Lots of tomatoes. Lovely, lovely.

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We had to get an expedited passport for Jane today. Is not that the cutest passport photo ever? We are off to Poland soon for the Fall. Crazy, but kind of exciting too.

I unintentionally made the above 3 sentences a link to Colin's passport photo, as a little bonus. Our laptop has been acting strange. It is more than 2.5 years old so it's an antique in the laptop world.

Don't put chocolate in your eye.

Later that day, after grape juice, cream, and some Parmesan. Colin loves Parmesan, even the rind.

On another day when he was clean. He started preschool this month and my main efforts of keeping him clean are all on preschool days. Other than that, it is still summer, what is a little dirtiness going to hurt?

I am a little unsure what to do with Jane's shaggy hair. I try to pull her bangs back with a barrette, which is very cute, but she has declared war on all things on her head. I guess a bang trim is in her future.

(My brother Pat complains our blog is really boring when we are home. We have a couple trips coming up so maybe things will get more exciting.)
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Jane having a hard time up from a nap. The little tear kills me.

Our friends had brought us some chocolate.

I love her look of "why is it in plastic?"

She happily ate the entire chocolate dinosaur, still to groggy to smile.
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SO happy that Brian realized he is in love with me and that we got married all of six years ago! Not much going on anniversary-wise today but a mid-week get-away to Park City (kid free!) will be lovely.

I have been in love with Brian almost half of my life. Even after several years of marriage I used to have dreams that we were in college and he was not returning my affection. I now have dreams that we forgot to get married but have two kids. Speaking of which, better pay attention to them. (Jane just got into the flour and Colin is searching for more "sharp things". Such a busy time!)

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An obvious consequence from helping Nana decorate cupcakes for his cousin's birthday.

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It has been so great to see Colin and Jane really start to play. They are so cute together. Jane loves to give Colin cuddles and kisses and he is so sweet to his sister. They are sharing a room and love it. At night they just chatter themselves to sleep and in the morning when Jane has gotten up before Colin, he cries because he wants his sister in their room. One morning when I had Jane with me and he woke up alone he even searched all over the house (thinking she was just lost in the house somewhere). They are both big Dora fans and enjoy watching together. Jane sings the theme song and the backpack theme. She has started to count in Spanish and yells "salta!" with us. She is such a little sponge. Her other favorite thing to say right now is hot dog, although she is not a big fan of eating them.

Somehow they both ended up with no shirt on by the end of this day, and for Colin, no pants too. He is in big boy underwear and is doing so great. He even started a cute preschool on Aug 3rd. I had been telling him since his birthday that when he learns to use the potty he could go to school and it has come true. He likes to tell the story of when he went to school and it goes like this, "once upon a time when Colin learned to put all his pee pee and poopy in the potty he got to go to preschool. The end."

Fun with Nana's Wellies with little sister right behind.

Jane conquered doorknobs today. I could tell she had been studying them for a while and made a major break though today. I had both my kids in the bathroom with me (since Mommy does not get private time ever) and in two second she was out the bathroom door and out the side door to outside. She was very proud of herself, and I will be off the buy the child-proof covers tomorrow. Colin had the child-proof covers conquered by about 17 months so we will see how long it takes Jane.
In the last couple of weeks she has also figured out the sliding glass doors, and she can already get her leg up over the crib (but hopefully that escape is not anytime soon). I had forgotten how busy ages 1-3 are.
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We also were able to see our old friend Amberly and family, visiting from Michigan. She taught me how to breath fire. If only I could somehow track who we have taught to breath fire. The gift has gone long and far. She also introduced me to Phil and Ted (which has become a major obsession. I love all things Phil and Ted!!!)

She and her husband have two darling boys. We very much enjoy spedning time with them.

We took photos in the grapes, that I really liked (but the two boys were done by then). I want our family photo taken in the grapes. Brian got me a remote a while back, we need to set up the tri-pod and give it a try.
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We were lucky to have a visit from some good friends we met while in Tel Aviv. We had met the darling older sisters but also got to meet the beautiful new baby!

When her mom put her in clothes on she was done smiling and put all her concentration on her dress. I love watching babies figure out their hands! We had a nice visit and they are now off to Japan for the next few years! We hope our travels will take us that way sometime. . .

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Here is some of the best of the garden so far. Colin hanging out under the Mulberry tree on the outskirts of the garden.

Our neighbor who is a bee keeper and keeps bees on our property said the honey from the hives on our property smells like grapes, thanks to the about 1/3 of an acre of grapes my grandpa planted in the 1940's. The grapes and the bees are having a great year. We were home when one hive swarmed a few weeks ago and it was crazy. By coincidence, the bee keeper arrived to rescue the swarming bees very soon after it happened. They swarmed a few years ago and took up residence in another neighbor's house. They were not welcome.

Brian and my mom were all excited to put in an asparagus patch. It is a strange growing process and we will not get anything out of it this year.

These photos are a few weeks old. We could take photos of red tomatoes now. Brian was telling me about a brandywine that is about 6 inches in diameter. Oh yes.

Brian braided his garlic and it hangs right outside the kitchen. It over-wintered from last year and are big, beautiful heads. We cook with a lot of garlic and it is wonderful to just walk over and cut off what we need.

Lovely beans.

The leeks that have gone to seed. They are a lovely feature in the garden. The bees love them, and the other bee keeper wonders if they will affect the taste of the honey.

The cucumbers are doing great this year (last year some of them were bitter). When we lived in up state New York, Kathy Buck gave is a great refrigerator pickle recipe. I'll look it up and post it at the end.

I do not think we ever blogged about it I did not take photos (which typically means no post), but the garden tried to kill Brian a few weeks ago. It was a full-time job for Brian to get the garden in before we left for 5 weeks the end of May, and he spent hours renovating the soil with about 2 tons of compost. He must have knelt on something that broke the skin and caused a terrible infection. When Brian finally went to Instacare, the doctor was very, very concerned and thought the fluid on his knee could be infected. Worse case scenario, this could have meant about 6 weeks hooked up to an IV. This was all about 2-3 days before we had to leave for Princeton. He started some strong antibiotics and got a follow-up with an orthopedic doctor on the day we we were scheduled to leave. Lucky for us, it was not as bad as the first doctor thought. Brian was a bit disillusioned that the garden would lash out so violently towards him. He thought it was just all organic and goodness in the soil, not terrible infections. But he realizes good garden soil needs to be chalk full of all kinds of bacteria. Now the garden is giving us good things to eat in an effort to apologize to Brian.

Refrigerator Pickles Kathy Buck

Given to me by Ginny Lund

8 cups thinly sliced cucumbers

1 ½ Tablespoons salt

Sprinkle salt over cucumbers and let stand 30 minutes (or more)

Drain off juice. (I rinse slightly)

1 cup thinly sliced peppers, opt.

1 cup chopped celery, opt.

1 cup sliced onions

1 cup sugar

1 cup WHITE vinegar

1 teaspoon whole mustard seed

Combine sugar, vinegar and mustard see in a saucepan, heat till sugar has dissolved.

Pour over veggies. Store tightly covered in refrigerator. Ready to eat when well chilled,

About 6-8 hours.

I use a vadilla or white onion, they are sweeter. I don’t always put celery or green peppers in. The amount of onion depends on your taste.

*Note don’t worry if it doesn’t look like there is enough syrup….it increases overnight.

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The Basement

I can't believe we haven't blogged more of the basement process. We'll try to do better.

So this is the completed floor of the basement remodel. It is acid-stained concrete. It was hard work (Brian's hard work)- removal of several layers of paint to expose bare concrete, extensive cleaning, applying the stain, extensive cleaning, 4 layers of sealer and 4 layers of wax. We hope the extreme concrete dust hasn't compromised Brian's voice, but we think the finished product is quite stunning. The variations in the concrete are really interesting, and the cracks look super cool. Incidentally, the gridlines are left from my grandpa's original work on the floor. How they managed to appear after all the grinding and sanding is a bit of a mystery, but we also love how they look.

Another section of floor. We think some of the splotchiness on the floor here may be from when spilled gunpowder from my Dad's hand loading reacted with the concrete. So the floor bears the marks of three generations of my men. Kind of fun.
The timing of the basement remodel hasn't been so fun however, as it has coincided with a herniated disc in my back. But how do you well time a herniated disc? I am feeling much better now though. Thank you corticosteroids and lortab.

Tomorrow begins the framing.
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We spent the afternoon last Friday at Lagoon, Utah's local amusement park. Colin made the comment the next day about it being like a little Disnayland. We rode a few rides, ate some dinner and came home.

Jane loved the carousel. She was heartbroken when the ride was over.

She still cannot help herself and has to explore with her mouth at times.

I need to take more phots of our guests who have been coming through. We have been inundated with old friends and love that so many people pass through Utah.

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