Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cute things Jordyn says...

The other morning, Patience woke up and walked down the hallway. I snatched her up for a morning hug and was standing there, holding her, when Jordyn walked up, started smacking Patience's leg (the only part of her she can reach), and said her first sentence: That's MY mama!

A few nights ago, Jordyn for some strange reason had a hard time falling asleep. She was in there chattering and kicking her crib well past 10:00. Don and I were really ready to fall asleep so he went in there to lay down the law. This was their conversation:

Don (angrily, with authority): Jordyn, that's ENOUGH. Now go to sleep!

Jordyn (happily, with enthusiasm): Hi!


Well, we finally had enough of Jordyn and Patience fighting over Patience's bike. Patience has been asking for a bike for a while, so we went out this evening and got her this beauty, along with all of the safety equipment that goes with biking. She can even make it go all by herself. But when she's riding, she doesn't watch where she's going. I guess that comes later.
And Jordyn, bless her little heart, is now the proud owner of the little bike. All is well at the Murphy house tonight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Patience Funny

Patience has the cutest little way of talking. She can't say the hard "C" sound. She says the "T" sound in its place. So, "okay," becomes "otay," etc.

My mom bought Patience adorable pajamas with little cats all over them. Imagine Don's horror when Patience sat in the pajamas, pointing to each of the cats on her top while counting, "One tittie, two titties, three titties, four titties..."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A perfect day...

We had a lovely day Saturday. After Don spent the morning limbing the trees and I went grocery shopping, the girls took a nap and Don went to work on our trees at Radnai's. I guess that doesn't sound too perfect, does it?
But after that, we went to our friends' home (the Duncombs) and had a lovely evening swimming, barbequeing, and walking/swimming in the river. The weather was gorgeous, the food was delicious, the company entertaining...it just doesn't get much better!
Oh, here's some entertaining information! Don got a call from Nathan last night, at about 10:30. Nathan told Don that he just found out that staff can call free from Quadra. He found this out yesterday, after using about $60 in phone cards in the past 4 weeks! So I bet we'll be getting even more calls from Nathan (he has been really good about calling every day or so). I suggested that he give his remaining phone card to a course cadet who doesn't have those "free call" priveleges.
We got awesome news yesterday! My step-dad, Lee, is jetting up on Thursday to watch the boys swim at Regionals! Bless his heart...he sure knows how to earn those Grandpa stripes! He'll fly home Tuesday, and then return on Friday with his wife for a weekend in Bellingham. It's soooo nice to have a retired dad with flight benefits : )

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Farmer's Work Is Never Done

Just when we think we're "ahead" with the work around here, a new project becomes very apparent.

This morning Don started a new project: limbing the huge Douglas Fir trees that sit on our north property line. This is a huge job...moving the ladder, cutting the limbs off (they're huge), dragging them to the trailer, taking them to the burn pile...and there are 8 trees. It's a job that really needs doing, though. Wind storms from the past 7 years have broken branches off, but they're just hanging on other branches. So, for safety's sake, they need to come down.

Strange that Don chose this weekend, when both of his big boys are gone, to start this job...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Wonderful Girlies

I'm so thankful that Don and I didn't do the logical thing and stop having children after the three boys were born. After all, we were maxed out in almost every aspect: space, finances, sanity, time...
We could have never had the girlies, and I would probably be 20 pounds lighter than I am now. My mom might have save thousands of dollars buying irresistible girl clothes and shoes. We would have extra room, extra time, and maybe even extra money because I would be able to work outside of the home. Ahhh....life would be so easy.
But instead we had these two spirited lasses who fill our lives with laughter, cuddles, and so many other delights. They're the apple of our eyes, our sunshine, our hearts. I'm so glad we were illogical.

The 2007 Garden

This little tiny garden looks almost comical compared to some gargantuan ones I've had in the past. One year (my personal best) I grew all of the veggies for our family for an entire year. We had a smaller family then. Younger, too, without these "teen-age" appetites.
I stopped gardening a few years back because it was such a huge job, I was always "behind," and I would rather spend my time at swim meets, not weeding the garden. But I missed it. I really love gardening. Growing food. Going "shopping" in the back yard for the dinner salad.
I heard about this new concept (actually it's quite old) called square-foot gardening and I thought it'd provide a perfect compromise to having a garden vs. being a slave to it. And so far it's working well.
First Don and I cleared all of the shrubs and vines that covered this area. That was a big job. Then Don Sr. made me these cool planter boxes. They're 11x4, and there are three of them. Don went and purchased two truck loads of soil to fill them. Then Dylan and I measured off 12-inch marks, screwed screws in the marks, and then strung string around them to make 1-foot squares. There is a different crop in each square, planted densely to make the most of your space, and also to not have much room for weeds.
I got a late start this year. I don't think I planted these boxes until after July 1. Mind you, up until then it was pretty cool and wet, so maybe I didn't miss much growing season. In the planter boxes, I have squash, cucumbers, lettuce, green beans, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, rutabagas, carrots, onions, leeks, kolrabi, broccoli, and cauliflower.
So far this month I've spent about 15 minutes weeding. If this goes well I'll beg and plead for pop-in-law to make a couple more boxes, and we'll clear some more space for them. This is definitely the way to grow your veggies.


The blueberry bushes are laden with fat juicy berries. The girls can frequently be found out there feeding themselves a snack (very handy). It's amazing how competent Jordyn is; she's figured out very quickly to only pick the blue ones.
These are the three bushes that we moved from the "sold" property this spring. We were afraid they might take a year off to recover from being transplanted, but we were pleasantly surprised!
Sean, Dylan, and I (and the girls, too) went out this morning to the other three bushes and picked enough in 15 minutes to make 8 recipes worth of blueberry pancakes or muffins. Those will be much appreciated this winter.

The Mystery Flower

Way back in spring, during a week or so of lovely weather, I decided to take the frugal road to flowering my yard. I bought flower seeds in envelopes and planted them in seed beds. They grew, and I transplanted them into my front yard flower beds.
Here's the mystery: these were supposed to be Petunias! I bought two packets, one white and one pink. But they don't look like any Petunias I've ever seen. They're tall instead of sprawling. Their foliage isn't velvety like Petunias. The folliage almost looks like a geranium.
So, what is this flower? And why would it be in a Petunia seed packet?

Monday, July 23, 2007

The $5000 Smile...

Worth every penny! Now he just has to avoid all contact sports, because it would not make me happy if anything happened to these pearly whites...


This is how two brothers read the same Harry Potter book at the same time.

They started reading it Sunday at the swim meet, and finished it today after practice. At first they were trading off, but then they realized they could just read it at the same time and no one would have to wait!

Tomorrow I'm sending the book to Nathan, who called and lamented that everyone at camp has it and he's the only one not reading it right now...

Friday, July 20, 2007

My hunky son...

Here is Dylan (really, it's him!) doing the butterfly at the Langley meet. I just got this picture last week while Dylan was away at Youth Action. I put that really cool quote on it (not mine, but I wish it was!) and framed it for his room. Dylan has worked so hard this season...actually since January. His times are getting way down, his turns are improving dramatically, and he's the man to beat in Div 5 in our region.

Dylan's goal for the season, set in January 2007: four golds.

Outlook for the regional championship: four golds.

He's my goal-setter and my go-getter.

Accidental Butter...

That is what we got when I poured the whipping cream into my KitchenAid mixer, added a little vanilla, and then let it whip on high while I went outside and dilly-dallied. Oops! The good news: we now have homemade sweet butter, which will be delicious on toast or pancakes. The bad news: we had no whipped cream on our blueberry pie last night. Poor us...

All is well at the Murphy household. Dylan and Sean are swimming frequently. They are tan and lean. And now Dylan, in addition to being tan and lean, is braceless, adding to the handsome factor. Yes, he's a hottie and he knows it.

We've been hearing from Nathan 2 or 3 times a week. He sounds upbeat about his summer job, not homesick at all! Last Saturday he spent his whole day riding around in the Safety Boat, and he told me he was thinking, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this!" Too bad this is only a summer job, I can see Nathan doing this kind of job for quite a while.

We have the Abbotsford swim meet this weekend. Unfortunately the weather doesn't look terribly cooperative...it's supposed to rain, and it's an outdoor pool. But, we have the trailer! And we have hot chocolate! So we're good to go. Two weeks from now is the Regional Championships, and then two weeks after that is the Provincial Championships. The summer is flying by.

Our 4-H club has their first fair this weekend, and I can't tell you how relieved I am to have no part in the planning or attending of this fair. I just know that not being a 4-H leader next year will really take a huge load off of my stress factor. Did I tell you that since Dylan attended Youth Action, a 1-week leadership conference for 14 and 15 year olds, he has decided that he DOES want to do 4-H again next year? It might have something to do with a new love interest that he met there. I told Don that he should take the boys to the club meetings/training sessions, as I will get roped in to something as soon as I show my face.

Okay, I am off to start my day now that I am fully caffeinated and my guilt (from not updating this blog) is somewhat assuaged. Now it's your turn, Mom!


Saturday, July 07, 2007

4-H Member Camp

Somehow this spring I was unanimously elected to run the Langley 4-H District Members' Camp. I think my qualifications were that I had a child in the correct age category and I wasn't smart enough to say, "no."
We went to a lovely lodge on Stave Lake, about an hour north of where we live. It was really a beautiful site, and were we ever spoiled weather-wise. Just last week it was rainy and cold, and when we went up on Wednesday afternoon it was clear and 75 degrees. Aaaahhhhhh....
Two other leaders and I went up on Wednesday at four to unload a mountain of groceries and supplies for the camp and basically get it ready for the arrival of our 18 campers and two parents who were staying. They arrived at 7-ish, unpacked and set up their stuff in the two dorm rooms, and then we played some really fun ice-breaker games.
We ate a late snack (pizza) and then played some capture-the-flag type games on the huge grassy field in front of the lodge. We practiced some skits and then walked down to the campfire site, right on the edge of the lake. Did I mention it was a gorgeous site? After skits, we had smores, and then we went on a flashlight hike. When we got back to the lodge, it was 11:30, so we told everyone that they had 30 minutes to do as they wished, and then it was lights out. They were free to talk quietly among themselves, but not keep others from sleeping. We may as well have been speaking Bangladeshi. Finally, around 2:30, after numerous threats and pleading, they finally shut up and went to sleep.
The leaders got up around 6:30 the next a.m. to have lots of coffee and get ready for the day. Sean's grade 6 teacher, Mr. Thomson, arrived around 7:30 as he was going to join us for breakfast and then take the kids fishing. At 8:00 all of the adults took pots, pans, and wooden spoons, banging them through the dorm rooms, singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" at the top of our lungs, trying very hard to sound as bad as possible. The campers were downright incensed!
By 9:00 they were readying their fishing rods. Then they fished, without as much as a bite, until 11 or so. They had lunch, and then broke into two groups: one went canoeing and the others did their tie-dye shirts, then they switched. After that was all done, the whole group played this fantastic survival game with carnivores, herbivores, a hunter, disease, food, water...it's a complicated game but SO MUCH FUN. The kids loved it, and played for about an hour.
They had a quick snack, and then went swimming when the lifeguard arrived.
Which brings us to supper time. We ate spaghetti, caesar salad, and rolls for dinner. After dinner we did an ice cream activity where you put the ice cream ingredients inside a small coffee can, and then put the small coffee can inside a large coffee can. The space between the two cans is then packed with crushed ice and road salt. All lids are duct-taped securely, and then the cans are kicked and rolled back and forth between the members for 25 minutes or so. They loved this, as you can imagine!
We had planned another camp fire for the night-time, but the kids just migrated towards the tables in the living area and started playing board and card games. They were having such a great time that we just let them play. We tried lights out again at midnight, but those rotten children were still up until the wee hours of the morning.
Friday morning everyone got up and packed up their personal belongings, and then took them outside to the lawn area. They had a breakfast of pancakes, sausages, ham, and OJ, and then they started cleaning the lodge according to a checklist. Kids are NOT very good cleaners.
They all left around 10 a.m. and Sean and I stayed behind to mop floors and check everything. It took quite awhile, and I was pretty dismayed at the things the kids didn't do. But, oh well. We finally left at noon and arrived home to find two ecstatic girls and one relieved husband!
It was a lot of work, but the kids had a great time so of course it was worth it. Will I do it again? No! No! No! Please remind me of that next spring when they're looking for another coordinator : )

Mothers to be...

It's so lovely to see Patience and Jordyn being nurturing!

Victoria Holiday

Let me start by apologizing about how long it's been since I've updated my blog. My very good friend Heather told me by email yesterday that "it must be about time to harvest" from my last blog entry, Gardening with Girlies, from so very long ago!

Now, onto our lovely Victoria holiday, which was such a wonderful time for all of us (except, maybe, those who stayed behind to take care of my many children!). The good news is that apparently Don and I have learned to NOT come back from a relaxing vacation expecting a new baby : ).

I brought my camera to Victoria but neglected to bring the charger. So, when my camera battery died the first day we arrived, Heather took over all picture-taking duties.

We had lovely meals out at restaurants that are not appropriate for small children. We toured Buchart Gardens. We had high tea at the Ellis House. We walked around Victoria in beautiful weather. We enjoyed ferry rides and car rides. And we stayed in an incredible two-room suite that was truly fit for royalty. It's almost a shame we never used the kitchen there!

The best part was catching up with my best friend from high school about what our lives have brought in the past twenty+ years. We have so much in common...we have two sons with such grand aspirations for their lives. Her Nolan will someday be the president of the US, and my Nathan will someday be a first-round draft pick in the NHL. We've decided that those two HAVE to meet.

Don and I came home to a very happy brood of kids, and very tired grandma and grandpa. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for us to get away for a long weekend. It was just what the doctor ordered.