Happy 7th Birthday

We are a little bit late here, yes.  This year, Elliott requested two things: a coconut cake and a surprise party.  We told him his party was going to be on a sunday and then arranged for 6 of his friends to be at home while he was out with Evan at the store.  The party was a success :)
ET age 7

He says he feels eighteen.  Right.  Plans for this 7th year: lose his 7th tooth :)

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Still here!!!

Oh wow, I haven’t posted here since Nov 2nd. Bad girl. Let’s see, what have we been up to lately?

I finally finished up our new chicken coop. It’s pretty nice. I don’t even have to go out in the rain to check the egg bin!Photo Nov 12, 1 18 10 PM
We had our first “snow day” from school. We got freezing temps and icy rain, but no snow. Because our district is really spread out and many kids come in from rural areas, it’s safer to cancel school if the roads are impacted at all.

I’ve been busy spray painting all of our 90’s gold doorknobs and hinges an oil-rubbed bronze color. You don’t realize just how many doors you have until you have to take off every single hinge.

Elliott got to light our town’s tree at the official Christmas Tree Lighting. It was completely random, and he was very proud.

We got our giant christmas tree from a local tree farm (it’s like 2 miles away). The tree is about 11.5 feet tall, though there is room to go taller, we don’t have too much more room to go wider at the bottom. Or heavier, since poor Evan has to lug this thing around.Photo Nov 30, 2 06 27 PM

Photo Dec 02, 5 10 49 PMOur Elf on the Shelf came back and he already had to boycott us one day and stay at the north pole because some little boys were not making good choices. Sessy the Elf only hangs out in the house if boys are good.

The boys are very much in the Christmas spirit (loving the Jingle Bell Rock song) and seeing all the lights on houses. The concept of buying a gift for someone else is a difficult concept for some to grasp and I’m hoping that it will all make sense during the present opening.Photo Dec 16, 4 17 20 PM
“To Mrs Butterworth and henrietta and roxy from elliott and patrick”

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Elliott and I won a nerdy research lego set from a contest that a local microscope company posted online. I think I am the most excited about this news item.Photo Dec 04, 7 59 27 PM
This was our entry.  We will be getting our new lego set in the mail.
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I have been busy with PTO stuff and hope to regain some of my sanity after mid-march. I have been tasked with managing our school’s biggest fundraiser of the year (auction) and i’m sure i will abandon this poor blog again before it’s over.

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to Jedi

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Halloween 2014

This is what we did yesterday:


PJ had a little halloween parade at school

My busy bee and sunflower


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Happy Fall

This is a view from a nursery near ET’s school.

16mm and 85mm, for comparative purposes :)

16 mm makes the trees look spread out and 85mm makes them look like they much closer together.   Same trees, yesterday (few leaves on ground) and today (lotsa leaves down!)

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Pumpkin Patch Trip

Last week Patrick had his first school field trip to a local pumpkin patch.  The weather was beautiful and the boys had a good time picking out their pumpkins.

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Hello October

It doesn’t feel like October here yet.  Just wait, the cold and rain is coming.




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Meet Milo

This is Milo (formerly Canelo).


His original owner passed away and her granddaughter has been caring for him since.  She already had 2 other dogs and there were some personality clashes, so she decided to re-home him.

Since ET has had some allergic reactions to some dogs, we decided to do a trial.  The dog came home on monday and it has been a pretty fun week for the boys.

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Elliott loves walking him to and from the bus stop.  The dog is mostly a couch potato and he is also my shadow, so he follows me everywhere.   He also likes to sleep inside/under a blanket, which is hilarious and weird at the same time.  And when I bust out the vacuum, he becomes 12 pounds of ferociousness, which is even more hilarious.

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A Sad Post

Earlier this week two of Evan’s uncles passed away, just hours apart.  One had been ill for quite a while, and the other was diagnosed with multiple myeloma just one year ago.  I think Elliott may have met Uncle Bill when he was a baby, but both boys had gotten to know Uncle Jack.

Uncle Jack was a true kindred spirit.  He could chat up anybody, wherever he went.  He loved working in the yard and turning his compost.  He gave me the compost bin that I have moved to 3 separate houses (and still have!).  He will be missed terribly.

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After Jack got his diagnosis last fall, I signed up to join the bone marrow registry.  It’s really easy (send some cheek swabs in the mail!) and the chance that you will ever get a call to donate your marrow is really slim.  Ideally, I would have been Jack’s match and we would have written anonymous letters to each other until we found out that we knew each other and then they would make a Lifetime movie about us.  Obviously, that’s not what really happened.  On one hand I’m glad he doesn’t have to deal with chemo and hospitals anymore, but the world just isn’t the same without him in it.

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September Garden

I decided that I need to start taking pictures of the garden throughout the months to see what’s growing where and when.  I should have started this way earlier, but better late than never.  This is what we’re rolling with now:2014_09_0012

I cleared out the chinese lanterns.  They are pretty but also very invasive.  they had runners EVERYWHERE, so I’m sure I will find more before we are done with it.  These Perennials are the backbone of the front yard.  I am making lists of new things to add to fill in the gaps.  I don’t really need anything big, maybe just some low growing stuff to put in front/under these main items.  I do want to add an Autumn Joy Sedum, where the blue X is.  I just took out an old stump there and it will be a perfect spot for it.


This is our front walkway.  It used to have that ugly red lava rock instead of bark dust.  I am working on finding something to fill the narrow space.  On the other side of the walkway (below) the last short-term owners tore out a lot of nice flowers and put in these evergreen things.  There was another one of the little christmas tree looking things but it died.  It might be nice to try to get this back the way it used to be but for now it’s OK.2014_09_0010

Side of driveway.  This also used to be full of flowers that were torn out, replaced with these evergreens and some more red lava rock.  One of the evergreen shrubs died.  I wouldn’t mind too much if the other three bit the dust.  Just sayin’.

I just dug out an old stump from here.  No idea what it was.  This is where the sedum will go.  They are pretty neat looking and have a lot of color.

I don’t really know what to do with this area.  It seems pretty disorganized.  There is a lot of stuff in there that I don’t know what it is, so I’m not sure if it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.  I’m not really doing much over here right now.  I may just clear out a bunch of it and start over.

Side yard.  I just cut back the yellow loosestrife here and I need to divide it.  Fluffy green stuff to the right of it is iris.  It also needs to be cut back and divided but I will wait until it browns up.  To the left is one of my Dahlias.  They need to be staked.  I will definitely get a cage in place next year.  They are too big and flopping over now.

A giant lilac (should have pruned it way back right after it bloomed.  Oops)  And a dying Japanese Pieris.  I don’t love the pieris here so if it bites the dust I won’t cry.  I will not enjoy digging out the stump.  In between them is what I think is white valerian.  Also floppy.

More floppy dahlias.  I staked these ones.  I also cut back the crocosmias and probably need to divide those bad boys too.

Dahlias next to butterfly bush.  I don’t HATE the butterfly bush.  It stays flowering a long time and you just have to prune it aggressively in the spring.  They are supposedly invasive but I am not seeing that here.

This is either lambs ear or jerusalem sage.  Maybe.  Also a weird placement.  Way too close to some lilacs.  Which are invasive little jerks.  I think some are popping up in the backyard now too.

Dahlias are pretty.  They seem to last a while in a vase too!

The bane of my existence.  The backyard extension.  Hot, dry and chock full of blackberries that refuse to die.  This area needs a lot of work.  For now I just try to keep on the new shoots of blackberries coming up.  Ideally I’d have this area landscaped, maybe with tiers and something low-maintenance – rocks and grasses.  Different style from the front yard.

I see you.  Die, die, DIE!!!

See why they call it a butterfly bush?
I also have two buckets (yes buckets) full of bulbs that need to be planted this fall.  Most of them I dug up when I was working in the yard, so back to the yard they will go.  Some of them *may* have come from the foreclosed house across the street.  They had a really pretty kind that I don’t have, so I will “trade” them.  I weed their yard, so it’s only fair.


Today I got a little present in the mail from the former owner:
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It’s pretty unbelievable about just how much is missing from what was there just two years ago.  Though now it is nice to have some real plans to work with!

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