Welcome to the Spiering Family website. This is our new blog. For older posts, please go here: http://www.freewebs.com/jaeljud/

Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden August 2010


These pictures were taken the same night we ate outside and had popsicles, and here is the proof. He wears it well, don't you think?

Henry, along with his older siblings, loves to "help" in the garden. That is one of our main reasons for spending so much time and energy on the garden is so they can work along with us and we can all create something worth while, as a family. Henry is wielding Joseph's old shovel. We got Joseph this one for his birthday, but he out grew it before really getting to use it. Now Joseph has one that is more his strength and size and Henry and Aine use this one periodically.

We had peas growing up this lattice work along the side of the house and once they were done we planted beans. You do see some tomatoes there--they grew out of the compost and we decided to leave them. Can anyone have too many tomatoes, really?
These beans are really really REALLY long! We didn't know that they were any different from the standard green bean when planting them, but these things look like shoelaces! the longest ones are about 2 1/2 ft. long! They grow REALLY fast too, so one day I thought, "these will be ready to pick in a few days." I think it was two days later I looked out and saw these monsters! They are too big--over grown--so we did not eat the monsters, much to our dismay. The ones in the middle are the extra long beans picked at an edible size. The smallest ones are what I usually think when I think "green bean." I cooked both types up together and they really didn't have any flavor difference. They texture is slightly different, but they one way you can really tell them apart once they are snapped is the color.

Craig also planted pole beans near every torch we have; we like how well they cover the pole.
We haven't gotten any beans off these yet, but hopefully they will start producing soon, as the monster beans are production is waning.

This is one of our beautiful zucchini plants. We got them started late, but they grew and started producing; unfortunately, the squash bug discovered our garden and completely decimated almost all of our plants! We got some zucchini and summer squash before they plants gave up the ghost, but it wasn't even enough to get tired of it and resort to making zucchini bread--one of my favorite results of having too much zucchini.

This is the raised bed that Craig has been meaning to make all summer. He finally had the time to do it and it turned out better than we had imagined. Now, to get it full of fall garden plants.

We did sunflowers for the first time this year. These seeds are almost dry enough to harvest. We have a Praying Mantis who likes to hang out, literally, on this sunflower. I hope he is only eating the bad bugs!

We had holyhocs several years ago, but they all died off, so we replanted some this year. They aren't supposed to bloom until the second year, but this one decided to defy nature and delight us with some beautiful blooms this season.

Here is the herb garden, bursting with herbs now. I can't use or cut and dry them fast enough!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eating Outside


We do not have centeral AC, so in the summer, it is much nicer to eat meals outside. After dinner, all the kids got Popsicles and made a royal mess of themselves, but it didn't matter, because they were outside! We made the popsicles out of berries and Kifer. I try to make kifer smoothies everyday, but it usually happens about twice a week. I make them with frozen berries we picked earlier in the season, a banana or two, maple syrup, a splash of vanilla and maybe a dash of cinnamon. They are so delicious AND good for you. Sometime I make an extra big batch and then freeze the rest into popsicles. The Kids like them just as well as any icecream from the store and it is really good for them.

Me coaxing Aine to eat her dinner--baiting her with a Popsicle!

Me, scowling at my husband for taking a picture of my huge tummy.
Anastasia is SUCH a slow eater that she was the last to get her Popsicle, but she did not enjoy the least.

Henry likes to "cheers" his drinks, but we discovered that he also likes to "cheers" his Popsicle.

Craig was making Henry laugh by making funny faces. A baby laughing is the best, but a sticky baby laughing is the best EVER!

Joseph is a good eater and a fast eater, so he was running around playing long before the other two.

Aine's first Pedicure


I didn't know if she was old enough for it, but she proved herself. She was SO excited for Aunt Jessi to come over and paint her toenails. She sat perfectly still. I can't get her to sit that still for Mass, a meal, even a story, but for painting her toenails, she was like a statue. I never thought I would have such a girly girl . . . I am loving it!

Her little tiny toes drying on the window sill. Please ignore the decrepit-looking old window!

Joseph was so cute; he sat next to her the whole time and kept saying, "I's so excited for Aine's toenails to be painted!" Jessi had to keep telling him to sit down because he kept getting too close and asking, "Can I touch them now?" But he was very concerned that Anastasia NOT touch them before they were dry. Such a vigilant older brother. :)

Gammy's visit


My mom just left today after a week long visit. Craig had three different photo shoots today, so has been in and out and is out again and I am wondering, "How am I going to do this without Mom???" It was so nice to have her here. Being pregnant with three little ones really makes me appreciate with SHE did for us when we were little.

She came into town to help me last weekend while Craig was in Pittsburgh shooting a wedding. You can see the sneak peak here. For Mass on Sunday we dressed Henry in suspenders for the first time. He looked SO cute. He was being a goof and won't put the book down so I could put his shoes on him. He has gotten REALLY into books. He wants, not only a story before each nap and bedtime, but at least three. He also wants to cuddle with a book and his "blankey" while I rock him before putting him in bed for the night. It is not the most comfortable thing to snuggle with, I can tell you from trying rock him, the book and the blankey, but he wakes up and looks at the books instead of fussing.

Anastasia got a new dress from Grammy and she looked so sweet with the dress and her hat. She likes wearing pretty dresses, and pink, and flowers, and princesses now. We were at Lowes today and she saw a ceiling fan with pastel colors and flowers on it. She said, "It's a pin-nt pan por (pink fan for) Anastasia!" She was also very excited when she spotted the Disney Princesses storage bin. She is such a little girl now. In fact, when Aunt Jessi visited last weekend, Aine got her toenails painted for the very first time. More on that later.

Joseph is getting so big that he has to wear 5T dress shirts. He still likes to dress up for Mass and usually asks to wear a tie. Luckily, this week while Craig was gone, he was satisfied with just his belt. If Craig is wearing a tie Joseph insists that he needs a tie too. Without seeing Craig wearing one, I guess he just didn't think about it.

The kids were exceptional in Mass! It really was ans answer to prayers! I was in the back most of the time with Henry--not because he was being bad, but just because he won't sit still or be quiet enough to stay in Mass. Mom said that Aine kept testing the limits by trying to climb around, but she was quiet. So Mass was a success, more or less.

Mom was also a huge help with Aine's continued potty training. I just don't have the energy to run to the bathroom with her on a regular basis, but Mom was there to either go with her or stay with the other kids or just remind me to remind Aine to go to the bathroom. Aine still won't tell us when she has to go. We have to prompt it every time, but as long as we take her every couple of hours, there are not accidents.Later in the week, we all went out for ice cream to celebrate Anastasia's potty success. I am not sure she really understood why we when out, but she enjoyed herself, none the less. Here are a few pictures of the kids eating their ice cream. Both Joseph and Aine lost interest in their cones long before they were finished, but Henry just cleaned up after them and didn't lose interest at all!
This is them before we left for lunch and ice cream. The picture is a little blurry, but it was so cute, I had to keep it because they are all smiling and Aine and Henry are holding hands.

Henry waiting in his seat for lunch. He is such a ham! And Anastasia "twirling" in her little dress. It looks like she just made an imaginary tennis serve.

All the kids enjoyed their ice cream cones, in their own way. I think Aine was more into the little cup we got for "just in case" than the cone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nocta is gone!


We have having the worst time with pets around here! Nocta has gone missing. This is day two of her just not being here. It is especially strange because Lucia is here--they are ALWAYS together. They wondered off about a two weeks after got them; we think they followed us as we went for a walk and then couldn't find their way back. But they DID find their way back, and after that, we didn't worry about them getting lost anymore. We, or at least I, prayed long and hard the day they when missing.

Lucia, who is usually very independent, must be very lonely because she meows at the door when she sees us inside and is right on my heels every time I step outside. She actually rubs against my ankles looking for attention--that was always Nocta before.

I know it is a silly little thing--they are just cats, after all--but please pray with me that Nocta is well and comes home soon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our Kittens


Earlier in the summer, I had the kids at a friend's house and Joseph couldn't leave their rabbit, dog, or cat alone. Another friend, jokingly, said to me, "You've gotta get your kids a pet!" We had talked about getting rabbits, but that would not be happening for awhile, plus, the rabbits would not really be "pets". They aren't going to be the kind of rabbits that let your hold and pet them, they are going to be raised for meat. So, Craig and I talked about it and decided to get a kitten.

Well, we ended up getting two. Somehow, that is always how it went when I growing. We would FINALLY talk mom into letting us get a kitten (we succeeded twice), and both times, somehow, we ended up with two. I think, once a parent gives into having an animal around, it didn't really
matter if it was one or two. Thanks, Mom, for letting us get our cats. I know you never liked cats. Thank you for tolerating them so we could have our pets. It meant a lot to us!

So we got a pair of sisters. They are outdoor cats, so we thought they would like some company. As much as we insisted that we got the kittens for the kids, Craig and I have really enjoyed them. Craig grew up with a lot of outdoor cats around, and I have always been a cat lover. I admit, my adore for them has waned since becoming an adult and especially since having children--I think it is knowing that I am going to be the one to clean up after them, and especially make sure the kids wash their hands after petting/feeding/mauling them--but now that we have our little "girls" Craig and I are both quite as attached as the children are.

Their names are Nocta and Lucia (not Lu-C-ah, but Lu-Chah). We wanted something clever having to do with black and white or day and night; literally, the names mean, "night" and "light" but this was a close as we could get.

Nocta is the sweetest, most affectionate kitten I have encountered. She is also the most tolerant cat I have ever seen. the kids drag her around (against our bidding, of course) and she never protests. She is a good little hunter, but much more timid than her sister.

Lucia is the dominant one of the pair. she is frisky and independent. she doesn't mind if you pet her, a little. She likes to be sitting near you, but not on your lap. If you pet her too much, so will just move on, because she really doesn't need you anyway. Fortunately, they are both pretty docile and haven't scratched or bitten the kids, even though they are man-handled sometimes . . . okay, most of the time. We were very fortunate to get such lovely little kittens, who, hopefully, will grow to be good cats.

Next post will be about our rabbits!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Henry's 1st Haircut

Well, my little man looks like a little man now. I went to give him a trim with my new clippers set and it turned out REALLY short. So here is my little man, looking all grown up. Except for the bruises on his forehead--I assume it is going to take him awhile longer to grow out of having those.