My Renovation Blog

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Soccer Saturdays!

It's finally happened...if I buy a minivan, I'll officially be a "soccer mom"!  Meet the newest member of the Orange Lightening team...

And some of the cuties on her team...

We weren't going to do soccer this year because, well, she said she didn't want to, and I was worried about us paying for it, and her refusing to participate.  But Gary signed her up very last minute (like 2 days before the first game), and not only did she participate, she scored TWO goals during her first game!!!!!

She was a rockstar!  I'm not sure if Gary has ever been so happy in his life.  I'm pretty sure Ella rocking it on the soccer field was better for him than our wedding or the kids being born! ;)

And I know we're not supposed to keep score, but if we *had* been keeping score, Orange Lightening would have kicked butt since we scored at least 5 goals, and the other team only scored one.  Not that I was counting.  HA!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of Transitional Kindergarten

Ella had her first day of elementary school today!

I was so beyond worried about her first day.  She is very clingy when it comes to school (or anything new), and she still cried at preschool drop-off, despite having gone to the school since she was 18 months old!!

We have been talking up going to "real" school for quite a while, and she was super excited.  Still, I knew she would be the one kid who held onto my leg and cried...she's done it before.  Except, she didn't!  She was AWESOME.  She took a picture in front of her classroom door...

And lined right up with all her new friends...

Not a hint of a tear and absolutely no clinging.  Then her new teacher took them into the classroom (parents were allowed too) and asked that everyone take a seat on the rug, and she called one child up at a time to get a name sticker.  She asked that when she said, "good morning", the child respond, "good morning Mrs. S".  None of the kids did it...until Ella!!!  I was SO proud of her!!!  She walked right up to her teacher, and in a nice loud voice said, "Good Morning Mrs. S!"  Yay Ella!

Now, I've heard that a lot of times the kids are all great for the first week, and then it hits them, and they cry or cling to you the second week, but all I wanted was to make it through the first day!!

Ella's spot at the table...

Although we don't know her well yet, so far, we love her teacher- she seems so perfect for a kinder teacher, and I think Ella is going to adore her.  So happy about today!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Backyard Chickens!

 The chickens are getting BIG.  They grow super fast.  Here they are in their run...

And this is how they sleep at night on the roost in their coop (which is a really hard photo to get!)...

And here is my favorite, Oreo...

So what I have learned so far (keeping in mind that my hens don't even lay eggs yet!)...

1. Baby chicks look like they are dead when they sleep...and freak you out at first.

2. You can research which breeds to get forever, but despite their 'known' temperament, they have their own personalities, just like people.  My friendliest is a barred plymouth rock, and my two buff orpingtons are not friendly, despite their reputation of being the lap dogs of chickens.  One of my easter eggers is extremely skittish- the worst of the bunch- and another is mediocre friendly.  So you just never know.  I say if you're getting chickens, go by the biggest egg producers and the ones you think look the best (which are barred plymouth rocks in my opinion!).

3. Chickens eat a TON (oh my gosh, I'm going to go broke buying them food- they never stop eating), and waste even more than they eat.  They like to scratch so they get more food all over the floor of their run than they eat.  Gary is in the process of building something to hopefully remedy that. 

4.  I think chickens poop more than they eat.  They must poop every 3 minutes or something.  Seriously, I've never seeing a living thing that poops as much as a chicken.

5. They are generally easy.  They are pretty quiet and low maintenance.  However, it is one more thing to do- you do have to fill up their food and water once in a while and clean their coop/run once a week.

The low down for anyone considering chickens (which I'll try to continually update since I was searching ALL over trying to find blog posts from "normal" suburban people who own chickens)...

I LOVE when we are sitting outside together as a family, and we have chickens free-ranging around us.  Love it.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. ;)  They are fun to play with, and the kids (and Rylee!) love them. 

Our hens absolutely love to free range- as soon as they see me walking towards the coop, they all run to the door and tear out the second I open it.  It really solidifies my reason for raising chickens in the first place- I can't believe that most (probably all if you are buying from a store) eggs come from chickens that are confined all day every day of their lives.  My hens even go back inside their coop at dusk all by themselves and settle themselves on their roost!  All we have to do is go shut and lock the run door- easy peasy!

However, like I said, they do poop A LOT.  Luckily, ours mainly free range in our flower beds, so I love that the plants are getting nitrogen rich chicken poop as food, but they also hang out in the grass sometimes so there is poop on our grass.  And you have to keep them off your hardscape, or it's covered in poop.

We don't love our coop/run.  So now I want Gary to build a new one.  You simply can't know what will work for you until you have them.  The coop part is actually decent, but Gary did have to put that roost (in the photo above) in himself because the roosts that come with the coop are super low (below the nesting boxes, which is bad because then they sleep in the nesting boxes- chickens want to roost on the highest point in the coop).  But ideally, I want a walk-in coop.  Even though the bottom pulls out to clean the poop, it still kind of hurts my back.  I'd also like more high roosting space because I don't think they will all fit up there when they are full grown.

I sort of hate the run.  Even though I can step inside, I have to slightly bend over, and it's just hard to get in there, and really hard to clean.  The open part underneath the coop is just stupid.  The chickens love it under there so there is a ton of poop, but there is no way for me to get under there to clean.  And because our coop is on concrete, we are still trying to figure out what to put on the ground of the run, the easiest way to keep it clean, etc.  We're not doing a great job right now so we are attracting a ton of flies.  Which is driving me batty because our old house was completely fly infested (without chickens!) because I swear they built it over a cow farm or something, and this house did not have flies, and now we are fly infested again.  GRRR. 

But overall, if you are considering chickens, I say, go for it!  I think the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. :)


Friday, August 29, 2014

Last Day of Preschool!

August 22, 2104 was Ella's last day of preschool- so sad!  We truly love our school, and she is REALLY going to miss her friends.  Ella seemed fine, but I was weepy all day!  Everett still goes there, and our little group all have younger sibs at the school so at least there's that!

After school, we had a last day of school dinner at Corner Bakery...



Staycation Part 2...etc...

Oops, got a little busy and forgot to update!  So our staycation concluded with a trip to Irvine Park and a pool bbq with friends...

As well as Francesca's birthday party at Playland Cafe...

And a water slide at our neighbor's house!

Everett was NOT a fan of the waterslide so Gary had to force him to go down!

As for the end of summer, we've been keeping busy!  BBQ pool parties at friends' houses...

As many trips to the lagoon as we can fit in before they close it in September!

Grandma babysat Ella this past week since preschool was done but school hasn't started, and they did lots of fun activities like Pretend City!

And of course, lots of errands.  I told Ella she could put her ONE baby in the car and wait for me while I finished getting dressed, and when I came out to the car, this is what I found...
Safety first! ;)

Next up, last day of preschool...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Staycation Part I

We decided to take some time off this week for a little "staycation" since I've been in trial all summer and won't have another break from trial until October!

It started with a little beach bbq...

Which involved a little football game...

Some selfies...

And of course, s'mores!

It was such a beautiful day at the beach...

The next day was Long Beach Aquarium...

Followed by a quick trip to the lagoon for some swimming with Mason...

Grandma and grandpa are taking the kids to the fair tonight so it's happy hour for us- no kids!