley relay which is the absolute last event of the day!! Track was always my favorite sport, so it is fun for me to watch the kids. . .even if it takes forever! J and the younger kids went with us yesterday. We were waiting on some storms to hit, and it sprinkled off and on through the beginning of the meet. Right before the medley relay, the entire sky lit up without any real warning. Man, you should have seen the people jumping off the bleachers and heading for their cars!! It was nearly comical, until we realized that D was missing. A bunch of little kids had been playing in the trees right beside our bleachers. When everyone started running, D ran straight to the car, without stopping to see if we were still there waiting for him. We ran through the trees (tons of us) yelling for him and called him over the PA system. Finally after an eternity, G ran from the car to tell us he was there. Poor guy, cried half the way home because he didn't know what he should have done, so he did what he thought he ought to, and went to wait at the car!

Tonight was the junior high awards banquet. Yummy potlucks!! The best thing about that is having your supper dishes done before you eat supper and coming home to a clean kitchen. The boys both worked hard today cleaning up the house, while I cooked and cooked for tonight and for a baby shower I am helping with tomorrow.

We are finishing up both kids club and junior high youth group at church. Next weekend we are holding a movie night for the youth group, and will finish up both groups with a cookout in a couple weeks. We did a purity lecture this past week for the junior high group. This was the first time that I had talked about the subject with a group this young, who really didn't know much. It was fun and refreshing!! Several moms sat in on the lecture--and they made me more nervous than anyone!! The girls listened and asked some questions. The preparation of that ate up a lot of my free time this week!

I have gotten all my rocks set in place. But between work, cold, driving wind, and storms this week, I have gotten nothing planted. The next good day to plant according to the farmer's almanac is Monday--so by gosh and by golly--I will be ready!!

The weekend is already full before it gets here! The older boys are sleeping over with a friend of theirs tomorrow night, and so D will have one sleep over with him. C and I have a ton of yard prep to do before Monday gets here. J is planning on taking D fishing or to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie tomorrow night while I practice music for Sunday morning worship. Sunday will find us at church and then T and I at the track practicing his high jump. Next week starts the first of several field trips by the kids. Both boys got their reading goals met and are anticipating the "mystery trip" as a reward for that in a few weeks. They truly don't know where they will go, they just get on the bus with their lunch and head out!

So that is the new and latest in this busy family's life! I'd like to think that it will slow down, but I know it won't. Peolple say that this kind of stuff keeps you young, but I'm starting to think that this is what makes you old??!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rocks, Rocks, Everywhere

We had an enjoyable, but short weekend with the extended family. The kids are growing, the baby is getting big, and another baby is on the way. Saturday morning was reserved for loading rocks. My dad had been brainstorming about where we should collect the rocks this trip. It continues to amaze me how just a few miles difference in location results in such different types of limestone. We drove to a couple places to see the rock, and collected from two places different from where we had gotten rock before. We started out in the pasture closest to home. I always love it when my dad is able to go with us, because he takes that 'ole John Deere tractor and loads some real prizes for me!! (AKA--gianormous rocks!!) In addition, J and I can walk around and throw (or hoist) rocks into his front end loader bucket and then he hauls them back to the trailer and dumps them out. That being said, I have had more rocks break when we do it this way, but it works out nonetheless. You can see above an example of the millions of rocks available to choose from!!

This trip was a little more fun, because we stopped in McPherson on the way and bought a different pickup for me to drive to work (it gets MUCH better gas mileage than the pickup that we just sold). So we got to load the backend of that pickup too!! We sent my dad home with a bucketful of rock to load into the other pickup. The second place we de-rocked, was a pile of OLD blackened, mossy rocks--the rock used to build the original house on the homestead. These old rock houses are very common around those parts--and are cool to see! Many of them were torn down and piled up and replaced with newer materials. This pile had some excellent specimens around 2 feet long and 8 inches thick or so. ABSOLUTELY, what I needed for the fire pit project! Backing up a bit, when we go, I usually have a project in mind and collect rocks accordingly. This time, I needed stacking rocks for a retaining wall and rock to make a firepit. Many of the pictures I have seen on the Internet were round pits, and I had already decided that a square-ish one was what I was after. So you can imagine my excitement to find these huge rectangular stones that would be perfect for the job!! In addition, at this pile, I also scouted a long (3 1/2 feet or so) flat rock--perfect for a stone bench (something else that has been in the back of my mind for years!) As we started picking out rock, I saw a second long flat rock and convinced my mom (who went out with us this time too) that we should take it home and make her a little bench too. Didn't take her long to agree. (I also think she was taking advantage of my dad's impressively "accommodating mood" that day!!)

This is what our trailer usually looks like after we get it all loaded up. Keep in mind the two huge, huge rocks we got this time are on the bottom. That's a lot of weight!!

Jeremy was totally into the fire pit idea. He has found that he likes to cook in a dutch oven, and began experimenting with some recipes last summer after cooking with our friend Lane at the lake. So it wasn't too hard to convince him that we NEEDED one of these little pits!! He was outside as soon as we got home to scope out the perfect place for it. I had in mind somewhere in our hardly seen back yard, that I could enjoy viewing from my kitchen window. (I also picked a place that doesn't seem to readily grow grass). Before church he was already doing some preliminary dirt work and leveling.

After church, when C was settled down for her nap, we went to work placing the rocks in formation and he and the boys mortared them together. Then we chose the flat rocks to put down around the pit. J also helped me unload the huge rocks into my retaining wall after he did some dirt work there--and I unloaded and placed the smaller ones. Finally, we took the kids up the road and shoveled some sand from the pit to wash in around the rock to keep them stable. Monday found me unloading the rest of the rock (I'm getting pretty handy with the Kuboda tractor) and finishing the flower bed borders.

God tells us to be thankful always and for all things, and this rock hunting excursion is not excluded! As I finished unloading rock yesterday, I was very thankful and blessed by the load we brought home. I find it fascinating to find that God looks out for me always, even in the craziness and seemingly insignificant task of finding THE perfect rocks for my projects. But He was definitely overseeing the choices we made and that blessed me tremendously!! It seems that I got the perfect rocks to . .
1.) Finish the retaining wall (even cooler looking than I had anticipated!!)
2.) Build a rectangular fire pit (approximately 4 1/2 feet by 2-3 feet)
3.) Put down a small rock "patio" area around the fire pit to stand or sit on
4.) Build a rock bench next to the fire pit
5.) Put a smallish raised bed planter around the firepit and bench for some extra interest
6.) Perfectly finish the rock border outlining the last flower bed on the north side of my house (the house perimeter flowerbeds on my north and east sides are already lined with a rock border)
7.) Improve the rock wall around my pitcher pump water feature (to make it a little more sturdy when kids insist on crawling on it) My goal when I went was rock for the retaining wall, the flower border, and at the last minute, flat rock for a patio floor. So you can see how exciting it was to end up with some "extra" fun projects.

My arms are feeling better today, I could actually squeeze toothpaste out of the tube this morning without wincing (seems that very few of my regular exercises actually tone those little muscles in my forearms), I could finally get my ring off last night over a swollen, bruised, and cut up knuckle (although I couldn't get it back on this morning), and my slightly sore back muscles are back to normal!! We have finishing touches to put on the projects (like some plants, washing the remaining sand off the patio stones, and some mulching) before I post the finished project pictures. Check back within the week for the finished projects! Enjoy the spring weather

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Great Mouse Hunt

Following is a true story. . an excerpt from our lives. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent. . because, frankly, no one is innocent.

9:05 a.m.--Dev (in an incredibly calm voice, talking to no one in particular) "HMMM, there's a rat in here." (continues to watch cartoons)

10 seconds later D says again "Yup, that's a rat alright."

Tristan confirms that there IS indeed a mouse loose in the living room.

Mom: "Get a bucket and a broom and see if you can scare it out and throw the bucket over it."

D: "There he goes back behind the TV."

enter Grant (who has just gotten out of bed): D and T explain what they are doing with buckets and brooms.

Grant grabs a second entrapment container and joins them. Mouse runs from one side of the entertainment center, now sticking out into the middle of the room, to the other.

Mom: (standing on chair with coffee mug) "Mouse, mouse, mouse, MOOOOUUUUUSSSSE!!"

Mouse running past mom into the office.

Tristan: "Good Lord mother, it is JUST a little mouse."

Mouse hunters move from living room to new office furniture, where the coward is hiding now.

D: "I'm not helping anymore, it'll probably bite."

Mom: (still on chair with coffee) "Oh good grief, it won't bite you, he's way more scared of you than you are of him!!" (Really???) "Shut the door to the basement so he doesn't run there."

D: "Good idea, I'll shut all the doors so he can't get away."

Mouse runs from one corner of office furniture to the other, new file cabinet moves into the middle of the room.

Mom: (hand over mouth, biting thumb) calmly says "there he goes."

Mouse hunters move from the office to the kitchen.

Mom can no longer see, which is good news!

Refrigerator rolls into the middle of the room.

9:08 a.m.

Mouse hunters "We got him!" Mouse hunters speaking very rapidly now, mom doesn't know who says what because she is SOOO proud that her children have caught a live mouse that she is already planning what to say to dad when she calls him in the shop to report. "OK we'll just lift up a little."

Mom: "Just slide him to the door and we'll scoot him out."

Mouse hunters. "Ok on the count of three. . ."

Mom: "NOOO, don't lift him up, just scoot him. . ."

Mouse hunters. "One. . ."

Mom: "NNNNNOOOOOO, don't lift the box."

Mouse hunters. "Two. . ."

D: "He just jumped out of the handle, there he goes!"

Mouse hunters: "MOOOOOOM--there's a space under your cabinets."

Mom argues uncontrollably that there couldn't POSSIBLY be a space under the cabinets for him to go--they are NEW!"

Mouse hunters: "Well, he's gone, come look for yourself."

Mom: "Absolutely not."

9:09 a.m.

Mouse: (heavy breathing) "I think I just crapped on the floor!"

And that's how our day began!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grant's Project

Grant went with his 4-H photography group last year to a nearby garden center for some unique photo opportunities. The garden owner gave each one of the kids a strawberry plant to take home. It was a big, beautiful plant and I recall thinking, "Oh what a waste of good plants, it will just die here!" We had no place to put a strawberry plant, and everyone knows that only a few berries are put out by each plant. He was so thrilled about that plant. I found a pot for him and helped him to pot it. We set it on the front deck and I waited for it to meet its demise as soon as we forgot to water it. G was pretty intent on taking care of it though, and did well to water it. He actually harvested a few berries off of it, which were "the best strawberries he had ever eaten!" Since then, he has talked multiple times about planting a strawberry bed. A few weeks ago, we rummaged around the yard and found some OLD railroad ties and some leftover bricks. He and D put them together into a rectangular planting bed. J hauled them in some soil, and they carried buckets of compost to the top of it. According to the farmer's almanac (in which I am a FIRM believer when it comes to gardening), Sunday and Monday were THE days to set strawberry plants.

Sunday after nap time, we loaded up trowels and a box and headed for great-grandma's house. She is quite the gardener, and has a wonderful established strawberry bed, from which she graciously allowed us to steal plants. She showed Grant how to dig the berry plants out, and how to plant them back again. He dug most of the plants. When we had enough, we toured the rest of her garden and helped her remove a grape vine and some boysenberry bushes that had escaped from their places.

After a short visit, we drove back home to get them into the ground to minimize their stress. All of the boys helped to plant a few plants--Grant, of course stuck it out till the end, and Cami? She just walked around on the perimeter of the raised bed. She pulled up two freshly planted berries, and fell off the bed backwards once, but other than that, she was great help!

Grandma just has her plants in the garden, but we knew that ours wouldn't survive the kids or the weeds if they didn't have a specific place outlined as their own. The east garden fence seemed like the place to put them, I hope it works out ok there. I think this bed will be easier for us to keep mulched and weeded.

There's the finished product. Grandma thinks that they might produce some berries this summer too, so everyone was excited about that!
We also accumulated that grape vine and the 3 boysenberry bushes that we moved for her. Apparently boysenberries taste much like blackberries, which I don't care for when eating plain, but I like them in jam. So I think that I hope they live!

We also swiped some garlic plants from her to try as well. I found a small spot at the front of the garden that has been used for nothing since the herbs died out 12 years ago. It should be the ideal spot for them, out of the main garden area, but still right there to get water and harvested. I redid the herb garden a few years ago, and it is now right outside my back steps and has worked out great there.

It will soon be time to plant the rest of the garden. We are also planning that rock haulin' trip this coming weekend! So there will be gardening and landscaping project posts to come soon, and probably some pictures of those crazy kids--after all, that seems to be my life!
Don't forget your sunscreen this week!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring, Swings, and a Silly Sweetie

It seems hard to believe that it is already well into April. The weather has been super windy here--so windy that I am not even enticed to go out for long. Many things are blooming around here. The redbud tree--after being here for 12 seasons, finally looks like a little tree. Looks as though the 3 crabapple trees are going to bloom (above picture of the buds)--we missed it last year due to the blizzard. The Barlett Pear tree, the peach tree, and the forsythia bush are also flowering. Cami has been a swinging fool this week, which has given me lots of opportunities to look across the landscape and decide which spots could use more spring color. I have a notion that I need a couple more of the beautiful yellow forsythia bushes. It also appears that the lilac bushes will be loaded with blossoms soon. Many tulips have and are continuing to bloom, as well as the purple masses of creeping phlox. I have been able to tally a lot of what has lived and what has died. Most of my Russian garden is coming up, and all of the little inferno strip garden I planted last fall has survived. The generic double peony mix that I planted a couple seasons ago are up and have buds growing. One of the rose bushes that I transplanted has died, and possibly a couple of grasses. The onions are faring well in the garden so far, and many of the beets and Swiss chard plants are up. The replanted tomato and pepper plants have also been successful this time. Today I repotted some tomato plants as well as some flower seeds that I started. I do brave the horrible wind each day to go on a walkabout through the yard to see what is coming out from its slumber. Spring amazes me with the many changes that occur on a daily basis!!

The boys have been battling the wind at track practice and meets. Tristan is working on the discus and high jump as well as some relays. Seems Grant may be a runner, and is determined that he will win the 400 meter run next week. I have yet to make it to a meet (In my defense, they have only had 2), but it won't be long before my schedule catches up with theirs.

J played hookie late this afternoon as he, Grant and Dev took off for the races. For those of you that don't know him, he has a '69 nova that he fixed up and turned into a race car--and LOVES taking it to various places around Kansas to race it. He came home with winner's money once, but the smile it brings to his face is usually all we see here! Anyway, they are gone for the night--testing and tuning the car, and then the big race is tomorrow. Tris is spending the night with a friend, so that just left me and Sister here. It is so quiet and peaceful (almost--if you can ignore the wind clanging something around outside)

We didn't have any trouble deciding what to do!

Swingin' . . .

Singin'. . .(everything she knew, and if she didn't know it, she made it up)

Swimmin'. . .

Scrubbin' (still singin' --scrub a dub dub, scrub a dub dub,

scrub a dub dub dub dub dub dub-song courtesy of some

Nick Jr. character)

And after we finish Sleeping, we are headed to do some

Shopping tomorrow with Granny in the city to buy

new Sandals, Swim Suits and Summer clothes.

Sweet Dreams!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Leftover Easter Eggs??

Got a few of these things still lying around?? Here's what we do with our leftover Easter eggs!!
Warning: DON'T try this if the eggs were left out too long during the hide and seeking process--you might get sick!
Bacon 'n' Egg Sandwiches

Spread a layer of sour cream or mayo on one side of 4 pieces of bread. Top each piece of bread with a slice of cheese (we use American slices), 1/2-1 hard boiled egg-sliced into 1/4 inch slices, and 2 bacon strips (cooked and drained), and some chopped green onion if you have some. Top with another piece of bread. Butter the outside of the sandwich and cook in a large skillet (we use our George Foreman grill) until brown on both sides. Makes 4 sandwiches, but obviously very easily adaptable!
This time I used some sourdough bread that our tiny grocery store carried! We think that sourdough makes THE best grilled sandwiches--cheese, ham and cheese, or bacon/egg--the firmness of the bread composition just works better--that being said--these sandwiches are nearly as good using wheat or white bread!
Even the kids like 'em! Bon appetit'!

I just couldn't resist! Aren't they CUTE!
He may never grow up!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

High Hopes

Does anyone else ever find themselves in the middle of a project gone wrong??

I mean, how TERRIBLY difficult should it be to decorate a few cookies with the kids??
To get everyone in the spirit.
I suppose it was MY fault for getting out the little decorator tubes that we NEVER use

So they certainly MAY have been a little distracted because of the novelty of using them


Just a little creativity, just a little design, just a LITTLE dab of

frosting in one place at a time, that's ALL I asked!

The saddest thing??? Those are Tristan's craftsmanship
UUMMM--He's 13. . . and a half
Here's me and D's--I managed to salvage a few of them
with some extra lines and dots
(the smiley face, carrot nosed creature was already too far gone)
There are just SOME things that should be done by oneself. .
Especially when the project is dessert for company on Easter.
Sorry Becky!! I'm sure they'll TASTE wonderful!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Eggs 'R Us

It's the Easter season around our house! Lots of things to think about and lots of things to do! Last weekend found me participating in a community Easter performance. In the past they have put together a performance that tells of the Easter story with narration and choir songs. This year the director of that performance has been occupied with her husband who is undergoing cancer treatments. A few other women stepped up, along with the ministerial alliance and concocted an entire program with wonderful narration and various songs that portrayed each section of the Easter miracle (Palm Sunday through the Resurrection). No group music was done, just individual songs. My part was singing "Ten thousand Angels cried" (originally sang by Leann Rhimes), which fit into the narrative on Good Friday. The words to that song are SOOO powerful--I hope you all have taken the chance to listen to them. When I practice that song each season, I usually can't get through the song without completely choking up--what an amazing thing our Lord did for us!!! If you have never before visualized in your mind what it must have been like for Jesus to hang on that cross--bleeding and suffering--knowing he was completely sinless--DYING FOR OUR BENEFIT--crying out to His Father---You must! It sure seems to put some perspective into it! Anyway, the 90 minute performance was just incredibly humbling and was a great way to kick off this very important week for Christians. A good reminder of that gift of life that seems easy to take for granted.

Today found us tackling one of our favorite Easter traditions--the egg coloring!

Look at that concentration. Cami was a lot more into the eggs this year than last. Our coloring kit came with these cool little plastic collapsible cups to hold the colors. C would pick up her egg and drop it into the water, each time making a nice big splash before I could stop her. She oohed and aahed over the pretty colors!

I am just still amazed (and glad) that the big boys still want to decorate eggs. Of course, after the decorating, then comes the hiding!! We usually just hide them around in the house. Everyone takes their turn hiding and seeking them. C figured out that the shells come off, and squeezed several of them hard enough to squish them into pieces. . . which was ok with the boys, because they like eating hard boiled eggs! Next week I will share with you a recipe we like to make with our leftover eggs (if they have been refrigerated of course!)

Tomorrow we are all geared up to go to the annual Easter egg hunt in town. This will be my 14th year to attend (minus the one year we were in Topeka). The first 8 years we went I was helping to stuff eggs and set up the egg hunt as part of the sorority group that puts it on each year! Fun times. That is absolutely one event that you DON'T go late to. It starts at 10:00, and everyone is GONE by 10:15--literally!

The rest of this warmish afternoon was spent outside swinging, jumping on the trampolene, and flying kites (though it was a little windy for the kites!)

We'll hope to make and decorate some Easter sugar cookies tomorrow afternoon and then set out our basket for that "waskally wabbit" to fill up. My favorite part of Easter is ALWAYS the sunrise service out on the front steps of the church. Always wondering "was it a morning like this" that Mary looked for her Lord in the tomb, crushed when she couldn't find him, and ecstatic when she turned and saw Him as he told her not to cling to Him but that he had asended into heaven with his father! WOW!

John 20:26-29
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (that's US!)
Happy Easter!