Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Music, trees, eyes, politics, and more trees

Usually a post around these parts will have something to do with music, art, trees or books, and this time is no exception.  But politics, you say?  Oh yes, read on dear reader.....

Grace started taking violin lessons this past fall and started progressing so well that I knew pretty quickly she needed a better teacher than the one we had originally chosen.  She has been taking with her new teacher at Elite Strings since February and we both think he is fabulous and an excellent teacher with high standards, but also very encouraging.  I am so sorry we didn't start with him to begin with.  She has learned so much in such a short amount of time.  She had her first recital last month and I was able to accompany her, which was fun.  I wish we had it on video, but obviously I wasn't in charge of the camera, so all we got was a few pictures.

The beginning of this month Christian had his state tree climbing competition finals in State College.  The day of the competition happened to be on Naomi's birthday, so we just couldn't leave her home and decided to take her along for some special mom and dad time.  She was in her glory staying at a hotel, swimming in the pool, eating out and getting drinks at Starbucks.  The competition day is a long, and most of the time is spent waiting for the other guys to go, so we had some free time to ourselves until it was Christian's time to go.  He had a great climb and placed fourth over all. 

 A few weeks ago our state representative, Marci Toepel visited our 4-H alpaca farm and our club leaders asked me to bring the kids over to show her around.  She was very nice and was the least "political" politician I have ever met (not that I have met a lot).  The kids even said she was like a "normal person."  So it was a good lesson for us all.  Even politicians can be real people, too.  She invited us to come visit her in Harrisburg and get a tour, and I think we will take her up on that next school year.

Last week Asher got some sawdust in his eye and ended up with a scratched cornea.  He had to wear a patch for a few days until it healed.  He was embarrassed about it at first and didn't want to go out until he realized that it would be funny to have Aiden draw and eyeball on his patch.

He begged me all day long to take his picture with him in bed pretending to be asleep with his patch on.  He thought it would be so hilarious.  It is pretty funny now that I look at it.  He also got quite a few double takes from people when we were out and about, which kept me snickering.

This past Sunday was so beautiful, so we headed down to Morris Arboretum for a walk through the park with Christian.  This was our fourth time down there this year already and only the first time Christian was able to go with us besides Christmas time last year.  We had a lovely time of course.  The weather was absolutely perfect and we had fun exploring parts of the arboretum that we had never seen before, most notably the Japanese gardens that are off the beaten path.  The garden railway is fantastic as well and I highly recommend a visit even just to see that display.

And we finally got a family picture at our favorite tree.  And yay, everyone is looking and smiling!

I wish I didn't have to post all these events in one post, but if I don't then it won't get done at all and I like to have it all here for posterity.  Better to blog imperfectly than not to blog at all, I say.

Friday, May 30, 2014


We missed Lily's last heat (long, long story) so we would have had puppies right now if she had gotten pregnant, but we don't.  Boo hoo.  However having baby bunnies is proving to be just as, if not more, fun. 

Every night while we read now at least two baby bunnies are snuggling on someone's lap.  I just had to share their adorable fuzziness with you.  These pictures are mostly for you Denise.  ;)

Two are already sold, so there is only one left for whom we need to find a good home.  I don't think we will have any trouble though.  How can you possibly resist that cuteness?!  And they certainly will be friendly with all the handling they get.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rock Climbing at Ralph Stover

Christian has been talking for a while about taking the kids rock climbing at Ralph Stover State Park and today he and a friend from church finally did it.  He had been hesitant to go on a weekend for fear of the crowds and not being able to get a decent climb, but it was surprisingly not crowded at all and they were able to set up at a really nice spot.

He took the four oldest kids and they had a blast.  We weren't sure how Asher would do, but he's a natural and thinks it is pretty much the "funnest thing ever!"

Aiden coming down.
"Is it my turn yet?"
Now that the kids know how much fun rock climbing is, I have a feeling it won't be too long before they are going again!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A brief update is better than none

I have been meaning to blog, I really have.  It just keeps getting put off because the longer I wait the more that happens and the less I know where to start.  I have to start somewhere though, so here we go.

Grace is still apprenticing at the Peter Wentz Farmstead and volunteered at the annual sheep sheering day in April.  She ended up at the tape loom weaving table, which she liked, but she did end up a bit bored because the lady she was apprenticing with was about 1000 years old and not exactly super helpful.

So she ended up wandering over the the popular egg scratching lady's table and had fun learning how to scratch eggs.  These are not wooden eggs but eggs dyed with red onion skins and carefully scratched with an exacto knife with beautiful patterns.  I like this idea for decorating Easter eggs much better than the modern way ,so this is how we did our eggs this year.  It was a lot of fun!  Apparently they will dry out inside and last forever as long as they don't get cracked.  

A couple weeks later we headed to Pennsbury Manor for their sheep shearing day.  We don't really care so much for the sheep shearing part since we have seen so much of it, but we do enjoy the colonial reenactment part.  Pennsbury Manor was interesting because it was much older than the Peter Wentz Farmstead, being that it was the home of William Penn.  It was beautiful property and such a lovely day right after that huge two day rain storm that we got.

Interestingly, I think this "joyner" guy was their favorite.  I think it was because he was the most interesting and was the best at explaining his craft.

We also extended our Morris Arboretum membership for another two years and have been down there twice this spring already.  I attempted to get a new header picture at our favorite state champion katsura tree, but it didn't turn out as good as last time due to poor lighting and poor child placement, so we will have to try again.  It is always a fun and relaxing time there though and they had an interesting birdhouse display going on around the garden that was fun for the kids.  I love how Morris keeps it educational for the kids with scavenger hunts and passbook stamps at different stations around the arboretum.

And back on the home front.  We bred our two rabbits and now have the most adorable baby bunnies.  I don't think I realized how adorable baby bunnies are, but they are so stinkin' cute I can't stand it!  

That's all for now!

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Jersey Alpaca Classic

This past Saturday Grace, Aiden and Naomi competed in the New Jersey Alpaca Classic with their 4-H club.  This was the biggest show we had been to yet and it was a great experience for us all.  We planned on only staying for half the day, but were having such fun that we decided to stay for the whole day.

The kids competed in two competitions with their alpacas.  The first was an agility course in which they needed to walk their alpaca through an obstacle course, demonstrating their ability to handle the alpaca gently yet with control.  The second was a showmanship competition in which they needed to demonstrate their ability to present their animal to a judge and answer questions about their alpaca.  This is what the adult owners were doing in the next ring over from us and was meant to train the kids now how to show an animal in the future.  We had no idea what to expect for this and weren't quite as prepared as we could have been, but it was a great learning experience.

(the event was inside, hence the blurry pictures because of poor lighting, but this one was too cute not to include)

They took 2nd (Naomi), 3rd (Grace) and 4th (Aiden) places in the agility course in the morning.  Poor Aiden was "slightly" disappointed that the 4th place ribbon had to be pink.  They were all pretty ecstatic though that they received such huge ribbons compared to the other competitions in which they competed in the past.

Aiden should have gotten bonus points for the fact that his alpaca gave the judge a kiss.

We just so love our 4-H club.  I have heard that not all clubs are alike and ours seems much smaller, and more relaxed than some, which we really like.  The kids are making friends, learning leadership skills, gaining responsibility and knowledge in the proper care of animals.  And it's fun!  They always look forward to the club meetings once a month and since the farm is less than 5 minutes away we can visit and work the animals whenever we want. 

And even though Asher and Claire are not technically in the club they always go along too and are going to make great club members someday if we keep it up.  Claire is hilarious and will walk right into the midst of a group of alpacas, completely unafraid and try to pet them all.  She is not afraid one bit, but she sure makes the rest of us nervous!

I love this picture of Grace and Colby....

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