The Last Two Weeks: A Photojournal Of Our Family

It’s been almost two weeks since my last post! Sorry for dropping off the face of the planet, but it’s been a really busy time. Here’s a quick recap of everything that’s happened to our redheaded family.

There’s a TON of photos in this post, so if you’re on mobile, you may need to give it a little extra time to load.

A Wedding!

We had a little country wedding to attend. Angela’s nephew got married, so we had a big day of getting all dressed up. The night before, I brought my boot polishing kit, and set about polishing my boots. The girls decided they wanted their boots polished too, so I let them help.

The morning was a hectic chaos of trying to get everyone ready. Breakfast and baths and wrangling squirming girls into pretty dresses and cute hairdos. Baby was excited to wear her grandmother’s pearl necklace and a pretty new dress.

The wedding was held in front of a gorgeous little pond in front of Angela’s grandparents’ house. We were worried it might rain us out, but the rain held off until evening. We couldn’t have asked for better weather. I also got to meet Angela’s grandmother and grandfather.

Country pond

Afterwards, we realized we hadn’t done a great job of explaining the wedding to the girls. They were confused and a little disappointed, because they thought Angela and I were getting married, not their cousin!

We also managed to get the first actual family photo with all five of us at the wedding.

Science and Fun!

We had a few really pretty days, so we spent a ton of time outdoors with the girls. Footraces are one of their favorite things, along with their rollerskates and Baby’s scooter. But they don’t really have a lot of outside toys — partially because we don’t have a good place to store them.

Swing Time!

At one point, Baby made the comment that she wished they had a swing. So what’s a resourceful dad to do? Build one, of course. We have a pair of old metal crossbars for a clothesline (although there’s no lines on them). I took about 18 feet of paracord and a sturdy stick, and fashioned a small swing hanging from one of the crossbars.

Baby took right too it. Monster required a little more convincing, but she loved the swing too. After Bubba got home, Angela and I decided to share a few fun science projects with the kids.

Glitter Volcano

First up: glitter volcano! Just a simple baking soda and vinegar reaction, mixed with some purple food coloring and LOTS of glitter. Here’s a little guide on how to make your own.

So how did it go? I’ll let the pictures tell the story on this one:

 

We even managed to snag a rare picture of Bubba out in the wild.

Color Changing Milk

After the glitter volcano, we took the girls inside and showed them a color changing milk experiment using milk, food coloring, and dish soap.

Vinegar Eggs

Finally, we showed the girls what happens when you leave an egg in a cup full of vinegar for a few days. The shell dissolves, and the egg becomes rubbery and bouncy. The girls thought it was really fun, but I think they didn’t care much for the smell of the vinegar.

The MRSA Scare

Sometime in the last two weeks, Monster started complaining that she got an ant bite on her wrist. Within a day or two, it had swollen up a lot more than any ant bite I’d ever seen, and we started suspecting that she’d actually been bitten by a spider.

We started treating it with ice for the swelling, but when Monster started running a low-grade fever, we decided to take her to the pediatrician just to be safe. She’d also been really tired, napping for hours at a time. The pediatrician took a sample of fluid for testing, and started her on a round of oral and topical antibiotics.

A few days later, we got test results back and it turned out that her “bite” was actually a MRSA infection. Hearing that your kid has MRSA is a pretty scary thing, but Angela and I both did a lot of reading, and it seems like we’re in the clear. The antibiotics appear to have done the trick, and the infection healed quickly. Monster’s energy is back, too.

We still have to be careful about any new cuts or scrapes for the next while — there’s always the chance that she’s a carrier, and we’re a little worried about her passing MRSA on to Baby or to ourselves. Mostly, though, it hasn’t interrupted life too much — we just do a little extra disinfecting and check the girls over at bathtime.

Conecuh National Forest

Angela and I found ourselves with a day alone — the kids were gone with their dads, and it was such a pretty day, I suggested we go for a drive. We decided to make an impromptu trip down to Conecuh National Forest for a hike.

We even found a few treasures on the hike — an old heavy glass Grapico bottle, and the vertebra of a deer. The bottle was probably bottled in Alabama in the 1960s, but Angela and I were unable to find a verifiable date for this bottle design. I’m thinking I’ll probably turn it into some sort of interesting craft.

The deer bone wasn’t too far from the road, so I’m guessing it was probably a deer killed in a collision with a vehicle. Local animals carried off the carcass and the other bones, but this one vertebra was left behind. It has a few breakages, either from scavenger teeth or from the collision. I cleaned it up by letting it soak in peroxide for a day.

Angela and I have talked about possibly making a shadowbox to collect little treasures like this we find on our hikes, but I’m also curious about trying to carve something out of the bone. I don’t want to mess it up, though, so I haven’t decided.

Workshop Days

A few days after our hike, I came down with chills and muscle aches and a splitting headache. Fearing the flu, I decided to quarantine myself so I wouldn’t risk infecting Angela or the kids or my parents.

Thankfully, it just ended up being a sinus infection, and I was feeling a lot better in a day or two. I took advantage of the time to busy myself in the workshop, building a few products to sell.

I cut four equal pieces from an old board I found in the shed, sanded them, then stained them with black boot polish. Then I used nails and string to create some pretty string art.

While I was busy in the workshop, I also finished up a walking stick that I’d started a few days earlier. To make the walking stick, I started with a fresh limb fallen from a pecan tree. I cut it down to the proper size, then trimmed off all the bark with a utility knife and sanded it smooth. Over the course of a week, I then applied four coats of linseed oil. Finally, I tightly wrapped the handle with leather cord.

I also started work on a second walking stick, this one made from oak. It still needs a few more coats of linseed oil before it’s ready for the handle wrap, though.

The plan is to start selling these wood craft projects. I’ve made a few posts on the local Facebook buy-sell-trade boards, but I haven’t had much luck. Those boards are more focused on used goods instead of handmade crafts, so I think I’m just trying to sell in the wrong places. I may try opening an Etsy page, or selling through a local marketplace of some sort.

Baby Turns Five!

Probably the biggest event over the last two weeks happened just yesterday. Angela spent Thursday and Friday making Baby’s cake and some Bat-symbol rice crispy treats while I wrangled the little ones and kept them out of her hair.

We had Baby’s fifth birthday party at a local petting zoo on Saturday. Several of her friends from her preschool class came, plus family and family friends, so we had a big group. I never did figure out how many kids actually attended, but there were a ton.

The petting zoo took care of all of the decorations, and they did a great job. The lady running the operation was incredibly nice, and she was great with the kids.

After the cake and presents were all opened, Baby and the rest of the guests got to explore a barn full of cute animals to interact with, including some newborn baby goats, a couple bunnies, parrots and peacocks, a precocious monkey named Simon, and many more. I showed Baby and her BFF from school how to feed a little black sheep. Finally, to top it off, all the kids got to ride a miniature pony named Darla May.

Once all the guests were gone and the kids were all sugared up and overstimulated, Angela and I shipped the girls off with their dad and went home for a three hour nap. We were exhausted, but so happy that Baby had such a wonderful birthday.

What’s Next?

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, and I’m tired just thinking of it all, and we’ve got more events on the horizon. We’ve got Valentines’ Day just around the corner, and then a baby shower for our new niece (the bride from the wedding mentioned at the top of this post).

I have a dozen or so new projects to work on in the workshop, when I find time for them, and hopefully finding a reliable way to sell them to generate some cash. Somewhere in all that, I want to get back to a regular posting schedule here on the blog.

How’s your last two weeks been? What’s new in your world? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

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