As an effort to get the boys some fresh air last week, I thought we'd go out and do some eagle watching.  We took a drive to the Lock and Dam north of Burlington (I don't know it's number), and immediately saw our first eagle as we drove up the road to the dam.  It was hanging around a deer corpse on the side of the road, and flew up and over our car as we drove down the road.  It was a great "first sighting" and got the boys very excited about seeing more eagles.
We were the only ones there that day, so the boys were able to run free and stretch their legs a bit.  There weren't huge amounts of eagles, but it was enough for us!  We had so much fun that we went back over the weekend with daddy, and even made a trip to Keokuk to see if we could have some better luck. 
I've been practicing with a new camera, so this was a great opportunity to try out my zoom lens.  Enjoy!

The House's "New Year Update"

A bit later each year, but better late than never, right? A few years ago I made a giant To Do list for our house and I've tried to update it yearly to reflect what we've accomplished.

Here is the key:

Red: Accomplished in 2007

Blue: Accomplished in 2008

Green: Accomplished in 2009

Black: To Do

Jayden's Room - NOW the "Toy Room"

  • Touch up floor paint
  • Install and paint quarter round and floor trim
  • Finish shelving (this is partly done)
  • Install dimmer switch
  • Blank covers for obsolete outlets
  • Install lighting in closet
  • Paint door

Master Bedroom

  • One more coat of paint on walls
  • Edging on ceiling
  • Plate covers
  • Finish Trim
  • Install Door
  • Install closet lights
  • Run cable to our room

Upstairs Hallway

  • Finish patching cracks
  • Sand
  • Primer and paint ceilings and walls
  • Install lighting
  • Switch plate covers
  • Paint woodwork
  • Install shelving

Kid's Bath

  • Finish Floor
  • Plumbing
  • Order faucet for tub
  • Sand walls
  • Primer and Paint walls and ceiling
  • Finish painting bead board
  • Put up trim
  • Put up and finish door
  • Install Lighting
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Sand, primer, paint walls and ceiling
  • Sand and varnish woodwork (this is partly done)

Living Room

  • Finish woodwork
  • Finish installing built in media cabinet
  • Finish dresser
  • Finish and install french doors
  • Touch up paint

Family Room - This is now the Dining Room

  • Touch up paint
  • Put up woodwork
  • Finish woodwork
  • Install built in bookshelves

Dining Room - This is now the Family Room

  • One more coat of regular paint
  • Top coat paints
  • Woodwork
  • Switch plate covers
  • Door on closet

Half bath

  • Put in ceiling
  • Plaster, sand, primer, and paint walls and ceiling
  • Paint bead board and woodwork
  • Plate covers (all but the lightswitch)
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Drywall walls and ceiling
  • Plaster, Sand, Primer and paint walls and ceiling
  • Install and paint woodwork
  • Sand and varnish floor <--We painted instead
  • Install lighting
  • Install cabinets
  • Install appliances


  • Scrape paint
  • Primer (partial!)
  • Paint (partial!)
  • Begin landscaping
  • Finish Bay Windows
  • Porch Floor (partial!)
  • Straighten Porch (partial!)
Gavin's Room - NOW the "Boy's Bedroom"
  • Burn paint off closet door and bedroom door
  • Primer doors
  • Paint doors
  • Fix floor
  • Install quarter round
  • Touch up wall

Here's to 2010!

Preschool Picture

Jayden's Preschool Picture

First Day of Preschool

On Tuesday, Jayden had his first day of preschool. He's been so excited about starting school, he was bouncing off the walls all morning. He'll be going every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon. We got out the door about a half hour early, so we took the time to get a few pictures.

This picture was his idea. He wanted a picture in front of the tree like Ethan...I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'm sure it means something.

Here we are heading out the door. Notice the Rock N Roll sign he's doing with his right hand.

In front of his new school!

The teachers had name tags for all of the kids, Jayden was pretty happy to wear his.

The minute we walked through the door, Jayden took off on his own. While the other kids were hanging on their parents legs, I was trying to keep up with Jayden. When I told him Bye, he didn't even look my way to tell me goodbye...I guess this is good?

Jayden didn't give very many details on the day. When I'd ask him a question, he'd just shrug his shoulders. From what I could gather over the last couple of days, they read a book about a bird, Spongebob was on the tv somewhere, they had Goldfish Crackers for a snack, and they practiced something. He just told me that they're going to McDonalds today. So, who knows.
After school, we went to the doctor for his physical. Jayden is not a good kid to take to the doctor. We'll just leave it at that.
We finished the day with a trip to Dairy Queen, Jayden had some money from Grandma and Grandpa and decided he wanted to go for ice cream.
For the most part, it was a good day (if I can black the memory of the doctors office out of my memory), and he is very excited to go back. I think I've answered "Are you SO Happy I go to school now?" about 50 times since Tuesday, which just tells me that he is so happy. He has also proclamed that he can read the big chapter books because he goes to school now as he sat down to "read" the Series of Unfortunate Events.
So far, I think we're off to a great start!

Porch Progress

We've come a bit farther from out previous Porch Demo post, so I thought I'd share!

To start with, the old footings had to be pulled out, which were huge stones. Holes were dug, and new footers were pored. From there, we had to get some new green treated lumber to rebuild the frame. (I'll say "we" a lot here, but I really haven't done anything on the porch, "we" means Josh, my mom, and my Uncle Perry)
Nice and straight!
After the new fram was built, we used some flooring that we got from my mom's building, and some from the Preservation Station to redo the floor. It is so much nicer to have a porch floor with a straight edge! Also, each peice of the porch that goes back up is stripped of the old paint, sanded, and primed before it goes up.The before and after of the porches arches.

Yes, even the neighbor boys get put to work.

Two posts down, two to go!

Isn't it amazing how a how a porch that is a hundred years old can look so nice with a bit of work and some paint?