Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Swing set




To Finnan, there is nothing better than a project that involves a tape measure.  He immediately becomes a wonderful listener, constantly on call to deliver the next tool or part needed.  His voice even lowers an octave or two...no joke.  Lucky for Finnan, he has Atticus as a father.  It seems impossible for Atticus to be project-less.  A couple of weeks ago Paw-Paw was in town and the three guys got to finish working on the swing set.  In actuality the process took about a month- we had to finalize and clear the location, re-orient the slide, and Atticus had to salvage as many free parts as possible.  But now, we have as many swings as our favorite local park (there is a fourth swing- our original swing in between two trees)...


The boys love the swing set.  And I love being able to open the back door to a playground.  We are hoping to soon replace the baby swings (apparently Jude no longer needs it!) with a trapeze or rings and eventually will run monkey bars across the top.  Another recent project was creating a pulley system with bucket which could be operated from the tree house.  The bucket can efficiently deliver sand to dump trucks in the sand box below. (In the picture below you can see Jude filling the large orange paint bucket.)


In the background of the above picture you can see my contribution- a makeshift balance beam made out a long piece of wood and some scraps to prop it up.  Atticus has already made adjustments to it...     



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Popsicles!


Since all of my posts recently seem to revolve around food...here is another one.  Well, at least the picture has to do with food, quite possible the food with the most cry stopping power in this house.

Now for the real post.  Can you guess what they are sitting on?  My old potty- yes they save everything!  Yes, Atticus has officially broken me down and I am potty training.  The first weekend was a nightmare.  I didn't want to be potty training and at every potty related suggestion, Finnan just about ran the other way. This was an improvement from the few hours I tried potty training last month.  Then he curled up in the small space between the toilet and wall and whimpered.  Really, I was not even pressuring him.  Apparently, he really likes his diapers!  Over the past week, it has gotten easier.  Finnan still has absolutely no motivation, but I guess has figured out that I am not going to give in too much.  I have dangled candy and underwear as motivators...he doesn't seem to care about either.  Even if he is talking about getting an M&M or Skittle while on the potty, he rarely remembers to pick it up after a successful pee.  I did present him with Richard Scarry's Cars, Trucks and Other Things that Move and reserve it for visits to the potty.  That is a decent motivator but extends the time of our visits to the potty significantly.  

In short, I think this is going to be a long process.  After about a week and a half he doesn't have too many accidents when he is diaperless (only while at home), but does not go to the potty without prompts from me and has yet to do his morning business in the potty.      

Apples!



I thought we would only make one day trip up to the mountains this year- to the pumpkin patch.  But with the beautiful warm fall weather and the allure of changing leaves, I found myself researching apple orchards.  At first, I was disappointed.  Only one farm seemed to be open for pick-your-own during the week: B.J. Reece Orchard.  However, B.J. Reece did not have a hayride.  After going, I am so glad they did not have a hayride.  The orchards were vast and set back from the road.  The fields had beautiful mountain views.  And, although we heard other pickers and saw many go into the fields, we rarely saw anyone else.  It was wonderful to be able to take your time, sit and enjoy apples while you picked and not worry about getting in line for the hayride or any other attractions.  

My mom was in town and was able to join us for the outing (lucky for me as I would not have been able to carry all the apples and a tiring Jude!)  We picked Rome Beauty apples.  They're delicious.  We filled a 1/2 bushel bag and Finnan carried a pint bag as well.  We also bought another 1/2 bush of Fuji apples.  Equally delicious.  A gallon of apple cider also came home with us- yum!  Even though we had all stuffed ourselves with apples in the field, we ventured out into Ellijay (with very bad directions) and found Poole's BBQ.  Their pig hall of fame (a hill covered with hundreds of pig cut-outs with names on them) and pig car greatly amused the boys and the BBQ was surprisingly good as well.  

And the best part- apple picking just keeps giving and giving.  Even after using countless apples to can applesauce, apples for apple pie and giving them away, we are still enjoying the apples.  I am just hoping we might be able to get up their again before apple picking season is over.






Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkins!


Thanks to my very organized friends, we made it to a pumpkin patch before Halloween this year.  Monday we headed up to Burt's Pumpkin Patch in the Georgia mountains with Christi, Elsa, Kate, James, Shelly and Christian.  I was impressed- they had huge pumpkins!  The kids ran around the pumpkins for a few minutes until their attention was directed toward the hay ride.  Unfortunately as they eyed the tractors, I saw the line.  I take that back, two long lines.  One to buy tickets and one to board the tractor.  (One benefit to going to the pumpkin patch after Halloween- no line!)  The kids were troopers and waited fairly patiently.  When we within only a few tractors of boarding, Finnan identified the perfect pumpkin.  I suggested that we put it to the side so we could ride the tractor.  Despite his inquiring about the tractor every minute for the past hour and a half, he said he didn't want to ride the tractor so he could stay with his pumpkin.  As you can see- it is a special pumpkin.  Needless to say, we took the pumpkin on the ride.  The hay ride went over little creeks, up hills, through the pumpkin patch, through a covered bridge and even stopped at a talking pumpkin display.  Both Finnan and I were glad we decided to take the pumpkin on the ride.  After the hay ride we ate a picnic lunch and Jude picked out a pumpkin as well.    











Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A late harvest


My blogs are not the only things not coming on time these days.  Over the past two weeks we have been enjoying community garden fresh watermelon.  Our community garden was planted last spring on a plot of land that had been clear cut for development while the market was crashing.  The soil was bad.  There were conflicting personalities.  In the end, there was little community and it had seemed like very little garden.  I was disappointed.  My visions of children squatting in a community sandbox while neighbors picnicked amongst the produce might be forever squashed (this actually does happen in a community garden about a mile west of us).  But is was not all for naught.  The beginning of October brought small ripe watermelons (about the size of Jude's head), thai chili peppers, green peppers, tomatoes, and very squatty eggplant.  Not exactly the harvest the neighbors involved were hoping for, but it was a very nice surprise nonetheless.