Archive for September, 2008

halloween soundtrack

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

For a limited time you can pre-purchase our Halloween Soundtrack just in time for the spooky holiday at just $4.73. Below is just a preview of what’s in store.

[google -2680844541420473903&hl]

Ok, I’m just kidding, there is no soundtrack for sale. However, I do think we have enough material around our home to make a c.d. full of scary sounds. The coyotes serenade us each evening with their howls. Sometimes they seem to be only a few yards away from the house, and they get so rowdy. That’s not all though. The wonderful carpenters who installed our bedroom/bathroom doors managed to improperly fit most of them into the doorways. When the door is about 6 inches from closing they make this sticky, creaking sound that can really spook someone in the middle of the night when the windows are opened and it’s breezy outside. The back of our house can also summon up quite a high-pitched whistle on windy days. Of course, we’ve got plenty of murderous screaming going on around here daily, too.

Before I leave you, did anyone notice Annie’s little comment at the end of the video? Something about spiders. Typical girl, huh?

more apples and other projects

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

[swfobj src=’’ title=’more apples’ height=”450″ width=”400″]

As you can see we were up to elbows in apples again. This time the task at hand was to make [crab]applesauce. We ventured to Williams-Sonoma to purchase a contraption to make this mission a bit easier, and we finally settled on a tomato press. I was a little skeptical that the process result in an edible product, but, to my surprise again, we got ourselves 10 quart-size jars of a crab-applesauce. At first I noticed a bitter aftertaste, but after consulting our applesauce expert, Kathy Olsen, she recommended adding a dash of vanilla. And, whattayaknow, it actually worked. The sauce is a little more tart than traditional applesauce, but everyone in the Hawley home enjoys and devours it (one jar is almost empty so far).

Here’s Annie working her muscles to crank out some mushy crabapples. Notice the blue bowl on the left–that’s where the undesirables get spit out. We didn’t realize this would happen until it was too late, and apple vomit ended up all over the counter and floor.

Mimi was pretty good at working the machine, too. Honestly, I can’t remember why she is just in her skivvies.

Last week we had the opportunity to finally get a chance to venture down to Chicago. My dad was in town for the night to deliver Josh’s, my brother, furniture which was in storage in Florida for a long time. The girls’ got their first ride in a taxi cab. I feel so bad because I totally spaced getting pictures of my dad, Josh, and his new wife, Erin. We did have a nice time though.

We interrupt this post for a brief bit of news. The dog has decided that the chair/couch in our den is her bed. I was noticing it getting dirty and hairy from her dogness, so we put some blankets on the piece of furniture to shield it. However, that pesky dog managed to wriggle her way under the blankets which completely defeats the purpose of the blankets in the first place. Tell me again how I ended up with this dog?!?

Now back to talking about projects. When we moved into this lovely home we were disturbed by the lack of any deck or patio and wondered how a family could live in this house for 14 years without ever being able to grill or eat outside. Maybe they did, but it would be a little inconvenient. So Mike and I decided we would do something to remedy this problem by adding on a patio to the back of the house. Of course, this project has taken on a life of its own and is not nearly as simple (or inexpensive) as we planned it to be. In spite of that, we are making progress.

Step 1: We had to dig out the area where the patio would be and to dig down about 7 or so inches. Fortunately, Mike had some men from church come over for a whole Saturday to help with this daunting task. Thankfully, I didn’t have to shovel one fleck of dirt from the ground:)

Step 2: Once the ground was completely dry (we had almost a full week of rain), we covered the ground with 3 mil plastic sheeting.

Step 3: This was the worst step ever; we covered the entire area with gravel. It took Mike and me all of Saturday and some of Monday to complete this step. Let me tell you, shoveling gravel is a very intense workout which causes much soreness the next day.

Step 4: The gravel needed to be compacted, and we rented this wonderful machine to do that job. I loved this part because the machine does most of the work, and the operator just needs to guide it. Mike and I took turns.

Step 5: We put about 1 inch of sand and had to level it with a 2x4x10 and level on top. Notice how much sand is in the truck bed? Picture gravel instead and multiply it by 7 loads = sore arms, back, butt, and even obliques.

Step 6: Hooray, the actual laying of stone has begun. And what better way to start than with our circle of life (that’s what I’m calling it anyway since I feel like I’ve practically sacrificed my own life in order to get to this point).

Step 7: We almost completed the floor of the patio, but a few delays kept us from completing finishing. The stone cutter cutting only an hour into its cutting, so Mike wasn’t able to finish cutting the pieces to fill in around the circle. The place where we purchased all this stuff also wasn’t able to deliver the wall of our patio because their forklift broke. So we are at a standstill until a week and a half from now. Why a week and a half, you say? Well, I’ll get to that in a moment.

Lucy was taunting us all day by running over the sand and even lying in it. She is just so naughty!

The reason we won’t be able to pick up where we left off with the patio for a few days is because Mike is leaving us to go hunting in SD with some buddies. He’s been working hard for us around here lately, so I think he deserves this trip. Plus, he hasn’t gotten this opportunity since before starting endo school. The girls and I will survive, I suppose. We’ll actually stay pretty busy with our usual daily routines.

check this out

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I do a little web design on the side, and just completed a website for a preschool. Please check it out. I’m very proud of it. College Park Nursery School & Kindergarten ( Thanks for having a look-see:)

always up to something

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

As most of you know Mike isn’t capable of sitting still and keeping from getting himself into new “schemes”. The latest of which is canning. He made a statement the other day where he basically said that he’ll be canning a lot of things this winter. I never know whether to just shrug my shoulders and not worry because it’ll never happen or to panic because this latest plot will involve lots of machinery which will take up half my kitchen/yard/garage/basement/living room (click here for example) . In this case panic should have overtook me because my kitchen has been in a state of turmoil the last couple of nights. However, I can’t complain [too much] because the results are truly delicious. We now have in our possession 6 jars full of crabapple jelly with several more on the way. Apparently, there is a grove of crabapple trees on base that have ample supplies of large crabapples. I would never have thought that crabapples were edible or even could be made into something so tasty. Mike is also going to make a small jug of apple cider for us. YUM!

This is what Mike came home with the other night. The laundry basket was nearly full.

The products.

In other news, Annie is now a 2-wheeled rider. She begged and begged us to remove her training wheels from her a bike a few weeks ago but then chickened out from attempting to ride it even with Daddy’s constant assistance. Each day we would try to coax her to at least make an effort. Eventually, she conquered her fear and rode around with Daddy always holding on. They practiced each day, and she finally attempted it without Daddy. It only took a few tries until she was really riding by herself. Annie is now pretty comfortable riding on her own. While I was a church event last night Daddy and the girls rode their bikes around the neighborhood.

Look at her go!

Mimi has gotten really good on her Dora bike, too.

potty confusion

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Overheard several times a day in the Hawley home:

Mimi: “I have to go potty!!”
Mom: “Ok, go right ahead. You know what to do.”
Mimi: “I need hellllpppp!”
Mom: “All right, I’ll be there in a second.”
Mimi: (Upon Mom entering bathroom) “I don’t need any help!”
Mom: “Argh! You just said you needed help!”
Mimi: “I don’t need hellllpppp! Go away!”
Mom: (Usually scolding Mimi for that last statement.)
Mimi: (Coming out of the bathroom with her pants halfway up and rolled at the waist.) “I need helllpppp!”
Mom: “Argh!”

fun ride and new toy

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

The week before the holiday I took the girls school clothes shopping. Upon exploring the mall to find the stores on our list we spied a merry-go-round. Of course, Annie and Mimi immediately started to beg me to ride it. I made them promise me that they would behave in every store we were planning to enter and that they had to eat their lunch in its entirety, and in return I would let them ride the carousel. With Mimi in tow, I knew that this would be a daunting task for them, but they “mostly” did well. So they got their ride.

Can you tell they were quite pleased?

And now for the new toy I’ve been mentioning over and over and not following through with pictures. People have been on me via comments here, voicemails for Mike, nasty emails to me about my delay in revealing what this toy is. {Okay, they weren’t “nasty” per se, but I did sense an urgency from a couple of people.}

Any guesses what it might could be?

Well, here it is in all its glory, a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega-Cab Turbo-Diesel. Sorry it’s not as sparkly and clean as the day we got it.

Look at the room in the back seat. There is more leg room than our mini-van by a long shot. And the girls get their own cup holders that they can actually reach.

We wouldn’t want the front seat to get jealous, so here’s a picture of it, too. That middle thingy can pop up to allow a 3 passengers in the front allowing for a total of 6. It also has several compartments for storage. I noticed that Mike already has all his essentials stocked in there such as glow sticks, lighters, and some other strange things.

The 1997 GMC Sonoma Mike has been driving since 2003 was on its last legs, and he has had his eye on huge, ginormous, diesel trucks for ages. We figured it was time for Mike to finally have his wish come true. I was actually the one who made him go for the newer model because I figured he would have this thing for a long time and would put it to good use. Mike’s plan is to convert fry grease from participating restaurants into bio-diesel instead of using diesel from the stations. I’m a little nervous about this undertaking, but we did meet a guy who actually does with success. He was the person who bought our orphan basketball hoop left by the previous owners. Wish Mike luck!

bunch o’ busy days

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Whew! Where do I even begin? As the title states we have been quite busy these past few days. We had been looking forward to the Labor Day holiday weekend for some time because we were headed to Minnesota.

The first stop on the agenda (other than Mike’s mom’s house) was the Minnesota State Fair. Mike was so envious that he had to miss it last year, so there was no stopping him this year. We made the usual runs to the animal barns, giant slides, dairy building to see the butter sculptures, and several fattening food vendors. The extra 10 pounds I left with were so worth it.

Striking a pose at the fair.

Cowboy Matt and Cowgirl Hayley.

The kids got to pet/feed various animals including goats, lambs, and horses.

The butter sculptures are always a fun attraction.

On Sunday Jake, Mike’s brother, invited us to the Lafayette Club where he’s the executive chef for their annual carnival. Jake gifted us with numerous tickets so that we didn’t have to spend a dime the entire night. There were tons of good eats including the best corn-on-the-cob, mini doughnuts, and ColdStone Creamery ice-cream. The kids had numerous activities to keep them busy, too, such as several bouncy houses, a few inflatable slides, and pony rides. The end of the night was the fireworks show which was probably one of the best I’d ever seen with a finale that seemed to never end. We were very impressed with the entire event and hope to get invited back in the future (wink::wink::hint::hint). Thanks a zillion, Jake!

Of course, we couldn’t visit Grandma Minnesota without also visiting the Minnesota Arboretum. And that we did on our way out of town on Monday. They now have this kewl shrubbery maze that the girls just loved. First they tried out the Jr. maze and then braved the full maze with Daddy. For some reason both the girls have become fascinated with swamps and ask if any body of water they see is a swamp. Fortunately, we got to see one up close and personal at the Arboretum.

Getting lost, ahem, I mean, finding their way through the maze.

Grandma Minnesota and those silly girls.

Cheers! Making a pit stop at the A&W while on our way home from MN.

We got back late Monday night which means I didn’t get as many preparations completed for Annie’s first day of school the next day. Instead I got up at the bum crack of dawn to get most of it done (we failed to get Annie’s homework assignment done though–decorating a choo-choo train and putting her picture on it). Annie was quite ecstatic for her first day of school to officially arrive and even more excited about riding the bus. Our neighbor’s 9-year-old daughter has been sweet enough to make sure that Annie gets on and off the bus each day. Annie returned home with quite a day full of craziness. Apparently, a brilliant student pulled the fire alarm during her lunchtime not letting her finish. The time it took to clear up that mess also ran into her recess time which meant they didn’t really get any time out there. It was a little disappointing to her (okay it was a lot), but I assured Annie that she would get many many many opportunities to eat and play at school. Her second day went just fine, and she’s already making new friends and getting used to her new schedule.

Boarding the bus for the first of many times.

Oh, the heartbreak of losing her big sister to kindergarten.

Hooray! She made it home.

Next up was Mimi’s first day of preschool which was today. Mimi has been waiting for this for many years as she’s watched Annie go. I was happy to see that there are lots of parents involved with the school (this wasn’t the case at Annie’s preschool in D.C.). However, Mimi was a bit upset when she realized that her lunch box wasn’t going to travel with her to school. She got over it pretty quickly though once we got to school as she entered her classroom. I could barely get her to acknowledge me as I was leaving. When I picked her up she had a smile from ear to ear, so she must have had a wonderful first day.

Look how giddy Mimi is on her 1st day of preschool. Will it always be this way?

Like I said it’s been busy around here, but the fun doesn’t end just yet. We had another joyful event this afternoon. The girls started their ice-skating lessons. And let me tell you I had tears in my eyes to see how cute those 2 girls were flailing and falling all over the ice with their little tights and tutus. Annie made real progress in the 1/2 hour there. She was actually scooting around on her own and able to pick things up off the ice. Mimi was quite a different story, but I have faith that she’ll improve within a few more sessions.

This is how it was for the first half of the class, always on their bums.

Annie got a “helper” who looks like she’s about to fall with Annie any second.

Oops! Looks like I was right.

Keep up the good work, Mimi!

By the end of the class Annie was able to pick up objects from the ice. Way to go!

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for pictures of Mike’s new toy, I have no excuse except to say that I just haven’t had the chance to take any pictures. I promise I will make the effort to take some in the next couple of days. Come on people, I HAVE been busy around here.