Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dad Look at Me!

Amelia Hatch - my mentor

Me - delighted the oil was doing exactly what it was suppose to do!Work under the car complete - yup, that is a gob of motor oil in my hair...
Today I learned a new skill.
This experience was wonderful and empowering.
However the opportunity was not without Scare and Mistake...
Scare #1
We can't find the oil pan... (found it behind a trap door - didn't know my vehicle was so mystical)
Scare #2
Are we going to be able to get the nut off?
Mistake #1
Yup, got the nut off, oil is streaming fast out of the pan and we have our drip pan all ready. Oops, forgot to take the plug off the drip pan and the oil is quickly running over...
Mistake #2
Moving over to take the oil filter off and put my head directly in the spilt oil...
Scare #3
Learn that my vehicle is a V6 not a V8 and I totally told the guy at the auto parts store that I needed an oil filter for a V8 (spend the next 15 minutes on the phone with the guy from the auto parts store, explain the whole thing - tell him it is okay to laugh at me - find out that it is okay to have the filter that I did put on).
Scare #4
Looking at the dipstick we can't see any oil at all (luckily I was still on the phone with the guy from the auto parts store and he suggests turning on the vehicle first...yup, worked)
Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I do it again? Definitely - already setting up a meeting with another friend because she wants to learn too!
Wondering about my hair? Well I have since had two showers, washed my hair three times with shampoo, once with apple cider vinegar and finally resorted to dish soap after leaving it in for no less than 15 minutes. It is much better now, not completely normal yet...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pioneer Day at Bishop Davies' ranch, Fletcher, North Carolina - Friday, July 24, 2009
Ryan slept in a tent for the first time in his life, and he has the picture to prove it. He and Nathan had a blast! Saturday morning, the whole family participated in some Pioneer Day activities.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Steve, Rosie and the kids came to visit us in North Carolina during part of their week-long vacation. The kids were so happy to be together. They never get enough "cousin time." As hard as it may be to believe, they were relatively calm when together and even went to bed at a reasonable hour each night!

Ryan was able to take Monday off while they were here. He, Steve and Zach went golfing. While the guys were off golfing Rosie, Sandy, Alaina, Nathan, Audrey and I went to Chimney Rock.
We ate lunch, went hiking, took a bunch of pictures, (some) got wet in the waterfall and
saw some water snakes!

On Tuesday (after Ryan went to work) the rest of us headed out to some new adventure that we have never experienced...we went to Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest.

After our day full of fun. We had Nathan's new favorite meal
white pasta (Chicken Fettucini Alfredo).
Steve and Rosie gave him an early birthday party because we
won't be together for his birthday.

I have a hundred more pictures I would love to post but I can see this post is long enough. Thanks everyone for a great time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Carl Sandburg Home

Sandburg Home - Theater

Sandburg Home - Bench by the Pond
Sandburg Home - Kids Loving the Goat

We really do love living in North Carolina. There are so many wonderful outdoor things to do here. On Saturday, July 13th, we took the kids to the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, NC. The following is what Wikipedia had to say about the estate.

Carl Sandburg was a poet. He was originally a Midwesterner from Chicago. Sandburg and his family moved this home in 1945 for the peace and solitude required for his writing and the more than 30 acres of pastureland required for his wife, Lilian, to raise her champion dairy goats. Sandburg spent the last 22 years of his life on this farm, and published more than one-third of his works while living here.

The site includes the Sandburg residence, a dairy goat farm, (home to the Connemara Farms goat herd), sheds, rolling pastures, mountainside woods, 5 miles of hiking trails on moderate to steep terrain, two small lakes, several ponds, flower and vegetable gardens, and an apple orchard.

We spent over two hours there. There isn't a fee for admission! The kids really enjoyed the goats and we walked over some of the trails. There are benches and picnic tables around so we were glad that we brought at picnic. Ryan went in a toured the home--the guy never threw anything away, just incredible. Just as we were leaving it started raining. It was a great outing for our family.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Additional Lessons From My Brother

We often focus on the negative things that Nathan teaches Audrey. However, Nathan is sometimes a positive role model for Audrey. In fact, just last week she went from eating only one fruit (banana) to now eating apples and pineapples! Thanks Nathan, we know that was your influence.

Temper Tantrum Girl - updated

Audrey is truly a joy to have. She adds so much to our family and we all love her so much. She and Nathan have a great relationship. I truly have never seen a brother and sister get a long so well. (I feel sorry for what my parents had to endure with my other brother and myself!)

As Audrey gets older she also has become much more set in her ways (she isn't even 2!) and independent. One morning sometime before 11 am she decided that she wanted to brush her teeth for the fourth time. I was lacking in patients so I told her she didn't need to brush again and tried to get her out of the bathroom. Well this set her off. She crawled out of the bathroom - apparently walking was too much - screaming and crying. She went into her bedroom, slammed the door and then locked it. Truly this escalation happened in the space of 40 seconds. I unlocked her door, went in her room to talk to her. She didn't mind that I went in her room but was angry that I didn't shut the door behind me. She crawled off her chair went to the door and slammed it again. I tried talking to her and calming her without any success.

So, I decided that maybe I shouldn't have made such a big deal about her fourth brushing of the day and carried her back to the bathroom. By this point I believe she had forgotten what she wanted to do in the first place. But she was still angry. She picked up the bathmat, after a few attempts, wadded it up and threw it in the hallway. At this point I was so amused with the show that I just let her go. Off to her bedroom again and this time shutting the door without locking it. I decided to make a phone call to tell about the tantrum. As I was standing in the hall talking and laughing about it the door opened slowly and it was over. Then was the demand for the phone!

I think we are in for it during the teenage years. Or maybe she is just blossoming early and will be very mature during her teens. Okay a mom can hope can't she?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lessons From My Brother

This morning I was getting ready to mop the floor in the kitchen and sent the kids downstairs to their playroom. As I was moving furniture I heard it - Nathan's hysterical laugh - for anyone that knows Nathan this means....TROUBLE! The laugh was not coming from the basement but from outside. (Audrey started crawling through the dog door several months ago and Nathan recently worked up the courage as well). I ran down the stairs, unlocked the keyed deadbolt and bolted outside.

Now just close your eyes and imagine this scene. The sky was overcast and a light sprinkle began to fall. I peer around the side of the house and there stands our 20 pound Audrey, bare naked from the waist down. Behind her about four feet was her diaper and about two feet further were her pink Minnie Mouse shorts. Audrey proudly looked up and declared that she was "peeing" on a bush.

After hauling them both inside the house, locking the deadbolt and 10 minutes of serious time-out I started talking to Nathan about the inappropriateness of their behavior. I asked Nathan how they got outside and discussed the danger. Then I asked him what Audrey was doing with her pants off. He proudly stated, with giggles in his voice, that she was peeing on the bushes. I inquired further to see where she would get an idea like that. He responded that in the minutes previous he had to do the same thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial

This morning I turned on the television and was watching a few minutes of the MTV memorial for Michael Jackson. Nathan walked in and I asked him if he knew who was on television. He didn't - not a big surprise. Then he asked, "is that a boy or a girl?"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pool Days

Our friends the Hatches have invited us to the pool and Audrey and Nathan have really enjoyed themselves! Audrey does like to get in the pool but she spends most of her time being a fashionista! Other than fashion, her main duty is making sure that everyone - Nathan, Drew and Nick all have ample snacks.

We are really enjoying our summer here in North Carolina. It is probably as hot and muggy here as it is anywhere but we still enjoy getting out and seeing the sites you can only see here. Stay tuned as we have a few day trips planned to see some other things North Carolina has to offer.