Monday, September 22, 2014

The boys have been working hard in school.  Right now we are trying to improve their reading, memorizing math facts (adam-multiplication b&b- addition), bible memory, etc.  There are plenty of "funny" things that happen along the way.  Adam nailed a Science quiz today after lots of studying definitions of 20+ hard words like Sublimation, condensation, state of matter, mass, etc.  Turns out the whole time he was studying and even after the test he thought it was Social Studies!  And Brad spells his last name wrong  BUT I can already tell the one-on-one they are getting from me is helpful for them.  And like everything else around here, if I can stay on top on things (their assignments, test prep, communication with teachers and so on), it can go smoothly.  They do have to work very hard to get things, which is hard for me to understand sometimes.  Elementary school was easy for me, from what I remember.  God has been very kind, giving me the strength I need for each day.  We start our school days with their Bible assignment which we use as our devotions as well.  We are reading through Genesis. 

Last week on a non school day, Clay and I took his cousin and grandma on a bike ride.  We hit my favorite rails to trails.  It's a new and beautiful trail, overlooking the river.  Many picnic tables and benches along the way.  The boys were very entertaining, they had a great time outriding mom and I. 

Rode to the 3 mile marker, then turned around.  

We saw an eagle fly in on the way back.  So cool!

And Saturday was another 5K, this time benefiting a very local ministry GAiN (global aid network)  The boys said i should have ran to my run, it was only 2 miles from our house!  The conditions were great, cool and dry.  I didn't love the hills but i liked the run.  I ran right past Rod's uncle's farm and chatted with him briefly while going by.  And Rod flew around me the whole time which is why i didn't walk up that one hill.
But the highlight for me was the boys 1 mile fun run.  Adam crushed it.  Granted there weren't many kids in it, maybe 20.  but he was well ahead of the next guy (which happened to be Brad).  I was so happy for him, i think he thought he wouldn't be able to run a whole mile.  This gave him confidence.  I'd like to run a 5K with him next year.
He said "i'm wearing jeans mom"  you go right ahead
Clay beat a 12 year old boy and didn't break a sweat
I didn't catch his official time, but it was 6 minutes and something.  

The boys got to run with their church friends.  Ben just missed placing in the boys catagory.  He was so disappointed.  Run faster next time buddy! 

I got first in my division, female age 30-39.  Yup, i'm hooked on small races now  
church friends
The money raised from the races went toward buying seeds to send to other countries. 
My next run isn't until Thanksgiving Day, the Turkey Bowl benefiting a Christian Camp.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pumpkin field

Sunday after church we took advantage of the pumpkin field in our front yard.  Rod knew our Amish neighbor was going to be picking them the next day, so he decided to do a photo shoot with the boys before they took them away.

The pics don't do this justice.  The pumpkins are so huge, some reaching 200 pounds.  

I like Rod's style of picture taking.  He used walkie talkies to tell the boys where to go, since he was far away in some of the pics.  (the boys are all in this picture)

The Amish even rented bees to help pollinate.  He might not have needed to because our bees are very close to this field, but i'd say it worked!  There were so many.

And Monday they did come and got a couple wagon loads full.  It's still full of pumpkins!  So far he let us pick 4 pumpkins to keep for ourselves.  Hoping he tells us to "glean" soon :)  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

honey harvest

I am glad to say our first year of extracting honey is behind us!  Monday night we took out the frames that we planned on extracting, leaving 2 full boxes for the bees to chow on over the winter.  The bees were very angry with us.  fortunately my full body bee suit did the job and I didn't get stung.  Rod had stingers all over his gloves, 6 of them made their way through the gloves. 

We set those frames in the garage, covered, to be extracted on Tuesday night.  By Tuesday, the bees got the memo that the frames were in the garage and by the time we started the process outside of the garage, thousands of bees were joining us.  It was such a rookie mistake.  I have first year beekeeper written all over me.  But Clay had fun running through the bees declaring he won't ever get stung, and somehow he didn't.  

We decided to do it at night, after the bees go home:
Cleaning out the extra

We did get 2.5 gallons of honey, which for a first year is pretty good.  we would have gotten more if our hive didn't swarm.  But I'm happy with that and I think that'll last us a year, or at least through the winter.  I hope the bees make it through the winter.  The one hive appears healthier then the other so we'll see what happens. 

Happy with our harvest.  Bees are so facsinating, there is much to learn.  I am grateful to have this experience.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


I ran in the Bird-in-Hand 5K this weekend.  When i did my first race back in May, i thought 500 runners was so many.  But this one had 900 runners!  My goal was to come in 400th place :)  i came in 200 something place and beat my 5K record.  But i felt terrible the last mile.  i was very tempted to walk but didn't.  

The whole weekend event was such a blast.  My run and a balloon launch was Friday eve.  The 1/2 marathon and balloon launch was Saturday.  There was a wonderful free lunch after that.  We got to see a lot of people we knew.  Krista ran in the half marathon Saturday and the boys and i ran/walked the last 2 miles with her.  There were 1700 runners in the 1/2, 50+ of those needing treatment, due to the heat.  And some of them were sent to the hospital.

It was so neat to see this community come together, most of the volunteers were amish, you can tell they love serving in this event.  It was so well organized, for the size of it, the money raised went towards the local fire department.  I hope to do it again next year, maybe with Adam!  I think he could do it.  Actually they all probably could, but that just sounds like a circus act waiting to happen now doesn't it?

Pics from Friday night's run:
Coming down the finish line.  Yes i'm pretty sure that old man passed me.  My time 28:10
The crew waiting for me to finish

Saturday's 1/2.  Rod flew in the morning with the balloons at the start of the race.

We had a great visit with Krista, she stayed with us from Wed-Sunday and her mom and sister came for the weekend and stayed in our apartment.  They were such fun.  The boys loved every minute.

Now gearing up for a new week of school, and Clay starts preschool this week.  Also honey extraction day is Tuesday!  Look for that sticky update soon :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

So far, so good with our new school setup.  I'm impressed with the University Model, and how organized and thorough the teachers are even though it's only the 3rd year this school has offered this model.  The godly staff and small setting has been a blessing to me.  The hardest part so far has been covering 6 textbooks with brown bags!  Not a fan of that job.  All 3 have a little bit of catching up to do in their reading level, but i'm hopeful now that it's on my radar, we can concentrate more on that and improve.  I'm doing a lot more driving these days, but i like using the car ride to talk to the boys, since they can't run away from me it makes for good discussion time!   Adam has made a couple friends, and when you are a twin i think you are automatically a hit.  At the 'meet the teacher' night the twins walked in and another boy was there and says "twins in my class!  this is the best day EVER!"  ok then.

i remind myself at the end of every summer that just because school has started doesn't mean we can't still make memories!  We got to a Barnstormers game this week, and had a great time.  I like going when there's not many people there, the boys get more time with Cylo and an easier time getting the freebies.

These shirts came from a game we went to a couple years ago, they were giving them out.  Clay was stumbling over his, so he'll have to wait to wear his. 

And the boys had their 2nd Annual Labor Day Cousins Campout.  (We need to shorten that title).  They were very excited to go and had a fun time playing baseball and camping out together.  They got much less sleep then i did that night!  Thanks mom for making it happen again. 

We were just outside enjoying a campfire and firecrackers when some heavy rains came.  I planted some fall garden this year and am glad for the rain!  The most interested thing in my garden right now is popcorn.  I pulled an ear yesterday and we took off the kernels and dried them.  Tonight I popped about 1/3 cup of kernels.  It was so cool to grow my own popcorn, I'm thinking easy Christmas gifts right here! 

Happy Labor Day.  Now that i'm a teacher part-time i should look into what Labor Day is!

Monday, August 25, 2014


For entertainment purposes, the following is this year's sting count for the family...

Mommy - 7
Clay -   4
Daddy - 2
Adam - 1
Ben - 1
Brad - 1

Not too bad considering we have tens of thousands of bees on our property!  And with the exception of one of Clay's stings, we've only gotten stung while back at the hives, doing inspections.  We can be right next door on the swing set minding our own business, and the bees don't bother us. 

After our hive swarmed we needed the original hive to make another queen.  They can't do that without eggs in their cells, and there weren't any eggs because the queen left in the swarm and she's the only one who lays eggs.  So i transferred a frame from another hive with eggs in the cells and pulled out a full frame from the queenless hive, to make room for the egg filled frame.  (i'm sure that made no sense)  I cut off the capping (bees cap the cells with wax after the honey gets to the right humidity/consistency) and set the frame in a big bucket and let the honey drip out.  This is what we got from that! 

It was an exciting morning.  And the shiny that you see on this frame below is honey, so once it's extracted the proper way we will get much more honey just from this one frame.  i am anxious to see how much honey we get total.  i think i said before we won't get a huge amount, because we started from scratch and the bees had to make all their own comb.  Now next year we will reuse these frames and the comb is already drawn out.  They can get right down to honey producing. 
The dark areas are just cells where there once was brood; baby bees that hatched.  It darkens the cells for whatever reason!

A selfie in our bee suits:
Clay is really trying to figure out how he can eat that apple:
The original hive did requeen so all 3 hives have a queen now, i think.  Our hive that swarmed in July might not make it through the winter, they probably won't have enough honey stored up for themselves and they will likely starve.  But we'll see!  I'm having fun with beekeeping.  I'm anxious to 'harvest' in 2 weeks.  We're borrowing an extractor and 2 other families are joining us with frames from their hives.  There will be many an angry bee that night!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School

today the boys started at their new school, 2nd and 3rd graders!  They were very excited, i am proud of their courage.  There are so many good things to say about this school, but starting the day off with 10 minutes of outdoor play?  that there stole my heart.

It's a small school, 11 kids in B and B's class.  13 kids in Adam's.  I love that more then words can say.  They also do not send kids home with homework, but they work hard while at school.  Makes sense to me!!

Adam go to school 3 days and week and will do the other 2 days at home with me.  The twins go only 2 days a week, and will do 3 days at home.  Sounds confusing doesn't it?!  Next year, they will be on the exact same schedule.  This model is called University Model, (UMS).  The vision for this model is to get children ready for college by putting them in a similar arrangement now, by having a couple days of classroom time, and doing a lot of work at home, like they apparently do in college (I never went to college!)  This model is not new, there are a lot of these schools in other states, but this is the only one offered in PA. 

I am not oblivious to the reality that the home days could be challenging!  has anyone ever spent time around Clay?  And i have concerns about one boy that has trouble with focus, and 2 other highly inquisitive boys as well.  But knowing this, i still have peace about this and am so happy for them to have this structure which to me feels like the most ideal setting for THEM.  Each family/child is different and thrives in different settings!
We know quite a few families in the school, so it's nice to have familiar faces right off the bat.  We feel like the school is going to grow, quickly.  A mom said today that it looks like twice as many kids as last year.  It's such a neat concept and a good in-between option for a lot of families.

I cannot believe that I didn't take a picture of them today!  totally forgot....BUT I did get a picture of the awesome clothes I got at a TWINS YARD SALE on Saturday!  Everything is matching or coordinating.  I've never been to a better twins sale in my life, i couldn't have dreamed it up any better.  it was massive, and good quality clothing, it was unbelievable.  I took down her name and number and I think i'll call and see if there are any sets that didn't sell I'd like to look at them again!  I was never so giddy at 7:30 in the morning before.  we got over 40 things for $60.

I need to organize my teaching papers so tomorrow can run smooth.  It's my first day!  Feel free to breathe a prayer!