Saturday, March 19, 2016

January

This year, we discovered that Netflix has (pre-recorded) New Year's Eve countdowns for kids. Since none of us are usually awake past 10:30pm in this house (including the adults), that was the perfect alternative to actually trying to stay up until midnight. So we watched a 90 second video with a countdown, cheered for the New Year, then all went to bed :)

As I mentioned in Audra's last post, we went to an ice sculpture competition during one of the warmer days of the month. We went pretty early in the day so we didn't get to see the completed sculptures, but it was still pretty cool (no pun intended) to see the different sculptures taking shape... it was just very wet there since all of the ice was melting too.


There were a fair number of people there, include various entertainers. So Josie got to see a unicyclist for the first time (not even knowing that her own dad can ride a unicycle too!), and also saw "the Ice King", which was a man on stilts all dressed up like a male version of Elsa, dancing to "Uptown Funk". Josie absolutely did not know what to make of him, and hid behind me despite/because of his attempts to try to dance with her... and then talked about him the rest of the week (why did that tall man look at me? why was that tall man dancing? why is he the Ice King?).
And Audra wasn't the only one who licked the ice - Josie maybe even instigated that little bit of embarrassment for me.




Conveniently, it was still pretty warm out when our bare root plants were delivered to us, so Ryan was able to put them straight into their permanent spots. We ended up having to replace several of the perennials in the garden due to snow damage, drowning, and what I suspect (although Ryan doesn't agree) was reacting to black walnut mulch. So we replaced the dead peach tree with a multi-graft "fruit salad" (peach, nectarine, plum, and apricot), replaced the multi-graft cherry tree with a different multi-graft cherry tree (bing and two other varieties), and replaced all of the raspberries and some of the blackberries. And although pictures of bare trees in the winter aren't all that exciting, here are some pictures anyway :)

[Fruit salad - we'll see how this one does, since a lot of secondary branches were broken during transport]

[Cherry]

[Blackberry]

[The apple tree - although we thought we were going to lose it last year, it's still alive so far!]

We also got two of the permanent residents in the greenhouse, so we'll see if we can grow (and I can maintain in dwarf form) a mulberry bush and fig tree :) Ryan also finished building shelves in the greenhouse, so we're pretty much ready to actually start growing things in there. There is still a bit more work to do to organize the greenhouse, and Ryan's planning on installing my outdoor shower in there (making it slightly less "outdoor" that way, but giving it some more privacy without having to build a separate structure for it), but it's really starting to come together now... and is super solid, so it hasn't collapsed during bad weather like the first greenhouse did.


[Fig on the left, mulberry on the right]

Speaking of the greenhouse withstanding bad weather, that was proven when we got our big snowstorm - over three feet of snow dumped on us over a couple of days, and the roof didn't collapse on the greenhouse (or on the house either, for that matter).



[Just the tips of the apple and cherry trees are sticking out of the snow]

The snow started on a Thursday, and we didn't get dug out until Tuesday, finally getting back to relative normal on Wednesday. We had plenty of advance warning, so at least we were able to adequately prepare ourselves for being snowed in for almost a week :) And by that, I mainly mean that when Josie's school closed early ahead of the storm, Josie and I picked up Chinese food (so we'd have plenty of leftovers) and ran (literally) to the grocery store for ice cream while our food was being made. Almost everyone else was stocking up on essentials (and toilet paper and duct tape, probably); meanwhile, we went through the line with a single half-gallon of Moose Tracks. Although another family from Josie's school was behind us with a single can of baked beans, so I guess we weren't alone in choosing a slightly odd way to prepare ;)

We had a freezer full of food, a prepped generator, and enough activities at home to keep us busy already, so really the biggest issue we had was clearing the driveway. Our driveway is so long that if we can't keep up with clearing the snow away by plowing, it's a huge job to have to do it by hand if it gets higher than our tractor can handle... as Ryan found out the hard way :( He stayed up most of the first night to plow, and the snow was just falling so fast that he eventually had to abandon the last third or so of the driveway to at least be able to keep up with the rest of it.

So we quickly fell into a rhythm of bundling up multiple times throughout the day to play in the snow and work on the driveway, and explore our new landscape. Josie wanted to stay outside (even during blizzard conditions), and had a lot of fun eating snow, making snow angels, and sledding off the retaining wall. We also had some "snow day freebies", where we did unusual things (for us, at least) because we were snowed in. So we watched a few movies (mainly Star Wars), had daily ice cream, and I even made pancakes for breakfast one morning. So while we didn't get much work done, and clearing the driveway was physically taxing, I think we still had a pretty good week together :)

[Watching the snow fall]

[Ryan working on the driveway, Josie patiently waiting for someone to pull her on the sled]

[Looking over the pond]
[Taking a snowy nap]





[Looking out over the driveway]

[Our road actually got plowed after only a couple of days this time!]

[Frozen river]
Besides all that, this month I started physical therapy to address my shoulder injury (which I initially sustained getting ready for Josie's birthday party in July, and then re-aggravated getting ready for Thanksgiving), so I was going twice a week to try to build stability for my rotator cuff, and also to try to learn proper posture, since, during the course of working on my shoulder, my physical therapist also noted I constantly have my shoulders rounded forward and up by my ears. Since I'd rather not have a hunchback (which seemed to be the direction I was heading), I'm really thankful that I went to physical therapy just for that. We also learned how to tape my back to help encourage me to use the right muscles, and Josie helpfully decided she would take ownership of that task, and repeatedly watched the videos I have of my physical therapist explaining how to do the taping, and even did it once for me :)

Josie had a rather emotionally traumatic month. She was cleaning up after dinner at Wegman's one night and accidentally lost her ring in the trash. She was inconsolable when we couldn't see it in the trash to pull it out and I refused to dig through the whole trash can to find it... although she finally calmed down when I suggested we come up with a plan, which was that she would use her own money to buy a replacement ring. So we later embarked on an epic quest to find rings (they were surprisingly difficult to find!), finally finding the perfect Frozen rings at our third stop (Party City was the answer, by the way).

Josie also revealed more of her beautiful, sensitive soul.... and started refusing to watch movies that were too scary or sad (I understand this, seeing as how I've never watched the end of "Old Yeller"). We watched up through Mufasa's death in The Lion King, then she turned it off and just sobbed, and was sad since she said there was no movie she could watch (since she turned off Cinderella when she saw how mean the stepmother was, and now The Lion King). Perhaps that was a mistake on my part too - I had forgotten how upsetting it can be to see (even make-believe) characters die or people being mean. This is what it looks like to not be desensitized to these things, I guess... poor thing.

[Unrelated picture, but this is Josie being sad since I don't let her do anything fun]

And yet... this girl likes being scared when it's not due to a scary movie, at least. I was demonstrating to her how quietly I could tiptoe, and snuck up behind her, grabbed her, and apparently scared her pretty good. She screamed so loudly that I instantly felt terrible... and then she immediately asked me to do it again. She and Audra had fun playing this month, playing lots of games together, like kitties (where they both crawl around on the floor and meow) and hide and seek. I also gave Josie my laptop so she could write, and it was so cool to see how resourceful she was in figuring out what words to write, since she grabbed one of her books to look up words in. She wrote that she is a big sister, and she is a very very very good girl. So fun to see little insights into her mind :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
 [I don't remember what we were doing here, but she's being cute, so...]