Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CHICKENS

Thank God for my patient and loving husband who is almost always willing to go along with whatever crazy ideas come my way. He is a saint indeed. This winter I got an idea in my head that we should have some chickens in our backyard (we do now live on 2.5 acres of land - yes, I know it's not a ton, but it is WAYYYY more than we had in our old house). This winter my husband and I (really, mostly my husband, but I did help some) built a GORGEOUS chicken coop. I linked the plan to it, so you could see it if you'd like - currently the weather is still too cold for chicks to be outside, so they are living in my kitchen.
The chicks arrived by mail from Meyer Hatchery, we had ordered 3 Golden Buffs and 2 Black Australorps back in January and set them to arrive the second week in April (in hopes that the weather would be warm enough for them to ship). The post office called me EARLY one morning (2:15am - which I let go to voice mail) and told me I could come pick up our new chicks whenever I wanted, so when I got up at 5:30 or so I ran to town to get the box of chicks. The post office people laughed a little because that morning they also had a stack of 350 ROOSTERS come in for someone else, I think they were a little disappointed I wasn't taking all the roosters home because they were WAY loud.  Sadly, I was a little nervous all of our chicks were dead because I couldn't hear them while we were standing in the post office, thankfully as soon as I got outside of the room with the ridiculous roosters, I could hear them chirping away. 
     I managed to wait until I got home to open the box, although I was tempted to open it in my car. Upon arriving home, Marc met me (I think he was equally excited) and we set this box on the counter and opened it up. At first I saw 4 chicks moving around in the box and assumed the one in the corner had died, however, Marc poked it and two black chicks came sprinting out of the corner, we had SIX chicks alive and well. Meyer Hatchery must have included an extra in case of a death of one of the chicks. We had six chicks not five. We immediately set out upon naming four of them - in fear two would die - a couple were a little sluggish from shipping.
   So we took the chicks out and placed them in the rubbermaid we had prepared for them the night before (I was crazy checking the shipping status and where these sweet little chicks were at as they were traveling) - we used a rubbermaid we weren't using, a heat lamp with a red bulb, a chick watering dish, a chick feeding dish, and a thermometer. On the bottom of the tub for the first couple of days we put only a piece of paper towel, we have since promoted them to pine shavings. 
    These little birds are fascinating to watch. I am seriously convinced that baby chicks are narcoleptic. They can be walking around and then just as quickly fall to the ground and they are passed out until another chick steps on them and they bounce right back up. A couple of the first mornings that we had them I was convinced I had killed them all off because they were quiet and all laying down, however, as soon as I reached my hand in they all came right up and were chirping away. Dakota is pretty neutral towards them and doesn't seem phased by them in the least. When I take them out of the bin and put them on a towel to run around the living room she pretty much just lays down next to the towel and watches them. I am not sure she knows what to think of them. It is entertaining for sure. We will see what happens when they actually start to grow and get a bit bigger and are a little bit more intimidating to her or when they are running around the backyard and she is running around the back yard.
    The chickens are pretty much impossible to get a good picture of - they are constantly on the move and if they are sleeping they slightly look dead which is just weird to post a picture of, so here are some pictures I have managed to catch where the chicks don't look totally dead. They are already growing like crazy which boggles my mind how quickly they have gotten big - I didn't anticipate their growth quite as quickly. They all seem to be living and their key need at the moment is heat - we are currently down to 90 degrees in their box and lowering the temp 5 degrees each week. With any luck the weather will warm up and they will be able to go outside at some point. I think here next week or the following they are going to get the boot to the garage - I think I am going to put Dakota in her travel crate at night/during the day and then but the chicks in Dakota's big wire kennel. Plus the nice part is the wire crate I can just spray down and clean off easily. I was debating going with a cardboard box, but I am afraid that the box will just get nasty and there isn't a great way to clean it. So we'll see what happens. I will keep you all posted and I am sure there will be many a more chicken posts coming. The four names we have so far for our chickens are: Duke, Chester, Winnie, and Madison. I suppose we should name the last two as it appears they are all going to survive.






Friday, April 18, 2014

Honeymoon Shutterfly Book

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It has seriously been one of my goals this year to get completely caught up on my shutterfly books AND stay caught up. It has taken me a few months to make this happen, but I am ALMOST there. I have my 2014 one going which is ALMOST up to date (read - a month or so behind but doable to catch back up), my only one now that I have left to do is our wedding one. For some reason (we have a bunch of photos that I just don't want to sort through) I have been lacking the motivation to get that one done. But I fear the longer I let it go without doing it the less motivation I am going to have to actually get it done. Soooo I have committed to getting it done in May - by the end of May I WILL have our wedding photobook done. June is dedicated to getting our 2014 album caught back up and then my goal is to just stay on top of it. Getting behind stinks.

What do you do with all of your digital photos?
Do you have a preferred way of printing them/scrapbooking them?

I am jealous of those people who actually create big and real scrapbooks and spend hours doing it. I know for me it is shutterfly or nothing. I don't want to own all the stuff to create big books. The other thing I really like is how thin shutterfly books are which makes them SUPER easy to put on my book shelves and tons of them fit.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Basement Progress

We are actually making progress. We are getting somewhere. Stuff is getting done in our basement. Perhaps this ridiculously cold weather is proving to be worth something after all! Realistically we had hoped that we would be outside enjoying some beautiful spring weather however, mother nature seems to still be confused what season it should be so we are attempting to seize the opportunity to get stuff done in the house. Our basement has the sheet rock all hung, taped, and textured (yeah it is ridiculously hard to take pictures of taping and texturing work, but trust me it was worth every penny to have that part done by professionals - not to mention it would have taken Marc and I no less than 12,001 times longer than it took them). So now we are onto priming/painting and flooring. 
     The original plan was to hold out on the flooring and just deal with the cemented floor, however, a few weeks ago at Menards, during their 11% sale, I conned Marc into just going for it now, while everything is already out of the basement, I mean really - do we want to resettle everything into the basement and then with a newborn or a toddler or older kid be trying to finish the basement. Not to mention most of the things for the basement are currently beautifully stacked in what will be the nursery. So here we are doing the basement floor and watching copious amounts of youtube videos in attempt to figure out what the heck we are doing and how to install flooring. Thank God for people with way more time on their hands then us or people who are passionate about making youtube videos about everything because our house would be in shambles if it wasn't for people like this. 
      In all honesty Marc probably does the bulk of the work - he really knows how to do it. My job: keep the house cleanish, entertain the puppy (who really isn't a puppy any more), check in on our growing chicks (yes, there will be a chicken post coming in the nearish future), keep Marc fed, the dishes done, the laundry clean and folded, put down the blue under layment that goes under the flooring, tape the under layment seams, and make the cuts to the wood with the table saw that Marc says he needs. He is good at putting the boards together and making sure they are all tight enough and making sure that they all have the seal that they are suppose to have. Every once in a while I get promoted to holding something down while he tries to get something in place, but for the most part Marc has been doing most of that. I think he is really enjoying the project actually (which is good because we still have a lot of basement to go - we'll see what he thinks about this project in a few weeks - we have a ton of basement to cover). I think he actually chose the most complicated room to start with (unknowingly though) because this room has a HUGE walk in closet (that I think is going to become my craft nook) and the room is anything but square. The other room that will be another guest room is totally square and has a little closet, so hopefully this will make it a little easier. Then after that it is onto the hallway and then the great room.
    Today I am stopping by Menards (they are seriously going to know me by name by the time this house gets done) to pick up some clear varnish/something to put on the beadboard/floorboards and I am going to start painting those outside as soon as possible so that we can get those pieces put up as soon as they are dry. So the flooring isn't technically done but hopefully the laying of the floor part is actually the time consuming piece and the actual putting up of the last pieces goes pretty quick. We will just have to make sure we cut the pieces to size, which I am hoping won't be too hard, not to forget I am getting really good with a table saw!
    The other complication about this project is we don't actually have electricity downstairs hooked up - it is all just roughed in, so what light we have is just some work/flood lights that we have brought in from the garage. My mom is coming up this weekend to help with the priming/painting of some of the rooms/ so that will be nice, as soon as that is done, I am going to call and get the electricians back to come and finish up the electrical work so that we are back in action with electricity downstairs. Other things that will need to be done at some point: tile the bathroom floor, finish installing the toilet/shower/sink/vanity, hang doors, and add shelving to the closets.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Como Park Conservatory and Zoo

This weekend my family met up in Minneapolis to celebrate Cub getting his white coat in vet school. Technically he doesn't graduate until next May but his class received their white coats on Sunday. While we couldn't actually be there for the white coat ceremony we were able to head down on Friday evening and stay through most of Saturday. 

Saturday afternoon we spent at the Como Park Conservatory and Zoo (NEVER let me leave the house again without my Nikon D300, I thought we were just going to be chilling and hanging out -so all these photos were taken with my point and shoot - which works but isn't my Nikon D300). Sooo here are some pics from this weekend's adventures:

Dad, Cub, Mom, Marc, and Me



The Boys


Ma & Pa

Love my parents


We really did see WAY more animals at the zoo,
the giraffes are just my favorite by far so I have WAYYY more pictures
of them. The flower pictures are the ones that turned out the best though.




What did you do this weekend?
Anything out of the ordinary?

Friday, April 11, 2014

3 years old

Happy 3rd Birthday Dakota!

Dearest Dakota,
   You have become quite the wonderful dog and we give thanks for you in our lives. We wouldn't be the same without you. You are a ray of sunshine and hope. I rejoice at coming home to you each and every night. I love the way you insist on being pet and that at a solid sixty pounds you still think you are a lap dog. You goofy dog, you have long outgrown that stage.
    You are a wonderfully loving dog, you love people and bring joy to everyone you encounter. I am thankful for your patient spirit and your tolerance for people, especially children. You repeatedly encounter children who "pet" you perhaps a little rough, they sit on you and even tug on your ears, and you lay still and your tail wags back and forth. Your tail never stops moving unless you are sleeping. You wag and wag and wag all day long with joy. Even in the morning when we come to get your out of your crate, which thankfully you still love to sleep in and beg to go into at night, and as we greet you, your tail goes crazy.
    You also continue to help the Golden Retriever breed. You are one of the currently just over 2000 dogs in the Morris Animal Foundation lifetime study of Golden Retrievers. You love going to the vet, they give you treats and there are new faces to befriend.
     Winter is a little rough on you when the weather doesn't allow us to get you outside to run. We attempt to get you the exercise you need but when the bitterly cold strikes it complicates things. However, you love to throw your orange ball down the steps to go and chase, you have discovered if you drop it at the right point it will roll the whole way down the stairs and you can go and get it. Sometimes, we put a couple inches of water in the bathtub and you eagerly jump in and will play in the bathtub for sixty or so minutes before you get bored, especially if we float an ice cube or two or your orange ball in there, the fun is endless. You are a well behaved dog.
     Your favorite toys currently are: orange chuck it balls, the turtle from my parents that you got for Christmas (do all spoiled dogs get Christmas gifts), and rope toys.  You live to run free and without the leash. With our recent move to the lot next to the State Park, I am fairly convinced you are in some level of heaven. I can't wait for summer to come again so that you can swim again, you love the lakes as well on a hot day. You are greatly motivated by a treat or a bone. You also love when I finish a jar of peanut butter and I leave that last little bit in it for you to lick out, you will haul a mostly empty peanut butter jar around for hours and will attempt to get every last spec of peanut butter out of it.
    This was a tough year for you in the sense that your two best friends died. Luther and Gus both died this year and still when we go to their house you search for them. I don't know how else to explain it to you. They really were your best friends. Your friends now are Nala and Echo and Duncan. You know them all by name and watch for them when I say they are coming or at the door. You love your friends. You have a few other acquaintances and love to play with other dogs when we got to the dog park, but no one that you love as much as those three.
    Your favorite people include: me, Marc, Vicki, Linnea (due to the fact that she feeds you whatever she is eating), JT (because he also feeds you whatever he is eating), KT, and Cubby. You love all people though, especially if they have a treat for you. You also have gotten to make several trips to one of our local nursing homes, you are so sweet and tender with all of the residents. You wag your tail at 200 miles per hour and walk right up to people when they wave you over and you rest your head right on their laps so they can pet you. You have no fear of wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or crutches for this reason. You even have a favorite old man at one of the nursing homes who always takes you from me and he takes you from room to room to show you off to all of his friends, you are happy to go along with him as long as I am walking behind you.
    You also have a great appreciation for adventures, you know when we tell you we are going on an adventure you get to ride in the car. You are an amazing camper and love when we tent it somewhere. You also love when Marc takes you on adventures without me because you know that means you will get to ride in the front seat of the car. You really are an amazing dog and I give thanks for you and your joy in our lives daily.
   You have managed to become family and life wouldn't be the same without you. You are one amazing three year old. Please live forever. You will always be my first beloved dog as I have grown up. You have taught me much in life and I pray I am able to give you even a tenth of what you pour out on me. May your days be filled with lots of tail wagging, orange balls, someone to pet you, treats, a good run and swim, and evening snuggles. May you always be so filled with joy that it radiates out of you. May you continue to be a blessing to all of us who get to know you and love you and have you in our lives. Happy 3rd birthday little girl.

Love you,
   Sarah


















Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pregnancy

I figured after dropping the news in the last post that I am pregnant I should probably do a bit of an update. Baby Marshall is technically due on August 7, 2014, however I am not holding my breath that baby will actually agree, my fear is it will be the world's hottest summer on record and baby will hold out until an eviction notice is given and baby is forced out of the womb. Bring on the ice cream and the lake.

We found out we were pregnant back in December, actually on the same day that we closed on our new house. It was quite the surprise to us and not at all like we had planned, I feel like this is how these types of things generally work out. We are jazzed for sure.

A selfish downfall is my race schedule is pretty much non-existent for a while with baby coming in August. I still plan on running a couple 5ks but no halfs or even 10ks are on my calendar, which saddens me. I am not really certain I can bank on being able to run all that well this summer so attempting to do something more than a fun 5k sounds awful. Not to mention the treadmill makes me sick, literally. However, I have been swimming a TON of miles. New problem, maternity swim suits that are geared towards lap swimming rather than having your stomach hang out, they are few and far between and generally cost way more than I actually want to spend. Next year, I will be back running for sure. I have convinced Marc to run the Tower of Terror ten miler with me down in Disney world, not this October, but the following (yes, this seems ridiculously far off in the distance, however, I want a fun race on the calendar. I imagine registration will open up in February or so for the race). My parents, who took no arm twisting, agreed to come along on the trip so that someone can hang out with baby while we run.

I will also hopefully have Fargo 2015 under my belt (no commitment to distance yet, perhaps the 10k) and some fun summer runs. This summer is shot. Something about being seven through nine months pregnant and running sounds horrible.

I have been feeling less than ideal to put it mildy. Whoever named it morning sickness was lucky, I would have referred to it as all day and every day sickness and still going strong at this point (Yes, I am well aware it dies off for most people at 12 weeks, I am just extra "lucky" or something. No, the drugs don't do anything for it.) It sucks. I puke more than I care to admit and am at the point that I look at food and think "do I want to puke that back up" before eating it. Ridiculous.

We are excited for August for sure.
Bring on the world's hottest summer (which after this winter is next to impossible to imagine).


Any fun or exciting news in your world?
Life throwing you any curve balls lately?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ten Months as a MRS

I just realized I missed our 9th month update. Life was nuts.

The Wonderful Things:
  • We have gotten some spring days! but they are few and far between.
  • My husband brought home two movies this past month for me (which we NEVER, or rarely hardly ever buy movies, mostly because we Netflix 99% of our movies or borrow from friends) and he got me the new Hunger Games movie and Frozen (LOVE THEM BOTH)
  • We are making some serious progress on the basement. We insulated the basement ourselves and we don't hate each other like everyone told us we would. I would dare to say we even had fun doing it. We like doing projects that are within our abilities, we know when to call in a professional. We aren't above hiring someone else to do pieces of it.
  • We went to Chanhassen Dinner Theater's version of The Little Mermaid, soooo wonderful
  • We both had birthdays (Marc's is 4/3 and mine is 4/5)
  • Our chickens have been shipped and should arrive tomorrow or Thursday - you have been warned that there will be a chick explosion on my page
  • Marc has really gotten into woodworking/building things (he built our chicken coop) and it has been really fun to watch his skills develop and some of the fun stuff that he has built 
    • once the weather gets nice and he can be out in the garage a little bit more I imagine he will be even more happy to be out there and it will be more fun to hang out there with him, I don't love hanging out in the cold 
The Things No One Ever Tells You About:
  • It is hard to make decisions about how you are going to finish off your basement. Certain things I just don't know what to choose (yes, I know, first world problems) 
    • which tub/shower to pick shouldn't be this hard
    • which color of off white you want your primer to be really doesn't matter
  • When boys are sick the world ends (I know I have had this one before, but seriously)
    • I know being sick sucks and actually he did much better this time than before but still when boys get sick the world ends
  • How amazingly wonderful it is when for a few hours you are totally caught up on all of your laundry, washed, dried, folded, and put away
    • really I just feel wonderful whenever my house is totally clean
    • Marc really is pretty good at helping with keeping our house clean 
      • he really really really likes to vacuum, seriously, and takes it upon himself to vacuum up golden retriever about every other day - I will happily scrub the bathrooms to not have to do golden retriever every other day
The Miscellaneous Things:
  • I still wish my family lived closer
  • I am jazzed our basement is coming together, it will be AWESOME when it is finished.
  • I am excited for Easter
  • The camp I help to co-manage almost has a full summer calendar and that makes my heart happy because now we don't have to fret about meeting budget and what not