Saturday, April 12, 2014

...to enjoy the Veterinary Open House

...at Cornell University with the kids.


Sometime last year Isabella's teacher mentioned that Cornell holds an open house at their Veterinary Clinic for families.  She knew how interested Isabella is in animals and thought that she would really enjoy this event.  I marked it on our calendar hoping it would work out for us to go as a family.

I am so glad I did.

We all really enjoyed the day.  They put on an incredible open house.  There were all kinds of demonstrations from hands on (milking cows) to scientific (the pathology lab) to just fun to see (dog agility).  We around about twenty minutes before the doors opened.  There were probably 100 people in front of us already!  And thank goodness we arrived early.  One of the students told me they expected 12,000 visitors this year!

They had a petting zoo...


This cow had a large hole in her stomach.  While it was rather gross (you could actually see the food in her stomach) this station was supposed to demonstrate how they study digestion to help other sick cows.  They actually take the probiotics from her stomach and give it to sick cows.  The vet student said this cow has saved several other cows.


They had a milking station...



And several other fun animals to see and pet.  This particular horse they painted her skeletal structure on this side and her organs on the other.


The kids were able to get all prepped for surgery...


in order to suture up Audrey's didi.


All better.


Who wouldn't like to see a horse running on a treadmill!  


And the farrier demonstration was so interesting...


...for one of them anyways.  This demo kept the younger three's attention for about one minute.
They found the rocks much.more.interesting.


We finished up the day with face painting...


snake touching...



and bird watching...


What a memorable day.








Tuesday, April 8, 2014

...we wanted to announce our decision

...to all of you family and friends who have really been so patient with us.

This decision process has not been easy:

The distance between Mark and I, the dropped phone calls, the poor-quality Skype sessions with the kids, the many, many emails and texts between us....

There were so many email exchanges Mark has had with West Point and both schools (students and faculty at both schools)...

The fact that he is in Af-ghan-is-tan and there was this little process called the elections he was busy with...

All of these factors have complicated our decision process.

Without further adieu...

Hail to the Victors Valiant.


Go Blue.

Er..Uh...

I mean Go Green!


Let the rivalry continue!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

...to enjoy our free weekend

...it could be awhile until we get another!

Don't worry.  I (we) stayed plenty busy.

I spent the day on Saturday with Abbey at a Girl Scout event.  She was delighted to spend the day crafting and creating.


This mess...it's about to permanently disappear.  No more snow pants.  No more face masks.  They are washed, dried and ready for packing (or giving) away.  


Side note:  For those of you wondering, there is still no verdict on whether or not our cherubs will need their snow gear through the next winter season.  Technically, we still have nine more days to decide.  

It was nice enough to spend a little time outdoors today.  Sunny and 42 degrees.  

I am not kidding when I say that Audrey must have asked to go to the beach at least five different times throughout the day.  I guess our winter has been so long she has lost all perspective on appropriate beach-going weather.

As you can see, I started a little project.


We watched a little baseball.  Too bad the Tiger's lost.  The big kids watched this game start-to-finish.  Isabella even donned her rally cap late in the ninth inning!  

Because we didn't buy the package from Time-Warner this year there are no commercials.  Instead, this image (below), shows up during the commercial breaks.  So I sang "This Little Light of Mine" each break-time...for last year's sake.  The kids did not appreciate this.


Abbey and I shot some hoops....

This girl sure can dribble!
While Will played with the boys across the street.


Audrey rode her bike.  We played catch.  And the kids even dug one more sled out from the snow.  As you can see, it is melting.  

Slowly but surely it is melting.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

...to show the signs of Spring

...around our home.

1.  We have started 'finding' long lost items.

Can you tell what this is?

It is one of our shovels.  Thus far we have found one bath toy, three shovels, and two sleds.  Mmm...wonder what else we have lost?  Only about 2.5 feet of snow to go!

2.  Audrey was able to actually play outside!

As you may have gathered, this girl is a tad...finnicky.  Well, the Little Queen finally deemed the weather 'suitable'.


3.  We can almost see the sidewalk to our side door.


4.  The children are wearing shorts.  Does it matter they are still wearing boots and winter coats?

Oh.  And today was also the first day of baseball practice.


(Baseball is an extra...a bonus sign of spring if you will.  Yes, practice was in-doors.)

5.  A new batch of beautiful purple (my favorite color) tulips (my favorite spring flower) were delivered to my door...

Spring is that much closer to Mark coming home.


If I am really lucky...there will only be one more batch of flowers delivered...


Sunday, March 30, 2014

...to enjoy the weekend with the Whitlocks!

...so fun to see old friends.

The kids fell right into their groove...


and Kristen and I didn't miss a beat.


On Saturday, the weather was warm and it seemed like it would be a good idea to shlep the crew to the Fort Drum Maple Syrup festival.  They all loved the event!


In addition to learning how maple syrup is made there was a special exhibit of animal hides and skulls local to the Fort Drum area on display.  These kids could not get enough of these!  Dead beaver, possum, fox, rabbit, squirrel, weasel, wolverine...

Blech.



There was a short optional hike with 'interesting' facts and displays including deer carcasses and a dead porcupine.  The kids LOVED it!

There were other 'more mundane' things to note on the trail as well...

a beaver cut this tree down
Games and prizes and face painting and free maple syrup cotton candy were added bonuses!


The best part was just rolling in the muck...err...snow.


The rest of the weekend was full of buddy time, gaming and movies for the kids...



These two were inseparable the whole weekend.





Such a fun weekend!  I am so thankful she made such an effort to come and visit us here.  And I am so sorry she had to help shovel the 6+ inches of freshly fallen bleepedy bleep bleep snow...in order to leave this frigid tundra.

What a trooper she was!

And the memories made this weekend were priceless.






Wednesday, March 26, 2014

...to host a coffee

...and try to usher in spring

It was my turn to host the Brigade coffee this month and when I was trying to think of what 'theme' I should plan my menu around I decided the focus would be on Spring.

My plan was bright colors.  Light foods.  Plenty of fruit.  And fresh flowers.

The evening before the coffee I took Abbey on a 'date'.  One of our stops was Walmart to pick out some flowers to brighten our home.

You may notice I went a little overboard...

White and yellow daisies are throughout the living room, dining room, kitchen.

Meghan was kind enough to help me all morning in preparation for the gathering...her first task was flower arranging.  This lovely spring bouquet made the perfect centerpiece.


...and flower placing.  I loved the pop of yellow in these tiny vases.


Abbey LOVES the brightly colored daisies.  She picked out several colors.


Tulips are probably my favorite springtime flower.


Meghan also brought these beautiful desserts!  You can imagine they were as delicious as they are lovely!  The flowers are courtesy of Abbey.  More color!


Lemons and Limes helped bring in bright and festive colors.


The Menu

Lime & Cilantro Chicken w/ Mango Salsa
Quinoa with Red & Yellow Bell Peppers & Squash
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Poppyseed Dressing
Fresh Fruit
Cheese Platter
Dinner Rolls

Citrus Spritzer
Lemon & Lime Infused Water
Red/White Wine

Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Lemon Bars

Coffee Bar

Thank you Meghan!  I couldn't have pulled it off without you!







Sunday, March 23, 2014

...to watch how Maple Syrup is made

...with two of my beautiful girls!

It was a beautiful, albeit very cold day (14 degrees) for our Maple syrup tour at the Massey Farm here in Watertown, NY.


While we waited for the tractor ride portion of the tour there was a campfire to stand around...


The informational part of the tour was so interesting.  The syrup is being boiled down.  He explained the process of the collection, he showed the girls what sap looks like (mostly like water) and explained that sap is 98% water.  That's why it takes so much sap to make a very small amount of maple syrup.

He explained that a good sugaring season would consist of warm days (40+ degrees), cold nights (below freezing)...this has NOT been a good season.

In this photo the gentleman is explaining the different color variations of the syrup that he gets through the season. 

The first sap draws of the season draw very light colored syrups, the dark amber syrups are drawn late in the season.  Here in the windowsill, he keeps a small sample of each batch of syrup he produces.


He explained the dark amber syrups (grocery store versions/qualities) are usually drawn later in the season after the trees have budded but the sap is still running.

We took a tractor ride to see where some of the trees have been tapped...


A view of the syrup building from the tractor:  


I thought it looked so pretty.

The Massey family made cotton candy from the maple syrup.  It was delicious!


What a fun outing with my Isabella and Abbey!