Sunday, November 9, 2014

Halloween 2014

This was an odd year for our family regarding Halloween. Typically, the kids know EXACTLY what they want to be months ahead of time. Then I end up making the costumes myself. This year they  had a hard time deciding and I didn't end up making any of the costumes. I won't lie, the latter part was kinda nice!  

Berlin ultimately decided upon being a Lady Ute Gymnast. I think the main reason she wanted this was so that she could get a legit performance leotard to add to her blank and pink cheap $5 cotton ones from Walmart. I about choked when I saw the prices of competition leotards. Thank heavens for amazon. She loves it and wears it each week to tumbling now. Thankfully, the weather was very warm and she didn't need to wear pants.

Finley never decided what he wanted to be. His backup plan was to just wear his Germany soccer uniform, but the morning of the school parade on the 30th he decided to go as Samurai Jack again - his costume from 2 years ago. It fit, but barely. He wore the same costume the next night when we went trick-or-treating and he wore the wooden sandals for almost 2 hours. I finally made him switch to regular flip-flops so we could speed things up a bit. 

Our neighbors have the coolest yard decor!

Love all the kids in our neighborhood. This isn't even HALF of them!!!

As always, they scored more loot than any person (child or adult) should consume. After they got to choose their 35 pieces of candy, we still ended up with 3 gallon bags full of treats to use on our gingerbread houses next month. Finley finished his within the week. Berlin is more of a rationing person and has most of it left.

The kids actually had Friday off from school so I decided to take off work that day. Ryan met up with us for a matinee movie of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Fun way to spend halloween before all the parties and trick-or-treating began.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our sweet Bentley boy

This Summer has been a tough one. We've had to say goodbye to some of our pets:
  • Max Fisher III passed after a good long life ( 2 years).
  • Penny the Hamster passed on after two long years, leaving behind a very sad Lon, who will probably follow suit in the not so distant future.
  • Kimchi Coco Puff, Martzi, Katsu, and Honey who were loved to death (literally) by Bentley.

  • Schnitzel and Martzi Jr., who turned out to be roosters and we had to take them back the the chicken breeder. For roosters they were sweet and fun. We just didn't want to run a chick factory.

  • And Bentley, our sweet Bentley. Stomach cancer took him from us. 
Bentley's death has been the hardest for each of us to deal with, Ryan especially. It all started on Mother's Day this past May. We came home from church to a house covered in sickness. Literally, every room - the living room, kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom and bath - all had a trail. It's like you could tell that Bentley was looking for someone to let him out and he was panicking. Poor guy. Ryan and I calmly cleaned everything up. We knew he hadn't been feeling well and that he had dropped about 15 lbs over the last month or so. But we figured it wasn't anything big. But this was different.

Ryan took him to the vet first thing the next day. He came back with the news that Bentley had a cancerous tumor in his stomach and that it was growing. The Vet said it could be 2 weeks or 6 months before it got really bad, but that we would know because there would be more bad days than good days. We told the kids and talked about what would need to happen in the coming months. There were many sad days in our home. However, after the vet appointment Bentley perked up, gained back a few pounds, and started acting like his old self. He wanted to play ball, was attentive, and eating more regularly. A part of us thought that the vet just might have been wrong.

Unfortunately, the vet had been right. After 3 months, we knew the diagnosis had been correct. Bentley's tumor was getting bigger, you could see it and feel it. He had no desire to eat and lost even more weight. The late night wandering started again, he would get lost outside and refused to come in. Ryan would have to carry him after letting him out to do his business. The one thing he wanted to do up to the end was play ball. But he had no strength or energy to run to it. He would slowly walk, pick it up, and bring it back. Then collapse because that took all his strength. His legs would give out and he started falling more often and you could tell he found it hard to get up and stand. The vomiting and bleeding came back and finally took over. We knew we had to make the decision to put him down. 

Here are the kids with Bentley the night before we put him down. Love these pictures so much.



Ryan made the appointment for August 20th and we all took him to the vet. It was a beautiful day and we were able to put him down outside in the vets yard rather than in the sterile office. We were all there, by his side, on the grass. The kids were petting him and talking to him. I am sure Bentley knew something was going on and that he could sense our sadness and see our tears. He was so sweet and gentle just laying there. I am grateful that once they gave him the shots that he passed quickly and peacefully.

The hardest part for me is watching how hard it has been on Ryan. The kids have been ok. For them the daily routine of school, friends, activities and sports keeps them busy. For myself, I am at work all day. But Ryan, he has the constant reminder that Bentley is gone. They have gone to work together every day from the time we got Bentley as a puppy 10 years ago. Ryan has spent more time with Bentley than anyone and is surrounded by so many things that remind him of Bentley.

I have days where I really miss Bentley. In a sense he was our first child. It took me 3 weeks before I could bring myself to get rid of his food and put away his bowls, dog bed, collar, toys and balls. I put them in a box downstairs. But his passing has been the hardest on Ryan.

Someday we might take on another dog. Berlin asks for one on a weekly basis. Maybe she'll wear me down in a few years. I just can't do it right now. For now, my project has been compiling all our pictures of Bentley, from puppy to adulthood and putting them into a book for the kids to have. It has been comforting to me to be reminded that he had a good life. One that was full of love.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Training Wheels are in the TRASH!

This month was a big month in our household. Berlin learned how to ride a bike WITHOUT training wheels. For this tiny little 7-year old, this feat is pretty exciting. She is so proud of her accomplishment, and rightly so since her 9-year old brother only learned because he couldn't stomach the thought of Berlin beating him (which she did by a few days). But YAY! for having two kids riding their bike without training wheels.

The funny thing is that we tried a few years ago, when Finn was 7 - he FREAKED out. We decided to wait. We tried again last year over at the church parking lot. He DOUBLE FREAKED out. We pretty much gave up on him and this year decided to focus on Berlin and getting her riding thinking it would motivate him. BINGO. It worked. Love the competitive spirit that exists between these two siblings.  Now, if I could just get Finn to stop rubbing it into Berlin's face that he is faster than her on a bike. It never ends :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cub Camp 2014

Being the Wolf Den Mom, I had the opportunity to go to Cub Camp with the Wolves and Bears this Summer. I only went for the first day due to a conflict of plans on the second day, but it was so much fun to see these boys out in nature having fun. There was lots of dirt, wrestling, shooting bb guns, dirt, hiking, crafts, obstacle courses, oh, did I mention the dirt? SO. MUCH. DIRT. Even Finley was begging to shower when we got home. 



He moved up to Bears last April and he has such a fun group of friends. He was super excited when he heard he could work at the cub camp as a staff member at 13, but even more so when he found out they got PAID! Ha! That would be awesome if he worked up there with a couple of his buddies in 4 years.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Happenings around the Home

Spring gave way to a myriad of projects, new chicks, new coop, new pen, new garden, rebuilding and moving planter boxes, new bees, cleaning out irrigation ditches, building a grapevine arbor, weeding, planting, getting new chicks to replace the chicks that Bentley killed... you know, all in a days work.

Back in April we went to my brother's house for Easter Dinner. I put the month old chicks in a make-shift pen so they could get used to being outside. I figured a few hours they'd be just fine. When we came home we discovered they had been killed. By Bentley. Who had apparently snuck out while Ryan was loading tables and chairs into the back of the car - unbeknownst to us. Needless to say we spent Easter evening cleaning up chicken entrails from the grass. Bentley got the chewing out of a lifetime. Kids were wailing and crying. It was definitely a night to remember but not for the right reasons. 

So, on Easter Sunday we said goodby to Kimchi Cocoa Puff, Marzipan Sr., Honey, and Katsu.

The next night we went out and got 4 new easter egger chicks. These are when they were newbies.

Forgive them, they're now in the awkward teenage months. Meet Marzi Jr., Schnitzel, Rudy (Root Beer) and Buffy our resident wookie (in order from L to R).

But don't get too attached to Schnitzel. We are 99% sure that Schnitzel is a 'he' and therefore will be finding a new home soon. I don't want a rooster and I am sure my neighbors don't want us to have one either. But he sure is cute and has tons of personality.

Ryan built me this awesome coop using scrap wood and lumber. Total cost was under $20. Pretty happy about that. This will be the coop for the new hens.

Garden is all planted and so close to bearing fruit. I built a grapevine arbor to keep the vine from growing into my lilac bushes and peony bushes which it does every year. Usually I just cut the vines all back, but I want all the grapes I can get this year so I can bottle the juice it in the fall. Pretty happy with my efforts and the fact that it was an inexpensive DIY ($15) that I could do all by myself.

And these purty girls just keep on laying their pretty blue and green eggs. They love it when they get to free-range the yard.

The flower garden was lovely this year. So many tulips and peonies. Wish I could figure out a way to get them to last longer.

This year we have two beehives again. For some reason our established hive and our new hive from last year didn't survive the winter. We don't think they died, because there weren't dead bodies inside. We think they swarmed and left and moved on to greener pastures. Our neighbor, who owned the previous bees is getting out of the hobby however Ryan and I wanted to keep going. So Ryan is now the master beekeeper in this house with our neighbor teaching him what to do. Ryan loves it. 

So far both hives are doing well. Ryan has already had to add boxes on top since they were producing so much comb & honey. The easter bunny even brought him a beekeeping jacket. So he's pretty legit.

And that's what's been happening around our little abode these days.

Friday, June 6, 2014

End of school year pics 2014

School is out. Let the fun begin. Here they are at the beginning of the year...


Here they are at the end of the year...


Love these stinkers!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

This year we made it up to the graveyard the day after Memorial Day. We took flowers from our peony garden and placed them on the headstones for my grandma & grandpa Peterson, Ryan's mom & dad, and Ryan's oma & opa. 

In the past the kids would get bored and just want out of there. But this year they were very curious about all the gravesites and the headstones. Finley was especially curious about all the ones for children. More than once we looked over and he was just sitting in front of a headstone, quietly reading the inscription and commenting how sad it was that a child only lived 2 weeks, or 3 months, etc. It was really nice and quiet evening. Going the day after is much better.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

9 years ago ...

this little guy rocked our world!
And he's not so little anymore.

From the beginning, I knew he was a boy. I can't explain it, I just knew it.  After 14 hours of hard labor, we had to pull this little guy out of his warm abode and into this crazy world. Finley was the sweetest little guy, patient as I learned the ropes of being his mom. More than willing to just snuggle with me from the get-go. We spent a lot of the first couple years like this. Even today it melts my heart when he snuggles up with me. I love it.

One year old...

Second birthday ...

Third Birthday ...

Seriously ... what is NOT to love about this kid? He has the best smile. He was and still is such a funny kid and he has brought much humor and laughter into my life.

Fourth Birthday ...

Fifth Birthday ...

Sixth Birthday ...

Seventh Birthday ...

Eighth Birthday ...


He is such a good big brother, always protective of Berlin. Watching over her at home, at school - helping her up when she falls down trying to keep up with him. He always has a silly joke or story to tell her. Finley is a tender soul. Always has been. Even if he is mad at you or frustrated, if he sees that you are sad or hurting, he will take notice and do something to make you feel better. It's one of the things I love about him. He is so smart & bright, loves school, and loves to read. He loves his friends and is always angling for a playdate. One thing I really truly love about him is that he marches to the beat of his own drum. It's this quiet confidence that he has, that I envy a little bit. I didn't have that as a kid. He is not easily swayed and he stays true to himself and his belief of what is right and wrong. I hope he always stays that way.

The last few months have been hard with me going back to work. This has meant new chores for him around the house, helping more with the pets, having less play dates with his buddies, and putting up with my own lack of patience, etc. He has been a trooper through it all. Ryan and I always comment on how glad we are that we have the kids we do. It's the truth. I am so happy that this guy came into our family. Ryan and I were in love with him the second he came into this world and even though he knows how to push my buttons, I will always love my snuggle buddy. This little guy opened my heart in ways I never thought possible, and has taught me more about myself than anyone else.