Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Year In Review

Well, I know it has been over a year since I last updated. So I have a lot to cover. So lets get into it.

First day of school back in 2017. Hudson is experiencing his first day of kindergarden and Sara Beth is going into first grade.
Also, Heather is returning to PACT for a second year of teaching all the Morgan County 1st, 3rd, and 7th graders about Abuse prevention and internet safety.
Sara is definitely older than her cousin Madison, but they both love hanging out with their Aunt.
We decided to get some egg laying chickens. I ordered 12 online. Sara named one Falcon. Then it died. Heather named another one. It died too. I said no one else is allowed to name any chickens for another 2 weeks. Fortunately, once the chickens stopped being named, there were no more deaths.
Sara Beth mentioned that she was having trouble seeing what the teacher was writing on the board, so we took her to get her eyes examined. It turned out she did need glasses. She got a pair at Walmart, then I helped her order a couple back up pair from Zenni Optical. It turns out she has similar preferences to her mother as she selected the exact same frames
The chickens are growing quickly from fuzzy fluff balls into feathery poop balls. They quickly grew up and before Easter, they were laying eggs. At least, the ones that were female. The 2 males were proud of their flock of females and were very protective, chasing off any potential threats. Once the kids said that they were no longer going to gather eggs out of fear of the roosters, I intervened. Dumbledore and HC were "meatalized" and became dinner for us and my friend Jonathan who helped me with the processing process. The females were then free to lay eggs without interference by a interfering rooster.
October rolled around and it was time to carve pumpkins. Hudson remembered that I had used power tools to craft my Jack-o-lantern, and, of course, he wanted to do it the same. His pumpkin ended up looking more like Swiss cheese than a face, but he had a great time and was proud of the result.
Crestline Elementary PTO threw a fantastic Fall festival which included all sorts of events. Sara and Hudson both did bull riding.
Hudson also asked to climb the portable wall and did pretty well at it.
I also showed the kids the game "Treasure Mountain". Sara Beth was a little old for it, but it was the perfect age for Hudson, who was the perfect age to play and figure out the written math clues.
We were able to convince Heather's cousin Sadie and her husband Eric to move to Decatur. We all went trick-or-treating in their neighborhood and they all got a good haul of candy. Once we called it an evening, they spread it out and began the bargaining to trade for their favorites.
Depending on who you ask, Hudson is either totally ready to mow OR he needs some help to not just drive the mower in circles. Either way, Hudson has a great time sitting with me on the mower.
After Church every week, Hudson will ask to go to the Chinese restaurant. He loves to eat as much sushi as he can. I thought that it fortune cookie gave very appropriate message.
November rolled around, and Hudson was ready to turn 6. He was very excited to blow out his birthday cake.
Sara Beth had a school project to select a historical figure and research them. She chose Amelia Earhart. So she dressed up like her and did a presentation for the lower grades in the gyms. I was fortunate to see when she presented to Hudson's class.
Something, something reindeers. Probably a school play or something. I dont remember any details about this one.
Our family traveled back to Texas for my company's Christmas Party. John, Ali, and Jill timed their trip down to Texas to coincide with our trip. So while I was at work, others were busy building a ginger bread house.
In the evenings, in exchange for a back massage and hair brushing, Sara received a bed time story from my mom.
At my company Christmas party, there was a monkey. It was available for pictures. Heather was overjoyed at the opportunity for a picure with one.
Before we left Texas, we celebrated Christmas. Sara and Hudson enjoyed being able to watch their aunt and uncle open their gifts.
Once we got back to Alabama we gave the kids their gifts. Since Sara got a "Wencer cat" last year, we decided it was time for Hudson to receive his own gift cat. So we welcomed Sugar Plumb into the family. Hudson was overjoyed. Lilly Belle, Heather's cat, was not nearly as happy about a new potential rival.
We had a mini Sheats family reunion for new years at our place. It was fun.
On New Year's day, Sara Beth and Hudson watched the sequel to Tangled and when the bad guys came on screen. they were prepared with their Nerf guns to shoot them.
Winter in Alabama is a much colder thing than winter in Texas. Our waterfall froze.
During the winter, after Hudson went to bed, I began to show Sara Beth some games like Portal. She made it all the way to the end with only minimal help on the parts that required tight timing..
Hudson got a tent, which we set up in his room. He liked it.
I decided this was the year that I was going to grow a fantastic garden. The kids came with me to Lowes to gather the irrigation supplies. I don't remember why Sara Beth was acting faint, but I'm sure it was totally valid and that I was being completely unfair to them about something or other.
As a kindergartner, Hudson is really picking up on the book reading thing. He will "read" Harry Potter and The Hobbit on his own.
I had to buy a wheelbarrow in order to continue my work on developing the garden for vegetables. Fortunately, I was able to enlist the help of the kids, even in the rain.
We decided to pull down the vines that were invading one of the trees by the driveway. Heather is taking pictures while I cut down branches with the Saws-all.
While I'm busy adding fertilized soil to the gardens, Sara and Hudson decided to make some mud balls.
Sara took a trip to Montgomery with her class. The got to see an old school house.
And the senate
I'm not entirely sure what is going on here; Heather took the picture. I think it involves deactivated charcoal in some way, but, to me, it looks like Indian warpaint that got out of controll.
No idea what is going on here. Todo: ask Sara what she was thinking when she took this selfie.
Hudson is still small enough to fit in a laundry basket, and have adventures in it. I don't exactly know what is going on, but with Hudson's John Deere blanket and something fuzzy, I'm sure he is havign a grand time.
So the kids talked me into getting 4 additional chickens to add to our egg laying flock.
Easter rolled around, which means picture time. I forced the family to sit still for a picture.
Sara is getting dangerously close to growing taller than Heather.
The kids have quite a few years before I have to worry about them out growing me. At this point, I can still pick both of them up without an issue.
I went down with the kids to play a game with them. It involved hitting the stream running across our property with a stick to get rid of bad guys. Hudson is demonstrating how to accomplish this.
Hudson's grade took a trip to the Birmingham zoo and I was fortunate enough to go with him. We got to look at the giraffes.
And also feed the parrots.
In May, Heather and I were asked to be on a Dragon Boat. Our team was named the InsurOars since we were sponsored by State Farm.
Hudson's last school play of the year was about bugs. We dressed him up like an ant. I think he was happy with the costume.
Sara Beth decided that she wanted to try out the ant antenna too.
That's it for now. I'll work on supplying commentary on the summer and catching up to the present with the next post.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Injuries and the rest of summer

 Well, this story involves several emergency room visits. Initially, it started as a broken arm. Hudson was scootering around the driveway. His scooter hit a rock and stopped but Hudson continued going forward. He ended up with a split on his arm. The next week, he was jumping around, tripped and fell. Unfortunately, with the cast limiting his mobility, he ended up smashing his face and needed stitches too. Then a week later, while up in Wisconsin, we decided that he needed to go back to the Emergency Room to get the stitches removed since they could not be removed at room. It was rather exciting.
 You can see his initial split from the Emergency Room before he went back to get his cast in this picture. He and Sara Beth were creating RVs for their critters.

 In addition to emergency room visits, Hudson's teeth started to fall out. He fell and noticed that one of his bottom teeth was new loose. He kept messing with it until it finally came out. He left the tooth in his bedside table drawer, but didn't notice that a $2 bill took its place for a couple days.
Don't get me wrong: the summer wasn't all about injuries. There were times when the kids got to play as well.
Or attack grandparents.
Or set things on fire.
One Satuday morning, the kids came running into our room saying "Something was dead in the driveway". Turns out there was a coyote that had died of unknown causes. Sara Beth post posthumously named it blossom. We planted a flower on its grave.
A giant windstorm blew through one evening. Our neighbors 80 year old tree fell down. We had some branches that fell over too. Hudson climbed on them while I chopped up the rest of it.
Hudson and his cousins got to hang out at the local part.
And I made some attempts and real photography. It would have worked a lot better if I didn't put my fingers in front of the camera lens.
We went up to Wisconsin to visit my Aunt and Parents. Aunt Sue's neighbor had several model cars which were Hudson's exact size.
Whenever there is a party, my Aunt brings out the party hats and animal masks. In this case, Sara Beth and I both had birthdays coming up.
Who wouldn't want to go to the dinosaur museum while in Kenosha?
Once we went up to my parents, both Sara Beth expressed interest in fishing. Once my dad heard that, he brought out the equipment.
After seeing what his sister was doing, Hudson asked for a fishing rod too.
Sara Beth and Hudson both went out in the boat with my dad. After some discussion about bait, it was decided that worms were ok to use as long as they were already dead.She went out in the boat and worked hard for a couple hours fishing.
All the practice paid off. Sara Beth caught her first three fish. She was not interested in eating them, so, after pictures, they went back in the river. But, the success of worms as bait was proven. Sara Beth decided it was ok to use them even if they were alive. The only requirement was that she didnt have to watch as they were placed on the hook.
There are a lot of flavors of custard. The kids enjoyed having the option of many different flavors for desert.
The boats was not just used for fishing. We also took trips out into Lake Michigan.
I have no idea what Sara Beth was doing when I took this picture. But I do know that she was not pleased with me taking the picture.
Everyone enjoyed the large waves.
Hudson held onto the painter so that he wouldn't fall off the front seat.
Hudson asked my mom to read stories to him several evenings while we were there.
The birthday cake from previous years has scarred our kids. As soon as my mom began to light the candles, both Hudson and Sara Beth ran for the garage to avoid the inevitable raging inferno.
We visited the county fair while in Wisconsin. All the rides were free with a ticket. I went on all many as I could without getting sick. Hudson enjoyed the rides he could go on.
Heather and Sara Beth were more adventurous but they also went on a couple of the more tame rides with me.
I think the kids favorite was when they got to drive the bumper car and crash into Heather and I.
Once we got back to Alabama, we celebrated Sara Beth's actual birthday. I think her favorite present was a cat-pillow named Pusheen.